Can Science explain everything?

From David Wheeler at the Chronicle of Higher Education blog:

There’s a new bully on the intellectual block, shoving scholars around. Lots of them are caving into the threats. The bully’s name is “scientism,” the belief that science has a monopoly on all real knowledge. All other knowledge, scientism asserts, is simply opinion, irrationality, or utter nonsense.

That was the perspective Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered at an event titled “Can Science Explain Everything?” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science this week. . . .

Hutchinson, theauthor of Monopolizing Knowledge: A Scientist Refutes Religion-Denying, Reason-Destroying Scientism, said that science is in the middle of confrontation with religious faith and with many other forms of belief. He is proud of science’s achievements thus far. But he thinks that, in part because of its overwhelming success, members of other disciplines, seeking the authority that science has, try to make themselves out to be scientists. An alternative course, he suggests, would be for scholars such as sociologists and political scientists to firmly declare that they have ways of building knowledge that are simply different from science, not “unscientific.”

Science has two key elements, reproducibility and clarity, Hutchinson said. Reproducibility means essentially that an experiment done in one place by one person can be repeated somewhere else by someone else. Clarity refers to the unambiguous nature of science’s measurements, descriptions, and classifications. History is an example of a discipline that has produced real knowledge that is not scientific knowledge, he said. History at its best is based on facts, but historians cannot reproduce Henry VIII’s exploits to find out if accounts of them are true.

Mr. Hutchinson listed other phenomena that may be “true” but that he believes are outside of science’s scope: the beauty of a sunset, the justice of a verdict, or the terror of a war. Many humans may share similar perceptions of these phenomenon but the basis of those perceptions will lack clarity. “Ambiguity is an intrinsic part of these things,” he said.

Where, exactly, does God fit into this picture? Mr. Hutchinson says that while the universe has physical laws, God may be behind them. Science would be helpless to detect an act of God that violates the laws of physics since it would not be reproducible. Scientists should have no problem being religious, he said.
Enter Lisa Randall, a woman with an astonishing range of achievements from a libretto for an opera to experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, in Geneva. She studies cosmology and theoretical particle physics and is the author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World.”

While polite in tone, Ms. Randall said the term “scientism” was embarrassing and an act of name calling, at a time when the discussion about tackling the world’s problems needs to be elevated. “It shouldn’t be embarrassing or quaint to be earnest about facts or logic,” she said. And, she added “Why do politicians feel comfortable talking about God and religion and not about science and mathematics?”

Art is important she said, but it ultimately operates through the filter of human perceptions and emotions. Religion, she said, is also a human phenomenon that serves social needs. “If you say it makes me happy or helps me live my life, I’m not going to stop you,” she said.

But, she said, religion is different to different people. Scientists, while they have their petty fights, are ultimately able to create knowledge they can agree on.

In audience questions after the two talks, one person cut to the chase and demanded “yes” or “no” answers to the evening’s challenge: “Can science explain everything?”

“No,” said Mr. Hutchinson.

“We don’t know,” said Ms. Randall.

via Can Science Explain Everything? – Percolator – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

HT:  Jackie

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Michael B.

    “He is proud of science’s achievements thus far. But he thinks that, in part because of its overwhelming success”

    And this is primarily why I put practically all of my faith and support in science. When my daughter’s diabetes complications threatened her life, I never prayed, but took the matter to doctors. The only faith I had was in them alone. However, let’s suppose we discovered that there was some Christian sect living in Nepal and its members all had their diseases just miraculously cured — I would drop kick science and fully embrace their religion.

  • Michael B.

    “He is proud of science’s achievements thus far. But he thinks that, in part because of its overwhelming success”

    And this is primarily why I put practically all of my faith and support in science. When my daughter’s diabetes complications threatened her life, I never prayed, but took the matter to doctors. The only faith I had was in them alone. However, let’s suppose we discovered that there was some Christian sect living in Nepal and its members all had their diseases just miraculously cured — I would drop kick science and fully embrace their religion.

  • Carl Vehse

    It depends on how you explain the word “explain.”

    Given Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the Bayesian nature of science, and limited taxpayer funding, a complete and absolute explanation by science of everything, even if only in the material universe (or multiverses?) is very probably not possible.

  • Carl Vehse

    It depends on how you explain the word “explain.”

    Given Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the Bayesian nature of science, and limited taxpayer funding, a complete and absolute explanation by science of everything, even if only in the material universe (or multiverses?) is very probably not possible.

  • Danny

    In the world of Sci Fi TV, yes. Science explains everything. Science even explains politics on some expisodes.

  • Danny

    In the world of Sci Fi TV, yes. Science explains everything. Science even explains politics on some expisodes.

  • WebMonk

    While I fully agree that science can’t explain everything, even theoretically, and I also agree that “scientism” as he describes it is a deleterious sort of thing, I have to say that the article was less than stellar.

    For one, his portrayal of “scientism” is more a bogeyman than real man. There are extremists in all groups, including scientists. Those “scientist extremists” probably qualify for the term “scientism” as Hutchinson seems to define it, but it certainly sounds like he’s painting with a really broad brush.

    His “reproducibility and clarity” statement is certainly his own homemade definition as well. Those are important, but are they the two key elements of science? Hardly.

    And when he gets over to the more philosophical aspects it gets a bit weirder. ” Science would be helpless to detect an act of God that violates the laws of physics since it would not be reproducible.” Say whuh?!?!!

    That’s showing a pretty big misconception of the methods of science right there, which I suspect comes from his homemade definition of the “key elements”, such as reproducibility.

    I suspect he has gone about trying to re-invent the wheel for his theory/philosophy of science ideas. There is a long history of the philosophy of science, and it has addressed a lot of the items on which he crudely touches. (such as “key elements” of science, limitations of science, detection of physical law violation by God, etc)

    To make a better and more accurate presentation, he apparently needs to study them a lot more. On the other hand, if he incorporated those things, his statements would be a lot less extreme and his book would probably be a lot less inflammatory, and thus would probably sell fewer copies. Nobody wants that!

  • WebMonk

    While I fully agree that science can’t explain everything, even theoretically, and I also agree that “scientism” as he describes it is a deleterious sort of thing, I have to say that the article was less than stellar.

    For one, his portrayal of “scientism” is more a bogeyman than real man. There are extremists in all groups, including scientists. Those “scientist extremists” probably qualify for the term “scientism” as Hutchinson seems to define it, but it certainly sounds like he’s painting with a really broad brush.

    His “reproducibility and clarity” statement is certainly his own homemade definition as well. Those are important, but are they the two key elements of science? Hardly.

    And when he gets over to the more philosophical aspects it gets a bit weirder. ” Science would be helpless to detect an act of God that violates the laws of physics since it would not be reproducible.” Say whuh?!?!!

    That’s showing a pretty big misconception of the methods of science right there, which I suspect comes from his homemade definition of the “key elements”, such as reproducibility.

    I suspect he has gone about trying to re-invent the wheel for his theory/philosophy of science ideas. There is a long history of the philosophy of science, and it has addressed a lot of the items on which he crudely touches. (such as “key elements” of science, limitations of science, detection of physical law violation by God, etc)

    To make a better and more accurate presentation, he apparently needs to study them a lot more. On the other hand, if he incorporated those things, his statements would be a lot less extreme and his book would probably be a lot less inflammatory, and thus would probably sell fewer copies. Nobody wants that!

  • SKPeterson

    The use of the term “Scientism” grew out of philosophical qualms expressed primarily by Hayek and Popper which were focused on the deleterious impact of physics on the social sciences and philosophy. However, this impact was not so much the fault of the physicists, but the fault of the social scientists who aped the methodologies of the physicists. This desire to ape the physical sciences was developed over time in the face of the increase in scientific discovery that began in the last half of the 19th century and became the “rapid discovery” science of the 20th and 21st centuries. This success led many physical scientists to reject other scientific endeavors outside their disciplines or to severely discount their relevance. Now, rather than holding their own, and advocating for standards of scientific inquiry that were outside the strictures of physics, many social scientists developed a severe case of physics envy and sought to import the methodologies and mathematics of physics into the social sciences thereby radically transforming the shape and practice of those disciplines. Hayek and Popper were proponents of reversing this surrender; they recognized that importing physics into fields such as economics was bad for those disciplines. For example, economics has become a largely mathematical exercise of theoretical and applied experiment. Yet, for all the mathematical sophistication, for all the new econometric techniques, for all the application of theory to understanding economic outcomes, the science of economics is absolutely appalling at prediction. Why? Because people aren’t atoms and they don’t exist in vacuums. In many ways, physics is much, much easier than humanities and the social sciences; relationships can be broken down and then reconstructed in isolation without outside interference or compromise. Not so in the social science realm.

    Scientism is not placing faith in science per se, but in placing undue faith in the application of scientific methodologies towards issues and questions which are not amenable to those methods. The corollary is believing that science represents a more valid means of understanding everything, rather than being the best means for understanding something.

  • SKPeterson

    The use of the term “Scientism” grew out of philosophical qualms expressed primarily by Hayek and Popper which were focused on the deleterious impact of physics on the social sciences and philosophy. However, this impact was not so much the fault of the physicists, but the fault of the social scientists who aped the methodologies of the physicists. This desire to ape the physical sciences was developed over time in the face of the increase in scientific discovery that began in the last half of the 19th century and became the “rapid discovery” science of the 20th and 21st centuries. This success led many physical scientists to reject other scientific endeavors outside their disciplines or to severely discount their relevance. Now, rather than holding their own, and advocating for standards of scientific inquiry that were outside the strictures of physics, many social scientists developed a severe case of physics envy and sought to import the methodologies and mathematics of physics into the social sciences thereby radically transforming the shape and practice of those disciplines. Hayek and Popper were proponents of reversing this surrender; they recognized that importing physics into fields such as economics was bad for those disciplines. For example, economics has become a largely mathematical exercise of theoretical and applied experiment. Yet, for all the mathematical sophistication, for all the new econometric techniques, for all the application of theory to understanding economic outcomes, the science of economics is absolutely appalling at prediction. Why? Because people aren’t atoms and they don’t exist in vacuums. In many ways, physics is much, much easier than humanities and the social sciences; relationships can be broken down and then reconstructed in isolation without outside interference or compromise. Not so in the social science realm.

    Scientism is not placing faith in science per se, but in placing undue faith in the application of scientific methodologies towards issues and questions which are not amenable to those methods. The corollary is believing that science represents a more valid means of understanding everything, rather than being the best means for understanding something.

  • Paul

    Science might explain history? Discover it? Determine it?

    I suppose some people do think that all things are possible.

  • Paul

    Science might explain history? Discover it? Determine it?

    I suppose some people do think that all things are possible.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    This is hardly a new intellectual bully; it’s just a holdover of old logical positivism. The specifics might have been dropped because they were quite obviously self-referentially incoherent, but the underlying faith that Science is the only reliable way of knowing still searches for a justification.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    This is hardly a new intellectual bully; it’s just a holdover of old logical positivism. The specifics might have been dropped because they were quite obviously self-referentially incoherent, but the underlying faith that Science is the only reliable way of knowing still searches for a justification.

  • Dust

    And these guys are trying to attract young people to study science? Boring :(

  • Dust

    And these guys are trying to attract young people to study science? Boring :(

  • DonS

    “Can Science explain everything?”

    Of course not. It can only attempt to explain observable phenomena. Our powers of observation are very limited, especially when we are projecting backward or forward in time, beyond the observable range, using theories of extrapolation which they can only guess might be true.

    The best scientists humbly admit this, and acknowledge full well the possibility of a supernatural power acting beyond the observable laws and principles of natural science.

  • DonS

    “Can Science explain everything?”

    Of course not. It can only attempt to explain observable phenomena. Our powers of observation are very limited, especially when we are projecting backward or forward in time, beyond the observable range, using theories of extrapolation which they can only guess might be true.

    The best scientists humbly admit this, and acknowledge full well the possibility of a supernatural power acting beyond the observable laws and principles of natural science.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What if science did explain everything? Then what? We would still have to get up everyday and live with one another. Science has explained how to be thin and stay in good physical shape. Have we done it?

    Science is not a substitute for philosophy. Knowledge and understanding will only take us so far. Leading the horse to water and getting him to drink are two different endeavors.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What if science did explain everything? Then what? We would still have to get up everyday and live with one another. Science has explained how to be thin and stay in good physical shape. Have we done it?

    Science is not a substitute for philosophy. Knowledge and understanding will only take us so far. Leading the horse to water and getting him to drink are two different endeavors.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    FWIW the physics guy sounds more rational than the lady. Generally the better you understand something, the more able you are to see its limits. She seems to think that benefits of science are boundless. Seems like wishful/magical thinking. Just because we have done some things that were previously thought impossible, it does not follow that now all things are now possible (without God).
    Calls to mind the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    FWIW the physics guy sounds more rational than the lady. Generally the better you understand something, the more able you are to see its limits. She seems to think that benefits of science are boundless. Seems like wishful/magical thinking. Just because we have done some things that were previously thought impossible, it does not follow that now all things are now possible (without God).
    Calls to mind the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @8

    And these guys are trying to attract young people to study science?

    Nah, that would be the Rocket City Rednecks.

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/rocket-city-rednecks/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @8

    And these guys are trying to attract young people to study science?

    Nah, that would be the Rocket City Rednecks.

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/rocket-city-rednecks/

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    testing 1-2-3

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    testing 1-2-3

  • SAL

    #12 One of those guys works in my building. I see him on the elevators all the time.

  • SAL

    #12 One of those guys works in my building. I see him on the elevators all the time.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sorry – had some commenting issues earlier!

    Anyway, sg, you mentioned one of my favourite Psychological phenomena at #11, one which often occurs on these very pages :) :)

    But I agree with webmonk’s assessment above. I’m always wary when people construct magnificent strawmen in order to demonstrate their own philosophical prowess…. but I couldn’t help smiling at Carl’s fourth point! Indeed!

    Personally, I would go as far as objecting to this pigeonholing of “science”. Yes, it is useful in common parlance, but once we enter philosophical discussion, I would simply refer to rational enquiry – reason, logic, data, evidence… otherwise we quickly become mired into that bottomless pit of philosphical speculative arguments. We will end up as that German philosopher I’m fond of quoting, the one who dreamed of a knife without a handle which had no blade :)

    By this I do not mean that I am an enemy to philosophy – no indeed. But the common method here is to fall into reductio after reductio to somehow “prove them scientists wrong”. Knowledge has limits, but limits can be pushed, and boundaries can be extended, and who knows where we will be tomorrow. Maybe we will discover a gene that determines our taste in art, and maybe we won’t. What then? If we build our philosophical framework around the unknowability of certain things, and then they suddenly become known, aren’t we going to look rather foolish? Sg does make a better point in #10 though – so what if? Or the opposite, what if not?

    And why should I loose any sleep over it anyway?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sorry – had some commenting issues earlier!

    Anyway, sg, you mentioned one of my favourite Psychological phenomena at #11, one which often occurs on these very pages :) :)

    But I agree with webmonk’s assessment above. I’m always wary when people construct magnificent strawmen in order to demonstrate their own philosophical prowess…. but I couldn’t help smiling at Carl’s fourth point! Indeed!

    Personally, I would go as far as objecting to this pigeonholing of “science”. Yes, it is useful in common parlance, but once we enter philosophical discussion, I would simply refer to rational enquiry – reason, logic, data, evidence… otherwise we quickly become mired into that bottomless pit of philosphical speculative arguments. We will end up as that German philosopher I’m fond of quoting, the one who dreamed of a knife without a handle which had no blade :)

    By this I do not mean that I am an enemy to philosophy – no indeed. But the common method here is to fall into reductio after reductio to somehow “prove them scientists wrong”. Knowledge has limits, but limits can be pushed, and boundaries can be extended, and who knows where we will be tomorrow. Maybe we will discover a gene that determines our taste in art, and maybe we won’t. What then? If we build our philosophical framework around the unknowability of certain things, and then they suddenly become known, aren’t we going to look rather foolish? Sg does make a better point in #10 though – so what if? Or the opposite, what if not?

    And why should I loose any sleep over it anyway?

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    If science can explain everything, can it explain its own origins? Rodney Stark in Victory of Reason puts it this way ” If Western success rests upon victories of reason, then the rise of Christianity surely was the most important single event in European history. It was the church that gave steadfast testimony to the power of reason and to the possibility of progress to the guiding principle that “one day we shall.” And so, one day we did. Nor was the fulfillment of the promise long delayed by centuries of ignorance and superstition, as claimed by the spurious tales about “Dark Ages.” Rapid intellectual and material progress began as soon as Europeans escaped from the stultifying grip of Roman repression and mistaken Greek idealism.”

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    If science can explain everything, can it explain its own origins? Rodney Stark in Victory of Reason puts it this way ” If Western success rests upon victories of reason, then the rise of Christianity surely was the most important single event in European history. It was the church that gave steadfast testimony to the power of reason and to the possibility of progress to the guiding principle that “one day we shall.” And so, one day we did. Nor was the fulfillment of the promise long delayed by centuries of ignorance and superstition, as claimed by the spurious tales about “Dark Ages.” Rapid intellectual and material progress began as soon as Europeans escaped from the stultifying grip of Roman repression and mistaken Greek idealism.”

  • #4 Kitty

    Here’s a quote touching the subject from Richard Dawkins “What has theology ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has theology ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious?….If all the achievements of scientists were wiped out tomorrow, there would be no doctors but witch doctors, no transport faster than horses, no computers, no printed books, no agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming. If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference? “

  • #4 Kitty

    Here’s a quote touching the subject from Richard Dawkins “What has theology ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has theology ever said anything that is demonstrably true and is not obvious?….If all the achievements of scientists were wiped out tomorrow, there would be no doctors but witch doctors, no transport faster than horses, no computers, no printed books, no agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming. If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference? “

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty – the line doesn’t touch the subject at all – it is merely a rant by one apostle against other apostles.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty – the line doesn’t touch the subject at all – it is merely a rant by one apostle against other apostles.

  • #4 Kitty

    Klasie I think it does in that it argues that while science may not have the tool set to explain everything, Theology cannot demonstrably answer anything at all.

  • #4 Kitty

    Klasie I think it does in that it argues that while science may not have the tool set to explain everything, Theology cannot demonstrably answer anything at all.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty, as one of the Science guys around here, I would like to state emphatically that Dawkins is an idiot. Why? Because he makes no effort to understand that which he attacks (he is the Ken Ham of atheism). Let’s do a thought experiment, ok?

    Let’s presume that the Transcendent doesn’t exist (ie no God, no life after death, no Karma, no nothin’…. easy there, rest of you, that is not what I believe, that is just for the purposes of the thought experiment). How does one explain the existence of the religious/transcendent impulse then? Various explanations could be offered. One is that it is a remnant of paleolithic and pre-paleolithic man’s prey-instinct – the fear of being hunted. But this is not quite satisfactory, as it does not quite explain that even in the most “primitive” of religious impulses, the fear component is but one of many. It could also be explained as a coping mechanism with death and loss. One sees that, interestingly enough, in at least one other mammalian specias, namely elephants (ever heard of elephant graveyards, and elephant behaviour around the bones of even their long-deceased family members?). Of course, in almost every single religious expression, concepts of sin, punishment and redemption abound. How to comprehend that? Some offer sacrifice, others want to transcend imperfection. It is as if the evolutionary impulse took on a spiritual nature even :) . So, anthropologically, it is absolutely clear that the religious impulse, through various mechanisms, rites and socially devloped mechanisms, and thus also the existence of theologians, is an evolutionary necessity, even in, according to our thought experiment, the absence of the existence of the Transcendent.

    Thus, according to the preceding experiment, Dawkins is proven to be something of an idiot.

    QED.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty, as one of the Science guys around here, I would like to state emphatically that Dawkins is an idiot. Why? Because he makes no effort to understand that which he attacks (he is the Ken Ham of atheism). Let’s do a thought experiment, ok?

    Let’s presume that the Transcendent doesn’t exist (ie no God, no life after death, no Karma, no nothin’…. easy there, rest of you, that is not what I believe, that is just for the purposes of the thought experiment). How does one explain the existence of the religious/transcendent impulse then? Various explanations could be offered. One is that it is a remnant of paleolithic and pre-paleolithic man’s prey-instinct – the fear of being hunted. But this is not quite satisfactory, as it does not quite explain that even in the most “primitive” of religious impulses, the fear component is but one of many. It could also be explained as a coping mechanism with death and loss. One sees that, interestingly enough, in at least one other mammalian specias, namely elephants (ever heard of elephant graveyards, and elephant behaviour around the bones of even their long-deceased family members?). Of course, in almost every single religious expression, concepts of sin, punishment and redemption abound. How to comprehend that? Some offer sacrifice, others want to transcend imperfection. It is as if the evolutionary impulse took on a spiritual nature even :) . So, anthropologically, it is absolutely clear that the religious impulse, through various mechanisms, rites and socially devloped mechanisms, and thus also the existence of theologians, is an evolutionary necessity, even in, according to our thought experiment, the absence of the existence of the Transcendent.

    Thus, according to the preceding experiment, Dawkins is proven to be something of an idiot.

    QED.

  • Cincinnatus

    Science can’t explain anything whatsoever because it can’t discover or impute meaning to anything whatsoever. Science, allegedly, can provide a collection of (continually shifting and mutually subverting) “facts”–or, better, theories and hypotheses–about entities and phenomena. But, in Heidegger’s language, these “facts” are only meaningless “ontic” descriptions, not ontologically significant relations or statements.

  • Cincinnatus

    Science can’t explain anything whatsoever because it can’t discover or impute meaning to anything whatsoever. Science, allegedly, can provide a collection of (continually shifting and mutually subverting) “facts”–or, better, theories and hypotheses–about entities and phenomena. But, in Heidegger’s language, these “facts” are only meaningless “ontic” descriptions, not ontologically significant relations or statements.

  • #4 Kitty

    So, anthropologically, it is absolutely clear that the religious impulse, through various mechanisms, rites and socially devloped mechanisms, and thus also the existence of theologians, is an evolutionary necessity, even in, according to our thought experiment, the absence of the existence of the Transcendent.
    I think Dawkins would agree that the religious impulse is a product of evolution~ indeed it might very well have been a necessity. For example, take the fear of death. Although science can explain why a child has died it cannot give comfort or hope to the grieving parents. Religion can comfort and extend hope by insisting that the child is now in a happier place and that she will rise again on the last day or that this was part of the gods’ plan and so on. This facile belief may very well be all this is needed to recover from such a loss. I argued once (back when Dawkins site had a forum) that the desire to believe in and practice religion is in our genome and therefore must be a benefit to our species. The response I received was that many forms of cancer is a product of our genetics as well.

  • #4 Kitty

    So, anthropologically, it is absolutely clear that the religious impulse, through various mechanisms, rites and socially devloped mechanisms, and thus also the existence of theologians, is an evolutionary necessity, even in, according to our thought experiment, the absence of the existence of the Transcendent.
    I think Dawkins would agree that the religious impulse is a product of evolution~ indeed it might very well have been a necessity. For example, take the fear of death. Although science can explain why a child has died it cannot give comfort or hope to the grieving parents. Religion can comfort and extend hope by insisting that the child is now in a happier place and that she will rise again on the last day or that this was part of the gods’ plan and so on. This facile belief may very well be all this is needed to recover from such a loss. I argued once (back when Dawkins site had a forum) that the desire to believe in and practice religion is in our genome and therefore must be a benefit to our species. The response I received was that many forms of cancer is a product of our genetics as well.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Cincinnatus
    When religion imparts “ontologically significant relations or statements” and we ask “yes, but how do you know this?
    The response is always something on the order of “well, faith.”
    Is that a fair assessment?

  • #4 Kitty

    @Cincinnatus
    When religion imparts “ontologically significant relations or statements” and we ask “yes, but how do you know this?
    The response is always something on the order of “well, faith.”
    Is that a fair assessment?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus: Heidegger? Humph! :)

    Kitty: Quite a stupid response from them. Because they choose to assigne a value to religion (=cancer), on an ad hoc basis. But I must add that the average Dawkins supporter online is quite a cad, so one must not take them too seriously….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus: Heidegger? Humph! :)

    Kitty: Quite a stupid response from them. Because they choose to assigne a value to religion (=cancer), on an ad hoc basis. But I must add that the average Dawkins supporter online is quite a cad, so one must not take them too seriously….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus: What is meaning?
    ;)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus: What is meaning?
    ;)

  • Cincinnatus

    Kitty@23:

    “How do you know this” is a pointless question. There is no verification for the cultural/personal/social significance or meaningfulness of a thing, phenomenon, idea, or belief.

    One can’t “prove” or “verify” that murder is “wrong.” One can’t demonstrate empirically the significance of religious rituals, etc. The significance of one’s death is beyond scientific investigation. Meanwhile, if you “prove” to me that quarks exist, that is interesting insofar as knowledge is intrinsically worthwhile, but I will ask “So what and who cares?” That quarks exist is a meaningless fact/theory.

  • Cincinnatus

    Kitty@23:

    “How do you know this” is a pointless question. There is no verification for the cultural/personal/social significance or meaningfulness of a thing, phenomenon, idea, or belief.

    One can’t “prove” or “verify” that murder is “wrong.” One can’t demonstrate empirically the significance of religious rituals, etc. The significance of one’s death is beyond scientific investigation. Meanwhile, if you “prove” to me that quarks exist, that is interesting insofar as knowledge is intrinsically worthwhile, but I will ask “So what and who cares?” That quarks exist is a meaningless fact/theory.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    One can’t “prove” or “verify” that murder is “wrong.” One can’t demonstrate empirically the significance of religious rituals, etc.”

    Okay, but you can track the results. That is what is the consequence over the long term for a society that executes murderers vs. one that doesn’t? Then we end up back with our old pal, Mill.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    One can’t “prove” or “verify” that murder is “wrong.” One can’t demonstrate empirically the significance of religious rituals, etc.”

    Okay, but you can track the results. That is what is the consequence over the long term for a society that executes murderers vs. one that doesn’t? Then we end up back with our old pal, Mill.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: So then you’re just a shallow pragmatist. Yes, many anthropologists, etc., have presumed that human beings impute meaning to things, construct rituals and taboos, and hold empirically unverifiable “beliefs” solely because they are “useful” for social flourishing and long-term survival.

    I deny this antecedent, which itself is unverifiable. True, murder is, in general, bad for social health and well-being. But is that why Jews and Catholics, for example, prohibit murder? Why do Christians eat the Body and Blood of Christ? The only thing science has done in a meaningful sense is (supposedly) to strip meaning from all these rituals and practices and to “disenchant” the world. But it’s provided no substitute. Man does not live by facts alone, and the idea that he should return to “belief” because it’s useful, either to himself or others, is thin gruel.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: So then you’re just a shallow pragmatist. Yes, many anthropologists, etc., have presumed that human beings impute meaning to things, construct rituals and taboos, and hold empirically unverifiable “beliefs” solely because they are “useful” for social flourishing and long-term survival.

    I deny this antecedent, which itself is unverifiable. True, murder is, in general, bad for social health and well-being. But is that why Jews and Catholics, for example, prohibit murder? Why do Christians eat the Body and Blood of Christ? The only thing science has done in a meaningful sense is (supposedly) to strip meaning from all these rituals and practices and to “disenchant” the world. But it’s provided no substitute. Man does not live by facts alone, and the idea that he should return to “belief” because it’s useful, either to himself or others, is thin gruel.

  • Cincinnatus

    And, for the record, the idea of “tracking results” is a profoundly modern idea. Pagan cultures didn’t sacrifice bulls, for example, because they had “tracked results” and discovered that things went better for them when they sacrificed than when they did not. Sacrifices were an intrinsically meaningful communal ritual regardless of their alleged results.

  • Cincinnatus

    And, for the record, the idea of “tracking results” is a profoundly modern idea. Pagan cultures didn’t sacrifice bulls, for example, because they had “tracked results” and discovered that things went better for them when they sacrificed than when they did not. Sacrifices were an intrinsically meaningful communal ritual regardless of their alleged results.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus #21 – Excellent!! I quite agree.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus #21 – Excellent!! I quite agree.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    (Note: Still in thought experiment mode)

    So, Cincinnatus, why does a male Bird of paradise put out a display for the female? Why not wham, bam…. Why does an elephant cow touch the bones of a dead calf months after the death of the latter? Why not simply forget….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    (Note: Still in thought experiment mode)

    So, Cincinnatus, why does a male Bird of paradise put out a display for the female? Why not wham, bam…. Why does an elephant cow touch the bones of a dead calf months after the death of the latter? Why not simply forget….

  • #4 Kitty

    “How do you know this” is a pointless question. There is no verification for the cultural/personal/social significance or meaningfulness of a thing, phenomenon, idea, or belief.

    Awesome!

  • #4 Kitty

    “How do you know this” is a pointless question. There is no verification for the cultural/personal/social significance or meaningfulness of a thing, phenomenon, idea, or belief.

    Awesome!

  • Cincinnatus

    Not sure of the intent of your question, KK. That everything is, at root, useful? If so, so what? And are you equating human beings and elephants? (Yes, I will defend human exceptionalism to my grave.)

  • Cincinnatus

    Not sure of the intent of your question, KK. That everything is, at root, useful? If so, so what? And are you equating human beings and elephants? (Yes, I will defend human exceptionalism to my grave.)

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, are you suggesting that science can discover “why” elephants seem to have mourning rituals? They may be able to discover a series of biochemical processes in the elephant’s brain, but I doubt they’ll uncover “why,” unless, indeed, it is a purely useful activity whose function we’ve not yet discerned.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, are you suggesting that science can discover “why” elephants seem to have mourning rituals? They may be able to discover a series of biochemical processes in the elephant’s brain, but I doubt they’ll uncover “why,” unless, indeed, it is a purely useful activity whose function we’ve not yet discerned.

  • Lou G.

    Kitty #23 “yes, but how do you know this”

    I have a slightly different take here than probably a few others. However, my take is the classical approach.

    As human beings, we have given the ability to reason and use logic with which we have been endowed by our Creator. Some consider it an aspect of General Revelation. The Bible tells us that the purpose of this ability is to interpret the material world in such a way so as to see His nature and character embedded in all creation.

    Those who do not properly reason or use logic (suppress the truth), instead come to false interpretations and conclusions of scientific data and evidence by which they are lead away from the knowledge of God.

    This is the process by which God judges mankind, when he says “They are without excuse.”

    The unique ability for humans to reason was given as a means for us to not become materialists (ie, worshippers of created things), but rather that we would be inclined toward becoming God worshippers.

  • Lou G.

    Kitty #23 “yes, but how do you know this”

    I have a slightly different take here than probably a few others. However, my take is the classical approach.

    As human beings, we have given the ability to reason and use logic with which we have been endowed by our Creator. Some consider it an aspect of General Revelation. The Bible tells us that the purpose of this ability is to interpret the material world in such a way so as to see His nature and character embedded in all creation.

    Those who do not properly reason or use logic (suppress the truth), instead come to false interpretations and conclusions of scientific data and evidence by which they are lead away from the knowledge of God.

    This is the process by which God judges mankind, when he says “They are without excuse.”

    The unique ability for humans to reason was given as a means for us to not become materialists (ie, worshippers of created things), but rather that we would be inclined toward becoming God worshippers.

  • Lou G.

    26 Cincinnatus
    “One can’t “prove” or “verify” that murder is “wrong.” ”
    I think that it can be proven logically. Of course, Kant would try to prove it based on his altruistic categorical imperative (for the good of society, etc. etc) and Mill based on consequences, but there sure are logical agrument for and against moral concerns.

    Obviously, committing murder is wrong because God says so.
    But I also assert that when God calls something a sin, it is also(verifiably and universally acknowledged by human reason as) wrong.

  • Lou G.

    26 Cincinnatus
    “One can’t “prove” or “verify” that murder is “wrong.” ”
    I think that it can be proven logically. Of course, Kant would try to prove it based on his altruistic categorical imperative (for the good of society, etc. etc) and Mill based on consequences, but there sure are logical agrument for and against moral concerns.

    Obviously, committing murder is wrong because God says so.
    But I also assert that when God calls something a sin, it is also(verifiably and universally acknowledged by human reason as) wrong.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.:

    “But I also assert that when God calls something a sin, it is also(verifiably and universally acknowledged by human reason as) wrong.”

    How? If not in terms of sheer utilitarian consequences (which, by the way, depends upon an a priori normative assessment of what constitutes desirable outcomes), then how? I typically reject the Kantian and Cartesian traditions, for precisely this reason, but I am open to your persuasion.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.:

    “But I also assert that when God calls something a sin, it is also(verifiably and universally acknowledged by human reason as) wrong.”

    How? If not in terms of sheer utilitarian consequences (which, by the way, depends upon an a priori normative assessment of what constitutes desirable outcomes), then how? I typically reject the Kantian and Cartesian traditions, for precisely this reason, but I am open to your persuasion.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus — (proof text for 36, if you’d like one: Rom 2:14″For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse” )

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus — (proof text for 36, if you’d like one: Rom 2:14″For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse” )

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.: Yes, this is a common “proof text” deployed to justify the existence of the natural law (I am also a natural law skeptic; i.e., I don’t believe in it). But, regardless of what it might say about categorical imperatives or natural laws, it certainly doesn’t demonstrate anything about rationally, empirically, logically verifying the significance or normative import of a thing. Yes, many “Gentiles” acknowledge the moral wrongness of murder. Does that mean they “proved” that it is wrong? By what standard?

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou G.: Yes, this is a common “proof text” deployed to justify the existence of the natural law (I am also a natural law skeptic; i.e., I don’t believe in it). But, regardless of what it might say about categorical imperatives or natural laws, it certainly doesn’t demonstrate anything about rationally, empirically, logically verifying the significance or normative import of a thing. Yes, many “Gentiles” acknowledge the moral wrongness of murder. Does that mean they “proved” that it is wrong? By what standard?

  • #4 Kitty

    @ Lou G
    As human beings, we have given the ability to reason and use logic with which we have been endowed by our Creator.

    Cincinnatus has persuaded me that to ask the question “how do you know that the ability to reason is an endowment of our Creator? Or more to the point ~ “how do you know there is a Creator?” is pointless. Therefore, my only response is that I’m happy to find that your system of belief is fulfilling to you.

  • #4 Kitty

    @ Lou G
    As human beings, we have given the ability to reason and use logic with which we have been endowed by our Creator.

    Cincinnatus has persuaded me that to ask the question “how do you know that the ability to reason is an endowment of our Creator? Or more to the point ~ “how do you know there is a Creator?” is pointless. Therefore, my only response is that I’m happy to find that your system of belief is fulfilling to you.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus,

    Note that I said I’m still in “thought experiment mode” (see # 20). You seem to place in interesting construction on the meaning of “why”. The elephant, in this example, seems to have an awareness of death, more so than other Mammals, except humans. It “celebrates”, or remembers, the dearly departed. That is almost proto-religion. We cannot know, though, at this stage anyway, if it has true “Transcendent” awareness or ideas.

    The bird of paradise, which you do not mention, has a highly ritualistic approach to mating, evidently, as do many other species.

    Now, (remember, thought experiment), here is the thrust: Given that we are a highly developed, self-aware mammal, and that self- awareness (not necessarily unique – see elephant example), copuiple with high intelligence, tool use etc has led to the development of a very complicated, ritualistic, creature, which developed a realtionship with transcendence (once again THOUGHT experiment), the creation of meaning, ritual and everything around that (which brings in philosophy, Heidegger, and you), is to be expected – including the insistence on Homo Sapiens Exceptionalism.

    (END of thought Experiment).

    See? Quite possible. I do not happen do buy all of it, but for reasons entirely different than impossibility, or irrationality, or presuppositionalsim, or any such fables.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus,

    Note that I said I’m still in “thought experiment mode” (see # 20). You seem to place in interesting construction on the meaning of “why”. The elephant, in this example, seems to have an awareness of death, more so than other Mammals, except humans. It “celebrates”, or remembers, the dearly departed. That is almost proto-religion. We cannot know, though, at this stage anyway, if it has true “Transcendent” awareness or ideas.

    The bird of paradise, which you do not mention, has a highly ritualistic approach to mating, evidently, as do many other species.

    Now, (remember, thought experiment), here is the thrust: Given that we are a highly developed, self-aware mammal, and that self- awareness (not necessarily unique – see elephant example), copuiple with high intelligence, tool use etc has led to the development of a very complicated, ritualistic, creature, which developed a realtionship with transcendence (once again THOUGHT experiment), the creation of meaning, ritual and everything around that (which brings in philosophy, Heidegger, and you), is to be expected – including the insistence on Homo Sapiens Exceptionalism.

    (END of thought Experiment).

    See? Quite possible. I do not happen do buy all of it, but for reasons entirely different than impossibility, or irrationality, or presuppositionalsim, or any such fables.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus – I reject Kant as well. I think he obscured the field of philosophy, in particular, I see his Critique of Pure Reaons as a root of many of our troubles today when it comes to discussing matters of faith and science.

  • Lou G.

    Cincinnatus – I reject Kant as well. I think he obscured the field of philosophy, in particular, I see his Critique of Pure Reaons as a root of many of our troubles today when it comes to discussing matters of faith and science.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty @ 40 – unfortuantely, I have to agree with you there. I have had a run-in with lou before here, and it is a pointless argument. Cincinnatus, on the contrary, is a good chap (you’re welcome), and always fun (and challenging) sparring with.

    It goes something like this: Ok here is the logic: A gives me B gives me C gives me – not 600o year old earth – and here are the supporting facts and data. Lou – you are wrong and bad and evil, because true logic always agree with what I say. Me – ok show me where. Silence……..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty @ 40 – unfortuantely, I have to agree with you there. I have had a run-in with lou before here, and it is a pointless argument. Cincinnatus, on the contrary, is a good chap (you’re welcome), and always fun (and challenging) sparring with.

    It goes something like this: Ok here is the logic: A gives me B gives me C gives me – not 600o year old earth – and here are the supporting facts and data. Lou – you are wrong and bad and evil, because true logic always agree with what I say. Me – ok show me where. Silence……..

  • Cincinnatus

    KK, I like your thought experiment just fine (though I disagree that elephants, for example, are self-conscious in the same way that human beings are), but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to “see.” What have you “proven” with respect to my earlier statements? Assuming your thought experiment is “scientifically” accurate–let’s assume that it is for the sake of deliberation–it has only verified that human beings, and perhaps other animals, do impute meaning to things, actions, and rituals. But this is still a purely descriptive statement along the lines of demonstrating that quarks exist. Indeed, humans regard various items as meaningful. How quaint!

    Let’s put it in starker terms. Let’s imagine that I inquire as to why I exist. There are a variety of answers that can be categorized into two. On the one hand, you could “prove” that I exist due to evolution, biochemical process, sexual reproduction, even divine creation if you want. But those are meaningless, descriptive statements. None of them provide an answer as to the meaningfulness of my existence. Science cannot prove this. “Why is there something and not rather nothing?”

  • Cincinnatus

    KK, I like your thought experiment just fine (though I disagree that elephants, for example, are self-conscious in the same way that human beings are), but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to “see.” What have you “proven” with respect to my earlier statements? Assuming your thought experiment is “scientifically” accurate–let’s assume that it is for the sake of deliberation–it has only verified that human beings, and perhaps other animals, do impute meaning to things, actions, and rituals. But this is still a purely descriptive statement along the lines of demonstrating that quarks exist. Indeed, humans regard various items as meaningful. How quaint!

    Let’s put it in starker terms. Let’s imagine that I inquire as to why I exist. There are a variety of answers that can be categorized into two. On the one hand, you could “prove” that I exist due to evolution, biochemical process, sexual reproduction, even divine creation if you want. But those are meaningless, descriptive statements. None of them provide an answer as to the meaningfulness of my existence. Science cannot prove this. “Why is there something and not rather nothing?”

  • Lou G.

    Klasie: “you are wrong and bad and evil”
    This statement does not exist on this thread, except in YOUR comment above (43).

    “because true logic always agree with what I say.”
    No, because logic is more important than plain data and evidence.

    As you have already heard me say elsewhere, our premises always affect how we interpret the evidence and data. When someone has already bent their hearts away from God and a creator, they will not be convinced of God even if His own Son is raised from the death and grave and rises to heaven right before their eyes.

    I’m not really saying anything revolutionary here.

  • Lou G.

    Klasie: “you are wrong and bad and evil”
    This statement does not exist on this thread, except in YOUR comment above (43).

    “because true logic always agree with what I say.”
    No, because logic is more important than plain data and evidence.

    As you have already heard me say elsewhere, our premises always affect how we interpret the evidence and data. When someone has already bent their hearts away from God and a creator, they will not be convinced of God even if His own Son is raised from the death and grave and rises to heaven right before their eyes.

    I’m not really saying anything revolutionary here.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – ah, that is the only “why” question worth asking. All others either derive from that, or are cause-and-effect questions, which are answerable by science.

    No of course, the Ultimate Ontological question is not answerable by science. But neither is it answerably by philosophy, or theology, or any other human endevour. In fact I was going to say it is only answerable by faith, but I suddenly stopped short. Because in one sense it is – because God caused everything (I like to call God the Prime Originator). But in other sense, we cannot really answer the question Why? Why did he Create / Cause / Originate? There are answers out there, but how honest are they? Did any theologian peer into the mind of God and see the statement – I created the Universe (possibly even a Mulitverse, who knows) because… ? So, at the end of the day, the answer to the Prime Ontological Question is : Because. And that is that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus – ah, that is the only “why” question worth asking. All others either derive from that, or are cause-and-effect questions, which are answerable by science.

    No of course, the Ultimate Ontological question is not answerable by science. But neither is it answerably by philosophy, or theology, or any other human endevour. In fact I was going to say it is only answerable by faith, but I suddenly stopped short. Because in one sense it is – because God caused everything (I like to call God the Prime Originator). But in other sense, we cannot really answer the question Why? Why did he Create / Cause / Originate? There are answers out there, but how honest are they? Did any theologian peer into the mind of God and see the statement – I created the Universe (possibly even a Mulitverse, who knows) because… ? So, at the end of the day, the answer to the Prime Ontological Question is : Because. And that is that.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lou, but it exists, not in those words exactly, but by implication, on this thread: http://www.geneveith.com/2011/12/01/non-creationist-critiques-of-darwinism/#comments

    Especially where you identify everybody who does not agree with your interpretation with the folks Paul chastises in Romans 1. And when invited to identify the lapses in logic, you dissappeared from the thread….

    You are not saying anything new, you are merely repeating a tired old tactic by a small subset of presupposionalist creationists who got outsmarted by facts, data and logic. Not even the AIG crowd uses this tactic anymore….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lou, but it exists, not in those words exactly, but by implication, on this thread: http://www.geneveith.com/2011/12/01/non-creationist-critiques-of-darwinism/#comments

    Especially where you identify everybody who does not agree with your interpretation with the folks Paul chastises in Romans 1. And when invited to identify the lapses in logic, you dissappeared from the thread….

    You are not saying anything new, you are merely repeating a tired old tactic by a small subset of presupposionalist creationists who got outsmarted by facts, data and logic. Not even the AIG crowd uses this tactic anymore….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oops – unless you you are not synonomous with Lou on that thread, and do not agree with him – then I apologise heartily, and will give you the opportunity to insult me here… :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Oops – unless you you are not synonomous with Lou on that thread, and do not agree with him – then I apologise heartily, and will give you the opportunity to insult me here… :)

  • Lou G.

    Kitty,
    Thanks for these questions: “how do you know that the ability to reason is an endowment of our Creator? Or more to the point ~ “how do you know there is a Creator?”

    Okay, based on your questions, it appears that we agree – that humans have the ability to reason.

    But if naturalistic evolution is true, then human cognitive faculties by definition only produce beliefs that have survival value (maximizing one’s success at the four F’s: “feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing”). On the other hand, if we were created to produce beliefs that are true, rather than for mere survival, then we actually have a basis for the field of science and the study of life.

    I’m not quite sure if I’m being clear, but the crux of my argument is that the source of reason is only possible if the first cause of our existence made us reasonable and with cognitive abilities inclined toward knowing Truth.

  • Lou G.

    Kitty,
    Thanks for these questions: “how do you know that the ability to reason is an endowment of our Creator? Or more to the point ~ “how do you know there is a Creator?”

    Okay, based on your questions, it appears that we agree – that humans have the ability to reason.

    But if naturalistic evolution is true, then human cognitive faculties by definition only produce beliefs that have survival value (maximizing one’s success at the four F’s: “feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing”). On the other hand, if we were created to produce beliefs that are true, rather than for mere survival, then we actually have a basis for the field of science and the study of life.

    I’m not quite sure if I’m being clear, but the crux of my argument is that the source of reason is only possible if the first cause of our existence made us reasonable and with cognitive abilities inclined toward knowing Truth.

  • Lou G.

    Klasie,
    Here are the two arguments that I put forth in the other thread.
    YOU did not answer either of these except to make accusations, call names, and demand information that was already provided.

    If you want to “reset” the clock and engage either of these previous comments, I’m game.

    FIRST COMMENT
    “Data and evidence mean nothing without interpretation.
    Man is an arbiter of the natural world, precisely because God gave him reason and understanding. Every person’s understanding or interpretation of data and evidence is guided by his premises.”
    (Pull Quote from: Romans 1:19-21)

    “Philosophy plays an important role in science, because it is the lens through which all men interpret data and evidence.

    The continuing contributions of scientific research are extremely important and worth consideration, I believe. However, we should must know the scientist’s premises before accepting his conclusions. It is not his conclusions that invalidate the evidence, rather his premises which most certainly may well invalidate his conclusions. Therefore, premises (or presuppositions, if you prefer) are highly relevant.”

    NEXT COMMENT:
    “First and foremost, as Christians, we understand that reason and logic come from God. Yet you assert the opposite: that if evolution is not true, then logic fails and reason means nothing. This is the crux of the issue with the debate. You’ve committed the logical fallacy of begging the question (petitio principii) by assuming the initial point – that evolution must be true, in order to try to prove that evolution is true. Premises.

    “In addition, faith is rational. We are called to be ready to give a defense and a reason for our faith. That and thinking/consideration go hand in hand. Doubt is based on taking our eyes off ultimate things and letting our sensory perception rule our thoughts.”

    You want to start from there?

    Those who posit the false dichotomy of faith vs. science are merely falling into the modernist trap that somehow materialism trumps or drives logic. If I can’t touch it, see it, smell it test it, then it doesn’t exist or can’t be proven. That is a false understanding of reality.

    If anything, the honest scientist has to admit that materialism is not ultimately explanative and cannot have the first or last word. Constantly, new scientific inventions rock previous theories based in empiricism — for example the electron microscope put an end altogether to Darwin’s “simple cell” hypothesis — a *key* premise upon which he derived “the origin of species”.

    Point being, the faith vs. science argument doesn’t hold water.”

  • Lou G.

    Klasie,
    Here are the two arguments that I put forth in the other thread.
    YOU did not answer either of these except to make accusations, call names, and demand information that was already provided.

    If you want to “reset” the clock and engage either of these previous comments, I’m game.

    FIRST COMMENT
    “Data and evidence mean nothing without interpretation.
    Man is an arbiter of the natural world, precisely because God gave him reason and understanding. Every person’s understanding or interpretation of data and evidence is guided by his premises.”
    (Pull Quote from: Romans 1:19-21)

    “Philosophy plays an important role in science, because it is the lens through which all men interpret data and evidence.

    The continuing contributions of scientific research are extremely important and worth consideration, I believe. However, we should must know the scientist’s premises before accepting his conclusions. It is not his conclusions that invalidate the evidence, rather his premises which most certainly may well invalidate his conclusions. Therefore, premises (or presuppositions, if you prefer) are highly relevant.”

    NEXT COMMENT:
    “First and foremost, as Christians, we understand that reason and logic come from God. Yet you assert the opposite: that if evolution is not true, then logic fails and reason means nothing. This is the crux of the issue with the debate. You’ve committed the logical fallacy of begging the question (petitio principii) by assuming the initial point – that evolution must be true, in order to try to prove that evolution is true. Premises.

    “In addition, faith is rational. We are called to be ready to give a defense and a reason for our faith. That and thinking/consideration go hand in hand. Doubt is based on taking our eyes off ultimate things and letting our sensory perception rule our thoughts.”

    You want to start from there?

    Those who posit the false dichotomy of faith vs. science are merely falling into the modernist trap that somehow materialism trumps or drives logic. If I can’t touch it, see it, smell it test it, then it doesn’t exist or can’t be proven. That is a false understanding of reality.

    If anything, the honest scientist has to admit that materialism is not ultimately explanative and cannot have the first or last word. Constantly, new scientific inventions rock previous theories based in empiricism — for example the electron microscope put an end altogether to Darwin’s “simple cell” hypothesis — a *key* premise upon which he derived “the origin of species”.

    Point being, the faith vs. science argument doesn’t hold water.”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lou:

    I did answer you in that thread, but you did not like the answer. Also, you are misinterpreting the comment I made regarding evolution and logic. What I am saying is that logic leads to (not HAS to) evolution. I am not starting with the presupposition that it does. Basically follow the data, follow the logic.

    My premises are not old age, or young age, or anything of the kind. Here I might surprise you, but my epistemological premises are nothing but the rigorous application of the normal human epistemolocal process. By this I mean the following:

    Let’s presume child sees ball.
    He throws ball.
    Spot chases after it.
    Spot brings it back.
    Child reasons: Dogs likes chasing ball.
    After 20 years, Jimmy knows that many dogs, not all, likes chasing balls, and many, not all, brings them back.
    Jimmy walks into a backyard, sees a well-chewed ball, with dog saliva and dog poo close by, and says: I bet someone has thrown a ball for a dog here before.
    Billy says: Where’s your experimental evidence? What are your epistemological premises? When last did you go to confession?? Jimmy says: Huh??

    OK, simplistic, but that is how 99.9% of scientists operate. We are not some devious lot. And wha we do find surprising, every single time, is that when these arguments start,is that someone jumps on epsitemological arguments, and refuses to look at the data, the tons of data, proofs, and examples, right in front of them.

    That said, you evidently labour under the assumption that if one is a Christian, all logic will necessarily show that one has to take Genesis 1 etc absolutely literally. Hence, if it doesn’t, one cannot be a Christian – this is simply a corollary of your use of Romans 1. Wrong. Even Church fathers like St Augustine, St Basil and Origen would disagree…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Lou:

    I did answer you in that thread, but you did not like the answer. Also, you are misinterpreting the comment I made regarding evolution and logic. What I am saying is that logic leads to (not HAS to) evolution. I am not starting with the presupposition that it does. Basically follow the data, follow the logic.

    My premises are not old age, or young age, or anything of the kind. Here I might surprise you, but my epistemological premises are nothing but the rigorous application of the normal human epistemolocal process. By this I mean the following:

    Let’s presume child sees ball.
    He throws ball.
    Spot chases after it.
    Spot brings it back.
    Child reasons: Dogs likes chasing ball.
    After 20 years, Jimmy knows that many dogs, not all, likes chasing balls, and many, not all, brings them back.
    Jimmy walks into a backyard, sees a well-chewed ball, with dog saliva and dog poo close by, and says: I bet someone has thrown a ball for a dog here before.
    Billy says: Where’s your experimental evidence? What are your epistemological premises? When last did you go to confession?? Jimmy says: Huh??

    OK, simplistic, but that is how 99.9% of scientists operate. We are not some devious lot. And wha we do find surprising, every single time, is that when these arguments start,is that someone jumps on epsitemological arguments, and refuses to look at the data, the tons of data, proofs, and examples, right in front of them.

    That said, you evidently labour under the assumption that if one is a Christian, all logic will necessarily show that one has to take Genesis 1 etc absolutely literally. Hence, if it doesn’t, one cannot be a Christian – this is simply a corollary of your use of Romans 1. Wrong. Even Church fathers like St Augustine, St Basil and Origen would disagree…..

  • Lou G.

    “that if one is a Christian, all logic will necessarily show that one has to take Genesis 1 etc absolutely literally.”

    Okay, I can see how that might seem like where I was going, but inot exactly. For instance, there is an important distinction between general revelation and special revelation.
    General revelation says that because all people are created in God’s image, they can tell by nature that there is a design and meaning behind life and our existence (even though we are prone to surpress that knowledge).
    When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit works with his intellect through special revelation to reveal truth in the scriptures. I would never demand young earth vs. old earth as a litmus for whether someone is a Christian or not. And I also agree that certain aspects of evolution that have clear logical evidence (like adaptation, etc) can be held by creationists. Unfortunately too much of evolutionary theory is based on extrapolation and wishful thinking.

  • Lou G.

    “that if one is a Christian, all logic will necessarily show that one has to take Genesis 1 etc absolutely literally.”

    Okay, I can see how that might seem like where I was going, but inot exactly. For instance, there is an important distinction between general revelation and special revelation.
    General revelation says that because all people are created in God’s image, they can tell by nature that there is a design and meaning behind life and our existence (even though we are prone to surpress that knowledge).
    When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit works with his intellect through special revelation to reveal truth in the scriptures. I would never demand young earth vs. old earth as a litmus for whether someone is a Christian or not. And I also agree that certain aspects of evolution that have clear logical evidence (like adaptation, etc) can be held by creationists. Unfortunately too much of evolutionary theory is based on extrapolation and wishful thinking.

  • Lou G.

    Just for the sake of arguing, let’s change your scenario up a bit, so it is a tad more relevant.

    Let’s presume a child sees ball.
    He throws ball.
    Spot chases after it.
    Spot brings it back.
    Child reasons: Dogs like chasing balls.

    After 20 years, Jimmy knows that many dogs, not all, like chasing balls, and many, not all, bring them back.

    Jimmy assumes: Dogs have developed the behavior of ball chasing through the evolutionary process, thereby increasing the dog’s survivability by better increasing their chances of being given treats.

    Later, Jimmy starts digging in a backyard, and sees a well-chewed petrified ball with dog saliva and petrified dog poo, and says: I bet some of the first dogs lived and played ball here millions or billions of years ago.

    Billy says: Wait? I thought ball chasing was an evolutionary trait?
    By what premise did you assume that dog treats would actually help the dog survive, when in fact they lower his life expectancy?
    By what experimenation process did you determine or extrapolate the evidence (petrified poo) so as to come to the conclusion that it must have been millions or billions of years ago?
    Is the process verifiable?
    Or are there other natural explanations that it could make the poo much more recent than that?
    If playing catch with the dog can only be done by humans, then does this mean that humans and not a less advanced type of primate had to be present at the same time the petrified poo and petrified ball were in use?

    I could go on, but you get the point, I think.

  • Lou G.

    Just for the sake of arguing, let’s change your scenario up a bit, so it is a tad more relevant.

    Let’s presume a child sees ball.
    He throws ball.
    Spot chases after it.
    Spot brings it back.
    Child reasons: Dogs like chasing balls.

    After 20 years, Jimmy knows that many dogs, not all, like chasing balls, and many, not all, bring them back.

    Jimmy assumes: Dogs have developed the behavior of ball chasing through the evolutionary process, thereby increasing the dog’s survivability by better increasing their chances of being given treats.

    Later, Jimmy starts digging in a backyard, and sees a well-chewed petrified ball with dog saliva and petrified dog poo, and says: I bet some of the first dogs lived and played ball here millions or billions of years ago.

    Billy says: Wait? I thought ball chasing was an evolutionary trait?
    By what premise did you assume that dog treats would actually help the dog survive, when in fact they lower his life expectancy?
    By what experimenation process did you determine or extrapolate the evidence (petrified poo) so as to come to the conclusion that it must have been millions or billions of years ago?
    Is the process verifiable?
    Or are there other natural explanations that it could make the poo much more recent than that?
    If playing catch with the dog can only be done by humans, then does this mean that humans and not a less advanced type of primate had to be present at the same time the petrified poo and petrified ball were in use?

    I could go on, but you get the point, I think.

  • Klasie Kralogies

    Lou, you are guilty of projecting a certain image of scientists you have onto reality. Also, your change in my example takes a massive quantam leap. Science did not work like that, whatever you have been told. Also, the statement “Unfortunately too much of evolutionary theory is based on extrapolation and wishful thinking” is a very, very broad one.

    Let’s break it down into something simpler. Would you care to deconstruct say the geological column? And to make it simpler, I would refer you (I’m too lazy myself) to Kevin N’s excellent summary here: http://geochristian.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/stratigraphic-column-creationism/

    Or maybe you’d like to find fault with radiometric dating: http://geochristian.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/stratigraphic-column-creationism/

    Or maybe you’d like to just make a list of the wrong assumptions?

    Also, I started as a Creationist, looked at the evidence, tried to explain it till I twisted myself in ever so many knots, and in the end admitted to the obvious logic and truth. Did the Holy Spirit deceive me?

  • Klasie Kralogies

    Lou, you are guilty of projecting a certain image of scientists you have onto reality. Also, your change in my example takes a massive quantam leap. Science did not work like that, whatever you have been told. Also, the statement “Unfortunately too much of evolutionary theory is based on extrapolation and wishful thinking” is a very, very broad one.

    Let’s break it down into something simpler. Would you care to deconstruct say the geological column? And to make it simpler, I would refer you (I’m too lazy myself) to Kevin N’s excellent summary here: http://geochristian.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/stratigraphic-column-creationism/

    Or maybe you’d like to find fault with radiometric dating: http://geochristian.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/stratigraphic-column-creationism/

    Or maybe you’d like to just make a list of the wrong assumptions?

    Also, I started as a Creationist, looked at the evidence, tried to explain it till I twisted myself in ever so many knots, and in the end admitted to the obvious logic and truth. Did the Holy Spirit deceive me?

  • Klasie Kralogies
  • Klasie Kralogies
  • Dust

    Lou G. versus KK….boring :(

  • Dust

    Lou G. versus KK….boring :(

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust, your comment explains a lot.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust, your comment explains a lot.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg: So then you’re just a shallow pragmatist.”

    Well, minus my faith, I could be tempted in that direction. I thank the Lord for His mercy there.

    I am just making the point that it is something to examine and understand like anything else. I don’t think we should make prescriptions based on nothing but data. However, noticing what is really going on is a good idea, even though it is just a step in the process, not the sole definitive measure that determines how we take action. Which is why science can’t be a substitute for philosophy. It may or may not be necessary, but it is definitely not sufficient.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “sg: So then you’re just a shallow pragmatist.”

    Well, minus my faith, I could be tempted in that direction. I thank the Lord for His mercy there.

    I am just making the point that it is something to examine and understand like anything else. I don’t think we should make prescriptions based on nothing but data. However, noticing what is really going on is a good idea, even though it is just a step in the process, not the sole definitive measure that determines how we take action. Which is why science can’t be a substitute for philosophy. It may or may not be necessary, but it is definitely not sufficient.

  • Dust

    Well KK at 57…it isn’t like you two are the first to ever have this discussion, do you think? Plus, neither of you are going to change your minds, not over some blog discussion, for gawd’s sake.

    So what’s the point? Perhaps it’s a guy thing, you know, like who has the bigger car, loudest stereo, more evidence and data and a bigger head to understand it and maybe more importantly, explain it to all the little people? Who knows, but in any case, it’s pretty sure neither are going to budge…so it’s boring to read when you know the outcome!

    Personally, Lou G. gets my vote and sympathy, hope he’ll take my advice and give it a rest…..as for you, you clearly have rocks in your head :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    Well KK at 57…it isn’t like you two are the first to ever have this discussion, do you think? Plus, neither of you are going to change your minds, not over some blog discussion, for gawd’s sake.

    So what’s the point? Perhaps it’s a guy thing, you know, like who has the bigger car, loudest stereo, more evidence and data and a bigger head to understand it and maybe more importantly, explain it to all the little people? Who knows, but in any case, it’s pretty sure neither are going to budge…so it’s boring to read when you know the outcome!

    Personally, Lou G. gets my vote and sympathy, hope he’ll take my advice and give it a rest…..as for you, you clearly have rocks in your head :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dust (@59), if you think a conversation is boring, then why in the world are you reading it? Much less contributing to it? And what makes you think a comment like yours (@56) would possibly make the conversation better? And if you really don’t think that anyone is going to change anyone else’s mind, especially on a blog, then why are you trying to do exactly that (@59)?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dust (@59), if you think a conversation is boring, then why in the world are you reading it? Much less contributing to it? And what makes you think a comment like yours (@56) would possibly make the conversation better? And if you really don’t think that anyone is going to change anyone else’s mind, especially on a blog, then why are you trying to do exactly that (@59)?

  • Dust

    tODD….how is it you always pop up and ruin my fun?

  • Dust

    tODD….how is it you always pop up and ruin my fun?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I’ve been busy lately (sort of; I’m on paternity leave, which means my days are both full of sleeplessness and diapers, and yet also full of long stretches of doing nothing, at which point I find myself commenting in spades), so I never got a chance to reply on the previous thread to which both Lou and Klasie refer, so I’m going to jump into the fray now, what with us all being quite off topic, by consensus…

    If I may borrow (and twist) the analogy that Klasie has introduced into this discussion…

    A child comes across a ball in the backyard. It lies some ten feet from the end of a slide, extended out from the slide’s path. The child notes the position of the ball and, after doing some further observing, notes that the blades of grass between the ball and the slide are slightly bent or depressed. He comes to the conclusion that the ball must have rolled down the slide and come to rest in the grass where he found it.

    He does some testing using the same ball and slide and is able to conclude what speed the ball would have to be moving at, at the top of the slide, in order to come to rest where it did. Furthermore, based on the speed at which deformed grass is observed to return to a non-deformed state, he is even able to determine roughly when the ball must have passed the top of the slide before he found it.

    So far, so good. We’ll call that child Kid A.

    Then another child, Kid B, comes along. “How do you know the ball was released from the top of the slide?” he asks. “The ball might have been released from any point on the slide, along with an initial velocity to cause the ball to land where it did. What makes you assume it started at the top?”

    Kid A replies, “Actually, I didn’t say it was ‘released’ from the top. I only determined when it passed that point. I see no evidence whatsoever to read an outside actor into this ball’s motion. As such, the ball clearly wasn’t released at all onto the slide. It must have fallen from a point above the slide.”

    Kid B asks, “Okay, then, who dropped it from above the slide?”

    Kid A replies, “Why do you keep asking about who did something? Why must we bring an outside actor into this? Seeing no evidence of outside actors, we must go off only known processes, such as gravity, friction, and wind resistance. Based on these, I have developed several theories as to where the ball must have left the stratosphere to come to land on the slide and, ultimately, the grass.’

    Kid B then says, “But I have this note from the owner of this backyard. He says he kicked the ball onto the slide.”

    Kid A, “That’s a nicely written note, but that’s not how you do science. You have to observe. You need data. Handwritten notes are not data.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I’ve been busy lately (sort of; I’m on paternity leave, which means my days are both full of sleeplessness and diapers, and yet also full of long stretches of doing nothing, at which point I find myself commenting in spades), so I never got a chance to reply on the previous thread to which both Lou and Klasie refer, so I’m going to jump into the fray now, what with us all being quite off topic, by consensus…

    If I may borrow (and twist) the analogy that Klasie has introduced into this discussion…

    A child comes across a ball in the backyard. It lies some ten feet from the end of a slide, extended out from the slide’s path. The child notes the position of the ball and, after doing some further observing, notes that the blades of grass between the ball and the slide are slightly bent or depressed. He comes to the conclusion that the ball must have rolled down the slide and come to rest in the grass where he found it.

    He does some testing using the same ball and slide and is able to conclude what speed the ball would have to be moving at, at the top of the slide, in order to come to rest where it did. Furthermore, based on the speed at which deformed grass is observed to return to a non-deformed state, he is even able to determine roughly when the ball must have passed the top of the slide before he found it.

    So far, so good. We’ll call that child Kid A.

    Then another child, Kid B, comes along. “How do you know the ball was released from the top of the slide?” he asks. “The ball might have been released from any point on the slide, along with an initial velocity to cause the ball to land where it did. What makes you assume it started at the top?”

    Kid A replies, “Actually, I didn’t say it was ‘released’ from the top. I only determined when it passed that point. I see no evidence whatsoever to read an outside actor into this ball’s motion. As such, the ball clearly wasn’t released at all onto the slide. It must have fallen from a point above the slide.”

    Kid B asks, “Okay, then, who dropped it from above the slide?”

    Kid A replies, “Why do you keep asking about who did something? Why must we bring an outside actor into this? Seeing no evidence of outside actors, we must go off only known processes, such as gravity, friction, and wind resistance. Based on these, I have developed several theories as to where the ball must have left the stratosphere to come to land on the slide and, ultimately, the grass.’

    Kid B then says, “But I have this note from the owner of this backyard. He says he kicked the ball onto the slide.”

    Kid A, “That’s a nicely written note, but that’s not how you do science. You have to observe. You need data. Handwritten notes are not data.”

  • Cincinnatus

    Hooooold on a second. Paternity leave?

  • Cincinnatus

    Hooooold on a second. Paternity leave?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, paternity leave. Criminy, what’s the point of your being on Facebook, Cincinnatus (@63), if you’re going to miss details like that? ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Yes, paternity leave. Criminy, what’s the point of your being on Facebook, Cincinnatus (@63), if you’re going to miss details like that? ;)

  • Dust

    tODD at 62….one word, boring…ha, just kidding :) Actually am going to read this when I have time….am sure it’s not boring in the least. Congrats on paternity leave status!! Blessings to your family during this special and unique time, the joy and hope all wrapped up within baby’s “first Christmas” :)

  • Dust

    tODD at 62….one word, boring…ha, just kidding :) Actually am going to read this when I have time….am sure it’s not boring in the least. Congrats on paternity leave status!! Blessings to your family during this special and unique time, the joy and hope all wrapped up within baby’s “first Christmas” :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, as to Dust: Leave him – everybody that does not agree with him is deluded – see the previous thread.

    As to your current example – except you do not have such a note. You have note from very long ago, long before any of your friends lived in the neighbourhood, written by someone to tell about someone else they knew, in story form, that he is the prime mover of all balls here, as he set up the Great Ball Store accross the road. And not only that, but there are some other note in the attic from folks that lived much closer to the time of the first note authors, that attest to the nature of the facts, namely that the note was written in story form, and that the Store really existed. But being kids, those that discover the story note insist on it all being literal in the nth degree, and bully the other kids till they decide to go and play somewhere else, maybe with that Dawkins kid with the cool toys…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, as to Dust: Leave him – everybody that does not agree with him is deluded – see the previous thread.

    As to your current example – except you do not have such a note. You have note from very long ago, long before any of your friends lived in the neighbourhood, written by someone to tell about someone else they knew, in story form, that he is the prime mover of all balls here, as he set up the Great Ball Store accross the road. And not only that, but there are some other note in the attic from folks that lived much closer to the time of the first note authors, that attest to the nature of the facts, namely that the note was written in story form, and that the Store really existed. But being kids, those that discover the story note insist on it all being literal in the nth degree, and bully the other kids till they decide to go and play somewhere else, maybe with that Dawkins kid with the cool toys…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Here is the catch though, and I remember Webmonk and I going through this with you guys once before. Forget the analogies, forget everything else. Answer two simple questions:
    1. Do we live in a rational universe?
    2. Are we worshipping Loki? – ie, if there is indeed One God, is He a Loving Father, or is he a Trickster?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Here is the catch though, and I remember Webmonk and I going through this with you guys once before. Forget the analogies, forget everything else. Answer two simple questions:
    1. Do we live in a rational universe?
    2. Are we worshipping Loki? – ie, if there is indeed One God, is He a Loving Father, or is he a Trickster?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Indeed, insofar, as some have notes, as Prometheus presents a Christ-like figure within the mythology of ancient Greece, one coulld almost ask: Is your God Promethean, or Lokiean? Choose quickly, for those are the only options.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Indeed, insofar, as some have notes, as Prometheus presents a Christ-like figure within the mythology of ancient Greece, one coulld almost ask: Is your God Promethean, or Lokiean? Choose quickly, for those are the only options.

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  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, Klasie (@67), let’s forget the analogies, by your request, and get to your questions…

    Do we live in a rational universe?

    Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question. At least, without one of us doing a lot of explaining. Because, of course, it all hinges on what you mean by “rational”. Does a “rational” universe preclude any and all miracles? I would assume so. If that’s what you mean by “rational”, then no, we do not live in a rational universe.

    Of course, it’s clear from you that I’m supposed to answer “yes” to this question. And furthermore, I’m pretty sure you believe in miracles. So … I still have no idea what you mean by “rational”.

    Are we worshipping Loki? – ie, if there is indeed One God, is He a Loving Father, or is he a Trickster?

    There’s quite a bit of unnecessary baggage in this question, but it appears to boil down to: “Would God ever deceive us?” Which, of course, requires an unpacking of the word “deceive”.

    And, ultimately, brings us back to the question of miracles. Miracles are, arguably, deceptive. According to your “Loki” sense of the word, that is. I don’t find them deceptive at all, really.

    Consider, as I’m sure you’ve already been asked to consider, the wine that Jesus miraculously made from water. what would the data tell us about such wine? What would the evidence say? The people at the feast used their senses and determined that this was good wine. They did not think it had been made mere minutes ago. They were wrong. They were, as it were, deceived.

    Consider baptism. What do your senses tell you happens in baptism? The person gets wet, and that’s it. There is no other change. This is, in fact, the deception that many Evangelicals are prey to. But they are mistaken. God is working through the water (and the Word).

    Or Communion. What do your senses tell you is there — what does the data say? Bread and wine, and nothing else. What does God tell us is there? Bread and wine, yes, and also Jesus’ body and blood. The person who only perceives bread and wine is deceived as to what is there.

    I could go on, citing other miracles.

    The thing is, in all these cases, the only clue we have as to what really happened is in Scripture. God tells us what happened, contrary to our senses. Our senses would not give us the full story. They would, in fact, lead us to the wrong conclusion. When we read Scripture, we get the full story. But if we do not allow Scripture to inform our deceivable senses, we risk getting the story wrong.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, Klasie (@67), let’s forget the analogies, by your request, and get to your questions…

    Do we live in a rational universe?

    Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question. At least, without one of us doing a lot of explaining. Because, of course, it all hinges on what you mean by “rational”. Does a “rational” universe preclude any and all miracles? I would assume so. If that’s what you mean by “rational”, then no, we do not live in a rational universe.

    Of course, it’s clear from you that I’m supposed to answer “yes” to this question. And furthermore, I’m pretty sure you believe in miracles. So … I still have no idea what you mean by “rational”.

    Are we worshipping Loki? – ie, if there is indeed One God, is He a Loving Father, or is he a Trickster?

    There’s quite a bit of unnecessary baggage in this question, but it appears to boil down to: “Would God ever deceive us?” Which, of course, requires an unpacking of the word “deceive”.

    And, ultimately, brings us back to the question of miracles. Miracles are, arguably, deceptive. According to your “Loki” sense of the word, that is. I don’t find them deceptive at all, really.

    Consider, as I’m sure you’ve already been asked to consider, the wine that Jesus miraculously made from water. what would the data tell us about such wine? What would the evidence say? The people at the feast used their senses and determined that this was good wine. They did not think it had been made mere minutes ago. They were wrong. They were, as it were, deceived.

    Consider baptism. What do your senses tell you happens in baptism? The person gets wet, and that’s it. There is no other change. This is, in fact, the deception that many Evangelicals are prey to. But they are mistaken. God is working through the water (and the Word).

    Or Communion. What do your senses tell you is there — what does the data say? Bread and wine, and nothing else. What does God tell us is there? Bread and wine, yes, and also Jesus’ body and blood. The person who only perceives bread and wine is deceived as to what is there.

    I could go on, citing other miracles.

    The thing is, in all these cases, the only clue we have as to what really happened is in Scripture. God tells us what happened, contrary to our senses. Our senses would not give us the full story. They would, in fact, lead us to the wrong conclusion. When we read Scripture, we get the full story. But if we do not allow Scripture to inform our deceivable senses, we risk getting the story wrong.

  • Dust

    Yes, KK wants piles and piles of evidence and data, yet just one word of the Lord is all that believers require! This is a gulf and void that is filled only by the Holy Spirit to provide us with the evidence of things not yet seen, that is faith. Praise be to God!

    James 1:17

    “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

  • Dust

    Yes, KK wants piles and piles of evidence and data, yet just one word of the Lord is all that believers require! This is a gulf and void that is filled only by the Holy Spirit to provide us with the evidence of things not yet seen, that is faith. Praise be to God!

    James 1:17

    “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

  • Dust

    tODD in 69…..

    “But if we do not allow Scripture to inform our deceivable senses, we risk getting the story wrong.”

    Should be….

    But if we do not allow Scripture to inform our deceivable senses, we GET the story wrong.

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    tODD in 69…..

    “But if we do not allow Scripture to inform our deceivable senses, we risk getting the story wrong.”

    Should be….

    But if we do not allow Scripture to inform our deceivable senses, we GET the story wrong.

    Cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd:

    Ah, the ol’ objection list ;) . I believe I did address the miracle one before, in this thread (http://www.geneveith.com/2011/01/27/something-close-to-a-creationist-and-potentially-evangelical/) – but here is my again comment on the difference between deception and miracle:

    Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception – it is clear and defined. If you really wanted an anaology along those lines, in modern parlance, I would say that it would have been a different case if Jesus produced 2 cases of dusty old bottles of a ’68 Constantia, with the receipt from the vineyard attached, and a delivery van outside. That is what I’m objecting against, if I could stretch the analogy beyond breaking point…

    The same would go for other miracles. And, I would add, if everything is a miracle, as your comment would have it (ie, not what it seems), then nothing is a miracle…

    Baptism and the Eucharist are of an entirely different category here, and generally no helpful in these dabtes. Because we are talking about the presence of a human and divine nature, but leave it, as Lutherans, as a mystery, only to be grasped by faith. By its very definition then you cannot and will not be able to test for it, and Christ makes it clear as such in Scriptures. Thus, no deception, but by faith. I would strongly recommend this be left out of creationist-type debates….

    What I do ask myself is the absolute insistence on a specific literal reading, and the immense logical, and then unlogical, and philosophical and all other kinds of contortions being carried out to preserve that reading, while the more “according to type” reading does not result (or doesn’t need to result) in the loss of faith or theology or tradition.

    Dust: Text, out of context, becomes pretext.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd:

    Ah, the ol’ objection list ;) . I believe I did address the miracle one before, in this thread (http://www.geneveith.com/2011/01/27/something-close-to-a-creationist-and-potentially-evangelical/) – but here is my again comment on the difference between deception and miracle:

    Regarding the Wine at Cana: This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception – it is clear and defined. If you really wanted an anaology along those lines, in modern parlance, I would say that it would have been a different case if Jesus produced 2 cases of dusty old bottles of a ’68 Constantia, with the receipt from the vineyard attached, and a delivery van outside. That is what I’m objecting against, if I could stretch the analogy beyond breaking point…

    The same would go for other miracles. And, I would add, if everything is a miracle, as your comment would have it (ie, not what it seems), then nothing is a miracle…

    Baptism and the Eucharist are of an entirely different category here, and generally no helpful in these dabtes. Because we are talking about the presence of a human and divine nature, but leave it, as Lutherans, as a mystery, only to be grasped by faith. By its very definition then you cannot and will not be able to test for it, and Christ makes it clear as such in Scriptures. Thus, no deception, but by faith. I would strongly recommend this be left out of creationist-type debates….

    What I do ask myself is the absolute insistence on a specific literal reading, and the immense logical, and then unlogical, and philosophical and all other kinds of contortions being carried out to preserve that reading, while the more “according to type” reading does not result (or doesn’t need to result) in the loss of faith or theology or tradition.

    Dust: Text, out of context, becomes pretext.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@72), if you want to refer to the past discussion, fine, but I find it odd that you didn’t go ahead and respond to my response to you there. Shall I just paste it in, now that you’ve pasted in your response from that thread?

    I mean, you say about the wine at Cana:

    This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception – it is clear and defined.

    But as I mentioned on that other thread, that’s not what the account says in the Bible. Here’s the passage that contradicts your assertion:

    The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.

    Pretty certain the banquet master was “deceived” in your reckoning.

    And, I would add, if everything is a miracle, as your comment would have it (ie, not what it seems), then nothing is a miracle…

    This appears to be a straw man argument. Who’s saying that “everything is a miracle”? Not me. But I am saying that creation itself was a miracle. I have a hard time believing that even you would disagree with that.

    God spoke, and out of nothing came, well, everything. We both believe that, don’t we? And we both believe that some of the things God brought into existence were the laws of nature, which have been in effect (minus any subsquent miracles that Scripture tells us about) since then. We both believe that, too. The only question here is what state things were created in.

    Baptism and the Eucharist are of an entirely different category here, and generally no helpful in these dabtes.

    Sorry, but this smacks of dismissal and argument by fiat, not engagement.

    By its very definition then you cannot and will not be able to test for it, and Christ makes it clear as such in Scriptures. Thus, no deception, but by faith.

    I don’t think you make your case here. Why is this not “deception”? The answer appears to be: because you, Klasie, happen to believe it. Miracles that you can accept, based on the words of Scripture, are, to you, not deceptions. But beliefs that others have that rely on a miraculous reading are Scripture — but which you do not share — depict, you claim, a deceptive God. How is this, then, not merely about what you will and will not accept? How is that not the dividing line in your argument?

    What I do ask myself is the absolute insistence on a specific literal reading, and the immense logical, and then unlogical, and philosophical and all other kinds of contortions being carried out to preserve that reading…

    No doubt this is out there, but if you’re applying it to me, you’ve got it wrong. I’m actually sympathetic to your position, to a degree. Being uninterested in the particular branches of science that typically get bandied about in such discussions (e.g. geology, cosmology, biology), I default to a literal six-day understanding. Because it’s the plainest reading of Scripture. But I’m not, as such, insisting on that reading. I know a number of Christians of a scientific bent who do not hold to a six-day creation, and I’m not given to demonizing them or their faith.

    Rather, I think you are overstating your case. In fact, I think the “absolute insistence” is on your part. It is that to which I am reacting and directing my comments.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@72), if you want to refer to the past discussion, fine, but I find it odd that you didn’t go ahead and respond to my response to you there. Shall I just paste it in, now that you’ve pasted in your response from that thread?

    I mean, you say about the wine at Cana:

    This is a bad example, after all, here is Jesus, doing a miracle in front of their eyes. There is no way that is a deception – it is clear and defined.

    But as I mentioned on that other thread, that’s not what the account says in the Bible. Here’s the passage that contradicts your assertion:

    The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.

    Pretty certain the banquet master was “deceived” in your reckoning.

    And, I would add, if everything is a miracle, as your comment would have it (ie, not what it seems), then nothing is a miracle…

    This appears to be a straw man argument. Who’s saying that “everything is a miracle”? Not me. But I am saying that creation itself was a miracle. I have a hard time believing that even you would disagree with that.

    God spoke, and out of nothing came, well, everything. We both believe that, don’t we? And we both believe that some of the things God brought into existence were the laws of nature, which have been in effect (minus any subsquent miracles that Scripture tells us about) since then. We both believe that, too. The only question here is what state things were created in.

    Baptism and the Eucharist are of an entirely different category here, and generally no helpful in these dabtes.

    Sorry, but this smacks of dismissal and argument by fiat, not engagement.

    By its very definition then you cannot and will not be able to test for it, and Christ makes it clear as such in Scriptures. Thus, no deception, but by faith.

    I don’t think you make your case here. Why is this not “deception”? The answer appears to be: because you, Klasie, happen to believe it. Miracles that you can accept, based on the words of Scripture, are, to you, not deceptions. But beliefs that others have that rely on a miraculous reading are Scripture — but which you do not share — depict, you claim, a deceptive God. How is this, then, not merely about what you will and will not accept? How is that not the dividing line in your argument?

    What I do ask myself is the absolute insistence on a specific literal reading, and the immense logical, and then unlogical, and philosophical and all other kinds of contortions being carried out to preserve that reading…

    No doubt this is out there, but if you’re applying it to me, you’ve got it wrong. I’m actually sympathetic to your position, to a degree. Being uninterested in the particular branches of science that typically get bandied about in such discussions (e.g. geology, cosmology, biology), I default to a literal six-day understanding. Because it’s the plainest reading of Scripture. But I’m not, as such, insisting on that reading. I know a number of Christians of a scientific bent who do not hold to a six-day creation, and I’m not given to demonizing them or their faith.

    Rather, I think you are overstating your case. In fact, I think the “absolute insistence” is on your part. It is that to which I am reacting and directing my comments.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, so, let us go back to that miracle. There still is no attempt at deception. Not telling is something different than telling a lie. Christ made the wine. Fine. when they investigated, they found out that Christ made the wine. They did NOT discover the empty bottles, tire marks etc. Creation is something like the latter.

    The argument you are promulgating (maybe unintentinally) is something like the appearance of age argument – namely that although everything appears old, although we have millions of fossils in a particular order in the geological strata (simple to complicated, it’s there right in front of our eyes), although we have radio isotopes which agree with the fossil story, although clastic sedimentation rates, chemical sedimentation rates, data from massive volcanic and magmatic extrusions and intrusions, cosmogenic isotopes and and and…. all of these things tell a particular story – we must say – no, it is all balderdash and junk, because, my reading, which I believe is the simplest reading, is correct, tells me otherwise? But you know what? All the logical processes which led to the stories about fossils and isotopes and sedimentation rates and cosmogenic istopes and volcanoes and evcolution and and and are no different, not in kind, not in process, than the processes that led to me typing on this keyboard, causing electrons to do weird and wonderful things, causing folks like Dust and Lou and Larry and hopefully not you having many strokes behind their keyboards while they read it. It is thus also no different in kind than the logical process which enables you to see a symbol on a page recall what that symbol normally means and interpret the word on that page.

    IE

    you may be disregarding the painstaking results of massive logical processes that are not isolated flashes in the pan by wierdo Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs, but by millions of professionals who earn their bread and butter, in academia and industry, all eager to make their names by disproving the next guy – in many, many disciplines. If so, you would barely have the right to claim anything means anything, and you would be sitting at the bottom of the epistemological well with my favourite knifeless German philosopher, but unable to communicate, because, who knows if you can trust even the words that you say or hear, or read, because it is all afflicted by human reason.

    Sorry for the rant, but that is the Reductio of that argument. That is the reductio of a world in which we can ignore things because they do not agree with what we (think we) believe. It is a world that sinks into epistemological chaos. I have been there, by the way. I have the T-shirt. I have no desire to go back into the Chaos.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, so, let us go back to that miracle. There still is no attempt at deception. Not telling is something different than telling a lie. Christ made the wine. Fine. when they investigated, they found out that Christ made the wine. They did NOT discover the empty bottles, tire marks etc. Creation is something like the latter.

    The argument you are promulgating (maybe unintentinally) is something like the appearance of age argument – namely that although everything appears old, although we have millions of fossils in a particular order in the geological strata (simple to complicated, it’s there right in front of our eyes), although we have radio isotopes which agree with the fossil story, although clastic sedimentation rates, chemical sedimentation rates, data from massive volcanic and magmatic extrusions and intrusions, cosmogenic isotopes and and and…. all of these things tell a particular story – we must say – no, it is all balderdash and junk, because, my reading, which I believe is the simplest reading, is correct, tells me otherwise? But you know what? All the logical processes which led to the stories about fossils and isotopes and sedimentation rates and cosmogenic istopes and volcanoes and evcolution and and and are no different, not in kind, not in process, than the processes that led to me typing on this keyboard, causing electrons to do weird and wonderful things, causing folks like Dust and Lou and Larry and hopefully not you having many strokes behind their keyboards while they read it. It is thus also no different in kind than the logical process which enables you to see a symbol on a page recall what that symbol normally means and interpret the word on that page.

    IE

    you may be disregarding the painstaking results of massive logical processes that are not isolated flashes in the pan by wierdo Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs, but by millions of professionals who earn their bread and butter, in academia and industry, all eager to make their names by disproving the next guy – in many, many disciplines. If so, you would barely have the right to claim anything means anything, and you would be sitting at the bottom of the epistemological well with my favourite knifeless German philosopher, but unable to communicate, because, who knows if you can trust even the words that you say or hear, or read, because it is all afflicted by human reason.

    Sorry for the rant, but that is the Reductio of that argument. That is the reductio of a world in which we can ignore things because they do not agree with what we (think we) believe. It is a world that sinks into epistemological chaos. I have been there, by the way. I have the T-shirt. I have no desire to go back into the Chaos.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    If we move away from the actual argument a bit, let me explain something.

    This is like someone (yes, I’m going to make a flat earth comparison, don’t shoot me) – saying: The Bible says the earth stands on pillars, therefore it stands on pillars, and thus it is flat, and if you, or science, say anything else, you are delusional, because I am reading it according to the simplest meaning possible.

    So along I come, and not only have I been around it on a plane, but also on a boat, and I have met Neil Armstrong. Thus I say – I have evdience and data to the contrary, from a scientific point of view (Astronomy, physics), but lots of people have seen real data. No, they say, the roundness is illusionary, and travelling around the world is just travelling in a circle on a disk. No, I say, we launched this satelite, and following Newton’s laws of motion – no, they interrupt, Newton is just a human, but God’s word says it, therefore we believe it!!! OK, we say, but how about us going around the sun, then – no they say, the sun and the stars go around us, becuuase how else would they have stood still, etc . Anyway, it is all literal. What about a poetic readin we say, because if you read contemporary near-eastern Creation and flood myths, you would see lots of pillar like images, so the author was drawing on common ideas of the times to make his point – NO no no, they say, you are just a liberal theologian trying to obscure the plain literal reading of Scripture!!!!
    Ok, we say, as we walk away……..

    Make no mistake, it is EXACTLY the same. See why someone like me, or Webmonk, can get so intensely frustrated??

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    If we move away from the actual argument a bit, let me explain something.

    This is like someone (yes, I’m going to make a flat earth comparison, don’t shoot me) – saying: The Bible says the earth stands on pillars, therefore it stands on pillars, and thus it is flat, and if you, or science, say anything else, you are delusional, because I am reading it according to the simplest meaning possible.

    So along I come, and not only have I been around it on a plane, but also on a boat, and I have met Neil Armstrong. Thus I say – I have evdience and data to the contrary, from a scientific point of view (Astronomy, physics), but lots of people have seen real data. No, they say, the roundness is illusionary, and travelling around the world is just travelling in a circle on a disk. No, I say, we launched this satelite, and following Newton’s laws of motion – no, they interrupt, Newton is just a human, but God’s word says it, therefore we believe it!!! OK, we say, but how about us going around the sun, then – no they say, the sun and the stars go around us, becuuase how else would they have stood still, etc . Anyway, it is all literal. What about a poetic readin we say, because if you read contemporary near-eastern Creation and flood myths, you would see lots of pillar like images, so the author was drawing on common ideas of the times to make his point – NO no no, they say, you are just a liberal theologian trying to obscure the plain literal reading of Scripture!!!!
    Ok, we say, as we walk away……..

    Make no mistake, it is EXACTLY the same. See why someone like me, or Webmonk, can get so intensely frustrated??

  • Glenn

    “you may be disregarding the painstaking results of massive logical processes that are not isolated flashes in the pan by wierdo Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs, but by millions of professionals who earn their bread and butter, in academia and industry, all eager to make their names by disproving the next guy – in many, many disciplines. If so, you would barely have the right to claim anything means anything”

    Except if those “Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs” try to make the assertion that the process by which WE came into being was irrational, meaningless, random slime.
    Then of course, we would have to rebuke them outright for claiming to be scientists at all.

  • Glenn

    “you may be disregarding the painstaking results of massive logical processes that are not isolated flashes in the pan by wierdo Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs, but by millions of professionals who earn their bread and butter, in academia and industry, all eager to make their names by disproving the next guy – in many, many disciplines. If so, you would barely have the right to claim anything means anything”

    Except if those “Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs” try to make the assertion that the process by which WE came into being was irrational, meaningless, random slime.
    Then of course, we would have to rebuke them outright for claiming to be scientists at all.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sigh…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sigh…..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Glenn – if God is the Originator of everything, then He originated all processes, random or not, from slime or not, and nothing is meaningless. But meaning is in the eye of the beholder, or should I say, Beholder. And since He is outside time and space, randomness to us is not randomness to Him, and we cannot really comprehend the role of the Originator in the originated (noun), even where ‘randomness’ is concerned. But we can accept by faith the principles of that which He tought us, namely, that He loves us, here, in time and space. So much, that the Eternal became temporal and local, for us, here, etc etc……

    So your little slander is just that, a little slander by someone who has not really thought matters through….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Glenn – if God is the Originator of everything, then He originated all processes, random or not, from slime or not, and nothing is meaningless. But meaning is in the eye of the beholder, or should I say, Beholder. And since He is outside time and space, randomness to us is not randomness to Him, and we cannot really comprehend the role of the Originator in the originated (noun), even where ‘randomness’ is concerned. But we can accept by faith the principles of that which He tought us, namely, that He loves us, here, in time and space. So much, that the Eternal became temporal and local, for us, here, etc etc……

    So your little slander is just that, a little slander by someone who has not really thought matters through….

  • Dust

    Yes, are those the same “white coated” science dudes that gave the world such wonderful blessing such as agent orange, the nuclear bomb, frontal lobotomies, eugenics, etc. not to mention the internal combustion engine and oil extraction and refinement industry that is killing the planet (you know, like they do so well up in Alberta mate), not to mention nuclear waste that will be around until the second coming, mountain top coal mining (it wasn’t the MBA’s that invented the technique or machinery, now was it?) and on and on…..

    So one description of science in and of itself is about wanting to know how things work, great…but why? Usually so they can exploit them, some might call it even rape….rape the planet of it’s God created beauty and resources, usually for huge profits they generally don’t redistribute to the needy. Why should they after all, they are the ones who came up with these great ideas that have improved the world and our way of life so much…we should be grateful to them, bow down and adore them and their big brains and all their glorious machines?

    Don’t get me wrong, science can do wonderful things, but in the wrong hands and without knowing the unintended consequences, it often gets things wrong and really messes things up too…..how will science explain that? Perhaps it isn’t the fault of the innocent and white coat dude (white to represent purity, oh behave) it was the devil that made them do it :)

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Yes, are those the same “white coated” science dudes that gave the world such wonderful blessing such as agent orange, the nuclear bomb, frontal lobotomies, eugenics, etc. not to mention the internal combustion engine and oil extraction and refinement industry that is killing the planet (you know, like they do so well up in Alberta mate), not to mention nuclear waste that will be around until the second coming, mountain top coal mining (it wasn’t the MBA’s that invented the technique or machinery, now was it?) and on and on…..

    So one description of science in and of itself is about wanting to know how things work, great…but why? Usually so they can exploit them, some might call it even rape….rape the planet of it’s God created beauty and resources, usually for huge profits they generally don’t redistribute to the needy. Why should they after all, they are the ones who came up with these great ideas that have improved the world and our way of life so much…we should be grateful to them, bow down and adore them and their big brains and all their glorious machines?

    Don’t get me wrong, science can do wonderful things, but in the wrong hands and without knowing the unintended consequences, it often gets things wrong and really messes things up too…..how will science explain that? Perhaps it isn’t the fault of the innocent and white coat dude (white to represent purity, oh behave) it was the devil that made them do it :)

    Cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Actually those things were done by evil engineers, not scientists.. :)
    Seriously though, that argument show such cognitive dissonance that it defies descption.

    So when are you returning to the stone age?

    Oh, I forgot, you can also hurt someone with a stone.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Actually those things were done by evil engineers, not scientists.. :)
    Seriously though, that argument show such cognitive dissonance that it defies descption.

    So when are you returning to the stone age?

    Oh, I forgot, you can also hurt someone with a stone.

  • Dust

    well the scientist, or someone like them, invents the lite bulb and it takes 10 evil engineers to put one in the socket :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    well the scientist, or someone like them, invents the lite bulb and it takes 10 evil engineers to put one in the socket :)

    cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust, step away from the computer. It is evil technology invented by scientists. And it is made from stuff that has been mined (horrors!), from deposits found by evil geologists like me (ahhhh!)… Run boy run! They are everywhere!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust, step away from the computer. It is evil technology invented by scientists. And it is made from stuff that has been mined (horrors!), from deposits found by evil geologists like me (ahhhh!)… Run boy run! They are everywhere!

  • Glenn

    Slander must be an untrue statement. I made a conditional (if, then) statement. So, who is guilty of slander?

  • Glenn

    Slander must be an untrue statement. I made a conditional (if, then) statement. So, who is guilty of slander?

  • Glenn

    Lou, nice job – especially #49, #50, #53.

  • Glenn

    Lou, nice job – especially #49, #50, #53.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    If x says y, he is stupid, and cannot be x. All x says y. Therefore…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    If x says y, he is stupid, and cannot be x. All x says y. Therefore…

  • Dust

    …therefore KK is stupid? I dunno….but don’t you just love these childish name calling games :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    …therefore KK is stupid? I dunno….but don’t you just love these childish name calling games :)

    cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Should be “say y”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Should be “say y”

  • Dust

    So seriously KK….in your system, God did not create a little seed, say of a mustard tree, that contained all the material and information it needed to grow into a mature tree. Am not sure if you are saying he could not have created it, but the seeds we find now on this planet are ones that evolved over time with everything else?

    So, if we could unwind the evolution of this planet and the universe all the way back to time zero, you are saying, or it’s your position, that at that point God created the seed of the universe, if you will, from which everything we see around us must have had its roots, so to speak.

    Is that a simple explanation of your beliefs, in a nutshell :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    So seriously KK….in your system, God did not create a little seed, say of a mustard tree, that contained all the material and information it needed to grow into a mature tree. Am not sure if you are saying he could not have created it, but the seeds we find now on this planet are ones that evolved over time with everything else?

    So, if we could unwind the evolution of this planet and the universe all the way back to time zero, you are saying, or it’s your position, that at that point God created the seed of the universe, if you will, from which everything we see around us must have had its roots, so to speak.

    Is that a simple explanation of your beliefs, in a nutshell :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    Guess I should have elaborated on the evolution of the universe….so once God had his big bang moment, all the matter and mass and all the information and rules for how it would go from that little nothingness (the seed of the universe, if you don’t mind) to what we have now was all contained and arranged to be so, perhaps predestined to turn out this way. In other words, it did something like what the mustard seed would do…it just did it’s thing, the way it was created, designed, what ever to do, and out popped the universe…well, many, many years later!

    This is meant of course to be a gross simplification of the process, needless to say, but does it have any merit? Am asking because it sounds to me like you do give the Father credit for making the universe, but you prefer to have him done it over many years and constrained to the laws of physics and biology and chemistry, blah blah, blah as we know them now, and allowing the universe to unfold in that manner?

  • Dust

    Guess I should have elaborated on the evolution of the universe….so once God had his big bang moment, all the matter and mass and all the information and rules for how it would go from that little nothingness (the seed of the universe, if you don’t mind) to what we have now was all contained and arranged to be so, perhaps predestined to turn out this way. In other words, it did something like what the mustard seed would do…it just did it’s thing, the way it was created, designed, what ever to do, and out popped the universe…well, many, many years later!

    This is meant of course to be a gross simplification of the process, needless to say, but does it have any merit? Am asking because it sounds to me like you do give the Father credit for making the universe, but you prefer to have him done it over many years and constrained to the laws of physics and biology and chemistry, blah blah, blah as we know them now, and allowing the universe to unfold in that manner?

  • Dust

    Continuing on….so in this simple system, one could say God did create the mustard seed, but it was buried very deeply inside all that raw material and it just took billions and billions, if not trillions and trillions (really who is counting anyway) of years of evolutionary processes, for it to come out of it’s shell, if you will, and become the mustard seed that we see today?

    But in this sense, it’s an important distinction to note that God did not create the mustard seed instaneously, but rather had it evolve over the years, as the end result of all of these many different processes. He may have known beforehand that this process would produce the mustard seed, he may have designed all the rules and matter necessary to do it, with the mustard seed in mind, as well as everything else we have in the universe. But if I read what you wrote correctly (and forgive me am if not) what may appear to some to be a random process (am supposing you mean the process of biological evolution, the so called randomness of natural selection and genetic mutation…gosh, if those are even the processes discussed nowadays) is not randomness to God. In other words, if I may, he foreknew all the outcomes of his evolution and set in motion just the right combination of raw materials and just the right set of rules of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc. and all rational by the way, which were predestined to produce the mustard seed and everything else. Whew, think am repeating myself, sorry. Guess just wanted to emphasize that the existence of the mustard seed we see today, did not happen as a result of an instantaneous creation, but took time and effort, etc. etc. And so it goes for everything else that exists in the universe….

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Continuing on….so in this simple system, one could say God did create the mustard seed, but it was buried very deeply inside all that raw material and it just took billions and billions, if not trillions and trillions (really who is counting anyway) of years of evolutionary processes, for it to come out of it’s shell, if you will, and become the mustard seed that we see today?

    But in this sense, it’s an important distinction to note that God did not create the mustard seed instaneously, but rather had it evolve over the years, as the end result of all of these many different processes. He may have known beforehand that this process would produce the mustard seed, he may have designed all the rules and matter necessary to do it, with the mustard seed in mind, as well as everything else we have in the universe. But if I read what you wrote correctly (and forgive me am if not) what may appear to some to be a random process (am supposing you mean the process of biological evolution, the so called randomness of natural selection and genetic mutation…gosh, if those are even the processes discussed nowadays) is not randomness to God. In other words, if I may, he foreknew all the outcomes of his evolution and set in motion just the right combination of raw materials and just the right set of rules of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc. and all rational by the way, which were predestined to produce the mustard seed and everything else. Whew, think am repeating myself, sorry. Guess just wanted to emphasize that the existence of the mustard seed we see today, did not happen as a result of an instantaneous creation, but took time and effort, etc. etc. And so it goes for everything else that exists in the universe….

    Cheers!

  • Glenn

    #85… therefore.. so that’s your agrument? And you accused me of slander? my, my.

  • Glenn

    #85… therefore.. so that’s your agrument? And you accused me of slander? my, my.

  • Dust

    OK in lieu of any reply will continue…..

    In either scenario, it seems to me God created some sort of seed, either the mustard seed itself, or the seed that created the entire universe, including the mustard seed. Guess we certainly can’t put ourselves in the mind of God to contemplate which might have been the more difficult creation, but using basic reasoning, it would seem to me, at least with respect to my abilities to make things, like say a set of wine racks versus a communications satellite, that it would seem more reasonable to assume that the more complex seed was the more difficult to create. Guess one reason just might be because it contains the other seed and countless more besides. Of course, on the other hand, it may have actually been the easier one, since it required only one seed to make all the others, whereas the other way, would have required the creation of uncountable, individual seeds, not just for each plant, but for each animal, insect, etc. not to mention all the elements in the periodic table, blah, blah, blah.

    Guess in the final analysis, either way is pretty miraculous, so why would one way be preferable to the other to you? My guess is it has something to do with your concept of “deception” as a critical element of something worthy of your respect. If God had created this world as we find it, yet all the science of geologists and biologists and others tend to argue against that, on the basis of the evidence of an evolutionary and long aged earth, than that model has a certain quality of “deception” about it, and that is not good. On the other hand, the seed of the big bang creation does not have that quality of “deception” about it? Well honestly, at least as we can tell.

    But anyway, is this sort of what is behind your view of the creation of the universe? Sounds ok to me although it has some problems with scripture and other things, but we can save that for another day :)

  • Dust

    OK in lieu of any reply will continue…..

    In either scenario, it seems to me God created some sort of seed, either the mustard seed itself, or the seed that created the entire universe, including the mustard seed. Guess we certainly can’t put ourselves in the mind of God to contemplate which might have been the more difficult creation, but using basic reasoning, it would seem to me, at least with respect to my abilities to make things, like say a set of wine racks versus a communications satellite, that it would seem more reasonable to assume that the more complex seed was the more difficult to create. Guess one reason just might be because it contains the other seed and countless more besides. Of course, on the other hand, it may have actually been the easier one, since it required only one seed to make all the others, whereas the other way, would have required the creation of uncountable, individual seeds, not just for each plant, but for each animal, insect, etc. not to mention all the elements in the periodic table, blah, blah, blah.

    Guess in the final analysis, either way is pretty miraculous, so why would one way be preferable to the other to you? My guess is it has something to do with your concept of “deception” as a critical element of something worthy of your respect. If God had created this world as we find it, yet all the science of geologists and biologists and others tend to argue against that, on the basis of the evidence of an evolutionary and long aged earth, than that model has a certain quality of “deception” about it, and that is not good. On the other hand, the seed of the big bang creation does not have that quality of “deception” about it? Well honestly, at least as we can tell.

    But anyway, is this sort of what is behind your view of the creation of the universe? Sounds ok to me although it has some problems with scripture and other things, but we can save that for another day :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Get back to you guys tomorrow, baking stuff for school event tonight…. so pile it on, and make it good, rebuttal tomorrow morning, DV.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Get back to you guys tomorrow, baking stuff for school event tonight…. so pile it on, and make it good, rebuttal tomorrow morning, DV.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@74):

    Todd, so, let us go back to that miracle. There still is no attempt at deception. Not telling is something different than telling a lie.

    Look, I’m not expecting you to agree to the conclusion I’m pointing to with this particular example, but I really feel you’re not even getting the point I’m making, or you’re intentionally missing it.

    Read John 2 again. We are never told that the master of the banquet discovered the true story of the miraculous wine’s provenance. He was, in a very real sense — to use your phrase — deceived as to the nature of this wine. The wine had physical and chemical properties that were, quite simply, created ex nihilo. The wine itself was the apparent result of a chemical reaction involving yeast and grapes that never existed — though all logic, and it would seem, any potential testing, would obviously have dictated otherwise. Of course, the only testing which Scripture mentions is the (refined, it would seem) palate of the banquet master. Still, the wine was, as you would have it, a lie. It didn’t come from grapes. There never were any grapes. It came from water. It had the appearance, as does all wine — much less the “best” wine — of age. You can’t make wine in the period of a day, much less the shorter time span implied by the story. All logic and testing pointed to the wine being much, much older than it was. I really don’t see how this is difficult to understand.

    You keep wanting to make the “false evidence” claim about other things that aren’t mentioned in the biblical account — “empty bottles, tire marks etc.” — but I don’t understand why. The whole point is that the wine itself contained any number of possible “deceptions” as to its true nature. The only way anyone could have known the truth about the wine was to be present at the wine’s creation (as the servants were), or to read Scripture’s account (or some secondhand combination of these).

    The argument you are promulgating (maybe unintentinally) is something like the appearance of age argument – namely that although everything appears old, although we have millions of fossils in a particular order in the geological strata (simple to complicated, it’s there right in front of our eyes), although we have radio isotopes which agree with the fossil story, although clastic sedimentation rates, chemical sedimentation rates…

    Yes, I get this. It is, in fact, intentional. Again, the wine in the miracle above also had the appearance of age. Because there’s no such thing as wine that was made in a matter of seconds/minutes/hours, much less from water alone. The wine would have had any number of chemicals which are only formed during a lengthy fermentation process. Even though there was never any sugar-bearing fruit, nor any yeast. All of the chemicals in the wine — the same chemicals which the banquet master’s tongue detected and declared as akin to those found in the “best” wine — also tell a particular story, as it were. But Scripture tells us that the scientific analysis of the wine would have been, quite simply, dead wrong. It was not months or years old. It had been made that day. From water. This is the nature of miracles.

    And had there been an ur-scientist there that day, he would have almost certainly argued as you are here, that no, the chemical analysis clearly indicates that this liquid was not made from solely water, nor was it made today. Because he would have refused to believe in the miraculous intervention of which Scripture tells us.

    It makes me honestly wonder what you think of, well, the miracles in the Bible. Do you believe any of them? I have to honestly ask, without that intending to come across as merely slander. Because if you believe in miracles, then you necessarily believe in physical things manifesting a scientific story that is false. That fig tree was perfectly healthy a few days ago. That man really was congenitally blind. And so on and so on. Do you believe these Bible stories are literally true, Klasie?

    Because right now, you seem to be arguing that the only true miracles in the Bible are those with an untestable, spiritual hypothesis — namely, the sacraments. And the rest, as apparently typified by creation, are but merely allegorical? But there are so many miracles attested to in the Bible with physical (i.e. scientifically testable) claims! These miracles — are they deceptions from God?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@74):

    Todd, so, let us go back to that miracle. There still is no attempt at deception. Not telling is something different than telling a lie.

    Look, I’m not expecting you to agree to the conclusion I’m pointing to with this particular example, but I really feel you’re not even getting the point I’m making, or you’re intentionally missing it.

    Read John 2 again. We are never told that the master of the banquet discovered the true story of the miraculous wine’s provenance. He was, in a very real sense — to use your phrase — deceived as to the nature of this wine. The wine had physical and chemical properties that were, quite simply, created ex nihilo. The wine itself was the apparent result of a chemical reaction involving yeast and grapes that never existed — though all logic, and it would seem, any potential testing, would obviously have dictated otherwise. Of course, the only testing which Scripture mentions is the (refined, it would seem) palate of the banquet master. Still, the wine was, as you would have it, a lie. It didn’t come from grapes. There never were any grapes. It came from water. It had the appearance, as does all wine — much less the “best” wine — of age. You can’t make wine in the period of a day, much less the shorter time span implied by the story. All logic and testing pointed to the wine being much, much older than it was. I really don’t see how this is difficult to understand.

    You keep wanting to make the “false evidence” claim about other things that aren’t mentioned in the biblical account — “empty bottles, tire marks etc.” — but I don’t understand why. The whole point is that the wine itself contained any number of possible “deceptions” as to its true nature. The only way anyone could have known the truth about the wine was to be present at the wine’s creation (as the servants were), or to read Scripture’s account (or some secondhand combination of these).

    The argument you are promulgating (maybe unintentinally) is something like the appearance of age argument – namely that although everything appears old, although we have millions of fossils in a particular order in the geological strata (simple to complicated, it’s there right in front of our eyes), although we have radio isotopes which agree with the fossil story, although clastic sedimentation rates, chemical sedimentation rates…

    Yes, I get this. It is, in fact, intentional. Again, the wine in the miracle above also had the appearance of age. Because there’s no such thing as wine that was made in a matter of seconds/minutes/hours, much less from water alone. The wine would have had any number of chemicals which are only formed during a lengthy fermentation process. Even though there was never any sugar-bearing fruit, nor any yeast. All of the chemicals in the wine — the same chemicals which the banquet master’s tongue detected and declared as akin to those found in the “best” wine — also tell a particular story, as it were. But Scripture tells us that the scientific analysis of the wine would have been, quite simply, dead wrong. It was not months or years old. It had been made that day. From water. This is the nature of miracles.

    And had there been an ur-scientist there that day, he would have almost certainly argued as you are here, that no, the chemical analysis clearly indicates that this liquid was not made from solely water, nor was it made today. Because he would have refused to believe in the miraculous intervention of which Scripture tells us.

    It makes me honestly wonder what you think of, well, the miracles in the Bible. Do you believe any of them? I have to honestly ask, without that intending to come across as merely slander. Because if you believe in miracles, then you necessarily believe in physical things manifesting a scientific story that is false. That fig tree was perfectly healthy a few days ago. That man really was congenitally blind. And so on and so on. Do you believe these Bible stories are literally true, Klasie?

    Because right now, you seem to be arguing that the only true miracles in the Bible are those with an untestable, spiritual hypothesis — namely, the sacraments. And the rest, as apparently typified by creation, are but merely allegorical? But there are so many miracles attested to in the Bible with physical (i.e. scientifically testable) claims! These miracles — are they deceptions from God?

  • Dust

    One more thought, hopefully my last on this, but was thinking a major difference between a mustard seed germinating and over time coming into being as a mature tree, and the “seed of the universe” if it’s ok to use that analogy, is that as miraculous as it is that a tree can grow from an inanimate object and collection of very simple molecules, that is to say, the seed, into the complex and huge, living organism, all without the need of adult supervision or evil engineers (joking) to guide and supervise the process, and no factory to produce and deliver all the different individual parts, as is done with human construction projects, but nature has coded everything needed to transition from seed to tree, all on its own (and by the way, every tree is virtually identical except for normal variations), this process of transition from seed to tree began with the existence of the seed in the first place. On the other hand, the seed that started the universe did not even exist in time and space, but it came into being from nothing…well, nothing except the word of God, which really should not be called nothing, but you get my point? First nothing, then the word, then the big bang, then the evolution over lots and lots of time and now this is the end.

    If you don’t mind me saying, who’s to say the seed of the universe just wasn’t the end result of some experiment by an exceptionally brilliant other life form? Not trying to be snarky or sneaky or deceptive or sarcastic or trying to cause trouble, but really, how would we know who really started all of it? If it’s a process that over time could be understood, then perhaps there is an intelligence, most likely much greater than ours, who studied those processes and understands all of them, and like our scientists of today, figured out how to duplicate them? Wow, at least it could be a good science fiction book :)

  • Dust

    One more thought, hopefully my last on this, but was thinking a major difference between a mustard seed germinating and over time coming into being as a mature tree, and the “seed of the universe” if it’s ok to use that analogy, is that as miraculous as it is that a tree can grow from an inanimate object and collection of very simple molecules, that is to say, the seed, into the complex and huge, living organism, all without the need of adult supervision or evil engineers (joking) to guide and supervise the process, and no factory to produce and deliver all the different individual parts, as is done with human construction projects, but nature has coded everything needed to transition from seed to tree, all on its own (and by the way, every tree is virtually identical except for normal variations), this process of transition from seed to tree began with the existence of the seed in the first place. On the other hand, the seed that started the universe did not even exist in time and space, but it came into being from nothing…well, nothing except the word of God, which really should not be called nothing, but you get my point? First nothing, then the word, then the big bang, then the evolution over lots and lots of time and now this is the end.

    If you don’t mind me saying, who’s to say the seed of the universe just wasn’t the end result of some experiment by an exceptionally brilliant other life form? Not trying to be snarky or sneaky or deceptive or sarcastic or trying to cause trouble, but really, how would we know who really started all of it? If it’s a process that over time could be understood, then perhaps there is an intelligence, most likely much greater than ours, who studied those processes and understands all of them, and like our scientists of today, figured out how to duplicate them? Wow, at least it could be a good science fiction book :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@75), yes, the “pillar” example is a good one, and one that makes me extremely disinclined to completely shoot down people such as yourself who argue for an “old earth”.

    I have made this point before somewhere, but let me make it here again. There is a continuum of Bible reading that runs from the “no, literally, everything is literal” school to “none of it actually ever happened, and everything is merely allegorical or metaphorical”. The latter is quite certainly deep into heresy, and the former, if maybe not quite heresy, is at least deeply, deeply mistaken.

    I believe that you and I — and, practically speaking, all Christians — fall somewhere in-between. There are things in the Bible we understand as metaphorical (often the Bible itself makes it clear this is so), and there are things we read as literally true, no matter how spectacular/miraculous/supernatural/nutty the claim. No one here is truly arguing for either pole on this spectrum.

    But here’s what gets me so “intensely frustrated”: that you, among others, do not seem to concede that you do, in fact, believe — in the same manner as those you criticize — in miraculous occurences which can only be known through the Scriptures. You, too, are a nutter in the eyes of the scientific community. Because you believe in a physically resurrected Savior, something of which science knows nothing. At least, I pray you do. And, even if you think it “unhelpful” for me to mention it, you believe that that Savior’s body is present when you take Communion — and no, not just “spiritually” present. Not if you’re a Lutheran, that is. And you believe in trees that withered for no reason, wine that was not made from grapes, and on and on.

    Again, or at least I hope so. I hope that you believe that God is capable of doing miracles that go against nature and nature’s laws (this is, of course, the very point of miracles) — and not just capable, but that he has done so and recorded some of them for us in order to testify about himself. If you cannot, along with us would-be flat-earthers (as you’d have it) occasionally shrug as you read your Bible and take one on the chin from the hardcore scientists, then, frankly, I’m concerned for you.

    But if, like me, you read some accounts in the Bible as literal, and others as metaphorical, and you can admit that, then, well, we’re just having a discussion about where that line is, aren’t we?

    But I’m not nearly so vehement in maintaining a literal six-day reading as you appear to me to be vehement in denying it. And if we’re arguing that strict vehemence is “so intensely frustrating”, then, well, you get my animus in this discussion. Because that ball’s in your court, I would argue.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@75), yes, the “pillar” example is a good one, and one that makes me extremely disinclined to completely shoot down people such as yourself who argue for an “old earth”.

    I have made this point before somewhere, but let me make it here again. There is a continuum of Bible reading that runs from the “no, literally, everything is literal” school to “none of it actually ever happened, and everything is merely allegorical or metaphorical”. The latter is quite certainly deep into heresy, and the former, if maybe not quite heresy, is at least deeply, deeply mistaken.

    I believe that you and I — and, practically speaking, all Christians — fall somewhere in-between. There are things in the Bible we understand as metaphorical (often the Bible itself makes it clear this is so), and there are things we read as literally true, no matter how spectacular/miraculous/supernatural/nutty the claim. No one here is truly arguing for either pole on this spectrum.

    But here’s what gets me so “intensely frustrated”: that you, among others, do not seem to concede that you do, in fact, believe — in the same manner as those you criticize — in miraculous occurences which can only be known through the Scriptures. You, too, are a nutter in the eyes of the scientific community. Because you believe in a physically resurrected Savior, something of which science knows nothing. At least, I pray you do. And, even if you think it “unhelpful” for me to mention it, you believe that that Savior’s body is present when you take Communion — and no, not just “spiritually” present. Not if you’re a Lutheran, that is. And you believe in trees that withered for no reason, wine that was not made from grapes, and on and on.

    Again, or at least I hope so. I hope that you believe that God is capable of doing miracles that go against nature and nature’s laws (this is, of course, the very point of miracles) — and not just capable, but that he has done so and recorded some of them for us in order to testify about himself. If you cannot, along with us would-be flat-earthers (as you’d have it) occasionally shrug as you read your Bible and take one on the chin from the hardcore scientists, then, frankly, I’m concerned for you.

    But if, like me, you read some accounts in the Bible as literal, and others as metaphorical, and you can admit that, then, well, we’re just having a discussion about where that line is, aren’t we?

    But I’m not nearly so vehement in maintaining a literal six-day reading as you appear to me to be vehement in denying it. And if we’re arguing that strict vehemence is “so intensely frustrating”, then, well, you get my animus in this discussion. Because that ball’s in your court, I would argue.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Ok, gentleman coffee in hand, I approach the defense box…

    Glen:

    Except if those “Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs” try to make the assertion that the process by which WE came into being was irrational, meaningless, random slime.
    Then of course, we would have to rebuke them outright for claiming to be scientists at all.

    guys in white coats – x:
    from slime – y:
    You – amateur that disagree with y therefore slander them by saying they can’t be x. Not looking at evidence. Could also be interepreted as insult, I chose “slander”. See?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Ok, gentleman coffee in hand, I approach the defense box…

    Glen:

    Except if those “Asperger-afflicted white coat bearing dudes in labs” try to make the assertion that the process by which WE came into being was irrational, meaningless, random slime.
    Then of course, we would have to rebuke them outright for claiming to be scientists at all.

    guys in white coats – x:
    from slime – y:
    You – amateur that disagree with y therefore slander them by saying they can’t be x. Not looking at evidence. Could also be interepreted as insult, I chose “slander”. See?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust: Your argument/question is a little incoherent – but I would answer it thus. God created/originated the universe, foreknowing what would happen. What the manner of that foreknowledge is, we cannot say, because we are bound by space-time, and He is not. It is the same type of argument that people get into when the argue about predestination and free will. I happen to believe in both free will and God’s foreknowledge, and acknowledge the incongruity between the two. There is a limit there to our understanding that will express itself both in the theology of the matter, such as in predestination debates (thus I reject what I consider Calvinist arrogance), as well as in the scientific side of the debate – how much free development/free evolution did God “allow”, and how much did He “design” etc etc – those are entirely unanswerable questions, and a waste of time for us to speculate on (that is why I reject the ID hypothesis, not because it is wrong, but because it is unpreveable EITHER way), because we do no know all the answers. To allow for free development, btw, does not negate the Scriptural description of something like “He made the Stars” – because if he is the Creator/Originator, He is the Maker in one way or another. No need for hair splitting. His universe is magnificent either way.

    As to your real question, which sort of links up with Todd’s difficulty (if I may call it that) that of Deception and evidence – well, I think I might have agood answer for you. But lets get to Todd’s comments now.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust: Your argument/question is a little incoherent – but I would answer it thus. God created/originated the universe, foreknowing what would happen. What the manner of that foreknowledge is, we cannot say, because we are bound by space-time, and He is not. It is the same type of argument that people get into when the argue about predestination and free will. I happen to believe in both free will and God’s foreknowledge, and acknowledge the incongruity between the two. There is a limit there to our understanding that will express itself both in the theology of the matter, such as in predestination debates (thus I reject what I consider Calvinist arrogance), as well as in the scientific side of the debate – how much free development/free evolution did God “allow”, and how much did He “design” etc etc – those are entirely unanswerable questions, and a waste of time for us to speculate on (that is why I reject the ID hypothesis, not because it is wrong, but because it is unpreveable EITHER way), because we do no know all the answers. To allow for free development, btw, does not negate the Scriptural description of something like “He made the Stars” – because if he is the Creator/Originator, He is the Maker in one way or another. No need for hair splitting. His universe is magnificent either way.

    As to your real question, which sort of links up with Todd’s difficulty (if I may call it that) that of Deception and evidence – well, I think I might have agood answer for you. But lets get to Todd’s comments now.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, as to the miracle thing, that is the problem with analogies, sue. We are stretching things beyond braking point. If there was a scientist back then, who knows what he might have discovered, but yes, it seems likely, from the comments made by the master of the banquet, that it would have seemd like well aged wine (well, at least 6 months old, they did not age wine that long back then….). That IS the point of the miracle. To me it feels that I get exactly what you are trying to say, but you are not getting my argument.

    A miracle is just that, something that doesn’t happen according to the natural process. Thus water is suddenly well aged wine. Not telling someone about what happened, is not Deception, it is not telling them. Creating an elaborate back story to HIDE the fact of the miraculous ocurrence WOULD be. And that is what I was trying to show with my original analogy. Miracles are singularities.

    However, having studied nature, and geology, and then being told, it is all 6000 years old, and if it appears older, it is all a miracle, I would come to the conclusion that the packaging is therewith the intention to decieve. It is not a case of – oh, here is something that did not make sense (where the devil did this vinatge come from, how did this cripple get walking, where did all this bread and fish originate from), and now, makes sense and btw, tells me that that Fellow over there must be Divine! No, this tells me that someone has been playing tricks with all of us, all over the globe, since time began, to what end? Furthermore, it tells me, since I know that rocks do no form overnight (for instance), that mostly everything that has ever happened is a miracle anyway, so if you come to me and say – there is a miracle, the man must be God!, then I would say, what about it, almost everything is a miracle anyway, so what does that prove? Hiding a leaf in a forest?

    I do not think so.

    Could God do a miracle today? Sure? Do I believe in the Real Presence? Yes. But the point of the latter is to that we grasp it by faith – and not be Aritotelian contortians like the RC’s – because it is a mystery. It is thus categorically different.

    By the way, the scientific community is not as anti-faith as often portrayed. There was a recent news article, which I have to find, where non-believing university folk intentionally expose there children to religion so that the latter can make their own free choices. And I have known many religious geologists – in my current company, almost half the engineers & geologists maintain church membership (Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist), and some are religious but not affiliated, one is atheist, and none are militant anti-religious. Even local academics have told me stories about their experiences with even very fundamentalist Mennonites/Hutterites (a different breed of individual, to be sure), and they were never disrespectful. The militant anti-religious kind is a minority, and always was. I have experienced much, much more militant hate, misconceptions and prejeduce on the perosnal level from Christains against evolutionists (I’m not speaking about online now, but in person), than the other way around. Fact.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, as to the miracle thing, that is the problem with analogies, sue. We are stretching things beyond braking point. If there was a scientist back then, who knows what he might have discovered, but yes, it seems likely, from the comments made by the master of the banquet, that it would have seemd like well aged wine (well, at least 6 months old, they did not age wine that long back then….). That IS the point of the miracle. To me it feels that I get exactly what you are trying to say, but you are not getting my argument.

    A miracle is just that, something that doesn’t happen according to the natural process. Thus water is suddenly well aged wine. Not telling someone about what happened, is not Deception, it is not telling them. Creating an elaborate back story to HIDE the fact of the miraculous ocurrence WOULD be. And that is what I was trying to show with my original analogy. Miracles are singularities.

    However, having studied nature, and geology, and then being told, it is all 6000 years old, and if it appears older, it is all a miracle, I would come to the conclusion that the packaging is therewith the intention to decieve. It is not a case of – oh, here is something that did not make sense (where the devil did this vinatge come from, how did this cripple get walking, where did all this bread and fish originate from), and now, makes sense and btw, tells me that that Fellow over there must be Divine! No, this tells me that someone has been playing tricks with all of us, all over the globe, since time began, to what end? Furthermore, it tells me, since I know that rocks do no form overnight (for instance), that mostly everything that has ever happened is a miracle anyway, so if you come to me and say – there is a miracle, the man must be God!, then I would say, what about it, almost everything is a miracle anyway, so what does that prove? Hiding a leaf in a forest?

    I do not think so.

    Could God do a miracle today? Sure? Do I believe in the Real Presence? Yes. But the point of the latter is to that we grasp it by faith – and not be Aritotelian contortians like the RC’s – because it is a mystery. It is thus categorically different.

    By the way, the scientific community is not as anti-faith as often portrayed. There was a recent news article, which I have to find, where non-believing university folk intentionally expose there children to religion so that the latter can make their own free choices. And I have known many religious geologists – in my current company, almost half the engineers & geologists maintain church membership (Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist), and some are religious but not affiliated, one is atheist, and none are militant anti-religious. Even local academics have told me stories about their experiences with even very fundamentalist Mennonites/Hutterites (a different breed of individual, to be sure), and they were never disrespectful. The militant anti-religious kind is a minority, and always was. I have experienced much, much more militant hate, misconceptions and prejeduce on the perosnal level from Christains against evolutionists (I’m not speaking about online now, but in person), than the other way around. Fact.

  • Glenn

    Klasie, your formulation is wrong and extremely naive. If someone says they are a football player, but they are rabidly against pigskins and athletic competition, then I would say they do not deserve to be called football players. Your x+y=not x, etc.. etc…argument does not work or fit the equation. The fact that you can’t recognize that is kind of disturbing to me.

  • Glenn

    Klasie, your formulation is wrong and extremely naive. If someone says they are a football player, but they are rabidly against pigskins and athletic competition, then I would say they do not deserve to be called football players. Your x+y=not x, etc.. etc…argument does not work or fit the equation. The fact that you can’t recognize that is kind of disturbing to me.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    No Glenn, you have decided, prior to the assertion by such individuals, that anyone ever wanting to make any such claim, cannot be a scientist. Period. Thus, even if someone where to present some kind of proof, you have already decided that he is wrong, moreover, not only that he is wrong, but that he cannot be a scientist, not merely that you disagree with his conclusion. The problem lies squarely with you. BTW, what is your scientific background? What are your qualifications n this matter?

    Now, nowhwere did I claim that I beleive that the rise of Humanity was meaningless, btw. If your finger is pointing at me, (I’m not clear on that), then it is doing so by your own invention.

    The bottomline of your assertion here (not argument) is that agree with me, or you are not a scientist. That is not an argument. That does not even look at epistimology, like Lou, wrong though I think his argument is. It is merely some bytes which you are throwing into the cyberwind……

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    No Glenn, you have decided, prior to the assertion by such individuals, that anyone ever wanting to make any such claim, cannot be a scientist. Period. Thus, even if someone where to present some kind of proof, you have already decided that he is wrong, moreover, not only that he is wrong, but that he cannot be a scientist, not merely that you disagree with his conclusion. The problem lies squarely with you. BTW, what is your scientific background? What are your qualifications n this matter?

    Now, nowhwere did I claim that I beleive that the rise of Humanity was meaningless, btw. If your finger is pointing at me, (I’m not clear on that), then it is doing so by your own invention.

    The bottomline of your assertion here (not argument) is that agree with me, or you are not a scientist. That is not an argument. That does not even look at epistimology, like Lou, wrong though I think his argument is. It is merely some bytes which you are throwing into the cyberwind……

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@99):

    Creating an elaborate back story to HIDE the fact of the miraculous ocurrence WOULD be [deception]. And that is what I was trying to show with my original analogy.

    And here is my point, which I’m not sure you’re getting: the chemicals present in the wine that Jesus made did, in fact, constitute an “elaborate back story”, in a manner very analagous to the way in which elements in the earth’s crust constitute the same, per your argument.

    I’ll make this point by reworking one of your sentences:

    However, having studied chemistry and oenology, and then being told that this wine is only minutes old but if it appears older then it’s all a miracle, I would come to the conclusion that the packaging is there with the intention to decieve.

    Same argument. Except that for some reason you didn’t reach that conclusion when it came to Jesus’ miracle at Cana. So I don’t see consistency in how you’re approaching these accounts.

    Furthermore, it tells me, since I know that rocks do no form overnight (for instance), that mostly everything that has ever happened is a miracle anyway…

    I really don’t get your point here, but I’m not even arguing, as you claim, that “everything that has ever happened is a miracle”, so I’m very inclined to file that under “straw man”. What I am claiming is that Creation was a miracle, but that natural processes — the same ones you’ve studied — have been in place since then. Indeed, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the same position you hold. Do you not believe that Creation was a miracle? Again, the only question here is in what state the universe was created.

    Ultimately, what I perceive your argument to be is that God could not have created the world in-medias-res, as it were. Because an in-medias-res creation is, according to you, deceptive, and this goes against God’s nature. And yet, God created fish, bread, and wine, among other things, that were, well, in-medias-res.

    Do I believe in the Real Presence? Yes. But the point of the latter is to that we grasp it by faith – and not be Aritotelian contortians like the RC’s – because it is a mystery.

    Yes, we “grasp it by faith”, but that doesn’t mean that it is solely a spiritual claim. The mystery that we confess does, in fact, deal with the physical.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@99):

    Creating an elaborate back story to HIDE the fact of the miraculous ocurrence WOULD be [deception]. And that is what I was trying to show with my original analogy.

    And here is my point, which I’m not sure you’re getting: the chemicals present in the wine that Jesus made did, in fact, constitute an “elaborate back story”, in a manner very analagous to the way in which elements in the earth’s crust constitute the same, per your argument.

    I’ll make this point by reworking one of your sentences:

    However, having studied chemistry and oenology, and then being told that this wine is only minutes old but if it appears older then it’s all a miracle, I would come to the conclusion that the packaging is there with the intention to decieve.

    Same argument. Except that for some reason you didn’t reach that conclusion when it came to Jesus’ miracle at Cana. So I don’t see consistency in how you’re approaching these accounts.

    Furthermore, it tells me, since I know that rocks do no form overnight (for instance), that mostly everything that has ever happened is a miracle anyway…

    I really don’t get your point here, but I’m not even arguing, as you claim, that “everything that has ever happened is a miracle”, so I’m very inclined to file that under “straw man”. What I am claiming is that Creation was a miracle, but that natural processes — the same ones you’ve studied — have been in place since then. Indeed, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the same position you hold. Do you not believe that Creation was a miracle? Again, the only question here is in what state the universe was created.

    Ultimately, what I perceive your argument to be is that God could not have created the world in-medias-res, as it were. Because an in-medias-res creation is, according to you, deceptive, and this goes against God’s nature. And yet, God created fish, bread, and wine, among other things, that were, well, in-medias-res.

    Do I believe in the Real Presence? Yes. But the point of the latter is to that we grasp it by faith – and not be Aritotelian contortians like the RC’s – because it is a mystery.

    Yes, we “grasp it by faith”, but that doesn’t mean that it is solely a spiritual claim. The mystery that we confess does, in fact, deal with the physical.

  • Dust

    KK…just a quick note to say am still here, but busy with other stuff, so can’t spend quality time commenting on anything….it just takes me so long to write anything, sorry….but am enjoying the exchanges with others much more qualified and articulate than myself…perhaps some day will evolve into a better writer :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    KK…just a quick note to say am still here, but busy with other stuff, so can’t spend quality time commenting on anything….it just takes me so long to write anything, sorry….but am enjoying the exchanges with others much more qualified and articulate than myself…perhaps some day will evolve into a better writer :)

    cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, believe me I do understand what you are saying. But I do think you are missing the point about. The “point of a miracle”, its singularity, and all that. However, let’s put that part of that argument aside, till we can think of a different way to approach it. We are not getting anywhere this way. In addition to that, as a geologist or paleontologist , through observation, one learns to “read the book” of nature. If it’s all a miracle, and then normal since then, it is as if. A single page of non-fiction on a 750 000 page story book. Yes, it’s very like drowning in a sea of miracles. The very word “miracle” ceases to hold any meaning….But as I said, I still fail to see how else I could present the obvious (to me) difference between the singularity of the pedagogical nature of the singular miracle, that is contra-nature, and a nature that hides its young age by miraculously appearing old, to the extent of containg detailed records of millions and millions of dead things…Give me some time to think how else to present my objections to you. Because I’m very serious about them.

    As to the Eucharist. Of course, we still claim, and believe, that Christ is present with both Natures. That doesn’t mean we can physically explain it – it still is a mystery as well.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, believe me I do understand what you are saying. But I do think you are missing the point about. The “point of a miracle”, its singularity, and all that. However, let’s put that part of that argument aside, till we can think of a different way to approach it. We are not getting anywhere this way. In addition to that, as a geologist or paleontologist , through observation, one learns to “read the book” of nature. If it’s all a miracle, and then normal since then, it is as if. A single page of non-fiction on a 750 000 page story book. Yes, it’s very like drowning in a sea of miracles. The very word “miracle” ceases to hold any meaning….But as I said, I still fail to see how else I could present the obvious (to me) difference between the singularity of the pedagogical nature of the singular miracle, that is contra-nature, and a nature that hides its young age by miraculously appearing old, to the extent of containg detailed records of millions and millions of dead things…Give me some time to think how else to present my objections to you. Because I’m very serious about them.

    As to the Eucharist. Of course, we still claim, and believe, that Christ is present with both Natures. That doesn’t mean we can physically explain it – it still is a mystery as well.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Of course, at the end of the day, the whole “It’s a miracle!” argument is ontologically, epistemologically and phenomenologically entirely indistinguishable from Last Thursdayism.

    Not really worth of any serious consideration, iow.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Of course, at the end of the day, the whole “It’s a miracle!” argument is ontologically, epistemologically and phenomenologically entirely indistinguishable from Last Thursdayism.

    Not really worth of any serious consideration, iow.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@104),

    If it’s all a miracle, and then normal since then, it is as if. A single page of non-fiction on a 750 000 page story book. Yes, it’s very like drowning in a sea of miracles. The very word “miracle” ceases to hold any meaning.

    Well, I can see you’re intent on returning to that argument, even though I’ve already denied (@102) that I’m arguing “it’s all a miracle”. I’m arguing that Creation itself was a miracle, not everything that happened since then. And, since you didn’t answer me last time, I’ll ask again: Do you believe that Creation was a miracle?

    I still fail to see how else I could present the obvious (to me) difference between the singularity of the pedagogical nature of the singular miracle, that is contra-nature, and a nature that hides its young age by miraculously appearing old, to the extent of containg detailed records of millions and millions of dead things

    Once again, many of the “singular miracles” to which you are apparently willing to agree involve things “miraculously appearing old”. How many times must I point that out? As such, your argument about “millions and millions of dead things” is merely a question of degree, not kind.

    Moreover, Scripture itself (Romans 1, Job 38, Isaiah 40 and 42, etc.) tells us that Creation was a “pedagagical” miracle, though you do not seem to agree.

    Of course, at the end of the day, the whole “It’s a miracle!” argument is ontologically, epistemologically and phenomenologically entirely indistinguishable from Last Thursdayism.

    Okay then, but then the same is true of all physical miracles described in the Bible. So if you, Klasie, believe in any one of them — water-to-wine, loaves and fishes — you are equally guilty of “Last Thursdayism” as I am. And where does that leave us, exactly? Nowhere, because you don’t really believe that you’re guilty of “Last Thursdayism”, do you? It’s a cheap, populist rhetorical trick that just shuts down discussion.
    I mean, yes, I get that it’s a catchy reductio ad absurdum argument, but it really does apply to any and all miracles with an observable scientific effect, so if you’re leveling it at me, you’re either equally guilty, or you don’t believe any of the physical miracles in the Bible actually happened.

    Which one is it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@104),

    If it’s all a miracle, and then normal since then, it is as if. A single page of non-fiction on a 750 000 page story book. Yes, it’s very like drowning in a sea of miracles. The very word “miracle” ceases to hold any meaning.

    Well, I can see you’re intent on returning to that argument, even though I’ve already denied (@102) that I’m arguing “it’s all a miracle”. I’m arguing that Creation itself was a miracle, not everything that happened since then. And, since you didn’t answer me last time, I’ll ask again: Do you believe that Creation was a miracle?

    I still fail to see how else I could present the obvious (to me) difference between the singularity of the pedagogical nature of the singular miracle, that is contra-nature, and a nature that hides its young age by miraculously appearing old, to the extent of containg detailed records of millions and millions of dead things

    Once again, many of the “singular miracles” to which you are apparently willing to agree involve things “miraculously appearing old”. How many times must I point that out? As such, your argument about “millions and millions of dead things” is merely a question of degree, not kind.

    Moreover, Scripture itself (Romans 1, Job 38, Isaiah 40 and 42, etc.) tells us that Creation was a “pedagagical” miracle, though you do not seem to agree.

    Of course, at the end of the day, the whole “It’s a miracle!” argument is ontologically, epistemologically and phenomenologically entirely indistinguishable from Last Thursdayism.

    Okay then, but then the same is true of all physical miracles described in the Bible. So if you, Klasie, believe in any one of them — water-to-wine, loaves and fishes — you are equally guilty of “Last Thursdayism” as I am. And where does that leave us, exactly? Nowhere, because you don’t really believe that you’re guilty of “Last Thursdayism”, do you? It’s a cheap, populist rhetorical trick that just shuts down discussion.
    I mean, yes, I get that it’s a catchy reductio ad absurdum argument, but it really does apply to any and all miracles with an observable scientific effect, so if you’re leveling it at me, you’re either equally guilty, or you don’t believe any of the physical miracles in the Bible actually happened.

    Which one is it?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    We are talking past each other. Ii’m saying that I fully understand you, but you are not getting me, and vice versa. Debate to be filed for future reference?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    We are talking past each other. Ii’m saying that I fully understand you, but you are not getting me, and vice versa. Debate to be filed for future reference?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    A last word though :) – some homework: The number of pages I mentioned, 720 000, has a significance. Work it ou, then tell me why I say “then all is a miracle”, and why I often switch to the term “all” in this debate.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    A last word though :) – some homework: The number of pages I mentioned, 720 000, has a significance. Work it ou, then tell me why I say “then all is a miracle”, and why I often switch to the term “all” in this debate.

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