Two Apes in a Meadow (Christian – Atheist Exchange)

My interlocutor’s name on Twitter is @saykojack – a friendly atheist who enjoys a vigorous exchange of ideas – but I get tired of trying to discuss weighty matters in miniature form, so I am inviting him to talk more broadly here in the comment section with me. If anyone else wants to join in, please wait for our conversation to come to an end before you jump in. It’s really hard talking through the internet to even one person who is intelligent and serious about his or her message, let alone two or more.

So…

apes

Here’s a recap from Twitter (and I may accidentally omit something) –

1) Jack (as I’m calling him) asked me to defend/explain the purity of the New Testament text. We went back and forth with questions and answers of the nature of the New Testament. He asserts corruption of the original NT writings through the process of hand-copying transmission (the Bart Ehrman thesis), and I countered with the argument of multiple copies made and disbursed throughout extensive regions of the Roman world (thus securing the independent copying of all NT documents in isolated regions, therefore allowing the later comparison of these isolated text traditions for the purposes of ascertaining the original writings, always and still present within the whole family of 6,000 Greek, handwritten copies.)

Our disagreement is on whether or not some central control came upon the canon of the NT such that other, legitimate parts of the Christian tradition were discarded. I suggest reading Philip Comfort, Daniel Wallace, Richard Bauckham, and James White for further considerations here.

2) Jack asked me what I think of Thomas Jefferson’s edited NT, wherein the Founding Father and third president of these United States actually cut the miracles out of the pages of his Bible, to make it more amenable to his own presuppositions of anti-supernaturalism.

My answer Re: Jefferson directed our conversation to the question of our underlying, foundational assumptions, here:

I fully affirm the brilliance & blessing of the many humans who are not Christians. It’s just they are living upon a world constructed by the Son of God, for the Son of God, and which will be consummated in a restored earth to reflect the beauty of the Son of God. Folk like T Jefferson simply miss the reason for the world and their [own] brilliance – [which is] sad to me.

3) This led to Jack strumming the strings of his favorite guitar (I’m guessing) – evolutionary, atheistic psychology. But before I hit that, I want to note a really funny slip by my friend:

He asks me “So if all your senses are not enough to understand the world what do you use? All that is left is imagination. Do you have some “other” sense?”

He then continued “I sense the answer will be Super-natural but again with what do you sense that?”

So my question, to continue our discussion, is “what do you mean “I sense,” Jack? Which of the five physical senses did you mean to indicate here?

I hope to see you in the comment section…

 

Categories: Comparative Religions, Meaning Woven into Nature, Personal Stuff, Understanding the Culture | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Two Apes in a Meadow (Christian – Atheist Exchange)

  1. My senses are used by my brain which is a pattern seeking system. All my senses combined with memory of previous patterns gave an assumption that you would use the concept of the supernatural to explain how you can know something outside the limits of our senses. In other words it was a guess.

    Again I ask when you say I cant get beyond my senses to show their veracity what do you use to show the veracity of your position? All that is left is imagination.

    • What do I use? I rely upon the laws of logic, through the lens of rational thinking, and by the foundational belief that God has eternal, unchanging Being (which by His personal will gave rise to all matter, time, and persons in this universe).

      But focus on the laws of logic. These are agreed upon by every person, used by every person, and yet by pure naturalism (atoms and molecules only – a closed, physical system), there is no inherent reason or explanation for their existence. In other words, inductive reasoning cannot account for universal, invariant, immaterial laws of logic. Only by beginning with the eternal Being of God may we then explain and make sense of everything else.

      To make this concise: apart from God, no one can “prove” anything in the philosophical, rational sense. That is my five senses at work underneath the greater senses of logic and rationality.

  2. Logic and rationality are not senses, both are processes. This brings you back to using the same senses you said were the cause of limitations of the Scientific Method. So by your own definition your position can claim no superiority. The fact that it is inferior in terms of logic and rationality is an argument that can wait as I want to explore the claims of the “agreed upon laws of logic” (I didnt know someone made them into laws. Laws can use logic but logic being law is a misuse of the term I think.)

    Speaking of what I believe is the misuse of logic I note you attempt to claim superiority by saying you believe in God. There appears to be no logical connection to saying the Scientific Method is limited but belief in God is superior, though you do try hard to infer it. I’m also unsure if you said you could prove God exists or only God could prove anything. Either way without a logical sequence of proofs such statements are just opinions and can be ignored.

    So can you enlighten me what process of logic and rationality have you used to decide that, as you said, “Only by beginning with the eternal Being of God may we then explain and make sense of everything else”. As an aside to that question are you really saying God will give you complete knowledge of every thing in the universe?

    • Jack, thanks for your reply. Let’s see.

      I think we may be a bit into the semantics weeds with “senses.” I was trying to use the word in the same.. ahem… sense in which you used it when you “sensed” I would go for the supernatural argument. We know things by use of logic and reason: things that are not immediately accessible to our five physical senses. Fair enough? May I call logic and reason “senses” in this regard?

      You said: “This brings you back to using the same senses you said were the cause of limitations of the Scientific Method. So by your own definition your position can claim no superiority.”

      I don’t follow. The Christian does not rely exclusively on the SM in order to discover the comprehensive nature of the universe because of the limitations of the SM, whereas the naturalist is forced to rely exclusively on the SM, which leads to fallacious, circular argumentation (infinite regress and subjectivity).

      You said: “I didnt know someone made them into laws. Laws can use logic but logic being law is a misuse of the term I think.”

      You seem to assume that a principal (i.e. a law in this case) must be perceived or defined by a subject in order to exist or be valid. Let me ask you: if there were no human beings, or any rational, sentient beings in the entire universe, would 1+1 still = 2? Of course it would, as we all know. Are not these principals of reality therefore “laws” of logic, independent of our subjective acknowledgment of them?

      You said: “There appears to be no logical connection to saying the Scientific Method is limited but belief in God is superior, though you do try hard to infer it. I’m also unsure if you said you could prove God exists or only God could prove anything. Either way without a logical sequence of proofs such statements are just opinions and can be ignored.”

      I am not inferring it, I am claiming it outright, but I would re-word it this way:

      1) Belief in the validity of the SM in being a tool which actually yields true data about the external world (external to our minds) is an assumption that cannot be proven without appealing, in a circle, to our very minds that are the subjects performing the SM. Therefore the SM cannot be justified as valid without beginning at a deeper level than the five senses. With me so far?
      2) Belief in the Being of the personal God who is unchanging and outside of our dimensions of thought and existence explains the uniformity of nature, and thus satisfies the foundational reality necessary to appeal to the SM as valid for yielding true data about the external world. In other words, Jack my fellow ape 😉 … the Christian view of reality has explanatory power which transcends vicious circularity by beginning with an objective basis for knowledge, explicitly, the personal Being of our Creator who created us as beings who can reflect His personality and nature.. e.g. rationality, logic, consistency and so forth, leading to a real definition of empathy, love, good and evil, etc.

      Bottom line We both must begin with a foundational assumption that cannot be proven as a bare object of truth, but rather must be justified by the explanatory power it gives in all the rest of our knowledge and experience.

      I posit, again, that naturalism is an insufficient foundation to explain the real world. If I am right, you will need to rely on my worldview and foundation while denying my worldview and foundation, in an inconsistent, revealing manner. I posit that is what you do each time you rely on logic and reasoning while claiming to be a unit of cells and molecular machinery that arose out of an irrational process of time and chance.

      Cheers!

  3. I’ve put your comments in italics as reference (if my very basic html coding works)

    “May I call logic and reason “senses” in this regard?” .
    Not Really, to clarify my terminology again, when I sensed you would use the supernatural as an argument, the input I was receiving via my senses was analysed by my brain against known patterns and experience. So when I “sensed” you would do that it was literally the application of that input. If you look up the definitions of logic and reason both represent processes that can use the input from the senses. Indeed if I was being disciplined they may even have been used by my brain for the analysis that came to the conclusion you would appeal to the supernatural.

    The semantics around the use of the words logic and reason will vary depending on the context but at no stage can they be considered an input of information similar to the basic input from our senses. You and I have only our senses to gather that input and stand equal in only having that input to observe our world and universe (allowing for minor genetic variation). On that basis I stand by the fact that what you claim as the limitations of the Scientific Method is equally applicable to any position you take and is set by your own humanity.

    “the naturalist is forced to rely exclusively on the SM” . You seem to be giving the Scientific Method attributes it does not possess. The Scientific Method consists of systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypothesis. People including the naturalists as you label them use lots of different techniques to try and understand their world, many are similar to the techniques you are claiming for yourself. Emotions, feelings, assumptions, desires, intuition, agreement with authority or community, messages from spirits, magic, common sense (there’s that word again). BTW I’m not saying you use all these, it’s just a list of techniques people use to make their own sense of their world.

    The Scientific method is actually rarely used in daily life (unfortunately sometimes not even by scientists in their work) but when it is done well you can get a consistent repeatable and testable answer as to how a particular aspect of our universe works. The Scientific Method is bloody hard work.
    So to your point that the Scientific method “leads to fallacious, circular argumentation” . does not follow. If a particular pattern is consistent repeatable and testable it’s hard to, by any definition, call it fallacious.

    But to try and get the argument to where I think you meant it to go I believe you are trying to say that the conclusions reached by using the Scientific Method (or any method that isn’t your method apparently) suffer from inadequacies compared to the special attributes of God. Once we unpack all the hype around what you are saying, that appears to be the basis of you claim.

    You said: “I didnt know someone made them into laws. Laws can use logic but logic being law is a misuse of the term I think.” You seem to assume that a principal (i.e. a law in this case) must be perceived or defined by a subject in order to exist or be valid.. Laws are made by people and yes the “Law of Gravity” is a term used by Scientists to emphasise how important that phenomenon is, indeed there are many uses of the “Law of X”. I find it amusing but avoid it because it implies there is some entity that sets and controls such laws. I haven’t met Laplace’s Demon yet so until I do I view such things as just very consistent phenomenon.

    Let’s just say you mean there are logical processes that very consistently produce expected results. But we need to remember there’s dependency to take into account, often these “Rules” are dependent on the situation and not as absolute as some think

    Let me ask you: if there were no human beings, or any rational, sentient beings in the entire universe, would 1+1 still = 2? Of course it would, as we all know. . Are you sure we all know? You’ve walked straight into dependency with what appears to be a simple example, so I will answer that “it depends”. You are aware of the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? That is a great introduction to the Sciences of Complexity and fractals. When you say one plus one will always equal two it depends on the state of the materials, the system they are in and the internal consistency of the material you are counting as a “1”. We live in a fractal universe and it is a surprising place.

    Belief in the validity of the SM in being a tool which actually yields true data about the external world (external to our minds) is an assumption that cannot be proven without appealing, in a circle, to our very minds that are the subjects performing the SM. . Actually the Scientific Method is designed to avoid this problem by being able to be checked in a logical and consistent way by other minds through a consistent and repeatable testing system. Given you do not have a system of using evidence to check your claims and showing that evidence is consistent and repeatability, the accusation would be more applicable to what happens in your system of justification within your own mind.

    Therefore the SM cannot be justified as valid without beginning at a deeper level than the five senses. With me so far? . That appears to be a non sequitur so I can’t claim to be with you in that bald statement.

    Belief in the Being of the personal God who is unchanging and outside of our dimensions of thought and existence explains the uniformity of nature, and thus satisfies the foundational reality necessary to appeal to the SM as valid for yielding true data about the external world. . This appears to be an emotional statement that validates your desires, so it involves some endorphins and just a smidge of oxytocin that come from feeling of satisfaction and being part of a community. That is what happens within our minds. Now the Scientific Method is the only system I know of that, when applied properly, avoids the emotional biases generated by our desire to be seen to be correct.

    But coming back to the metaphysics implied in your comments I believe you are referring to Aquinas’s fallacious cosmological argument. It’s only a mind game using some techniques of the classic sophists that Socrates derided many years ago.

    The argument involves something usually called “the cause” that is not of this universe and it tries to say this makes in unarguably timeless. That is a logical error. All that can be said is it’s not of this time. The argument sets itself up for failure by claiming there can be only one answer. As soon as there is another possible answer the whole argument fails. E.g. It could be of another time or times and that opens up many other possibilities. And as to it being eternal (which infers in part a measure of time) and assuming it existed, it may not even exist anymore. Indeed the pantheists idea that its god became the universe fits better with cybernetic principles and what’s referred to as Ashby’s law of requisite variety (damn it, everyone misuses the concept of laws). There can be many other possible answers.

    Basically Aquinas and many others abused the logic of metaphysics to come up with answers they wanted to hear.

    It is only just in the last few weeks I’ve read of a possible experiment to test for the potential of “things” outside our universe. So until those tests can be developed its only guess work based on limited data. When they do get there I’ll put my money on my cockroach statistical cheat i.e. we’ve never found just one of anything (baring the argument that each thing is internally unique).

    In other words, Jack my fellow ape 😉 … the Christian view of reality has explanatory power which transcends vicious circularity by beginning with an objective basis for knowledge, explicitly, the personal Being of our Creator who created us as beings who can reflect His personality and nature.. e.g. rationality, logic, consistency and so forth, leading to a real definition of empathy, love, good and evil, etc. .
    See above for my comments about the abuse of logic used to try and prove a god must exist. And BTW speaking of cockroach statistics, that logical abuse is not just Christian, it’s the basis on a vast majority of the thousands of different religions that keep emerging from our imaginations.

    “I posit, again, that naturalism is an insufficient foundation to explain the real world. If I am right, you will need to rely on my worldview and foundation while denying my worldview and foundation, in an inconsistent, revealing manner. I posit that is what you do each time you rely on logic and reasoning while claiming to be a unit of cells and molecular machinery that arose out of an irrational process of time and chance.” .

    Your world view appears to be that “because you are limited by your humanity and available senses you can say a god outside of the universe invented the universe because that appears logical to you. And anyone that denies that is essentially incorrect because of the same limitation you have”.
    This is a position that apparently can’t be tested during your lifetime but you think it can be tested by you after you die. This makes it a statement of hope rather than logic.

    To sum up the Scientific Method is just a technique of avoiding the emotional biases of human reasoning by using many minds to test and check rather than just “believing” any particular conjecture such as the existence of gods. The attempt to apply logical argument to that position needs such major jumps in assumptions that the supposed logic ends up just reflecting the persons desires no matter how intelligent and confident they appear.

    Cheers

  4. You had said you prefer Twitter for brevity, but how would we EVER have had this depth of interaction on that blasted system? Haha, this is rich. Thank you for your reply and obvious thoughtfulness.

    Although I would love for you to become a Christian, I know such a thing is impossible for any of us in our natural state. It truly is a breaking through of the divine into our little closed hearts and minds. This is all very marvelous, wouldn’t you agree? The two of us talking about such things? Thank you for being my conversation partner.

    But anyways, allow me to clip a little bit of your words, and aim for a bit of a general reply to your themes here, and then you may decide if we have run our course as gentlemen, and reply again or not based on interest. I will always be here to chat more.

    Yours in bold.

    the input I was receiving via my senses was analysed by my brain against known patterns and experience. So when I “sensed” you would do that it was literally the application of that input.

    Haha, fine. But notice you are utilizing “patterns and experience” through logical processes. You are expecting your words to mean the same today as they did yesterday, and this because we are bound to use reasoning in a logical manner. That’s all I’m saying. Yes, we get input from our five senses, but the analysis that then happens… happens by means of reason, memory, and logic. These are our tools of knowing and of planning for the future. By reasoning we can imagine the future and picture things that we can then make happen. We rely on the uniformity of nature in order to do this, much like the SM. This all calls for a category, and I choose to call it our sense of logic. Semantics? I think so.

    You and I have only our senses to gather that input and stand equal in only having that input to observe our world and universe (allowing for minor genetic variation).

    But my friend, how do you know that? By input from your five senses, memory, reasoning, and use of logic? How do you know that these are feeding you valid input and conclusions? You know better than to appeal in a circle to these same things in order to answer. I await reply 🙂

    On that basis I stand by the fact that what you claim as the limitations of the Scientific Method is equally applicable to any position you take and is set by your own humanity.

    Ah, but Jack… you missed the foundational issue: I am not relying on my own self as the foundation of knowledge. In fact, none of us are. We all begin with the knowledge of God in our intrinsic thought processes – He is the basis of our knowledge. Whether we acknowledge or suppress that truth will then show up in the internal consistency or contradiction of our philosophical justifications of our knowledge. You are contradicting yourself in this way, though I may not be smart enough to show it to you so that you see it. I am glad to try, and to pray for the both of us in our limitations.

    The Scientific Method consists of systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypothesis. People including the naturalists as you label them use lots of different techniques to try and understand their world, many are similar to the techniques you are claiming for yourself. Emotions, feelings, assumptions, desires, intuition, agreement with authority or community, messages from spirits, magic, common sense (there’s that word again). BTW I’m not saying you use all these, it’s just a list of techniques people use to make their own sense of their world.

    And ALL of that, especially the SM, ASSUMES a uniform cosmos without foundational proof. Therefore we are bound to have a deeper level of… dun dun DUUUNNNN -faith- in something that is prior to all our knowledge and experience. The object of our faith will either prove itself true through a consistent explanation of our world, or we will fall into self-contradictory incoherence if the object of our faith is not the true reason for our existence and rational thinking.

    The Scientific method is actually rarely used in daily life (unfortunately sometimes not even by scientists in their work) but when it is done well you can get a consistent repeatable and testable answer as to how a particular aspect of our universe works. The Scientific Method is bloody hard work.
    So to your point that the Scientific method “leads to fallacious, circular argumentation” . does not follow. If a particular pattern is consistent repeatable and testable it’s hard to, by any definition, call it fallacious.

    You think so? Here’s the problem you have: you are assuming the validity of your senses, memory, and reasoning in the use of the SM. You cannot say “you can get a consistent repeatable and testable answer as to how a particular aspect of our universe works” WITHOUT assuming the validity and rationality of your mind-the subject doing the testing and repeating. To be blunt, your mind may not work correctly, and you may have imagined the scientific consensus… or all the scientists may be crazy, and we are all imagining ourselves to be sane, proper people. You cannot refute this sad possibility while attempting to stand on a non-personal, essentially irrational cosmos. I CAN refute this hypothetical as ridiculous as I begin outside of us with an objective foundation for consciousness, knowledge, and the uniformity of nature.

    Laws are made by people and yes the “Law of Gravity” is a term used by Scientists to emphasise how important that phenomenon is, indeed there are many uses of the “Law of X”.

    Laws are defined by people, my friend. The law of gravity was consistent within the system of physics in the universe long before humans appeared here. Law, phenomenon – call it whatever you like – the point is the same, these principals are independent of our subjective acknowledgment of them

    Let’s just say you mean there are logical processes that very consistently produce expected results. But we need to remember there’s dependency to take into account, often these “Rules” are dependent on the situation and not as absolute as some think

    Is that an absolute statement?

    [clip] would 1+1 still = 2? Of course it would, as we all know. . Are you sure we all know? You’ve walked straight into dependency with what appears to be a simple example, so I will answer that “it depends”. You are aware of the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? That is a great introduction to the Sciences of Complexity and fractals. When you say one plus one will always equal two it depends on the state of the materials, the system they are in and the internal consistency of the material you are counting as a “1”. We live in a fractal universe and it is a surprising place.

    Are these absolute statements here too? It looks to me like you are appealing to known, consistent principals within our physical system of the cosmos in order to take issue with the claims I made. You’re getting stuck in a circle, my dear man. Look again at what I mean if this feels obscure. E.g. “When you say one plus one will always equal two it depends on the state of the materials, the system they are in and the internal consistency of the material you are counting as a “1”” If there were no humans in the universe, would your statement here still be true? IF NOT, why should I regard it as anything more than a bald assertion equivalent to complete gibberish? Think, my friend, for we are nearing the point where you may begin to pull back from your linear thinking to see your own beliefs for what they are! Very exciting.

    the Scientific Method is designed to avoid this problem by being able to be checked in a logical and consistent way by other minds through a consistent and repeatable testing system. Given you do not have a system of using evidence to check your claims and showing that evidence is consistent and repeatability, the accusation would be more applicable to what happens in your system of justification within your own mind.

    You’re making truth claims again, right? Claims of black and white facts? Are these facts only because you, my kind guest and conversation partner, have made them as statements of fact, or are these facts by their nature, independent of our apprehending them? Think 🙂

    This appears to be an emotional statement that validates your desires, so it involves some endorphins and just a smidge of oxytocin that come from feeling of satisfaction and being part of a community. That is what happens within our minds. Now the Scientific Method is the only system I know of that, when applied properly, avoids the emotional biases generated by our desire to be seen to be correct.

    1) To be honest, Christians are some of the most unlikeable people I have ever met. I grew up hating God, wanting Him to be pretend, and to this day 12 years after He opened my eyes, I still have problems with believing in Him or wanting to be a part of the “community” of believers. I am much more oriented toward the free-spirit communities of the world. I would rather be as high as a kite on some beach in Indonesia, or perhaps having several hundred concubines in a harem worship me in a temple somewhere… I am a bad Christian… but when I see Jesus, I see there is a good, loving God, there is a coherent system of truth in Him, and that I am bound to Him forever. I don’t always identify too well with all of it, though. Very difficult and frustrating, the Christian life. Not recommended for those who enjoy ease and prosperity in this life.

    2) Re: the SM as an objective method of gathering facts. Again assuming our minds work properly, and that nature will remain uniform. Inductive reasoning, all of it. Fallacious at that.

    But coming back to the metaphysics implied in your comments I believe you are referring to Aquinas’s fallacious cosmological argument. It’s only a mind game using some techniques of the classic sophists that Socrates derided many years ago.

    No. Aquinas was using inductive reasoning too, and Aristotelian methods that I reject as fallacious and self-refuting at the core. With that said, there are merits to Aquinas’s arguments at many points. The man was a powerhouse.

    All that can be said is it’s not of this time. The argument sets itself up for failure by claiming there can be only one answer.

    But this is the infinite regress I warned about. Infinite regress is rather… finite… to our minds: it just keeps going and never finds a foundation. That’s what we call a fail.

    As soon as there is another possible answer the whole argument fails. E.g. It could be of another time or times and that opens up many other possibilities. And as to it being eternal (which infers in part a measure of time) and assuming it existed, it may not even exist anymore. Indeed the pantheists idea that its god became the universe fits better with cybernetic principles and what’s referred to as Ashby’s law of requisite variety (damn it, everyone misuses the concept of laws). There can be many other possible answers.

    Not really. I would politely, respectfully posit that you, sir, are the one who is now clearly appealing to unfounded claims which cannot be tested, and which satisfy your emotional needs. The funny thing is (and forgive me for getting personal for a moment), you did not want to wear the label “atheist” because it’s “god-language.” I think you eschew the label because then you would be open to the charge of believing in what you believe in because it feels good to be a part of a community sharing beliefs, like you charged me. Here in America we have a saying, that if you’re pointing the finger at me, there are three more pointing back at you! This I say in good-natured respect for you, in any case, but something to consider, which I’m sure you do.

    [clip] And BTW speaking of cockroach statistics, that logical abuse is not just Christian, it’s the basis on a vast majority of the thousands of different religions that keep emerging from our imaginations.

    I agree about religions emerging from our imaginations. Even many of the Christian variations are pure imagination, and no better for anyone that any other false belief system. There are infinite ways to be in error, only one way of truth that did not come from human imagination. (Not a formal claim, just my reflection on what you’ve said).

    Your world view appears to be that “because you are limited by your humanity and available senses you can say a god outside of the universe invented the universe because that appears logical to you. And anyone that denies that is essentially incorrect because of the same limitation you have”.
    This is a position that apparently can’t be tested during your lifetime but you think it can be tested by you after you die. This makes it a statement of hope rather than logic.

    Actually, it is all very consistent when we begin consciously acknowledging the God of Scripture as the living, true God. It’s just that sin has warped our moral pondering such that we suppress the knowledge of Him and would rather think anything but that He is eternal, infinite, and moral… because we know that if He is good, we are not, and that’s a problem for us…….

    To sum up the Scientific Method is just a technique of avoiding the emotional biases of human reasoning by using many minds to test and check rather than just “believing” any particular conjecture such as the existence of gods.

    Again, the fallacy of appealing to our subjective, collective experiences as if the consensus of humans all agreeing on the same experience somehow logically validates our observations as factual. If we all truly, actually came from no intelligent mind, but are just the products of an irrational process, there is truly no reasoning that can rescue our scientific method as anything other than collective dreaming.

    The attempt to apply logical argument to that position needs such major jumps in assumptions that the supposed logic ends up just reflecting the persons desires no matter how intelligent and confident they appear.

    Which one of us were you meaning to refer to here?

    Jack, I am opening up a bit of personal humor and sarcasm in this latest bunch of replies, but I must emphasize: you have been the most interesting, able, and challenging opponent I have faced through the digital divide. Thank you, sincerely, and I hope you will take some time to ponder my replies as being very sober, serious, and rational. In other words, my arguments are not failing under scrutiny, but you still have not found a way out of the subjectivity loop. I feel for you. Believe me, I can empathize with your non-belief very strongly, and I claim no moral superiority over you. If anything, I am better off than you, but this owes nothing to myself as if a conquerer of the human condition. I am helpless to the grace and mercy God chose to show me in my rebellion. Perhaps this will be your experience too. I can only pray.

    Have a great week – I assume it will take you some days to reply.

    -Adam

  5. Thanks Adam, a quick and amusing reply. Sarcasm and humour done well make for better discussions. I will reply more fully in time I think. I never did expect to “win” any particular argument especially playing on the others home territory but its good practice. Speaking of circular arguments how many fingers pointing at each other can we get to I wonder? My 1 became your 3 which becomes my 9. A circle just became exponential which approaches infinity and infinity is often represented by a circle. Amusing

    But I don’t think I’ve really understood one thing in your reference to the foundational issue. If humans are incapable of using their brains to sort this out and by definition you are human then anything you say falls in the same trap and you even knowing about a foundational issue is flawed. You seem to defeat your own argument.

    And for some reason when you keep saying we cant believe our own minds I keep seeing this bloke talking to a burning bush. Very strange.

    • The challenge is to see where I affirm we can know things for certain, and that we can believe our minds. Don’t you see where I said that? We have real knowledge of reality… But I’m giving us a justified reason to believe it.

      I’m free of the subjectivity loop.

      Good night and see your reply later.

  6. “What do I use? I rely upon the laws of logic, through the lens of rational thinking, and by the foundational belief that God has eternal, unchanging Being (which by His personal will gave rise to all matter, time, and persons in this universe).”

    This is just using your brain to form a belief and as I’ve pointed out, backed by faulty use of logic. Seems the only answer is the same one I always get, “I believe”. If thats all you’ve got then you really dont have any system at all. The best way I can describe this is you believe what you’ve been told. I know the Christian claim is that God directed that telling but again without a testable system (before death) thats just hope rather than a provable fact.

    I will cogitate on the rest but I’m feeling there’s not much left to really delve into if your system is only what I’ve just pasted above

    Cheers

    • Indeed.

      1) The resurrection of Jesus was an historical, falsifiable event. Go ahead and do some source research on it, both within and without the New Testament, and I challenge you to do so with an open mind. Suggested sources – listen to episodes of podcast “Issues, Etc.” where they interview Dr. Paul Maier. He is a scholar of the first-century Roman world. One other: Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, by Richard Bauckham.

      2)

      This is just using your brain to form a belief and as I’ve pointed out, backed by faulty use of logic.

      This is an assertion that is applicable to your own system of beliefs, as I have attempted to demonstrate. As long as your beginning and ending point are your own thoughts, you are stuck in the subjectivity loop, and stuck in fallacious thinking. This is what God says happens to us when we suppress our knowledge of Him (Romans 1).

      You are more than welcome to go back into my lengthy replies and study how I have challenged you, and to think of a rational response. Until then, I wish you very well.

      Anyone else, feel free to jump in here and challenge either one of us.

      Finally, Jack, I am willing to read anything you give me, if you will investigate the sources I laid out in 1).

      Cheers, mate.

  7. I’ll get there and still intend to but as I have pointed out you do have yourself caught in a dilemma, your arguments are self defeating in that all the weaknesses you try to apply to my argument destroy your own. The only way to avoid that is to reach for special pleading, which you do.

    The Jewish cult that started in the first century has some sort of beginning and like all cults the story then got conflated with all sorts of stuff. Doubt if it will ever be sorted out properly. Big week coming so probably a while till I get back.

    Cheers and thanks

  8. You had said you prefer Twitter for brevity, but how would we EVER have had this depth of interaction on that blasted system? Haha, this is rich. Thank you for your reply and obvious thoughtfulness.

    Because the majority of the points in this whole argument could be summed up quickly in a few 140 character tweets something like this;
    “You have no system and have only belief in what you have been told because it is essential for you and your chosen communities status.”

    “This is embedded in our psyche by evolutionary survival pressures.”

    “Your use of metaphysics techniques and badly applied “Laws” of logic are mind games only and contain internal structural faults that render them self-defeating.”

    “See previous comment about “Community Status” as to why you will deny this.”

    Twitter can get rid of lots of my tendency to verboseness and get to the meat of an argument quickly 🙂

    But my friend, how do you know that? By input from your five senses, memory, reasoning, and use of logic? How do you know that these are feeding you valid input and conclusions? You know better than to appeal in a circle to these same things in order to answer. I await reply 🙂
    Easy reply, I spiral whilst you circle. The Scientific Method, similar in a way to the evolutionary process it studies, is based on accumulation of evidence across multiple minds.
    We record our observations and have thousands of other scientists over hundreds of years cross check and challenge the results. Results and hypothesis and even well founded theories have to be defended and when they fail are discarded or adjusted to line up with the new observations. The scientific Method produces an ever increasing body of evidence based on thousands of minds, an open system. And the scientists will use many logic techniques in the process to test their hypothesis including inductive, deductive and even abductive despite your hypothesis all these cant exist in the Scientific Method.

    Your position however has to be defended in an absolute way because you have no other option. This leads to classic sophistry where you have a belief and always have to construct arguments that appear to defend it. Status is a powerful driver and many a Scientist has lost it when their pet theory is found wanting. You however will never lose status whilst no-one in this life can prove you wrong 🙂

    And point in case here is the belief you can only circle and never test Ah, but Jack… you missed the foundational issue: I am not relying on my own self as the foundation of knowledge. In fact, none of us are. We all begin with the knowledge of God in our intrinsic thought processes – He is the basis of our knowledge. That just shreds any attempt to say logic, let alone “Laws” of logic, were used at all.

    We do agree on one thing though, Aquinas was a mental powerhouse but also, as you said, his arguments were fallacious and self-refuting at the core.

    And ALL of that, especially the SM, ASSUMES a uniform cosmos without foundational proof. Therefore we are bound to have a deeper level of… dun dun DUUUNNNN -faith- in something that is prior to all our knowledge and experience. The object of our faith will either prove itself true through a consistent explanation of our world, or we will fall into self-contradictory incoherence if the object of our faith is not the true reason for our existence and rational thinking.

    Speaking of incoherence that makes very little sense. You are circling again. I think you are trying to say we must doubt our very existence (our sanity I suppose) unless there is this thing called foundational proof? But by your very own argument if we found it we cant trust it because we sensed it? So therefore to believe what you believe we cant believe what we believe we see and feel but must believe what? This is where it all falls apart …. unless the foundational proof is only found in what someone from a school of divinity tells us I suppose. Back to status again.

    I will call it quits here, the rest of what you write just is more of the same, a “strange attractor” forever circling an incoherent argument based on what someone told you, not what is testable and verifiable.

    Thanks for the opportunity, I will seek more logical fun elsewhere
    Cheers
    Sayko

    • Oh ok, thank you for giving me the last word.

      I understand you are tired of my style of argument – I am too. There are people who are much smarter than me who could have articulated it better, but then again, you are denying the moral power of a deception as nothing more than neurochemical imbalances. The core problem here is that you are in a state of moral foolishness having denied the plain knowledge of God that you were born with, and thus you cannot see what foolishness you are stuck inside of – that’s not an insult to your intelligence, that’s an objective claim about the slavery of your intelligence to the cause of denying the moral superiority of God over you. I get it.

      And really, we began in the right place – I pointed out to you that (whatever the right label is for you: xero/atheist/naturalist – non-theist) you are claiming to be a biomechanical unit of matter that is functioning within the parameters of the laws of physics and chemistry which created you –randomly, and without any conscience behind the process.

      This is the actual point of all of this: the atheist claims to be an organic, stardust robot. There is no real consciousness beyond the forces of nature producing chemical signals in brain cells. There is no real meaning in human life. There is no ultimate good and evil, right or wrong. It’s ALLLLL relative, and it’s all an illusion.

      Look what the Richard Dawkins primate said about it:

      The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.

      See that? He knows his beliefs and is honest.

      How about William Provine of Cornell University?

      ‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’

      See? Robots.

      Dawkins even says it straight out for us:

      What are all of us but self-reproducing robots? We have been put together by our genes and what we do is roam the world looking for a way to sustain ourselves and ultimately produce another robot child.

      But the problem for Jack, and all atheists is that this is completely, morally foolish, and we all know it.

      We know we are more than robots, and that the universe is more than an unguided “happening.” We know there is purpose, we know there is good and evil, and we know there is objective truth.

      But none of these things is explicable without beginning in our knowledge with the true, living, eternal God of the Bible.

      We know this. Because of sin and our hatred of God, we push Him out of our knowledge, and attempt to explain the world and ourselves without Him at the head of it all. You see in our friend Jack’s replies an attempt to paint me as the one circling around in a logical loop. But don’t be fooled. Look and see how he has still not escaped his problems of infinite regress and subjectivity.

      And pray for the guy. He’s a sweet person, but like you and me, without Christ he is stuck making it all up for himself, by himself, chanting with the rest of foolish humanity there is no God there is no God there is no God! which does not make it so.

      A final quote, this time from C.S. Lewis, former atheist turned Christian:

      “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

      Peace to you all.

      -J.A.K.E.

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