Why is God Hidden? (2 of 2)

Why is God Hidden? (2 of 2) March 7, 2017

problem of divine god's hiddennessThe Problem of God’s Hiddenness is the most powerful argument against Christianity. In part 1, we considered a defense of God’s hiddenness by Christian apologist Jim Wallace, written several years ago. Let’s conclude with a second argument Wallace wrote recently, “God’s Hiddenness Is Intended to Provoke Us,” which has a new approach to the problem.

God’s hiddenness? It’s a test.

I believe the answer [to this problem of God’s hiddenness] lies in God’s desire to provoke us; His desire to elicit a true, loving response from His children. This goal of producing something beautiful (a genuine, well-intentioned, loving response), requires Him to hide from us.

You’ve created a trickster god. God appears nonexistent, so you must invent outlandish reasons why he might be hiding instead. Is it better to have a trickster god than to admit that your god doesn’t exist? I don’t think so.

Wallace wants us to believe that God must be hidden even though that is a feature of no healthy relationship we have with other people.

He introduces an analogy: consider a “gold digger,” a beautiful woman who marries a much older rich man, not for love but for greed. Suppose a rich man wants an old-fashioned marriage based on love—how can he find a partner who wants to get married for love rather than money? He could conceal his wealth (and maybe his identity) so that no gold digger would consider him.

That is how Wallace sees God. God is the rich guy who’s hiding his wealth to get our honest, authentic reaction instead of one distorted by his majesty. He gives several Old Testament examples, but he forgets that sometimes God isn’t at all overpowering: “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). Even the people overwhelmed by God didn’t develop a superficial relationship with God as a result—they already believed.


See also: The Most Powerful Argument Against Christianity


What is the equivalent of the big reveal (“I have a confession to make, my dear—I’m not an appliance salesman but am actually Byron Rachmaninov, billionaire industrialist”)? It’s not like believers don’t already know of God’s attributes. Wallace seems to imagine that we’ll develop a relationship with God, only to get a happy upgrade once we’ve settled into a comfortable relationship, where God says, “I’m not just a Class C phantasm, as I’ve pretended, but I’m actually the Creator of the universe.”

But Wallace sells God short. Surely God could see your honest intentions to root out the gold diggers. (This is also the failure of Pascal’s Wager. God isn’t so stupid that he couldn’t see through someone simply going through the motions.)

Wallace confuses evidence for God’s existence with secondary matters such as specifics of God’s nature, how or whether we will worship him, God’s desire to have a relationship based on love, and so on. I suspect that he actually understands this, and his confusion is a deliberate sleight of hand on his part.

Atheists are just asking for God to be apparent, which is not an unreasonable request. That apologists can only give vague clues for God, for which a naturalistic explanation is the better explanation, means we are not justified in holding the God belief.

No one would bring out this argument except to justify belief in a god that didn’t exist.

Theology is guessing about what an imaginary being is thinking.
— commenter Michael Neville

Image credit: Peter, flickr, CC

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  • JustinL

    Yeah, the gold-digger would have to already assume he was a billionaire for this to make sense. And he would have to only interact with her through surrogates who she’d pay 10% of her income.

    • Jim Jones
    • Kodie

      Maybe god isn’t a billionaire. Maybe all this do is god pretending to be rich because otherwise no one would like him. If he appeared in evidence to everyone, we’d all laugh at what a joke he really is, and he’s put up this front so long, he kinda got stuck in the lie and it’s too late to tell the truth. This would explain why he used to hang out but now he never does. The longer the lie goes on, the less likely it is he’ll appear. to us. Imagine all the believers getting to heaven and find it’s just not all that impressive, god’s not that nice a neighbor, heaven’s a lot like earth in that you still have to work, bad things might happen to you, the afterlife’s hard. Now, instead of working and being patient and obedient to god so you can go to heaven when you die, you get to go to another world that’s kind of the same as earth, but not even as nice, you met god, he is kind of weird in an annoying way, not helpful, not interesting, doesn’t remember why he did that thing you were waiting to die to ask him, and you know it’s never going to end.

      • Greg G.

        Maybe god isn’t a billionaire.

        If God was rich, he wouldn’t need beggars behind the pulpits.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Pablo’s Wager
    If God exists and created the universe, then he created me as a rational, thinking being. However, God has not provided a rational basis to believe in him, and therefore, in order to believe in God, I would have to not use the gift of rational thought he gave me, and rely on “faith.” Not using my God-given gift is an affront to God and would be a sin. Therefore, I am left with an immutable conclusion: If God exists, it would be a sin for me to believe it.

    • Jim Jones

      “If the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same infinite god, whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree?”

      — Robert G. Ingersoll

      • SparklingMoon,

        “If the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same infinite god, whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree?”
        ———————————————————–

        E.J. Scotus in the ninth century AD had set the noble example of bringing about a measure of truce between faith and reason. He maintained that truth cannot be reached through reason alone, but reason and faith had a part to play together. He suggested that in the beginning religious beliefs were founded on rational grounds. Convictions cannot be born out of mere conjectures. There has to be some logical basis for the building of convictions. Whether it is done advertently or inadvertently, for every conviction, as it is born, there has to be some rational basis. In short, Scotus believed that true faith should not be equated with myth. It should be understood to have been founded on some solid, rational platform. In the beginning when faith took root in the human mind, it could not have happened without some reason and logic to support it, he assumed. Yet with the passage of time, that link must have faded out and was no longer observable. From then on faith appeared to be suspended in mid-air without the pillars of reason to support it. Yet its firmness and tenacity which have stood the test of time are indicative that it could not have reached this high level of conviction altogether without reason or logic. (European Philosophy)

        • Ignorant Amos

          And for the ninth century that was probably pretty astute.

          In the twenty-first century, not so much so.

          Why would you want to hold onto such archaic backward thinking?

          You seem to love to revel in ignorance SM.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if [he] blurs & conflates enough distinctions, it doesn’t even smell like ignorance!

        • Jim Jones

          > There has to be some logical basis for the building of convictions.

          Observation proves him wrong, however.

    • SparklingMoon,

      If God exists and created the universe, then he created me as a rational, thinking being. However, God has not provided a rational basis to believe in him,
      —————————————————-

      It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that God Almighty has divided His wonderful universe into three parts: (1)The world which is manifest and can be felt through the eyes and the ears and other physical senses and through ordinary instruments.(2)The world which is hidden and which can be understood through reason and conjecture. (3)The world which is hidden beyond hidden, which is so imperceptible that few are aware of it. That world is entirely unseen; reason has not been granted the ability to reach it, except through mere conjecture. This world is disclosed only through visions, revelation, inspiration, and not by any other means.

      As God has invested man with the faculty of reason for the understanding, to some degree, of elementary matters,in the same way God has vested in him a hidden faculty of receiving revelation.When human reason arrives at the limit of its reach, then at that stage God Almighty, for the purpose of leading His true and faithful servants to the perfection of understanding and certainty,guides them through revelation and visions.Thus the stages which reason could not reach are traversed by means of revelation and visions,and seekers after truth thereby arrive at full certainty.

      A person who desires everything to be disclosed at the stage of reason.He does not know that reason cannot carry a burden beyond its strength, nor can it step further than its capacity.He does not reflect that,to carry a person to his desired excellence, God Almighty has bestowed upon him not only the faculty of reason but also the faculty of experiencing visions and revelations. It is the height of misfortune to make use of only the elementary means out of those that God has,out of His Perfect Wisdom,bestowed upon man for the purpose of recognizing God, and to remain ignorant of the rest.It is extremely unwise to let those faculties atrophy through lack of use and to derive no benefit from them.

      He further says that every door can be closed but the door of the descent of the Holy Spirit is never closed. Open the doors of your hearts so that it might enter into them.

      • adam
        • SparklingMoon,

          we have in the Bible (Deuteronomy 33:2): And he said, the Lord came from Sinai, and rose up Profrom Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them”.

          In this verse prophet Moses(as) is promised three manifestations of the glory of God. The first of these appeared from Sinai, to which a reference is made in Exodus (19:20) ”And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.

          This manifestation of divine glory appeared in the time of Moses(as). The world witnessed the blessings which came with it. Time passed. The second manifestation promised in the prophecy was to take place from Seir. Seir is that part of the world round about which the miracles of Jesus(as) took place. “Rising up from Seir”, therefore, points to the advent of Jesus.

          The third manifestation of divine glory was to take its rise from Paran, and Paran (Arabic Fārān) is the name of the hills which lie between Mecca and Medina. The birth place of the Prophet of Islam and his Prophet hood and revelation of the Law of the Quran.

        • Halbe

          Bla bla, quote from old book, bla bla, quote from ancient scholar, bla bla, shoehorning myths into prophesies, bla bla, divine glory, bla bla. This sort of shit does not work around here. Provide some real evidence for your absurd claims or STFU. You insult our intelligence with your mindless preaching.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i only give SM a pass (and more than a few yawns) because the messiah he’s been trained to recognize is explicitly on record as a pacifist.

          (not that my ‘pass’ has substance, i haven’t been anything like a mod since the early ’90s)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha ha….a see you’ve met the house Muslim….of sorts, SparklingMoon is not a “real” Muslim…just pretending.

        • Greg G.

          If the story of Exodus happened, there should be lots of evidence that 2 million people lived in the Sinai Desert for 40 years. There isn’t.

          The Egyptian archaeology shows that there were never large numbers of Israelis in Egypt for 400 years. If a third of their work force walked out abruptly, the economy would have needed time to recover but Egypt remained a world power during that time.

          The Israeli archaeology shows no abrupt change in the culture as if one culture was wiped out by a culture from Egypt. Instead, it shows that there were sites with similar culture except some of the sites had pig bones and some did not. That shows the Hebrew culture developed out of the Canaanite culture.

          If Exodus never happened, Moses didn’t exist. There was no law giving. There is no need to follow arbitrary laws. It’s all fiction.

        • SparklingMoon,

          If the story of Exodus happened, there should be lots of evidence that 2 million people lived in the Sinai Desert for 40 years. There isn’t.
          —————————————————
          Firstly, Man always interpolates, misconstrues or misappropriates Divine teachings after the prophets have come and gone. No wonder that the revelation of Moses was also distorted by the future generations of those who followed. When we suggest that the Bible must have been interpolated, we do not mean that all the teachings of Israel prophets underwent a complete man-made transformation. This is never permitted to happen to Divine scriptures by God. There is always retained some of the original truth, untouched and unadulterated. It is in the light of this that a careful study of every religion at its source is always rewarding.

          Secondly , you are right that according to the statement of the Bible about 2 million people lived in the Sinai Desert for 40 years.

          But in Genesis (46:27) we read that the number of the Israelites when they entered Egypt was about seventy, but two hundred and fifteen years later, that is to say in the time of Moses, they had multiplied so much that the adult males alone numbered six hundred thousand. In Exodus (12:37) this is the claim made : And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men beside
          children.

          If, keeping in view the adult male population, we estimate
          the strength of the whole population, it turns out to be approximately twenty hundred thousand. But it would be a great exaggeration and against all reasonable probability. In two hundred and fifty years a group of seventy souls could not grow into two million. Historical facts also are against this estimate. When Moses migrated from Egypt to Canaan and had to go into the wilderness for forty years, what did this large population of two million live on ?

          Could they have found in the wilderness food and drink enough to keep them alive for forty long years ? True, as the Bible says, they had quails and honey-dew sent to them from heaven’ But even according to the Bible this sustenance from heaven descended only occasionally.

          How then did this large population obtain their food when it did not descend from heaven ? We also learn from the Bible that the tribes obtained water each from one spring. But can we believe that two million souls could obtain water enough for their needs from a few springs. The lands through which they passed contain no streams or rivulets. There are springs here and there, but a spring does not have any large dimensions. How can springs provide water for two million souls?

          A book which contained such irrational statements could not satisfy human intellect. No doubt it was a book from God. It was written by His Prophets. But it has lost its original character. It has become mutilated and has been changed out of all recognition. To regard a book which has suffered in this way as the very word of God is to invite ridicule against God and religion. It was but necessary that after such a book we should have had another which should be free from human interference and immune to irrational interpolation. About the number of Israel the Quran comes to our rescue and points out the truth. It says : Dost thou not know of those who went forth from their homes, and they were thousands, fearing death (2:244).

          According to the Quran the people of Israel who fled from
          Egypt for fear of Pharaoh numbered a few thousand, and this seems but true because two million five Jews could not live in fear of small Palestinian tribes.

        • MNb

          “Man always interpolates, misconstrues or misappropriates Divine teachings after the prophets have come and gone.”
          Firstly there is no god, hence no divine teaching to interpolate, misconstrue or misappropriate.

          “in the time of Moses, they had multiplied so much that the adult males alone numbered six hundred thousand.”
          Secondly you pull this out of the lower end of your digestive system.

          “even according to the Bible”
          does not guarantee by any means that it’s correct.

          “No doubt it was a book from God.”
          No doubt it was not a book from your god. It was from his self-declared prophets.

          “we should have had another”
          which was not a book from your god either, but from another self-declared prophet.

          “According to the Quran”
          and that does not guarantee that it’s correct by any means either.
          The only thing you have demonstrated is that a self-declared prophet who (erroneously) declared to be the last one has changed the details of a story he already was familiar with.

        • Greg G.

          Firstly, Man always interpolates, misconstrues or misappropriates Divine teachings after the prophets have come and gone.

          It’s the other way around. Man mistakes humans writings for divine teachings.

          Exodus says that only Joshua survived the trip so the others were born on the way. Everybody was younger than 40 years old. Half of them were females and half the remainder were children. If you go with a few thousand, there is not enough to battle everybody.

          There is no sign of a population crash around that time in the area if a few thousand killed several thousand.

          You are still left with a handful of baloney.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The 2 million figure as a conservative estimate given the biblical figure too.

        • Greg G.

          Right. The Bible says there were 600,000 men of soldier age so there would be that many women of the same age. Add their parents and children and it’s easily more than 2 million.

          I did some calculations with that number a few years ago. It was something like with ten walking side-by-side, the first to leave should have reached Jerusalem before the end of the line left Egypt.

          They also brought livestock.

        • Michael Neville

          If that mob was milling around in the Sinai Desert for 40 years it must have been very crowded.

        • Greg G.

          I think if they stood about 500 feet away from each other, they could have covered the whole Sinai Desert.

        • And if they held hands, they could’ve crossed it 10 times.

  • busterggi
  • Kevin K

    No one would bring out this argument except to justify belief in a god that didn’t exist.

    That’s pretty much what I was thinking as I read this. There’s nothing there that even remotely provides us a reason to believe that such an entity exists. I think this might earn an award for “Worst Apologetic Argument Of The Year”.

    Of course, like the gods, the award is non-existent.

  • eric

    consider a “gold digger,” a beautiful woman who marries a much older rich man, not for love but for greed

    Wow, so much wrong. My initial thoughts (though I’m sure there’s more problems than this)
    #1. Does he fail to see that in his analogy, Christians are the gold diggers while the atheists are the women who won’t give the old lech the time of day?
    #2. The rich guy is practicing a deception in order to test the other person. So if this is what God is doing, then he’s saying God sometimes lies.
    #3. The behavior analogous to the rich guy is not staying completely hidden. The analogous behavior would be showing up, getting to know us, letting us get to know “the real” him, but simply claiming the entire time that while he may have been our creator, there isn’t any afterlife (or other reward) for loving or worshipping him. If that actually happened, I think the results would pretty damn ironic: I could see atheists and secular scientists being very curious about getting to know such an entity, while today’s Christians would likely call such an entity Satan, antichrist, deceiver, etc. and refuse to have anything to do with him.

    • Nice additions to the argument!

    • Kodie

      Basically that’s what does it for me. The character of god is what we might call “known” and commonly acknowledged. Many believers make excuses for this stuff that’s known, “god is good” they might say, “god is like the parent who knows what’s best for us better than we do”, they may say, or “god is the ground of all morality, without which, we wouldn’t be able to live in social groups and cooperate amongst ourselves”. They also say “god is totally evident, just look around!” and, atheism is a religion, and atheists reject god because we want to be our own gods, because we reject the rules and the conditions of salvation. They will also say god gives the gift of salvation freely, right before or after they talk about these conditions. None of this pile of bullshit makes any sense unless you’re confusing god with an oversensitive macho asshole authoritarian human. We mostly agree those qualities aren’t healthy or good or nice, only that if god is the creator, he has every right to exercise any range of abusive and manipulative behaviors. When a real person has those qualities, we can deal with them in many ways, including accepting that’s just the way things are, whether we like them or not. Parents who mimic this style of parenting will often claim it’s the only way that works, and mock parenting styles that are more accepting, more supportive, cheerful, open communication. They think the “because I said so” way is the only way to get qualities out of their children. Psychiatry offices are full of adults who would tell us otherwise. Productive on the outside, anxious and depressed on the inside is not way to go through life.

      What I’m trying to say is, god (the character we all heard of) is an asshole. Does anyone love god for himself? They might say it and think it, but it is opposite to what they actually say and do. They don’t want to go to hell, they want the good stuff. The reason they think they are sent here to warn us is because they think they feel deeply in their hearts that if they don’t warn us of god’s wrath, we won’t have a chance at the mercy part. They are pretty much saying, if you would just clean up your half of the room, dad won’t beat the shit out of both of us. The reward is not something they talk about as often or as clearly. It’s vague. They have some vague idea it’s better than going to hell, how much better doesn’t seem to matter at all.

      Anyway, the part where god is already evident as far as they claim, they’re the ones sucking up to him, and we’re the ones holding out. I’ve got standards and god just doesn’t meet them, and they are so abused they don’t think they get to pick. They will be sent one way or the other when they die, and spend their lives “loving” god sincerely because they don’t want to go to hell for eternity. They are afraid if they admit he doesn’t sound like such a nice guy, god’s ego gets bruised. If they imagine he is doing all that because he has no choice, or because we have no choice, or because he is really really desperately trying to love us the only way he knows how, then why should we love him back “sincerely”? If there is a heaven and a hell and that’s the only choice you get, nobody loves god for who he really is. NOBODY. I haven’t heard one Christian ever in the history of ever come down to the point where they just love god and Jesus so much. It always comes down to not wanting to go to hell when they die.

      All god has to do in that case is reveal himself and assure them that was an old-fashioned tactic to correct their behavior, and there is no hell. Of course there are those people who decided hell doesn’t really exist, they just decided that’s what they prefer to believe.

      • TheNuszAbides

        None of this pile of bullshit makes any sense unless you’re confusing god with an oversensitive macho asshole authoritarian human. … They think the “because I said
        so” way is the only way to get qualities out of their children.

        crucial, and painfully so. they only confirm their unreadiness to be responsible for undeveloped fellow humans, by denying the importance of being capable of explaining themselves especially when it’s obviously an important subject.

  • Lerk!

    Kind-of reminds me of when our kids don’t call us much. My wife says “I wonder what would happen if we just never called them!” But the analogy doesn’t work at all. For one thing, we can’t remain “hidden” — we will eventually call them. God never does. And on the flip side, when they do eventually call, we always answer the phone. God refuses to pick up. If we treated our kids like God seems to be treating us, they’d think we were dead!

    • SparklingMoon,

      God refuses to pick up. If we treated our kids like God seems to be treating us, they’d think we were dead!
      ———————————————————–
      God is the One Who is living today as He was living before, and Who speaks today as He spoke before, and hears today as He heard before. It is a false notion that in this age He hears but does not speak. Indeed, He both hears and speaks. All His attributes are eternal and everlasting.

      It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that the soul of a man who possesses a true nature is hungry and thirsty for the understanding of God. When it is agreed that a true man naturally seeks understanding of God, and it is established that the perfect manner of the understanding of the Divine is Divine revelation and nothing else, then if that means is impossible of attainment and to seek it is disrespectful, God’s wisdom would be open to the criticism that He bestowed upon man eagerness for His Own understanding but did not bestow upon him the means of acquiring such understanding. In other words, He afflicted man with hunger but would not bestow upon him bread enough to satisfy his hunger, or that He afflicted man with thirst, but would not bestow upon him water enough to quench his thirst. Wise people will understand that such a notion amounts to failure to appreciate God’s great mercies.

      Whatever God has desired for man, He has in advance invested him with all the faculties that were needed for its achievement. For instance, the human soul possesses a capacity for love. A person through error might love another person and might choose someone as the object of his love, but sane reason can easily understand that this capacity for love has been vested in his soul so that he should love his true Beloved Who is his God, with his whole heart and his whole power and his whole eagerness.

      • Lerk!

        And you know this how?

  • Sastra

    The gold-digger and the honest lover would both know that the old man exists. The analogy is horrible.

    A better analogy would be a parent allowing their child to be adopted at birth and raised by another couple. Let him love those whom he has been taught to believe are his parents — but then watch and see if the kid starts looking around for his “real” father, coming up with the right details which he picks at random from a stack of books about “Secret Dads.” Now you can know his love is uncoerced.

    Most explanations for why God is not more empirically obvious assume that people have ESP and God is obvious that way.

    • Joe

      Or perhaps a rich family send their newborn child to live in abject poverty, only revealing themselves when the child turns 21, so that they don’t grow up to be spoiled and materialistic.

      Of course, I don’t know of any parents who would even contemplate such a ridiculous idea.

    • eric

      As someone with two adopted cousins, I have to say that if the kid loves their adopted parents more, that’s reasonable. If they get to know and love their biological parents in addition to the parents who raised them, that may be a ‘bonus’ but it certainly shouldn’t be used as a test for anything, let alone salvation. And if their biological parents sent them to hell for not wanting to get to know them or not loving them, that would make such parents horrifically evil.

  • Joe

    The best argument I’ve heard against the hiddeness argument is this:

    If God has good reason to hide from us, and actively engages in concealment, what if there were other things that he was concealing from us, good reasons or not?

    Perhaps there is a race of aliens who are really ‘gods chosen’, and our suffering and death is meant to achieve a greater good for them? We get nothing. No afterlife, or perhaps all of us recieve eternal torture. Of course, a loving, hidden God would have good reason to keep that knowledge from us.

    • adam
    • Jim Jones

      If god wants to remain hidden from us we shouldn’t acknowledge her existence.

      • SparklingMoon,

        If god wants to remain hidden from us we shouldn’t acknowledge her existence.
        ———————————————-

        It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that the affirmation that this system must have a creator does not amount to a positive affirmation that He does in truth exist. Such a conjecture cannot bestow satisfaction upon the heart, nor remove all doubt from it. Nor is it a draught which can quench the thirst for complete understanding which man’s nature demands. Indeed, this defective understanding is most dangerous, for despite all its noise it amounts to nothing. In short, unless God Almighty affirms His existence through His Word, as He has manifested it through His work, the observation of the work alone does not afford complete satisfaction.

        • Jim Jones

          People can really make up some shit, can’t they?

    • Robert Price had a good response to the Christian’s determination to never hold God accountable for anything, to clean up his logical messes, and so on. He said that you could have your ticket to heaven, show up at the pearly gates when you die, and then get sent to hell. No explanation. And what could the Christian say? They’re determined to let God do anything he wants, assuming he has his good reasons. Sending them arbitrarily to hell, for no reason that you can understand, would fit right in.

      • Herald Newman

        “But God wouldn’t do that. He promised!”

    • Pofarmer

      Well, and if God really is hidden, and we can’t tell anything about him as Atheists, then how can theists tell us anything either? They clearly think he’s not totally hidden, if they can tell us things about him/her/it.

      • TheNuszAbides

        well, we know what Sye Ten would answer (or what WLC would merely hint around to avoid appearing too arrogant), and we know there are plenty of rubes who lap it up.

  • Jim Jones

    For some people, wishful thinking is irresistible.

  • Otto

    >Theology is guessing about what an imaginary being is thinking.
    — commenter Michael Neville

    This is a great quote…I am keeping it.

    Theology is also a game of 3 card Monte, it does not matter what is picked as a criticism you can never be right. If ‘divine hiddeness’ is the issue either ‘God did reveal himself through Jesus’ as the answer or ‘God is hiding for our own good’. Who cares if the answers contradict each other. We see this played out over and over.

    • Michael Neville

      Thank you.

    • Joe

      I liken it to Schrodinger’s Cat, where God is the cat, the box and Schrodinger at the same time.

      • adam

        And the darkness…….

    • Pofarmer

      “No is an answer”.

    • SparklingMoon,

      Theology is guessing about what an imaginary being is thinking.
      ——————————–
      God’s purpose, according to monotheistic beliefs, was to raise man in rank and elevation in terms of spiritual conduct and moral excellence. This could only be done if the individual, or the society at large, would acknowledge the fact that they were created for a divine purpose, and according to a preordained plan. Believers were expected to follow the teachings given to them through their respective scriptures.

      For example in the Quran the Holy Word of God seeks to reform the natural conditions of man and to raise him step by step to higher spiritual levels. In the first place God desires to teach man the elementary rules of behavior and culture and thus to change him from the wild condition of animals, and then to bestow upon him elementary moral conditions which can be described as culture or civilization. Then He trains him and raises him from the elementary moral conditions to a high moral stage. All this is in truth one stage, which is the reform of natural conditions, and the only difference is one of degree. The All-Wise One has presented the moral system in such a way whereby man should be able to move from a lower moral level to a higher moral level. The third stage is that man should be devoted to winning the true love and pleasure of his Creator and the whole of his being should be devoted to God. (Ruhanikhazain)

      • Otto

        Too bad God gets morality so wrong…it is almost like God’s morality was driven by the culture he was created in…

  • sandy

    So, if God wants to remain hidden, undetectable in every way, the question I want to ask my christian friends is this…what is the point of praying? Does God break this rule of his just for you? You can’t have it both ways. He’s either hidden or he’s not. So far, he’s been 100% hidden, so prayers would and should be useless….yet you, the Christian, continue to pray…why?

    • wtfwjtd

      If the hiddenness of god is the most powerful argument against Christianity, then the contradictory concept of prayer has to be pretty close second. Both are a useless, contradictory mess that is quickly discarded by anyone who gives either concept more than a cursory glance.

      • Ficino

        One of the heaviest straws that broke the back of my faith was when we were all praying, even little kids, for one brother’s healing. He died anyway. I spun the usual spin in my head, but by that time, I had seen how the NT promises were not true.

        • al kimeea

          why so angry at god? /s

        • Ficino

          You mean, I left Christianity because maybe I was:
          mad at God
          hurt by mean people at church
          didn’t understand the gospel or the work of [insert theologian’s name here]
          wanted to sin?

          I just gave an example of the failure of NT promises.

        • al kimeea

          Ya, the reasons anyone leaves can’t be because religion is unreasonable or otherwise lacking. Not the real reason anyway which is very often from your list.

        • RichardSRussell

          I presume that the “/s” at the end of your post means “end of snark”, right?

        • al kimeea

          yes

      • Pofarmer

        And yet millions and/or billions of people are convinced of the efficacy of prayer. Swearing that it works. Evidence to the contrary is even confirming.

        • John Morris

          That’s because if prayers are answered that’s God being good to you. If prayers aren’t answered that’s God teaching you. God can’t lose either way

        • Pofarmer

          Shouldn’t god make it clear which is which? Had another facebook post come up this week. My wife was just diagnosed with breastfeeding Cancer, and it’s all God’s plan and isn’t God so great and Glorious and we’ll put all our faith in him. But in the meantime, we’re getting genetic tested and going to the best sprcialiatss.

        • adam

          Sorry, to hear that.

          For us, it was my mother-in-law.

          I overheard a conversation that I could barely contain myself.

          My MiL went to the clinic after diagnosis, to determine treatment. As she was pretty worked up and scared she had trouble finding the Dr’s office.

          “God took my hand and let me down the hall, where one of his angels was standing, we asked where we needed to go and God had this angel direct us to the doctor.”

          If ONLY there would have been some way for her not to get cancer in the first place or some all powerful being with healing abilities who could cure here in less than a heartbeat. If only

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/09fbca2c164961718e964cd51e6d254f02cca7cbbd327cb72ad57d37820d1c52.jpg

          Sorry, for the rant.

        • RichardSRussell

          Did anyone snap a quick pic of the angel?

        • adam

          She was a human being, disguised as an angel.
          That’s the sad part.

    • eric

      And then you’ve got Jesus working miracles. Letting Thomas stick his fingers through his hands. The burning bush. Pillar of fire and smoke. Turning sticks to snakes. God is not ‘hidden’ in the bible. But then, consistency is not one of theology’s hobgoblins.

      • Greg G.

        Then there is Psalm 77, which is a lament about God not doing miracles anymore like he did in the old days.

        • TheNuszAbides

          mmm … i just had a supernatural-nostalgic movement.

      • sandy

        Yes, strange how all that came to an end 2000 years ago…then nothing. Coincidentally, nothing has been “heard” from any of the other gods for 2000 years as well. Gods must be having a bit of a cosmic siesta, after all, they are over 14 billion years old!

        • Greg G.

          Psalm 77 is a complaint that God wasn’t doing miracles in his day like he did in previous times. Of course, back then, God didn’t have to fix ball games, find car keys for Christians, and arrange suitable parking for everybody.

    • Joe

      Well, I’ve heard the Christian apologetic defense that prayer isn’t meant for requests, but as some sort of spiritual exercise like meditation.

      The problem is that the vast majority of Christians don’t think of prayer that way, yet these supposedly ‘sophisticated’ apologists rarely pull them up on it, to my knowledge. Why? Probably because they will be confronted with irrational assertions that God is answering every single prayer!

      Even apologists don’t like being confronted with blind, unquestioning faith, it seems!

      • Pofarmer

        And even within Christian theology the idea of any kind of intercesory prayer really doesn’t work. You’ve got a tri omni God with a plan. He already knows and plans everything that can or could happen, so prayer is completely pointless, in any case.

        • adam
        • Joe

          But we have free will, despite the plan.

          I have a feeling they didn’t think any of this through.

        • Pofarmer

          But if God were truly Omnipotent, then our free will wouldn’t matter anyway. He would know what we were going to do. Theists like to use Free Will as some kind of get out of Jail Free card. But it really doesn’t work, on multiple levels.

        • SparklingMoon,

          But if God were truly Omnipotent, then our free will wouldn’t matter anyway. He would know what we were going to do.
          —————————————-

          God Almighty says that He has created everything and has determined its measure.

          This does not show that man has been deprived of
          choice. Indeed choice is a part of that measure. God
          Almighty has taken the measure of human nature and
          human capacity, and as part of it He determined up to what degree man would have choice in his actions. It is a great mistake to interpret that man is under compulsion not to take advantage of the faculties bestowed upon him by God. This might be illustrated by drawing attention to the mechanism of a watch which cannot continue to work beyond the measure determined by its maker. In the same way a human being cannot achieve anything that is beyond the faculties that are bestowed upon him, nor can he live beyond his allotted span of life. (Ruhanikhazain)

        • TheNuszAbides

          neither did Calvinists … at least, not any that didn’t turn catatonic.

        • Greg G.

          I’ve always thought of Calvinism to the be logical conclusion of the Bible, and thus, the refutation of it by reductio ad absurdum.

    • RichardSRussell

      “Really, when you come right down to it, there are only four basic prayers: Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow!”

      —Rabbi Gellman

    • SparklingMoon,

      if God wants to remain hidden, undetectable in every way, the question I want to ask my christian friends is this…what is the point of praying? Does God break this rule of his just for you?
      —————————————————————-

      It is told by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad for recognition of God Almighty: When on a bright day you open all the windows of your room, the light of the sun will enter your room under a natural law, but if you keep your windows shut, the light will not come in merely by virtue of a tale or story. To obtain light you will have to get up and open your windows and then light will enter and will illumine your room. Do not expect that any other design can purify the human ego. As darkness can be dispelled only by light, in the same way, the remedy for the darkness of sin are the Divine reflections in word and action which in a miraculous way descend upon a good heart from God with fierce rays, and show him that God exists and remove the foulness of all doubts and bring satisfaction and contentment. By the strong attraction of his heavenly power that good person is raised to heaven. All other remedies that are put forward are
      fakes and useless.

      But for complete purification understanding alone is not enough. It must be accompanied by earnest prayers. God Almighty is Self- Sufficient, and to attract His grace there is great need of prayers that are accompanied by weeping and sincerity and tribulation of the heart. It is a common observation that though a suckling infant fully recognizes its mother and loves her and the mother also loves it, yet its crying has close relationship with the mother’s milk. On the one side the infant cries bitterly out of hunger and on the other side the mother is so affected by its crying and weeping that milk is generated in her breasts. In the same way, every seeker should prove his spiritual hunger and thirst by his weeping and crying so that the spiritual milk might be generated that would satisfy him.

      • sandy

        Is SparklingMoon a type of acid?

        • Ignorant Amos

          A bad feckin’ trip…that’s for sure.

  • wtfwjtd

    But…the old man is only marrying the woman because she’s young, and beautiful; in other words, he desires to flaunt his wealth to get a trophy wife.

    Are we to believe God is like this–he only wants us as a trophy to show off to his other rich pals?

    This pitiful analogy fails on so many levels, I really don’t know where to begin. It sounds like Wallace has a pretty unhealthy view of women, for starters, and is equally clueless when it comes to rich old men. I guess this is what passes for a thoughtful argument among apologists these days. Oh well.

    • epeeist

      But…the old man is only marrying the woman because she’s young, and
      beautiful; in other words, he desires to flaunt his wealth to get a
      trophy wife.

      This is Trump we are talking about, right?

  • Jack Baynes

    Suppose a rich man wants an old-fashioned marriage based on love—how can he find a partner who wants to get married for love rather than money? He could conceal his wealth (and maybe his identity) so that no gold digger would consider him.

    It’s a common trope in fiction, but is that REALLY the best start of a trusting relationship?

    And even then, notice that the rich man actually interacts with the women he seeks a relationship with. He didn’t just date a few women decades (millenia) in the past and then sit in his basement and sulk that nobody loves him for the “real me”

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I so don’t understand the gold-digger analogy.

      OK, the old guy wants the young hottie to fall in love with him.

      Yeah, that happens all the time! Not.

      It’s so uncommon that anytime you hear of an old fart with a young hottie, the assumption is that she is a gold-digger.

      Yeah, the old guy may want her to love him for who he is, but our experience shows us that it really doesn’t work all that well.

      One would hope that an omnipotent omniscient being could be smarter than Hugh Hefner.

      • adam

        “One would hope that an omnipotent omniscient being could be smarter than Hugh Hefner.”

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/878b8e07d2b942087c85ac234890ad18b3e8f811594bc275918c5d05cbe88467.jpg

        • SparklingMoon,

          God Almighty, Who is Perfect and Eternal and Self Sufficient and Non-Dependent, had carried on all His great works through eternity by Himself. He alone created the universe without the aid of a father or son and bestowed upon souls and bodies all the powers that they needed and is Himself the Guardian, Supporter and Controller of the universe. He brought into being, through His attribute of Gracious, all that souls and bodies were to need without waiting for any action on their part, and created the sun and the moon and numberless stars and the earth and thousands of bounties contained therein out of His pure grace, without the assistance of any son. Then the same Perfect God in the latter days, discarding all His glory and power, became dependent upon a son to make provision for the salvation and forgiveness of mankind, and that son so inferior as to possess no kind of similarity to the Father. He did not create like the Father any portion of heaven or earth which should bear testimony to his godhead. The Gospel (Mark 8.12) describes his helplessness in the words that he sighed and said: ‘Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.’ (Ruhanikhazain)

  • se habla espol

    How is this trickster god different from a deceiver god?

    • Clover and Boxer

      How is a raven like a writing desk?

    • Joe

      Semantically.

  • RichardSRussell

    (This is also the failure of Pascal’s Wager. God isn’t so stupid that he couldn’t see through someone simply going through the motions.)

    Rather say that it’s A failure of Pascal’s Wager. There are quite a few more.

  • RichardSRussell

    Notice that Wallace isn’t making an argument for the existence of God. Rather he’s taking that existence for granted. He also assumes that God not only is hidden but intentionally wants to remain hidden. His challenge then is to figure out why, and this is apparently the best hypothesis he can come up with to defend the inherently indefensible.

    As Disaster Pumpkin would say, “sad”.

  • Benny S.

    #1 – I can almost imagine Jim Wallace saying: “All religions have a hidden god, so the question to ponder is, which religion has the true hidden god?”

    #2 – Instead of classifying this god as “hidden”, I prefer the term “peek-a-boo” god.

    • Joe

      I prefer: “Surprise, Motherf*cker!” God.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        So… Deadpool?

        • Joe

          I was thinking more along the lines of Doakes from Dexter.

  • Sophia Sadek

    The material Creator of the flat and immobile Earth is not actually hidden. The idol can be easily spotted in the pages of fourth century Church literature. It looks quite a bit like Julius Caesar.

  • Meh, it should be obvious that we don’t want God around. We want Sky Daddy or Grampa God, as both these beings would not appreciably threaten our self-righteousness. We appear to be constitutionally unable to face the fact that we do stuff like this for more than a few moments. Or perhaps we are unwilling?

    We could also look at the how impervious to evidence our intellectuals have been:

        To be sure, keen observers had long been aware of the relatively unsophisticated mind-set of most citizens. Such thoughtful analysts as Lord Bryce (1899) and Walter Lippmann (1965) were profoundly aware of how shallow were democracy’s public opinion roots. The fact that democratic government was built on the broad public’s uncertain judgment gave great pause. Getting directly to the point, this ongoing concern was epitomized by H. L. Mencken’s famous quip, “Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.”
        And yet in mid-twentieth-century America, it was quite a shock to the intellectual community when social scientists started to discover the flimsy structure of public opinion on which democratic politics is based. The most critical evidence was presented by Philip E. Converse (1964). Using survey data, he showed that most voters had only a vague sense of public affairs. Converse’s work revealed that the public had little understanding of public policy and found that political views were haphazardly disconnected and judgments about politicians and policies were so unstable that the vast majority of Americans apparently held no serious political attitudes at all. What appeared to be genuine opinions were instead “doorstep” opinions manufactured on the spot to please the interviewer. (Electoral Democracy, 2)

    But we don’t want to believe this. And so we don’t. Kind of like how the Israelites didn’t want to listen to more than ten words. There were a few willing to lead and so Moses could speak to God “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”. But in general, people did not [competently? effectively?] want to exercise responsible, informed, self-rule. During times such as these we are willing to peek a bit under the veneer of the dogma that “Humans are awesome and progressing!”, but such introspection quickly retreats to the fortress of self-righteousness.

    What can God do with such people, other than let them explore the consequences of their stubbornly-held beliefs? They won’t even heed the claims of their own priests scientists; why would they care one bit about an alleged messenger of God? Nobody wants to hear his/her error and mediocrity laid bare. No society wants to admit that it is sick. No, the rallying cry is “Peace, Peace!” Except for them scapegoats over there. They can be exterminated marginalized.

    • adam

      “Meh, it should be obvious that we don’t want God around.”

      Well some people obviously do:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

      “What can God do with such people,”

      What CAN’T a God do with such people.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38a372d179f379b51cdb5f1c227e4a5bd6dd543347d09566c2aedd943b72e754.jpg

      Of course an IMAGINARY ‘God’ can’t do shit.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aad5a6bd3741e368997a7619a093b22790707c37868d686673d6d84fce90cceb.jpg

      • SparklingMoon,

        Prophet Moses himself struggled for a long time to free the people of Israel from the yoke of slavery of Pharaoh. Therefore it is impossible that Moses or his follower prophets had ever promoted slavery in their societies or it was anytime a part of their revelation.

        If later some followers of the Bible under the influence of their around cultures had adopted such activities and later coming people considering it the part of their teachings had entered in their writings then it is their mistake, otherwise the practical example of Moses was enough for his followers to avoid such activities of making other human beings their slaves .

        Secondly, in old ages slavery was a common practice in human society to run their system as today workers are hired in factories or offices. Four five thousand years ago the people usually who have no sources to survive used to sell themselves for their daily sustenance. It was a common tradition to buy and sell slaves as rich people always had a need of helpers for their business. As prophet Moses before his prophet-hood had worked with a family.There were tribal systems and in a war the conqueror tribes always used to make the people of opponent tribes their slaves. I mean it was a common cultural practice to have slaves and we can say that Mosaic Law has taken the first step against this prevailed evil to remove it from human society and had started first to finish it from the group of his addressors as we see in the Bible ; the people of Israel: ” (35) “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. (36) Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. (37) You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.

        The Bible in its teachings tried to improve the condition of humanity step by step. The only conception of slavery in the Bible is accepted where some people find no other option except to become slaves for their survival. It is forbidden in the Bible to make people slaves by force or to adopt it as a business: “Anyone who kidnaps someone and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. (21:16)

        This improvement continued through the prophets of God Almighty in human history and prophet of Islam also gave many instructions to remove slavery from human society. The Holy Prophet himself set a high example in this respect. On the occasion of his first marriage, his wife Khadija made over to him all her property including all her slaves. The Prophet declared that he could not make a human being his slave and, saying this, he set at liberty all the slaves he had received as a present from his wife, and during the rest of his life he never kept a slave.
        Not only did Islam lay down laws for the abolition of slavery but also laid down the rule that slaves and bondwomen who failed to obtain their liberty were not to be treated harshly. On one occasion Abu Mas’ud was beating a slave of his. From behind he heard a voice saying, “Abu Mas’ud, the power which God has over you is much greater than the power which you have over this slave.” Abu Mas’ud turned back and saw the Holy Prophet approaching. His whip dropped out of his hand. He said, “O Prophet of God, I free this slave in the name of God”. And the Prophet replied, “Had you not done so, the fire of Hell would have scorched your face” (Muslim)

        • Greg G.

          Moses didn’t write any of the Bible. Five books were written by other humans and attributed to Moses by humans. There is no evidence in Egypt that the Hebrews who ended up in Canaan were ever slave there. Moses didn’t exist. The Hebrews had slaves because it was customary in that place at the time.

        • SparklingMoon,

          When Moses went to Mount Horeb under the command of God, he addressed the Israelites saying: ”The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken (Deuteronomy 18:15).

          God spoke to Moses saying: ”I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or
          that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die (Deuteronomy 18:18-20).

          From these passages it is evident that Moses prophesied about a Law-giving Prophet who was to appear after him, and who was to be from among the brethren of Israel. The revelation of the Quran and the advent of the Holy Prophet mark the fulfillment of the prophecy in Deuteronomy.

        • Greg G.

          Moses never existed. He did not write that. He made no prophecies.

          The Christians insist it was a prophecy about Jesus. My speculation is that the Deuteronomist was trying to say that he was that prophet. Maybe it worked for him, maybe it didn’t. He seems to have left no mark in history.

        • Christine Gibbons

          Hmm and the only states in the world today with slavery still on their statute books are Muslim majority. Can I also point out that as a European approximately 1 million fellow Europeans were enslaved by North African slavers.

        • adam

          “Hmm and the only states in the world today with slavery still on their statute books are Muslim majority. ”

          So to say they are the only ‘real’ followers of the God of Abraham?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/86effa5e2bc761ae95f687bf44f1632c13ebd40a54b07502d779f242a887cc3e.jpg

    • eric

      Meh, it should be obvious that we don’t want God around.

      So…you’re saying God is the sort of person who flounces away when their feelings are hurt? Mature adults work through tough relationships…together.

      If this is true, then God needs to grow a thick skin and get over it. Particularly since when I’m petulant, it just annoys people, while when He’s petulant, people go to hell for eternity who might have believed had he been there.

      • So…you’re saying God is the sort of person who flounces away when their feelings are hurt?

        No.

        Mature adults work through tough relationships…together.

        Sure, read the book of Jonah. It doesn’t always work out that nicely. I suggest you stop pretending that it does.

        If this is true, then God needs to grow a thick skin and get over it.

        In other words, he needs to do what you want him to do?

        • Kodie

          What kind of god is such a big baby?

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          In other words, he needs to do what you want him to do?

          If God won’t answer prayers the way the NT says he will, why should we believe it about faith and salvation?

          Someone pointed out in a comment in Cross Examined that apologists excuse God for all the bad things that happen, so if God damned all the apologists to hell for eternity, they would argue that God had a good reason for it.

        • If God won’t answer prayers the way the NT says he will, […]

          Let me guess: you prefer the verses that don’t say “in his name”, and/or prefer to interpret them in a way other than: “If an ambassador abuses his/her privileges, [s]he will no longer be able to speak ‘in the name of’ his/her country and have any special powers associated with that country.”?

          Someone pointed out in a comment in Cross Examined that apologists excuse God for all the bad things that happen, so if God damned all the apologists to hell for eternity, they would argue that God had a good reason for it.

          Yep, I just love being broad-brushed like that. Nobody asks what I actually believe, they just assume. You know, that saves time.

        • Pofarmer

          Let me guess: you prefer the verses that don’t say “in his name”, and/or
          prefer to interpret them in a way other than: “If an ambassador abuses
          his/her privileges, [s]he will no longer be able to speak ‘in the name
          of’ his/her country and have any special powers associated with that
          country.”?

          And you have the unmitigated gall to say that someone else prevents their beliefs from being examined? You KNOW that prayers don’t get answered, and you construct these cockamamie excuses as to why that doesn’t happen. Doctor, heal thyself.

        • You KNOW that prayers don’t get answered, and you construct these cockamamie excuses as to why that doesn’t happen.

          What I know is that God is not a prayer vending machine nor is he a prayer genie. The scientific studies done on prayer I’m aware of (e.g. heart operation recovery) reduce God to these things. It’s literally treating “Heal this person in the name of Jesus” as a magical incantation, as if there were additional forces of nature which somehow respond to language or thought. In case it’s not clear: “forces of nature” ≠ “personal god”.

          As it turns out, we have ways of understanding people better which are non-scientific, because there are aspects of people which are not absolutely regular like the forces of nature [allegedly] are. I have explored praying in these domains and have gotten enough results to continue. I can elaborate; one major line of exploration has been into matters like that excerpt from Electoral Democracy. How have a great number of intellectuals in our era fallen prey to delusion and how deep is that delusion? This is a question that some are asking a little bit after Brexit and Trump, but generally the attitude seems to still be one of self-righteousness.

        • adam

          “What I know is that God is not a prayer vending machine nor is he a prayer genie.”

          You mean like it claims to be in the bible?

        • Without Malice

          Yep. “Whatsoever you ask in my name I will do it.” Sounds pretty much like a prayer vending machine to me. Of course that man who said it was an ignorance peasant who thought that diseases, mental illness, and epilepsy were caused by evil spirits and demons and who went around cursing fruit trees. Almost the entire teaching career of Jesus was devoted to the advancement of ignorance and superstition.

        • adam

          ” Sounds pretty much like a prayer vending machine to me.”

          And to anyone with an honest read of it notices that.

          “Almost the entire teaching career of Jesus was devoted to the advancement of ignorance and superstition.”

          Knowledge is power, which is why the church teaches magic and ignorance as virtues.

          To maintain power over the ignorant.
          And separate them from their money.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7e3cd58e4a2b7ea29300b8274a276196221394f07f4574d022e66ecfc64b25ad.jpg

        • TheNuszAbides

          Yep. “Whatsoever you ask in my name I will do it.” Sounds pretty much like a prayer vending machine to me.

          don’t worry, Luke’s got a very ~special~ definition of “in my name” that handwaves that whole issue.

        • Greg G.

          What I know is that God is not a prayer vending machine nor is he a prayer genie.

          Which is why believers in prayer must resort to confirmation bias whenever a prayer is approximately answered and forget about all the failures, including John 17:20-23.

        • Huh, how on earth have I managed to not forget about John 17:20–23? Why did I respond this way:

          GG: John 17:20-23 is the greatest prayer failure of all time.

          LB: I’m glad to hear you say that. So, if that prayer actually appears to be coming true, it will become the biggest prayer success of all time. Correct?

          ? Am I just a bad Christian, Greg?

        • adam

          “? Am I just a bad Christian, Greg?”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a18a3237d360e002dbdd901e4a3f5688a3463b7d939dbc595090ceadb5ae4faa.png

          Of course.
          But that is what being a christian is all about, isnt it?
          Bearing false witness, deception and dishonesty.

        • Greg G.

          It’s the old “prayer hasn’t been answered YET” dodge. Any prayer that seems to have come approximately true counts as a hit, confirms the bias, and is remembered with more weight that “have not come true YET” until they are forgotten. The weight of one magnificent coincidence is more convincing than the hundreds of misses.

        • adam
        • For many Christians, perhaps. But why is that relevant to this conversation? Am I supposed to be some sort of stand-in for them?

        • adam

          “As it turns out, we have ways of understanding people better which are
          non-scientific, because there are aspects of people which are not
          absolutely regular like the forces of nature [allegedly] are.”

          No ‘we’ dont https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7e6eceefda06b08605b3653301b5e246ee7fbd6ce2a594a4e6a0d18e41ce10f5.jpg

        • MNb

          “What I know is that God is not a prayer vending machine nor is he a prayer genie.”
          Where “I know” means “I accept as a lame excuse”.

        • Greg G.

          What I know is that God is not a prayer vending machine nor is he a prayer genie.

          The claims of other Christians attest otherwise. Maybe you aren’t doing it right. Maybe your confirmation bias needs to be adjusted so you can believe like they do. Maybe you should account for you confirmation bias and give up the answered prayer idea.

        • The claims of other Christians attest otherwise.

          I would be happy to have it out with them: scripturally, philosophically, morally, evidentially.

          Maybe you aren’t doing it right.

          Maybe I do need to sacrifice my firstborn.

          Maybe you should account for you confirmation bias and give up the answered prayer idea.

          I think I will rather believe that there are causal powers not reducible to the arational forces of nature. Because, you know, if they are the only causal powers, the difference between truth and falsehood is unknowable.

        • Greg G.

          Because, you know, if they are the only causal powers, the difference between truth and falsehood is unknowable.

          So, any solipsism would be acceptable? Or do you only accept your favorite?

        • Do not understand.

        • Kodie

          What I know is that God is not a prayer vending machine nor is he a prayer genie.

          You don’t know that. What you conclude, based on results, is that you have to make up a characteristic of god, because you still think there is a god. Because there’s no god, there’s nobody to pray to, and no outcome. You think there is a god, and because there’s no outcome, he must not deliver wishes. Buuuuut, that doesn’t stop Christians from asking him for goodies anyway, and claiming, when they do get the result they hoped for, that god is a vending machine and a prayer genie. When they don’t get the outcome they desired, they say, well, god’s not a vending machine or a prayer genie!

          Atheists aren’t expecting shit from no one there. We don’t think if there were a god, he would give us everything we want. We understand that part. If god existed, we could understand if there were some things we wanted that he didn’t think we should have. That’s just not obviously the case. You create a character of god who is just pouting and disappointed that he couldn’t get in touch with us because we’re fucking pointless to even try, and we have to rely on incompetent blowhard intermediaries like you to speak about his reasons. If you want to go on thinking so, why are you bothering us with this bullshit?

        • Ignorant Amos

          According to the Bible, YahwehJesus is better than a vending machine.

          Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

          Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

          In Matthew 17:20 Jesus reiterates that same message:

          For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

          Faith the size of a mustard seed and nothing is impossible? Shifting mountains no less.

          The message is reiterated Mark 11:24:

          Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

          https://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm

          The problem is, the less soofistikated feelogyians that Lukieboy, suck all this shit up…and for some strange reason unbeknownst to me, the eejits in the pulpits aren’t putting them straight.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but there was totally a healed amputee in medieval Spain! the doctor was amazed! and we all know how much naysayers have historically been embraced in MuslimChristianMuslimChristianAnarchist Spain, so clearly no error or conflict of interest was possible in the sole written account …

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Miracle of Calanda, I know it well.

          We can’t say that the Miracle of Calanda is not genuine, and we can’t prove that Miguel Juan Pellicer’s leg was not miraculously restored. But we can say that the evidence we have falls short, and is perfectly consistent with no miracle having taken place.

          https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4247

        • TheNuszAbides

          in some perverse way, he seems to be more comfortable with people who make an effort with reason/logic/evidence (e.g. his claim to have been persuaded of evolutionary theory’s factual basis), even though he has so much more in common with the countless theists who by his own admission are Doing It Wrong.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You keep mentioning Brexit and Trump in the same sentence like they are some how equal…why?

        • Greg G.

          Nigel Farage was a key figure in Brexit. He recently had dinner with Trump. More recently, he was seen entering the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where Julian Assange has been living. I think that was about the time Wikileaks dropped the CIA hacks. When asked as he was leaving, Farage couldn’t remember what he was doing at the embassy. Do you think Luke knows something about this?

        • SparklingMoon,

          God is not a prayer vending machine nor is he a prayer genie.
          ———————————-
          It is explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad: When a servant being confronted with a great difficulty leans towards God Almighty with perfect certainty, perfect hope, perfect love, perfect fidelity and perfect resolve, and becoming extremely alert and tearing aside the veils of heedlessness advances far into the fields of the discarding of self, he beholds in front of him the court of the Divine and that He has no associate. Then his soul prostrates itself at that threshold and the power of attraction that is invested in him draws the bounty of God Almighty towards itself. Then God, the Glorious, addresses Himself towards fulfilling the purpose of the supplication and casts the effect of prayer on all those preliminary means which give rise to the means that are necessary for the achievement of the purpose of the prayer. For instance, if the prayer is for rain then on its acceptance the natural means that are needed for rain are created by the effect of the prayer.

        • busterggi

          Prayers are like the 5-second rule, you have to call them or the magic doesn’t work.

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          Let me guess: you prefer the verses that don’t say “in his name”, and/or prefer to interpret them in a way other than: “If an ambassador abuses his/her privileges, [s]he will no longer be able to speak ‘in the name of’ his/her country and have any special powers associated with that country.”?

          If that worked, I would have been a Christian longer and might still be.

          Yep, I just love being broad-brushed like that. Nobody asks what I actually believe, they just assume. You know, that saves time.

          What I said was “apologists” and statement doesn’t say what apologists believe, only what they argue. If apologists read “all apologists” into it, they broad-brush themselves.

          But you have argued that the omnipotent God incapable of doing what suffering does so he uses suffering. The shoe fits.

        • If that worked, I would have been a Christian longer and might still be.

          If what worked? Do you think the Christians around you wanted God’s will, including stuff like Jn 17:20–23 and Eph 1:7–10? From personal exploration, I’m inclined to heartily agree with Ephraim Radner’s scholarly summary:

          In general, “confessional” histories have tended to be self-justifying with respect to the separation of one Christian group from another. (The End of the Church, 6n4)

          One can contrast this self-justification (leading to self-righteousness) to Paul’s repeated pleadings with the Corinthians that they pursue unity. I love this bit:

          But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20)

          Power to do what? To heal and unify and build up. If Christians cease being interested in these things, why would God allow his power to continue with them? I have seen glimpses of this power and have even had a few small successes in helping others which I don’t think were 100% due to my own power, but in large part I think we Christians are also well-described by my opening salvo.

          What I said was “apologists” and statement doesn’t say what apologists believe, only what they argue. If apologists read “all apologists” into it, they broad-brush themselves.

          The sentence would have been irrelevant to the conversation had you not meant to include me in it. Was I wrong to think it was relevant? If so, my apologies.

          But you have argued that the omnipotent God incapable of doing what suffering does so he uses suffering. The shoe fits.

          I have no interest in discussing illogical worlds which you may think God could have/​should have created. I also don’t see how this has anything to do with the arbitrariness you criticize in your second paragraph. Indeed, this matter is the complete opposite of arbitrariness.

        • Pofarmer

          which I don’t think were 100% due to my own power, but in large part I think we Christians are also well-described by my opening salvo.

          That’s a lot of verbiage to commit a No True Scotsman.

        • It’s as No True Scotsman as Francis Bacon was when he suggested that awesome science could be done, while having approximately jack evidence to support his claims.

        • Greg G.

          Your analogy tells us that you also have approximately jack evidence for your claim.

        • Evidence for which claim? That said actions were not 100% due to my own power?

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          You had a chance to present some evidence and went for an analogy. What happened? How do you know what you did was actually related to the problem that would have cleared up without your action?

        • Show me how I’d possibly produce evidence that would satisfy you, because I suspect you’ve set me up to fail from the get-go. If an action is 90% me and 10% God, how do we convince @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus of that? Hell, if an action is 90% me and 10% my wife, how do we convince @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus of that? I’m not going to try variation after variation with you knocking them all down a la Whac-A-Mole. Give me enough information about your evidential standards and how you’ll analyze, or this tangent dies.

          BTW, this is the context (correct me if I’m wrong):

          LB: Power to do what? To heal and unify and build up. If Christians cease being interested in these things, why would God allow his power to continue with them? I have seen glimpses of this power and have even had a few small successes in helping others which I don’t think were 100% due to my own power, but in large part I think we Christians are also well-described by my opening salvo.

        • Susan

          If an action is 90% me and 10% God, how do we convince Greg G. of that?

          You could begin by demonstrating that God exists and show a connection between it and that ten per cent you claim it contributed.

          If an action is 90% ne abd 10% my wife, how do we convince Greg G. of that?

          You could begin by demonstrating that your wife exists and show a connection between her and that ten per cent you claim she contributed.

          Greg can be persuaded by evidence.

          We all know wives exist, Luke Breuer.

          Maybe even yours.

        • LB: If an action is 90% me and 10% God, how do we convince @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus of that?

          S: You could begin by demonstrating that God exists and show a connection between it and that ten per cent you claim it contributed.

          This is a pitiful attempt at a “how”.

        • Susan

          This is a pitiful attempt at a “how”.

          I disagree.

          But if that’s your position, provide a good one.

        • I feel no compulsion to do whatever it is you mean by “provide a good one”. If you want me to engage you badly enough, you’ll do more of the work. If you don’t and yet persist in replying to my comments, you’ll probably demonstrate that your desires are for something other than Truth.

        • Susan

          I feel no compulsion to do whatever it is you mean by “provide a good one”

          That’s been obvious for a very long time now. I’ll also note that you feel no compulsion to explain why my suggestion for “how to convince Greg” is pitiful.

          If you want me to engage badly enough, you’ll do more of the work.

          I don’t particularly want to engage YOU Luke Breuer. I just want people to support shit they say, something you don’t seem to feel any compulsion to do. And if you ask a question and I provide a seemingly obvious solution, if you think my obvious solution is “pitiful”, then feel free to provide something better.

          If you don’t and yet persist in replying to my comments, you’ll probably demonstrate that your desires are for something other than Truth.

          Show me your math. Make sure to define your terms.

        • Pofarmer

          Does there need to be any more evidence that this cat is a complete asshole?

        • Susan

          Does there need to be any more evidence that this cat is a complete asshole?

          The best evidence is his endless appeals to genocidal scenarios to describe our impatience with his being an asshole which leads to genocide.

          That is, when people on the internet call him an asshole for his behaviour, it is the same sort of thing as dehumanizing entire groups of people for insufficient reasons and eventually massacring them without mercy. .

          His victim/martyr routine is as sociopathic a position as I’ve encountered in my travels.

          =====

          EDIT: And it is his go-to position. I’ve heard it more times than I can bear and it gets more sickening every time.

        • Michael Neville

          His victim/martyr routine is as sociopathic a position as I’ve encountered in my travels.

          It’s also narcissistic. Everyone else is out to get him for no reason other than contrariness. He’s never done anything which warrants the abuse he get dumped on his poor, innocent head.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, when you start out with the presupposition that people who disagree with you are evil, then you are going to come to some pretty bad conclusions.

        • I don’t particularly want to engage YOU Luke Breuer.

          The evidence indicates otherwise. Here, I’ll help you out: this will be my last comment to you (i) until you become interesting to me; or (ii) if I perceive you attempting character assassination.

        • Kodie

          That’s a pretty clear admission on your part that your intention here is to jerk off and to avoid honest discussion. People ask you something that’s missing – deliberately absent – from all of your posts, and that it’s uninteresting to you to answer those honest questions tells us everything. You are selfish and a liar.

        • Susan

          The evidence indicates otherwise.

          Not really. That I’ve pointed out your circular patterns doesn’t mean I’m particularly interested in you. I’ve just watched you derail conversation here and elsewhere and turn it into the Luke Breuer show.

          I’ve also noticed that you have provided no support for your claims in all the comments you’ve made on the internet, (which are many) instead preferring to take potshots and claim martyrdom.

          Whatever.

          I’ll help you out: this will be my last comment to you

          No. You’ve done this before and it didn’t affect me in the least.

          It’s a public discussion. I will address your comments. Address mine or don’t.

        • Paul B. Lot

          The evidence indicates otherwise.

          Does it? Can you show us how?

          I’ll help you out: this will be my last comment to you (i) until you become interesting to me; or (ii) if I perceive you attempting character assassination.

          How does that help her? Oh, perhaps you were trying your to be cute/passive aggressive and you meant “help you [prove your assertion that you don’t particularly want to interact with me]”.

          But if you meant that, then how does [not addressing @disqus_xYWVllyPLU:disqus directly] help her to prove that her assertion that [she doesn’t particularly want to address you] is true?

          After all, she’s already explained to you and us [what she believes her reasons are] for feeling compelled to address you. She said that she wants people to “support the shit they say”. She did not say that she responds to you because you directly address her.

          So stating that you will cease directly addressing her doesn’t help her at all…unless, of course, you instead decide to not address anyone. Is THAT what you meant?

          That you’ll finally fuck off?

          If so, then yes; I would agree that you were helping Susan to prove herself.

          If not, then this pathetic little attempt to assert your dominance seems like more of the same from a manipulative piece of shit.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “I don’t particularly want to engage YOU Luke Breuer. I just want people to support shit they say”

          +many

        • I just want people to support shit they say, something you don’t seem to feel any compulsion to do.

          I do have a question for clarification: upon challenge are you always willing to either:

               (1) support what you’ve said
               (2) retract what you’ve said

          ? That is, do you feel the compulsion you want me to have? If so, does it manifest as a top-level desire, or is it overpowered by other desires at least a significant amount of the time?

          See, I’m trying to figure out whether I should use you to define what is meant by “support shit they say” and “compulsion”—define it by your behavior, not the dictionary. You know, I’m trying to figure out if this describes you:

          Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. (Matthew 23:1–4)

          I hope it doesn’t, but sadly I recall some evidence which indicates that sometimes you fail to do (1) or (2) when challenged to produce “support”. Perhaps, however, my recollection is faulty.

        • Susan

          I do have a question for clarification: upon challenge are you always willing to either:

          (1) support what you’ve said
          (2) retract what you’ve said

          I’ll bet I’ve failed occasionally. I’m guessing you’re referring to one little archived comment of bluelinked butthurt that you’ve saved for exactly this occasion.

          But I’m only guessing based on my long and exhausting history with you and your interactions with me and others.

          I have my reasons for ignoring your little blue-linked level of butthurt if you’re planning to whip it out on this occasion.

          I hope it doesn’t, but sadly I recall some evidence which indicates that sometimes you fail to do (1) or (2) when challenged to produce “support”. Perhaps, however, my recollection is faulty

          If it’s what I think it is, it has something to do with your pattern of ‘plausibliity’ when it suits you and ‘possibility’ when it suits you.

          And it was another effort to direct an entire discussion down Luke Breuer’s rabbit holes into Luke Breuer’s scattered headquarters from which Luke Breuer tries to run the Luke Breuer show.

          When I was asking you to provide a viable model for the existence of your pet deity and evidence to support it. How many comments now, Luke Breuer and nary a speck?

          I’m guessing but you’re being coy. It wouldn’t be the first time.

        • I’ll bet I’ve failed occasionally.

          Or more. But of course you’ve automagically dismissed all possible evidence with your “little archived comment of bluelinked butthurt”. Genius. The Donald would be proud of you. You’ve immunized yourself to the facts—at least when you find them to be personally inconvenient.

          If it’s what I think it is, it has something to do with your pattern of ‘plausibliity’ when it suits you and ‘possibility’ when it suits you.

          Perhaps. What I recall you doing was never actually providing the burden of proof for your claim. You know, the kind of thing Paul B. Lot despises:

          PBL: Accusing someone of xyz, and then placing the burden on them to disprove it is absurd, dishonest behavior.

          I despise it, too. Apparently though, you’re ok with it. But now you’ve got me in a catch-22. If I provide evidence for this claim, you’ll describe it as “little archived comment of bluelinked butthurt”. If I don’t provide evidence for this claim, you’ll call me a hypocrite. Let’s see if you gleefully exploit this, or if you provide a way out like a decent human being. 😀

          And it was another effort to direct an entire discussion down Luke Breuer’s rabbit holes into Luke Breuer’s scattered headquarters from which Luke Breuer tries to run the Luke Breuer show.

          You could have just recanted. You didn’t. This said everything.

          I’m guessing but you’re being coy. It wouldn’t be the first time.

          You’d be precisely the right instrument to detect coyness.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I feel no compulsion to do whatever it is you mean by “provide a good one”. If you want me to engage you badly enough, you’ll do more of the work.

          Oh look: Narcissist/Martyr-Luke – one of my least favorite versions.

          If you don’t and yet persist in replying to my comments, you’ll probably demonstrate that your desires are for something other than Truth.

          This guy is where it’s at! Pretend-Wizard-Luke is awesome, casting his words like magical spells. Binding people with his command of the Secret Truth.

          ALOHAMORA!

        • Greg G.

          The “how” depends on the properties of the God you believe in. It’s up to you to show the properties exist and are from a god. Anything a skeptic presents would get a “that’s not my god” response. It’s up to you to present evidence for the god you imagine.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I suspect you’ve set me up to fail from the get-go.

          why waste energy pretending to discourage yourself? wouldn’t you get much-needed practice at something-or-other in the process, regardless of how your efforts were perceived/assessed?

        • Greg G.

          There are probably a couple of hundred things in the room I am in at the moment and I accept that all of them are real. I have never been to Africa, South America, or Australia but I accept that those are real places. I accept that you are real.

          It is not difficult at all to convince me that something exists. It just takes appropriate evidence to distinguish something that exists from something that is purely imaginary.

          If I balanced a bucket of rocks and a bucket of water on a fulcrum, then came back three days later to find that the water bucket was raised into the air, I might say that a god made that happen, just as I might attribute the rain as coming from the gods. Of course, we understand evaporation now, though. So, if Luke does 90% and the other 10% cannot be accounted for, it is premature to attribute it to a god. The demon-theory of disease was premature, too.

          I use this example a lot. I used it for Aldo Jackson and Doug recently. Einstein’s formulas predicted that light would be affected by gravity. Some scientists realized that during an upcoming solar eclipse, a certain star would be behind the sun and not seen unless Einstein’s theory was correct, or at least a better model than Newtonian physics. The observations showed that the star was detected precisely where Einstein’s formula predicted it would be seen, thus validating that model.

          What you need is a theory that can distinguish a real god from an imaginary god. The Templeton study of intercessory prayer eliminated human bias from the analysis and found that intercessory prayer had no significant effect though being informed of being prayed for may have had an adverse effect.

          It is not just god studies that have problems with this. All supernatural effects fail experiments that eliminate human bias. The supernatural has been contrived to be undetectable and it is re-contrived to adjust for failed experiments. The definition of “supernatural” separates it from natural methods of detection, leaving only imaginary means of detection.

          If you have no way to distinguish a real god from an imaginary god, don’t pretend you have one. If you do, what is it?

        • There are probably a couple of hundred things in the room I am in at the moment and I accept that all of them are real.

          Being (or perhaps: mere perception & representation) is quite different from causation.

          It is not difficult at all to convince me that something exists.

          That wasn’t hard for Hume either, although he might disagree with ‘something’ in favor of bundle theory. What was hard for him was causation.

          The demon-theory of disease was premature, too.

          Mental illness can sometimes be described as “tapes” running in people’s heads which repeatedly condemn them. Construing these “tapes” as actual beings occupying their heads is not irrational. Like all other theoretical knowledge, it is a model of reality, valid in some domains for some purposes. Refusing to start with pretty bad models is an excellent recipe for never getting anywhere at all.

          What you need is a theory that can distinguish a real god from an imaginary god.

          Agreed. My theory hypothesis is that once we’re sufficiently un-deluded, we will be ready to hear more than the tiniest snippets from him, snippets which can easily be explained as coming from not-God. I have a plethora of evidence that we are extremely deluded. I am collecting it, collating it, and working on a software to systematically present it so that one can explore it in a manner reminiscent of Choose Your Own Adventure. I doing this, I do not require people like you to participate in any way except as hard-headed skeptics/​cynics.

          The Templeton study of intercessory prayer eliminated human bias from the analysis and found that intercessory prayer had no significant effect though being informed of being prayed for may have had an adverse effect.

          Yes, the Templeton study found that “in the name of Jesus” cannot be used as a magical incantation to activate impersonal forces of nature. The only people surprised by this were witches and idiots. (I suppose I should include ‘warlocks’ to avoid being sexist, although ‘witch’ still has a [more?] negative connotation.)

          All supernatural effects fail experiments that eliminate human bias.

          I don’t know what you mean by ‘supernatural’. YHWH is a God who wishes to be known arbitrarily well, which militates against many definitions I’ve encountered for ‘supernatural’. See Leibniz’s theistic case against Humean miracles.

          The supernatural has been contrived to be undetectable and it is re-contrived to adjust for failed experiments.

          These days, for a wide swath of religious folks, I agree. If one attempts to extrapolate back in history, one will falter. The term ‘supernatural’ is notoriously unstable.

          The definition of “supernatural” separates it from natural methods of detection, leaving only imaginary means of detection.

          If I tell you had a dream about such and such last night, science cannot verify it. Does that mean there are only “imaginary means of detection” for it?

          If you have no way to distinguish a real god from an imaginary god, don’t pretend you have one. If you do, what is it?

          I’ve made clear that I do have a way to distinguish. If you do not make at least a decent effort to understand at least why I might be possibly rational in saying this, I may choose to never engage you again, except perhaps to deal with what I perceive as attempted character assassination.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I’ve made clear that I do have a way to distinguish.

          no citation? how uncharacteristic.

        • Greg G.

          Being (or perhaps: mere perception & representation) is quite different from causation.

          We are talking about existence. I can ponder the origin after I know it exists.

          Mental illness can sometimes be described as “tapes” running in people’s heads which repeatedly condemn them. Construing these “tapes” as actual beings occupying their heads is not irrational. Like all other theoretical knowledge, it is a model of reality, valid in some domains for some purposes. Refusing to start with pretty bad models is an excellent recipe for never getting anywhere at all.

          Not all diseases that went without proper treatment under the demon-theory of disease is mental illness. Even if a mental illness is like a demon, are you actually going to argue that it is a demon? You are just diverting the issue.

          I have a plethora of evidence that we are extremely deluded.

          which works against you.

          Yes, the Templeton study found that “in the name of Jesus” cannot be used as a magical incantation to activate impersonal forces of nature.

          Your god is anal-retentive about the wording of an incantation?

          I don’t know what you mean by ‘supernatural’.

          It was in the very next sentence.

          If I tell you had a dream about such and such last night, science cannot verify it. Does that mean there are only “imaginary means of detection” for it?

          That means there are no real means of detecting it.

          I’ve made clear that I do have a way to distinguish. If you do not make at least a decent effort to understand at least why I might be possibly rational in saying this, I may choose to never engage you again, except perhaps to deal with what I perceive as attempted character assassination.

          People have been begging you to make your case. If I have a soul and it is at risk, show me that I am wrong. Please! I could have a brain aneurism at any moment or a car accident today. Don’t be coy. How many people have you conversed with over the years who have died waiting for your evidence?

        • Let’s review:

          GG: What you need is a theory that can distinguish a real god from an imaginary god.

          LB: Agreed. My theory hypothesis is that once we’re sufficiently un-deluded, we will be ready to hear more than the tiniest snippets from him, snippets which can easily be explained as coming from not-God. I have a plethora of evidence that we are extremely deluded. I am collecting it, collating it, and working on a software to systematically present it so that one can explore it in a manner reminiscent of Choose Your Own Adventure. I doing this, I do not require people like you to participate in any way except as hard-headed skeptics/​cynics.

          +

          GG: If you have no way to distinguish a real god from an imaginary god, don’t pretend you have one. If you do, what is it?

          LB: I’ve made clear that I do have a way to distinguish. If you do not make at least a decent effort to understand at least why I might be possibly rational in saying this, I may choose to never engage you again, except perhaps to deal with what I perceive as attempted character assassination.

          GG: People have been begging you to make your case. If I have a soul and it is at risk, show me that I am wrong. Please! I could have a brain aneurism at any moment or a car accident today. Don’t be coy. How many people have you conversed with over the years who have died waiting for your evidence?

          Do not conflate these two things:

               (A) Having some clear criteria
                      for what constitutes “a case”.
               (B) Making “a case”.

          The two starting comments of yours in the above sub-conversations are exclusively about (A). And then, in your last comment in the second sub-conversation, you effortlessly switch to (B). Perhaps this was a tacit admission that I actually do have a “way to distinguish a real god from an imaginary god”, but that’s not good enough.

          I realize that you personally may desire something other than “hear more than the tiniest snippets from him” as part of “a case”. For example, you may desire demonstration of power. An amputated arm growing back, for example. But this isn’t about what you personally desire. This is what logically constitutes a “way to distinguish a real god from an imaginary god”.

          So, either deal with my attempt at (A) and do not go anywhere near (B), or we will be forever stuck at (A), excepting “what I perceive as attempted character assassination”.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’ve made clear that I do have a way to distinguish.

          You’ve made it clear that you believe that you have a way to distinguish.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And very coy to go into much detail about what that way entails.

        • Pofarmer

          Talking more about this Power to do what? To heal and unify and build up. If Christians cease
          being interested in these things, why would God allow his power to
          continue with them?

          Which is what you seem to be doing all over the place. Pretty Clear No True Scotsman.

        • You think I’m not interested in building up? Hmmm, here’s what I recently said to atheist, materialist, and skeptic @disqus_fRI0oOZiFh:disqus:

          LB: Indeed, until I can find some way to improve your own thinking, from your perspective, I don’t think I can claim to correctly understand you.

          I guess I was just talking out of my ass. When he said “evidence for … nonempirical propositions” and I challenged him to not use ‘evidence’ that way, to sharpen his thinking, I was attempting to actually tear him down and destroy his ability to argue. Yep, that’s it!

          Or let’s take the long-running @Void Walker, now known as @void_walker_2000:disqus, which regularly contained snippets like this:

          VW: From my perspective, you’re just butt hurt because I’m not taking something you wanted to discuss seriously. You’re throwing a little hissy fit, insinuating that I’ve not given any thought whatsoever to your little tangent, which is false.

          Then, after I convinced him that humans’ ability to always “game the system” violates the predictions of determinism, he switched his name and his attitude to this:

          LB: I myself subscribe to what I call a “small ∆v model of free will”, which I liken to the limited fuel satellites have to burn in order to get from earth to wherever they need to get in the solar system

          TW: I totally dig this analogy. It makes sense. I’ve found that often, people will move through life as if they *lack* the ability to deliberate among potential courses of action, and instead blindly charge down the path they see as inevitable (and some of these people, whom I know, aren’t even determinists!).

          Your reasoning opens many possible doors in how we approach the FW/DW issues at hand. It shows that, given the proper training/willingness, we are, in fact, capable of taking many different roads in life. We need only properly utilize our powers of reason and introspect like mother fuckers. This at least grants a foot in the door, I suppose.

          But no, I’m not interested in helping people in any way, in healing them of the kind of despair with which @Void Walker regularly suffered. All I want to do is tear people down. That is my telos in life. You’ve got me nailed, Po!

        • adam
        • Pofarmer

          You have a gift for missing the point.

        • adam

          You have a grift for missing the point.

          FTFY

        • So I give two examples of “To heal and unify and build up.” and your response is to reaffirm that I’m engaging in No True Scotsman? I’m afraid you will need to articulate your point just a bit more than you have.

        • Pofarmer

          Well I never. This really is pointless. You have to actively try to miss the point this badly.

        • It was common for medievals to classify all failure as moral.

        • Pofarmer

          Cows and goats are dead-end host for each other’s parasites.

        • Tormented Wanderer

          Wish I had a computer so we could chat more… using my xbox one

        • Congrats! If $$$ is a problem, I’m sure I could get a pretty cheap computer to you. I miss you, dude.

        • Tormented Wanderer

          I miss you. Yeah cash is an issue at present, until I get a better job. If you could help me out at all with a comp that’d be awesome…been craving intellectually stimulating conversation, esp wrt free will.

        • Why don’t you see what you can find that would work well, wouldn’t be the shittiest thing possible, but also not the shiniest thing possible, and then I’ll talk to the wife.

        • Tormented Wanderer

          Tbh I’m not sure where to begin. Any suggestions?

        • I think I’ll start watching Craigslist. Do you care about Mac vs. PC?

        • Tormented Wanderer

          Mac would be my preference

        • Alright; I’ll keep a lookout. Might be a few weeks; I’ve got a lot going on. And yes, I’m wasting a lot of time dealing with morally despicable people, but it is a kind of research.

        • Tormented Wanderer

          Much appreciated, Luke.

        • Tormented Wanderer

          Is it rewarding, at any point?

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmXsYfXqJNM

          Especially the last 20s. 🙂

        • Paul B. Lot

          Dawww, how cute.

          You two should get a blog together! 🙂

        • Hope you’ve been well.

          I’ve had my ups and downs, but things are going quite well in several domains right now. I’m getting quite good at detecting all the various little things that people say which are intended to make me hate myself and thus change to become more like what they want me to be. It’s really quite shocking how much horrible comes out of people’s mouths. And it’s not clear that they know they’re doing it. If they do, it’s like they’re conscious of 1% of the total effect. Spears to the soul which are felt as pinpricks if that. Understanding the middle school mentality better and better has been a big goal of mine. First, because I want to protect my kids if I have them, second because it’s just something I’m curious about, third because Trump is basically middle school all over again. And the Left is stupid as fuck about what he’s doing. He has them in his pocket. He doesn’t care if they feel like they’re superior to him, while they’re in his pocket.

          BTW, I have two analogies for the above. First, laser cooling of atoms. I haven’t explored the details, but my guess is that just like you can make a frozen hell for atoms, you can make a frozen hell for people. By “frozen”, I mean lacking energy—depression. Next, fusion power. Here, you do the opposite: you try to heat up a precise set of atoms to amazing temperatures. To do this you bombard from all sides. This creates a hot hell for people. By “hot”, I mean full of energy—anger/​sadness. In both cases, you need to surround the atoms being frozen/​plasmified. So it works really well when it’s a bunch of people, coordinated intentionally or unintentionally, vs. one or a few people. And I bet it’s important that the “one or few people” not really understand what’s going on. If we look at failure modes of laser cooling and fusion power, maybe there’s something analogous there on this matter.

          Anyhow, my guess is that you’ll like the above and I’ll get grief from CE regulars. Although, given that I’ve made the prediction public, I’ve violated a principle of psychohistory and may have changed the outcome. Oh noes.

        • Tormented Wanderer

          On the kid note, my god is it a trip that I’m having one. It’s glorious, albeit somewhat frightening. I would like to think that I’m fully ‘prepared’, but know better 😉 Sorry so brief. Damn xbox controller.

        • I don’t think anyone is fully prepared. :-p

          And yeah, I refuse to use xbox controllers to enter text. But that’s easy because I get addicted to video games so I don’t own an xbox. But I’ve done a bit of text entry with NES in my time…

        • Tormented Wanderer

          And yes, great physics analogy

        • Tormented Wanderer

          But do tell, how is anyone in Trumps pocket? I know the man better than most, and he ain’t very bright.

        • I just had this conversation with my pastor and a scholar. I said Trump was brilliant. The scholar objected strenuously, while my pastor stayed largely silent. The scholar admitted that Trump is a good sophist, but would not allow this to be categorized as any sort of ‘intelligence’.

          My answer is that one cannot pretend away the expertise of the Sophists as irrelevant. You cannot say that it is not a kind of intelligence. That’s just elitism. That Trump could become President of the United States and not have any intelligence? That’s ludicrous. And you know what? That belief is what will put you in Trump’s pocket. Why? Because this is a democracy, not an aristocracy or meritocracy.

          Want an example? Witness the hubbub about the size of the inauguration crowd. What did that accomplish? It distracted all the smart people so that the dumb person could pull a blinder over their eyes to what he is really doing. Are your own eyes beginning to open? Or shall we talk about the various ways that Hitler was able to gain power and do horrible, evil things? (For the record: I don’t think Trump is as smart as Hitler nor do I think that the people are desperate enough to give him that much power.)

        • Tormented Wanderer

          I agree, to a point. But one could safely argue that A: he was not attempting to distract anyone, and was merely throwing a hissy fit like the childish narcissist he so clearly is, and B: even if it was a distraction, how could we be sure that Trump himself was behind it?

        • Greg G.

          If what worked? Do you think the Christians around you wanted God’s will, including stuff like Jn 17:20–23 and Eph 1:7–10?

          Yes, I thought that very much. John 17:20-23 is the greatest prayer failure of all time. Christians are supposed to be so united as to impress the world but they barely agree enough to be considered Christians.

          Ephesians 1:7-20 and Radner’s observation apply to most any religion. Confirmation bias accounts for it very well.

          I have seen many claims of healings but there is never proof of anything. A friend said that he knew of a woman who prayed for healing of multiple sclerosis and was “cured”. Later, I happened to read that MS often goes into remission. I was once impressed by a couple of friends who said they were fishing one evening and the mosquitoes were eating them alive. They decided to pray and the mosquitoes stopped bothering them. After I stopped believing, I happened to read that mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, in the half hour or so of twilight when the birds who hunt by sight have roosted but before the bats come out.

          I read an article that had challenged those who believe in miracles to submit their best attested miracle. A grandmother told about her grandson who suffered from headaches and was examined with x-rays. The doctors requested that he come back the following week for more x-rays. Grandma had her church pray for the boy. When the new x-rays were done, the doctors found nothing. When it was investigated, it turns out that one of the first x-rays was blurred so they wanted to do it over, not that they had found something wrong. But the boy’s headaches weren’t cured either.

          The sentence would have been irrelevant to the conversation had you not meant to include me in it. Was I wrong to think it was relevant? If so, my apologies.

          I took what you were saying that prayers and pointed out that apologists do that for all kinds of things, without thinking of anyone in particular. Your reaction was not to deny that apologists do it, but tried to say that you should not be included. At that point, after a moment’s reflection, I recalled where you did just that.

          I have no interest in discussing illogical worlds which you may think God could have/​should have created.

          We dicussed another topic at length where you made that argument. You were illogical.

        • John 17:20-23 is the greatest prayer failure of all time.

          I’m glad to hear you say that. So, if that prayer actually appears to be coming true, it will become the biggest prayer success of all time. Correct?

          Christians are supposed to be so united as to impress the world but they barely agree enough to be considered Christians.

          This is one reason I think that most Christians (perhaps restricted to the West) cannot manifest much if any δύναμις. The empirical evidence indicates that the greater the power differential, the greater the rationalization and the less the rationality. More science is not necessarily conducive to more egalitarianism. It may be anti-conducive. (Apparently, Bertrand Russell worried about this.)

          Ephesians 1:7-20 and Radner’s observation apply to most any religion. Confirmation bias accounts for it very well.

          Does it? What I know is that human culture is inclined toward uniformity over against unity-in-diversity, perhaps excepting an Other which can be scapegoated because humans dislike admitting the true extent of their own moral culpability in affairs.

          I have seen many claims of healings but there is never proof of anything.

          If your only way to construe “proof” is consistent with God-as-genie, then no you will not see proof. Because God is a person, not a force of nature.

          A friend said that he knew of a woman who prayed for healing of multiple sclerosis and was “cured”. Later, I happened to read that MS often goes into remission. I was once impressed by a couple of friends who said they were fishing one evening and the mosquitoes were eating them alive. They decided to pray and the mosquitoes stopped bothering them. After I stopped believing, I happened to read that mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, in the half hour or so of twilight when the birds who hunt by sight have roosted but before the bats come out.

          A man once caught a Leprechaun and forced him to reveal his pot of gold in a corn field. The man tied his handkerchief around the corn stalk and forced the Leprechaun to swear he would not remove the handkerchief while he went to get a shovel. When he came back to the corn field, there was an identical handkerchief tied around every corn stalk.

          I read an article that had challenged those who believe in miracles to submit their best attested miracle.

          So what was desired was a spectacle, not unity-in-diversity. Miracles have approximately zero evidential weight, or have you forgotten basic epistemology as well as Mt 24:22–25? I at least do not believe that “might makes right”.

          I took what you were saying that prayers and pointed out that apologists do that for all kinds of things, without thinking of anyone in particular. Your reaction was not to deny that apologists do it, but tried to say that you should not be included. At that point, after a moment’s reflection, I recalled where you did just that.

          Did just what? Your example was precisely that God can be completely arbitrary and apologists will defend that arbitrariness. My response was that persons can exhibit orderliness to their actions which is not capturable by our thinking of the forces/​laws of nature. Unless you really believe that any behavior of persons, not capturable by the current mathematics with which we characterize the forces of nature, is 100% arbitrary?

          We dicussed another topic at length where you made that argument. You were illogical.

          I haven’t a clue as to what you’re talking about. I do save the occasional link to interesting comments, so if you can give me some more context, I may have saved a link, in which case we could examine the textual evidence instead of your plausibly-faulty memory.

        • adam

          “I’m glad to hear you say that. So, if that prayer actually appears to be
          coming true, it will become the biggest prayer success of all time.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8b31af4b17af8a8298dbd2cb01a556290657c5fdf1a2dac56ebf210f62e696a2.jpg

          That prayer has gone south and keeps on going south.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7f60fc63f0bf32b14f104bfcf1b07a7d0edf9af18389fa662c83acc1eb7e5b2b.jpg

        • Greg G.

          I’m glad to hear you say that. So, if that prayer actually appears to be coming true, it will become the biggest prayer success of all time. Correct?

          Of course not. Appearing to be coming true is not coming true is not true. It will only be true when “the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” is satisfied.

          What I know is that human culture is inclined toward uniformity over against unity-in-diversity,

          You suggested that “unity-in-diversity” would impress the world.

          If your only way to construe “proof” is consistent with God-as-genie, then no you will not see proof. Because God is a person, not a force of nature.

          Yawn. More excuses for miracles being nothing but confirmation bias.

          A man once caught a Leprechaun

          My accounts are from personal experience.

          So what was desired was a spectacle, not unity-in-diversity. Miracles have approximately zero evidential weight, or have you forgotten basic epistemology as well as Mt 24:22–25? I at least do not believe that “might makes right”.

          Yawn. It was an opportunity to show a case of a miracle that could be verified, and not just confirmation bias. Christians offered their best case. It turned out to be another case of confirmation bias.

          Did just what? Your example was precisely that God can be completely arbitrary and apologists will defend that arbitrariness.

          We debated over the problem of suffering with an omnipotent and benevolent being. I argued that unnecessary suffering could be prevented by omnipotence and that with both omnipotence and benevolence, all suffering is unnecessary. You tried to argue that God could not do the logically possible things that suffering could do.

          But Christians don’t defend God’s arbitrary actions. They defend arbitrary events under the assumption that they were God’s actions.

        • Of course not. Appearing to be coming true is not coming true is not true. It will only be true when “the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” is satisfied.

          Sorry, I meant to capture that transition point where excitement is, in some sense, at its maximum. Once the transition point is passed, humans have this tendency to forget that it ever happened, and thus conclude that how things are is pretty much how it has always been, modulo less science and less morality in the regressive past.

          LB: What I know is that human culture is inclined toward uniformity over against unity-in-diversity,

          GG: You suggested that “unity-in-diversity” would impress the world.

          Yes, because unity-in-diversity is hard. It’s probably more accurate to say that society oscillates between valuing unity and valuing diversity. War definitely brings unity, unless of course it is civil.

          LB: If your only way to construe “proof” is consistent with God-as-genie, then no you will not see proof. Because God is a person, not a force of nature.

          GG: Yawn. More excuses for miracles being nothing but confirmation bias.

          Spin whatever description you’d like; I say that if your standard for acknowledging a prayer request as answered by God reduces him to a genie or a vending machine, it’s a stupid standard. Actually it’s more than that: it reveals that the only thing you respect is power.

          My accounts are from personal experience.

          The Leprechaun bit was an allegory.

          Yawn. It was an opportunity to show a case of a miracle that could be verified, and not just confirmation bias. Christians offered their best case. It turned out to be another case of confirmation bias.

          Yep: yawn.

          We debated over the problem of suffering with an omnipotent and benevolent being. I argued that unnecessary suffering could be prevented by omnipotence and that with both omnipotence and benevolence, all suffering is unnecessary. You tried to argue that God could not do the logically possible things that suffering could do.

          Yes, you don’t believe lawfulness matters to the realities that God would create. According to you, if God wants to accomplish X, he can do it via nothing intermediary. It just is magically so and there is zero intelligibility. I reject such a reality as utterly terrible, even if God could create it.

          But Christians don’t defend God’s arbitrary actions. They defend arbitrary events under the assumption that they were God’s actions.

          Huh? When Jesus said he only does what he sees his father doing, there’s a lot he didn’t do that one can observe out there (such as leading violent rebellions). There’s a reason Barth said “Nein!” to Brunner’s natural theology, even if it was too strong. Barth can be excused: he lived in Nazi Germany.

        • Susan

          Christians don’t defend God’s arbitrary actions. They defend arbitrary events under the assumption that they were God’s actions.

          Amen.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i dunno, between VR and the God Helmet, something tells me it wouldn’t be terribly challenging for just the right cynical leadership to orchestrate a comeback for Theism Du Jour.

        • eric

          I’m pointing out the behavior you claim God is doing is inconsistent with how we understand benevolent, loving, mature adults to act. I’m pointing you that your argument that he’s hidden ‘because we don’t want him around’ is not consistent with a benevolent, loving, mature deity. Now of course you can respond that God doesn’t have to act benevolent, loving, or mature. But are you sure that’s a claim you want to use to support your argument for hiddenness?

        • adam

          ” Now of course you can respond that God doesn’t have to act benevolent, loving, or mature.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a18a3237d360e002dbdd901e4a3f5688a3463b7d939dbc595090ceadb5ae4faa.png

        • I’m pointing out the behavior you claim God is doing is inconsistent with how we understand benevolent, loving, mature adults to act.

          And I say you’re cherry-picking from what sometimes works. Sometimes children rebel and sometimes such rebellion isn’t due to lack of knowledge or wisdom on the part of the parents. This is part of what “moral responsibility” is.

          I’m pointing you that your argument that he’s hidden ‘because we don’t want him around’ is not consistent with a benevolent, loving, mature deity.

          I suggest learning more about dysfunction in human relationships. I suggest learning more about incredible resistance to accepting the truth on the part of those who consider themselves the wisest and smartest in modern civilization. I provided a shining example of this in my original comment.

    • Why exactly does God care if we don’t want him around? If we’re so stupid, whose fault is that, really? Would making wiser people violate their free will too, like other things supposedly?

      • Why exactly does God care if we don’t want him around?

        It is bad for us to be locked in error and mediocrity.

        If we’re so stupid, whose fault is that, really?

        That depends on whether you believe in personal responsibility.

        Would making wiser people violate their free will too, like other things supposedly?

        Wiser like King Solomon? That turned out well.

        • It is bad for us to be locked in error and mediocrity.

          How would not being around help us?

          That depends on whether you believe in personal responsibility.

          If it’s that widespread, it seems more than a lack of personal responsibility is at issue.

          Wiser like King Solomon? That turned out well.

          I thought King Solomon was viewed as good.

        • How would not being around help us?

          When we say we can do things better without God, he sometimes lets us empirically test that claim. Isn’t empirical evidence helpful?

          If it’s that widespread, it seems more than a lack of personal responsibility is at issue.

          Or your notion of personal responsibility is small.

          I thought King Solomon was viewed as good.

          He made a good choice—wisdom over wealth, long life, and military dominance. He did some other good things, too. But then there is 1 Kings 11, not to mention his kid.

        • Pofarmer

          “he sometimes lets us empirically test that claim. Isn’t empirical evidence helpful?”

          This should be good.

        • When we say we can do things better without God, he sometimes lets us empirically test that claim. Isn’t empirical evidence helpful?

          Perhaps, if we knew that’s what is going on. Only perhaps though-it might have worse consequences than knowing God is there.

          Or your notion of personal responsibility is small.

          Maybe so, but it seems your notion is very large. How much can a person if they are born with a low IQ, raised poor and ignorant, etc.? Not to mention the biggest one of all, which this issue hinges on-can they help never having heard of God, or have an incorrect concept? It makes no sense to say we are being tested by God’s absence when many people don’t even know it.

          He made a good choice—wisdom over wealth, long life, and military dominance. He did some other good things, too. But then there is 1 Kings 11, not to mention his kid.

          I had admittedly forgotten that, which doesn’t seem so wise.

        • Perhaps, if we knew that’s what is going on.

          This is why I included that excerpt from Electoral Democracy. It is a wonderful example of “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness”. Another way to say the same thing is “suppressing the truth in self-righteousness”.

          How much can a person if they are born with a low IQ, raised poor and ignorant, etc.?

          It’s almost as if God created us to be interdependent, and our protests that “I’m not my brother’s keeper” are in violation of the very design of reality. But no that couldn’t be; the rugged individual who chucks a few dollars to the poor is the Right Way™.

          Not to mention the biggest one of all, which this issue hinges on-can they help never having heard of God, or have an incorrect concept?

          There is a tremendous amount of thought on this. I’ve never considered it a huge problem, and there are other things which I have considered huge problems, so I’ve allocated my time accordingly. Can’t cover everything.

          It makes no sense to say we are being tested by God’s absence when many people don’t even know it.

          I don’t think that “tested” applies nearly as much as some Christians do. Mostly I think it’s God wanting to give excellent gifts to people who then misuse them terribly. See for example this answer to the Phil.SE question What did Russell intend to achieve with “The Impact of Science on Society”?.

          I had admittedly forgotten that, which doesn’t seem so wise.

          Being truly wise and knowledgeable can easily give you a big head and make it easy to rationalize the oppression of masses of people—for their good, of course. In my first comment I linked to Kahan et al’s 2013 paper Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government (a Cultural Cognition Project Working Paper). One of the things they discovered is that the smarter you are, the better you are at blindly following your political ideology.

        • This is why I included that excerpt from Electoral Democracy. It is a wonderful example of “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness”. Another way to say the same thing is “suppressing the truth in self-righteousness”.

          That seemed like apathy and ignorance, rather than people suppressing anything. Regardless though, how do we know that’s an apt comparison?

          It’s almost as if God created us to be interdependent, and our protests that “I’m not my brother’s keeper” are in violation of the very design of reality. But no that couldn’t be; the rugged individual who chucks a few dollars to the poor is the Right Way™.

          I’m not arguing for any rugged individualism, but that still doesn’t answer the question.

          There is a tremendous amount of thought on this. I’ve never considered it a huge problem, and there are other things which I have considered huge problems, so I’ve allocated my time accordingly. Can’t cover everything.

          Okay, well that seemed particularly relevant here to divine hiddenness. I guess I’m not going to get an answer on this though.

          I don’t think that “tested” applies nearly as much as some Christians do. Mostly I think it’s God wanting to give excellent gifts to people who then misuse them terribly. See for example this answer to the Phil.SE question What did Russell intend to achieve with “The Impact of Science on Society”?.

          So which gift or gifts would it be here?

          Being truly wise and knowledgeable can easily give you a big head and make it easy to rationalize the oppression of masses of people—for their good, of course. In my first comment I linked to Kahan et al’s 2013 paper Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government (a Cultural Cognition Project Working Paper). One of the things they discovered is that the smarter you are, the better you are at blindly following your political ideology.

          Yes, that can happen, though the less wise seem very capable of the same. First it seems you said our ignorance is willful. I suggested greater wisdom, but you noted that’s no guarantee either. Where does this leave us?

        • That seemed like apathy and ignorance, rather than people suppressing anything. Regardless though, how do we know that’s an apt comparison?

          I will let apathy and ignorance explain a lot, but I won’t let them run wild as explanations. Humans do will things. As to it being an apt comparison, it is if God is desirous of egalitarianism, which I claim he is. (See also Joshua A. Berman’s Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought.) The false beliefs exposed by said excerpt are thoroughly antithetical to egalitarianism. They’re tantamount to preaching “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace. Such preaching allowed Trump in under the [non-functional?] radar.

          I’m not arguing for any rugged individualism, but that still doesn’t answer the question.

          If I am my brother’s keeper (but I’m not to treat my brother as a bad clone of myself), then how is your question a problem? “To whom much is given, much is expected.” There are equalizers. And it’s not clear that the mentally challenged are less able to have an excellent relationship with God. Some may actually be superior; see for example Henri Nouwen’s account of switching from seminary to a special needs community in In the Name of Jesus.

          Okay, well that seemed particularly relevant here to divine hiddenness. I guess I’m not going to get an answer on this though.

          Sorry, but (i) I don’t know as much as I’d like to on that topic; (ii) it’d open up a huge additional tangent and I’m already spread rather thinly.

          So which gift or gifts would it be here?

          Unlimited electrical power could be one gift God would like to give us. The disastrous consequences of giving such technology to civilizations not morally up to snuff is briefly mentioned in the Stargate SG-1 episode Enigma (specifically: Sarita) and explored in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Friendship One. Humanity’s problem isn’t lack of science, it’s lack of character. Well, lack of character and not recognizing it’s lack of character.

          Yes, that can happen, though the less wise seem very capable of the same. First it seems you said our ignorance is willful. I suggested greater wisdom, but you noted that’s no guarantee either. Where does this leave us?

          Self-righteousness is not something in any way restricted to the ignorant. I know that’s the reigning dogma in the West these days among the intellectual elite, but according to three sociologists (you know, the people who have this stuff as their scientific subject matter), the so-called “recipe knowledge” that intellectuals spout has scientific validity which is “Statistically speaking … roughly random.” (12)

          Where does this leave us? In need of better understanding arrogance and apathy. In need of better understanding the rationality of power, to complement our knowledge of the power of rationality. In need of questioning our self-righteousness. In need of actually believing what the evidence tells us. It’s quite the Gordian knot and I’ve only scratched the surface.

          A teleologically-supported option is that God has not designed reality to work all that well if things are not headed toward egalitarianism. So, the empirical observation that power differences lead to rationalization over rationality could be a suitable teleological design feature. And history does indicate that the build-up of power doesn’t last. But a huge problem is that plenty of people have a lust for power to dominate other human beings, while plenty of other people are rather happy to not engage in the hard work of responsible self-rule. How does one crack that nut? (One can of course simply deny teleology and run with a de facto “Might makes right.”, with some sort of morality-veneer.)

        • I will let apathy and ignorance explain a lot, but I won’t let them run wild as explanations. Humans do will things. As to it being an apt comparison, it is if God is desirous of egalitarianism, which I claim he is. (See also Joshua A. Berman’s Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought.) The false beliefs exposed by said excerpt are thoroughly antithetical to egalitarianism. They’re tantamount to preaching “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace. Such preaching allowed Trump in under the [non-functional?] radar.

          I’m not saying willfully suppressing never happens, no. The point simply was to say they don’t always. We agree on that.

          If I am my brother’s keeper (but I’m not to treat my brother as a bad clone of myself), then how is your question a problem? “To whom much is given, much is expected.” There are equalizers. And it’s not clear that the mentally challenged are less able to have an excellent relationship with God. Some may actually be superior; see for example Henri Nouwen’s account of switching from seminary to a special needs community in In the Name of Jesus.

          That was regarding personal responsibility. At this point we’ve gone over all that. I’m sort of finding it hard to put together all that’s been said, since this exchange has grown.

          Sorry, but (i) I don’t know as much as I’d like to on that topic; (ii) it’d open up a huge additional tangent and I’m already spread rather thinly.

          Okay, fair enough.

          Unlimited electrical power could be one gift God would like to give us. The disastrous consequences of giving such technology to civilizations not morally up to snuff is briefly mentioned in the Stargate SG-1 episode Enigma (specifically: Sarita) and explored in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Friendship One. Humanity’s problem isn’t lack of science, it’s lack of character. Well, lack of character and not recognizing it’s lack of character.

          I haven’t yet seen any of those. However on our flaws I’d suggest this is something God could improve.

          Self-righteousness is not something in any way restricted to the ignorant. I know that’s the reigning dogma in the West these days among the intellectual elite, but according to three sociologists (you know, the people who have this stuff as their scientific subject matter), the so-called “recipe knowledge” that intellectuals spout has scientific validity which is “Statistically speaking … roughly random.” (12)

          I wasn’t saying it’s restricted to them.

          Where does this leave us? In need of better understanding arrogance and apathy. In need of better understanding the rationality of power, to complement our knowledge of the power of rationality. In need of questioning our self-righteousness. In need of actually believing what the evidence tells us. It’s quite the Gordian knot and I’ve only scratched the surface.

          A teleologically-supported option is that God has not designed reality to work all that well if things are not headed toward egalitarianism. So, the empirical observation that power differences lead to rationalization over rationality could be a suitable teleological design feature. And history does indicate that the build-up of power doesn’t last. But a huge problem is that plenty of people have a lust for power to dominate other human beings, while plenty of other people are rather happy to not engage in the hard work of responsible self-rule. How does one crack that nut? (One can of course simply deny teleology and run with a de facto “Might makes right.”, with some sort of morality-veneer.)

          So…why wouldn’t he design reality well? You obviously don’t think God wants the result, so it’s confusing.

        • I’m not saying willfully suppressing never happens, no. The point simply was to say they don’t always. We agree on that.

          My best man, an atheist, worked quite hard on me to accept “drunk driving” as an explanation for an awful lot of terrible that happens. That being said, I’m not willing to accept the absolute of Socrates’ “Nobody knowingly does evil.” Christianity made an extraordinary innovation (I think it was an innovation—haven’t checked rigorously) with the idea of “acting against your better knowledge”. To deny this innovation is, I’m fairly sure, to deny freedom of the will. (I can elaborate.)

          That was regarding personal responsibility.

          Ok, then: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Some have very little personal responsibility. Given that some have a terrific amount, it’s not clear to me that there is a problem.

          I’m sort of finding it hard to put together all that’s been said, since this exchange has grown.

          Yes, that’s a perennial problem with me. The way I view reality is so different in some ways with many of my atheist/​agnostic/​skeptic interlocutors that it can take a lot of text to clarify things. I’m working on reducing the verbiage, and also on a software system that would allow building of a kind of “choose your own adventure” exploration of sophisticated systems of thought. I’d love to explore Kant and how people have used his work with such a system. And I could pioneer things with my much smaller system of thought. (Always good to have a personal “hook”, as long as it doesn’t dominate the software design.)

          However on our flaws I’d suggest this is something God could improve.

          What I suspect is that the work taken to rationally and evidentially support such a claim (the support can be indirect) would actually end up helping us with our flaws. The key is to prohibit any waving of what I call the “omni wand”. If the Christian isn’t allowed to say God works in mysterious ways, neither is the atheist.

          BTW, in my experience Christians tend to be atrocious at understanding sin (original or otherwise) with any sophistication (of the kind you want your psychologist to have). A shining counter example would be Alistair McFadyen with his Bound to Sin: Abuse, Holocaust and the Christian Doctrine of Sin and The Call to Personhood: A Christian Theory of the Individual in Social Relationships. The only “bright spot” here is that non-Christians also seem to suck rather hard at understanding how to compensate for sin cognitive biases. This is an area of active research for me.

          I wasn’t saying it’s restricted to them.

          Ok; I was just guessing as to how your interpretation started at “ignorant”, swung to “wise”, and found me treating neither as sufficient to deal with self-righteousness.

          So … why wouldn’t he design reality well? You obviously don’t think God wants the result, so it’s confusing.

          I suspect God designed reality just fine; I place the blame on willful human ignorance, mediocrity, tribalism, and some amount of outright evil. The only way for us to really understand things is for us to have a chance to “tend reality” (Gen 1:28) where we can fail and learn from the failures. Ideally we’d limit the failures by trusting God more, but when it comes to adult time, the magnitude of possible failure gets much larger.

          Now, how do I avoid “God designed reality just fine” being unfalsifiable? I would need to run aground, in the sense described at Thagard’s #1 and #2. Trees that don’t bear fruit get tossed into the fire. (In Bible-speak, fire often refines; see for example 1 Cor 3:10–15.) I’m aware that many Christians get stuck in ruts and in a very real sense, stop learning more about God and more measurably, stop becoming ever-better at loving Christians and non-Christians (cf. 1 Thess 4:1–2,9–10). An old pastor said that I was rather unusual in that I grew appreciably in the few years I was at his church. This was a rather depressing statement, but so much about reality is depressing these days. If I get stuck in a rut, I question my faith. First, I try to discover whether I am in sin, believing false things, or refusing to tentatively believe true things. I doubt I’d survive as a Christian if I were stuck in a rut for more than a year or two. Again, 1 Cor 4:19–20. Kinda-sorta: δύναμις or GTFO.

        • My best man, an atheist, worked quite hard on me to accept “drunk driving” as an explanation for an awful lot of terrible that happens. That being said, I’m not willing to accept the absolute of Socrates’ “Nobody knowingly does evil.” Christianity made an extraordinary innovation (I think it was an innovation—haven’t checked rigorously) with the idea of “acting against your better knowledge”. To deny this innovation is, I’m fairly sure, to deny freedom of the will. (I can elaborate.)

          I’d agree, though Socrates’ view is attractive it doesn’t hold up well (though people often don’t think their acts are evil). By acting against your better knowledge, you mean knowing something is wrong but doing it anyway? I think that is a fairly common observation (Hindus, Buddhists, Greek pagans etc. seem to have made it).

          Ok, then: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Some have very little personal responsibility. Given that some have a terrific amount, it’s not clear to me that there is a problem.

          I don’t think we do now. It just seemed to me first that you were saying everyone is responsible. Apologies.

          I suspect God designed reality just fine; I place the blame on willful human ignorance, mediocrity, tribalism, and some amount of outright evil. The only way for us to really understand things is for us to have a chance to “tend reality” (Gen 1:28) where we can fail and learn from the failures. Ideally we’d limit the failures by trusting God more, but when it comes to adult time, the magnitude of possible failure gets much larger.

          Now, how do I avoid “God designed reality just fine” being unfalsifiable? I would need to run aground, in the sense described at Thagard’s #1 and #2. Trees that don’t bear fruit get tossed into the fire. (In Bible-speak, fire often refines; see for example 1 Cor 3:10–15.) I’m aware that many Christians get stuck in ruts and in a very real sense, stop learning more about God and more measurably, stop becoming ever-better at loving Christians and non-Christians (cf. 1 Thess 4:1–2,9–10). An old pastor said that I was rather unusual in that I grew appreciably in the few years I was at his church. This was a rather depressing statement, but so much about reality is depressing these days. If I get stuck in a rut, I question my faith. First, I try to discover whether I am in sin, believing false things, or refusing to tentatively believe true things. I doubt I’d survive as a Christian if I were stuck in a rut for more than a year or two. Again, 1 Cor 4:19–20. Kinda-sorta: δύναμις or GTFO.

          The problem that I see is we’re part of reality. If we were designed this way, isn’t that “poor”?

        • By acting against your better knowledge, you mean knowing something is wrong but doing it anyway? I think that is a fairly common observation (Hindus, Buddhists, Greek pagans etc. seem to have made it).

          I’m sorry, I think I should have said Jews, not Christians. As to Hindus and Buddhists I just don’t know much—although I do like when I can find one in person who enjoys exploring his/her beliefs in depth and comparing and contrasting them with day to day life (vs. having only a more theoretical, abstract understanding). In saying what I did, I was largely drawing on Socrates’ assertion plus the following from John Walton:

          Joyful Pursuit of Deity    What characterized the religiosity of ancient peoples? Did they delight in their gods? Did they find their religious experience to be psychologically rewarding? Bother describes Mesopotamian sentiment as reflecting fear rather than exaltation. “The divine, in its multiple, personalized presentations, was above all considered to be something grandiose, inaccessible, dominating, and to be feared.”[75] He observes that the gods were not the object of enthusiastic pursuit. The people sought the gods for protection and assistance, not for relationship. “One submitted to them, one feared them, one bowed down and trembled before them: one did not ‘love’ or ‘like’ them.”[76] Yet this must be qualified somewhat by the recognition of a certain level of relational rhetoric in the ways that people interacted with the gods. This element is perhaps more evident in Egypt than in Mesopotamia, and perhaps more in the Amarna period in Egypt than in other periods. (Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, 161)

          The above compares nicely with Daniel 2:9–11 and 2:26–28. Walton also includes some interesting prayers by pagans which essentially express “I have no idea what the right thing to do is!” This would be in sharp contrast with e.g. Psalm 119. And that’s the end of my knowledge on this subject. Feel free to add to it!

          It just seemed to me first that you were saying everyone is responsible.

          Ah yes, everyone is not identical; the disparate elements in the population need to all be considered. Otherwise, you have that the average ship path from the Atlantic to the Pacific runs through something like Brazil. My wife is in biophysics and biochemistry; the difference is that biochemistry gets you entire populations and whatever details you can discover via bulk assay; biophysics lets you look at what might be very different behaviors which are obscured by averages. You’d think we would know this by heart with stuff like 1 Cor 12, but we’re really slow. Don’t we all have equal and indistinguishable access to God Reason? (Minus the imbeciles, of course!)

          The problem that I see is we’re part of reality. If we were designed this way, isn’t that “poor”?

          Only [necessarily] if we have no personal responsibility, no personal agency. If the only causal powers are the forces of nature, you’d have a wonderful point. But if the only causal powers are the forces, of nature, then “(5) Therefore, truth and falsity of belief is unknowable.” It’s either personal causation (at the link, atheist Gregory Dawes quasi-formalizes “intentional explanation”) or bust. I’m blowing by this point, but I suspect it is one of the ways that Modernity is most screwed up. In a non-Feuerbachian sense, in denying God we denied ourselves. I’ll end with a footnote from sociologist Christian Smith:

          Margaret Archer correctly notes that “sociological imperialists ha[ve] labored long and hard with a vacuum pump on humankind, sucking out the properties and powers of our species-being, to leave a void behind to be filled with social forces” (Being Human: The Problem of Agency [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000], 315–16). (To Flourish or Destruct, 8n16)

          We made ‘subjectivity’ (the inner world) lawless and unintelligible, and thus it diminished. It went through The Minimal Self and may go arbitrarily close to zero.

        • Sorry, this is getting long so I’m not going to quote you directly. I hope it’s clear: each response will address your points in turn.

          I don’t know, what I’ve read indicates that there were pagans with such perspectives of their gods, while the Jews also had attitudes like those he describes. This isn’t something I know much about though, nor is it all that relevant. Beliefs change over time as well, and there is also diversity, so no doubt both could be true.

          Yes, our differences are something necessary to account for. I would hope all of us have the same access to reason, though sometimes I’m dubious.

          I’m not sure why having people who are better in some ways would make them lack agency or responsibility. As to your point about naturalism, I disagree but that would start up a whole other topic so I’ll leave it there. I’d point out that some Christian philosophers also disagree (for instance G. E. M. Anscombe when C. S. Lewis made a similar argument). As to the rest about the sociologists, I’m really not sure what you mean, but again that seems like another topic. To stay on the topic, I’m not sure why this point would only apply assuming naturalist is true.

        • I’m happy with the occasional zero-quote, more-summaryish responses.

          My real concern with “acting against your better knowledge” is that the “better knowledge” needs to come from somewhere, and I’m not all that interested in just-so stories. This is because I see the individual psychology and social dynamics as being quite relevant to today—but only if they can be understood in enough detail. With so many around the world not seeming to care about “better knowledge” of any sort whatsoever, I believe the matter is … pressing.

          I didn’t mean to say that increase ability would lead to lacking agency/​responsibility. I do mean to say that a lot of our really bright people seem to deny agency/​responsibility (e.g. Against Moral Responsibility), which means that the agency/​responsibility I believe exists will go wild, like the occasional plot filled with untrimmed grass, weeds galore, and bushes growing in every which way.

          As to my point about naturalism, is naturalism necessarily denied if one asserts that the forces of nature are not the only [irreducible] causal powers? Because if you hold this, then I’d be interested in pursuing the argument that one cannot, on such a naturalism, rationally distinguish between truth and falsity. Surely all knowledge is caused? If the same causal power brings about false beliefs as true beliefs, and it operates in precisely the same way in both cases, whence the knowledge of true vs. false?

          Remember that you and and asked “The problem that I see is we’re part of reality. If we were designed this way, isn’t that “poor”?” This seems to necessarily deny that we have had any role in our own design. And yet, human culture has been going for quite a while. There has been plenty of “acting against our better knowledge”. And so moral culpability has accumulated. Now, all this does is create an “in” for me by denying you a close-and-shut case. We would then have to develop the tools for exploring the matter. I’m quite limited in my ability to do such development all by myself (I identify with Ando‘s late-stage superpower); furthermore I find Christians generally unwilling/​unable to do such development, forcing me to attempt it with not-always-very-willing atheists. I’ve accrued some amount of animosity from doing this…

          Now, it would be fascinating if the development of said tools ends up showing us a way forward, out of our self-righteousness. God might then ask us, “Why didn’t you do that earlier? You had all the pieces! You were happy to take credit for self-constitution!”

        • Yes, it has to have an origin. I’m not sure what you think it would be though, aside from God.

          I also see what you mean now by agency and such. Why would it go wild however?

          I don’t know how you define naturalism. I’ve seen it defined as the idea that nature is the only thing which exists, and so natural forces would be the only ones by definition. On that, saying there are causal powers aside from that would indeed deny naturalism. I said before here that I’m not committed to naturalism (thus defined) and it seems like we’re getting off topic on this. I’d recommend looking at the things Anscombe (plus others) said on that if you haven’t already.

          I don’t mean we do no self-design, but on theism our basic nature was given by God, surely. That’s what I meant here. I’m not sure what the better knowledge is that you mean in this regard. What development would you like to see humans undergo specifically?

        • The origin, most basically, is either personal or impersonal. My suspicion is that difference makes a huge difference when you work out the consequences. If the ultimate foundation is impersonal, how exactly do we think about what “happens” to be “built” on top of it? If we aren’t careful the word “emergence” becomes functionally identical to “God works in mysterious ways.” That which is contingent becomes irrelevant in some key ways. The necessary reigns and it drains anything else of value. We see that today in the dominance of bureaucratic rationality. We get books titled things like Rational Choice Theory: Resisting Colonisation. We get papers titled Doing Research that Makes a Difference which cry out to us to stop pretending that universal, timeless truths are the be-all and end-all of knowledge.

          My idea that personal agency goes wild is based on the idea that if you do not prune life, it goes wild. I suspect the metaphor/​analogy goes quite deeply. C. S. Lewis warned in The Abolition of Man that not respecting [and I suspect: further tending] the Tao would lead to a “return to nature”—in the sense that barbarians are closer to nature than civilized persons. All the contingently existing structure carefully built by civilization and culture could be wiped out. It has happened many times before. What’s scary about this time is our power to take a lot of other life with us. However, there is life which survives in the Chernobyl reactor.

          Can you point me to some specific stuff by G. E. M. Anscombe? This seems to be an impasse in addressing your “The problem that I see is we’re part of reality. If we were designed this way, isn’t that “poor”?” I’m quite certain that how we understand personal agency and how we understand the ontological basis of rationality is important in answering that question. I don’t want to speak in mere vagueries.

          Without understanding just what “our basic nature [that] was given by God” is, it is rather hard to talk about how we might blame God for it somehow being insufficient. To kickstart the discussion, I can point you to John Schneider’s article “The Fall of ‘Augustinian Adam’: Original Fragility and Supralapsarian Purpose”, in which he contrasts the “Augustinian Adam” (morally perfect before Fall) to the “Irenaean Adam” (a moral child before the Fall). I’m partial to the latter model, as is he. One way to build from here is to understand the Fall as a refusal to mature properly, as an attempt to take shortcuts. The child doesn’t listen to his/her parents and trust them, and WHAM, catastrophe. This is precisely what we see in the story of Cain and Abel. Note the shift from ‘obedience’ → ‘listening/​trusting’; without this switch (instigated by Yoram Hazony in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture), you cannot have ‘maturity’.

          There’s no easy way to describe the “development” I’d like to see humans undergo. Perhaps the most succinct statement, riffing on John Milbank, is that we all need to become interdependent Übermenschen. It is a desire for infinitude, moderated and supported by interdependence, with laws/​songs proceeding forth from each poiēma which all intertwine such that “the earth will be filled / with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD / as the waters cover the sea.” Such people are well-described by the 7+1 instances of “one who conquers” in Revelation. To be less succinct and less cryptic than this would probably require a lot of text, especially for my first rigorous articulation of an idea that has been simmering for a while.

        • I’m not sure why you feel only with the impersonal does the necessary reign. God is necessary, I’m told, so in either case the necessary still appears to reign. I don’t quite get what that has to do with these views that you dislike either.

          C. S. Lewis gave much the same argument you did in Mere Christianity. It was criticized by G. E. M. Anscombe, and he reworked that in response. The book C. S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion goes into the issue in Chapter Six. If you look up the argument from reason it may be possible to find other sources on this. As I’ve said though, it seems this is off topic really. I’m not sure why this would even be needed to answer the question why we couldn’t be better designed.

          Irenaeus advocated the soul-making theodicy, is that right?

          I understand it can be hard to put into words. Ironic you would invoke Nietzsche’s concept, perhaps.

        • Pofarmer

          Please note he’s using the Fall as an actual event. It really is pointless. LB isn’t here to interact. He knows it all. He’s here to he s know it all Dick.

        • Well all of this is “for the sake of argument”. I’m atheist, after all, while also talking about what “God would do” and such. Luke I prefer to many, even though some of what he says I’m having difficulty understanding, because he brings a higher level of discourse.

        • Pofarmer

          What he brings is a deep, deep level of bullshit.

        • Well, no one has to talk to him. I’m going to stick with it a while longer.

        • Pofarmer

          Knock, yourself out, just realize that some/most of his sources, if you actually read them, don’t say what he seems to think they do. In fact, some conclude the exact opposite of what he’s using them to “prove.” He’s a bullshit artist, plain and simple, convinced of his own correctness. And because he actually seems to sound authoritative, he’s damaging.

        • I haven’t checked them, but I’ll keep what you say in mind now. There is indeed a danger in sounding like you know what you’re talking of but not really knowing it, yes.

        • adam

          ” because he brings a higher level of discourse.”

          If you think going down empty rabbit holes is a ‘higher level of discourse’….

        • Well like I said to someone else, you don’t have to talk to him. He shows actual knowledge of philosophy, which is more than most commenters on here do. That makes it interesting for me.

        • adam

          ” He shows actual knowledge of philosophy, ”

          See this is what I thought originally, but after following so many of his rabbit holes, this knowledge appears extremely superficial.

          He knows how to Gish Gallop extremely well..

          And my pet peeve, he has absolutely no qualms about lying, then lying about lying..

          Have fun!

        • Well okay, I’ll see.

        • busterggi

          Using any & all bible stories as actual events is common for him – almost as if he’s one of those fundamentalists he disses so badly.

        • I’m not sure why you feel only with the impersonal does the necessary reign. God is necessary, I’m told, so in either case the necessary still appears to reign.

          God being a necessary being is very different from the necessity associated with one interpretation of the laws of nature. I say that God, being free, has the ability to give us true freedom. But true freedom entails causal pluralism, not causal monism. It is not clear that science knows how to deal with causal pluralism, although there are hints in stuff like Nancy Cartwright’s The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.

          I don’t quite get what that has to do with these views that you dislike either.

          Like or dislike has nothing to do with it; I’m working with logic entailment. Emotions are banished and one must smash one’s face against hard reality. Unless you want to live in lala land, that is.

          C. S. Lewis gave much the same argument you did in Mere Christianity. It was criticized by G. E. M. Anscombe, and he reworked that in response. The book C. S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion goes into the issue in Chapter Six.

          Thanks. I’m not sure how much this argument actually lines up with C. S. Lewis’ argument from reason (which he more formally makes in Miracles, apparently); my own argument does not conclude that “God exists”, but that “causal monism is false”. Although, if someone merely discards the idea that they know what is true and what is false, they are under no rational compulsion to abandon causal monism. Anyhow, I have requested the book you recommended from my library; thanks!

          Irenaeus advocated the soul-making theodicy, is that right?

          I associate that particular term with John Hick, but there is WP: Irenaean theodicy. I am inclined toward Irenaeus’ notion that Adam & Eve were immature and that creation is on-going. This seems to require a growing block universe, where time and causation are a better match to our immediate experience than the [static] block universe currently supported by [time-reversible] physics (see e.g. WP: Unitarity (physics)).

          I understand it can be hard to put into words. Ironic you would invoke Nietzsche’s concept, perhaps.

          Actually, I’m not sure it is all that hard to put into words. Nietzsche’s Übermensch seems to be merely a degenerate, individualistic form of theosis. One of the things modernity does, via its various dichotomies (e.g. fact/​value, primary/​secondary quality, public/​private), is eviscerate the human’s inner world. This is done by depriving us of the tools for exploring and shaping it. This also weakens the desires of many (rendering them nicely docile), but it fails to do this to all, hence Yeats’ “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” Firefly captured this dichotomy nicely with Serenity. Anyhow, Nietzsche acutely felt the meat-grinder operating in his soul inner world, characterized it, and did his best to rebel.

          What we lack is a way to weave our ever-increasing desires together in a glorious tapestry that, far from stepping on various individual goods, uses them as the bleeding edge of an ever-growing common good, where ‘common’ is fractal instead of an atomistic individual–State thing. (Political liberalism and secularism stand militantly against any such thing happening.) This is fundamentally egalitarian and the powers that be despise egalitarianism. (We still have the dogma in an attenuated form, as a new opium for the masses.) And so instead of realism/​optimism you have cynicism, instead of creation you have destruction. The destruction will turn to more violence of the spiritual fundamental problems are not addressed; hopefully this doesn’t have to progress too far before enough people with enough power pull their heads out of their butts.

          But hey, maybe I’m the one living in lala land; maybe we’ll be just fine, figure out how (scientifically and politically) to deal with impending catastrophic global climate change, figure out how to reverse the post-truth thing, etc. Maybe the correct sermon is, “Peace, peace!”

        • Kodie

          Like or dislike has nothing to do with it; I’m working with logic entailment. Emotions are banished and one must smash one’s face against hard reality. Unless you want to live in lala land, that is.

          You have made a career of building a massive wall between you and reality to be preaching about this.

        • adam

          “I say that God, being free, has the ability to give us true freedom. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/398eee168a95a1c3714d1513e1274d5c0eb7136e6f5206bb94180f68ef55410d.jpg

        • What is causal pluralism?

          Okay, my point wasn’t as to your feelings about such ideas, just how they were related.

          Yes, it was in Miracles rather than Mere Christianity, sorry. Does naturalism entail “causal monism” (again I’m uncertain what this means)?

          So why not just make things as God wished to begin with?
          Also this growing block universe isn’t supported by current physics? That seems like a problem.

          I’m finding it difficult to understand what you’re saying on these “modern” notions. Some seem like existed much further back, and in any case I’m unclear why they are all so evil. Nor why liberalism and secularism are supposedly against overcoming these. In any case, what has this to do with all the rest?

        • What is causal pluralism?

          Causal pluralism is anything that isn’t causal monism. Causal monism is basically the idea that there exists, at root, one [arbitrarily complex] causal power which operates in the same way everywhere and at all times. It is precisely such causal monism which necessarily entails “(4) Physical laws cannot distinguish true from false beliefs.” I used the plural here—”physical laws”—but causal monism is what is implied. If one objects to my (4) on the basis that there are laws, then the person has rejected causal monism and I can probably go interesting places from there (which may lead to backing down on that objection).

          A specific form of causal pluralism can be found in my excerpt from Gregory W. Dawes’ Theism and Explanation: if intentional explanations are “not nomological”, then they are not entirely and completely caused by what is nomological—that is, physical laws, on very influential notions of ‘physical law’.

          Okay, my point wasn’t as to your feelings about such ideas, just how they were related.

          Ok; in the mouths of most other people who respond to me on CE, those words probably would have been meant to deal with my feelings. My “personal or impersonal” was in response to your “Yes, it has to have an origin. I’m not sure what you think it would be though, aside from God.” Skipping the blockquotes is not always a good thing. But I’m happy to be the only one who does them, for now.

          Yes, it was in Miracles rather than Mere Christianity, sorry. Does naturalism entail “causal monism” (again I’m uncertain what this means)?

          No worries; perhaps Lewis does say something about the argument from reason in Mere Christianity. He sure packs an awful lot into that book.

          As to whether naturalism necessarily entails causal monism, I don’t know. The very notion of ‘causal pluralism’ is apparently a rather new thing. The terminology hasn’t even been robustly settled. Seventeen months ago I asked a philosopher friend of mine about the idea of there being “multiple causal nexūs” (contrast this to a deistic god who made a mechanical clock universe):

          The philosophy of causation has me quite occupied these days; currently I’m wondering whether there is any good way to look for philosophy that talks about there being multiple “causal nexūs” instead of just one. That is, instead of there being one bundle of laws of nature which are omnipresent and eternal, what if there are multiple independent nexūs which can interact, but which do not determine each other? An obvious consequence would be that possibly, the “laws of nature” are not the same and thus one has to speak about how one nexus would communicate with the next; what common protocol would they have, if not common causality?

          The distinction between two causal nexūs would not have to be complete: they could share some causal laws while differing on others. They could even choose to adopt more and more laws in common, or diverge on what used to be common. I’m tempted to think of plurality of moral codes in this way. (email LB → KP)

          Does that make sense to you? There is a deep connection to human freedom. If the only causal powers are the physical laws, then war between humans is no different from two black holes colliding or two billiard balls bouncing off of each other. This simultaneously absolves people from responsibility and deprives them of resources to prevent it from happening the next time. I don’t think it’s a surprise that we have Brexit and Trump in a time when books like Sam Harris’ Free Will is celebrated by so many intellectuals.

          So why not just make things as God wished to begin with?

          Because forming an independent moral being with free will is very different from designing and programming a robot. One of the glories of humanity is that it can participate in its own development/​evolution. Sometimes people exaggerate and say that we “self-create”, which is self-contradictory. But by this point in history, we have played an absolutely tremendous role in what we are now like. What you’re suggesting is that we actually not play any role—that God do it all. That’s certainly an option, but it would get you a different end-state.

          Also this growing block universe isn’t supported by current physics? That seems like a problem.

          It is as much of a problem as the classical universe physics thought existed in the nineteenth century. Unless you believe physics has finally finished in all relevant ways? (See, for example, Sean Carroll’s Seriously, The Laws Underlying The Physics of Everyday Life Really Are Completely Understood (update with nice visualization).)

          I’m finding it difficult to understand what you’re saying on these “modern” notions. Some seem like existed much further back, and in any case I’m unclear why they are all so evil. Nor why liberalism and secularism are supposedly against overcoming these. In any case, what has this to do with all the rest?

          Which ones existed much further back? There are very strong reasons to think that the fact/​value dichotomy is new to modernity. I’ll bet the same is the case with the primary/​secondary quality distinction, given its seeming dependence on Descartes’ seeming unique innovation. Whether or not you call them “evil” entirely depends on your notion of “the good”. And I don’t think they’re evil, so much as incredibly damaging when taken to be complete dichotomies instead of useful ways to carve up reality for some purposes in some domains. But a strict belief in the fact/​value dichotomy plus a belief in physicalism (and perhaps naturalism) means that the aspect of values which cannot be entailed by what ‘is’, do not exist. Because whatever that ‘residue’ is, it can never interact with what ‘is’. We have the interaction problem between Descartes’ res cogitans and res extensa all over again.

          As to your overall confusion, let’s recall that you asked a very, very big question:

          M: What development would you like to see humans undergo specifically?

          Perhaps you would be willing to revisit why you asked it, how I answered it, and then narrow the scope of the conversation so I can continue it in a way more likely to lead to your understanding some aspect of my thought? We seem to be getting spread too thinly, as it stands.

        • Causal pluralism is an interesting idea. I’m not sure what this has to do with distinguish true and false beliefs, however. Regardless, it seems like something compatible with theism or naturalism. As you say, it seems like a pretty recent idea (a “modern” one, dare we say?). Incidentally this also makes me wonder how classical theists which argue due to causality that God must exist support free will, since if everything has a cause, wouldn’t that include human action?

          Lewis may have mentioned it in Mere Christianity too, I don’t remember, but Miracles was where he really goes into the idea (because he feels it necessary to discredit naturalism at the start to justify miracles happening at all).

          I’m not seeing why multiple causes nexuses would give us any freedom. They are also causes, if I understand correctly, so surely they would act on us too. I’m not saying it’s impossible for freedom to come in there, just how isn’t clear. What this has to do with Brexit or Trump I also don’t see-the people who supported this were hardly determinists so far as I know, if that’s what you mean. I’m not aware of the intellectuals that praised Sam Harris either, aside from his own supporters. So far I’ve seen his work heavily criticized by intellectuals actually.

          This seems like a false dichotomy. God could improve humanity without doing everything. It’s just I often find people speaking of sinful desires which we have. Yet as C. S. Lewis noted in Mere Christianity (to use this as it’s been mentioned already) we don’t all have identical sinful desires. He didn’t have the urge to gamble, for instance. How does just not having people possess certain impulses which God dislikes pose a problem? Does the fact that certain people lack some of these impulses mean they don’t have free will, or constitute “God doing everything”? I don’t see how.

          Most of the concepts you mentioned seem like they existed further back. The fact-value dichotomy is possibly an exception yes. Apparently the primary/secondary quality distinction can be traced back into ancient Greece though. Calling them evil may have been wrong on my part-I was just trying to characterize your views of them. It seems that this wasn’t correct though. Wouldn’t a strong belief that the fact-value dichotomy plus any ontology have this problem, not just physicalism and naturalism? Incidentally I think this may be a problem that has been made far too much of.

          I think that you answered what development you’d like in humans already to my satisfaction.

        • [1] Causal pluralism is an interesting idea. I’m not sure what this has to do with distinguish true and false beliefs, however. [2] Regardless, it seems like something compatible with theism or naturalism. [3] As you say, it seems like a pretty recent idea (a “modern” one, dare we say?). [4] Incidentally this also makes me wonder how classical theists which argue due to causality that God must exist support free will, since if everything has a cause, wouldn’t that include human action?

          [1] Only one de facto causal power ⇒ no ability to distinguish between true and false beliefs. Unless you assert that you can know something without being caused to know it.

          [2] Perhaps, but I suspect it would produce tension in most of the forms of naturalism I’ve seen espoused.

          [3] Actually, polytheism may entail causal pluralism. Indeed, the Shema Yisrael might have been a huge step toward the aspect of causal monism which is probably required to do science. (You must have enough unity, no matter how much diversity.) But I suspect the Enlightenment was heavily influenced by a voluntaristic notion of God which left very little room for interesting secondary causes. But I should research this particular point further.

          [4] Sure, humans would be the causes of their action. It wouldn’t be solely the laws of nature operating through a human; there would be some contribution to the action which comes from the human, from his/her ‘identity’, as it were. Everyone human would be a causal nexus. Unless, that is, you want to say that only some people attain that status (see WP: Robert Kane (philosopher) § Causal indeterminism on “self-forming actions” and Dennett’s objection).

          Lewis may have mentioned it in Mere Christianity too, I don’t remember, but Miracles was where he really goes into the idea (because he feels it necessary to discredit naturalism at the start to justify miracles happening at all).

          It would be important to see what was going by the name ‘naturalism’ at that time. The term is not all that stable. I wonder what Lewis would have made of my philosopher friend’s Leibniz’s theistic case against Humean miracles and Christian Naturalism. Does a miracle need to violate the laws of nature, or does it merely need to violate our understanding of the laws of nature? The latter would be a way to push us toward understanding more of reality. Lewis probably would have appreciated Ceteris Paribus Laws.

          [1] What this has to do with Brexit or Trump I also don’t see-the people who supported this were hardly determinists so far as I know, if that’s what you mean. [2] I’m not aware of the intellectuals that praised Sam Harris either, aside from his own supporters. So far I’ve seen his work heavily criticized by intellectuals actually.

          [1] The espoused opinions do not matter; what matters is what people believe in their bones. It is only the latter which deeply impacts action/​inaction.

          [2] Perhaps my sample set is quite off. Do you have some good links?

          This seems like a false dichotomy. God could improve humanity without doing everything.

          Ok, let’s try and find the line of demarcation between what God is supposed to do and what we’re supposed to do. Can we attribute one iota of guilt to humans? Two? How much? It is my understanding, for example, that the lead-up to WWI was a time when many intellectuals were praising how awesome the human was, how many great and wonderful things [s]he would do. They overlooked the darkness in the human. Was this not an error? A trivial error? Something much more egregious? I’ve already presented solid evidence that we are happy to believe directly against the evidence. Are we culpable for that?

          Note that I’ve had these conversations several times before on CE. IIRC, the general pattern is that very little guilt is attributed to humans, and very much to God. (And because he bears so much guilt, he is determined to not exist. (This can all be transformed to hypothetical speech to avoid the irrelevant surface-level contradictions.)) The imbalance was seen as so great that there’s really not any reason to establish any sort of line of demarcation. Well, I’m no longer willing to work under those terms. This message might be for you, but it might be for others who decide to join the conversation.

          It’s just I often find people speaking of sinful desires which we have. Yet as C. S. Lewis noted in Mere Christianity (to use this as it’s been mentioned already) we don’t all have identical sinful desires. He didn’t have the urge to gamble, for instance. How does just not having people possess certain impulses which God dislikes pose a problem? Does the fact that certain people lack some of these impulses mean they don’t have free will, or constitute “God doing everything”? I don’t see how.

          Is every sinful desire necessarily an indication of something wrong with the individual? Or could society induce a certain class of sinful desire in that proportion of the population most prone to it? If God meant humanity (and really, all creation) to be interdependent, then you cannot always say that a pattern in one place is caused by that one place. (Or a freak accident.) For more on societal/​cultural factors being true causes in some mental illness, see Liah Greenfeld’s Mind, Modernity, Madness: The Impact of Culture on Human Experience. BTW, I’m glossing over a lot of complexity to keep this to one paragraph.

          Apparently the primary/​secondary quality distinction can be traced back into ancient Greece though.

          There’s a big difference between the idea being toyed with and it being implemented in a wide-scale fashion. But yes, Democritus’ “By convention there are sweet and bitter, hot and cold, by convention there is color; but in truth there are atoms and the void” would be an example. One wonders if truth-claims are merely “by convention”; they are neither atoms nor the void.

          Wouldn’t a strong belief that the fact-value dichotomy plus any ontology have this problem, not just physicalism and naturalism? Incidentally I think this may be a problem that has been made far too much of.

          Yes, I believe so. As to whether the problem has been blown beyond proportion, I’m afraid I don’t have enough data on how much it’s been blown, nor how much would be beyond proportion.

        • I fail to see why (1) follows.

          Why would it cause tension in naturalism?

          That seems to affirm my thoughts on this, since causal monism seems like it would most align with monotheism. If it’s necessary to science as you say, causal pluralism is a problem. As for voluntarism, I’m not aware enough of it to say whether it was or wasn’t a dominant opinion by the Enlightenment.

          So humans might be in a sense themselves “uncaused causes”, or is that not what you meant? It seems causal indeterminism may have possibilities for free will, although not necessarily Kane’s there.

          From what I recall, the definition Lewis used seems similar enough to ones I’ve seen now. Defining this (and other things) can be problematic though, yes. I strongly doubt Lewis knew about Liebniz’s, nor such a thing as Christian Naturalism (was that even current then?). Honestly, while Lewis is popular among some, I don’t find his arguments that good (this isn’t bias against Christians-there are plenty of atheists with poor arguments too), nor showing great knowledge of theology. This is all possibly due to him having no education in the subject (that I know of) and writing for popular audiences largely. Defining miracles is itself a sticky issue, yes. It seems like naturalists agree with the idea something can go against our understanding, while not actually “violating” any laws (incidentally that’s part of why I’m not keen on the “laws” terminology to begin with, as really one cannot “violate” these-if an exception were found, the theory would just be updated).

          So you think Brexit and Trump supporters actually felt an inability to do otherwise? I haven’t yet seen evidence for that. Few people of any view seem to really believe this. As for Sam Harris, I was thinking about his previous book The Moral Landscape, and that it got almost uniformly negative reviews. I don’t know about Free Will.

          I didn’t mean to say humans are not responsible for anything, and yes, we do have the capacity for belief in spite of the evidence (however that cuts both ways). When you speak of an all-good, all-knowing and all-powerful God though, more responsibility for creation would exist by definition. Not total, if some legroom is given for free will, but still. My feeling has been the opposite-that God is not deemed responsible for anything bad, which seems bizarre.

          Some desires probably are due to culture, sure. Others though (sexual ones especially) seem to be quite innate for most, and go beyond just humans to other living things. It’s something that people have always struggled with, it seems, no matter the culture.

          Even many other materialists rejected his view. You’re right of course this didn’t become a widespread view. As for truth-claims, we must get into what they are. I suppose a materialist might say that’s an idea, and exists as a pattern of atoms in the brain, or air if spoken, paper when it’s written down, etc.

          I should be more specific about the fact-value dichotomy. It seems some of the Hume scholars think even he didn’t believe in this, since he made value claims based on the facts (really, how can you not)? They content he simply complained some people were didn’t show the connection between is and ought in making a claim. If you read his quote on the subject, it seems possible.

        • I fail to see why (1) follows.

          Why would it cause tension in naturalism?

          My general understanding of naturalism is that it is a reaction against mysteriousness; the idea is that everything that exists is rationally connectable to everything else that exists, in ways that can be arbitrarily well-explored. The idea that everything that happens is ultimately caused by exactly one theory of everything (well, the analogue in reality; how exactly naturalists deal with the map–territory relation here is unclear to me) is the epitome of this.

          Contrast the above to the idea of there being multiple different causal powers which can conflict with each other and are not necessarily understandable on any other terms than their own. Even worse, some of these causal powers may not permit you to investigate them arbitrarily much. This is antithetical to the above paragraph. I suspect this is one cause of the tension I described. I do not claim this is a necessary aspect of naturalism.

          causal monism seems like it would most align with monotheism.

          It most well-aligns with monotheisms which do not have anything like a Trinity. Alistair McFayden has a great section in The Call to Personhood where he explores the psychological and sociological pathologies which flow out of “the opposite pathological extremes of absolute
          monotheism and tritheism”; he argues that they both “take individual identity to be something pre-social removed from the sphere of relation as such.” (25) Of course, Christianity can take forms that get arbitrarily close to “absolute monotheism”. So I don’t doubt what you say, but I just think your sample set is extremely biased (not that you are to blame for it). BTW, I’ll bet you that voluntarism is closely related to “absolute monotheism”.

          So humans might be in a sense themselves “uncaused causes”, or is that not what you meant? It seems causal indeterminism may have possibilities for free will, although not necessarily Kane’s there.

          In a sense, yes. One way to get that is for some spacetime region to “emerge” from the rest such that it is no longer determined by all of the same laws. Add self-awareness (whatever that is) and you get a “self” and an “other”. But I’m using the word “emerge” rather magically, here. To firm it up, I can call in the Massimo Pigliucci’s Essays on emergence, part I, where he cites scientists arguing that you can get collective behavior which is mathematically un-derivable from the constituent micro-structure. Now, if we’re really careful to trace all the lines of causation, we will have to address the question of how that collective behavior could arise. Is it just noise which “self-organizes”? Or is there some being who can “call” things and people into existence? It would have to be an extremely “weak” calling, to work within what we currently understand as the laws of physics. How exactly that could work and still preserve all the scientifically validated aspects of our best theories, I don’t know. So this is speculation. But so is the idea that the mind supervenes on matter [defined by specific mathematical formalisms and nothing more complex]. 🙂

          Honestly, while Lewis is popular among some, I don’t find his arguments that good (this isn’t bias against Christians-there are plenty of atheists with poor arguments too), nor showing great knowledge of theology.

          Not that good, or simply not better than approximations, approximations which are good enough for a great swath of people? If you explore the bleeding edge of philosophy of religion, you’ll see that each side has really solid reasons for its position. There is no clear victor, if you ask the non-ideological experts. But as you learn one side or the other, the thing you’re learning about can seem stronger. Something one learns in life is that details can be approximated away for many real-world purposes.

          So you think Brexit and Trump supporters actually felt an inability to do otherwise?

          No. I’m talking about the air we all breathe, and it’s not so much “inability to do otherwise” as a failure to tend that aspect of individuality which can go against the societal status quo, either toward badness or toward goodness. Put simply, we do not teach very many people how power actually works. With the complexities that huge nations and globalization contribute, this means that most people feel almost completely powerless to change anything. If they can eke out a comfortable enough life, they’ll stay docile. If that changes, and they don’t have the tools for peaceful change toward the better …

          When you speak of an all-good, all-knowing and all-powerful God though, more responsibility for creation would exist by definition. Not total, if some legroom is given for free will, but still. My feeling has been the opposite-that God is not deemed responsible for anything bad, which seems bizarre.

          In my experience, that legroom is like the legroom on passenger airlines in the coach section these days. Let’s go with American Airlines or United over JetBlue. My suspicion is that the more powerless we feel, the more we cry out to God to change things. The more powerless we feel, the more we blame God for not doing things. Things we claim we cannot do. But is that true? Or is it just that we’ve buried ourselves in willful delusions? How about consumerism as the epitome of human existence. Really?

          I should be more specific about the fact-value dichotomy. It seems some of the Hume scholars think even he didn’t believe in this, since he made value claims based on the facts (really, how can you not)? They content he simply complained some people were didn’t show the connection between is and ought in making a claim. If you read his quote on the subject, it seems possible.

          Sure, but I’m not talking so much about what Hume intended so much as what has happened with the fact/​value dichotomy. For example, @BobSeidensticker:disqus doesn’t seem to think a single ‘ought’ can be derived from any ‘is’.

        • For example, Bob Seidensticker doesn’t seem to think a single ‘ought’ can be derived from any ‘is’.

          Nope.

        • Erm, you know that’s ambiguous, right? “Nope, you’re wrong” vs. “Nope, I don’t think a single ‘ought’ can be derived from any ‘is’.”

        • Hard to imagine anyone being confused. “Luke, you’re wrong.”

          Clearer, I hope.

        • So what’s an example of an ‘ought’ that you believe can be derived from an ‘is’ (and which ‘is’)? And how does that fail to be ‘objective morality’?

        • It is the case that my conscience says that I should be nice to this person, so therefore I ought to do so.

          I’ll leave as an exercise to the reader why this isn’t a claim of objective morality.

        • Oh I see, this is where you get to reference something unexplorable by scientific analysis, something which for all we know can be entirely lawless. (For example, just maybe Jews are ‘pigs’ and Tutsis are ‘cockroaches’.)

        • Susan

          Oh I see, this is where you get to reference something unexplorable to scientific analysis

          Yep. Oughts aren’t part of science. There are the “oughts” of how to do better science but that’s the philosophy of science.

          “Ought: I lynch teh Jew down the street when my cows are dying and my neighbouts are blaiming teh Jewz?

          “Ought” I stab my neighbour through the heart when my sister has become pale and sickly and her health is failing and I think my neighbour is a vampire?

          This is where the izzes come in. You have to establish the izzes to justify actions that come from your oughts.

          That does not mean one can derive an ought from an is. If one can, feel free to show it.

          (For example, just maybe Jews are pigs and Tutsis are cockroaches.)

          Oh myz! Luke Breuer is going nuclear again! Which is what he does in lieu of providing a model supported by evidence for his pet mythical deity that seems to be no more real than yer average vampire.

          Any progress on that evidence for Yahwehjesus or are you just going to clog up the internet with creationist strategies?

          Mislead, evade, attack. Repeat.

        • Oughts aren’t part of science.

          Why? Surely science can study all ‘is’? Any part of ‘ought’ which does not supervene on ‘is’ doesn’t exist, per physicalism. It sounds like you just don’t want science to touch your god. Otherwise, all ‘oughts’ would be on the table for dissection.

           
          P.S. For those in want of an explanation: (i).

        • Susan

          Why?

          I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at here. If you disagree that oughts (fundamentally) aren’t part of science, then that’s a different thing than agreeing that they are but asking me why.

          Surely science can study all “is”.

          Science is in the business of studying what is. That is not the same as the claim that “science can study all is”.

          Any part of ‘ought’ which does not supervene on ‘is’ doesn’t exist, per physicalism.

          Who said anything about physicalism? Anyway, what do you mean by ‘doesn’t exist’?

          Otherwise, all ‘oughts’ would be on the table for discussion.

          On which table for which discussion?

          =====

          EDIT: 18 minutes later

          I asked you to show it if you see a way that an “ought” can be derived from an “is”.

          If it can, just show it.

        • I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at here.

          I’m asking you why you said “Oughts aren’t part of science.” You can start by clearly defining your terms. Give me evidence of what an ‘ought’ is, ideally scientifically accessible evidence. Oh you can’t do that? Then why do you demand such evidence of God? Don’t play dumb, or you’ll stop being (i) interesting.

        • Susan

          I’m asking you why you said, “Oughts aren’t part of science.;

          Because I can see no instance in which they are. I’ve never seen science claim that they are. I left it open to you to provide a circumstance in which they are. You’ve provided nothing.

          You can start by clearly defining your terms.

          You didn’t define your terms when you mentioned that Bob doesn’t think that a ‘simple ought can be derived from any is’. I responded to your shorthand.

          I gave you an example of teh Jewz and my sick cows and my neighbout and my sick sister.

          Ought I protect my cows? Ought I protect my sister? Follow the ought to its source and show me how science can answer it.

          Give me evidence of what an ‘ought’ is.

          Ideally scientifically accessible evidence.

          That’s not how it works. With the cows or teh Jewz or the neighbours or my sister. That’s the point.

          Oh, you can’t do that?

          I already told you I can’t. Neither can you. I asked at least twice and you’ve produced nothing.

          Then why do you demand such evidence of God?

          You could start by defining your terms. And you are claiming God as an is. Not an ought. Don’t play dumb.

          Don’t play dumb.

          You are a true peach, Luke Breuer.

          Or you’ll stop being interesting.

          Yawn.

        • S: I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at here.

          LB: I’m asking you why you said “Oughts aren’t part of science.” You can start by clearly defining your terms.

          S: You didn’t define your terms when you mentioned that Bob doesn’t think that a ‘simple ought can be derived from any is’. I responded to your shorthand.

          If you ever want to be Queen Peach, you’ll need to set by example the standard for good definitions of terms, definitions which you’ll accept as ruler. As it is, you’ve set no standard that I can see. And so you demand a quality of workmanship which you cannot define. That’s ok for a childish Princess, but not for a grown-up. This seems like a fantastic opportunity for you to demonstrate your Peachiness. 🙂

          Because I’m generous, I’ll help you out. Here’s what Bob wrote:

          BS: It is the case that my conscience says that I should be nice to this person, so therefore I ought to do so.

          Surely Bob’s conscience supervenes on his mind, and his mind supervenes on his brain, which itself is made of 100% science-investigable matter–energy. Or is there some matter–energy which is “off limits” for the study of science? Is there a Holy of Holies into which the scientist Must Not Go, on pain of death, apart from a once-yearly ritual?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Or you’ll stop being interesting.

          Yawn.

          Be careful, @disqus_xYWVllyPLU:disqus. No one yawns at Angry-Wizard-Luke and gets away with it.

        • Ignatius Reilly

          Hahahaha – trying to keep coffee in the mouth, if ya don’t mind

        • Ignatius Reilly

          LB:Then why do you demand such evidence of God?

          And he is suggesting that you are the one that will become uninteresting.

        • No, this is where I show you the rather obvious way that we all get oughts from ises.

          And once again we have morality without being objective.

        • Either your conscience supervenes on what ‘is’, or you get to pick:

               (1) what ‘is’ is not all that exists
               (2) your conscience doesn’t actually exist

          Supposing your conscience does supervene on what ‘is’, then it is governed in the laws of nature just like billiard balls are. It is objective in the same sense. Which is, of course, not the sense that most Christians mean, because they take reality to be fallen, that what ‘is’ is not what ought to be. However, unless it is the case that (1)—plus some other things—this is a rather irrational stance. Instead, “What is, is right.”, because what ‘is’ always follows from what ‘is’, plus time-evolution via impersonal (morally blind) laws of nature. Any randomness you throw in is also impersonal, and thus changes nothing.

        • No idea what you’re arguing. Why not simply respond directly to what I said? Was it unclear? Or must you complexify everything?

        • Why not simply respond directly to what I said?

          I was exploring what is entailed by what I take to be the following positions of yours:

               (1) only matter–energy exists
               (2) only the laws of nature have causal power
               (3) you have a conscience which can control you

          (Correct me if you don’t hold one or more of these.) If you hold to all (3), then your conscience is precisely as ‘objective’ as the laws of nature. And yet, you seem to think it isn’t ‘objective’ in either that sense or in the sense generally argued by theists. Unless you think it actually is ‘objective’ in that sense, such that the sense meant by theists just doesn’t refer to anything in reality?

          Or must you complexify everything?

          Rigor often requires expanding things a bit, but my previous comment and this one aren’t very complex.

        • ?? Thanks for the opportunity to go off on a tangent. If the whim strikes you to respond to my one-sentence observation about how morality works, get back to me.

        • Dude, you’ve been obsessed about my proving that ‘objective morality’ exists. Now that I have (or at least made an attempt), you call it a “tangent”.

        • Because “my conscience says so” isn’t objective morality.

          Not much of an attempt. Or are you saying that you (and everyone else in the world) needs to check in with me to get my conscience’s approval of your moral actions?

        • Or are you saying that you (and everyone else in the world) needs to check in with me to get my conscience’s approval of your moral actions?

          I suggest you take my comment seriously. I think you generally dislike it when I repeat myself over and over?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not like we all have the same moral conscience.

          Some Muslims think it is perfectly morally conscionable to fuck children and then chop their heads off. For them, they believe their god approves of such.

        • Why not simply respond directly to what I said?

          BTW, both of my comments are a direct response, to this:

          BS: I’ll leave as an exercise to the reader why this isn’t a claim of objective morality.

          I’ll expand by quoting you on just what you mean by “objective morality”:

          BS: The problem, of course, is the remarkable claim of moral truth grounded outside humanity—“moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not” as William Lane Craig defines it.

          The laws of nature do exist “outside humanity”, right? All time-evolution of state is according to unitary laws, right? Well then, our consciences are solely and completely determined by forces “outside humanity”. And whether you believe in your conscience is irrelevant as to whether it can cause behavior, right? I mean, you can try to become aware of it, but you don’t have to for it to have power over you. That sounds like it qualifies as “valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not”.

          By your own preferred definition, objective morality exists. Unless you question (1)–(3), which of course you are welcome to do.

        • What a waste of time you are. Smoke screens tell me that you have no argument.

          The laws of nature do exist “outside humanity”, right?

          Right. Not what we’re talking about.

          By your own preferred definition, objective morality exists.

          Wrong again. We’re using “objective morality” = “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” That doesn’t describe my conscience.

          Try to respond with no links next time. Or ever. If it’s so complex an idea that you need to give a link for a proper understanding, keep it to yourself.

        • We’re using “objective morality” = “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.”

          Define “valid”, on physicalism or naturalism (whatever it is you precisely believe). On my view, you “ought” to obey your “conscience”, and your “conscience” is 100% shaped by the laws of nature.

        • And “what Bob’s conscience says” = “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not”?

          Hey, I’m flattered, but that’s bullshit.

        • LB: On my view, you “ought” to obey your “conscience”, and your “conscience” is 100% shaped by the laws of nature.

          BS: And “what Bob’s conscience says” = “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not”?

          Nope; do you need some logic lessons? In your words: “that’s bullshit”.

          You also failed to answer my request:

          BS: We’re using “objective morality” = “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.”

          LB: Define “valid”, on physicalism or naturalism (whatever it is you precisely believe).

          If what you mean is that your conscience is different from my conscience, I don’t disagree on that. But there is probably a lot which is the same between them. Is there commonality to all humans? Perhaps; atheist @jeffj900:disqus recommended Donald E. Brown’s Human Universals to me and it seems to point in that direction. If we can find universals among all extant humans, then it would seem that we’re not in a position to know which is which. Kind of like how we don’t know if the constants of nature are changing or not. If the evidence is compatible with both possibilities, then reasoning should stay “in superposition”, as it were. Unless you don’t want to claim to be respecting all of the plausibilities.

          But perhaps your definition of “valid” somehow voids the above paragraph. What I am most interested in is whether you can define it without making any reference at all to the supernatural, or to anything not-natural. If you start talking about some “realm” which is not firmly grounded in matter–energy at every point, you will have of course failed. So I’d like to see what you come up with. But if you don’t want to play, then oh well.

        • TheNuszAbides

          don’t forget that Luke’s 100% of nature includes an unknown % of engramsdemons.

        • Try to respond with no links next time. Or ever.

          Unless it is to a previous comment or one of your blog posts, I will adopt this rule when responding to you. @ Disqus references don’t count.

          If it’s so complex an idea that you need to give a link for a proper understanding, keep it to yourself.

          Babby mode for @BobSeidensticker:disqus engaged.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I quite like babby mode maself…but what was the point of making your reference to Bob S in that comment a blue link?

        • To illustrate “@ Disqus references don’t count.” I actually had to edit in that qualification, so it was very useful that I started with the concrete instance of it. Otherwise, I’m sure some pedant would complain that @ Disqus references are a hyperlink.

        • adam

          “Why not simply respond directly to what I said? ”

          Because THAT would be honest!

        • Susan

          My general understanding of naturalism is that it is a reaction against mysteriousness;

          Define naturalism.

          I see no connection between your general understanding and any definition of “naturalism” but “naturalism” is so vague a term that you can play games with it.

        • Interesting thoughts about naturalism, I see what you mean.

          That may be. I don’t really understand how the Trinity can even work logically though (realizing that is an issue in itself). Doubtless my view may have been biased by ignorance. As for voluntarism you may also be right, I don’t know enough to say.

          I can’t claim to understand all of that about the self and mind, but it’s completely fascinating.

          Yes, perhaps you’re right. I don’t want to be too hard on Lewis-he was writing for popular audiences, and like I’ve said some atheists who do the same are little different.

          Oh, I see what you mean now. Yes, it would be very helpful to have people better equipped in bucking the flow at times.

          Well, it’s doubtless true how little power we feel there is affects this, and I’m certainly not defending consumerism (an odious thing in my mind). However, there certainly are things we cannot do which theology says God could.

          True, and I’ve read more about this recently. Hume seems indeed to have thought what you say, that no ought can be derived from an is and (like Bob) been an ethical subjectivist (no matter what some Hume scholars think). I don’t agree. Honestly he’s the first atheist who I’ve personally encountered holding this view. Perhaps there is a backlash afoot. Then again, I haven’t encountered many academics of any stripe, who may be more likely to hold subjective views overall.

        • I don’t really understand how the Trinity can even work logically though (realizing that is an issue in itself).

          Who says it can work according to our finite logic? Maybe it’s infinitely complex and we can only work out successive approximations. Sounds rather like how science works, at least if you buy Ceteris Paribus Laws.

          Well, it’s doubtless true how little power we feel there is affects this, and I’m certainly not defending consumerism (an odious thing in my mind). However, there certainly are things we cannot do which theology says God could.

          For example? If you would, please restrict your answers to things you think would be good for God to do, if the goal is creatures who believe things based on the evidence instead of blindly trusting authorities.

          Hume seems indeed to have thought what you say, that no ought can be derived from an is and (like Bob) been an ethical subjectivist (no matter what some Hume scholars think). I don’t agree. Honestly he’s the first atheist who I’ve personally encountered holding this view. Perhaps there is a backlash afoot.

          Ethical subjectivism is huge in some slices of social life. A landmark treatment of how it happened, and how it works is Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue (18,000 ‘citations’). That book, plus Os Guinness’ The Gravedigger File, set me on quite the intellectual journey. It sent me so far that I could make meaningful contributions at the The New Politics of Church/​State Relations conference at Stanford and talk intelligibly with Charles Taylor. (Note that I have nothing more than a high school diploma, although I did drop out of college three times.) When I first read MacIntyre, it was quite difficult. But he sowed many seeds and quite a few of them have flowered. In particular, see here:

          For one way of framing my contention that morality is not what it once was is just to say that to a large degree people now think, talk, and act as if emotivism were true, no matter what their avowed theoretical standpoint might be. Emotivism has become embodied in our culture. (After Virtue, 22)

              What is the key to the social content of emotivism? It is the fact that emotivism entails the obliteration of any genuine distinction between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations. (After Virtue, 23)

          I can show you some on-the-ground examples of this, from National Study of Youth and Religion (N = 3370), if you’d like. The term moralistic therapeutic deism came from this study.

          The funny thing is, I actually have some agreement with Bob‘s position. I’ll illustrate with two philosophers:

               Heraclitus: everything changes
               Parmenides: nothing changes

          And now an analogy:

               Divine Command Theory : Parmenides :: Bob : Heraclitus

          (I am using DCT as a stand-in for Bob’s definition of “objective morality”.) Now, the problem is that Heraclitus and Parmenides are both right and both wrong. As it turns out, you can have continuity-amidst-discontinuity. I think the same pattern happens with morality. If you neglect the ‘continuity’ aspect, you get fragmented society. If you neglect the ‘discontinuity’ aspect, you get oppressive uniformity.

        • Maybe so.

          Well, we can’t make new universes, just to start in with the biggest. More on point is reducing some of the things which we face which have nothing to do with free will, like disease, natural disasters, etc.

          Yes, ethical subjectivism does seem very prominent in some areas. I’ll have to pick up After Virtue sometime, as I’ve now heard of it many times now. Also ancient Greek philosophy interests me greatly-their ethics were virtue-based across the board from what I understand, which is kind of alien to most modern moral systems.

          I’m not quite sure I get your point on DCT. Anyway, it’s also a form ethical subjectivism, as it relies on a mind, even when that’s God’s.

        • Well, we can’t make new universes, just to start in with the biggest.

          Curious; do you have some sort of proof or argument for why we will never ever be capable of doing this? I say this having a tiny bit of knowledge of the research of Sean Carroll and Lawrence Krauss.

          Also ancient Greek philosophy interests me greatly-their ethics were virtue-based across the board from what I understand, which is kind of alien to most modern moral systems.

          The ancient Greeks had problems with living in a small, closed, impenetrable kosmos, though. Recall that the Athenian democracy was surrounded by de facto slave towns. Oh wait, that’s like Western capitalism, nvm.

          I’m not quite sure I get your point on DCT. Anyway, it’s also a form ethical subjectivism, as it relies on a mind, even when that’s God’s.

          There are two understandings of “subjective”:

               (1) requiring the quality of mind to detect
               (2) fickle like human minds

          DCT certainly seems to depend on (1), but not (2). Is it not (2) that makes subjectivism fearsome? Because the naturalist surely cannot fear (1), given determinism and the lack of anything but possibly compatibilist free will. BTW, I don’t buy into DCT, except as a child’s morality. (That is, a required stage in maturity.)

        • Paul B. Lot

          Recall that the Athenian democracy was surrounded by de facto slave towns. Oh wait, that’s like Western capitalism, nvm.

          https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_and_ola_rosling_how_not_to_be_ignorant_about_the_world#t-83

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FACK2knC08E

        • Well, so far as we know it’s impossible. I am unaware of Krauss and Carroll saying we can. Maybe in the future.

          I never said they were perfect.

          “Subjective” in the sense of “based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions”, which can be fickle. There are naturalist forms of libertarian free will (based on indeterminism in physics). How this relates to (1) though is not clear to me.

        • Well, so far as we know it’s impossible. I am unaware of Krauss and Carroll saying we can. Maybe in the future.

          Want to try something else that seems more impossible, that God needs to do for us completely and solely, with us not knowingly cooperating in any way?

          I never said they were perfect.

          My point was that there were good reasons to get rid of their particular virtue ethics.

          “Subjective” in the sense of “based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions”, which can be fickle.

          Is God necessarily fickle?
          Is God necessarily possibly fickle?

          (You may ignore the second question if you answer “no” to the first.)

          There are naturalist forms of libertarian free will (based on indeterminism in physics).

          Are any coherent?

          How this relates to (1) though is not clear to me.

          That depends on the status of my “(5) Therefore, truth and falsity of belief is unknowable.”

        • I already mentioned some examples.

          I see. Well yes, they were less than ideal.

          Possibly.

          I don’t know.

          I still don’t understand your argument, so I’m really unable to comment.

        • At this point, I just don’t know what your argument is. Feel free to restate; otherwise I think I’ll let this tangent dissipate into the ether.

        • Well, it has gotten pretty convoluted by this point so I’m happy to drop it too.

        • Thank you Mr. Breuer. Some of my thoughts have just been somewhat validated by you, as I find that in my own awkward way I have asked similar questions, and have ‘projected’ similar ‘possibilities. This is encouraging. At least. Kant’s ‘Transcendental Deduction’ became an essential ‘problematic’ when I intuited there was far more to it than I had previously, (not formally) realized.
          Within one thread of thought, for instance, wouldn’t it be necessary for me to have a complete awareness of all the moments within my life if this was to be a transcendental source? This is posited, of course, just a hypothetical!! One of the options to take (Kant’s relationship category) when one runs into contradiction/paradox/antinomy? So, may I conclude from this that empirical ‘evidence’ or say science per se, does not approach any ‘transcendental’. Thanks for your patience. I know I do not have the grasp of these questions (and answers?) that you have. Edit: And if the first option in this Kantian category is taken, (the ‘categorical, which yes? would include dogma as well as ‘ideologies’???) such conclusions? would ignore, would they not, one aspect within the polarity found within any antinomy (and found then within any duality???). Thus again, as Kant said, any ‘conclusion’ can only be ‘regulative’. How then does Kant employ his concept ‘Transcendental Deduction’. What does one do? Go back to Hume? Insist on the ‘objectivity’ of a Christian ‘God’….. a model of mind within either a first or second philosophy? How does one make the choice between either or – or/and/ both – and….and….and. – and thus continue in the ‘tradition’ — onto Hegel???? and dialectic- (scientific dialectic too??? with never an ultimate ‘answer’ or a true transcendental!!) Can you Help Me????

        • I’m glad that I’ve been able to provide some help. I see a bit of myself in you, in that I’ll have intuitive/​imaginative flights of fancy which do seem to have some good content in them. However, if I do not make them rigorous enough and connect them to enough of reality, people tend to like to pee on the. (An old pastor told me that his wife has a tendency to “pee on his dreams”.) One of the reasons I spend so much time on antagonistic websites is so that people will force me to make my arguments rigorous and well-connected to reality in a way that non-specialists can understand. (The ivory tower has a tendency to encourage cancerous intellectual growth.)

          Part of what helped me hone the intuitions and thoughts that were deemed unacceptable by others was to embark on a massive reading plan, covering scholars who wrote very well-received books, but books at least somewhat approachable by laypersons. One key text is Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue; another is Stephen Toulmin’s Cosmopolis; yet another is Jacques Ellul’s The Subversion of Christianity. A more approachable starting point would be Os Guinness’ The Gravedigger File; think Screwtape Letters but targeting the [Western?] church as a whole. You will sound much less crazy if you can present your thoughts (perhaps very limited forms—see kenosis) as somewhat minor adaptations to what respected scholars have said.

          Now, I know that the above is kind of obnoxious. But if God practices condescension/​accommodation with us, surely we are not above doing that to our fellow humans. A lot of people just can’t take very much “new” at any given point of time, and even an unmodified form of what scholars say will be hard for them to swallow. There are a tremendous number of false beliefs out there which are much easier to attack if you can present 100% respected scholar thought, 0% your own thought. My guess is that a lot of your intuitions need a kind of solid foundation that many people, sadly, do not have. At least, that has been my own personal experience in interacting with folks.

          As to your thought about Kant’s transcendental argument, I’m afraid I don’t know it well enough to comment. I never read Kant directly on it, and while I’ve seen it here and there and in some detail in Charles Taylor’s chapter on it in Philosophical Arguments, I fear that is not enough to help you.

          However, I do like the idea of being aware of your entire history. My general impression is that this is now taken to be impossible, but I don’t think that was always the case, and I think the fragmentation and complexity of life can be dealt with appropriately to work on doing it now. In fact, I think that the effort to do this could be healing to a lot of things which ail modernity, things which thrive on hyperspecialization where contradictions are pushed to the borders of disciplines. For example, if humans are “socially constructed”, then why isn’t mass mental illness a sign of society being ill?

        • Thank you Luke. Well, at least, (all arguments aside) I believe you understood where I am at. I have always related my philosophical readings to my primary interest in, if I may say, the ‘development?’ of my conscious life. Or, ‘understanding, my self. And yes, I am aware of the stance that complete self-knowledge, as per Socrates is impossible. But I also remember the Buddhas who do not limit this quest, (and they say successfully) to their immediate existence, but are said to acquire knowledge of even previous existences. As an example of ‘how I think’ so crazily, such a saying would be a difficulty for me, and I would seek to solve it, in this case, viewing my immediate existence, as itself containing many different lives. And so it goes. Always ‘adapting’ a saying of the ‘greats’ – to my own ‘interests’, and what I feel might be attainable within my limitations. The truth within the first interpretation, that we can never know, involves, as per my above example, that by learning about our selves, we are ‘necessarily’ involved in the process of transforming that life.

          Perhaps within a Literary context this could be put as – we can never read the same story twice. And I would imagine this could be the case even within these ‘sophisticated’ arguments on line. Do I have an argument for this? Well it would perhaps involve the distinction between denotative and connotative thought, or thoughts, and indeed words taken (and affected by/within) different contexts. Perhaps we only think – we are communicating in the sense that there is some identity between the words spoken, and the deep meaning and even external accepted ‘significance’ that we choose to either agree or disagree with, in respect to what was said, and on the assumption that there is ‘real’ understanding (as in the case of some identity) within such ‘agreement’. But at least there is ‘sufficient’ reason!!!!

          No. I’ll carry on with my ‘craziness’. I think I’ll get back to my book on just that. Philosophy seen through the lens of ‘madness’. Why not? When it comes to understanding, I have spent ‘much’ time in my life struggling with Kant’s writings, (three readings of the first of the trilogy, for instance). and as with most philosophers, later as I think of them, I can come up with some ‘new interpretation’, and realize that I didn’t understand them at all. But as always I think I am more interested in finding coherence within my self – (would coherence be as difficult to achieve as that knowledge of self we talked about – well I believe so, so ‘call me crazy again’…. it just doesn’t seem to bother me any more.
          And, as usual I must make a confession I still cannot ‘totally’ escape my tendency for satire. My call for help which concluded my little rant, for instance. Please understand, with all the appreciation that I hold for you, that your response was more than I expected or could have hoped for. It have before now pointed out my lack of scholarly, and academic qualifications, and also my ability, generally to communicate with others on this site. So the irony, if perceived in this way, was directed to what has been called the End of philosophy, as what? a goal or ???? By pointing out different alternatives taken by philosophers, as to what constitutes – agency, for instance, I don’t think any one can really advise as to which could be the best path to take (of those suggested, and it could be argued even that there is a continuum. I’ll just continue to live the paradox of not choosing any, and thus ‘living with them all’….. and therefore I do expect to remain in-coherent. But thanks. I am, if only one of the few, a ‘follower of your’ who really does appreciate your comments, and believe I will continue to benefit from reading them. All the best. Perhaps I can now go on another extended absence, within of course, my never ceasing ‘presence’.. LOL that’s love – not luck!!
          Edit: Could this comment be interpreted within the context of what and how things remain, and/or are hidden. Or in a perhaps more religious context, that could focus on in my case, a personal need to develop what potential I have, and would apply therefore within any search for what is contained within the/a ‘hiddeness’.

        • I suggest working on helping others with their imagination, intuition, understanding of self and reality, and focusing a little less on your own. That is, bring some balance to the force. I’ll bet this will help you be more coherent to more people with your own imagination. We give ourselves to others and they give us back to us.

        • Thanks so much Luke. (And it would be good if I could practice using that ‘logic’ I studied at university)…. but. But this good advice of yours is sincerely well taken. Will continue learning from your posts…

        • Well, hopefully, within my ‘solitude’ I am at least attempting to work with others. For the last little while I have run across many articles, almost by coincidence, or Jungian synchronicity that I have wanted to send your way. I can’t keep up with them all. My primary interest at the moment is not to ‘get upset’ by some remarks made by a ‘friend’ such as one saying that I am not ‘orthodox’. On reflection this merely gave me another insight into a possible application of the term – self righteous. (This comment for our mutual consideration only, as I’m not attempting to self-righteously ‘win an argument’… Please I hope this is ironic. This gets difficult as I have also been reading articles on Karl Jaspers, Hannah Arendt, and Ezra Pound. Do you see the connection? Yes, things have not changed. May I call this an indication of but one side of ‘ideologies in conflict’…. in which this solution presents but one side of opposites in contradiction. Well paradox I am also reading can indeed go all the way to contradiction, but by that time perhaps the chaos has really ‘broken out’. Good grief, I hope you get my irony, (yes, mean as humor most often has this element, almost necessarily). Anyway enough said. Perhaps you will get where I am attempting to go, in my analysis of madness, including my incoherent “thought experiments” condemned by the Overlord, by considering some lateral thinking possibilities with respect to the following article.

          P.S. Hope I’m not boring you. Will not attempt to do this too often – and put this whole thing ‘over the edge’….! LOL. http://www.metanexus.net/essay/creative-tension-edge-chaos-towards-evolutionary-christology

        • In seeking out an intrinsic unity between the decisive event of God’s self-revelation in the person of Jesus and the 13 billion year process of cosmic, biological and human evolution, Rahner maintained that in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ “the basic tendency of matter to discover itself in spirit . . . reaches it’s definitive breakthrough.”[2] (metanexus: Creative Tension at the Edge-of-Chaos: Towards an Evolutionary Christology)

          What if it’s the other way around—spirit was discovering itself in matter? Or perhaps: spirit no longer hated matter? Remember that Jesus divinized σάρξ.

           
          As to “not ‘orthodox'” and “self-righteous”, I heartily suggest reading Colin E. Gunton’s The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity. Contrast:

               (1) oppressive uniformity
               (2) atomising nominalism
               (3) open transcendentals

          You might say that Gunton locates (3) in a sort of emergence from the oscillation between (1) and (2). How can you have growth that doesn’t completely sunder from what came before, but also isn’t exactly like what came before? What kind of structure allows discontinuity and continuity at the same time? Or is that a Heraclitus–Parmenides paradox?

        • Well Luke – haven’t you given me some work to do. Actually I’ve been reading articles on the problematic of the one and the many. It started with an exploratory literary poetic analysis of a comparison of the Irish four leaf clover with the Trinity, in which the mention of a fourth element (as in the medieval chart) suggests a One, as central to the Three Persons. Three Persons in One God, and whether this is an external or an internal relationship (the terms thus are not explicitly defined). But I’ve been interested in this a long time, as in the Creed, where is mentioned the Church as the one, holy, Catholic, and -apostolic- yes I guess the idea of Peter the Rock is implied in this extension of the Bridegroom… . Oh and that clover – it’s the lady of course, the lost love, who was overlooked, and how he is not looking over her, is by analogy a very good exemplification of the ‘problem’, perhaps. And of course, the symbol of Ireland is the Sham-rock, which is but Three Leaves…. the fourth being perhaps analogous to the Form discussed in these Socratic/Platonic dialogues.

          So to begin, I didn’t even get very far with this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parmenides_(dialogue).
          But you’ve given me another approach to take. H and P. Change and no change? – just one of the ‘paradoxes’, mentioned. As is discontinuity and continuity, but this does suggest to me that an exploration of transformation, as in even the concept of ‘bodily resurrection’ – could have many finite/infinite? ‘definitions’!! contexts!! –
          Indeed I once found the Gunton article while researching this on line, but then lost it. But if it’s helpful, my five years with the Mahayana ended when I understood, in a critique they were making of Islam, that there was no ‘unity’ – that there were only conglomerates. I decided then it was time to get back to Samara, and begin my reading of the existentialists…(These remarks have (if you believe) more intricate meanings! for me, but it is impossible to get into such. That is one of my problems with argument – they are just too specific.
          But on the discussion of Forms – I remember for a moment Aquinas definition of angels being, not species, but genus…. And I suspect that some sub-conscious relation was a work in finding it difficult to be called ‘orthodox’ within the context of relating this criticism to my on going interests, in which the term orthodoxy, as many others, takes on a transforming ‘meaning’. So, it can sometimes be a constant search for new meaning/definitions in my never ending self-referential dialogue. So at the time I was considering the term self-righteous as the imposition of a single point of view, limited in scope, and within a ego-humanist context, possibly also the limited perspective of the individual making the claim. In other words, a little more humility perhaps is necessary in order to make right/righteous the ‘self’… But if I am ever going to develop more transcendence, coherence (between all those possibly holy organized neurons in my brain!! or is this also the reduction of the Platonic ? concept of ‘mind’) these momentary shifts of consciousness, these partial ‘forms’ of transcendence. Actually, I can accept, because perhaps of my ego, a materialistic ontological reduction, making my mind, as per Newleu, composed of black matter, more easily than I can an epistemological reduction, in which the incoherence within my logic is substantiated. Mention of particular atoms, as within the neurons of my brain, however, may in some way tie together the first two items in the list in the way talked about in the emergence to greater complexity, within of course, concurrent or consecutive transformations – the opposite tendency to entropy. This theory between nominalism and uniformity seems however, (intuitive) to be closer to entropy, as it seems kind of static, as compared to the thesis offered in the paradoxical relation described as being on the ‘edge of chaos’. Thus this Oscillation could be closer within a (continuity) rather than in a dynamic kind of opposition, as in the possibility of going ‘beyond’ good and evil, and other such transformative possibilities whether within the mind encountered in logic/language/logos, or within fleshy arguments within a community even within the extended concept of war – and within the natural processes studied scientifically. (Hegel: The qualitative leap following incremental quantitative development, -or something – sorry about the paraphrase.)

          Very often I have to correct/edit my responses, but I do this for my own benefit, as it is generally a necessary result of the way I both think and write. Spontaneity unchecked by logic, perhaps, and discipline, especially on such a forum as this, where one cannot plan ahead. I shall, however, keep to my ‘madness’. I usually just go according to what I hope is my own continuity of mind – Buddhism again. It therefore gave me much satisfaction to find your comment in accord with ‘where I am at the moment’ as for example in finding that the article on your list one-trinity, etc. was indeed one of the Google links I was searching for. Thanks so much for the dialogue. I hope I did achieve to some degree, some ‘clarity and distinctness’…. but then again, I have come up with many explanations of the meaning of the Cogito ergo sum, from a Buddhist awareness – to thinking that I am – but not being quite sure…. On this topic, i believe Descartes skepticism did not context his individual empirical observations, but rather the difficulty once again in find some coherence and rational explanation of the changing dynamic within the universe.

        • Well Luke – haven’t you given me some work to do.

          Yeah … things have really ramped up for me in the science, engineering, and company-starting domains (thus the sparse commenting), so if I’m going to be able to help you much, you’re going to have to do more of the work for at least a bit. It’s really, really helpful to have a common foundation to build on, and your reading The One, the Three and the Many will do that.

          So to begin, I didn’t even get very far with this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wi….
          And I couldn’t read all the articles. But you’ve given me another approach to take. H and P. Change and no change?

          Read Colin E. Gunton. You will almost surely understand H & P at more than a basic level after you read his book.

          As is discontinuity and continuity, this does suggest to me that an exploration of transformation, as in even the concept of ‘bodily resurrection’ – could have many finite/infinite? ‘definitions’!! contexts!! – and interpretations.

          Maybe? Owen Barfield talks a lot about continuity-amidst-discontinuity (or was it the other way around?). See also James Cutsinger’s The Form of Transformed Vision. You may also like WP: Exotic sphere, and especially the uniqueness of the dimension 4 (note that 3 space + 1 time = 4 total).

          That’s it for now, I’m afraid.

        • Oh. and the subject matter of epiphenominalism, Sean Carroll’s emergence, etc. vs. possibilities even within a reductionist thesis, does not the Catholic church recognize with it’s Credo, and specifically within the concept of The Word Made Flesh, a duality of movement. Within the divine it is (not Greek Orthodox) from God the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost and/or from the relationship between Jesus and the Holy Ghost – say the truth and the way – to the Glory or Life….. (my categories at this moment may be a bit confused… but finding these relationships can be ‘enlightening’… ) I am finding also similar thoughts within the lectures on The Tanya, a kabbalistic tradition derived from The Chronicles. (I do believe that there is perhaps a subconscious if not a conscious appropriation of concepts within the history of religions. For example, the (some) Buddhists now use the term phenomenon rather than maya. And so it goes.

        • re: epiphenomenalism. Think of it as the mind not having the right key for the body. The mind wishes to dominate the body these days, and the body has its defenses. One way this shows up is the phenomenon of low willpower: akrasia. Now, if God doesn’t like where our wills are oriented, might he somehow … damp them? And will the most damped feel like their minds have no power over their bodies?

        • I like your interpretation. It puts the ‘metaphysics’ within a far more ‘concrete context’. I just have simply thought of the process as from body to ‘mind’, but you’ll never achieve ‘mind over matter’. Am trying to clean up on any responsibility to engage, and hope soon to have completed my replies to others’ comments. I simply feel no need now to continue. Take care of yourself, and your wife… and career.

        • I doubt God desires mind over matter or matter over mind. He created both, right? Thanks for the kind wishes; the same to you, with the appropriate modifications. 🙂

        • Susan

          I’m glad that I’ve been able to provide some help.

          But… but… but… but…. Loreen was not part of this conversation.

          It seems like only 2 days since you said:

          Especially since you were never part of this conversation in the first place.

          And I said:

          If I praised you for making groundless assertions, I don’t think you would have complained.

          Does this mean I have psychic powers?

        • Greg G.

          Does this mean I have psychic powers?

          It means you listened to the angel on your right shoulder this time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem that I see is we’re part of reality. If we were designed this way, isn’t that “poor”?

          Of course it’s poor…it’s pathetic…and all the weaselling words to get the designer off the hook are pathetic too.

          Such a designer should hang their head in shame.They should be feckin’ fired.

          The designer in question has apparently had more than one shot at fixing the design and yet has failed miserably.

          So much for omniscience and omnipotence.

        • It seems odd for a supposedly omnipotent and omniscient being. These properties always seem to entail such a lot of explaining after the fact. Or explaining away.

        • adam
        • Ignorant Amos

          So…why wouldn’t he design reality well?

          It wouldn’t be hard, would it?

          Most people could think of even the smallest of thing that would be an improvement. So much for omniscient, omnipotent, perfection.

          You obviously don’t think God wants the result, so it’s confusing.

          Enter stage left….excuses, excuses, excuses, ad infinitum.

        • It doesn’t seem like that would be, given an all-powerful, all-wise being. Oddly though the logic of such a being is a sticky point for many.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unlimited electrical power could be one gift God would like to give us. The disastrous consequences of giving such technology to civilizations not morally up to snuff is briefly mentioned in the Stargate SG-1 episode Enigma (specifically: Sa rita ) and explored in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Friendship One.

          An omnipotent god could’ve created a situation where unlimited electrical power was unnecessary. It’s pretty dangerous stuff to humans after all.

          It wasn’t a god that helped us harness the limited source of electrical power we currently(no pun intended) enjoy. Or make it relatively safe to use when treated with respect either.

        • adam
        • eric

          When we say we can do things better without God, he sometimes lets us empirically test that claim. Isn’t empirical evidence helpful?

          (a) He doesn’t just do this when we say… He does it to people who don’t say that, who instead say they can do things better with God. So (basically I’m just repeating Sastra here), your claim that he’s simply granting us what we ask does not address the fact that many people ask for the opposite of what he’s doing.

          (b) Are you familiar with the scientific notion of a control group? If God wanted to provide us with the chance to test option A vs. option B, then he would need to show us both how A turns out and how B turns out. But his hiddenness is analogous to only showing us A and not B. In terms of scientific testing, this is not helpful. The way you describe God, he doesn’t appear to be as scientifically literate as a typical grad student, because he’s not “letting us empirically test” our claim in a very methodologically credible way.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think I have ever heard a Christian say “God helps those who help themselves” that was not in a context that implied either “God does not help those who do not help themselves” or “God does not help those who only pray for help”.

          Maybe the Templeton study on intercessory prayer supports the claim as those who didn’t know whether others were praying for them did better and the conclusion was that those who were being prayed for and informed of it didn’t help themselves by following doctor’s orders as closely.

        • (a) He doesn’t just do this when we say… He does it to people who don’t say that, who instead say they can do things better with God.

          I see, so every time people “say they can do things better with God”, they really mean YHWH, and not some Feuerbachian social projection? If you don’t believe this, then please tell me how we exclude the Feuerbachians (see for example Creating God in your own image; actual science paper) in a manner that does not commit the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          So (basically I’m just repeating Sastra here), your claim that he’s simply granting us what we ask does not address the fact that many people ask for the opposite of what he’s doing.

          Empirically, there is plenty possibility that you are right. But if you won’t permit any sort of winnowing of those who claim to want God, then I’m going to exit the conversation, because I think people can be quite self-deluded.

          (b) Are you familiar with the scientific notion of a control group?

          Quite.

          If God wanted to provide us with the chance to test option A vs. option B, then he would need to show us both how A turns out and how B turns out.

          Yeah, the OT. Most of the time, the vast majority of humans are portrayed as giving YHWH the middle finger. But sometimes they don’t. There are plenty of claims about moral philosophy, social psychology, individual psychology, political science, and epistemology in the OT, each “with God” and “without God”. Yoram Hazony does a great job of demonstrating this in The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture.

          But I get the sense that you want to be able to run these empirical tests now. First though I have a question: why are so many intellectuals in such deep denial about my excerpt from Electoral Democracy? If we won’t even pay attention to our own priests scientists, why would we pay attention to more intense things from God? Surely you know that if you’re sufficiently deluded on the basics, the more advanced stuff can be invisible?

        • adam

          “It is bad for us to be locked in error and mediocrity.”

          And yet people like you persist in MAGICAL thinking.
          Why doesnt God fix you?

          “That depends on whether you believe in personal responsibility.”

          Personal responsibility to be more than what a God created you to be?

          You have an EXTREMELY puny and self centered God.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8696506fc0ad6d3a83d218c7c9da763aee4a1c25af0211fc8b0550948323a473.jpg

    • Pofarmer

      “Meh, it should be obvious that we don’t want God around.”

      That’s not obvious at all. The concept of an all knowing, all loving, all powerful God is a pretty nice concept on it’s face.

      • That’s not obvious at all.

        Perhaps you are well-described by the image at the beginning of the blog post.

        The concept of an all knowing, all loving, all powerful God is a pretty nice concept on it’s face.

        Until that God threatens your felt self-righteousness.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think Im the self righteous party here. You can fuck right off.

        • An excellent strategy to prevent self-righteousness from being examined. Reminds me of how magic is protected when you get away from stupid crap like Golden Bough:

          In fact, magic is not to be compared with sacrifice; it is one of those collective customs which cannot be named, described, analysed without the fear that one may lose the feeling that they have any reality, form or function of their own. Magic is an institution only in the most weak sense; it is a kind of totality of actions and beliefs, poorly defined, poorly organized even as far as those who practise it and believe in it are concerned. (A General Theory of Magic, 12–13)

          I’ve had my own integrity—moral and intellectual—questioned again and again and again by the likes of you, and I’m sure it will happen yet again. I open myself to such critiques. You close yourself to them.

        • adam
        • MNb

          Yes, you have been questioned.
          But you don’t open yourself. On the contrary, the biggest part of the Lukieboy Show consists of Lukesplaining extensively why the questions are invalid.

        • adam

          “I’ve had my own integrity”

          No, you came here without it.

          in·teg·ri·ty
          [inˈteɡrədē]
          NOUN
          the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/33d2098417f7dbeeebe33f8ed2f7ab4009e8366b8c7b03ed70e50ae5705de7e9.jpg

        • Kodie

          I know you really hate it when we do it to you.

    • Ficino

      I often see you on the nonreligious channel of Patheos taking potshots at something written by a person of skeptical leanings.

      Do you have evidence that the doctrines of Christianity are true? Give us your best shot. The more succinct the expression, the more likely to be read.

      • I often see you on the nonreligious channel of Patheos taking potshots at something written by a person of skeptical leanings.

        The term “potshots” is quite derogatory; do you have actual examples or do you prefer to vaguely accuse?

        Do you have evidence that the doctrines of Christianity are true?

        Sorry, but I suspect you’ve set up the request so that it is utterly impossible to fill. I’ve been around this block many, many times. I’ve been set up to fail many times. I’m tired of it. If you want to proceed, demonstrate at least some understanding of my answer to the Phil.SE question Could there ever be evidence for an infinite being?.

        The more succinct the expression, the more likely to be read.

        LOL. You have apparently wrongly guessed my intentions/​goals.

        • Ficino

          re potshots, I consider the language in this of yours as the language of a potshot: “Meh, it should be obvious that we don’t want God around. We want Sky Daddy or Grampa God, as both these beings would not appreciably threaten our self-righteousness.”

        • I don’t see how that matches up with dictionary.com: potshot, unless “the rules of sport” mean that only theists get criticized in these blog comments. I fully intend to defend that very condensed criticism. However, I’ve found that on CE in particular, starting with anything much longer tends to be a bad strategy.

          Do you perhaps not understand what “self-righteousness” is? That’s where the person or the group decides that it has [sufficiently] perfect access to what is righteousness, and can then go around imposing that concept on others or at least judging them by it. The Other can never call the self-righteous person’s righteousness into question. So for example, on this paradigm it was simply correct for Jesus to be brutally flogged and crucified.

        • Kodie

          Do you have any mirrors in your house?

        • Pofarmer

          Pots and kettles and so forth and so on. Although, in this case, I’m not sure there’s a Kettle. Maybe a strawman of a Kettle.

        • Otto

          >>”That’s where the person or the group decides that it has [sufficiently] perfect access to what is righteousness, and can then go around imposing that concept on others or at least judging them by it.”

          That perfectly describes what we see from Christianity in this country.

        • adam

          That perfectly describes what we see from Christianity in this country.

        • “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. (Ezekiel 5:5–8)

        • Greg G.

          I know of a small town where Ohio Route 26 and Ohio Route 260 intersect. The people who live there think it is a fine place to live. They know that they can go anyplace in the world from that intersection.

          OTOH, people from New York city write songs about it, performed by Frank Sinatra (“If I can make it here…”) to Eva Gabor (“Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue..”)

          I bet we could find many quotes throughout history about an author’s favorite city and how the gods favored it. Egypt had many cities with their own deities. Is it any wonder that one of the many minor gods of one people ended up being left over when the others faded away? One has to be the last one to go.

        • Is it any wonder that one of the many minor gods of one people ended up being left over when the others faded away? One has to be the last one to go.

          Given the hilarious failure of secularization theory, I think the answer to your question about wonder is “yes” to many people who consider themselves to be the wisest and smartest among us. As to your use of “minor”, that’s a directly corollary of Jesus’ refusal to bow before Satan and get immediate control of all the nations. The desire to skip the hard parts is as old as A&E wanting to grow up too quickly (“Irenaen Adam”). The desire for fame over obscurity is surely another ancient one; Jesus had that temptation, too. “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

        • Greg G.

          The made up story of the temptation of Jesus is a poor excuse for the failure of Jesus’ prayer for unity among Christians.

        • I wasn’t responding to said alleged failure (which assumes that no future happenings can make it a success); I was responding to your blindingly obvious rhetoric. You seem to think that YHWH or Jesus had problems with appearing “minor”, or that a proper deity would have problems with appearing “minor”. That would say a lot more about you than anything or anyone else.

        • adam

          “Is it any wonder that one of the many minor gods of one people ended up being left over when the others faded away?”

          Reminded me of this:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a1d48c6ea9ae94abc4986173c1c9496602e6dc86fef2062e9417b9a7f4f213b.jpg

        • adam
        • Pofarmer

          You’ve set yourself up to fail. No one here has.

        • Care to explain?

        • I read your link. Don’t understand it. Unfortunately, given my first reading, I wouldn’t care to.

          I imagine that disqualifies me from getting the big reveal, but I’ll ask anyway: can you tell me why God exists (or some similar question)? Perhaps you have a brief essay summarizing your one or two reasons why you think a thoughtful skeptic should adopt your beliefs.

          Did intellectual thought make you a Christian? Or did you become a Christian for some other reason?

        • Finite being = finite instrument for exploring reality.
          Infinite God = way too much for a finite instrument to fully measure and characterize.

          If the finite being insists on using Ockham’s razor, [s]he will always happen to measure something of less complexity than the instrument (= himself/​herself/​all scientists/​all humans).

          If instead the finite being will allow any given sense-data to be a smidgen of a much larger being (pantheism) or creation of a much larger being (theism), then [s]he can have a certain kind of approximate knowledge of God which can develop and grow (aletheia). The way such a being would know [s]he is on to something is that [s]he will have access to good hints at “what/​where to explore next”. The model would lead to fruitful predictions.

          Make sense so far?

        • adam
        • So if God exists, we finite humans will have a hard to knowing that it exists unless it meets us halfway by providing evidence of its existence.

          I see a couple of problems already, but I’m sure you’ll tell me if this isn’t your argument.

        • Are you going to insist on using Ockham’s razor?

        • Did intellectual thought make you a Christian? Or did you become a Christian for some other reason?

          When you say “intellectual thought”, do you mean something like the thought allowed by rational choice theory and instrumental rationality? If so, my answer is “no”.

          Ostensibly you mean to somehow exclude emotion, and yet this would be to commit Descartes’ Error. I’m certainly aware of how emotion can spoil rationality, but a false premise can also spoil rationality. Our connection to reality is rather more complicated than either emotions or sense-data or rationality. One only need to take seriously Chomsky’s poverty of the stimulus or Pinker’s work against tabula rasa (e.g. The Blank Slate).

          I would say that I stay a Christian and my trust in God is deepened because what I do to “take Christianity seriously” and “take God seriously” and “take the Bible seriously” leads to a number of good results. One is like science: I gain increased power to bend reality to my will. But that is a rather small part. I also gain increased ability to bless other people. Furthermore, I think I gain increased insight into the false beliefs, incompetence, and evil motives which are causing so many problems in the world today—inside and outside the church.

          My experience is that people are generally only as willing to acknowledge problems which are approximately commensurate with their ability to deal with this problems. Occasionally you get someone who has sight much deeper than solution; I worry that such people have a tendency to kill themselves for rational reasons, such as David Foster Wallace. If “society” is all you’ve got, then “society” is defined to be “healthy”. This means that facts such as a persistent denial of “the flimsy structure of public opinion on which democratic politics is based” can’t really be a problem. I mean, wouldn’t you need an outside force and an outside source of health to cure the sickness? I think the answer is “yes”, I think that such a Person exists, but that he is unwilling to impose himself on us. We have to want what he has to offer, including theosis. Maybe I’ll just waste my life thinking and working on this stuff, but maybe I won’t.

        • When you say “intellectual thought”, do you mean something like the thought allowed by rational choice theory and instrumental rationality?

          Dunno. I have no idea why a long definitional tangent is necessary, either.

          Ostensibly you mean to somehow exclude emotion, and yet this would be to commit Descartes’ Error.

          I’d say “If you say so,” but that’s probably too generous in this instance.

          The issue isn’t “Do I exclude emotion?” but rather “Do I exclude intellectual analysis?” or, probably better: “Do I favor emotional reasons over intellectual ones?”

          My guess is that you spend your effort defending your supernatural beliefs that you came to for non-intellectual reasons rather than trying on the skeptical point of view and taking it for an honest test drive.

          I would say that I stay a Christian and my trust in God is deepened because what I do to “take Christianity seriously” and “take God seriously” and “take the Bible seriously” leads to a number of good results.

          Replace “Christianity” with some other religion. Scientology, say, or any other religion. If someone gave that changed set of 3 phrases back to you, would you accept them as equally plausible to your own position?

          I gain increased power to bend reality to my will.

          Tell me more about this superpower. I have no such ability.

          I also gain increased ability to bless other people.

          What I hear you saying is, “Christianity is useful,” not “Christianity is true.”

        • BS: Did intellectual thought make you a Christian? Or did you become a Christian for some other reason?

          LB: When you say “intellectual thought”, do you mean something like the thought allowed by rational choice theory and instrumental rationality?

          BS: Dunno. I have no idea why a long definitional tangent is necessary, either.

          Bob: “Did you become a Christian because of X or ¬X?”
          Luke: “Well it depends on what you mean by X.”
          Bob: “I don’t know why it matters what I meant by X.”

          The issue isn’t “Do I exclude emotion?” but rather “Do I exclude intellectual analysis?” or, probably better: “Do I favor emotional reasons over intellectual ones?”

          For some understandings of “intellectual analysis”, it plays a key part to my being a Christian. I am told that I am an extremely analytical person, and that shoots right through my πίστις (≈ trust / listening). You should be aware by now that I’m incredibly frustrated with all the vagueness and contradiction which permeates so much of Christian apologetics. Only intellectual analysis would support such frustration.

          Emotional reasons almost certainly plays a disproportionately small role. In my upbringing and during the vast majority of my interaction with atheists (online but also IRL), my emotions have been treated as 100% irrelevant—except for curiosity. Well, I suppose they were also playthings for people to feed off of. Of course I was expected to respect the emotions of others. So by necessity, my own emotions are rather underdeveloped, as is my understanding of them. I’m working on it.

          My guess is that you spend your effort defending your supernatural beliefs that you came to for non-intellectual reasons rather than trying on the skeptical point of view and taking it for an honest test drive.

          I doubt they are ‘supernatural’ by your definition. Although, it appears I don’t have your definition (I try to save links to people’s definitions of such key terms). I’m rather convinced by philosopher Kenneth Pearce’s blog posts Leibniz’s theistic case against Humean miracles and Christian Naturalism. I also feel some affinity with Roger Olson’s recent blog post What Do I Mean by the “Supernatural?”.

          As to trying on the skeptical point of view, my experience lines up with Wayne C. Booth’s experience:

          Skepticism is a troublesome word with a confusing history. From our point of view here, what is most interesting is how often it has been adopted as a device for protecting the right to believe in something precious which seems threatened by whatever opposes skepticism. Montaigne was a skeptic in order to protect himself from having to pay serious attention to warring arguments that seemed to tear the church and society apart. […]
              In one definition of the word, it is of course impossible to find any assertions of full skepticism; even silent enactments are difficult. A good general rule is: scratch a skeptic and find a dogmatist. (Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent, 55–56)

          For example, I really doubt that if Trump and the Republicans manage to “turn back the clock” on many of the political and moral moves made by Progressives, you’ll accept that “society” has redefined what is “moral” such that once again, being gay is a mental illness (recall my comparison of the contents of the DSM I & DSM IV). Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m deeply … skeptical.

          Replace “Christianity” with some other religion. Scientology, say, or any other religion. If someone gave that changed set of 3 phrases back to you, would you accept them as equally plausible to your own position?

          I would be happy to compete with them on the various metrics I established. Similarly, you might realize that not every psychologist can engage in every research paradigm listed in the the table of contents of Luciano L’Abate’s 2011 Paradigms in Theory Construction. Fortunately, different people in different paradigms can compare & contrast results. The comparisons won’t match point-by-point, but that merely requires one to be more than a robot.

          Tell me more about this superpower. I have no such ability.

          Sigh. It’s like you don’t know anything about what Francis Bacon said or did. Except you do—or should.

          What I hear you saying is, “Christianity is useful,” not “Christianity is true.”

          Then we disagree about what ‘truth’ is. You probably see it as restricted to scientific and mathematical matters; I see matters of the good and beautiful as also involved. But … I’m not sure you’re up for the length of discussion it would take to tease that out. I intermittently work on it with other people and my guest blog post series at Roger Olson’s blog may hit on it (first post: Reality: Code or Narrative?). I can let you know if and when the argument gets short and simple enough for your requirements.

        • Bob: “Did you become a Christian because of X or ¬X?”
          Luke: “Well it depends on what you mean by X.”
          Bob: “I don’t know why it matters what I meant by X.”

          Thanks for dumbing it down, but that wasn’t necessary this time. I’m not sure why we can’t make progress using the phrase “intellectual thought.” But if we’re going to split hairs over what that means, why stop there?

          Yes, sometimes we need to define things. On the other hand, some people hide behind these sorts of games.

          You should be aware by now that I’m incredibly frustrated with all the vagueness and contradiction which permeates so much of Christian apologetics. Only intellectual analysis would support such frustration.

          Frustrates me as well, though I wouldn’t put the blame on intellectual analysis but rather on a lack. Or maybe an agenda that demands that they see things in a dishonest way.

          I really doubt that if Trump and the Republicans manage to “turn back the clock” on many of the political and moral moves made by Progressives, you’ll accept that “society” has redefined what is “moral” such that once again, being gay is a mental illness

          Has society defined slavery as immoral? Society could redefine homosexuality in the same way. Why would that be hard for me to accept?

          I would be happy to compete with them on the various metrics I established. Similarly, you might realize that not every psychologist can engage in every research paradigm listed in the the table of contents of Luciano L’Abate’s 2011 Paradigms in Theory Construction. Fortunately, different people in different paradigms can compare & contrast results. The comparisons won’t match point-by-point, but that merely requires one to be more than a robot.

          Aside: when I have to spend 10 hours reading a book to fully understand a paragraph you wrote, guess what I’m going to do.

          Tip: when people get frustrated with you, this is one of the reasons.

          Then we disagree about what ‘truth’ is. You probably see it as restricted to scientific and mathematical matters

          If it comports with reality, that’s a good clue that it’s “true.”

          But … I’m not sure you’re up for the length of discussion it would take to tease that out.

          With most people, I could ask a question and get an answer. Or make a statement and get a reaction. But not with you. You hide behind a long and tedious analysis. And then your antagonist gives up out of frustration. I like winning arguments, but that’s not a route I would ever take. In fact, my route is quite the opposite: I want to be very clear in as few words as possible. I want to put up as little obstacle to my antagonist. I want their argument to be clearly shown to be flawed, and by so doing, I make my argument clearly exposed to critique. If my argument is wrong, let’s figure that out as quickly and easily as possible so I never use it again.

          Notice that this started with you declaring that you had something important to add to the side of Christian apologetics. And here we haven’t even addressed that. That topic has been jettisoned and forgotten. I’m just eager to get out of this conversation with my sanity intact. And once again you escape any sort of critique. Can that have been your goal?

        • adam

          “Aside: when I have to spend 10 hours reading a book to fully understand a paragraph you wrote, ”

          The problem is all too often the books and link he cites claim the opposite of what Luke does, or simply doesnt support what he claims.

          “Or maybe an agenda that demands that they see things in a dishonest way.”

          Dishonest God produces dishonest apologetics.

        • Notice that this started with you declaring that you had something important to add to the side of Christian apologetics. And here we haven’t even addressed that. That topic has been jettisoned and forgotten. I’m just eager to get out of this conversation with my sanity intact.

          We were addressing that in a different sub-thread, but you abandoned it after I asked, “Are you going to insist on using Ockham’s razor?” And so, we’re stuck here:

          F: Do you have evidence that the doctrines of Christianity are true?

          LB: Sorry, but I suspect you’ve set up the request so that it is utterly impossible to fill. I’ve been around this block many, many times. I’ve been set up to fail many times. I’m tired of it. If you want to proceed, demonstrate at least some understanding of my answer to the Phil.SE question Could there ever be evidence for an infinite being?.

          Now, you had trouble understanding that answer, so I simplified it for you. But you haven’t followed up on that discussion, so I’m left suspecting that “you’ve set up the request so that it is utterly impossible to fill.” And I’ve provided a rational argument to back that suspicion. The ball is in your court.

           

          And once again you escape any sort of critique. Can that have been your goal?

          Oh give me a break, you knew exactly what you were doing with this:

          BS: Did intellectual thought make you a Christian? Or did you become a Christian for some other reason?

          You actually had decided beforehand the answer to your questions, as became clear:

          BS: The issue isn’t “Do I exclude emotion?” but rather “Do I exclude intellectual analysis?” or, probably better: “Do I favor emotional reasons over intellectual ones?”

          My guess is that you spend your effort defending your supernatural beliefs that you came to for non-intellectual reasons rather than trying on the skeptical point of view and taking it for an honest test drive.

          You decided from the get go to play the stupid-ass game of psychologizing, where you preemptively shred any intellectual respectability of your interlocutor in any realm where [s]he disagrees with you. Maybe cast some moral aspersions too. What’s ironic is that the very fact that you’ve prejudged any judgment and intuition I have in these areas to be a fat zero requires me to vomit up tedious analysis to substitute for charitable interpretation and perhaps a smidgen of steelmanning.

          Now, if you were a true skeptic, you’d have science papers out the wazoo establishing that and how religion corrupts cognition. You know, stuff analogous to Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government. You’d take into account empirical evidence such as [1]. You’d have an operationalized definition of ‘religion’ handy. You’d have an explanation for why you cannot show a single peer-reviewed article which demonstrates either of the following:

               (1) upon becoming atheist, a scientist does better science
               (2) upon becoming religious, a scientist does worse science

          Instead, you have a big framework of dogmas about what religion does, which probably matches the evidence approximately as much as creationist stories do. The framework is probably well-described by [2]: “recipe knowledge” which has dubious scientific value. Which is why the rule of thumb for dealing with self-styled skeptics is this:

          Skepticism is a troublesome word with a confusing history. From our point of view here, what is most interesting is how often it has been adopted as a device for protecting the right to believe in something precious which seems threatened by whatever opposes skepticism. Montaigne was a skeptic in order to protect himself from having to pay serious attention to warring arguments that seemed to tear the church and society apart. The Fellows of the Royal Society in Restoration England were skeptical in order to maintain belief in the kind of scientific inquiry they pursued, and in the kind of universe that made that inquiry possible; they were generally careful to insist that they were not “Pyrrhonists”— complete unbelievers […]    In one definition of the word, it is of course impossible to find any assertions of full skepticism; even silent enactments are difficult. A good general rule is: scratch a skeptic and find a dogmatist. (Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent, 55–56)

          If you really want to show me skepticism, show me how you turn your skepticism on your own beliefs. Show me how you turn your skepticism on the beliefs of other people with whom you generally identify. As long as you only demonstrate skepticism aimed at the Other, it’s mostly worthless. After all, most people are “skeptics” in that sense.

           
          [1] I’ve posted this before and I’ll post it again and again to any given person until [s]he acknowledges it as legit evidence or explains why it isn’t. Note that the book was recommended to me by atheist James Lindsay:

              Serious defects that often stemmed from antireligious perspectives exist in many early studies of relationships between religion and psychopathology. The more modern view is that religion functions largely as a means of countering rather than contributing to psychopathology, though severe forms of unhealthy religion will probably have serious psychological and perhaps even physical consequences. In most instances, faith buttresses people’s sense of control and self-esteem, offers meanings that oppose anxiety, provides hope, sanctions socially facilitating behavior, enhances personal well-being, and promotes social integration. Probably the most hopeful sign is the increasing recognition by both clinicians and religionists of the potential benefits each group has to contribute. Awareness of the need for a spiritual perspective has opened new and more constructive possibilities for working with mentally disturbed individuals and resolving adaptive issues.    A central theme throughout this book is that religion “works” because it offers people meaning and control, and brings them together with like-thinking others who provide social support. This theme is probably nowhere better represented than in the section of this chapter on how people use religious and spiritual resources to cope. Religious beliefs, experiences, and practices appear to constitute a system of meanings that can be applied to virtually every situation a person may encounter. People are loath to rely on chance. Fate and luck are poor referents for understanding, but religion in all its possible manifestations can fill the void of meaninglessness admirably. There is always a place for one’s God—simply watching, guiding, supporting, or actively solving a problem. In other words, when people need to gain a greater measure of control over life events, the deity is there to provide the help they require. (The Psychology of Religion, Fourth Edition: An Empirical Approach, 476)

          [2] Those smart people—how much do they actually know? That’s a sociological question; here’s the answer from three sociologists:

          Most of what [modern [hu]man] knows, however, is what Alfred Schutz has aptly called ‘recipe knowledge’—just enough to get him through his essential transactions in social life. Intellectuals have a particular variety of ‘recipe knowledge’; they know just enough to be able to get through their dealings with other intellectuals. There is a ‘recipe knowledge’ for dealing with modernity in intellectual circles: the individual must be able to reproduce a small number of stock phrases and interpretive schemes, to apply them in ‘analysis’ or ‘criticism’ of new things that come up in discussion, and thereby to authenticate his participation in what has been collectively defined as reality in these circles. Statistically speaking, the scientific validity of this intellectuals’ ‘recipe knowledge’ is roughly random. The only safe course is to ignore it as much as one can if (for better or for worse) one moves in intellectual circles. Put simply: one must, as far as possible, examine the problem afresh. (The Homeless Mind, 12)

        • One of these days, I’ll invite a Christian to give me his best apologetics arguments, and he’ll give me a summary, and we’ll go from there. Maybe it’ll be interesting or challenging. Happy day!

          I guess today’s not that day.

        • God is hidden because we are not interested in what (or who) is true.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          God is hidden because he’s not omnipotent enough to provide us skeptical humans with a method to reliably research a supposed supernatural domain. Without such a method your remark is nothing but circularity.
          You better stick to your longwinding blah blah, Lukieboy. Then it’s not so obvious how stupid you are.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude lacks any semblance of self awareness.

        • And I should accept that as the best explanation of the facts, not that “God” doesn’t exist?

        • To the sufficiently deluded person, it is rational within his/her delusion to believe that “God does not exist.”

        • Shake me from my delusion. Shouldn’t be hard for a smart guy like you.

        • Shouldn’t be hard for a smart guy like you.

          Why should I believe that? Especially given stuff like this from Jonathan Haidt:

          And when we add that work to the mountain of research on motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and the fact that nobody’s been able to teach critical thinking. […] You know, if you take a statistics class, you’ll change your thinking a little bit. But if you try to train people to look for evidence on the other side, it can’t be done. It shouldn’t be hard, but nobody can do it, and they’ve been working on this for decades now. At a certain point, you have to just say, ‘Might you just be searching for Atlantis, and Atlantis doesn’t exist?’ (The Rationalist Delusion in Moral Psychology, 16:47)

          Or this, given that you are probably pretty high in what the authors of this paper call “numeracy”:

          Why does public conflict over societal risks persist in the face of compelling and widely accessible scientific evidence? We conducted an experiment to probe two alternative answers: the “Science Comprehension Thesis” (SCT), which identifies defects in the public’s knowledge and reasoning capacities as the source of such controversies; and the “Identity-protective Cognition Thesis” (ICT), which treats cultural conflict as disabling the faculties that members of the public use to make sense of decision-relevant science. In our experiment, we presented subjects with a difficult problem that turned on their ability to draw valid causal inferences from empirical data. As expected, subjects highest in numeracy—a measure of the ability and disposition to make use of quantitative information—did substantially better than less numerate ones when the data were presented as results from a study of a new skin-rash treatment. Also as expected, subjects’ responses became politically polarized—and even less accurate—when the same data were presented as results from the study of a gun-control ban. But contrary to the prediction of SCT, such polarization did not abate among subjects highest in numeracy; instead, it increased. This outcome supported ICT, which predicted that more Numerate subjects would use their quantitative-reasoning capacity selectively to conform their interpretation of the data to the result most consistent with their political outlooks. We discuss the theoretical and practical significance of these findings. (Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government)

          ?

        • Weird. I’m always delighted for the opportunity to explain why the atheist position is correct (or the Christian position wrong). I’m surprised that you’re so shy, especially since you’re such a blabbermouth about your opinion on trivia.

        • Do you believe the evidence I provided above is wrong?

        • I believe that whatever you’ve written is not a Christian apologetic.

          I’m looking for a reasonably short, clear argument that ends, “Therefore, God exists” or something similar.

        • I’m not writing an apologetic at this point, I’m exploring how you simply ignore evidence that is inconvenient for your position and what you’ve claimed (“Shake me from my delusion. Shouldn’t be hard for a smart guy like you.”) If you’re going to do that, then it will likely be impossible for me to present evidence that God exists, and have you even acknowledge it as evidence (never mind evidence of X).

        • Halbe

          So, you have the evidence, but you know we will not be convinced by it, and that is our fault. And therefore you will not present your evidence. How convenient. For you. Please allow us to be skeptical and come to the more probable conclusion: Your evidence is just not convincing. At all.

          ETA: which evidence you provided has been ignored so far, and how can we learn/improve ourselves in order to be able to acknowledge/understand/accept your evidence?

        • So, you have the evidence, but you know we will not be convinced by it, and that is our fault. And therefore you will not present your evidence.

          I suggest sticking to the evidence instead of speculating; you appear to be terrible at any sort of speculation (that is, making anything other than strictly logical inferences from what you’ve observed), at least with me.

          Please allow us to be skeptical and come to the more probable conclusion: Your evidence is just not convincing. At all.

          LOL, what evidence do you not find convincing? I doubt you can cite any. And so this was an empty statement. How many other empty statements have you sent my direction?

          ETA: Which evidence for God’s existence you provided has been ignored so far, and how can we learn/​improve ourselves in order to be able to acknowledge/​understand/​accept your evidence?

          Red herring.

        • Halbe

          Red herring!? You claim that it is impossible for us to even acknowledge any evidence for God’s existence as actual evidence. And you use that claim to avoid presenting evidence. So, the logical next question is: How can we learn to acknowledge your evidence? Because if we are able to learn that in some way, you would be able to present your evidence and we could then evaluate it. So, please tell us how to get to a position where we are able to acknowledge your evidence.

        • You claim that it is impossible for us to even acknowledge any evidence for God’s existence as actual evidence.

          Where did I claim this?

        • Halbe

          You claim that Bob (and others) will actively ignore, i.e. not acknowledge, any evidence for God’s existence that you can present. Since both Bob and I really have not seen any evidence for God’s existence in all of the text that you have produced (and copied/pasted) so far, you could of course be right: the reason we have not seen it is because we just ignore it. So, then the obvious next question is: what do we need to do to remove our blinders so that we will be able to see your evidence for God’s existence?

        • You claim that Bob (and others) will actively ignore, i.e. not acknowledge, any evidence for God’s existence that you can present.

          Did I? I suggest that you work from precisely what I said, instead of some half-assed reconstruction. I speak rather precisely, to avoid necessarily entailing stupid shit. Like what you just uttered.

          Since both Bob and I really have not seen any evidence for God’s existence in all of the text that you have produced (and copied/pasted) so far, you could of course be right: the reason we have not seen it is because we just ignore it.

          Never claimed what you say. Instead, I’ve asked if you ignore the evidence as presented by people you claim to trust when it disagrees with your identity/​ideology, why would you heed God? Fun fact: I’m currently sitting in on 2017 Chauncey D. Leake Lecture: “Do Facts Still Matter? And What Does It Mean If They Don’t?”. The auditorium is packed; I had to go to an overflow room. In case you don’t know him (I didn’t), Michael Specter worked at the Washington Post, The New York Times, and is now at The New Yorker. He wrote Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives in 2009 and in the lecture, said that he wasn’t intending to find out what a denialism-based nation would be like. And yet, when he was asked whether he consults the science on persuasion, he dodged the question. It’s as if he only respects science where it doesn’t threaten his identity/​ideology. But that would be in accord with the evidence. The question is, how much do you care about the evidence?

          So, then the obvious next question is: what do we need to do to remove our blinders so that we will be able to see your evidence for God’s existence?

          Figure out how to do what Jonathan Haidt et al cannot:

          And when we add that work to the mountain of research on motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and the fact that nobody’s been able to teach critical thinking. […] You know, if you take a statistics class, you’ll change your thinking a little bit. But if you try to train people to look for evidence on the other side, it can’t be done. It shouldn’t be hard, but nobody can do it, and they’ve been working on this for decades now. At a certain point, you have to just say, ‘Might you just be searching for Atlantis, and Atlantis doesn’t exist?’ (The Rationalist Delusion in Moral Psychology, 16:47)

        • Halbe

          So, we are back to: you will never be able to convince us, and that is our fault. Even worse: the omnipotent Creator of the Universe will never be able to convince us, and that is also our fault. So, you don’t have to bother presenting any evidence for God’s existence, since that would be a futile effort. And God chooses to remain hidden, because showing Himself would also be a futile effort, wasted on people like Bob and myself. I hope you understand that I just completely dismiss this line of reasoning as being “stupid shit”, as you so eloquently put it.

        • So, we are back to: you will never be able to convince us, and that is our fault.

          Did I say that? Even assuming that the results of Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government applying to you wouldn’t, in and of itself, logically entail that it is therefore your fault.

          Even worse: the omnipotent Creator of the Universe will never be able to convince us, and that is also our fault.

          Definitely didn’t say that. I did ask why you would wish to heed God if you won’t even heed the scientists you [ostensibly] say you believe when they produce empirical evidence for something—you know, like that we’re not living in a democracy, per the folk understanding of it[1].

          So, you don’t have to bother presenting any evidence for God’s existence, since that would be a futile effort.

          As things stand, I do believe it would be a futile effort. But I don’t think things must stand that way. That’s one critical error to your analysis. Another is that I’m not assigning blame.

          And God chooses to remain hidden, because showing Himself would also be a futile effort, wasted on people like Bob and myself. I hope you understand that I just completely dismiss this line of reasoning as being “stupid shit”, as you so eloquently put it.

          Then I will find other Christians and atheists who do believe what scientists tell them, and apply pressure on people like you and Bob. And if that doesn’t work, maybe we make you a laughingstock of the world, for pretending to respect science when you don’t—not when it threatens your identity/​ideology.

           
          [1] Here’s how Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels begin their 2016 book; it was from this book that I found Electoral Democracy, which is the source of my opening excerpt. Anyway, this is a definition of “folk theory of democracy”:

          In the conventional view, democracy begins with the voters. Ordinary people have preferences about what their government should do. They choose leaders who will do those things, or they enact their preferences directly in referendums. In either case, what the majority wants becomes government policy—a highly attractive prospect in light of most human experience with governments. Democracy makes the people the rulers, and legitimacy derives from their consent. In Abraham Lincoln’s stirring words from the Gettysburg Address, democratic government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” That way of thinking about democracy has passed into everyday wisdom, not just in the United States but in a great many other countries around the globe. It constitutes a kind of “folk theory” of democracy, a set of accessible, appealing ideas assuring people that they live under an ethically defensible form of government that has their interests at heart.[1] (Democracy for Realists, 1)

          Achen and Bartels go on to say that ever since the 1964 Converse study, we’ve known that the folk theory is wrong. Or rather: we had really good reason to suspect it was wrong after Converse’ study, and no study after it appreciably damaged the ominous conclusion. And yet, we don’t want to believe what the evidence tells us. So we don’t.

        • Halbe

          TL;DR

        • An excellent citizen you would make for democracy. “Sound bites only, kthx!”

        • adam

          I hope you understand that I just completely dismiss this line of reasoning as being “stupid shit”, as you so eloquently put it.

        • I’m not writing an apologetic at this point

          Right. And following you on a long, discursive journey isn’t my idea of a good time. If you’ve discovered an error or inconsistency on my part, that would be interesting to discuss, but not if it involves an hour of reading on my part. Fewer words.

          My guess is that you’re covering up your lack of a succinct, compelling argument by saying, “What’s the point? Your biases mean my argument won’t get a fair hearing.” Whatever. I’ve responded to plenty of other arguments.

        • And following you on a long, discursive journey isn’t my idea of a good time.

          Which means that either (1) you aren’t very deluded about reality; (2) I need to get better at succinctly attacking delusions; or (3) it is simply impossible in principle to convince you. I’m willing to act on (2) for a while longer. Your non-acknowledgment of empirical evidence I recently presented makes me doubt (1).

          If you’ve discovered an error or inconsistency on my part, that would be interesting to discuss, but not if it involves an hour of reading on my part.

          I did. See:

          BS: Shake me from my delusion. Shouldn’t be hard for a smart guy like you.

          LB: Why should I believe that? Especially given stuff like this from Jonathan Haidt:

          [evidence]

          Or this, given that you are probably pretty high in what the authors of this paper call “numeracy”:

          [evidence]

          ?

          My guess is that you’re covering up your lack of a succinct, compelling argument by saying, “What’s the point? Your biases mean my argument won’t get a fair hearing.” Whatever. I’ve responded to plenty of other arguments.

          You have responded to the arguments which did not seem particularly threatening. For the others, you act consistently with the results presented in Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government.

        • MNb

          Once again Lukieboy’s stupidity becomes crystal clear when he limits himself to short comments. He doesn’t need to demonstrate the Truth. He already knows at beforehand. Deviations are by definition delusional.

        • Greg G.

          OR people who do not think God is hidden are not interested in what is true.

          OR ghosts are hidden because we are not interesting in what is true.

        • You are welcome to find me people who question falsehood after falsehood which moderns have swallowed unthinkingly. For example, find me someone who has done this one hundred times over:

          The number of public intellectuals duped by the Potemkin-village tactics of their communist hosts in tours of the Soviet Union, China, North Vietnam, East Germany, Cuba, and elsewhere in the communist bloc is legion.[64] Paul Hollander quotes a remarkable number of statements by distinguished intellectuals that reveal astonishing ignorance, obtuseness, naïveté, callousness, and wishful thinking. Yet relatively few people have read the small literature of which Hollander’s book is an exemplar, and the luster of the deceived fellow travelers (many of them still alive and still speaking on sundry public topics, like John Kenneth Galbraith, Jonathan Kozol, Richard Falk, Staughton Lynd, and Susan Sontag) remains for the most part undimmed by their folly. (Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline, 150)

          Find me someone who has figured out to arbitrarily well overcome the cognitive bias discussed in Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government (smarter people are better at ignoring evidence when it conflicts with their ideology/​identity).

          Find me a new version of IEP: Francis Bacon § The Idols. If you can’t, then I don’t care if you don’t believe in God; I care first that you hold to are entrapped by so many delusions and seem powerless to overcome them.

        • My guess is that you spend your effort defending your supernatural beliefs that you came to for non-intellectual reasons rather than trying on the skeptical point of view and taking it for an honest test drive.

          I would be curious as to whether you think my recent criticism of a Strange Notions blog post contains any honest test-driving of “the skeptical point of view”.

    • Kodie

      What does want have anything to do with it? It’s like saying god isn’t allowed in public schools because teachers can’t promote religion or initiate prayers with students, and so god obeys the constitution and remains outside (mass shooters aren’t allowed in there, but they don’t give a shit, but these people think a metaphorical lock on the door is enough to keep an actual god out). Hey anyway, if god were real, we could teach about him in school! Lots of people have bosses that are authoritarian douchebags, and ostensibly, one can choose to work with a better boss, but eh, not really. We want to live in homes and eat food and put shoes on our families, then we deal with what’s what.

      “Want” has nothing to do with it. If there’s a god, us not wanting him, whoever he would be, has zero to do with it. You are just saying god gave up and is moping around, checking out his facebook posts to see if anyone new likes it. PATHETIC!

    • Sastra

      Meh, it should be obvious that we don’t want God around. We want Sky Daddy or Grampa God, as both these beings would not appreciably threaten our self-righteousness… But we don’t want to believe this. And so we don’t.

      This argument fails to explain why people would believe in gods or religions which are much more difficult to follow than the version of Christianity you believe to be true. They renounce more, sacrifice more, perform more difficult rituals, place themselves under more taxing obligations, have more restrictions, and in general live more self-renouncing god-soaked lives than you believe God really demands — and for the wrong god (or perhaps for no god at all, but for a Higher Cause.) This chosen poverty may, or may not, fit into your ideas of virtue: they fit very snugly, however, into their god’s.

      If the main reason God makes Himself not-obvious is that He knows we are so self-indulgent that we would ignore better evidence in order to do things OUR fun-loving easy way — and He wants us to see what a mess this causes — then how does this explanation account for people who follow much stricter laws than those of the True and Real God?

      • This argument fails to explain why people would believe in gods or religions which are much more difficult to follow than the version of Christianity you believe to be true. They renounce more, sacrifice more, perform more difficult rituals, place themselves under more taxing obligations, have more restrictions, and in general live more self-renouncing god-soaked lives than you believe God really demands — and for the wrong god (or perhaps for no god at all, but for a Higher Cause.) This chosen poverty may, or may not, fit into your ideas of virtue: they fit very snugly, however, into their god’s.

        You make many assumptions about what I “believe to be true”. Do you do this often to people? Let’s test your inferential powers. What I claim, about myself, is that I intend to threaten the actual powers that be in the world; for example:

        Schäuble came under criticism for his actions during the “Grexit” crisis of 2015: it was suggested by Yanis Varoufakis that Schäuble had intended to force Greece out of the Euro even before the election of the left-wing Syriza government in Greece.[77] This was confirmed by former US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in early 2014; calling Schäuble’s plan “frightening,” Geithner recorded that Schäuble believed a Greek exit from the Eurozone would scare other countries in to line.[78] Schäuble also received extensive criticism toward his austerity recommendations from Twitter via the hashtag #ThisIsACoup.[79] Such criticism focused on the fact that Schäuble’s insistence on policies of austerity was contradicted both by the empirical evidence that the policies he had insisted on had shrunk the Greek economy by 25%, a degree hitherto paralleled only in wartime, but also by reports from the IMF insisting that only massive debt relief, not further austerity, could be effective.[80][81] (WP: Wolfgang Schäuble § Criticism)

        Adopting a life of poverty won’t accomplish that. Schäuble and his ilk would be quite happy for me to do that, for me to take my place in the The Charitable–Industrial Complex. What he most certainly does not want me to do is research and explore the rationality of power; he would prefer I believe only in the power of rationality. Then he wins, because as the empirical evidence indicates, one of the things power does is define what gets counted as ‘rationality’. But I’m guessing this thought is blasphemous to your religion?

        If the main reason God makes Himself not-obvious is that He knows we are so self-indulgent that we would ignore better evidence in order to do things OUR fun-loving easy way — and He wants us to see what a mess this causes — then how does this explanation account for people who follow much stricter laws than those of the True and Real God?

        Why is your “follow much stricter laws” praiseworthy? Do you think that’s what being ‘righteous’ is—the extent to which you can become a computer? After all, computers are the best law-followers. Having programmed for over twenty years, I know a thing or two about this matter. My personal experience is that too much acting like a computer has one acting in a way that is anti-life. Perhaps your personal experience differs?

        • Kodie

          So your self-righteousness is ideal and we should all agree with you now.

        • Greg G.

          You make many assumptions about what I “believe to be true”.

          There you go again. He was talking about what other Christians believe, unless the version of Christianity you believe is the most difficult to follow.

        • I suppose you’re right; I am excluding stuff like the Flagellants, as well as rule-sets which are actually impossible to follow as-pursued. Attempting the impossible is “much more difficult” than attempting the possible.

          On the other hand, if you actually care about loving people (I mean agape), then self-flagellation and impossible rule-sets are off the table. I made the assumption that @disqus_ekcxKXIGaF:disqus cares about the well-being of humans and not mere ‘religiosity’, meaning the worst connotations of the term. This assumption may be an error; if it is, I will be quick to apologize and correct.

        • eric

          This is still a complete non-sequitur to Sastra’s argument, which you have yet to actually address. In summary:
          You claimed God is hidden because maybe people don’t want him around. Sastra points out many people go to great lengths to show they want him around, and God is short-shrifting them. So how do you explain that?

        • adam

          “Sastra points out many people go to great lengths to show they want him
          around, and God is short-shrifting them.

          So how do you explain that?”

          Like Luke, Luke’s God is a prick.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5291b83724220b1943ca1f0652b802df3089b2cc3c5eb2055e585e33d1b9843b.jpg

        • You claimed God is hidden because maybe people don’t want him around. Sastra points out many people go to great lengths to show they want him around, and God is short-shrifting them. So how do you explain that?

          Actually, that isn’t clearly what @disqus_ekcxKXIGaF:disqus is saying, based on this exchange:

          LB: Why is your “follow much stricter laws” praiseworthy?

          S: I didn’t say it was praiseworthy.

          I realize that there is a huge cultural current that what God wants are really really really good rule-followers. I just happen to think that this is a ridiculous way to look at healthy relationship. Some rule-following is important for healthy relationship, but that’s not the essence of health, nor is it the essence of life. It is an egregious error to confuse a precondition for the goal.

          Those who just want rules for how to interact with other people express an implicit refusal to listen to other people. Maybe this is because they’re bad at it and maybe this is because listening would be harder than following some rigorous rule-set. Jesus was clear: the Torah was meant to teach the Israelites to love (agape) one another. The purpose is love, not rule-following. If the purpose were rule-following, God could simply have created a bunch of computers. They’re really good at it. They’re also not life.

        • eric

          Actually, that isn’t clearly what Sastra is saying, based on this exchange:

          LB: Why is your “follow much stricter laws” praiseworthy?

          S: I didn’t say it was praiseworthy.

          Luke, you still don’t seem to be getting the argument. These practicing believers want God around. It doesn’t matter if they are signaling that in a way God likes or doesn’t like, in a way that is praiseworthy or not.

          Look, presumably God isn’t some sort of magical elemental that one can summon with the right formula, correct? God sees through action to intent. He is not beholden to formula. So regardless of whether these practitioners are signaling to him in a way he wants them to, the question still remains; why doesn’t he answer them? “Wrong formula” can’t justify hiddenness. Yet that seems to be your response here; you’re arguing He remains hidden because the people asking him to come out are doing it wrong. Surely you can see the problems with that “defense”, can’t you?

        • These practicing believers want God around.

          Do you understand the difference between wanting the God of Deuteronomy 5 around vs. wanting Skydaddy / Grampa God to be around?

          It doesn’t matter if they are signaling that in a way God likes or doesn’t like, in a way that is praiseworthy or not.

          I never intended to discuss the manner of signaling.

          Look, presumably God isn’t some sort of magical elemental that one can summon with the right formula, correct?

          That’s my stance, but many here seem to think that if prayer doesn’t operate precisely that way (“the right formula” = “Give me X in Jesus’ name [amen].”), it cannot exist.

          God sees through action to intent. He is not beholden to formula.

          Precisely. This is unlike so many humans, who seem to adore judging by appearances and thinking there is no difference between letter of the law and spirit of the law. So for example, God can see whether you actually want him, or some Feuerbachian projection of the self. C. S. Lewis elegantly explores this class of mistake in Till We Have Faces. A woman who thought she was loving her sister was doing everything but. Augustine’s doctrine of original sin says we can be this deluded; Pelagius responded that we cannot, that we always have a good grasp of what is good and what is evil, even though we often suffer from akrasia. I think Augustine was right, from personal experience and the evidence.

          So regardless of whether these practitioners are signaling to him in a way he wants them to, the question still remains; why doesn’t he answer them? “Wrong formula” can’t justify hiddenness. Yet that seems to be your response here; you’re arguing He remains hidden because the people asking him to come out are doing it wrong. Surely you can see the problems with that “defense”, can’t you?

          I simply do not see myself as arguing about “signaling” or “right formula” or style. That is all at the level of appearance. I was a social outcast until my twenties, and much of it was because I did not appear the way my peers desired. I understand the bland necessity of social protocol, as well as the disgusting fact that we humans care so much about mere protocol over against substance. An approximation of what I mean is that many who say they desire God do not seem to desire theosis and all it entails. C. S. Lewis discussed this in detail; for example:

          Chapter 9: Counting the Cost
          I find a good many people have been bothered by what I said in the previous chapter about Our Lord’s words, ‘Be ye perfect’. Some people seem to think this means ‘Unless you are perfect, I will not help you’; and as we cannot be perfect, then, if He meant that, our position is hopeless. But I do not think He did mean that. I think He meant ‘The only help I will give is help to become perfect. You may want something less: but I will give you nothing less.’ (Mere Christianity)

        • Greg G.

          As long as God is hidden, he can only be conceived of by imagination. If he is Deuteronomy 5, it’s his fault that people don’t know it.

        • Ugh, one of those potshots which requires a big response which probably nobody will read.

          Whenever the complexity of the object vastly outstrips the complexity of its presentation to you, the vast majority of your understanding of the object will have to lie in the imagination if your understanding is to be at all accurate. That is a logical truth. So, if you accept that God is an infinite being and you are but a finite instrument, virtually all of your understanding of him cannot be sense-based. Again, this is a logical truth. Furthermore, if you always apply Ockham’s razor, you will insist that the model be of lower complexity than the sum total of the phenomena; given that you can only collect finite phenomena, the model will be forced to be finite. This rules out any accurate understanding of an infinite God.

          What you can do is take the place where the senses are relevant and attempt to extrapolate from there, expecting reality to be similar enough to be intelligible, but not identical. For example, the physical constants could be slowly changing, but too rapid a change given our current abilities to explore and understand reality would be problematic if our comprehension is valued. From the bit I’ve read of Robert Nozick’s Invariances, I have some resonance with his view. You may think of this as a very careful weakening of uniformitarianism. Reality can, and probably will, end up being stranger than we think. And that can be an incredibly cool thing.

          The Christian ought to be superb at suggesting places to explore from the current touchdown of sense-data. That this is not so, at least for a great number of Christians, is to their shame. I have some ideas why, relating to idol-worship which was expunged from the Jews by Jesus’ time. Some details can be found in Owen Barfield’s Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry; the idea is that we need to stop thinking we understand almost all of reality (including “day to day reality”; I’m looking at Sean Carroll (more)). But given how terrible we are at understanding creativity in general (required for hypothesis formation) and how much of an animus science has toward creativity and competence these days, I’m not all that concerned that Christians are the only idiots on this block.

          Bringing this back to your comment, the bottom line is that God must be mostly hidden. Where our senses can connect us to him, it is easy for us to pretend that we understand much more than we do, and thus bury our heads in the sand. Hmmm, I wonder if I gave an example of that in my first comment… It’s also easy for us to become all superstitious, which Calvin nicely characterizes and condemns with his “seed of religion” shtick.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t have to comprehend the complete infinity to understand that an infinity exists. I understand the relationship between the radius of a circle and its circumference and find the ratio to be useful though I don’t know all of the decimals. A few of the decimals are sufficient. Knowing that the number of integers is infinite does not keep me from finding a certain set of them to be useful. So I do not find a problem in not being able to comprehend the entirety of a god as a block for not being able to recognize its existence.

        • An infinity which can be generated by a finite Turing machine is only an infinity in a very degenerate sense. Sort of like how 1.0 = 0.999…

          If God cannot be generated by a finite Turing machine, it’s an entirely different ball game.

        • eric

          Do you understand the difference between wanting the God of Deuteronomy 5 around vs. wanting Skydaddy / Grampa God to be around?

          So now we have to have a gnostically correct understanding of what God is before he’ll show up?

          This makes no sense. You’re saying unless we ask for God-exactly-as-he-really-exists, he won’t show. But we can’t know that – it’s an unrealistic requirement. Or a malicious one.

          A baby probably doesn’t know what it’s crying for. It’s just hungry. Yet a caring parent doesn’t worry about whether the baby has a fully fashioned cognitive model of “mother” or “father” in its head – they just answer. So IMO your answer makes God out to be a callous pharisee, waiting around until some believer gets the correct conception of god in his/her head and then requests Him before He will come.

          Moreover, the fact that God is hidden now would seem to indicate that, according to your theory here, no modern believer has ever had an ‘accurate enough’ conception of God, even though we read all the stories about people who did. Not only does that completely undermine Christianity as a theology, but it’s really hard to believe to begin with.

          think He meant ‘The only help I will give is help to become perfect.
          You may want something less: but I will give you nothing less.’

          You are proposing a cruel catch-22. God won’t reveal himself to his imperfect flock because we are unable to ‘correctly’ ask for perfection. But we can’t do that because we are imperfect.

        • e: These practicing believers want God around.

          LB: Do you understand the difference between wanting the God of Deuteronomy 5 around vs. wanting Skydaddy / Grampa God to be around?

          e: So now we have to have a gnostically correct understanding of what God is before he’ll show up?

          To make any distinction is not immediately to delve into secret mysteries.

          You’re saying unless we ask for God-exactly-as-he-really-exists, he won’t show.

          No. There is plenty of tolerance for error. The tolerance for error is not infinite. If you want God but don’t want theosis, that may be a killer. Ever notice the usage of “one who conquers” in Revelation? To be happy with mediocrity … well it might get you 1 Cor 3:15, but even that is iffy.

          A baby probably doesn’t know what it’s crying for. It’s just hungry. Yet a caring parent doesn’t worry about whether the baby has a fully fashioned cognitive model of “mother” or “father” in its head – they just answer.

          Humanity went through a baby phase. There was a lot of belief in God then. Now humanity thinks it’s all grown up. Your analogy thereby fails.

          So IMO your answer makes God out to be a callous pharisee, waiting around until some believer gets the correct conception of god in his/her head and then requests Him before He will come.

          No, I don’t think it’s a matter of “conception” (which sounds like Cartesian dualism; “conception” ∼ “res cogitans“). It really is a matter of self-righteousness. In OT terms, you have the concepts of “stiff-necked” and “hard-hearted”. The one who really cries out in need is neither self-righteous, nor stiff-necked, nor hard-hearted. Having the right “conception” really has nothing to do with it.

          Moreover, the fact that God is hidden now would seem to indicate that, according to your theory here, no modern believer has ever had an ‘accurate enough’ conception of God, even though we read all the stories about people who did.

          I don’t see how that follows at all. Because the evidence doesn’t suffice for you, therefore it could not possibly suffice for any modern? Hubris.

          You are proposing a cruel catch-22. God won’t reveal himself to his imperfect flock because we are unable to ‘correctly’ ask for perfection. But we can’t do that because we are imperfect.

          Incorrect. I don’t think you realize how much moderns cling to mediocrity (closest match: hard-heartedness). Shall I marshal some empirical evidence for that claim?

        • Greg G.

          Sastra says you were included but the statement excludes you, then uses the third person plural so I do not see how to interpret it that way.

          This argument fails to explain why people would believe in gods or religions which are much more difficult to follow than the version of Christianity you believe to be true. They

          Your version cannot be more difficult to follow than your version.

        • Fortunately, @disqus_ekcxKXIGaF:disqus has the sense to not be so nitpicky:

          S: You’re right, I shouldn’t have made assumptions or focused on what you believe, because it doesn’t matter. My apologies.

          (I no longer care to argue over who was right. The conversation has moved to more interesting places.)

        • Sastra

          You make many assumptions about what I “believe to be true”.

          You’re right, I shouldn’t have made assumptions or focused on what you believe, because it doesn’t matter. My apologies.

          The topic is theology, specifically the apologetic you put forth on why God is hidden. “What can God do with such people, other than let them explore the consequences of their stubbornly-held beliefs?”

          Why is your “follow much stricter laws” praiseworthy?

          I didn’t say it was praiseworthy. I used it as a hard case, one which does not fit into the claim that people would stubbornly hold to their beliefs in an easy, loving Sky-Daddy even if God provided extremely clear evidence of both its existence, and its nature, because they want self-rule or an easy life.

        • Greg G.

          You’re right, I shouldn’t have made assumptions or focused on what you believe, because it doesn’t matter. My apologies.

          Where did you do that? You only talked about what people believed who followed a religion more difficult to follow than Luke’s version. Luke doesn’t believe God answers prayer the way other Christians do, so they believe in something more difficult to follow. Your only assumption would be that Luke’s version is not extremely difficult to follow. That he doesn’t claim that all prayers are answered makes it easier to follow that some faiths. So your assumption was correct, anyway.

        • Kodie

          How many volumes has Luke written and still we don’t know what he believes? Someone only this morning asked him, and he snapped at them and refused to answer, but I think we all know that Luke thinks he is god.

        • adam
        • epeeist

          How many volumes has Luke written and still we don’t know what he believes?

          You mean you haven’t read all the books that Luke obligingly provides links to? All of which are of course complete apposite and support his point of view (whatever that is).

        • Ficino

          Yes, 15 hours ago I asked Luke Breuer if he had evidence that the doctrines of Christianity are true. I invited him in that case to present it. So far, he has posted a link to a website where he discusses a different question. Otherwise, the rest of what he wrote has not sought to answer the above question, while he refuses to present evidence for the truth of Christianity’s claims.

          If Luke Breuer in fact disbelieves the doctrines of Christianity, I shall appreciate knowing this.

        • Otto

          I have asked him numerous times and and at best have gotten vague answers. Then above says no one asks him and complains when assumptions are made based on the little we can garner.

          Playing a little ‘divine hiddeness’ himself perhaps.

        • MNb

          Nah, Luke is allright with being the second Messias.

        • Sastra

          I included Luke personally in my rebuttal — “the version of Christianity you believe to be true” — and I should have been more circumspect, since this turned out to be a tangent and doesn’t matter to the argument. He could be an atheist and still bring up people’s reluctance to believe anything which damages self esteem or makes life difficult as a possible reason a god might want to make its existence less than obvious. It seems to me that keeping Luke’s beliefs about God off the table — remaining academic and on topic — might be a good idea, in general.

        • adam

          “It seems to me that keeping Luke’s beliefs about God off the table —
          remaining academic and on topic — might be a good idea, in general.”

          It might, except Luke isnt academic or consistently on topic.
          His supporting links rarely if ever support the point he is trying to make – i.e. he LIES.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/076a1a5c8bc9194353fa74554b7554d7a7d56a4842acd863ca43f9adda289f45.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15ca0861e39343c39684a19ac9ceddd9534f334c6757b32dc5e2772146b00297.jpg

        • Sastra

          If so, then it definitely is a good idea to at least try.

        • adam

          Of course you should try to be honest, academic and consistently on topic.

          But you need to realize that Luke is a player with a long dishonest history.

          He blocks me because I called him out on his lies and hold him accountable for his deceptions.

        • The topic is theology, specifically the apologetic you put forth on why God is hidden. “What can God do with such people, other than let them explore the consequences of their stubbornly-held beliefs?”

          Did you mean to say something more, here? Maybe not; I just find your ending with a quote of what I said to be unusual.

          LB: Why is your “follow much stricter laws” praiseworthy?

          S: I didn’t say it was praiseworthy. I used it as a hard case, one which does not fit into the claim that people would stubbornly hold to their beliefs in an easy, loving Sky-Daddy even if God provided extremely clear evidence of both its existence, and its nature, because they want self-rule or an easy life.

          Ok, but then we should get a full spread of the available options, instead of just play two terrible options off against each other. For example, an excellent case can be made that YHWH wanted the kind of maturity required for egalitarianism. In order to get there, one must acknowledge facts about reality, such as can be found in my excerpt of Electoral Democracy. If those among us who believe they are most knowledgeable and wisest are largely in denial of such facts, what is God supposed to do? These are the people who claim to value the evidence! They are mostly secular!

          The problem, as a basic reading of the OT will indicate, is that humans generally split into two categories:

               (A) those who desire to rule and dominate
               (B) those who wish to follow and blame others

          The idea that everyone wishes to exercise responsible self-rule is simply contradicted by the evidence (again see that excerpt). Sure, they may wish this in some abstract sense, but when it comes down to their actions, such wishes are nothing but idle dreams. And yet, we moderns love to pretend that standard notions of folk democracy obtain! We believe that anyone who looks like (B) is really a good version of (A), but repressed by evil institutions. We aren’t willing to face the facts that our priests scientists tell us. And then we think we’re up for God telling us even more challenging things? (After all, science is greatly limited by the fact/​value dichotomy and the primary/​secondary quality distinction.) How positively quaint.

        • adam

          “For example, an excellent case can be made that YHWH wanted the kind of maturity required for egalitarianism. ”

          Yet, much to impotent to actually make it happen.

          “The idea that everyone wishes to exercise responsible self-rule is simply contradicted by the evidence ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ead1dfb33fc5a434455e6d5ffd090caa7b6e7d822229360729a7a9750b56e83.png

          Obviously

        • Sastra

          Ok, but then we should get a full spread of the available options,
          instead of just play two terrible options off against each other. For
          example, an excellent case can be made that YHWH wanted the kind of maturity required for egalitarianism.

          I’m not sure what you’re saying here. God deliberately provides poor evidence for its existence because people don’t WANT egalitarianism and would ignore God anyway, no matter how clear and direct He was. By blundering around as if there was no god — or as if some other god with other desires (even opposite desires) was true — we are in the only condition which can allow some people to eventually mature enough to be up for God’s egalitarian challenge.

          Before I pick out some problems, I want to be sure I understand you. Why is God hidden? “Because we’re not tough enough for self-responsibility and equal rights, but by hiding God helps us toughen up. Except for the people who don’t because they can’t.”

          ?

        • God deliberately provides poor evidence for its existence because people don’t WANT egalitarianism and would ignore God anyway, no matter how clear and direct He was.

          According to the OT, God providing excellent evidence for himself is hardly any help. It is as if the Bible claims that the problem really isn’t evidence. Recall once again the evidence I presented: our best and brightest will frequently refuse to acknowledge the facts when it runs against their political ideology, against their perceived identity. This obsession with evidence blinds people to major aspects of reality:

          The empirical study is summed up in a number of propositions about the relationship between rationality and power, concluding that power has a rationality that rationality does not know, whereas rationality does not have a power that power does not know. I will argue that this asymmetry between rationality and power forms a basic weakness of modernity and of modern democracy, a weakness that needs to be reassessed in light of the context-dependent nature of rationality, taking a point of departure in thinkers like Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Foucault.[2]
               […] Much of modern politics, administration, and planning—and many theories about these phenomena—emphasize the ideals of modernity but do not examine modernity as it is actually experienced. Modernity’s elevation of rationality as an ideal seems to result in, or at least to coexist with, an ignorance of the real rationalities at work one everyday politics, administration, and planning. (Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice, 2)

          The Bible, on the other hand, is quite aware of the operations of power. Indeed, they play a central explanatory role. It is not that evidence is irrelevant—Abraham asks multiple times how he shall know what God says is true and Gideon asks for signs which are granted—but rather that evidence isn’t nearly as big a part of the story as folks like you [seem to] want to make it. And I understand that: these days we are so naive as to the ways of power that we grasp at the only other things we know: evidence and empathy. It just happens that those two characters cannot tell a very good, or powerful, story. You need more than that.

          By blundering around as if there was no god — or as if some other god with other desires (even opposite desires) was true — we are in the only condition which can allow some people to eventually mature enough to be up for God’s egalitarian challenge.

          I don’t accept that we are “blundering around”. No, we are engaged in willful self-delusion, of which I have provided evidence. That you do not take this evidence seriously enough is evidence that evidence is not as big a deal as you make it out to be.

          Before I pick out some problems, I want to be sure I understand you. Why is God hidden? “Because we’re not tough enough for self-responsibility and equal rights, but by hiding God helps us toughen up. Except for the people who don’t because they can’t.”

          No. Toughness has nothing to do with it, unless you mean the toughness to discard petty self-righteousness. As to “the people who don’t because they can’t”, a remarkable number of them turn out to actually believe in God or gods. That’s kind of curious. It’s as if those people who cannot trust in their ability to control and dominate reality (including most people) are more likely to believe in God. Yep, the Bible knows that pattern, too.

        • Sastra

          According to the OT, God providing excellent evidence for himself is hardly any help.

          Did it help anyone? Were the people in the OT mostly atheists?

          Do ALL the best and brightest refuse to acknowledge facts they don’t like, or are some of them capable of doing so?

          It seems to me that, in order to work at explaining why God is “hidden,” what I’ll call your Argument from Virulent Ignorance has to persuade me to assume that 100% of the people who don’t believe in God in just the right way are so perverse that nothing God could do would persuade them they believe in God the wrong way. That’s as extreme and incredible a claim as saying that 100% of the population would gladly and eagerly change their mind on religion given new and excellent evidence.

          No, we are engaged in willful self-delusion, of which I have provided evidence.

          From what I can tell, your main focus seems to be more about the value of egalitarianism and reason, and the problem with people wanting to dominate others, or blindly follow them, because of thirst for power or ease, and self-righteousness. This needn’t have any connection to the topic in the OP at all. Someone could make those same points on their merits, and leave God out of it.

          The more general argument — God doesn’t bother to provide clear evidence because strong, reasonable evidence would not convince a single person who doesn’t already believe on weak evidence — suffers from the problem I wrote about above. That’s not how it works for everyone. That’s how it works in a cartoon, or in fiction.

        • Apologies for the length, but I do not yet know how to write a shorter letter that won’t get horribly misinterpreted by at least someone.

          Did it help anyone? Were the people in the OT mostly atheists?

          Sure. For example, Gideon got evidence and it helped him for a while. However, then he made an idol for Israel to worship instead of God. The major problem in the OT is not atheism per se but idolatry. Now, what the hell is idolatry? There are many caricatures on offer, but I more and more suspect they are only that. A fascinating alternative is Owen Barfield’s Saving the Appearances: A Study in Idolatry. Barfield thinks that idolatry is a hardening of conceptual categories, where we pretend all of reality is how we conceive of it. It is to be closed to God revealing more of reality (and thus himself) to us. On this account, idolatry is enslavement to smallness and mediocrity. One becomes imprisoned in a sliver of reality with bars one cannot taste, touch, hear, smell, or see. One way it is described:

          And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

              “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
              keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
              Make the heart of this people dull,
                  and their ears heavy,
                  and blind their eyes;
              lest they see with their eyes,
                  and hear with their ears,
              and understand with their hearts,
                  and turn and be healed.”

          It isn’t that the people were willing to understand and perceive until Isaiah gave his evil prophetic word; instead it’s that well-known phenomenon where if you present people entrenched in their position with countervailing facts and reasoning, they will often strengthen their position. Their sensory organs will work, but their ability to properly process what comes in their senses will become increasingly damaged. They will fail to perceive and understand, even though they can see and hear.

          There is a kind of vertigo one experiences in realizing that reality is far more complicated and dangerous that you can possibly imagine. And so it is deeply tempting to pretend that it just isn’t that complicated and/or that dangerous. Reductionistic nothing-buttery is an example of this. So is belief-in-the-teeth-of-the-evidence in folk democracy. Ockham’s razor ensures us that we are more complex than reality, not the other way around. Idols are comforting. The living God (and his creation) is terrifying. Bring us back to safety, to where there are pots of meat!

          Do ALL the best and brightest refuse to acknowledge facts they don’t like, or are some of them capable of doing so?

          No, not all. For example, Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky both saw something like Brexit and Trump coming from miles away. See for example the 2010 blog post Noam Chomsky Has ‘Never Seen Anything Like This’. But Hedges and Chomsky are both pariahs among the intellectual elite, carefully cordoned off so that they can be spectacles without real power (see the Black Mirror episode Fifteen Million Merits). Power no longer needs to burn heretics at the stake; it can merely marginalize them. Fortunately, Hedges and Chomsky seem to know this, and are thus playing a long game which power may not recognize. Sadly, I still suspect naïveté in them, despite Chomsky’s 198 IQ.

          It seems to me that, in order to work at explaining why God is “hidden,” what I’ll call your Argument from Virulent Ignorance has to persuade me to assume that 100% of the people who don’t believe in God in just the right way are so perverse that nothing God could do would persuade them they believe in God the wrong way.

          You go too far: I’m saying that God presenting evidence of his existence to them (in a way that they understand that it’s evidence of his existence) is not necessarily a successful strategy. There are many, many other things God can do.

          From what I can tell, your main focus seems to be more about the value of egalitarianism and reason, and the problem with people wanting to dominate others, or blindly follow them, because of thirst for power or ease, and self-righteousness. This needn’t have any connection to the topic in the OP at all. Someone could make those same points on their merits, and leave God out of it.

          The very point is that God can be left out of it. If an increase in power differential increases rationalizing and decreases rationality, then God doing miracles for the most powerful would be evil for quite a few kinds of miracles. When humans enter the mode of dominating each other, the OT often has God standing back, or at most inviting one domination-loving group to have some fun with another domination-loving group. An example of this is the book of Habakkuk. Evil is collided with evil, in the hopes that some remnant will come to its senses and emerge. It’s kind of disgusting (the prophet Habakkuk protests it), but a sober analysis of human history will find that no better methods are [yet] known. Maybe if we’ll pull our heads out of our asses, that will change.

          What do you think “evidence of God’s existence” will do to the fact that the West had a combination of ignorance and faint praise for the 1999 NATO bombing of a Serbian news station, while it heartily condemned the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting? In both cases a news station got attacked. The difference is who did the attacking. (War is always justified from the perspective of the attacker.) We have yet to become more than infants in justice and righteousness. Simultaneously, we think we are paragons of virtue. Yes, our embodiment may be lacking, but our concepts are pure and holy. We are idol-worshipers.

          The more general argument — God doesn’t bother to provide clear evidence because strong, reasonable evidence would not convince a single person who doesn’t already believe on weak evidence — suffers from the problem I wrote about above. That’s not how it works for everyone.

          It’s necessarily “weak evidence”? I think the clarity with which the Bible has given me eyes to see the incredible amount of nonsense modern smart people believe is rather strong evidence. I could regale you with bit of nonsense after bit of nonsense, sometimes in gruesome detail. My biggest problem is well-expressed by Thagard’s #1 and #2, but seeing as that is a problem for secular folks as well (see The Charitable–Industrial Complex & We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People — and Still Can’t End Hunger for starters), it doesn’t yet worry me overmuch. For a while, I will consider myself too sinful and/or too incompetent for God to manifest any interesting power through me. For some time longer, I am content to work on being less sinful and more competent (chiefly by increasing my ability to bless others and make them more than they were before, to their approval). I even suspect God is helping me along, but of course I cannot produce a scientific experiment with control to demonstrate it.

        • Pofarmer

          I repeat my protest about not being the one professing self righteousness.

        • Who said anyone is professing self-righteousness?

        • Pofarmer

          Whatever. Asshole.

        • I see, so you vaguely wave in the direction of moral and/or intellectual defect, but demonstrating it with succinct textual evidence is just not something you do. Got it.

        • Sastra

          Apologies for the brevity, but I’m trying to focus.

          I’m saying that God presenting evidence of his existence to them (in a
          way that they understand that it’s evidence of his existence) is not
          necessarily a successful strategy. There are many, many other things God
          can do.

          If it’s important to God that people believe that He exists, then providing strong, clear evidence of His existence is at least sometimes a successful strategy then — successful enough that it’s certainly worth a shot. God would lose nothing by it.The lack of such evidence otherwise gives at least some people who’d make perfectly fine theists a good reason (not excuse) to not be theists, or not be as fine if they are.

          The very point is that God can be left out of it.

          I think you’re missing my point. Leaving God out of it changes nothing.

          A case can be made against smallness, mediocrity, rationalizing, domination, evil, self-delusion, self-righteousness and nonsense without mentioning or considering God. A case can be made for reason, eqalitarianism, goodness, clarity, and competence without mentioning or considering God. So there is no reason for God to “hide” Himself in order to discourage the one, or encourage the other. Belief in God is irrelevant here.

          When you bring in empirical evidence to support your political or ethical case, then someone (like Chomsky) doesn’t have to be the right sort of Christian, a Christian, or even a theist to come to the same conclusion.

        • Apologies for the brevity, but I’m trying to focus.

          Quite acceptable.

          If it’s important to God that people believe that He exists, then providing strong, clear evidence of His existence is at least sometimes a successful strategy then — successful enough that it’s certainly worth a shot. God would lose nothing by it.The lack of such evidence otherwise gives at least some people who’d make perfectly fine theists a good reason (not excuse) to not be theists, or not be as fine if they are.

          I think it’s important that people pisteuō, which is probably better translated ‘trust’ than ‘believe’, in the 21st century West. A lossy version of that would be that it is important the people (i) want more; and (ii) want it to happen justly. Contrast this to happiness with mediocrity and anti-egalitarianism.

          Returning to “evidence”, I’m afraid I have to ask you whether that means an application of Ockham’s razor whereby the model always has complexity less than the data. If you do, then it is logically impossible for a finite being to have “evidence” of an infinite God. You’ll always grossly distort the resultant model, pretending that the small fraction of your exposure to God is representative of his entire being. There are other problems too, like trying to reduce God to impersonal forces of nature (which ostensibly follow a rigorously defined subset of all possible mathematical patterns). It’s really quite complex, but an upshot is that getting this stuff right also allows for richer human–human relationships. Treating other humans in a purely scientific fashion is rather nasty.

          A case can be made against smallness, mediocrity, rationalizing, domination, evil, self-delusion, self-righteousness and nonsense without mentioning or considering God.

          From whence are you going to obtain largeness, excellence, rationality, caretaking, goodness, clarity, true righteousness, and sense? From “society”? Certainly not “nature”. But what if “society” runs out of gas? Are you just cooked? Or is a random genetic mutation going to magically give you the key to awesome? Without God and without a teleological (but fallen) reality, all that stuff is epiphenomenal, approximate, and ultimately disintegrates. For a more restricted argument (doesn’t necessarily require ‘God’), see mine which ends with: “(5) Therefore, truth and falsity of belief is unknowable.” There are serious conceptual problems at play here, which often get fuzzed and ignored with that oh-so-magical word ‘subjectivity’—which is basically the worst conception of ‘supernatural’ applied to the inner world (as if the inner world obeys no laws, has no rigorously investigable structure, etc.).

          If you want to get down and rigorous, we can tackle Fitch’s Paradox of Knowability. Briefly: if we can “know that we know”, or even know “there is an unknown, but knowable truth”, then (F) all knowable truths are already known. That is, all knowable knowledge is already known. So either God knows it, society knows it, we know it, or it cannot be known. Unless … the universe knows it? Kinda weird.

          Now, if we insist strongly enough, maybe God is willing to let us exhaust the awesome we humans think we have. That does seem to be a pattern in the Bible—OT and NT. We can also talk about whether it would be best for God to employ something other than this rather nasty-seeming strategy. We’d have to test it indirectly, but we humans can do such things. And maybe in the very act of trying to crack that nut, we figure out just what it was that God wanted us to figure out, what we wouldn’t merely trust him on. (And I do think God wants trust to turn to knowledge, but there are easy and hard ways.)

          When you bring in empirical evidence to support your political or ethical case, then someone (like Chomsky) doesn’t have to be the right sort of Christian, a Christian, or even a theist to come to the same conclusion.

          Characterizing problems is much easier than proposing workable solutions. Just ask the field of psychology about this.

        • Sastra

          I think it’s important that people pisteuō, which is probably better translated ‘trust’ than ‘believe’, in the 21st century West

          One cannot trust in something or someone unless they believe it/they exists.

          it is logically impossible for a finite being to have “evidence” of an infinite God.

          The ‘infinite’ quality is not particularly important. It would be logically possible for God’s existence to be more obvious than it is — or you would not be able to make a case for why God chooses otherwise by basing it on human perversity, or character building, or what have you.

          From whence are you going to obtain largeness, excellence, rationality,
          caretaking, goodness, clarity, true righteousness, and sense? … Without God and without a teleological (but fallen) reality, all that
          stuff is epiphenomenal, approximate, and ultimately disintegrates.

          Irrelevant: that’s a source question. One can value largeness, excellence, rationality, etc and strive for them without being aware of their source, or if mistaken in ‘where they came from.’ I don’t think theists understand the source of these things, but that alone tells me nothing about how large, excellent, or otherwise rational they may be.

          Consider this analogy. Two people are sitting at a table, admiring it. One says:”This fine table was made in Sheboygan.”
          The other replies: “Nonsense: no tables are made in Sheboygan. It must have been made in China, where fine tables are made.”

          Now they can get into an empirical argument about where the table came from, looking at wood grain and styling and stamps on the bottom saying “Made in ___” — but they both agree there is a table, and both agree it is fine. The person who is accused of being wrong, or really IS wrong, should not and can not be accused of denying the table, or not having the warrant to use the table, or not being capable of using the table, or making or saying the table is less than ‘fine.’

          A source dispute can’t do that. One person can say “But if it was made where you say it’s made, then X would be the case and it’s not” — to make their case — but they can’t legitimately say “but if it were made where you say it’s made, then you wouldn’t see it or like it and you DO” — and make their case. That’s begging the question. It’s saying “I’d change my mind and agree the table came from Sheboygan/China if it wasn’t there.”

        • One cannot trust in something or someone unless they believe it/​they exists.

          According to the fact/​value dichotomy, existence is irrelevant to goodness. Once the dichotomy is dismantled, goodness can influence perception. Then the game changes.

          The ‘infinite’ quality is not particularly important.

          On the contrary, I think it is crucial. Whether or not you can properly model an aspect of reality or a person when you have a mere fraction of the requisite ability to understand it/​them determines whether or not you can have healthy relationships and whether you can do anything like interesting science. It is idolatry when you think you understand God a lot more than you do, and idolatry (as I described earlier) is incredibly damaging to all aspects of life.

          It would be logically possible for God’s existence to be more obvious than it is — or you would not be able to make a case for why God chooses otherwise by basing it on human perversity, or character building, or what have you.

          Logically possible, of course! Beneficial to us? Not clear at all. Only our obsession with evidence—well, some evidence, that evidence which does not threaten our preferred religion ideology—makes any such “beneficial” obvious. We moderns are deeply, deeply incoherent on the matter of “evidence”. I’m still putting together a detailed, step-by-step argument on how stuff like the fact/​value dichotomy and primary/​secondary quality distinction have poisoned our thinking and doing and feeling, and I’m making progress. For example, my recent guest blog post on Roger Olson’s blog, Reality: Code or Narrative?. The problem is that I’m crossing discipline boundary after discipline boundary and that takes a tremendous amount of work in our hyperspecialized world. We love our boxes and generally don’t care if one box contradicts with another.

          Irrelevant: that’s a source question.

          I’m sorry, but I see the presence or lack of a source as the most important matter humans could possibly address. It’s more important than “What’s the purpose of life?” or any of those questions. If there is no source, all people can do is live out their “transitory nodes of stability, more long-lived than waves or vortices” (The Human Person, 1). I doubt that there are actually no rules to psychology and the power of belief in fiction, so if there is no reality to justifiably believe, I surmise Yeats’ observation will increasingly manifest:

          The best lack all conviction, while the worst
          Are full of passionate intensity.

          Yes, I’m well aware of the incredible vagueness flitting about “transcendence”, e.g. at the SN article I was an Atheist Until I Read “The Lord of the Rings”. I am attempting to pierce that vagueness and believe I have made some significant progress. (A major breakthrough was Donald E. Polkinghorne’s Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences, which has 7000 ‘citations’.) Undisciplined emotion can become arbitrarily rigorously disciplined. But is it disciplined according to a made-up “transitory node of stability”, or is there actually something like teleological structure to reality? To even investigate that question we need the right tools, and I doubt we have them. And so I’m working on it. Slowly.

          One can value largeness, excellence, rationality, etc and strive for them without being aware of their source, or if mistaken in ‘where they came from.’

          The source must actually exist.

          I don’t think theists understand the source of these things, but that alone tells me nothing about how large, excellent, or otherwise rational they may be.

          Meh, if you cannot break out a theoretical dimension of study (e.g. theoretical physics and experimental physics), I think a good amount of rationality is nonexistent. You could say it’s quasi-tacit, but that also means it’s significantly under-developed compared to where it could be. Glory of creation is in no way maximized. Oh, and you’ll see I agreed with you about “theists“, at least for a great number of them, at least on anything other than a completely inchoate level.

          Consider this analogy.

          The analogy does not allow for further pursuit of excellence, and thus I don’t see it as relevant to anything under discussion. In other words: more than a little improvement requires increasing understanding of the source. Not necessarily complete understanding, but more understanding, and of an actual source. In case it’s not clear, I’m a scientific realist, not an anti-realist. That which is merely “empirically adequate” is not sufficient for arbitrary exploration of awesome. And I refuse to believe that we’ve hit The End of History and the Last Man. To believe that is called “giving up and settling for permanent mediocrity”.

          A source dispute can’t do that.

          I suspect you’re getting at the various arguments for the existence of God where pretty much all that is demanded at the end of the game is some symbol. The identity of the symbol ends up being 100% irrelevant. Nobody worships an unnamed, contentless symbol. The only way for God to be a meaningful source in the sense I’ve advanced is for him to have particularity, for him to not be derivable from laws of logic, for the vast majority of knowledge about him to be available only if he chooses to reveal it via language (which is the same for people, at least if they have rich inner worlds). I realize I am thus at variance with many Christians who like to talk about these things on the internet.

        • Sastra

          Again, I will try to be brief.

          You can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ — and this applies even to God, no matter how insistent someone might be to equate God with Good.

          It seems to me that you’re implicitly adding in a magical personality change whenever you deal with the topic of concluding that God exists. Belief IN God has a double meaning which can be exploited. The knowledge of a fact automatically imports a value which wasn’t there before. That way, a rational question about what is — does God exist? — is turned into a discussion about what happens when someone changes from a selfish, foolish person to one who now strives to be better, and is capable of being better.

          How incredibly convenient to one’s case for God. Meaning, it’s not credible and I refuse to credit it in the argument.

          So I’ll ask you this: if God does not exist, never has existed, and you came to the conclusion that you’ve been mistaken about source and naturalism is indeed true — would you then choose to drop all your current beliefs and concerns about politics, ethics, morals, psychology, science, and values? Would it all stop mattering to you?

        • adam
        • You can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ — and this applies even to God, no matter how insistent someone might be to equate God with Good.

          Then ‘ought’ doesn’t exist, because all that exists ‘is’. And so, what the hell is this ‘ought’? I thought we lived in reality, not fairy-land. Who’s the religious person who wants others to believe that there exist (‘is’) entities not rigorously grounded in matter–energy?

          I’m quite serious. I’ve wrangled over the fact/​value dichotomy many a time and read a decent amount about it, but I never quite realized that if all that exists ‘is’, and the dichotomy holds, then ‘ought’ does not exist. It would be epiphenomenal at best and thus logically prevented from having any causal interaction with matter.

          Now, I understand that in real life, vs. [weak] scientistic thought, ‘ought’ actually does exist (whether currently recognized entities of physics and chemistry can serve as a substrate or not is another matter). I understand that when you do this thing called “being a human”, the realm of ‘ought’ clearly exists. But I was given the gift in life of having any of my own ‘ought’ thoughts be declared 100% irrelevant to public/​social life for my first eighteen years on this terrestrial ball. My own feelings were simply 100% irrelevant. And so I’m probably better able to truly simulate the fact/​value dichotomy than most people. And I can tell you, it produces a nihilistic, empty world. This is a logical fact, not an existential claim.

          A contrasting view is that each of us has law we wish to impose on reality, and that this law is explorable—although perhaps not solely via the methods of science. God could also have law he wishes to impose. And perhaps the law of any given person is vastly underdetermined, such that you really need to merge the laws of multiple people to get anything sensible out. A key difference between such laws and the laws of nature are that they are contingent instead of necessary. Modernity has a heavy bias toward valuing only the necessary, exiling the contingent to “private life” and fashion. If we fight this bias, but avoid going to the alternative extreme of a subset of humanity getting to determine all the laws and forcibly impose them on everyone else, perhaps we could do something awesome in this not-currently-so-awesome world. But … perhaps we need to first do more tearing and ripping into each other’s ideas and shredding everything that does not perfectly map on to what we already believe.

          How incredibly convenient to one’s case for God.

          I’m not bothered by it, because it’s also necessary for recognizing any sort of “inside” to people that isn’t 100% mushy ‘subjective’ which is happily 100% irrelevant to the public world (other than fashion). Modernity is remarkably flattening to the inner world—something the perceptive have seen. Impersonal bureaucratic rationality has wrapped its coils around us and has been squeezing for some time. If you’d like to see this continue, such that a lower and lower percentage of humans have any say in how the public world goes (other than their heavily conditioned values and opinions and desires), then as you were! Otherwise, you might realize that the very building blocks which render God’s existence impossible to sense make the inner worlds of humans impossible to explore. (This can be true because Feuerbach/​Schleiermacher, but it can also be true because God wishes us to have ever-more-glorious inner lives.)

          So I’ll ask you this: if God does not exist, never has existed, and you came to the conclusion that you’ve been mistaken about source and naturalism is indeed true — would you then choose to drop all your current beliefs and concerns about politics, ethics, morals, psychology, science, and values? Would it all stop mattering to you?

          I would almost certainly become a Nietzschean, and given my analytical abilities plus the incredibly bureaucratic state of power in Modernity, I’d probably do pretty well for myself. Nietzscheans are quite interested in what gives them more power over other people. They care much more about those things than the pathetic last man, who merely desires comfort and entertainment.

        • Paul B. Lot

          But I was given the gift in life of having any of my own ‘ought’ thoughts be declared 100% irrelevant to public/​social life for my first eighteen years on this terrestrial ball. My own feelings were simply 100% irrelevant. And so I’m probably better able to truly simulate the fact/​value dichotomy than most people. And I can tell you, it produces a nihilistic, empty world. This is a logical fact, not an existential claim.

          Lol.

        • Kodie

          I know, right?

        • adam
        • Sastra

          Then ‘ought’ doesn’t exist, because all that exists ‘is’. And so, what the hell is this ‘ought’

          You can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘isn’t,’ either. “Ought” is part of a conditional: If you want X, then you ought to do Y, because doing Y will get you X.

          “If you want to grow carrots, then you ought to plant carrot seeds.” Someone could then argue that no, you can grow carrots without planting carrot seeds — but that’s a testable claim. So, to a lesser extent, is “Y is more fair than not-Y.”

          I would almost certainly become a Nietzschean, and given my analytical
          abilities plus the incredibly bureaucratic state of power in Modernity,
          I’d probably do pretty well for myself.

          Let me see if I understand you correctly. You dislike the pursuit of power, and value the pursuit of excellence. But, if you discovered that God does not exist and never has, then you’d drop the pursuit of excellence and try to gain power and control over others. Remember, nothing in the world has changed, nothing in reality has shifted, except your belief that God is at its foundation, instead of matter and energy in patterns. And yet you’d choose to respond by becoming what you now despise?

          Out of what? Spite? Pique? Some bizarre idea of consistency, doing what you “ought” to do given your less than divine origins, rather than continue to work towards what you ought to do in light of your desire to live according to your highest values?

          Working on the assumption that I’m more or less getting this right — I call shenanigans. Either you’d do nothing of the sort, and you just think you would (or should) — OR you suspect you’d keep your values but hope that saying you wouldn’t will impress God’s significance on me — or you don’t give a crap for anything you’ve been saying we need God to explain, or inspire, or what have you. You would not become a nihilist if you became an atheist: you already are one. You are an empty shell, with or without God.

          I really think you need to think this through some more. Or, perhaps, from another direction.

        • adam

          ” You dislike the pursuit of power, and value the pursuit of excellence.
          But, if you discovered that God does not exist and never has, then you’d
          drop the pursuit of excellence and try to gain power and control over
          others.”

          He tries to do this already here, by Bullshit and Gish galloping.

        • You can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘isn’t,’ either. “Ought” is part of a conditional: If you want X, then you ought to do Y, because doing Y will get you X.

          If what ‘is’ is all that exists, then if what ‘ought’ cannot be derived from what ‘is’, whatever it is that is underivable does not exist. That’s very basic logic. I suggest granting ‘ought’ existence, but then it will be a kind of ‘is’.

          You dislike the pursuit of power, and value the pursuit of excellence.

          Not all power is terrible. Indeed, power is required to pursue excellence.

          But, if you discovered that God does not exist and never has, then you’d drop the pursuit of excellence and try to gain power and control over others.

          No, it is simply that the power I have would be used according to the theory set forth by Friedrich Nietzsche. No absolute morality ⇒ nihilism is factually true. But absolute morality is a stronger condition; the weaker one which suffices here is that there is no pre-ordained possible harmony between individual wills. Some some people just get stomped on. That is already what happens now, by the way. It even happens on country-wide scales:

          Schäuble came under criticism for his actions during the “Grexit” crisis of 2015: it was suggested by Yanis Varoufakis that Schäuble had intended to force Greece out of the Euro even before the election of the left-wing Syriza government in Greece.[77] This was confirmed by former US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in early 2014; calling Schäuble’s plan “frightening,” Geithner recorded that Schäuble believed a Greek exit from the Eurozone would scare other countries in to line.[78] Schäuble also received extensive criticism toward his austerity recommendations from Twitter via the hashtag #ThisIsACoup.[79] Such criticism focused on the fact that Schäuble’s insistence on policies of austerity was contradicted both by the empirical evidence that the policies he had insisted on had shrunk the Greek economy by 25%, a degree hitherto paralleled only in wartime, but also by reports from the IMF insisting that only massive debt relief, not further austerity, could be effective.[80][81] (WP: Wolfgang Schäuble § Criticism)

          Or is that ugly evidence which goes against your ideology and can thus be dismissed because you’re high on numeracy? (Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government)

          Remember, nothing in the world has changed, nothing in reality has shifted, except your belief that God is at its foundation, instead of matter and energy in patterns.

          The shift from personal → impersonal foundation has titanic consequences. No teleological ordering to reality means that humans are the only ones who can hold together any structure that is ‘personal’. (I can suss out a definition of that if you insist. Other people can either first show they can contribute to the conversation, or I will ignore their requests.)

          And yet you’d choose to respond by becoming what you now despise?

          I don’t despise it quite like you seem to intend. But in a sense yes; human history is rife with people becoming what they despise. One way that happens is that humans pretend there are distinctions which don’t actually exist. So they think power is ok when the good guys wield it and bad when the bad guys wield it. But then they use power to kill the bad guys and find out that they’ve become just like the bad guys.

          Out of what? Spite? Pique?

          At this point I think your understanding of what I meant to communicate with my previous comment is sufficiently erroneous that I’ll let you update with this one and re-phrase if you still think you were on to something.

        • Sastra

          No, it is simply that the power I have would be used according to the
          theory set forth by Friedrich Nietzsche. No absolute morality ⇒ nihilism
          is factually true. .. The shift from personal → impersonal foundation has titanic consequences.

          I think you are making a serious logical error here. For the moment, let’s put aside all our other arguments and just focus on this one. I’ll start out with a simplified illustration of the problem:

          Larry and Steve are seated with bowls at a table which has a large, hot pot of delicious soup on it. They are about to have dinner, and, for the purposes of the hypothetical, can only eat their soup at the table.

          Steve: “This table is made out of paper.”
          Larry. “No. If the table was made out of paper, then it could not hold up a large, hot pot of soup. But it IS holding up a large hot pot of soup. Therefore, the table is not made out of paper — and we can eat.”

          Larry is making a valid argument, modus tollens. If A, then B. Not B, therefore not A.

          Now it continues:

          Steve: “But what if the table really is made out of paper, and I can convince you it is?”
          Larry: “Then I would have to remove the bowl of soup, and we would have no supper. Tables made out of paper can’t hold up large hot pots of soup.”

          Larry is in error now. The pot is already on the table. Instead of Steve’s hypothetical forcing him to revise his proposition that “paper tables can’t hold pots,” Larry not only keeps it, but insists on the need to move the pot in order to be consistent with his original conditional.

          What Larry should have said is “If a paper table is holding up a pot of soup, then a paper table can hold up a pot of soup and we eat as planned.” Not “If a paper table holds up a pot of soup, then I need to get it off the table and as a logical consequence, I can have no soup.”

          I think you are making this error. Remember, the issue we’re dealing with here is NOT about whether a paper table can or can’t hold up a pot of soup, or whether naturalism can or can’t hold up objective values. Loosely:

          “If morality has a personal foundation, then there is no real excellence and no reason for me to pursue it. But there is such a thing as real excellence, and a reason for me to pursue it. Therefore, it is not true that morality has a personal foundation. It has an impersonal one.”

          Logically valid. If A, then B. Not B, therefore not A. Ok so far

          Addition: “I agree with you that there is real excellence and B is false. But what if A is also true?”

          “If A is true and morality has a personal foundation, then B is no longer true and I would have to change my actions to reflect that.”

          You’re taking the pot off the table.

          You shouldn’t be doing that. No soup for you.

          (note: edited for clarity)

        • Fun analogy.

          Loosely:

          “If morality has a personal foundation, then there is no real excellence and no reason for me to pursue it. But there is such a thing as real excellence, and a reason for me to pursue it. Therefore, it is not true that morality has a personal foundation. It has an impersonal one.”

          I probably understand better than you what “impersonal morality” is. After all, I learned how to socialize via developing rigorous, impersonal rules. I have programmed computers for over twenty years and understand quite well the impersonal, rigorous, unforgiving realm. I understand how the impersonal crushes anything in the personal which disagrees with it. Well, crushes or relegates to the prison of the “private world”, which is more like oxygen deprivation than crushing. Same end result, tho.

          You’re taking the pot off the table.

          No, it’s more like the table is disintegrating. This is a major argument in Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue (18,000 ‘citations’); shall I try to reproduce it for you?

        • Sastra

          Fun analogy.

          Then let’s amuse ourselves by playing with it.

          I probably understand better than you what “impersonal morality” is.

          Perhaps, but not relevant, we’ve moved to a different question. We’re not dealing at the moment with the distinction between impersonal source and personal source morality, and what they entail. That’s the table being paper or not paper, and what it can hold. I’m asking a different question.

          All along this thread, you have been intent on making a persuasive case on the right values, the wrong values, the best way to live, a sad way to live, by using politics and psychology and quotes and examples. Some actions have better results than others, and excellence does not entail perfection, but high levels of good. I am translating this into the claim:

          “There is such a thing as excellence and a reason to pursue it.”

          (Do you agree with this? Yes/No.)

          Here is your original, logically valid argument, then:.

          1.) If morality has only an impersonal foundation, then there there would be no such thing as excellence or a reason to pursue it.

          2.) But there is such a thing as excellence and a reason to pursue it.

          3.) Therefore, morality cannot have an impersonal foundation.

          Here’s what’s new:.

          1.) If there is such a thing as excellence and a reason to pursue it, then it is worthwhile to pursue excellence for its own sake.

          2.) There is such a thing as excellence and a reason to pursue it.

          3.) Therefore it is worthwhile to pursue it for its own sake.

          4.) If it is worthwhile to pursue excellence for its own sake, then it is worthwhile to pursue it whether the foundations are personal or impersonal, or whether we believe the foundations are personal or impersonal.

          5 (Introduction of HYPOTHETICAL) The foundations are impersonal, and we believe the foundations are impersonal.

          6.) It is still worthwhile to pursue excellence.

          If the soup is on the table, then it’s on the table even if you mistook paper for wood, or had or have a poor opinion of the capacity of paper.

          Please do not attack the hypothetical in 5, it’s a hypothetical, not a claim.. Address the rest.

          (Edited for clarity, I originally mixed up ‘personal’ (God) and ‘impersonal'(naturalism))

        • I am translating this into the claim:

          “There is such a thing as excellence and a reason to pursue it.”

          (Do you agree with this? Yes/No.)

          That is one of the things I have claimed, yes.

          Here’s what’s new:.
          […]
          2.) There is such a thing as excellence and a reason to pursue it.

          I’ll assent to this, in the sense of a pathetic and degenerate “excellence”. I compare it to the “excellence” which existed before Francis Bacon came on the scene with his The Idols. Imagine that the scientific revolution never happened. Imagine what “excellence” would have been, in such a regime. I’ll buy that something analogous to that exists, when you deny a personal foundation.

          A concrete instance of this pathetic and degenerate “excellence” is the claim I’ve seen thrown around, that we cannot do all that much to overcome our own cognitive biases. For example, from social psychologist Jonathan Haidt:

          And when we add that work to the mountain of research on motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and the fact that nobody’s been able to teach critical thinking. […] You know, if you take a statistics class, you’ll change your thinking a little bit. But if you try to train people to look for evidence on the other side, it can’t be done. It shouldn’t be hard, but nobody can do it, and they’ve been working on this for decades now. At a certain point, you have to just say, ‘Might you just be searching for Atlantis, and Atlantis doesn’t exist?’ (The Rationalist Delusion in Moral Psychology, 16:47)

          See also Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government. Or see that 40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities.

          The person who believes only in “the evidence” could easily conclude that the above is all that we can expect in the domain of “excellence”. If one drills into the foundation of such “excellence”, one will probably find that it is an impersonal foundation. Things are what they are and we’ve got to find a way to adapt. Stoicism will, I predict, rise in popularity. And then W. B. Yeats’ observation will become more true in our age than it already is: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”

          In order to rationally believe in a better “excellence”, I claim one requires πίστις and probably, a much better understanding of what ‘rationality’ is. (Hint: not a formal system with recursively enumerable axioms—that is, not a Turing machine.)

        • Sastra

          By the way, my apologies for my previous post which you were responding to — I realize now I mixed up the terms “personal ” and “impersonal” and created confusion. I had carelessly mentality translated “personal ” as “humanism” when, of course, you introduced the term to indicate a supernatural source. I ought to have noticed that and continued it. Sorry for the sloppiness on my part. Hope that helps my argument make more sense.

        • No worries, I would have probably automatically corrected in my head. Although, given that I don’t know what you mean by ‘supernatural’, I don’t necessarily agree that “[I] introduced the term to indicate a supernatural source.”

        • Sastra

          Thanks, I’m glad.
          For the record: Supernatural: mind or products of mind (such as values) which do not come out of or reduce to mindless, purposeless, impersonal components of matter and energy.

        • If you cannot give me a convincing account of how mind can emerge from non-mind, why should I believe you that it can?

        • Lazarus

          Or, as Haught reminds us, this requires intelligence to come from a source(s) that is unintelligent.

        • MNb

          And why should that be a problem?
          Water is wet. That comes from sources (watermolecules) that aren’t wet at all – it doesn’t make any sense to say that an individual watermolecule is wet.

        • Lazarus

          It is of course a massive problem, and if you do not understand it to be one you are either not aware of the challenges or you should call the body of scientists who do regard it as a problem. And before we start parsing what “problem ” means, life from non-life and intelligence from non-intelligent sources is one of science’s current challenges, and it would be rather interesting to deny this.

          I could really not explain it better than (as an example) John F. Haught in his “Is nature enough”, a book that clearly explains some of naturalism’ problems.

        • Susan

          It is of course a massive problem.

          Understanding consciousness might be a big problem for humans. But MNb is right that the problem does not lie in “intelligence from non-intelligence” being the problem.

          Any more than “wetness” from water molecules is a problem.

          LIfe from non-life is no worse a problem than wetness from non-wetness, either.

          Telling us John F. Haught explained that naturalism has problems doesn’t contribute much.

          I’m reluctant to even address this comment as you ignored my response to your last questions.

          Yahwehjesus is no explanation at all.

          Have you read books by non-theololgians on the subject of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind?

          You raised all kinds of stuff in your last comment Lazarus and I asked you some questions and you didn’t respond.

          I thought they were good questions as you were the one to bring up the subject.

          But you haven’t answered them.

        • Lazarus

          Consciousness is one thing, explaining how intelligence arose from non-intelligent sources is another.

          As to what I have read on the philosophy of mind, my reading list is a long one. I came to Christianity from atheism, so over the years I have read everything from Hegel to Russell to mountains of Buddhist work, I have read Edward Feser and Peter Godfrey-Smith, Jaegwon Kim and Ernest Holmes. I have a book on it by David Chalmers that I haven’t opened yet. I have read Nagel on the topic. I suggested Haught because he explains the problem faced by naturalism very clearly in his book, and it does not require too much technical background knowledge to understand his points.

          There are two reasons why I “ignored” your previous post. Firstly, theists posting here (or on most atheist discussion forums) get inundated with questions, ending in multiple discussions running at the same time. I do not have the time or the patience for that process, especially as I do not believe that most people participate in those in order to truly learn from each other.
          As such I am able, and willing, to refer those who may be interested to other works, more comprehensively done than my brief comments, and I appreciate it if they do the heavy lifting themselves. I am more than prepared to return the compliment and I have learned a lot in reading such referrals. As it is I already believe that I spend far too much time haggling on the webz.

          But secondly, I also find your posts to be dismissive right out the gate. Your first post was a lot of simple “is, is not’s” and this post of yours tells me where we are going right from your expressed lack of knowledge on how the problem is viewed by those not holding your views, and of course that old conversation stopper “Yahwehjesus is no explanation at all.”. Where do we go from there, other than to indulge your need for a scrap?

          These are all fascinating questions that humanity is facing. To those of us who are prepared to read both sides of the fence it is very clear that to take theological explanations off the table is irresponsible, limiting, unscientific.

          So, my apologies if I do not give you the attention that you believe is due, but those are my reasons. There is no slight intended.

        • Susan

          Consciousness is one thing, explaining how intelligence arose from non-intelligent sources is another

          I’m not sure where your distinctions lie or why intelligence requires intelligence any more than wetness requires wetness.

          There are two reasons why I “ignored” your previous post. Firstly, theists posting here (or on most atheist discussion forums) get inundated with questions,

          This I understand to some extent, but it is often used as an excuse by theists to not follow through on the questions they raise. I have more than once declined to comment when someone is being dogpiled.

          But if you don’t want to get dogpiled, don’t allude to problems a theologian brings up in a book somewhere and fail to clarify your questions and provide solutions of your own.

          I came to Christianity from atheism

          I”m never sure what that means or why it’s relevant. On what basis do you accept the claims of christianity? That’s more useful to discussion.

          But secondly, I also find your posts to be dismissive right out the gate.

          Please give me an example.

          Here is the post.

        • Pofarmer

          Why are you reading philosophers and not scientists?

        • MNb

          Funny guy. You bring up scientists to demonstrate that intelligence coming from non-intelligent sources is a problem and try to address it by reading books not written by scientists.
          So you have read Haught and Nagel. Then undoubtedly you can tell me why a scientific problem (solved in the case of water being wet, when the universal has properties the particulars haven’t) must be answered by philosophers and can be answered on dualism.

          PS: if Feser has influenced your decision to convert I pity you.

        • Pofarmer

          PS: if Feser has influenced your decision to convert I pity you.

          Concur.

        • MNb

          Thanks for not answering my question. I appreciate it; it means you don’t have one. That’s confirmed by your next argument:
          “call the body of scientists who do regard it as a problem”.
          You omitted one small, but highly important problem. They regard it as a scientific problem, not a philosophical one. Hence those scientists do nothing to back your beloved Haught up when he tries to show that “nature is not enough”. Thanks for making clear you’re guilty of a peculiar combination of the non-sequitur called God of the Gaps and a category error (conflating research of our natural reality with research of a supposed supernatural reality). You yourself have undermined your position more effectively than I ever could. I appreciate that.

          Hey, let me help you out a bit. You religious folks are often very fond of analogies. Let met take the water analogy a bit further, especially now you totally neglect it. Physics can tell you exactly what it means to go from an individual water molecule to wet water and vice versa – how the liquid relates to the particles it consists of. It can tell you how to research it and what it adds to our understanding of water.
          You tell me what it means to go from a material brain to an immaterial soul and vice versa. Tell me how the two relate, how to research that relation and what it adds to our understanding of Homo Sapiens.
          Until then Haught/you produce bullshit, except that your approach is less than half as useful.

        • Pofarmer

          You’ve had this conversation with Geena Saffire before. ” Intelligence” is present in the most simple single celled organisms. Moving toward positive gradients and away from negative ones. The developement from there might not be completely straight forward, but it can certainly be traced. This isn’t any kind of “problem” at all, unless you get your head tangled in apologetics. Same with life from non life, life is chemistry, and there is plenty of “non-life” chemistry going on, and the Universe is a massively parallel, nearly infinitely parallel, chemistry machine.

        • Greg G.

          Are the problems conceptual issues or complexity issues? I understand how IBM’s Dr. Watson hardware system works. I understand how it runs on machine language and how a programming language is converted to machine language. I even understand the basics of some programming languages. But the complexity of the entire program is beyond me.

          I have some understanding how chemistry works between atoms and molecules. I understand how organic chemistry can be complex. I have a basic understanding of how bio-feedback systems work.

          We know that the eye produces after images because the nerves can become temporarily depleted of neurotransmitters. Some think the brain exploits that process in brain cells to make short-term memory. They have an understanding of how long-term memory is produced by the building of dendrites to connect with other neurons. They have drugs that can prevent the protein production that forms the dendrites and prevents memories from being formed.

          The brain is an analog computer that forms its own hardware. Of course it’s complex and difficult to work out.

          But doctors are now analyzing the DNA of cancer to decide the best treatment for that individual cancer and how to turn it off. It’s not magic.

          Humans had the demon-theory of disease for too many centuries. It is always to soon to jump to the “magic” assumption.

        • Joe

          The only “problem” is caused by presumptions that the supernatural had to play a part.

        • «Then a miracle happens.»
                              ⋮
          “There are no miracles.”

        • Susan

          “There are no miracles.”

          Who are you quoting?

          What is a miracle? By what standards do you evaluate one?

          When someone says, “There is a miracle.” I simply want to know what their definition is and how they support it.

          Until they do that, (give me an example), I don’t accept their claims.

          Try to be honest for once, Luke. Our apparently imaginary souls (though you know better) are on the line.

        • Pofarmer

          You are making the mistake here of giving apologists equal footing with scientists. Haught is trying to protect a worldview, not understand the problem.

        • Sample1

          John Haught’s book, God and the New Atheism was the last Christian book I read before faith became absurd to me.

          Have you read it?

          Mike, faith-free

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought the name John Haught was familiar. Jerry Coyne got into it with him back in 2011.

          https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/my-debate-with-john-haught-in-kentucky/

          https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/theologian-john-haught-refuses-to-release-video-of-our-debate/

          ETA: Jerry Coyne said, “I prepared pretty thoroughly, reading half a dozen of Haught’s books (you need read only one: they’re all the same), and watching all his previous debates on YouTube. (Note that he’s sanctioned release of those videos.)”

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          And the ultimate source is a perfect, intelligent, immaterial mind, outside space/time, that is omniscient,omnipotent, and omnibeneficient among it’s attributes, and who loves us, answers prayers, and has only the best intentions for us in his master plan…well some of us…but is mysterious and beyond the comprehension of mortal beings as ignorant as us humans?

          Makes sense….NOT!

        • MNb

          If you cannot give me a convincing account of how a supposed supernatural soul interacts with a non-soul like the human body, of how we can research that supposed supernatural soul and of what it adds to our understanding of Homo Sapiens, why should I accept that supernational soul?
          You produce nothing but another variation on the God of the Gaps.

        • Sastra

          I was stipulating a definition, not making a case. Under naturalism, everything mental comes from something non-mental; in supernaturalism, at least one thing does not.

        • Be that as it may, I see you as integrating what seems awfully like a miracle into a framework you claim is ‘natural’.

        • Husky Fan in Mass

          Wait ~ were they eating dinner or supper?

        • Sastra

          I’m from the city, bumpkin — those are the same thing.

        • eric

          On the contrary, I think it is crucial. Whether or not you can properly model an aspect of reality or a person when you have a mere fraction of the requisite ability to understand it/​them determines whether or not you can have healthy relationships and whether you can do anything like interesting science

          AFAIK your statement that us finite beings could not propely model an infinite being is just a bald assertion with no evidence behind it. And one which appears to be blatantly wrong, because we model infinite things “properly” all the time. That’s in fact one of the reasons Newton invented calculus; to model infinite sequeneces and series accurately.

          In any event, I think it’s gross exceptionalism to apply this impossblility to the argument from hiddenness but not apply it to any other part of theology. Say, the Bible. The sayings and stories about God in the bible are a model of God too. If it’s impossible to do, then you’re saying we should have zero confidence in the Bible. OTOH if it’s possible to model God, then hiddenness cannot be defended using your argument.

        • AFAIK your statement that us finite beings could not propely model an infinite being is just a bald assertion with no evidence behind it.

          Not my claim. You have to add restrictions to achieve the “could not properly model an infinite being”. I lay out an example in my answer to the Phil.SE question Could there ever be evidence for an infinite being?.

          And one which appears to be blatantly wrong, because we model infinite things “properly” all the time. That’s in fact one of the reasons Newton invented calculus; to model infinite sequeneces and series accurately.

          These infinities are degenerate just like 1 = 0.999…

          Say, the Bible. The sayings and stories about God in the bible are a model of God too.

          In science, the degrees of freedom in your model is supposed to be significantly less than the number of data points you have. So for example, given Hubble’s original data, it was quite acceptable to draw a straight line. That’s 2 degrees of freedom (slope and y-intercept), while there are ≈30 data points. What’s not acceptable is for your model to be more complex than the available empirical evidence.

          So, if you ask me for “evidence of God”, then I will be able to collect at maximum N data points, where N is finite. That means that the allowable scientific model will also be finite. If you use the ontological form of Ockham’s razor, then this will never warrant belief in an infinitely complex God (say, non-representable by any Turing machine). Never, ever, ever.

          What the OT repeatedly says is that God is actually more complex than what’s been said so far; one word used is “unfathomable”. If you drop that fathoming line, it’ll never hit bottom. There is always more to know. But if one insists on the ontological form of Ockham’z razor, then unless we somehow manage to collective infinite quantities of data, God necessarily does not exist. Not the God I understand to exist.

          Now, there’s something that people who aren’t dicks learn how to do by the time they are adults. They can interact with someone, get a bit of an idea about them, but be fully willing to admit that said person is remarkably more complex than the first impression indicated. There are all sorts of ways to scale that complexity, all sorts of ways to formulate successively better approximations. This is often called “learning”.

          What I’m suggesting is that too many requests for “evidence of God” preclude the kind of non-dick behavior I describe in the above paragraph; too many presuppose an ontological form of Ockham’s razor (which is not actually known to be sound). And so, any time alleged evidence of God’s behavior is presented, there is always a simpler, [probably] reductionistic answer on tap. The model is mistaken for reality, but humans love doing that. Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

        • Susan

          So, if you ask me for “evidence of God”, then I will be able to collect at maximum N data points, where N is finite. That means that the allowable scientific model will also be finite. If you use the ontological form of Ockham’s razor, then this will never warrant belief in an infinitely complex God (say, non-representable by any Turing machine). Never, ever, ever

          This is a problem for the position of one who claims an infinite being, not for the one who doesn’t accept that claim.

          And so, any time alleged evidence of God’s behavior is presented, there is always a simpler, [probably] reductionistic answer on tap.

          Again, a problem for your claim. Not to mention, that you have provided NO evidence for ANY being, let alone an infinite one.

          How many comments now, Luke? All you have are excuses for not doing so.

          The model is mistaken for reality, but humans love doing that.

          You have not even presented a model that can be mistaken for reality, let alone supported the idea that that there IS a model (one of Yahwehjesus) that accurately represents reality. .

          But then, humans love doing that.

        • LB: So, if you ask me for “evidence of God”, then I will be able to collect at maximum N data points, where N is finite. That means that the allowable scientific model will also be finite. If you use the ontological form of Ockham’s razor, then this will never warrant belief in an infinitely complex God (say, non-representable by any Turing machine). Never, ever, ever.

          S: This is a problem for the position of one who claims an infinite being, not for the one who doesn’t accept that claim.

          It’s only a problem if I wish to convince someone who has the ontological form of Ockham’s razor built into her intellectual foundation. But I do not wish to do this. For such people, I have a different strategy which involves challenging the ontological OR, which must be done first, before getting anywhere near “evidence of God”.

          LB: And so, any time alleged evidence of God’s behavior is presented, there is always a simpler, [probably] reductionistic answer on tap.

          S: Again, a problem for your claim. Not to mention, that you have provided NO evidence for ANY being, let alone an infinite one.

          Your “NO evidence for ANY being” could be construed as you denying that “beings” exist. Curious. Anyhow, these things are only problems from your perspective, not mine. If you wish to be locked into your particular finitude, all I can probably do is find out how to do things that your particular finitude precludes, and tempt you to want to be able to do them. Even then, what Planck said is true: [paraphrased] “Science advances one funeral at a time.”

          How many comments now, Luke? All you have are excuses for not doing so.

          You somehow seem to think I care about what you label “excuses”. Or maybe you don’t and this is theatrical, for lurkers or your buddies. Anyhow, I’m quite happy with the particular progress I’m making, especially when contrasted with what I see to be an utter lack of progress by atheists and skeptics along dimensions I consider important. (For theoretical support, see Thagard’s #1 and #2.) If you’d like to try to offer me critiques internal to my way of thinking (for help, see Charles Taylor’s Explanation and Practical Reason), you’re welcome to. Otherwise, your words are for your benefit, not mine.

          You have not even presented a model that can be mistaken for reality, let alone supported the idea that that there IS a model (one of Yahwehjesus) that accurately represents reality.

          You are correct, at this point in my life I have only fragments of a model. Given my age and the complexity of reality, this does not disturb me in the slightest. If it disturbs you, then I suggest using Disqus’ “Block User” feature. Or, you could try to get Bob to ban me.

        • Susan

          It’s only a problem if I wish to convince someone who has the ontological form of Ockham’s razor built into her intellectual foundation.

          No. It is a problem if you fail to provide a basis on which you claim an “infinite being” exists. So far, you have failed to provide one.

          For such people, I have a different strategy which involves challenging the ontological OR, which must be done first, before getting anywhere near “evidence of God”.

          Classic creationist strategy. You still have no evidence Luke Breuer. nor even a model. Just an impermeable bubble of Breuerisms.

          I did not invoke William of Ockham. You did. Your challenges are diversions as you’ve provided no justification for accepting your claims. No model. No evidence to support that model. Even

          Given my age and the complexity of reality, this does not disturb me in the slightest.

          I am well aware that it doesn’t. Because you are a creationist at heart, trained in the art of creationist bullshit. Double standards are the game.

          If it disturbs you, then I suggest using Disqus’ “Block User” feature. Or, you could try to get Bob to ban me.

          Why would I do that? I am content to call you out on your blue-linked stream of Breuer bullshit and point out the fact that in the huge quantity of comments you post, there is no evidence of you supporting your position.

          Sorry, Luke. You don’t get to be a martyr today, much as you love to see yourself as one.

        • Pofarmer

          Luke seems to not be aware that his whole”people are generally deluded ” argument cuts both ways.

        • Kodie

          It’s just a lot of rationalization on your part.

    • Otto

      >>Meh, it should be obvious that we don’t want God around.

      There are a whole lot of people that say otherwise in this country to which you apparently say ‘they are doing it incorrectly’…and then you go on about self-righteousness…a bit ironic.

      • adam

        “..and then you go on about self-righteousness…a bit ironic.”

        Nah, smug dishonesty.

      • Contra your guess of “they are doing it incorrectly”, I would ask them to explain to me their take on the following:

        But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20)

        Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)

        “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:20–23)

        Do they believe Jesus actually wanted that unity? If so, do they believe that God has given us the knowledge, wisdom, and power to obtain that unity? Or is he holding back somehow?

        • Greg G.

          Do they believe Jesus actually wanted that unity?

          Christians do not have that unity. The world is not impressed because there is a great lack of unity. Did Jesus not know how to pray properly? Do you take prayer advice from someone who doesn’t know how to pray properly? Does God listen to your prayers more than to Jesus’ prayer?

        • adam
        • Maybe that unification process takes longer than you thought it would. Maybe it’s happening fractally. Maybe there are set-backs which are not permanent. And in the meantime, those who don’t see any forward progress happening at all would seem to have legit evidence-based reasons to think that God did not send Jesus (Jn 17:20–23), and that people who call themselves Christians are not disciples of Jesus (Jn 13:34–35).

          I’d love to hear what Christians say when you present them with those two passages. My own response is that either Christianity is false or I am too sinful and/or too mediocre. Jeremiah 12. So far, my response is to demand ever-higher standards of goodness and excellence from myself, with the goal of unity-in-diversity. Perhaps it will be for naught and mine will be a wasted life. It is mine to waste.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rjmV-Rh130

        • Greg G.

          The old “the prayer hasn’t been answered YET” gambit. The lack of unity from the very beginning to the killing of one another to root out those who disagree will always show that the prayer was not answered. There are over 45,000 denominations and growing because they can’t agree with any of the other 45,000.

          The John 13 quote won’t work. If Buddhists love one another but that doesn’t prove they are Christians.

          “Unity in diverstiy” isn’t going to impress the world. That requires unity in unity.

          Christianity continues to become less impressive. The greatest unity is that they all have to make excuses for the lack of action of an omnipotence.

        • The old “the prayer hasn’t been answered YET” gambit.

          What a not-clever way of utterly ignoring “Maybe it’s happening fractally.”

          The lack of unity from the very beginning

          From the very beginning?

          to the killing of one another

          This is where Ephraim Radner locates the death of the ἐκκλησία.

          There are over 45,000 denominations and growing because they can’t agree with any of the other 45,000.

          This is almost certainly false (you forget geography). Furthermore, the number 45,000 almost certainly exaggerates the amount of diversity. If you want to be a person of the truth, I suggest finding a better way to illustrate the diversity which exists. IMO, the problem is not diversity, but the lack of unity-in-diversity. Mere uniformity is as disgusting as fragmented diversity, if not worse (because it becomes invisible as a problem).

          The John 13 quote won’t work. If Buddhists love one another but that doesn’t prove they are Christians.

          I wasn’t suggesting you apply it that way; I was suggesting you argue from “If P, then Q.” to “Not Q, therefore not P.” Buddhists loving each other is irrelevant to the latter. If you need help on understanding the value of offering internal critiques, see Charles Taylor’s Explanation and Practical Reason.

          “Unity in diverstiy” isn’t going to impress the world. That requires unity in unity.

          I disagree on both points.

          Christianity continues to become less impressive.

          I agree on that point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          From the very beginning?

          Yip…. Didn’t ya know that?

        • [citation needed]

        • Ignorant Amos

          Christianity did not start out as a unified movement. We have to remember that the disciples were probably dispersed at a very early time…. That is, at a time where there was no fixed formulation what the set of Christian beliefs should be. What Christian rituals should be. What they should think about Jesus or what they should tell about Jesus. The sources that we have tell us that Christianity started as a very diverse movement, as the founding of churches… moved into very different cultural and language contexts….

          Helmut Koester:
          John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History Harvard Divinity School

          The historical reality is probably much more complex. The Christian movement probably began not from a single center but from many different centers where different groups of disciples of Jesus gathered and tried to make sense of what they had experienced with him and what had happened to him at the end of his public ministry. Each of those groups probably had a very different take on what the significance of Jesus was. Some of them understanding his death and the resurrection experience, if they focused on it, in terms of exaltation. Others understanding it in terms of a resuscitation of the corpse of Jesus, others not worrying very much at all about the resurrection of Jesus, but concentrating on his teaching and trying to propagate that. We can see, even in the canonical text, in the Book of Acts, that there were different groups that were in competition with one another. Those who insisted more strongly on observance of Jewish laws in the Torah competed with those who were more open to admission of gentiles without imposing the burden of the Torah on them. There were others who we meet again in the Book of Acts, who apparently stood in continuity with the activity of John the Baptist and did not know the baptism that the Pauline Christians, at least, knew. So there was much more diversity in the early stages of the Christian movement than the Book of Acts suggest….

          Harold W. Attridge:
          The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament Yale Divinity School

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/diversity.html

        • Yeah, let’s see some peer-reviewed papers so I can trace to primary sources. There’s a lot of “probably” going on, and it’s not clear that there’s agreement on the definition of “unified”. Christianity always involved unity-amidst-diversity; that’s a huge aspect of breaking down that “dividing wall of hostility”. Furthermore, surely some groups can be excluded from the ‘Christian’ label without running into No True Scotsman difficulties—if not, we’re going to have to talk about natural kinds and linear combinations of disparate causal powers.

        • Joe

          Those goalposts were moved rather rapidly.

        • Sorry, I didn’t know that upping the rigor level constitutes the fallacy of goalpost-moving. In all my future discussions with you, @disqus_Pk89sYgCu1:disqus, I will try to keep that in mind.

        • Joe

          Upping the rigour level after you had been given what you asked for is the very definition of moving the goalposts.

        • What is this, a stupid game whereby if you didn’t carefully establish exactly the level of desired rigor, you never get to ask for more later and have to accept the point as established? That’s nonsense. You appear to care too much about winning and losing and not enough about learning and rigor.

        • Otto

          It is your stupid game where you change definitions and change what you ask for, we see it all the time from you.

        • Otto

          OK….yep I have nothing to go on like when you charged that the word ‘facilitate’ requires intent, and even after it was shown that facilitate does not require intent by definition or otherwise you argued that most common usage and common people would state otherwise (even though you had no citation, no evidence and no definition that backed this up). Definitions matter if you say they matter. Citations matter unless they do not fit your argument, then peer-reviewed papers are the only thing that count here in an informal discussion. You want people to follow you down your rabbit hole and then because it is your rabbit hole you get to set the bar in any arbitrary way you see fit. Heads you win tails we lose.

        • MNb

          “You want people to follow you down your rabbit hole …..”
          Good to see you have learned the one thing we can learn from Lukieboy. Trust me, your virtual life will improve after Lukieboy has blocked you. I think Adam will confirm.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Try saying Luke’s a right peach and see where it gets ya.

        • OK….yep I have nothing to go on like when you charged that the word ‘facilitate’ requires intent, and even after it was shown that facilitate does not require intent by definition or otherwise you argued that most common usage and common people would state otherwise (even though you had no citation, no evidence and no definition that backed this up).

          I was quite willing to gather data on this, but nobody seemed up to actually hashing out enough procedures to do a quasi-proper experiment (I would have a clipboard and ask pedestrians in SF). Until such data were collected, I found it curious that CE was necessarily correct and where I disagreed, I was necessarily wrong. The brittleness with which some of you depend on dictionary definitions is just quaint. Never in my life have I had even a reasonably intelligent person IRL cling to dictionary definitions like you are right now. Instead, they realize that in some contexts, which dictionaries are not detailed enough to capture, the usage of words will either deviate somewhat from the dictionary or select a strict subset of the available definitions.

          Definitions matter if you say they matter.

          Shall we contact a philologist and see if I’m using natural language properly? Surely this matter can be adjudicated? I realize that my own judgment has zero value among people like you, that all I can do is deploy logic and evidence. On the other hand, folks like you value your own judgment calls extremely highly. The asymmetry can be fun to explore, although it can also be quite tedious. Anyhow, while my judgment is irrelevant, perhaps there are experts who understand these issues better than you, whom you might extend tentative respect and take more seriously than what I say? Or are you basically God, here?

          Citations matter unless they do not fit your argument, then peer-reviewed papers are the only thing that count here in an informal discussion.

          If I cited a creationist website with content written by someone with a PhD, you’d not count that as a fulfillment of [citation needed]. You’re deploying flagrant double standards and in this case, I will not discuss under such terms.

          You want people to follow you down your rabbit hole and then because it is your rabbit hole you get to set the bar in any arbitrary way you see fit.

          I do get to set the rules under which I will participate in conversations. You also have this power. If you do not choose to exercise it, that is your loss. Now, I do try to make ‘trades’, whereby I will explore the other person’s rabbit holes approximately as much as they will explore mine. Curiously though, their rabbit holes are often portrayed as what I ought to explore if I want to be seen as having moral and/or intellectual integrity. I call that “cheating”.

          Heads you win tails we lose.

          It’s just hilarious that you are on the side with the most social power, and yet you complain about my having so much power. Dude, this is the internet and y’all can always put pressure on good old Bob to ban me. I’m sure you can pull a Stargate SG-1 Politics, gather up all the egregious things I’ve done, and make a case what while Bob lets a thousand flowers bloom, he shouldn’t let a thousand and one flowers bloom. I mean, if I’m such a horrible specimen of humanity, it would be a gain, not a loss. There could once again be peace in the land.

          P.S. What you say here is actually false, but you phrased it precisely so that you can produce virtually no evidence and I would have to do a lot of work to falsify it. After all, you’ve given absolutely no indication as to what would falsify it. Vague aspersions FTW!!11

        • Ignorant Amos

          The brittleness with which some of you depend on dictionary definitions is just quaint. Never in my life have I had even a reasonably intelligent person IRL cling to dictionary definitions like you are right now. Instead, they realize that in some contexts, which dictionaries are not detailed enough to capture, the usage of words will either deviate somewhat from the dictionary or select a strict subset of the available definitions.

          Spooooiiiing!!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Look, look, Luke…citations as requested….but maybe not precise enough?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/03/god-hidden-2-2/#comment-3196186653

        • Paul B. Lot

          Dude, this is the internet and y’all can always put pressure on good old Bob to ban me. I’m sure you can pull a Stargate SG-1 Politics, gather up all the egregious things I’ve done, and make a case what while Bob lets a thousand flowers bloom, he shouldn’t let a thousand and one flowers bloom. I mean, if I’m such a horrible specimen of humanity, it would be a gain, not a loss. There could once again be peace in the land.

          It’s fascinating to me how often your mind wanders to these sorts of scenarios. Maybe you’re so on-guard against this sort of totalitarian behavior because you consciously or subconsciously know that you harbor a predilection for it yourself?

          In any case, I like Hitch’s take on free/offensive speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14nLz1Ku9tc

          You are, indeed, are horrible specimen of humanity, and yet it seems to me that we gain by being able to expose ourselves to, and learn from, your offenses in this, a controlled manner – much like scientists in a lab studying pathogens.

        • Otto

          >>”I was quite willing to gather data on this, but nobody seemed up to actually hashing out enough procedures to do a quasi-proper experiment”

          The only reason you wanted to go to that level (a full blown ‘experiment’ which would be ridiculous on a comment board) is because it had been already shown to you that you were wrong. Obviously you can’t fold your hand, you have to keep doubling down.

          >>”The brittleness with which some of you depend on dictionary definitions is just quaint.”

          And yet I saw you refer to a dictionary definition in a comment here on this blog post…’do as I say and not as I do’ …eh Luke?

          John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History Harvard Divinity School

          Hardly a creationist website.

          While one persons opinion is just that (even a Harvard professor) it literally took me 2 minutes to find other equally educated people that agreed that Christianity was not a cohesive concept from its inception. While you may not agree with that you have to know it is not a fringe idea and not worthy of placing it in the ‘creationist’ camp as if it is.

          So instead of admitting that there are plenty of learned individuals within the mainstream Christian History profession that back up what Amos said and then giving your opinion why they are wrong, you instead ask for a citation (which he provided) and then demand a peer reviewed paper. I am not nearly as well read as you are and even I have found that the general consensus of the mainstream scholars agree that Christianity was fractured from the beginning.

          I am not looking to have you banned. Bob does not ban people easily and I appreciate that. I would just like to see you dialog genuinely, which I have seen you do at times.

        • The only reason you wanted to go to that level

          Nobody should trust your analysis of what motivates me, unless you’re quoting me verbatim in context.

          And yet I saw you refer to a dictionary definition in a comment here on this blog post…’do as I say and not as I do’ …eh Luke?

          Incorrect.

          Hardly a creationist website.

          Irrelevant.

          While one persons opinion is just that (even a Harvard professor) it literally took me 2 minutes to find other equally educated people that agreed that Christianity was not a cohesive concept from its inception.

          Bolly for you. That you are making a big deal of me wanting to consult primary sources says everything.

          So instead of admitting that there are plenty of learned individuals within the mainstream Christian History profession that back up what Amos said

          Never denied this.

          and then giving your opinion why they are wrong

          I need to be able to consult primary sources to do the best job I can at this. But you wish to disallow this. For some reason.

          I would just like to see you dialog genuinely, which I have seen you do at times.

          This is bullshit, because if I claim that someone else isn’t dialogging genuinely, my judgment call would be dismissed faster than you can say “deny evolution”. Well, if my judgment is worthless on such matters, so is yours.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because YOU would NEVER make an assertion based on a SINGLE data point….would ya Luke?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” ← same applies for single data points

          Does it?

          Assertion:This Universe harbors planetary life.
          Single Datum: Sol 3

          If your heuristic were valid, if it were the case that assertions based on “single data points” were dismissable in a logically rigorous and defensible way because they relied on a single datum, then we could dismiss the assertion that this Universe harbors planetary life.

          This Universe does, however, harbor planetary life – therefore the heuristic you used seems invalid.

        • Joe

          The only one playing games is you. As for rigour, you care not for that when it comes to proof of God’s existence.

        • No, what you want is the opposite of rigor in my proving God’s existence. You want some magic demonstrated to you. What you don’t want is stuff like my answer to the Phil.SE question Could there ever be evidence for an infinite being?.

        • Joe

          Now you’re changing the subject. You only value peer review when it can help you win an argument.

        • Joe

          i.e. God.

        • MNb

          This stupid game is called The Lukieboy Show.

        • Paul B. Lot

          What is this, a stupid game whereby if you didn’t carefully establish exactly the level of desired rigor, you never get to ask for more later and have to accept the point as established? That’s nonsense.

          Tiniest Violin Playing Plaintively Pianissimo

          @Ignorant_Amos:disqus said a thing.
          You requested to see support for the thing by saying “citation needed”.
          Ignorant provided a citation.
          You failed to acknowledge that your request was met (or that a good faith attempt to do so was made), and immediately placed another request.

          The behavior of yous displayed part of the category of anti-social/intellectual/dialectic moves called “moving the goalposts”.

          You claim incessantly that you need explicit help to know when/how not to do the bad thing. This explicit help is being given to you right now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, let’s see some peer-reviewed papers so I can trace to primary sources.

          Oh, ffs….because you always do that don’t ya, when you cite experts I mean…never mind….

          http://www.westarinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Forum-21.pdf#page=121

          http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/the-origin-of-christianity/

          https://philpapers.org/rec/DEHATN

          http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/lost-christianities-christian-scriptures-and-the-battles-over-authentication.html

          There’s a lot of “probably” going on, and it’s not clear that there’s agreement on the definition of “unified”.

          That’s the problem with early Christianity. Probably is the best we’ve got. And what we base the probably we’ve got on is very, very, poor indeed. There was a lot of book burning and desecration of early texts for nefarious reasons going on.

          In the Pauline corpus we find conflicting ideas, but the question must be at what point did a Jewish sect become Christianity? The Acts, in as much as any of it can be believed, talks about conflict and diversity in the earliest times.

          Christianity always involved unity-amidst-diversity; that’s a huge aspect of breaking down that “dividing wall of hostility”.

          Citation please?

          Furthermore, surely some groups can be excluded from the ‘Christian’ label without running into No True Scotsman difficulties—if not, we’re going to have to talk about natural kinds and linear combinations of disparate causal powers.

          Who gets to decide? On what basis do you set the datum or cut-off point? What is the definition of a true Christian? Are you in,or out of that catchment criteria?

        • Otto

          Throwing out Bible verses to support your position is the same as letting them know you don’t think they are doing it correctly.

          What happens when their interpretation of said verses is not the same as yours (as is going to be the case)?

        • Throwing out Bible verses to support your position is the same as letting them know you don’t think they are doing it correctly.

          Thinking that your way is better is not a sufficient condition for self-righteousness. Being closed to others providing better ways is self-righteousness.

          What happens when their interpretation of said verses is not the same as yours (as is going to be the case)?

          The same thing that happens when there are multiple competing research paradigms. (See for example the the table of contents of Luciano L’Abate’s 2011 Paradigms in Theory Construction for a number of [Kuhnian] research paradigms on offer to psychologists.) The philosophy of science and history of the philosophy of science is quite helpful, here.

        • Otto

          >>”Thinking that your way is better is not a sufficient condition for self-righteousness.”

          It is when the subject matter is subjective and you are implying that your ‘better’ should apply to everyone else.

        • It is when the subject matter is subjective and you are implying that your ‘better’ should apply to everyone else.

          I do not intend to imply that. Perhaps you see it that way because in the face of the fact/​value dichotomy, statement of facts and opinions is often seen as coercion and an attempt to stamp yourself onto others. We literally have no way to ontologically distinguish between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations (AV, 23), and so it all has to be lawless, ever-shifting social protocols. Pah.

          I open my way of thinking to arbitrarily deep investigation and I take others’ ways of thinking as seriously as I can. If you want to label that as “self-righteousness” you are welcome to, but I see that as a bastardization of the term. Perhaps you wish it to be bastardized, so it cannot possibly apply to you in a rational and coherent manner?

        • Otto

          >>”I open my way of thinking to arbitrarily deep investigation and I take others’ ways of thinking as seriously as I can.”

          OK…sure you do. I see that all the time.

        • Ah yes, subtly reference the fact that I don’t always let anything be questioned under “have you beaten your wife lately” conditions, or under “let’s make the theist spread out so thinly than he can defend nothing well” conditions. In doing so, be careful not to cite precisely selected textual evidence. Just cast general aspersions. That’s the way to rationality, that’s the way to a better world!

        • Otto

          Yeah….that’s not what I did.

        • It sure was easily inferrable. You know, plausible deniability and all.

        • Otto

          I am sure it was Luke. You are right and anyone that disagrees with you here is wrong. I am sorry I would ever question that.

        • You are right and anyone that disagrees with you here is wrong.

          Do you mean like how I’m not allowed to question what you said and investigate it:

          LB: I open my way of thinking to arbitrarily deep investigation and I take others’ ways of thinking as seriously as I can.

          O: OK…sure you do. I see that all the time.

          ? Oh wait, that’s you being right and me being wrong with no court of rational and evidential appeal. Sorry, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around? After all, if you are surely right where you disagree with me and yet you say that I am surely right where you disagree with me … ERROR ERROR ERROR. 😀

        • Otto

          Ooops, I screwed up again. You are right.

        • MNb

          Yeah – and everything you easily infer is plausible, while everything other folks infer is not. Welcome to the Lukieboy Show!

    • MNb

      Speak for yourself. What you want and don’t want isn’t automatically what I want and don’t want. That you wallow in selfrighteousness doesn’t mean that others do. Your “it should be obvious” just demonstrates the egotism of christianity.

    • Kevin K

      Nice “bait and switch” try. Bigly fail … but nice try.

      The current condition of human civilization — fragile as it is — has precisely and absolutely nothing to do with the Christian concept of humans being “fallen” or separated from Yahweh. “Salvation” can only come from the actions of mortals, and is not granted from on high.

      • I’m not sure how you think that’s related to my comment.

        I noted that our best and brightest tend not to want to listen to the people they claim to most highly respect (scientists qua scientists) when what they hear is disagreeable. Under such conditions, why on earth would we be willing to listen to what God might have to say to us, which will surely be much more challenging than “folk democracy is your opium-of-the-masses religion”? We militantly don’t want to hear what God has to say and then we wonder why he seems hidden?

        Finally, I’m not interested in any ‘salvation’ you think you have to offer, regardless of its mortal flavor.

        • Kevin K

          And again, a “bait and switch”.

          One listens to the scientists because they’re telling us things they’ve learned from their observations of the universe, which can be repeated and confirmed by others. Observation-report-confirmation. Rinse and repeat. Thousands and thousands of PhDs in the sciences are given out each year for repeating experiments to make sure the first guy didn’t fuck up. And guess what? Sometimes, the first guy did fuck up. And then the process starts again, this time a little more clearly.

          “God” does not exist. People who claim to speak on behalf of the gods disagree with one another over bazillion things. And there is no way to adjudicate who is right and who isn’t. Because they’re arguing over which fictional character is the strongest. It’s like Batman versus Superman. The “winner” is whomever the fiction writer decides is the winner.

          I used “salvation” in the ironic sense — because you think there’s something called “salvation”. There isn’t. There are only humans trying to perpetuate the species. With no guarantees that we’re going to get it right. But the only answers we’ve come across that are even close to being correct are the ones that have come through scientific observations and confirmation.

        • One listens to the scientists

          This is often patently false, as my excerpt of Electoral Democracy makes quite clear. Or the results of Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government, which I also cited.

          because they’re telling us things they’ve learned from their observations of the universe, which can be repeated and confirmed by others.

          Nope, the evidence indicates that we believe what scientists tell us because it gives us pleasure and doesn’t threaten our identities/​ideologies. When it is too annoying or threatening, we dismiss what scientists tell us. The smarter we are, the more easily we dismiss them. But, given that I’m threatening your ideology at this very moment, I expect you to dismiss what I’ve said. Even though you don’t actually seem very smart, compared to other CE regulars with whom I regularly interact.

          Thousands and thousands of PhDs in the sciences are given out each year for repeating experiments to make sure the first guy didn’t fuck up.

          Being married to a postdoc who got her BS from Stanford, PhD from Caltech, and is now postdoccing at UCSF, I probably know more about this than you do. After all, I help her with her research. You just report on research. And I’ve seen a tremendous amount of reporting on research that is terrible. This comic understates the terrible. Your own behavior doesn’t indicate to me that you stand out; for example, you somehow thought that Oprah is representative of Christian apologists. (You forgot or willfully ignored that the context was “positions held by Christian apologists”, and so offered a link of what … Oprah Winfrey thinks.)

          “God” does not exist.

          I am quite confident that whatever or whomever you mean by “God” does not exist.

          I used “salvation” in the ironic sense — because you think there’s something called “salvation”.

          What is it you mean by “salvation”? Let’s see if I even have beliefs on it. Again, I have reason to discount (but not reduce to zero) your ability to properly report on the beliefs and understandings of others.

          But the only answers we’ve come across that are even close to being correct are the ones that have come through scientific observations and confirmation.

          Yep, because “scientific observations and confirmation” are going to help us with the following:

               • The Charitable–Industrial Complex
               • We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People — and Still Can’t End Hunger

          😀

  • As you note with Moses, God in the Bible is not hidden at all. One argument for hiddenness is that otherwise it would constrain people’s choice to believe or not. This doesn’t appear to be a problem then. Sure, they may believe that God exists, but many disobeyed. When the Bible itself contradicts this, I think we can put it to rest now.

    Pascal claimed that by going through the motions someone can come to believe. So fake it till you make it, I guess. This may be true for some, but all?

  • Anthrotheist

    As other have mentioned below, the “gold digger” analogy is horribly flawed. To my understanding, the analogy would actually go more like this:

    “You’re a single woman who has gotten to know a group of friendly folks. The one thing they seem to have in common is that they really, really like this guy Bruce. They spend hours sitting together talking about how great Bruce is, how rich and handsome and loving. None of his purported greatness or wealth is ever under-stated. Before you can meet Bruce, however, they require that you commit-to and marry him, sight-unseen, with the promise that this is the only way you will meet Bruce sometime in the future and benefit from his greatness, love, and wealth.”

    In fact, the reality is that Christians are the gold diggers. They say they just love to love God, but as soon as you say you don’t believe in God they point out how you won’t get the shiny mansion in the sky if you keep talking that way.

    • Michael Neville

      And we’re back to Kissing Hank’s Ass.

      • Anthrotheist

        That was a good chuckle. 🙂 If only Godites realized how ridiculous their conversations become, and how quickly. Thank you for that, I can always use a good laugh in my day.

      • Ficino

        Seen it before but laughing again.

  • kraut2

    Simply do not understand why it should be of interest to anyone to explore some being reported about in a book over 2000 years ago who then stopped suddenly communicating unambiguously in clear and globally understandable language?

    An entity that spoke to some minor middle eastern tribe who as part of this communication included a false (fake) history to justify its occupation of the land they inhabited.
    An entity that only managed that communicate in an obscure language spoken by a few hundred thousand (if that). Who originally specified him being their tribal god but then for reasons of expanding self importance of said tribe was labeled the “creator of everything” competing with a few thousand other contenders.

    And stayed that way till an apostate with little evidence created a new religion out of the old one, with a newly invented theology where said god suddenly was not longer one but three in one and one needed to atone for some mistake by one of the three being one..its complicated….and completely idiotic

    The only reason why this humanly constructed entity stays hidden is to make possible an inordinate number of claims regarding his attributes that nobody can question as to their validity because…he stays hidden and doesn’t answer.

    • Isn’t it just disgusting that the creator of reality might value the particular as well as the universal? Surely only universal knowledge really matters.

      • MNb

        The problem is that that creator doesn’t value all the other particulars. See, I don’t raise the bar as high as many other atheists. Show me a lost tribe (ie not having had contact with western civilization for at least 2000 years) with a salvation story that has the same core elements as christianity (Son of God, preaching, the torturous death – but not a crucifixion as that was a Roman hobby – and the Resurrection) and your favourite Holy Book gains a lot in credibility.
        No dice. Your Great Hero didn’t even hint that there might have been cohumans in the Americas, Australia and Papua-Guinea. It’s like he didn’t know about them ……

      • Greg G.

        Why would the creator of reality require a religion that favors gullible people?

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          I just posted the same claim before I read this. Perhaps my subconscious is a speed reader.

        • The OT’s constant beating on idolatry is pretty much the opposite of favoring gullible people. The Ex 20:18–21Jer 31:31–34 is quite similar to the wet dream of Enlightenment philosophes that every person would be individually ruled by Reason. Paul challenges multiple churches to not be gullibly imprisoned by στοιχεῖον. And then there’s this:

          But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:19–20)

          Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1–2)

          If you want “gullible”, I suggest looking here:

              To be sure, keen observers had long been aware of the relatively unsophisticated mind-set of most citizens. Such thoughtful analysts as Lord Bryce (1899) and Walter Lippmann (1965) were profoundly aware of how shallow were democracy’s public opinion roots. The fact that democratic government was built on the broad public’s uncertain judgment gave great pause. Getting directly to the point, this ongoing concern was epitomized by H. L. Mencken’s famous quip, “Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.”
              And yet in mid-twentieth-century America, it was quite a shock to the intellectual community when social scientists started to discover the flimsy structure of public opinion on which democratic politics is based. The most critical evidence was presented by Philip E. Converse (1964). Using survey data, he showed that most voters had only a vague sense of public affairs. Converse’s work revealed that the public had little understanding of public policy and found that political views were haphazardly disconnected and judgments about politicians and policies were so unstable that the vast majority of Americans apparently held no serious political attitudes at all. What appeared to be genuine opinions were instead “doorstep” opinions manufactured on the spot to please the interviewer. (Electoral Democracy, 2)

          Or is that a bit too intense for you?

        • Greg G.

          The OT passages are from priests who wanted people to let them have the offerings instead of the competition. It’s still gullibility.

          I came to Converse’s conclusion on my own. Winston Churchill said something like, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” He apparently reached Converse’s conclusion before Converse.

        • The OT passages are from priests who wanted people to let them have the offerings instead of the competition. It’s still gullibility.

          Huh, why did those priests also ban themselves from owning land, modulo a pittance? That seems rather dumb. But wait: I’m sure you’ll have a way to rationalize your POV, just like them apologists. 😀

          I came to Converse’s conclusion on my own.

          Good for you. Now why do so many of our best and brightest refuse to come to that conclusion, even now? Do you think that refusal might have to do with some sort of religion, some sort of opium for the masses which keeps them from rebelling and demanding actual self-rule instead of a charade? Maybe there is a priestly caste which is being protected from any actually threatening criticism. A priestly caste which can do stuff like this:

          Schäuble came under criticism for his actions during the “Grexit” crisis of 2015: it was suggested by Yanis Varoufakis that Schäuble had intended to force Greece out of the Euro even before the election of the left-wing Syriza government in Greece.[77] This was confirmed by former US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in early 2014; calling Schäuble’s plan “frightening,” Geithner recorded that Schäuble believed a Greek exit from the Eurozone would scare other countries in to line.[78] Schäuble also received extensive criticism toward his austerity recommendations from Twitter via the hashtag #ThisIsACoup.[79] Such criticism focused on the fact that Schäuble’s insistence on policies of austerity was contradicted both by the empirical evidence that the policies he had insisted on had shrunk the Greek economy by 25%, a degree hitherto paralleled only in wartime, but also by reports from the IMF insisting that only massive debt relief, not further austerity, could be effective.[80][81] (WP: Wolfgang Schäuble § Criticism)

          But wait! Surely only religion does such terrible things?

        • Halbe

          LOL. Schäuble is an evangelical Christian, and represents the then and current ruling political party in Germany: Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands.

          Furthermore: going on and on about problems in society that are not related to religion does nothing to substantiate the existence of God.

        • LOL. Schäuble is an evangelical Christian, and represents the then and current ruling political party in Germany: Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands.

          Hey if I decide to label myself ‘atheist’ and then become a serial killer, do I get to soil all other atheists?

          Furthermore: going on and on about problems in society that are not related to religion does nothing to substantiate the existence of God.

          Good thing I was not attempting to accomplish the underlined with the bold.

          As to whether they are “related to religion”, well that depends on whether you can produce anything other than an ideological definition of ‘religion’. See William T. Cavanaugh’s The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict on how definitions of ‘religion’ that even scholars deploy violate natural kind rules in order to delegitimate them people you disagree with. Anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty will see ‘religious’ behavior in the following:

          Even if it were true that socialism is the only rational conclusion, this would not explain its dissemination among specific social groups. Modern science, for example, may also be described as the only rational conclusion for certain questions about nature—and yet it took millennia before it came to be established in specific groups in a specific corner of the world. Ideas neither triumph nor fail in history because of their intrinsic truth or falsity. Furthermore, the affinity between intellectuals and socialism is clearly more than a matter of rational arguments. It is suffused with values, with moral passion, in many cases with profoundly religious hope—in sum, with precisely those characteristics which permit speaking of a socialist myth (in a descriptive, nonpejorative sense.) (Facing Up to Modernity, 58)

          The socialist myth promises the fulfillment of both the rational dreams of the Enlightenment and the manifold aspirations of those to whom the Enlightenment has been an alienating experience. Such a promise inevitably grates against its imperfect realization in empirical reality, frustrating and often enraging its believers. This is nothing new in the long history of eschatologies, which is inevitably a history of the psychology of disappointment. (Facing Up to Modernity, 62–63)

          But wait, if we allow that to be ‘religious’, then John W. Loftus was wrong to write this:

          Religious diversity stands in the way of achieving a moral and political global consensus. (The Outsider Test for Faith, 162)

          We would then have to alter it:

          Religious Certain diversity in concepts of ‘the good’ stands in the way of achieving a moral and political global consensus. (The Outsider Test for Faith′, 162)

          Who wants to do that? It would weaken the political agendas of all atheists! And since we know that political agenda easily trumps truth (Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government), that would be dumb. Ideology FTW!!11

        • Halbe

          TL;DR

        • Greg G.

          Hey if I decide to label myself ‘atheist’ and then become a serial killer, do I get to soil all other atheists?

          That would be a very good lesson on why morals should based on empathy for others and a sense of fair play and not on God or the Bible because a loss of faith leaves a person with no ability to determine right and wrong.

        • I’m not sure I’ve ever been shown empathy by someone on CE, so I call bollocks on that being a workable strategy.

        • Halbe

          I’m not sure I’ve ever been shown empathy by someone on CE

          And this realisation of course led to some serious self-reflection? If not, then I think you will ever get it either…

        • What? It’s obvious that the kind of people who frequent CE and EN believe that certain classes of people do not deserve empathy. The Nazis called Jews “pigs” and the Hutus called Tutsis “cockroaches”.

        • Halbe

          LOL! You are the driver hearing a “wrong-way driver spotted on I-75” warning on his car radio and shouting “One wrong-way driver!? You mean hundreds!”

        • You sound like you’re speaking from personal experience. I, on the other hand, am happy to fear my imagination of such a scenario enough that I never let imagination turn into reality. For example, I would rather die than drive drunk. If I am too tired or sick, I will accept the consequences of not driving where I wanted to go.

        • Paul B. Lot

          What? It’s obvious that the kind of people who frequent CE and EN believe that certain classes of people do not deserve empathy. The Nazis called Jews “pigs” and the Hutus called Tutsis “cockroaches”.

          Comparing yourself to victims of genocide again? Sigh. Pardon me for saying so, but your stage-four-martyr complex is showing again.

          In any case, the truth is the truth and I should acknowledge when it is said. You’re absolutely right, @LukeBreuer:disqus : I do believe that a “certain class” of person doesn’t deserve empathy….

          That class of people who are one-and-the-same with you.

        • Greg G.

          Thank you for not becoming a serial killer.

          You came here for an argument. That’s what you get. It’s not like anyone is giving you being-hit-on-the-head lessons.

        • Irrelevant. The claim is that empathy would solve problems that need solving; I have questioned that with evidence. As long as people can be arbitrarily excluded from being empathized with, all you have is rationalization.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “What a stupid concept!”

        • Greg G.

          Oww!

        • TheNuszAbides

          no, no, it’s “waah”. put your hand there …

        • adam

          “Hey if I decide to label myself ‘atheist’ and then become a serial killer, do I get to soil all other atheists?0”

          Sure, just point out the non-existent atheist doctrines that command people to serially kill.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8405941ed9f5c1c9bf717f00591e0b5455633b20f6c5705754c71d7decaa52be.jpg

        • adam

          “Hey if I decide to label myself ‘atheist’ and then become a serial killer, do I get to soil all other atheists?0”

          Sure, just point out the non-existent atheist doctrines that command people to serially kill.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7fb1fd21b5a93139e709c2374294f6391d3c3a720f0d0785d976a40222b08875.jpg

        • adam

          “Hey if I decide to label myself ‘atheist’ and then become a serial killer, do I get to soil all other atheists?0”

          Sure, just point out the non-existent atheist doctrines that command people to serially kill.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fbee2ae71608c49ff6cd3778051384d5ac950eab0a8c65082bd7d40a20822ade.jpg

        • adam

          “Hey if I decide to label myself ‘atheist’ and then become a serial killer, do I get to soil all other atheists?0”

          Sure, just point out the non-existent atheist doctrines that command people to serially kill.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5fc7ae814c0160c0c443e448af14c3b39fb8f9c14da1a96d478544a03093bbba.jpg

        • MNb

          It’s part of the Lukieboy Show though.

        • Kevin K

          Heh. The priests lived in the fucking castles with the kings! Of course they’re not going to screw with that sweet deal by trying to claim that property as their birthright.

          Priests are the remora of humankind.

        • Jesus was definitely remora, yep.

        • Kevin K

          Jesus is fiction.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seems like a reading comprehension issue he had there.

        • Kevin K

          Sarcasm fail on his part. Bigly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That too…

        • busterggi

          Boy Howdy! Another bible quote! Well if that doesn’t immediately convert everyone what will?

        • b: Boy Howdy! Another bible quote! Well if that doesn’t immediately convert everyone what will?

          That would probably cause me to question my belief in God.

        • Kevin K
        • rad

        • adam

          “Huh, why did those priests also ban themselves from owning land,”
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6b5240f53deb4a0141b0d9196de29540d1f8931a4c8d5713b9547eca65cbd2f.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Huh, why did those priests also ban themselves from owning land, modulo a pittance? That seems rather dumb. But wait: I’m sure you’ll have a way to rationalize your POV, just like them apologists. 😀

          I know a Buddhist monk who has taken a vow of poverty. He lives pretty well and is very generous when we visit. I met another Buddhist monk in Norway. He was very generous and gracious, sharing some very good imported tea with us. The things that had been given to him made me envious. I was quite surprised how well a person could live on a vow of poverty. You would be surprised also.

        • I like how you shifted from greed to generosity.

        • Pofarmer

          And why would a particular differ in the first place?

      • Joe

        What creator of reality?

        • lulz

        • Susan

          lulz

          Is that the best you’ve got for a legitimate question?

          WHAT creator of reality?

        • Kevin K

          It was ALIENZ!!!

      • kraut2

        “Isn’t it just disgusting that the creator of reality”

        you are talking about the brain I take it? Which creates the reality you believe to be a true representation of the universe based on exterior and internal signals.

      • kraut2

        I rather find it disgusting that according to the Jewish heretics their preferred buy one get three deity waited…lets see…about 200 000 years before he got around to salvage where he fucked up?

        I find it rather more convincing in light of those facts to give Ham the preference as his belief in a young earth creation makes more sense than and old earth and an evolved homo sapiens.

        • The simplicity of fundamentalism is easier for the immature.

        • Otto

          Not just the immature.

        • The mature, by definition, are not fundamentalist.

        • Otto

          Your definition

        • Feel free to offer another one with sufficient detail to matter to this conversation.

        • Susan

          Feel free to offer another one with sufficient detail to matter to this conversation.

          You made an empty assertion for which you’ve offered no detail and Otto has called you out on it.

          We can dismiss your assertion.

          Feel free to support your assertion with sufficient detail.

        • You are welcome to dismiss my contention that maturity requires transcending fundamentalism. Especially since you were never part of the conversation in the first place. 🙂

        • Susan

          You are welcome to dismiss my contention that maturity requires transcending fundamentalism

          No one requires your permission, Luke Breuer.

          You have not provided clarity or support for your assertion. Of course it should be dismissed until you do so.

          Especially since you were never part of this conversation in the first place.

          OF course I was. You are making assertions on the internet on a public forum. If I praised you for making groundless assertions, I don’t think you would have complained.

          So, are you going to support it or not?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Especially since you were never part of the conversation in the first place. 🙂

          It’s nice for you to so often remind us that your internet-knight-in-shining-armor-crusading-for-better-dialogue shtick is just that; an act.

          An ersatz storefront veneer; off-kilter signs and flickering neons proclaim vast and quality wares, but upon entering we realize that the shop’s actual stock in trade is just mind-numbingly bad conversation laden with your narcissism and self-loathing.

        • Ignatius Reilly

          I was wondering this morning if you were still going back and forth with Breuer. Glad to see someone is keeping him in line. 🙂

        • Paul B. Lot

          CrossExamined has had several bad outbreaks, but the last flare-up calmed down a few months ago.

          A shame to see the virus returning again, one can always hope that the most-recent episode will have been the last, however at least I can console myself with the fact that the T-cells are getting better and better each time.

        • Ignatius Reilly

          Yeah I only lurk at CrossExamined on occasion, so I’m not up to speed on all the outbreaks. It is a shame Luke is going to ruin a perfectly good conversation about a perfectly good article. So it goes.

        • Otto

          As Susan said, I don’t need to. The definition of fundamentalist is not immaturity.

        • I never said it was.

        • Otto

          >>”The mature, by definition, are not fundamentalist.”

        • That doesn’t offer anything like an comprehensive definition of ‘fundamentalist’.

        • Otto

          So when I said “Not just the immature” you stated …”The mature, by definition, are not fundamentalist.”

          So which is it Luke…

        • I’m arguing that:

               (1) fundamentalist ⇒ immature

          From this, you may validly obtain the contrapositive:

               (2) ¬immature ⇒ ¬fundamentalist

          Any other order to combination of negation is logically invalid if (1) is your starting point. This is also logically invalid:

               (3) fundamentalist ≡ immature

          These are also logically invalid if (1) is your starting point:

               (4) immature ⊂ fundamentalist
               (5) immature ⊃ fundamentalist

          You’re simply failing miserably at logic & abstraction. All, apparently, to catch me in a little contradiction rather than actually talk about anything substantial. Sigh.

        • Otto

          I wasn’t looking to catch you in a contradiction, you did that all by yourself. I simply said “Not just the immature”, to which you stated “The mature, by definition, are not fundamentalist.”

          So, either you agree with me that it is “Not just the immature” or you don’t…I am asking which is it?

        • FFS, I was saying that by the definitions of words I’m employing:

               (1) fundamentalist ⇒ immature

          I was not offering an exhaustive definition. But instead of interacting with (1), you want to dick around with nailing down a precise meaning of what I formerly sloppily said, even though I’ve already provided a precise clarification.

        • Otto

          So, either you agree with me that it is “Not just the immature” or you don’t…I am asking which is it?

        • Sigh. Let’s review:

          LB: The simplicity of fundamentalism is easier for the immature.

          O: Not just the immature.

          LB: The mature, by definition, are not fundamentalist.

          What I was rejecting was:

          LB′: The simplicity of fundamentalism is easier for the immature.

          Whether or not you meant to imply this with your comment, I just don’t know. So I spoke to mean precisely what I intended, and not a whit more.

        • Otto

          OK fair enough, I think you explained what you meant well there.

          I still disagree with this, I don’t think mature/immature is a very good way to describe theology except as a way to denigrate the opposition.

        • I’m actually rather serious with my usage of those terms. Here’s why. Before I met her, my wife had listened to many White Horse Inn podcasts. They are Reformed (Calvinist) and, at least on the podcast, fairly nuance-free. One might say “fundamentalist”. They’re definitely not as bad as many, but I had objections aplenty. Over time, I voiced them to my then-girlfriend, as she would describe the latest podcast she listened to. Over time, she found their lack of nuance to be obnoxious. But this did not make her resent their lack of nuance. This did not make her think that she had “wasted so much time listening to them”. Why? Why did she not spit on them?

          Our view, which is bolstered by discussions with several other people who I have reason to believe understand key aspects of “maturity”, is that it is very helpful to have a solid, somewhat nuance-free view of reality, which one can use as a starting-place to explore reality. Indeed, perhaps having this as a starting place is key to avoiding the follow technical definition of ‘narcissism’: “blur the boundaries between the self and its surroundings”[1]. You take a clearly articulated position, identify with it, and then starting comparing & contrasting it with reality. You might find that it has defects here, needs articulation there, and needs major renovation elsewhere. That’s fine. What is key is that you are actively and consciously tending the growth process. For some incisive but accessible elaboration, see Harry G. Frankfurt’s Taking Ourselves Seriously & Getting it Right (book with critical responses).

          To be mature is to understand how you are growing; to be immature is to have that growth happen outside of your [arbitrarily complete] understanding. Children must go through such a stage, but we hope they exit that stage. Now, it is possible that something like fundamentalism is actually a stage through which one must pass in order to become mature and non-narcissistic. But this might be too extreme, too much of an ideal type, as it were. I am on the lookout for psychology on this matter.

          By the way, I suspect that most ‘adults’ in the US are immature. I attribute very little responsibility for this to them; I attribute more to those who contributed to consumerism[2]. Where Christianity Today has When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity (pdf), I think it’s more pervasive, a la the NYT‘s The Death of Adulthood in American Culture. Advertising would not work very well if people viewed them as primarily manipulative (not informative) and had the self-discipline and self-understanding to not be manipulated thusly. As it is we have Barack Obama [2008] campaign claims two top prizes at Cannes Lion ad awards. We advertise our presidential candidates rather like we advertise our tampons.

          I suspect this is a big part of the explanation for why the West has such a disgustingly pathetic imagination for what humans could do in reality. Ayn Rand well-characterized the infantilization of Westerners in Atlas Shrugged; like many people, she got the problem statement down well while utterly failing at the solution. (Unbridled capitalism and sex with the alpha male—really? I guess The Wolf of Wall Street got the species correct.)

           
          [1] This is from Christopher Lasch, who is clarifying some misunderstandings of his previous book, The Culture of Narcissism:

              Recent controversies about the contemporary culture of “narcissism” have revealed two quite different sources of confusion. The first, alluded to already and examined in some detail in the first of the following chapters, is the confusion of narcissism with egoism and selfishness. An analysis of the siege mentality and the strategies of psychic survival it encourages (the subject of chapters II, III, and IV) will serve not only to identify characteristic features of our culture—our protective irony and emotional disengagement, our reluctance to make long-term emotional commitments, our sense of powerlessness and victimization, our fascination with extreme situations and with the possibility of applying their lessons to everyday life, our perception of large-scale organizations as systems of total control—but also to distinguish narcissism from ordinary self-seeking. It will show how the prevailing social conditions, especially the fantastic mass-produced images that shape our perceptions of the world, not only encourage a defensive contraction of the self but blur the boundaries between the self and its surroundings. As the Greek legend reminds us, it is this confusion of the self and the not-self—not “egoism”—that distinguishes the plight of Narcissus. (The Minimal Self, 18–19)

          [2] Again, from Christopher Lasch:

          The mobilization of consumer demand, together with the recruitment of a labor force, required a far-reaching series of cultural changes. People had to be discouraged from providing for their own wants and resocialized as consumers. Industrialism by its very nature tends to discourage home production and to make people dependent on the market, but a vast effort of reeducation, starting in the 1920s, had to be undertaken before Americans accepted consumption as a way of life. As Emma Rothschild has shown in her study of the automobile industry, Alfred Sloan’s innovations in marketing—the annual model change, constant upgrading of the product, efforts to associate it with social status, the deliberate inculcation of boundless appetite for change—constituted the necessary counterpart of Henry Ford’s innovations in production. Modern industry came to rest on the twin pillars of Fordism and Sloanism. Both tended to discourage enterprise and independent thinking and to make the individual distrust his own judgment, even in matters of taste. His own untutored preferences, it appeared, might lag behind current fashion; they too needed to be periodically upgraded. (The Minimal Self, 29)

        • Ignorant Amos

          A Breuerism….yippee!

        • adam

          “You’re simply failing miserably at logic & abstraction.”

          Yes, Luke you have the corner market on the abstraction of logic.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/151925a51e6a55d5bd1418d3a12f8fa99b39d9a82fb1f8468f8e6fcd942470f3.jpg

        • Paul B. Lot

          I never said it was.

          No, indeed.

          With one tiny modification, though, @disqus_K3l83uMZuy:disqus ‘s reply becomes salient:

          As Susan said, I don’t need to. The definition of fundamentalist is not [does not entail] immaturity.

        • adam

          How is fundamentalism simpler?

        • Otto

          …and how does complicated, convoluted theology make it ‘mature’?

        • adam

          The only way I can see it is that the apologetics attempts to camouflage the obvious weaknesses of the basic religious doctrines, making it less transparent and more easily hidden from criticism.

          To make it more fundamental:

          It covers the original doctrines with so much bullshit that it is hardly recognizable as THE original doctrine.

        • Otto

          I agree..

          And what it looks like to me is an attempt to make it plausible.
          Plausible ≠ correct or true.

          It is no different than a creationist trying to shoehorn facts, just more complicated.

        • Susan

          It is no different than a creationist trying to shoehorn facts, just more complicated.

          Exactly.

        • adam

          ” just more complicated.”

          Only in a Rube Goldberg fashion.

          With a lot of extraneous BULLSHIT to keep one entertained only to find it leads back to the exact same God of the fundamentalists.

        • Susan

          Only in a Rube Goldberg fashion.

          sofisticated feeology

        • Michael Neville

          Susan, you might like this video from OK Go, “This Too Shall Pass”:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w

        • Kodie

          No wonder Christmastime starts earlier and earlier every year.

        • Greg G.

          I think downloading a picture of Mars taken by a rover over the internet via a satellite connection is a bigger Rube Goldberg contraption. Even navigating by GPS out-Rubes Goldberg.

        • Susan

          I think downloading a picture of Mars taken by a rover over the internet via a satellite connection is a bigger Rube Goldberg contraption. Even navigating by GPS out-Rubes Goldberg.

          Fair enough. But I think of Rube Goldberg machines as convoluted approaches to simple tasks. Hence, the example of lighting the Christmas lights.

          The same way sophisticated theologians invoke 12,000 layers to say exactly what a fundamentalist says in one , which is “Godiddit.”

        • Kodie

          Trying to make it seem complicated is not more mature.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ‘mature’ like ‘more covered in barnacles’.

      • Kevin K

        Word salad. Absolutely meaningless.

        • Yep, I guess this peer-reviewed science is just dumb:

              The kind of knowledge valued in the quantitative-based traditional model is independent of context. It states what, in general, is so. It is not focused on the individual differences at local institutions (Huberman, 1999). In its applied form, it asserts that certain programmatic interventions bring about better results than others. When the consumers of higher education research are confronted with a problem, they consult the journals to find out which programs the researchers have determined will provide effective solutions. Then they can implement such programs with confidence that they will solve the local problem. In traditional qualitative studies, even though knowledge is treated as context dependent and emphasis is placed on individual differences, the researcher does not involve the subjects in decisions about research approaches and research design (Heron, 1996). Research, whether in the tradition of positivism or interpretivism is still conducted at a distance and “largely fails to penetrate the experienced reality” (Stringer, 1996, p. 6) of the everyday life of the researched. (Doing Research that Makes a Difference, 107)

          universal
          particular

        • Kevin K

          What in the name of anything does that have to do with anything? In context, you were talking about the “creator of the universe”. And unloaded some word salad about the creator of the universe. Which makes no sense whatsoever.

          And then you come up with some lame quotes from 20 years ago about research epistemology? Things humans do? And this is somehow supposed to be a “gotcha”?

          This has to be the mother of all “false equivalency” logical fallacies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Welcome to The Luke Breuer Show and his world of Breuerism’s.

        • Kevin K

          It’s just bizarre. My guess is that he had the “gotcha” thing all prepped and ready to go for days. Probably created at the same time as the original, with the intent to be used in the context in which he used it. As some sort of display of intellectual prowess, followed by the “gotcha” when challenged.

          Quite a bit less effective when you see through the smoke-screen.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He has a library of stock answers and links he can retrieve at a moments notice. At this point most people ignore the crap. Once ya discover that his “gotcha” is no such thing, and as Adam has pointed out, actually contradicts the argument he is making once a wee dig deeper is carried out, then it’s a case of the boy that cried wolf and they are ignored.

          Some of us here are a bit longer in the tooth with The Luke Breuer Show than others of course, but it is a steep learning curve.

        • Kevin K

          He probably has little file folders filled with individual quotes and citations.

          Give him credit for being able to read — but demerits for not understanding what he quotes and using them in wildly inappropriate contexts.

          Gotta wonder what in the world his motivation is. Certainly not to convert the heathens, because he’s so spectacularly bad at it.

        • epeeist

          but demerits for not understanding what he quotes and using them in wildly inappropriate contexts

          If you follow him into his maze of twisty little passages all alike (as many do before they learn better) you will find that many of his references and quotations either don’t show what he thinks they do or are simply the equivalent of “Oh look, over there, a squirrel”

        • Kevin K

          I used to teach writing classes, and this type of student was a particular pain in the ass. Because they try to make up with volume what they lack in coherence.

        • adam

          Gish Gallop.

        • epeeist

          Because they try to make up with volume what they lack in coherence.

          Or just make things up. My first contact with Luke arose when he produced a “psychological profile” of me in order to justify my banning on “Strange Notions”. He based his profile on a quote mine from one post out of the hundreds I had made on SN.

        • Ignorant Amos

          An erroneous position based on a single data point. Which was bad enough. Except he then came to this site and declared that forming an opinion on a single data point is something he would never do.

          A position he has reluctantly, and only partially, retracted.

          Ya see it is all about the rigor with Luke.

        • adam

          “Gotta wonder what in the world his motivation is.”

          To make Ignornace (Faith) appear to be on equal footing (actually superior) to Knowledge (Science)
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/496aec3b2dd6b9edc54da2a17c1679717f47d6c6a2047e092200dbf0d91c281d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1357a48063668004e778c51c086fa594d46a773bdf2765fa279fcf4fe251c363.jpg

        • MNb

          Makes sense, given that Lukieboy is an ex-creationist who hasn’t given up his creationist habits.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Certainly not to convert the heathens, because he’s so spectacularly bad at it.

          But he actually believes he is not. He believes he is a legend….a legend in his own lunchtime perhaps.

        • MNb

          At his own table, where nobody else wants to sit.

        • adam

          “Quite a bit less effective when you see through the smoke-screen.”

          Well of course, propaganda always is.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e8cbb3bb67b1db61cd16d3fe1493428c2c3a0bcb9c1ee89eb1b376690a952ebe.jpg

        • Paul B. Lot

          The idea (I think) is this:

          Atheists love to attack the Abrahamic faith traditions by pointing out how foolish/illiterate most of it is. By saying things like “If the creator of the universe dictated imperishable and universal moral truths to the Jews, why couldn’t he also just toss them a bone about electron or germ theories; give them an empirical leg-up?”

          The reaction, then, the next-best position to hold after “we have been given objectively accurate moral truths (humans are seperate and superior, eg.)”, is to retreat to the bunker of “god reveals his universal nature to us quietly and non-maniuplative/forcefully in the evidence of the cosmos, in and through the NOMA of science AND he speaks to us more particularly and personally on an interpersonal-level through cultures and faiths and prayers.”

          The judo-attempt (Judeo-Judo?) here, the defensive position taken up, in response to the atheist ridicule about the impotence, ignorance, or barbarity of ancient cultures/faith/doctrine, is to claim that god HAS to work with humans as they are: if he had told the Jews about the Couloumb then he would’ve been forcing them to believe in him. (Err….pillar of fire? burning bush?…..nevermind)

          So, on some level, it makes sense: it’s a way to deflect modern criticisms. When we mock the old-ways and the old-beliefs we’re merely revealing our presentism and our lack of nuanced understanding of the loving ways our (nonexistent) god chooses to delicately (as gentle as the kiss from an invisible pink unicorn) lead us to an interpersonal relationship with him (interior dialogue with a poorly-understood/recognized aspect of our own bicameral minds).

          Word salad exists, this doesn’t seem like it. This is merely quarter-baked and unfalsifiable feel-good-hypothesizing of the kind that even erudite humans have engaged in for all of recorded history.

        • Atheists love to attack the Abrahamic faith traditions by pointing out how foolish/illiterate most of it is. By saying things like “If the creator of the universe dictated imperishable and universal moral truths to the Jews, why couldn’t he also just toss them a bone about electron or germ theories, give them an empirical leg-up?”

          Because increases in power differential (your “empirical leg-up”) is scientifically known to increase the rationalizing over and above rationality[1]. See also Bertrand Russell’s observations, per a random Phil.SE regular:

          More importantly for the rest of the story, he goes on to talk about how science has brought us technology and how that technology has changed the way politics work. Three inventions in particular have changed the political framework:

          • Gunpowder. Before gunpowder, one could rebel against a king much more easily. You could retreat in your castle; with gunpowder, you are never safe, and a king will most likely defeat any rebellious forces in his empire. To quote Russell: “Magna Carta would have never been won if John had possessed artillery.” (p.19)

          • Compass. The compass allowed the West to discover the rest of the world and to dominate it for almost five centuries.

          • Telegraph. The telegraph allows for instant communication. Before instant communication, managing a state from a central location was very difficult and one had to give ambassadors a lot of power, because they needed this power to act quickly.

          • (Transportation.) Not mentioned as explicitly as the three other ones, but it is clear that transportation is fundamental. If it takes weeks to travel 1000s of kilometres, then that is obviously going to be a problem to manage an empire of that size. If it takes only a couple of hours of flying, then it’s pretty easy.

          We end up with a situation in which a central state can have a lot of control over its territory and there are virtually no limits on size or pervasiveness. If this kind of power and control ends up in the hands of a few who want to gain control over the rest of us, it is clear that life can become miserable for the many. It is in this chapter (3) that Russell describes what would happen and it is in this chapter that many of the conspiracy theory quotes can be found. This chapter is in fact a criticism of the Soviet Union as much as it is a critique of oligarchy in general. (What did Russell intend to achieve with “The Impact of Science on Society”?)

          Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage. This could have easily militated against (i) egalitarianism; (ii) subsidiarity. But perhaps you do not care about these things.

           
          [1] Bent Flyvbjerg investigated how democracy actually works, via a close empirical study of a major renovation of the Danish city Aalborg. He found that many moderns have been long-engaged in a serious amount of self-delusion. A summary from the introduction:

          The empirical study is summed up in a number of propositions about the relationship between rationality and power, concluding that power has a rationality that rationality does not know, whereas rationality does not have a power that power does not know. I will argue that this asymmetry between rationality and power forms a basic weakness of modernity and of modern democracy, a weakness that needs to be reassessed in light of the context-dependent nature of rationality, taking a point of departure in thinkers like Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Foucault.[2] (Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice, 2)

        • Paul B. Lot

          Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage.

          No shit? That’s why I brought it up, asshole.

          Go fuck yourself.

        • Pofarmer

          that’s the spirit.

        • Glad to see we’re on the same page. Now I can continue:

          PBL: The judo-attempt (Judeo-Judo?) here, the defensive position taken up, in response to the atheist ridicule about the impotence, ignorance, or barbarity of ancient cultures/​faith/​doctrine, is to claim that god HAS to work with humans as they are: if he had told the Jews about the Couloumb then he would’ve been forcing them to believe in him. (Err….pillar of fire? burning bush?…..nevermind)

          This is just weird nonsense. Were the Israelites willing to pursue (i) egalitarianism; and (ii) subsidiarity, God could have taught them arbitrarily much and achieved his goal. What goal? Humans being human to each other rather than inhuman.

          What is worrisome about your approach is that you plausibly think the appropriate response to moral evil is to use arbitrary amounts of force. (You specified no limit for God.) If one pursues this course while failing to make Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s discovery—

          If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? (The Gulag Archipelago)

          —one will carry out great evil. History has shown it, time and time again. Humans cannot force other humans to be good. This is what happens when they pretend to:

          Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. (Mt 23:15)

          Until you present some solution other than «magic» to accomplish the moral maturity of humankind, your objections will continue to be nonsense. And you’ll probably hurt people with the beliefs that lead to the generation of that nonsense.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Glad to see we’re on the same page.

          Oh, good. So you’re going to fuck off finally?

          Now I can continue:

          Oh, no…I see. You were lying about the “same page” thingy. *Sigh*

          Figures.

          After all, viruses don’t often voluntarily leave the host. :-/

          Until you present some solution other than «magic» to accomplish the moral maturity of humankind, your objections will continue to be nonsense.

          Lol.

        • Oh, good. So you’re going to fuck off finally?

          Nope, but you can always use Disqus’ “Block User” feature, or campaign for Bob to ban me. 😀

          Oh, no…I see. You were lying about the “same page” thingy.

          Being on the same page doesn’t mean to be in complete agreement. I used the phrase to indicate that we had some common ground. Perhaps I over-estimated the common ground.

          LB: Until you present some solution other than «magic» to accomplish the moral maturity of humankind, your objections will continue to be nonsense.

          PBL: Lol.

          Indeed.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Nope, but you can always use Disqus’ “Block User” feature, or campaign for Bob to ban me. 😀

          1) I had rather you not lie about being on the same page as me.

          2) https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/why_is_god_hidden_2_of_2/#comment-3196750804

          Indeed.

          Luke, now’s probably not the time for you to lecture me about the dangers of my “nonsensical” objections; I’m doing a better job of explaining your own point than you are, subsequently there’s precious little reason to expect that you would even recognize my objections, let alone understand them. But you want the readers to think that you’d be competent to evaluate them? Tsk tsk.

          Perhaps I over-estimated the common ground.

          “Perhaps”?

        • 1) I had rather you not lie about being on the same page as me.

          I’m not lying; you understand the phrase “on the same page” differently than I do. You are despicable for presuming that I am lying instead of allowing that possibility.

          2) https://disqus.com/home/dis

          Y’all certainly complain a lot for doing this:

          PBL: You are, indeed, are horrible specimen of humanity, and yet it seems to me that we gain by being able to expose ourselves to, and learn from, your offenses in this, a controlled manner – much like scientists in a lab studying pathogens.

          Luke, now’s probably not the time for you to lecture me about the dangers of my “nonsensical” objections; I’m doing a better job of explaining your own point than you are, subsequently there’s precious little reason to expect that you would even recognize my objections, let alone understand them.

          False. And perhaps a lie.

          But you want the readers to think that you’d be competent to evaluate them?

          Nope. They can make their own judgments.

          “Perhaps”?

          Given your understanding of the term “same page”, definitely. Will I accept your definition of all terms? No. You (and others on CE) use plenty of terms more narrowly than I have experienced. I’m happy to take your word for what you mean by a term, but when I use a term in a way I’ve seen used aplenty and you try to impose your definition on me, I’ll simply reject it unless you have a good argument and perhaps the requisite evidence. And we can always go collect evidence, informally. I’m happy to grab a clipboard and go to somewhere in SF and ask people about word usage. Folks here can help me design the experiment so that it’s up to their exacting standards. Or they can continue to blow smoke. Their choice. 😀

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m not lying; you understand the phrase “on the same page” differently than I do. You are despicable for presuming that I am lying instead of allowing that possibility.

          Perhaps you should avoid using idioms if you can’t use them in the way the majority would understand in common parlance.

        • I do not believe that your understanding of how “the majority” uses them is factually correct.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So far on this forum, I’m actually part of the majority on that front…so my understanding is spot on….so far.

        • If you want to define words by only the understanding of the majority on this forum, then you are by definition correct.
          😀

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’m not lying; you understand the phrase “on the same page” differently than I do. You are despicable for presuming that I am lying instead of allowing that possibility.

          Oh, I see. Then I’m sorry, you’re right and we agree. (Note: I maaaay understand the phrases “we agree”, “you’re right”, and “I’m sorry” differently than you do.)

          Y’all certainly complain a lot for doing this:

          You should hear me whine when I’m forced to work out! 🙂

          But seriously: [*being able* to be exposed] != [being exposed].

          I’m doing a better job of explaining your own point than you are

          [1] False. [2] And perhaps a lie.

          [1] Nope. [2] Saying true things is a panacea for the accusation of laying.

          But you want the readers to think that you’d be competent to evaluate them?

          [1]Nope. [2]They can make their own judgments.

          [2] Of course our readers can make their own judgments – that was never in question. Your pretending that the readers’ choices or abilities were in question is disingenuous.

          [1] On the other hand, what was in question is whether or not you desire people to think that you are competent to evaluate my “objections”.

          The answer to that question is evident in the fact that we are even having this discussion at all. I was doing the lord’s work and explaining your point of view to someone else better than you could on your own, and you chose to divert away from that clarifying mission to critique “objections” of mine as “nonsense”. That you chose to offer that critique, per se, is proof that you want those who read your words to think that you are competent on this topic.

          So you were lying disingenuous about [2], and you were lying disingenuous about [1]….why should the readers trust you when you’re a disingenuous person, @LukeBreuer:disqus?

        • adam

          “why should the readers trust you when you’re a disingenuous lying person, “

        • Oh, I see. Then I’m sorry, you’re right and we agree. (Note: I maaaay understand the phrases “we agree”, “you’re right”, and “I’m sorry” differently than you do.)

          Apology accepted. BTW, it’s not clear you’re actually correct in your interpretation of the idiom; my usage of “on the same page” actually seems quite appropriate. First, where I said it:

          LB: Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage.

          PBL: No shit? That’s why I brought it up, asshole.

          LB: Glad to see we’re on the same page.

          Now a definition:

          dictionary.com on the same page
          Idioms
          9. on the same page, Informal. (of two or more people) having a similar understanding or way of thinking:
          Parents should be on the same page about raising their children.

          Note the final clause: “about raising their children”. Well, in my usage, there is an implied clause: “about the consequences of teaching germ theory”. That’s a significant agreement, as it undergirded my entire comment. Furthermore, my emphasis on the importance of agreement is well-foiled by other responses to my claim:

          IA: A significant advantage? Seriously?

          +

          e: Okay Luke, so tell us all the horrible imperialistic consequences that we could reasonably extrapolate would have happened if God had shared with people the germ theory of disease and the proscriptive rule “wash your hands often.” Because that was the example Paul B. Lot actually used, as opposed to gunpowder, which he did not.

          So, the fact that you agreed on that point was quite nontrivial. And nontrivial agreement which wasn’t recognized as such before is precisely a key aspect to using the idiom, “We’re on the same page.”

        • Paul B. Lot

          Apology accepted.

          Haha, well played!

          BTW, it’s not clear you’re actually correct in your interpretation…

          IDGAF. 🙂

          So, the fact that you agreed on that point was quite nontrivial.

          And? What’s your point? Did you miss the part where I said: “Go fuck yourself.”?

          I hope not, after all I took the time to write it. :-/

        • And? What’s your point?

          If you cannot see it by now, nothing I can do will help. You are too smart to let the evidence threaten your identity.

        • Paul B. Lot

          nothing I can do will help. You are too smart to let the evidence threaten your identity.

          Perhaps. For starters, it might be the case that you are simply incompetent when it comes to improving my understanding of your meaning, aside from the question of whether or not I feel threatened by your “evidence”.

          Additionally, it might be the case that I have a psychological blockage of which I am < 100% aware which is inhibiting me from grasping your meaning. This can never be discounted.

          Another possibility occurs to me as well.

          If you cannot see it by now

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxOZ6gifTjA

        • For starters, it might be the case that you are simply incompetent when it comes to improving my understanding of your meaning, aside from the question of whether or not I feel threatened by your “evidence”.

          Correct.

          Additionally, it might be the case that I have a psychological blockage of which I am < 100% aware which is inhibiting me from grasping your meaning. This can never be discounted.

          The paper Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government has very little to do with “my meaning”. That scientists are having very limited success in helping people overcoming cognitive biases has very little with you “grasping” my meaning. The problem is much, much bigger than this. And yet, the way you present yourself is as virtually the paragon of righteousness. You admit you are in error once in a while though, so you’re doing infinitely better than many of my interlocutors. Kudos for that—big kudos. Those of us who have actually been convinced by the Other via the internet are, apparently, few. I always love pointing out that I was convinced away from creationism to ID and then ID to evolution all via internet conversation with the Other.

          Maybe the problem is that we suck at communicating with each other. And anyone can do arbitrarily much of the bending to talk “just like” the Other. That is one reason I participate in places like CE: to learn how you speak differently and how to map the meanings with which I am familiar to the meanings you folks. It is a rather difficult task. Alistair Cockburn’s Unknowable and Incommunicable gives an idea of how hard, to those interested in what is true more than their own dogmas and ideologies.

          What is hilarious is when people suggest that 99% or 100% of the problem lies with me. Rarely do I find that to be true. But I’ll often work under those conditions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Did you just search for a dictionary definition Luke…that’s being a tad hypocritical, what?

          I imagine it’s exactly what it sounds like: a group of people are simultaneously reading copies of a document (perhaps a report or a musical score). If they want to talk about the document in any sensible fashion, they need to make sure that “the graph at the top of the page” isn’t on page 32 for one person and on page 35 for another person.

          The metaphorical aspect of the saying is also important! Oftentimes when a person uses the expression, she or he is saying, “I’m not sure we all share the same assumptions here, so let’s address THAT first, and then we can continue.” It’s always good to establish common ground (i.e., the “same page”) before launching into perhaps unfamiliar territory, especially into territory where some folks might not be inclined to go, at least initially.

          I don’t think you were reading of the same page at…even putting Paul’s sarcasm aside.

          Try singing off the same hymn sheet Luke.

        • Did you just search for a dictionary definition Luke…that’s being a tad hypocritical, what?

          Nope.

        • But seriously: [*being able* to be exposed] != [being exposed].

          Ahh, you don’t necessarily want to “gain” [for whatever reason]. Or your “seems to me” is nothing more than “seems”. (As I so often find to be the case.) Got it!

          PBL: Luke, now’s probably not the time for you to lecture me about the dangers of my “nonsensical” objections; I’m doing a better job of explaining your own point than you are, subsequently there’s precious little reason to expect that you would even recognize my objections, let alone understand them.

          LB: False.

          PBL: Nope.

          Are you unable to actually justify your claim with evidence and reason? Perhaps you simply decline to do so? Or perhaps merely declined?

          [1] On the other hand, what was in question is whether or not you desire people to think that you are competent to evaluate my “objections”.

          It depends on the person. If the person is sufficiently stupid and/or sufficiently evil, then I don’t think I want them to think I am thusly competent.

          I was doing the lord’s work and explaining your point of view to someone else better than you could on your own […]

          Curiously enough, I just discovered that when Jesus commanded demons to stay silent a la Mk 3:11–12, it was because the precise language they used mirrors language used in the LXX which makes God out to be fearful and judgmental—antithetical to Jn 3:17. I would put your own “explaining” in the same category as that of the demons.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Being on the same page doesn’t mean to be in complete agreement.

          It doesn’t? Ah, perhaps not in Breuer land.

          But it really does mean in complete agreement. Reading off the same page. Not a similar page. Not a page with some matching data. The exact same page. In order to see the exact same info. So as to avoid any confusion.

        • A page is a context.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but the “same” page is the exact context.

        • Yes and the “page” was the blockquoted text.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Except that you didn’t define that so it was taken as the whole combox reply was “the same page”.

          Hence PBL’s follow up reply at…

          No shit? That’s why I brought it up, asshole.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/03/god-hidden-2-2/#comment-3202189899

          But you then made it clear that the same page wasn’t the same page at all. It is now only part of the same page…the blockquoted bit.

          PBL was being a bit facetious with his…

          Glad to see we’re on the same page.

          Oh, good. So you’re going to fuck off finally?

          My point was you failed to define what page, what bit of page, which paragraph, which sentence, which word, which letters on the same page you were on, just ambiguity…

          Being on the same page doesn’t mean to be in complete agreement.

          …hence my…

          But it really does mean in complete agreement. Reading off the same page. Not a similar page. Not a page with some matching data. The exact same page. In order to see the exact same info. So as to avoid any confusion.

          But you can’t see where or why the reader might become confused because your comments are so precise. Why try to clear any confusion?

        • Except that you didn’t define that so it was taken as the whole combox reply was “the same page”.

          Oh I see, you meant that the underlined had to be included:

          LB: Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage.

          PBL: No shit? That’s why I brought it up, asshole.

          Go fuck yourself.

          LB: Glad to see we’re on the same page. Now I can continue:

          ? So despite the fact that @BobSeidensticker:disqus suggested I ignored shit like the underlined (that is, avoid going down rabbit trails of metadiscussion), I actually cannot ignore shit like the underlined? Is that what you’re telling me?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh I see, you meant that the underlined had to be included:

          Nope, I didn’t mean the underlined bit had to be included. I just thought, given the limited data, PBL’s subsequent comment, and the reference to reading off the same page, that it was…a break down in understanding.

          I’m sure you know why there is references and bibliography when writing a scholarly essay. It is so the reader of the essay can pick up the exact book and turn to “the same page” wherever they are and read exactly what the author was referring to.

          ? So despite the fact that Bob Seidensticker suggested I ignored shit like the underlined (that is, avoid going down rabbit trails of metadiscussion), I actually cannot ignore shit like the underlined? Is that what you’re telling me?

          I’m not telling you anything of the sort. I’m telling you that it was at all clear what you meant by “I’m glad we are reading of the same page” to begin with and that the follow-up remark …

          Being on the same page doesn’t mean to be in complete agreement. I used the phrase to indicate that we had some common ground. Perhaps I over-estimated the common ground.

          Did nothing to clarify my confusion. Agreed, being on the same page doesn’t mean one agrees to the message on the page, just that both parties are reading the same thing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          According to the book, God did just that very thing. Used <> to give the chosen ones the advantage. It didn’t accomplish the moral maturity of humankind though. Maybe because the God of the bible was too parochial.

          Elsewhere in the world at the time, things were fairing marginally better.

        • LB: Until you present some solution other than «magic» to accomplish the moral maturity of humankind, your objections will continue to be nonsense.

          IA: According to the book, God did just that very thing. Used <<magic>> to give the chosen ones the advantage. It didn’t accomplish the moral maturity of humankind though.

          The underlined is horribly wrong. You then acknowledge this, but you fail to realize the magnitude of error. Giving military advantage has arbitrarily little to do with accomplishing the moral maturity of humankind. Power has arbitrarily little to do with good. To ignore or downplay this is probably to commit the most terrible error a human can commit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…but the bible says otherwise.

          I thought we were discussing this in the context of….

          Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage.

          Yahweh never seemed to have much problem affording the Israelite military with a significant advantage when they were on good terms.

          God used magic to give the Israelite army an unfair advantage, according to many of the stories in the Old Testament. So, God did just that very thing. Is sound.

          The children of Israel cried out to the Lord: Israel did the right thing. When we find ourselves in dangerous places with no easy escape, we must cry out to God, because God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble ~Psalm 46:1

          The Israelite’s were not called The Chosen for no reason.

          Giving military advantage has arbitrarily little to do with accomplishing the moral maturity of humankind.

          But in biblical times, it really did. At least according to the not-so-good book. Without the people of the messiah, your founder of the moral maturity cult, Christianity, would not have come about. So magic god works were what got the people of God in front…at least that’s how the story goes. I think it’s a loada shite myself, but then you don’t, so it’s your burden to carry.

          Power has arbitrarily little to do with good.

          Funny that. While Christianity had power it thought it was good. Believers believe their gods power is the epitome of good…that’s where the word derives its meaning from, pious isn’t it?

          To ignore or downplay this is probably to commit the most terrible error a human can commit.

          You holding that mirror up again Luke?

        • I thought we were discussing this in the context of….

          LB: Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage.

          Yahweh never seemed to have much problem affording the Israelite military with a significant advantage when they were on good terms.

          True, but he did it via means which did not give the Israelites a permanent military advantage. It was almost as if this were a design parameter:

          The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ (Judges 7:2)

          That is, YHWH wanted victory to be due to goodness, not to power. According to my interpretation. According to a very good contending interpretation, YHWH wanted to keep the Israelites dependent on him, instead of giving them enough for them to leave him and no longer depend on him for border security. However, this contending interpretation has a fatal flaw: the Israelites did get enough for them to no longer depend on YHWH, and they went there, ultimately requiring exile.

          God used magic to give the Israelite army an unfair advantage, according to many of the stories in the Old Testament. So, God did just that very thing. Is sound.

          Your comment containing “God did just that very thing.” employs precisely the error y’all claim I did with “on the same page”, which I actually did not do. See, you didn’t quote anything specific, making your comment an overall response to my comment. Well, the major thrust of my comment had to do with “accomplish the moral maturity of humankind”. So, you took minor agreement and major disagreement between us and portrayed it as minor disagreement and major agreement.

          LB: Giving military advantage has arbitrarily little to do with accomplishing the moral maturity of humankind.

          IA: But in biblical times, it really did. At least according to the not-so-good book.

          Did it? Does it? Isaiah 5 begs to differ. Not to mention plenty of other passages.

          Without the people of the messiah, your founder of the moral maturity cult, Christianity, would not have come about.

          Erm, I suspect Jesus would respond to the Moral Majority folks in the same way that Dostoevsky had Jesus responding to the Grand Inquisitor:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om6HcUUa8DI

          Or, as Emil Brunner put it:

          True responsibility is the same as true humanity; the moral, however, which would preserve the human character of existence by setting up dykes to check the inrush of the flood of the sub-human, actually has something sub-human about it. (Man in Revolt, 51)

          If you think I’d view a bunch of Christians trying to shove their morality down everyone else’s throat as goodness, then you really don’t understand my distinction between goodness and power. That would explain why you’re minoring in the majors and majoring in the minors, though.

          While Christianity had power it thought it was good.

          The Subversion of Christianity

          You holding that mirror up again Luke?

          Do please explain.

        • Ignorant Amos

          True, but he did it via means which did not give the Israelites a permanent military advantage. It was almost as if this were a design parameter:

          Indeed, it would nearly make you think that the stories were written by men in order to fit the ups and downs of of the fortunes of a people, as opposed to a god really falling in and out of favour with his chosen people. So much for a perfect god.

          The Israelite military couldn’t have known that their good fortune was finite…until god in the story made it so…or perhaps it wasa case of some ya win and some ya lose, but why not lay it at the feet of Yahweh?

        • Indeed, it would nearly make you think that the stories were written by men in order to fit the ups and downs of of the fortunes of a people, as opposed to a god really falling in and out of favour with his chosen people.

          Certainly a viable explanation. That was the general pattern as I understand it, judging both by Biblical text as well as studies of archeology. However, this is a possible anomaly to the pattern:

          Has a nation changed its gods,
              even though they are no gods?
          But my people have changed their glory
              for that which does not profit.
          (Jeremiah 2:11)

          Whether this is historically accurate is an option I think is worth exploring. Why? Because I think that the pursuit of YHWH was supposed to be a pursuit of infinite wisdom, excellence, goodness, truth, and beauty. I think that the Israelites got tired of this (because such a pursuit does cost), and thus settled for mediocrity. No other deity was as demanding as YHWH. And so there wasn’t a reason to switch, unless your deity is YHWH. I see this as another viable explanation.

          What makes me especially interested in the mediocrity explanation is that I think the West is currently worshiping mediocrity. It is well-captured by book titles such as The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations, The Malaise of Modernity, The Minimal Self: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times, The Closing of the American Mind, The Closing of the Western Mind, The Defeat of the Mind, and Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline. I first keyed into this when I was researching how to get Peter Thiel to do a second Veritas Forum with N.T. Wright. Thiel criticized the West for having a pathetic imagination (lol @ “the developed world”—as if little further development is required) and I think he’s absolutely right.

          The more I explore, the more the mediocrity explanation seems to fit. I’m looking for anomalies, so do please provide as many as you feel like. But the vast weight of the evidence points toward pathetic imagination. We just don’t want all that much. Sadly, it seems like the only thing which will really force us to get our asses in gear is catastrophic global climate instability. And perhaps only a remnant will survive it. But that’s nothing new.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage.

          A significant advantage? Seriously? Have you actually read the Bible?

          Like standing still the midday Sun, that sort of advantage..or loosening the wheel nuts of the Egyptian chariots…or, or, or….But fucked against iron chariots…God wouldn’t want to give the Israelite’s too much of an advantage.

          Wise up Luke.

        • Holding the sun still did not give the Israelites new science or technology. Yes, I know y’all just adore Judges 1:19. Hmm, you provoked me to find this:

          19. The natural place for this verse is after Jdg 1:7, i. e. after the account of Judah’s first success in the Southern Highlands. He conquered the hill country, but the inhabitants of the plain were too strong for him. There is no one word for the Hebr. verb meaning ‘drive out,’ ‘dispossess,’ ‘conquer.’

          for he could not drive out] lit. ‘for (he was) not for driving out,’ a most unusual construction; correct he was not able to drive out, so two Hebr. MSS. and the Versions. The text of Jdg 1:21; Jdg 1:27; Jdg 1:32 is to be corrected in the same way. Comparing Jdg 1:21 with Joshua 15:63, Jdg 1:27 with ib. Jdg 17:12, 2 Chronicles 8:8 with 1 Kings 9:21, we note a tendency to obliterate the impotence of Israel. In this chap. the editor’s theory (Jdg 2:1 b–5a) has influenced the alteration: the cause of the tribes’ failure was not their inability to match the Canaanites, but their unfaithfulness (so Targum here).

          the inhabitants of the valley] i.e. of the Philistine plain, between the hills and the sea; see Jdg 1:18 note.

          chariots of iron] Cf. Jdg 4:3; Jdg 4:13, Joshua 17:16; Joshua 17:18; i.e. plated or studded with iron, like the Hittite chariots figured on Egyptian monuments: the currus falcati, i. e. scythed chariots, as Vulgate renders, were not yet invented. The horses and chariots of the Canaanites were probably adopted from the Egyptians; but ultimately, like those of the Egyptians, from the Hittites or N. Syrians. Recent excavations confirm what we learn from the O.T. Thus at Taanach iron implements have been found in large quantities; at Megiddo they occur plentifully first at the period which is dated in the middle of the Israelite monarchy, also much earlier but in smaller quantities. In Egypt iron was in common use at the time of the Exodus, and considerably earlier; it came chiefly from the mines in the Sinaitic Peninsula. (BibleHub: Judges 1:19 commentaries § Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

          Definitely worth some exploration; any suggested reading would be appreciated. I’m especially interested in whether anyone has compared competing viewpoints on this matter, or whether y’all just found one side, it matched your position, and so you didn’t skeptically investigate.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Apologetics are interesting. If just to see the lengths some will go in their pretzelmania contortions.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_chariots

          http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=301

          I’m especially interested in whether anyone has compared competing viewpoints on this matter, or whether y’all just found one side, it matched your position, and so you didn’t skeptically investigate.

          Already been looked into a while back.

          It could all be as simple as just a matter of translation. Bringing it up is just a bit of tongue-in-cheek piss take…much like all the other nonsense. You must know that the exodus and the wandering in the wilderness, is just a story. I don’t consider it anything historical and neither do most scholars these days…including leading Jewish academic Rabbi Wolpe…..Named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. He previously taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

        • http://www.apologeticspress

          And where’s the critical engagement with Judges 2:1–3? Anyone who knows anything knows that narrative accounts in the OT are not always linear in the way moderns expect history to be recounted.

          Already been looked into a while back.

          Irrelevant; if you can’t present it now, then it doesn’t get entered into the conversational record.

          Bringing it up is just a bit of tongue-in-cheek piss take…

          Maybe, but I personally find it fascinating. Why? Because I don’t think that YHWH was nearly as much on Israel’s side as is often believed, whether by Christian apologists or atheists. The relationship was quite tendentious, as a reading of (for example) Exodus 33 reveals. Note this verse:

          Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:3)

          Hmmm, if God is not constantly present the Israelites during their conquering, maybe the conquering would be harder than it otherwise could be…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Holding the sun still did not give the Israelites new science or technology.

          The point is, if you have an omnipotent, omniscient being, you don’t really need new science or technology to gain a significant advantage. Yet here we are, where we are today, by using new science and technology. It’s like there is no such a thing as an omnipotent, omniscient being.

          We only need a knowledge of germ theory because of the detrimental effects of germs.

        • The point is, if you have an omnipotent, omniscient being, you don’t really need new science or technology to gain a significant advantage.

          True.

          Yet here we are, where we are today, by using new science and technology.

          Because maybe it’s awesome for humans to do science and invent technology. Curiously enough, I was able to test this “maybe”, yesterday. Michael Specter, journalist (WaPoNYTNew Yorker) and author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives, gave a talk at UCSF yesterday: 2017 Chauncey D. Leake Lecture: “Do Facts Still Matter? And What Does It Mean If They Don’t?”. Afterward, I asked him something like the following and he answered something like the following (I’ve asked a postdoc I met there to verify/​correct, as she was present):

          Q: Is it enough for your average American to get health & longevity benefits from science & technology, plus some cool toys? Is this enough for them to care about the facts? Or do they need more—like the chance to be curious like scientists get to be, to explore reality somehow and learn more about it?

          A: Well I’m 61 and want to live at least to 80. Friends of mine also want to live longer.

          This matches up with your stance: why can’t we just have an omnimax deity catering to us just like we saw technology catering to humans in WALL-E? I dissent, and so does a faculty member of UCSF I later asked the same question. Her answer:

          A′: Once a person gets a taste of the wonder of exploring curiosity, all the other things won’t matter. Galileo would have had much less of a problem if he had merely handed each bishop a telescope.

          So IA, are you more like the journalist, or the scientist?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do ya think science and technology is a hobby a god has given to it’s pet creation to keep it occupied? Like a sort of hamster wheel?

          I think you might have missed my point.

          We don’t have any evidence of omnimax deities doing any omnimax things. All that is nonsense in a book with no supporting evidence. But serving as a devils advocate, to what purpose science and technology in a world with a omnimax god.

          An omnimax deity only needs to serve curiosity and the rest would fall into place. Ya see, the beauty of any omnimax being is that it can do anything. Curiosity would be of no consequence.

          Curiosity is a strange thing. A lot of theists lack it. Or have it selectively anyway. They are content with the god-did-it answer to the awkward and more interesting questions.

          But since we are here surrounded by new science and technology…I’m curious.

          This matches up with your stance: why can’t we just have an omnimax deity catering to us just like we saw technology catering to humans in WALL-E?

          I don’t see how the answer is relevant to the question. I don’t see how it answers either question. Maybe I’ve missed it? Is the journalist looking to science and technology to extend mortality because of curiosity to know more? Or as a means to an ends? I didn’t think longevity in this life was a central goal of the believer. I thought all roads were to aimed at achieving righteousness and a seat in the big house.

          A′: Once a person gets a taste of the wonder of exploring curiosity, all the other things won’t matter.

          Of course. Because we are curious. But that needn’t be so in the world of an omnimax being. And may I add, there are huge swathes of humanity that have no interest in exploring curiosity. We get quite a few of them at places like this.

          Galileo would have had much less of a problem if he had merely handed each bishop a telescope.

          Yeah, I don’t think so. Galileo had bigger problems than just trying to convince the incurious to become curious.

          I’m like the journalist and the scientist. I want to live as long as is reasonable precisely because of my curiosity about what has yet to be discovered, or what is yet to be explained. New science and technology is the only way that’s going to happen as far as I know.

        • Do ya think science and technology is a hobby a god has given to it’s pet creation to keep it occupied? Like a sort of hamster wheel?

          Nope, quite the opposite. Being able to explore created reality and create new reality are both divine abilities which all humans are meant to attain.

          I think you might have missed my point.

          No, I’m critiquing presuppositions of your thinking. For example:

          Of course. Because we are curious. But that needn’t be so in the world of an omnimax being.

          You are of course, again correct. But why all this focus on “need”? Wouldn’t a world without curiosity of created beings be much less glorious than a world with curiosity of created beings?

          And may I add, there are huge swathes of humanity that have no interest in exploring curiosity.

          I suggest a watch of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk “Do schools kill creativity?” (12,000,000 views):

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY

        • Michael Neville

          I didn’t think longevity in this life was a central goal of the believer. I thought all roads were to aimed at achieving righteousness and a seat in the big house.

          “Everyone wants to go to Heaven, nobody is in a hurry to get there.” –Anon

        • Greg G.

          I always say “Nobody wants to get old and nobody wants to die, but they would rather do both.”

        • MNb

          Some characters in this comic were.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterix_and_the_Normans

        • eric

          Okay Luke, so tell us all the horrible imperialistic consequences that we could reasonably extrapolate would have happened if God had shared with people the germ theory of disease and the proscriptive rule “wash your hands often.” Because that was the example Paul B. Lot actually used, as opposed to gunpowder, which he did not. Oh no, the childhood death rate would’ve gone from 1 in 3 to 1 in 10,000! Won’t somebody please discount the lives of the children!
          But in any event, you seem to be defending God’s tower of Babel-type smiting as a good thing. After all, we can’t have the humans communicating easier! Is that correct?

        • Okay Luke, so tell us all the horrible imperialistic consequences that we could reasonably extrapolate would have happened if God had shared with people the germ theory of disease and the proscriptive rule “wash your hands often.”

          I don’t need to; @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus granted the point:

          LB: Even something as innocent-sounding as teaching about germ theory would provide the Israelite military with a significant advantage.

          PBL: No shit? That’s why I brought it up, asshole.

          But in any event, you seem to be defending God’s tower of Babel-type smiting as a good thing. After all, we can’t have the humans communicating easier! Is that correct?

          Nope, I actually suspect that the problem with the Tower of Babel is that the humans participating in it would soon be able to do anything—anything “they propose to do”. What if they put their minds to doing very little? This problem is known in the literature about omnipotence:

               (2)  S is omnipotent =df S can perform any action A such that it is logically possible that S does A.

          […] However, (2) runs into the famous ‘McEar’ counter-example (Plantinga 1967: 170; La Croix 1977: 183). Suppose that it is a necessary truth about a certain being, known as McEar, that the only action he performs is scratching his ear. It follows that, if McEar can scratch his ear, he is omnipotent, despite his inability to do anything else. This result is clearly unacceptable. (IEP: Omnipotence § Act Theories)

          So, a perfectly coherent and plausible interpretation is that God wished humans to do what he originally set them to doing:

          And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:28)

          Humans refused—the story of Babel makes that clear:

          Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen 11:4)

          God would not let them settle in a sliver of reality and remain there. He wanted them to explore all of reality and to do whatever it is that “subdue” and “have dominion” means. (Nowadays they are interpreted to allow for all sorts of domination and crap. Because hey, what God declared “good” ten million times in the very first chapter of their holy text is gonna get obliterated instead of purified, so what the hell.)

        • eric

          LOL, did it not occur to God to avoid the problem of ‘the Israelite army will use germ theory to conquer their enemies’ by (a) giving it to everyone, not just the Israelis, and/or (b) telling the Israeli army not to do that?

          Its weird how it seems God was perfectly capable of telling them go kill people, kill their cattle, salt their fields, and take their girl-children for rapine and enslavement. But ‘wash your hands’…why telling them that would have lead to too much suffering!

          Your position is just so, incredibly, apologistic. You will search for any potential, possible reason to justify how transparently bad decisions (for a tri-Omni god) might be seen as good if we had information we don’t have.
          All to escape the obvious and fairly mundane conclusion that the OT doesn’t talk about germ theory because the authors (divine or mundane) were ignorant of it.

        • LOL, did it not occur to God to avoid the problem of ‘the Israelite army will use germ theory to conquer their enemies’ by (a) giving it to everyone, not just the Israelis, and/or (b) telling the Israeli army not to do that?

          (a) This is precisely what YHWH wished to accomplish:

          See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? (Deut 4:5–8)

          (b) The Israelites weren’t reel gud at listening to God:

          “Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my rules and have not walked in my statutes. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my rules, and have not even acted according to the rules of the nations that are all around you, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. (Ezekiel 5:5–8)

          Its weird how it seems God was perfectly capable of telling them go kill people, kill their cattle, salt their fields, and take their girl-children for rapine and enslavement.

          Where are the Israelites told to do the underlined or anything like it?

          Your position is just so, incredibly, apologistic.

          Is it? Is this “apologistic”:

          LB: I don’t think that YHWH was nearly as much on Israel’s side as is often believed, whether by Christian apologists or atheists. The relationship was quite tendentious, as a reading of (for example) Exodus 33 reveals. Note this verse:

          Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 33:3)

          Hmmm, if God is not constantly present the Israelites during their conquering, maybe the conquering would be harder than it otherwise could be…

          Is it “apologistic” to think that most Christians in the West today are like the Scribes and Pharisees as portrayed by the NT? Is it “apologistic” to compare Trump to the “lawless one” of 2 Thess 2:1–12? If so, then I am absolutely delighted to be described as “incredibly apologistic”. If not, then perhaps you ought to respect the evidence more and your dogma/​stereotypes less.

        • All to escape the obvious and fairly mundane conclusion that the OT doesn’t talk about germ theory because the authors (divine or mundane) were ignorant of it.

          Actually, the easiest way to understand germ theory would be via observing STD spread among a population which abstains from sexual promiscuity, comparing it to other populations which are sexually promiscuous. Hmm, which religion prohibited promiscuity…

        • Greg G.

          It seems that happened long before the pyramids were built and was not because of religion:

          STIs may have driven ancient humans to monogamy, study says

        • Joe

          Hmm, which religion prohibited promiscuity…

          Are you talking successfully, or just as a general guideline?

        • Enough success for enough time would have brought the signal above the noise. Whether or not that ever happened, I don’t know. But in terms of a fantastic opportunity for ANE folks to learn about germ theory in a very ‘natural’ way, can you think of anything better?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Enough success for enough time would have brought the signal above the noise.

          Ha ha that is very funny.

          And if yer arse was square you could shite coal bricks.

          Whether or not that ever happened, I don’t know.

          Yeah,….I’ll go out on a limb here and state it never happened.

          But in terms of a fantastic opportunity for ANE folks to learn about germ theory in a very ‘natural’ way, can you think of anything better?

          Which religion prohibited promiscuity? Not any ANE folks I’m aware of. Loads of dopey rules involving sex, but I can’t remember a ban on being promiscuous.

          I guess it depends on how one defines sexual immorality or promiscuity I suppose.

          On the other hand, the bible is chock full of what many would call promiscuous activity. With Gods permission too.

          Who was Mrs Cain?

          What did Ham do to his Da, Noah?

          The most righteous in the land, Lot offers the townsfolk his two virgin daughters…who would later get their Da drunk and have incestuous sex with him…which God rewards with pregnancy.

          Abraham puts a servant girls hands on his balls while he talks to God…oh how that sounds familiar in these modern times.

          Didn’t old Abe end up riding the servant girl too, afaicr?

          Jacob shags Leah by mistake, he really wanted to buck Rachel cause he fancied her more…he eventually gets his end away with Rachel though.

          Rachel struggles to have kids with Jacob, so she comes up with the idea that for Jacob to have a sprog, he should hump the servant girl Bilah. So he does.

          Leah, not to be upstaged by Rachel, also gives Jacob her maid servant Zilpah to shag, and bare another sprog too.

          Then Rachel trades sex with her husband for Leah’s mandrakes. A bit of early pimping?

          Reuben then goes and fucks his father Bilah’s mistress, not wife may I add, but his bit on the side.

          Judah rapes…has casual sex…with a Canaanite’s daughter…who has two sprogs to him. Er and Onan.

          God kills Er, and as a result, Judah tells Onan to get in there and shag his widowed sister-in-law. But because Onan pulled out and shot his load on the floor, God smote him too. They don’t tell any of the wee’ens about that one in today’s Sunday School classes, do they?

          Tamar, Judah’s now widowed daughter-in-law, dresses up as a prostitute, presumably because Judah is a kerb crawler, or has a fetish for pro’s, anyway, Judah fucks her too, giving her twins.

          Tamar likes playing the whore and so puts it about a bit pissing Judah off. He has her burnt for it.

          Potiphar’s wife seduces Joseph…she claims he shagged her, he claims he didn’t.

          Joseph gropes Jacobs ballix.

          Jacob has a few words to say about his son Reuban for his earlier shagging of Jacob’s bit on the side. Get yer own bit on the side is the moral of that story.

          That just about sum’s it up for the Book of Genesis, am sure a missed something, but to suggest no promiscuity, my arse.

        • It’s curious that if you have a record of all this, you can compare & contrast who has STDs with whom they’ve slept with…

        • BTW, I had a slight copy-paste error with my comment; you’ll have to reload.

        • Kevin K

          It’s kind of like biblical exegesis, isn’t it? Trying to figure out what the heck it’s on about.

        • Paul B. Lot

          🙂

        • What in the name of anything does that have to do with anything?

          It sheds light on the following:

          LB: Isn’t it just disgusting that the creator of reality might value the particular as well as the universal? Surely only universal knowledge really matters.

          Compare the underline/​bold to the same in my excerpt of the peer-reviewed science article Doing Research that Makes a Difference (170 ‘citations’). Your evaluation of is irrelevant until and if you demonstrate competence in the relevant domain. As it stands, you appear utterly ignorant of one of the most basic issues in philosophy: The Problem of [the One and] the Many.

          You thought what I wrote was “Word salad.”; I tried to educate you. But perhaps you do not feel like you need to be further educated. In that event, anything you are not yet able to understand will indeed appear to be “Absolutely meaningless.” (within error).

        • MNb

          “I tried to educate you.”
          Don’t. You’re a failure. And your pupils are not the ones to be blamed.

        • Kevin K

          No kidding, that doesn’t mean what you think it means. 170 citations worth of irrelevance to your comment.

          Because you’re talking about a “creator” that doesn’t exist. A fiction. A non-existent thing. A non-existent thing does not concern itself with either “universal” or “particular” knowledge.

          You’re claiming an attribute for a phantasm. It makes zero sense. None. Not even a little bit.

        • Paul B. Lot

          1) I pretty much agree with you on the phantasm-bit.
          2) If you’re asking a religious believer about his beliefs, claiming that they don’t make sense because his god doesn’t exist isn’t a valid move.

          That the premises to an argument are false doesn’t say anything about the validity of the argument. Sure it is unsound, but if the form of the argument is valid I don’t think it’s accurate to call the argument “nonsense”.

          It does, in fact, “make sense” if one accepts certain premises.

          If, for example, we are in a computer simulation that was coded up and started last Thursday, then we are all of us four days old.

        • Kevin K

          Well, except in this case the context doesn’t support either the premise of his initial statement, nor his extended “gotcha” (ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY CITATIONS!!!11ELEVENTY!!!!).

          I’m not asking him to prove that Doug exists. Only that his comments in defense of the god concept be relevant.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well, what was the post he was replying to?

          It ran, in part:

          Simply do not understand why it should be of interest to anyone to explore some being reported about in a book over 2000 years ago who then stopped suddenly communicating unambiguously in clear and globally understandable language?

          An entity that spoke to some minor middle eastern tribe who as part of this communication included a false (fake) history to justify its occupation of the land they inhabited.
          An entity that only managed that communicate in an obscure language spoken by a few hundred thousand (if that).

          Now a) I’m sympathetic to this point of view. Very sympathetic.

          But b) IF god could not teach the Israelities any faster; IF it would have removed their agency to be any less-useless….then that criticism is answered.

          I think that that premise, that “IF”, is absurd; I think it’s wrong, I think it’s false.

          BUT IF IT’S TRUE, then the argument holds water.

          The form is valid, it’s merely saddled with bad premises and therefore unsound.

        • No kidding, that doesn’t mean what you think it means.

          Given that I can talk intelligibly with an accomplished sociologist about matters of local vs. universal knowledge and how the Enlightenment biased us to most highly value universal knowledge (which we cannot have in empirical matters; the best we can accomplish is Ceteris Paribus Laws), I am quite confident that I do understand these matters, at least at an intermediate level. As long as the only response you can give is “Absolutely meaningless.”, I am given no reason to doubt that.

          Because you’re talking about a “creator” that doesn’t exist.

          Enlightenment folks didn’t have a problem talking about God in precisely the restricted sense that I require for my “the creator of reality might value the particular as well as the universal” to make sense. Einstein’s “God does not play dice!” fits perfectly in-line with this. I’ll let you work out why.

          You’re claiming an attribute for a phantasm. It makes zero sense. None. Not even a little bit.

          Given that the same criticism applies to Einstein (N.B. I take Einstein at his word), this doesn’t particularly bother me. Any time someone makes such a judgment, it’s a function ƒ(themselves, object). If the person is self-righteous, then they’ll make the mistake of computing |ƒ(·,·)|. That is, they will not recognize when the error lies within them. Alas, many people still don’t believe Mt 7:1–5. Especially those who think they’re smart.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeFoGo3N_4g

        • Paul B. Lot

          Any time someone makes such a judgment, it’s a function ƒ(themselves, object).

          I doubt that “any” is accurate. Some percentage of the time one’s own incompetence in [saying a thing] leads to one’s interlocutor’s [misunderstanding a thing].

          (In your case, @LukeBreuer:disqus, that percentage is very, very large.)

        • Yes, I’m sure my treating my incompetent interlocutors as if they were competent does lead to a good deal of tedium.

        • Kevin K

          You’re a tedious little chew toy sometimes.

        • Definitely worth saving this for posterity:

          Kevin K: You’re a tedious little chew toy sometimes.

          I do appreciate your honesty, @disqus_PLsnvjzHUV:disqus.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Yes, I’m sure my treating my incompetent interlocutors as if they were competent does lead to a good deal of tedium.

          Why are you deflecting away from the criticism, @LukeBreuer:disqus?

          Your choice of the word “any” was inaccurate, attacking others won’t change that.

        • Given the idolatry of his time, I’ll bet Francis Bacon often sounded incompetent. But we know that the judgment of incompetence follows this rule:

          LB: Any time someone makes such a judgment, it’s a function ƒ(themselves, object).

          That is, if your understanding of reality is confused but you think it is correct, when you hear another person speak correctly, it can easily appear confused to you. Hence what God said to Isaiah:

          And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

              “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
              keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
          (Isaiah 6:8–9)

          The compression waves and photons successfully activate the sensory organs, but then the neural impulses are molded by hardened conceptual categories, aka idols, and as a result there is a failure of understanding/​perceiving.

           
          Now, I’m certainly aware that I don’t always use words in a way that is “standard”, as judged not by the experience of some particular atheist on the internet, but as judged by your average inhabitant of the US who has lived in the Northeast suburbs, a Southern California city, and a Northern California city. The smarter people I talk to generally don’t have any problem with this. The humble ones who don’t have rich abstract conceptual repertoires (there are many other ways to be smart) ask questions when something seems confusing. It is really only the arrogant who immediately assume I am being stupid.

          What is funny is that you think I commonly use words in a nonstandard way, per my definition of “standard”, above. Or, if you don’t actually think this [plausible thing], it’s funny that you think I ought to automagically understand the definitional ranges of any particular interlocutor. I’m happy to derive it from discussion of course, but curiously enough, this is often portrayed as a defect. Odd, how people who claim to value the evidence hate it when I value the evidence. Oh wait, that matches the evidence.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “‘Any’ could have been ‘almost always’ or ‘in my experience’ or ‘often’ or ‘it seems to me’. A pedantic point perhaps, but a point nonetheless.”

          See how easy that was, @LukeBreuer:disqus? To accept the truth, instead of deflecting away the blame to the other?

          Don’t you believe that your jesus is “the truth”? Why not let him set you free?

          🙂

        • Nope, I still think the “any” is correct. You just added the next element to the Taylor series approximation of reality, as it were.

        • Kevin K

          You are not Francis Bacon. Not even close.

        • I am clearly not Francis Bacon; he has been dead for some time. The truth or falsity of your [figurative] point is irrelevant to whether or not @disqus_4rvHZwPMCR:disqus was comprehensively correct to say:

          LB: Any time someone makes such a judgment, it’s a function ƒ(themselves, object).

          PBL: I doubt that “any” is accurate. Some percentage of the time one’s own incompetence in [saying a thing] leads to one’s interlocutor’s [misunderstanding a thing].

          What he missed was this possibility:

          PBL′: Some percentage of the time one’s own incompetence in [saying a thing] leads to one’s interlocutor’s [misunderstanding a thing] because of his/her incompetence in that thing.

          Probably because of self-righteousness (of the intellectual or moral variety).

        • Paul B. Lot

          What he missed was this possibility:

          What lead you to that conclusion, sherlock?

        • Rationality.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Doubtful.

        • Joe

          He’s not even Kevin Bacon.

        • al kimeea

          or bacon which is tasty not sour on the palate

        • MNb

          Or Roger Bacon.

        • adam

          “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who
          will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go,
          and say to this people:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

        • Kevin K

          You’re spending much more time defending the fact that you’re misunderstood rather than trying to make yourself understood.

          I’ve said this before. Shorter sentences. The period is your friend. Subject-object-predicate. Say what you mean, not what you think makes you look educated. Only the un/poorly educated brag about their intellectual achievements instead of actually trying to communicate. And the truly educated can see right through you when you try to claim competency that isn’t there.

          You’re as transparent as glass. Drs. Dunning and Kruger would have thought you an interesting case study.

        • You’re spending much more time defending the fact that you’re misunderstood rather than trying to make yourself understood.

          I’m making people suffer when they make a big deal of misunderstandings. If they instead rapidly correct, the metaconversation dies down. If they practice charitable interpretation and occasional steelmanning, the amount of metaconversation gets arbitrarily close to 0%.

          I’ve said this before. Shorter sentences. The period is your friend. Subject-object-predicate. Say what you mean, not what you think makes you look educated.

          I do not care about looking educated. (What a stupid thing to desire when an outsider to a social group.) As to the rest, I learn to write more clearly as I discuss a given thing with more people. Finally:

          Again it is arguable, and Coleridge himself argued, that only shallow thinking can dispense with parentheses in writing. (What Coleridge Thought, 11)

          If you have that much trouble understanding what I say, don’t respond. Just wait, and after I’ve discussed the matter with enough other people, I’ll be able to give you the baby version you seem to need.

          Only the un/poorly educated brag about their intellectual achievements instead of actually trying to communicate.

          Where have I bragged about my intellectual achievements? Or do you not require evidence for your claims?

          And the truly educated can see right through you when you try to claim competency that isn’t there.

          I don’t have a BS, or an MA. But I do read a lot and discuss a lot with a wide variety of people, online and IRL. After several years of this, I attended the conference at Stanford, The New Politics of Church/​State Relations. I was curious to know whether I could have anything useful to say. I said at least one dumb thing (or possibly not) to Charles Taylor. His response was not your own “Absolutely meaningless.” but a wonderful piece of wisdom I will always remember: “Secularism works if you are not suspicious of the Other.” That’s how the truly educated behave.

          You’re as transparent as glass.

          Glad to hear it! Or maybe I’m supposed to go awww. But I actually like it when I don’t obscure the basis of what I believe, unlike so many others:

              In one definition of the word, it is of course impossible to find any assertions of full skepticism; even silent enactments are difficult. A good general rule is: scratch a skeptic and find a dogmatist. (Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent, 56)

        • Kevin K

          Dude. We’re laughing at you.

          Are you so dense that you don’t realize that your little puffed-up ostentatious act is silly and laughably inept?

          I have other things to do at the moment. I’m sure others will keep you suitably entertained.

        • Dude. We’re laughing at you.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7nJXobfPBs#t=3m50s

          Are you so dense that you don’t realize that your little puffed-up ostentatious act is silly and laughably inept?

          ƒ(self, other) + further articulation

          I have other things to do at the moment.

          Hooray!

        • Ignorant Amos

          If they practice charitable interpretation and occasional steelmanning, the amount of metaconversation gets arbitrarily close to 0%.

          Spooooiiiinnnng!

        • You are welcome to demonstrate where I have failed to charitably interpret my interlocutors. Probably I am bad at this, because of people failing to do it well to me. Mirror neurons and all that. Specific examples (especially multiple which run along a given theme) will help me figure out what causes me to exhibit behavior X, so I can then consider how to change behavior X.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are welcome to demonstrate where I have failed to charitably interpret my interlocutors.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/comostheinlost/if_you_practice_it_you8217ll_become_how_the_pastor_became_an_atheist/#comment-3194549878

          I am bad at this, because of people failing to do it well to me. Mirror neurons and all that. Specific examples (especially multiple which run along a given theme) will help me figure out what causes me to exhibit behavior X, so I can then consider how to change behavior X.

          Exhibiting X behaviour is not so much the issue for me. It is your hypocrisy when it comes exhibiting X behaviour that is.

          When it comes to the behaviour of not interpreting the most charitable definition of a word or phrase, refrain from criticising us mere mortals for that crime, when it is the case that you might only be trying too. By all means rip into us for getting it totally wrong in the first place, and even argue about the minutiae of definitions in order to educate a point of failure. But lets not pretend you don’t succumb to same foibles the rest of us do.

        • LB: You are welcome to demonstrate where I have failed to charitably interpret my interlocutors.

          IA: https://disqus.com/home/dis

          IA, are you aware of the phenomenon whereby someone means an intense insult but if the insulted challenges him/her on it, there is a plausible interpretation which is not nearly as bad? It’s something I experienced all the time in middle school. In those situations, it was obvious that the terrible thing was meant, but I was defenseless against it because the cool kids could always back down to the middling interpretation when challenged by me, whether or not I asked a teacher to get involved. (I soon learned that asking a teacher to get involved only made things worse.)

          If you are aware of the above phenomenon, would you tell me how I could have fought it? Or is it impossible to fight? Because I saw the situation with PBL and “peach” as following this precise pattern.

          Furthermore, if you cannot find very many other examples of my failing to charitably interpret, then your generalization is outrageously false. Unless you meant that my failing once is enough to condemn me, a la James 2:8–13?

          Exhibiting X behaviour is not so much the issue for me. It is your hypocrisy when it comes exhibiting X behaviour that is.

          So if I’m not perfect, I’m a perfect hypocrite?

          When it comes to the behaviour of not interpreting the most charitable definition of a word or phrase, refrain from criticising us mere mortals for that crime, when it is the case that you might only be trying too.

          And if others do it 99% of the time and I do it 1% of the time? May I not criticize until I’m at 0%?

          But lets not pretend you don’t succumb to same foibles the rest of us do.

          You have zero evidence that I pretend such a thing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          IA, are you aware of the phenomenon whereby someone means an intense insult but if the insulted challenges him/her on it, there is a plausible interpretation which is not nearly as bad? It’s something I experienced all the time in middle school. In those situations, it was obvious that the terrible thing was meant, but I was defenseless against it because the cool kids could always back down to the middling interpretation when challenged by me, whether or not I asked a teacher to get involved. (I soon learned that asking a teacher to get involved only made things worse.)

          Luke, you would have a modicum of an argument for your “plausible deniability” trope if the circumstances in that whole episode had warranted what you are saying. PBL didn’t and doesn’t give a fuck. There was nothing to gain by pointing out your misinterpretation of what PBL said, and you keep saying he called you a “peach” without the context. I’m sure you saved a link to that altercation, if ya never saved one. PBL stated you got it wrong…fine, you didn’t believe him. Everyone else did, because a simple check confirmed his usage. Now plausible deniability or not, it was you that decided NOT to accept the charitable interpretation and that is MY point…your personal reasons become academic, can’t you see that? Otherwise every one of your interlocutors can pull the same gambit.

          If you are aware of the above phenomenon, would you tell me how I could have fought it? Or is it impossible to fight? Because I saw the situation with PBL and “peach” as following this precise pattern.

          You weren’t supposed to have fought it. You were supposed to ignore it, or give it the most charitable interpretation as you claim you always give. That is the whole point. As it happened, your insistence that you couldn’t be wrong got ya banhammered over something so silly.

          Furthermore, if you cannot find very many other examples of my failing to charitably interpret, then your generalization is outrageously false. Unless you meant that my failing once is enough to condemn me, a la James 2:8–13?

          Well there have been other examples, epeeist, David Neville, otto…probably a few others…I haven’t the time or the inkling to go searching disqus, if you doubt they happened then so be it.

          So if I’m not perfect, I’m a perfect hypocrite?

          Nope. Nor did I suggest anything of the sort. You are a hypocrite for criticising others for doing something you have done yourself…at least once…like the single data point nonsense. None of us are perfect. It’s when we try to give the impression we are and failing to recognise where we are failing, is the problem.

          And if others do it 99% of the time and I do it 1% of the time? May I not criticize until I’m at 0%?

          Criticise all ya like Luke. But don’t whinge when you are pulled for being disingenuous and called a hypocrite when you pull the trigger. Regardless of how often you have offended. Someone who kills once or kills hundreds is still a killer.

          You have zero evidence that I pretend such a thing.

          Don’t I?

        • Luke, you would have a modicum of an argument for your “plausible deniability” trope if the circumstances in that whole episode had warranted what you are saying. PBL didn’t and doesn’t give a fuck.

          Given how often PBL responds to me, he certainly gives “a fuck” about something here. As to his denial that he meant something along the lines of urban dictionary: peach, that doesn’t mesh well at all with his “You’re a human shit stain, Luke.” Yes, that’s later in time, but as I argued, he doesn’t have justification for that claim. Therefore, it is logical to suppose that he came to this negative evaluation a long time ago, and via mechanisms explained in the science of Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government (and perhaps others—let’s not be restrictive), he has bent the evidence to support said negative evaluation. That is, I have reason to suppose that either he is a liar, or self-deluded. Furthermore, let’s consult some hard, empirical evidence:

          No playground insults or namecalling. Intentionally misusing people’s names will be treated as this. (Outshine The Sun: Comment Policy)

          +

          PBL[The Moderation Actions Thread]: ~ Luke “I’m a peach!”[img] Breuer

          I flagged that comment (posted December 16, 2015 3:22 PM PT), but it has yet (2017-03-14) to be critiqued by a moderator in any detectable way. Indeed, you responded to it, and apparently didn’t care about the flagrant rule violation. Despite this:

          AG: Deleted a comment by Luke Breuer for violation of the “intentionally misusing names” rule.

          See, I get punished for violating the rules, but the regulars don’t. There is no truth, no real law, only power. Rules which are preferentially enforced are rule by man via facçade. Given this, I have zero reason to trust you and others when you say that Paul did not mean urban dictionary: peach, when he violated the comment policy and wrote “Luke I’m a peach!” [img] Breuer”. Let’s recall your own justification:

          IA: The idiom, “you’re a peach” does not refer to a woman’s genitals, nor did the context PBL was using it.

          For some reason, urban dictionary: peach doesn’t exist when you don’t want it to exist. You get to define reality. Well, I know that empirically, this is how things work:

          Proposition 1: Power defines reality    Power concerns itself with defining reality rather than with discovering what reality “really” is. This is the single most important characteristic of the rationality of power, that is, of the strategies and tactics employed by power in relation to rationality. Defining reality by defining rationality is a principle means by which power exerts itself. This is not to imply that power seeks out rationality and knowledge because rationality and knowledge are power. Rather, power defines what counts as rationality and knowledge and thereby what counts as reality. The evidence of the Aalborg case confirms a basic Nietzschean insight: interpretation is not only commentary, as is often the view in academic settings, “interpretation is itself a means of becoming master of something”—in the case master of the Aalborg Project—and “all subduing and becoming master involves a fresh interpretation.”[4] Power does not limit itself, however, to simply defining a given interpretation or view of reality, nor does power entail only the power to render a given reality authoritative. Rather, power defines, and creates, concrete physical, economic, ecological, and social realities. (Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice, 227)

          But that’s bullshit. And I will fight that nonsense to my dying breath. 😀 Note that in all this, I am perfectly aware that you might be right, along with PBL‘s claim—that is:

          IA: In the context in which it was remarked, it equated to a sarcastic…

          peach:-
          n. someone or something excellent. (Usually a person.) That guy’s a real peach.

          Ya see, afaicr, it went a bit like this…and I’m paraphrasing…

          But given that you, Paul B. Lot, and Andrew G. do not care about following rules (this is empirical fact) when it benefits your purposes, I have zero reason to trust you when you attempt to ameliorate the possible intensity and terribleness of PBL’s comment. I have rational grounds for this pessimism; it is not a failure to charitably interpret. My pessimism has been confirmed, via PBL’s “You’re a human shit stain, Luke.” Prediction. Verification. Probable truth. Or rather: probably the best model so far. Perhaps you just don’t care about the evidence as much as you say you do.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Lol.

          By now, @LukeBreuer:disqus , I wish I had meant what your poor broken psyche has convinced itself that I must likely have meant – if only because of the pain it caused you.

          Note that in all this, I am perfectly aware that you might be right, along with PBL’s claim

          Again:

          Human
          Shit
          Stain

          —ETA—

          he certainly gives “a fuck” about something here

          Yes, you’re correct; I clearly do give a fuck about “something”. What is that “something”?

          Well, I’m in a uniquely qualified position to tell you, being – as I am – me: I don’t give a fuck about your getting butthurt over an old-school cuntry colloquialism. In fact, that’s still one of the funniest things I’ve ever come across on the internet – it’s one of my favorite memories of you Luke. 🙂

          What I do give a fuck about is the same thing that @disqus_xYWVllyPLU:disqus was talking about here.

        • PBL: By now, Luke Breuer , I wish I had meant what your poor broken psyche has convinced itself that I must likely have meant – if only because of the pain it caused you.

          Ahh, I did hold this as an alternative. Thank you for verifying it. I now believe that you did not originally intend urban dictionary: peach. Sometimes I get the time index wrong.

          Again:

          Human
          Shit
          Stain

          Yep; ƒ(Paul B. Lot, Luke Breuer) = “human shit stain. I really did get that the first time, Boillot.

          IA: Luke, you would have a modicum of an argument for your “plausible deniability” trope if the circumstances in that whole episode had warranted what you are saying. PBL didn’t and doesn’t give a fuck.

          LB: Given how often PBL responds to me, he certainly gives “a fuck” about something here.

          PBL: Yes, you’re correct; I clearly do give a fuck about “something“. What is that “something“?

          Well, I’m in a uniquely qualified position to tell you, being – as I am – me:

          Oh, is it hypocrisy for breakfast?

          PBL: I was doing the lord’s work and explaining your point of view to someone else better than you could on your own

        • Paul B. Lot

          Ahh, I did hold this as an alternative. Thank you for verifying it.

          For verifying what, precisely?

          Oh, is it hypocrisy for breakfast?

          Hmm, possibly – but I doubt it.

          In the latter situation, you were doing a very poor job of working with @disqus_PLsnvjzHUV:disqus – I interjected, and apparently got him to understand more of your own position than you were (or had been) able to. I was not claiming to know your mind better than you, only that I was better at explaining your point to that one particular person than you were. If you were to push-back on my characterization of your point to Kevin, I would have (*caveats*) modified that characterization…because you would be in a better position to know your point than I.

          In the former situation, you claimed to be able to intuit something about my interior state of mind which was incorrect. I’m merely telling you that I’m in a better position to know my mind than you.

          Not only is there no hypocrisy involved in holding both positions, they in fact are in complete rational and moral harmony.

          I understand that you so very badly want to believe that I’m a hypocrite and self-righteous and out to get you, both because of your martyr/narcissist complexes and because you are prone to projection, but this latest attempt is yet another of your failures of basic rationality.

        • For verifying what, precisely?

          That I was tracking something external to my mind.

          In the latter situation, you were doing a very poor job of working with @disqus_PLsnvjzHUV:disqus – I interjected, and apparently got him to understand more of your own position than you were (or had been) able to.

          Were you explaining my position, or were you explaining your shitty-ass representation of some position you want to slap on me in order to make me seem maximally stupid and/or deluded and/or evil?

          In the former situation, you claimed to be able to intuit something about my interior state of mind which was incorrect. I’m merely telling you that I’m in a better position to know my mind than you.

          And yet, you also think you’re in a better position to understand the interior state of my mind than I am. Because that’s certainly how you acted when you vomited this up:

          PBL: The reaction, then, the next-best position to hold after “we have been given objectively accurate moral truths (humans are seperate and superior, eg.)”, is to retreat to the bunker of “god reveals his universal nature to us quietly and non-maniuplative/​forcefully in the evidence of the cosmos, in and through the NOMA of science AND he speaks to us more particularly and personally on an interpersonal-level through cultures and faiths and prayers.”

          The judo-attempt (Judeo-Judo?) here, the defensive position taken up, in response to the atheist ridicule about the impotence, ignorance, or barbarity of ancient cultures/​faith/​doctrine, is to claim that god HAS to work with humans as they are: if he had told the Jews about the Couloumb then he would’ve been forcing them to believe in him. (Err….pillar of fire? burning bush?…..nevermind)

          My position is an oblate spheroid earth and you’re a flat-earther. But you know that if you shove words in others’ mouths, it’s a fantastic way to discredit them. And so you do it. Because that is the kind of person you are. (I just don’t believe you’re doing this ignorantly, like a drunk driver. You know precisely what you’re doing, and relish doing it.) So basically, you’re the antithesis to:

          rational and moral harmony

          I wish you weren’t, though.

          I understand that you so very badly want to believe that I’m a hypocrite and self-righteous and out to get you

          There you go again, being a hypocrite. Let’s recall what you said:

          PBL: Well, I’m in a uniquely qualified position to tell you, being – as I am – me:

          But when it comes to my mind, it’s not I who am in a uniquely qualified position to tell you what’s inside. No, symmetry is broken and you are the authority.

        • Kevin K

          Oh FFS. Take it outside. Stop linking to my feed.

          You’re the most-boring fucking troll. A pedant, aggressively arrogant, proud of you 170-citation red herring that proves absolutely nothing. A sea-lioning troll of the worst sort.

          Get it through your fucking thick skull. No one cares what you think.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Get it through your fucking thick skull. No one cares what you think.

          Well, clearly you and I both do, or we wouldn’t respond to him.

          That being said, I think your request to no-longer-be-linked is quite reasonable. Influkenza infections usually take a very long time to break, and quite a lot of shivering and fever.

          There’s no reason why you should be forced to participate if you don’t want to.

        • Kodie

          I open the email notifications and scroll scroll scroll. Sometimes I slow a bit, but it’s a huge waste of time to bother overly. I don’t actually care what Luke thinks, but I do occasionally respond because I have some time to entertain myself.

        • No one cares what you think.

          You sure do respond to me a lot for not caring about what I think.

        • Kevin K
        • You know, it is possible that you merely only care about yourself, and that is why you respond to me. So, I think I may stand corrected. Possible apologies, pending further investigation (which may never happen, as you’re not a very cooperative person when it comes to understanding what is true).

        • Kevin K

          …and you’re blocked.

        • Thank you!

        • adam
        • adam
        • Paul B. Lot

          For verifying what, precisely?

          That I was tracking something external to my mind.

          And what, precisely, was that “something” which you think that you were tracking – what was [the thing verified]?

          Were you explaining my position, or were you explaining your shitty-ass representation of some position you want to slap on me in order to make me seem maximally stupid and/or deluded and/or evil?

          Dawww, Lukeikins got his feelings hurt? 🙂

          I was doing my scout’s-honor best to explain [how I, A, understand what often happens in the minds of believers (like yourself, B)] to [someone else, C, who like me doesn’t believe, but unlike me doesn’t seem to understand some of the rationale which can under-gird the thought processes of believers].

          If you weren’t so emotionally damaged and neurotic, you might have been able to see the following data which contradict your assumptions:
          1) “Were you explaining my position, or were you explaining your … representation of some position…” => answered by my usage of “(I think)”
          2) “slap on me in order to make me seem maximally stupid and/or deluded and/or evil” => answered by these phrases
          i) “So, on some level, it makes sense
          ii) “Word salad exists, this doesn’t seem like it.
          iii)”This is merely quarter-baked and unfalsifiable feel-good-hypothesizing of the kind that even erudite humans have engaged in for all of recorded history.

          And yet, you also think you’re in a better position to understand the interior state of my mind than I am. Because that’s certainly how you acted when you [wrote] this:

          1) It is not impossible that I have a conscious understanding of some common thought patterns in a way which you do not, but 2) I did not assert that this was definitely true in this case, and 3) on the contrary, I offered explicit caveats to highlight that this was my interpretation.

          Your assertion that “that’s certainly how you acted” is false. Of course, if one were to add “it seems to me” in front of it, it becomes unobjectionable. As it stands, though, you seem to have asserted a certainty about something which is, in fact, uncertain in principle and, in fact, false in practice.

          But then, precision about these things is not your strong suit. 🙂

          My position is an oblate spheroid earth and you’re a flat-earther.

          Lol.

          Sidenote: have you ever talked to Geocentrists? They’re a tricky lot, too.

          But you know that if you shove words in others’ mouths, it’s a fantastic way to discredit them. And so you do it. Because that is the kind of person you are. (I just don’t believe you’re doing this ignorantly, like a drunk driver. You know precisely what you’re doing, and relish doing it.)

          Don’t care. You’re wrong. Just how you were wrong about the “peach” incident. Do you remember all the vile things you said as a result of that, as a result of your building a tottering tower of self-righteous indignation on a foundation of your rotten brain?

          Yeah, that didn’t work out either did it? 🙂

          So basically, you’re the antithesis to:

          🙂

          I wish you weren’t, though.

          Well then, whether you know it or not, your wishes are granted you. Maybe god does answer prayers? 😛

          There you go again, being a hypocrite. Let’s recall what you said:

          Oh. Oh I see. You’re using the statement “I wish you weren’t, though.” as premise 1, and my statement that “you so very badly want to believe that I’m a hypocrite” as a premise 2, to come to the conclusion:

          But when it comes to my mind, it’s not I who am in a uniquely qualified position to tell you what’s inside. No, symmetry is broken and you are the authority.

          Unfortunately you’re badly misunderstanding what I mean by one’s having “a uniquely qualified position to tell you what’s inside”.

          One only has that position on things one is consciously aware of.

          You have problems [ETA: I am not a doctor, and the internet/text/comboxes would not be an appropriate medium for diagnoses even if I were] you seem to have problems, @LukeBreuer:disqus, some of which you might not be aware. Your not being consciously aware of them, however, does not entail that it be impossible that others be aware of them.

          In that important sense, you might not be the “authority” on everything your mind is doing.

          On the other hand.

          Conscious thoughts are a stream to which the thinker alone has direct access – in that important sense they are uniquely qualified to inform others of what the stream contains.

          I can tell you that, as far as I am consciously aware, I don’t think about “the peach”