Monday, April 28, 2014

Subtle bias


  1. The actual problem seems to be one of taking "cause" in a merely strict sense. In fact, "cause" has a semantic range which can be demonstrated by observing how we use it in English, for instance. Thus, what Mr. Pike is implicitly doing here is assuming that "cause" must mean cause strictly speaking and acting like there is no semantic range to the term. Instead, what must be discussed is why one choice amongst the semantic range is better than another. However, the problem here is that one cannot really decide that based upon the text alone. Indeed, that must be decided based upon other considerations (for instance, one's theological system) and thus if one tries to use this as an argument, one is simply begging the question.

    Brett Lunn

    1. Hello Brett,
      You wrote:
      Thus, what Mr. Pike is implicitly doing here is assuming that "cause" must mean cause strictly speaking and acting like there is no semantic range to the term.

      Actually, what I'm explicitly doing is stating that the verse uses a specific word but the pastor substituted another word without ever justifying the change or even showing that he actually realized he had done so.

      But if you want the implications, it's this: the verse in all translations talks about God *actively* doing something such that the people become deceived. "Allow" is a passive term where God passively permits something. This is why you cannot substitute one for the other.

  2. So Brett, explain the edge of the semantic range for the word "cause" that actually means "has no responsibility at all for the resulting event." Your point is amusingly weak...

  3. Brett,

    "Allow" is not within the semantic range of "cause." That's all that matters for Calvin Dude's post.

  4. The example doesn't seem very subtle to me, but that's just one man's opinion.

  5. Mr. Pike,

    First off, I would have posted that on your blog, but I didn't feel like going through the whole registration process. So I hope that didn't come off the wrong way. Secondly, he essentially paraphrased the verse (whether correctly or incorrectly is irrelevant for these purposes) which is what all good pastors due. Moreover, it's a sermon so I don't expect him to go into the minutia. Maybe we just disagree on the purposes of sermons, but most people aren't interested in the really minor details and so while they may be appropriate at times, they need not always be included. Surely if he were writing an exegetical, I would expect him to argue the point. Thus, we must that standards are dependent upon context.

    As to your point about active and passive, this is within the semantic range of cause.


    I'm not talking about responsibility.

    Remington B,

    It isn't? My older brother caused me to get in trouble when I was younger by allowing me to do things I was not supposed to do. We use "cause" in that sense quite often. In fact, I think we tend to use "cause" as meaning something other than cause strictly speaking than we do to mean cause strictly speaking, but I haven't compiled any numbers on the matter.

  6. Brett,

    I've never heard "caused" used in that way and it looks inappropriate. In other words, looks like you're just making it up.