Thursday, April 16, 2009

Risks Required

Knowledge needs a sturdy foundation by which to build upon. If the foundation is not such a structure the whole system of knowledge will collapse for it has no viable support. If all is fluidly situated upon a system of doubt, it is like a knowledge being built on quicksand. Complete incredulity lends itself to more of the same. Something needs to be stable in order to support any tools of knowing including skepticism.


At the same time there is risk in starting at something solid for that something must be presumed in order to test it as solid. For instance, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indie is following a list of steps to make it through the booby traps unharmed. He comes upon the last step where he is standing out on the ledge of an enormous precipice and it appears there is no way to cross it. One step more and he would fall many miles to his death. He refers to his guide book and states, “it’s a leap of faith.” He then hears his father’s voice in his minds ear encouraging him to believe. He takes the risk, stepping forward his foot connects with solid ground, a path the same color as the ravine that would support his walk across to the other side. He had to take a risk to test the solidity of his path. Now, some may call this blind faith, but it was not blind. The steps he was following in his book had worked each time aiding him through the treacherous traps. If he had been skeptical of his guide book, he most certainly would not have come through the traps unscathed. Either he wouldn’t have had enough faith to try to navigate the path to the treasure, or he may have failed dreadfully in his attempt. But each time it worked, his faith was growing. The solidity of its value was not established in full until after he exercised faith. Each time, Jones was finding the value of trust, each time creating more trust leading him to the treasure he sought.


Now this does not mean to believe everything you hear or to accept all truth claims as they cannot all be true. But the reason we cannot accept them all, is because of standing in a place of knowing that there can only be one truth. We might not know that one in its totality, but we could know enough to know that that which contradicts it in a manner that would break away the foundation would not be in line with truth. The best way of determining truth, ironically, is being in truth, and working outwards. You have to test it out from inside to fully get a handle of the truth. No one can really know what marriage is about without being married. But at the same time, one need not try out adultery once they found that marriage is a better reality than cheating.


Once you have risked and your risk met with something solid and full of substance then you can start with that foundation to compare it with new ideas that come into view. If, however, you take a risk and bite into something sordid or bland and do not find the solid foundation, you back out and go another way, looking for the real and authentic foundation.


I was watching The Andy Griffith Show last night; the episode was fitting to this discussion. When I tuned in, Opie was standing in the sheriff office recounting a fantastical story to his Pa and to Barney. Opie told of a man who walked in the trees, jingled, could blow smoke out of his ears, and wore a silver hat. He said the man’s name was Mr. McPheby. Andy and Barney eyed him with faint skepticism. Then Opie pulled a coin out of his pocket and declared Mr. McPheby gave it to him. At this, Andy asked if Opie could take him to Mr. McPheby. Opie complied and they jumped in the sheriff car and headed to the trees where Opie claimed to have seen this man. Nobody was there.


Back at home, Andy has a talk with Opie and asks him to confess that this was all make-believe. Opie sullenly starts to comply with his father’s wishes, when he stops and shakes his head and says he can’t do that because it wasn’t make-believe. Opie says, “won’t you believe me, Pa?” Andy looks at him for a moment, and says, “Yes son, I’ll believe you.” He heads down stairs to waiting Barney and Aunt Bee and informs them Opie sticks to his story. Upon finding Andy was not going to punish Opie for lying, Barney asks if Andy believes in Mr. McPheby. Andy responds, “no, but I believe in Opie.” In the next scene Andy is out at the trees and hollers “Mr. McPheby” in resigned frustration. From above, he hears a man respond to his holler as he repels down from the trees jingling all the way with a silver hat upon his head. Andy happily greets the man and tells him he is Opie’s father.


You see, Andy knew that Opie’s story didn’t seem to match up with what would seem to be true, but he realized that his son was trustworthy and while all the pieces had not yet fallen into place he would trust in what he knew to be true, his son’s word. As it turned out, his faith was well placed, for his son was telling the truth all along. Rationality was not abandoned, for it was rational to believe that a boy who was trustworthy was telling the truth even though it didn’t make sense.


Scripture talks about testing things, and discerning matters, but this is done in conjunction with the real. It’s seeing what is dark because you are in the light. The way to see if something is counterfeit is to compare it to the real. You have to know what the real authentic version is in order to see if what you are beholding matches it or falls short of it. Does it have the same standard of authenticity, or is it a fake? Or maybe it’s not a fake, but a mixture of the real and the counterfeit. Or maybe it’s a distorted real. The way to pull out that real that is of substance is to have the eyes that can see the truth for they already behold the true.


When you believe you have that foundation, it is tested time and again by whether it holds against other truth claims as they come. Does it hold firm, or is it weak? Does it ride out the storms, or does it fall apart? It’s always being tested. Faith increases the more it passes the test, and decreases when it falls short. When there is a falling there needs to be reexamination of the foundation. The weakness needs to be found, is it in the foundation, or is it in the person’s own perspective of the foundation. What needs adjusting? Where is the authentic, the real?


If the whole foundation is to be rejected, what is going to be in its place? It needs to be rejected for the greater rock if the rock your knowledge is built upon doesn’t stand up to the test of life. What you believe in your head needs to converge with your heart and with your practical life. Is it philosophically sound? Is it realistic and authentic? Is it livable? This harkens back to one’s worldview. It needs a sure foundation.


Joe Boot says this of those who are ardent skeptics, “They deny Christian theism, claiming that their reason cannot accept it, while implicitly affirming that they have no foundation to do any reasoning at all.” If one’s foundation isn’t the Christian God, something else needs to be posited in His place. Never committing to any foundation of truth, always being the passive negater, does not lend oneself to a position of knowledge, but of continual skepticism. What foundation do you have to stand on that you are testing out by skepticism?


While I see the hearts of many skeptics is to find the real through skepticism, and I admire and encourage that seeking of truth, I think it difficult to find the results in which you seek by that method. Truth is most usually best found by taking risks based on reality, not unfounded leaps in the dark, but aided by reason and by faith into what may appear to be shaky ground at first to find that it is very solid indeed. If, indeed, the faith was misplaced and the ground is soggy or unstable, one merely retraces their steps and follows another path to the real.


Joe Boot also writes and I will conclude with this, “We must be willing to get to the foundations of our experience. If we remain content to decorate the interior of the house of knowledge and pay no attention to the structure and foundation stones of that house, we will find that the dry rot of absurdity and the rising damp of unexamined assumptions are fatal to the structure.”

133 comments:

CyberKitten said...

karla said: *If all is fluidly situated upon a system of doubt*, it is like a knowledge being built on quicksand.

Or you could just call it 'science'.... [grin] It seems to work rather well, don't you think?

karla said: Complete incredulity lends itself to more of the same.

Skepticism & 'complete incredulity' are not the same thing. Skepticism says "Show me your reasons and supporting evidence and I am open to changing my mind" whilst incredulity says "I will never believe what you say no matter what you show me".

karla said: Something needs to be stable in order to support any tools of knowing including skepticism.

No, it doesn't. Science is a way of knowing things in a fluid universe. Its foundations are tentitive but get stronger every year - though some are dug up and completely replaced from time to time. It is like a river - never stepped into twice.

karla said: But the reason we cannot accept them all, is because of standing in a place of knowing that there can only be one truth.

...and how exactly do you know that you're standing in the 'right' place?

karla said: we could know enough to know that that which contradicts it in a manner that would break away the foundation would not be in line with truth. The best way of determining truth, ironically, is being in truth, and working outwards.

So you test your belief that you are 'standing in the right place' by examining reality and seeing if there is any conflict? How exactly does this chime with your views on Evolution or the age of the Earth/Universe or your idea that dinosaurs and people co-existed? Doesn't *reality* say something quite radically different than your views on these subjects?

...oh, and what exactly is "being in truth"?

karla said: No one can really know what marriage is about without being married. But at the same time, one need not try out adultery once they found that marriage is a better reality than cheating.

So, you can only know some things by direct experience - but other things you don't need to experience to know enough about them. How do you judge which is which?

karla said: You have to know what the real authentic version is in order to see if what you are beholding matches it or falls short of it.

So.... you need a template for what the real *is* so that you can measure your experience of reality against it....???

karla said: Faith increases the more it passes the test, and decreases when it falls short.

I'd replace 'faith' with *confidence in the original hypothesis* myself.....

karla said: What you believe in your head needs to converge with your heart and with your practical life.

It needs to converge with reality and what we know about the real world and be open to change or modification (or outright rejection) if compelling new evidence is found.

karla said: Is it philosophically sound? Is it realistic and authentic? Is it livable?

Often reality isn't phiosophically 'sound' if by that you mean agrees with your philosophy. Sometimes reality doesn't make 'sense' in the everyday meaning - Quantum Mechanics is a case in point. On the face of it its crazy and deeply distrubing (though I find it endlessly amusing).

By 'livable' do you mean practical or livable with?

karla said: If, indeed, the faith was misplaced and the ground is soggy or unstable, one merely retraces their steps and follows another path to the real.

..as when people de-convert or convert to another faith?

Karla said...

Cyber asked "you need a template for what the real *is* so that you can measure your experience of reality against it"

Precisely.

Cyber "Or you could just call it 'science'.... [grin] It seems to work rather well, don't you think?"

Science is built on a particular presuppositional foundation. It accepts reason, logic, etc. Science isn't devoid of the foundation for knowledge of which I speak.

And regarding your question of evolution, age of earth, and dinosaurs, the veracity or invalidity of those things do not effect the foundational principles of the Christian worldview. God could of used evolution to create the world, I don't think He did, but it wouldn't change the foundation that He created.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Precisely.

But how do you stop your template being a filter that filters *out* things that could undermine the foundations that produced the template? How do you know that the reality viewed through the template is the actually reality and not just what you want to see?

karla said: And regarding your question of evolution, age of earth, and dinosaurs, the veracity or invalidity of those things do not effect the foundational principles of the Christian worldview.

But what about *your* world view? We're talking about how we see the world. So if your template rejects the idea that dinosaurs died out millions of years before mankind existed... how exactly is that in line with reality? Or at least reality as I understand it.

karla said: God could of used evolution to create the world, I don't think He did, but it wouldn't change the foundation that He created.

Well He wouldn't have used Evolution to create the world - just the diversity of life on it. But the evidence (strongly) suggests that this is not the case. There seems to be a distinct lack of evidence for the hand of God in the Evolution of life on Earth.

Karla said...

Cyber, in all things I want to adhere to what is even when it pertains to things that I see as non-essential facts regarding worldview. I am using worldview in the philosophical sense rather than a complete list of facts about nature and history. I'm talking about the foundation on which reason, logic, morality, philosophy, rest upon. I don't see how evolution as it pertains to diversity of species applies unless you are referring to social Darwinism?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I'm talking about the foundation on which reason, logic, morality, philosophy, rest upon. I don't see how evolution as it pertains to diversity of species applies unless you are referring to social Darwinism?

Sorry, applies to what? Your worldview?

What I wanted to know is why you are skeptical about Evolution? Is it because of the template you use to see the world. That's what I'm getting at.

Oh, and so-called Social Darwinism is pretty much rubbish IMO.

Oh.. and by 'foundation' I presume you mean God (again). You seem to have a lot of words that ultimately mean the same thing.

Karla said...

Cyber asked "But how do you stop your template being a filter that filters *out* things that could undermine the foundations that produced the template?"

It does filter out non-truth, and it should. Truth will stand in the face of things that are not truth and that which is not true will not. It might take time and risk and trust to gain a greater depth of understanding about ones truth foundation to get to the place that it has weathered the storms. Do you not do the same thing with naturalism? Is that not your foundation by which you judge other truth claims?


Cyber asked "How do you know that the reality viewed through the template is the actually reality and not just what you want to see?"

Wishful thinking doesn't hold up for very long. It doesn't weather the tests of reason and practicality and livability.

Ali P said...

Karla said...
Wishful thinking doesn't hold up for very long. It doesn't weather the tests of reason and practicality and livability.

My exact view on most religions.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: It does filter out non-truth, and it should.

...and how do you judge things as true or not true? How do you evaluate things? If they seem to undermine some part of your foundation... what do you do then? Do you filter it out or do you question your foundation?

karla said: Truth will stand in the face of things that are not truth and that which is not true will not.

But, what *is* truth? How do you recognise it when you come across it?

karla said: Do you not do the same thing with naturalism? Is that not your foundation by which you judge other truth claims?

I certainly believe that we are natural creatures living in a natural universe. It is certainly my starting point for all investigations. But if I start from that position and you start from yours and we both believe we have the truth on our sides and both think that we are being reasonable and questioning and everything else we've talked about... and yet both see the other as wrong..... how can we move past this impasse?

If we both have fully intergrated worldviews that satisfy and allow us to grow and continue our individual quests for the truth of things.... why do we have *very* different opinions of the world? How would it be possible for a disinterested outsider to differentiate between us?

Karla said...

Cyber, lots of good questions. I should get time tomorrow morning to respond.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyber, lots of good questions.

It's what I do.....

cl said...

Cyber,"If all is fluidly situated upon a system of doubt, it is like a knowledge being built on quicksand." (Karla)

"Or you could just call it 'science'.... [grin] It seems to work rather well, don't you think?" (Cyber)

To expand on Karla's response, sure, science works well, but I disagree that it is founded on doubt - if that's what you meant to say. Contrarily, science is founded on methodological naturalism, which is utter confidence in the uniformity of natural procession. For this reason, I also disagree with you when you say something doesn't need to be stable in order to support any tools of knowing. Yes, the universe is reasonably describable as 'fluid' as you say, but the procession of nature is highly stable, hence the initial presumption of methodological naturalism that allows science to even begin. Without this stability, science wouldn't work so well.

"There seems to be a distinct lack of evidence for the hand of God in the Evolution of life on Earth."Can I ask what you would consider evidence for the hand of God, either in the evolution of life on Earth, or generally speaking?

"But, what *is* truth? How do you recognise it when you come across it?"Consistency with reality is my answer, but it is not an absolute answer, as axioms are seldom infinitely extensible.

Karla,Good answers regarding the stability of science. Let me know if you got my email to your private address as listed here, whenever you get a chance.

Anonymous said...

I'll be brief, because truthfully, this post hurt my brain...and not because it was good.

"No one can really know what marriage is about without being married. But at the same time, one need not try out adultery once they found that marriage is a better reality than cheating."

Is that a fact? Is it a fact that marriage is better than infidelity? Please show me the evidence that this is so. Your attempt at special pleading is noted, but it didn't even work, because you aren't talking about fact here so much as preference. Again, you don't understand the terms you are using.

"Truth is most usually best found by taking risks based on reality, not unfounded leaps in the dark, but aided by reason and by faith into what may appear to be shaky ground at first to find that it is very solid indeed."

That's funny because science has a much much better track record of discovery of reality than religion could ever hope for. Science has brought us medicine, computers, physical explanations for natural phenomena, etc. I'm still waiting for you or anyone else to give me one example of something we've learned through religion or revelation. The whole crux of your post hinges on pushing a method that has been shown to be completely ineffectual.

"Science is built on a particular presuppositional foundation. It accepts reason, logic, etc. Science isn't devoid of the foundation for knowledge of which I speak."

No, actually it is not. It is built on empirically tested methods. We don't "assume" methodological naturalism. It's a product of what has been shown to work. There's nothing in science to stop someone from putting forth hypotheses that involve supernatural causes. The problem is that those who do can not seem to figure out ways to test for them (prayer studies that inevitably lead to results that don't favor prayer aside). The "foundations" for science are used because they've already been shown to work. We take for granted that these things are true, but that doesn't make them into assumptions simply because we forget the basis and the work previously done.

"And regarding your question of evolution, age of earth, and dinosaurs, the veracity or invalidity of those things do not effect the foundational principles of the Christian worldview."

What a cop-out...and if you think that it doesn't affect Genesis or other parts of the Bible...

"God could of used evolution to create the world, I don't think He did, but it wouldn't change the foundation that He created."

Why would an omni-benevolent god create a method that works upon the ruthlessness of natural selection? Perhaps a deistic god that is apathetic might, but not the Xian god. I know it's in vogue for people to say that Xianity is reconcilable with evolution, but I honestly don't see it.

"Cyber, in all things I want to adhere to what is even when it pertains to things that I see as non-essential facts regarding worldview."

That's false, because you reject evolution, the age of the Earth, etc.

Karla said...

cl, no I didn't get your e-mail.

Karla said...

Hey Cyber, I wanted to take my time with your questions to respond fully as I know how so I waited until today.

Cyber: ...and how do you judge things as true or not true?

I’ll respond to this on the personal level of what I think I do and you’ll have to decide if you think it works. I judge the matter against what I know to be true. That both judges the matter and tests my foundation. And sometimes that leads me to see it from a perspective that isn’t accurate because a part of my already held worldview isn’t quite right. In time I come back at it again, (I like to think about things a lot so I revisit the thing) and I examine it again with more life and study than I had before and I might see that what I thought was contradictory actually isn’t or what I saw contradicting it was incorrect or maybe I still reject the thing. Some things will have to get rejected because truth excludes non-truth so if it doesn’t measure up time and again it stays out their on the fringe. Many times though I can see the truth that is inside a matter and pull that to the center and leave behind the parts that are contradictory.


Cyber: “How do you evaluate things?”

Well I addressed this above, but to take it a little further I do study it even when at the onset I see it being starkly different from what is true. One because I know there is some truth in everything or it wouldn’t appeal to anyone. **(not advocating pluralism – what I am saying here is different than that)** What I am saying is even though I disagree with you on your atheism and some of your naturalism I don’t disagree with you on everything. We agree on the value of reason, logic, rationality, evidence. We agree that science is an asset to humanity. We both enjoy inquiry and thinking and see its merit. And for another reason, I can’t know it’s false by looking at it from a distance and judging it by assumptions. I need to get into it and check it out and think about it and even try and think from it. I try and see if I can look at something from another’s perspective and walk it out in my thoughts to it’s logical conclusion to see how it measures up.

Cyber “ If they seem to undermine some part of your foundation... what do you do then? Do you filter it out or do you question your foundation?”

If they seem to undermine some part of my foundation I don’t run from it. I keep looking at it and researching, thinking, examining, getting into the thoughts of it, trying to come at it from different directions. A good example is postmodernism. I did not like it and to be honest was emotionally appalled by it when it was first introduced to me. I was fresh out of high school and hadn’t stretched my mental faculties to foreign philosophies at this time in my life, but on the surface if flew in the face of what I knew to be true. But I didn’t run from it. I pressed in. I read beyond my assigned reading searching this new thing out. I stood in libraries flipping through Jacques Derrida and Foucault. I asked people I trusted questions. I asked the professors who thought this way many questions. I began to study modernism to get a better understanding of postmodernism. I began to talk to Christians who saw value to postmodernism in some aspects. I wanted to know what they saw that they accepted. And I did this for years, well after college. Now, I see it in a broader light and I am still learning. I found that while much of the philosophy was incoherently illogical, that there was a reason behind why these philosophers went that direction and my own worldview began to strengthen in light of what I was learning, but it also shifted (not in the basics) but in the inclusion of experience and accepting the idea that we know in part. It’s a much longer story than I can provide in this comment, but I hope I shared enough to make my point.

To your second question, do I filter it out? It depends. Does it contradict truth and the core foundation? Does it do so in a way that it lines up with reality better than what I hold to be true? Obviously I can’t add a contradiction to my worldview accepting both that I have a relationship with God, and that God does not exist to have a relationship with. So I have to look at both propositions and see what works. I don’t see how truth can blossom at all without a stable foundational Being in which it is rooted. So when I follow it out I see that I would have to abandon too much reality to accept the latter.



Cyber “But, what *is* truth? How do you recognise it when you come across it?”

It’s the real. But when I’m talking about it, I’m not just talking about things like mathematics or photosynthesis. I’m talking about matters that involve heart and mind. Meaning, purpose, life, eternity, the good, etc. When a view of these things is accurate (that is at least nearly so as we can see from a human perspective) the philosophical outworking of it is logical and reasonable, the practical is livable in the real world, and it is transferable to others (it’s not a private truth, but a truth that is good for all). If it measures up in all those things it’s at least really close to what’s real. Sure we can be blind in some manner and think it lines up and it doesn’t. That’s why we don’t learn in a vacuum but we learn as a community of people sharing in the wealth of knowledge.



”I certainly believe that we are natural creatures living in a natural universe. It is certainly my starting point for all investigations. But if I start from that position and you start from yours and we both believe we have the truth on our sides and both think that we are being reasonable and questioning and everything else we've talked about... and yet both see the other as wrong..... how can we move past this impasse?”

I honestly don’t know how to move pass the impasse we have found ourselves at time and again. I think it possible though. As I have said, even though I examine truth from my worldview and you from yours I do try and step over and see through your perspective and see how it all works out philosophically and practically. That’s one of the reasons I ask so many questions and I keep coming at it again and again. It’s not merely repetitive attempts to get you guys to accept what I’m saying, but to truly understand what your saying and to learn not only the intellectual facets of your propositions but who you guys are and trying to see both heart and mind.


Cyber: “If we both have fully intergrated worldviews that satisfy and allow us to grow and continue our individual quests for the truth of things.... why do we have *very* different opinions of the world? How would it be possible for a disinterested outsider to differentiate between us?”

We have very different opinions about the world because we have very different worldviews which don’t produce the same way of seeing life. There will be some similarities in how we view daily life because we both live in the real world even if our understanding of that reality differs.

I don’t think there are any disinterested people. We all have a vested interest. Do you mean a third party that is neither a Christian nor a naturalist? Someone who is a Hindu perhaps? I think that would be a fascinating conversation.

Karla said...

Anon,

Sorry to hurt your head. I don't know why you keep defending science, I've not said anything that says I don't value science. I don't agree with some scientific outcomes and I think those have a lot of worldview tampering apart from straight science. But even then I have no problem with scientific learning. What science does or doesn't tell us about how nature works isn't what I am talking about.

When I am talking about truth I am talking philosophy. Your responses are like if I was talking about the value of history while you try and defend the value of mathematics. We need to stay on the same subject matter, don't you think?

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Contrarily, science is founded on methodological naturalism, which is utter confidence in the uniformity of natural procession.

Science is, I understand, founded on the belief that the universe can be understood and that in order to be understood it must behave in regular understandable ways.

cl said: Yes, the universe is reasonably describable as 'fluid' as you say, but the procession of nature is highly stable, hence the initial presumption of methodological naturalism that allows science to even begin. Without this stability, science wouldn't work so well.

Indeed. Science works well because it presumes naturalistic explanations. In a universe where the supernatural was pervasive Science wouldn't work very well - there the overriding paradigm would probably be Magic - which in our universe doesn't appear to work.

cl said: Can I ask what you would consider evidence for the hand of God, either in the evolution of life on Earth, or generally speaking?

I honestly have no idea. I find that kind of thing very difficult to imagine. Those who believe in such things have put forward various evidential 'proofs' which I admit I found less than compelling (most of them varied from the bizarre to the down right nuts).

cl said: Consistency with reality is my answer, but it is not an absolute answer, as axioms are seldom infinitely extensible.

Its not a bad working definition. A good place to start anyway...

Karla said...

Cyber: “Indeed. Science works well because it presumes naturalistic explanations. In a universe where the supernatural was pervasive Science wouldn't work very well - there the overriding paradigm would probably be Magic - which in our universe doesn't appear to work.”


Science presumes a stability of natural order. The Judeo-Christian worldview supports this natural order and it was out of such a culture that western science was birthed. How can anyone account for a miracle unless we knew what was normal? If there were no normal order of things, a miracle wouldn’t be a miracle. You would need to know there are normal laws to tell if one had been broken or if something supernatural was responsible for an event. If broken arms don’t mend instantaneously and one does then there is reason to look and see if something outside of the natural order of things occurred. But of bones sometimes mended themselves and sometimes didn’t and we could never really see a pattern or order to anything then there would also be no way to determine something as a miracle. Thus, even the Christian worldview necessitates an orderly natural world.

Anonymous said...

Cyber: ...and how do you judge things as true or not true?

Karla responds: I’ll respond to this on the personal level of what I think I do and you’ll have to decide if you think it works. I judge the matter against what I know to be true.[My emphasis]

What you said there is complete rubbish. You judge things as true or not by simply knowing it is true? No, that is not how it works. That's how you get to god belief, not actual knowledge about the world.

"I don’t see how truth can blossom at all without a stable foundational Being in which it is rooted."

The universe exists whether god does or not. There is no logical necessity for a god to exist in order for reality to be consistent. I don't understand why you have such difficulty with this concept.

"I honestly don’t know how to move pass the impasse we have found ourselves at time and again."

It's called evidence, reason, and logic.

See, in science, when two people or groups disagree, they go into the lab and test it with empirical tests and empirical results and come to an answer. When you simply assert non-falsifiable things like about your god and insist that they are true, then you are not acting with evidence, reason, or logic.

"I don't know why you keep defending science, I've not said anything that says I don't value science. I don't agree with some scientific outcomes and I think those have a lot of worldview tampering apart from straight science."

You've contradicted yourself in the space of two sentences.

Yes, I hold you to be as anti-science as any other creationist. Sure, you go to the doctor and you get modern medicine when you are sick (which pretty much all other hypocritical creationists do) but you then turn around and denigrate evolutionary science, which helps us to form modern medicines in the first place. You also denigrate scientists themselves by claiming that there is "worldview tampering."

"But even then I have no problem with scientific learning."

Yes, yes you do, else you would accept evolution and the age of the Earth.

"What science does or doesn't tell us about how nature works isn't what I am talking about."

Yes, it is. You are asserting a certain reality which is at odds with what we have learned from science.

"When I am talking about truth I am talking philosophy. Your responses are like if I was talking about the value of history while you try and defend the value of mathematics. We need to stay on the same subject matter, don't you think?"

I am on the subject matter. You are talking about reality, and the best way (and only way, really) to learn about reality is through science. I've not heard of any other way, save for maybe logic and reason, two other things that you don't use.

Anonymous said...

Not to be pedantic with you ck, but...

ck: "Science is, I understand, founded on the belief that the universe can be understood and that in order to be understood it must behave in regular understandable ways."

If there is one foundational assumption, it is that we can understand the universe. This, however, is pretty misleading. This is not an a priori assumption by any stretch. We believe that we can understand the world and that the world is regular because it has been so in our studies. IOW, it's really a result of observation about the world.

"Indeed. Science works well because it presumes naturalistic explanations."

Technically that's not true, since there's no rule in the scientific method that precludes supernatural explanations or causes. We simply have no way of testing these things. So, it's not a presumption of science but an imposition of the universe.

Anonymous said...

"The Judeo-Christian worldview supports this natural order and it was out of such a culture that western science was birthed."

I have yet to see you defend the notion that your religion, which posits a god that answers prayers and performs miracles, supports a regular universe. Either way, I've already explained that it was by ignoring the already accepted religious "knowledge" and using the scientific method (before it was written down as such) that science was born. I'll also point out the it was the Muslims that kept math and science alive during the dark ages, and with their conquests they spread their knowledge and learning back into Europe, which helped revive learning in Europe.

"How can anyone account for a miracle unless we knew what was normal? If there were no normal order of things, a miracle wouldn’t be a miracle."

Here you are arguing that normality has to exist so that we can know when things happen that counteract that normalcy. IOW, you are arguing that the universe does have episodes that counteract normalcy, leading to the contradiction of the assertion you just put forth.

CyberKitten said...

Anon said: Not to be pedantic with you ck, but...

[laughs] That's OK. I'm a bit of a pedant myself... Feel free. After all I can only put forward my opinion and my understanding of things...

Ali P said...

Karla said...
Sorry to hurt your head. I don't know why you keep defending science, I've not said anything that says I don't value science.

I have to agree with Anon on this, you clearly don't value Science. You pick and choose which principles and explanations to apply, this infuriates me.

Live by the strength of your convictions and ditch anything not in the Bible.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I judge the matter against what I know to be true.

I'll have to stop you right there. You're saying that you judge the truth of things by your belief in the truth of things. But how do you get the *original* truth to hold everything else up against? Isn't that your faith and belief in God? If so you are judging truth by how close it approximates to your belief in a universe with God in it. This would mean that you'd filter out anything which might call this into question - which might explain wny you have problems with geology, paleontology and cosmology.

karla said: I do study it even when at the onset I see it being starkly different from what is true.

So, at that point you've already made up your mind as to whether or not its true - but continue your investigation regardless... because?

karla said: We agree on the value of reason, logic, rationality, evidence.

We may agree on their values but I don't think we apply them in the same way - I do wonder if we even agree what they mean.

karla said: A good example is postmodernism. I did not like it and to be honest was emotionally appalled by it when it was first introduced to me.

My first thought was that it was nonesense piled on top of nonesense. This is still largely my opinion on the subject.

karla said: Obviously I can’t add a contradiction to my worldview accepting both that I have a relationship with God, and that God does not exist to have a relationship with. So I have to look at both propositions and see what works.

In other words you automatically reject anything that might point to a Godless universe?

karla said: I don’t see how truth can blossom at all without a stable foundational Being in which it is rooted.

So truth cannot exist without God? Which means that your belief in God is cut off from critical examination. After all if something points towards God's non-existence it *must* be false by definition right - because God *is* truth. That's quite a blindspot don't you think?

karla said: So when I follow it out I see that I would have to abandon too much reality to accept the latter.

So there is a definite point where you will question things but go no further because your mind is already made up on the subject no matter what new information or argument is presented to you?

karla said: When a view of these things is accurate (that is at least nearly so as we can see from a human perspective) the philosophical outworking of it is logical and reasonable, the practical is livable in the real world, and it is transferable to others (it’s not a private truth, but a truth that is good for all).

Can you give me an example, under this scheme, of what is true and what is false?

karla said: It’s not merely repetitive attempts to get you guys to accept what I’m saying, but to truly understand what your saying and to learn not only the intellectual facets of your propositions but who you guys are and trying to see both heart and mind.

Is it possible, once you fully understand our positions, that you could change your mind on any fundamental issue? Or is such a thing unthinkable?

karla said: I don’t think there are any disinterested people.

I used the word 'outsider' on purpose. What if an intelligent alien was introduced to our arguments. Could he/she/it decide which one was closer to the truth? Is there any way to actually tell?

karla said: Science presumes a stability of natural order.

Well, it *did* until it discovered Quantum Mechanics! Oh and Chaos Theory [grin]

karla said: The Judeo-Christian worldview supports this natural order

Yet the supernatural is not part of that natural order.....

karla said: it was out of such a culture that western science was birthed.

It certainly followed it historically and inevitably had an influence. I think that's undeniable.

karla said: If there were no normal order of things, a miracle wouldn’t be a miracle.

So miracles are *not* part of the natural order and yet they are central to the Judeo-Christian worldview - therefore the Judeo-Christian worldview does *not* support the natural order but actually undermines it! To understand the natural order you must reject the Judeo-Christian worldview, not embrace it.

karla said: I don't agree with some scientific outcomes...

Such as and on what grounds?

karla said: I think those have a lot of worldview tampering apart from straight science.

By 'straight science' you mean what? Science that agrees with Scripture? So science that does not agree with Scripture isn't *real* science?

Karla said...

Cyber, what I said and how you interpreted what I said seems to be at odds.

I'll have to make another stab at it later when I get more time. Just a quickie, the example of my analyzing postmodernism had to do with the process and not the object of it.

Ali, you seem to have me in a box I'm not in. I'm not sure how to show that to you, but maybe in time you'll see.

cl said...

Anon said, "We don't 'assume' methodological naturalism."

Yet, from the National Academy of Sciences, "Currently, most scientists adopt methodological naturalism in science by including only natural causes in their scientific theories."

In science, we do assume methodological naturalism - and that assumption is a good thing, not a weakness.

Anon also seems to forget that the burden of proof is on him to show how any facts of evolution affect Genesis or other parts of the Bible.

Anon asks, "Why would an omni-benevolent god create a method that works upon the ruthlessness of natural selection?"

This is an argument from ignorance. That something does not make immediate sense is not an argument against it. That's the approach many creationists take to science and evolution, and this is just the converse error. You can't say evolution conflicts with an Omni^3 God just because you can't see why said God would use said process. You have to provide reasons and evidence for your claims.

Cyber,You said, "Science is, I understand, founded on the belief that the universe can be understood and that in order to be understood it must behave in regular understandable ways."

Well yes, and that is a good description of methodological naturalism, as you say in the next paragraph: "Science works well because it presumes naturalistic explanations." That is the very essence of methodological naturalism, the assumption that the sun rises because of things like gravity instead of angels.

You said, "Those who believe in such things have put forward various evidential 'proofs' which I admit I found less than compelling (most of them varied from the bizarre to the down right nuts)."

I think we can agree there, even though I'm no atheist. I was just curious if there was a standard of proof you were willing to accept.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: I think we can agree there, even though I'm no atheist. I was just curious if there was a standard of proof you were willing to accept.

I don't really know what would convince me about God's existence. I think it would take a *lot*. Certainly much more that I've come across so far in the last 30 years or so I've been fairly interested in the subject. To date I have yet to hear a compelling argument or to see any evidence whatsoever for His existence. Then again my ignorance is vast compared to the knowledge out there, so you never know..... [grin]

Oh, when I asked Karla for her *best* evidence for God's existence... she said The Resurrection. Needless to say this did not suddenly make me question my worldview. If that's the *best* you've got I'll happily remain over here in the Atheist corner... [laughs]

Ali P said...

"Anon also seems to forget that the burden of proof is on him to show how any facts of evolution affect Genesis or other parts of the Bible."

As evolution is a proven scientific fact, Anon doesn't have to prove anything. I believe the counter is the case.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that theists on this blog have no clue what science is or does but feel wholly qualified to lecture us all on it and dismiss it?

MS Quixote said...

"Why is it that theists on this blog have no clue what science is or does but feel wholly qualified to lecture us all on it and dismiss it?"

Well, my friend, perhaps you weren't referring to me, but in my defense, I'm intimately connected with science: Space flight hardware, The James Webb Space Telescope, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, orbital debris research, Martian soil research, planetary science, shuttle heat tiles, parachute development, ISS water sample collection kits, radiation detectors...I've got a list longer than your arm I work with daily.

I have great respect for science, I just don't happen to be a scientist. Nevertheless, methodological naturalism is a methodology, and it's one that's applied to science. I don't see the problem here, especially when you have at least two theists agreeing that methodological naturalism is appropriate in most, if not all, scientific pursuits. My primary disagreement with MN is when it's applied to the humanities, as in history, for instance.

I'd also like to add in passing, that though I agree that science relies on order, in the current age of quantum mechanics we need to be careful throwing around the phrase that everything's orderly.

cl said...

Cyber,You said, "To date I have yet to hear a compelling argument or to see any evidence whatsoever for His existence. Then again my ignorance is vast compared to the knowledge out there, so you never know..... [grin]"

I like that approach. I happen to agree with you, in the sense that I don't know if I believe a successful ontological argument exists. I'm leaning towards the negative position. I guess I would draw a distinction between arguments as one type of evidence, and events in your own personal life as another. What sort of synchronicities in your personal life would you consider persuasive?

Ali P,May I ask, why did you restate my premise in your rebuttal? Can I suggest that you misunderstood the question? That evolution is a fact was never the matter being contested.

Quixote,You said, "I don't see the problem here, especially when you have at least two theists agreeing that methodological naturalism is appropriate in most, if not all, scientific pursuits."

I agree. I get the impression Anon thinks us saying 'science assumes MN' is a denigration, when it's not. It's a basic fact that explains why we got to the moon.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: What sort of synchronicities in your personal life would you consider persuasive?

I don't understand the question.

MS Quixote said...

cl said: 'science assumes MN'

A small quibble, cl: I don't think science assumes it, as if it's inherent in the scientific method. I think it's a methodology that's applied to the scientific endeavor, and in most cases it's a beneficial application.

cl said...

Cyber,We agreed arguments seem insufficient. Well, what sort of personal experiences might persuade you that there was a God?

Quixote,I think the quibble is mostly a semantic one, no? I don't think science assumes MN as if it's inherent in the scientific method, either. I think science - scientists - assume that the laws of nature are reliable and consistent. That's MN. Whether we say assume or adopt or apply or whatever seems secondary to me, as long as it's clear that we're not using assume in a denigrating manner, as if to advance a "science is faith" -type argument.

MS Quixote said...

That's why I termed it both small, and a quibble :)

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Well, what sort of personal experiences might persuade you that there was a God?

Probably things that could not be explained any other way - nothing to report so far!

Anonymous said...

How does one assume a method? MS, you've got it right that it's not an assumption. (Where is it NOT beneficial BTW?) Where you've got it wrong is in saying it's a small quibble. In fact, it's a big deal.

Karla is already claiming, "I don't agree with some scientific outcomes and I think those have a lot of worldview tampering apart from straight science." This is a direct result of comments like, "Science assumes X."

Professional charlatans like Ken Ham and Kent Hovind (when he's not committing tax fraud) prey on individuals like Karla and ensure that they remain ignorant. It works because they say things that she wants to hear and because they sound erudite and scholarly. So, Karla feels vindicated in her view that evolution only happens because scientists make the "unfounded" assumption of no god.

Then, some person who also superficially sounds smart on a blog reinforces that idea. Either the person is suffering from rank ignorance or the person is wicked and enabling Karla and others to continue in their ignorance and rejection of science. It's another type of anti-scientism, and it's a real problem.

Do you realize that of all the developed countries, we rank slightly ahead of Turkey or else we'd be dead last when it comes to people who accept the scientific theory of evolution? I would venture to bet that cosmology and geology would be in the same category. This is a huge problem.

So, yes, it's a big deal. Science is the process of stripping away assumptions and finding out what's really going on. Charlatans and their lackeys continue to prey on the public misperception of science to try and elevate religion to the level of science (or more accurately to lower the level of science to that of religion) in the eyes of the ignorant masses. The truth is that science works and religion does not. Religion teaches us nothing about the world, while science has brought us results. But, the ignorant masses don't see it that way, because they views they are told allow them to pick and choose which bits to believe and not believe, whether they line up with reality or not. This leads to a populace that is scientifically illiterate and will cause the US to slip from its position of power in the world.

Karla said...

Anon, I don't have a problem with science. I also don't see the relevancy of evolution to the discussion at hand. The discussion was revolving around the foundation for knowledge and the problems of rampant skepticism in building a positive rather than negative or non-committed worldview.

I see you guys have concern about my statement about my judging knowledge against knowledge that I already assume. I think though if you read through what I was saying you will see that I test both my foundational worldview and the new subject being tested by this process. So I don't just throw out anything that doesn't fall in nicely with my already held beliefs. I spend much time looking into it's relevancy coming at it from a variety of angles before making a commitment to it or against it. That statement needed the context of all I had been talking about.

I'll try and respond to other comments tomorrow or as I get time.

One last thing, the things I am talking about are the things that pertain even to the philosophy on which science is built. I am talking about first principals.

cl said...

Karla,I got the point of the post just fine, and I think most of what you're saying distills to the idea that truth is consistent with itself. If the bus meter tells me 5 Jackson is coming in 13 minutes, and it does not, then we know the original statement was not true. It's all pretty basic.

Anon,Although I really don't mind talking to you, and I actually enjoy it and occasionally even learn from it, I don't think you can have your cake and eat it, too. If you don't want me to talk to you or address your arguments or whatever your current complaint is, shouldn't you also honor that position in reverse? What does it say if you tell someone not to talk to you, but then you go on talking about them?

"Then, some person who also superficially sounds smart on a blog reinforces that idea. Either the person is suffering from rank ignorance or the person is wicked and enabling Karla and others to continue in their ignorance and rejection of science. It's another type of anti-scientism, and it's a real problem."

Please. That string of wannabe-Dawkins-esque BS definitely crosses the line. For the record, what I'm saying has nothing to do with evolution, or Karla, and I'm not ignorant, or wicked, or anti-science, or anti-scientism. Scientists assume MN daily and that's not a denigrating statement. I really don't understand why saying that gets you so worked up.

"Do you realize that of all the developed countries, we rank slightly ahead of Turkey or else we'd be dead last when it comes to people who accept the scientific theory of evolution? I would venture to bet that cosmology and geology would be in the same category. This is a huge problem."

Yes, it is, and it's a problem that has absolutely nothing to do with people saying scientists assume MN. You're slipping off the slope there.

"The truth is that science works and religion does not."In truth, that's a one-sided lie. That something doesn't work for you doesn't mean it doesn't work. Tell the truth, now.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, I don't have a problem with science. I also don't see the relevancy of evolution to the discussion at hand. The discussion was revolving around the foundation for knowledge and the problems of rampant skepticism in building a positive rather than negative or non-committed worldview."

Yes, you do have a problem with science...more on that in a minute.

And, yes, science is important to this discussion, because we are discussing skepticism, and that's a big part of how science works. And, science does work. What you are arguing against is not skepticism, but rather obstinate denialism (which, ironically, is what you engage in when you deny all the evidence for evolution and claim it's simply a "bias" of scientists).

In a country where so many people uncritically accept the myths of bronze age desert wanderers, skepticism is not rampant enough!"I see you guys have concern about my statement about my judging knowledge against knowledge that I already assume. I think though if you read through what I was saying you will see that I test both my foundational worldview and the new subject being tested by this process."

It doesn't matter. You are still holding that X is inviolate and that nothing that you see, hear, sense, whatever can upset your "knowledge" that X is truth. This is an appeal to absolute knowledge, which in a recent thread you claimed that you don't do. Make up your mind already.

"One last thing, the things I am talking about are the things that pertain even to the philosophy on which science is built."

Yeah? And, which philosophy is that?

Karla said...

I don't see how science is built on skepticism? Is it not built on observation, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion based on experiment? So a scientist observes something, forms a hypothesis about what is, and then test that hypothesis by experimentation. Thus the scientist is moving toward a positive claim by making a positive assertion about something and then once made seeking to test the reality of it.

Also science is built on assumption that what we can observe (not just with our naked eye but with the aid of scientific instruments) nature as it is. It is built on the assumption that there is order to nature as we have observed through the patterns we see in nature. We can't prove it will be so tomorrow, but we assume it will be.

So I don't see how science is built on skepticism. Maybe you could explain further?

Also if you are not one who speaks from a place of "obstinate denial" what foundation do you speak from? What truth base do you use to deny the things you deny? I have only heard you argue for noncommittal to any truth foundation as you don't propose a positive truth claim. Have I misunderstood your position?

Karla said...

Cyber said "Probably things that could not be explained any other way - nothing to report so far!"

Cyber, just because something can be explained another way doesn't mean that it's the right answer. In a murder trial you may be able to explain the murder in a way that doesn't implicate the Defendant, but that doesn't mean the Defendant is innocent of the crime.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyber, just because something can be explained another way doesn't mean that it's the right answer.

Indeed. But if you have a good answer for something, why do you need to add God into the equation? If I got home safely this evening on the bus its probably something to do with the driving skills of the bus driver and his fellow road users. I don't need to put forward the idea that it was because God was looking out for me. It adds nothing.

karla said: In a murder trial you may be able to explain the murder in a way that doesn't implicate the Defendant, but that doesn't mean the Defendant is innocent of the crime.

Yes, but the defendent is innocent until *proven* guilty. In the same way natural explanations are sufficient until it can be *proven* that they are not - after that we can either say that we simply have no explanation or start looking at other ways at looking at things. But just because something cannot be explained does *not* mean that God did it!

Anonymous said...

"I don't see how science is built on skepticism?"

That's because you still don't understand the terms you are using. Once again, skepticism is not simply rejection of anything, but a withholding of acceptance until evidence or proof can be obtained. This is what science does. All hypotheses are tentative until we can ascertain evidence in their favor and repeatedly not disprove them.

"Also science is built on assumption that what we can observe (not just with our naked eye but with the aid of scientific instruments) nature as it is."

No, no, no. This is not an assumption of science, but a conclusion based on the fact that that seems to be the case. That's why we value verification and why we look for objective measures.

"It is built on the assumption that there is order to nature as we have observed through the patterns we see in nature."

This too is a conclusion that comes from all of our studies in the past.

"We can't prove it will be so tomorrow, but we assume it will be."

If one can argue that this is an "assumption" of sorts, it is not one that is a priori (it would be a posteriori) nor does it change science in any way (until it happens that is). All of our science, to date, is NOT dependent on this being true.

Your arguments here, however, are nothing but trying to lower the status of science to guesses that are no better than yours, only different because of different starting points (assumptions). This is not the case, however, as is painfully obvious by the respective track records of science and religion to adding to our knowledge about the world.

"So I don't see how science is built on skepticism. Maybe you could explain further?"

I've already done so, many times. It's all because you refuse to accept the actual definition of skepticism.

"Also if you are not one who speaks from a place of "obstinate denial" what foundation do you speak from?"

From one that demands evidence before I accept your fantastical claims. It's that easy. I'm not simply denying in the face of overwhelming evidence. That is, however, exactly what you are doing with evolution. Nor am I denying simply by use of rhetorical tricks of trying to equate two things that are not even in the same ballpark (science and religion). Science works. Religion does not. End of story. Denial of religion is not obstinate, considering that you can't produce evidence for your claims. Denial of science is obstinate due to the overwhelming evidence that exists.

"What truth base do you use to deny the things you deny?"

What "truth base" do I need to point out that you haven't backed up your claims? Further, if god exists or not, this universe works the way it does, and the data/evidence that we glean from it is independent of god.

"I have only heard you argue for noncommittal to any truth foundation as you don't propose a positive truth claim. Have I misunderstood your position?"

Yes, many times, in many ways. I do not put forth a truth claim that god does not exist, however. This is in line with skepticism. Again, you need to learn what the words you are trying to use actually mean.

Karla said...

Cyber: "But just because something cannot be explained does *not* mean that God did it!"

And just because it can be explained another way, doesn't mean God didn't do it.

Why must things have a natural answer only and foremost unless you are already ruling out a supernatural answer.

Ali P said...

Karla said...
In a murder trial you may be able to explain the murder in a way that doesn't implicate the Defendant, but that doesn't mean the Defendant is innocent of the crime.

Um actually, in the eyes if the law, that's reasonable doubt and the defendant would be found not guilty.

And just because it can be explained another way, doesn't mean God didn't do it.

Yes, but you have to prove it.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Why must things have a natural answer only and foremost unless you are already ruling out a supernatural answer.

Because

a) Supernatural answers are unnecessary once a natural answer has been arrived at

b) Supernatural answers are not actually answers at all. Saying that God is responsible for something is an answer how exactly? Saying that God causes the rain or is responsible for a persons death (or life) explains what?

Karla said...

Cyber God's involvement doesn't end the scientific inquest into how things work. Things can have both a natural answer and a supernatural answer.

I challenge the idea that a natural answer is somehow better than a supernatural answer. You may find it more preferable given your naturalism, but that doesn't give it superiority.

There is much to be explored even if God is the author and designer of all creation. Sure we still love to explore how things work. But exploring the system of how it works doesn't negate God's having created it.

Literary criticism explores everything about an authors work, while still excepting the author as being the source of the work.

Science can explore everything about how nature works even in a created world complete with an Author.

I think there is a whole perspective you haven't yet fully considered that includes both the natural exploration of the world and the supernatural involvement of God into that natural world.

Karla said...

Anon "Denial of religion is not obstinate, considering that you can't produce evidence for your claims. Denial of science is obstinate due to the overwhelming evidence that exists."

I haven't denied science. Science is one way to acquire knowledge about the world. Historical investigation is another. Philosophical inquest is another. Experience is another. All these can combine to tell us something about what is real.


Anon "What "truth base" do I need to point out that you haven't backed up your claims?"

You need something true to stand on to declare something else not true. What sturdy foundation do you stand upon to judge other things as not measuring up with truth?

You speak a lot about science, but science is a method of finding what is real, it isn't the real itself. So what is the real that you posit from which you compare other truth claims against?

Karla said...

Ali, do you have proof of God's non-existence?

Anonymous said...

"I haven't denied science."

So, you accept evolution and the age of the Earth and the age of the universe? I wasn't aware of that.

"Science is one way to acquire knowledge about the world."

It's the only way that I know of.

"Historical investigation is another."

Historical investigation relies on science.

"Philosophical inquest is another."

This also relies on science.

"Experience is another."

This doesn't actually tell you anything unless you subject it to scientific methods. The only possible exception to that would be your personal emotional feelings or thoughts, but those only tell you about you, not about the world in general.

"You need something true to stand on to declare something else not true."

No, I don't. You need to provide evidence for your claim for me to decide that it is true, whether I have a competing truth claim or not.

"What sturdy foundation do you stand upon to judge other things as not measuring up with truth?"

What sturdy foundation do you use? Your personal beliefs about god are not sturdy.

"You speak a lot about science, but science is a method of finding what is real, it isn't the real itself."

Your point being?

"So what is the real that you posit from which you compare other truth claims against?"

We find how well ideas come into accordance with reality by using the scientific method. It's not about comparing this preconception with that. I thought this would have been obvious by now.

"I challenge the idea that a natural answer is somehow better than a supernatural answer. You may find it more preferable given your naturalism, but that doesn't give it superiority."

What gives it superiority is a few things:
1. Once we have a natural answer, the supernatural one is an un-necessary layer that can be done away with via Occam's Razor
2. We necessarily have evidence for the natural answer (else it isn't an answer)
3. We don't have evidence for the supernatural, so anything you make up could be a potential "answer"
4. There's no way to decide between competing supernatural "answers"
5. Supernatural magic doesn't explain anything. Saying that some supernatural being willed X to be doesn't give us any insight into anything.

"Ali, do you have proof of God's non-existence?"

After all this time, do you really still not understand the idea of burden of proof?

cl said...

First, a general note to all those who ask Karla and other believers to "prove God" - you're asking the wrong person. Yes, human beings can propose arguments and share the gospel claims, but not everyone shares equal receptivity. Only God can convince the convinced skeptic, and anyone who's serious about this might wish to consider sincerely asking God to do the proving. If some have, and found the results wanting, that's a different discussion.

Cyber,Although I'm prone to agree with you about the bus driver's skill, that wasn't really the type of thing I had in mind. It doesn't do much if that's the example we're going with. As far as the comment about not needing to add God into the equation, I can also agree with that to a certain extent. And I agree that unexplained phenomena do not necessarily entail God. It's also worth pointing out that unexplainable phenomena are one thing we should reasonably expect if God exists.

Still, my question to you is, What sort of events or synchronicities in your personal life might persuade you to believe?

Anon,"Your arguments here, however, are nothing but trying to lower the status of science to guesses that are no better than yours, only different because of different starting points (assumptions)." (to Karla)

I disagree. I don't think you're giving Karla enough credit. I haven't read anything from Karla that attempts to "lower the status of science to guesses.."

"Science works. Religion does not. End of story."

That's such an oversimplistic falsehood, though. Science succeeds, and science fails. Religion succeeds, and religion fails. Just as overzealousness can obscure reality, intense distaste for religion also obscures reality. Only you can be the judge of whether or not that's the case here.

"..if god exists or not, this universe works the way it does, and the data/evidence that we glean from it is independent of god."

That's only half-true. It's true that whether God exists or not, the universe works the way it does. However, the second part of your statement is false. If God as Creator exists, then ALL the data and evidence we glean from the universe is dependent on God.

Also Anon, it's relevant to this discussion to point out that in answer to a question about the achievements of religion, you gave "But, it wasn't religion or revelation that gave them insights. It was a process of observation, experimentation, revision, etc..." In that statement, you concede that people can approach theology in a manner that is analogous with science. The way I see it, you need to reconcile those positions. You either need to give theology more credit, or redefine science.

Karla,If you want to sidestep the annoying "burden-of-proof" evasions made by those who don't seem to realize that negative claims entail positive claims and vice-versa, just ask them to prove that transactions of physical matter and energy are all that exist. That is one positive truth claim the negative position of atheism entails.

Karla said...

good thoughts cl. thanks. Feel free to try to send that e-mail to me again, I never got it.

Ali P said...

Karla said...
Ali, do you have proof of God's non-existence?

Karla, do you have proof of The Flying Spaghetti Monster's non-existence?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Things can have both a natural answer and a supernatural answer.

Really? Both....? Are they equally valid? Will both answer the question? Which one will offer an explanation that actually produces verifiable results?

karla said: I challenge the idea that a natural answer is somehow better than a supernatural answer.

..and I assert that a natural answer is *always* superior to a supernatural one. Funnily what we term progress moved at a snails pace until scientific thinking took hold. Then progress moved at rocket speed and has been accelerating ever since. A coincidence? I think not.

karla said: I think there is a whole perspective you haven't yet fully considered that includes both the natural exploration of the world and the supernatural involvement of God into that natural world.

If you mean by that that I don't believe in God - you'd be right. As I see no evidence for the supernatural involvement of God in the natural world how can you expect me to take this claim seriously? I *could* say that you need to take into account historic meddling from a computer in the future bent on our destruction - but I'm guessing that you'd ask me for proof of this assertion... or would you just accept what I say without a substantial amount of evidence to back up my outlandish claim?

cl said: Only God can convince the convinced skeptic, and anyone who's serious about this might wish to consider sincerely asking God to do the proving.

So the *only* way to determine the validity of the existence of supernatural beings is to *ask* them to prove their existence.... Do I just start at 'A' and work my way through the list or do you know of a better way? Does this approach only work with Gods or does it work with all invisible things? You can tell how seriously I'm taking your suggestion here I hope.....

cl said: And I agree that unexplained phenomena do not necessarily entail God. It's also worth pointing out that unexplainable phenomena are one thing we should reasonably expect if God exists.

Not so subtle change from *unexplained* to *unexplainable* there... Was that intentional? The question is, of course, just because something is as yet unexplained does that mean it is ultimately unexplainable. From experience the answer is no. Many things that where unexplained in the past now have pretty good explanations. There is no reason to suppose that present day unexplained phenomena will not one day be explained just as well.

cl said: Still, my question to you is, What sort of events or synchronicities in your personal life might persuade you to believe?

..and I replied yesterday.....

Probably things that could not be explained any other way - nothing to report so far!

Anonymous said...

"good thoughts cl. thanks."

If you feel that cl is providing good input, then perhaps he can answer something that you've not been able to answer, which is what have we learned from religion/revelation? And, no, pointing out what theologians have engaged in scientific study doesn't count.

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to point out that without skepticism, reason could not exist. If we simply accepted everything that people told us or anything we thought of, then we would literally have to be in cognitive dissonance at all times. (BTW, this holds true for burden of proof as well. If every claim that is not accepted is held to the burden of proof standards that the original claim is held to, then we once again are led to cognitive dissonance. So, for instance, not believing in god because the burden of proof is not met leads us to not believe in god, but not being able to prove no god leads us to belief in god, so we simultaneously have to hold contradictory beliefs, which is another area where cl's "good comments" fall well short.)

Karla, you hold skeptical views on every god except for Yahweh, do you not? Why do you not consider those views you hold to be obstinate denialism? Why would my view, then, be deemed as such? Granted, you might argue that you think you have positive evidence for Yahweh, but you can't be sure of that, so your supposed positive evidence could be any number of things and doesn't rule out Allah, Baal, Thor, Zeus, etc. So, you are left without being able to defend your particular version of god, while still being skeptical of all others (or denialist if we use your "logic").

cl said...

Anon,"If you feel that cl is providing good input, then perhaps he can answer something that you've not been able to answer, which is what have we learned from religion/revelation?"

I've learned lots from all sorts of things in life. I don't accept you to accept that. Further, as I said, if Lister gave revelation the credit for his insights into carbolic acid, you'd just deny it and ask for proof anyways. So really, your question is rhetorical.

Cyber,"So the *only* way to determine the validity of the existence of supernatural beings is to *ask* them to prove their existence...."No. There is no way to determine the validity of the existence of supernatural beings, in the manner that most skeptics ask for. Such proof will only come too late, if at all.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: There is no way to determine the validity of the existence of supernatural beings, in the manner that most skeptics ask for.

You mean proof or evidence? If that's the case how on Earth can you expect us to believe in anything you expect us to believe in?

cl said: Such proof will only come too late, if at all.

By "too late" you mean after we're 'damned', yes?

I mean.. *please*.... if the existence of God cannot be validated (or determined by argument/debate) how can you expect us to believe in souls and damnation. [shakes head...]

Karla said...

I still see a difference between being skeptical and examining the evidence and using reason.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I still see a difference between being skeptical and examining the evidence and using reason.

Definition of skepticism: a method of obtaining knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing.

Anonymous said...

"I still see a difference between being skeptical and examining the evidence and using reason."

You can continue to make up your own definitions, but it only continually makes you look silly.

cl said...

Cyber,"You mean proof or evidence?"The distinction wouldn't matter.

"By "too late" you mean after we're 'damned', yes?"I was thinking 'dead'.

"..if the existence of God cannot be validated (or determined by argument/debate) how can you expect us to believe in souls and damnation."I don't.

Karla said...

cl, I have to disagree with you on that one. There are many signs pointing to God and in truth in this life. Cyber, Mike, and Anonymous, and Ali, can encounter that authentic reality in this life. I have, I don't see why they couldn't.

Karla said...

"Definition of skepticism: a method of obtaining knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing."

Does the doubt ever stop? Does it ever come to a head where truth is found and grasped at least at a level enough to have faith to continue in that direction?

cl said...

Karla,As far as methodological naturalism, ironically, modern usage of the term comes from a believer. It was a Christian that coined the term and made it what it is today. Many scientists have since accepted de Vries' contribution as valid.

Alas, that probably won't answer Anon's question of "What have we learned from religion/revelation?" At least not to his satisfaction, anyways.

That's okay. Anon still hasn't explained how the work of individual scientists constitutes science but the work of religionists does not constitute religion. Perhaps he'll clarify. And since Anon doesn't believe in revelation, I felt no need to address that part of his claim. What's the use of me claiming to Anon that something occurred by a process he fundamentally disbelieves in? Gee, that sounds fun.

"There are many signs pointing to God and in truth in this life."I agree, and didn't say there wasn't.

"Cyber, Mike, and Anonymous, and Ali, can encounter that authentic reality in this life. I have, I don't see why they couldn't."I agree, and didn't say they couldn't.

It's just that, from these responses and past experiences, I don't get the impression anyone here wants to believe, which might be a problem, because belief is always volitional.

The way I see it, while I have no idea who takes these arguments seriously, I do get the feeling Ali P is just taunting you. Further, our arguments are never going to move Anon. And Cyber seems quite content as well. I don't know about you, Karla, but when I don't want to do something, I don't.

Surely that could be misconstrued as "insult against atheists," but it's not at all meant to be. It applies to Anon, Cyber and Ali, based off their comments in this thread. So Anon, I don't want to hear anything like, "Oh, so now you're insulting all atheists by saying we don't want to believe?"

No. I'm saying exactly what I said.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: I was thinking 'dead'.

I don't really see the 'problem'. When you're dead, you're dead. If you were wrong about some things in life it no longer matters.

karla said: There are many signs pointing to God and in truth in this life.

Name Three.

karla said: Cyber, Mike, and Anonymous, and Ali, can encounter that authentic reality in this life. I have, I don't see why they couldn't.

It probably helps a great deal if you believe in it. Personally I find it difficult to believe in things for which there appears to be no evidence.

karla said: Does the doubt ever stop?

No.

karla said: Does it ever come to a head where truth is found and grasped at least at a level enough to have faith to continue in that direction?

Only provisionally... and only for a limited time.

cl said: I don't get the impression anyone here wants to believe, which might be a problem, because belief is always volitional.

Why would we *want* to believe in something I personnaly consider groundless? That just completely confounds me.

cl said: Further, our arguments are never going to move Anon. And Cyber seems quite content as well. I don't know about you, Karla, but when I don't want to do something, I don't.

Yup... I'm content in my Godlessness.... [grin]

Karla said...

First I'd like to apologize for not responding point by point to everyone because I simply haven't had time to do so. If I missed something you want to reintroduce please do so.

Cyber you asked me to name three things that point to God. I'll give you four.

Miracles
Nature
Morals (in my opinion)
History

Anonymous said...

ck said:
"Why would we *want* to believe in something I personnaly consider groundless? That just completely confounds me."

Further, I doubt that the Xians here could choose to believe in Zeus for a day.

And, I'm still waiting for someone to tell us what we've learned from religion. What has religion brought us. People can complain that I won't accept their answers, but I plainly laid out the challenge, so acting as if it is not clear what the challenge is simply won't cut it. What have we learned from religion? Coining words isn't learning from religion. Doing science, even by theologians is not learning from religion. If one is doing science, it doesn't mean that religion can take the credit simply because the person in question is a theist. I mean, c'mon, that's about the most absurd thing that's been said in this thread so far, and that's saying a lot.

Karla, I still await one example from you to show me what religion has taught us and how it has increased the knowledge level of humanity. Go ahead and ask cl for examples if you need to, since he indicates that he has tons. He's simply not willing to share them I suppose.

Anonymous said...

"Cyber you asked me to name three things that point to God. I'll give you four.

Miracles
Nature
Morals (in my opinion)
History"

Wow, swing and a miss.

Show me a miracle and prove that it had to be supernatural and that it came from your god.

How does nature give evidence for the supernatural or your god?

How do morals do the same, considering that we have evidence of moral behavior in other animals - something that you've never dealt with any time it's been brought up?

How does history support your claim, considering that the Bible is full of errors, is made up of stories that didn't happen (Exodus for example) and can't be relied upon for anything? Remember that you don't have any contemporary source for Jesus and the earliest source of Josephus was fabricated by later authors. Also, remember that religious scholars are almost unanimous that the gospels were written well after the events in question and not by eye-witnesses.

Karla said...

Your question stumps me because I don't see "religion" as you do. I also don't separate between "secular" and "religious."

Are you asking what good have Christians done for the world? Or what benefit is God to the world?

I'm not advocating religion. Most Christians I know don't like religion, but they love Jesus and we don't see that as the same thing.

If you can clarify your question I'll take a stab at it.

Karla said...

Anon, the Smithsonian does see the Bible as historically relevant. I have given you testimonies of miracles already. We've discussed the moral argument quiet thoroughly even though we still disagree. And even Dawkins says that when you look at nature it seems to suggest a divine hand at work and compels you to worship and then he says, but there isn't one so we must redirect the natural desire that we have to worship a creator.

Karla said...

cl, I am not about trying to get anyone to go against their will to do anything. But I'm also not one to give up. I hope to always keep the conversation peaceful and free of quarreling. I really like to think deeply about these things and to learn the different perspectives people have about them think them through to their logical conclusions.

The difficult thing is showing the reality of God only through impersonal dialog.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyber you asked me to name three things that point to God. I'll give you four.

Miracles
Nature
Morals (in my opinion)
History

Well, for a start neither Nature, Morality nor History point in any way towards God.

Regarding miracles - even if they do happen (which is a HUGE if) they do not indicate in any way the existence of God. They merely confirm the existence of miracles. You jump to the conclusion that miracles are brought about by God. that is your belief. What grounds do you have for believing it...? That no one else can produce miracles? You said yourself in an earlier conversation that so-called demons can produce fake miracles too that, to the 'untrained' eye, would look and feel exactly like 'real' miracles.... So why can't other causes of miracles also be true?

Anonymous said...

"If you can clarify your question I'll take a stab at it."

Try theology or revelation if the word religion offends you. Xianity is a religion though.

What have we learned by imploring god for an answer to something? What have we learned through prayer or divine revelation? These are all pretty much the same question and they all hinge on what we as humans can say has advanced our knowledge. I contend that our knowledge has never been advanced by prayer or revelation. That people have come away from such things and simply made stuff up, and sometimes they gotten a lucky guess, but we still couldn't say that we knew the thing they asserted until we went and did the hard scientific work of actually finding out how the world really works.

So, if a theologian employs the scientific method and figures out some aspect of human behavior, did we learn it from religion/prayer/revelation/etc. or did we learn it from science? I'm not saying theologians can't advance our knowledge. I'm saying that the only way in which they do so is by employing science, or at least some other method than religion/prayer/revelation (since I know that you may advocate that we learn or advance our knowledge through philosophy, and I debate that, but it's not worth getting into right now).

Anonymous said...

"Anon, the Smithsonian does see the Bible as historically relevant."

You're going to have to support that statement. Even if bits and piece are historical, as I've no doubt that Paul's letters are close enough for government work, making the blanket statement that the parts in question are covered by that is pretty sloppy.

"I have given you testimonies of miracles already."

Yet, you can't tell me how you know they are miracles, or how you know they are supernatural, or how you know they came from your god.

"We've discussed the moral argument quiet thoroughly even though we still disagree."

And, you've never showed the morality can only come from god. You keep telling me that is so, but you can't support it.

"And even Dawkins says that when you look at nature it seems to suggest a divine hand at work and compels you to worship and then he says, but there isn't one so we must redirect the natural desire that we have to worship a creator."

Where does he say that?

"The difficult thing is showing the reality of God only through impersonal dialog."

It should be impersonal if it's evidence based. Why should it matter? If you have evidence for your position, then it doesn't matter.

Karla said...

Cyber said:

"Regarding miracles - even if they do happen (which is a HUGE if) they do not indicate in any way the existence of God. They merely confirm the existence of miracles."

I've seen them and experienced them and have friends and family who have seen them and experienced them.

Secondly a miracle is something that is not explained by natural course of events. It is the result of a supernatural event. So to admit to a miracle would be to admit to a supernatural cause. If there is a supernatural cause there is a supernatural being doing the causing. Is this not logical?

So then you could argue that maybe it's another supernatural being other than God (the ultimate supernatural being) where would that other supernatural being get it's origin? Say an angel led a person out of a fire, where did that angel come from? If you are going to accept angels you would be at the beginning of accepting a larger construct of the supernatural world. Either you don't accept miracles as possible at all and cannot accept that my mother in laws arm grew out an inch and a half before my eyes instantaneously upon asking Jesus to grow it out, or you must accept a supernatural agent of some sort responded to our prayer. If so there is a lot of exploring to do beyond your naturalism to find the source of miracles. Don't you think?

BTW, when my husband was a teenager he was awakened in a fire by someone he thought at the time was his father and told there was fire and to get out. He soon realized his parents were still in their bed as was his brother who he had to rouse to get everyone out of the house. No one else was around to have given him that verbal warning that the house was on fire.

Karla said...

Anon the word doesn't offend me it just has a different meaning to me.

I can point to all the valuable information and principals the Bible provides but you don't accept that as revelation so I doubt you want me to go into that.

I don't differentiate between fields of knowledge, I think all ways of discovering truth are given to us by God whether they were given by direct revelation or by natural means due to the way we are created to reason. So it's difficult to differentiate between things that are strictly from revelation and things that are not.

I really don't think in those terms. I've seen the operation of the prophetic (meaning God giving someone information in some form either by dream, impression, thoughts, words, visions, feelings, pictures, etc. of how to solve problems or other directional aid.

Like I've said, I have seen miraculous answer to prayer. I have seen people healed. I have seen people set free from emotional bondage.

God isn't just good for the subjective spiritual construct of a person but He also aids us in the practical life.

The historical problem has been that Christians have kept most of that aid in house and haven't helped the world with it and so the world starves for what we have to give and we neglect the world. I'm working with a group of people now who are very intent on bringing the truth of God's principals to the world in a manner that is not absolutist and destructive, but humble and helpful. A way that is not imposed on others like through the Christian right in politics, but in a way that comes along side people and helps them do what God created them to do and doesn't seek to elevate ourselves or evangelize but to simply aid and help where we are given wisdom to help.

There is God wisdom that can be tapped into with regard to economics, education, government, ethics, etc. He is relevant in all these things.

Karla said...

hey everyone, I'm signing off for the night and I don't know that I'll get time tomorrow to chat, so I'll be responding most likely on Thursday to any further comments.

Ali P said...

Karla said...
Secondly a miracle is something that is not explained by natural course of events.

STOP. The statement is now complete, could be anything, but we don't know.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Secondly a miracle is something that is not explained by natural course of events.

It is something that can certainly be viewed as unexplained. This doesn't mean that a miracle is beyond explanation. You just have to push beyond the label of miracle.

karla said: It is the result of a supernatural event.

No, that is your *assumption*. It is simply unexplained. Even if we cannot explain it - it remains un-ex-plained. Nothing more. To say that it is caused by God you would have to *prove* that God did it and not simply *assume* that God did it.

karla said: If so there is a lot of exploring to do beyond your naturalism to find the source of miracles. Don't you think?

No.

karla said: BTW, when my husband was a teenager he was awakened in a fire by someone he thought at the time was his father and told there was fire and to get out.

...and people hear fire engines in their sleep and wake up to hear the alarm clock...... It's not a miracle. It's the subconscious mind waking him up in the best way it can.

If these are your *best* examples of the work of God in the world no wonder we don't believe in Him.

cl said...

Cyber,"When you're dead, you're dead. If you were wrong about some things in life it no longer matters."Proof please? That's an assumption. How would I know? I haven't died yet.

"Personally I find it difficult to believe in things for which there appears to be no evidence."

I would imagine you believe it when your stomach tells you you're hungry.

"Why would we *want* to believe in something I personnaly consider groundless?"That's not my question to answer.

Karla,I'm not about trying to get anyone to go against their will to do anything, either. I'm also not one to give up. And while I don't mind quarreling, I tend to avoid ad hominem arguments, and I generally hope to keep the conversation peaceful and pursuant to logic. I also really like to think deeply about these things and to learn the different perspectives people have about them think them through to their logical conclusions.

Anon,"I doubt that the Xians here could choose to believe in Zeus for a day."On what evidence do you rest?

"What have we learned by imploring god for an answer to something?"I could tell you things I think I've learned, but the way I see it, it's honestly a joke for you to even ask. If you choose not to believe there's a God, why on Earth would you choose to believe God ever revealed anything to anyone? Not trying to be rude, but your preset filter must find some sort of way to relegate all claims of revelation.

"I contend that our knowledge has never been advanced by prayer or revelation."Of course you do! And, of course, I disagree. But what's the point? Proving what you ask for is like proving a miracle - an epistemological nightmare. I believe you're beyond intelligent enough to realize this, yet I'm always boggled as to your persistence in demanding proof.

"I'm saying that the only way in which they do so is by employing science, or at least some other method than religion/prayer/revelation"And I don't expect that myself or anyone could convince you otherwise. But I am glad at least we're talking again... And I'm not being a smart-ass, either.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Proof please? That's an assumption. How would I know? I haven't died yet.

[laughs]

All available evidence suggests that death is pretty much final. It's a reasonable assumption to make. Much more reasonable, IMO, than any of the alternatives I know about.

cl said: I would imagine you believe it when your stomach tells you you're hungry.

Not always, no. My brain tells me I'm hungry for lots of reasons - bordem, stress...... Sometimes I'm actually hungry but mostly I'm not.... Bad example really.... Though I'm not exactually sure what it was an example of....

cl said: That's not my question to answer.

But its my answer to you. I see absolutely no reason to believe in something for which there are no compelling arguments nor any evidence or proof. If I didn't think like that I'd end up believing in all kinds of crazy things... Wouldn't I?

cl said...

Cyber,"All available evidence suggests that death is pretty much final."Not true at all, and I actually can't believe what a cherry-picked statement that is!

I'm sorry you didn't see so much in the hunger analogy. The point was, all people believe in things that lack demonstrable evidence. I might be able to prove that the contents of your stomach are empty, but I can't prove that you're hungry.

"I see absolutely no reason to believe in something for which there are no compelling arguments nor any evidence or proof."And I see absolutely no reason to assume that denying the current arguments are compelling entails that no compelling arguments exist. If I might ask, what are the compelling arguments, evidence or proof that you are hungry? How do you know whether the signal is false or not?

"If I didn't think like that I'd end up believing in all kinds of crazy things... Wouldn't I?"Only if you're not thinking rationally. That's the classic slippery slope fallacy, right there.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Not true at all, and I actually can't believe what a cherry-picked statement that is!

What...? You mean NDE's, past-life hypnotic recall, seances, photographs of ghosts? Not exactly reliable evidence.... Or do you have something else in mind. I'm a skeptic remember so I'm not easily convinced.

Also - not only am I being asked to belive in God but now I'm apparently being asked to believe in life after death & the soul. This God belief is a HUGE package deal isn't it?

cl said: I might be able to prove that the contents of your stomach are empty, but I can't prove that you're hungry.

You might not be able to prove that I'm hungry but I can feel hungry and determine through experience whether or not that feeling is an accurate description of my state of being. I do not simply 'believe' I'm hungry. There are phisiological and psychological reasons that tell me I'm hungry.

cl said: And I see absolutely no reason to assume that denying the current arguments are compelling entails that no compelling arguments exist.

Indeed. It's just that I haven't head any yet.

cl said: If I might ask, what are the compelling arguments, evidence or proof that you are hungry? How do you know whether the signal is false or not?

A lifetimes experience of this body and a basic understanding of the process.

cl said: Only if you're not thinking rationally. That's the classic slippery slope fallacy, right there.

Are you saying that I can rationally believe something *without* any compelling argument and *without* any proof or evidence? That's a very interesting interpretation of 'rational' don't you think?

Anonymous said...

"Secondly a miracle is something that is not explained by natural course of events."

Something that can not have been caused by purely natural means, you mean? Something that is simply unexplained is not a miracle.

"It is the result of a supernatural event. So to admit to a miracle would be to admit to a supernatural cause. If there is a supernatural cause there is a supernatural being doing the causing. Is this not logical?"

No, it's not. There's no logical necessity that an event that is beyond nature as we know it was caused by an entity. For all we know, another universe could be impinging on ours and causing things to happen that are beyond the natural. Still, I reject that any such thing has happened until I see some evidence, and no, your testimony does not count. Have you looked at Derren Brown's stuff yet?

"I can point to all the valuable information and principals the Bible provides but you don't accept that as revelation so I doubt you want me to go into that."

Why would you point to that? And, what's so valuable about it? I'll bet that you can't come up with anything valuable without doing some serious selective reading.

"I don't differentiate between fields of knowledge, I think all ways of discovering truth are given to us by God whether they were given by direct revelation or by natural means due to the way we are created to reason. So it's difficult to differentiate between things that are strictly from revelation and things that are not."

AFAIK, there's only evidence for one way of discovering truth, and there's not one example of it being through revelation. You are still not giving me a single example, and instead dancing around the question.

"The historical problem has been that Christians have kept most of that aid in house and haven't helped the world with it and so the world starves for what we have to give and we neglect the world."

Yes, I'm sure that the Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia would love for you to share.

"There is God wisdom that can be tapped into with regard to economics, education, government, ethics, etc. He is relevant in all these things."

For instance? And you know that it's true how?

cl said...

As far as the false dichotomy of natural vs. supernatural goes, count me out.

Anon,"..there's only evidence for one way of discovering truth, and there's not one example of it being through revelation."I disagree, and you have failed to demonstrate how one might rationally detect revelation, hence it is difficult to select an example that might meet your criteria. Without said criteria, we're just dancing. Provide said criteria, and I'll meet you head-on.

Cyber,Give me an example of evidence you would consider reliable.

Many claims entail subsidiary claims.

"You might not be able to prove that I'm hungry but I can feel hungry and determine through experience whether or not that feeling is an accurate description of my state of being. I do not simply 'believe' I'm hungry. There are phisiological and psychological reasons that tell me I'm hungry... A lifetimes experience of this body and a basic understanding of the process."There's no demonstrable evidence there, my friend. Believers say the same things.

As far as arguments go, I do not believe an ontological argument exists that can override human volition.

"Are you saying that I can rationally believe something *without* any compelling argument and *without* any proof or evidence?"No, I was rebutting the slippery slope argument you made.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Cyber,Give me an example of evidence you would consider reliable.

I'm not exactly sure what you want from me. Instead of the drip, drip approach why don't you just cut to the chase?

cl said: Many claims entail subsidiary claims.

Indeed they do - and lots of assumptions too.

cl said: There's no demonstrable evidence there, my friend. Believers say the same things.

So... are you saying that if I can't convince you that I'm hungry that I shouldn't expect you to convince me of God's existence? Is that the point you're trying to make? That it is either very difficult/impossible to convince someone else of quite a lot of stuff? Otherwise I'm becoming confused about your line of questioning....

cl said: As far as arguments go, I do not believe an ontological argument exists that can override human volition.

So... you can't *reason* your way to God you just need to make a choice... a leap of faith? Why would anyone want to do that?

cl said: No, I was rebutting the slippery slope argument you made.

Actually I thought it was you who offered up a very slippery slope. You appeared to be saying - please correct me if I'm wrong - that neither credible argument nor evidence exists for the existence of God (that any self-respecting skeptic would believe) but that you thought that people should believe in God despite this... I was arguing that on those grounds a great deal more that God would be open to be believed in because the critical tools used to stop believing in nonsense would be absent. I thought it a very fair comment actually.

cl said...

Cyber,You said the evidence points against life after death. I said that was a cherry-picked statement. You offered a few examples of things you obviously did not consider reliable evidence. I asked you to provide me with a working definition of reliable evidence. Cutting to the chase would consist of you providing said working definition, allowing me to immediately exclude all examples that don't meet your criteria and select from those that remain. Please.

"Otherwise I'm becoming confused about your line of questioning...."Actually, the questions you asked weren't bad, and don't lead to the conclusion that a "leap of faith" is required to believe in God. There is nothing in the idea of a God responsible for our universe who will one day judge us and mete out justice and punishment that is logically impossible or beyond reason. Proof and evidence are different things, and there are many things both logically possible and within reason that cannot be proven with evidence. For example, hunger. And I can admit that's not the best example, either. For example, and to critique my own argument, one could quite easily use the real-world evidence of a famished human being to argue a convincing case for genuine hunger.

So again, let's cut to the chase. Instead of me providing a mediocre one, can you think of any examples of claims you accept without evidence?

"Actually I thought it was you who offered up a very slippery slope. You appeared to be saying - please correct me if I'm wrong - that neither credible argument nor evidence exists for the existence of God (that any self-respecting skeptic would believe) but that you thought that people should believe in God despite this..."The discrepancies between statements and their interpretations never cease to amaze me! Allow me to correct. I said, "I do not believe an ontological argument exists that can override human volition." That does not entail that evidence or credible arguments for God don't exist. I'm not saying non-believing skeptics should believe despite a reasonable foundation. I'm saying if they advance the claim that no reasonable foundation exists, I'd like to know exactly what it is about the idea of God as described above that they claim is beyond reason. So no, I'm not saying they should believe despite the reasonable foundation. I'm asking for an explanation of why the foundation offered is not reasonable.

As far as the slippery slope thing goes, I have two points to make. First, I think you have a different understanding of the term than I do, because your paraphrase of my argument is not a slippery slope argument - even if it was the argument I'm making, which I just stated explained it was not. Not my favorite, but here's Wikipedia's definition: "A slippery slope argument states that a relatively small first step inevitably leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant impact... it ignores the possibility of middle ground and assumes a discrete transition from category A to category B." Should you be concerned about the omitted sections, it was for brevity. My reply would be that in this case, as with most, I disagree that a single instance increases the possibility of further instances. It's entirely within reason that first hit of crack cocaine can be so utterly revolting that one never wants to try it again, for example. The results of a single instance of abandoning the critical tools might prove epistemologically disastrous enough to similarly persuade. But again, I'm not suggesting we abandon them.

Second, let's say that for some reason we cannot currently fathom, you did accept some claim without a reasonable foundation. By no means does that entail that you would "end up believing in all kinds of crazy things." If you're already a reasonable, intelligent individual with zero instances of accepting claims sans reasonable foundation, accepting one such claim still puts you far closer to zero than "all kinds of things." Hence, slippery slope, but...

"I was arguing that on those grounds a great deal more that God would be open to be believed in because the critical tools used to stop believing in nonsense would be absent. I thought it a very fair comment actually."..the way you rephrased it above is much more fair, although still not without serious problem. I disagree that anything inherent in the idea of God as described above commands that we abandon the critical tools, and I already used real-world examples and logic to rebut the claim that a single instance necessarily increases the probability of further instances.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Cyber,You said the evidence points against life after death.

Well, I don't think that there is any credible evidence to support life after death. Which I suppose is the same thing....

cl said: I asked you to provide me with a working definition of reliable evidence.

Evidence that would stand up in court. Evidence that can be verified and agreed upon after it has been properly examined. At least something along those lines....

cl said: There is nothing in the idea of a God responsible for our universe who will one day judge us and mete out justice and punishment that is logically impossible or beyond reason.

Maybe not. But I have yet to hear a credible argument, nor have I been presented with any proof or evidence that a reasonable skeptic (like myself) would find compelling enough to change my belief on His existence.

cl said: can you think of any examples of claims you accept without evidence?

Lots, probably, if I gave it some thought. I certainly don't demand hard irrefutable evidence for everything anybody ever says to me. However, on the God issue - which some people consider fairly important (or at least life changing) I would expect any reasonable person to demand at least a modicum of evidence before believing in such things. Wouldn't you agree?

cl said: That does not entail that evidence or credible arguments for God don't exist.

Maybe not. But I am yet to be convinced by anything I've heard so far - and I don't just mean this Blog. I have asked Christians for decades to provide anything that points to the existence of God. So far, they have singularly been unable to do so.

cl said: I'm asking for an explanation of why the foundation offered is not reasonable.

What 'foundation'?

cl said: The results of a single instance of abandoning the critical tools might prove epistemologically disastrous enough to similarly persuade. But again, I'm not suggesting we abandon them.

But can belief in God exist in isolation? Surely I would necessarily have to believe in the divinity of Jesus would I not? The virgin birth...? The miracles.... The Resurrection? That souls exist to be saved? Transubstantiation.... and a whole host of other things..... Angels? Demons? Heaven, Hell... the list goes on does it not? That's what I mean by "all kinds of things".

cl said: I disagree that anything inherent in the idea of God as described above commands that we abandon the critical tools...

...and yet my critical tools are telling me to be *extremely* skeptical. Without putting that to one side how can I possibly believe in something for which I see no reason to believe in?

Karla said...

Wow, this is a fast paced conversation. Good point's cl regarding a reasonable foundation and not asking for people to make a leap of faith to get to the God conclusion. It's not a leap of faith, but it is faith employed upon a reasonable foundation of a series of things that support the truth of the whole package.

Yes, Cyber, I've tried to explain that none of the topics we have discussed are in isolation, they are all interconnected and make a complete picture when seen as a whole.

Your statement about how Christians haven't been able to give you satisfactory answers, really pushes me to keep trying for as long as your interested. I don't want to push you beyond your will to listen, but I know you, and all, are free to stop reading at any point. So I keep on writing, though I think because I love to think and write about such things I would do so even if no one read.

Cyber, I think cl has asked already, but to ask myself, what is it that you look for in believing something is true? What evidence would you call sufficient of God existence? Are you looking for Him to give you an experience of His authenticity? Or are you more about the sort of facts that can be relayed in writing regarding the philosophical, historical, or scientific aspects of this worldview?

What is it really you are looking for?

cl said...

"Well, I don't think that there is any credible evidence to support life after death."Whether we say credible or reliable, the same problem arises. What do you consider credible evidence? What do you consider a compelling argument? Compelling is not synonymous with cogent. You ask for evidence that will stand up in court, but we all know what a cunning attorney can do and we all know the court system fails. Further, in which court must the evidence stand up in? Municipal? Federal? Supreme? Some other international court perhaps? Worse yet, all sorts of false arguments have stood up in court, so I'm afraid your first example was not good for much. Your second example was, "Evidence that can be verified and agreed upon after it has been properly examined." How can evidence or proof of God be verified? What you ask for is an epistemological impossibility - when you ask another human being."What 'foundation'?"The foundation of my sub-argument here is that God as described makes sense. In response to my claim that God as described was not beyond reason, you replied, "Maybe not." That is essentially synonymous with a concession that God as described makes sense. You then continued, "But I have yet to hear a credible argument, nor have I been presented with any proof or evidence that a reasonable skeptic (like myself) would find compelling enough to change my belief on His existence." You then said that your critical tools are telling you to be "extremely skeptical."

My question is, by what logic does believing in something that makes sense constitute an abandonment of the critical tools? Why should we be "extremely skeptical" of something that is within reason?

"I certainly don't demand hard irrefutable evidence for everything anybody ever says to me. However, on the God issue - which some people consider fairly important (or at least life changing) I would expect any reasonable person to demand at least a modicum of evidence before believing in such things. Wouldn't you agree?"Not necessarily. For some people, God intuitively makes sense and no evidence is needed. That doesn't automatically qualify them as unreasonable. Still, in this day and age, I would also agree that it is reasonable to ask for evidence regarding God. Part of the reason we do this is to avoid being taken by false claims, and there are lots of charlatans out there. It's for good reason we learn to distrust the guy who says, "Give me your money, and I'll go triple it and give you back double." The God proposition, at least the traditional Christian version of it, is not such a proposition.

"That's what I mean by "all kinds of things"."You've conflated theism with Christianity. Theism does not necessarily entail Christianity.

"Without putting that to one side how can I possibly believe in something for which I see no reason to believe in?"You can't, at least not without a self-perceived violation of principle and the cognitive dissonance it entails. To me, a better question is the one I've already asked: If God as described makes sense, why should you be "extremely skeptical" of God's existence?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: It's not a leap of faith, but it is faith employed upon a reasonable foundation of a series of things that support the truth of the whole package.

I still don't see any 'reasonable foundation' to start from....

karla said: Yes, Cyber, I've tried to explain that none of the topics we have discussed are in isolation, they are all interconnected and make a complete picture when seen as a whole.

So if I believe in God then I *have* to believe in all of the other bits? A belief in God *cannot* exist in isolation? Is that what you're saying?

karla said: I don't want to push you beyond your will to listen, but I know you, and all, are free to stop reading at any point.

I will when I think that our debates are becoming pointless.

karla said: what is it that you look for in believing something is true?

Good arguments, good reasons, good evidence.

karla said: What evidence would you call sufficient of God existence?

A series of things that cannot be explained in any other way. Compelling argument, compelling reasons, compelling evidence.

karla said: Are you looking for Him to give you an experience of His authenticity?

As I do not believe He exists I'm not looking to Him for anything.

karla said: What is it really you are looking for?

Peace on Earth, good will to all men..... Lots of things..... Or very little depending on what kind of day I'm having.....

cl said: How can evidence or proof of God be verified? What you ask for is an epistemological impossibility.

So how can you (or anyone) *reasonably* expect me to believe in Him? No one has answered that question yet.

cl said: In response to my claim that God as described was not beyond reason, you replied, "Maybe not." That is essentially synonymous with a concession that God as described makes sense.

Maybe does not mean yes... it means maybe. It is possible that God exists and that we can reason our way to His existence. However, I am unaware of any such argument, nor am I aware of any credible evidence even *indicating* His existence. However, as I have already pointed out, there are many things that I know little or nothing about. So you never can tell. Maybe I just haven't come across the right kind of argument or evidence yet. I am not, however, holding my breath at this point.

cl said: Why should we be "extremely skeptical" of something that is within reason?

Because although belief in God *may* be reasonable - I am personally unaware of any reasonable arguments to personally hold that belief. The reasons and arguments I *am* aware of I consider to be weak at best (or often either inexplicable or hilarious).

cl said: For some people, God intuitively makes sense and no evidence is needed. That doesn't automatically qualify them as unreasonable.

Firstly, I am not that kind of person. Second, I would consider such people as beliving in an unreasonable (indeed reckless) fashion.

cl said: You've conflated theism with Christianity. Theism does not necessarily entail Christianity.

I presumed that was the particular flavour of Theism under debate. Karla seems to agree that belief in God is a package deal...

cl said: If God as described makes sense, why should you be "extremely skeptical" of God's existence?

Because, although it is possible that God *could* make sense, His existence makes no sense to me.

Karla said...

Cyber "So if I believe in God then I *have* to believe in all of the other bits? A belief in God *cannot* exist in isolation? Is that what you're saying?"

Deists stop at belief in God. But that's not the worldview that I'm advocating.

Cyber: "Peace on Earth, good will to all men"

So where does peace come from? Where does the good come from? Does your worldview provide a framework for that?

Cyber "I presumed that was the particular flavour of Theism under debate. Karla seems to agree that belief in God is a package deal..."

Yes, I don't see theism in isolation as a very complete package. I mean if you just stop with yeah God exist, so what? What does that mean for us. It's not just about intellectual assent to a fact statement. It's about a relational knowing that occurs along with the factual knowing that is deeply meaningful and purposeful to all manner of knowledge and life. I'm sorry, I cannot leave it at simple theism, for I don't see much point in that except maybe a stepping stone to the rest of the story.

Karla said...

Cyber: So how can you (or anyone) *reasonably* expect me to believe in Him? No one has answered that question yet.

I don't see how one can support reason without Him. So I still would ask you the same thing, how can I reasonably not believe in Him?

Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry, I cannot leave it at simple theism, for I don't see much point in that except maybe a stepping stone to the rest of the story."

Reality does not bend to what you wish it is like.

Anonymous said...

"I don't see how one can support reason without Him. So I still would ask you the same thing, how can I reasonably not believe in Him?"

After all this, you're still pushing this tired, old line?

god may or may not exist, correct? We live in this universe (let's take that for granted) and there may or may not be a god up there. If god exists, then whatever. If god does not exist, well, we still live here and reality still seems to be consistent. Reason exists because of that consistency.

OK, so let's take it a step further. Whether god exists or not, a consistent universe leads to reason. Reason is independent of god. You can argue that the universe can't be consistent without god, but you have no basis for that argument. You would be using illogic, irrational argumentation in order to argue to reason, which is self-defeating. In fact, with a god that performs miracles and intervenes in the lives and prayers of people, we have no reason to suspect that the universe is consistent. god could literally cause the sun to not rise tomorrow morning. In this sense, we would be living in a rather irrational world, which would destroy our ability to reason. To turn this around, I don't know how you can believe in reason while believing in an unreasonable god with the ability and inclination to change our universe at his whims.

Now, return to your normal dodging and ignoring counterpoints exercises.

Karla said...

Anon "Reality does not bend to what you wish it is like."

Agreed.

Karla said...

Anon, reason comes from rationality and rationality begets rationality. So would not an eternal rational being be necessary for us to have rationality and reason?

Anonymous said...

"Agreed."

I doubt it.

"Anon, reason comes from rationality and rationality begets rationality. So would not an eternal rational being be necessary for us to have rationality and reason?"

This is tautological. You're saying that rationality comes from rationality. And, no, it does not necessitate an eternal being. Now, are you going to actually deal with what I wrote, or continue to simply assert that god is necessary?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Deists stop at belief in God. But that's not the worldview that I'm advocating.

Yes, I'm aware of that.

karla said: So where does peace come from? Where does the good come from? Does your worldview provide a framework for that?

Yes. Peace & Good come from the same place - along with much else discussed here. They are constructs of the human mind.

karla said: So I still would ask you the same thing, how can I reasonably not believe in Him?

Presumably the same way I do. Easily.

karla said: So would not an eternal rational being be necessary for us to have rationality and reason?

No.

Anonymous said...

karla said: So I still would ask you the same thing, how can I reasonably not believe in Him?

ck said: Presumably the same way I do. Easily.

Indeed. I'm still waiting for someone to explain how one can reasonably believe in god. In fact, it's more than simple to reasonably not believe, it's required if one wants to be reasonable.

Karla said...

Cyber "Yes. Peace & Good come from the same place - along with much else discussed here. They are constructs of the human mind."

Where is your evidence that humanity is the source and that these things even exist?

Karla said...

Anon, does not life come from life? Non-living matter does not produce life, that's science 101. Humans beget humans and cats beget cats and dogs beget dogs. There is nothing meaningless in this, it's logical.

Now why do you find problems with the statement that it takes a rational being to produce rational beings?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Where is your evidence that humanity is the source and that these things even exist?

Philosophy.

Where is your evidence that these things come from God?

karla said: Now why do you find problems with the statement that it takes a rational being to produce rational beings?

As far as we know humans are the only rational creatures on Earth - or at least the most rational (frightening as that thought is). Clearly these was a time before man existed. Therefore there was a time when no (fully) rational creature existed. Thefore non-rational beings led to rational beings QED.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, does not life come from life?"

That's overly simplistic, don't you think? We know that the building blocks of life will self-assemble given sufficient conditions, and that those building blocks will continue to organize. The evidence points to them becoming life - abiogenesis.

"There is nothing meaningless in this, it's logical."

That we have well-known natural processes that account for the birth cycle is different from saying that rationality comes from rationality. Two can play this game, right? Hot dogs come from hot dogs. Frisbees come from frisbees. Once you realize why those examples don't work, it might help you with why your example doesn't work.

"Now why do you find problems with the statement that it takes a rational being to produce rational beings?"

A number of reasons. You're assuming that rationality is an inherent property of things. It is not. By your account, evolution could not happen because unicellular organisms are not rational, therefore we could not have evolved from them. This is nothing short of ridiculous and absurd.

So, I ask you again to deal with what I wrote instead of making absurd statements.

Karla said...

Okay Anonymous: Here the counterpoint:


Anon: god may or may not exist, correct?

It would be one or the other, yes. I am committed to the former.

Anon: We live in this universe (let's take that for granted) and there may or may not be a god up there.

Yes we live in the universe. Yes the question is answered by either His existence or non-existence.

Anon “If god exists, then whatever.”

If His existence is a reality then that means a great deal, not just whatever.

Anon “If god does not exist, well, we still live here and reality still seems to be consistent.”

I know the argument that reality would still be the same as we see it now if He doesn’t exist, but that is assuming He doesn’t need to exist for reality to be as we see it. Reality could be very different if He did not exist and we may very well need His existence to be in existence at all. Just because we have science of how the system might work in theory doesn’t mean that explains its origin.

Anon “Reason exists because of that consistency.”

Reason is a mental tool of cognizance that allows us to consider things in an intellectual manner or to quote the dictionary “the faculty or power of acquiring intellectual knowledge, either by direct understanding of first principles or by argument” So the world would need to be a way in which reason can work, but that is not to say that the origin of that physical world that gave it said principals of reason did not originate from a metaphysical force of supreme reason. In fact, it would seem more logical that a rational metaphysical force endowed us with a rational physical world that can be understood reasonably.

Anon “OK, so let's take it a step further. Whether god exists or not, a consistent universe leads to reason.”

Would a random purposeless origin of the physical universe necessitate an orderly physical world that would give the consistency necessary for reason? A consistent universe may need to be granted to have reason, but it’s necessity doesn’t explain it’s origin.

Anon “Reason is independent of god.”

This you have not proved. That is a big leap of faith if ever there was one. If God exist and is the author and creator of all then it could not be thus. Again reason without an origin in one who is Reason does not seem to be reasonable at all.


Anon “You can argue that the universe can't be consistent without god, but you have no basis for that argument.”

You can’t explain why it happens to be consistent. Can you? Only that it needs to be, or that it is.

Anon “You would be using illogic, irrational argumentation in order to argue to reason, which is self-defeating.”

So you say, but I have presented a reasonable argument that reason needs an originator. That order needs one to give it order and is not likely to go from randomness to order pursuant to entropy.

Anon “In fact, with a god that performs miracles and intervenes in the lives and prayers of people, we have no reason to suspect that the universe is consistent. god could literally cause the sun to not rise tomorrow morning.”

Is an author of a book interrupting the order of his book as he writes? Also what if miracles are restoring the original script of the story and where sin has corrupted the nature of the story, the supernatural has restored it to its natural order thus is a method of restoration to its proper order and not a destruction of order. If man was never meant to be sick, and God heals the sick man then order is not being corrupted but restored.

Anon “In this sense, we would be living in a rather irrational world, which would destroy our ability to reason.”

No, I covered that just above.

“To turn this around, I don't know how you can believe in reason while believing in an unreasonable god with the ability and inclination to change our universe at his whims.”

I don’t believe in an unreasonable God. I believe in a God who is very reasonable and very much about restoring things to the order of it’s original created glory. He is the master painter and his painting was corrupted, His miracles are restoring life into the painting, not taking it away. It’s a most reasonable thing.

”Now, return to your normal dodging and ignoring counterpoints exercises.”

I just responded point by point.

Anonymous said...

"I know the argument that reality would still be the same as we see it now if He doesn’t exist, but that is assuming He doesn’t need to exist for reality to be as we see it."

You've presented no reason why this would be so. We can describe most aspects of the universe through natural means, thus negating any need for god to do anything. Still, the point is that the universe exists whether god does or not, and the capacity to reason exists whether god does or not.

"So the world would need to be a way in which reason can work, but that is not to say that the origin of that physical world that gave it said principals of reason did not originate from a metaphysical force of supreme reason."

There's no need for it. As long as the universe is consistent, there's no need for god to have reason.

"In fact, it would seem more logical that a rational metaphysical force endowed us with a rational physical world that can be understood reasonably."

Explain why it would be more reasonable to add an extra, unnecessary layer in violation of Occam's Razor.

"Would a random purposeless origin of the physical universe necessitate an orderly physical world that would give the consistency necessary for reason?"

Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that this universe is consistent as far as we can tell.

"This you have not proved. That is a big leap of faith if ever there was one."

Reason is contingent on a orderly universe that may or may not have to arise with god. Therefore, whether god exists or not is independent of reason.

"Again reason without an origin in one who is Reason does not seem to be reasonable at all."

So you keep saying, but not backing up. All you are doing is asserting that god exists, created the universe, gave us reason, and it has to be that way, without support.

"You can’t explain why it happens to be consistent. Can you? Only that it needs to be, or that it is."

You have no explanation for it either. In fact, your "explanation" doesn't work at all, because it relies on a god that can and does warp reality on a whim - thus destroying the consistency that we need.

"So you say, but I have presented a reasonable argument that reason needs an originator."

No, you've simply asserted this is so.

"That order needs one to give it order and is not likely to go from randomness to order pursuant to entropy."

Don't even try to talk about entropy, because you are way in over your head. Entropy only applies in a closed system and only deals with the total system. It does not mean that local areas of order can not arise. Further, reason is not subject to entropy. Lastly, you can talk about randomness, but the universe in the respect we are talking about is rather consistent. You can't simultaneously argue that it is random and consistent (not the way you are using the terms at least).

I still see no reason why order is needed to have order. Is someone making snowflakes or rock crystals? Those are highly ordered and do not require anything beyond natural processes that are well understood. Your premise that order only comes from order is defeated.

"Is an author of a book interrupting the order of his book as he writes? Also what if miracles are restoring the original script of the story and where sin has corrupted the nature of the story, the supernatural has restored it to its natural order thus is a method of restoration to its proper order and not a destruction of order. If man was never meant to be sick, and God heals the sick man then order is not being corrupted but restored."

Thank you for conceding (unintentionally). Even if man is sick and god is restoring the original intent of the world, that is an inconsistency.

"No, I covered that just above."

And walked head first into it. You can't argue that the universe is consistent and that god is constantly altering it.

"I don’t believe in an unreasonable God."

One for whom you can't use reason and logic to argue to? Catch 22.

"I just responded point by point."

I did have to chide you, but you did attempt to answer, so kudos for that. Now, you'll have to dig out of the holes you put yourself in.

cl said...

Cyber,You told Karla you "still don't see any 'reasonable foundation' to start from," yet yesterday you conceded that God as described was "maybe not" beyond reason. I will now address your attempt to reconcile these two claims:

"Maybe does not mean yes... it means maybe. It is possible that God exists and that we can reason our way to His existence."

The problem is, that is not what you originally answered "maybe not" to. I said there was nothing beyond reason in God as described, and you said "maybe not." You did not originally say "maybe not" in response to me asking about the possibility that God exists, or whether we can reason our way to his existence. Right?

"...although it is possible that God *could* make sense, His existence makes no sense to me."

But that's an argument from ignorance. That's just like an evolution-denier saying evolution is false because cladogenesis makes no sense to them. You asked Karla, "So how can you (or anyone) *reasonably* expect me to believe in Him?" Let's cut to the chase: Was God as described to you beyond reason? Yes or no? If nothing in God as described was beyond reason, how does believing in something that is within reason constitute an abandonment of the critical tools?

Karla,"I'm sorry, I cannot leave it at simple theism, for I don't see much point in that except maybe a stepping stone to the rest of the story."

You're missing the logical thrust of the discussion, I'm afraid. My point is simply that even if Cyber believed one claim without evidence, that does not mean it is more likely he would believe multiple claims without evidence. That's the slippery slope fallacy at work. However, you and Cyber are both correct to note that Christianity entails more than theism, and I've never contended otherwise.

Anon,"If god exists, then whatever. If god does not exist, well, we still live here and reality still seems to be consistent. Reason exists because of that consistency."

Perhaps, but why does that consistency exist? Is not the very consistency you argue consistent with what we would expect from a God that is the same yesterday, today, and forever?

"You can argue that the universe can't be consistent without god, but you have no basis for that argument."

I agree. Similarly, do you realize your claim that "reason is independent of God" cannot be substantiated with evidence? As such, I must reject it as illogic - irrational argumentation in order to argue to reason - which is self-defeating.

However, I saw that Karla called you on it, and that you corrected yourself. I tend to agree with the corrected version of your claim.

CyberKitten said...

cl originally said: There is nothing in the idea of a God responsible for our universe who will one day judge us and mete out justice and punishment that is logically impossible or beyond reason.

cl then said: I said there was nothing beyond reason in God as described, and you said "maybe not." You did not originally say "maybe not" in response to me asking about the possibility that God exists, or whether we can reason our way to his existence. Right?

I said "Maybe not" to your description of God. As in "Such a creature might indeed exist" It was the written equivalent of shrugging my shoulders...

cl said: But that's an argument from ignorance.

...and as I have said several times - I am ignorant of a great deal. As I have also said - despite asking people who believe in such things - that I have yet to be presented with any reasonable argument or any credible evidence for the existence of God. Either the Christians I have spoken to cannot communicate their understanding of their beliefs very well or they do not understand their beliefs very well. Presumably they believe in God for what they regard as good reasons. I have yet to hear one.

cl said: Was God as described to you beyond reason? Yes or no?

God as you described Him may be reasonable to you - I actually have no idea what you believe in - or others but it it not reasonable to me. I do not believe that my reasoning ability is particularly weak or flawed. It is possible, I suppose, that a reasonable argument could be constructed that leads to God as the reasonable conclusion. I am unaware of such an argument.Though even if such an argument *could* be constructed it is still not proof nor even an indication that such a being actually exists. Such an argument would have to be verified. Argument alone is insufficient to be compelling.

cl said: If nothing in God as described was beyond reason, how does believing in something that is within reason constitute an abandonment of the critical tools?

The arguments put forward for the existence of God are, IMO, universially unreasonable. Those who believe in such a being, I believe, are either using faulty reason or no reason at all - you yourself said that belief by intuition was a valid way forward did you not?

cl said: For some people, God intuitively makes sense and no evidence is needed. That doesn't automatically qualify them as unreasonable.

Using intuition and abandoning the need for evidence cannot IMO be considered reasonable behaviour. That would make it unreasonable. Is this not abandoning critical tools?

cl said...

"I said "Maybe not" to your description of God. As in "Such a creature might indeed exist" It was the written equivalent of shrugging my shoulders..."

Thank you for clarifying.

"The arguments put forward for the existence of God are, IMO, universially unreasonable."

But Cyber, I'm not asking your opinion about arguments put forward for the existence of God. I'm asking about God as defined, and whether you think God as defined is beyond reason. You have yet to answer that, and we can't reasonably proceed until you do.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: I'm asking about God as defined, and whether you think God as defined is beyond reason.

'Beyond reason'... as in...... Just so I know what I'm being asked here.....

cl said...

Do you find anything inherently unreasonable, illogical, logically impossible, contradictory, (etc.) in God as described...?

CyberKitten said...

cl originally said: There is nothing in the idea of a God responsible for our universe who will one day judge us and mete out justice and punishment that is logically impossible or beyond reason.

Then cl said: Do you find anything inherently unreasonable, illogical, logically impossible, contradictory, (etc.) in God as described...?

Let's upack it shall we.....

a God responsible for our universe...

No evidence to support this

(unreasonable).

who will one day judge us...

As there are a number of competing religions (and factions within each religion) who propose different ideas of correct behaviour and that there is no simple way to determine which particular flavour is the one we should be following it is rather difficult to determine which set of rules/expectations we would be judged against.

(Both illogical and unreasonable)

mete out justice

See above

(Unreasonable)

punishment

For what exactly? Are we talking Hell here? Is this another 'belief' to be added to everything else?

(Unreasonable on several levels)

Karla said...

Cyber and Cl, I think that statement of God as defined doesn't really do Him justice. That's a part of the picture, but left with so little description isn't much to give Cyber to respond to.

Cyber there are a lot of views out there, but their existence doesn't negate the need to respond to the one at hand (one I might add that does have a lot of flavors, but most all those flavors all fit in the same vat of ice cream and don't change the general principals of the Judeo-Christian God we are discussing).

Maybe I need to do a post on those bare essentials. Would that help? C.S. Lewis wrote Mere Christianity for this purpose to just present the bare bones of the Christian message.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Maybe I need to do a post on those bare essentials. Would that help?

Possibly. It might help me understand the foundations of your belief.

karla said: Lewis wrote Mere Christianity for this purpose to just present the bare bones of the Christian message.

[laughs] I tried to read that years ago. A Christian at work leant it to me. I managed to struggle through about 1/4 of it before I gave it back. It was a truely awful and poorly thought out book.

Karla said...

Lewis did write for a different era in time. But his writings are still good. I enjoy him, but I have read just about every book he published so I am used to his style.

I will post something soon trying to give an overview of the worldview from which I speak. It might not be until Monday or Tuesday before I get a chance, but I'll be thinking on it till then.

cl said...

Cyber,

Let's talk a bit on evidence, and bear with me, for this question may seem redundant. What you really mean when you say "there's no evidence for God" is that you've not seen evidence you consider compelling. Correct?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Lewis did write for a different era in time. But his writings are still good.

I thought it was very bad - practically unreadable actually.

cl said: What you really mean when you say "there's no evidence for God" is that you've not seen evidence you consider compelling. Correct?

Pretty much, yes. I have been offered so-called evidence for God's existence but none of it was in any way compelling.

cl said...

Cyber,

Thanks for clarifying. I don't see how we can go further unless I understand what you are willing to accept as compelling evidence - and more importantly - exactly what makes that evidence compelling.

As far as proving God's existence to you, who do you think retains the burden of proof? Individual believers? God? Both? Neither? Someone else?

CyberKitten said...

cl said: I don't see how we can go further unless I understand what you are willing to accept as compelling evidence - and more importantly - exactly what makes that evidence compelling.

Let's look at it from the other direction. Here's a list of things that I do *not* find as compelling arguments for the existence of God:

The Universe
The Earth
Life on Earth
Humanity
The Bible
Testamony
Reason, Logic and Science
Love and Beauty
Language and Music
Myth and dreams

Although non-exhaustive, it's a fair start I think...

cl said: As far as proving God's existence to you, who do you think retains the burden of proof? Individual believers? God? Both? Neither? Someone else?

Well, I don't believe that God can prove his existence to me as I don't believe in God..... [grin]

If someone puts forward the idea that God exists I'd probably say "Really....., and why do you believe that...?" expecting them to produce reasons.

As you know I do not believe in God - my reason for saying this (seemingly endlessly here) is that I know of no compelling argument nor of any evidence to support that belief.

cl said...

Bear with me here, but to me this seems endless is because I can't get a concrete answer out of you as to what constitutes compelling evidence or compelling arguments. It's self-evident that compelling is synonymous with persuasive, and I had already figured out that none of those things compels you.

If someone tells me to go find Jake, I need to know what Jake looks like. It is impossible for me to suggest an example of a compelling argument for God until I understand what you are willing to accept as a compelling argument for anything. My goal here is to understand the methodologies and criteria you use to determine what constitutes compelling evidence or compelling arguments.

If you don't want to go that route, maybe you can explain why none of the things you mentioned compels you? Or maybe you can give me an example of some claim you feel is supported by compelling evidence and arguments? Otherwise, I'm just shooting in the dark here.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Or maybe you can give me an example of some claim you feel is supported by compelling evidence and arguments? Otherwise, I'm just shooting in the dark here.

I suppose that the obvious example is Evolution by Natural Selection. It has literally mountains of evidence and a good solid framework. It's withstood over a century of criticism and is actually a much more robust theory now than when it was first proposed. It is central to our understanding of the biolgical world and new evidence supporting it seems to arrive on a weekly basis. It is, all in all, very compelling.

cl said...

Cyber,

Are you saying you would only find God compelling if God could be proven scientifically?

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Are you saying you would only find God compelling if God could be proven scientifically?

no. What I'm saying is that the arguments I find compelling are backed up by evidence and make reasonable sense.

Arguments for the existence of God repeatedly fail to provide such evidence nor do they, at least IMO, make a great deal of sense.

Karla said...

Cyber, I think we are asking for what kind of reasons are you looking for? For instance, if your best friend that you trust was accused of murder would you simply say you would need good evidence and reasons to support the case against her or would you say I need to see the murder weapon, the DNA evidence, I would need to see it on tape to believe it, etc.

So we are asking what kind of things do you think would give you pause to really think that maybe God does exist?

You can take some time to think that over.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: So we are asking what kind of things do you think would give you pause to really think that maybe God does exist?

As I keep saying: Things that cannot easily be explained any other way.

karla said: You can take some time to think that over.

[laughs] Thanks, but that isn't really necessary.

Karla said...

Cyber "As I keep saying: Things that cannot easily be explained any other way."

What's your definition of easy? I've heard scientist give amazingly intricate and miraculous explanations of the origin of the universe to avoid the need for a First Cause or a Metaphysical beginning. Everything is posited from aliens to crystals to multiuniverses to imaginary time. All to avoid the simple direction that the evidence seems to point toward, the need for a Beginner or a First Mover or a First Cause. Aliens are invoked without thought to how they came about, that only pushes the Cause back a little further, but doesn't address the fundamental need for a Beginner. The Universe had a beginning and thus needs a Beginner. Sure we can make up all kinds of hypothesis's to keep the cause natural, but to do so is assuming it must be natural to give license for such huge speculation.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I've heard scientist give amazingly intricate and miraculous explanations of the origin of the universe to avoid the need for a First Cause or a Metaphysical beginning. Everything is posited from aliens to crystals to multiuniverses to imaginary time.

Well I've never heard of aliens being sited as the cause of the Big Bang and I hardly think that a scientist would put forward the idea of crystals as a cause!

karla said: All to avoid the simple direction that the evidence seems to point toward, the need for a Beginner or a First Mover or a First Cause.

AFAIK the evidence points towards a beginning. That, however, does not necessarily imply a First Mover/God. After all God has no cause, right? So maybe the universe had no cause either.....

karla said: The Universe had a beginning and thus needs a Beginner.

Why? That's just an asumption. AFAIK we have no idea what, if anything, caused the universal expansion we call the Big Bang. You may call that ignorance God - I, however, do not.

karla said: Sure we can make up all kinds of hypothesis's to keep the cause natural, but to do so is assuming it must be natural to give license for such huge speculation.

...and you are *not* assuming it's supernatural? Really.....?

We have no evidence for the supernatural origin of the universe. In scientic circles a natural explanation is assumed - it's worked *very* well so far - so it is fair to assume that the universe originated in a natural fashion. The actual mechanics of that origin are (ATM) still under discussion.

Karla said...

Cyber, anything that had a Beginning needs to have a Beginner. God is eternal, thus no Beginning and no Beginner. The universe has been shown to not be eternal, it had a beginning, this is what science is saying. No one seriously holds to an eternal universe.

I've heard Dawkins say that aliens could have produced life on earth, but he didn't personally adhere to that. I think he posits the multi-universe theory, but that just sets it back further as to how they started.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyber, anything that had a Beginning needs to have a Beginner.

Does it? Why? You could say that everything has a cause (except God, of course) and you might be closer to the truth. But an actual 'beginner'? Do you have any evidence for this or are you going to use the watchmaker story?

karla said: God is eternal, thus no Beginning and no Beginner.

So you say. I happen not to believe you - but you already knew that.

karla said: The universe has been shown to not be eternal, it had a beginning, this is what science is saying. No one seriously holds to an eternal universe.

Which in no way proves that God did it.

karla said: I've heard Dawkins say that aliens could have produced life on earth, but he didn't personally adhere to that.

It's possible. We have no evidence to support it though. It's more likely that life originated here.

karla said: I think he posits the multi-universe theory, but that just sets it back further as to how they started.

The multiverse explains some things - certain aspects of QM for example - but certainly causes problems elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"Cyber, anything that had a Beginning needs to have a Beginner."

Please study some QM and then get back to us.

"God is eternal, thus no Beginning and no Beginner."

Special pleading.

"The universe has been shown to not be eternal, it had a beginning, this is what science is saying."

Not quite. Science points to the universe having a beginning in its current form.

"No one seriously holds to an eternal universe."

Why do you speak about science when you know so little about it? And, on top of that, when you are corrected, you ignore it so that you can continue to spout nonsense.

The matter/energy that makes up the universe could very well be eternal. No one holds that the universe in its current form was eternal, because we have such good evidence for the big bang. We do not know what was before that (or even what it means to be "before" time started, since we measure time by the movement of light). (Note: imaginary time is the idea of counting time backwards from the start of our current universe to denote events that could have happened before the universe started at time t=0. That you don't understand that and think it is silly is not surprising, but you really should know what it is you are talking about before you bag on it.)

"I've heard Dawkins say that aliens could have produced life on earth, but he didn't personally adhere to that."

Sigh. Someone asked him if it was logically possible and he said it was - as logically possible as goddidit. IOW, he's saying that these things are not 100% ruled out, but we don't have evidence for them.

"I think he posits the multi-universe theory, but that just sets it back further as to how they started."

Unless those multiverses are eternally forming, or any number of other things. Again, just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it is wrong or that you should be speaking nonsense about it.

Karla said...

Anon, "And, on top of that, when you are corrected, you ignore it so that you can continue to spout nonsense."

You've been "corrected" about things regarding Christianity, it hasn't stopped your choosing to keep the same view.

CL, Quixote, and I have pointed out in the other thread that your argument for religions knowledge giving the world nothing doesn't hold up and yet you keep at it.

GCT said...

"You've been "corrected" about things regarding Christianity, it hasn't stopped your choosing to keep the same view."

For instance? Opinions on religion are not the same as factual reports on what people are saying WRT science, or what the data indicates, so keep that in mind.

Anyway, since you've been corrected on what science is actually saying WRT to the big bang, will you continue to claim what you are claiming? The smart money is that you will.

"CL, Quixote, and I have pointed out in the other thread that your argument for religions knowledge giving the world nothing doesn't hold up and yet you keep at it."

You've done nothing of the sort. As yet, you have yet to produce one example. Yeah, I can see how you would consider that a resounding victory.