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Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 09:35 AM
The 20th of this month will mark the 9th anniversary of Carl Sagan's entrence into the eternal flames of Hell. And since the Battle Royale on Evolution which Carl Sagan insisted was a fact and not a theory, is going to begin in just a few days I thought it would be appropriate to post the following article I found which describes both Carl Sagan himself and his atheistic/humanistic/scientistic worldview. It's a bit lengthy but quite interesting and will perhaps make for some interesting conversation until the big Battle begins.

The following is found on the net HERE. (http://www.probe.org/content/view/106/67/)



Contact: A Eulogy to Carl Sagan

Written by Dr. Ray Bohlin (http://www.probe.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=102&itemid=1008)

The Paradox of the Movie Contact

At the very beginning of the movie Contact, you should have noticed in the lower right corner of the screen a little dedication which read, "For Carl." This, of course, is Carl Sagan (1934-1996), the Cornell astronomer and science advocate to the public, whose 1985 novel was the basis for the movie.(1) Sagan passed away in December 1996, before the movie was released, after he struggled for several years with a rare blood disorder.

The movie serves as a fitting eulogy for the most visible member of the scientific community within popular culture. The phrase "billions and billions", attributed to Sagan, has become a part of the public's lexicon of scientific phrases, even though Sagan never actually used the phrase in print or in any of his public broadcasts or appearances. Sagan used it self-effacingly as the title for his final and posthumously published book.

Many of us know of Carl Sagan, but we know very little about him. As a planetary astronomer, Sagan made significant contributions to the fields of chemical evolution, Martian topography, and Venusian meteorology. He also served as an official adviser to NASA on the Mariner, Voyager, and Viking unmanned space missions. Carl Sagan led the charge both to the public and in the Congressional halls of government funding for space research and particularly SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

Sagan was awarded the Peabody Award and an Emmy for his stunningly influential public television series, Cosmos. The accompanying book by the same title is the best-selling science book ever published in the English language.(2) He earned the Pulitzer Prize for his book Dragons of Eden on the evolution of human intelligence, and numerous other awards and honorary degrees. He is the most read scientific author in the world, and upon awarding him their highest honor, the National Science Foundation heralded his gifts to mankind as "infinite."

The main character of Contact, Ellie Arroway, played by Jodie Foster, portrays Sagan's life in miniature. While not sharing Sagan's awards and rapport with the public, Ellie Arroway is a brilliant, driven, self-reliant young astronomer obsessed with SETI. Dr. Arroway endures scorn and ridicule from the public and science for her dedication to discovering signs of extraterrestrial life, just as Sagan has. Arroway, like Sagan, confronted with the demons of superstition, fundamentalism, and scientific jealousy, fought back with reason, sarcastic wit, and sheer perseverance.

Arroway parrots Sagan's views on the need for a rational, non- religious view of reality to solve our problems, his hope for an extraterrestrial savior to save us from our technological adolescence, and the wonder and beauty of the cosmos pointing to our species as a curious, brave, precious accident of the universe. What is paradoxical about Contact is not the conflict between faith and reason, but who is forced to rely on faith and experience instead of evidence. Following Ellie's trip through the galaxy and her conversation with an alien, she returns with no documentation. What was an 18-hour experience for Ellie appeared to be an uneventful few seconds to everyone else. She must ask a Congressional panel to accept her account of events on faith with no evidence. If you were paying close enough attention as the film wound down, however, you could discover that this paradox is only apparent. Ellie's data instruments recorded a full 18 hours--not a few seconds--of static. There was evidence of her experience, but it was withheld from Ellie by apprehensive government officials. The scientific validation once again highlights Sagan's conviction that science is mankind's only reliable tool in the discovery of truth, and that faith only covers up our fears and stifles our search for answers.

Contact is a must-see film for those who wish to comprehend and knowingly confront our culture's hostility towards faith that relies on revelation.
The Paradox of Sagan's Views of Religion

One of the most perplexing aspects of the movie Contact is the seemingly confusing portrayal of religion. The confusion, I believe, is only superficial. If you reflect on how the different traditional religion is discarded as irrelevant at best and dangerous at worst.

Sagan's disdain for traditional religion is clear from the beginning. Events from Ellie's childhood flashback through the early part of the movie and lay the groundwork for her rational rejection of traditional Christianity. In the novel, Ellie's father is portrayed as a skeptic of revealed religion; he views the Bible as "half barbarian history and half fairy tales."(3) In the movie, Ellie admits to Palmer Joss that her father was asked to keep her home from Sunday School because she asked too many questions that could not be answered, such as "Where did Cain get his wife?" Although this and other objections offered in the novel are easily answered, they are left unchallenged as apparently sturdy nails in the Bible's coffin.

When Ellie's father dies in the movie, the clergyman offers harsh and uncaring words about some things being hard to understand, that we aren't meant to know, and that we just have to accept it as God's will. This deliberately presents the God of the Bible as unknowable, cruelly inscrutable, and demanding of our acceptance. Ellie's response to the minister's attempt to be consoling is to berate herself on where she should have left extra medicine where it could have been reached in an emergency. Self-reliance and analytical thinking easily out-compete the minister's feeble lecture. In a conversation with Palmer Joss, Ellie confidently asserts that we created God so we wouldn't feel so small and alone. He's just an emotional crutch.

Two other characters in the film outline Sagan's view of the modern evangelical right. The long-haired preaching zealot is portrayed as a dangerous man, out of control and out of touch with reality. He later borrows a trick from Muslim fundamentalists by sacrificing himself in an attempt to derail the multinational project to build the travel machine. Richard Rank, the presidential advisor, represents that portion of the religious right that hungers and thirsts not for righteousness, but for political power. At a cabinet meeting, Rank offers sanctimonious drivel about science intruding into areas of faith and the message being morally ambiguous. If his remarks made you cringe with anger, they were supposed to.

And then there is Palmer Joss, the enigmatic, amoral, has-been priest. Palmer Joss's New Age religion sees truth as relative and the real issue as oppression. Joss has no quibble with the conclusions of science, just its attempts to overstep its boundaries and rule our lives. His knowledge of God is limited to an experience on which he does not elaborate and that intellect cannot touch. Perhaps the attraction between Joss and Arroway is the challenge they represent to each other. Joss's religion is at least scientifically informed and therefore intriguing to Ellie, and she is scorned by the same scientific establishment that Joss distrusts. A match made in Hollywood.

Sagan left no room for any faith that does not embrace the conclusions of a scientific materialism. This needs to be kept in mind when Joss challenges her about her belief in God during the hearings. When the other multinational members speak up in defense of Joss's question, it is clear they are only referring to some politically correct supreme being, not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Sagan's Extraterrestrial Hope

Even in a scientifically sophisticated film such as Carl Sagan's Contact, we run into our culture's preoccupation with life beyond our planet. Though Carl Sagan spent some of his time combating the UFO crazies, he nevertheless held out a hope that there are civilizations out there waiting to discover us, or us them. Where does this conviction come from? For a scientific materialist and humanist like Carl Sagan, this confidence comes from two sources. First is the notion that if life evolved here, it is presumptuous of us to think that we are alone. Certainly life has evolved elsewhere! Second is Sagan's and others' fear that our species sits on the brink of self-destruction and we will need some outside help to overcome our predicament.

In a conversation with Palmer Joss, Ellie Arroway gives a calculation of sorts to explain her confidence in life having evolved elsewhere. She is looking up into the plethora of stars in the nighttime sky and says, "If just one in a million of those stars has planets, and if only one in a million of those has life, and if just one in a million of those has intelligent life, then there are millions of civilizations out there." It is a little surprising that a film of such high caliber would get this one wrong. If you take each of those probabilities and multiply them together, that's one in a million million million, or a billion billion, or in scientific notation, 10 to the 18th power. Current estimates suggest that the stars number approximately 10 to the 22nd power. That would technically leave only 10,000 civilizations in the universe, not millions. That would mean that we are alone even in our own galaxy.

In another essay (Are We Alone in the Universe?) I summarized the calculations of Christian astronomer Hugh Ross. Ross estimated the probabilities of all the necessary conditions for life occurring by natural processes. Ross concluded that if all we have to depend on are physical and chemical processes, then we are alone in the universe. Life could have evolved nowhere else. Even the biochemical complexities of living cells are revealing that life requires intelligence (See my review of Darwin's Black Box.). Sagan's confidence that life is super-abundant in the universe is grossly out of proportion.

The second reason for Sagan's hope of other civilizations was expressed well by Ellie Arroway. An international panel, assigned the task of choosing the one individual who would enter the machine and perhaps visit this alien civilization, queried each candidate what one question they would ask. Ellie said she would want to know how they survived their technological adolescence without destroying themselves. Sagan has been a tireless supporter of nuclear disarmament. He truly feared that we would destroy ourselves before we reached our full potential. In the opening scene of his Cosmos television series, he remarked that our species was "young and curious and brave; it showed much promise."(4) Couple this fear with the conviction that there is no God, and the only source of hope for a salvation from ourselves is another civilization more advanced than us, giving us some pointers for survival.

This confidence that an alien culture that could contact us would be more advanced than us is not unreasonable. If they have the technology to purposefully contact us, and this is something we cannot do, then their technology must be beyond ours. What is never explained, however, even though it is raised in the movie, is why we would expect this alien culture to be benevolent. It is just as likely, if not more so, that an alien civilization would be more of the variety depicted in the movie Independence Day. This hope reflects more on Carl Sagan's optimistic cosmic humanism that any scientific reality.
Who Will Save Us, God or Aliens?

The movie Contact tells us of a more realistic scenario for a first encounter with an alien civilization, than, say, Men in Black. A radio signal is received from space that is broadcast at a frequency that is equal to the value of hydrogen times pi and gets our attention by counting the prime numbers from 1 to 101 in sequence. The message is authenticated as coming from the star Vega, 26 light years away. The message is eventually decoded and found to contain the plans for constructing a machine for one person to apparently travel out into the galaxy. Ellie Arroway, a young astronomer who discovers the message, eventually boards the machine and travels out into space for a close encounter of a supposedly more realistic kind.

A very tantalizing line is repeated three times in the course of the film. When Ellie Arroway, as a child, asks her father if there are any life forms out in the universe, he says that if there isn't, it would be an awful waste of space. Palmer Joss repeats the line to an adult Ellie as they engage in a conversation under a starry sky in Puerto Rico. It is a poignant scene as Ellie clearly is stunned as she recalls her father saying the same thing. Ellie, herself, repeats the phrase at the end of the film as she is addressing a group of school children and is asked if there is life out there in space.

Sagan has drawn a bead on the argument for the existence of God from design, or the teleological argument. Waste implies misdirected design. If the universe was created for us and we are alone, why does it have to be so big? Surely we could have survived quite well in a much smaller and economical universe. But if you think about it, Scripture proclaims that the heavens declare the glory of God, not man (Ps. 19:1). Indeed, if the universe was created only for man's benefit, then it is a waste of space. We don't deserve it. But if the main purpose of the universe is to glorify the splendid, eternal, all-powerful God, it could never be big enough.

Another interesting theme is the form that the alien takes. After Ellie travels through the galaxy, she arrives at a large docking space station. She is somehow transported to a beach, resembling a picture of Pensacola, Florida she drew as a child. Eventually, a figure approaches. It is her father. The alien appears to her in the form of her father. He tells her that they thought this would make it easier for her.

It's fascinating that Sagan often complains that if God exists, why doesn't he make himself plain? Why not a cross in the sky or a mathematical formula in the Bible? Why is everything so obscure? One answer from Philip Yancey's book, Disappointment with God, is that God did reveal himself plainly to Israel during the Exodus and they still rebelled, and Jesus performed incredible miracles and still most rejected him. The Father does not want to coerce our love. So isn't it interesting that in Sagan's own story, when a superior intelligence wants to make contact with us, they put us in familiar surroundings, take on our form, and speak our language?! If they appeared to us in their true form, we would be repulsed. Isn't that precisely what the Father did for us in sending Jesus to live among us? It appears that Carl Sagan has unwittingly answered his own objection.
The Worldview of Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan began his highly acclaimed public television series Cosmos with a grand overview of the universe and our place within it. With a crashing surf in the background, Sagan declares,

"The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."(5)

Sagan eloquently expresses his conviction that matter and energy are all that exist. He goes on to describe his awe and wonder of the universe. He describes a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, as the greatest of mysteries is approached. With excitement, Sagan tells us our tiny planetary home the Earth is lost somewhere between immensity and eternity, thus poignantly emphasizing our simultaneous value and insignificance.

In the movie Contact, Dr. Ellie Arroway expresses this awe and wonder at several points in the film. The most dramatic episode occurs during her galactic space flight when she is confronted with the wonders to be seen near the center of the galaxy. She is at a loss for words in the face of such beauty and humbly suggests that a poet may have been a better choice to send on the trip.

While this is all very moving, the great emotion seems strangely misplaced and inappropriate. If the cosmos is indeed all there is or ever was or ever will be, why get excited? If we are lost between immensity and eternity, shouldn't our reaction be one of existential terror, not awe? Sagan borrows his excitement from a Christian worldview where the heavens declare the glory of God, which should produce a tingle in the spine and a catch in the voice.

In the next to final scene in Contact, Ellie attempts to defend herself by finally admitting that she has no evidence of her trip through the galaxy. But she has been given something wonderful, a vision of the universe that tells us how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we are. In Cosmos, Sagan reflects that while we are a species that is young and curious and brave, our place in the universe is to be compared to "a mote of dust that floats in the morning sky."(6)

How can we be tiny and insignificant and rare and precious at the same time? Clearly Sagan cannot live consistently within his own worldview. His view of the universe dictates that all is meaningless chance and we are nothing special, yet he irrationally rejects the despair that logically follows in favor of being curious, brave, rare, and precious.

As Sagan neared death, many around the world were praying for him. Though clearly an enemy of the faith, the closing sentences of the novel Contact indicated a belief, a hope, in an intelligence that antedates the universe. Might he see the whole truth before he passes into eternity? In his final book Billions and Billions, his wife Ann Druyan writes, "Contrary to the fantasies of fundamentalists, there was no deathbed conversion.... Even at this moment when anyone would be forgiven for turning away from the reality of our situation, Carl was unflinching."(7) In reflecting on the many cards and letters she received upon his death from people telling of the impact Sagan had on their lives, she writes, "These thoughts comfort me and lift me out of my heartache. They allow me to feel, without resorting to the supernatural, that Carl lives."(8) Sadly, Carl does live, but not as she believes. Remember that enemies of the faith are lost and in need of a Savior. But even though they may be prayed for and witnessed to by colleagues up to the end, many, including Carl Sagan, will still, defiantly, die in their sins. It is a bitter, needless grief.

Notes

1. Carl Sagan, Contact (NY: Pocket Books [Simon and Schuster], 1986).

2. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World (New York: Ballantine Books, 1996), p. 459.

3. Sagan, Contact, p. 20.

4. Carl Sagan, Cosmos Video, "Episode 1: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean" (Turner Home Entertainment, 1989).

5. Ibid.

6. Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), p. 4.

7. Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions (New York: Random House, 1997), p. 225.

8. Ibid., p. 228.

©1998 Probe Ministries.

About the Author

Raymond G. Bohlin (http://www.probe.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=102&itemid=1008) is president of Probe Ministries. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.S., zoology), North Texas State University (M.S., population genetics), and the University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., Ph.D., molecular biology). He is the co-author of the book The Natural Limits to Biological Change, served as general editor of Creation, Evolution and Modern Science, co-author of Basic Questions on Genetics, Stem Cell Research and Cloning (The BioBasics Series), and has published numerous journal articles. Dr. Bohlin was named a 1997-98 and 2000 Research Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.

What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3 1/2 minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
1900 Firman Drive, Suite 100
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 480-0240 FAX (972) 644-9664

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 10:00 AM
Read Contact, the novel. It's better than the movie, and I *really* enjoyed the movie. In fact, the novel affirms a higher, non-naturalistic power. To say any more would be a spoiler, and TOL doesn't have [spoiler] tags enabled.

I find it troubling that you refer to "9th anniversary of Carl Sagan's entrence into the eternal flames of Hell." Kinda shows where your own mind is, you know?

And why oh why do you people still stick to the old "Evolution is a theory, not fact" argument?? Is it really that hard to understand that in scientific diction, "theory" is defined as:


A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

Science does not deal in absolutes. Don't look for something that's not there.

Granite
December 2nd, 2005, 10:28 AM
I enjoyed Contact very much. And I agree, this whole "Sagan is in hell" nonsense not only does the man a disservice, it's a gruesome and morbid spin on the man's death.

Aimiel
December 2nd, 2005, 10:40 AM
I enjoyed Contact very much. And I agree, this whole "Sagan is in hell" nonsense not only does the man a disservice, it's a gruesome and morbid spin on the man's death.I don't doubt Carl Sagan is in hell, but dismissing God's warnings about hell are gruesome and morbid, if, before you die, you don't repent.

You didn't specify; have you read the book, too, or were you merely commenting that you enjoyed the movie? I thought the movie was great, but very empty.

Granite
December 2nd, 2005, 10:49 AM
I don't doubt Carl Sagan is in hell, but dismissing God's warnings about hell are gruesome and morbid, if, before you die, you don't repent.

You didn't specify; have you read the book, too, or were you merely commenting that you enjoyed the movie? I thought the movie was great, but very empty.

The movie. Never read the book.

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
You thought the movie was empty?

In the movie, Ellie Arroway finally understands faith, as much as someone like her can. I agree that the movie pales in comparison to the book (usually the case, with novel -> movie adaptions, just look at the latest Harry Potter) but Zemekis still did a terrific job with the movie.

There's more than the faith aspect, too... Ellie Arroway is humbled from her science knows-it-all mindset to a more humble one where she recognizes much of the world is unknown, and unexplainable.

I guess you could argue that conservative Christians get a bad rep in the movie, but lets be honest here... when has hollywood ever portrayed conservative religionists in a positive light? To focus on that would be to miss the point of the film. Contact is about the discovery of faith. It's too bad many people are so narrow-minded as to what constitues faith.

Granite
December 2nd, 2005, 11:00 AM
You thought the movie was empty?

In the movie, Ellie Arroway finally understands faith, as much as someone like her can. I agree that the movie pales in comparison to the book (usually the case, with novel -> movie adaptions, just look at the latest Harry Potter) but Zemekis still did a terrific job with the movie.

There's more than the faith aspect, too... Ellie Arroway is humbled from her science knows-it-all mindset to a more humble one where she recognizes much of the world is unknown, and unexplainable.

I guess you could argue that conservative Christians get a bad rep in the movie, but lets be honest here... when has hollywood ever portrayed conservative religionists in a positive light? To focus on that would be to miss the point of the film. Contact is about the discovery of faith. It's too bad many people are so narrow-minded as to what constitues faith.

Actually I think Rank (clearly modeled on Ralph Reed) and the nutty bomber were portrayed fairly and accurately. And the bomber was more of an apocalyptic nut than anything else, anyway.

Aimiel
December 2nd, 2005, 11:19 AM
The movie is definitely empty, and seems to show the lengths that one can go to, in an attempt to avoid God and fellow-men. Not only did Carl Sagan portray science as the ultimate knowledge, he had to throw a curve at Christianity while doing so. It's not enough to express his own hatred for Christians, he has to portray them as nut-cases. Typical Hollywood drivel. If Hollywood portrayed politicians just half as hard-heartedly as they do Christians, there would have been a revolution in the USA a long time ago. We get the short end of the stick, but that comes with the territory.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 11:32 AM
The primary thing that I find of interest is not the movie or the book but Carl Sargan himself and how he turned science into a religion so enthusiastically as to become perhaps the most influencial "atheist" in history. He truly was a prophet of Scientism, and I believe, due in so small measure to the impact of COSMOS (Both the T.V. show and the book), that those in the scientific community have become his disciples. Scientism is now the religion of scientist and Evolution is their gospel.

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 11:44 AM
The movie is definitely empty, and seems to show the lengths that one can go to, in an attempt to avoid God and fellow-men. Not only did Carl Sagan portray science as the ultimate knowledge, he had to throw a curve at Christianity while doing so. It's not enough to express his own hatred for Christians, he has to portray them as nut-cases. Typical Hollywood drivel. If Hollywood portrayed politicians just half as hard-heartedly as they do Christians, there would have been a revolution in the USA a long time ago. We get the short end of the stick, but that comes with the territory.

First, what is it with you Christians and your persecution syndrome? It's like if you're convniced someone is constantly out to get you.

Second, I completely disagree that Contact portrays science as ultimate knowledge. You could say that Contact portrays science as the best man can do, standing alone with naught but his brain- but that goes without saying. The technology we all enjoy, the very technology that grants us such a high standard of living is a direct result of science. This much is obvious.

Yet, it's clear both in the movie and in the novel that science and technology only go so far. There is more to life and the universe than what we glean by applying logic and rational thought. Many mysteries are unsovled and probably will still remain. Contact, to me, was primarily about the realization of the limitations of science, and thus the realization of the limitations of man. Contact is about a brilliant scientist that was humbled in a way she didn't think was possbile.

Re-read the book and see the movie again, I believe you were so focused on how a few fictional characters were portrayed that you missed the whole point of Contact!

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 11:54 AM
The primary thing that I find of interest is not the movie or the book but Carl Sargan himself and how he turned science into a religion so enthusiastically as to become perhaps the most influencial "atheist" in history. He truly was a prophet of Scientism, and I believe, due in so small measure to the impact of COSMOS (Both the T.V. show and the book), that those in the scientific community have become his disciples. Scientism is now the religion of scientist and Evolution is their gospel.

Resting in Him,
Clete

It is not at all possible for science to be "turned into religion". Religion and science are diameterically opposed in nature and purpose.

The purpose of science is discovery and knowlege of the natural world, the purpose of religion is mainly spiritual fullfullment.

Right there a big flag should be raised in your head - what does "spiritual fullfillment", which has an incredibly strong connotations to the supernatural, have to do with knowledge and discovery in the natural world?!

Religion is about revelation, usually from a supernatral entity. Science is about discovery.

Religion is typically fixed and unchanging. Science, by definition, will change. When scientists find a better explanation, the old one is scrapped.

I really could go on, but I see no point. Your point of view is a result of your religion taking the place of science in your mind., i.e., you look to the supernatural to explain the natural world. Don't look down on people who separate them.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 12:05 PM
It is not at all possible for science to be "turned into religion". Religion and science are diameterically opposed in nature and purpose.
Tell that to Carl.


The purpose of science is discovery and knowlege of the natural world,
The correct pursuit of which has never contradicted the Bible in the slightest.


...the purpose of religion is mainly spiritual fullfullment.
You know nothing of the Christian faith.


Right there a big flag should be raised in your head - what does "spiritual fullfillment", which has an incredibly strong connotations to the supernatural, have to do with knowledge and discovery in the natural world?!
Everything! You cannot discover anything of the natural world without presupposing the supernatural (whether done intentionally or otherwise). If God does not exist, knowledge of anything is impossible.


Religion is about revelation, usually from a supernatral entity. Science is about discovery.
Again, you know nothing of the Christian faith.


Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse


Religion is typically fixed and unchanging. Science, by definition, will change. When scientists find a better explanation, the old one is scrapped.
The truth about reality never changes. We were either created by God or we were not, planets move in eliptical orbits or they do not. Christianity is about truth, not discovering what truth is thus your criticism here makes a error of category and is therefore of no substance.


I really could go on, but I see no point. Your point of view is a result of your religion taking the place of science in your mind., i.e., you look to the supernatural to explain the natural world. Don't look down on people who separate them.
The point is that they cannot be separated. Your pretention to the contrary not withstanding. I cannot wait until this Battle Royale gets started! You atheists are going to flip your lids :chuckle:

Resting in Him,
Clete

Jukia
December 2nd, 2005, 01:28 PM
The correct pursuit of which has never contradicted the Bible in the slightest.



Except for, how about 6 literal days of creation 6000 +/- years ago?
Or a world wide flood several thousand years ago.
Clearly the science contradicts those.

Granite
December 2nd, 2005, 01:51 PM
If science doesn't contradict the Bible that's certainly news to anthropologists, astronomers, archeologists, and historians who think it's bogus and no use as a historical or scientific text.

Jukia
December 2nd, 2005, 01:54 PM
If science doesn't contradict the Bible that's certainly news to anthropologists, astronomers, archeologists, and historians who think it's bogus and no use as a historical or scientific text.
I am not sure that it has no value as an historic text, in part. It ought to have as much historical accuracy as any other old text, at least until the evidence shows otherwise. but my concern has never been the historical accuracy except to the extent that it is used to "prove" the age of the earth.

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 01:56 PM
Clete,

First, I am not an atheist.

Second, you assert that science and religion are intertwined and inseprable. We'd probably both agree that a great deal of scientific progress has been made in the past 100 years. Could give me some examples of scientific and technological advances made within the past 100 years that were discovered by the Church or clergy or any mainly religious institution, or otherwise attributed to the Christian faith?

Third, do you have any experience in the field of science?

Granite
December 2nd, 2005, 01:56 PM
I am not sure that it has no value as an historic text, in part. It ought to have as much historical accuracy as any other old text, at least until the evidence shows otherwise. but my concern has never been the historical accuracy except to the extent that it is used to "prove" the age of the earth.

Good point. Accurate until proven otherwise is the best attitude to take.

Johnny
December 2nd, 2005, 01:59 PM
The correct pursuit of which has never contradicted the Bible in the slightest.Hehe.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 01:59 PM
Except for, how about 6 literal days of creation 6000 +/- years ago?
Or a world wide flood several thousand years ago.
Clearly the science contradicts those.
No it doesn't. Certain theories contradict it but nothing that has been proven or that even could be proven for that matter. In fact, the real evidence is that the Earth really is only 6000 years old and that there was a world wide flood. I'd say that those were topics for another thread though. I'd prefer to keep this discussion on the topic of Carl Sagan and how his worldview is religious at it core.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Johnny
December 2nd, 2005, 02:00 PM
In fact, the real evidence is that the Earth really is only 6000 years old and that there was a world wide flood. I'd say that those were topics for another thread though.Of course you would, because you know that you can't defend those notions. Only Bob Enyart can, o' apostle.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 02:04 PM
Clete,

First, I am not an atheist.
Sorry, I generally assume quacking birds to be ducks. If you're not an atheist, what are you?


Second, you assert that science and religion are intertwined and inseprable. We'd probably both agree that a great deal of scientific progress has been made in the past 100 years. Could give me some examples of scientific and technological advances made within the past 100 years that were discovered by the Church or clergy or any mainly religious institution, or otherwise attributed to the Christian faith?
All of them.
That's right, all of them. 100% of any valid scientific discovery has come either directly or indirectly from a Christian worldview. The people who made the discoveries either held the Christian worldview for themselves or they borrowed from it (usually without realizing that they were do so).


Third, do you have any experience in the field of science?
I majored in Physics and consider science to be of great interest, even a hobby of sorts, but am not employed in a scientific field.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Gerald
December 2nd, 2005, 02:05 PM
Everything! You cannot discover anything of the natural world without presupposing the supernatural (whether done intentionally or otherwise). If God does not exist, knowledge of anything is impossible.Ah, the Argument from God as Operating System: if God were not running things from nanosecond to nanosecond, nuclear reactions wouldn't occur, chemical reactions wouldn't occur, and we wouldn't exist to contemplate these things.


Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuseInteresting how none of these "invisible attributes" are noted. Not to mention that something that is invisible, by definition, can't be seen.

Gerald
December 2nd, 2005, 02:10 PM
All of them.
That's right, all of them. 100% of any valid scientific discovery has come either directly or indirectly from a Christian worldview. The people who made the discoveries either held the Christian worldview for themselves or they borrowed from it (usually without realizing that they were do so).So, how do you account for the Chinese developing gunpowder some two centuries before Christians came on the scene?

Was Jesus reaching back through time, before his own birth, and putting ideas in their heads without them being aware of it?

Jukia
December 2nd, 2005, 02:13 PM
So, how do you account for the Chinese developing gunpowder some two centuries before Christians came on the scene?

Was Jesus reaching back through time, before his own birth, and putting ideas in their heads without them being aware of it?
Clearly a lie put forth by the pinko commie atheistic evolutionists.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 02:21 PM
Ah, the Argument from God as Operating System: if God were not running things from nanosecond to nanosecond, nuclear reactions wouldn't occur, chemical reactions wouldn't occur, and we wouldn't exist to contemplate these things.
:rotfl:
You guys are really going to have to start thinking better or else you won't even begin understand Jim Hilston's arguments in this up coming Battle Royale.

Oh! I can't wait! :bannana:


Interesting how none of these "invisible attributes" are noted. Not to mention that something that is invisible, by definition, can't be seen.
Make no mistake, you too are without excuse.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Aimiel
December 2nd, 2005, 02:24 PM
First, what is it with you Christians and your persecution syndrome? It's like if you're convniced someone is constantly out to get you. First, just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean everyone isn't out to get me. If you were Christian, you'd understand. The Lord gives us only enough to have faith in Him, and not in ourselves, and the circumstances of life are designed (by the god of this world, Satan) to cause us to doubt everything that is written and that we know about The Lord. It's not the way we view things, so much as our vantage-point. From this side of the fence, the fence is clear. From that side, you don't see a fence, hence the 'grey' thinking.
Second, I completely disagree that Contact portrays science as ultimate knowledge. You could say that Contact portrays science as the best man can do, standing alone with naught but his brain- but that goes without saying. The technology we all enjoy, the very technology that grants us such a high standard of living is a direct result of science. This much is obvious. The trip to where 'evolved' sentient beings could communicate and interact with the traveller was due to the science of those who were 'unknown' in the story, those who designed the machine. In my book, that makes science the ultimate. Those who built the machine (the designers of it rather) were the ultimate, for the story.
Re-read the book and see the movie again, I believe you were so focused on how a few fictional characters were portrayed that you missed the whole point of Contact!I haven't read the book yet, though I am going to get it, since I read what you said about it. Sounds like a good novel.

Granite
December 2nd, 2005, 02:24 PM
So, how do you account for the Chinese developing gunpowder some two centuries before Christians came on the scene?

Was Jesus reaching back through time, before his own birth, and putting ideas in their heads without them being aware of it?

Yeah, this idiocy is a whopper even for Clete.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 02:25 PM
So, how do you account for the Chinese developing gunpowder some two centuries before Christians came on the scene?
For "Christian worldview" read "a correct worldview". It wasn't known as the Christian worldview until Christiainity came along but the worldview didn't change, just the name. And yes, the Chinese borrowed from what is now called the Christian worldview when they performed the experiments required to perfect the recipe for gunpowder.


Was Jesus reaching back through time, before his own birth, and putting ideas in their heads without them being aware of it?
Nope. Nevertheless, they were operating in accordence to the Christian worldview, even though that, at the time, it would not have been called that.

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 02:26 PM
Sorry, I generally assume quacking birds to be ducks. If you're not an atheist, what are you?

I am agnostic.


All of them.
That's right, all of them. 100% of any valid scientific discovery has come either directly or indirectly from a Christian worldview. The people who made the discoveries either held the Christian worldview for themselves or they borrowed from it (usually without realizing that they were do so).

What a ridiculous claim.

Since you have a background in physics, maybe you can help me out here. I'm sure you are familar with the Bohr model of the atom, and with quantum physics.

The Bohr model is a depection of the atom made in 1913 by Niels Bohr. It has thus been replaced by Quantum mechanics, the product of many great minds, including Plank, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, and others.

Please illustrate how both the Bohr model of the atom and quantum mechanics comes from a "Christian Worldview". Oh, and it's not enough just to say that the scientists were Christian. You've got to show that this "Christian Worldview" is philosophically or logically inseperable from the underlying concepts of these theories. That is, you've got to show that the Bohr model and quantum mechanics are dependant on this "Christian Worldview".

Thanks.

Gerald
December 2nd, 2005, 02:27 PM
You guys are really going to have to start thinking better or else you won't even begin understand Jim Hilston's arguments in this up coming Battle Royale.Who is Jim Hilston and why should I care?

Can he make a case for the existence of the supernatural?

Jukia
December 2nd, 2005, 02:30 PM
:rotfl:
You guys are really going to have to start thinking better or else you won't even begin understand Jim Hilston's arguments in this up coming Battle Royale.



How much will the secret decoder ring cost so I can understand his arguments? Will he be speaking in tongues?
What is the point of having someone argue in such a way that I cannot understand it?

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 02:30 PM
Clete, lets get a basic question out of the way:

Exactly what is this "Christian worldview" of which you speak?

Gerald
December 2nd, 2005, 02:33 PM
For "Christian worldview" read "a correct worldview". It wasn't known as the Christian worldview until Christiainity came along but the worldview didn't change, just the name. And yes, the Chinese borrowed from what is now called the Christian worldview when they performed the experiments required to perfect the recipe for gunpowder.And what exactly constitutes this "correct worldview"?

One Eyed Jack
December 2nd, 2005, 02:52 PM
How much will the secret decoder ring cost so I can understand his arguments? Will he be speaking in tongues?
What is the point of having someone argue in such a way that I cannot understand it?

A lawyer has to ask this question?

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 02:54 PM
I am agnostic.
You know what agnostic means, right?


What a ridiculous claim.
How do you know?


You've got to show that this "Christian Worldview" is philosophically or logically inseperable from the underlying concepts of these theories. That is, you've got to show that the Bohr model and quantum mechanics are dependant on this "Christian Worldview".(Emphasis added)
Would you agree that these ideas of which you speak (not all of which have been proven correct but that's beside the point) were derived by way of logic and reason?

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 02:56 PM
How much will the secret decoder ring cost so I can understand his arguments? Will he be speaking in tongues?
What is the point of having someone argue in such a way that I cannot understand it?
It is not likely that you would understand it if you tried no matter how he explains it. Perhaps you'll surprise me. (I'm not trying to be insulting here by the way. I'm just going by previous experience.)

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 02:57 PM
I've always liked Sagan, I read all his books when I was a bit younger and especially enjoyed 'Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors' and 'Broca's Brain'.

Jukia
December 2nd, 2005, 02:59 PM
It is not likely that you would understand it if you tried no matter how he explains it. Perhaps you'll surprise me. (I'm not trying to be insulting here by the way. I'm just going by previous experience.)

Uh huh, thanks now I am sure I will understand. You guys with your secret stuff.

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 03:07 PM
You know what agnostic means, right?

Of course. An agnostic is one who believes that the truth of whether a higher, supernatural power exists is essentially unknowable.


How do you know?

Because your assertation that science is inherently tied to and dependant of, either philosophically or logically, this "Christian world view" of yours, which you have not described, makes absolutely no sense. Since you have merely asserted this, I am waiting for you to provide an argument to support this before I provide a real rebuttal.


Would you agree that these ideas of which you speak (not all of which have been proven correct but that's beside the point) were derived by way of logic and reason?

First, there is precious little in science that has been proven correct (in the absolute sense of the term) and its all found in the science of mathematics.

Second, to answer your question directly, yes. You could say, in a general sense, that the Bohr model of the atom and quantum mechanics were derived from logic and reason, although this seems tautological to me. It would be more complete to say that they were derived from
a.) past scientific discoveries,
b.) experimentation,
and c.) logic and reason.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 03:11 PM
Clete, lets get a basic question out of the way:

Exactly what is this "Christian worldview" of which you speak?
There's a hint in the opening post....


Carl Sagan began his highly acclaimed public television series Cosmos with a grand overview of the universe and our place within it. With a crashing surf in the background, Sagan declares,

"The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."(5)

Sagan eloquently expresses his conviction that matter and energy are all that exist. He goes on to describe his awe and wonder of the universe. He describes a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, as the greatest of mysteries is approached. With excitement, Sagan tells us our tiny planetary home the Earth is lost somewhere between immensity and eternity, thus poignantly emphasizing our simultaneous value and insignificance.

In the movie Contact, Dr. Ellie Arroway expresses this awe and wonder at several points in the film. The most dramatic episode occurs during her galactic space flight when she is confronted with the wonders to be seen near the center of the galaxy. She is at a loss for words in the face of such beauty and humbly suggests that a poet may have been a better choice to send on the trip.

While this is all very moving, the great emotion seems strangely misplaced and inappropriate. If the cosmos is indeed all there is or ever was or ever will be, why get excited? If we are lost between immensity and eternity, shouldn't our reaction be one of existential terror, not awe? Sagan borrows his excitement from a Christian worldview where the heavens declare the glory of God, which should produce a tingle in the spine and a catch in the voice.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 03:20 PM
Of course. An agnostic is one who believes that the truth of whether a higher, supernatural power exists is essentially unknowable.
"Unbelief, in distinction from disbelief, is a confession of ignorance where honest inquiry might easily find the truth. "Agnostic" is but the Greek for "ignoramus."" - Tryon Edwards


Because your assertation that science is inherently tied to and dependant of, either philosophically or logically, this "Christian world view" of yours, which you have not described, makes absolutely no sense. Since you have merely asserted this, I am waiting for you to provide an argument to support this before I provide a real rebuttal.
It was a trick question. You don't know, that's the point. Hopefully, you're about to see that you cannot know anything apart from a Christian worldview.


First, there is precious little in science that has been proven correct (in the absolute sense of the term) and its all found in the science of mathematics.
Mathematics is a form of logic. Would you agree with that?


Second, to answer your question directly, yes. You could say, in a general sense, that the Bohr model of the atom and quantum mechanics were derived from logic and reason, although this seems tautological to me. It would be more complete to say that they were derived from
a.) past scientific discoveries,
b.) experimentation,
and c.) logic and reason.
Past discoveries and experimentation were all used to form conclusions which where then tested and verified with other experiments and on and on. All of which is done in a logical manner, yes?

Let me ask the question this way. Would you agree, along with every scientist that I've ever known of, including Carl Sagan, that all truth claims must be verified via logic and reason?

This is not a trick question by the way, I just need to know where you are on this basic issue before we can proceed.

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 03:25 PM
There's a hint in the opening post....


Carl Sagan began his highly acclaimed public television series Cosmos with a grand overview of the universe and our place within it. With a crashing surf in the background, Sagan declares,

"The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."(5)

Sagan eloquently expresses his conviction that matter and energy are all that exist. He goes on to describe his awe and wonder of the universe. He describes a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, as the greatest of mysteries is approached. With excitement, Sagan tells us our tiny planetary home the Earth is lost somewhere between immensity and eternity, thus poignantly emphasizing our simultaneous value and insignificance.

In the movie Contact, Dr. Ellie Arroway expresses this awe and wonder at several points in the film. The most dramatic episode occurs during her galactic space flight when she is confronted with the wonders to be seen near the center of the galaxy. She is at a loss for words in the face of such beauty and humbly suggests that a poet may have been a better choice to send on the trip.

While this is all very moving, the great emotion seems strangely misplaced and inappropriate. If the cosmos is indeed all there is or ever was or ever will be, why get excited? If we are lost between immensity and eternity, shouldn't our reaction be one of existential terror, not awe? Sagan borrows his excitement from a Christian worldview where the heavens declare the glory of God, which should produce a tingle in the spine and a catch in the voice.

Okay, but this isn't nearly precise enough.

Can this "Chrisitian Worldview" be completely described as "where the heavens declare the glory of God, which should produce a tingle in the spine and a catch in the voice"?

If this is a complete description of this worldview of yours, then I must say it's so vague, it's useless.

If not, some questions to help refine it:
Who is this "god", and what is his or her or its nature?
What is meant by "the heavens"?
What is meant by "declare"?
Where does this "glory" come from, and why does this "god" possess it?

I'd appreciate a complete, but brief, if possible, description of this "Christian worldview" of yours.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 03:31 PM
Okay, but this isn't nearly precise enough.

Can this "Chrisitian Worldview" be completely described as "where the heavens declare the glory of God, which should produce a tingle in the spine and a catch in the voice"?

If this is a complete description of this worldview of yours, then I must say it's so vague, it's useless.

If not, some questions to help refine it:
Who is this "god", and what is his or her or its nature?
What is meant by "the heavens"?
What is meant by "declare"?
Where does this "glory" come from, and why does this "god" possess it?

I'd appreciate a complete, but brief, if possible, description of this "Christian worldview" of yours.

Sorry, but the quote from the article is as close to a direct answer as I am willing to give you to these questions at this time. I know from experience that if I allow the discussion to go down this path, the discussion is over. No progress will be made because you will (intentionally or otherwise) get bogged down in the detail and thereby miss the big picture. Basically, asking what the worldview is specifically is the wrong question. You asked the right question before to which I've been very repsonsive. You've presented two paths we can take the discussion down. Trust me, if we go down the first we'll get to some meaningful answers but if you insist on this second path, the discussion will be derailed immediately onto countless rabbit trails and we will get nowhere.

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 03:40 PM
"Unbelief, in distinction from disbelief, is a confession of ignorance where honest inquiry might easily find the truth. "Agnostic" is but the Greek for "ignoramus."" - Tryon Edwards

Your quote is not appropriate. I hold neither unbelief or disbelief. I hold the positive belief that
a.) The intellectual capacity/intelligence of man is limited,
b.) Understanding the supernatural, if it even exists, is probably beyond the capacity of man,
c.) Thus, it is probably not possible for man to know whether or not a supernatural higher power exists.

I don't wish to steer a debate in this direction. For now I wish that you accept that I hold the belief that man's intelligence has limits, and one, of many consequences of that is that we don't know of things we are incapable of comprehending. I believe the existence of the supernatural is one of those things.


It was a trick question. You don't know, that's the point. Hopefully, you're about to see that you cannot know anything apart from a Christian worldview.

Okay, provide your argument so we can get on with it.



Mathematics is a form of logic. Would you agree with that?
Let me ask the question this way. Would you agree, along with every scientist that I've ever known of, including Carl Sagan, that all truth claims must be verified via logic and reason?


To answer directly, yes.

I feel, however, there is a caveat - apart from the field pure mathematics, human logic and reason are not capable of verifing truth claims absolutely.

By this I mean that human logic and reason are conditional, dependant on
a.) our human senses, and limitations thereof
b.) our human brain, and limitations thereof

A minor point, to be sure, but an important one.

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 03:43 PM
Sorry, but the quote from the article is as close to a direct answer as I am willing to give you to these questions at this time. I know from experience that if I allow the discussion to go down this path, the discussion is over. No progress will be made because you will (intentionally or otherwise) get bogged down in the detail and thereby miss the big picture. Basically, asking what the worldview is specifically is the wrong question. You asked the right question before to which I've been very repsonsive. You've presented two paths we can take the discussion down. Trust me, if we go down the first we'll get to some meaningful answers but if you insist on this second path, the discussion will be derailed immediately onto countless rabbit trails and we will get nowhere.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Fair enough. I know all too well how easy it is to get bogged down in detail in these discussions.

I will assume for now that by "Christian worldview" you mean a worldview which affirms the existance of a supernatural element, defined as an entity that is outside of the laws and scope of the natural universe.

Gerald
December 2nd, 2005, 03:48 PM
Sagan borrows his excitement from a Christian worldview where the heavens declare the glory of God, which should produce a tingle in the spine and a catch in the voice.I've never in all my life gotten a tingle or a catch like that. When I look up at the night sky, all I see are stars.

SUTG
December 2nd, 2005, 03:51 PM
Who is Jim Hilston and why should I care?

From what I'm gathering he might be a Van Tillian, or at least adept at invoking the Transcendental Argument. The Transcendental Argument can throw people for a loop the first time the encounter it, but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny very well.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 03:58 PM
Your quote is not appropriate. I hold neither unbelief or disbelief. I hold the positive belief that
a.) The intellectual capacity/intelligence of man is limited,
b.) Understanding the supernatural, if it even exists, is probably beyond the capacity of man,
c.) Thus, it is probably not possible for man to know whether or not a supernatural higher power exists.

I don't wish to steer a debate in this direction. For now I wish that you accept that I hold the belief that man's intelligence has limits, and one, of many consequences of that is that we don't know of things we are incapable of comprehending. I believe the existence of the supernatural is one of those things.
I never intended to take the debate in this direction, I just enjoy pointing out that agnostic is literally the Greek for ignoramus. Just having a little fun at your expense. I'm glad to see your skin is thick enough to handle it.

And as for your statement about not being about to understand that which we cannot comprehend, I do not believe that anyone could rationally deny the truth of such a statement.


Okay, provide your argument so we can get on with it.
I'm right in the middle of it already. Be patient and we'll get there very shortly as long as you continue to answer my questions honestly.


To answer directly, yes.

I feel, however, there is a caveat - apart from the field pure mathematics, human logic and reason are not capable of verifying truth claims absolutely.

By this I mean that human logic and reason are conditional, dependant on
a.) our human senses, and limitations thereof
b.) our human brain, and limitations thereof

A minor point, to be sure, but an important one.
Okay, "Yes, but not really." isn't a valid answer! Which is it? Can we know something by logical analysis of the available information or can't we?

Can anything at all be known and if so must that knowledge be rational (logical)?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 04:03 PM
From what I'm gathering he might be a Van Tillian, or at least adept at invoking the Transcendental Argument. The Transcendental Argument can throw people for a loop the first time the encounter it, but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny very well.
Interesting comment.

Would such scrutiny utilize rational thought processes like logic and reason? If not, what's the point? And if so, then I encourage you to follow my discussion with a382.

Resting in Him,
Clete

SUTG
December 2nd, 2005, 04:03 PM
I just enjoy pointing out that agnostic is literally the Greek for ignoramus.

Well, as Socrates said, it is better to have self knowledge and know your limitations than to even be ignorant about your ignorance...

In other words it is better to realize you don't know then to delude yourself into thinking that you do.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 04:04 PM
Fair enough. I know all too well how easy it is to get bogged down in detail in these discussions.

I will assume for now that by "Christian worldview" you mean a worldview which affirms the existance of a supernatural element, defined as an entity that is outside of the laws and scope of the natural universe.
:up:

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 04:05 PM
Well, as Socrates said, it is better to have self knowledge and know your limitations than to even be ignorant about your ignorance...

In other words it is better to realize you don't know then to delude yourself into thinking that you do.
That's a very presuppositional statement you just made! Was that intentional?

SUTG
December 2nd, 2005, 04:08 PM
That's a very presuppositional statement you just made! Was that intentional?

No.

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 04:17 PM
I never intended to take the debate in this direction, I just enjoy pointing out that agnostic is literally the Greek for ignoramus. Just having a little fun at your expense. I'm glad to see your skin is thick enough to handle it.

And as for your statement about not being about to understand that which we cannot comprehend, I do not believe that anyone could rationally deny the truth of such a statement.


I'm right in the middle of it already. Be patient and we'll get there very shortly as long as you continue to answer my questions honestly.


Okay, "Yes, but not really." isn't a valid answer! Which is it? Can we know something by logical analysis of the available information or can't we?

Resting in Him,
Clete

Your original question was:


Let me ask the question this way. Would you agree, along with every scientist that I've ever known of, including Carl Sagan, that all truth claims must be verified via logic and reason?

My answer is yes, with the caveat that human logic and reason is dependant on human senses, and the human mind.

This means that truth claims that have been validated by human logic and reason carry with them the liablilty of being the product of an imperfect (limited) human mind, and imperfect human senses.


Can anything at all be known and if so must that knowledge be rational (logical)?

Yes, and yes.

For example, we know that the underlying principles of aerodynamics are correct from our persepective because we can build airplanes that fly. But, can mankind claim to know perfectly everything that there is to know about aerodynamics? I don't think so.

My only point is that human logic and reason has limits, because of the reliance on human biology as I've said above.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 04:44 PM
Yes, and yes.

For example, we know that the underlying principles of aerodynamics are correct from our persepective because we can build airplanes that fly. But, can mankind claim to know perfectly everything that there is to know about aerodynamics? I don't think so.

My only point is that human logic and reason has limits, because of the reliance on human biology as I've said above.
Okay fine, I think this is good enough.

So just to make sure that I understand, we KNOW aerodynamics work and we know that because of logical reasoning. There may be some specific issue that is unknown to us and that may even be unknowable but there are things (about aerodynamics in this case) that we do know as verifiable facts and we know these things BECAUSE they have been verified by rational means and if those things could not be so verified we would not know them.

I'm going to proceed under the assumption that you are in complete agreement with the above statement. Please tell me if I'm doing so in error.

Now, for the punch line.

The statement that, "all truth claims must be rational", is itself a truth claim.
How would you propose to verify the truth of that claim?

If you answer that this truth claim is also to be verified via logical reasoning then you commit the logical error known as begging the question. You cannot verify logic with logic because by attempting to do so you have to presume that logic is valid which is the very question you are attempting answer. I'm sure I don't have to tell you, that question begging is irrational.

You are then left with the option of saying that this truth claim need not be verified by logic. But if you do that, then you violate the truth claim itself and thererby falsify it.

I'll leave it there for now and wait to see what your reaction is to the dilemma.

Resting in Him,
Clete

SUTG
December 2nd, 2005, 04:49 PM
You are then left with the option of saying that this truth claim need not be verified by logic.

There are other options. You can classify different domains for truth statements, for example, like Russel or Wittgenstein. Or, you can make up and assert arbitrary knowledge justifiers (anything whatsoever will do) like the transcendentalists.

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 05:18 PM
Okay fine, I think this is good enough.

So just to make sure that I understand, we KNOW aerodynamics work and we know that because of logical reasoning. There may be some specific issue that is unknown to us and that may even be unknowable but there are things (about aerodynamics in this case) that we do know as verifiable facts and we know these things BECAUSE they have been verified by rational means and if those things could not be so verified we would not know them.

I'm going to proceed under the assumption that you are in complete agreement with the above statement. Please tell me if I'm doing so in error.

Now, for the punch line.

The statement that, "all truth claims must be rational", is itself a truth claim.
How would you proppose to verify the truth of that claim?

If you answer that this truth claim is also to be verified via logical reasoning then you commit the logical error known as begging the question. You cannot verify logic with logic because by attempting to do so you have to presume that logic is valid which is the very question you are attempting answer. I'm sure I don't have to tell you, that question begging is irrational.

You are then left with the option of saying that this truth claim need not be verified by logic. But if you do that, then you violate the truth claim itself and thererby falsify it.

I'll leave it there for now and wait to see what your reaction is to the dilemma.

Resting in Him,
Clete

My initial thought - and I say "initial" because I feel that there is value in exploring this - is that logic does not need to be verified.

This is because logic is axiomatic. An axiom is defined as a "A self-evident principle or one that is accepted as true without proof."

Lets take a look at mathematics. All of math is built on a set axioms that are taken as true without proof. An example of one is "Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another."

Without axioms, we have no tools with which to construct the theorems that make up the foundations of mathematics.

Going back to the dilemma you posed, I offer that the laws of logic are our axioms for building rational thought. If we do not take them to be self-evident, without proof, then we have "nowhere to start", so to speak.

So, the proposition "all truth claims must be rational" is in fact a tautology, or a statement that is necessarily true, given that the laws of logic are axiomatic. Obviously, it doesn't make sense to verify the truth of a tautology.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 05:51 PM
There are other options. You can classify different domains for truth statements, for example, like Russel or Wittgenstein. Or, you can make up and assert arbitrary knowledge justifiers (anything whatsoever will do) like the transcendentalists.
Not without employing logic you can't.

SUTG
December 2nd, 2005, 05:54 PM
Not without employing logic you can't.

Is employing logic a bad thing?!

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 06:16 PM
My initial thought - and I say "initial" because I feel that there is value in exploring this - is that logic does not need to be verified.

This is because logic is axiomatic. An axiom is defined as a "A self-evident principle or one that is accepted as true without proof."
And so you presuppose the validity of logic. You believe logic is valid without proof and in effect, by faith. Do you not?


Lets take a look at mathematics. All of math is built on a set axioms that are taken as true without proof. An example of one is "Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another."

Without axioms, we have no tools with which to construct the theorems that make up the foundations of mathematics.
That particular axiom, as you call it, is known in philosophy as the law of identity or at least it is derived from it. It is one of the three laws of logic and thus it follows that it is a law of mathematics as well because as I mentioned earlier mathematics is simply a form of logic. So the point here is that your simply attempting to validate logic by describing what logic is but that doesn't help us determine whether logic is valid because what one is really asking is whether or not these axioms, or what I would call the three laws of logic, are valid and true. A question that you are completely incapable of answering in any rational manner.


Going back to the dilemma you posed, I offer that the laws of logic are our axioms for building rational thought. If we do not take them to be self-evident, without proof, then we have "nowhere to start", so to speak.
Holy cow! :noway:
You get positive rep for this one! I don't recall anyone that wasn't a Christian ever being intellectually honest enough to come right out and say this! It's absolutely unbelievable!
You're absolutely correct! You have nowhere to start. The problem is a lot worse than you realize though because with this admission you've just thrown the baby out with the bath water. You don't realize it but you've just admitted that knowledge is impossible unless you assume without cause or reason that logic is valid. Logic is literally your god which you believe in by faith and faith alone. By your own admission you cannot verify by any rational means that ANYTHING is true.


So, the proposition "all truth claims must be rational" is in fact a tautology, or a statement that is necessarily true, given that the laws of logic are axiomatic. Obviously, it doesn't make sense to verify the truth of a tautology.
It isn't a tautology it is one of the laws of logic. Let me just quote what those three laws are so that we all know what we're talking about here.

Here is a brief statement of each.

1. The law of identity states that if any statement is true, then it is true; or, every proposition implies itself: A implies A.

2. The law of excluded middle states that everything must either be or not be; or, everything is A or not-A.

3. The law of contradiction states that no statement can be both true and false; or, A and not-A is a contradiction and always false: thus, not both A and not-A.

These laws are irrefutable and are the basis of necessary inference. Without them necessary inference vanishes and any attempt to refute them, makes use of them. What's more, they are grounded in the 'Logos of God', the source and determiner of all truth. Moreover, the laws stand together as a trinity; to fault one, is to fault all, and to uphold one, upholds the others. Together, these laws establish and clarify the meaning of necessary inference for logic and all intelligible discourse.source (http://www2.sjsu.edu/logic/intro.htm)

And it is this basis for the three laws of logic that you and other non-theists miss it. You have no means by which to establish or even explain the existence of logic whatsoever. You insist on living your life based on reason and logic and all the while you are living by truly blind faith and as a result cannot truly know anything at all.

Resting in Him,
Clete

The Berean
December 2nd, 2005, 06:35 PM
The primary thing that I find of interest is not the movie or the book but Carl Sargan himself and how he turned science into a religion so enthusiastically as to become perhaps the most influencial "atheist" in history. He truly was a prophet of Scientism, and I believe, due in so small measure to the impact of COSMOS (Both the T.V. show and the book), that those in the scientific community have become his disciples. Scientism is now the religion of scientist and Evolution is their gospel.

Resting in Him,
Clete
Well said Clete. :first:

The Berean
December 2nd, 2005, 06:39 PM
Clete,

First, I am not an atheist.

Second, you assert that science and religion are intertwined and inseprable. We'd probably both agree that a great deal of scientific progress has been made in the past 100 years. Could give me some examples of scientific and technological advances made within the past 100 years that were discovered by the Church or clergy or any mainly religious institution, or otherwise attributed to the Christian faith?

Third, do you have any experience in the field of science?
False dichotomy. Many scientists are Chistians.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 06:45 PM
Is employing logic a bad thing?!
It is if you are employing it in an attempt to validate the use of logic. It's question begging at its finest and is therefore irrational.

ItIsWritten
December 2nd, 2005, 06:48 PM
Given what scripture says about the fool that has said in his heart that there is no God, perhaps the title of "Carl Sagan: FALSE Prophet of Scientism" would be more appropriate.

The Berean
December 2nd, 2005, 06:50 PM
I've read the book and the movie. Of the course the movie had more detail and they made changes in the movie. It's been about eight years since I read the book. But what I remember is:

1) In the book Ellie was born in 1948, in the movie, 1964.
2) In the book Ellie was agnostic, in the movie she's atheist.
3) In the book Palmer Joss is very minor character, in the movie he is Ellie's man.
4) In the book five people traveled in the machine, in the movie only Ellie traveled in the machine.
5) In the book there was much more evidence for the trip than in the movie.
6) In the book S.R. Hadden wasn't so Howard Hughes-ish as he was portrayed in the movie.

Joss's character was totally lame. He never once mentioned Jesus Christ. His faith was more New Age in the movie.

I liked the book more since it had more character development and more science details. The movie was just ok.

mighty_duck
December 2nd, 2005, 06:53 PM
If God does not exist, knowledge of anything is impossible.


That statement is almost true, what it should say is "If God does not exist,absolute knowledge of anything is impossible."

Clete, I think this is where you misunderstand what science is, and what it deals with. It does not deal with absolute truths or absolute certainty. Science is merely a tool to help explain observable reality with other pieces of observable reality (with some exceptions). That does not imply any absolutes. Science does not absoultely rule out the FSM messing around with our lives, Just that it has seen no magic spaghetti sauce as of yet.


No it doesn't. Certain theories contradict it but nothing that has been proven or that even could be proven for that matter. In fact, the real evidence is that the Earth really is only 6000 years old and that there was a world wide flood. I'd say that those were topics for another thread though. I'd prefer to keep this discussion on the topic of Carl Sagan and how his worldview is religious at it core.


Science is theories. If a certain theory is accepted, and it contradicts the Bible, for all intents and purposed you can say science refutes the Bible.

If you want to argue science is an unreliable way to get relative knowledge, then go right ahead, we're all ears.



The statement that, "all truth claims must be rational", is itself a truth claim.
How would you proppose to verify the truth of that claim?


That is an intersting philosophical conundrum. However, science is a very practical field. Logic works! The scientific method work! They have both been very useful tools to learn about our environment.

As has been stated, there are some axioms. The reliability of our senses (most of the time), and the reliability of our brains (most of the time). If you deny these axioms, then you deny reality. While on an absolute scale you may be correct, on a practical scale all you say is meaningless to our reality.



Sorry, I generally assume quacking birds to be ducks. If you're not an atheist, what are you?


HEY! I resent that. Not all quaking birds are ducks! ;)

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 07:04 PM
Scientism is now the religion of scientist and Evolution is their gospel.

What's wrong with science?

GuySmiley
December 2nd, 2005, 07:07 PM
What's wrong with science?Clete's statement was about Scientism, which I think is not science. Nothing is inherently wrong with science.

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 07:15 PM
Science is not a religion.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 07:31 PM
That statement is almost true, what it should say is "If God does not exist,absolute knowledge of anything is impossible."

Clete, I think this is where you misunderstand what science is, and what it deals with. It does not deal with absolute truths or absolute certainty. Science is merely a tool to help explain observable reality with other pieces of observable reality (with some exceptions). That does not imply any absolutes. Science does not absolutely rule out the FSM messing around with our lives, Just that it has seen no magic spaghetti sauce as of yet.
What I said was correct the way I said it. Without the existence of God being the basis of one's knowledge one cannot know anything at all. If you deny that God exists you couldn't prove to me or even to yourself that you are not some fancy bit of holographic computer programming which is running autonomously inside a memory cube which is sitting on Commander Data's desk. For all you know none of this is real and you cannot prove that it is.


Science is theories. If a certain theory is accepted, and it contradicts the Bible, for all intents and purposed you can say science refutes the Bible.
That is not so. It is not a theory that the Earth circles the Sun, that is as much a scientific fact as anything could be and all such scientific facts do not and never have contradicted the Bible.


If you want to argue science is an unreliable way to get relative knowledge, then go right ahead, we're all ears.
Science is a terrific way to get to the truth, just not by itself. Science literally borrows from the Christian worldview every time it utilizes any form of logic whatsoever.


That is an interesting philosophical conundrum. However, science is a very practical field. Logic works! The scientific method work! They have both been very useful tools to learn about our environment.
You cannot know this either. Remember, as far as you really know, you might be someone else's dream and none of this is real. Science and logic, by themselves are no use to you in figuring it out either and so from a very fundamental perspective science does not work when it is used outside of a Trinitarian theistic worldview.


As has been stated, there are some axioms. The reliability of our senses (most of the time), and the reliability of our brains (most of the time). If you deny these axioms, then you deny reality. While on an absolute scale you may be correct, on a practical scale all you say is meaningless to our reality.
But that's just the point. You can't verify what reality even is.


HEY! I resent that. Not all quaking birds are ducks! ;)
:chuckle:


Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 07:32 PM
Science is not a religion.
Atheistic science is and Carl Sargan's definately was.

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 07:42 PM
I don't buy it.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 07:49 PM
I don't buy it.
Did you read the article? Have you ever seen COSMOS? Do you not remember anything of what you read in Sagan's books?

Carl Sagan was the most religious atheist of all time!

Resting in Him,
Clete

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 07:53 PM
Did you read the article?

No.


Have you ever seen COSMOS?

Yep, it's currently being replayed on the Discovery Science Channel every Tuesday. I also own the companion book.


Do you not remember anything of what you read in Sagan's books?


Absolutely, Sagan was interested in scientific truth.




Carl Sagan was the most religious atheist of all time!

Resting in Him,
Clete

Science and religion are two very different things.

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 07:57 PM
OK, I read it.

My position is the same as before.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 08:00 PM
Science and religion are two very different things.
I think I've established that atheistic science is indeed a religion.

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 08:08 PM
I think I've established that atheistic science is indeed a religion.

This is an old strategy designed by Fundamentalist Christians to discredit science by claiming it to be a religion because science is incongruous with OT teaching. By diminishing science to merely a religion, it is easier to pursuade potential followers that Fundamentalist Christian teaching is equally relavent if not moreso.

Yes, yes, this tactic has been used for decades. I find it disingenuous and utterly desperate.

Are you aware that there are many Christians who are evolutionists?

fool
December 2nd, 2005, 08:35 PM
Are we sure he didn't say "Billions and Billions" ?
I thought I remembered him saying that when I first saw Cosmos on the local PBS station.
I think the TV might have had an actual antenna on it.

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 08:37 PM
I saw him say it to Carsen, Sagan made a lot of appearences on the Tonight Show.

Vaquero45
December 2nd, 2005, 08:45 PM
This is an old strategy designed by Fundamentalist Christians to discredit science by claiming it to be a religion because science is incongruous with OT teaching. By diminishing science to merely a religion, it is easier to pursuade potential followers that Fundamentalist Christian teaching is equally relavent if not moreso.

Yes, yes, this tactic has been used for decades. I find it disingenuous and utterly desperate.

Are you aware that there are many Christians who are evolutionists?Do you think Jesus was an evolutionist? He seemed to put a lot of stock in the Old Testament. The fact that some Christians are confused on evolution doesn't help or hurt the point Clete is making.

BillyBob
December 2nd, 2005, 08:51 PM
Do you think Jesus was an evolutionist? He seemed to put a lot of stock in the Old Testament. The fact that some Christians are confused on evolution doesn't help or hurt the point Clete is making.

This is the point where I bow out of theological debates and plead the 14th. [Romans 14]

Good day, Gentlemen. :e4e:

Nineveh
December 2nd, 2005, 08:53 PM
Except for, how about 6 literal days of creation 6000 +/- years ago?
Or a world wide flood several thousand years ago.
Clearly the science contradicts those.

That's just your eisegesis of the physical evidence :)

SUTG
December 2nd, 2005, 09:24 PM
It is if you are employing it in an attempt to validate the use of logic. It's question begging at its finest and is therefore irrational.

It depends, which is why I mention Russell. You can validate certain systems of logic with other systems of logic.

If you are talking about validating logic "in general" this will always lead to circularity since the very concept of validity is a logical concept. Why would you ask someone to validate logic? Raising the question of whether or not something is valid presupposes logic, i.e. the question only makes sense if you've already accepted logic.

Please tell me you haven't been reading Bahnsen and Van Till.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 11:13 PM
It depends, which is why I mention Russell. You can validate certain systems of logic with other systems of logic.

If you are talking about validating logic "in general" this will always lead to circularity since the very concept of validity is a logical concept. Why would you ask someone to validate logic?
I would ask the question because they claim that all truth can be validated via logic which is itself a truth claim which cannot be so validated. It demonstrates the incoherence of their worldview.


Raising the question of whether or not something is valid presupposes logic, i.e. the question only makes sense if you've already accepted logic.
Actually it is not logic that I presuppose, that would be illogical and therefore incoherent. It is the existence of an intelligent, personal, relational, logical, holy, righteous, triune God that I presuppose. The existence and validity of logic is thereby explained and upheld in a completely coherent manner.


Please tell me you haven't been reading Bahnsen and Van Till.
I detect a touch of ad hominem in this comment but to answer the question, everything I know about the presuppositional apologetic argument I learned from Jim Hilston. (Well, almost everything ;) ) Van Till and Bahnsen were by no means the only two people that put forward a presuppositional apologetic by the way.

But don't worry. I suck at it compared to Jim. BR IX is unlikely to resemble this thread in any way whatsoever. In fact, I doubt that Jim would even think that I did more than barely an adequate job of making the argument, and he would for sure be able to point out countless opportunities that I could have taken advantage of that I never saw. All I can say for Stratnard is that he'd better be prepared for an argument unlike anything he's ever seen or heard of before. I can hardly wait.

Resting in Him,
Clete

mighty_duck
December 2nd, 2005, 11:15 PM
What I said was correct the way I said it. Without the existence of God being the basis of one's knowledge one cannot know anything at all. If you deny that God exists you couldn't prove to me or even to yourself that you are not some fancy bit of holographic computer programming which is running autonomously inside a memory cube which is sitting on Commander Data's desk. For all you know none of this is real and you cannot prove that it is.

First, we'll have to get some definitions down. The important one is knowledge.
If you wish to call what I have termed "Absolute knowledge" as simply "knowledge", then fine. I will use the term "Relative Knowledge". As long as we understand each other.
Science only deals with relative knowledge, and makes no claim to absolute knowledge. Everything science has ever said about the world, is only as true as it's basic axioms (which aren't known to be true)
Is relative knowledge worthless? of course not, as it has done a great job describing our world to us.



That is not so. It is not a theory that the Earth circles the Sun, that is as much a scientific fact as anything could be and all such scientific facts do not and never have contradicted the Bible.

Scientific fact is just a fancy way of saying a particular theory is very well supported. Just like nutoneon physics were considered facts. Does that mean that scientifc facts are meaningless? Of course not, it is still a very powerful statement. Evolution is also a scientific fact, which I'm sure will be discussed in detailed during BR IV.




Science is a terrific way to get to the truth, just not by itself. Science literally borrows from the Christian worldview every time it utilizes any form of logic whatsoever.


Since I have explained that sciencedoes not deal with your definition of knowledge, and the validity of logic is an axiom, it makes no use of Christianity. It would be just as valid whether God exists or not.



But that's just the point. You can't verify what reality even is.


Now to deal with your claim that what we perceive can really just be a computer program, halucination, etc. You are right. I don't know that reality is real. But in practice, this is undeniable. It is an assumption made by every living creature with an intact mind. If anyone denies it, I will be happy to come over and hit them over the head with a self-denied bat. Or invite them to jump off a cliff, since logic isn't real, and therefore UP = DOWN.
Since we all agree on these axioms, then this is just philosophical gymnastics.

Clete
December 2nd, 2005, 11:33 PM
First, we'll have to get some definitions down. The important one is knowledge.
If you wish to call what I have termed "Absolute knowledge" as simply "knowledge", then fine. I will use the term "Relative Knowledge". As long as we understand each other.
Science only deals with relative knowledge, and makes no claim to absolute knowledge. Everything science has ever said about the world, is only as true as it's basic axioms (which aren't known to be true)
Is relative knowledge worthless? of course not, as it has done a great job describing our world to us.
Are you absolutely sure this is right? :think:


Scientific fact is just a fancy way of saying a particular theory is very well supported. Just like nutoneon physics were considered facts. Does that mean that scientifc facts are meaningless? Of course not, it is still a very powerful statement. Evolution is also a scientific fact, which I'm sure will be discussed in detailed during BR IV.
You heard it here first folks! There are no scientific facts one of which is Evolution! :hammer:


You are right. I don't know that reality is real.

Thank you for conceding the debate!

:Clete: :first:

Someone should archive this thread. I don't think I've ever won a debate so quickly and completely before in my life! Can you say slam dunk?!

If Statnard goes down this easily BR IX is going to be real yawner! :yawn:

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 2nd, 2005, 11:41 PM
And so you presuppose the validity of logic. You believe logic is valid without proof and in effect, by faith. Do you not?


That particular axiom, as you call it, is known in philosophy as the law of identity or at least it is derived from it. It is one of the three laws of logic and thus it follows that it is a law of mathematics as well because as I mentioned earlier mathematics is simply a form of logic. So the point here is that your simply attempting to validate logic by describing what logic is but that doesn't help us determine whether logic is valid because what one is really asking is whether or not these axioms, or what I would call the three laws of logic, are valid and true. A question that you are completely incapable of answering in any rational manner.


Holy cow! :noway:
You get positive rep for this one! I don't recall anyone that wasn't a Christian ever being intellectually honest enough to come right out and say this! It's absolutely unbelievable!
You're absolutely correct! You have nowhere to start. The problem is a lot worse than you realize though because with this admission you've just thrown the baby out with the bath water. You don't realize it but you've just admitted that knowledge is impossible unless you assume without cause or reason that logic is valid. Logic is literally your god which you believe in by faith and faith alone. By your own admission you cannot verify by any rational means that ANYTHING is true.


It isn't a tautology it is one of the laws of logic. Let me just quote what those three laws are so that we all know what we're talking about here.

Here is a brief statement of each.

1. The law of identity states that if any statement is true, then it is true; or, every proposition implies itself: A implies A.

2. The law of excluded middle states that everything must either be or not be; or, everything is A or not-A.

3. The law of contradiction states that no statement can be both true and false; or, A and not-A is a contradiction and always false: thus, not both A and not-A.

These laws are irrefutable and are the basis of necessary inference. Without them necessary inference vanishes and any attempt to refute them, makes use of them. What's more, they are grounded in the 'Logos of God', the source and determiner of all truth. Moreover, the laws stand together as a trinity; to fault one, is to fault all, and to uphold one, upholds the others. Together, these laws establish and clarify the meaning of necessary inference for logic and all intelligible discourse.source (http://www2.sjsu.edu/logic/intro.htm)

And it is this basis for the three laws of logic that you and other non-theists miss it. You have no means by which to establish or even explain the existence of logic whatsoever. You insist on living your life based on reason and logic and all the while you are living by truly blind faith and as a result cannot truly know anything at all.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete,

So we've established that logic is axiomatic and are to be taken as self-evident, held as true without proof.

I absolutely agree that inference, and hence knowledge is not possible without accepting logic as self-evident.

It seems the difference between your worldview and mine is that you attribute the existence of logic to a very specific source, where my position is that I admit ignorance to where logic comes from, to the point where I believe that truly understanding it may be beyond the capacity of human comprehension.

See, from my point of view, logic just IS. I disagree that this makes logic my "faith", because to describe what we have discussed so far as "faith" is to misuse the commonly understood meaning of the word.

I'll attempt to explain this by example: as human beings, we are utterly dependant on our senses to observe our surroundings. We have no choice but to trust, without proof, that what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, along with context as interpreted by our brain, reflect reality. In this way, our senses are axiomatic. Does this mean that we must have "faith" in our senses? I don't think so. Our senses are tools that we rely upon to interact with the world. I view logic as a "sixth sense", in that it is a tool that we have no choice but to rely on if we are to meaningfully interact with our surroundings.

Are you telling me that every self-evident (read: obvious) truth we deal with every day of our lives is categorized as "faith?" The commonly accepted definition of the word "faith" is that it denotes belief in spite of an absence of proof. Applying the term to an axiom misses the point of an axiom - axioms are self-evident, they don't NEED proof. If something doesn't need proof, then it doesn't make sense to believe it in spite of a lack of proof.

And now comes the fun part for you. How is it that you can claim that the laws of logic must necessarily come from a "Christian worldview"? You claim that they are grounded in the "Logos of God", which you say is "the source and determiner of all truth". What is your justification for this? Why is it not possible for logic to merely be part of nature?

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 12:07 AM
Clete,

So we've established that logic is axiomatic and are to be taken as self-evident, held as true without proof.

I absolutely agree that inference, and hence knowledge is not possible without accepting logic as self-evident.

It seems the difference between your worldview and mine is that you attribute the existence of logic to a very specific source, where my position is that I admit ignorance to where logic comes from, to the point where I believe that truly understanding it may be beyond the capacity of human comprehension.

See, from my point of view, logic just IS. I disagree that this makes logic my "faith", because to describe what we have discussed so far as "faith" is to misuse the commonly understood meaning of the word.

I'll attempt to explain this by example: as human beings, we are utterly dependant on our senses to observe our surroundings. We have no choice but to trust, without proof, that what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, along with context as interpreted by our brain, reflect reality. In this way, our senses are axiomatic. Does this mean that we must have "faith" in our senses? I don't think so. Our senses are tools that we rely upon to interact with the world. I view logic as a "sixth sense", in that it is a tool that we have no choice but to rely on if we are to meaningfully interact with our surroundings.

Are you telling me that every self-evident (read: obvious) truth we deal with every day of our lives is categorized as "faith?" The commonly accepted definition of the word "faith" is that it denotes belief in spite of an absence of proof. Applying the term to an axiom misses the point of an axiom - axioms are self-evident, they don't NEED proof. If something doesn't need proof, then it doesn't make sense to believe it in spite of a lack of proof.
It does need proof in a worldview where truth must be verified by some objective neutral means which for every non-theist (atheists and agnostics) I've ever heard of is logic and reason. The most common objection raised by evolutionary nontheists against the belief in God is a lack of any ability whatsoever to verify His existence, which is now the very problem you are faced with concerning your own ability to think.


And now comes the fun part for you. How is it that you can claim that the laws of logic must necessarily come from a "Christian worldview"? You claim that they are grounded in the "Logos of God", which you say is "the source and determiner of all truth". What is your justification for this? Why is it not possible for logic to merely be part of nature?
Logic is part of nature! That's why science works. You ask the wrong question. The question is where does nature come from and why is logic an aspect of it. A question which you have no ability to even begin to formulate an answer to but that I can answer so easily that one wonders why such a question would ever need be asked. God created the universe and everything in it including the people in it who's invisible attributes include among other things, personality, the ability to reason logically, and a moral conscience, all because they were created in the image and likeness of the very God who made them.

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 3rd, 2005, 01:33 AM
It does need proof in a worldview where truth must be verified by some objective neutral means which for every non-theist (atheists and agnostics) I've ever heard of is logic and reason. The most common objection raised by evolutionary nontheists against the belief in God is a lack of any ability whatsoever to verify His existence, which is now the very problem you are faced with concerning your own ability to think.

What is your point here? I don't see how it's possible to verify logical axioms. They are self-evident. They cannot be "verified", and as you said, most certainly cannot be refuted. This is why they are taken as true without proof or verification.


Logic is part of nature! That's why science works. You ask the wrong question. The question is where does nature come from and why is logic an aspect of it. A question which you have no ability to even begin to formulate an answer to but that I can answer so easily that one wonders why such a question would ever need be asked. God created the universe and everything in it including the people in it who's invisible attributes include among other things, personality, the ability to reason logically, and a moral conscience, all because they were created in the image and likeness of the very God who made them.

If the question is "The question is where does nature come from and why is logic an aspect of it", then my answer is simply:

"I don't know, and I think the answer is beyond human comprehension at this time."

My answer is justified by the fact that there is no known naturalistic explanation as to the origin of nature and the universe as we observe it. What we have are very fuzzy shots in the dark. i.e., Big Bang.

Your answer is:

"Goddidit." (along with a whole lot of theology about a man-god killed on a cross to pay for "sins" etc, etc, ad infinitum)

Why should I accept your answer? Just because you have an answer, even one that you can "easily offer," as you say, doesn't mean your answer is right.

Your answer introduces the supernatural, something we, as natural beings cannot observe or interact with in any way except in our imaginations. This is the great difference between science and religion - science is limited strictly to the natural, religion ventures out into the supernatural. As I said in my first post, they are diameterically opposed for this reason.

Please note that I have not conceeded in any way that the supernatural exists. Why isn't it possible that the phenomena mankind and science cannot explain actually has a naturalistic explaination, but that explanation is outside of the capacity for human beings to understand?

What do I mean by this? Consider the branch of calculus in mathematics. We can understand it, but dogs and cats cannot. They are not capable of it. Isn't it likely that just as a dog can never understand calculus, there are concepts in nature that we as humans cannot ever understand as well? And what of mankinds' tendency to explain what is at the present unexplainable by introducing supernatural explanations, only to see these explainations fall away as natural discoveries are made? (God of the gaps)

Moreover, back to the main focus of this thread, how is it all of science is dependant of this worldview of yours, so that you can claim credit for all of the advances of the past 100 years?

mighty_duck
December 3rd, 2005, 01:46 AM
You heard it here first folks! There are no scientific facts one of which is Evolution! :hammer:
Thank you for conceding the debate!



Don't go congratulating yourself just yet tiger. All I have conceded is that no knowledge is absolute. (you can insert any piece of knowledge here and pat yourself on the back- evolution, reality, non-existence of god, etc.) That may be difficult for you to grasp, but its a much more honest position.

Not having absolute (certain) knowledge by no means implies that we have no knowledge, just that it is relative to other pieces of knowledge that we have, our axioms, and the certainty level we have for all the above.

Our relative knowledge is enough to figure out how to put a man on the moon, build the internet etc. It is enough for us to make all the decisions we make every day. Why do you think that knowledge that isnt absolute is equal to no knowledge at all??

Oh and if you're talking about the BR IV debate, the topic is "Is evolution Science", which given my definition of science, it surely is. The debate is not "can we be absolutely certain evolution is correct". Point. Set. Match. Thank you very much.

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 02:15 AM
Don't go congratulating yourself just yet tiger. All I have conceded is that no knowledge is absolute. (you can insert any piece of knowledge here and pat yourself on the back- evolution, reality, non-existence of god, etc.) That may be difficult for you to grasp, but its a much more honest position.
Okay, the piece of knowledge I wish to insert is the one that states that, "no knowledge is absolute."


Not having absolute (certain) knowledge by no means implies that we have no knowledge, just that it is relative to other pieces of knowledge that we have, our axioms, and the certainty level we have for all the above.
Are you absolutely sure that this is true? I know this is a redundant question but it's the only one that makes sense to ask. The point is that by your own admission, you have to answer "no". In which case the debate it over and you lost.


Our relative knowledge is enough to figure out how to put a man on the moon, build the internet etc. It is enough for us to make all the decisions we make every day.
You don't even know for certain nor are you able to prove absolutely (by your own admission) that we sent people to the moon, that the internet exists, or that you exist in order to make decisions about whether to debate people on said internet.

Why do you think that knowledge that isnt absolute is equal to no knowledge at all??
Because of the definition of the word 'knowledge', first of all. Your version of knowledge amounts basically to wishful thinking and really not even that. By your worldview "cogito ergo sum" (I think; therefore I am) doesn’t even apply because you don't even know for sure that you're really thinking or that you exist either one!


Oh and if you're talking about the BR IV debate, the topic is "Is evolution Science", which given my definition of science, it surely is. The debate is not "can we be absolutely certain evolution is correct". Point. Set. Match. Thank you very much.
I know what the topic is, I'm the one who came up with the topic and the title. The topic here in this thread is related but definitely different, and the approach that Jim will take in the debate is likely to be similar in that he will argue from a presuppositional stance.

Resting in Him,
Clete

mighty_duck
December 3rd, 2005, 10:30 AM
Okay, the piece of knowledge I wish to insert is the one that states that, "no knowledge is absolute."

Are you absolutely sure that this is true? I know this is a redundant question but it's the only one that makes sense to ask. The point is that by your own admission, you have to answer "no". In which case the debate it over and you lost.


Both of these argument amount to the same thing. Since Logic is our axiom, and we can't be absolutely certain that logic always works, we can't be absolutely certain that our logic works.

There are two issues.
1. Irrelavancy of absolute certainty.
2. Irrelavancy of rejection of our axioms.

1. Absolute certainty sure would be nice, but it's a luxury we don't have in this world about anything. And still, we do all right. We can make our decisions even without omniscience. To do that we have a little razor in our back pocket, which we use every waking second of every day. From the atheist to the pope, and even to Clete himself. It's a very useful razor indeed, cutting apart invisible leprecauns, olympus gods interfering, falling pianos and other distractions. It is a probalistic tool, and lacks the absolute certainty that Clete would love to have. But, again, IT WORKS!

2. Every sane person accepts my axioms, even Clete. A person who rejects the basic Axioms of reality and logic in a debate, is either a lunatic or a liar (as far as I'm concerned. He may of course be a prophet of Ra). If you want to end the debate right now, simply assert that reality isn't real, or that logic is wrong.That's different from saying they are not 100% certain. It's saying they are 0% certain.

Clete,

Now that I have explained my worldview, and that absolute certainty is not required, please answer this:

1. Why do you think absolute certainty is required?
2. Do you have absolute certainty regarding ANYTHING? If so please let us know what, and how you achieved this certainty, And a follow up question: do you have absolute certainty regarding EVERYTHING? If not, then how do you make descisions in the face of uncertainty?

SUTG
December 3rd, 2005, 11:15 AM
Actually it is not logic that I presuppose, that would be illogical and therefore incoherent. It is the existence of an intelligent, personal, relational, logical, holy, righteous, triune God that I presuppose. The existence and validity of logic is thereby explained and upheld in a completely coherent manner.

You are presupposing logic, you are just including a bunch of other fanciful and unneccessary presuppositions.

Remember several posts ago when I mentioned this as one way out of the 'dilemna' you spoke of? Sure, you can posit the Christian Triune God as the 'grounding' or 'justification' of logic and morals, but this is just arbitrary assertion. There are an infinite number of other presuppositions that work just as well. Ergo, presuppositionalism is trivial.

Balder
December 3rd, 2005, 11:57 AM
I agree, SUTG. I had a long debate with one presuppositionalist here (Hilston) who maintains that there is only one coherent presupposition, and all others explode on their face when poked into. But I don't think that's the case, and that's not what happened when we debated.

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 01:49 PM
You are presupposing logic, you are just including a bunch of other fanciful and unneccessary presuppositions.
NO SIR! I am not! Logic is an attribute of God and would not, could not, does not exist apart from Him. He is its source and its foundation. It is God that I presuppose not logic. Logic does not work apart from the existence of God, as I have demonstrated in this thread and thus God must exist because of the rational impossibility of the contrary.
You are the one who presupposes logic not me and in so doing you construct for yourself an incoherent and unexplainable worldview which leads to the sort of conclusions that mighty duck has displayed where nothing can be known at all including the fact that nothing can be known. It's completely incoherent nonsense.


Remember several posts ago when I mentioned this as one way out of the 'dilemma' you spoke of? Sure, you can posit the Christian Triune God as the 'grounding' or 'justification' of logic and morals, but this is just arbitrary assertion. There are an infinite number of other presuppositions that work just as well. Ergo, Presuppositionalism is trivial.
No other justification is adequate. We are here talking about logic and reason, we could just as easily discuss personality or morality or any number of the several invisible attributes of God that cannot be explained in an non-theistic worldview and the further down the road you go, the closer you get to a God which resembles the Christian God. As I said a moment ago, it is rationally inescapable; the God of the Christian Bible is the One and only living and true God because of the rational impossibility of the contrary.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 01:54 PM
I agree, SUTG. I had a long debate with one presuppositionalist here (Hilston) who maintains that there is only one coherent presupposition, and all others explode on their face when poked into. But I don't think that's the case, and that's not what happened when we debated.
The only reason that's true is because you bogged the whole debate down in unitelligable jargon that no one but you could understand. It wasn't even a debate, you and Jim spent the whole time trying to establish a common vernacular which never happened. In short your worldview is incoherent even before you poke into it. No one but you and perhaps some obscure guru somewhere who has the secret decoder ring can even understand it!

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 02:11 PM
Both of these argument amount to the same thing. Since Logic is our axiom, and we can't be absolutely certain that logic always works, we can't be absolutely certain that our logic works.

There are two issues.
1. Irrelevancy of absolute certainty.
2. Irrelevancy of rejection of our axioms.

1. Absolute certainty sure would be nice, but it's a luxury we don't have in this world about anything. And still, we do all right. We can make our decisions even without omniscience. To do that we have a little razor in our back pocket, which we use every waking second of every day. From the atheist to the pope, and even to Clete himself. It's a very useful razor indeed, cutting apart invisible leprechauns, Olympus gods interfering, falling pianos and other distractions. It is a probalistic tool, and lacks the absolute certainty that Clete would love to have. But, again, IT WORKS!
The statements "Absolute certainty…is a luxury we don't have in this world about anything.", and "IT WORKS", as well as most of everything in-between, are all absolute statements MD! You cannot know that absolute certainty is an unavailable luxury nor that logic works, by your own admission!

IT'S INCOHERENT, SELF CONTRADICTORY NONSENSE!


2. Every sane person accepts my axioms, even Clete. A person who rejects the basic Axioms of reality and logic in a debate, is either a lunatic or a liar (as far as I'm concerned. He may of course be a prophet of Ra). If you want to end the debate right now, simply assert that reality isn't real, or that logic is wrong. That's different from saying they are not 100% certain. It's saying they are 0% certain.
You are zero % certain! You don't even know for sure whether you exist in reality MD! How can you be at all certain of anything else?


Now that I have explained my worldview, and that absolute certainty is not required, please answer this:

1. Why do you think absolute certainty is required?
2. Do you have absolute certainty regarding ANYTHING? If so please let us know what, and how you achieved this certainty, And a follow up question: do you have absolute certainty regarding EVERYTHING? If not, then how do you make decisions in the face of uncertainty?
You must first demonstrate to me that you can know for sure that I even exist and that whatever answers I have for such questions (or the questions themselves for that mater) are not figments of the Jolly Green Giant's imagination. Until you can do that without defeating your own position (which of course you cannot do), you have no foundation upon which to justify your attempt to use logic to evaluate my worldview because you don't even know for sure that logic exists.
You have lost this debate mighty duck, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. You've thrown out the only tool you have by which to even know that this debate is really going on or that logic itself even exists. I don't know how you think you have any grounds upon which to proceed further.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Balder
December 3rd, 2005, 02:46 PM
It wasn't even a debate, you and Jim spent the whole time trying to establish a common vernacular which never happened. In short your worldview is incoherent even before you poke into it. No one but you and perhaps some obscure guru somewhere who has the secret decoder ring can even understand it!
The early part of the debate did get bogged down in terminology, but that does not characterize the whole discussion. In arguing that my worldview is incoherent because it was hard to establish a common vernacular, however, you are not making a logical point but rather indulging in a tactic common to presuppositionalist argumentation (that I've seen so far): declaring something incoherent as a kind of name calling, rather than actually demonstrating the incoherence of an alternative view by revealing its inconsistencies and inadequacies. The fact that there may exist ways of looking at the world that are sufficiently different from your own, that it takes concerted effort to grasp them, is evidence primarily of the limitations of presuppositions, not the strength of your particular presuppositional model. Because holding tightly to presuppositions can lead to blindness and an inability to grasp alternative perspectives, which may indeed be as robust and coherent as the particular set you hold.

It would be another thread, but I am still open to responding to the challenge: tell me anything about the nature of the world that you think a non-Christian worldview is incapable of explaining with at least as much coherence as your own, and I will be happy to respond (from the perspective of my worldview, but with an openness also to being proved wrong).

Peace,
Balder

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 02:50 PM
The early part of the debate did get bogged down in terminology, but that does not characterize the whole discussion. In arguing that my worldview is incoherent because it was hard to establish a common vernacular, however, you are not making a logical point but rather indulging in a tactic common to presuppositionalist argumentation (that I've seen so far): declaring something incoherent as a kind of name calling, rather than actually demonstrating the incoherence of an alternative view by revealing its inconsistencies and inadequacies. The fact that there may exist ways of looking at the world that are sufficiently different from your own, that it takes concerted effort to grasp them, is evidence primarily of the limitations of presuppositions, not the strength of your particular presuppositional model. Because holding tightly to presuppositions can lead to blindness and an inability to grasp alternative perspectives, which may indeed be as robust and coherent as the particular set you hold.

It would be another thread, but I am still open to responding to the challenge: tell me anything about the nature of the world that you think a non-Christian worldview is incapable of explaining with at least as much coherence as your own, and I will be happy to respond (from the perspective of my worldview, but with an openness also to being proved wrong).

Peace,
Balder
No one would be more qualified to do such a thing that I know of than Jim Hilston. I dare you to post a link to that debate.

Balder
December 3rd, 2005, 03:55 PM
No one would be more qualified to do such a thing that I know of than Jim Hilston. I dare you to post a link to that debate.
Here it is (http://www.christianwebsite.com/talk/showthread.php?t=15524&highlight=Balder).



P.S. I just read over most of that debate. I might say some things differently, but overall I stand behind it and think that your use of the word "dare" is uncalled for. Nothing to be ashamed of there. I think I made Hilston work to defend his views as much as anyone on TOL has, and perhaps moreso than many.

SUTG
December 3rd, 2005, 04:16 PM
Clete,

It appears you have been reading Bahnsen and Van Till, or at least absorbing their Methods of Asserting Absolute Knowledge.

You may have fooled yourself into thinking that you have absolute knowledge, but you did so at a great price. Mighty Duck, Balder, or I could do the same thing. Once you assert your arbitrary "Ultimate Justifier" you have absolute knowledge. Of course, this is not how worldviews really work. Having a single presupposition is incoherent.

As far as logic, I am not too sure which type of logic you refer to. It seems to vary in the past several posts, and I may have added to the confusion. Didn't Boole, Frege, and those guys invent logic? If, by logic you mean (A^B)->B and those sort of propositions.

Try this worldview on for size: SUTG is omniscient. You may think I am joking, but this worldview, if examined, offers just as much as the (non biblical) transcendental arguments of Bahnsen and friends. You can really just assert anything whatsoever as the Ultimate Justifier and do just as well as the Christian Presuppositionalist. So much for all the magic.

mighty_duck
December 3rd, 2005, 05:02 PM
You are zero % certain! You don't even know for sure whether you exist in reality MD! How can you be at all certain of anything else?


I think you have demonstrated just how weak a grasp you have on knowldge theory right there.
You may have noticed that many things in the world are not black or white. So too is knowledge. The options aren't 100% certain or 0% certain. I can state that I am 99.999999% certain that I am sitting in front of a computer right now. I can state with a lower level of certainty that the CPU is a pentium 4. I still claim to know both things.
According to your standards, for something to be known, you require it to be "beyond a shadow of a doubt".
I require knowledge to be "beyond a reasonable doubt", but that certainly does not entail that I accept anything and everything as knowledge.

You may ridicule my worldview, but that still doesn't make you a winner of any debate. In this poker game, you have claimed that you have a royal flush - absolute knowledge.I have called your bluff and shown you my cards - relative knowldge that rests on axioms, with a level of certainty that is not 100%. For you to win, you now have to show your cards. Demonstrate that you have absolute knowledge, and you have won. The burden of proof is now squarely on you.
Lucky for you, I won't be holding you to your own standards. I don't require that you prove this in absolute terms, but only to my lower terms of "beyond a reasonable doubt". That should make things a lot easier.

So again:
1. Why do you think absolute certainty is required?
2. Do you have absolute certainty regarding ANYTHING? If so please let us know what, and how you achieved this certainty, And a follow up question: do you have absolute certainty regarding EVERYTHING? If not, then how do you make descisions in the face of uncertainty?
3. I'll add another one to make it clearer for you. Do you know what CPU your computer has?

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 09:41 PM
Clete,

It appears you have been reading Bahnsen and Van Till, or at least absorbing their Methods of Asserting Absolute Knowledge.
To my knowledge I have never read more than a page or two of Van Til's published works and I know for certain that I have never read anything by Bahnsen although he was the first I had ever heard give the specific argument I have made in this thread. That being the case, however, I am NOT a Van Tillian presupositionalist. Van Til got much more wrong than he got right in his theology. Aside from the basics of the faith and portions of his apologetic I would almost certainly disagree with nearly everything the man said concerning what the Bible teaches. He was as hard core a Calvinist as you can get and in so being he blasphemed God almost every time he opened his mouth. I hold precisely zero affiliation with the man apart from Christ Himself and His grace which saved us both.


You may have fooled yourself into thinking that you have absolute knowledge, but you did so at a great price. Mighty Duck, Balder, or I could do the same thing. Once you assert your arbitrary "Ultimate Justifier" you have absolute knowledge. Of course, this is not how worldviews really work. Having a single presupposition is incoherent.
Who ever said that I hold only one presupposition? You assume too much and talk of things you know nothing about.


As far as logic, I am not too sure which type of logic you refer to. It seems to vary in the past several posts, and I may have added to the confusion. Didn't Boole, Frege, and those guys invent logic? If, by logic you mean (A^B)->B and those sort of propositions.
Any valid form of logic is impossible to account for outside a Biblical worldview. This point about various forms of logic is somewhat of a misguided argument anyway. All forms of rational discourse always follow the three laws of logic (mentioned earlier in the thread) in one form or another.


Try this worldview on for size: SUTG is omniscient. You may think I am joking, but this worldview, if examined, offers just as much as the (non biblical) transcendental arguments of Bahnsen and friends. You can really just assert anything whatsoever as the Ultimate Justifier and do just as well as the Christian Presuppositionalist. So much for all the magic.
:think:

What is my mothers maiden name?

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 3rd, 2005, 10:36 PM
Hey Clete,

When you get a chance, please answer my post here: http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=953604&postcount=89

avatar382
December 3rd, 2005, 10:41 PM
Any valid form of logic is impossible to account for outside a Biblical worldview.

You keep asserting this, but have not yet given any reason WHY anyone should accept it?

If the laws of logic are axiomatic, why do you insist on "accounting for them" anyway? Don't you realize that doing so misses the point of an axiom entirely?

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 10:58 PM
I think you have demonstrated just how weak a grasp you have on knowldge theory right there.
How do you know whether I even exist? Prove that this whole nightmarish disaster of a debate you are in isn't a figment of your depraved imagination? It's patently ridiculous for you to be talking to me about knowledge theory when by your own admission you can't even know if knowledge is a valid field of study.


You may have noticed that many things in the world are not black or white. So too is knowledge.
How can you not see that this statement is self-contradictory?! :hammer:
The statement that knowledge is not black and white is itself a black and white statement!


The options aren't 100% certain or 0% certain. I can state that I am 99.999999% certain that I am sitting in front of a computer right now. I can state with a lower level of certainty that the CPU is a pentium 4. I still claim to know both things.
It's that .000001% that makes you an idiot and calls into question absolutely every other thing that you think you might know regardless of how convinced you are that it is so.


According to your standards, for something to be known, you require it to be "beyond a shadow of a doubt".
I require knowledge to be "beyond a reasonable doubt", but that certainly does not entail that I accept anything and everything as knowledge.
Beyond a reasonable doubt? You're supposed to be an atheist but you present a worldview that is entirely based upon faith. You don't even know for sure that you exist and yet you want to pretend to base you life on reason. What a complete crack up! Your worldview is flawed at its very core. You rely on reason and then proclaim that nothing can be known. Well how do you know reason is real? Can you prove that reason isn't some silly aspect of a dream you're having because of a bad peace of cheese you ate for dinner? NO! You can't! By your own admission, there is at least a .000001% chance that this whole conversation never happened and the idea of two people having a intelligible conversation is a wispy dream that will end with your next fart.


You may ridicule my worldview, but that still doesn't make you a winner of any debate.
I am not ridiculing your worldview, you hardly have one. I am ridiculing you and power driving your so called worldview further into the proverbial ground every time you post more of your self-contradictory nonsense.


In this poker game, you have claimed that you have a royal flush - absolute knowledge. I have called your bluff and shown you my cards - relative knowldge that rests on axioms, with a level of certainty that is not 100%.
I've got 121 positive rep points for the first person who can point out for the duck man here how this statement is self-contradictory. (Not that 121 rep points is any big a deal at all, but its the best I can do ;) )


For you to win, you now have to show your cards. Demonstrate that you have absolute knowledge, and you have won.
I already have, you just missed it! :chuckle:

Perhaps someone else would like some positive rep! This one might be a little more difficult if you're not familiar with the argument but perhaps someone can point out for our favorite duck how I know for certain that God exist and that I can therefore know that I exist and that logic really does work, etc. I've stated it directly more than once on this thread.


The burden of proof is now squarely on you.
Lucky for you, I won't be holding you to your own standards.
Hey! Don't forget about that .000001% chance that you will hold me to my own standard!

:chuckle: This is fun!


I don't require that you prove this in absolute terms, but only to my lower terms of "beyond a reasonable doubt". That should make things a lot easier.
But you not sure, right? It should make things easier but maybe not. What do you think, maybe about a .000001% chance of it being more difficult based on the lower standard?


So again:
1. Why do you think absolute certainty is required?
I've been demonstrating why ever since you started posting the idiotic notion that no knowledge is absolute. If your too dense to get it, I'm not going to explain it to you.


2. Do you have absolute certainty regarding ANYTHING?
Yes.


If so please let us know what, and how you achieved this certainty,
I already did that. You obviously missed it, but I'll bet someone caught it.


And a follow up question: do you have absolute certainty regarding EVERYTHING?
No.


If not, then how do you make descisions in the face of uncertainty?
The same way that you're 99.999999% sure that you do.

By the way, are you 100% sure that you're 99.99999% sure that you exist, or are you only 99.99999% sure of that as well? If so, that would mean, since the uncertainty is compounded, that you would really only be 99.999998% sure that you exist. But if you are only 99.999998% sure that you exist then you cannot be any more than 99.999998% certain that you're 99.999998% certain. That would mean that your really only 99.999996% certain that you exist! But, if you only 99.999996% certain….
And so on until that 99.999999% you started with is eroded to zero.


3. I'll add another one to make it clearer for you. Do you know what CPU your computer has?
Yes, I do.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Clete
December 3rd, 2005, 11:07 PM
You keep asserting this, but have not yet given any reason WHY anyone should accept it?
Yes I have. Read the thread again.


If the laws of logic are axiomatic, why do you insist on "accounting for them" anyway? Don't you realize that doing so misses the point of an axiom entirely?
It doesn't miss the point, all you've done is replace the word logic with axiom. Axioms are a result of logic and therefore do nothing to justify logics existence. Logic justifies the existence of axioms not the other way around and in a worldview which rejects faith and insists that truth be objectively verified via logic and reason one is left with an impossible conumdrum. You are left with accepting logic by pure blind faith or acknowledging that nothing can be known. The first of which falsifies your worldview and the other renders it incoherent.

Resting in Him,
Clete

SUTG
December 4th, 2005, 12:24 AM
That being the case, however, I am NOT a Van Tillian presupositionalist. I hold precisely zero affiliation with the man apart from Christ Himself and His grace which saved us both.

Can you explain how your presuppositionalist argument (if you have one) differs from his?


Any valid form of logic is impossible to account for outside a Biblical worldview.

This is one of the things presuppositionalists always have difficulty explaining. What does "account for" mean in this case, and why should we even care about accounting for logic?




What is my mothers maiden name?


"Boyle", regardless of what you thought it was.

Balder
December 4th, 2005, 12:50 AM
Hilston also asked me how I can prove I really exist, or that I'm not dreaming. This was my response to him:

"You have asked a number of times what "guarantee" I have that I'm not dreaming, or that I'm not a brain in a vat on some kind of mushroom trip, or maybe just Buddha's bad pizza nightmare. I have offered coherent answers, and I will be happy to offer more when I'm feeling better (and when I'm less cranky), but I would like you to offer your "Christian" answer up for examination, to put it to the same test. How do you know, for sure, that you are not dreaming or that the world is as you believe it is? You find "confirmation" of your present perspective in the Bible, but if you are dreaming or deluded, then the Bible too is an artifact of that dream and offers you nothing. It would be just as "imaginary" as the rest of the world you inhabit, and would offer nothing but "confirmation" of the delusion you are lost in. How does your belief in the Bible guarantee anything at all? Even if I granted the Biblical worldview were coherent and completely logical on all counts (and I don't really), isn't it possible for a "dream explanation" to be coherent? The explanations we receive in dreams often make a lot of sense to us even if they are incoherent, operating as they do on a different "logic" than the waking world; but you won't see that illogic until you actually wake up, if you ever do. All you have is the "promise" of a phantom book or a phantom feeling in your phantom head, and what guarantee is that of anything?

Please, if you don't mind, indulge me with two things: an explanation for how Chrisitianity provides you with an absolute guarantee that you aren't deluded or dreaming; and an explanation of how the Biblical worldview offers "sufficient" grounds to trust the inductive principle, with a coherent argument (if possible) for why you believe this grounding is superior to all other worldviews out there."

Best wishes,

Balder

Redfin
December 4th, 2005, 12:51 AM
What is my mothers maiden name?

:darwinsm:

Redfin
December 4th, 2005, 12:52 AM
"Boyle", regardless of what you thought it was.

You're sharp too! :chuckle:

Redfin
December 4th, 2005, 01:07 AM
In this poker game, you have claimed that you have a royal flush - absolute knowledge. I have called your bluff and shown you my cards - relative knowldge that rests on axioms, with a level of certainty that is not 100%.



I've got 121 positive rep points for the first person who can point out for the duck man here how this statement is self-contradictory. (Not that 121 rep points is any big a deal at all, but its the best I can do ;) )

I'll give it a shot. :think:

The flaw in duck's argument is that it is whenever you attempt to use something within the system to validate or base the system on, you are begging the question and thus incoherent (vicious circle).

Axioms are subsystems or products of logic, and thus cannot validate or be the foundation for logic.

God is extra-systemic (transcedent), and is thus a capable validator of logic, as well as many other things.

Am I close? :juggle:

avatar382
December 4th, 2005, 01:44 AM
Yes I have. Read the thread again.

You have not.

You have not accounted for the possibility that the origin of nature, universe, logic, and all else is merely beyond human capacity to understand at this time, instead of necessarily supernatural.

It is my belief that religion and all appeals to the supernatural are but man's attempt to explain the unknown. It is clear that as science discovers the causes and mechanisms behind the nature that surrounds us, the need for supernatural explanations fall away.

Direct question: What makes you so sure that your own supernatural explaination, which you offer so readily, is not merely another example of man's arrogant attempts to explain away what he does not and probably cannot understand?


It doesn't miss the point, all you've done is replace the word logic with axiom. Axioms are a result of logic and therefore do nothing to justify logics existence. Logic justifies the existence of axioms not the other way around and in a worldview which rejects faith and insists that truth be objectively verified via logic and reason one is left with an impossible conumdrum. You are left with accepting logic by pure blind faith or acknowledging that nothing can be known. The first of which falsifies your worldview and the other renders it incoherent.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Definition: axiom - A self evident truth.

Direct question
Do you agree with this definition of the term "axiom?"

Think hard about what that means. Axioms are things so obvious that they require no proof, they require no validation. By looking for "justification" of axioms, you are needlessly complicating the simplest of concepts.

We (man) are in no position to attempt to "justify" logic. Any attempt to do so, or to disprove logic, must necessarily result in the use of logic itself.

If accepting logic without justification constitutes "blind faith" in your eyes, then so be it.

However - and read this carefully, this is vital - you are twisting the meaning of "faith" when you apply the term in this manner.

Direct question:
When you use your sense of sight, smell, touch to experience and interact with the world around you, how can you be sure that what your senses tell you reflects reality? Is it possible to verify that our senses are accurate?

Direct question:
Is it not true that any attempt to "verify" or "justify" what our 5 senses tell us about the world around us must necessarily use the very same senses?

Direct question:
Is it "blind faith" to trust our senses without first "verifying" them?

If so, then you must necessarily admit that everything you see and hear or otherwise experience must be taken on blind faith. If not, then I'd like you to explain to me why is its "blind faith" to accept the axioms of logic without justfication, but it's not "blind faith" to accept what your senses tell you without justification.

Faith is defined as belief in spite of a lack of evidence.

Direct question:
Do you agree with this definition of faith?

Direct question:
How can one hold belief in spite of a lack of evidence in axiom A, if axiom A, by definition, does not require evidence?

I appreciate in advance your direct answers to the questions I have posed.

SUTG
December 4th, 2005, 02:19 AM
Demonstrate that you have absolute knowledge, and you have won.


I already have, you just missed it!

There was nothing to miss. This is where every preuppositionalist always has, and always will, run of of steam. They only assert absolute knowledge, which is trivial to do. It is like ending an argument by saying "I am right."

Moe: Are you sure the check is in the mail?
Homer: Yes, I sent is on Tuesday.
Moe: Are you absolutely certain?
Homer: Absolutely certain? How is that different from just being certain?
Moe: I mean, are you 100% sure?
Homer: Hmmmm...how is being 100% sure different from just being sure?
Moe: I mean are you sure you aren't mistaken?
Homer: I'm pretty sure I'm not mistaken. I did mail the check myself, you know!
Moe: So, you're absolutely, 100%, completely certain that the check is in the mail? There is no possible way that the check couldn't be in the mail?
Homer: Well, I guess the check could have been taken by aliens, or I could have been dreaming when I thought I mailed it, or...
Moe: Aha! I caught you! You're not completely certain!
Homer: I guess you're right. But, wait a minute, are you 100% certain that your statements are true?
Moe: I'll swear on my life!
Homer: How can you be 100% certain that you even have a life. I mean, you could be a brain in a vat, or you could be an animated character on a sitcom, or...
Moe: No. I have absolute knowledge! I am absolutely certain I am not an animated character!


As this dialog indicates, all that is required for someone to claim they have absolute knowledge that proposition P is true is that they believe that proposition P is true and they think they are right. However, the converse is not true. Someone may believe that proposition P is true, think they are right, yet not claim to have absolute knowledge. Whether P is true or False does not matter to this distinction. However, the one making the claim of absolute knowledge thinks that they have more knowledge than the one who does not. They are tying to say they believe that proposition P is true, they think they are right, and proposition P is true! But they can't just make P true by their assertion.

In the dialog above, let P be "Moe is not an animated character". Moe claims to have absolute knowledge that P is true. But Moe's claims of absolute knowledge do little to affect the truth value of P.

OFF TOPIC: You will have noticed that we can consider the world we inhabit and the world that Homer and Moe inhabit as analogous to two different systems of logic. We could even say that within the world that they inhabit, Moe isn't an animated character. He is alive and well, watching an episode where Itchy tells Scratchy he is absolutely certain he isn't an animated character. (Think of these systems of logic as those easter egg shaped Russian dolls where they all nest within each other.)

mighty_duck
December 4th, 2005, 02:45 AM
Clete,
Because of your cynical use of my semantic concessions a few posts back, here and in other threads, I will revert to using the word "know" as I understand it (probabilistic), and will use "absolute knowledge" when referring to your use of the word. This may create some conflict with previous posts and this and future posts. I still won't be surprised to see your intellectually dishonest method saying "in the last post you said you didn't know you exist, and now you suddenly do??".


How do you know whether I even exist? Prove that ...

No matter how many times I explain it, you just don't get it. I know you exist because it is the most probable explanation for the fact that I am reading your posts. It is not absolute knowledge, but it is knowledge. You have yet to show that absolute knowledge is required for anything.

I have asked you several times to demonstrate why absolute knowledge is required. In your last post you say you already have, but ALL you have done is make the assertion that absolute knowledge is required. That is not a demonstration or an explanation, no matter how many times you assert it, or how many ad hominems you use . If you disagree, simply show us which post contained this amazing piece of information.

If anyone else would like to do this work for Clete, there is also a whopping 19 rep points in addition to Clete's rep. I'm no holding my breath though.



By the way, are you 100% sure that you're 99.99999% sure that you exist, or are you only 99.99999% sure of that as well? If so, that would mean, since the uncertainty is compounded, that you would really only be 99.999998% sure that you exist. But if you are only 99.999998% sure that you exist then you cannot be any more than 99.999998% certain that you're 99.999998% certain. That would mean that your really only 99.999996% certain that you exist! But, if you only 99.999996% certain….
And so on until that 99.999999% you started with is eroded to zero.


WOW! that is the first worthwhile objection you have made so far. For that alone this thread deserves to be in the hall of fame.

This is simply a case of priority. My cognitive process and logic are axioms, and therefore known. My existence is likewise a related axiom, and therefore known. End of story, I know I exist. I may not know I know I know I know I exist, but who cares? Before you go jumping all over this, lack of knowledge is different than knowledge of a negative.




How do you make decisions the face of uncertainty?


The same way that you're 99.999999% sure that you do



Hold the press! Clete just admitted that he makes decisions in the same way that I do, by using Occam's Razor! He therefore admits that absolute certainty is NOT a requirement. Thank you for annihilating your Argument from Ridicule.



Do you know what CPU your computer has?


Yes, I do.



Using Clete lingo, that means that you have 100% certain knowledge that your CPU is (for example) a Pentium. Now is it possible that the person who sold you the CPU actually replaced the processor with a different one to save costs, but put a sticker on it, and made the diagnostic information the same? Of course it's possible.
So either:
1. You concede that you don't have 100% certain knowledge of what your CPU you have, and are still able to claim you know what CPU you have.
2. You claim to know all popossibilitieshat could have changed CPU's on you are false. That would make you Omniscient, which is a pretty neat thing to have.

So which option is it?
[/QUOTE]

Clete
December 4th, 2005, 08:33 AM
Hey Clete,

When you get a chance, please answer my post here: http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=953604&postcount=89
I missed this! Sorry! I'll respond as soon as time allows! Sundays are a bit more busy so bear with me.

Redfin
December 4th, 2005, 12:16 PM
Faith is defined as belief in spite of a lack of evidence.

I would amend that to "a lack of proof."

What think you? :think:

Turbo
December 4th, 2005, 07:50 PM
In this poker game, you have claimed that you have a royal flush - absolute knowledge. I have called your bluff and shown you my cards - relative knowldge that rests on axioms, with a level of certainty that is not 100%.
How can mighty_duck be certain that Clete is bluffing? :think:

:idea: He can't, according to his own worldview.

kmoney
December 4th, 2005, 07:53 PM
...How can mighty_duck be certain that Clete is bluffing? :think:

:idea: He can't, according to his own worldview.
:think: If Clete is bluffing wouldn't that mean that he says there is absolute knowledge, but there actually isn't? Or at least Clete doesn't actually believe there is absolute knowledge, but he says there is?

avatar382
December 4th, 2005, 10:28 PM
I would amend that to "a lack of proof."

What think you? :think:

Works for me!

One Eyed Jack
December 5th, 2005, 07:34 AM
Using Clete lingo, that means that you have 100% certain knowledge that your CPU is (for example) a Pentium.

No, I have 100% certain knowledge that my CPU is an AMD Sempron (a Thoroughbred B core, to be exact).


Now is it possible that the person who sold you the CPU actually replaced the processor with a different one to save costs, but put a sticker on it, and made the diagnostic information the same?

Uh... no. And how do you propose they change the diagnostic information? A lot of that stuff is hard-coded and can't be changed.


Of course it's possible.

Not with me, it isn't.


So either:
1. You concede that you don't have 100% certain knowledge of what your CPU you have, and are still able to claim you know what CPU you have.
2. You claim to know all popossibilitieshat could have changed CPU's on you are false. That would make you Omniscient, which is a pretty neat thing to have.

So which option is it?

Neither. I know exactly (with 100% certainty) what kind of processor is in my computer, because I'm the one who built it. :)

avatar382
December 5th, 2005, 09:29 AM
***Slightly OT***
When I came to work this morning, I noticed that this thread had moved!

I see it's been hall of famed. It's cool that it's been HoFed, but wont that mean that less people will see it, since it's no longer in one of the big three (you know, politcs, religion, the rest)

Wouldn't it make more sense to HoF a thread after discussion has winded down, you know like ready for retirement?

GuySmiley
December 5th, 2005, 10:25 AM
***Slightly OT***
When I came to work this morning, I noticed that this thread had moved!

I see it's been hall of famed. It's cool that it's been HoFed, but wont that mean that less people will see it, since it's no longer in one of the big three (you know, politcs, religion, the rest)

Wouldn't it make more sense to HoF a thread after discussion has winded down, you know like ready for retirement?
I'm 99.99999% sure that the debate is over and Clete won and any further discussion will just be for fun. The winding down has begun.

avatar382
December 5th, 2005, 10:50 AM
I'm 99.99999% sure that the debate is over and Clete won and any further discussion will just be for fun. The winding down has begun.

Well, that's a load of :cow: . Clete still is yet to answer my last rebuttal about 10 posts up.

Unless your trying to make a funny with your reference to the 99.99999% bit :chuckle:

koban
December 5th, 2005, 11:08 AM
I'm 99.99999% sure that the debate is over and Clete won and any further discussion will just be for fun. The winding down has begun.



This from a guy with a flower pot on his head! :doh:

fool
December 5th, 2005, 11:30 AM
I think it's funny that theist like to drag the old "absolute" into every disscusion.
I find it even funnier that all one has to do to trump their absolutes is to make up some of your own.
They say Yaweh, you say Invisible Spigetti Monster, and your off and running!
What nobody (other than fool) sees is that to point at an entity and say "that guy there gives me absolutes" makes a relativist out of you. Your absolutes are relative to what your Spigetti Monster says.

mighty_duck
December 5th, 2005, 12:52 PM
No, I have 100% certain knowledge that my CPU is an AMD Sempron (a Thoroughbred B core, to be exact).

Uh... no. And how do you propose they change the diagnostic information? A lot of that stuff is hard-coded and can't be changed.

Neither. I know exactly (with 100% certainty) what kind of processor is in my computer, because I'm the one who built it. :)

You may have built the computer, but you had to buy the CPU. If you don't see that there are an infinite amount of possibilities that could have caused The CPU you bought to be different than the one you wanted, then you need to jump start your imagination.

Sure they are very very improbable, but impossible?
1. AMD engineering made a slight modification and created the Sempron Thoroughbred B.aaa core. The marketing guys said it would be confusing, so they said keep the diagnostic information the same.
2. Aliens form the planet Xaroolk 5 wanted to test the butterfly (chaos) effect on life on earth, but instead of manipulating a butterfly wings, they decided to change CPUs on you. The differences are almost impossible to detect by external means. But you scored big with some alien tachnology. Congrats!
3. God sees you are such an avid poster on this site, spreading his word and all, and decides to reward you with a CPU upgrade. He made it nearly undetectable, except that the next time you play mrs. pacman, you may notice she is running half a percent faster than on other computers. He truely works in mysterious ways.
The list really does go on as far as the imagination takes it. How could you be 100% certain all these possibilities are false without Omniscience?

Skeptic
December 5th, 2005, 03:40 PM
Beware of baloney!

CARL SAGAN'S BALONEY DETECTION KIT
http://www1.tpgi.com.au/users/tps-seti/baloney.html


The following are suggested as tools for testing arguments and detecting fallacious or fraudulent arguments:


Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts.
Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no "authorities").
Spin more than one hypothesis - don't simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours.
Quantify, wherever possible.
If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work.
"Occam's razor" - if there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally well choose the simpler.
Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, it is testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result?

Common fallacies of logic and rhetoric
Ad hominem - attacking the arguer and not the argument.
Argument from "authority".
Argument from adverse consequences (putting pressure on the decision maker by pointing out dire consequences of an "unfavourable" decision).
Appeal to ignorance (absence of evidence is not evidence of absence).
Special pleading (typically referring to god's will).
Begging the question (assuming an answer in the way the question is phrased).
Observational selection (counting the hits and forgetting the misses).
Statistics of small numbers (such as drawing conclusions from inadequate sample sizes).
Misunderstanding the nature of statistics (President Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence!)
Inconsistency (e.g. military expenditures based on worst case scenarios but scientific projections on environmental dangers thriftily ignored because they are not "proved").
Non sequitur - "it does not follow" - the logic falls down.
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc - "it happened after so it was caused by" - confusion of cause and effect.
Meaningless question ("what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?).
Excluded middle - considering only the two extremes in a range of possibilities (making the "other side" look worse than it really is).
Short-term v. long-term - a subset of excluded middle ("why pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?").
Slippery slope - a subset of excluded middle - unwarranted extrapolation of the effects (give an inch and they will take a mile).
Confusion of correlation and causation.
Straw man - caricaturing (or stereotyping) a position to make it easier to attack..
Suppressed evidence or half-truths.
Weasel words - for example, use of euphemisms for war such as "police action" to get around limitations on Presidential powers. "An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public"

Clete
December 5th, 2005, 07:10 PM
Well, that's a load of :cow: . Clete still is yet to answer my last rebuttal about 10 posts up.

Unless your trying to make a funny with your reference to the 99.99999% bit :chuckle:
While you are correct, I have not responded as yet to your questions, the only point in doing so would be for the academic excercise. The debate has been over days ago. Since then we've done little else but repeat ourselves.

Nevertheless, I will respond, but not tonight. I've run smooth out of time for this evening but Tuesdays are my official TOL night so I should be able to get too it then. I'm realy sorry about the delay, but it has been unavoidable.

Resting in Him,
Clete

avatar382
December 5th, 2005, 07:37 PM
While you are correct, I have not responded as yet to your questions, the only point in doing so would be for the academic excercise. The debate has been over days ago. Since then we've done little else but repeat ourselves.

Nevertheless, I will respond, but not tonight. I've run smooth out of time for this evening but Tuesdays are my official TOL night so I should be able to get too it then. I'm realy sorry about the delay, but it has been unavoidable.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Respond whenever you have the chance.

However, do not think for a moment that this "debate has been over". To suggest so is insulting.

I eagerly await your response, because you have done presicesly squat to answer my main point. You don't win debates by saying so.

You'll note in my post here http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=954813&postcount=113 I ask several direct questions, in Battle Royale style. I thank you in advance for your direct answers to all of them.

mighty_duck
December 5th, 2005, 08:32 PM
So a quick summary.

Theist: asserts that he has absolute knowledge. Asks Atheist if he does.
Atheist: No, I don't. But I'd sure like to have you show me how you got your absolute knowledge.
Theist: I already did.
Atheist. No you didn't! you just asserted it!
Theist: I have already won, so I'm just humoring you with my answers from now on.
Atheist: You didn't win anything. Just show me your absolute knowledge already!
Theist: Without absolute knowledge, you wouldn't be able to understand that I have absolute knowledge. Therefore, I win.

Only in the land of Clete...

Clete
December 5th, 2005, 08:39 PM
So a quick summary.

Theist: asserts that he has absolute knowledge. Asks Atheist if he does.
Atheist: No, I don't. But I'd sure like to have you show me how you got your absolute knowledge.
Theist: I already did.
Atheist. No you didn't! you just asserted it!
Theist: I have already won, so I'm just humoring you with my answers from now on.
Atheist: You didn't win anything. Just show me your absolute knowledge already!
Theist: Without absolute knowledge, you wouldn't be able to understand that I have absolute knowledge. Therefore, I win.

Only in the land of Clete...
Don't worry. I plan on summarizing the debate myself where I will point out both where I demonstrated why and how I have absolute knowledge and where you lost the debate.

Resting in Him,
Clete

Balder
December 5th, 2005, 09:25 PM
It seems to me that the presuppositionalist apologetic is a disgruntled reaction rather than an honest position: someone noticed that debates between Christians and atheists often "presupposed" the criteria for determining "valid knowledge" that are common to the modern scientific worldview, and then said, "Hey, why do that? I can presuppose my own criteria, start from there, and demand that others accept those presuppositions or admit that they've 'lost already.'" After all, Christianity cannot pass the truth tests of "science" since it is not science. The reaction has been to turn the tables, essentially re-asserting the much maligned bumper sticker sentiment, "The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it" -- hopefully in a more sophisticated way.

A problem here is a failure to differentiate non-reducible types of validity claims, either through ignoring or discrediting alternative modes, or "subjugating" one mode to another. Atheistic materialism has tended to emphasize empirical observation, concerning itself primarily with objective truth (correspondence, representation, propositional) and functional fit (systems theory, structural-functionalism, etc), and largely ignoring or devaluing subjective experience. Religious traditions have largely emphasized more interior (subjective) value claims and methods of validation, particularly truthfulness (sincerity, integrity, trustworthiness) and justness (cultural fit, mutual understanding,
rightness or righteousness).

These four different approaches are not really reducible to the terms of whatever method one happens to prefer, though society has been fragmented by the efforts of one camp or another trying to discredit other approaches, or to subjugate them to the "ultimate criteria" of its preferred method. I think this is what is going on here in this "reaction" of presuppositionalism (a form of narrow absolutism) to the equally narrow absolutism of the atheist materialists with which many Christians have been wrestling.

truthteller86
December 5th, 2005, 10:07 PM
... "The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it" I believe it's:
God said it, I believe it, that settles it ! I disagree.

I prefer: God said it, that settles it, if I choose to believe it, it will be beneficial for me. However that may be a little long to fit on a bumper sticker. :p

Balder
December 5th, 2005, 10:24 PM
I believe it's:
God said it, I believe it, that settles it ! I disagree.

I prefer: God said it, that settles it, if I choose to believe it, it will be beneficial for me. However that may be a little long to fit on a bumper sticker. :p
But isn't it true that you believe "God said it" because the Bible says God said it? So ultimately the Bible is at the head of that chain of authority.

truthteller86
December 5th, 2005, 11:01 PM
But isn't it true that you believe "God said it" because the Bible says God said it? So ultimately the Bible is at the head of that chain of authority.He didn't have to say it verbally, since He wrote it on our hearts. However, I am grateful, as a communicative entity that He chose to have other comunicative entities write it down. The head of that chain of authority is the authority.

Live long and prosper Balder, because as long as there is breath, there is hope. Now, I've got more redneck (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?p=956756#post956756) matters to attend.

One Eyed Jack
December 6th, 2005, 06:59 AM
You may have built the computer, but you had to buy the CPU.

Not necessarily. I've built several computers without spending a penny because I built them out of spare parts. But yeah, I bought this processor. So what?


If you don't see that there are an infinite amount of possibilities that could have caused The CPU you bought to be different than the one you wanted, then you need to jump start your imagination.

I'll leave the imagination to you. As for me, if I had gotten the wrong CPU, I would have sent it back.


Sure they are very very improbable, but impossible?
1. AMD engineering made a slight modification and created the Sempron Thoroughbred B.aaa core.

They'd just give it a different stepping -- which would show up in the diagnostic information.


The marketing guys said it would be confusing, so they said keep the diagnostic information the same.

First of all, the marketing guys at AMD don't really care about confusing people like you. Secondly, I'm not one of the people who would be confused. And third, if you change the chip internally, the diagnostic information will change too.


2. Aliens form the planet Xaroolk 5 wanted to test the butterfly (chaos) effect on life on earth, but instead of manipulating a butterfly wings, they decided to change CPUs on you. The differences are almost impossible to detect by external means. But you scored big with some alien tachnology. Congrats!

That's just stupid.


3. God sees you are such an avid poster on this site, spreading his word and all, and decides to reward you with a CPU upgrade.

I don't need a CPU upgrade -- if I want my computer to run faster, I'll just overclock it. Besides, my next computer is going to use a dual-core processor. Upgrading this one any further will be a waste of time.


The list really does go on as far as the imagination takes it. How could you be 100% certain all these possibilities are false without Omniscience?

I don't need omniscience to know what kind of CPU I have in my computer. All I need to do is look.

SUTG
December 6th, 2005, 12:01 PM
OEJ,

It sounds as if you would have been one of the folks who were 'absolutely certain' that the Earth was flat. If all one has to do to be absolutely certain is declare themselves so, why can I just say I'm absolutely certain my atheistic worldview accounts for logic, morals, etc.?

Skeptic
December 6th, 2005, 01:32 PM
"The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn't know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darned sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize the ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain."

Richard P. Feynman - from a public address given at the 1955 autumn meeting of the National Academy of Sciences.
http://www.inf.ufrgs.br/~drebes/value.html

Feynman is a Nobel Prize winning physicist considered by many to be the father of quantum electrodynamics.

mighty_duck
December 6th, 2005, 01:56 PM
First of all, the marketing guys at AMD don't really care about confusing people like you. Secondly, I'm not one of the people who would be confused. And third, if you change the chip internally, the diagnostic information will change too.


Marketing guys are crazy, don't try to rationlize their behavior. I once worked for a software company, and a month after we released a 4.3 version, we had to release a nearly identical product, which was version 6.0. The marketing reasoning was that the competition would also be releasing a version 6.0, so we had to..



That's just stupid.
It may be stupid, but is it impossible? Is it any more far fetched than Clete's suggestion that we are all just a program running on commander Data's desk? If it is not impossible, how can you be 100% certain that it isn't true.




I don't need a CPU upgrade -- if I want my computer to run faster, I'll just overclock it. Besides, my next computer is going to use a dual-core processor. Upgrading this one any further will be a waste of time.


Now you claim to know all of God's motives as well? You truely are Omniscient.

Absolute certainty is more than just a strong conviction. For that, we have the common english word "know", which would be completely useless if we held it up to the standard of absolute certainty. No one would know anything.

One Eyed Jack
December 7th, 2005, 07:18 AM
It may be stupid, but is it impossible?

It's not even worth considering.


Now you claim to know all of God's motives as well?

I never claimed that.


Absolute certainty is more than just a strong conviction. For that, we have the common english word "know", which would be completely useless if we held it up to the standard of absolute certainty. No one would know anything.

I know what kind of CPU I have, and I'm absolutely certain of it.

Clete
December 7th, 2005, 07:50 PM
Well I've been away from the thread for the most part these last couple of days and it seems that very little has changed since l left. When I started this thread I intended it to be something that would compliment the upcoming Battle Royale; to be almost a warm up if you will. If the Battle Royale is the main event this was to be the undercard fight to get the crowd ready to see the real deal. It has served as that and more! I couldn't be more pleased with the way it worked out.

Over the weekend and as of yesterday morning I had intended to come in this evening and make a complete response to everything that had been said during my absence but Jim Hilston's openning post in the Battle Royale as well as his hand full of responses in the peanut gallery have caused me to change my mind. This thread will do nothing but serve as a distraction to the Battle Royale and so I don't feel right about allowing it to continue. I will offer direct answers to those direct questions that have been asked which I promised to answer and perhaps one or two other things but that will be it. Everything else would only amount to repeating myself any way and any additional questions will undoubtedly be answered in the Battle Royale and if not there then in the BR IX discussion thread.

So as promised here are my direct answers to avatar382's questions.


You have not accounted for the possibility that the origin of nature, universe, logic, and all else is merely beyond human capacity to understand at this time, instead of necessarily supernatural.
Yes I have. I have demonstrated that God must exist because of the rational impossibility of the contrary.


It is my belief that religion and all appeals to the supernatural are but man's attempt to explain the unknown. It is clear that as science discovers the causes and mechanisms behind the nature that surrounds us, the need for supernatural explanations fall away.

Direct question: What makes you so sure that your own supernatural explaination, which you offer so readily, is not merely another example of man's arrogant attempts to explain away what he does not and probably cannot understand?
Because of the rational impossibility of the contrary. It simply is not possible that there is any other explanation inside of rational worldview. It's not that it simply hasn't been done but it is that it cannot be done.


Definition: axiom - A self evident truth.

Direct question
Do you agree with this definition of the term "axiom?"
Only within the context of logic! Look at the definition again. "A SELF EVIDENT TRUTH" Do you not see that this definition uses logic?
"Self" assumes the law of identity, the first of the three laws of logic.
"Evident" a form of the word 'evidence' implies deduction.
"Truth" implies that the self contained argument is both valid and sound.
Thus axioms are products of logic and exist because of it not the other way around and so this axiom argument does your position no good.


Think hard about what that means. Axioms are things so obvious that they require no proof, they require no validation. By looking for "justification" of axioms, you are needlessly complicating the simplest of concepts.
You are the one who needs to think more carefully. Why, for example, are these things "obvious"? You won't be able to answer that question without logic which is additional proof that axioms are products of logic not logic itself.


We (man) are in no position to attempt to "justify" logic. Any attempt to do so, or to disprove logic, must necessarily result in the use of logic itself.
Which would be irrational because it is question begging. The very spot you are stuck in without beginning your thinking processes with the existence of God.


If accepting logic without justification constitutes "blind faith" in your eyes, then so be it.
What do you mean "in my eyes"? Who gives a crap about what something is "in my eyes"? My opinion doesn't determine what is true or not. Whether it amounts to blind faith is a matter of fact, not opinion. And by your own definition of faith, you do in fact accept logic by faith because you use it and accept its conclusions without any means whatsoever of accounting for its existence or its varasity.


However - and read this carefully, this is vital - you are twisting the meaning of "faith" when you apply the term in this manner.
I read everything carefully and no I am not twisting the meaning of faith. See Hilston's openning post for a good working definition of faith in this context.


Direct question:
When you use your sense of sight, smell, touch to experience and interact with the world around you, how can you be sure that what your senses tell you reflects reality? Is it possible to verify that our senses are accurate?

Direct question:
Is it not true that any attempt to "verify" or "justify" what our 5 senses tell us about the world around us must necessarily use the very same senses?
This is my question to you! I don't think you are understanding my argument. I account for my senses and confirm their varasity by way both decutive and inductive reasoning depending on the specific question being asked, just as do you. But the point is that I can account for the existence of deduction and all other forms of rational thought because God exists. You, on the other hand make no attempt to account for the existence of logic, you simply accept its existence without explanation in violation of your own worldview and thereby borrow (unwittingly) from the Christian worldview which you are in opposition too. In short your worldview is incoherent and therefore false.


Direct question:
Is it "blind faith" to trust our senses without first "verifying" them?
YES! Not that you have to answer that specific question but if you discover that no such verification is possible and you just keep on going with your life as though no such verification is necessary then you've just crossed over into "blind faith".


If so, then you must necessarily admit that everything you see and hear or otherwise experience must be taken on blind faith. If not, then I'd like you to explain to me why is its "blind faith" to accept the axioms of logic without justfication, but it's not "blind faith" to accept what your senses tell you without justification.
Both your senses and logic are accounted for in the same way. They exist and work because we are created by a God which is both logical and able to sense and interact with His environment.


Faith is defined as belief in spite of a lack of evidence.

Direct question:
Do you agree with this definition of faith?
For the purposes of discussing your stated worldview, yes.


Direct question:
How can one hold belief in spite of a lack of evidence in axiom A, if axiom A, by definition, does not require evidence?
It does require evidence. Axioms simply provide their own evidence. Axioms are not "super-logical" (beyond logic).


I appreciate in advance your direct answers to the questions I have posed.
You're quite welcome and I appreciate your patience with my delayed response.

Now, there is one addition peice of business that I think needs to be addressed before we bring this to a close. That being the issue of whether or not I did or did not win this debate. First a quick quote from Jim's openning post in the Battle Royale...


Winning the debate
It should be duly noted that an argument does not need to be agreed to or accepted by everyone, or even the majority, for it to be nonetheless conclusive. There is a difference between personal persuasion, which is subjective, and conclusive proof, which is objective. For example, despite whatever reasoning or facts are presented to him, a man can be unpersuaded that the engine of his car is on the verge of complete failure. He may even refuse to add oil to its crankcase. But the conclusive and objective nature of the case is that the motor will indeed seize up in a matter of time.

It is in this context in which I have declared victory and in which I have, in fact won this debate, in spite of any of your protestations to the contrary. I did so when the following exchanges occured...


Would you agree, along with every scientist that I've ever known of, including Carl Sagan, that all truth claims must be verified via logic and reason?


To answer directly, yes.

I then estabish that there is no rational means to account for logic in an non-theistic worldview with the following..


The statement that, "all truth claims must be rational", is itself a truth claim.
How would you propose to verify the truth of that claim?

If you answer that this truth claim is also to be verified via logical reasoning then you commit the logical error known as begging the question. You cannot verify logic with logic because by attempting to do so you have to presume that logic is valid which is the very question you are attempting answer. I'm sure I don't have to tell you, that question begging is irrational.

You are then left with the option of saying that this truth claim need not be verified by logic. But if you do that, then you violate the truth claim itself and thererby falsify it.

Then later, you conceded the debate with the following statement which is my argument in a nutshell...

Going back to the dilemma you posed, I offer that the laws of logic are our axioms for building rational thought. If we do not take them to be self-evident, without proof, then we have "nowhere to start", so to speak.

might duck then followed suit and lost the debate by directly conceding my argument in the following statements...


Science only deals with relative knowledge, and makes no claim to absolute knowledge. Everything science has ever said about the world, is only as true as it's basic axioms (which aren't known to be true)

and later in the same post...

You are right. I don't know that reality is real.
He has from that point on done nothing but continuously argue my side of the debate and I have had endless fun proding him on to do it all the more. :chuckle:

And I further declared victory by stating concisely...

Logic is an attribute of God and would not, could not, does not exist apart from Him. He is its source and its foundation. It is God that I presuppose not logic. Logic does not work apart from the existence of God, as I have demonstrated in this thread and thus God must exist because of the rational impossibility of the contrary.

No other justification is adequate. We are here talking about logic and reason, we could just as easily discuss personality or morality or any number of the several invisible attributes of God that cannot be explained in an non-theistic worldview and the further down the road you go, the closer you get to a God which resembles the Christian God. As I said a moment ago, it is rationally inescapable; the God of the Christian Bible is the One and only living and true God because of the rational impossibility of the contrary.

I want to thank all of you for a the spirited debate and I want you to know that I have thought quite about about whether or not to close this thread. I started not too because of the obvious objections and related accusations of running away and being a coward yada, yada, yada. But the fact of the matter is that I did in fact start this thread with the full intent of ending it when the Battle Royale started, although I must admit that I did not anticipate this level of interest and participation. And in addition the subject matter is just too similar to that which it seems evident that Jim is going to present in the Battle Royale that I just cannot see how this thread wouldn't serve to distract and detract from that debate. So I have, therefore decided to close this thread. If there is anyting that you really want to discuss, including some of the side discussions about computer chips and whatnot, then please feel free to start your own thread but I think you'll find that the Battle Royale itself as the parallel discussion thread will answer all of the unanswered questions which remain here and much more.

God bless you all (according to your actions)

Resting in Him,
Clete