Certainty is Unattainable Through Science and Reason? So What?

Eric commented
...take any proposition you believe to be supported by 'science and reason,' and proceed to provide the premises that support it. Take any one of these premises and support it. Continue. It won't take long at all before you reach a premise that you can't justify scientifically, and a short time after that you'll find a premise you can't justify with 'reason.' What then?
I agree with Eric on this. But there are two things I'd like to say about it:

1) This gets him no where as I've explained in my original post. Based on this admission he simply cannot all-of-a-sudden bring into the equation the whole host of assumptions he needs to do in order to believe in the Christian faith. I maintain that a believer cannot drive a truckload of assumptions through a mere possibility once it's admitted that certainty is unattainable in science and in reasoning. Simple assumptions, i.e. Ockham's razor, are better. For if Eric can do that based on his Christian assumptions when science and reason don't work at the level of certainties, then a voodoo witchdoctor or a Hindu, or a Muslim can do the same exact thing and bring into the equation all of their assumptions too. It seems as though the admission that science and reason don't work to produce certainties is used by believers like Eric with a type of carte blanch authority to write any amount in a blank check when it comes to one's own beliefs. But this blank check approach fails the outsider test for it allows too much that other faiths would reject. If it's the case that simply because we can't be apodictically certain of much of anything means we can write our own belief checks for as much as we want to, then anything, and I mean anything goes. Let's just believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Russell's Celestial Teapot at that point. They would have the same epistemological grounding.

2) When we reach a point where reason and science don't help us when trying to find the bottom of the rabbit hole, what we do at that point is we use our background beliefs to solve the question. Even though science and reason do not help us down there, we can still place that question next to the other things we believe and then have a good reason for deciding what to believe about the question in hand. Since we cannot investigate every sub-discipline of a sub-discipline what we believe can at least cohere with what else we believe.

But of course, this is what gets us all into trouble, because as human beings we believe contradictory things which we think cohere with the rest of what we believe, but we don't realize that what we believe is contradictory with other things we believe! This too favors being skeptical of our beliefs, all of them, to varying degrees (Quine's web of beliefs).

An important point I made in my initial post is that, science, and I’ll add reason, are the best we’ve got. They are the best antidote to wishful thinking, the best chance we have for getting it right. If we don’t lean on science and reason then anything goes at all, anything. And since certainty is an impossible goal then defending every proposition is unnecessary even if it’s practically impossible.

I’ve subjected a few of the most often proffered examples of beliefs for which it's claimed we have no scientific evidence for them right here, and even when it comes to these strange possibilities I have good reason to reject these examples. So what if we cannot prove otherwise? So what if there is always a possibility that we're wrong? We’re looking at what is probable, not possible. That’s all we can do!

Cheers.

95 comments:

Tyro said...

It won't take long at all before you reach a premise that you can't justify scientifically, and a short time after that you'll find a premise you can't justify with 'reason.' What then?

Which questions do you think he had in mind?

Is this mean to imply that reason doesn't work and theology does, or that both reason & theology have the same base? I'm not sure I understand.

I would have thought that apart from the abstruse realms of ivory tower theorizing the real concern that people would have isn't the ultimate philosophical foundations but rather what we can learn from this. Instead of looking back, I think most people are concerned with looking forward. You know, asking questions about the Big Bang, evolution and death, questions which require a lot of theoretical work and evidence with the implication that if science can't answer all questions then it fails.

What do you think, are these foundational questions serious issues or just parroting something they heard an academic spout?

Jeff Carter said...

Seems like Brad beat me to the punch.

Facing a lack of certainty, I retreat until I find something that is undeniable. What I cannot deny is that I exist. The world may be an illusion, but that I exist cannot be. My believing that I exist cannot be an illusion. That I exist is the certainty.

So this is the starting point. I exist. I do perceive an objective world. I make a leap and assume that it exists. That is not the same thing, however, as the undeniable fact, the certainty, of my existence. Thus, my self and the objective are two completely different worlds, one undeniable, one deniable.

I find that reason and empirical science work well with the objective world. This is why I accept what the physical sciences say about the world, including evolution. This is pragmatism, however, not certainty.

The starting point, then, is my self, and I have described this in my post, "The Starting Point of All Inquiry is the Human Condition." I find my existence to be one of both joy and despair. My existence is absurd, ambiguous and meaningless and so is this objective world I perceive. This is what I have to build upon.

I agree that the lack of certainty is not a license to bring in any and all kinds of unsubstantiated beliefs. What one builds upon the existence of one's self depends upon how honest one is, how much one desires not to be self-deceived.

One principle I operate by is that whatever theological or metaphysical beliefs I build upon myself must be first be experienced as a change to my self - that undeniable certainty - not as any kind of empirical fact established by reason for the objective world. This is why such things as looking for empirical verification of the resurrection or engaging in textual criticism of the Bible is all wasted effort to me.

The kingdom of God is within you. His kingdom is not of this world.

John W. Loftus said...

Okay everyone, remember the movie "The Sound of Music"? Get ready to sing with me, for this is about Jeff's irrational faith which reminds me of the song "Maria," only I think it refers to his faith:

All: How do you solve a problem like Maria
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down
How do you find the word that means Maria
Catherine: A flibbertigibbet
Margaretta & Sophia: A willow the wisp
Berthe: A clown
All: Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
R. Mother: But how do you make her stay
Berthe: And listen to all you say
Margaretta: How do you keep a wave upon the sand
All: Oh how do you solve a problem like Maria…
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand

John W. Loftus said...

Jeff you will get that from me every time you punt to such irrationalities, for that's the only thing to be said at that point. You're like the Emperor with no clothes on. Keep on acting as if you do if it makes you feel better, but then there are others who belong to different faiths walking naked side by side with you who accept contradictory beliefs.

Philip R Kreyche said...

The kingdom of God is within you.

Prove it.

John W. Loftus said...

Philip R Kreyche, it's even worse than that, he admits he cannot even point to some evidence that shows this.

"Maria" anyone? Want to try to catch a moonbeam?

J.L. Hinman said...

I wish I had time to write something on my blog about this. The assertion that you can't being in other assumptions if you think science is not certainly, is that really what you said? O brother!


that can't be what you think is it?

so show me the scientific data, real actual hard data, that proves that this is all not a dream or an illusion.

violate the empiricists dilemma for me ok?

so there's one form of knowledge then? And that's of cousre the one that validates your ideology??

this is nothing more than a truth regime. I don't see how any serious thinker could this seriously.

John W. Loftus said...

Joe in my post toward the end I linked to the "Matrix possibility." You didn't read it did you? Why not?

John W. Loftus said...

And Joe, every other adherent of a different religious faith would say the very same things you did about a "truth regime." Okay, so let them all rail against this if they want to do so. But then until they can proposal a better method that will solve our religious and worldview differences I'll go with science and reason every single time, EVERY single time, even if they are fallible at the certainty level. There is no other alternative unless you presuppose your own view of religious faith due do what you learned on your Mama's knee, and that doesn't seem better at all...at all..by far!

Do you understand this? This is the biggest difference between us, and the most important one of all.

What's YOUR method? I have one, and it works in every other area of learning. It progresses knowledge, It's fruitful. It advances our way of life.

And yours? You cannot even hope to settle any single difference betwee anyone with your method. So spell it out for me if I'm mistaken. How is your method really a method at all for learning the truth about things?

Tyro said...

Jeff & others,

I'm willing to consider alternatives to reason, empiricism and science but I'm not clear on what you're proposing. How can personal experience work as a guide to knowledge except as one of many empirical observations within the context of a scientific investigation? How do we deal with conflicts where we need to decide between several incompatible alternatives? How do we know we're on the right path or a wrong one?

I get that some people have a problem with science but it undeniably works and can be used by people from all cultures and backgrounds. Can the same be said for faith?

Tyro said...

John beat me to it!

Looooooooftuuuuuuuuussssss!

John W. Loftus said...

...what Tyro said. [Sometimes I get a bit impatient when I've said the same thing over and over].

John W. Loftus said...

We cross posted!

John W. Loftus said...

Tyyyyyrrrrrooooo rules!

Eric said...

I want to clarify what I said, and put it in its proper context. I was not in any sense denigrating science and reason; rather, I was responding to Toby, who wrote:

"What's funny is I had a theist say to me, "There's no difference between you and me. It's just that you are confident in your beliefs and I'm completely confident in mine." To which I replied, "Yeah, but my beliefs are overwhelming supported and backed by science and reason, while yours overwhelming go against science and reason."

My point is that Toby's belief that his beliefs are 'overwhelmingly supported and backed by science and reason' is naive. Even if he actually understood all the science he defends, and if he had reasoned all his non-scientific conclusions out for himself, it would still be the case that most of what he believes rests on assumptions that cannot be supported scientifically, and that are at best weakly -- and in most cases not at all -- defended rationally. It seems to me that you agree with this, John.

"I maintain that a believer cannot drive a truckload of assumptions through a mere possibility once it's admitted that certainty is unattainable in science and in reasoning."

I agree.

I don't have time right now to respond to the rest of your post -- most of which I agree with, by the way -- so I'll get back to it later.

Jeff Carter said...

So, exactly where did I go "irrational"? Was it where I said I pretty certain that I exist? Was that it?

FourTwenty said...

"Do you understand this? This is the biggest difference between us, and the most important one of all.

What's YOUR method? I have one, and it works in every other area of learning. It progresses knowledge, It's fruitful. It advances our way of life."

Exactly. All you do is say that reason, evidence and logic are your principles for determining truth. Ask your opponent what they believe to be better at defining truth. If they say that it's faith, and you ask them to tell you why faith is better than reason, then they'll be using reason to tell you that faith is better than reason, which is internally inconsistent. Now, if they'd used faith and said "just believe me, and I'll have faith that you'll understand", then they'll at least pass the first hurdle of being consistent.

Kel said...

Certainty is (presumably) unobtainable through science and reason. This is a good thing, this is a very good thing. Anyone who thinks that certainty is preferable to knowledge should watch The Ascent Of Man episode called "Knowledge or certainty"


It's been exploring that uncertainty that has furthered mankind like never before. By adopting a method of inquiry with self-scepticism at its core, we are writing on the net thanks to a device that does more calculations per second than the entire human race could. We have electricity in the homes, providing heating and cooling when required. We've made devices that can transport us around the world in just a day. We've split the atom and send mankind into space. Modern medicine is only possible because of this fallibility of knowledge.

Science and reason may not provide certainty, but they do provide results. Because in science you can never prove, only disprove, it weeds out bad ideas. So to ignore knowledge for the sake of certainty will almost certainly guarantee you are wrong.

Eric said...

John: "1) This gets him no where as I've explained in my original post."

Where it gets me depends on where I'm headed. As I said earlier, it's not here:

John: "Based on this admission he simply cannot all-of-a-sudden bring into the equation the whole host of assumptions he needs to do in order to believe in the Christian faith."

I agree with this, and wasn't trying to make this sort of a move at all. Rather, I was taking aim at a pop-epistemology -- or, rather, at a pop understanding of epistemology -- according to which one is rational just in case he can justify each of his beliefs with science or reason (understood broadly). Now, disposing of this pop-epistemology is pretty easy, since the response is obvious, but it's not the case that it gets one nowhere. For example, if it's true that the approach I'm criticizing is wrong, then it follows that beliefs cannot be dismissed because they fail to meet its standards. This may not be as substantial a conclusion as some would like, but it at least clears away some of the epistemic underbrush that often clutters up the sorts of discussions that take place on blogs like this one.

"It seems as though the admission that science and reason don't work to produce certainties is used by believers like Eric with a type of carte blanch authority to write any amount in a blank check when it comes to one's own beliefs."

I've never done anything like this. All I'm saying is that if it's the case that science and reason cannot produce 'certainty' (not a word I'd use; certainty is a psychological state that's perfectly compatible with believing a false proposition to be true, while I'm talking about justification), i.e. are not capable of justifying all of our *rationally held* beliefs, then this is -- again, for obvious reasons -- something we must consider when we're trying to determine whether a belief is rational.

For the most part, I agree with the rest of your post.

kramer said...

check out my anti-religion blog:

www.theultimatescam.blogspot.com

feel free to comment and join in on the discussion.

Gandolf said...

"So what if we cannot prove otherwise? So what if there is always a possibility that we're wrong? We’re looking at what is probable, not possible. That’s all we can do!"

Yes it is the best we have got.

If me and paddy walk into something solid that gives us both a bump on the head and happens to look like something humanity for a long time now has called a concrete wall,i think its best we call it the same until we have good reason to think any different.Because its (most probable) thats exactly what it is.

Oh course it could (possibly) be a godly "stumbling block" :)

If evidence ever arrives to suggest thats actually what it is,me and paddy are not faithful concrete wall worshipers so we wont be afraid or mind to call it a godly stumbling block instead if we find out that thats what it actually is.

No not at all!.

But what good reason would we have to think of it as a godly stumbling block at the moment?,and would we even have much more good reason to think thats what it might be if some men wrote about it in some ancient faith book?.

No!.

We dont yet know quite how this universe came about (agree)but do we yet after thousands of years have any good reason to suggest that its (probably) to do with any gods.

No!not at all.

In fact if we put religious faith books aside there is no good evidence to suggest gods had anything to do with it.

(So far) i suggest science has come up with some of the most likely probabilities.Certainly much better than ancient dribblings of men with little scientific knowledge wondering about it and stupidly basing their probabilities on faith.

Specially when a lot they wrote about back then as truths has now been proved to be rather improbable and some to be even quite false.

This in itself i suggest suggests a likely much higher probability that its very possible that a whole lot more they wrote is likely to be complete bullshit too.

Many men still even today suggest they receive divine messages some in fact still suggest they are even some type of reincarnation of Jesus.They often still write their own ministry and still all have their own sheep following believing in miracles and superstitious things that never ever are proved to actually happen.

The (probabilities) then are suggesting that really not a lot has likely changed much.Its also become more and more highly probable faith books are quite often bullshit based !.

Yes John Loftus i agree it is the best information so far we have got!.

Russ said...

Kramer,

Nice blog.

Thanks for the post "Adam Carolla on Atheism (SOUND ONLY)" which introduced me to Adam. I'd never heard of him before, and I've got to say I love his style.


Mr. Loftus,
Kramer describes his blog saying, "It is a place where religion can be questioned (as it should be)." He then goes on to say,

Every human owes it to themselves to at least watch the videos and read the arguments on this blog. If you do that and you still think religion is a good thing...well, then you are very brainwashed and weak-minded.


That sounds like another blogger advocating the approach of your Outsider's Test to me.

Matt McCormick over at "Atheism: Proving the Negative" urges the OTF in his Monday, March 23, 2009 post called, "I was raised religious, . . . . "

J.L. Hinman said...

Okay everyone, remember the movie "The Sound of Music"? Get ready to sing with me, for this is about Jeff's irrational faith which reminds me of the song "Maria," only I think it refers to his faith:


ah, argument from the sound of music?

so if I make a parody song about you will mean I'm right?

there's a man who live a life of thiking

every move he makes anther self published book he hawks.

secret Lofuts man!

he's giving ykou an IBSN number and taking away your name.

I luv ya man!;-)

J.L. Hinman said...

Joe in my post toward the end I linked to the "Matrix possibility." You didn't read it did you? Why not?

No i didn't. becasue it triggered about a thousand things to think about. I don't have didn't have time yesterday.

J.L. Hinman said...

And Joe, every other adherent of a different religious faith would say the very same things you did about a "truth regime."

Yes but you see one may not be able to avoid a truth regime, but if one admits that's what one has then one is honest about the limitations of one's thinking and thus avoid the charge of being an intellectual dictator.

Okay, so let them all rail against this if they want to do so. But then until they can proposal a better method that will solve our religious and worldview differences I'll go with science and reason every single time, EVERY single time, even if they are fallible at the certainty level.


I have such a solution. I really really do. But guess what?

you have to read my book to find it! ahahahahaha

ahahahahahahaah!!! sorry.\

I just love it when I can zing you with that. in a friendly way of course. but seriously, I think the mystical approach allows the lea way we need in differences.





There is no other alternative unless you presuppose your own view of religious faith due do what you learned on your Mama's knee, and that doesn't seem better at all...at all..by far!


there is another way. We can understand the ultimate who has as "metaphor" or "analogy." If we are up front that all our thinking requires metaphor and that all our constructs come apart in the end, then we are honest and we face the problems and we are able to navigate in the world by our sense of the ultimate. We have good vibes and everything is cool.

Do you understand this? This is the biggest difference between us, and the most important one of all.


Yea. I understand that. You are narrow minded and impose your view on everything as truth and I'm open to the possibly that I"m wrong and I couch my views in metaphor. that's what I see here.

I didn't see you doing that. I saw was pretty one sided. except I didn't read the end so you indicate you lighten up there so that's cool.

I'm going to go read that.


What's YOUR method? I have one, and it works in every other area of learning. It progresses knowledge, It's fruitful. It advances our way of life.

Heideggerian phenomenology.

And yours? You cannot even hope to settle any single difference betwee anyone with your method.

how do you know that if you don't what it is?

So spell it out for me if I'm mistaken. How is your method really a method at all for learning the truth about things?

I'm sure you are familiar with Heidegger. I also would add not only H but also Sartre, Husseral, Schleiermacher, SK and all the guang that fill H's world.

Now I'm sure I would go for the phrase "the truth about things" it's more like veri semilitude. But be that as it may.

It works as a method by allowing the phenomena to suggest the categories. Whereas your method forces the phenomena into pre conceived categories.

ismellarat said...

"One principle I operate by is that whatever theological or metaphysical beliefs I build upon myself must be first be experienced as a change to my self - that undeniable certainty - not as any kind of empirical fact established by reason for the objective world. This is why such things as looking for empirical verification of the resurrection or engaging in textual criticism of the Bible is all wasted effort to me."

Jeff, I like a lot of what you have to say, but those lines baffle me, in the same way as what you had to say about hypothetically time traveling back to find out that the resurrection didn't happen.

This level of evidence would invalidate any other religion - and Christians would certainly agree that it would.

If Christianity rests on X, and we could prove X didn't happen, wouldn't that invalidate it?

I guess you could put some hope, as WL Craig seems to, in the idea that something had been altering your senses, but how can you then deal with a Muslim or a Mormon using the same argument?

And I don't get the "undeniable change to myself" thing. If I feel the "burning within", does that prove Mormonism? And disprove what you believe at the same time?

I don't trust my feelings that much.

I've been wrong before.

There, folks. It is possible to be polite and disagree.

J.L. Hinman said...

I'm willing to consider alternatives to reason, empiricism and science but I'm not clear on what you're proposing. How can personal experience work as a guide to knowledge except as one of many empirical observations within the context of a scientific investigation? How do we deal with conflicts where we need to decide between several incompatible alternatives? How do we know we're on the right path or a wrong one?

you have to buy my book to know that. It's right there it spells it all out and proves I'm right. so buy my book now.

Ok little joke aside (sorry John)

A lot of people are upset with John for doing that all the time. But I understand the need to hawk one's wares.

be that as it may:
We have to distinguish between scientific questions and other kinds of questions. Science can't tell us things that are not empriical questions. For empirical questions scinece is a dandy method. But it has limiations and there are types of questions for which it is not valid. one of those is God. God is not an empirical object. God is the foudnation of reality and not another thing in creation. So God cannot be the object empriical observation.

how how do we deal with experinces. you will find the answer in my book that is true and it will be out within the year. but in the mean time the short answer is:

by examining though empirical the co-deteriorates which are empirical and then reasoning from them to the co-determinate which are not empirical.

In other words empirical methods for examining experiences have been perfected. They work by measuring the effects. The major such instrument is called "the M scale." It was developed by Ralph Hood and it has been cross culturally validated through a host of studies.

hundreds of studies have been done that validate these arguments.

J.L. Hinman said...

If Christianity rests on X, and we could prove X didn't happen, wouldn't that invalidate it?

But the argument as to what X it does rest upon will differ by brand of Christianity.


for my money the evidence backs the res. but more importantly, I don't thin the literal truth of the res per se is the X that it rests upon. I agree that it happened, and it's good, but it's not the X. I should say it's not the only X.

J.L. Hinman said...

The kingdom of God is within you.

Prove it.

what do you think you are accomplishing when you say stuff liek that? why should I have to prove anything to you? I beileve it is verified in me every day, why should I care what you believe? I don't need your permission to hold my views.

why don't you guys go pick on people who like Marvel comics or something? I mean really. this stuff is important to those who like and understand it, why don't you find a different hobby?

Tyro said...

@JL

Are you the "Joe" that everyone is talking about?

For empirical questions scinece is a dandy method. But it has limiations and there are types of questions for which it is not valid. one of those is God. God is not an empirical object. God is the foudnation of reality and not another thing in creation. So God cannot be the object empriical observation.

If God can't be detected empirically, doesn't this mean that we can't "experience" God?

They work by measuring the effects. The major such instrument is called "the M scale." It was developed by Ralph Hood and it has been cross culturally validated through a host of studies.

Okay, you have a scale. I don't see a methodology here. How do you deal with conflicts? How do you decide between two competing claims? Can you give a link or better still a practical example?

ismellarat said...

I'm not really making a big statement here.

If Christianity says physical event X happened, and we could time travel back and see it didn't, well then it just wouldn't be true, would it?

It rests on a lot of Xs, all of which would have to be true, or you'd at best be left with some subset of Christianity, which is actually what I hope for.

I'd love to time travel back and find out that many of the bloody events in the Old Testament were really just the product of a whacked-out, superstitious tribe, and not really done on direct orders of God. I'd prefer they hadn't happened at all, but that's probably hoping for too much.

J.L. Hinman said...

@JL

Are you the "Joe" that everyone is talking about?

I don't know. who is "everyone?" Not if they are saying bad things. I am Metacrock.

"For empirical questions scinece is a dandy method. But it has limitations and there are types of questions for which it is not valid. one of those is God. God is not an empirical object. God is the foundation of reality and not another thing in creation. So God cannot be the object empriical observation."

If God can't be detected empirically, doesn't this mean that we can't "experience" God?

"empirical" in the sesne of inductive scientific methods, not the old philosophical sense as you use it here, which is to say "experimental" or "experiential."



"They work by measuring the effects. The major such instrument is called "the M scale." It was developed by Ralph Hood and it has been cross culturally validated through a host of studies."

Okay, you have a scale. I don't see a methodology here.


that's because I don't have room int he buffer or time to reproduce Hood's several hundred articles or the 350 studies or the numerous studies that use the M Scale.I'ts a valid scientific measuring device developed in the field of social science research.

see book by Hood

How do you deal with conflicts?

what kind of conflicts do you have in mind?

How do you decide between two competing claims? Can you give a link or better still a practical example?

You first have to ascertain the nature of the claims, then you have to understand the importance of them, in other words are they crucial damaging claims or are they minutia. Then ascertain their proximity to the facts or to logic.

not all claims matter and not all conflicts are damaging. For exmpale in view Genesis creation myth was never meant to be literal history. It was always intended to mythology and communicates truth through the psyche, so it doesn't matter if it doesn't stack up to scientific fact.

J.L. Hinman said...

If Christianity says physical event X happened, and we could time travel back and see it didn't, well then it just wouldn't be true, would it?

yes, but would that matter? If some individual miracle didn't happen what difference would that make? The only miracle that Christianity really rests upon is the Res. that's the only real deal breaker. Even if it that didn't happen its still an open question as long as the story communicates a truth that speaks to the spirit.

It's just fundie baggage to assume that it has to all be literally true.


It rests on a lot of Xs, all of which would have to be true, or you'd at best be left with some subset of Christianity, which is actually what I hope for.

No, that's the baggage of fundamentalism. that is not a historically Christian position. Fundamentalism of that sort came to be in the 19th century.

I'd love to time travel back and find out that many of the bloody events in the Old Testament were really just the product of a whacked-out, superstitious tribe, and not really done on direct orders of God. I'd prefer they hadn't happened at all, but that's probably hoping for too much.

J.L. Hinman said...

I would have thought that apart from the abstruse realms of ivory tower theorizing the real concern that people would have isn't the ultimate philosophical foundations but rather what we can learn from this. Instead of looking back, I think most people are concerned with looking forward. You know, asking questions about the Big Bang, evolution and death, questions which require a lot of theoretical work and evidence with the implication that if science can't answer all questions then it fails.

you are not going to get that with science. Of cousre science gives us factual data about the BB and theorizing, but that's the kidn of thing you said people are not seeking. The kind of thing peopel are seeking you can't get from science.

that would be Tillich called "our ultimate concerns" I'm going to die and be worm food, so what is life about and what's it worth?

that you get from religion not from science. unless you have a quasi religious approach to science like Sagan.

Tyro said...

I am Metacrock.

Ah. Thanks for the warning.

that's because I don't have room int he buffer or time to reproduce Hood's several hundred articles or the 350 studies or the numerous studies that use the M Scale.I'ts a valid scientific measuring device developed in the field of social science research.

I didn't ask for every article and I certainly didn't ask for your assurance. A summary and sketch of the method would be a good start though. People do this all the time with genuine science without having to reproduce every article ever written.

You first have to ascertain the nature of the claims, then you have to understand the importance of them, in other words are they crucial damaging claims or are they minutia. Then ascertain their proximity to the facts or to logic.

Can you be more specific? Which questions has the M-Scale helped resolve and how did it do so? Is this analysis of "minutia" and "importance" something that you decide or is it something that everyone can agree upon?

Can you share an example of a time when you (or someone you know) firmly believed you were right but the M-Scale convinced you that you were wrong?

ismellarat said...

"No, that's the baggage of fundamentalism. that is not a historically Christian position. Fundamentalism of that sort came to be in the 19th century."

Now that's an odd statement, though in some ways I'd like it to be true! :)

You're claiming that the consensus on miracles and historical events in the Bible, before the 19th century, was one of, "who knows, who cares?"

J.L. Hinman said...

Ah. Thanks for the warning.


I don't bite. I give it up for lint!;-)

"that's because I don't have room int he buffer or time to reproduce Hood's several hundred articles or the 350 studies or the numerous studies that use the M Scale.I'ts a valid scientific measuring device developed in the field of social science research."

I didn't ask for every article and I certainly didn't ask for your assurance. A summary and sketch of the method would be a good start though. People do this all the time with genuine science without having to reproduce every article ever written.

I made a link

"You first have to ascertain the nature of the claims, then you have to understand the importance of them, in other words are they crucial damaging claims or are they minutia. Then ascertain their proximity to the facts or to logic."

Can you be more specific? Which questions has the M-Scale helped resolve and how did it do so?

It demonstrates that among thsoe who have actual "mystical" or "peak" experince most of them have a much stronger experince of personal transformation and self actualization than do those who have not had such experiences. These also tend to be the same for people from all faiths. They all respond in the same ways once you control for specific names and terms, in other words they are all relating to something they experince and it appears to them in the same way and effects in them in the same ways.

that might be a good indication that some reality is being encountered.

these experince fit the criteria by which we make epistemic judgements, thus we know they can be trusted for navigation in the world becuase they meet the same criteria

regular
consistant
shared

by which we judge our perceptions to be accurate.


Is this analysis of "minutia" and "importance" something that you decide or is it something that everyone can agree upon?

you can decide that by logic. that's a function of what is claimed. the immediate outgrowth of one's experince would also govern such claims.

Can you share an example of a time when you (or someone you know) firmly believed you were right but the M-Scale convinced you that you were wrong?

it doesn't work that way. It measures religious experiences to create a standard typology. So we can say 98% of mystical experiences experince x,y,z then we can subject future subjects to the same questionnaire and see if their experinces stack up. We can also draw corrolations between the people whose experinces do stack up and their scores on tests for self actualization.

(1) this has been done hundreds of times in cultures from Sweden to Iran.

(2) the standardized scales for self actualization are well established in social sciences.

J.L. Hinman said...

"No, that's the baggage of fundamentalism. that is not a historically Christian position. Fundamentalism of that sort came to be in the 19th century."

Now that's an odd statement, though in some ways I'd like it to be true! :)

Is it odd or just something ou don't hear much?

It is true, you can take that to the bank. It was created by J.N. Darby and Warefield. See the book MOdels of Revelation by Avery Dulles


You're claiming that the consensus on miracles and historical events in the Bible, before the 19th century, was one of, "who knows, who cares?"

No, I'm saying the idea that everything single thing the bible says has to be literally ture was not known historically in Christianity. Now if you asked teh chruch fathers whey would surely say anay given miracle happened and that the bible is truth. But they would not say that if it could be disproved on any any point it would all be unture.

the chruch fathered used allegory and sybolism and such devices were used for centruies and accepted as standard. So they didn't have the demand for total litteral historicity in all bible verses like fundies today do.

In fact the RCC was much more at home evolution and many ministers supported Darwin when he first published. There were ministers who claimed Darwin proves Genesis.

Tyro said...

that might be a good indication that some reality is being encountered.

It looks like this underpins everything and it seems like quite a leap to me. But soldiering on...

it doesn't work that way. It measures religious experiences to create a standard typology.

So I ask for how this methodology can distinguish between competing explanations and how it can distinguish falsehoods, a fundamental part of any methodology which can hope to add to our knowledge, and you reply with "it doesn't work that way"?

If it doesn't work that way, it doesn't work at all.


From what little you describe, it doesn't sound like this is an alternative to science but rather an attempt to apply science to mysticism only it's doing it badly. It just looks like you're confirming John's original posting.

___________________________ said...

"but more importantly, I don't thin the literal truth of the res per se is the X that it rests upon. I agree that it happened, and it's good, but it's not the X. I should say it's not the only X."

"The only miracle that Christianity really rests upon is the Res."

I may be misinterpreting one of the comments or both, but I think I see a disagreement between the two.

As for phenomenology, perhaps I may be skeptical, but I do not think that seeing things purely as they are is possible for the mind. Very little of it is directed towards direct perception, and most towards classification. In any case, I think that most people here would distrust a method that internal for determining the existence of an external. After all, we see perception as subjectively conditioned given all of the people who perceive things that seem ridiculous, but we see logic and experiment as somewhere above the purely subjective.

___________________________ said...

To go back to the use of the M study for determining the existence of God, wouldn't the atheist actually counter-argue that this is just a result of the brain's cognition? After all, if they all experience the same things, then that the religious motive hits a certain part of the brain in the same way across cultures.

Such perception does not mean that an external thing exists, and the atheist will argue that this external likely does not exist due to analytical argumentation to that effect.(problem of evil, occam's razor, etc)

Tyro said...

Such perception does not mean that an external thing exists, and the atheist will argue that this external likely does not exist due to analytical argumentation to that effect.(problem of evil, occam's razor, etc)

I think that these observations could serve as a starting point for further investigation. We may say "many people report experiencing X, I wonder what explanations there could be." One explanation is that they really are in touch with some "deeper reality", but it's hardly the only (or even the best) explanation.

This is the chasm which has to be crossed and so far I see nothing which allows us to do so.

Jeff Carter said...

To All:
This thread is about certainty, or how to deal with the lack thereof. I have simply pointed out that the most certain thing, for each of us, is the fact of our existence.

This self-consciousness is neither reason or faith. It is a direct, immediate awareness that is undeniable.

I am not saying that the world does not exist, simply that my existence is more certain than the world. It is rational to base one's decisions on the more certain foundation, and that is shown to be one's self. The starting point of one's own philosophy is most certainly one's own self.

You can sing all the songs you want about these simple, basic facts, but I suppose that's better than trying to argue that "the world is more certain than myself." (Does that not sounds irrational and imbecilic?)

The kingdom of God is within you. Prove it.

To ask me to prove it means you don't understand what I am saying. Proofs are methods of logic and science, which are applicable to the objective world. The very statement "The kingdom of God is within you" MEANS that it is not subject to the laws of objective proof. It is OUTSIDE them. You need to get over the idea that everything in reality is subject to empirical science.

I'll go with science and reason every single time, EVERY single time...there is no other alternative.

It is the best we have got.

What was that about foolish consistency and hobgoblins..oh, never mind. No, it's not the best we have. There IS an alternative:

1. Accept the certainty of your own existence.

2. Deny everything else until you have an undeniable experience within yourself.

If you have no encounter with God inwardly, fine. But it doesn't mean someone else hasn't.

If God has never spoken to you, how can He be upset if you don't believe in Him?

What's YOUR method?

My method is not to judge other people. What's driving you crazy here is the desire to judge other people, to say you're right and they're wrong. Reason may work well for developing medicines or getting us to the moon, but it is a poor tool for the judgment of other human beings, especially their inward states.

You cannot even hope to settle any single difference between anyone with your method.

Exactly, so I don't hold on to such a hope. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

How do we deal with conflicts where we need to decide between several incompatible alternatives?

How about focusing on what one's self believes to be the truth and not worry about dealing with conflicts? How about live and let live? How about taking the beam out of one's eye before telling someone else how to get the speck out of theirs?

If Christianity rests on X, and we could prove X didn't happen, wouldn't that invalidate it?

Yes, if we define "prove" very broadly. (See above). I agree with J.L. that Christianity rests on the resurrection: it rests on Christ becoming alive in my inward man. That IS the resurrection. How do your propose to disprove that? How do you propose to get into my inward man?

The reality of the world is that I can't get inside you and you can't get inside me. That is the truth, one that is perceived by an intuition, not reason or faith.

How can you then deal with a Muslim or a Mormon using the same argument?

Assuming that Islam and Mormonism are based on subjective claims (and I don't think they are), then I can't and don't, and this extends to atheism as well. If I could that would mean that I could lead you to Christ by reason, which is ridiculous. Then only the intellectuals could be saved. He cannot be proven; he must be experienced.

If I feel the "burning within", does that prove Mormonism?

Only you can decide that for yourself. I can't make your decisions for you. Isn't that what you wish, that the religious would quit bothering you and leave you alone? Well, this is the existential principle for that.

I am not here to persuade anyone of Christ's existence. You intruded onto my space by making the claim you could debunk me.

I am also amazed that no one has recognized what a powerful weapon I have given you atheists. By destroying the bridge between the self and the world, natural theology is demolished. No inference about God can be drawn from the things of the world - and that includes nature and the Bible.

Russ said...

J.L. Hinman, Joe, JL, Metacrock,
You ask,

why should I have to prove anything to you? I beileve it is verified in me every day, why should I care what you believe? I don't need your permission to hold my views.

why don't you guys go pick on people who like Marvel comics or something? I mean really. this stuff is important to those who like and understand it, why don't you find a different hobby?



Let me briefly address some of these questions.

You asked,

"why should I have to prove anything to you?"

You need to prove these things because you have also said concerning those who disagree with you,

"I think they have an organized tactic of bieng hateful to religious people. I think they are nothing but Nazis and we should not try to argue with them, we should try ot have them banned by law."

When you make it your objective to use statute to eradicate those who disagree with you, you must prove yourself to everyone who has a stake in it - that is, everyone.

Clearly, your religion, your theology, and your education all lack the power to give you what you know secular law can provide. More than that, Joe, it's a trivial observation taken from your own writings, like the one above "we should try ot have them banned by law," that your religion's moral teachings of loving one's enemies and turning one's cheek, carry no weight with you.

When you think nobody's looking, you really seem to let your true feelings come out. Like this, for instance,

I think they have some kind of organized tacktic to use ridicule. I think we should be spreading teh word for Christians not to feel intimidated by atheist rudness.

there's this asshole in Austin who has a community access show and a website.

Your religion, your theology, your education counts for nothing, Metacrock.

Yes, Joe L. Hinman, for these and many others you should have to prove things to a great many of us.

You asked,

I beileve it is verified in me every day, why should I care what you believe?


Metacrock, you clearly do care what others believe, or you would be content to ignore their comments. Realize this: are many good reasons for you to care what others believe.

You should care what I believe because, if we agree, I, we, may be wrong, which could have nasty consequences for any affected by what I, we believe. If we agree about, say, religion, but we have both chosen the wrong one, you/we should be concerned.

You should care what I believe because, if we disagree, unless we want to add more violence and distrust to the human condition, we must come to a peaceful compromise. In part we can't use your approach of "banned by law." Sadly, though, Joe, that can never happen. Your religion can never leave others to their own emotional and spiritual paths.

Concerning our religious disputes, J. L., I would be happy to leave you alone, but you, because of your religion, will never leave anyone alone. If your religion was a personal private religion, I could grant you immunity from my attacks. But, of course, your religion is nothing like that, being instead highly invasive. You want everyone to be exactly like you, through the enforcement power of the state, if need be. But, know this, other's freedom will not be yours without a fight.

In your version of Christianity, you would insist that I think of myself, my own beloved children, in fact, all of humanity, as afflicted with the disease of sin, so paid clergy can dispense mystical cures invented by theologians. You would insist that I accept your sins and cures as real, while I ignore the sins and cures proposed by other Christianities and other religions. Please understand, Hinman, that I can't comply, even if statute dictates.

My children are not miracles. They learn; they make mistakes; they grow; they are my favorite part of humanity; they are my favorite part of life. They, like all of us are part of the current state of biodiversity on this planet. I am happy they are descendants of our common ancestor with the other apes. I am happy that they, like us all, are verifiably related to the rest of the life on this planet. And, I am ecstatic that they are not the creation of that morally horrific Biblical troll you call God, and, by association, Joe, I'm glad they're nothing like you.

You said,

why don't you guys go pick on people who like Marvel comics or something?

Simple. Loving Marvel comics doesn't make people demand that we all believe the bizarre, the mystical, the magical, the super. Religion does exactly that and it almost never exists unless it does. Marvel comics readers aren't stupid enough to think that the fables they read are real. Marvel comics readers can distinguish reality and fantasy. The religious can't.

People who love Marvel comics don't demand that when I look at a newborn that I see an inherently flawed, sinful, theologically disease-ridden person whose affliction has been passed down from the beginning of time. Adam and Eve never existed, Joe. There was no original sin. Sin was not handed down. None of us is sinful. Sin is a marketing tool for clergy.

By separating that newborn from your theological bullshit, I can see her in a world of bright possibilities, including the possibility of living in a comprehensible world without the ancient useless mental and psychological obstacle of religion. Anyone who thinks that that beautiful child needs to be subject to the gruesome fantasies of theologians and clerics is a complete idiot.

You ended,

I mean really. this stuff is important to those who like and understand it, why don't you find a different hobby?

You say words, Joe. You do not understand it. "this stuff," as you call it, might be important to you, but it is not comprehensible in any way that corresponds to the world people live in. That it mutates so fast - just among Christianities the rate is a thousand new denominations a year now - tells us that just about anyone, just about anywhere can sprout their own religion.

Just think, Hinman, you could be the next L. Ron Hubbard, Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Smith, Jim Jones or Fred Phelps. I'm sure you will be just as endeared as each of them. Real money, power, authority, and political influence can be yours. Doesn't Hinmanism, the one, the only, the TRUE religion sound good to you?

Harry McCall said...

Joe, it looks like Russ just crucified your butt along with your Christianity. (I don’t think your books on Karl Barth and Emil Brunner will help you now. Bultmann may be more in line for you here, however.)

For someone who accepts a religion that stresses a dichotomy between Light (God) and Satan (Darkness), you really need do update your blog picture; or is there something your are trying to tell us?

ismellarat said...

Jeff Carter, it seems as if you're not really defending anything at all, save for "experience." To defend Christianity, I'd think you'd have to also say everything else is wrong, as it seems to, but how can you?

A Uri Geller song comes to mind, which I'm not sure fits your existentialism 100%, but I've been itching to share this underrated classic with the world for years, so here goes:

http://www.hostropolis.com/april/mp3/Cannot_answer_you.mp3

It sure doesn't get more profound than the "you can answer you" revelation at the end, eh?

It kinda reminds me of the Animal House scene, where this guy on weed is contemplating his freshly-harvested booger, while being told that there could be a whole micro- universe of planets inside it. :)

But you're interesting, alright. I'll have to check out your website again. Maybe I'll come around to that way of seeing things in the course of wondering just what I'll read next. I can't say I can disprove it!

ismellarat said...

The whole link didn't display, but if you copy the whole line, plus the first space of the second, you can paste the complete address into the address bar.

It ends in you.mp3

Tyro said...

Jeff,

I get the feeling that you're advocating some sort of relativism, where what is "true" for one person isn't necessarily "true" for another, so you may say that it's "true" that God exists based on your experience, whatever that means, but I may say that God does not exist and we can both be right.

Have I misunderstood you?

Toby said...

Eric wrote,"My point is that Toby's belief that his beliefs are 'overwhelmingly supported and backed by science and reason' is naive."

I love that... the comment I made was in jest to a friend and I did not feel the need to present the who context. I seriously do not believe all of my beliefs to be backed by science.

I was merely ridiculing his beliefs, just as you are ridiculing mine. No difference, I'm an ass, you're an ass ;)

You know, also "funny", apparently I'm a naive dullard as this is the second time this week I've had a fellow blogger point out stupid shit in my posts. I think I may go back to my day job, except I've been lousy at that too.

J.L. Hinman said...

You asked,

"why should I have to prove anything to you?"

You need to prove these things because you have also said concerning those who disagree with you,

"I think they have an organized tactic of bieng hateful to religious people. I think they are nothing but Nazis and we should not try to argue with them, we should try ot have them banned by law."

When you make it your objective to use statute to eradicate those who disagree with you, you must prove yourself to everyone who has a stake in it - that is, everyone.


If you ever bothered to read the context you would know I made it clear I was talking bout a certain group. I do not have to prove my religious views to prove that a hate group exists, or to have them banned. that's stupid.

where is the proof that there is no God by the gay groups who got previous anti-hate legislation passed? If you have to prove your whole world view to stop hate groups then surely there must be that proof on file somewhere.


Clearly, your religion, your theology, and your education all lack the power to give you what you know secular law can provide.

they can't stop hateful little bull who are bent on hurting people for that you need state power. you don't have that and you never will. But the police fucntion is a valid exercize of power.

don't worry, good Christian people will protect your right to descent like we always have. becasue we are not a hate group like you.




More than that, Joe, it's a trivial observation taken from your own writings, like the one above "we should try ot have them banned by law," that your religion's moral teachings of loving one's enemies and turning one's cheek, carry no weight with you.


Loving one's enemies has nothing to do with it when the ligitimate exercise of police power of the state is involved. If it's turely legitimate, which of course I support and I don't support an illegitimate use.

Just as youkr pals in the KGB.

btw I would have gone to war against Hitler too.


When you think nobody's looking, you really seem to let your true feelings come out. Like this, for instance,


I didn't care who was looking.I think that's a legitimate statement to stop hate groups from acting against the public good.

I think they have some kind of organized tacktic to use ridicule. I think we should be spreading teh word for Christians not to feel intimidated by atheist rudness.


ok Orwell is that really what I said? I see you read 1984. good job of propaganda Madeline.

there's this asshole in Austin who has a community access show and a website.

Your religion, your theology, your education counts for nothing, Metacrock.


why, ignorant fort.

as I have observed before. Martin Luther King did not try to talk with the KKK.

you are not dealing with intellectual ideas here. when you didn't know I was you were willing ot at least to pretend to care about the ideas. now your true colors are shown.

you and this site together have no concpet of fairness. civlity or debate. you are nothing more than little hate monger seeking to harm others. you are far beyond merely being rude. you are nothing more than hateful little naiz trying to hurt the target group becuas eyouk filled with hate.

you can't even talk about the issue. you did not. that whole thing is nothing more than character assignations and slander.

J.L. Hinman said...

Joe, it looks like Russ just crucified your butt along with your Christianity. (I don’t think your books on Karl Barth and Emil Brunner will help you now. Bultmann may be more in line for you here, however.)


O he dropped some names. He knows the name of a theologian or two. he's smart. of course because he never read heidegger so he can't argue about hat.

so you think character assination is a vlaid way to argue and it trumps philosophy right?

you are just proving my point about the hate group.

you could not say a word about Heidegger but you think Russ's long tantrum of slander and character assassination is "kicking my ass" like ad hom always turmps real ideas.

btw the guy in Austin that Russ mentions was a plgerizing peice of shit who took statments from my stie out of content and then would not give me a forum to respond.

that's the kind of prapaganda you like isn't it? that's the atheist way to aruge.
cahters and liars and character assings who are cowards when it coes to ideas. you can't think.

J.L. Hinman said...

For someone who accepts a religion that stresses a dichotomy between Light (God) and Satan (Darkness), you really need do update your blog picture; or is there something your are trying to tell us?


God what picky little cosmic stupidity you are into. Are you a professional decorator or something?

J.L. Hinman said...

People who love Marvel comics don't demand that when I look at a newborn that I see an inherently flawed, sinful, theologically disease-ridden person whose affliction has been passed down from the beginning of time. Adam and Eve never existed, Joe. There was no original sin. Sin was not handed down. None of us is sinful. Sin is a marketing tool for clergy.


neither do Christians. that's our little silly imagination. you hate so profoundly because let you screw (?) that you just have no real sense of logical perspective left.

I don't care about your little mess up perspective. I don't have to justify myself to your misconceptions.

J.L. Hinman said...

To go back to the use of the M study for determining the existence of God, wouldn't the atheist actually counter-argue that this is just a result of the brain's cognition? After all, if they all experience the same things, then that the religious motive hits a certain part of the brain in the same way across cultures.

The argument is not that the experience can't be explained so it has to be from God. Showing naturalistic connections to the brain doesn't disprove the argument becasue it's not based upon the claim that the experinces are unexplained or miraculous.

It's based upon the claim that the experinces meet the criteria for epistemic judgment so we can trust them.

But in fact all that can be demonstrated is that there is a connection tot he brain but that doesn't prove its only naturalistic. the receptions are opening to God.


Such perception does not mean that an external thing exists, and the atheist will argue that this external likely does not exist due to analytical argumentation to that effect.(problem of evil, occam's razor, etc)

that is a totally dishonest miscue of Occam. Not only becasue it's not true to what the razor means, but also because it doesn't apply here since the argument is not that the experinces are miracles or that they don't have a naturalistic base. that aspect is irrelevant.

some atheists think the POE is the purpose answer to any argument but that's an invalid argument. you can't find a magic king's x that beats all arguments. It's just irrelevant and non applicable.

Toby said...

Let's not overstate the "meaning" of ridicule. Ridiculing is merely to poke fun at something in order to cause laughter with a touch of contempt. George Carlin was a master at this type of humor, but it is prevalent in Family Guy, The Simpsons, etc.

I have never heard of ridicule used as "hate speech" before. As an atheist, I do believe its fine when theists idicule my beliefs or atheism in general. Those few bad apples that cross the line into hate speech are sad. How often does one actually hear (other than Loftus), "You're going to burn in Hell!" Almost everyone of my close friends and family members are Christians. They will poke fun me at because of their "worry" for my eternal salvation, but they don't cross the line into hate.

On the converse I do think atheists and agnostics are better with there use of humor in there statements against religion. Even when I was a Christian I found the humor engaging, even if it was sometimes biting.

Had I been brought up into a form of Christianity that incorporated scientific thought and reason in general, I would most certainly still be a Christian. I was raised in Pentecostal Christianity, a world filled with nonsense (in my opinion). However, as I got old enough to question my belief system, it wasn't the moderate or intellectual believing theologians I found. It was guys like Bart Erhman and John Loftus who had high visibility and compelling cases against my former belief system.

The question remains, could I be convinced to return to belief in God. Technically I believe myself to be an atheist, but I guess agnostic is accurate too. I am "hopeful" (can't think of a better word), yet doubtful that I will find a reason to believe in a god who cares about us humans. A loving god is a very pleasant thought to me still. Heaven is an ideal concept that I just find too good to be true. Yes, it would be nice to be wrong, so I will remain open to the possibility, but I will require some objective evidence to believe again.

Russ said...

Joe, you said,

cahters and liars and character assings who are cowards when it coes to ideas. you can't think.

I hope my asking this will not further deepen your hatred of us weak-minded atheists, but exactly what the hell does that string of letter groupings mean? Maybe that is theology master's jargon that simpletons like me can't grasp. Maybe it's some of that truly profound history of ideas stuff that can only be fully communicated after one has their PhD. Maybe that's an accurate transliteration of speaking in tongues. Whatever it is, Joe, your high-powered intellect has certainly bamboozled this clearly feebleminded atheist.

If you can tell me how to parse it and explain the semantics of the strings of letters "cahters," "assings," and "coes," then I'll agree with your statement, "you can't think."

You said,

"you are not dealing with intellectual ideas here."

You show so little respect for language that one should question whatever credentials you claim to have, and I must inform you that a productive exchange of ideas, intellectual or not, can only happen when language is properly and carefully employed.

As I write this my wife and my teenage daughter and son are reading what you've written here and laughing out loud. My wife is a university administrator. She's convinced you are drunk or sick. My son and daughter feel embarrassed for you. Both acknowledge that an occasional language blunder is nearly inescapable, but they concur that you appear to make no effort to communicate clearly.

My son would like to know what "character assignations," "eyouk," and "hateful little naiz" are. Pondering your strings of letters in, "Just as youkr pals in the KGB," he thinks you misspelled "euchre." My daughter is puzzled by your word string, "why, ignorant fort," the meaning of "they can't stop hateful little bull who are bent on hurting people for that you need state power," and the queer construction, "If it's turely legitimate, which of course I support and I don't support an illegitimate use."

Your general nastiness, Mr. Hinman, makes you rather repellent, but your misuse and abuse of the mechanics of language discredits a great deal of what you have to say.

J.L. Hinman said...

I hope my asking this will not further deepen your hatred of us weak-minded atheists, but exactly what the hell does that string of letter groupings mean? Maybe that is theology master's jargon that simpletons like me can't grasp. Maybe it's some of that truly profound history of ideas stuff that can only be fully communicated after one has their PhD. Maybe that's an accurate transliteration of speaking in tongues. Whatever it is, Joe, your high-powered intellect has certainly bamboozled this clearly feebleminded atheist.

What is the purpose in your life that you have to work on destorying the reputaiton of people who know more than you do?

where you kicked out of Denver seminary because you are stupid and so you want to get even with all religious people?

you are not cable of ideas. you can't deal with thoughts. If you could you be making intellectual argument instead of character assassinations.

the reason people resort to argument ad homanim is because they can't argue logic. this is all you are doing. you are attacking me as person. you don't know me. you don't shit about me. but you have decided I must be a bag of garbage so you are trying destroy my self esteem and my sense of who I am, why?

was your sense of who you are destoryed by religious people? I can well imagine that because it's pretty obvious you don't have what it take to get through any kind of graduate program. you should probably be driving a truck.

why don't you just leave the ideas to your betters, and go drive a truck?

John W. Loftus said...

You know Joe, you complain about being abused by skeptics in other forums, but I have to tell you that you bring a lot of it on yourself. People will respond in kind and up the ante, so to speak. If you call someone stupid they will respond in kind and add a zinger to it, then the discussion degenerates with more and more demeaning remarks. Don't start and it will help things.

Just my opinion, my friend.

J.L. Hinman said...

My son would like to know what "character assignations," "eyouk," and "hateful little naiz" are. Pondering your strings of letters in, "Just as youkr pals in the KGB," he thinks you misspelled "euchre." My daughter is puzzled by your word string, "why, ignorant fort," the meaning of "they can't stop hateful little bull who are bent on hurting people for that you need state power," and the queer construction, "If it's turely legitimate, which of course I support and I don't support an illegitimate use."


that's really cute. your little can spell better than me. well I'm also in a wheel chair I have no legts. do you want to mock that too? I mean anyone who mock a person for having dyslexia would also mock someone for having no legs. essentaully there isn o difference in principel is ther?

I can't see the letters the way you do. do you understand or is this totally over your head? are you too fucking stupid to understand that? apparently you were behind the door when God passed the morality because you don't understand why people say don't make fun of the disabled.do you?

you can't really hurt me. I've dealt with narrow minded bigots all my life. Since there is 0 chance that you will ever be rembered for saying anyting intelligent, I don't have to worry about showin up in your memoirs or soemthing.

you don't to worry about showing up in mine either because you are not important enough to my life. You are just another little wart on bum of humanity that is too be ignored.

J.L. Hinman said...

My dog is wondering what ideas Russ thinks he can talk about.

J.L. Hinman said...

just for the record, so I wont be accussed of lying. I am not in a wheel chair with no legs.But I am disabaled because of legs. I can walk but I have a problem with them that is very bad and has caused a lot of pain.

I'm sure that's fertile ground for Russ to stat insulting me about. as a result of my problem my legs could be cut off, if the infections get too bad. But I don't think that will happen.

It really doesn't matter, the point is it's so disgusting to mock someone because of a disability and it just says it all about hate group atheism and the little king of slander over here who can't think.

Russ said...

Joe said,

My dog is wondering what ideas Russ thinks he can talk about.


Again, you are not clear about what you mean.

Is your dog wondering what ideas Russ thinks Russ himself can talk about, or is your dog wondering what ideas Russ thinks your dog can talk about?

It is paramount that you be clear about this Joe. Seeing that you almost have a PhD and all, and you got some kind of god on your side and all, and I'm but a lowly imbecile and all, seems to me you'd know this. When you're trying to paddle the bottoms of your intellectual subordinates, Joe, you should at least be clear about what you mean. We are after all so easily confused.

Joe, you said,

are you too fucking stupid to understand that?

Yes, oh truly esteemed one, I think your god, through your insightful words, has now opened my eyes. I am indeed too fucking stupid.

By the way, Joe, when you say, "apparently you were behind the door when God passed the morality" do you mean when your god was passing out the morality to specific individuals or do you mean when your god was passing the morality along to someone else as to rid himself of it or do you mean when your god was passing the morality as one would pass a kidney stone? Remember when dealing with those who are exceptionally intellectually inferior to you, you must be exceptionally clear.

Praise be to Joe L. Hinman. Praise be to Joe L. Hinman. Praise be to Joe L. Hinman.

Harry McCall said...

Joe L. Hinman is nothing but a JP Holding (Mouth and all) as found at Tektonic Apologetic Ministry.

Like JP Holding (who I have dealt with in a number of debates) Joe you have a sarcastic filthy mouth when you doesn’t get your way. Like Holding you seek to belittle and demean people with a evil spirit.

Statements of the likes: “are you too fucking stupid to understand that?” Really; I mean really shows what type of foul mouth low life’s make up Christianity.

Listen, Joe! You have your own blog and yet you keep showing up here looking for a fight. You maybe Manic-Depressive; I don’t care! Like John said, start treating people with respect and then you’ll get it in return.

As for Martin Heidegger, he is not even a theologian, but a philosopher who was also a Nazi supporter. This from the web:

Heidegger's inaugural address, the Rektoratsrede, and other proclamations during this period are notorious for their endorsements of Nazism. In a November 1933 article in the Freiburg student newspaper, Heidegger wrote: The German people must choose its future, and this future is bound to the Fuhrer...There is only one will to the full existence (Dasein) of the State. The Fuhrer has awakened this will in the entire people.

Maybe Joe, we can now understand why you are so intolerant of any views than your’s. The philosopher you seem to adhere to was a member of the Hitler’s Nazi Party!

Gandolf said...

Jeff said "Reason may work well for developing medicines or getting us to the moon, but it is a poor tool for the judgment of other human beings, especially their inward states."

Oh ok Jeff.I guess maybe ill have to think again very hard about the use of reason when considering "inward States" then maybe?.

Jeff said"2. Deny everything else until you have an undeniable experience within yourself.

If you have no encounter with God inwardly, fine. But it doesn't mean someone else hasn't. "

As i was just reading and considering and reasoning about the rather aggravated tone i seem to quite often be noticing within so very many of Joes posts which all seem to have become even quite consistent, and was kinda wondering about what? this undeniable experience of God could be seen to have actually done with helping Joe etc.

But guess i cant go using reason though Jeff can i, to understand if this Godly experience has actually really done any thing for helping Joe now can i?.

Specially not using the plain evidence i read and see right there before my very own eyes.

:( ?????.....

Strange things these things are to understand .I mean for instance if we decide to try a special new motor oil to see if its any good,we can look for visual evidence to reason whether this new oils actually any good.We dont need to become a motor car.

We also dont need to all have a personal inner experience of smoking to be able to reason if smoking cigarettes is really of any benefit to human health.

Gandolf said...

Sorry i really meant to say. We also dont need to all have a personal inner experience of smoking to be able to reason if smoking cigarettes is really very likely to be of any benefit to human health.

Was talking more about reasoning about the most likely probabilities etc.

J.L. Hinman said...

Joe L. Hinman is nothing but a JP Holding (Mouth and all) as found at Tektonic Apologetic Ministry.

Like JP Holding (who I have dealt with in a number of debates) Joe you have a sarcastic filthy mouth when you doesn’t get your way. Like Holding you seek to belittle and demean people with a evil spirit.


you have a filthy mind.your personality sux.you can only do one thing, that is nothing but slander. JP should should have sued hell out of you little mongrels years go. you are nothing but a gang of nazis looking for the despised group to beat up. you can't think, you can't deal will issues...

Statements of the likes: “are you too fucking stupid to understand that?” Really; I mean really shows what type of foul mouth low life’s make up Christianity.


gee I wasn't provoked to say that at all was I? typical little athist lie. you never never never take respsonsiblity for the fact you started, ita nd you start every tiem. you slander lie cheat a mame and destoy reputations and if people get up se that just shows how bad they are.

you are trash. do you live in a trailer part. you noting but trash. I bet you stab people in the back too.


Listen, Joe! You have your own blog and yet you keep showing up here looking for a fight. You maybe Manic-Depressive; I don’t care! Like John said, start treating people with respect and then you’ll get it in return.


listen I'm sorry that I show you up for the idiot that you are but you have not made this a private blog. you cna't have it both ways. you want to allow christians to come on here so you can mock and riducle them and then you get upset when they kick your stupid little ass.

that's why you are angry because I call you on your bullying. I don't knuckle under to brownshirts.

you started this I was discussing ideas and it was actually shaping up to be a plesat exchange. Loftu and I are friends.

but you can't handle discussion because you can't follow thinking. you are idiot.


As for Martin Heidegger, he is not even a theologian, but a philosopher who was also a Nazi supporter. This from the web:


so what. don't try to play the Nazi card stupid,t here are plenty of philosohpers who think he's important enough to talk about.

it doesn't difference if he's nto a theology, if you weren't a walking advertisement for ignorance you would know that that doesn't make any damn difference. Philosophers and theolgoians quote each other and talk to each all the time. but you wouldn't know that because you are ignorant. you are not part of the world of thought.


Heidegger's inaugural address, the Rektoratsrede, and other proclamations during this period are notorious for their endorsements of Nazism. In a November 1933 article in the Freiburg student newspaper, Heidegger wrote: The German people must choose its future, and this future is bound to the Fuhrer...There is only one will to the full existence (Dasein) of the State. The Fuhrer has awakened this will in the entire people.


It's obvious that in the days since I posted that you went and read some Heidegger. Why don't you try to smear my reputation on the idea that I read a Nazi. because that's just going to make you look even stupider. Anyone who is even a tengential part of the world of letters knows that Hediegger is accepted as a major philosopher and a majuor voice in pheneomenology inspite of his Nazism.

beside he did resign form the Nazi party when they wanted him to put the finger on his colleagues. He also had a Jewish Mistress. He recanted his association with Nazism when he resigned.


Maybe Joe, we can now understand why you are so intolerant of any views than your’s. The philosopher you seem to adhere to was a member of the Hitler’s Nazi Party!

Yes that makes me a Nazi. like allt he books on Hdiedegger are really being read by Nazis right/ all the classes on Phenomenoloyg are really fronts for Naisms. Yes, Heidegger is nto maintstream is he. Push that line, that wont make you look stupid.

act like you just discovered it and it's not common knowledge that will make you look even brighter.

J.L. Hinman said...

you are so intolerant of any views than your’s.

that in itself is a lie. You know it is. I always allow the opponent to have the last word when I debate (unless structure does not permit). My problem with atheists has nothing do with the fact that they disagree with me and you know it.

You cannot produce a single thing I've said that would back that up.

I insist that you do so now. But pu or shut up. I'm calling you out as the coward you are. Prove what you said you liar! slanderer!

stop slandering people. prove your statement or shut your cake hole coward.

don't use the quote that Russ used becasue I applies to groups that slander in the media, not to anyone disagrees with me.

Kristen said...

I read through the discussion on this thread, and here's what I saw:

Everything was going along fairly amicably, discussing the issues-- and then "Russ" decided to pull up some stuff JL Hinman had written in the past(out of context) and started personally attacking him for it. This was acknowledged by the next person who posted, saying:

"Joe, it looks like Russ just crucified your butt along with your Christianity."

Joe (who is dyslexic) began to get upset at being "crucified", which seemed to make the attacks escalate. The more he reacted, the more he was blamed for reacting, until now the conversation has descended into a feeding frenzy about Joe, including attacks on him for his spelling, which does get worse when he gets upset. That's hardly his fault. Those of you who know him as "Metacrock" surely know he's dyslexic. I sincerely hope it wasn't any of those who knew about his condition, who then started making comments like "he must be drunk." But those of you who knew he was dyslexic could have taken the high road (no matter what your opinion of his views) and spoken up for him-- which no one did.

Instead, everyone seems to be pretty much all blaming him-- when it's quite clear it's Russ who started the attacks.

So why was it necessary to do this? Before you knew he was "Metacrock," you all seemed to be able to stick to the issues.

Surely these discussions don't have to be about personality? So Joe has a temper, and tends to start cussing and stuff when things get personal. So what?

Harry McCall said...

This from a newly found gospel codex just translated form the Greek:

The disciples came to Jesus and were greatly perplexed as to the comments of one Joe Hinman.

And Jesus answered and said unto them; “Truly, I tell you! I have not seen such debauchery written by an man in all of Israel! Woe unto you Joe Hinman!”

J.L. Hinman said...

his from a newly found gospel codex just translated form the Greek:

“The disciples came to Jesus and were greatly perplexed as to the comments of one Joe Hinman.

And Jesus answered and said unto them; “Truly, I tell you! I have not seen such debauchery written by an man in all of Israel! Woe unto you Joe Hinman!”


do you know what debauchery means? Now we are getting into suable offenses. that is literal lander and it is actionable.

I will call my lawyer now.

J.L. Hinman said...

here's the legal definitionof liable or slander that I found:

"Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person."

accusing me of debauchery is certainly harmful to my reputation as a Christian. So I would think twice about doing ti again becasue I will sue you the first chance I get.

and that also goes for saying I'm a nazi.

J.L. Hinman said...

McCall you are the kind of little vicious thug I was talking about making illegal. you are clearly guilty of hate speech and you need to think before you flap your gums.

hate speech is already illegal. there are laws, I just want to include more hate mongers in the laws.

trying to persecute people for their believes is not cool.

you have a very very uncool person.

Tyro said...

Alright guys, tempers are flying high right now and I think we've all lost track of the issues. What might have been meant as jokes or innocent remarks are being misread. The only way to win now is for someone to rise above and stop responding to the provocations. If someone is really annoying you, just ignore them. No accusations and no blame, just time to move on.

ismellarat said...

I have in mind a Jerry Springer Special Edition: Theology Debates Gone Wild!

The kind where he innocently sets up a banquet table and invites the guests to settle their differences over a meal. That'd make for a cool YouTube video. Everybody would later be arguing over whether the other guy's suffocating in the punch bowl was more humiliating than getting the gravy poured inside their own pants.

Seriously, each side has a golden opportunity to make the other look small-minded by simply not reciprocating.

Harry McCall said...

I thought I’d better stop before "ole Joe" blew a gasket!

Robert Bumbalough said...

Philip R Kreyche said... Prove it. in reply to Jeff Carter.

Mr. Kreyche would have been better to have asked Mr. Carter to Define it.

Since no religious person can define what a god is, they have not the slightest will-o'-the-wisp of proving that one exists.

But it is quite easy to prove gods alleged to be both personal beings and infinite in scope cannot exist.

That which is self contradictory can no more exist or occur than can a square circle. Consider this very ancient (and true) argument against the Abrahamic theistic GOD.

1.To be GOD, YAHWEH must be an ontological person that is infinite in scope.

2.To be an ontological person is to have a specific identity.

3.To have a specific identity is to necessarily be finite.

4.YAHWEH has a specific identity.

5.YAHWEH therefore is necessarily finite and cannot be infinite.

6.By modus tollens from 1 and 5, YAHWEH cannot be GOD as it cannot both be infinite and finite.

ismellarat said...

If only Dawkins had thought of that argument.

Poor Craig would have had to have conceded defeat and gone home! ;-)

Robert Bumbalough said...

Greetings ismellarat: I hope you and yours are feeling good and are doing well. May you live long and prosper.

Eric (the author of this thread's subject quote) argued against the simple argument from incompatible properties by saying that an infinite set of all even or
odd numbers has the identity of even or odd. I counter argued on my silly blog page here and here
and here.

I think I adequately defended the argument. But since Eric made the gross error of attacking human cognition in the subject quote of this thread, he has thereby surrendered his position that a priori systems of thought (Cantorian Set Theory) by virtue of being internally self-consistent are actually real in extant existence. I note further that if internal self-consistency is sufficient to render an a priori system of thought actually real then String Theory would be true and all GODS are impossible because divine Creation could then never have obtained.

J.L. Hinman said...

But it is quite easy to prove gods alleged to be both personal beings and infinite in scope cannot exist.

That which is self contradictory can no more exist or occur than can a square circle. Consider this very ancient (and true) argument against the Abrahamic theistic GOD.

tht is so irrational. what's contradictory about it? Just your arbitrary notion.


1.To be GOD, YAHWEH must be an ontological person that is infinite in scope.

what is an ontological person?

2.To be an ontological person is to have a specific identity.

how do you know that?

3.To have a specific identity is to necessarily be finite.

assumption not in evdience. specific identity would be in contrast to us for our benefit. In other words God's "identity" is not like ours, shaped by individuality and society, but merely a construct we can relate to.

4.YAHWEH has a specific identity.

Literary identity not necessary in an actual "ontological" sense.


5.YAHWEH therefore is necessarily finite and cannot be infinite.

you have not demonstrated that ponit. you are assuming id has to be lmiited and finite, why? you have not proved that. Just because our identities are such does not mean all identities must be.

God's id would be based upon being, God is identified with being itself so that's an identity, it's also unique and not analogous to ours.


6.By modus tollens from 1 and 5, YAHWEH cannot be GOD as it cannot both be infinite and finite.


question begging: all this proves is that if we accept you premise about identity having to be finite, and you have no proved that, then the litrary place hold (metaphor) used to represent God in the Bible would be impossible as an actual entity, but so what?

Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Mr. Hinman: Thank you for your response. I hope you will learn something from communicating with me.

By way of defense of the very ancient argument against personal theistic gods that are imagined as being infinite in scope, I will address your points.

RB: But it is quite easy to prove gods alleged to be both personal beings and infinite in scope cannot exist. That which is self contradictory can no more exist or occur than can a square circle. Consider this very ancient (and true) argument against the Abrahamic theistic GOD.

JLH: that is so irrational. what's contradictory about it? Just your arbitrary notion.

Ayn Rand wrote: “Rationality is man’s basic virtue, the source of all his other virtues. Man’s basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know. Irrationality is the rejection of man’s means of survival and, therefore, a commitment to a course of blind destruction; that which is anti-mind, is anti-life.

The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one’s only source of knowledge, one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide to action. It means one’s total commitment to a state of full, conscious awareness, to the maintenance of a full mental focus in all issues, in all choices, in all of one’s waking hours. It means a commitment to the fullest perception of reality within one’s power and to the constant, active expansion of one’s perception, i.e., of one’s knowledge. It means a commitment to the reality of one’s own existence, i.e., to the principle that all of one’s goals, values and actions take place in reality and, therefore, that one must never place any value or consideration whatsoever above one’s perception of reality. It means a commitment to the principle that all of one’s convictions, values, goals, desires and actions must be based on, derived from, chosen and validated by a process of thought—as precise and scrupulous a process of thought, directed by as ruthlessly strict an application of logic, as one’s fullest capacity permits. It means one’s acceptance of the responsibility of forming one’s own judgments and of living by the work of one’s own mind (which is the virtue of Independence). It means that one must never sacrifice one’s convictions to the opinions or wishes of others (which is the virtue of Integrity)—that one must never attempt to fake reality in any manner (which is the virtue of Honesty)—that one must never seek or grant the unearned and undeserved, neither in matter nor in spirit (which is the virtue of Justice). It means that one must never desire effects without causes, and that one must never enact a cause without assuming full responsibility for its effects—that one must never act like a zombie, i.e., without knowing one’s own purposes and motives—that one must never make any decisions, form any convictions or seek any values out of context, i.e., apart from or against the total, integrated sum of one’s knowledge—and, above all, that one must never seek to get away with contradictions. It means the rejection of any form of mysticism, i.e., any claim to some nonsensory, nonrational, nondefinable, supernatural source of knowledge. It means a commitment to reason, not in sporadic fits or on selected issues or in special emergencies, but as a permanent way of life.” - The Virtue of Selfishness “The Objectivist Ethics,” p.440.

Since rationality entails rejection of mysticism and mysticism includes equating infinity with finitude, to be rational then precludes accepting the dishonest notion that infinite quantity or scope can be finite and have identity. The reason why it is contradictory for a personal being to occur as infinite in scope is as Leonard Peikoff wrote.

“‘Infinite’ do not mean large; it means larger than any specific quantity, i.e.: of no specific quantity. An infinite quantity would be a quantity without identity. But A is A. Every entity, accordingly, is finite; it is limited in the number of its qualities and in their extent; this applies to the universe as well. As Aristotle was the first to observe, the concept of ‘infinity’ denotes merely a potentiality of indefinite addition or subdivision. For example, one can continually subdivide a line; but however many segments one has reached at a given point, there are only that many and no more. The actual is always finite.”- “Objectivism: The Philosphy of Ayn Rand”, p.31, by Leonard Peikoff

This view was further buttressed by George H. Smith . The following is paraphrased from his book.

[To exist is to exist as something. To be something is to have a specific nature. That is to have a particular identity. The Laws of Identity A=A and Non-Contradiction A =/= A entail that any ontological being must posses specific determinate characteristics. To have such characteristics is a consequence of being part of nature ..... Having specific determinate characteristics imposes limits, and those limits would restrict the capacities of the .... being. Such restriction then renders the .... being subject to the causal relationships that denote the uniformity of nature in actual existence ....] - “Atheism: The Case Against God.”, p.41 (paraphrasing), by George H. Smith

Thus existence necessitates harmony and consonance with the uniformity of nature. To be subject to causality is to operate in harmony with the nature of existence. Causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature. But to occur infinitely in scope negates the necessity of the Law of Identity. Consequently, the notion of God is self-contradictory. This is true in Objective reality and hence is in no way arbitrary.

RB: 1.To be GOD, YAHWEH must be an ontological person that is infinite in scope.

JLH: what is an ontological person?

Ontological means of or relating to essence or the nature of existence. A person is a self-conscious or rational being. An ontological person is a self-conscious or rational being that actually exists as opposed to a non-existent person such as a corporation. (A corporation is a legal fiction that is accorded person status under color of law.)

RB: 2.To be an ontological person is to have a specific identity.

JLH: how do you know that?

It is axiomatically obvious that to be an ontological person must have a specific nature. Paraphrasing George H. Smith again:

[To exist is to exist as something. To be something is to have a specific nature. That is to have a particular identity. The Laws of Identity A=A and Non-Contradiction A =/= A entail that any ontological being must posses specific determinate characteristics. To have such characteristics is a consequence of being part of nature. But the theistic God is asserted to be super-natural, and that is to be exempt from the uniformity of nature. Herein lies the contradiction fatal to any claim of knowledge about God. Having specific determinate characteristics imposes limits, and those limits would restrict the capacities of the alleged super-natural being. Such restriction then renders the alleged super-natural being subject to the causal relationships that denote the uniformity of nature in actual existence and disqualify it from being God. To escape this contradiction, the religious mind proposes to somehow imagine a God lacking any definite attributes or properties. But a postulated existent devoid of properties or attributes is indistinguishable from nothingness and is incompatible with the concept of existence. For God to have characteristics necessarily means God must have definite characteristics. That is to say that God would then necessarily be limited, for to be A is to also not be A. Any being with characteristics is then subject to the uniformity of nature imposed by those capacities. For a super-natural being to differ from natural existence, it must exist without a limited identity and nature. This amounts to existing without any nature or identity at all. If humanity is to have meaningful discourse about God, we must presuppose it to have properties by which is can be identified. By asserting that God is super-natural theism stipulates existence apart from the uniformity of nature and eliminates any possibility of assigning definite characteristics to God. But by assigning definite characteristics to God, theism brings its God within the natural realm and renders it not-God. Something cannot be both A and A.]

God then cannot exist, and any claim of knowledge of God is indistinguishable from fantasy of God.

RB: 3.To have a specific identity is to necessarily be finite.

JHL: assumption not in evdience. specific identity would be in contrast to us for our benefit. In other words God's "identity" is not like ours, shaped by individuality and society, but merely a construct we can relate to.

Your wrong. God cannot exist, and any claim of knowledge of God is indistinguishable from fantasy of God.

RB: 4.YAHWEH has a specific identity.

JHL: Literary identity not necessary in an actual "ontological" sense.

Then your fantasy of God is a lie. If the Bible is not literally true as you implied, then the Christian religion falls apart. Charles B. Waite noted this fatal flaw. He spent years in the Library of Congress often in inaccessible rooms with the help of friends and insiders researching ancient texts to ascertain a history of Christianity up till the second century. His book is titled “History of the Christian Religion to the Year Two Hundred” and is fully and freely available on Google books. This book is considered one of the most accurate histories of Christianity with much information not found elsewhere. Waite wrote much on lost books, early Church fathers and heresy. His conclusion on page 433 of the downloadable PDF reads:

“…no evidence is found, of the existence in the first century, of either of the following doctrines; the immaculate conception – the miracles of Christ – his material resurrection. No one of these doctrines is to be found in the epistles of the New Testament, nor have we been able to find them in any other writings of the first century.

As to the four gospels, in coming to the conclusion that they were not written in the first century, we have but recorded the convictions of the more advanced scholars of the present day, irrespective of their religious views in other respects; with whom, the question as now presented is, how early in the second century were they composed?

Discarding, as inventions of the second century, having no historical foundation, the three doctrines above named, and much else which must necessarily stand or fall with them, what remains of the Christian Religion?” Waite's conclusion is a powerful evidence against Christianity.

RB: 5.YAHWEH therefore is necessarily finite and cannot be infinite.

JHL: you have not demonstrated that ponit. you are assuming id has to be lmiited and finite, why? you have not proved that. Just because our identities are such does not mean all identities must be.

Your right. I did not demonstrate that point. However Smith and Peikoff did.

JHL: God's id would be based upon being, God is identified with being itself so that's an identity, it's also unique and not analogous to ours.

The difference between existence and identity is that “Existence is a self-sufficient primary. It is not a product of a supernatural dimension, or of anything else. There is nothing antecedent to existence, nothing apart from it—and no alternative to it. Existence exists—and only existence exists. Its existence and its nature are irreducible and unalterable.” – Leonard Peikoff “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,”(ITOE, p.148) while “The concept “identity” does not indicate the particular natures of the existents it subsumes; it merely underscores the primary fact that they are what they are.” (ITOE, p.78)

Existence cannot obtain apart from identity and visa-versa. The notion of God, however, entails it must obtain apart from identity, for to be infinite in scope is to not be limited in any. For God to exist, it must not have any specific nature. But to exist is to obtain as something specific and to necessarily be limited by specific characteristics. You may protest that your God’s identity accords with part of the definition of the “God of Classical Theism” as Creator of existence. However, you claim your fantasy of “God is identified with being itself.” If so then, it cannot be apart from and transcend existence. If your God does not transcend existence, then it cannot be Creator of existence. If it cannot be Creator then it cannot exist, for Yahweh/GCT (God of Classical Theism) is imagined as necessarily being Creator.

The opposite of a necessary proposition is an impossible proposition. Necessary and impossible form an exclusive dichotomy that is described by the Law of the Excluded Middle, ("P or not-P"). Thus is it plain that in your view neither Yahweh nor GTC can exist and are in fact impossible because they are alleged to necessarily be Creator, but you fantasize God as existence itself. If Yahweh/GTC does not exist, then it is impossible. To exist, Yahweh/GTC must necessarily be Creator of existence. But if Yahweh/GTC is existence, then it cannot be Creator of existence because it could not have caused itself or come about from nothingness uncaused. It could not have always existed because in that case there would be no necessary Creation or metaphysical primacy of non-existence.

Your belief, it seems to me, does not qualify as theism, for a theistic or deistic god must be an ontological person. If you believe existence is God, then you are a pantheist * and a heretic relative to what is defined as nominal Christianity or the Abrahamic religions.

Back to the issue of infinite verses finite. Infinite in scope can have no particular identity because: “An infinite amount or infinite size is a contradiction in terms: infinity is no particular amount, no particular size—infinities are abstract potentials, not existing concretes. To describe God as actually infinite in any way violates Identity and thereby removes the possibility of His existence”. - Greg Perkins, "God, Faith, and the Supernatural: The Objectivist Perspective", p.17 footnote 4

RB: 6.By modus tollens from 1 and 5, YAHWEH cannot be GOD as it cannot both be infinite and finite.

JHL: question begging: all this proves is that if we accept you premise about identity having to be finite, and you have no proved that, then the litrary place hold (metaphor) used to represent God in the Bible would be impossible as an actual entity, but so what?

The logic is sound and the premises are true. Smith got it right. My argument is not question begging, but your delusion is nothing more that a rather silly special pleading.

* (Pantheism is the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.)

J.L. Hinman said...

Hello Mr. Hinman: Thank you for your response. I hope you will learn something from communicating with me.

you are no Schubert M. Ogden. Schuber M. Ogden was a professor of mine. you sir, are no Schuber M. Ogden.

the last thing he said to me: I went in to say goodby, he didn't even lok up from is desk. I said "I learned a lot from you" he said "I should hope so...."

you can only pull that off if you are the big academic cheese.I don't think you are it.

J.L. Hinman said...

The opposite of a necessary proposition is an impossible proposition. Necessary and impossible form an exclusive dichotomy that is described by the Law of the Excluded Middle, ("P or not-P").

I have tried to explain that to atheists about a thousand times. they don't get it. I'm glad you do, congratulations! that validates the major arguments I made fro God.

now that my proofs for God have ben vindicated....




Thus is it plain that in your view neither Yahweh nor GTC can exist and are in fact impossible because they are alleged to necessarily be Creator, but you fantasize God as existence itself.

what does that mean? what makes you think you can tell me how I view God? I say myself that God is beyond our understanding. If I don't have image of God that try to impose upon reality, how can you decide what my idea is? I myself don't have one.

Go beyond that you are merely attempting a cheap trick. you are just trying to say we can only have ideas of God that analogs to a big man in the sky. A big human man could not do what God does, therefore, there can't be a God.

that's silly.




If Yahweh/GTC does not exist, then it is impossible. To exist, Yahweh/GTC must necessarily be Creator of existence.

Not if he's a metaphor for the God beyond God.


But if Yahweh/GTC is existence, then it cannot be Creator of existence because it could not have caused itself or come about from nothingness uncaused.

right. But no one thinks God caused himself. He's not caused he's always there. He's fomenting "the being" smaller aspects. That's not the same thing.


It could not have always existed because in that case there would be no necessary Creation or metaphysical primacy of non-existence.

who says there has to b? "creation" refers to the physical world. it refers to contingencies not necessity. The world is fomented by God's thought. We are thoughts in the mind of God.

your gimmick is totally oblivious to this possibility. nothing you have said applies to it.


Your belief, it seems to me, does not qualify as theism, for a theistic or deistic god must be an ontological person.


Tillich didn't use the phrase "panENtheism" for nothing. one would that would be less provocative to atheist, but I know from experince you will hate it even more because you can't belittle it.

you would hate me if I was a tehsit, but being a funcky brand of theist or something other than theist will make you hate me even more because it takes away your ability to mock my views.

and it threatens you further with the possibility that there really be some kind god which is your ultimate nightmare.



If you believe existence is God, then you are a pantheist * and a heretic relative to what is defined as nominal Christianity or the Abrahamic religions.


first, its not 'existence is God' its' that God is being itself. there's a big difference. well a difference in Tillicism. I think you guys might see it as hair splitting actually.

secondly, not pantheist but "panENtheist." According to Paul Tillich.

Thirdly, not a conventional christian, big whoopie do do!

why should that bother you? I know it will. I find that that atheists to the thug thing against funcky off brands more then they do agisnt fundies. but I don't really see why.


Back to the issue of infinite verses finite. Infinite in scope can have no particular identity because: “An infinite amount or infinite size is a contradiction in terms: infinity is no particular amount, no particular size—infinities are abstract potentials, not existing concretes. To describe God as actually infinite in any way violates Identity and thereby removes the possibility of His existence”. - Greg Perkins, "God, Faith, and the Supernatural: The Objectivist Perspective", p.17 footnote 4


you fail to answer my argument. God is the source of consciousness, taht doesn't mean he has a conventional identity like Clark Kent. But one can be presented in literature as a place holder in lue of real mystical union. ITs' that concept you do not answer.

RB: 6.By modus tollens from 1 and 5, YAHWEH cannot be GOD as it cannot both be infinite and finite.

JHL: question begging: all this proves is that if we accept you premise about identity having to be finite, and you have no proved that, then the litrary place hold (metaphor) used to represent God in the Bible would be impossible as an actual entity, but so what?

The logic is sound and the premises are true. Smith got it right. My argument is not question begging, but your delusion is nothing more that a rather silly special pleading.


Yes I'm afraid it is because you have not sorted out what sort of Identity God actually has, or what sort of function the allegiance of identity in the Bible plays in the overall scheme of things.

If you assume the head on Bible Thumper notion of God then you might have a point. But you are not even dealing with the kind of argument I'm making.


* (Pantheism is the doctrine that God is the transcendent reality of which the material universe and human beings are only manifestations: it involves a denial of God's personality and expresses a tendency to identify God and nature.)

yes, borvo, good boy. you know what pantheism is. good boy. but that does not mean that I'm a pantheist. there are other aspects of and understings of God that you are either not aware of or just leaving out.

My view is called PanENtheism and it's based upon the notions of theologian Paul Tillich.

It's not pantheism.

the problem here is you seem to confuses the concepts of consciousness and identity. You don't seem to understand the distinction. You also have a very limited (no offense) understanding of that identity is.

I am going to try to do a more complete article on this for my blog in the next couple of days, maybe nonight even. So please wtch for it.


my blog is here

J.L. Hinman said...

Ayn Rand wrote: “Rationality is man’s basic virtue, the source of all his other virtues. Man’s basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know. Irrationality is the rejection of man’s means of survival and, therefore, a commitment to a course of blind destruction; that which is anti-mind, is anti-life.


that means Rand would think zen is evil.

what an idiot. She had no understanding of any kind.

J.L. Hinman said...

I can't say it enough, Rand was a total idiot. everything you say in that long quote is just stupid.

mysticism is not confusing finite with finite, it's triggered by awareness of the difference, and so on.

J.L. Hinman said...

part one of my answer to this argument is up.

Metacorck's Blog

part 2 tomarrow

Robert Bumbalough said...

The Ontology of Information, and Hard Atheism by Adam Reed

When Napoleon asked Pierre-Simon Marquis de Laplace why there was no mention of God in Laplace's work, Laplace relied that he didn't "need that hypothesis." Laplace's answer is the canonical statement of "soft atheism." The rational man only believes in what he perceives by the evidence of his senses, or in what he needs to explain the evidence. By this criterion, there is no more need to believe in a God than to believe in the existence of an invisible unicorn looking over one's shoulder.

Laplace's "soft atheism" was the only atheism that could be reasonably asserted in the early 1950s, when Ayn Rand, in the course of writing Atlas Shrugged, began to set down her philosophical system. For a stronger atheism—"hard atheism," the assertion that the existence of a God is not merely unnecessary, but actually impossible—there was no conclusive evidence at the time. If "Objectivism" were simply what Ayn Rand believed and wrote down, "soft atheism" would be the end of it, and that would be that.

But, given what Rand determined about the relation of knowledge to the evidence of the senses, that is not the end of it. All knowledge, even knowledge of philosophy, is ours by induction from the facts we perceive and deduce from our perceptions. With new observations the scope of knowledge grows; the most important fact that Ayn Rand taught us about human knowledge is that there will never be a point at which a man might rightly say, "Stop, there is no additional knowledge to be had any more." Ayn Rand's Objectivism does not contain knowledge compelled by observations that were not available to her in her time, but it does compel the integration of knowledge induced from later discoveries with whatever was known beforehand. There is hardly anything more contrary to Ayn Rand's philosophy, than to deny a fact merely because it was not known in Ayn Rand's time.

In 1948, just about the time Ayn Rand began to realize that she would need to write down an explicit philosophical system, Claude Shannon discovered, and published in the Bell System Technical Journal, a procedure for measuring information. Ayn Rand's eventual link between metaphysics and epistemology hinges on measurement: existence is identity, and the identity of an existent consists of the measurements of its attributes. If information can be measured, then it has measurements; it has identity; it is an existent, as real as existents composed of energy and matter. Identification is knowledge; with Shannon's discovery of methods to measure it, information became a category of what can be identified and known.

One property persistently observed of information is that it never exists without a material substrate of energy or matter. The same melody might exist as sound waves or as radio waves or as electrical currents; as grooves in a phonograph record or as magnetic domains on tape or as laser holes in plastic; as ink on paper or silver chloride on film or as nerve impulses in the brain—but no one ever found information without some kind of matter or energy carrying it. Not that people haven't looked. Using matter to store information across time is expensive, and so is using energy to send information from place to place. Finding ways to do it with less has kept a large fraction of the world's scientists and inventors busy for the last half century, and nothing was as big a prize as finding a way to store or transmit information without any matter or energy at all. If no way to store or communicate information without mattergy was ever found, it was not for lack of trying. If those five decades have taught information scientists anything, it is that information exists but does not exist independently. To get information across space or time, energy or matter are unconditionally indispensable. Information cannot exist without matter or energy for it to exist by means of.

What, then, of the possibility of God?

On the one hand, the concept of a God includes the idea that God is consciously aware. But awareness is necessarily awareness of something, and therefore information identifying that of which one is aware is indispensable for consciousness. On the other hand, the concept of a God includes the ability to exist independently of matter or energy, and at the same time, to exist throughout space and across time. But to get information through space or time requires matter or energy. This is a contradiction, and contradictions do not exist. It is simply not possible for the same entity to be conscious and, simultaneously, independent of matter and energy, because information cannot exist except as attributes of entities composed of energy and matter. Our current knowledge makes the assumption of existence of a God or Gods not merely unnecessary—as in the "soft atheism" of Laplace and Rand—but untenable.

"Soft atheism," then, in view of the new knowledge acquired since the time when Ayn Rand wrote on the subject, is obsolete. We humans now know, in the same sense in which we know anything at all, that an entity with the attributes traditionally ascribed to a God cannot exist in reality. Thanks in part to Ayn Rand's epistemology, current knowledge of the relation of mattergy to information implies "hard atheism"—the positive knowledge that an entity with the attributes traditionally ascribed to a God or Gods cannot exist.

Robert Bumbalough said...

Mr. Hinman. Whatever you fantasize as God cannot actually exist in objective reality because it is impossible. The many incompatible properties inherent to the wide variety of God notions renders all versions of God unbelievable by any rational person. Take Reed's article, "The Ontology of Information, and Hard Atheism" for instance.

He correctly points out that information can only obtain in material existence. This is fatal to all forms of God belief for the reason he mentioned. That being:

On the one hand, the concept of a God includes the idea that God is consciously aware. But awareness is necessarily awareness of something, and therefore information identifying that of which one is aware is indispensable for consciousness. On the other hand, the concept of a God includes the ability to exist independently of matter or energy, and at the same time, to exist throughout space and across time. But to get information through space or time requires matter or energy. This is a contradiction, and contradictions do not exist. It is simply not possible for the same entity to be conscious and, simultaneously, independent of matter and energy, because information cannot exist except as attributes of entities composed of energy and matter. Our current knowledge makes the assumption of existence of a God or Gods not merely unnecessary—as in the "soft atheism" of Laplace and Rand—but untenable.


Reed is good on this point, but Dawson Bethrick at Incinerating Presuppositionalism is better.

I cordially invite you to read Dawson's piece and comment. He truly enjoys interacting with true believers.

Harry McCall said...

Great reply Robert! Thanks.

The god Yahweh was nothing but a simple local cultic god of the Israelites who disappears after the destruction of the first Temple.

The New Testament NEVER mentions this local cultic god Yahweh, but uses a much broader and accepted Greek term / concept: Theos.

In short, the local Hebrew god Yahweh is as far away form the Neo-Platonic god of the later Church Fathers as one can get. And, as you proved in your article, this metamorphosis of the local cultic god with a personal name to an universal Neo-Platonic God / Theos, died in its cocoon of transformation.

ismellarat said...

Geez, Hinman, be nice to the guy.

I think his argument is as follows:

Is God infinite?

"Yes."

Is this dog turd with the green flies part of God?

"No."

Aha, if God *were* infinite, you would have said yes to that.

Or lots of big words to that effect.

I guess you can counter that by saying God only *seems* infinite, that he's "practically" infinite in relation to anything else, that Christians have always of course preached a creator/creation distinction, etc.

Sheesh, is it that complicated?

And his blog praises Mises.org. There should be a special place in heaven for people like that anyway.

Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Mr. Hinman: I hope your feeling well today. I do enjoy these philosophy of religion discussions. Its always an honor to communicate with my distant cousins despite our differing opinions. Your educational accomplishments are worthy of pride and far exceed mine. While I do have an Associates diploma from the local community college in a now obsolete technical subject, I have busied myself with learning this and that. Nevertheless be assured, I bear you no ill will and have no intention of insulting or hurting your feelings.

That said, could you post an executive summary of your belief system including your views on metaphysics, epistemology, morality, politics, and aesthetics? I'd be keen on learning what you believe god to be and what reason you have for such a belief.

I do not have time right now to wade through this long thread, but over the next few days as time permits I'll visit. Now I need to figure out where the Euro/Yen is headed tonight.

Best Regards and Wishes

Scott said...

JL wrote that means Rand would think zen is evil.

what an idiot. She had no understanding of any kind.


If you think "unfocusing your mind" or "suspension of consciousness" has anything to do with Zen, then it appears you're the one who lacks understanding.

Eric said...

"But since Eric made the gross error of attacking human cognition in the subject quote of this thread..."

I did nothing of the sort. First, it's no attack on X to point out its limits. My computer can't juggle -- is this an attack on my computer?

Second, I was only criticizing the naive idea that everything we believe can be justified with 'science and reason.' Honestly, this point isn't even controversial; it's philo 101 stuff.

Third, since 'human cognition' comprises much more than 'science and reason,' your criticism targets a strawman.

Robert Bumbalough said...

Eric:

You replied to me by typing:

"But since Eric made the gross error of attacking human cognition in the subject quote of this thread..."

I did nothing of the sort. First, it's no attack on X to point out its limits. My computer can't juggle -- is this an attack on my computer?

Second, I was only criticizing the naive idea that everything we believe can be justified with 'science and reason.' Honestly, this point isn't even controversial; it's philo 101 stuff.

Third, since 'human cognition' comprises much more than 'science and reason,' your criticism targets a strawman.


This thread's header quotes you as typing:

Eric commented ...take any proposition you believe to be supported by 'science and reason,' and proceed to provide the premises that support it. Take any one of these premises and support it. Continue. It won't take long at all before you reach a premise that you can't justify scientifically, and a short time after that you'll find a premise you can't justify with 'reason.' What then?

This statement presupposes that human cognition is founded upon an a priori regress of premising to incoherency. This is simply ludicrous and is a product of your primacy of consciousness delusions. Your position falsifies how knowledge is formed or acquired. So it it you that lied and argued against a straw-man.

Knowledge is derived from our direct perceptional apprehension of sensory information gleaned from actual existence. It is as Rand wrote:

“Knowledge” is ... a mental grasp of a fact(s) of reality, reached either by perceptual observation or by a process of reason based on perceptual observation.

I have previously observed that your religious delusions of a god are founded upon the false doctrine and fallacy of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy.

An analytic proposition is defined as one which can be validated merely by an analysis of the meaning of its constituent concepts. The critical question is: What is included in “the meaning of a concept”? Does a concept mean the existents which it subsumes, including all their characteristics? Or does it mean only certain aspects of these existents, designating some of their characteristics but excluding others?
The latter viewpoint is fundamental to every version of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy. The advocates of this dichotomy divide the characteristics of the existents subsumed under a concept into two groups: those which are included in the meaning of the concept, and those—the great majority—which, they claim, are excluded from its meaning. The dichotomy among propositions follows directly. If a proposition links the “included” characteristics with the concept, it can be validated merely by an “analysis” of the concept; if it links the “excluded” characteristics with the concept, it represents an act of “synthesis.”
- ITOE, p.127 Peikoff

The Objectivist theory of concepts undercuts the theory of the analytic-synthetic dichotomy at its root .... Since a concept is an integration of units, it has no content or meaning apart from its units. The meaning of a concept consists of the units—the existents—which it integrates, including all the characteristics of these units. Observe that concepts mean existents, not arbitrarily selected portions of existents. There is no basis whatever—neither metaphysical nor epistemological, neither in the nature of reality nor of a conceptual consciousness—for a division of the characteristics of a concept’s units into two groups, one of which is excluded from the concept’s meaning ....The fact that certain characteristics are, at a given time, unknown to man, does not indicate that these characteristics are excluded from the entity—or from the concept. A is A; existents are what they are, independent of the state of human knowledge; and a concept means the existents which it integrates. Thus, a concept subsumes and includes all the characteristics of its referents, known and not-yet-known. - ITOE, p.131 Peikoff

On pages 98-101 of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Expanded 2nd Edition, Meridian Penguin Books, April 1990, Leonard Peikoff demonstrate how the Objectivist theory of concepts defangs and neuters the Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. By a fine example of reasoning Peikoff notes the following:

I)Metaphysically, and entity is: all of the things which it is. Each of its characteristics has the same metaphysical status: each constitutes a part of the entity's identity.

II)Epistemologically, all the characteristics of the entities subsumed under a concept are discovered by the same basic method: by observation of these entities.

III)... a concept subsumes and includes all the characteristics of its referents, known and not-yet-known.

IV)....a concept is an open-end classification which includes the yet-to-be discovered characteristics of a given group of existents. All of man's knowledge rest on that fact.

V)Whatever is true of the entity, is meant by the concept.

VI)It follows that there are no grounds on which to distinguish “analytic” from “synthetic” propositions. Whether on state that “A man is a rational animal” or that “A man has only two eyes” - in both cases, the predicated characteristics are true of man and are, therefore, included in the concept “man”. The meaning of the first statement is: “A certain type of entity , including all its characteristics (among which are rationality and animality) is: a rational animal.” The meaning of the second is: “A certain type of entity, including all of its characteristics (among which is the possession of only two eyes) has: only two eyes.” Each of these statements is an instance of the Law of Identity; each is a “tautology”: to deny either is to contradict the meaning of the concept “man,” and thus to endorse a self-contradiction.


Knowledge is a direct perceptional apprehension of sensory information from actual reality and is not a regress of premising to incoherency.

Regarding your recent comment directed to me, the concept cognition means The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.

Knowledge is held in conceptional form and concepts:

represent classifications of observed existents according to their relationships to other observed existents. ... To form a concept, one mentally isolates a group of concretes (of distinct perceptual units), on the basis of observed similarities which distinguish them from all other known concretes (similarity is “the relationship between two or more existents which possess the same characteristic(s), but in different measure or degree”); then, by a process of omitting the particular measurements of these concretes, one integrates them into a single new mental unit: the concept, which subsumes all concretes of this kind (a potentially unlimited number). The integration is completed and retained by the selection of a perceptual symbol (a word) to designate it. “A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted.” (Rand, ITOE, 131)

Consciousness is awareness of existence; it is the faculty of awareness—the faculty of perceiving that which exists. If nothing actually exists, then there can be no awareness and consequently no consciousness. Your vile and evil religion of Christianity presupposes that existence is not real and that we can not actually know anything because Christianity asserts all is the product of and resultant from an imaginary ruling consciousness you refer to a God. But consciousness is the awareness of existence and cannot make or cause existence. We know this because of direct sensory perception.

Reasoning is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses. It integrates man’s perceptions by means of forming abstractions or conceptions, thus raising man’s knowledge from the perceptual level, which he shares with animals, to the conceptual level, which he alone can reach. The method which reason employs in this process is logic—and logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. Reason is man’s only means of grasping reality and of acquiring knowledge—and, therefore, the rejection of reason means that men should act regardless of and/or in contradiction to the facts of reality. (Rand, VOS, PWNI, ROTP)

Thus your assertion that human knowledge, reason, awareness are based on a regress of premising to incoherency does constituent an attack on the mental attributes of your own species. This renders you a vile contemptible criminal relative to humanity qua humanity but more to the point of this thread is that your position as an advocate of anti-cognition and pro-mysticism is that by posturing as such you surrender you early February defense of your disgusting religion from Cantorian Set Theory.

Thus my version of George H Smith's argument against the possibility of existence of Theos-Yahweh still works to prove your faith false and impossible.

1.To be GOD, Theos-Yahweh must be an ontological person that is infinite in scope.

2.To be an ontological person is to have a specific identity.

3.To have a specific identity is to necessarily be finite.

4. Theos-Yahweh has a specific identity.

5. Theos-Yahweh therefore is necessarily finite and cannot be infinite.

6.By modus tollens from 1 and 5, Theos-Yahweh cannot be GOD as it cannot both be infinite and finite.

7. If it cannot be GOD, then it is not a necessary being and evidentiary arguments against it are self-validating by virtue of forming a comprehensive cumulative case to the best explanation.

I mentioned the following during our discussion back in February; because of your religious holiday this weekend, it is worth it to me to mention it again.

The vile filth of Christianity and the vast evil it has wrought on western civilization sickens and disgusts rational reasoning people. If Yahweh does exist, I certainly would not want to continue with whatever this that we take for reality may then be, for if Yahweh exists the primacy of existence is false. In that case there is no fixed reality and this is some sort of sick illusion such as postulated by Descartes and the primacy of consciousness mystics. Nothingness or Hell would be preferable to being a slave to the monster before which you crawl on your belly, prostrating yourself, and worshiping what is arguably the most evil character in all of fictional literature while surrendering your moral autonomy. Shame on you for crouching down and licking the imaginary hand of a heinous delusion. But luckily it is such a remote impossibility that Yahweh might exist that I need not be concerned, for your god is a lie, and your religion is contemptible nonsense.

May you get what you deserve.

Eric said...

Robert, let's look at the three points I made and see where we are after your response.

Eric: "First, it's no attack on X to point out its limits. My computer can't juggle -- is this an attack on my computer?"

You said nothing whatsoever in response to this rather obvious point of mine, so I'm assuming that you'll concede that you misspoke, and that my remarks could not be accurately characterized as an 'attack.'

I'll take your response to my third point next, since it too is easily dispatched.

Eric: "Third, since 'human cognition' comprises much more than 'science and reason,' your criticism (i.e. that by arguing for limits on science and reason I'm targeting human cognition as such) targets a strawman."

Here's what you wrote about the subject of this thread (viz., that every proposition cannot be justified with science and reason):

Robert: "This statement presupposes that *human cognition* is founded upon an a priori regress of premising to incoherency. This is simply ludicrous and is a product of your primacy of consciousness delusions. Your position falsifies how knowledge is formed or acquired. So it it you that lied and argued against a straw-man."

Really? Note the emphasis I added to your remarks above (around *human cognition*). My third point is that I wasn't targeting human cognition as such, but science and reason, from which it follows that I don't take it to be the case that 'human cognition' can be identified with 'science and reason.' Now, do you agree or disagree with me? We can infer from your response above that you think you disagree with me, however, what did you actually go on to say?

Robert: "Regarding your recent comment directed to me, the concept cognition means The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment."

Ah, so you *do* agree with me after all, eh? Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that I agree with your understanding of 'human cognition.' Note, it comprises awareness and perception: Can we reduce 'awareness' to science or reason? What about perception? Think hard, Robert. Science may make use of perception, but it doesn't follow that science can be reduced to perception; it's the same with reason. My computer uses electricity, but cannot be identified with electricity. Now that I've shown that my third point still stands completely unscathed by your fumbling attempts at 'doing philosophy,' let's look at my second point:

Eric: "Second, I was only criticizing the naive idea that everything we believe can be justified with 'science and reason.' Honestly, this point isn't even controversial; it's philo 101 stuff."

First, we agree, as I've shown above, that 'cognition' cannot be reduced to 'science and reason.' You yourself say:

Robert: "Knowledge is derived from our direct perceptional apprehension of sensory information gleaned from actual existence."

Ah, so what about our 'direct perceptional apprehension of sensory information'? Can we use 'science and reason' to justify it? I hope the answer is obvious, but, just in case it's not, let me help you out. Science obviously presupposes it, insofar as it begins (for the most part) with observations (either our own or those of others). Reason is a much broader category, and it's not one we're going to agree about at all, so let's just stick with your Objectivist conception. Do we need to justify an immediate sense experience with reason? Of course not. Objectivists are empiricists in the Aristotelian sense of the term: all knowledge begins with perception, but is not therefore merely perceptual. Reason, as a faculty, uses sensory information. So again, even given an Objectivist conception of reason, we find that everything isn't justified by reason. So my second point, which I just defended last of all, still stands untouched by all of your Randian incantations (that's what they are, right? You guys all repeat them verbatim whenever discussing philosophy, almost as if you can't think for yourselves and need to summon the spirit of the Great Rand to speak for you...) -- indeed, your Randian incantations *support it*.

Now that I've defended my three points, and have shown decisively that your responses fail completely, let's look at your 'argument' against god's existence one more time.

"1.To be GOD, Theos-Yahweh must be an ontological person that is infinite in scope.
2.To be an ontological person is to have a specific identity.
3.To have a specific identity is to necessarily be finite.
4. Theos-Yahweh has a specific identity.
5. Theos-Yahweh therefore is necessarily finite and cannot be infinite.
6.By modus tollens from 1 and 5, Theos-Yahweh cannot be GOD as it cannot both be infinite and finite.
7. If it cannot be GOD, then it is not a necessary being and evidentiary arguments against it are self-validating by virtue of forming a comprehensive cumulative case to the best explanation."

Do you even know what theists mean when they say that god is a 'person' or a 'personal god'? It's not what you seem to think. The term 'person' isn't used univocally there, but analogically; the usual way of putting it is this: to say that god is a person is to say only that he's not less than a person. You've similarly made a mess of the word 'infinite' when applied to god (honestly, you must research how theists use terms before you criticize them). Your muddles with respect to the terms 'infinite' and 'person' render your argument useless for its intended purpose, i.e. to refute the possibility that the Christian god exists.

Derek said...

“Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.”
-Voltaire