IDQ Flaws Relevant To The Holy Spirit

Jeff Carter over at the Blog Sophies Ladder takes issue with applying IDQ principles to the bible and sums up his own blog inserted below.


"To sum all this up, since I don’t use the Bible as a historical or scientific document – I don’t even use it as an instrument of salvation – but instead use it as a guide to help me hear more clearly the living voice of God within me, I find it highly accurate and reliable in terms of this function, which is to convey the spiritual. My advice is to stop trying to use it as history or science. It will only lead to your confusion."

I would like to point out that Jeff's criticism is only relevant to himself and people that share his viewpoint.

He has more criticisms in his article and I will address them in follow on articles, but in this Article I will focus on his dependence on the Holy Spirit. I have written an article called "Reasonable Doubt About The Holy Spirit" that demonstrates the uncertainty that the Holy Spirit actually helps interpret scripture or give understanding. I'm sure there have been and still are quite a few faithful that were wondering what the heck was going wrong while they were being tortured or burned alive by fellow Christians who believed they had the spirit indwelling. The most recent manisfestation of this that I know about is the persecution of Children as Witches in Africa. In the article mentioned above I go into more detail about Christian on Christian disagreements, torture and murder. In the "Recommended Reading" section at the end of this article is a list and short description of all my articles rebutting the concept of the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of the principles of Information and Data Quality (IDQ) are to improve decision making. Therefore the principles of IDQ can be applied to any information that is used to make decisions with. Therefore the Bible qualifies as a candidate for application of IDQ Principles. For example, legislature prohibiting Homosexual marriages, in vitro fertilization, birth control, stem cell research, segregation, womens rights to vote, slavery, laws prohibiting commerce on Sunday morning ("blue-laws"), witchcraft, not being a christian, heresey, etc. Those are just a few decisions off the top of my head that depend on the information in The Bible, but I'm sure I've missed some. One of the goals of Information and Data Quality Principles is to prevent multiple interpretations of data because multiple interpretations of the same data will lead to inefficient decision making within the organization which adversely effects progress towards the goal.

According to The World Almanac of 2005, and I'm going off memory, about 33% (over 2000 years) of the world are Christians. Thats an average gain of about 1% every 200 years. There are Christian denominations of Christian denominations because of disagreements on interpretation of scripture. Jeff belongs to a group represented by a percentage smaller that 33%. There are others that share his viewpoint absolutely, somewhat and not at all. In this day and age there is little to worry about but in bygone days, a Christian could be persecuted by other Christians over disagreements regarding Christianity. The founding of America was a result of the desire by The Puritans for religious freedom.

Christianity shares some of the same Characteristics of an Enterprise or Organization, (not necessarily a business), which suffers from inefficiency. I won't say poor performance because I want to avoid judgments and labels. Efficiency should be a metric that can be agreed upon since I think most people would agree that processes can usually be improved. Efficiency can be measured by assessing how well the goals of the organization are being met. The goal of an organization is usually issued in the form of a "mission statement" and policies, procedures and processes are derived to support the goal. The mission statement should define what the organization is, what the organization aspires to be, distinguish the organization from others, serve as guide to evaluate current activities, stated clearly so that it is understood by all, limited in scope but allow for creative growth

Christianity has a similar "mission statement" called the apostles creed. It was established to try to define what Christianity was and what it means to be a Christian. It seems that Christians were having a hard time meeting the goals of "The Great Commission" (Mark 16:14-18, Matt. 28:16-20, Luke 24:44-49, John 20:19-23, and Acts 1:4-8 ) without some more amplifying information. This fact demonstrates the existence of the IDQ flaw of "Incomplete Representation" in scripture. Below is the apostles creed that the Roman Catholic Church acknowledges as being considered as being derived in part by the apostles.

(1) I believe in God the Father Almighty;
(2) And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
(3) Who was born of (de) the Holy Ghost and of (ex) the Virgin Mary;
(3) Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
(4) Crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried;
(5) The third day He rose again from the dead,
(6) He ascended into Heaven,
(7) Sitteth at the right hand of the Father,
(8) Whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
(9) And in the Holy Ghost,
(10) The Holy Church,
(11) The forgiveness of sins;
(12) The resurrection of the body.

Source The Catholic Encyclopedia


The apostles creed depends on quite a few things listed below, and some of those things have dependencies on the dependencies as noted below. I might have missed some dependencies but I listed enough to make my point. The Apostles Creed depends on the following:
1. Gods existence
2. that Gods representation in the Bible is accurate (depends on 1)
3. Jesus existence
4. That Jesus representation in the Bible is accurate (depends on 1, 2, 3)
5. The existence of the Holy Ghost (depends on 1, 2)
6. The accurate representation of the Holy Ghost in the Bible (depends on 5)
7. The existence of Mary
8. The accurate representation of Mary in the Bible (depends on 1, 2, 7)
9. That Jesus was Crucified
10. That Jesus was buried (depends on 3, 7, 8, 9)
11. That he rose from the dead (depends on 1, 2, 9, 10)
12. On the third day
13. The existence of Heaven (depends on 1, 2)
14. He ascended into heaven (depends on 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 13)
15. That it is possible to sit next to God (depends on 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13)
16. If he returns to Judge or not depends on the INTERPRETATION of Christians of the Hebrew Bible is more accurate that the Hebrew Interpretation of their own Bible.
17. depends on "The Church" actually being authorized by God (depends on the accuracy of 1-16)
18. The forgiveness of Sins (depends on 1 - 16 and Romans 5)
19. The resurrection of the Body (depends on 1-17)

So, unless I've misunderstood, when people in the group that Jeff belongs to say that

"To sum all this up, since I don’t use the Bible as a historical or scientific document – I don’t even use it as an instrument of salvation – but instead use it as a guide to help me hear more clearly the living voice of God within me, I find it highly accurate and reliable in terms of this function, which is to convey the spiritual. My advice is to stop trying to use it as history or science. It will only lead to your confusion."


It seems as though they don't give any importance to most of the apostles creed being true or accurate except the Holy Spirit. If they derive their meaning and understanding from the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not detectable or measurable, and the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of all "true Christians" then it is necessarily a self-centered understanding, indistinguishable from a personal bias, and demonstrably different from other "true Christians" which has enabled the justification for Christian on Christian violence.

Since the meaning given by the Holy Spirit is different among groups of Christians, then we have to wonder what the intent of the singular intelligence behind that is. The phenomena of different interpretations deriving from one source doesn't seem to be consistent with a singular intelligence but a collective. Collective intelligence within groups in an organization is consistent with different interpretations. Collective intelligence within groups in an organization is consistent with Human Behavior and does not require any other agent. Therefore there is no reason to posit any external agency except because it appears in the Bible. It is a manifestation of the IDQ Flaw of Ambiguous Representation.

That means that it matters if the representation of the Holy Spirit in the Bible is accurate. If, when applying IDQ metrics we determine that the quality of information about the topics in the Bible have a low accuracy rating relative to their potential, then since the information about the Holy Spirit is contained in that information, it will negatively impact the Believability rating of the information which decreases the likelihood that the information about the Holy Spirit is of Good Quality. For those mathematically minded, this may be a starting point to apply a meaningful Bayesian analysis to the probability of the likelihood that scripture represents real world events.

If the Quality of Information about the Holy Spirit is poor relevant to its potential, and there are disagreements among those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling and disagree about the nature and characteristics of the Holy Spirit, then one cannot say they have a good understanding of what the Holy Spirit is or does. They are agnostic with respect to the Holy Spirit.

In future articles the two metrics I will focus on in my application of IDQ Principles to the Bible are Accuracy and Believability. Once the Accuracy rating is derived, it can be used to derive the believability rating. Once I am finished rebutting Jeffs Article and then J.L. Hinmans over at Cadre Comments I will provide an article showing the calculation of the ratings.

Recommended Reading
Reasonable Doubt About the Holy Spirit
This article is an exploration of some stated and less disputed characteristics of the Holy Spirit. I purposely tried to avoid claims about the Holy Spirit that were disputed between denominations and Churches. I use these relatively undisputed claims as my core premises to construct the argument in favor of the Holy Spirit in order to express doubt about it.
The Role of Persuasion in The Question Of The Holy Spirit
This article takes one of the examples in the "Reasonable Doubts about the Holy Spirit" article and explores it further to show that there is no possible way for a person to come to an informed belief based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the alleged interference of Satan or the stubbornness of Humans and that the beliefs that we form about ambiguous subjects are results of factors of persuasion in our environment.
Children Are Targets of Nigerian Witch Hunt
Introduces the problem of Children in Africa being harmed and killed because the congregation are being persuaded by Evangelical Church Leadership that the children are possessed.
The Holy Spirit and The Analogy of The Flame
This article compares the Holy Spirit to a flame and attempts to weaken the claims found in the bible about the Holy Spirit. The flame informs in a way that the Holy Spirit does not.
Feelings As A Result of The Indwelling of The Holy Spirit
Discusses flashes of intense emotion that I used to attribute to the Holy Spirit but now I realize is apparently a biological response to some hardwired morality/altruism/excitement that humans have built in.

34 comments:

Toby said...

Excellent post Lee! I've been dealing with a similar issue with my in-laws. It goes something like this: if I say something supportive of the Bible they are able to accept that statement as fact. If I show them a well-documented fact that is not supportive of the Bible, then they are completely dismissive of that fact. They often argue for the "revelation of the Holy Spirit."

About a month ago I mislead my father-in-law to illustrate my point. He had just made the argument: "The only valid method we have for knowing God's truth is revelation of the Holy Spirit. If we are open and seeking God, the HS reveals the truth God wants us to know." He went on to explain that humankind's wisdom is foolishness, etc. So I said, "Perhaps your right about the revelation of the HS. How many times have we heard about God miraculously saving people from disasters like collapsing bridges, the twin towers on 9/11, or other dangers." Nods of agreement come from my father-in-law. I go on to ask does the knowledge that the HS provides help individuals to lead better lives, and if so, in what areas? He explains that he thinks God directs all areas of our lives. He is a "Pentecostal Christian" and thus thinks tongue-speaking believers have a special relationship with God. I went on to say, "So, among Pentecostal Christians over our denomination we will likely see the positive effects of this type of revelation in their lives. For example: the should have longer life spans, suffer from less physical and mental illness, have lower rates of criminal behavior, divorce, suicide, etc. Over my 30 years of being a Christian I cannot possibly count how many testimonies I've heard where God turns a person's life around, this must be the work of the HS you are talking about?" "Well, yeah, I guess so." Was the reply from my uneasy father-in-law. "Then how come when we look at various factors like these, Evangelical Christians, almost always match up to the general population. In some areas they fair slightly-better, some areas the exact same, and in some areas slightly worse (divorce). If the HS is truly doing the things you claim, then Christians should have better lives and it should show up when we measure it, but overall the is no advantage to being a Christian? "What about longer life? I've heard those studies that show that people who go to church live longer lives?" He asked. "That statistic applies to any religion Christian or not. People who go to church do benefit, but what causes that benefit is not limited to Christianity. Still, I'm looking at Christians lives as a whole. Taking all of the factors together, overall is where we should see a statistically significant impact caused by HS's work in the lives of Christians, but we don't see that."

Unfortunately, rather than challenging or intriguing this individual, he became incoherent with his logic about the mysterious nature of God. It was very frustrating on that side, but on the other side, three of his children were listening to me and maybe a "seed was planted."

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
unfortunately I forgot to discuss "triangulation" which is a term I borrowed from targeting and radio communications.

Its relevant because it is a real world application of the need to verify data from more than one perspective, in this case three perspectives to ensure that it represents the real world.

triangulation is fundamental to accuracy in many contexts and applications.

ifeelfine72 said...

Toby: Don't forget about obesity. Christians are more likely to be obese than atheists and other non-Christians.

akakiwibear said...

Hi Lee, fancy you resorting to debunking Catholics rather than the stated target of DC = Evangelical Christianity.

Of course you can't use the Creed to attack the Evangelicals as most are non-creedal churches; believing that the bible is the sole statement of what can be believed.

So when you then link back to evangelicals and say It seems as though they don't give any importance to most of the apostles creed being true or accurate except the Holy Spirit. you are quite right and they would agree with you.

So I don't quite see your point ... ?

Sala kahle -peace

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwibear,
I'll assume that you misrepresented me in fun.

The point is, groups of Christians don't believe that all the information in the bible is of good quality. They disregard some parts of it in favor of other parts. They have created a value system for the information where some information parts have a higher value than other parts. They have effectively given "weights" to the information and sorted it accordingly. But they haven't all sorted it the same way.

If we strip away the information that each group of Christians disregards, then soon we would have nothing left except that somehow Jesus being a human sacrifice has reconciled us enough to be worthy of forgiveness.

for example:
lets have a little fun shall we? Lets asses an aggregate of values for the apostles creed.
if we create a set called SOAC (set of apostles creed) within the scope of Christianity and it contains
Catholic=1
Evangelical=0.3
it should look like this SOAP=(C1,E0.3). The catholic ranking would be the max and the evangelical would be the min. in this multivariate dimension then the value of the set would be the value of its weakest data quality indicator. In this case that would be 0.3.

So the apostles creed is not of as good quality to evangelicals as Catholics, therefore, it is not surprising that it does not mean as much to non-Catholics and non-evangelicals. So within the scope of Christianity, the apostles creed would have a value determined by the lowest christian ranking but within the scope of the rest of the 66% of the world the min would be less than 0.3.

Just because I happen to have the reference in front of me, here is how the believability dimension is calculated. The accuracy dimension must be calculated before this and used as one of the variables in the set.
Believability= min(Believability of source, Believability when compared to internal commonsense standard, Believability based on age of data).
[source is "Journey to data quality", lee, pipino, funk and wang, pg. 58.]

So the quality of the datum called the "apostles creed" is not consistent within the scope of Christianity, but only within a smaller group, and quite possibly some data is only consistent within even smaller subgroups within a group.

Hope this helps.
;-)

Lee Randolph said...

and before someone slams me for "thinking the apostles creed is in the bible" I know what it is and when it came about.
It was simply the datum within the topic of discussion.

the algorithm can be applied to Adam for example. And then adams value can be plugged into Pauls argument in romans 5.

maybe some of you see where I'm going with this.

Lee Randolph said...

I just found a powerpoint presentation with the data dimension metric calculations in them and
here is a link to Microsofts Powerpoint viewer so you can view them if you don't have powerpoint. The link doesn't work in google chrome browser but it works in IE.

Not all of quality dimensions apply to the Bible because of the format. The bible is in book format not a database, so the metrics that have to do with database integrity and key checking do not apply. That's why I'm limiting my scope to the accuracy and believability dimensions. I might incorporate one or two more later, but for right now, those two are enough.

Lee Randolph said...

typo,
SOAP=(C1,E0.3)
should be
SOAC=(C1, E0.3)

akakiwibear said...

Lee you are correct I was being light hearted.

To be serious though, I see in your arguments intense effort to convince yourself of the validity of your atheist position.

Jeff has a valid point that applying IDQ to the bible is irrelevant. Taken in context it is fit for the purpose to which current Catholic theology assigns it.

Interesting to look back on your "Reasonable Doubt About The Holy Spirit" article - I still think (as I said at the time) that it is fundamentally flawed - a straw man at best.

Sala kahle - peace

Toby said...

Akakiwibear wrote, "I see in your arguments intense effort to convince yourself of the validity of your atheist position."

Yes, this is the crux of the scientific method. One puts forth theories to best explain relevant data not only to one's self, but to others as well. While you offered "general criticism" to his ideas over all, you offered nothing substantial to better explain the sets of data he is analyzing. In the scientific community(ies), criticism is highly welcome when it has something substantial to say. Anecdotal or non-empirical data to support one's claims is irrelevant as these are difficult if not impossible to validate.

You then wrote, "Jeff has a valid point that applying IDQ to the bible is irrelevant. Taken in context it is fit for the purpose to which current Catholic theology assigns it." There are so many problems with this statement. First, it is a profound oversimplification of Catholic doctrine on the authority of scripture. Second, it implies that a lighter value on the authority of scripture is equal to little or no value.

You then offer, "Interesting to look back on your "Reasonable Doubt About The Holy Spirit" article - I still think (as I said at the time) that it is fundamentally flawed - a straw man at best." I guess I don't see this statement as constructive by itself. It would have been more palatable if you had presented/represented an alternate hypothesis for how the data Lee is attempting to analyze could be better understood?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwi,
glad to see you.

I see in your arguments intense effort to convince yourself of the validity of your atheist position.
because....?

Jeff has a valid point that applying IDQ to the bible is irrelevant.
because....?

Taken in context it is fit for the purpose to which current Catholic theology assigns it.
If any data gets a high rating in the quality dimension for "usefulness for purpose" then the question is
"with in the scope of christianity, does it suit all groups purpose?"

then again the MIN OR MAX OPERATOR using a Weighted Ranking
USEFULNESS_OF_PURPOSE(GROUP-A1, GROUP-B0.5, GROUP-C0.3)
the min operation yields 0.3 according to group3 and the datums usefulness of purpose within the scope of christianity is determined.

your "Reasonable Doubt About The Holy Spirit" article - I still think (as I said at the time) that it is fundamentally flawed - a straw man at best.
MIN OR MAX OPERATOR using a Weighted Ranking
on HOLYSPIRIT()
pentecostals=[speaking in tongues]=.9
someothergroup=[miracles don't happen anymore]=0.0

HOLYSPIRIT(.9, 0.0]
the holy spirit gets a 0 within the scope of christianity.

The holy spirit is not defined, what it does is not understood consistent between groups within christianity, symptoms of IDQ flaws of "missing representation" and "ambiguity". It is a completely human oversight consistent with HOLYSPIRIT(0.0)

If one says that god let humans muck up the scripture, then the originator had a better chance and better copy than everyone that came after. then over time, everyone that came after had a harder time understanding the scripture because of degradation. The quality gets poorer. This is taken into account in the quality dimension "free_from_error" and some others.
here's a link to the seminal research "Data Quality Assessment". hopefully the link will work for you. Over time people necessarily get more agnostic about god as the quality of scripture degrades.

Face it, IDQ principles do apply to any information used to make decisions with.

Lee Randolph said...

Which interpretation about the holy spirit is accurate?

Jeff Carter said...

Lee,
I have addressed this most recent blog of yours in greater detail on my website under the blog "How Can a Blind Man Apply IDQ to the Color Red?" but below I list what I believe to be your salient points and give (relatively) brief answers:

[The] criticism is only relevant to himself and people that share his viewpoint.

My criticism is directed toward those who attempt to use the Bible as a primary scientific and historic document, who attempt to inappropriately apply IDQ Principles to the Bible or other non-historic, non-scientific documents or who inappropriately attempt to apply IDQ Principles to persons.

The purpose of the principles of Information and Data Quality (IDQ) is to improve decision making.

A pretty basic premise, but what decision making are we talking about here, with regard to the Bible? The types of decisions that Randolph lists all seem to be political or legal, and I reject any notion that the Bible was intended for political or legal use. This gets to two very important IDQ criteria, Intent of the Author and Intended Audience.

Christianity has a … “mission statement” called the Apostle’s Creed.

I am under no obligation with regard to my relationship with Christ to believe it as a formula for salvation or as historical truth. In fact, I am under no obligation to accept the Bible as part of my salvation. Many were converted to Christ in the days of the early church before there even was a New Testament. Salvation is an encounter with and receipt through trust of the person and spirit of Jesus Christ into one’s being, not belief in a creed.

The Holy Spirit is not detectable or measurable.

The Holy Spirit is not an external person detectable through the objective senses but detectable nonetheless in the inner man. The Holy Spirit is detectable in the same sense that you – the inner you, not your objective body – is detectable by yourself. Is your understanding of your own interior self “self-centered and “indistinguishable from personal bias?”

The phenomena of different interpretations deriving from one source doesn’t seem to be consistent with a singular intelligence but a collective.

Yes, for the unbeliever this phenomena seems shadowy gray. However, the phenomena of different interpretations is consistent with a) differing degrees of maturity of Christians and b) the case where the singular intelligence (God) is intentionally hindering and frustrating attempts by some to comprehend Him.

It matters if the representation of the Holy Spirit in the Bible is accurate.

Actually, it’s pretty irrelevant, if I have the Holy Spirit is within me and I can perceive for myself who and what the Holy Spirit is. The encounter with the Holy Spirit is an experience separate from and completely independent from the Bible.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jeff,
one quick thing that gets to the root of my rebuttal to you.
The encounter with the Holy Spirit is an experience separate from and completely independent from the Bible.
then how do you know its the "holy spirit" mentioned in the bible and not some spirit that is deceiving you preventing you from knowing the real spirit. The real spirit being the one the pentecostals believe in for example?

In a situation like this where you have two independent data sets for the same record and the data don't match, thats where verification comes in. Which data is right? Well we have to go look. We have to use external sources, we have to use
Triangulation.

We have to use data from different sources and perspectives to hone in on the data that both sets have in common and are independently supported.

Whose interpretation of the Holy Spirit is accurate?

I know! Why don't we ask the Holy Spirit?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jeff,
I'm sorry but I have to comment in pieces for lack of time.

you do know that I was a christian for at least 35 years right?

The types of decisions that Randolph lists all seem to be political or legal, and I reject any notion that the Bible was intended for political or legal use. This gets to two very important IDQ criteria, Intent of the Author and Intended Audience.
I can't believe I have to explain this to you.
those were legal and political examples, but they were values held by christian voters. They committed to those ideas that they found in the bible because they thought
" 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"

or do I have a misconception?

So what is the definition of "inspired by God" as it is used here? Who decides?

It looks like the IDQ Flaw of ambiguous representation so no interpretation can be taken to be correct without some validation or
"Triangulation".

There are 3.25 billion christians in the world each with their own notion of what or who the holy spirit is.

thats 3.25 billion independent data sets.
Since I got my figures from an american (10^9) source, not british (10^12) that is
3,250,000,000 independent data sets.

to give you some perspective on what that means
I plugged it into a spreadsheet for you edification and reading pleasure

if seconds = 3250000000 then
min = 54166666.67
hours = 902777.7778
days = 37615.74074
weeks = 5373.677249
month = 1343.419312
years = 102.9862854

if days = 3250000000 then
weeks = 464285714.3
month = 116071428.6
years = 8898258.679

so now the next time someone asks you how many seconds are in 102 years you can tell them "about 3.25 billion"
2009 - 102 = 1907.

Then the holy spirit can only be defined as the data that appears in common in all independent sets, and then it may not be correct because it can't be independently verified because it can't be measured or observed.

so how do you "test the spirits"?
the fruit of the spirit? love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance
but can't non-christians exhibit the fruit of the spirit too? Faith? Faith in what? Jesus? Thats not what the text says! more of that IDQ flaw of ambiguous representation!

Jeff, buddy, YIKES! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS MAN!?
You may be deceived by a demon to keep you happy while not gaining your salvation!

Lee Randolph said...

WARNING: SPOILER BELOW!!!

I also want to point out that santa does not have enough time to reach all the christians in the world, let alone all the people in the world.

sorry couldn't resist.
;-)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jeff,
I just want to say that I really appreciate the thoughtful dialog, and I feel that sometimes my comment "attitude" can appear flippant. I'm just enjoying the dialog and not watching my tone.
so I don't mean to offend.
...anyway...

I just want to say that
I'm working on my rebuttal to the other items in your article "The Failure of Information and Data Quality Principles When Applied to the Bible"
and I'll include whatever else I have to say about your comments there.

I'll read your other article "How Can a Blind Man Apply IDQ to the Color Red?" as well.

But I will say that I think you are ignoring an important qualifier that you need to sustain your credibility. Namely that you are ignoring the fact that even literature has some level of accuracy regarding the real world. In a tom clancy novel, some information about submarines is pretty accurate. In a tom clancy novel, some of the information about submarines is pretty high quality when compared to other novels in its genre.

Lee Randolph said...

What is the principle behind this?
b) the case where the singular intelligence (God) is intentionally hindering and frustrating attempts by some to comprehend Him.

anyone, anyone?

akakiwibear said...

Jeff, you have more patience with Lee on this than I have.

Toby & Lee questioned my comment on attempting to validate atheist views. Let me elaborate. I see the misapplication of a methodology to a purpose as an act of desperation, a clutching at straws to justify a leap of faith.

... and yes i do see the atheist position as a huge leap of faith, too big for me.

The atheist tendency to apply the scientific method Toby seems to hold dear to a field of study where it is so obviously inappropriate is in my mind clutching at straws.

Do you apply the scientific method to art or law or philosophy or even history? No each discipline has its own appropriate methods, as does theology. This why, for example, Dawkins presents such poor theology - he does not appreciate the discipline.

Sala kahle - peace

Steven said...

akakiwibear,

I'm going to throw the accusation of grabbing at straws back at you. Let me put it this way. You keep claiming that it is inappropriate to apply IDQ to the bible, but you don't really explain why. You just claim that this is so, and then try to cite other fields where you deem the scientific method is inappropriate, but again you don't say why. In fact, your examples are quite vague, and it is not at all clear that your case is obvious.

Just in the case of art alone, I know of all kinds of ways that the scientific method can be applied appropriately, everything from cognitive science to psychology to even physics and chemistry can be appropriately applied to the study of art in a variety of different contexts.

Lee's analysis is most definitely appropriate in context of the bible, in that Christians claim to gain knowledge and information from the bible about how they should live their lives, what they should believe in, how they should vote, etc, and IDQ is a very appropriate means to evaluate the quality this information, as well as the content of the bible itself. It seems to me that you are the one grabbing at straws trying to deny this, as you haven't been able to give a substantive reason for your denial.

I concede that different fields of human endeavor have different methods, but it is not at all clear that just because they have different methods, that the fields and their methods are immune from evaluation in different contexts without a much better explanation from you about why this kind of evaluation is inappropriate in this context. Why are IDQ rules inappropriate to apply in this context? What makes the information that people purport to gain from bible study immune from this sort of evaluation? I'm going to echo Toby's comment that your argument would be a lot more powerful (and might make us rethink Lee's position) if you explained what would be an appropriate method of evaluation.

Toby said...

akakiwibear,

The scientific method overlaps all of those fields, though perhaps it is less useful in art than the others. Science is our best method for understanding the physical world. While art is a preference to the individual, just as God is, science overlaps this field. For example, we might study genetics or neurology to understand creativity, perception, likes or even artistic aptitudes. To say that science does not overlap into any areas of theology (the non-physical world) is ignorant. Do you believe that the theology has nothing to say about the physical world. Sure you do. Have you ever had an emotion caused by a spiritual event? Then we can use neurology to better understand that spiritual event. To me, you are a small minded person if you believe that science shouldn't attempt to understand the spiritual world. For all you know God is just waiting for us to discover the link between the physical and spiritual planes of existence.

I want to believe in all kinds of supernatural things... especially heaven. I'm just very honest with the knowledge that I have available to me. I don't disregard facts when they don't match up to my preconceptions.

Knowledge.

Lee Randolph said...

"The Scientific Method"
is just common sense defined.

If you think about the scientific method, at its heart, it is really no more than the process a child goes through to learn something.

kid1: "hey what happens if I do this!"
kid2: "its gonna [insert event here]"
kid1: "uh, uh, its gonna [insert different event here]"
[kids perform action and either verify one or the other or both hypotheses, or something unexpected happens]

then, one day, they find a practical purpose for what they learned, and maybe even learn why it happened.

Jeff, if you are really a chemical engineer, you have to use Material Safety Data Sheets, and it matters if they are accurate doesn't it?
It matters for your safety?
No one is intentionally hindering and frustrating attempts by some to comprehend them are they?
no
Any idea why?
Because it defeats the purpose.
simple.

What is the purpose of the Bible? To reveal the way to salvation.
if god is intentionally hindering and frustrating attempts by some to comprehend then it defeats the purpose and negatively impacts the free will of those being hindered. They cannot make informed decisions. It defeats the purpose of the great commission.
now your back to calvinism, which, if true, has no purpose, because its all already decided.

but if god knows everything ahead of time then its all has no purpose at T1 in all cases.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwi,
steve and toby have pointed out, you still haven't said why IDQ principles don't apply.

Which theology is accurate? surely there is a purpose to them. some of them must accurately represent what is going on in the real world, otherwise why do it?

What does theology use as its point of origin? The Word, The Bible. How can any theology derived from an origin be accurate if its point of origin is not accurate?

If i inaccurately report that my dinner guests like mushrooms, and then we a dinner heavy in mushrooms and the guests are miserable, then the originating information was of poor quality to base our inferences on, therefore our result was a bad decision and miserable guests.

about science and the arts,
The DANA foundation applies neuroscience to understand the arts. They have at least three podcasts that I suscribe to.

and using the human tendency to mentally, internally, intuitively, unconsciously assign values to things, anything that has a value relative to anything else can be measured.
its called weighted ranking.

would you rather have a BMW or bad back?
would you rather have a bad back or a bad heart?
would you rather have a BMW or a Lexus?
even across categories
see how that works?

When I was a christian I was a facilitator for personal responsibility seminars for young adults and that concept was one of its principles.

peoples decisions come from their values, that is the key to irrationality. Emotional reasoning overriding Logical reasoning. some people know what the right thing is but they do it anyway. They overeat, they overdrink, they thrillseek, they mock, they do the right thing for the wrong reason, they do all kinds of things as a result of emotional reasoning.

Christians defend all kinds of untenable principles to maintain their belief in a god. In my view, people are unconsciously self-centered, comfort and survival override everything except in extreme cases.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi akakiwi,
one last thing,
I see the misapplication of a methodology to a purpose as an act of desperation, a clutching at straws to justify a leap of faith.
1. you haven't shown that its misapplied,
2. nothing so grandiose going on my head, I do it for sport. Its a game of strategy. If you want to get better at it, get some LSAT practice test workbooks.

don't believe I do it for sport? go look at my profile and my favorite books.
The clue is in the section called "about me". Its in the phrase.
"Would you like to play a game of dialogue?"
Its been that way ever since I created it and never changed.

I don't put any importance on convincing anyone of anything, I just analyze arguments, look for their dependencies and then uproot them.

My latest strategy is IDQ, in the future you'll see me applying principles of Evidence and Witness Testimony, communication theory, relationhip theory and if you look back at my articles you can plot what I was reading at the time. maybe you can figure out when I was reading about and taking courses in game theory. ;-)

My article is always my opening move. I never let on because I wanted to see how I was received in the community. I haven't gotten slammed yet, but I suppose it will happen some day. Till then,
ON! ON!

My Goal is to get all the dependencies handled to shred Pauls argument in Romans 5. I plotted it out last april, and have been marching towards it ever since. Romans 5 is the Holy Grail...so to speak.
;-)

I have to stop commenting because I'm not making any progress on my other articles.
see ya!

Toby said...

Thanks Lee. This is how I'm teaching my children to view the world. Not through the lens of emotional spirituality and unpredictability. Science by definition is a "systematized knowledge in general." My oldest child is now 6 years old, but he is already well versed in a simplistic form of IDQ. We were at his great grandmother's funeral a couple months back and the minister started preaching about the miracles of Jesus. To which my son,Christian, who was 5 at the time, said, "Really, Jesus can do that?!" After the service we went through a simplistic process of analyzing the data so he could make a logical and informed decision, rather than an illogical and uniformed decision.

Jeff Carter said...

Everyone -
I appreciate the thoughtful dialogue as well. All of you should know I have a full-time day job and will respond ASAP.

Regards,
Jeff

Jeff Carter said...

How do you know its the "holy spirit" mentioned in the bible and not some spirit that is deceiving you ….?

Here is where language is bound to fail us. What I am about to say is too simplistic, but perhaps it will move the conversation forward. The spiritual stands in relation to the soulish and the physical as color to a blind man. It is another dimension altogether. I distinguish the spiritual in a way similar to a once blind man having gained his sight perceives color. I distinguish the Holy Spirit from evil spirits in a way similar to how that same man distinguishes red from blue, or closer yet, crimson from burgundy.

What is important is not so much the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible but the one who delivered the Gospel of Christ unto me. As I have said before, the Bible is completely unnecessary in regard to salvation.

In a situation like this where you have two independent data sets for the same record and the data don't match, thats where verification comes in. Which data is right? Well we have to go look. We have to use external sources, we have to use
Triangulation.


Why do I need to do this, when I know what red looks like? And if we’re talking about nuanced shades, then perhaps the Bible can be of use. Finally, if I lack wisdom of discernment I ask God and He reveals. Do you use IDQ to help you recognize your spouse or your mother-in-law?

Whose interpretation of the Holy Spirit is accurate? I know! Why don't we ask the Holy Spirit?

I know you’re being facetious here, but you’re not off the mark. It makes a great deal of sense to trust the One who gave you (restored) this extra-dimensional sight in the first place.

you do know that I was a christian for at least 35 years right?

And I’ve been one for 45 years. What of it?

I can't believe I have to explain this to you. Those were legal and political examples, but they were values held by christian voters. They committed to those ideas that they found in the bible because they thought " 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"or do I have a misconception?

I said what I did to drive home the point that the political realm is of the world, hardly a concern for the Christian. Nevertheless, Christian-American citizens have as much right to voice their opinion through vote as any other American citizen, whether they be of some other religion or atheistic. It matters not why a voter pulls the lever. It’s their vote. I would say, though, if those “Christian” voters think they are following the Spirit simply because they vote in accordance with their interpretation of the Bible, they are misguided. They should listen for the voice of the Spirit instead.

Also, note that it says “training in righteousness,” a.k.a. spiritual progress, not political or legal (worldly) endeavors.

So what is the definition of "inspired by God" as it is used here? Who decides?

Surely it is not the blind man who shall decide whether the color is crimson or burgundy. What need do I have of the inspired when I can converse directly with the inspirer?

There are 3.25 billion christians in the world each with their own notion of what or who the holy spirit is.

For me, there are only two. The one inside me, and the one outside me, that is, the 3.25 billion Christians and how ever many atheists, agnostics etc, voices there are and to which I do not owe the slightest allegiance. I am only concerned about my allegiance to the Holy Spirit within me.

Then the holy spirit can only be defined as the data that appears in common in all independent sets, and then it may not be correct because it can't be independently verified because it can't be measured or observed.

This would mean that in order to identify my wife or my mother I would have to interview each every person that had every met her. IDQ in this case is impractical nonsense.

so how do you "test the spirits"?

See above.

You may be deceived by a demon to keep you happy while not gaining your salvation!

You have to understand that one does not need the Bible to do what I am describing, one needs only the Holy Spirit. Once you have encountered Him, you know exactly what He “looks” or “sounds” like. To equate the Holy Spirit with a demon is to say that this demon has the power to heal or grant sight into the extra-dimensional spiritual realms. Can Satan cast out Satan? If we grant the demon these powers then no epistemological enterprise – Christian or atheistic – can ever be said to be sound.

I just want to say that I really appreciate the thoughtful dialog, and I feel that sometimes my comment "attitude" can appear flippant. I'm just enjoying the dialog and not watching my tone. so I don't mean to offend.

No offense taken. We have to use sarcasm or irony sometimes to drive our point home.

even literature has some level of accuracy regarding the real world.

Tom Clancy novels purport to be realistic fiction, so it’s important for the writing to closely parallel the real world. Science fiction or fantasy novels are given greater latitude, mythological or poetic works greater latitude still. I am arguing that the spiritual works must be given the greatest latitude of all.

What is the principle behind this?
b) the case where the singular intelligence (God) is intentionally hindering and frustrating attempts by some to comprehend Him.


Well, that’s easy. Evil and unholy men don’t get to approach God and thus they are frustrated in their attempts.

akakiwibear said...

The atheist tendency to apply the scientific method Toby seems to hold dear to a field of study where it is so obviously inappropriate is in my mind clutching at straws.Do you apply the scientific method to art or law or philosophy or even history?

Yes, exactly my point. Does one take out a Chilton’s Auto Repair Manual to get help on how to plan a date? No, offense guys, but if you’re applying IDQ to everything you must really suck at poetry and romance.

You keep claiming that it is inappropriate to apply IDQ to the bible, but you don't really explain why. You just claim that this is so, and then try to cite other fields where you deem the scientific method is inappropriate.

I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have been quite clear. IDQ is inappropriate for poetry, mythology and persons. Why should it be a criteria for poetry that Yeats be “accurate”, “reliable” and “objective”?

Just in the case of art alone, I know of all kinds of ways that the scientific method can be applied appropriately, everything from cognitive science to psychology to even physics and chemistry can be appropriately applied to the study of art in a variety of different contexts.

Of course, but the key question is, to what end? The scientific method CANNOT be applied to art to determine its VALIDITY. Are you saying that IDQ can be used to determine whether the works of Picasso are valid?

Lee's analysis is most definitely appropriate in context of the bible, in that Christians claim to gain knowledge and information from the bible about how they should live their lives, what they should believe in, how they should vote, etc, and IDQ is a very appropriate means to evaluate the quality this information, as well as the content of the bible itself.

A Christian has no need to resort to such a thing, since the Holy Spirit is within him. Even the Bible says that the Holy Spirit, not the Bible, will lead you into all truth.

Why are IDQ rules inappropriate to apply in this context?

For starters, the basic IDQ criteria calls for accuracy, reliability and objectivity. If these are indeed to be applied to all forms of information then it is not credible because it is beginning with a bias toward accuracy, reliability and objectivity, three things that poetry and mythology have little or no need of.

Science is our best method for understanding the physical world.

This should helps us discern, then. The Holy Spirit is not of the physical, objective world. He is of the inner, spiritual world.

To me, you are a small minded person if you believe that science shouldn't attempt to understand the spiritual world.

I didn’t say science shouldn’t, I said it can’t. The former is an ethical declaration, the other a logical one. Science fits the objective world. It is an unfit tool for the spiritual one. That’s nothing personal against science. Buzzsaws are not designed to operate on human beings, which require scapels.

What is the purpose of the Bible? To reveal the way to salvation.

Wrong. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to lead to salvation. The Bible has nothing to do with salvation and isn’t even for the unbeliever.

if god is intentionally hindering and frustrating attempts by some to comprehend then it defeats the purpose and negatively impacts the free will of those being hindered. They cannot make informed decisions

He constantly frustrates those who think they can “reason” to get to Him, because He doesn’t want to be “figured out”. In fact, no human being wants to be “figured out”. God frustrates to uphold the concept of human dignity for us all. If God could be approached by reason then evil rationalists could find Him. He doesn’t care how smart you are. Instead He is an admirer of holiness and humility.

Toby said...

Jeff,

I love love how you speak for God, knowing his thoughts and feelings. If the Holy Spirit guides, does he only provide guidance on spiritual matters? You seems to think God has revealed things beyond spiritual matters to you. If he provides knowledge beyond the spiritual into the physical, to what end. Do Spirit-filled believers benefit physically from this indwelling. Do they live longer? Suffer from less disease? Have lower rates of mental illness? Have fewer money problems? Lower divorce rates? The answer is none of the above. They show benefit in any of these areas when compared to people of other religions. In fact, they even suffer from addiction at the exact same rate as the general population.

The only benefit the Holy Spirit can realistically provide then is spiritual knowledge. If we are to truly worship God is Spirit and Truth, then I think you're missing out on half of the equation.

*I, for the most part, think God has revealed truth to mankind and you have chosen to be completely blind to it. His creation reveals who he is and his nature. It is no wonder that science has led to saving more lives than religion ever has because science leads us to God. People that lead godly lives or should I say scientifically principled lives do actually live longer, suffer from less disease, mental illness, etc. I am amazed that people cannot see that the nature of God is revealed in his creation, and science is bringing closer to better understanding God all of the time.

* <-That paragraph was written tongue in cheek so to speak just to make a point. I'm actually agnostic about who or what God is. But I do think that if God did actually create everything, that he will ultimately be revealed through his creation. If God didn't create everything, then he won't be revealed. Anthony Flew became a theist because of his belief that God is revealed in DNA.

Philip R Kreyche said...

Jeff,

Do you honestly think that you would even have your "spiritual knowledge" that was "revealed" to you, if you had never even heard of the Bible or Christianity? If so, please demonstrate.

Do you consider it to be just a coincidence that your concept of the Holy Spirit happens to match up with the book that you were taught the very concept from?

Is this a sort of "well I would have known anyway" sort of rationalization?

Jeff Carter said...

I love love how you speak for God, knowing his thoughts and feelings.

And I love the way you, admitting that you have never seen the color red, nevertheless presume to tell us what red looks like: "I do think that if God did actually create everything, that he will ultimately be revealed through his creation." I can attempt to describe what the color red looks like to me, since I have since the color red. I don't know what it looks like to others and I don't speak for them.

On the one hand I am questioned about how I can possibly know the Spirit and then when I claim I do, I am castigated for claiming I know Him. Are you people so unprincipled as to attack me from both sides, just for the sake of attacking me?

You seems to think God has revealed things beyond spiritual matters to you.

Such as what? I'm the one who said that political and legal matters were not the purview of the Bible.

Do Spirit-filled believers benefit physically from this indwelling. Do they live longer? Suffer from less disease? Have lower rates of mental illness? Have fewer money problems? Lower divorce rates?

You seemingly imply that these things are the important things and they are not. Only obeying the will of God is.

The only benefit the Holy Spirit can realistically provide then is spiritual knowledge. If we are to truly worship God is Spirit and Truth, then I think you're missing out on half of the equation.

And what is Truth? That's not a rhetorical question.

People that lead ... scientifically principled lives do actually live longer, suffer from less disease, mental illness, etc.

But that doesn't mean they have eternal life within them. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul?

Anthony Flew became a theist because of his belief that God is revealed in DNA.

Yes, rationalism led Flew to a belief in God, but not Christ. The creation may speak to the existence of God but cannot fully speak to the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ. Only the Spirit can do that.

Player Piano said...

Jeff Carter,

You have some nice analogies about the blind regaining sight and then being able to see in color, but I'm not sure that they are particularly meaningful.

For example, how do you know that what you feel is different from what a Muslim feels? a Hindu feels? a Buddhist feels?

If the Bible is "completely unnecessary in regards to salvation", why was it written?

What do you believe is necessary? Do you believe that a belief in Jesus is necessary? Where else would you expect to learn about him? Without the Bible, how would you interpret your feelings in the same way as you do now?

You keep saying you "know what red looks like", but no one has seen any objective evidence of the supernatural or of any specific gods. What is your evidence: what is your "red"?

You criticize the use of IDQ for Biblical text, saying that "spiritual works must be given the greatest latitude of all" to "closely parallel the real world".

How do you justify this claim?

Are the statements of the Bible only applicable to a "spiritual world"?

Since I live in the real world, and not the spiritual world, then anything it says must not apply to me, right?

The Bible is arguably written for people who live in this world -- why shouldn't it represent things accurately?

However, I can still understand why one would say it is entirely spiritual. Therefore, at the very least, the Bible should be internally consistent on spiritual teachings, if it is primarily a spiritual book, right?

However, there are many conflicting views of the nature of the Biblical god in the Bible. If it's a spiritual book, it should be accurate about spiritual things, but it's clearly not, because it lacks internal consistency.

No, we can't tell if it's "valid", but we can tell if it's consistent. And if it's not consistent, why should we listen to its claims?

By the way, I am a poet. Also single, but then again, what do you think I write about? ;)

Lee Randolph said...

drive by, didn't want to let this idea go.
I distinguish the Holy Spirit from evil spirits in a way similar to how that same man distinguishes red from blue, or closer yet, crimson from burgundy.

you presume that you can perceive spirits and distinguish them. You know red because while you can see the color, if you had never been taught anything about colors you wouldn't know how anyone sees them. you have used triangulation to form your ideas about red.

now colors on the other hand can't be evil or good. IF you perceive spirits, and I'm in no position to say you don't, how do you know they are good or even have any qualities when you can't "triangulate" that data?

The mechanism for percieving color is understood to a large degree across categories of various believers, Jews, Muslims, etc, know the infrastructure is there. However I'd like you to point me to the literature describing the infrastructure for perceiving spirits and get You a Jew and a Muslim to agree on it.

Toby said...

Jeff wrote, "I am castigated for claiming I know [the Holy Spirit]."

This is "castigated" to you! You've got issues if you think you are being harshly treated. Besides you're not being CRITICIZED for claiming to know the HS, you're being criticized because your beliefs don't appear to be of benefit to us nor supported by any relevant data.

Perhaps criticism will lead to a refining of your arguments so that it is congruent with the message of the Holy Spirit. Your message is mostly nonsense to me and leads me further away from Christianity. You appear to have no respect for the knowledge God has given us. You seem to respect only spirit knowledge that is "caught not taught." Knowledge that has nothing to do with the physical world.

You're a pseudo-gnostic!

Gandolf said...

With regards to :It matters if the representation of the Holy Spirit in the Bible is accurate.


Jeff Carter said..."Actually, it’s pretty irrelevant, if I have the Holy Spirit is within me and I can perceive for myself who and what the Holy Spirit is. The encounter with the Holy Spirit is an experience separate from and completely independent from the Bible."


Which is partly why we have so many differing translations and dominations etc ,that also even includes some quite dangerous abusive cults .Some who even go as far as to suggest such things as group suicide etc ,all professing to be led by the holy spirit of course.

If jeff is right then i suppose this small problem is little reason to be worried or even have questions.

It seems his holy spirit expects this type of mere collateral damage to happen.