Here is My Friend Again, a Deluded Man.

May I present to you Dr. William Lane Craig, again:


Vinny noticed this and said: "Let's not forget what Craig said in his argument with Peter Slezak in 2002":
So when then does the absence of evidence count as evidence that something does not exist? Well theorists of knowledge agree that the lack of evidence for some entity X counts as positive evidence against X’s existence only in the case that if X did exist then we should expect to see more evidence of X’s existence than what we do see....Now apply that to the case of God, the absence of evidence for God’s existence counts as evidence against God’s existence only in the case that if God did exist, then we should see more evidence of his existence than we do in fact see."
Okay then. What kind of God is Dr. Craig arguing for here? He's arguing specifically for a God who reveals himself, who wants us to know him personally, who wants us to believe he did something in history in order for us to be saved from the horrors of hell. That's the kind of God Craig is arguing for. Given this God we should expect a good deal of evidence that he exists. To say otherwise is to end up denying the very kind of God Craig is arguing for. Because Craig cannot have it both ways! Either this God wants us to know him or he doesn't. If he does, then he should give us enough evidence to believe, otherwise this God is not a revealing God who wants us to know him personally, and so forth. Q.E.D.

And given the passion Craig has in arguing for this God, Craig would literally jump for joy about a new piece of evidence or a new argument to show this God exists. In fact, I am certain Craig prays for God to help him come up with better arguments using better evidence too. But God does not help him, even though he could easily do so. It would seem that Craig's passion to help the rest of us see the truth about God is not shared by God himself! Bill, doesn't that trouble you in the least? I mean really, God tells you to evangelize and then hamstrings you by not offering you enough help for the task? Surely, if you could help an evangelist/apologist like yourself wouldn't you want to give him more evidence and better arguments if you were God? Then why doesn't your God? You say that you don't know why? Then what exactly can you expect from God if he doesn't at least help you argue effectively that he exists? Isn't that the minimum expectation you should have for a God like that which you argue for? If not, why not?

It's abundantly clear there is not enough evidence for the existence of Dr. Craig's God, the God of evangelical Christianity, which is the God he needs to conclude from his arguments. Just look at the demographics, for example. 2/3rds of the world rejects Christianity. That's 4 billion people just counting the world population today, and not down through the ages. Since an evangelical like Dr. Craig would not grant that everyone who calls herself a Christian is a true Christian, then these figures are way too low to begin with. And he still wants to maintain God has indeed given mankind enough evidence to believe? On the contraire, it is very strong evidence against Craig's assertions.

Besides, what Craig defends, in the final analysis, is a particular Occidental concept of God, and such a concept by definition must solve all problems if it's to be worthy as a concept of God in the first place. But just like the Ontological Argument is faulty, so also is it the case that just because we can come up with a particular concept of God does not mean that such a God actually exists.

53 comments:

Vinny said...

"Now apply that to the case of God, the absence of evidence for God’s existence counts as evidence against God’s existence only in the case that if God did exist, then we should see more evidence of his existence than we do in fact see."

Just to clarify, this quote is from the Craig video as well.

John W. Loftus said...

Sorry Vinny. Corrected.

Jim Holman said...

It seems to me that arguments about "evidence," such as what Craig offers, don't do theism any favor. I don't know any Christian who came to faith through any kind of evidence, though I suppose that might be possible. Most people believe because of some experience or "sense" of the presence of God. In that context, it seems that "evidence" would be irrelevant.

People believe all sorts of things without what we would normally call "evidence." For example, let's say that I have a moral obligation not to be needlessly cruel to someone.

What is the "evidence" for that obligation? I can't see it. I can't measure it. I cannot locate its whereabouts. No device can sense it. I can't describe its origins.

Nonetheless we say that such an obligation "exists," though it is not the kind of existence that can be demonstrated. It's like you either "get it" or you don't.

It seems to me that's a better model for what belief in God is like. Where people run into trouble is when they start making all sorts of real-world, historical, and material claims that really need to be backed up by evidence.

IrishFarmer said...

Man, talk about a point shooting straight over someone's head...

He was refuting the claim that "absence of evidence proves there is no god - period". Craig was refuting an argument for atheism, not bolstering specific Christian claims such as the resurrection. When it comes to things like the resurrection, those require further evidence, and Craig recognizes this by arguing for those events on their own terms.

You completely misdirected the purpose of Craig's argument in your post here.

Just as a quick side-note. There are times when I wonder if I should bother with this whole "internet apologist" thing, considering that I sorely lack the wisdom of age, and the benefit of a great education. Then then there are also times when I'm reminded that it isn't just an education that makes the difference.

IrishFarmer said...

It seems to me that arguments about "evidence," such as what Craig offers, don't do theism any favor. I don't know any Christian who came to faith through any kind of evidence, though I suppose that might be possible. Most people believe because of some experience or "sense" of the presence of God. In that context, it seems that "evidence" would be irrelevant.

I wouldn't say I've always been a Christian, but I've always believed in God. As a Christian I believe this was because of the "witness of the holy spirit", but I suppose you might say I'm just experiencing permanent, mild epileptic seizures.

However, I'm also not satisfied with simply "knowing", I'd rather know that what I know is what I should know. If that makes sense.

So, though I recognized God from a very young age, I was never intellectually satisfied with my knowledge of God until very recently.

People believe all sorts of things without what we would normally call "evidence." For example, let's say that I have a moral obligation not to be needlessly cruel to someone.

What is the "evidence" for that obligation? I can't see it. I can't measure it. I cannot locate its whereabouts. No device can sense it. I can't describe its origins.


Its a function of your nature. We're moral beings, and so you are able to intuit that some things are bad, even if you're never told. Everyone (except, I suppose, sociopaths or so forth) are capable of the same thing.

Nonetheless we say that such an obligation "exists," though it is not the kind of existence that can be demonstrated. It's like you either "get it" or you don't.

It seems to me that's a better model for what belief in God is like. Where people run into trouble is when they start making all sorts of real-world, historical, and material claims that really need to be backed up by evidence.


I think that belief in God really is somewhere in between.

It depends on the person. Most everyone in my immediate family is happy with believing, without knowing why. Only one of my brothers, and myself, actually took the time to investigate. My other brother is interested, but doesn't have the time.

Why the difference between my dad and I? I don't know for sure. I never bothered to ask him, because frankly I love being able to share with him the things I learn since he's never heard of most of it in the first place.

My Dad seems to consider Christianity obvious (though he wasn't always a Christian), and probably most of all he considers the alternative absurd.

I don't see anything wrong with that. If God doesn't exist, then my dad's misled, but its not as if its damaged his life. If God exists, then I would say that God has witnessed to my father by a means I can't even imagine, and our family is the better for it.

In which case, if he doesn't ever pursue the intellectual justification for his faith, so what?

John W. Loftus said...

Irish said...There are times when I wonder if I should bother with this whole "internet apologist" thing, considering that I sorely lack the wisdom of age, and the benefit of a great education.

If you're a Star Wars movie fan, remember that Luke Skywalker got involved in the fray before he was ready, and suffered for it, like his father before him. Movies always end happily though, but be careful.

BTW how is the reading of my book going? You haven't commented in a while. I'm pretty sure you do not have at your disposal the knowledge to answer every one of my arguments. That book may eventually change your mind, because like Luke Skywalker you were so sure you could take me on before you were ready.

Anyway, I'm waiting. But I do admire you for trying, even if I think you entered the fray before you should've done so.

Cheers.

Jamie Steele said...

Speaking of evidence. Do you guys believe in the Java Ape Man or the Piltdown Man

Just wondering since you seem to place a lot of faith in scientific evidence.

Vinny said...

Jamie,

The hoaxes in science are invariably discovered by other scientists because scientists are expected to submit their findings to peer review. One of the nice things about science is that it assumes that anything we think we know can be overturned by new and better evidence.

Dr. Craig, on the other hand, says that even if the evidence showed his position to be false, he would still choose to believe the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart. That makes his conclusions impervious to either reason or evidence.

I do not claim inerrancy or infallibility for the scientific method. I just claim its practical superiority.

Kevin H said...

"Dr. Craig, on the other hand, says that even if the evidence showed his position to be false, he would still choose to believe the witness of the Holy Spirit in his heart. That makes his conclusions impervious to either reason or evidence."

KH> No. Dr. Craig usually says two things concerning this. First, as the atheist Kai Nielsen says, even if all the arguments for God's existence failed, it still might be the case that God exists.

Second, Craig points to biblical theology that one can know God immediately and directly via the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. And, philosophically, barring any defeater of that experience, one can certainly be justified in that experience.

He certainly doesn't say that if the evidence proved God false he would still believe!

Plantinga has shown that this bit of biblical theology is philosophically sound in his work on properly basic beliefs.

Kevin H

Reynold said...

Second, Craig points to biblical theology that one can know God immediately and directly via the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. And, philosophically, barring any defeater of that experience, one can certainly be justified in that experience.

How can one determine if it's the "inner witness of the Holy Spirit" and not just plain ol' human feelings?

Why doesn't everyone have this "inner witness of the Holy Spirit" then? After all, the bible says that god wants everyone to go to heaven, doesn't he? Since he allows the "holy spirit" to be a "witness" in at least some people's cases, it's probably safe to assume that free will is not being violated by it. So, why not give the "witness" of the holy spirit to everyone?

Vinny said...

He certainly doesn't say that if the evidence proved God false he would still believe!

Kevin,

That is not quite how I worded it either, but let's look at what Craig says.

The way that I know Christianity is true is first and foremost on the basis the witness of the Holy Spirit in my heart. This gives me a self authenticating means of knowing Christianity is true wholly apart from the evidence. And therefore, if in some historically contingent circumstances, the evidence that I have available to me should turn against Christianity. I don’t think that that controverts the witness of the Holy Spirit. In such a situation, and I should regard that simply as a result of the contingent circumstances that I am in, and that if I were to pursue this with due diligence and with time I would discover that in fact that the evidence—if I could get the correct picture—would support exactly what the witness of the Holy Spirit tells me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-fDyPU3wlQ

I have no problem Craig sticking to his beliefs in the face of contrary evidence or trying to refute contrary evidence, but intellectual honestly at least requires him to acknowledge that, in theory, contrary evidence increases the probability that his position is wrong. Otherwise, he can make no claim that his beliefs are in any way based on evidence.

Craig has stacked the deck to bar any “defeaters” of his personal subjective experience. Similarly, he has stacked the deck to avoid dealing with the lack of evidence for God’s existence by insisting that we should adjust our expectations for such evidence to whatever it is that we actually find.

Jamie Steele said...

Vinny,
You said:
"I do not claim inerrancy or infallibility for the scientific method. I just claim its practical superiority."

So I guess you are holding on to a scientific method that will be proven false by another scientific method that will be proven false by another scientific method.....

It sounds practically superior to me!

“The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, led instead directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshippers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith.”
George Bernard Shaw

Reynold said...

I forgot to deal with the second half of kevin h's statement, about "...barring any defeater of that experience, one can certainly be justified in that experience."

So if nothing comes along to make you question those feelings that means that one is justified in believing that those feelings are true?

What would count as a "defeater" of that experience then?

How's about outside evidence? Someone asked Craig about that:
In my twenty minute discussion with Craig, in the process of getting his signature, I asked him about his views on evidence (which to me seem very close to self-induced insanity). In short, I set up the following scenario:

Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let's pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb.

I asked him, given this scenario, would he then give up his Christianity? Having seen with his own eyes that there was no resurrection of Jesus, having been an eyewitness to the fact that Christianity has been based upon a fraud and a lie, would he NOW renounce Christianity? His answer was shocking, and quite unexpected.

He told me, face to face, that he would STILL believe in Jesus, he would STILL believe in the resurrection, and he would STILL remain a Christian. When asked, in light of his being a personal eyewitness to the fact that there WAS no resurrection, he replied that due to the witness of the "holy spirit" within him, he would assume a trick of some sort had been played on him while watching Jesus' tomb. This self-induced blindness astounded me.



So it seems to me, Kevin, that kind of attitude does make "his conclusions impervious to either reason or evidence" after all.


Some more interesting stuff about Craig's beliefs:
http://www.jcnot4me.com/images/Reasonable_Faith_p37_Whole_Page-1-WEB.gif


kevin h
No. Dr. Craig usually says two things concerning this. First, as the atheist Kai Nielsen says, even if all the arguments for God's existence failed, it still might be the case that God exists.

True, but it would make it curious that the god who wants everyone to go to heaven would hide himself like that...one would think that he'd make the evidence for his existence more obvious.

After all, adam and eve supposedly saw him in person. That would do it, and their free will was not violated by that incontrovertable proof of god's existence. So why doesn't he give some irrefutable proof of his existence now?



irishfarmer
When it comes to things like the resurrection, those require further evidence, and Craig recognizes this by arguing for those events on their own terms.
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/

irishfarmer
So, though I recognized God from a very young age, I was never intellectually satisfied with my knowledge of God until very recently.

Does that not mean that you always just wanted to believe in god? What evidence would make you disbelieve in the existence of your god, if you believed in him even before you were "intellectually satisfied" about his existence?

Vinny said...

So I guess you are holding on to a scientific method that will be proven false by another scientific method that will be proven false by another scientific method.....

I don't think that's a very good guess.

I am using a scientific method that has proven over time to be a wondrous tool for understanding and predicting the way that the world works. I think it unlikely that the method itself will be proven false but I do not exclude it from the realm of possibility just as I do not exclude the possibility that any particular conclusion the method reaches might be proven false.

When I was a young man, I craved surety and an infallible oracle, so I embraced the Bible as a magic way of knowing things that was at odds with how I knew anything else. I found such knowledge much less satisfying then knowledge gained by dint of human effort, even with all the latter's limitations.

Jamie Steele said...

Vinny,
I hope you don't take this the wrong way but he Bible has satisfied some of the most intellectual minds in all fields of life, including science.
Atheists are in the minority.

Is that because people are just not smart. No, many scientist are Christians.
Many intellectuals are Christians as well.

So intellectual superiority doesn't trump God.
Do you have to have complete evidence to prove something is so?

Beware of what the Bible says by a great intellectual of his day Paul:
"19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." Romans 1

Vinny said...

I hope you don't take this the wrong way but he Bible has satisfied some of the most intellectual minds in all fields of life, including science.
Atheists are in the minority.


Surely you are not suggesting that truth can be determined by polling?

BTW, I consider myself to be an agnostic rather than an atheist.

Jamie Steele said...

Surely you are not suggesting that truth can be determined by polling?

BTW, I consider myself to be an agnostic rather than an atheist.

-Well one of us is right.

Agnostics are in the minority also.
I agree that doesn't make something right or wrong, true or false.

Is Richard Dawkins by definition an atheist or an agnostic
Richard Dawkins said "I cannot know for certain, but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."

Evan said...

Jamie Steele,

Can you prove that Zeus doesn't exist?

Are you agnostic about Zeus or are you an azeusist?

Vinny said...

Actually Jamie, neither one of us has to be right. It could be the Muslims who are right, or the Mormons, or the Zoroastrians, or countless other groups and individuals who claim to have some unique insight into God’s nature and purposes.

In my mind Dawkins is an atheist. I don’t find myself inclined to estimate the probability of God’s existence and I don’t assume his non-existence in living my life. I do think that I have to apply the reasoning powers I have—God given or not as the case may be—to the information available to me. I find that God rarely forms a part of the choices I have to make since the evidence I have of his existence is so inconclusive and I have no information upon which to base a choice between the competing claims of ancient peoples that God mad Himself known to them by special revelation.

King Aardvark said...

Jim - "Most people believe because of some experience or "sense" of the presence of God. "

Well, I'd say most people believe because they were indoctrinated at a young age. It's only really those who come to religion whe they are older that come to it based on the "sense" of God's presence, etc. and then it's to whatever religion is culturally familiar or which strikes an emotional chord. But I'm picking nits, so feel free to ignore me.

Jamie Steele said...

Richard Dawkins admits he can't disprove God.
So are you guys smarter than Richard?
Just wondering?

“Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature more difficult to explain than simple, statistically probable things”
Richard Dawkins

Evan said...

Jamie please stop avoiding the question.

Can you prove Zeus doesn't exist?

Jamie Steele said...

Can you prove God doesn't exist?

I prove Zeus doesn't exist because I believe the Bible.

Can you prove the Bible is wrong.

THe Bible says this Evan:
8For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[c]
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
1 Corinthians

Evan said...

I prove Zeus doesn't exist because I believe the Bible.

So you admit that if someone doesn't believe the Bible there is no way to disprove the existence of Zeus.

Can you prove the Bible wrong?

The Bible proves the Bible wrong.

Do this for me. Look up in the Bible and tell me the name of the father of Joseph, the man who was married to Jesus's mom.

How did Judas die? Did he hang himself or did he burst asunder in the midst?

How many children did Michal, the daughter of Saul have?

How old was King Jehoiachin when he began his reign?

Did the people who saw Saul/Paul's conversion event on Damascus hear a voice or not?

Let me know your answers to those questions. Please answer them in such a way that the BIBLE in no way contradicts your answer.

Jamie Steele said...

http://markdroberts.typepad.com/markdroberts/2008/01/are-there-contr.html#more

Here is a good article on contradictions.
Please read it and tell me what you think.
It answers basically all these questions..

If 2 people saw a car crash from different viewpoints and were asked to give an eyewitness
account would everything match up perfectly.

By the way, this is a typical Atheist straw man.

Answer me this, how can 66 books be written in 13 different countries on 3 continents in 3 languages by men from vastly different walks of life in different time periods -write so often about the same things.

Answer me how so many of the Bible prophecies can be true when many were written 100's of years before....

No book compares to the Bible.

Evan have you read the Bible for yourself or do you just read what others say about the Bible?

These questions are for anyone on this board including you John......

16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."[a] 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1

Evan said...

Evan have you read the Bible for yourself or do you just read what others say about the Bible?

Jamie, I have read the Bible cover to cover several times. It's the best thing to do to prove to yourself it's made up.

That being said, I wonder if you read my post. The questions I asked you were about all of the Bible, not just the gospels. In fact, only one of the questions regards the Gospels.

In the link that you sent me to, which covers only contradictions in the gospels, this is the answer that was given to the one question that I posed to you:

The best-known examples are the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. The differences can be accounted for by viewing Matthew’s list of names as showing Joseph’s family line and Luke’s list as showing Mary’s family line.

I'd like to know where in the Bible it says this.

Is there some extra-biblical source that you feel can pronounce with this kind of certainty on the Bible?

If I told you in one post that my father's name was Jacob and in another post that my father's name was Ralph, would you think that was a problem? So let's see how this plays out:

Luke says this: And Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,

Matthew says this: and Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ

Notice that in both it says that Joseph was the person who had the relationship, NOT Mary. So how does your belief that this is resolved by saying that one genealogy is of Mary when the plain text of both genealogies is that of Joseph?

Have you read the Bible?

Rod McKenzie said...

Hi Jamie,
Yes I’ve read it cover to cover, many years ago.
( In the early 1970’s but that’s irrelevant. )
I admit some parts I didn’t understand, but the narrative parts were pretty straight forward.

It glorified stoning, murder & genocide.

( Those poor Canaanites, just minding their own business when god tells the Israelites to dispose of all trace of them! )
Eternal damnation and a loving god don’t seem compatible to me.

It seems to me a thoroughly despicable book written by people trying to justify rape, murder etc..

For the record I’m a Deist not an atheist.

I’d recommend reading “ The Age of Reason “
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/paine/thomas/p147a/

Regards
Rod McKenzie

Jamie Steele said...

Evan,
Good try:

"Both Matthew 1 and Luke 3 contain genealogies of Jesus. But there is one problem. They are different. Luke's Genealogy starts at Adam and goes to David. Matthew's Genealogy starts at Abraham and goes to David. When the genealogies arrive at David, they split with David's sons: Nathan (Mary's side) and Solomon (Joseph's side).
There is no discrepancy because one genealogy is for Mary and the other is for Joseph. It was customary to mention the genealogy through the father even though it was clearly known that it was through Mary.
Some critics may not accept this explanation no matter what reasoning is produced. Nevertheless, they should first realize that the Bible should be interpreted in the context of its literary style, culture, and history. Breaking up genealogies into male and female representations was acceptable in the ancient Near East culture since it was often impolite to speak of women without proper conditions being met: male presence, etc. Therefore, one genealogy is of Mary and the other of Joseph, even though both mention Joseph. In other words, the Mary was counted "in" Joseph and under his headship. Second, do any critics actually think that those who collected the books of the New Testament, and who believed it was inerrant, were un aware of this blatant differentiation in genealogies? Does anyone actually think that the Christians were so dense that they were unaware of the differences in the genealogy lists, closed their eyes and put the gospels into the canon anyway hoping no one would notice? Not at all. They knew the cultural context and had no problem with it knowing that one was of Joseph and the other of Mary. Third, notice that Luke starts with Mary and goes backwards to Adam. Matthew starts with Abraham and goes forward to Joseph. The intents of the genealogies were obviously different which is clearly seen in their styles. Luke was not written to the Jews, Matthew was. Therefore, Matthew would carry the legal line (from Abraham through David) and Luke the biological one (from Adam through David). Also, notice that Luke's first three chapters mention Mary eleven times; hence, the genealogy from her. Fourth, notice Luke 3:23, "And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli," This designation "supposedly" seems to signify the Marian genealogy since it seems to indicate that Jesus is not the biological son of Joseph.
Finally, in the Joseph genealogy is a man named Jeconiah. God cursed Jeconiah (also called Coniah), stating that no descendant of his would ever sit on the throne of David, "For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah," (Jer. 22:30). But Jesus, of course, will sit on the throne in the heavenly kingdom. The point is that Jesus is not a biological descendant of Jeconiah, but through the other lineage -- that of Mary. Hence, the prophetic curse upon Jeconiah stands inviolate. But, the legal adoption of Jesus by Joseph reckoned the legal rights of Joseph to Jesus as a son, not the biological curse. This is why we need two genealogies: one of Mary (the actually biological line according to prophecy), and the legal line through Joseph.
Again, the early church knew this and had no problem with it. It is only the critics of today who narrow their vision into a literalness and require this to be a "contradiction" when in reality we have an explanation that is more than sufficient.
(taken from carm.org)

Rod,
Those poor ol Canaanites :
Deut. 18:9-12 "says the poor ol Canaanites offered there children to the fire."
The poor innocent Canaanites were vicious people who would never change.
Your statement is like saying "Poor ol Jeff Dahmer." Think about that Rod.

You also said: Eternal damnation and a loving god don’t seem compatible to me.

Why not? You view of God and the Bible's clear representation of God are vastly different. You have made up a God that doesn't exist.
God is Holy and Just. With that said He is long-suffering and patient with us.

Paul said this to some smart people at Mars Hill
24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

29"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."

32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." 33At that, Paul left the Council. 34A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others."
Acts 17

Kevin H said...

"Otherwise, he can make no claim that his beliefs are in any way based on evidence.

KH> Craig claims, and I agree, that Christian faith is not necessarily based on evidence, but supported by evidence.

Which leads to adjudicating among competing subjective religious experiences; all one can do is determine which personal experience is best supported by the evidence. (A Mormon may have a profound "burning bosom" experience, but their evidence is nil).

Vinny said...

Craig claims, and I agree, that Christian faith is not necessarily based on evidence, but supported by evidence.

My problem with this formulation is that many false propositions can be supported by evidence, but fail based on the weight of the evidence. I have observational evidence that the earth is flat. I have observational evidence that the sun moves around the earth. Joseph Smith’s testimony was evidence that he translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates with magic seer stones. Conspiracy buffs can point to individual pieces of evidence to support various crackpot theories that fail when the weight of the evidence is considered, such as the United States government’s responsibility for the destruction of the World Trade Center. In both history and science, as in law, it is the weight of the evidence that controls.

It is meaningless to say that a proposition is supported by evidence unless it is also supported by the weight of the evidence. When Craig admits that he would believe his subjective religious experience even if contradicted by the weight of the objective evidence, he destroys his own credibility.

Evan said...

Jamie,

I see a whole lot there that says nothing about the Bible.

The Bible has two books written by two different men giving different genealogies for the same man -- JOSEPH.

The Bible clearly states that he had fathers of two different names.

Now you are arguing that to understand that Bible you need another book, or study some other text. Is that what you believe? If it is than you disagree with people like Martin Luther.

Please give me ANY other example from the ancient near east where a genealogy from the same literary source is broken up into two different lineages, one provably paternal and one provably maternal.

Jamie Steele said...

Evan,

I want to talk to you about faith and conversion.

The Bible states we must repent and have faith in order to be converted.
John the Baptist said ""The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:15

Today many will faith is to believe in something we can't see, a blind leap in the dark. So less knowledge is more faith, in other words, it takes a greater leap.
For example a Mormon will say: Just have faith with no basis. Their faith is circular and subjective. No real justification for the "step of faith". So it really becomes a blind leap.

The Bible is not talking about this type of faith.

Faith in conversion deals with 3 parts.

1. Notitia- "knowledge" (Hebrews 11:6) Faith must have content. We can't have faith in faith. Faith without content is without substance.

2. Assensus- "assent"- to agree with (Hebrews 11:1, Isaiah 40-48, Exodus 4: 1-9, any of the resurrection apperances.)
With this step of faith comes various degrees of assent and confidence, and also different levels of doubt.
Within every belief there is a certain degree of doubt. Nothing wrong with that.
A man in the Bible cried out to Jesus "I believe help my unbelief."
Thomas in the Bible was at this step. He was sincere in his doubts.
He had to have more and more "assensus" to go to step 3.
Most mormons and many professing Christians are here-they just believe and don't know why or what they believe. And many at this step are not converted and walk away from the faith.
Paul talked about on numerous occasions men who had "wandered from the truth or has suffered a shipwrecked faith."

3. Fiducia- "trust" a choice to make a decision to trust in...
Not a blind leap in the dark.
When Jesus showed up and Thomas saw Him he said "My Lord and My God." Assensus went to Faducia.

I have "fiducia" in God and Jesus.
I trust Jesus rose from the dead. I trust God with my soul.

I don't fully "fiducia" evolution.
Richard Dawkins said, "Billions of years ago a cell appeared and made all we have now."
Wow- where did the cell come from.
You have to have "blind faith" in the cell.
Which is circular and subjective like a Mormons faith in their religion.

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:14-18

Rod McKenzie said...

Hi Jamie,
Do we have any proof, outside The Bible, that Canaanites burnt their babies?

I’m a parent, I wouldn’t allow my children to be sacrificed and so can’t belief any parent could.

Was every Canaanite involved in this practice?
Even young adolescents and children?

Or was this just propaganda to justify genocide?
Sounds pretty standard propaganda to me.
Say someone gets up in court and their defense for mass murder is “God sent an angel to me, in a dream, and told me to do it.”

Would you believe them?
Does god no longer appear to people? Why?
Now he’s found guilty.

Would a just punishment be to execute him , his wife, his mother and father, and his children. Further we get to rape his sisters and the jury gets to split up all his possessions.

I’ve read your answer re” eternal punishment. I’m not sure I fully understand it.
Is it just to go to hell forever for taking the lords name in vain?

Regards
Rod

Jamie Steele said...

Rod,
I’ve read your answer re” eternal punishment. I’m not sure I fully understand it.
Is it just to go to hell forever for taking the lords name in vain?

Here is God's take on it and if you have a problem with it take it up with Him.
He can handle it.

"But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed." Romans 2:5

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23



1Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20

Evan said...

Jamie,

We've all read the Bible. You can stop cutting and pasting it to us.

If you have an argument about the Bible that you want to elaborate on I think that's perfectly fine and I'd be happy to entertain it.

Otherwise, you can assume that most readers of this blog have read and understood your proof texts previously.

Kevin H said...

It is meaningless to say that a proposition is supported by evidence unless it is also supported by the weight of the evidence.

KH> Again, one of the reasons that Christian religious experience is best stated in this way is that a person may respond to the gospel not having studied the various evidences. The poor, uneducated farmer in a rural area may hear the message of Christ and embrace Christianity prior to an exhaustive study.

He may later discover the wealth of historical and philosophical evidence for the claims of Christ. Therefore, the evidential support of his experience ensues but was not based on it.

Further, I believe his Christian experience is legitimate because I think the weight of the evidence supports the Christian Worldview.

Kevin H

Vinny said...

He may later discover the wealth of historical and philosophical evidence for the claims of Christ. Therefore, the evidential support of his experience ensues but was not based on it.

Further, I believe his Christian experience is legitimate because I think the weight of the evidence supports the Christian Worldview.



When I was seventeen, I embraced evangelical Christianity based on its emotional appeal. One of the first books I read was Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict because I wanted to know the evidential basis for my faith. I was profoundly disappointed to see how often he had to assume the truth of the Bible’s claims in order to establish the truth of the Bible’s claims. A primary example is the reliance on fulfilled prophecies. The argument only works if you assume as your starting point that all the New Testament stories are true, which is the thing you are trying to prove. As Stephen Colbert says: “Every word of the Bible is true, and we know that the Bible is true, because the Bible says the Bible is true, and if you recall from earlier in this sentence, every word of the Bible is true.”

Take a look at William Lane Craig’s debate with Bart Ehrman on the historicity of the resurrection. His “first major contention” is that there are “historical facts which must be explained by any adequate historical” hypothesis” and that we know these are facts because they are “widely accepted by historians.” Just like Gary Habermas with his “minimal facts” approach, he begins by assuming the facts he needs based on scholarly consensus rather than by establishing them with evidence. When you read Ehrman’s arguments, you can see why: the overwhelming majority of the evidence consists of uncorroborated accounts written thirty to sixty years after the events by unknown authors from unknown sources. While these accounts are undoubtedly “evidence,” they are not the kind of evidence that historians can give very much weight to or consider as establishing facts with any degree of certainty.

Once you accept that personal religious experience is sufficient evidence to irrefutably establish the truth of your beliefs, as Craig does, you can never weigh any other evidence with any sort of objectivity because your scale has been forever fixed in a tilted position.

Jamie Steele said...

he overwhelming majority of the evidence consists of uncorroborated accounts written thirty to sixty years after the events by unknown authors from unknown sources.

-That is Ehrmans's opinion. Many scholars disagree.

While these accounts are undoubtedly “evidence,” they are not the kind of evidence that historians can give very much weight to or consider as establishing facts with any degree of certainty.

Kind of like evolution isn't it...
Scientist have "theories and assumptions and probabilities and people "place their faith in it."

Evolutionist have bind faith as well, they just use bigger words!

Evan said...

Jamie this really is a dishonest technique and I think you should either make an argument or remain silent.

Evolutionist have bind faith as well, they just use bigger words!

Please back up this statement.

What must someone accept on "blind faith" with no evidence to believe the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that all life on earth arose by means of natural selection and descent with modification?

Evan said...

Vinny, the link in your post is broken, I think.

Jamie Steele said...

Evan,

What is your take on the Miller-Urey experiment?

Evan said...

Jamie please. Answer my question.

What am I asked to take on blind faith to believe the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that all life descended from prior forms with modification through natural selection?

Jamie Steele said...

Evan,
All I am saying is present Science often proves past science wrong.

I don't care how old the earth is. It doesn't change the Bible in any way.

MAny christians scientist believe the earth is very old.
Fine with me. Francis Collins is one. Alistar McGrath is another.
So how do you date 4 billion years. Is that to the year month and day or not.
Also, science will probably change this dating in another 20yrs to something else.....

Now, what do you think about the Miller-Urey experiment?
I am not being critical, just want to know.
The Bible was never written to be a science book!

Evan said...

Jamie, I will answer your question. You still haven't answered my question so I will assume that you think there is no fact that you have to accept on blind faith to believe the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that the life forms we see today have arisen by descent with modification through natural selection.

I will also assume you are retracting your previous statement that people who believe in the products of experiment and logic have blind faith.

If you are not retracting these statements you really must back them up. There's no in between on this.

You have accused me of something that I do not do, and I cannot move forward until you decide which you are going to do, prove your case, or give up on it.

Secondly, the Miller Urey experiment showed that it is not difficult to create organic monomers from simple gases. In retrospect, their assumptions about the components of the original earth atmosphere appear to have been flawed and I don't think much is based on those assumptions any more. Many researchers now assume the primal environment for abiogenesis to have been a hydrothermal vent or similar habitat, given the ubiquity of heat shock proteins to life.

Jamie Steele said...

Evan,
When dealing with major scientific research you use words like "assume". To me that is not sufficient "evidence".

Wasn't the Miller-Urey experiment listed as fact in many Science books. Isn't it in some to this day.
Shouldn't this flawed experiment be taken out and not taught as fact.

Vinny said...

Evan,

I cut and pasted the link and it seemed to worked alright. Which one are you having trouble with?

Vinny said...

That is Ehrmans's opinion. Many scholars disagree.

On what point do they disagree Jamie?

Do many scholars maintain that a significant portion of the evidence for the resurrection consists of something other than the gospel accounts?

Do many scholars think that the gospels were not written anonymously?

Do many scholars think that the gospel writers identified their sources?

Evan said...

Wasn't the Miller-Urey experiment listed as fact in many Science books. Isn't it in some to this day.
Shouldn't this flawed experiment be taken out and not taught as fact.


The Miller-Urey experiment IS a fact. You can replicate what they did in any laboratory on earth and get similar results within magnitudes of error.
Subsequent geological research has now shown us that the atmosphere of the earth at the time of abiogenesis was not what was assumed at the time Miller and Urey did their experiment. This does nothing to decrease the validity of the basic experiment, which was done properly and reported accurate, reproducible findings.

Your thinking is not scientific, but religious. You seem to think that if any scientist ever said something that was wrong, then that invalidates the entire enterprise of science.

But that of course is exactly the opposite of the case. Science is a series of accurate steps, missteps, and areas of ignorance that are corrected or filled in by further research.

Newton was wrong about the large scale effects of gravity. But because he was wrong about that, it doesn't mean he was wrong about gravity in total. We still use all of Newton's ideas and while in some areas they have been superceded by subsequent research, nobody accuses Newton of trying to mislead people. He did the best research he could do given the facts and techniques available to him.

Miller and Urey did the same.

It is only in a religion that believes itself to be the true word of a single, perfect God that error is fatal. Science is capable of self correction and has done so continuously since Francis Bacon. Religion, when attempts are made to correct it, almost invariably results in schism and religious enmity (see Yugoslavia, Ireland, 16th century France, etc).

MUCH more importantly -- Your attempts to elide the fundamental questions I've asked you suggest to me you are not acting as an honest person, something I think your religion dictates that you do.

If you are an honest person, you will honestly attempt to answer very specific questions that I ask you.

So last time:

WHAT do I have to accept on BLIND FAITH to believe that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that the life forms we see today arose by descent with modification through natural selection?

Evan said...

Vinny,

When I click on the Ehrman debate link I get a 404 error every time.

Might be problem on my end.

Jamie Steele said...

suggest to me you are not acting as an honest person, something I think your religion dictates that you do.

Seems like you are "assuming" something scientist apparently do often.

Evan, read this:

Another 100 scientists have joined the ranks of scientists from around the world publicly stating their doubts about the adequacy of Darwin's theory of evolution.

"Darwinism is a trivial idea that has been elevated to the status of the scientific theory that governs modern biology," says dissent list signer Dr. Michael Egnor. Egnor is a professor of neurosurgery and pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook and an award-winning brain surgeon named one of New York's best doctors by New York Magazine.

Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture today announced that over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution. The statement, located online at www.dissentfromdarwin.org, reads: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

"We know intuitively that Darwinism can accomplish some things, but not others," added Egnor. "The question is what is that boundary? Does the information content in living things exceed that boundary? Darwinists have never faced those questions. They've never asked scientifically if random mutation and natural selection can generate the information content in living things."

"More scientists than ever before are now standing up and saying that it is time to rethink Darwin's theory of evolution in light of new scientific evidence that shows the theory is inadequate," said John West, associate director of the Center for Science & Culture. "Darwinists are busy making up holidays to turn Charles Darwin into a saint, even as the evidence supporting his theory crumbles and more and more scientific challenges to it emerge."

The list of signatories includes member scientists from National Academies of Science in Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India (Hindustan), Nigeria, Poland, and the United States. Many of the signers are professors or researchers at major universities and international research institutions such as Cambridge University, Moscow State University, Chitose Institute of Science & Technology in Japan, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, MIT, The Smithsonian and Princeton.

Evan if evolution is such "fact" why do so many of your contemporaries say it isn't...

Waiting for your response.

Vinny said...

Evan,

Sorry about that. http://www.holycross.edu/departments/crec/website/resurrection-debate-transcript.pdf

Evan said...

Jamie I'm done.

You haven't even tried to answer my question.

You rely on cutting and pasting other people's silage.

You have not answered my question.

Darwin is only of small relevance to any of the facts that I've proposed. Dr. Egnor himself does not believe the earth is young. Dr. Egnor's own presentation on the Cambrian presumes that forms present 600 million years ago on earth are the ancestors of organisms today. It also presumes that life started on earth about 4 billion years ago. If you believe this is true, you really don't think that I'm taking anything on faith, do you?

If you believe Dr. Egnor, you must believe the earth is old, and that the majority of organisms on earth descended from prior forms with modification.

The only point Dr. Egnor is disputing is natural selection. He doesn't accept natural selection but it not because of any evidence against it, in fact he believes it explains much of the diversity we see on earth (see his section on "microevolution").

His only claim is that natural selection alone cannot explain every single fact of biology.

Really, if you get down into the weeds of what he's saying that's it.

So you believe Dr. Egnor is an authority. Dr. Egnor accepts that the earth is old. He accepts that organisms descended with modification, and he accepts that natural selection generates diversity in organisms. So really, what is it about natural selection that I'm taking on faith?

As to why so many people don't accept it?

First. I attended a medical school with a curriculum designed and taught by creationists. A majority of my fellow alumni from that school I am sure are young-earth creationists. I can tell you with CERTAINTY that the entire debate is not presented to them in their training. My school graduates about 100 students a year.

If Dr. Egnor can only get 100 people to sign, it is a sign of the weakness of his ideas, not their strength. The undergraduate school I attended had 5 biology professors, all of whom were creationists as a precondition of their employment. So, also would Liberty University, and many other Christian schools. Yet only 20% of the scientists on Dr. Egnor's list are biologists.

Thus -- even with a ready made MINIMUM of at least 60 full time biology professors who must as a condition of their job be young-earth creationists, and the existence of a medical school that graduates 100+ students a year, the best Dr. Egnor can get is 100 signatories.

As a counter, there are 850 scientists with the first name "Steve" who have signed a petition affirming the truth of evolution by natural selection as the means of the development of the diversity of life on earth.

This is my last post directed at you until I hear the answer to my question regarding your assertion that I have blind faith. You must retract that statement or back it up, you are otherwise a completely dishonest debater and a discredit to whatever ethical system you follow.

zilch said...

vinny, your link still doesn't work, at least in my browser: it's chopped off at the end of the line. Here at Blogger it's better to make html links, thusly:

[a href="url"]your name for link[/a href]

Substitute < and > for [ and ], and you've got your link. Don't forget the quotes around your desired url. Preview it to make sure it works before posting. If a computer dummy like me can do it, anyone can.

jamie- what evan said. If you want to be taken seriously, you will have to answer questions yourself, and not just cut and paste the opinions of others, especially when they don't answer the questions you've been asked. If you want to debate evolution, you are going to have to look at both sides, not just creationist websites. Try TalkOrigins for starters: they have good explanations of evolution, and specific answers for creationists. If I can take the time to read AnswersInGenesis, then it's only fair for you to extend the same courtesy to us. Good luck!