Monday, July 27, 2009

The authorship of Adam's sin

Arminians (and other Christian libertarians) typically accuse Calvinism of making God the author of sin since God decreed the fall of Adam and Lucifer. If God decreed that outcome, then they lacked the freedom to do otherwise.

By contrast, Arminians think God gave Adam and Lucifer the freedom to do otherwise. Yet, as we know, Adam and Lucifer still fell. The didn’t use their libertarian freedom to do otherwise.

Hence, the outcome is identical on either scenario. Even if God had given Adam and Lucifer the freedom to do otherwise, they would have done the very same thing.

If God decrees an outcome which coincides with a libertarian choice, then how does that action make him the author of sin? In each case, the end-result is identical.

At best, the objection would only be plausible if, given the opportunity to make a different choice, the agent would make a different choice. If, however, the agent made the very same choice, then how is the difference between determinism and indeterminism morally relevant at that juncture?

And, from a libertarian standpoint, this is true of all sins of all sinners. Don’t libertarians think that when sinners sin, they were at liberty to do otherwise? To refrain from sinning?

So even if God predestined every sin, the outcome is uniformly identical to the libertarian scheme.

For the objection to be plausible, an Arminian would have to show that predestination makes the agent do something he’d refrain from doing, if given the opportunity to do so.

Yet, as a matter of fact, the libertarian thinks that we’ve actually seen that libertarian alternative play out. We’ve seen what happens when libertarian agents make their own choices. And the indeterminist alternative is functionally interchangeable with the determinist scenario. Since the end-result is, in each and every case, the same, there’s no practical difference between the two.

If God predetermines an outcome which is identical with an indeterminate outcome, then why does that make him the author of sin?

65 comments:

  1. Do you think God wanted sin to enter the world?

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  2. If God predetermines an outcome which is identical with an indeterminate outcome, then why does that make him the author of sin?

    Because in one scenario he decides the outcome, in the other one he doesn't?
    What kind of question is this?

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  3. Yes, he wanted sin to enter the world. That's what made it possible for sin to enter the world. If he didn't want sin to enter the world, it was in his power to prevent it.

    Not that God wants sin to occur for its own sake, but as a means to a second-order good.

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  4. If I would have written this entry for you which is identical to the post you wrote, why does that make me the author of this entry?

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  5. Matthew said...

    "Because in one scenario he decides the outcome, in the other one he doesn't?
    What kind of question is this?"

    i) If the outcome is the same in either case, what difference does it make?

    ii)Moreover, if you think that deciding the outcome makes God the author of sin, then that would apply, not only to Calvinism, but Arminianism and Molinism. By deciding to create this world in full knowledge of the outcome, God decided the outcome. Try again.

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  6. Do you think God wanted sin to enter the world?

    Do you?

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  7. Do it matter to anyone that Adam didn't actually exist?

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  8. Make that "Does it..."

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  9. MATTHEW SAID:
    Matthew said...

    "If I would have written this entry for you which is identical to the post you wrote, why does that make me the author of this entry?"

    Why does it matter? You keep missing the point. Is that because you're unable to grasp the point, or because you get it, but have no counterargument?

    Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Calvinism makes God the "author of sin" (whatever that means).

    If the outcome is the same, regardless of God's authorship or non-authorship, then how is that objectionable for Calvinism?

    If, according to libertarianism, Adam or Lucifer would have done the same thing anyway, then why do you think the label ("author of sin") still has any teeth to it?

    If, even on libertarian assumptions, the end result is indistinguishable one way or the other, then how is the presence or absence of divine authorship ammorally significant factor? It's not even a differential factor.

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  10. David said...

    "Do it matter to anyone that Adam didn't actually exist?"

    David doesn't actually exist. He's just a computer glitch. That accounts for the illiterate grammar. Blogger is working to correct the David malfunction.

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  11. Cute answer.

    It was a typo, not a grammar problem.

    You didn't answer my question.

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  12. David said...

    "It was a typo, not a grammar problem. You didn't answer my question."

    I don't answer trick questions. Try to rephrase your question without the question-begging assumption.

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  13. MATTHEW SAID:

    "If I would have written this entry for you which is identical to the post you wrote, why does that make me the author of this entry?"

    If, according to Arminian theology, God authors the sinner (by creating the sinner), doesn't that make God the "author" of the sinner's sin?

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  14. It was not intended to be a trick question.

    There is no evidence that "Adam" ever existed. So, how can one talk about the "authorship" of Adam's sin or Adam's fall, etc.? Doesn't it bother anyone that you are talking about the "authorship of a sin" that has been assigned to someone who didn't exist.

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  15. David said...

    "There is no evidence that 'Adam' ever existed."

    There is evidence that Scripture is inspired. Scripture says Adam existed. Therefore, there is evidence that Adam existed. Try again.

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  16. For that matter, the Bible's testimony would be evidence even apart from inspiration. Ancient documents that talk about more ancient events aren't no evidence.

    David should have said, "There's no extra-biblical evidence that Adam existed."

    Of course, that points to the question, "How reliable is the Bible's testimony?"... Which leads to the inspiration question.

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  17. "Do you think God wanted sin to enter the world?"

    In one sense, I doubt anyone thinks that. Meaning, God didn't want sin in the world for its own sake. It's not like, "Some sin would really brighten up the place."

    Usually, people mean that God wanted something else--something that involved sin being in the world. (For instance, God wanted to show his mercy through Christ, or he wanted to show his judgment on sinners, or both. Or something else.)

    The idea is that sin entering the world was a tool, not a goal by itself.

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  18. A Helmet is going to say that this conflicts with the omnipotence of God (yes, I know, that's a nonsequitur , but I'm just the messenger). Read his "critique" of the Greater Good Defense.

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  19. "There is evidence that Scripture is inspired. Scripture says Adam existed. Therefore, there is evidence that Adam existed. Try again."

    From the "try again" part, I assume that you think that this is some sort of convincing answer, but this isn't an answer at all. You've just declared "I believe that God said it, and that settles it". Not much of an argument, really.

    What does "inspired" mean? Does this mean that we should believe that everything in the Bible is true? If so, we have a problem, because there is considerable evidence that the paleo-anthropological sections of the Bible are wrong. There are also big problems with the geology as well.

    (Just to clarify, within a thousand years or so, when did Adam live?)


    "David should have said, "There's no extra-biblical evidence that Adam existed.""

    Well, yes, and outside of Roman mythology, there's no extra-Roman evidence that Romulus and Remus existed. Do you think that Romulus and Remus existed?

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  20. DAVID SAID:

    “From the ‘try again’ part, I assume that you think that this is some sort of convincing answer, but this isn't an answer at all. You've just declared ‘I believe that God said it, and that settles it’. Not much of an argument, really.”

    I see, once again, that literacy is not your forte. Did I just declare ‘I believe that God said it, and that settles it’? No. Go back and deal with what I actually said.

    Your problem is that you have pat little rejoinders which you’ve copycatted from other infidels. You reproduce your copycatted rejoinders even though they were not responsive to what your opponent actually said.

    I realize that it may be a novel experience for you, but you should take a few baby steps in learning how to think on your own and respond to what your opponent actually said. Try again.

    “What does ‘inspired’ mean? Does this mean that we should believe that everything in the Bible is true?”

    That’s not what “inspired” *means*. It is, however, a logical consequence of inspiration.

    “If so, we have a problem, because there is considerable evidence that the paleo-anthropological sections of the Bible are wrong. There are also big problems with the geology as well.”

    That begs the question at two levels: you beg the question regarding the paleo-anthropological/geological evidence as well as begging the question regarding your interpretation of Scripture. Try again.

    “(Just to clarify, within a thousand years or so, when did Adam live?)”

    Since the Bible doesn’t offer a continuous chronology from the moment of creation to 2009, why should I try to answer that question?

    “Well, yes, and outside of Roman mythology, there's no extra-Roman evidence that Romulus and Remus existed.”

    Well, yes, and outside the Internet, there is no extra-blogospheric evidence that “David” exists.

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  21. ""David should have said, "There's no extra-biblical evidence that Adam existed.""

    Well, yes, and outside of Roman mythology, there's no extra-Roman evidence that Romulus and Remus existed. Do you think that Romulus and Remus existed?
    "

    David, you did read my next sentence, right? Namely:

    "Of course, that points to the question, 'How reliable is the Bible's testimony?'"

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  22. "There is evidence that Scripture is inspired. Scripture says Adam existed. Therefore, there is evidence that Adam existed."

    Ok, since I didn't understand what you were saying, why don't you explain it to me? I'm getting the insult part, but I'm not getting clarification. In the context of the above sentence, what does "inspired" mean?


    "Since the Bible doesn’t offer a continuous chronology from the moment of creation to 2009...

    So, you disagree with Bishop Ussher. Just want to be clear on this. How do you feel about global floods?

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  23. David, you did read my next sentence, right?

    Yes, I did. My point was that outside of the text of the Bible, there is no more evidence for Adam than for Romulus and Remus. I agree, in the case of Adam, it comes down to the reliability of the Bible, and when it comes to this particular area of human history, the Bible does not appear to be very reliable.

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  24. "Outside the Internet, there is no extra-blogospheric evidence that “David” exists"

    Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I believe that there is evidence for the existence of David outside of the blogosphere. But I assume that your statement was meant as hyperbole and not argument.

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  25. Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I believe that there is evidence for the existence of David outside of the blogosphere. But I assume that your statement was meant as hyperbole and not argument.

    Actually, he's addressing you this way to get you to pay attention to your level of argumentation.

    You're begging the question with respect evidence.

    So, you disagree with Bishop Ussher. Just want to be clear on this. How do you feel about global floods?

    Bishop Usher isn't our rule of faith. It's now apparent that what you're doing is assuming a particular reading of the Scriptures is in view here and then working from there.

    If so, we have a problem, because there is considerable evidence that the paleo-anthropological sections of the Bible are wrong. There are also big problems with the geology as well.

    These are assertions, not arguments. What Steve is trying to do here, actually, is help you argue your own position; if you have to be goaded by insult to do it, so be it.

    You've come here with some prefabricated expressions not actual arguments. Try again.

    If using a commentary thread is too hard for you then use your own blog and draw our attention to your articles.

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  26. David said...

    “Ok, since I didn't understand what you were saying, why don't you explain it to me? I'm getting the insult part, but I'm not getting clarification. In the context of the above sentence, what does ‘inspired’ mean?”

    “Inspiration”: Bible writers wrote (or dictated) what God intended them to write. (Also applies to inspired speeches.)

    “How do you feel about global floods?”

    Is that an exegetical question or a scientific question?

    i) Exegetically speaking, the Biblical language is consistent with either a local or global flood.

    ii) Scientifically speaking, the answer would depend on the specific variables feeding into different local or global models of the flood.

    “Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I believe that there is evidence for the existence of David outside of the blogosphere. But I assume that your statement was meant as hyperbole and not argument.”

    Nothing hyperbolic. The comment I’m reading was left by a blogospheric entity. I still have no extra-blogospheric evidence of “David’s” extra-blogopheric existence.

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  27. “Actually, he's addressing you this way to get you to pay attention to your level of argumentation. You're begging the question with respect evidence.”

    Why? Is there any evidence for Adam outside of the Bible? There is no evidence for Adam outside of the Bible. That’s not assertion, it’s fact. How is this “begging the question”?

    ”Bishop Usher isn't our rule of faith. It's now apparent that what you're doing is assuming a particular reading of the Scriptures is in view here and then working from there.”

    Not all. I’m asking these questions because I don’t know how you are reading scripture. I ask the questions specifically to gain clarification and to avoid assumptions.

    ”These are assertions, not arguments.”

    Actually, I think that both paleoanthropology and geology both suggests that there is something seriously wrong with Biblical accounts, and I’d be glad to argue these points in much more detail once it’s clear how you are interpreting the Bible.

    When Steve said, “There is evidence that Scripture is inspired, etc.”, why wasn’t that "just an assertion" and not an argument? Maybe I’m just illiterate, but it looks like he’s doing what I’ve been accused of doing.

    “Inspiration”: Bible writers wrote (or dictated) what God intended them to write."

    Ok, using the definition provided, you said, there is evidence that “Scripture” is the set of words that God intended that Bible writers would write. God intended to say that Adam existed. If the scriptures say that Adam existed, that means that God wanted them to say that Adam existed. The appearance of Adam in scripture is the evidence that Adam existed.

    So, why do you believe that Adam existed? I must be missing something here, and I welcome your clarification, but it sure looks like you’re saying that you think Adam existed, because you believe that God said (through the writers) that Adam existed. I understand that you are saying that you believe that there is “evidence” for “inspiration, and maybe that's the point that you think that I missed. Regardless, in the end, you believe that Adam existed, because you believe that God said Adam existed. I’m not sure that’s all that different from my original “copycatted rejoinder”.

    ”Exegetically speaking, the Biblical language is consistent with either a local or global flood.”

    I think that this is more of a bet-hedging strategy than exegesis.

    Are you saying that the Bible is so incredibly unclear that you can’t tell if Genesis is talking about local flood or a global calamity that wipes out almost all life on Earth? I have to say that it’s awfully hard to see how one could take the same set of words and end up with such different interpretations. Maybe you can do it, but it doesn’t inspire much faith in the clarity and value of the Bible.

    In reality, I think that the answer is pretty clear. The Bible says the flood was global. Answer in Genesis would be glad to explain this to you in great deatil. But now that’s it’s obvious that such an event never occurred, folks are “re-interpreting” to avoid the obvious conclusion that the Bible is wrong.

    ”Scientifically speaking, the answer would depend on the specific variables feeding into different local or global models of the flood. “

    More bet-hedging. Given the state of our geological knowledge, there is no need to hedge your bets.

    Scientifically speaking, the global flood is nonsense. And that’s not just an assertion, it’s a fact. I’d be glad to argue this if you’d like.

    “Nothing hyperbolic. The comment I’m reading was left by a blogospheric entity. I still have no extra-blogospheric evidence of “David’s” extra-blogopheric existence.”

    You think this is a good argument? Give me an address, and I’ll send you a post card. I’m dead serious. Let’s see Adam do the same.

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  28. Steve and Gene,

    David is obviously not a real person, just a sock-puppet you two are using to make believe in the sky-david that you want us to imagine exists. After all, if he were real, why would there be any question about his existence?

    In conclusion, couldn't you be more creative next time and call him the flying macaroni david?

    -TurretinFan

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  29. Why? Is there any evidence for Adam outside of the Bible? There is no evidence for Adam outside of the Bible. That’s not assertion, it’s fact. How is this “begging the question”?


    You've prejudged the evidence viz.

    There is no evidence that Adam ever existed, ergo Adam did not exist.

    or, after being corrected: The only evidence for the existence of Adam is the Bible, ergo Adam did not exist.

    or, put another way, The Bible is wrong.

    You've not argued this; you've asserted it.

    It begs the question with respect to the Bible.

    Even you should be able to figure out why you're begging the question, but it seems we'll have to spell it out for you. This does not bode well for you stay here. I suggest you improve your argumentation skills or your time here will end rather quickly.

    Not all. I’m asking these questions because I don’t know how you are reading scripture. I ask the questions specifically to gain clarification and to avoid assumptions.

    You'll find around here that we're usually a step or two ahead of folks in the comboxes. Here's another instance. You brought up Bishop Usher after asking a question seeking an answer like his. You've pointed Steve to Answers in Genesis. You've called a local flood "hedge betting," (even though belief in a local flood is hardly an exegetical novum). So, your actions belie your words.

    I'm giving you a few freebies here to help you interact with Steve. You've stated you can argue your case. I would suggest you begin doing so, either in the combox, or, if what you have to say won't fit the space blogger allows in, say 2 or 3 entries in a row, on your own blog and then ask us to look at it and respond.

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  30. Gene,

    No, I don't think God wanted sin to enter the world. The reason I asked this question is because there was a yes/no-poll on that questioin recently at www.reformedvoices.com and the result was almost even. It seems like there are varying opinions about the question whether God wanted sin to enter the world even in reformed circles.

    A Helmet is going to say that this conflicts with the omnipotence of God

    No, it would conflict with God's love, holiness and benevolence.

    -a helmet

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  31. A HELMET SAID:

    "No, it would conflict with God's love, holiness and benevolence."

    If God didn't want sin to enter the world, then why did sin enter the world despite God's wishes to the contrary? Do you think God is impotent to prevent sin from entering the world?

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  32. Gene,

    Sorry, old boy, didn't mean to take so long to understand Steve's position.

    Of course, it doesn’t help that he gets to “assert” instead of “argue” while I’m apparently held to a different standard. It also doesn’t help when Steve seems to want to take several different positions simultaneously. Which position, exactly, am I supposed to respond to? What, exactly, am I to argue against? I could use a little help here. What, exactly, is it that you’d like me to do in order to stay in the good graces of folks who seem more interested in insult than in discussion?

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  33. David said...

    “Why? Is there any evidence for Adam outside of the Bible? There is no evidence for Adam outside of the Bible. That’s not assertion, it’s fact. How is this ‘begging the question’?”

    Are you just playing dumb or are you really that obtuse? You’re backpedaling from your original assertion. You originally said, “There is no evidence that ‘Adam’ ever existed,” period.

    Now you’re introducing a qualification you didn’t include in your original statement. No evidence “outside the Bible.”

    However, either the witness of Scripture counts as evidence or not. If not, then you begging the question with respect to the evidentiary value of the Bible.

    Do you need another tutorial in how to present an argument, or can you now manage on your own?

    “Actually, I think that both paleoanthropology and geology both suggests that there is something seriously wrong with Biblical accounts, and I’d be glad to argue these points in much more detail once it’s clear how you are interpreting the Bible.”

    i) If you think there’s something seriously wrong with Biblical accounts, then the onus lies on you to make clear how you are interpreting the Bible.

    ii) Moreover, when I told you how I interpret the accounts in question, you got upset.

    “When Steve said, “There is evidence that Scripture is inspired, etc.”, why wasn’t that ‘just an assertion’ and not an argument? Maybe I’m just illiterate, but it looks like he’s doing what I’ve been accused of doing. ”

    Because I’ve argued for the inspiration of Scripture on many different questions. You pop in here out of nowhere, completely ignorant of what I’ve already written on the subject.

    “So, why do you believe that Adam existed?”

    One reason would be the teaching of Scripture. And I have good reason to believe the teaching of Scripture.

    “I must be missing something here.”

    Which seems to be a habitual failing on your part.

    “But it sure looks like you’re saying that you think Adam existed, because you believe that God said (through the writers) that Adam existed.”

    Apparently you can only keep one idea in your head at a time. Let’s go back once again to what I actually said:

    i) There is evidence that Scripture is inspired.
    ii) Scripture says Adam existed.
    iii) Therefore, there is evidence that Adam existed.

    Do you think you can remember that long enough to at least follow the argument this time?

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  34. “I understand that you are saying that you believe that there is ‘evidence’ for ‘inspiration,’ and maybe that's the point that you think that I missed.”

    Ah, a fleeting moment of lucidity.

    “Regardless, in the end, you believe that Adam existed, because you believe that God said Adam existed. I’m not sure that’s all that different from my original ‘copycatted rejoinder’.”

    Oh dear! I see the moment of lucidity as short-lived. This was your original rejoinder:

    “You've just declared ‘I believe that God said it, and that settles it’. Not much of an argument, really.”

    That conveniently leaves out the reason for believing it. I gave two reasons, not one. One reason undergirds another reason.

    Can you hold that thought long enough this time for the argument to sink in?

    “I think that this is more of a bet-hedging strategy than exegesis.”

    I’ve presented my exegesis in the past. Try again.

    “Are you saying that the Bible is so incredibly unclear that you can’t tell if Genesis is talking about local flood or a global calamity that wipes out almost all life on Earth?”

    Clear to whom? To the original audience? Or to somebody reading the text thousands of years later?

    It’s quite possible to pose questions of a text which the text was not designed to answer.

    “I have to say that it’s awfully hard to see how one could take the same set of words and end up with such different interpretations.”

    Oh, that’s quite easy. It’s easy for a modern reader to come an ancient text with a set of modern preconceptions, and thereby end up with anachronistic interpretations of the text. If you use your own cultural assumptions as your reference point, then you can wind up with interpretations that have no bearing the original.

    “Maybe you can do it, but it doesn’t inspire much faith in the clarity and value of the Bible. ”

    Of course, that’s a transparently sophistical statement since it’s obvious that you have no faith in the Bible.

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  35. “In reality, I think that the answer is pretty clear. The Bible says the flood was global.”

    You’re not actually starting with the Bible. To the contrary, you’re starting with your modern preconception of the world, based on things like satellite cartography. You then superimpose this image onto the geographical markers in the flood account, as if the original audience thought in those terms.

    However, to do real exegesis of the text, you have to ask yourself, not what do these descriptions mean to a modern reader, but what do these descriptions mean to an ancient reader? What map of the world was an Israelite using when he read or heard these descriptions? Did he have the same sense of scale that you do? What would “local” or “global” mean to an inhabitant of the ancient Near East?

    “Answer in Genesis would be glad to explain this to you in great deatil.”

    Some of the contributors to AiG have fine scientific credentials. That doesn’t qualify them to exegete an OT text. For exegesis, we’d naturally turn to OT scholars.

    “But now that’s it’s obvious that such an event never occurred, folks are ‘re-interpreting’ to avoid the obvious conclusion that the Bible is wrong.”

    To the contrary, you’re the one who’s illiterately reinterpreting the text by mapping your modern preconceptions onto an ancient text.

    “More bet-hedging. Given the state of our geological knowledge, there is no need to hedge your bets.”

    Are you a geologist? Where did you receive your scientific training? Where do you teach geology? And what about your scientific training in paleoanthropology? What are your degrees? From what institution?

    “Scientifically speaking, the global flood is nonsense.”

    Maybe yes and maybe no. That depends, in part, on what specific model you have in mind.

    It also depends on how much faith you put in scientific reconstructions of the distant past, where the trace evidence is supplemented by a multitude of untestable conjectures, interpolations, and extrapolations.

    “And that’s not just an assertion, it’s a fact.”

    Not, that’s an assertion of a fact. Asserting that something is a “fact” doesn’t make it a fact. It only makes it a tendentious assertion masquerading as a fact.

    “I’d be glad to argue this if you’d like. ”

    Begin by exegeting the flood account.

    “You think this is a good argument? Give me an address, and I’ll send you a post card. I’m dead serious.”

    A postcard? You mean a piece of paper with the name of “David” written on it? How does that prove your existence?

    What about a piece of paper with the names of Romulus and Remus? Does that prove their existence?

    “Let’s see Adam do the same.”
    Of course, Adam is dead. So, according to you, if a dead man can’t send a postcard, he never existed.

    If Charles Darwin can’t send you a postcard, then he never existed.

    Given your rules of evidence, it’s no wonder than you’re an infidel.

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  36. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, you do like to spew the insults. The problem is that I'm finding it very difficult to find the argument in all of the offal. It's just depressing to wade through so much garbage to find a point (if there is one).

    And what isn't insult is mostly just vague appeal to relativistic interpretation of ancient texts. I love the way apologists speak of absolutes one minute while diving behind the cover of relativism the next. Clearly, you are going to "exegete" in whatever manner you need to keep "inspiration" alive, regardless of the geological or anthropological evidence, so what's the point?

    Unfortunately, it's next to impossible to test the validity or accuracy of a text if that text is going to be interpreted in an endless number of ways. Now, that is a good way to avoid confronting reality, but it's not very convincing. I could spend the rest of my life trying to pin down your views, and it would be in vain.

    You know, I've noticed that you folks put up lots of posts, but you generally get zero comments. Now I understand why. Who needs the abuse? I'm sure you feel justified in your choice of words (although they make Baby Jesus cry), but what you're missing if the fact that the constant insults make it very difficult to follow and respond to the discussion. As I said, if you were trying to make points, I found it difficult to find them in the swill.

    But in the spirit of this blog, if you think for second the "young earth model" has any validity at all, then you're not nearly as clever or as educated or as knowledgable as you seem to think that you are. In this case, at least, your arrogance is unjustified.

    I think I'll go look for a place to discuss these matters where middle-aged men don't act like two year olds.

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  37. Your problem is that you have script for what you want your Christian opponents to say, and you get frustrated when real live Christians don't play the role you've typecast them to play.

    You have some pat objections to deploy against Christian straw men. But when we don't play by your script, you have nothing in reserve since you don't know how to think for yourself. You only know how to crib some stock objections from some village atheists you've read. You can recite the lines you've memorized, but when we don't recite the lines you've assigned to us, you're at a total loss for words.

    Without your cue cards, you're speechless. If it's not written down on your cue cards, you have no fallback.

    You initiated an attack on the Bible. As a preliminary step, it's incumbent on you to present and defend your own interpretation.

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  38. You don't have a clue about me. Not a clue. But you do know something about "typecasting", don't you? After re-reading your last comments to me, maybe you should look up "projection".

    I'd have been glad to discuss these issues in depth and without "cue cards". I don't crib from village atheists, I just trying to figure things out on my own. I'd have been glad to discuss why I don't trust the Bible on matter of pre-history. And I was genuinely trying to figure out what your position was. You know, it's not that unusual for people to misinterpret comments posted on the web. But you were more interested in emptying your bowels.

    By the way, I see you use Cary Grant as your little picture. Wow, talk about irony. A man who shows no sign of class using a the photo of a man who was seen as the epitome of that trait.

    You must make Jesus proud.

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  39. You leave many clues about yourself by the comments you post.

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  40. As I said...projection.

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  41. In David's case, I believe it's a Mercator projection. I guess that means he's really distorted around the poles, thus causing him to seem like the village atheist instead of the village idiot. :-D

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  42. Pete, that doesn't even make sense. As Steve would say, try again.

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  43. No one ever said atheists were "bright."

    Yes, that joke may be too subtle for you too. I care not.

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  44. In any case, David, you said "projection" which is an obvious psychological reference, but which I, using a play on words due to the ambiguity of the term, decided to read as map projections.

    One map projection is the Mercator projection, which results in Greenland looking like the size of Africa when it's really something like 17x smaller. Thus, the "poles" are distorted (indeed, the distortion in Mercator maps gets worse the further you go from the equator).

    This distortion effect worked well given that you came in offering quaint little village atheist arguments, but then said that Steve knows nothing about you after having read the same stock objections raised ad nauseum before you arrived.

    So, using the ambiguity in the word YOU provided, I decided to do yet another play on words by substituting "village idiot" for the "village atheist" of which you and Steve were speaking.

    ReplyDelete
  45. "I care not."

    Well, you cared enough to spend several paragraphs explaining the joke. Here's a clue about humor. If it takes several paragraphs to explain a joke, it's usually not a very good or very funny joke.

    (I knew what a Mercator projection was before you explained the joke. Still didn't make it a good joke. You need to take insult lessons from Steverino.)

    However, I do appreciate the fact that you described my comments as "arguments" and not "assertions". That's progress. And I think that my arguments would have made a little more sense if Steve had taken a moment to say what he thinks the Bible actually says.

    Unfortunately, he didn't, even when I asked specific questions about when Adam lived and whether or not Noah's Flood was global. Instead, I was left to guess what he thinks and/or I was supposed to argue against several different answers to a single question. It was a clever trick. If I raise an objection to one answer, then all one has to do is saying "you idiot, that's not what the Bible says". It's clever, but it leaves me thinking that the Bible really doesn't say anything at all.

    ReplyDelete
  46. David said:
    ---
    Here's a clue about humor. If it takes several paragraphs to explain a joke, it's usually not a very good or very funny joke.
    ---

    Here's a clue. If I spend several paragraphs to explain something that's self-evident to everyone else, it's a good indication of how I view your intellect.

    David said:
    ---
    However, I do appreciate the fact that you described my comments as "arguments" and not "assertions".
    ---

    I appreciate the fact that you are acknowledging that they are quaint little atheist arguments, thus proving Steve pegged you all along.

    David said:
    ---
    And I think that my arguments would have made a little more sense if Steve had taken a moment to say what he thinks the Bible actually says.
    ---

    Why would Steve's response have anything to do with whether your arguments make sense?

    Furthermore, there's a search feature on the blog. Use it. There's nothing you've said so far that hasn't been responded to dozens of times already.

    ReplyDelete
  47. "Why would Steve's response have anything to do with whether your arguments make sense?"

    I was told that I must "argue against the Bible" or "argue against the reliability of the Bible" or something to that effect. Well, that's hard to do unless one knows which Bible one is arguing against. Unfortunately, there appears to be as many Bibles as there are readers of the Bible. Now, it's easy enough to say that I'm arguing against "straw men", but that doesn't answer the question of which Bible is actually being used. Of course, it wouldn't be as much fun for all concerned if one actually revealed the Bible to be discussed. It's much more entertaining to make me guess, that way, you can call me an idiot when I guess wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  48. David,

    In other words, you came in here without knowing Steve's position yet still, for some pure and innocent reason, just happened to ask mocking questions. You attacked what you probably assumed was just a lowly whacko fundy from the woods, and when you got your nose bloodied you started looking for ways to save the rest of your face.

    In short time, you went from arrogant "There's no evidence Adam existed" claims to "I have no idea what you guys even believe" admissions. So it looks like you got caught with your pants down and the view wasn't pretty.

    Bravo! You fit in with all the other fundamentalist atheists we've had to deal with over the years. Now get back to playing World of Warcraft and let the adults have their conversation in peace.

    ReplyDelete
  49. "Now get back to playing World of Warcraft."

    Your insults are improving, but unfortunately, they also prove the point that I was making early when I said that you haven't a clue as to who I am. I've never played World of Warcraft or any other game remotely similar to this in my life. It seems that you missed the obvious point of my comments that I'm not into fantasy or mythology.

    You know, old boy, regardless of assumptions going in, if you engage someone in a discussion, and that someone is unable to decipher your position because you choose to use your words to insult and obfuscate, this is not something that you should be proud of. Except, apparently, at Triablogue. All you've done is employ the strategy of the skunk. And while an encounter with a skunk may leave the others involved in the discussion with a regretable odor, it rarely leaves them bloodied.

    By the way, I followed your advice about the search engine. I plugged in the word "Adam" and found an article written by Steve entitled "Adam and Evolution". Now, I don't know if this post qualifies Steve as full-fledged "lowly whacko fundy from the woods", but it does get us heading down that road. And if I'd posted something so inane, I'd certainly hesitate to question the intelligence and reasoning ability of others. So, I thank you for your suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Ummmm... Peter isn't literally claiming that you play World of Warcraft. Nor is it that since he was wrong about that then he clearly doesn't know anything at all of which he is talking about. He is merely making fun of a certain type of mentality. Possibly one that comes on with an "insulting" arrogance and pride that then pretends to be slightly wounded and then retreats into a "i'm above all this mud slinging" postion. Why don't you ask Peter?

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  51. David,

    I lean toward Old Earth Creationism (OEC)rather than Young Earth Creationism (YEC). Though, I could be wrong. If you haven't already, I would recommend you browse the books of Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana. Especially "Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man", "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off" and "The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis". Ross and Rana hold that the flood was universal in that it affected all of mankind, but local rather than global. They also hold to the Day Age interpretation of Genesis.

    ReplyDelete
  52. DAVID SAID:

    “I was told that I must ‘argue against the Bible’ or ‘argue against the reliability of the Bible’ or something to that effect.”

    You’re rewriting the history of the thread. You originally said there’s no evidence that Adam ever existed.

    I then pointed out that your denial implicitly commits you to the proposition that the Bible doesn’t count as evidence.

    This is not a question of my telling you that you must argue against the Bible or the reliability of the Bible, as if I’m shifting the burden of proof. No, this follows from your own position. Remember, you initiated this attack on the Bible.

    Since your denial regarding any evidence for the existence of Adam carries with it an implicit denial regarding the reliability of Scripture, then, yes, the onus lies on you to present an argument for that presupposition.

    If the elementary logic of that escapes you, then you need to brush up on your logic.

    “Well, that's hard to do unless one knows which Bible one is arguing against.”

    That’s completely disingenuous. You said that geology and paleoanthropology disprove the Bible. As such, you clearly have you own interpretation of what the Bible means–which forms the basis of your allegation. Therefore, it’s incumbent on you to present and defend your own interpretation. My interpretation is irrelevant to your allegation. You leveled your allegation before you ever asked me about my interpretation. So you obviously think that your interpretation can stand on its own two feet.

    “Unfortunately, he didn't, even when I asked specific questions about when Adam lived.”

    The Bible doesn’t furnish enough information to answer that question. The Bible doesn’t give a date for the creation of Adam. The Bible doesn’t give a calendar of events. The Bible doesn’t give an absolute or relative chronology of events from the moment of creation to 2009.

    Therefore, any chronology we propose will based on many extrabiblical assumptions, interpolations, and extrapolations. That’s not the same thing as what the Bible teaches.

    “And whether or not Noah's Flood was global. Instead, I was left to guess what he thinks and/or I was supposed to argue against several different answers to a single question.”

    i) No guesswork. I’ve discussed the extent of the flood from an exegetical standpoint. But when we interpret a document from the past, we need to assume the viewpoint of the original author and his target audience. Respecting the flood, we need to ask ourselves what these geographical descriptions would have meant to them, given their map of the world. The temptation of modern readers is to take the geographical descriptions in Gen 6-9, and reapply them to modern map of the world. That isn’t exegesis. Rather, that’s a blatant anachronism.

    ii) Moreover, you don’t have to argue against my interpretation. You obviously have your own interpretation, which you think is right. And you attack the flood account based on your own interpretation.

    By your refusal to explain and defend your own interpretation, you’re the one who’s being evasive here, not me.

    iii) And, actually, there’s nothing wrong with your having to argue against more than one interpretation if, in fact, more than one interpretation is reasonable.

    “It was a clever trick.”

    You’re just flustered and out-of-sorts because I walked around your ambush rather than into your ambush. You thought that you could trap your Christian opponent by predicting how he’d respond. When I acted unpredictably, you were floored because you don’t have any arguments beyond your prepared talking points, and you can’t think on your feet. You ended up stepping into your own trap, which you set for me.

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  53. David said:
    ---
    I've never played World of Warcraft or any other game remotely similar to this in my life.
    ---

    Wow. I hesitate to believe that you're being serious here, because it's doubtful that anyone could have misconstrued my statement so radically as to believe this is what was meant by it. All I can say is that it proves you are certainly unqualified to interpret Biblical texts if you can't even comprehend basic English.

    David said:
    ---
    It seems that you missed the obvious point of my comments that I'm not into fantasy or mythology.
    ---

    That's just plain nonsense. Virtually all stories are fantasy stories. If you've read a Stephen King novel (or seen one of his movies), you've read (seen) fantasy. If you've watched The Sixth Sense or any other of M. Night's works, you've watched fantasy. If you like Tarantino--yup, fantasy (you don't really think the events of Kill Bill, or even Resevoir Dogs, are realistic, do you?)

    I could go on, but the point is made. Unless you're culturally isolated, you are indebted to fantasy in more ways than you'll ever grasp.

    But that's really irrelevant, as that's not the point of my statement, a point MDC was able to grasp rather quickly, I might add.

    David said:
    ---
    You know, old boy, regardless of assumptions going in, if you engage someone in a discussion, and that someone is unable to decipher your position because you choose to use your words to insult and obfuscate, this is not something that you should be proud of.
    ---

    If you engage someone in a discussion on a topic you have no clue about, then it is you who must adapt. I didn't ask for you to comment here; you did that on your own. I can't help it if you lack the reading skills needed to be able to follow along. All I can do is suggest you get out more, read more, and maybe in a few years you'll get it.

    David said:
    ---
    Now, I don't know if this post qualifies Steve as full-fledged "lowly whacko fundy from the woods", but it does get us heading down that road.
    ---

    Given your reading prowess to date, it's quite obvious that your GPS is leading you down the wrong road.

    ReplyDelete
  54. "I then pointed out that your denial implicitly commits you to the proposition that the Bible doesn’t count as evidence. This is not a question of my telling you that you must argue against the Bible or the reliability of the Bible, as if I’m shifting the burden of proof. No, this follows from your own position. Remember, you initiated this attack on the Bible."

    That's all well and good, but it's still not clear which version of Bible you think is the correct and reliable one with respect to both the nature of Adam and the Flood. I understand that I need to make the argument that the Bible doesn't count as evidence, but as I've said repeatedly, its awfully difficult for me to argue that the Bible doesn't count as evidence when I don't know which Bible we're talking about. When I tried to make a case against a particular version of the Bible, I was insulted and told I was attacking straw men. Well, that's fine, but then I need to know what you think the "real men" are. I'm not going to waste my time playing whack-a-mole.

    I could spend days arguing that a particular Bible doesn't count as evidence, and then you'd say that I'm arguing about a different Bible from your Bible. What's the point? It's not disingenuous to say that there are many Bibles. Some read an old earth Bible and some read a young earth Bible. Some read a literal Adam Bible and some read a symbolic Adam Bible. And there are many Bibles in between. I don't think that the Bible counts as evidence with respect to prehistoric event, but the arguments that I would make obviously depend on which Bible we're talking about. I don't know why this is so hard to understand.

    As far as an "ambush" and "being flustered" are concerned, I think that you are mistaking an effort to figure out which Bible you believe in with "ambush". There was no "ambush", although apparently, I made a mistake about which Bible you read. Ok, now I have to figure out which Bible you read. So, now I ask more questions to try to figure it out. I'm not "flustered", I just want to know what I'm aiming at. But mostly what I recieved in response was a skunking.

    And now that I've read "Adam and Evolution", I begin to understand why you prefer skunking to clear discussion. Seriously, dude, you're in no position at the intellect of others.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Sigh.

    The last sentence should read...

    "Seriously, dude, you're in no position to question the intellect of others."

    You may now begin insulting me for my typos.

    ReplyDelete
  56. "Wow. I hesitate to believe that you're being serious here, because it's doubtful that anyone could have misconstrued my statement so radically as to believe this is what was meant by it."

    Really? Well, I did make the mistake of taking what was written at face value. You'd think that I'd have learned by now that that nothing written by T-bloggers should be taken at face value. Here's the thing about the Interwebs. It's very easy to misinterpret typed words. Why, it's possbible that you may have misinterpreted some of what I wrote. So, I guess that makes you an idiot, moron, illiterate, etc., too.

    "Virtually all stories are fantasy stories."

    I think that you're expanding the definition of "fantasy" far beyond what I intended. Could it be that you suffer from the same lack of reading comprehension that I apparently suffer from?

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  57. DAVID SAID:

    “I understand that I need to make the argument that the Bible doesn't count as evidence, but as I've said repeatedly, its awfully difficult for me to argue that the Bible doesn't count as evidence when I don't know which Bible we're talking about.”

    You can start with whatever Bible *you’re* talking about since you obviously have your own interpretation which forms the basis of your allegation.

    “When I tried to make a case against a particular version of the Bible…”

    You didn’t make a case. To make a case, you’d first need to explain and defend your own interpretation, then show how geology and paleoanthropology refutes that version of events.

    “I was insulted and told I was attacking straw men.”

    No, you were told that you were attacking a straw man when you imputed your interpretation to me. That’s irrelevant to your own interpretation, which forms the basis of your allegation.

    “I'm not going to waste my time playing whack-a-mole. ”

    So it’s a waste of your time to explain and defend your own interpretation, which forms the basis of your allegation?

    “I could spend days arguing that a particular Bible doesn't count as evidence, and then you'd say that I'm arguing about a different Bible from your Bible. What's the point?”

    The point? You can’t attack the Bible unless you can first present and defend your interpretation of the Bible. That’s a necessary preliminary step. Any attack on the Bible is only as good as your interpretation. You have yet to take the first step.

    “I don't think that the Bible counts as evidence with respect to prehistoric event, but the arguments that I would make obviously depend on which Bible we're talking about. I don't know why this is so hard to understand.”

    Your own objection depends on your own interpretation. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

    ReplyDelete
  58. So the game is to be Whack-a-Mole then. Ok, you win. You may commence flinging the last of your cow pies.

    ReplyDelete
  59. David said:

    That's all well and good, but it's still not clear which version of Bible you think is the correct and reliable one with respect to both the nature of Adam and the Flood. . . . its awfully difficult for me to argue that the Bible doesn't count as evidence when I don't know which Bible we're talking about. When I tried to make a case against a particular version of the Bible . . . I could spend days arguing that a particular Bible doesn't count as evidence, and then you'd say that I'm arguing about a different Bible from your Bible. What's the point? It's not disingenuous to say that there are many Bibles. Some read an old earth Bible and some read a young earth Bible. Some read a literal Adam Bible and some read a symbolic Adam Bible. And there are many Bibles in between.

    Sorry to butt in, guys, but I just realized what David has been getting at this entire time! I mean, now that I've read David's latest comment, it's totally clear to me that when David asks "which Bible," he isn't talking about things like textual criticism, hermeneutical method and methodology, historical and cultural context, language and linguistical issues, and the like.

    Nope!

    Instead, David is simply talking about Bible versions! Versions like the KJV or Cotton Patch Version. Or, in fact, he's even gone to the trouble of adding a few new versions of his own, viz. the "old earth Bible," the "young earth Bible," the "literal Adam Bible," the "symbolic Adam Bible," and "many Bibles in between."

    And David's quite right. There are countless versions of these "many Bibles in between." For example, when we read about Noah and the flood in the ESV, the text reads: "Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, 'I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.'"

    However, the California Surfer Dude Version reads: "Whoa, man. The earth, it was, like, totally totalled, ya know? Dudes were wicked to the max. Like, yeah, totally gnarly. So the Big Kahuna had to go heavy on them. It's gonna be a total cruncher. Yeah, mondo, man. Mondo. Epic wipe out forthcoming. Cowabunga!"

    Alternatively, its offshoot known as the Valley Girl Version reads: "Like, gag me with a spoon! I mean, seriously, everyone was like oh so not with it! And, like, duh! Of course God has to start all over. Like, am I right? Am I right? Like, OMG, fer shur! He can't be serious and let them slide, can he? As if! They're outtie!"

    Or take the 1337 Geek Speak Version: "|\|0\/\/ 7|-|3 34R7|-| \/\/45 (0RRUP7 1|\| 90D'5 519|-|7, 4|\|D 7|-|3 34R7|-| \/\/45 Ph1LL3D \/\/17|-| \/10L3|\|(3. 4|\|D 90D 54\/\/ 7|-|3 34R7|-|, 4|\|D b3|-|0LD, 17 \/\/45 (0RRUP7, Ph0R 4LL PhL35|-| |-|4D (0RRUP73D 7|-|31R \/\/4'/ 0|\| 7|-|3 34R7|-|. 4|\|D 90D 541D 70 |\|04|-|, “1 |-|4\/3 d373R/\/\1|\|3D 70 /\/\4|<3 4|\| 3|\|D 0Ph 4LL PhL35|-|, Ph0R 7|-|3 34R7|-| 15 Ph1LL3D \/\/17|-| \/10L3|\|(3 7|-|R0U9|-| 7|-|3/\/\. b3|-|0LD, 1 \/\/1LL d357R0'/ 7|-|3/\/\ \/\/17|-| 7|-|3 34R7|-|"

    In other words, all David wants to know is which Bible version we prefer -- which is an entirely subjective matter, of course. He's not looking for objectivity. He's not looking for well-reasoned responses or logically sound argumentation. In fact, David isn't looking for even the slightest hint or trace of scholarship at all! No, he just wants to know which version we like best.

    Speaking for myself, I like a bunch of different versions, but if I could only pick one, I think I'd have to go with the God-breathed version.

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  60. Just to clarify, as I think that everyone knows, "which Bible" did not refer to KJV versus NIV. It referred to the fact that the same book has been interpreted in a very large number of different ways. Hence, in effect, there are different Bibles.

    And now, the cow pies. Don't let me down here.

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  61. DAVID SAID:

    "So the game is to be Whack-a-Mole then."

    The question is whether you're prepared to state and defend your own interpretation, which is the basis of your allegation. You think it's a game that you be required to discharge that elementary burden of proof?

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  62. "You think it's a game that you be required to discharge that elementary burden of proof?"

    Of course it's a game. It's all a game (and all the world's a stage, as Shakespeare said - Ah, Shakespeare - That's good fantasy there). You're playing this as a game, too. You want to play the game your way so that every time I show how one of an infinite number of possible interpretations of the Bible is contradicted by evidence, you can shout "you idiot, that's the wrong interpretation (or mole), so your evidence doesn't count!".

    I'm a slow learner, but eventually, I get the idea. And so I'll pass. Any more cow pies?

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  63. If you pass on defending your interpretation of Scripture, then we can safely conclude that your interpretation is indefensible. Yet your contention that Scripture contradicts science is obviously contingent on your interpretation of Scripture. Therefore, your interpretation is, by your own lights, the very point at issue. Yet you refuse to defend it, or even present it.

    As such, you've disqualified yourself from any further discussion. Very well, then. You had your chance. Time for you to leave. Bye-ku to you.

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  64. Too late, I's already gone. Just hopin' to hear some more creative abuse.

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  65. Massive debate between Calvinism and Arminianism that took place between (mainly) Victor Reppert, Steve Hays, Paul Manata, and Dominic Bnonn Tennant. http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/06/calvinism-vs-arminianism.html

    ReplyDelete