More Sloppy Thinking from William Lane Craig

More Sloppy Thinking from William Lane Craig March 23, 2018

In a recent post, I explored William Lane Craig’s unhealthy relationship with facts and evidence. Given his two doctorates and his frequent debates, you’d think that he’d be the champion of reason. Not so.

It is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth. Therefore, the only role left for argument and evidence to play is a subsidiary role. (Reasonable Faith, Third Edition, 47)

There’s a lot of that going around. Craig is like Jonathan Wells, a fellow at the Discovery Institute, who earned a doctorate in molecular and cell biology. Wells also sees science as the cabin boy to his agenda: “[The words of my spiritual leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon], my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism.”

And what is the “self-authenticating” part of the witness of the Holy Spirit? Craig needs to show his work. This sounds like nothing more than permission to elevate a personal opinion to a dictate of the Holy Spirit.

Is what’s good for the goose good for the gander?

Craig argues that God’s existence is obvious and needn’t be justified. Coming to grips with that remarkable attitude was the topic of my earlier post. Let’s explore further the dark and tangled recesses of the thinking within Craig’s Reasonable Faith.

Craig anticipates the obvious rebuttal. If the Christian is justified in dismissing evidence and argument and instead says the witness of the Holy Spirit is sufficient—indeed, superior—justification for their belief, why can’t the guy from the other religion do the same? Craig observes, “Christian claims to a subjective experience seem to be on a par with similar non-Christian claims.”

It sounds like we see the problem the same way, but here is Craig’s bizarre reply.

How is the fact that other persons [sic] claim to experience a self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit relevant to my knowing the truth of Christianity via the Spirit’s witness? The existence of an authentic and unique witness of the Spirit does not exclude the existence of false claims to such a witness…. Why should I be robbed of my joy and assurance of salvation simply because someone else falsely pretends, sincerely or insincerely, to the Spirit’s witness? (Reasonable Faith, 49)

Craig once again vomits onto thoughtful discourse. He ignores the problem, assumes that he is right, and then shapes the facts to fit.

Some other guy says that his beliefs are actually correct? No problem—just assume the guy is mistaken and, like magic, Craig’s presupposition of correctness is validated.

Objection 2

The mental masturbation continues. Given that the other guy is wrong, Craig asks why the Christian couldn’t also be wrong.

We’re gently scolded for asking this, because this has already been addressed:

The experience of the Spirit’s witness is self-authenticating for him who really has it.

Once again, Craig wants to start with the fact that the Christian is correct, and shape everything to fit.

The hole in Craig’s approach is that he gives no reliable way to determine “him who really has [the Spirit’s witness].” Or, for that matter, any reason to think that the Spirit actually exists.

Mother Teresa famously agonized over this question. She had powerful spiritual experiences as a young woman, but then she felt them no longer. Craig’s approach could have offered her nothing.

Objection 3

If human thinking is fallible, as we’ve seen in the Mormon or Muslim who are wrong in thinking that they have an authentic spiritual experience, maybe Christians should also hesitate to trust their own thinking when it declares that their experience is authentic.

Craig responds by denying that there is any parallel between the Christian and the non-Christian. The Mormon or Hindu thinks that his experience is indistinguishable in character from the Christian’s? They’re simply wrong.

Put reason in its place

Craig raises more hypothetical objections to spiritual belief justified by reason rather than by the witness of the Holy Spirit. If we demanded good reasons, he says, “[that] would consign most Christians [who haven’t developed good reasons] to irrationality.”

Yes, he really said that. It’d be a pain to have to, y’know, do all that research and stuff. I mean, who’s got the time? Using reason would be inconvenient, so let’s not.

Craig brings insight to another issue:

According to the magisterial role of reason [that is, putting reason in charge], these persons [evaluating Christianity’s claims] should not have believed in Christ until they finished their apologetic.

Well, yeah. You usually don’t accept a claim—especially one as remarkable as the Christian one—without good evidence. Do you expect rational people to apologize for that?

And we’re back to the symmetry with the position of the guy from the other religion. Do you want to give him this excuse? Should, “believe first, justify later” be a position that you respect for the non-Christian as well as the Christian?

Craig next imagines someone justifying their life in front of God. If reasonable arguments for belief were mandatory, then nonbelievers could argue that they simply hadn’t been given sufficiently strong arguments. But we can’t have that since the Bible says that “men are without excuse.”

Follow the drunken reasoning: we start with the correctness of the Bible; so when it says that there is no excuse, it must be correct; so there is no justification for nonbelief, including insufficient reasons; so reasons must not be mandatory. See how that works? Again, Craig tells us that relying on reason would be inconvenient, so let’s not.

William Lane Craig is a professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. I wonder what standards he imposes on his students. Would he accept this kind of “thinking” from his students? That evidence and reason are subordinate to the students’ internal, nonverifiable conviction? How would you grade a paper if it was supported with earnest conviction instead of evidence, and reason couldn’t be used to evaluate it?

So much for apologetics to raise the intellectual content of the conversation.

If Christianity doesn’t seem true to you, [C.S. Lewis] says,
then by all means reject it!
But once you are in,
you are no longer responsible to weigh all things.
Indeed, you are responsible not to!
— Robert M. Price, “The Sin of Faith

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/21/14.)
Image via Daniel Stark, CC license

 

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  • Doubting Thomas

    The problem isn’t that WLC is a shitty apologist. It’s that he’s both a shitty apologist and the best apologist.

    • You’re making my brain hurt … !

      • Doubting Thomas

        You should ask the Holy Spirit for a cranial massage.

        • grasshopper

          He hasn’t got a ghost of a chance.

    • Herald Newman

      It really doesn’t say much for the field of religious apologetics, does it?

    • steve baughman

      Craig is like the fantastic defense lawyer with the obviously guilty client. Do you have to admire the way he keeps a straight face.

      • Doubting Thomas

      • Tommy

        That’s pretty much what apologetics is; lawyering.

      • Joe

        His client doesn’t even bother showing up at the Courthouse.

    • Why do you say he is the “best” apologist? That seems to say more about you (and the thirty people who upvoted you) than Christian apologetics. This is coming from someone who tends to be very harsh toward Christian apologetics.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    To further quote Robert M. Price (who was quoting some past professor): O what a tangled wen we weave when first we practice to BELIEVE.

    The experience of Cthulu’s witness is self-authenticating for him who really has it.

    Side question: If what’s good for the goose is good for the gander..then does it not follow that what’s good for the geese is good for the gender?

    • Michael Neville

      Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice macrame.

  • Ctharrot

    “It is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth.” This statement is perfect proof–if any were needed–that WLC’s audience is his fellow True Believers, not us infidels. “Self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit,” in particular, is exactly the sort of tautological incantation that skeptics will view as patently useless, but Christians can apply to buttress their conviction and confidence.

    • Halbe

      Exactly. Craig provides a very thin layer of ‘intellectual’ veneer so that Christians that cannot tell a logical fallacy from a grizzly bear can say: “See, my faith is reasonable. This real philosopher guy says so!”.

      • Ctharrot

        It’s kinda funny. I actually respect people who justify their religious beliefs in emotional terms more than folks who try to invoke reason. “I just feel this is right.” “My church makes me feel loved.” “I know it’s true in my heart.” Not my cuppa tea, but I get it. Belief is giving them something that they crave, or perceive themselves needing. There’s an honesty to that.

        But apologists who swing away with elaborate, prolix arguments to try pounding the square pegs of reality into the round holes of religious dogma? I’ve never seen it done with genuine intellectual honesty and rigor. There’s always some sort of foundational question-begging, or crypto-presuppositionalism, or special pleading to conclude that ancient Judeo-Christian claims of signs and wonders and miracles are more credible than analogous claims from all the other people of antiquity.

        • Ficino

          Word.

  • Anthrotheist

    So Craig’s strategy appears to be, “When confronted with reasonable arguments against you faith, stick your fingers in your ears and start shouting. If the other person walks away and stops challenging you, then you know that they were wrong and you won.”

    I wonder what his recommended treatment for cooties is?

    • Jim Jones

      “Circle, circle, dot , dot”.

      • Kodie

        Hertz donut.

  • Bob Jase

    “It is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth.”

    And that is why the 1,800,000,000 Muslims, 1,150,000,000 Hindus, 520,000,000 Buddists and 400,000,000 assorted other religions will all be converting any minute now.

    • Johnny Aardstraat

      … and as the billions worldwide who predated christianity ought to have known as well.

    • Otto

      The Holy Spirit is a slacker

    • Kevin K

      There are billboards for a “Christian” radio station around town … their logo contains a representation of the sun. Rays of light and all that.

      They’re sun worshipers. Not “son” … “sun”.

      • Bob Jase

        Hasn’t Uhura straightened them out yet?

        • Kevin K

          Apparently not. Their slogan is “The Light”.

  • Jim Jones

    If he would just admit that his “self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit” is merely wishful thinking we could be done.

  • RichardSRussell

    I’m familiar with the concept of an idea being “self-authenticating”, but the way it was presented to me was “Because I’m the mom, that’s why!”.

  • Mark Dowd

    English mother fucker, do you speak it?

    Maybe if WLC stopped using his head to self-authenticate his ass so much, he wouldn’t be so stupid.

  • epicurus

    I’ve never been able to make it through Platinga’s work, does anyone know if Craig’s bizarre “I just know it” defense is based on the idea of properly basic belief Platinga uses – that a normally properly functioning mind will just know God exists, etc, and in Craig’s case will just know it’s the Holy Spirit he’s feeling?

    • steve baughman

      Yes. Very much so. Craig largely extends Plantinga’s work to popular apologetics.

      • epicurus

        Thanks!

        • Greg G.

          I think Plantinga argues that if you do not get the self-authentication he gets, then yours is defective.

    • Ficino

      I read Plantinga’s original paper on belief in God’s being properly basic. I can’t stand the thought of rereading it. But as I remember, he does not try to argue that my belief that God exists, being a properly basic belief, provides grounds for falsifying your belief that God does not exist. I think Plantinga only tries to insulate the believer’s belief from certain kinds of skeptical arguments – i.e. the belief in God just might turn out not to be false.

      • epicurus

        Sounds like Craig is riffing on Platinga and adding some of his own ideas. I started reading Randal Rauser’s “Theology in Search of Foundations” but it seemed to rest so heavily on Platinga that I decided to read Platinga first. But it was so long and dreary and frustrating that I didn’t get very far. Not that I could never get through something like that, just that like many people here I’m sure, I have a whole shelf full of books on the to-read list that are more pressing. And the list keeps growing – I can’t keep up.

        • Ficino

          I’m not an expert on Platinga and don’t wanna become one. My sketchy impression based on what I have read by him is that he gained fame by attacking skeptical arguments. His positive arguments for God don’t seem to amount to more, IMO, than what I summarized above, i.e. that God just might turn out to exist the way I feel He exists, and your attempts to prove He doesn’t exist all fail.

        • Kevin K

          Your attempts to prove god doesn’t exist means you have a broken sensus divinitatis meter. You can pick up a new one at Lowes. I’m going there this afternoon to get a doggie door; I can get one for you if you’d like.

        • What was it that had you most curious about Dr. Rauser’s PhD dissertation? I haven’t read too much (the chapter on foundationalism looks interesting after a skim); I was very struck by the following:

          According to Ellen Charry, the first millennium of the Church was dominated by a ‘sapiential theology’ which seamlessly integrated knowledge and goodness in keeping with its Hebraic and Hellenistic origins: ‘In a Hellenistic environment, knowledge is true if it leads us into goodness, making us happy and good. The idea that knowing good things makes us good implies continuity between the knower and what she knows. It is not simply to be cognizant of the truth but to be assimilated into it’.[5] As a result, sapiential theology sought to gain the knowledge of God by which people might live in the truth. By contrast, our world today is remarkably fractured. Charry traces the fracturing of theology to the rediscovery of Aristotelianism in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, at which point theology adopted a highly technical, rigorous, and specialized approach that subtly switched its primary focus from sapientia to scientia. As a result, the medieval scholastic was constrained to search for scientia, a knowledge which is both incorrigible (it cannot fail) and indubitable (it cannot be doubted) and which, while formally excluding first principles, included all the deductions from intuitive first principles. (Theology in Search of Foundations, 9)

          [5] Charry, ‘Walking in the Truth: On Knowing God’, in Alan G. Padgett and Patrick R. Keifert (eds.), But Is It All True? The Bible and the Question of Truth (Grand Rapids, Mich./Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006), 145.

          Charry’s essay is well worth reading. At some point, I would love to study her claims more in tandem with the shift in mathematical understanding, from the concrete to the abstract. (See Jacob Klein’s Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra and Burt C. Hopkins’ The Origin of the Logic of Symbolic Mathematics.)

        • epicurus

          Sorry to disappoint, but no curiousity. Since I have read and commented on his blog for years, it was just an excuse to read most of his books (with a few exceptions due to being totally based on the Bible, such as his book on what heaven is like, as I don’t think the Bible gives us accurate, trustworthy information about Jesus, God or Heaven among many other topics). To be clear, I never did go back to the book after Platinga, (I don’t own it- just took out of a local college library.) So if you are asking about anything in the book that made me curious, well, again, sorry to disappoint.

        • epicurus

          And lo and behold, just a few days after my comment, Randal, whom I highly doubt follows my every comment, posts about Platinga! Coincidence, or ….?
          https://randalrauser.com/2018/03/here-i-stand-on-alvin-plantingas-luther-moment/

    • Kevin K

      Plantinga is Aquinas is Aristotle. Same basic arguments.

    • Phil

      Sounds a bit unfair on people born mentally impaired or suffer brain damage later in life.

  • Herald Newman

    There are plenty of Catholics who will tell you that God can be known by reason alone. Never mind that I question the soundness of existential conclusion that cannot be demonstrated as true except by argument.

    • JP415

      God can be known by reason—reason based on arbitrary premises and a total disregard of Occam’s Razor.

      • Herald Newman

        Fair enough. But under those conditions so can, quite literally, almost anything else.

    • Otto

      Their reason lacks reason

      • TheNuszAbides

        if the preliminary dose is colossal special pleading, they can be as logically sophisticated as you like!

        • Otto

          Or…’I can think of this really cool thing…therefore it must be real’

        • TheNuszAbides

          well, it’d be impossible to think of that thing without Ghostly Motions …

  • JP415

    Why should I be robbed of my joy and assurance of salvation simply because someone else falsely pretends, sincerely or insincerely, to the Spirit’s witness?

    Translation: “My spiritual witness is better than yours! You can’t copy me—no fair! I thought of it first. Dad, make them stop copying me!”

  • Tony D’Arcy

    Turning Craig’s argument around, would my non experience of the holy spirit mean that there is no god? Seems to me my experience is just as valid as his experience, and I don’t make money by propagating Christianty. As Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein: “Follow the money”.

    • Herald Newman

      How does Craig know that you haven’t had to experience of the Holy Spirit. You could be lying. 😉

      • Tony D’Arcy

        Ah, but not lying for Jesus !

  • eric

    It is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth

    In that case, God is directly and personally responsible for nonbelievers going to hell. After all, he could give everyone this self-authenticating witness. It’s clearly not a free will breaker since some people already get it. And WLC tells us this absolutely works to create a legitimate, bona fide, salvation-granting faith. It is therefore God’s willful and intentional choice to withhold such witness from some people that sends them to hell.

    Oh I know the WLC answer – “everyone gets the witness. You all just choose to ignore it.” But see the problem with that? If it’s self-authenticating, we couldn’t ignore it. He’s basically claiming nonbelievers reject something God makes unrejectable.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Great response. I’ve tackled free will before, but the context here had eluded me, I’ll have to use that some time.

    • Michael Neville

      WLC claims that we recognize the self-authenticating witness but we make a conscious effort to ignore it because reasons.

      • eric

        If we can ignore it, it’s not self-authenticating, is it?

        • TheNuszAbides

          we/satan are sabotaging our sensus divinitatis antennae.

    • Kevin K

      Craig is a Calvinist…his god is under no obligation to allow you into heaven. And, in fact, has already determined that you are going to hell, while Craig is not.

      • Craig is not a Calvinist

        • Kevin K

          No? His arguments are. In any event, he’s a Divine Command theorist, which is worse. God’s actions are inherently good, even when he’s drowning every puppy, kitten, and unborn baby in the world.

    • Phil

      This sort of thing always brings me back to what happens to babies when they are killed? Do they go to heaven. If so what as, babies or fully formed intelligent adults? And how come they get a free pass without all this freewill stuff and testing of faith etc. Or do they go to hell as non-believers without ever having a chance to redeem themselves.

      • Greg G.

        God makes a big deal to Job about how much smarter he is than humans are. If babies are not sent to hell but adults are, then there is a certain time when a person crosses the line from too dumb to be sent to hell to just barely smart enough to deserve eternal punishment. Some adults are not as smart as some 10 year olds. Why would a creator create creatures that are just barely smart enough to deserve eternal torture for not being gullible enough to believe all that?

    • After all, he could give everyone this self-authenticating witness.

      So … you can lead a horse to water and force it to drink?

      • eric

        We’re not horses, we’re humans with brains, and belief isn’t thirst. There’s no such thing as a compelling non-compelling argument. But that’s basically what WLC is saying : merely having this witness authenticates it. You’ll believe it. But then he wants to say that 2/3 of humanity get this having-is-believing witness and then proceed to act like they don’t believe it.

        • We’re not horses, we’re humans with brains, and belief isn’t thirst.

          Find me a perfect analogy and I’ll show you a tautology.

          There’s no such thing as a compelling non-compelling argument.

          Perhaps, from some reference frame. But there is such a thing as a non-compelling compelling argument:

              Finally, consider the libertarian notion of dual rationality, a requirement whose importance to the libertarian I did not appreciate until I read Robert Kane’s Free Will and Values. As with dual control, the libertarian needs to claim that when agents make free choices, it would have been rational (reasonable, sensible) for them to have made a contradictory choice (e.g. chosen not A rather than A) under precisely the conditions that actually obtain. Otherwise, categorical freedom simply gives us the freedom to choose irrationally had we chosen otherwise, a less-than-entirely desirable state. Kane (1985) spends a great deal of effort in trying to show how libertarian choices can be dually rational, and I examine his efforts in Chapter 8. (The Non-Reality of Free Will, 16)

          I can formalize this in terms of spacecraft traveling through unstable Lagrangian points and then connect it to consciousness via the idea that [some of] consciousness operates “near the edge of chaos”.

          But that’s basically what WLC is saying : merely having this witness authenticates it.

          If that’s what he really believes (and we must be wary of concise statements), then he is in active disobedience of 1 John 4:1–6 and probably of Deut 12:32–13:5. (I welcome rebuttals.)

          But then he wants to say that 2/3 of humanity get this having-is-believing witness and then proceed to act like they don’t believe it.

          But you as an atheist arguing for atheism still have to justify why so many people don’t think scientifically, why you are special in doing so, and how to teach them the way to salvation how to think similarly. People from every tribe, tongue, and nation are able to learn to think scientifically, but I think the fraction is rather lower than 1/3 who can actually enter the Kingdom of Science. Maybe we need better catechizing education, but we have to be careful about making more than small perturbations away from the status quo.

        • Susan

          But you as an atheist arguing for atheism

          All an atheist has to do is note that people who claim deities exist can’t show that deities exist.

          have to justify why so many people don’t think scientifically

          Why would he have to justiify that?

          Why you are special in doing so.

          No one claims that.

          and how to teach them how to think similarly

          To what?

          To the methods that take us from the myths of certain earthlings to a description of earthlings?

          Do you ever get tired of shifting the burden?

          If your deity exists, why do have you evaded requests that you demonstrate that it does for nearly thirty thousand comments?

        • All an atheist has to do is note that people who claim deities exist can’t show that deities exist.

          Nope; that doesn’t suffice. Because the answer to this—

          LB: So … you can lead a horse to water and force it to drink?

          —is “no”. If the atheist desires to be convincing, [s]he must make it clear that [s]he was a good sport in the whole process of contemplating evidence for God’s existence. Otherwise, [s]he is like those clerics who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope.

          e: We’re not horses, we’re humans with brains, and belief isn’t thirst. There’s no such thing as a compelling non-compelling argument. But that’s basically what WLC is saying : merely having this witness authenticates it. You’ll believe it. But then he wants to say that 2/3 of humanity get this having-is-believing witness and then proceed to act like they don’t believe it.

          LB: But you as an atheist arguing for atheism still

          [1] have to justify why so many people don’t think scientifically,
          [2] why you are special in doing so, and
          [3] how to teach them the way to salvation how to think similarly
          .

          People from every tribe, tongue, and nation are able to learn to think scientifically, but I think the fraction is rather lower than 1/3 who can actually enter the Kingdom of Science. Maybe we need better catechizing education, but we have to be careful about making more than small perturbations away from the status quo.

          S: [1] Why would (s)he have to justiify that?
          [2] No one claims that.
          [3] To what?

          [1] Where WLC claims to have the Holy Spirit accessible to all, the atheist claims to have Reason accessible to all.
          [2] False; an example: “I believe I’ve *found* Atlantis, but for some reason no one believes me.” (“Atlantis” = “try to train people to look for evidence on the other side”)
          [3] See the Haidt quote about teaching people to look for evidence on the other side. (cf. Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government & Mercier & Sperber 2011)

          The overall point was an argument by analogy: if the reasoning is so powerful that it deconstructs the claimant’s belief in his/her own superior way of viewing reality, then it is self-refuting.

          Do you ever get tired of shifting the burden?

          I get tired of this:

              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)

          If your tools for critiquing theism or your standards of evidence are so powerful such that they eat away at your own ability to understand reality (especially human reality—psychological and social), they are thereby disqualified: four examples.

          If your deity exists, why do have you evaded requests that you demonstrate that it does …?

          Because power ⇏ goodness/​righteousness and as far as I can tell, the repeated demands for “evidence of God’s existence” are not in the spirit of Doubting Thomas, but are instead thinly veiled demands for signs and/or wonders (“Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom”), in violation of:

          “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 12:32–13:5)

          What you get when you violate the above (feel free to substitute another articulated law for that found in Torah) is power ⇒ goodness/​righteousness. In short: “Might makes right.” This doesn’t mean I cannot provide “evidence of God’s existence”, but that it isn’t enough to rationally convince a person who insists on ‘⇏’ over ‘⇒’.

          If you cannot or will not understand the above, feel free to wait for me to discuss with enough other people that I learn to compact it even further than I have, above. Although, I doubt I will ever be successful with you, if you cannot generate a true distinction here:

              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)

          From what I’ve seen from you so far, I doubt you can. As far as I can tell, you find matters of the good/​beautiful/​excellent to be 100% subjective. That means you are 100% open to manipulating others and being manipulated. If you are not open to an alternative (which you have to partially generate yourself on pain of logical contradiction), God cannot interact with you non-manipulatively in a way you can recognize as God interacting with you non-manipulatively. It would be logically impossible—just like you refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope.

        • Susan

          Nope; that doesn’t suffice. Because the answer to this—

          LB: So … you can lead a horse to water and force it to drink?

          That’s a terrible answer. Because I keep asking you for water. And you don’t lead me to any… and then you claim the problem is mine because I’m not drinking it. I am so far staring at acres of sand in a desert. And you are telling me that the problem is that I’m unwilling to drink it.

          as far as I can tell, the repeated demands for “evidence of God’s existence” are not in the spirit of Doubting Thomas, but are instead thinly veiled demands for signs and/or wonders (“Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom”), in violation of:

          Nope. Just standard requests for clarification and support for the agent you require us to assume exists, so that when you blather on and on about the implications of its existence, we can be good sports about it.

          This doesn’t mean I cannot provide “evidence of God’s existence”, but that it isn’t enough to rationally convince a person who insists on ‘⇏’ over ‘⇒’

          You just have more verbose excuses than many theists. This puts you in the league of an apologist. The rule of apologists seems to be, no matter how simple and honest the question, burden shift, burden shift, burden shift…

          From what I’ve seen from you so far, I doubt you can.

          Your doubts aren’t my concern.

          As far as I can tell, you find matters of the good/​beautiful/​excellent to be 100% subjective.

          I can certainly say that you haven’t shown that your claims about any of the above are anything but subjective. Also, you haven’t shown that your agent exists. Also, that it is a source of any of the concerns you list above.

          If you are not open to an alternative (which you have to partially generate yourself on pain of logical contradiction)

          Lol. I’m open. You keep pointing at sand and telling me it’s up to me to drink it.

          God cannot interact with you non-manipulatively in a way you can recognize as God interacting with you non-manipulatively.

          Ok… so, yoiu are claiming Yahwehjesus exists (but you are not obligated to show that it does) and you are telling me what it can and cannot do (without showing how you can know that) but you are not obligated, at any point, to show that you have any support for either claim.

          It would be logically impossible—just like you refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope.

          Ah, the imperfect analogy (or, it would just be a tautology.)

          You hand me an imaginary telescope that points at an imaginary agent and tell me it’s just very much like Galileo handing a real telescope pointing at real space and (this is the best bit), telling me that I refuse to look.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well…stop refusing to look then.

          Jesus, Susan, how hard could it be?!

        • Greg G.

          You hand me an imaginary telescope that points at an imaginary agent

          You don’t expect to see imaginary agents with a real telescope, do you?

        • Fun conversation. At least for me—maybe not for you. :-/

          Because I keep asking you for water.

          Do you? “Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom”—are you saying there’s a third option that you’re asking for? Do you have any idea whatsoever what it might look like? For probably the best idea I’ve got, continue reading.

          I am so far staring at acres of sand in a desert.

          In a sense, so am I. I keep asking atheists for some way to make the following major distinction:

              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)

          So far, I haven’t gotten any solid answer. On your reasoning—“It is an imaginary being based on superstition until someone shows it to be something else.”—if nobody can support a distinction, [we should act as if] there isn’t one. The result is a normalizing of “Might makes right.” Or: power ⇒ goodness/​righteousness. If anything is “acres of sand in a desert”, it is a world of pure domination/​oppression/​manipulation. What’s worse is that plenty of people are drinking it, thinking it’s water. There is no such thing as freedom if there is no distinction between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations.

          Just standard requests for clarification and support for the agent you require us to assume exists, so that when you blather on and on about the implications of its existence, we can be good sports about it.

          I don’t see how I’m requiring anything of you. You are always welcome to discontinue conversation with me. I see absolutely nothing wrong with “as if” conversations. If I find conceptual problems in my interlocutors during those conversations, do you think those conceptual problems might be like distortions on the [final] instrument used to explore reality? If my interlocutors get bored, they can leave.

          LB: As far as I can tell, you find matters of the good/​beautiful/​excellent to be 100% subjective.

          S: I can certainly say that you haven’t shown that your claims about any of the above are anything but subjective. Also, you haven’t shown that your agent exists. Also, you haven’t shown that it is a source of any of the concerns you list above.

          You haven’t shown me that your way of thinking about reality can even sustain the notion of an agent. I’m not going to waste time trying to get you to see color if you’ve intentionally destroyed all the cones in your eyes. The existence of stuff in the good/​beautiful/​excellent realm is what distinguishes an agent from forces acting impersonally and randomly. The assertion of 100% subjectivity makes the good/​beautiful/​excellent as imaginary as you say God is. You would sunder heaven from earth even more fully than they are. (Anything truly imaginary wouldn’t be tethered to reality—snip, snip!)

          I’m not sure what “list” you’re talking about.

          LB: If you are not open to an alternative (which you have to partially generate yourself on pain of logical contradiction), God cannot interact with you non-manipulatively in a way you can recognize as God interacting with you non-manipulatively. It would be logically impossible—just like you refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope.

          S: Lol. I’m open. You keep pointing at sand and telling me it’s up to me to drink it.

          So you claim; I see no actual evidence of it. You presuppose that there is something other than sand to drink; how do you know this? And if you know this, then you can say something about how water would be different from sand. I am tempted to pit Democritus and Leucippus against Bohm and Taylor, perhaps with Ockham and Scotus included somewhere as well. But without more from you, I have no idea whether this would be the right way to approach the issue.

          LB: If you are not open to an alternative (which you have to partially generate yourself on pain of logical contradiction), God cannot interact with you non-manipulatively in a way you can recognize as God interacting with you non-manipulatively. It would be logically impossible—just like you refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope.

          S: Ok… so, yoiu are claiming Yahwehjesus exists (but you are not obligated to show that it does)

          Nope, I’m saying that if God exists then there would be certain requirements for you to recognize him as interacting with you non-manipulatively. This is like me saying that if Z-rays exist, you have to have an instrument which is capable of detecting Z-rays, in order to detect them.

          LB: If you are not open to an alternative (which you have to partially generate yourself on pain of logical contradiction), God cannot interact with you non-manipulatively in a way you can recognize as God interacting with you non-manipulatively. It would be logically impossible—just like you refusing to look through Galileo’s telescope.

          S: Ah, the imperfect analogy (or, it would just be a tautology.)

          You hand me an imaginary telescope that points at an imaginary agent and tell me it’s just very much like Galileo handing a real telescope pointing at real space and (this is the best bit), telling me that I refuse to look.

          Actually, you’re right: it isn’t a very good analogy. A slightly better one would be to say that you have to construct your own telescope. But that’s not quite right, because one cannot build a telescope to see infinite complexity. What’s really the case is that false beliefs and refusal to try out tentative beliefs can philosophically imprison us with bars we cannot see, touch, hear, taste, or smell. This leads me to saying we have telescopes which are a jumbled mess, akin to the state of scientific understanding described in A Canticle for Leibowitz. Alasdair MacIntyre applies this pattern to moral thinking in the first chapter of After Virtue and I think he’s right. But if matters of morality† are crucial to understanding agents and we suck at understanding morality, we’re in a poor spot to understand agents—especially agents appreciably different from us.

          N.B. In contrast to Paul B. Lot‘s “how turning away from “god” has made things worse”—assuming he meant atheists and secularism, not the Ezek 34 and Mt 23 types—I would say that almost all of the damage done to our telescopes has been done by people claiming to follow Jesus and [partially] know God. A good book on this is Colin E. Gunton’s The One, the Three and the Many: God, Creation and the Culture of Modernity, suggested to me by @Randal_Rauser:disqus. (Gunton was Dr. Rauser’s Doktorvater.)

          By the way, a lot of my confidence on these issues comes from the belief that our shitty-ass understandings of God translate into shitty-ass understandings of other people, which leads to fucked up social relations. So for example, the idea that God could just explain things right to us and we’d immediately dance to whatever he wants takes a particular view of the human being and freedom which I find absolutely toxic. The belief that the only true causal powers at play are impersonal and monistic destroys key justifications for egalitarianism, without which I don’t think the edifice can stand. (One result: we think it is 100% righteous to do as good a job we can to suppress certain voices, some of us up to and including violence.) I think there is good reason for 1 John to tell us that (i) you cannot love God without loving your brothers and sisters; (ii) you cannot hate your brothers and sisters and love God. Here, ‘love’ and ‘know’ are deeply related. If I couldn’t practically test this stuff, I wouldn’t be talking about it.

           
          † I’m pretty sure MacIntyre doesn’t mean the kind of ‘morality’ criticized by Emil Brunner, but it would be good to check:

          The boundary of the knowledge of responsibility coincides with the boundary of human existence; if a human being had lost all sense of responsibility, he would have ceased to be a human being. But the converse is equally true; that the basis, depth, and ultimate meaning of responsibility are concealed from man until they are revealed to him through the Christian faith. Ignorance of the real significance of responsibility is inseparably connected with not being responsible. Here existence and perception are indistinguishable. Man is not fully aware of responsibility because he does not live in a truly responsible manner. He lives in that irresponsibility and in that misunderstanding of responsibility which the Bible calls ‘sin’ and ‘life under the law.’ The moral consciousness is still far from being a knowledge of the meaning of responsibility. On the contrary, there is no clearer proof of the fact that man does not fully know what responsibility is than the moral. The moral is the substitute for the loss of responsibility, in the meaning both of existence and of knowledge. The moral is the misunderstanding of responsibility which arises when the meaning of responsibility has been lost, and when one does not live in a truly responsible manner. 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. The existence of the moral behind these dykes is the human life which has already lost its truly human character; human existence, that is, which has lost the knowledge of its origin and of its meaning. (Man in Revolt, 51)

          I think what’s going on is that to attempt ‘morality’ while asserting “I am not my brother’s keeper” is to deny what Brunner means by ‘responsibility’. (Shoving that responsibility onto the state and beleaguered social workers is a pathetic substitute.) I will bet that MacIntyre, seeing major problems with political liberalism which prioritizes the goods of the individual over the goods of the community, would agree with what Brunner says, here.

        • Susan

          Because I keep asking you for water.

          Do you?

          Yes. You keep harping on “You can lead a horse to water…”

          But you haven’t shown that there’s any water. Are you claiming an agent exists? That that agent is Yahwehjesus? Or not?

          In a sense, so am I.

          But I haven’t claimed that an agent exists and that “You can lead a horse to water…”

          i keep asking atheists to make the following distinction

          But you never address the fact that the reason atheists are atheists is because you (anybody) can’t/ won’t show that your agent exists.

          That is, you continue to shift the burden. If Yahwehjesus exists, then… But Yahwehjesus is (so far) imaginary. And of course, your Yahwehjesus (the so far, imaginary agent) doesn’t look the same as the imaginary agent of other christians/theists.

          Are you suggesting that merely believing that it exists is the best route forward? Or does it have to actually exist?

          By the way, a lot of my confidence on these issues comes from the belief that our shitty-ass understandings of God translate into shitty-ass understandings of other people

          How can we understand something that doesn’t seem to exist?

          Actually, you’re right: it isn’t a very good analogy. A slightly better one would be to say that you have to construct your own telescope. But that’s not quite right, because one cannot build a telescope to see infinite complexit

          Infinite complexity. What does that mean? Others say infinite simplicity. And I would ask them the same thing.

          In both cases, they are claims (terribly vague ones) that are not directly connected to an unevidenced agent. If something is “infinitely” anything (which is not clearly defined) or “infintely” simple, that does not justify suddenly sticking a male omnideity into the centre and claiming the point that it became human for humans. It just doesn’t.

          But if matters of morality† are crucial to understanding agents and we suck at understanding morality, we’re in a poor spot to understand agents

          You mean like other non-human earthlings? The earthlings whose suffering and terror you once tried to explain away as “God” giving us science?

          What is agency? Is it like “kinds”? When we refer to agents that exist, we can look at what we mean by our own agency and work from there to see that thinking, feeling breathing living beings exist and existed long before the fuzzy category we call humans existed. They predate us and surround us. This includes other hominids.

          We can have long conversations about any of these things.

          But when you base it on “God”, you’ll have to show it. Your “God” is your version of a superstitious human-centered story and it doesn’t seem to exist. You want to make that everyone else’s problem. Not yours. That doesn’t fly.

          I think what’s going on is that to attempt ‘morality’ while asserting “I am not my brother’s keeper”…

          Nope. I take responsbility for “my brother” every day. I know countless humans who do the same. We are finite and limited. (Remember the parable of the widow. Mark 12; 41-44) None of that requires the words of Jesus, nor the existence of Yahwehjesus.

          I know of northern cultures who, no matter how little there was to eat, wouldn’t have dreamed of not sharing. This is how they survived as a people. They’d never heard of your silly book.

          I will bet that MacIntyre, seeing major problems with political liberalism which prioritizes the goods of the individual over the goods of the community,

          That can be a problem. As can the good of “the community” over the good of the individual.

          Often the “good of the community” means the good of the hierarchy over the community.

          When one thinks an imaginary agent is real and wants it and/or uses the power of an imaginary agent to justify it, one can destroy communities and individuals.

          Humans do all sorts of horrible and good things and lots in between.

          Believing imaginary agents exist doesn’t help us to separate the problems and successes of our moral behaviour, as far as I can tell.

        • Kodie

          @BobSeidensticker:disqus Is Luke Breuer a thoughtful Christian or a lying fucking dumbass?

        • I don’t read his stuff enough to get past “bloviate” as a descriptor.

        • Kodie

          As long as people are talking to him in a thread or two, can I suggest he be contained? He hasn’t come up in more recent threads than #7, but can I request if he starts coming into every thread, you ask him to contain his conversations (which become entirely irrelevant of topic)? I think things are ok if we just minimize the leakage. I think he’s useless, but apparently people still enjoy him here.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t read him very much either. He took some offense because I wasn’t playing under his rules, threatened to stop replying to me if I didn’t apologize, and no longer replies to me, so at least he is somewhat honest.

        • Kodie

          I like to keep up-ish, but I hate how parasitic he is to the blog if he starts leaking into every post. I actually hate how he limits his interactions and makes demands on people to meet his standards for other people, but not himself. There are things he needs to hear, that he doesn’t want to hear, and no other poster he validates tells him.

        • I’d like to see him contained as well. I’ll try to corral him.

          As you point out, people engaging with him is the problem. If they get something (a buzz? counter-apologetics practice? a workout on the speed bag?) out of it, I guess that keeps them coming back.

        • MR

          And drives some of us away.

        • Kodie

          I noticed a vacuum when Luke posts, because it becomes all about him and he doesn’t respond to most people, so there’s less interesting traffic because it becomes a Luke funnel, but if Bob keeps posting new topics, and Luke stays in one or two, it’s not as much of a problem. If Bob can tell Luke to run his show in these older topics and not feel compelled to suck the life out of this blog in every topic, I don’t really have a problem with him being here. I still have a problem with him being the way he is. Another thing is, Bob can require Luke to at least acknowledge how much of a presence he’s imposing himself, and if he doesn’t want to respond to more than 2 or 3 people at a time, he’s really fucking up this blog for people who used to enjoy it. The problem with Luke is he refuses to grasp that he is (and not actually his Christianity) a problem here. He thinks he is modeling after people and the way they treat him, even if he ignores 90%+ of the posters. What are the rest of us supposed to have conversations about while he insists on camping here if he thinks he doesn’t have to acknowledge us? I wouldn’t mind if Luke were banned, but I’m not sure that’s necessary. Getting Luke to admit how much he imposes on this blog, especially because he fails to read 90% of poster content means he is fucking selfish as fuck, and stubborn about getting what he wants out of a discussion without minding what everyone else wants to get out of a discussion. He wants us to hunt for one single post so he can deny his intent, but his intent is not needed. His effect on this blog should suffice.

        • Kodie

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/03/more-sloppy-thinking-from-william-lane-craig-2/#comment-3833502450

          That was my response to MR below. I miss people, Bob. Luke doesn’t let just anyone talk to him, and they have nothing to say otherwise. It’s a problem.

        • Susan

          As you point out, people engaging with him is the problem. If they get something (a buzz? counter-apologetics practice? a workout on the speed bag?) out of it, I guess that keeps them coming back.

          I generally don’t engage him, except to point out that he has zip point zero evidence for Yahwehjesus when he infects the place with his labyrinth of rabbit holes that usually lead to nowhere.

          “Answer me THIS, then. Answer me THAT, then.”

          It’s so dense and pointless and I have seen countless references that people have chased down over the years that don’t lead where Luke says they do.

          This is why I keep comparing him to Duane Gish. And his tactics to those of creationists.

          I wouldn’t be sad if he was gone. I’d be happy, in fact. He sucks the oxygen out of atmospheres where people genuinely want to discuss things.

          I can’t say that my happiness or sadness is justification for banning (as you haven’t made my emotional state a guideline for banning( but sucking the oxygen out of threads while providing no evidence for his deity for so VERY long might be.

          Again, as your guidelines aren’t specific, I can’t even say that that’s a cause for banning. You’re the moderator.

          (I am talking about his tactics and his effect on thoughtful discussion. In case Luke blue links me back to “Let’s not talk about Luke.” )

          In the meantime, I suggest that if we do engage him that we only continue to point out that he has no evidence for his deity. That’s the main thing. .

          He uses creationist tactcs. ‘Nuff said.

        • Kodie

          I’m all for waking him up to the terrible person he is.

        • Susan

          I’m all for waking him up to the terrible person he is.

          That’s a Sisyphean task. As is explaining that he is wrong. Or at least that he can’t show he’s right.

          All we can do is point out that he has no evidence.

          That his first premise is not established.

          But he’ll twist that and turn it in any direction he can.

          His tactics are creationist tactics. Cherry[-picking and burden-shifting.

          No matter what the outcome, it will be all our fault.

          All the fault of every single individual who calls him out on his tactics. No matter how distinct every individual who does happens to be.

          Because anyone who tiries can only be The Borg.

          Don’t bother.

          Just ask him for evidence for his deity.

          Eventually, he’ll go away.

          Also, it’s perfectly OK that you say you hate him.

          You don’t have to justify why you hate him.

          It doesn’t mean you hate christians/theists/woo merchants in general. He’ll interpret it that way. He always does.

          It just means you hate him.

          It’s an opinion. You’re entitled.

        • Kodie

          I think he’s just so full of himself. I’m not expecting him to change his beliefs at all. I can’t even get close enough to him to have that conversation with him. He’s just that alienating. No other Christian poster has ever had such an effect at this blog, that I can tell. He denies having any gravitational suckage, because some people keep up a personable interchange with him, while everyone else has nothing at all to do, because nothing else is happening and bullshit factory Luke Breuer ignores comments that he doesn’t feel are up to his level. His fucking LEVEL is what’s wrong with him.

        • Self-regulation works most of the time, but then you have the Lukes of the world.

          I gave him a 2-week timeout (not a ban). I’ve not tried that before. I’m not optimistic, but let’s see if any good comes from it. If he’s determined to be incorrigible (my guess) then he’ll need to sit in the corner permanently.

        • Susan

          I gave him a 2-week timeout (not a ban). I’ve not tried that before. I’m not optimistic, but let’s see if any good comes from it. If he’s determined to be incorrigible (my guess) then he’ll need to sit in the corner permanently.

          Fair enough. More than fair. Many mulligans.

          Let the games begin.

        • Kodie

          He’s determined to think nothing is ever his fault. He refuses to “adjust” because he thinks he’s just dishing out what he expects to take. Anyway, thanks.

        • Susan

          he thinks he’s just dishing out what he expects to take.

          Yep, many years ago. Many years later, yep.

          If he comes back in two weeks, ask him for evidence for his deity.

          That’s my best advice.

          He has none.

          And will revert to his normal burden shifting.

          (Again, for the record. I’m talking about your tactics, Luke.)

        • Kodie

          I expect every Christian to play games about why they can’t give evidence for their preferred deity. My complaint about Luke is, as Clint W. summarized his habit, is to try to turn a blog into his personal debate club, oblivious to his effect on the postership of the blog. It makes his beliefs and how he can’t support them second-most important. He doesn’t understand, he denies having a negative effect, he suggests people just block him and carry on, without realizing, when he’s here, there’s not a lot of other stuff to carry on about. If he’s ignoring everyone that doesn’t support his own personal mission of “debate”, that really sucks the oxygen out. That’s also why I don’t really have a problem if he wants to be here, and several people are interested in communicating with him, to keep it to one or two older threads.

          I don’t think I want to engage him on his beliefs. His theses are so long-winded and confusingly meandering in and out of parentheticals and citations, on purpose, and he belittles anyone who isn’t up for a bit of reading. I’m not up for that bit of reading. I am more after how selfish he is and how this blog is for everyone, not just him and fuck Luke if he doesn’t know how to “model” what a normal person behaves like.

        • Whelp, your first to paragraphs led to a lot of words from me. We’ll see if this gets us any further than we’ve gotten in the past …

          Yes. You keep harping on “You can lead a horse to water…”

          Ah, I see. Well, I don’t see how to get the following distinction—

              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)

          —without the kind of pre-established potential for harmony which we see in Genesis 1–2 but not other creation myths at the time. There is also a lot of yapping about ending oppression in the West. So people obviously want there to be a genuine distinction. I think people like you should be honest about whether such a distinction can plausibly exist, on naturalism/​physicalism. I’m guessing you can’t, and I would call the only remaining option “sand”. I’m pretty sure you’re drinking it.

          We can call the search for an alternative which actually nourishes instead of destroys, a search for living water. Maybe it doesn’t exist. But if you want to default to the position that it doesn’t exist, then I challenge you to flesh out just what it means to *not* have the above genuine distinction. If there is no distinction, everyone who thinks there is, is living a massive lie—right? Well, should correcting that lie make their lives much better—at least in the long run?

          In case it escaped your notice, I doubt that [meaningful] freedom can exist if there is no genuine distinction between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations. Not even a small Δv version of it. We are all merely forcing ourselves on each other, like billiard balls ramming into each other. Any belief otherwise is merely a delusion. So with no living water, there is no freedom.

          But you haven’t shown that there’s any water.

          I have to be sure you have a hope in hell of distinguishing water from sand, first. The common belief on CE—which you carefully avoided affirming:

          LB: As far as I can tell, you find matters of the good/​beautiful/​excellent to be 100% subjective.

          S: I can certainly say that you haven’t shown that your claims about any of the above are anything but subjective.

          —seems to be MacIntyre’s ’emotivism’. There is no objective moral standard and so we just do what feels right. That’s being ruled by passions and not the intellect. The intellect can make our interests somewhat Enlightened, but that is it. Individualistic atomism (sand) is still the regnant paradigm of the day. My true private interests probably intersect only slightly with yours, so we need a powerful state to keep some sort of balance. (It’s working quite well today, you see.) Without a sufficiently robust alternative to all this, I don’t see how you could encounter water and see it for what it is. Nor can I force you to have an understanding of what non-manipulative social relations would be like, for that would lethally poison the understanding.

          Are you claiming an agent exists?

          If your metaphysic doesn’t allow any agents to really, truly exist, then I have a problem. And I suspect it doesn’t; I suspect it only permits impersonal laws of nature—that is, “unbreakable patterns” of time-evolution of state which have finite complexity. And yet, we humans act as if we are agents all the time! So either we’re being stupid and need to e.g. heed Bruce Waller’s Against Moral Responsibility, or our extrapolation of the laws as physics understands them to all causation is in error. What I know is that when talking to people like you, I’ll get physics shoved at me if I try to point to something and say “That’s God acting!” What then happens is that the phenomenon is discretized and then fit with a compression algorithm which obeys Ockham’s razor. As long as we discretize and ontologize Ockham’s razor, a finite number of data points can never point to an infinite being. (See also my answer to the Phil.SE question Could there ever be evidence for an infinite being?.)

          That that agent is Yahwehjesus? Or not?

          As I hope I’ve demonstrated, I believe there are a number of prerequisites which must be established before we can even get to this question. If you want justification for why it might be that difficult, first I will say that we tolerate much difficulty in science: just watch the announcement of the Higgs boson. Without tremendous physical and mathematical and conceptual machinery, with many interlocking pieces and each piece behaving according to exacting requirements, no boson would have been found. Furthermore, the scientists had to work really hard to ensure they weren’t doing the equivalent of getting Einstein from noise. The analogous version for having a remotely decent understanding of YahwehJesusHolySpirit (it’s just easier for *me* to say “God”) would be at least what MacIntyre says in the paragraph immediately preceding the one about manipulative vs. non-manipulative social relations:

              A moral philosophy—and emotivism is no exception—characteristically presupposes a sociology. For every moral philosophy offers explicitly or implicitly at least a partial conceptual analysis of the relationship of an agent to his or her reasons, motives, intentions and actions, and in so doing generally presupposes some claim that these concepts are embodied or at least can be in the real social world. Even Kant, who sometimes seems to restrict moral agency to the inner realm of the noumenal, implies otherwise in his writings on law, history and politics. Thus it would generally be a decisive refutation of a moral philosophy to show that moral agency on its own account of the matter could never be socially embodied; and it also follows that we have not yet fully understood the claims of any moral philosophy until we have spelled out what its social embodiment would be. Some moral philosophers in the past, perhaps most, have understood this spelling out as itself one part of the task of moral philosophy. So, it scarcely needs to be said, Plato and Aristotle, so indeed also Hume and Adam Smith; but at least since Moore the dominant narrow conception of moral philosophy has ensured that the moral philosophers could ignore this task; as notably do the philosophical proponents of emotivism. We therefore must perform it for them. (After Virtue, 23)

          With that in mind, what Jesus gives as evidence should seem quite relevant:

          “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)

          A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35)

          Unity (not uniformity!) via non-manipulative social relations. Being your brother’s keeper without dominating and oppressing your brother. Freedom because of a society in relationship with God, not freedom from society and God. And I’m quite down with examining Feuerbach’s complaints to see if it’s really “society in relationship with God“. But this is impossible if there aren’t *really* agents. If I am not truly, ontologically *less* if I refuse to be in non-manipulative relationship with the Other—or if I don’t believe it when it’s true—then unity-amidst-diversity won’t happen. It’ll be a pretty idea which is “not practical”. Power will continue to crush. And hey, maybe that’s how reality really works. Must it work that way?

        • Kodie

          I started reading Luke’s posts in Stephen Colbert’s Donald Trump voice.

        • Part 2. (Part 1)

          But I haven’t claimed that an agent exists and that “You can lead a horse to water…”

          Do you think you are an agent? That is, do you make genuine moral choices? Or are you more like an impersonal force of nature?

          S: I am so far staring at acres of sand in a desert.

          LB: In a sense, so am I. I keep asking atheists for some way to make the following major distinction:

              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)

          S: But you never address the fact that the reason atheists are atheists is because you (anybody) can’t/ won’t show that your agent exists.

          If God forces himself on atheists, he can only have a manipulative relationship. Same with any theist trying to force God on them. The only way for a relationship to be non-manipulative is for each agent to have partially self-developed some set of rules for what constitutes non-manipulative ways to interact with that agent. “Here is how you can make me a better me, and here is how you must not.” But this is not enough for a true relationship, because if I have a fully defined idea of what constitutes a “better me”, then others can only interact with me instrumentally—to further my own ends. So I must have some notion of a telos which is not 100% specified by me. It must have “degrees of freedom”, as I was saying to Otto. Colin Gunton uses the term ‘open transcendental’ in The One, the Three and the Many (141). Others must give of themselves to me and I must give of myself to them. (If you want to see this formalized, see Alistair McFadyen’s The Call to Personhood: A Christian Theory of the Individual in Social Relationships.)

          Don’t you see that Modernity is predicated upon power? It is not just about dominating nature; it is about dominating man. You see this in the origins of early sociology. Yuval Levin explains:

              The underlying assumption, that the correct course of society is scientifically discoverable rather than a product of man’s wishes or his hopes or his values or beliefs, is in my opinion fundamentally false. This is the error of the search for the neutral political manager. There can be no such person because there is no neutral truth of a scientific sort defining the purposes of society. While his judgments are surely based on experience and learning, man must define that final purpose for himself as he understands it, and we should not be ashamed of the process of defining it—the process of deliberative politics.
              Indeed, Comte takes his argument to its logical extreme, which some modern proponents of neutral political management do not perhaps recognize. Since the normative rules which will guide society to its naturally prescribed form are discoverable by scientific methods, freedom of thought is a useless anachronism. “The vague metaphysical idea of liberty,” he writes, “impedes the action of the masses on the individual” and is therefore an impediment to proper order in society.[15] Just as there is no such thing as liberty of conscience in physics or chemistry, but rather only a search after truth, so there cannot be any such liberty in the new social science, since its truths will be just as firm and concrete. So rather than idle away their time in deliberation and argument over values, philosophies and ideals, politicians should step aside and let the professional men of science guide society objectively. (Tyranny of Reason, 126–27)

          There is no freedom. There is no non-manipulative relationship. There is only power. If God values non-manipulative relationship, how can he show up in such a system?! There is so much danger that like a conspiracy theorist can bend any new evidence to support his/her conspiracy theory, that a person fully in the embrace of power will interpret all phenomena as instances of power. Or so I claim.

          That is, you continue to shift the burden.

          So you say. I say that unless the instrument is in sufficient working order, it cannot detect a phenomenon and identify it for what it is. (Alternatives are to observe artifacts of the instrument or see a very partial and/or grossly distorted version.) I have scientific support for this: Grossberg 1999 The Link between Brain Learning, Attention, and Consciousness (partial tutorial). Your perceptual neurons can lead your non-perceptual neurons to water, but they can’t make the non-perceptual neurons drink. It is possible to get “stuck”, such that the following happens:

          A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. (Max Planck)

          I’m not asking you to produce evidence of God’s existence—that’s what truly “shift[ing] the burden” would be. Instead, I’m asking you to help us look at the instrument, to see if it has any hope of detecting Z-rays. If the answer is “no”, and then you say that Z-rays haven’t been detected, what should one rationally conclude?

          Now, you are welcome to drop out of the conversation at any time. My current plan is to try and get a group of Christians (non-Christians are welcome to join) to serve scientists, by doing all sorts of grunge work which is currently not rewarded by current prestige/​reputation systems. So for example, I’m doing some very basic electronics to help a friend build a Peltier system to generate thermal gradients for doing developmental neuroscience on Drosophila larvae. To any “accomplished” engineer, it is child’s play and “beneath” them. On the other hand, I suspect most hobbyists don’t know how to make a system robust enough to suffice for science. So what if I can get a group together to build “tools for scientists” with the kind of servant-heart that Jesus had? What’s especially cool is that once the program has matured enough (if it gets off the ground), precocious high school students can get involved. Anyhow, the whole spirit of this thing is to serve, to not get paid what I think I deserve, and to endure being treated as even worse than experimentalists are in science. (It’s so frequently the theoretical result which is most valued—nobody wants to see how the sausage is actually made.) If this succeeds, I will try to do more intense versions which integrate more scripture which runs counter to Modernity, to the Enlightenment. Maybe the end result will constitute some sort of “evidence” for people like you, and maybe not.

          If Yahwehjesus exists, then… But Yahwehjesus is (so far) imaginary.

          When scientists were looking for the Higgs boson, they talked in “as if X exists” all the freaking time. Only when that discussion had sufficiently matured did they have any hope in hell of seeing if it exists. But you would deny this when it comes to God. Why?

          And of course, your Yahwehjesus (the so far, imaginary agent) doesn’t look the same as the imaginary agent of other christians/​theists.

          I have no doubt that my understanding contains errors which other humans (Christian or not) can help correct. I must ensure that my understanding of God is something like an ‘open transcendental’ or ‘open concept’ (see above). If I think I perfectly understand God (or as perfectly as humans can attain this side of heaven), I have a hardened heart, an ossified “seat of the understanding”.

          Science is predicated upon deleting all aspects of experience which cannot be perfectly reproduced in the next person’s head—with enough scientific training. It is a least common denominator. This is great for some purposes, but it is terrible for fully understanding persons. Imagine if the only things about you, Susan, which are “true” are those things that everyone can agree upon. Wouldn’t that be terrible? You would be your role in society and nothing more.

          Are you suggesting that merely believing that it exists is the best route forward? Or does it have to actually exist?

          I think it’s important to explore when the difference matters and when it does not. For example, take the people in Creating God in your own image (paper). Is there a difference between those who think that God judges like they do, vs. those who think that God judges somewhat differently than they do? I suspect the answer is a resounding “Yes!”—the former group will be closed to any Other, while the latter group might be open to the Other. Feuerbach must be listened to, here.

          BTW, one way to explore this matter is to ask whether the difference between realism and anti-realism in science is important. Care to comment? Does it matter that electrons really exist, or does it suffice to merely act as if they exist?

          LB: By the way, a lot of my confidence on these issues comes from the belief that our shitty-ass understandings of God translate into shitty-ass understandings of other people, which leads to fucked up social relations.

          S: How can we understand something that doesn’t seem to exist?

          The actual question is: “How can I understand something outside my epistemic horizon, from within my epistemic horizon?” The answer is that you have to have a way to expand your epistemic horizon. It is my claim that classical logic (e.g. “rationality” or “reason”) is a fatal flaw when it comes to such expansion. This shows up in Fitch’s paradox of knowability, with special emphasis on the attempt to assert the following:

          There is an unknown, but knowable truth, and it is knowable that there is an unknown, but knowable truth. (WP: Fitch’s paradox of knowability § The knowability thesis)

          This is the same as asserting “I’m not omniscient” or perhaps “We are not omniscient”. The pedants might want to switch from ‘omniscient’ → ‘as knowledgeable as possible’. What Fitch’s paradox shows is that if you accept that axiom and three other innocent-seeming ones, you hit a contradiction—indicating that “all knowable truths are known”. Now, it’s important to heed epeeist:

          e: I wouldn’t ordinarily bother responding to you but there are a number of people don’t accept Fitch’s reasoning.

          However, if the logic being used to say “there is no evidence of God’s existence” falls prey to Fitch’s paradox of knowability, that is a clear problem for the atheist. Until I can guarantee that this problem doesn’t exist, I am intellectually warranted in pressing this issue.

          Infinite complexity. What does that mean? Others say infinite simplicity. And I would ask them the same thing.

          Divine simplicity is, as far as I can tell, well-modeled by nonseparability. The book title God without Parts gets at this. Nonseparability implies that reduction results in loss of information. I can expand on this upon request, probably from Life Itself and perhaps from Causality and Chance in Modern Physics.

          Infinite complexity means that no algorithm (formal system with recursively enumerable axioms & rules of inference) can sufficiently describe. Note that Gödel’s incompleteness theorems targets such systems. The Bible repeatedly describes God as beyond [complete] comprehension of humans; the formalized idea of “infinite complexity” I have put forth here suffices to model that description.

        • Susan

          Do you think you are an agent?

          Yes. All references to agency begin with the assumption that humans are agents. If we’re not agents, then what are we even talking about?

          That is, do you make genuine moral choices? Or are you more like an impersonal force of nature?

          I didn’t say moral agent. I said agent. A being with the capacity to act.

          I don’t have to write a final and convincing treatise on Free Will to point out that I exist and am typing this comment. Humans exist. Your deity, on the other hand…

          The rest of your lengthy response is just more verbose, more exhausting versions of standard apologetics.

          Godel. (doesn’t give you Yawhehjesus), claims to objective morality, (doesn’t give you Yawhehjesus) You can lead a horse to water (doesn’t give you Yawhehjesus) etc. If Yahwehjesus forced itself on you… (doesn’t give you Yahwehjesus) The Higgs Boson (doesn’t give you Yahwehjesus).

          I’ve seen countless people follow you down each rabbit hole only to be dragged down more.

          That’s not how evidence works.

          You have no evidence. Just a nauseating blend of off-the-rack apologetics combined and embellished into a Luke Breuer show.

          I’m nor sure what’s worse about it. How unjustifiably exhausting it is or how boring it is.

          You don’t have a being. You have a pile of superstitious nonsense, none of which you can support. And nothing but burden shifting.

          I’m inclined to agree that you suck up threads and you’re not worth it.

          And I imagine you’ll continue to do that. Until you leave and/or are banned.

          In which case, you’ll blame it on tribalism.

          Because it can’t be you. No matter how many distinctly thoughtful people explain the problems you bring, you will think they are The Borg.

          Still, you have no evidence.

          That’s the whole point.

        • Kodie
        • Susan

          You are demonstrably driving good posters away.

          It wouldn’t be the first time.

          It’s a bit of a pattern.

        • Kodie

          I think the problem is how he denies any responsibility, as if people can just block him and carry on. People aren’t able to carry on. I sat by and only saw Luke and responses to Luke. If you criticize him, he pulls the Hitchens, or asks for a specific post in which he violated some standard, only to deny that he did, if you could offer him the example. It’s not an example, it’s his personality. It’s what the blog looks like when he’s hogging all the attention and getting what he wants from a few people. Luke puts fake lawyer to shame. No matter what you throw at him, he skates around it with a lot of words and imaginary technicalities.

        • Susan

          I think the problem is how he denies any responsibility

          It’s always been a huge problem. But it’s a normal problem when we engage apologists.

          t’s what the blog looks like when he’s hogging all the attention and getting what he wants from a few people

          Agreed.

      • Kodie

        No, there’s no god, dummy, we just get Christians insisting we ignore god, who’s not there, and can do nothing.

        Let’s, for a fucking change, start there, instead of your presumptions.

  • Bond….James Bond

    lotsa holy spirits out there……(brandy is nice). reminds me of the joke about Mumford. he was a new recruit, and the sergeant just got notified that Mumford;s mother passed away…the sarge was told to break it to Mumford, but gently, as he could be a little insensitive …so he had all the recruits line up, and said…all you men with mothers, please step forward,,and not so fast Mumford.. so.. not so fast Craig

    • Michael Neville

      I know the joke’s punchline as “Where do you think you’re going, Mumford?”

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    To me, a rebuttal to Craig seems simple:

    “How can you demonstrate your experience to a hypothetical third person who is waiting for evidence before accepting either your [Craig’s] word or that of your opponent?”

    • Doubting Thomas

      It would be simple if true. The Holy Spirit is god. God is omniscient. All Craig has to do is have god tell him something he could have never known on his own.

      We all, atheists and theists alike, know it’s never gonna happen.

    • Tommy

      Right. Billy Craig claims that he knows his god exists because he claims he has a “self-authenticating” witness. Why should we believe him?

    • To me, a rebuttal to Craig seems simple:

      “How can you demonstrate your experience to a hypothetical third person who is waiting for evidence before accepting either your [Craig’s] word or that of your opponent?”

      Experiences cannot be “demonstrated”. At most one can try to *evoke* a similar experience. But that would be an experienced caused by me instead of by God. The idea that my experience would be authoritative for you is antithetical to the New Covenant:

      “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34)

      In Enlightenment terminology (the translation is lossy), this would mean that everyone would know how to reason and do science, such that nobody would have to tell anyone else how to do it. Each person would be convinced that the best way to live is to reason and do science not because of someone else’s experience, but because of his/her own. Your request only really makes sense on Deuteronomy 5 reasoning, specifically:

      And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die. (Deuteronomy 5:24–25)

      In other words: the masses insisted on collective mediocrity with only the elites talking to God. But this was not how things were originally designed and this is not what God wanted—as evidenced by the Jeremiah passage. It was never supposed to be that only a few humans had experience of God and then communicated that to all the others. This is an exceedingly broken way to do things.

    • Kevin K

      Add to that … how do you know you’re being witnessed by Yahweh and not Shiva? Or Satan?

  • Damien Priestly

    Ugh, they give out doctorates for that kind of logic? WLC thinks his Holy Spirit is a special “real” ghost …and nobody else’s ghost is fake!

    He needs to join Mike Pence in the loony asylum.

    • Michael Neville

      WLC knows that his ghost is the only real ghost and all others are fake because the ghost told him so. That’s what self-authenticating means. If a Muslim or Hindu says the same thing about their ghosts then WLC knows they’re lying because his ghost is the only real one.

      Now my head hurts.

      • Tommy

        “I know that The Ghost Who Never Lies is telling the truth because he never lies!”

    • His logic isn’t worthy of a middle schooler. And this is what passes for scholarship within the fundamentalist community.

      • Rudy R

        The very same community that gives out mulligans to Trump.

        • I was about to ask how come Trump gets so many when you’re only supposed to get one, but then I remembered that the mulligan counter gets reset for every hole. And because Trump.

        • Joe

          The same “witness” that told Franklin Graham that backing Trump was a good idea.

    • Kevin K

      Theology doctorates basically require you to be able to say in the 10,000 words of a dissertation what a street preacher says in 10.

      • epicurus

        And no yelling

        • epicurus

          Or megaphone

        • Kevin K

          Lectern in an auditorium instead.

      • Greg G.

        And use big words utilize polysyllabic terminology

    • Raging Bee

      Theology is when you have to take all the ridiculous, emotional, offhand, and pandering things you’ve said about God, to various people for various purposes, and cobble up a rationale to try to pretend they’re all parts of a coherent and logical body of knowledge and any seeming contradiction between them is just a figment of the lost souls’ misunderstanding.

  • Otto

    I think it would be fun to see one of WLC’s opponents just hammer this issue relentlessly during a whole debate.

    • Michael Neville

      Go watch a debate between Sye Ten Bruggencate and anyone else to see how futile debating presuppositional apologetics is.

      • Otto

        WLC does not argue from that position.

        But yeah I have seen plenty of Sye and his ilk.

        • Joshua Frye

          They just wanted someone easy to throw tomatoes at and laugh. Craig has a very good grasp of both religion and science. Watch his debate with Sean Carroll.

        • epeeist

          Watch his debate with Sean Carroll.

          Neither science or philosophy have conclusions decided by debate. Let’s see some of Craig’s papers in something like Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

        • I wonder if he’d include an altar call in such a paper, like he does at the end of his debate opening statements.

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know what would be shocking? If Craig actually came up with something philosophically useful.

        • Otto

          Carroll ran over Craig, but at least Craig isn’t a presuppositionalist. Craig may have a good grasp of science but he conveniently seems to leave out information and misrepresent the science when it is beneficial.

        • Pofarmer

          I think at best Craig has an advanced layman’s understanding of the science he tries to use. I doubt there are very many actual scientists that have him on speed dial to get opinions.

        • Otto

          It is like how I describe my knowledge of computers…

          He knows enough to be dangerous.

        • That reminds me of WLC’s and Plantinga’s arguments that God is simple. They pointed to Thomas Aquinas. Yep, they pointed to a 13th century philosopher to help understand the problems with 21st-century physics.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/09/rebutting-the-god-is-simple-argument/

        • Pofarmer

          A 13th century philosopher who relied on a 4th century philosopher for his understanding.

        • Oh, well why didn’t you say so? I didn’t realize that Aquinas was so well grounded.

          My bad.

        • epeeist

          A 4th century BCE philosopher whose physics has been shown to be definitively false.

        • Pofarmer

          what’s 800 years?

        • Greg G.

          Nerd point: with no Year Zero, it’s only 799 years.

        • Pofarmer

          Dammit.

        • Paul B. Lot

          100% I would have made that same mistake – I had no idea you took a year off when going ’round the horn.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, its actuall like 650 years because you’re going from 325ce to 325 bce, approximately.

        • Paul B. Lot

          649? ;D

        • Pofarmer

          Dammit.

        • Science has taken us this far, but we need WLC to help us out with the latest conundrums at the frontier of science?

          Guess again.

        • Greg G.

          When a person refuses to come to Christ, it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God’s Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God. (Reasonable Faith, 47)

          When a person refuses to come to FSM, it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of FSM’s Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Pastafarian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Pastafarian because he loves blandness rather than flavor and wants nothing to do with FSM. (Reasonable Taste, 47)

          Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected the touch of His Noodly Appendage. (Reasonable Taste, 50)

        • Pofarmer

          Once again, Craig doesn’t have the requisite mathematical knowledge to discuss the science, and it shows in the debate.

      • TheNuszAbides

        NO THANK YOU.

      • Just to be clear, you’re not saying that he has an effective or convincing argument for God but only that you’re beating your head against the wall in debating him. Correct me if I got that wrong.

        • Michael Neville

          Sye Ten B’s debates consist of ignoring any reasoned responses to his arguments. He’s a presuppositionalist, i.e., his god exists because the Bible is the word of his god and it says that his god exists. He also loves the idea that we can only know the difference between right and wrong if we have an absolute standard of morality by which to judge our actions against. Of course this absolute standard of morality is Yahwh, the god of the Bible. When presented with the fact that, in the Bible, Yahweh repeatedly commands his adherents to carry out acts of genocide, rape, enslavement, torture and genital mutilation of infants, Bruggencate’s position is that those who point out this obvious challenge to his god’s moral authority are in no position to judge his actions, since atheism cannot account for an absolute standard of morality.

        • That’s a helpful summary, thanks. I would think his entire act could be dismissed with Hitchens’ Razor, “that which is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” That makes for a short debate.

        • Max Doubt
        • epicurus

          Painful

        • Max Doubt

          “Painful”

          Yep. Bruggencate laid out the totality of his argument within the first 30 seconds. The very best argument he has – and pretty much any other Christian who ever tried to defend their god claims – the best argument they can muster is it must be true because they believe it’s true.

          The laugh track? Okay, I was compelled to ridicule the ridiculous.

        • epicurus

          I watched a debate Hitchens vs Wilson years ago and Wilson did a similar trick. It was very frustrating to watch as he just seemed to assume most of what he was supposedly trying to prove.

        • Joshua Frye

          This isn’t Craig…. this is a classic straw man. It’s easy to find someone bad at making arguments. I could find people that are atheist because of their depression and nihilism just like you find people that are christian because of their feelings.

        • Huh? What’s the connection between atheism and depression/nihilism?

        • Max Doubt

          “This isn’t Craig…. this is a classic straw man. It’s easy to find someone bad at making arguments.”

          Craig’s arguments are just as shitty as Bruggencate’s.

          “I could find people that are atheist because of their depression and nihilism just like you find people that are christian because of their feelings.”

          Anyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian because of their feelings, so if you’re trying to make a broader point, you failed. No Christians are able to objectively distinguish between what they believe to be gods and any other figments of their imaginations. All they have are the feelings. That’s it. Period.

        • Susan

          I could find people that are atheist because of their depression and nihilism.

          I don’t see a connection. Can you give me an example?

        • Kevin K
        • I see no reason one cannot argue within the presuppositionalist’s system of thought, to show it incoherent or inferior to a live alternative (in the same sense that Galilean astronomy, after observation of the phases of Venus, was superior to Ptolemaic astronomy). However, due to the preening arrogance of much Western thought, we frequently fail to do this. Charles Taylor explains in great length in his essay Explanation and Practical Reason, but I’ll be brief. People need to feel some semblance of rationality. The very existence of Christian apologetics is evidence of this. But that is not the only place it shows up; Richard Dawkins himself wrote “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (The Blind Watchmaker, 6) We all need things to fit together; gestalt psychology makes this clear.

          However, the above is hard and it requires one to be charitable to the other position—even to steelman it at times. If one thinks that anything ‘religion’ is worthless†, then I suspect it’ll be nigh impossible to get inside the thought of religious folks in a way which can be truly threatening to them. Intellectual laziness for the win? (I await some whataboutery.)

          All of this, by the way, applies to a great deal of attempting to change other people’s minds. As it turns out, you often have to see what they think as not entirely worthless, in order to be respected by them. But hey, maybe more mockery and disrespect is just what liberal democracy in the West needs. Shall we try it?

           
          † I’ve never seen a scientific case made for this, but we know people aren’t necessarily scientific, even those who claim they are.

        • eric

          I see no reason one cannot argue within the presuppositionalist’s
          system of thought…However, due to the preening arrogance of much Western thought, we frequently fail to do this.

          It’s not arrogance to point out that Christian premises presume Christianity to be correct – and that you see no reason to spend a lot of time trying to show the argument to be invalid as long as that’s the case.

          Now sure, you can do such an analysis. If you want. But there certainly no obligation to do so, and it seems pretty silly to me to call someone ‘arrogant’ if they don’t do it. Is it arrogance for a Christian to point out there’s no evidence for any of Scientology’s assumptions? Is it arrogance if you don’t start with the assumption that Dianetics is accurate? No, and no. Well the same is true of all faiths. It’s not ‘arrogance’ to discuss the problems with a faith’s premises, rather than grant them and argue about validity instead.

        • It’s not arrogance to point out that Christian premises presume Christianity to be correct – and that you see no reason to spend a lot of time trying to show the argument to be invalid as long as that’s the case.

          No manner of thinking avoids presuppositions. Wittgenstein demonstrated that you can’t just start with “I trust my senses to be more accurate than not”, “there are other minds”, and “there is an external reality”. What you start with is rather more complicated. What everyone believes is that his/her presuppositions guide him/her into all truth, while sending him/her down as few false paths as possible.

          And yet, you can still find [important] contradictions, poor fits to reality, and show systems of thinking and acting which are superior to Christianity—even on its own success metrics. This does require more right-brain thinking than left-brain thinking, when the dichotomy is understood per Iain McGilchrist in The Master and His Emissary. We Moderns really do adore our analytical, abstracting, left-brain thinking. Fortunately, people don’t live in thought-castles in the sky—excepting perhaps the intellectual elite, kinda-sorta. For the rest, you have many avenues of possible discussion. But only if you don’t exude arrogance with every comment. (You don’t seem to, eric, but plenty of atheists I’ve encountered do.)

          Now sure, you can do such an analysis. If you want. But there certainly no obligation to do so, and it seems pretty silly to me to call someone ‘arrogant’ if they don’t do it.

          There is no obligation to do anything, is there? On the other hand, if the harm principle requires that you understand someone well enough not to cause unnecessary harm, there may well be an obligation to do what I’ve described. The arrogance comes in when you presuppose that your presuppositions are superior to the other person’s on all measures instead of merely hard science where monistic, impersonal causation works just fine. (more)

          Is it arrogance for a Christian to point out there’s no evidence for any of Scientology’s assumptions?

          It might be if you have read Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and understood how “what constitutes evidence” is [at least somewhat] paradigm-relative. It might be if you’ve understood the consequences of Grossberg 1999 The Link between Brain Learning, Attention, and Consciousness (partial tutorial). Furthermore, the fact that you think you can sunder fact from value like this is itself a massive dogmatic presupposition. Contrast that to Heather Douglas’ Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal. (I can explicate if you’d like.)

          It’s not ‘arrogance’ to discuss the problems with a faith’s premises, rather than grant them and argue about validity instead.

          When you discuss the problems with a faith’s “premises”, you presuppose that all your “premises” are [sufficiently] without error. Wayne C. Booth got it right:

              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)

          In criticizing presuppositionalism, you are acting as a presuppositionalist—just with different presuppositions. There are alternative approaches which still demand rigor, which still push toward something like the scientific enterprise (that is, accrual of knowledge which allows us to think better and live better).

    • Joshua Frye

      Watch the debate between Sean Carroll and William Lane Craig. All of the evidence is on Craig’s side of the debate. It’s very scientific.

      • WLC climbed into the ring to debate cosmology … with a cosmologist. If his goal was to posture and look science-y, maybe that came across to people in the audience looking for evidence to support that preconception, but he didn’t do much for me.

        One of Carroll’s points that I thought particularly effective was his observation that you don’t find the words “transcendent cause” in a cosmology textbook; what you find are differential equations!

      • Otto

        You mean like when he claimed the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem came to a conclusion that it in fact didn’t…and then Carroll had Guth on screen directly refuting his claim? That isn’t being scientific, that is being dishonest.

  • This may be the purest example of begging the question I’ve ever seen.

    • Michael Neville

      The truly hypocritical part is that WLC rejects presuppositional apologetics:

      “…presuppositionalism is guilty of a logical howler: it commits the informal fallacy of petitio principii, or begging the question, for it advocates presupposing the truth of Christian theism in order to prove Christian theism…. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could with a straight face think to show theism to be true by reasoning, ‘God exists. Therefore, God exists.’ Nor is this said from the standpoint of unbelief. A Christian theist himself will deny that question-begging arguments prove anything…”

      William Lane Craig in Steven B. Cowan, ed. Five Views on Apologetics pp 232-233

      • Craig appears pretty oblivious.

        • Joshua Frye

          Craig has a great knowledge of both religious philosophy and physics. Watch the debate between him and Sean Carroll. He’s got all of the evidence supporting his side and he trashes Sean’s model of the universe.

        • And philosophy is useful at the frontier of physics … how?

          When the topic is cosmology, I think I’ll look to the cosmologist to have some answers, not the philosopher with an agenda.

        • Pofarmer

          The interesting thing is, at the very forefront of theoretical physics, there is a lot of philosophy, but they don’t hang their hat on it. They then go on to do the equations to see if their philosophy is justified. THEN they go do experiments to see of it’s empirically justified. They don’t just stop with a satisfying philosophical answer.

        • But that’s philosophy coming from cosmologists, right? Philosophy coming from philosophers is what puzzles me. I’m trying to figure out what useful contribution WLC (my favorite philosopher–I sleep with one of his autographed books under my pillow) could make in a discussion among cosmologists.

        • epeeist

          But that’s philosophy coming from cosmologists, right?

          If you want to see what is happening on the overlap between physics and philosophy I can recommend Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale edited by Craig Callendar and Nick Huggett. Be aware, it isn’t the easiest of reads.

        • mike edwards
        • Can you summarize these posts? I need to see that there’s something worth reading.

        • mike edwards

          its all worth reading, just as you have said to me about your blogs, “read them”.

        • I was just trying to help out. Three context-less links look like spam.

        • mike edwards

          but lets put the whole paragraph/response in so as to avoid the “taking out of context” ploy .

          Seidensticker sets up straw men and knocks them down, while at the same time ignoring other possible scenarios and explanations.
          Seidensticker makes the interesting comment that the universe doesn’t look like it exists with mankind in mind. He states that the Bible teaches that the universe was created for man, but that science tells us that the universe is “unnecessarily big” for it to have been created as part of God’s plan for humanity. He somehow imagines that he has the ability to know God’s intentions for creating the universe and what would have been a better way to do it. Of course he doesn’t have that knowledge, and making that assertion is absurd on its face.

          But beyond that obvious problem, one could imagine numerous possible scenarios and explanations. Just as Seidensticker used his imagination to imagine why the current form of the universe would not fit God’s purposes, I could imagine reasons why it would – and they would be just as valid as his. This argument is purely an exercise in futility.

        • Just as Seidensticker used his imagination to imagine why the current form of the universe would not fit God’s purposes, I could imagine reasons why it would

          Then do so.

        • mike edwards

          Why ? Thats the point isnt it. Of course one could, but this does nothing to further the argument much less support your assertion.

        • The Christian makes a supernatural claim about God, Jesus, the Bible or Christianity. I evaluate it. Let’s do that again: I evaluate it. If there were a claim about unicorns or Bigfoot made to me, again, I’d evaluate it. If it appears to me to be a stupid claim (or otherwise one not worth adopting), I’ll say so. It works some other way for you?

          I imagine you’ll complain that I’m setting myself up as the ultimate authority. That’s correct, because I’ve got nothing better. You say that God is the ultimate authority? Yet again, that’s a claim that needs to be proven, not merely asserted.

          Getting back to what I think was the original point, I will do my best to objectively evaluate the idea that this vast universe is what God would’ve likely made if making humanity was his goal. I will do my best to imagine things from God’s standpoint, but that’s it. I’m not going to assume God at the outset. Therefore, “But couldn’t God have his own reasons that you don’t understand?” fails.

        • mike edwards

          Your evaluation process would be the scrutiny of how you came to your conclusions based on how well you know what your arguing against ( bigfoot,FSM or The Christian God) , thats what Part two of the link i Posted, It shows you clearly do not understand or purposely misconstrue the Christian Doctrine.
          The stupid claim issue you have , when weighed out by your arguments against Freddy Davis arguments, Shows the amount of fallacies you have in your arguing.

          ” You say that God is the ultimate authority? Yet again, that’s a claim that needs to be proven, not merely asserted.”–Of course, and many have shown that there is a more plausible argument For the existent of a Creator God than not. I noticed this a pattern of yours, you ignore the arguments by not fully understanding / mis-representing the theology ( strawman) to stick to this pre-assumed mindset of your will and not truth.

          ” because I’ve got nothing better.”–made on a choice of will, not logic though. I think it is more plausible that you DO have something better, if you choose it

          “”But couldn’t God have his own reasons that you don’t understand?” fails.”—this logically follows though. with using science and philosophy to come to a rational conclusion that what created this universe has to be more intelligent than what is in the universe ( creator is not bound by his creation=illogical) , then it logically follows that we cannot comprehend everything this mind can do ( we are still discovering things in nature that show us this amount of intelligence) , but that doesn’t mean we cant apprehend this creator based on what we can comprehend. I mean, if we could comprehend God, would even be God? —logically asking this remember, regardless if you believe in God or not, this does logically follow….granted, doesn’t get you to any specific religious beleif, so just leave that out of it

        • Your evaluation process would be the scrutiny of how you came to your conclusions based on how well you know what your arguing against ( bigfoot,FSM or The Christian God) , thats what Part two of the link i Posted, It shows you clearly do not understand or purposely misconstrue the Christian Doctrine.

          No idea what this means. I don’t see how this response to my point. In fact, I find surprisingly little to respond to.

          It shows you clearly do not understand or purposely misconstrue the Christian Doctrine.

          How is this not the Courtier’s Reply?

          The stupid claim issue you have , when weighed out by your arguments against Freddy Davis arguments, Shows the amount of fallacies you have in your arguing.

          Is there a point here?

          then it logically follows that we cannot comprehend everything this mind can do

          You’re presupposing God. That’s backwards.

        • mike edwards

          your evaluation process is based on what you know correct ? Well, as shown by those articles/posts/responses (part 2) your knowledge of The Christian doctrine is very inaccurate ( and.or intentionally misleading). So when you make your claims/arguments against Christianity , based on your understanding ( lack of) on Christianity your evaluation process draws false conclusions.

          “Is there a point here?”-yea, It Shows the amount of fallacies you have in your arguing….I think your playing possum here.

          “You’re presupposing God. That’s backwards.’-no, i drew that conclusion following a logical process ( also can be known thru reverse engineering) your asserting Im Presupposing by presupposing that was my process……There is no appealing to authority or “God of the gaps” issue here.

          courtiers reply fallacy:

          1) Theistic belief is exactly like the Emperor’s belief that he was wearing new clothes – that is to say, theism is obviously false, absurd and dangerous. ( pre supposed)

          2) Of course theists have arguments that this isn’t the case – that in fact theism is not obviously false, absurd and dangerous.

          3) But we don’t need to engage those arguments as theism is obviously false, absurd and dangerous.( pre supposed)

          This is a circular argument, and not worth bothering with

        • Greg G.

          your evaluation process is based on what you know correct

          Most of us are comfortable with a bit of uncertainty so “know” is not necessarily 100% certainty, it is relative to the strength of the evidence.

          i drew that conclusion following a logical process

          I have heard that before but it has always turned out to be a fallacious process or drawn from carefully stacked premises assumptions.

        • mike edwards

          “your evaluation process is based on what you know correct”—yep, anything is possible, Ill follow whats more reasonable based on empirical and ontological reasoning with sound logic.

          “I have heard that before but it has always turned out to be a fallacious process or drawn from carefully stacked premises assumptions.”—Cant argue your experiences. Only what is presented to me.

        • Greg G.

          yep, anything is possible, Ill follow whats more reasonable based on empirical and ontological reasoning with sound logic.

          Cant argue your experiences. Only what is presented to me.

          Have you shared this logic anywhere?

        • mike edwards

          Do you mean converse with people yes, do i write blogs, no

        • Greg G.

          Will you present your logic here?

        • mike edwards

          I believe this point also apply s to this comment:

          Perhaps one of Seidensticker’s most outlandish assertions is that he looks at the makeup of the universe and declares that if God actually existed it wouldn’t be like what we have. In making this kind of assertion, he either pretends to be omniscient himself, or he is totally delusional. Obviously, he does not have the ability to know that kind of information.

          What he has actually done is to create in his mind what he thinks God would be like if God existed, and then imagined what kind of creation this God would make. It seems that he imagines some kind of paradisaical earth where there is all pleasure and no pain, and where everyone just gets everything they want. Seidensticker’s imaginary paradise is a fiction that doesn’t reflect anything that is taught in the Bible about the nature of God, the nature of the natural universe, or the nature of eternity.

        • In skimming the first article, I found something I’ll respond to here.

          [Bob] somehow imagines that he has the ability to know God’s intentions for creating the universe and what would have been a better way to do it.

          This highlights the problem we have. You can always say, “How do you know? Maybe God has his reasons.” But that’s not how we think about what’s true in the world. This is what you do if you’re trying to show I haven’t proven that God doesn’t exist, but that was never my intention. I haven’t proven no unicorns or no Bigfoot either, but the evidence doesn’t say that they do exist, which is the point.

          The burden of proof for God is yours, and “Maybe God has his reasons” is your shirking it. You can worry if I’ve underestimated God only after we first have evidence for God.

        • mike edwards

          Then your claim that it could have been done better isnt true either…You just asserted this with no support of how. Thats all the counter point was. Now, there are further arguments for supporting that claim, but that was not the point. The point was how “off the cuff”and irresponsible your comment was. Of course one needs to support their claim, but your showing your own double standard here with this comment.

          ” But that’s not how we think about what’s true in the world”–im confused Bob, last time we conversed truth was subjective, this comment begs of an objective truth does it not?

          Yes, but the burden of proof that God could have done it better begs of “How so” is yours . “Armchair quarterbacking” is not a solid defense

          I would also recommend not “skimming”, but rather read them and think about it to avoid simple mistakes ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          First: do no harm.

        • Greg G.

          1. Seidensticker assumes the truth and validity of a naturalistic worldview without the ability to back it up.
          We will start with this point because it is actually the root of all of his other objections. The bottom line belief in atheistic Naturalism is that the natural universe is all that exists.

          Oh, dear. The first claim is wrong. Naturalism follows from the natural universe being all that we can study empirically. We certainly cannot study any of the myriads of imaginary universes. We can’t study religious claims because they are contrived to be behind the wall of supernaturalism, which is very effective in protecting fragile ideas from scrutiny.

          Understand clearly here, this is not a scientific point of view. It pretends to be, but in fact it is a faith position.

          Only because of the misrepresentation.

          The next section has:

          Seidensticker makes a big deal that Christianity can’t prove itself using empirical methodology, then turns right around and tries to prove Christianity is not true using the very methods he decries.

          There have been many gods of thunder. None of them could be shown to exist by empirical methodology but thunder could be explained with empirical methodology falsifying that thunder was supernatural.

          Which are the best arguments there? Are there any good ones?

          God Thingy Theory has been falsified many times. It is still searching for something to explain.

        • God Thingy Theory has been falsified many times. It is still searching for something to explain.

          Yep–there’s the problem. Naturalism is simply too effective for religion to remain viable. Religion brings nothing to the party. Drop the God hypothesis, and you’ve lost no explanatory power.

        • mike edwards

          ” Naturalism is simply too effective for religion to remain viable.”-except it is shown to be very inadequate, in fact , to believe in naturalism only muddies up the waters , leaves more un-probability than probability philosophically. ( check the poiints brought out in the links).

          “Drop the God hypothesis, and you’ve lost no explanatory power.”–again, your presuming God first then some sort of appeal to authority….you have it backwards ( but you wont accept that to argue against it) I got to a God from empirical and philosophical reasoning, not the other way around… Arguing from what we do know, not from what we do not know.

        • Paul B. Lot

          again, your presuming God first then some sort of appeal to authority….you have it backwards

          What phenomenon(a) do you believe cannot be explained by naturalism but *can* by some flavor of the/deism?

        • mike edwards

          What do you mean by Phenomenon ?
          The beginning of Time space and Matter is best explained by theism . Everyday experiences like Value,beauty,justice….etc. are best explained by theism

        • Paul B. Lot

          is best explained

          What does this phrasing mean to you, epistemologically? What constitutes an “explanation” to begin with, let alone a “good”, “better”, or “best” one?

          The beginning of Time space and Matter is best explained by theism

          1) You *know* that “time, space, and matter” had a “beginning”?! What is the source of this implicit knowledge assertion?
          2) Presuming, for the sake of argument, you have a coherent, intelligible, sound answer to #1: what is this explanation for their having had a beginning which “theism” (why not *deism*?) provides?

          Everyday experiences like Value,beauty,justice….etc. are best explained by theism

          1) Can you define the “experience” of “value”, “beauty”, or “justice”?
          2) Presuming, for the sake of argument, you have a coherent, intelligible, sound answer to #1: how does “theism” provide an account for them?

        • mike edwards

          “What does this phrasing mean to you, epistemologically? What constitutes an “explanation” to begin with, let alone a “good”, “better”, or “best” one?”–so your left with word play. Ill play, How can one really know what a question is, when reality could be an illusion (Kant) or just chemical responses to physical reaction only in the physical brain. ( naturalism) Or Since there MIGHT be a all knowing all powerful gawd thingy, This would all be predetermination and not really freethinking ( misconception of Christianity or Calvinism) . The fact you want to take this to level that you cannot and probably do not take in every other aspect of your reality is futile . If you want to use philosophy to argue If there really is a table in your house, you got the wrong guy ( im with Steven Pinkerton on this one) , If want to apply it to reality and find truth…..continue

          1) 1) You *know* that “time, space, and matter” had a “beginning”?! What is the source of this implicit knowledge assertion?–

          “In this lecture, I would like to discuss whether time itself has a beginning, and whether it will have an end. All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning, about 15 billion years ago. This is probably the most remarkable discovery of modern cosmology. Yet it is now taken for granted” –Stephen Hawking
          Most physicist agree with this as well, Not really an argument…….Steady state model has been pretty much abandoned……Planck Time just pushes the goal post back and begs for more blind faith that I’m will to give.

          2) Deism and theism are closely related, But when this reality is examined by our humanist nature, it leads( based on philosophical analysis) to a personal agent ( morality, justice, conscious , value, beauty…etc) . Deism also suggests a “distant” and “Un-Involved” agent, With Gravity, magnetic forces, nuclear forces…etc. , we do not know what they are, only by their effects, what keeps them precise and reliable…looks like they are sustained, that requires involvement. Just a few ideas here.

          1) those attributes are personal and can only be known by self and valued by self, this begs for something outside of materialism, and materialism cannot support these in its model. Great book for this argument is Atheist Thomas Nagels book Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. He is a lot smarter than me, and can explain it a lot better…short read also. Here is the link https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Cosmos-Materialist-Neo-Darwinian-Conception/dp/0199919755/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546526449&sr=8-1&keywords=mind+and+cosmos+by+thomas+nagel

          2) Theism is based on a personal agent, combine those with the above attributes that 1) are personal and unique to “self” 2) can only be known to self, but aware that those attributes do exist in other humans ( taste , degrees, value systems, talent…etc) combine that with the Christian doctrine of sacrifice ( value, love morality, direction…etc) The argument for theism becomes more plausible. Materialism cannot account for those values, it treats them as “afterthoughts” or “side effects”, but as any simple observation shows…society and humans do put emphasis on these ” side effects” ( materialism) very strongly and make life decisions based on them. ( “me to” movement, civil rights, discrimination, marriage, adultery, personal freedom, freedom of religion….etc)

          Again, Nagels book really does a good job on this conversation.

          I also believe that these arguments get you to theism over/past deism
          Positive arguments for Christian theism

          The kalam cosmological argument and the Big Bang theory
          The fine-tuning argument from cosmological constants and quantities
          The origin of life, biological information
          The sudden origin of phyla in the Cambrian explosionGalactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zonesIrreducible complexity in molecular machines
          The creative limits of natural selection and random mutationAngus Menuge’s ontological argument from reasonAlvin Plantinga’s epistemological argument from reason
          William Lane Craig’s moral argument
          The unexpected applicability of mathematics to natureSix reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds
          William Lane Craig’s case for the resurrection of Jesus

        • Paul B. Lot

          I.
          a.

          What does this phrasing mean to you, epistemologically? What constitutes an “explanation” to begin with, let alone a “good”, “better”, or “best” one?

          so your left with word play

          It’s “you’re”, not “your”, and: no. I’m not left with “word play”. I know that terms like “epistemology” can seem scary to the uninitiated, but if you’re going to waltz into others’ fora and areas of expertise, you’d be better off learning how to play the game by the existing rules rather than bitching. Worse than merely revealing you as a someone prone to petulance, it shows you to be woefully unprepared for the task before you.

          b.

          Ill play, How can one really know what a question is, when reality could be an illusion (Kant)

          One never “really knows” much of anything. All knowledge-claims are both provisional and statistical. “Certainty” as-used-colloquially is not achievable.

          c.

          just chemical responses to physical reaction only in the physical brain. ( naturalism)

          1) The physical action of the brain is not “just chemical”, you need to re-learn your biology.
          2) How does your computer play Youtube videos if data is “just ones and zeroes”? You can’t explain that.

          d.

          The fact you want to take this to level that you cannot and probably do not take in every other aspect of your reality is futile .

          1) In addition to re-learning biology, you need a refresher on English. “Facts” aren’t “futile”, actions are. I know that you think the word “futile” sounds big and strong and smart…but your attempt to project those attributes is futile if you misuse the word.
          2) You have no idea what I’m like in “every other aspect of [my] reality”, superchief.
          3) The fact that you’re triggered by this *very basic* level of push-back is, again, informative.

          e.

          If you want to use philosophy to argue If there really is a table in your house, you got the wrong guy ( im with Steven Pinkerton on this one) , If want to apply it to reality and find truth…..continue

          1) You’re “with” one “Steven Pinkerton”? Did you perhaps mean….”Steven Pinker”?
          2) “Epistemology” != “philosophy”
          3) The question of what constitutes tables etc. is interesting, and we can go there if you’d like. But the questions I asked of you, which you (predictably) failed to answer, had to do with setting ground rules for how we were going to talk to one another. You and I might have had different ideas of what good explanations are, what “evidence” means, etc… Of course, by now having read *this* far into your response, I realize that [disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”] were among the least of my worries.

          II.
          a.

          You *know* that “time, space, and matter” had a “beginning”?! What is the source of this implicit knowledge assertion?

          “In this lecture, I would like to discuss whether time itself has a beginning, and whether it will have an end. All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning, about 15 billion years ago. This is probably the most remarkable discovery of modern cosmology. Yet it is now taken for granted” –Stephen Hawking

          Oh, joy. You want to play the [who can pull more quotes from authority] game? Okay, how about this?

          There is something of a paradox in the way that cosmologists traditionally talk about the Big Bang. They will go to great effort to explain how the Bang was the beginning of space and time, that there is no “before” or “outside,” and that the universe was (conceivably) infinitely big the very moment it came into existence, so that the pasts of distant points in our current universe are strictly non-overlapping. All of which, of course, is pure moonshine. When they choose to be more careful, these cosmologists might say “Of course we don’t know for sure, but…” Which is true, but it’s stronger than that: the truth is, we have no good reasons to believe that those statements are actually true, and some pretty good reasons to doubt them. – Sean Carroll.

          (Note that when quoting people, it’s customary to cite the quotation.)

          b. Yes it’s true; Dr. Hawking, at one point in time thought that the concept referred to by one specific usage of the word “universe” “had a beginning”. However.
          1) “Universe” has different meanings in different contexts.
          2) “Beginning” has different meanings in different contexts.
          3) Your quotation is from a lecture he gave in 1995. Dr. Hawking himself later changed his mind:

          The realization that time can behave like another direction of space means that one can get rid of the problem of time having a beginning … when one combines the general theory of relativity with quantum theory, the question of what happened before the beginning of the universe is rendered meaningless. – The Grand Design (pg. 134-135) 2010

          (For more info.) If you’re going to rely on someone else to do your thinking for you, and try to trot out their POV as definitive proof that you know what you’re talking about…it might be wise to try to understand how their POV has evolved.

          c.

          Most physicist agree with this as well, Not really an argument…….Steady state model has been pretty much abandoned……Planck Time just pushes the goal post back and begs for more blind faith that I’m will to give.

          Again: you just don’t understand the concepts you’re playing with. (Dunning–Kruger effect) Most physicists “agree” that [our observable bubble of the universe was in a much smaller, hotter, denser state 14 billion years ago]. That claim != the claim that [all of reality had a beginning].

          III.
          a.

          Deism and theism are closely related

          No.

          b.

          But when this reality is examined by our humanist nature, it leads( based on philosophical analysis) to a personal agent ( morality, justice, conscious , value, beauty…etc) .

          1) What? We need to add Logic 101 to your remedial course load in addition to Biology and English. A “humanist nature” (what?) examination of reality…leads to “a personal agent”? This just…doesn’t follow. You strung words together here into non-meaning.

          2) Wait, WHAT?!? Weren’t you *just* bitching to me about how you didn’t want to do philosophy?

          If you want to use philosophy to argue If there really is a table in your house, you got the wrong guy

          Now you want me to follow along with your ersatz “philosophical analysis”?

          3)

          personal agent ( morality, justice, conscious , value, beauty…etc)

          Why are those attributes listed after “personal agent” as-if you were doing an e.g.? This is just…unconnected word-vomit.

          c.

          Deism also suggests a “distant” and “Un-Involved” agent

          Yes. (+/- on what you mean by “distant”)

          d.

          With Gravity, magnetic forces, nuclear forces…etc. , we do not know what they are, only by their effects, what keeps them precise and reliable…looks like they are sustained, that requires involvement.

          Are you a Bill O’Reilly sock puppet? Lol. Granting you the greatest possible benefit of the doubt here, let me just point out that your POV smells very Aristotelian vs. Newtonian. On Earth, when we are surrounded by fluids and slowed down by friction due to gravitational acceleration, then the notion that [motion must be ‘sustained’] seems quite logical. Self-evident. Taken for granted.

          Of course, without those conditions, e.g. in the vacuum of space, it turns out that that notion falls apart. Throw a baseball on earth, and you won’t go further than a few hundred feet max before gravity pulls the ballistic trajectory down for a soil-y embrace. Throw a baseball from the middle of interstellar space, and it will not stop.

          IV.
          a.

          Everyday experiences like Value,beauty,justice….etc. are best explained by theism

          1) Can you define the “experience” of “value”, “beauty”, or “justice”?

          those attributes are personal and can only be known by self and valued by self, this begs for something outside of materialism, and materialism cannot support these in its model

          What? I asked you to *define* the terms, not offer me a vague description or more unsupported assertions. Why can’t materialism “support these in its model”?

          b.

          Great book for this argument is Atheist Thomas Nagel’s book Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. He is a lot smarter than me, and can explain it a lot better…short read also. Here is the link https://www.amazon.com/Mind

          1) You’ve screwed up enough concepts here with me so far, both complicated ones and very very simple ones, that I have no reason to believe you’ve accurately represented Nagel.
          2) From what little I know of Nagel, I think he’s reached some untenable conclusions in the past. But, again, I’m not really interested in discussing his views or his book because I haven’t read them closely and I doubt you have and/or are capable of defending them.
          3) The fact that [one controversial philosopher] holds [view xyz] does not mean that it’s reasonable. I was asking you for a good definition of the terms in question – instead of providing one, you punted to an “authority”.

          V.
          a.

          Theism is based on a personal agent, combine those with the above attributes that 1) are personal and unique to “self” 2) can only be known to self, but aware that those attributes do exist in other humans ( taste , degrees, value systems, talent…etc) combine that with the Christian doctrine of sacrifice ( value, love morality, direction…etc) The argument for theism becomes more plausible.

          Word-salad masquerading as logic in defense of an unsupported assertion.

          b.

          Materialism cannot account for those values, it treats them as “afterthoughts” or “side effects”

          Wait, if materialism deals with them as “side effects”, then it *absolutely* accounts for them.

          c.

          but as any simple observation shows…society and humans do put emphasis on these ” side effects” ( materialism) very strongly and make life decisions based on them. ( “me to” movement, civil rights, discrimination, marriage, adultery, personal freedom, freedom of religion….etc)

          Lol. Humans have often put “emphasis on” the value of gold “very strongly” and “make life decisions” because of it…yet under materialism the “value” of gold is just a “side effect” too, so…does that mean that materialists are wrong when they describe [the origin of gold in supernova] too?

          d.

          Again, Nagel’s book really does a good job on this conversation.

          Stop punting to “authorities”, particularly when you’ve demonstrated an inability accurately encapsulate a person’s whole POV.

          VI.

          I also believe that these arguments get you to theism over/past deism
          Positive arguments for Christian theism

          I mean…you failed to answer any of the questions I put to you with anything resembling coherent argument, but sure…I’ll humor you and read your list of good arguments.

          a.

          The kalam cosmological argument

          A terrible argument, long-since exploded. Even if it weren’t, it gets you nowhere near “theism over/past deism”.

          b.

          The origin of life, biological information

          This is…not an argument.

          c.

          The sudden origin of phyla in the Cambrian explosionGalactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zonesIrreducible complexity in molecular machines

          1) Argument from ignorance.
          2) Anthropic principle.
          3) IC is the pipe dream of Behe’s sloppy mind. Not worth discussing further than to mention: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Michael_Behe

          d.

          The creative limits of natural selection and random mutationAngus Menuge’s ontological argument from reasonAlvin Plantinga’s epistemological argument from reason

          1) What are “the creative limits of natural selection and random mutation”?
          2) I don’t know anything about Angus Mengue, but your endorsement is a ringing condemnation.
          3) Plantinga is a buffoon, and it’s a stain on our current educational/academic systems that men like he are given any respect at al. With that said, I’d be happy to examine any specific arguments of his you wish to defend.

          e.

          William Lane Craig’s moral argument

          WLC is a laughable hack, but, again: I’d be happy to examine any specific arguments of his you wish to defend.

          f.

          The unexpected applicability of mathematics to nature

          What?

          g.

          Six reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds

          I have no reason to believe there’s any “there” here, after how much nonsense you’ve already spouted. That said, I’d be happy to examine any specific argument you wish to defend.

          h.

          William Lane Craig’s case for the resurrection of Jesus

          I have no reason to believe there’s any “there” here, after how much nonsense you’ve already spouted. That said, I’d be happy to examine any specific argument you wish to defend.

          —Edits for various misspellings, missing punctuation and formatting.

        • mike edwards

          a) I can’t waltz, whose expertise is this inclusion of ? Logic and reason are not exclusive.
          Worse than merely revealing you as a someone prone to petulance, it shows you to be woefully unprepared for the task before you.–woefully uh? Exaggerating and “bitching” are what you’re doing here, not me, I was observing
          b) Never used “certainty”, used more plausible (straw-man)
          c)
          1) if not chemical, then its not material correct ? Now your stepping outside of materialism to argue against it….Neuroscience studies show this.
          2) Silverman—Straw-man. Christianity does not believe nor teach of a “invisible man that lives in the sky”. Caricatures are never a good defense-shows intellectual weakness and or laziness. Besides, Its hard to give David any credit or value, when he himself doesn’t give other human value. According to his “society dictates morality” the holocaust was just “ a hard Truth” we have to accept, wasn’t wrong ( he’s a Jew to ) In fact, it was so offensive You tube pulled it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5B-0dzDzkw But you if you go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzP07nEwNP8 to 1:23:00, you can see the comment…watch him spin.
          3) because the code is intelligently designed to produce desired result…its goal directed, not random with “chance” or “Luck” that just happens to produce the desired results of every YouTube video. Change one piece of code, watch what happens ( I’m a programmer, this is a very week example)

          d)
          1)You basing your action on what you think , those are futile= Futile results. You’re getting caught up in semantics rather than the subject…stay the course, or I can slow it down for you.
          2) Your correct, I do not know what you are like in real life, But, based on observation of humanity and reality with accountability…this is obvious and you know that , as you have corrected me…Steven Pinker ..SO I’m glad you understood.
          3) To conclude a correct analysis of empirical data, you have to use tools of philosophy, reason and logic. What does the Ph stand for in Phd ?
          4) “I realize that [disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”] were among the least of my worries.”-snarky and without merit. Not to mention silly…then why do you continue? Silliness. Ground rules of talking to one another? That’s the laws of reason and logic…I don’t understand your confusion here…I need to spell that out?
          II
          a) Oh boy quoting and learning from some one else is a game ? This is a immature comment. Sean Carroll. “ Cosmologist will go to big trouble to explain” —isnt that what science does? Silly. Before or outside the big bang was ? Leaves up to something that cant be known thru science….This doesn’t rule out a supernatural cause, but it does show that Time space and matter had a begging…I think he is the one drinking the moonshine.

          b) “(Note that when quoting people, it’s customary to cite the quotation.)”—correct, that’s why I did it…again, Spending time trying to find clerical and syntax mistakes than an argument at hand……tipping your hand?

          Hawking comments:
          Points 1 and 2 are trying equivocate and blur the lines…So Ill clear it up, The beginning of their appearance ( in all forms) based on the data we can gather. The word Game again..
          3) Based on the data did he change his mind? The data didn’t change. He gave himself a personal “side hatch” of pre determinism is all

          “If you’re going to rely on someone else to do your thinking for you, and try to trot out their POV as definitive proof that you know what you’re talking about”—ill apply the same standard to you ? So if I learn from someone, am I being brainwashed and not thinking for myself? I thought you told me to “brush-up” on my biology, how would you suggest I do this, that if I agree and understand some new information that I’m not thinking for myself? —again, try to stick to the subject and not attempts at passive aggressive insults

          “(Dunning–Kruger effect”—Playing with?, No trying to understand and discuss…but again, you’d rather insult and engage intellectually
          1 smaller and denser=retracting to a beginning, what we have shows a starting point…..could be outside of time space and matter, so it doesn’t argue against time space and matter had a beginning. Or if it did, what’s the evidence, and how does it rule out supernaturalism…Chuck goes with LGM…could be uh ? Can’t rule it out

          III
          a) Explain “no”-How?
          b) Yawn…again, trying to insult…put your emotions aside Supercheif ( I like that one)
          c) Humanist nature=Nature as experienced thru the human condition. What we can know and experience. With the qualities of humans ( the first person awareness and the two explanations of reality….materialism doesn’t account for “feelings, value, beauty, justice”, these are best explain thru a cause that has a “personal ‘ element ….Evolution doesn’t have a more plausible explanation
          d) Distant=unconcerned, un involved, uncaring…the blind watchmaker.

          e) Bill OReilly sock puppet? What if I was? How would this falsify or support your view? Attempt at ad-hom. Again, you are correct in the gravity explanation…but remember, this only further explains what it does, not what it is, or what sustains it to precise accuracy and predictability. ( not really an argument) Not arguing the Science of testable repeatable observations here…your side stepping here.

          IV
          1) Why can’t materialism “support these in its model”?—go for it
          1) You’ve screwed up enough concepts here with me so far—you haven’t shown that
          , both complicated ones and very simple ones, that I have no reason to believe you’ve accurately represented Nagel.—then read it? Don’t take my word for it
          2)
          2) From what little I know of Nagel, I think he’s reached some untenable conclusions in the past. But, again, I’m not really interested in discussing his views or his book because I haven’t read them closely and I doubt you have and/or are capable of defending them. —-Ok, but we have to talk about Sean Carrol? So you get to introduce your resources but mine are “waved off” ? double standard and lazy
          The fact that [one controversial philosopher] holds [view xyz] does not mean that it’s reasonable. I was asking you for a good definition of the terms in question – instead of providing one, you punted to an “authority”.—see above response for double standard. I also said, that he could do it better than I could

          V
          “Word-salad masquerading as logic in defense of an unsupported assertion.”—this whole comment is an unsupported assertion…begging

          “Wait, if materialism deals with them as “side effects”, then it *absolutely* accounts for them. –not with any reverence/importance to the human condition, only as valueless ….so I should say “tolerate” them in your worldview?

          “Lol. Humans have often put “emphasis on” the value of gold “very strongly”-sure have, and that’s the materialistic “only” view, doesn’t count for beauty, love, respect……( but you know this, your reaching, will full ignorance)

          “Stop punting to “authorities”,”—wow, really? Stop looking to gain wisdom from others? Ok, Carroll…he’s out then? A person only gains wisdom from their experiences or someone else’s. –hence education…you’re really reaching here.

          “I mean…you failed to answer any of the questions I put to you with anything resembling coherent argument, but sure…I’ll humor you and read your list of good arguments.”—Ok, great? So your admitting that I failed at giving you anything to argue about and project doubt on anything I will have to say, then you admit to going ahead with the argument—-attempting a condescending comment…silly

          VI)
          a) Kalam- Great argument, you haven’t shown it to be so….but please don’t “appeal to authority” of another resource remember?
          b) Origin of life-I agree, not an argument!
          c) Uh oh, your appealing to authority here and not thinking for yourself…………..But I’m done…I don’t think it’s a pipe dream, I think it does hold an argument.
          d) WLC is a laughable hack, –Your opinion ( as biased as it might be) doesn’t falsify anything he says—(insults, rather than substance again)
          e) Each one of your “ happy to examine comments” are great, But with your insults and appeal to authority phobia, you sure” happy” and “Discuss” could be done ? For example, you start off with a ad-hom pre assumed position , then you say you’d be happy to discuss….I had to chuckle at that one….
          –“-Edits for various misspellings, missing punctuation and formatting.’—adds so much to your argument … But I did put a few “Find Waldo’s” in there for ya, 

        • Paul B. Lot

          I was observing

          False, you accused me of “word-play” for using subject-matter specific terms (or asking extremely basic, pertinent questions). It’s bad enough that you’re an ignorant loudmouth, but must you be a lying coward as well?

          Never used “certainty”, used more plausible (straw-man)

          No, the phrase you used and which I re-phrased as “certainty” was “really know”, not “more plausible”:

          I.b.

          Ill play, How can one really know what a question is, when reality could be an illusion (Kant)

          One never “really knows” much of anything. All knowledge-claims are both provisional and statistical. “Certainty” as-used-colloquially is not achievable.

          I think “really know” and “certainty” are close enough for horseshoes and hand-grenades. Again: must you be a lying coward? I mean, maybe it’s one of your specific character flaws, and so the answer is “yes”…but jeez. Maybe try to falsify the record with someone who is less proficient at block-quoting? Like, the record is…right there.

          I. c.

          just chemical responses to physical reaction only in the physical brain. ( naturalism)

          1) The physical action of the brain is not “just chemical”, you need to re-learn your biology.

          1) if not chemical, then its not material correct ? Now your stepping outside of materialism to argue against it….Neuroscience studies show this.

          No, you moron, it is not the case that “if [brain activity is] not chemical, then its not material”. You haven’t the foggiest idea what the fuck you’re talking about.

          2) Silverman—Straw-man. Christianity does not believe nor teach of a “invisible man that lives in the sky”. Caricatures are never a good defense-shows intellectual weakness and or laziness. Besides, Its hard to give David any credit or value, when he himself doesn’t give other human value. According to his “society dictates morality” the holocaust was just “ a hard Truth” we have to accept, wasn’t wrong ( he’s a Jew to ) In fact, it was so offensive You tube pulled itto 1:23:00, you can see the comment…watch him spin.
          3) because the code is intelligently designed to produce desired result…its goal directed, not random with “chance” or “Luck” that just happens to produce the desired results of every YouTube video. Change one piece of code, watch what happens

          Dude…what are you babbling about? The Silverman v. O’Reilly clip was included merely to mock your stupidity re: emergent phenomena by comparison to O’Reilly. I don’t give a shit about Silverman, nor did anything I write reasonably give an impression otherwise, lol.

          I’m a programmer, this is a very week example

          If you are, in fact, a programmer then you must be an exceptionally…ah…”week” one. Hehehe.

          You basing your action on what you think , those are futile= Futile results. You’re getting caught up in semantics rather than the subject…stay the course, or I can slow it down for you.

          Lol. As someone who, presumably, considers himself a “programmer” who is not “week”, you should know better than to gloss over the errors which can be introduced through “semantics”.

          I do not know what you are like in real life, But, based on observation of humanity…

          Yes, but if you were a deeply stupid and incurious person, as seems likely, isn’t is *possible* that your “observation of humanity” heretofore has been flawed?

          To conclude a correct analysis of empirical data, you have to use tools of philosophy, reason and logic. What does the Ph stand for in Phd ?

          vs.

          If you want to use philosophy to argue If there really is a table in your house, you got the wrong guy

          “I realize that [disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”] were among the least of my worries.”-snarky and without merit , charming, and completely merited.

          FTFY

          then why do you continue?

          Because I choose to? Because I don’t like watching dumb pieces of shit spout nonsense unchallenged, as happens far far too often? Because I enjoy the exercise?

          Oh boy quoting and learning from some one else is a game ? This is a immature comment.

          You’ve misunderstood my critique of your behavior, and therefore you’ve failed in trying to apply the same logic.

          Leaves up to something that cant be known thru science

          Maybe, maybe not.

          This doesn’t rule out a supernatural cause, but it does show that Time space and matter had a begging

          False.

          I think he is the one drinking the moonshine.

          Yes, but you’re an incompetent.

          (Note that when quoting people, it’s customary to cite the quotation.)

          —correct, that’s why I did it…

          No, you didn’t. You made an “attribution”, not a “citation”. The former is just an assertion of the person(s) sourcing what you claim to reproduce accurate. The latter, however, also gives your readers the tools to check your claimed source for accuracy. You knuckle-dragging imbecile.

          again, Spending time trying to find clerical and syntax mistakes than an argument at hand……tipping your hand?

          The “again” was unwarranted, the errors you are making are not simply “clerical”, any decent programmer could tell you that “syntax mistakes” can be deadly, and the only “hand” which I am “tipping” is that I know you to be a dishonest, disingenuous, dumbass. Ooooh, shocker that.

          Hawking comments:
          Points 1 and 2 are trying equivocate and blur the lines…So Ill clear it up, The beginning of their appearance ( in all forms) based on the data we can gather. The word Game again..

          No, not the “beginning”. “The furthest back we can currently look”. Your family tree didn’t start with your great-great-great-grandma just because you don’t have records predating her. Dumbass.

          Based on the data did he change his mind? The data didn’t change. He gave himself a personal “side hatch” of pre determinism is all

          Lol. “I care about what prominent/well-known physicists/cosmologists think, and will un-critically quote them out-of-context unless and until what they say challenges my prior held beliefs…then they’re bad-faith motivated actors.”

          ill apply the same standard to you ? So if I learn from someone, am I being brainwashed and not thinking for myself? I thought you told me to “brush-up” on my biology, how would you suggest I do this, that if I agree and understand some new information that I’m not thinking for myself?

          Again: you failed to understand the original criticism, and so you obviously you’re going to fail trying to re-apply the standard. Feel free to ask me to slow down (:D) and I’l explain the logic behind that OG criticism.

          try to stick to the subject and not attempts at passive aggressive insults

          I mean, aren’t [passive-aggressive insults] the type where [the one doing the insulting] is trying to allow enough plausible wiggle-room to claim that they were not, in fact, *trying* to insult [the one being insulted]? And, in addition, have I not been clear that I am, in fact, *trying* to insult you?

          I am, Mike. I am insulting you. You are stupid, you are overconfident, you are a prisoner of your own incompetence so completely that you cannot even perceive the chains which bind you. You will likely never escape. You will die an ignorant, pitifully backwards person.

          I hope it’s clear, by now, that my insults are meant to be aggressive-aggressive. Let me know if you need more insight, tho.

          Again: you just don’t understand the concepts you’re playing with. (Dunning–Kruger effect

          —Playing with?, No trying to understand and discuss

          I don’t think you’re being honest with yourself, and consequently you feel like you can lie to us too. But you can’t, Mike. The truth is that you’re *not* “trying to understand”, for you believe that you already understand. The truth is that you’re trying to convince. But the problem with trying to convince when you don’t know what you’re talking about is that you reveal yourself to be a fool and an ass.

          But…you don’t want to be either! You don’t feel like them. So what gives? It must be us, then who are unfair to you! It can’t be the case that you are a dim-witted puppet for slightly smarter conmen….no, that’s too painful to contemplate.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMqZ2PPOLik

          but again, you’d rather insult and engage intellectually

          Not at all! Can you imagine how much fun it’d be to converse with [an actual expert] about these topics here at Bob’s blog? Or, barring that, a theologian or apologist [who actually understood the relevant science/data and was humble]?

          But we don’t get many of them around here. Both are small enough categories to begin with. The first, in addition, have day-jobs and grant proposals to write. The second…well, most of them become atheists eventually. The very few who don’t are a drop in ocean compared to the belligerent, ignorant masses like you who.

          1 smaller and denser=retracting to a beginning

          Nope. If you re-wind the movie of me blowing up a balloon, it doesn’t ‘retract to a beginning [in a single-point singularity]’.

          what we have shows a starting point an information firewall

          FTFY

          Or if it did, what’s the evidence, and how does it rule out supernaturalism

          Good lord, you really don’t understand the first thing about these debates, do you? No one can, or is, “ruling out” supernaturalism. It’s not able to be dis-proved, it’s just not necessary to fit the data.

          III. a.

          Explain “no”-How?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchens%27s_razor

          Yawn…again, trying to insult…put your emotions aside Supercheif ( I like that one)

          There is no “try”. Instead of deflecting to an imagined dialectic deficiency of mine, who not tackle the very-real logical deficiencies which I hurt your feelings by pointing out?

          c) Humanist nature=Nature as experienced thru the human condition. What we can know and experience. With the qualities of humans ( the first person awareness and the two explanations of reality

          Fucking what? Lol, no. Words have meanings, you schmuck, and that one was already taken: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

          materialism doesn’t account for “feelings, value, beauty, justice”

          Sure it can.

          Evolution doesn’t have a more plausible explanation

          Sure it does.

          e) Bill OReilly sock puppet? What if I was? How would this falsify or support your view? Attempt at ad-hom.

          It’s not an “attempt at ad-hom” dumbfuck, it’s a pure insult. Go back to the Bill vs. David video, moron.

          Again, you are correct in the gravity explanation…but remember, this only further explains what it does, not what it is, or what sustains it to precise accuracy and predictability. ( not really an argument) Not arguing the Science of testable repeatable observations here…your side stepping here.

          I’m not “side stepping” anything, I was giving a brief explanation about why the underlying intuitions/philosophies which you gave us a glimpse at by writing “looks like they are sustained, that requires involvement” are fundamentally flawed. Things don’t need constant “involvement” to [keep going]. Instead, it [takes work] to get them to stop. That’s one of the problems of the whole western religious outlook, most of their philosophers never graduated past Aristotelian physics…likely because those reinforce human-scale intuitions which are in-validated by the rest of the universe/different scales. Do try to keep up.

          Why can’t materialism “support these in its model”?—go for it

          Lol, that’s not how reason works. YOUR assertion, YOUR job to defend it. Best get cracking.

          1) You’ve screwed up enough concepts here with me so far

          —you haven’t shown that

          Oh, I’ve shown it over and over again. In fact, it takes real effort to examine the variety of ways you manage to continually fuck up word meanings, spelling, syntax, grammar, comparisons, associations, basic logic, antecedents, analogies, etc etc…

          You’re really quite an unintelligent person, Mike, although motivated. Unfortunately that’s often how it goes, isn’t it?

          https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/03/04/self-doubt/

          then read it? Don’t take my word for it

          No thank you, and I won’t.

          Ok, but we have to talk about Sean Carrol? So you get to introduce your resources but mine are “waved off” ? double standard and lazy

          I think this is the third time you’ve uttered your mistaken understanding of these criticisms of mine. Again: if you don’t understand why you’re being attacked for [doing xyz] when you feel that I’ve done [xyz] too – just ask! I’ll (try to) explain it. Given you poor reading comprehension and lack of critical reasoning, you might still not understand, but no: this is not a double standard evidencing my laziness.

          see above response for double standard. I also said, that he could do it better than I could

          Again (fourth time?): no double standard – if you can’t paraphrase [the authority you want to pull into the discussion], then you have no business doing so.

          this whole comment is an unsupported assertion…begging

          Nope.

          not with any reverence/importance to the human condition

          [Categorizing something without any reverence/importance to the human condition] != “cannot account for”.

          Words.
          Have.
          Meanings.
          Mike.

          “Stop punting to “authorities”

          —wow, really? Stop looking to gain wisdom from others? Ok, Carroll…he’s out then? A person only gains wisdom from their experiences or someone else’s. –hence education…you’re really reaching here.

          [punting to authorities] != [gaining wisdom from someone else].

          VI. a. Kalam- Great argument

          Naw, it’s terrible. Really only takes in the gullible.

          b) Origin of life-I agree, not an argument!

          Hey, you finally said something intelligible AND intelligent. I’m surprised, I honestly thought that was impossible for you. Of course, it’s deeply sad how rarely statements like this come, and how surrounded by brain-numbing-drivel, but…it’s not 0% of the time!

          c)…I don’t think it’s a pipe dream, I think it does hold an argument.

          Of course you do – it appeals to people with your particular mental disorder; it was *designed to* by the process of natural selection. 🙂

          d) WLC is a laughable hack, –Your opinion ( as biased as it might be) doesn’t falsify anything he says

          Of course it doesn’t, I never claimed it did. This is just Hitch’s razor again – don’t get confused.

          you sure” happy” and “Discuss” could be done?

          Oh, absolutely!

        • mike edwards

          1) Insults and profanity –that’s all you got here
          2) think “really know” and “certainty— yes, it was your game I gave back to you “hence’ Ill play” see iys silly and you caught it ! you can never really know/certainty. SO I think your insult falls on you
          3) More name calling and emotional responses—But the point was, In a materialistic worldview, the mind is not supported, your just reacting to chemical process only.
          4) Silverman- Silverman asked that first question to Orielly about “Man in the sky” Ive also read his skeptic mags and his debates.
          5) “The Silverman v. O’Reilly clip was included merely to mock your stupidity “-except it didn’t, hencew why you need to attempt insults.
          6) I don’t give a shit about Silverman, nor did anything I write reasonably give an impression otherwise, lol._ you don’t care about him, why use him as a reference, your backtracking.
          7) “If you are, in fact, a programmer then you must be an exceptionally…ah…”week” one. Hehehe.’based on ? hows my work progress and year end reviews ? Very immature attempt at ad-hom
          8) “you should know better than to gloss over the errors which can be introduced through “semantics”. “-says the guy who puts notes for editing errors
          9) “Yes, but if you were a deeply stupid and incurious person, as seems likely, isn’t is *possible* that your “observation of humanity” heretofore has been flawed?”—sure, that’s why we rely on many sources and testable data. To come to that conclusion as easily as I did……..whose likely stupid here ?
          10) If you want to use philosophy to argue If there really is a table in your house, you got the wrong guy—I didn’t say not to use philosophy , The example is for people who like to use it to confuse and not find truth.
          11) ““I realize that [disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”] were among the least of my worries.”-snarky and without merit , charming, and completely merited.”—And ? all opinion, but the tone of the whole thread leans as my comment is more “in tune”
          12) “Because I don’t like watching dumb pieces “—silliness, just wanted to talk and post an insult
          13) “ou’ve misunderstood my critique of your behavior”-naw, I think your tone at this point is pretty obvious
          14) “Yes, but you’re an incompetent.”-havnt shown how
          15) “No, you didn’t. You made an “attribution”, not a “citation”—just as you did, quoted and gave the source, that works. Again, your looking for insults rather than content ..I mean you ended it with “You knuckle-dragging imbecile.”  ..point of tone made
          16) “dishonest, disingenuous, dumbass. Ooooh, shocker that.”—getting more emotional here and very unsupported
          17) “No, not the “beginning”. “The furthest back we can currently look”.”-which was a starting point for time space and matter that can be shown…this is a diversion of blind faith attempt at to bring back the steady state theory because Materialism cant except where the evidence more plausibly leads. Of course I would start in the middle of my lineage…what a silly concept
          18) “ “I care about what prominent/well-known physicists/cosmologists think, and will un-critically quote them out-of-context unless and until what they say challenges my prior held beliefs…then they’re bad-faith motivated actors.””—why would you do that ?
          19) “ and I’l explain the logic behind that OG criticism.”-have at it….again, all these insults and tireless exercises you claim, your offering to explain it? Un centered a bit
          20) “You are stupid, you are overconfident, you are a prisoner of your own incompetence so completely that you cannot even perceive the chains which bind you. You will likely never escape. You will die an ignorant, pitifully backwards person.”—and yet your willing to explain things to someone like this ? I think you might be the one who is ignorant to waste your time here…no ?
          21) “I hope it’s clear, by now, that my insults are meant to be aggressive-aggressive.”- Well now they are, because I called you out on the passive part..you had no choice now
          22) “ The truth is that you’re *not* “trying to understand””—How did you come to this conclusion ? According to you im “You are stupid, you are overconfident, you are a prisoner of your own incompetence so completely that you cannot even perceive the chains which bind you. You will likely never escape. You will die an ignorant, pitifully backwards person.”—so how does that work ? both sides of your mouth here
          23) “Not at all! Can you imagine how much fun it’d be to converse with [an actual expert] about these topics here at Bob’s blog”-appeal to authority ? you cant think for yourself? ( applying your standard)
          24) The rest follow the same path…..
          25) For Bob’s blog admiration:
          26) http://www.marketfaith.org/2018/10/response-to-atheist-bob-seidensticker-part-1/
          27) http://www.marketfaith.org/2018/10/response-to-atheist-bob-seidensticker-part-2/
          28) http://www.marketfaith.org/2018/10/response-to-atheist-bob-seidensticker-part-3/

        • Paul B. Lot

          1) Insults and profanity –that’s all you got here

          False, there was a point too: that you misrepresented the record. You did so either intentionally, in which case you’d be a lying coward, or unintentionally, in which case you’d be a buffoon. Insults and profanity would only be “all [I’ve] got here” if I’m wrong about your misrepresentation. The record is easy enough to backtrack that I feel good about future readers siding with me over you. 🙂

          2) think “really know” and “certainty— yes, it was your game I gave back to you “hence’ Ill play” see iys silly and you caught it ! you can never really know/certainty. SO I think your insult falls on you

          Nope, you’re again mischaracterizing the record. Whether intentionally or out of confusion and incompetence I do not know.

          A quick search for the term “plausible” from our conversation shows that you first used it in this comment. You did indeed use the phrase “more plausible” in that comment:

          The argument for theism becomes more plausible.

          , as you later asserted. But, unfortunately (again whether because you are in fact someone who knowingly lies, or because your are a sloppy and negligent) you lost track of context and antecedents.

          You see, I went on to tackle that assertion of yours about “plausibility” in part V.a. of this comment. But in your response to that comment, here, you pretended like I had, instead, tackled your assertion about “plausibility” in part I.b.

          Do you see what happens, Mike, when you allow yourself to think and talk and write sloppily? You get turned around. You responded *as if* your plausibility claim were being discussed in part I.b., when really it hadn’t been addressed until part V.a. So when I wrote “certainty” as a decent paraphrase of what you *did* write (the phrase “really know”, in part I.b. of my comment) I had not been engaged in straw-manning you.

          But because of your lack of discipline, rigor, attention to detail, w/e; you thought I was! You thought I was straw-manning the phrase “more plausible” by re-casting it/mis-paraphrasing it as “certainty”. And so that’s what you, falsely/mistakenly/ignorantly/incompetently, accused me of!

          b) Never used “certainty”, used more plausible (straw-man)

          That was stupid or careless or dishonest of you, Mike, and I don’t care if it hurts your feelings to hear it.

          But, what’s this? Not only did you make *those* errors, now you’re doubling down and pretending you were playing a “game”?!

          ” yes, it was your game I gave back to you “hence’ Ill play” see iys silly and you caught it”

          You’re pathetic dude.

          3) More name calling and emotional responses—But the point was, In a materialistic worldview, the mind is not supported, your just reacting to chemical process only.

          All responses are “emotional” +/-, as emotion forms the basis of all reason. That point aside, however, no: it is not the case that on the materialistic worldview “the mind is not supported”.

          Further, you’ve completely missed the point of my push-back in this section: the physical brain does not work by “chemical processes only”.

          You dumbfuck.

          4) Silverman- Silverman asked that first question to Orielly about “Man in the sky” Ive also read his skeptic mags and his debates.

          Don’t care.

          5) “The Silverman v. O’Reilly clip was included merely to mock your stupidity “-except it didn’t, hencew why you need to attempt insults.

          Of course it did, and of course it was. You were asserting your aggressive ignorance about [the way the brain works] as if it were insurmountable. It isn’t. Just as Bill O’Reilly’s aggressive ignorance about tides was not insurmountable. Didn’ you notice that I had *typed out* O’Reilly’s words after the link?

          That was in mockery of you.

          The reference to Youtube was an attempt, which obviously failed completely, to jump-start your stalled mental processes into wondering “how does the experience of watching a Youtube video arise out of simple base 2 computation?” I’m sorry for confusing you, I obviously waaaay overestimated your abilities when I started talking to you.

          I’ll try not to let it happen again.

          ’based on ? hows my work progress and year end reviews ? Very immature attempt at ad-hom

          I mean, I suppose it’s possible that if you are given explicit enough and simple enough instructions you can write some basic code good enough to get a paycheck. Lord knows there’s plenty of people who fail upwards in most industries, and I’ve seen my share of spaghetti code.

          But, since you asked, it was an assessment based on the catastrophic inability to read/write/think clearly or intelligibly you’ve displayed so-far.

          And, once again: no. That’s not an “ad-hom”. It’s a simple insult. “Ad-hom” is where one unjustifiably attacks [the person] rather than [the argument] in order to convince people that the argument is wrong.

          [Directly insulting people without reference to premises or arguments] does not qualify.

          “We shouldn’t accept your argument about metabolism because you’re fat.” <— ad hom

          "You're fat." <— simple insult, not ad hom

          Get it?

          8) “you should know better than to gloss over the errors which can be introduced through “semantics”. “-says the guy who puts notes for editing errors

          ….yep? The person who harps about other’s errors…also cares about his own?

          Damn, son, good burn. You’re not nearly as stupid as I thought previously.

          9) “Yes, but if you were a deeply stupid and incurious person, as seems likely, isn’t is *possible* that your “observation of humanity” heretofore has been flawed?”—sure, that’s why we rely on many sources and testable data. To come to that conclusion as easily as I did……..whose likely stupid here ?

          You think that “to come to [conclusions] … easily …” is some sort sort of badge of intellectual honor?

          If you keep self-owning this hard, I won’t have anything else to say.

          10) If you want to use philosophy to argue If there really is a table in your house, you got the wrong guy—I didn’t say not to use philosophy , The example is for people who like to use it to confuse and not find truth.

          That’s fine as far as it goes, unfortunately you first deployed that critique in response to someone who was [using philosophy to find truth]. So, once again, you played yourself.

          11) ““I realize that [disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”] were among the least of my worries.”-snarky and without merit , charming, and completely merited.”—And ? all opinion, but the tone of the whole thread leans as my comment is more “in tune”

          Naw.

          12) “Because I don’t like watching dumb pieces “—silliness, just wanted to talk and post an insult

          False! I wanted to a) counter your dumb shit, b) re-do the work of defending my point of view, c) insult you. See, it wasn’t “just” one thing or the other.

          Reality is complicated! Weird, huh!?!

          13) “ou’ve misunderstood my critique of your behavior”-naw, I think your tone at this point is pretty obvious

          Yes, but you’re stupid. So what’s “obvious” to you may not be true. What *is* true in this case is that I applied my standards equally to the both of us.

          14) “Yes, but you’re an incompetent.”-havnt shown how

          We’ll let the readers decide.

          15) “No, you didn’t. You made an “attribution”, not a “citation”—just as you did, quoted and gave the source, that works. Again, your looking for insults rather than content ..I mean you ended it with “You knuckle-dragging imbecile.”  ..point of tone made

          No, “quoted and gave [the name of the person]” is not a citation. You didn’t list the written source where people could go, themselves, if so-motivated. I, on the other hand, did. You’re lying again. 😀

          16) “dishonest, disingenuous, dumbass. Ooooh, shocker that.”—getting more emotional here and very unsupported

          Naw, equal emotion throughout, dumbfuck. Also: heavily supported.

          17) “No, not the “beginning”. “The furthest back we can currently look”.”-which was a starting point for time space and matter that can be shown…this is a diversion of blind faith attempt at to bring back the steady state theory because Materialism cant except where the evidence more plausibly leads.

          Nope.

          Of course I would start in the middle of my lineage…what a silly concept

          The, very simple and easy-to-grasp, point is that [the fact that you don’t currently have direct evidence going back more than 3 generations] does not support the conclusion that [your family line sprang into being at that time].

          18) “ “I care about what prominent/well-known physicists/cosmologists think, and will un-critically quote them out-of-context unless and until what they say challenges my prior held beliefs…then they’re bad-faith motivated actors.””—why would you do that ?

          Come on, be honest: this didn’t really confuse you…did it?

          19) “ and I’l explain the logic behind that OG criticism.”-have at it….again, all these insults and tireless exercises you claim, your offering to explain it? Un centered a bit

          Do me a favor and properly quote whichever observation of mine you’d like me to shed more light on.

          20) “You are stupid, you are overconfident, you are a prisoner of your own incompetence so completely that you cannot even perceive the chains which bind you. You will likely never escape. You will die an ignorant, pitifully backwards person.”—and yet your willing to explain things to someone like this ? I think you might be the one who is ignorant to waste your time here…no ?

          Oh, no, did you think I was doing this for you? I’m not.

          21) “I hope it’s clear, by now, that my insults are meant to be aggressive-aggressive.”- Well now they are, because I called you out on the passive part..you had no choice now

          Oh yeah, totally. NONE of my insults prior to your call-out were direct, certainly none of these right haha?

          -I know that terms like “epistemology” can seem scary to the uninitiated
          -Worse than merely revealing you as a someone prone to petulance, it shows you to be woefully unprepared for the task before you.
          -you need to re-learn your biology.
          -How does your computer play Youtube videos if data is “just ones and zeroes”? You can’t explain that.
          -In addition to re-learning biology, you need a refresher on English. “Facts” aren’t “futile”, actions are. I know that you think the word “futile” sounds big and strong and smart…but your attempt to project those attributes is futile if you misuse the word.
          -You have no idea what I’m like in “every other aspect of [my] reality”, superchief.
          The fact that you’re triggered by this *very basic* level of push-back is, again, informative.
          -Of course, by now having read *this* far into your response, I realize that [disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”] were among the least of my worries.
          -Again: you just don’t understand the concepts you’re playing with. (Dunning–Kruger effect)
          -We need to add Logic 101 to your remedial course load in addition to Biology and English. A “humanist nature” (what?) examination of reality…leads to “a personal agent”? This just…doesn’t follow. You strung words together here into non-meaning.
          -Weren’t you *just* bitching to me about how you didn’t want to do philosophy?
          -This is just…unconnected word-vomit.
          -Are you a Bill O’Reilly sock puppet? Lol
          -You’ve screwed up enough concepts here with me so far, both complicated ones and very very simple ones, that I have no reason to believe you’ve accurately represented Nagel.
          -Word-salad masquerading as logic in defense of an unsupported assertion.
          -I mean…you failed to answer any of the questions I put to you with anything resembling coherent argument
          -I don’t know anything about Angus Mengue, but your endorsement is a ringing condemnation.
          -I have no reason to believe there’s any “there” here, after how much nonsense you’ve already spouted.

          All of those were too subtle for you, eh? 😀 Well, like I said: I’m working to dumb-my-comments-down for you!

          22) “ The truth is that you’re *not* “trying to understand””—How did you come to this conclusion ? According to you im “You are stupid, you are overconfident, you are a prisoner of your own incompetence so completely that you cannot even perceive the chains which bind you. You will likely never escape. You will die an ignorant, pitifully backwards person.”—so how does that work ? both sides of your mouth here

          How does that work? Seriously? You’re asking that question? How much clearer can I be?

          You’re a) deeply stupid, b) incurious, c) someone whose been convinced he’s got “the truth” by a conman, and d) comfortable with the “certainty” a)-c) afford you….so e) you won’t ever let yourself see a)-d).

          Honestly, I understand accusing me of being wrong or a bigot or closed-minded or mean or ________…but to try to paint me as talking out “both sides of [my] mouth”?

          Dude, you just don’t make sense. Pure non-sequitur.

          23) “Not at all! Can you imagine how much fun it’d be to converse with [an actual expert] about these topics here at Bob’s blog”-appeal to authority ? you cant think for yourself? ( applying your standard)

          Not at all. [Stating that your preference would be to have a decent intellectual conversation, ideally with a great thinker] != [dijointed/context-free quote-mining great thinkers to try to shore up a shoddy rhetorical point].

          24) The rest follow the same path…..

          Not at all, there’s a great variety in the ensuing points as well. Helas, with you it’s like casting pearls before bipedal swine.

          Edits for spelling/context/re-work. 17.39 CST 1/3/2019
          Further edits for re-working the section about “plausible”. 17.50 CST 1/3/2019

        • mike edwards

          Again all your comments just support my claim of your ad – Homs (that include insults for the record of course) so let’s add to your remedial list , Thomas Nagel‘s book . it’s not that long and addresses everything you Pound the pulpit about. In other words, your worldview fails from an atheistic point of you by an atheist . You really should give it a read . Just like Bob , your pre-commitment to naturalism, blinds you from looking at anything else, you steal from God to argue against him

        • Paul B. Lot

          Again all your comments just support my claim of your ad – Homs

          Lol, you don’t even know what the term means or how to use it! 😀

          Thomas Nagel‘s book . it’s not that long and addresses everything you Pound the pulpit about. In other words, your worldview fails from an atheistic point of you by an atheist

          How about this: instead of me taking the time to read a book I don’t want to read, how about YOU go through his most compelling points and defend those which you think are worth defending.

          All this preening and posturing you’re doing is just wind, you’ve failed to demonstrate anything…so far.

          Just like Bob , your pre-commitment to naturalism, blinds you from looking at anything else, you steal from God to argue against him

          I’m sorry for Bob’s sake that you lumped me in with him!

          But, in any case, you’re once again wrong: I was an Xtian before now, and a better apologist than you by far. Luckily for me I had what you lack: the ability to think for myself and respond to critical thinking challenges presented to me by others.

          I’m not stealing from your non-extant “god” to refute your “points” – the few you’ve attempted to make were so poorly constructed that they fell down on their own with only the lightest of touches. 😛

        • mike edwards

          Better apologist—you haven’t shown it here, nor does your opinion of yourself provide any evidence

          Nagles book points on three topics and why they cant be grounded in Materialism 1) Consciousness 2) Value 3) Cognition….based on how reducing them to materialism leaves to great of un probability . Thats the summary.
          To elaborate would be better off a read . IF you do not want to read it (to ignore what it says), why would you even want me to summarize anything from the source you have no interest knowing about? Fails with the lightest of touches.

        • Fails with the lightest of touches.

          Someone has a high opinion of himself.

        • Just like Bob your pre-commitment to naturalism

          Clearly explain my precommitment to naturalism.

          Can you steal from God to argue against him

          Cornelius Van Til. Yes, we’re aware of the argument. But you need to move beyond sound bites–this is no argument. Whoever trained you (was it you?) didn’t prepare you well.

        • mike edwards

          “When it comes to Naturalism vs. Theism, Naturalism believes the natural universe is all that exists, that human beings are nothing more than natural animals who simply have a more highly evolved brain than other animals, and that the ultimate one can accomplish in life is survival and personal pleasure. Christian Theism, on the other hand believes there does exist a transcendent reality, that human beings are special creations of God that were created in his image, and that the ultimate one can accomplish in life is to know God in a personal, eternal relationship. These two worldview positions are polar opposites, as can easily be seen.

          As such, one can’t evaluate one set of worldview beliefs based on the beliefs of a different worldview. You can talk about differences but you can’t use one set of worldview beliefs to judge another. If you want to critique a particular worldview system, you have to do so based on the beliefs of that system. Using that approach it is very possible to explore inconsistencies and internal contradictions.

          What Seidensticker does is to say Christian Theism is not true based on the beliefs of Naturalism – a completely illegitimate argument. Of course the beliefs of Christianity do not jive with Naturalism. In using his approach, Seidensticker puts himself in a position where his arguments cannot be taken seriously.”

        • Naturalism believes the natural universe is all that exists, that human beings are nothing more than natural animals who simply have a more highly evolved brain than other animals, and that the ultimate one can accomplish in life is survival and personal pleasure.

          That last clause isn’t right, but let’s ignore that and say that that definition of naturalism comes close to my thinking. Note, though, that naturalism is a conclusion, not a preconception.

          Christian Theism, on the other hand believes there does exist a transcendent reality, that human beings are special creations of God that were created in his image, and that the ultimate one can accomplish in life is to know God in a personal, eternal relationship.

          To take this seriously, we need to see the evidence. Religion looks like nothing more than a cultural artifact, like fashion or manners.

          As such, one can’t evaluate one set of worldview beliefs based on the beliefs of a different worldview.

          Nope. We don’t start off assuming that naturalism is one worldview and Christianity is another, and they are each entitled to equivalent respect. Evidence favors naturalism, not Christianity.

          You can talk about differences but you can’t use one set of worldview beliefs to judge another.

          You want to first gather evidence that it’s safe to cross the street? That’s just your worldview. My approach of closing my eyes and praying for safety must be given equal respect.

          If you want to critique a particular worldview system, you have to do so based on the beliefs of that system.

          Greg Koukl made this argument, and I respond here:
          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/08/criticizing-the-logic-of-the-atonement/

          What Seidensticker does is to say Christian Theism is not true based on the beliefs of Naturalism – a completely illegitimate argument.

          No, what Seidensticker does is say that Christian theism doesn’t compare well with the default view. When trying to explain phenomena, we try out the natural explanations first.

          Of course the beliefs of Christianity do not jive with Naturalism. In using his approach, Seidensticker puts himself in a position where his arguments cannot be taken seriously.”

          There’s a lot of that going around.

        • 25) Stop it! You’re embarrassing me with this adulation.

        • mike edwards

          I aim to please !

        • Greg G.

          -says the guy who puts notes for editing errors

          That is basic consideration. When you hit “Post as”, that message is distributed as is to email and to any page that has open the post being replied to. The recipient does not get update notices unless they open a fresh copy of it. If the recipient responds to the pre-updated version, there could be a question of misquoting and things like that. Someone who comes along later and notices the discrepancy would see that the post had been edited.

          There is nothing wrong with correcting errors. It is far worse to not correct errors.

        • Positive arguments for Christian theism

          Thanks for trying to support your claims, even though this list was just copied from somewhere else. You can find responses to most of these in this blog.

          Pointing to other arguments is pretty useless, however. You confidently declare that these are powerful arguments, but you don’t see how bad they are until you have to defend them. Don’t bother referring to an argument without volunteering to defend it. I suggest you pick the strongest one and focus on it.

        • mike edwards

          The replies in this blog still commit the same errors even after i read responses. hence the continuing dialog

          BY adopting the article and research of resources i do defend them as good points, why reword it if it is clear and precise ? You haven’t shown they are bad,so the point still stands.
          This also can be applied to you as well Bob. As the Critics clearly point out on your 25 reasons we live in a world without God. You try to argue from a double standard .

        • BY adopting the article and research of resources i do defend them as good points, why reword it if it is clear and precise ?

          Because you haven’t actually engaged in the debate if you point to someone else’s work and think that you’ve done something thoughtful. The arguments suck, and you won’t see that if you don’t actually defend them. Y’know, with arguments. Yours is the lazy argument.

          This also can be applied to you as well Bob. As the Critics clearly point out on your 25 reasons we live in a world without God. You try to argue from a double standard .

          And the critics are wrong. As I showed with an argument.

        • ildi

          1) Can you define the “experience” of “value”, “beauty”, or “justice”?

          1) those attributes are personal and can only be known by self and valued by self, this begs for something outside of materialism, and materialism cannot support these in its model. Great book for this argument is Atheist Thomas Nagels book Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. He is a lot smarter than me, and can explain it a lot better…short read also.

          Sounds like all he’s got going is a big ole bag of argument from incredulity:

          Do You Only Have a Brain? On Thomas Nagel

          Nagel’s arguments against reductionism are quixotic, and his arguments against naturalism are unconvincing. He aspires to develop “rival alternative conceptions” to what he calls the materialist neo-Darwinian worldview, yet he never clearly articulates this rival conception, nor does he give us any reason to think that “the present right-thinking consensus will come to seem laughable in a generation or two.” Mind and Cosmos is certainly an apt title for Nagel’s philosophical meditations, but his subtitle—”Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False”—is highly misleading. Nagel, by his own admission, relies only on popular science writing and brings to bear idiosyncratic and often outdated views about a whole host of issues, from the objectivity of moral truth to the nature of explanation. No one could possibly think he has shown that a massively successful scientific research program like the one inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection “is almost certainly false.” The subtitle seems intended to market the book to evolution deniers, intelligent-design acolytes, religious fanatics and others who are not really interested in the substantive scientific and philosophical issues. Even a philosopher sympathetic to Nagel’s worries about the naturalistic worldview would not claim this volume comes close to living up to that subtitle. Its only effect will be to make the book an instrument of mischief.

        • You seem to be confusing an explanation with a good explanation. Most religions have a creation story. Do you believe them all?

          Science is where we find out about reality. If Christianity wants to offer its own explanations, it needs to step up its game. So far, we’ve learned nothing new through Christianity.

        • mike edwards

          “You seem to be confusing an explanation with a good explanation.”-I dont think so, you need to show me that…so far this is just your opinion based on …im guessing that you just dont like it

          “Most religions have a creation story. Do you believe them all?”–most religions are truth exclusive, so this would break the law of non contradiction. More plausible explanation takes the trophy home Bob

          “Science is where we find out about reality”–This is a philosophical statement and cannot be proven by scientific method. It needs to use philosophical tactics to understand the data, which in itself cannot be proven scientifically, because you would have to use reason to argue for reasonable analysis ..circular

          “If Christianity wants to offer its own explanations, it needs to step up its game.’–IT does and has, you haven’t shown it hasn’t, you just keep asserting this statement. This statement is just “wave of the hand” . Just closing your eyes and shaking your head isnt a good argument.

          “So far, we’ve learned nothing new through Christianity.’–Who is we? You mean you, and you can learn from it, but its a choice.I have.

          I think the three rebuttals I posted stand strong about/against your mentality and your reasoning from Will over Reason.

        • “You seem to be confusing an explanation with a good explanation.”-I dont think so, you need to show me that…so far this is just your opinion based on …im guessing that you just dont like it

          You know that baby Jesus cries when you shirk your burden of evidence, right? You’re making the remarkable supernatural claims, so the burden is on you.

          You said, with your adorably childish typographical style, “The beginning of Time space and Matter is best explained by theism . Everyday experiences like Value,beauty,justice….etc. are best explained by theism” I’m used to Christians saying, “Well, if science can’t explain X, Christianity can!” I’ll accept that you have an explanation—some variation of “God did it!!”—but anyone can whip up an empty explanation. What I need is the evidence to believe it. That’s where science shines—there’s never a conclusion without evidence.

          “Most religions have a creation story. Do you believe them all?”–most religions are truth exclusive, so this would break the law of non contradiction. More plausible explanation takes the trophy home Bob

          So far, the trophy has always gone to science. Religion has taught us nothing about how reality works.

          “Science is where we find out about reality”–This is a philosophical statement and cannot be proven by scientific method. It needs to use philosophical tactics to understand the data, which in itself cannot be proven scientifically, because you would have to use reason to argue for reasonable analysis ..circular

          Wrong again. Science’s claims are testable. The meta claim that science tells us about reality and that religion doesn’t is also testable. Are you saying this is wrong? If so, demonstrate that by telling us all that we’ve learned about reality from religion.

          “If Christianity wants to offer its own explanations, it needs to step up its game.’–IT does and has, you haven’t shown it hasn’t

          That burden rests on your broad shoulders. Go.

        • mike edwards

          :Jesus cries when you shirk your burden of evidence, right” – I like that one ! 🙂 But its a good thing i dont.
          “You’re making the remarkable supernatural claims, so the burden is on you.” -of course, so I dont doge it, you not accepting it…blah, blah…I covered this many o times with you ( so did the article(s) . fingers in the ear scenario again

          “You said, with your adorably childish typographical style”-getting emotional Bob, Insulting over content.
          “there’s never a conclusion without evidence.”- Who is arguing this ? Just (again) not all of this reality can be explained by naturalism?materialism, because the conclusion is assumed on faith and not evidence ( your pre assumed commitment to Naturalism blinds of this) Again the articles points this out many o time over.

          “What I need is the evidence to believe it.”-of course, but not all evidence is materialistic based ( pre commitment again)

          “Well, if science can’t explain X, Christianity can!”-Cant help other Christians say, but I do not believe in “God of the Gaps”, nor do I assert it. Straw-man attempt

          “So far, the trophy has always gone to science. Religion has taught us nothing about how reality works.”–except your very statement here uses reason and logic ( even though it is bad) and those do not have materialistic elements. Again Thomas Nagels book “Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False” Puts this argument to the test…I suggest it as a read.

          “If so, demonstrate that by telling us all that we’ve learned about reality from religion.”-Morality , Value, consciousnesses, Justice…all best explained by theism over Materialism ( again, Thomas Nagels book Bob)

          ” Science’s claims are testable.”-When did i claim this was untrue? Thats not what i said at all…..Straw-man attempt. Also , by your definition then, science cannot answer any origin questions, therefore it cannot rule out creation. Materialism can only describe what is in nature and can be tested.

          “That burden rests on your broad shoulders. Go.”–I went, so has many others as pointed out in the articles. Again, you just keep repeating this statement/mantra due to the fact of your pre assumed naturalistic worldview. you lock yourself down and dismiss out of hand ( how unscientific of you)

          “What Seidensticker does is to say Christian Theism is not true based on the beliefs of Naturalism – a completely illegitimate argument. Of course the beliefs of Christianity do not jive with Naturalism. In using his approach, Seidensticker puts himself in a position where his arguments cannot be taken seriously.

          In his attempt to dismiss the existence of God, Seidensticker tries to throw in various illustrations to prove his points. The only problem is, anecdotes do not prove anything. Anyone can make up a story, or assert the meaning of a reported incident in a way that seems to be relevant but actually is not.

          Seidensticker makes a big deal that Christianity can’t prove itself using empirical methodology, then turns right around and tries to prove Christianity is not true using the very methods he decries. Anecdotes do not prove his point – never have and never will. If he can’t give actual evidence of what he is trying to prove based on his own naturalistic presuppositions, his assertions are, once again, meaningless.”

        • “You’re making the remarkable supernatural claims, so the burden is on you.” -of course, so I dont doge it, you not accepting it

          What am I dodging? You’re the one making the supernatural claims here.

          I covered this many o times with you ( so did the article(s) . fingers in the ear scenario again

          Curiously, I do plan on reading the articles, but I haven’t yet. If you have an argument to make, make it; don’t say, “yeah, but in those articles you totally got your ass kicked!”

          “You said, with your adorably childish typographical style”-getting emotional Bob, Insulting over content.

          I thought a gentle prod might get you to make your comments more readable. Stupid me!

          “there’s never a conclusion without evidence.”- Who is arguing this ?

          You’re the one who seems to think that we can learn new things with some method besides science. If that method is religion, I’m eager to see a demonstration.

          Just (again) not all of this reality can be explained by naturalism?materialism, because the conclusion is assumed on faith and not evidence

          What faith? I don’t have faith in anything. I do trust many things based on evidence, however.

          I’m happy to consider arguments that challenge naturalism. Make one.

          “What I need is the evidence to believe it.”-of course, but not all evidence is materialistic based ( pre commitment again)

          If you give me a non-evidence-based argument, don’t blame me if it’s not compelling.

          “So far, the trophy has always gone to science. Religion has taught us nothing about how reality works.”–except your very statement here uses reason and logic ( even though it is bad) and those do not have materialistic elements.

          No idea what this means. Reason and logic won’t work without God? If that’s your argument, make a case for it.

          Science makes predictions. Those predictions are tested. That’s one way we see if science’s fruits are what they’re supposed to be.

          Again Thomas Nagels book

          Alas, Nagel isn’t here. If you want to introduce an argument, make it yourself.

          “If so, demonstrate that by telling us all that we’ve learned about reality from religion.”-Morality , Value, consciousnesses, Justice…all best explained by theism over Materialism

          How is morality or justice impossible without God/theism/whatever the hell you’re talking about?

          This approach is getting annoying. You give me a conclusion and cross your arms with a smug smile as if you’ve said something profound. Don’t make a sweeping statement without backing it up.

          ” Science’s claims are testable.”-When did i claim this was untrue?

          When you said, “This is a philosophical statement and cannot be proven by scientific method.”

        • Greg G.

          Time, matter, and space is explained by your god as well as thunder was explained by Zeus and/or Thor in a hand-wavy way.

          It would lead only as far as deism, even if it had evidence. At least Thor had a hammer for part of a mechanism.

        • mike edwards

          “Time, matter, and space is explained by your god as well as thunder was explained by Zeus and/or Thor in a hand-wavy way.”-how so ?
          “It would lead only as far as deism, even if it had evidence”-agreed, as said before getting to Christianity would be another topic

          “It would lead only as far as deism, even if it had evidence”-yep, Mythical Thor had a Mythical Hammer, no argument here

        • Greg G.

          Mythical Thor had a Mythical Hammer

          And Mythical Jesus was nailed to a Mythical Cross.

        • I’m tempted to ask what empirical reasoning took you to Christianity (and that these were the reasons you became a Christian, not because you grew up in that environment), but I’m sure it’ll be the same tired apologetics that I’ve seen dozens of times.

        • mike edwards

          Genetic fallacy .
          And I’m expecting the same pre commitment to naturalism as in all your blogs and in the cretics I posted …

        • I curse the person who gave you the Idiot’s Guide to Logical Fallacies. It’s clear that you need to be a couple of notches higher than an idiot to use that book properly.

          Go back and clearly identify the genetic fallacy in what I said. In the future, resist the temptation to pick a fallacy out of a hat to label something and then move on. It’s not working for you here.

        • What pre-commitment to naturalism do you imagine? Describe my position.

        • Greg G.

          cretics

          “Critiques”?

        • mike edwards

          O my. Again this asserts that empirical is the only methodology to know reality. What do you mean “wall of supernatural ism” ? that it isnt obtainable ? Its hidden or cant be understood to exist ? Again this comment leads to the naturalistic pre assumed mindset, faith based only.

          Five rational beliefs that cannot be proven by science:

          -Logical and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic and math; to try to prove them by science would be arguing in a circle.
          -Metaphysical truths such as that there are other minds other than my own or that the external world is real or that the past wasn’t created five minutes ago with the appearance of age.
          -Ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method. You can’t show by science whether the Nazi scientists did anything in the camps that is evil as opposed to the scientists in western democracies.
          -Aesthetic judgments cannot be accessed by the scientific method because the beautiful, like the good, cannot be scientifically proven.
          -Science itself. Science cannot be justified by the scientific method. Science is permeated by improvable assumptions. For example, in the special theory of relativity, the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction from point A to point B, it must be assumed.

          ” which is very effective in protecting fragile ideas from scrutiny”-says who ? Not theists…bring it on. This is a strawman attempt comment

          “Only because of the misrepresentation.”-how so ? I thought it was very clearly stated how it is. I dont see your argument that it isnt presented here

          “There have been many gods of thunder. None of them could be shown to exist by empirical methodology but thunder could be explained with empirical methodology falsifying that thunder was supernatural”–simple classification fallacy here , these were all know to be myths created by man bound my naturalistic laws that do not attempt to even approach science.logic or reason. Simple ( of many o many examples of this argument fallacy)
          https://crossexamined.org/why-yahweh-why-not-zeus-why-not-thor-why-not-zoidberg/

          “Which are the best arguments there? Are there any good ones?”- I would say yes, you would say no, and then we would be right where we are now, so this is a rhetorical question.

          “God Thingy Theory has been falsified many times”–How so ? Certifiably not by you. empty assertion ( more of demonstration of emotion than argument)

          Also, ive told you before, When attempting to insult a theist ( first sign of not a logical argument) please spell “god” in “god thingy” as “gawd” 🙂 Get it right.

        • Five rational beliefs that cannot be proven by science:

          But they can be proven by Christianity? I see the limitations of science; what I’m not seeing is how Christianity helps.

        • mike edwards

          that they can be better explained by Theism , yes. Getting to Christianity from theism is another argument, Theism has more explanatory power than naturalism…If you really look and are open to seeking the truth of course…but if its a matter of will, well then…

        • Then do so. Demonstrate this. Show that you can use Christianity to confidently make statements that science can (and show us why those statements are valid).

        • mike edwards

          This is the mindset that Christianity is in contrary to Science. There is no clash here or competition. When science can it does, when it cant ( based on its very definition and parameters, ie out of scope) you explore all options and apply reason and Logic ( both non materialistic properties BTW)

          This is a straw-man attempt

        • This is the mindset that Christianity is in contrary to Science. There is no clash here or competition.

          Great. Then prove it. Teach us something about reality using Christianity and not science.

          This is a straw-man attempt

          Wrong again. And this slander is getting tiresome.

        • mike edwards

          1) first want to start with objective morality which we’ve covered before . More probable from theism then naturalism

          2) I can’t help if you take it to slander , I’m pointing into the comment, not the person

        • 1) What objective morality? I’ve seen no evidence. Show us that it exists and that we humans can reliably access it.

          2) “Strawman” is not equivalent to “incorrect argument.” You seem to be claiming that I’m daunted by your argument and am deliberately creating a strawman because that’s the only thing I can push over. Next time you’re tempted to label something a strawman argument, be clearer about what kind of error you think you see.

        • mike edwards

          1) “In an Amoral Universe, objective moral categories do not exist. No action can be called objectively evil; while one might dislike another’s action, no external standard exists by which any action can be called good or evil. In the overall scheme of things, feeding your child is no better or worse than beheading your child, and any feelings one has to the contrary is simply opinion. In this universe, these moral opinions have no basis in reality; that is to say, nothing objective exists on which to base such a concept.”
          -Do you agree Bob ?

          2) you are correct, and I dont think was doing that..Ill keep it in mind though for the sake of clarity

        • Do you agree Bob ?

          Not really. I see no evidence for objective values as WLC defines them: “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” Furthermore, I see no evidence that humans can reliably access those moral truths.

        • mike edwards

          SO for example, Rape is subjective at some level whether its personal or by society , its decided upon and its decided based on what ( if im getting this correctly from your comment here) ?

          ” I see no evidence that humans can reliably access those moral truths” so there are no moral truths in your view correct ?

        • Right–rape is good or bad according to people. Some say it’s good; some say it’s bad. The Bible, for example, has some bizarre rules about rape that we now reject. Morality changes.

          ” I see no evidence that humans can reliably access those moral truths” so there are no moral truths in your view correct ?

          Nope. I didn’t say that, did I? I see no evidence for objective morality, remember? The ordinary kind obviously exists. Look up “morality” in a dictionary and see which one is there.

        • Greg G.

          SO for example, Rape is subjective at some level whether its personal or by society , its decided upon and its decided based on what ( if im getting this correctly from your comment here) ?

          Most people consider rape to be immoral. Some people do not. Some societies consider eating left-handed to be immoral.

          ” I see no evidence that humans can reliably access those moral truths” so there are no moral truths in your view correct ?

          If there are objective morals and we cannot get access to them, they are irrelevant. We have to go with what works best for us.

          If we cannot access the objective morality, for all we know, it may be the opposite of what we think. Maybe not killing your neighbor is objectively immoral. Pretending that your subjective moral are objective morals might be the worst moral mistake you can make.

          The Bible seems like a poor choice to get objective morals. It says that a rapist can be forced to marry the rape victim and can never divorce her. The Bible gives no provision for the wife divorcing a man. The Bible allows an army to kill every person in the town but they may keep virgin girls. So she gets month to mourn for her friends and family that the guy slaughtered, then he gets to try her out. If he doesn’t like her, he has to let her go. Go where? Everything she ever had was taken from her, including her virginity.

          Luke’s Jesus even endorsed the beating slaves by condoning it in a parable defending God’s punishments.

          It isn’t that hard to improve on two thousand to three thousand year old morality.

        • mike edwards

          “Most people consider rape to be immoral. Some people do not. Some societies consider eating left-handed to be immoral.”–ok, so are you claiming that there is no difference between Rape in one society and eating left handed in another society ? They are equal ?

          “If we cannot access the objective morality, for all we know, it may be the opposite of what we think. Maybe not killing your neighbor is objectively immoral.”—-SO how did we come to this one that murdering your neighbor is wrong? Human flourishing as an evolutionary reason would be sufficient correct ? How would the human race ever advance in that world ?

          The Bible: Sounds like your passing a moral judgment here ? What standard are you judging God’s society with ? If rape can conceivengly be morally accepted in one society, Why are you upset with the society as described in the old testament ? Or is it that because Christianity claims objectively thru the Bible ?

          With your Biblical reference, For clarity are you referring to the law of Moses in Deuteronomy and exodus ? What parable are you referring to in Luke ?

          Why improve morality if its subjective and that is what that society had ? Isnt this passing a moral judgment ? Shouldn’t one who think that society chooses not have an opinion? The word “improves” begs of something is faulty, thats a judgment

        • We’re still waiting for your proof that objective morality exists. When you’ve done that, you’ll next need to show us that those truths are reliably accessible by humans.

        • mike edwards

          Well, I want to be clear Bob…is it a truth for you that absolute truth cant be accessible ?

          Also, before moving on, would you agree with this statement : For implicit in that concession is the Law of Non-contradiction and the Law of Rational Inference, which exist only if truth exists.

        • is it a truth for you that absolute truth cant be accessible ?

          Still playing games? Can’t stand still and just discuss the issue like an adult? Ask yourself what that says about the reliability of your worldview.

          To answer your question, my position is that I see no evidence of the remarkable claim of objective morality (defined by WLC as “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not”). Do you want to provide some?

        • mike edwards

          I’m not playing any games Bob I’m just seeking clarification we can take the argument slow Cant we? So what do you mean by position? What grounds that position? I’m just trying to understand you clearly

        • You’re not playing games? Then stop stalling and show us: no more questions, and give us a reason to accept your claim that objective moral truth exists.

          My prediction: more dodging and yet more tap dancing from you.

        • mike edwards

          Why would I stop asking questions Bob ? That’s how I learn you’re position clearly . I don’t think I’m asking a regressive question scenario . You told me no more questions , and then you asked me to Answer your question . I can’t concern what your prediction is, nor does it have any kind a bearing on the argument. It seems to me you’re asking me to support my position , but when I ask you your position for clarity , Im dodging . can I apply the same standard? I’m interested in your position clearly , I want to see if it holds ia all , whether mine is bad or not .. I just want to see if your stands

        • Bingo–I can predict the future!

          when I ask you your position for clarity , Im dodging

          Correct! Because I’m asking you about your position. You’re the one who claims objective morality, and you’re the one who’s hesitant to back up his claims with anything.

          Of course, I sympathize with your position. I wouldn’t want to back up a claim of objective morality, either. But you dug your hole.

        • mike edwards

          Lets put your sympathy aside and use reason:

          Morality is discovered not created. When looking at the two worldviews, an Amoral universe couldn’t exist ” The concept of an amoral universe, thought not logically self-refuting, is existentially self-refuting. There is no logical incoherence in the statement “No objective moral values and duties exist.” The problem arises when one attempts to describe how one should live in such a universe… for the instant one makes such an attempt, they have invalidate the concept. In an amoral universe, “how one should live” is meaningless… no standard exists to describe how one should live.

          Without considering the implications of such a universe deeply, it’s easy to claim, “Objective moral truths do not exist; I have the right to do as I please!” Yet, this statement makes a moral claim to a “right” while denying moral reality. If you believe that others ought to allow you to live according to the dictates of your own will and your own conscience, then you are appealing to objective morality to justify what others “ought” to do.

          The logically correct view in an amoral universe is that everyone will do as they do with no moral implications at all. Yet, atheists commonly make moral demands; for example, that theists “stop imposing their morality”. This demand certainly assumes that theists “ought” to act in a particular way. Yet, without objective morality, no such “ought” can exist.

          Or think of it this way; we are beings who can conceive and consider many different possible courses of action. Does any course of action exist that should always happen, if possible? Does any course of action exist that ought never to happen? Ought theists to never torture atheists for fun? Ought atheists to rebut theists who claim that objective moral categories exist?

          If one single course of action ought never to happen, then objective morality must exist. But let’s not get ahead of the evidence; whether it is immoral to torture atheists for fun (a question of epistemology) is irrelevant to the point—the only way that such a statement can logically be true is if there is an applicable objective standard by which we can judge the action in question.

          The idea of moral categories would be unintelligible in an amoral universe” — Terry Lewis (https://crossexamined.org/do-objective-moral-truths-exist-in-reality/)

          Starting with the two worldviews, This would be a place to start for a “position” to be solidly grounded. This is why I ask for your position. You posit absolutes, without committing to absolutes ( at least in language) because I think you know the hole that lies before you. I do not think its me playing the word games.

          Remember, there isn’t going to be Martial evidence here Bob, So this argument will be outside of your worldview ?

        • Greg G.

          The problem arises when one attempts to describe how one should live in such a universe… for the instant one makes such an attempt, they have invalidate the concept. In an amoral universe, “how one should live” is meaningless… no standard exists to describe how one should live.

          There is a standard. It is the collective subjective moral standards of the society in which one lives. Have you not noticed that different societies have different morals. As long as you are not harming people physically, psychologically, or financially, people are cool unless there is some superstitions involved. Religious beliefs are just a form of superstition, certainly not objective morals.

        • mike edwards

          “As long as you are not harming people physically, psychologically, or financially, people are cool unless there is some superstitions involved”-I agree Greg that these are correct, im asking how we know these are Good things…..I think they are self evident rather than needed to be created and decided on. We both agree on the actions and results, its the foundation to believe on is the question (ontological).

        • Greg G.

          -I agree Greg that these are correct, im asking how we know these are Good things

          We like them. We call things we like “good” and things we do not like “bad”. Capitalizing a word does not make it objective.

        • Pofarmer

          Good Lord this is particularly stupid. You’re leaving out something fairly important.

        • You have to copy an argument from someone else? You don’t have a grasp of this central point of yours well enough to make your own argument?

          Yet, atheists commonly make moral demands; for example, that theists “stop imposing their morality”.

          Sure, because atheists have morality.

          The blather continues:

          This demand certainly assumes that theists “ought” to act in a particular way. Yet, without objective morality, no such “ought” can exist.

          Bullshit. There’s morality (look it up in a dictionary), and there’s objective morality. Like you, this author maybe can’t see the distinction and certainly can’t defend the existence of objective morality.

          After a failure like that, I think I’ll stop reading there. Yet again, you’ve failed to defend objective morality. Sounds like regular morality explains everything after all.

        • Susan

          is it a truth for you that absolute truth can’t be accessible?

          Oh, for goodness’ sake.

          Bob didn’t say that. You made a claim about “objective moral values” and you have a burden to support that claim.

          If you’re able to support it, do so. If you’d like to imply that it’s connected to Yahwehjesus, then you’re going to have to show two things:

          1) Yahwehjesus exists.

          and

          2) that Yahwehjesus is both necessary and sufficient for those objective moral values or for the intersubjective values you and I share.

          If you think it’s the case that Yahwehjesus exists and there is a logical connection between it and morality, show your work.

          You’re leaping from one bad argument to another and haven’t done a thing to support a single one of them.

        • Susan

          When you’ve done that, you’ll next need to show us that those truths are reliably accessible by humans.

          And that Yahwehjesus is necessary and sufficient to justify those truths.

          They never manage to do any of those. Most of them don’t even try.

          They just insist that we provide a perfect moral theory or they win.

          It’s the moral equivalent of creationism.

        • Greg G.

          What is your definition of “objective morality”? Do you subscribe to WLC’s definition about morality that is separate from opinions as opposed to “subjective morality” which depends on situations and who is concerned?

        • mike edwards

          Objective=outside of ones self
          Subjective inside ones self ( basically an opinion)

          Objective morality is the perspective that there are things about the universe that make certain morals claims true or false. An objectivist would state that the way the world is makes murder an objectively wrong thing to do. … Subjective morality is the perspective that moral claims don’t really have a truth value.

        • Greg G.

          Objective morality is the perspective that there are things about the universe that make certain morals claims true or false. An objectivist would state that the way the world is makes murder an objectively wrong thing to do.

          A different objectivist would state that the way the world is makes murder an objectively good thing to do because it makes things better for him and his associates who are bold enough to do it in a “do unto others before they do unto you” philosophy.

          Your preference to live in peace is subjective. Another person’s preference to thrive in conflict is also subjective.

          There are things that can be shown to be objectively better for the thriving of the human race, but it comes at the expense of every other species. It might seem objectively good to humans, but from any other perspective, it seems objectively poor.

          Further, morality is subject to vulnerabilities. It would not be objectively immoral to murder an immortal being because an immortal would not be a murder victim. Is it objecitvely immoral for a big shark to eat a smaller shark? No, it is subject to the conditions of who is the killer and who is the victim.

          You can only pretend that your morals are objective but they do not apply outside of your bubble. It is all subjective morality but it works when there is collective agreements toward a given morality.

        • mike edwards

          SO no difference between Hitlers society and Mother Teresa? Where does accountability come into this ( Im assuming you believe in that ) . IS there a responsibility of the individual and who is the responsibility to ? Does the human race get the thriving rights above all other species ? If so, Why ? Survival of the fittest ?

          Why havent we seen in history , a society adopt that making murder ( not killing) a objectively good moral acceptance ? It seems to me that there is a known objective value .

          If a society asserted that eating babies isnt really immoral, youd be fine to accept that ?

        • Greg G.

          SO no difference between Hitlers society and Mother Teresa? Where does accountability come into this ( Im assuming you believe in that ) .

          Notice the “collective agreements” I mentioned. We both agree in our subjective morality that we would not like to be murdered nor have people we knoe be murdered, so we live in a society that opposes it. It is a set of collective agreements that people do not like be the victim of so we agree to to not do it to one another and punish anyone who does.

          Mother Teresa’s reputation exceeds her. She collected money for suffering people but let them continue to suffer.

          Why havent we seen in history , a society adopt that making murder ( not killing) a objectively good moral acceptance ? It seems to me that there is a known objective value .

          A society that embraces rampant murder within itself would be unstable. It would end up with one person who was the “winner”, which would not qualify as a society. But when has there not been mafias, warring hordes, and pirates?

          If a society asserted that eating babies isnt really immoral, youd be fine to accept that ?

          No, but I recognize that as a subjective preference. There have been cannibal societies though.

          Is it immoral to not seek medical attention for a badly injured person? In this day and age, I think so. Three thousand years ago, probably not so much. So the morality would be subject to time and place.

          How do you know that your preferences are objectively moral? Where do you find these preferences “outside of ones self”? For all we know about objective morality, our preferences might be completely out of synch. Maybe it is objectively moral to live independently and objectively immoral to be social creatures and our earliest primate ancestors went wrong. A monotheist should see independence from others as godly.

        • mike edwards

          “Notice the “collective agreements” I mentioned. We both agree in our subjective morality that we would not like to be murdered nor have people we know be murdered, so we live in a society that opposes it’—but Im asking what grounds this ? This view of cooperation is a pragmatic issue, not a moral issue.

          I meant the idea Of mother Teresa’s “moral duties”, so lets do this: No difference between X society = caring for the poor, healing the sick and Z society=stealing from the poor, killing off the sick ?
          “ It would end up with one person who was the “winner””- whats wrong with that ? Is that objectively wrong? Who says an individual has to conform to the societal contract? He has another subjective set of morality. He wants it all, that’s what flourish him. Why is he wrong ?

          “But when has there not been mafias, warring hordes, and pirates?”-and? that’s their society is theirs’s objectively wrong ?
          “No, but I recognize that as a subjective preference”—why object to it, the fact that you say “no”, implies you do not like it, but you would accept it to stay true to naturalism/atheism is kind of absurd to me.

          “Is it immoral to not seek medical attention for a badly injured person? In this day and age, I think so.—ok,but this would be more of a sociology observation than a morality argument.

          “So the morality would be subject to time and place”-ok, so were we wrong for having the Nuremberg trails? Was it wrong for us to judge that society by our society later in time ?

          “How do you know that your preferences are objectively moral? “- I don’t proclaim my preferences are objective, that would be subjective.

          “ our preferences might be completely out of synch”-that’s what Christianity teaches as well, and history has shown us this to be true.

          “see independence as Godly” –of course we do.But im wondering if your equivocating Independence with autonomy ?
          Also, were you talking about the law of mosses earlier about “marrying your rapist, paying the dowry …etc…? Id like to discuss that.

        • Susan

          Im asking what grounds this ? This view of cooperation is a pragmatic issue, not a moral issue.

          How is it not a moral issue? The suffering of sentient beings is at the centre of every discussion of morality. If you don’t agree, give me your definition of “morality”.

          I meant the idea Of mother Teresa’s “moral duties”,

          Mother Teresa’s “moral duties” were to fill the coffers of the RCC at the expense of poor, sick and vulnerable people. This is well documented.

          She thought suffering was “good” for the poor, sick and vulnerable but not so “good” for her when she got sick. Also well documented. You’ll need to pick another example. We can disregard the rest of your paragraph until you provide a better example than Mother Teresa.

          I’m tempted to keep responding to the rest of your comment but you don’t even answer basic questions about your claims/insinuations.

          Please answer these very basic ones if you’re interested in having a conversation.

          1) What is “objective morality”? (This requires defining “morality” and showing what it would mean if it were “objective”)

          2) Show that it exists. (Asking someone to provide a perfect moral theory or you win doesn’t mean you win.)

          3) Show what Yahwehjesus has to do with any of it. That is, show a logical connection between Yahwehjesus and “objective morality”.

        • Greg G.

          “Notice the “collective agreements” I mentioned. We both agree in our subjective morality that we would not like to be murdered nor have people we know be murdered, so we live in a society that opposes it’—but Im asking what grounds this ? This view of cooperation is a pragmatic issue, not a moral issue.

          If people abide the agreements, it works. When some don’t, they tend to be excluded. How is that any different than if it was “grounded”? Even if there was a grounded morality, humans would ignore it and act in the morality they preferred. Isn’t that what the world does? Your problem is that there is no way to know what an objective morality is and if it is actually beneficial to us. Pretending morality is “objective” and “God is watching you” is for children, like “Santa Claus know if you’ve been bad or good”.

          I meant the idea Of mother Teresa’s “moral duties”, so lets do this: No difference between X society = caring for the poor, healing the sick and Z society=stealing from the poor, killing off the sick ?

          No! Humans have an evolved sense of fairness. So do chimpanzees, macaques, and dogs. It comes from evolving from social creatures.

          “ It would end up with one person who was the “winner””- whats wrong with that ? Is that objectively wrong? Who says an individual has to conform to the societal contract? He has another subjective set of morality. He wants it all, that’s what flourish him. Why is he wrong ?

          He is neither right or wrong because there is no objective morality. He is judged by others by their subjective morality. Why is that so hard? Has religion damaged your ability to reason in moral terms?

          “Is it immoral to not seek medical attention for a badly injured person? In this day and age, I think so.—ok,but this would be more of a sociology observation than a morality argument.

          You should be able to answer it from a moral perspective if you know how to discern objective morality. The issue is subjective to the availability of medical attention.

          “So the morality would be subject to time and place”-ok, so were we wrong for having the Nuremberg trails? Was it wrong for us to judge that society by our society later in time ?

          No, they were judge by everybody else’s subjective morality.

          Also, were you talking about the law of mosses earlier about “marrying your rapist, paying the dowry …etc…? Id like to discuss that.

          Start with Deuteronomy 22:28-29.

        • mike edwards

          If people abide the agreements, it works—but again, this pragmatic conclusion could work if we thought Raping another culture to propagate our DNA was agreeable correct ? What society has the right over another society ? So its only grounded in what society I am born into that dictate’s morality in your worldview correct? So again, Rape is going to be determined acceptable or not acceptable based on that time in society? So gay marriage and gay bashing could both be equal depending on what that society/tribe decides and not what can be discovered correct ?

          “God is watching you” is for children, like “Santa Claus know if you’ve been bad or good”.’-Caricatures are not good arguments
          “our problem is that there is no way to know what an objective morality is and if it is actually beneficial to us. “—Morality is self evident, its discovered not created..Jeffereson knew this, we built our whole constitution on this. In weighing out explanations, objective morality does exist. Reverse engineering and deductive reasoning get you to objectivity over subjectivity. I think to deny that torturing babies for fun has to be taught thru trail and error is silly and just unreasonable.

          “No! Humans have an evolved sense of fairness”-how so? How does consciousness, value , morality…etc arise material that came to be by blind chance and with no purpose ?

          “He is judged by others by their subjective morality. Why is that so hard?”—their subjectivity, meaning their opinion. SO what? If a society agrees that tomorrow Rape is right, then it is right ? there are more than one society in this world…are they all equal then in their beliefs? One believes in rape and plunder promotes their society ( think pirates) One believes in giving away and supporting the poor and the medically needed …both are equally acceptable in their beliefs on morality ?

          “ The issue is subjective to the availability of medical attention.”—no, ita about whether doing anything at is morally justified. If I live in a society that thinks( decided) the weak and disabled stop the progress of my society, I will not do anything at all.I may even assist in eliminating them for what my society has decided as moral or immoral. Hitler even knew this, he had to dehumanize the jews for his followers to accept the killing orders.

          “No, they were judge by everybody else’s subjective morality.’—but who cares if it subjective? Now you have moved the goal post. You said what each society decides. So each Society is equal with their own morality standards. So to say we had the right to pass judgment is appealing to a standard outside of our societies. You can keep inserting the word subjectivity into your explanations, but that is not what your appealing to.

          Dueteronomy 22:
          Remember, Deuteronomy draws upon exodus as its backdrop ( most scholars conclude this as well) Both passages in context describe the situation as complicit , though initially [pressured ( seduced) she doesn’t act against her own will the text says “they are discovered” (v28), not he is discovered. Both are culpable. So technically this is not [pressure/seduction is not forcible rape. This would be what we call today statutory rape Even though the woman gave in, the man bears the responsibility.
          2) in that culture, it would be more difficult for her to find a husband knowing she had been sexually involved, the bride price(financial stability) would be in jeopardy. The Man has to take responsibility for his actions. They broke the culture law, they need to step up and own it
          3) As the law dictates in that culture, If the father AND daughter agree to it, the Seducer must marry her for her . She is not required to marry, they all have to agree. They know the hard future for the daughter if known to be not pure…still a choice.
          2) The father of the girl has the right to refuse any permanent arrangement .In this arrangement, the girl is still treated as a virgin.

          SO this isn’t a back ally rape as we know it, this is simply understanding the culture and law of that time in their language.

          Great read on all these Morality questions of God and the biblical context is Paul Copan’s book “Is God a Moral Monster” ?

        • Greg G.

          If people abide the agreements, it works—but again, this pragmatic conclusion could work if we thought Raping another culture to propagate our DNA was agreeable correct ?

          How is that different than pretending there is an objective morality? It works best when people abide by it. Different societies have different moral systems because there is no way to determine whether there is an objective morality and to determine what it is. People develop and adapt to moral systems that diminish stress in their society.

          Since nobody can access the objective morality, we go with what works for us. If we could access objective morality, it might not agree with us and we might not agree with it. It could be detrimental to civil society and civilization itself. You think you have a handle on objective morality but it is conveniently like everybody else’s subjective preferences.

          -Caricatures are not good arguments

          Reductio ad absurdum is a legitimate method to show the fallacy of an argument.

          Morality is self evident, its discovered not created..Jeffereson knew this, we built our whole constitution on this. In weighing out explanations, objective morality does exist.

          The Constitution is in opposition to the Bible in so many places. It has freedom of religion, the Bible advises to kill people who suggest a different religion, for example. There are interactions that people prefer that are self-evident, but why pretend they are objective morals?

          –no, ita about whether doing anything at is morally justified. If I live in a society that thinks( decided) the weak and disabled stop the progress of my society, I will not do anything at all.I may even assist in eliminating them for what my society has decided as moral or immoral. Hitler even knew this, he had to dehumanize the jews for his followers to accept the killing orders.

          Sure, Hitler the Christian did those things because it was not self-evident that it was wrong. If Germany had happened to develop the atomic bomb first, they would have won the war, and their morality would be imposed.

          Citing common subjective morality and calling it objective is getting nowhere. Either show how you can access what objective morality is or drop it. What is best for humanity is not necessarily the best for the world and its lifeforms, so you can’t just point to what is best for humans. Object morality might be against humans dominating the planet.

          —but who cares if it subjective? Now you have moved the goal post. You said what each society decides. So each Society is equal with their own morality standards. So to say we had the right to pass judgment is appealing to a standard outside of our societies. You can keep inserting the word subjectivity into your explanations, but that is not what your appealing to.

          Different societies are not equal with their morality standards. Some agree with my standards more than others. Some agree with your standards more than others. But those societies disagree with yours and mine more than others. Stop pretending your morality is objective. Your standard relies on a mind -YOURS!

          Deuteronomy 22 makes no mention of whether he has a knife to her throat. It is still the same. She can be forced to marry the rapist with no legal way out. You making up a best case scenario does not rehabilitate the passage.

          The rapist is forced to take care of her in a society where a woman can only prosper as property of a man. She is forced to be raped for the rest of her life. Why not have Deuteronomy provide information to revolutionize technology so slavery is unnecessary and women can be full members of the society?

          If the father AND daughter agree to it

          Where? The decision is ultimately the father’s.

          In this arrangement, the girl is still treated as a virgin.

          No, she isn’t.

          Deuteronomy 22:13-21 (NRSV)13 Suppose a man marries a woman, but after going in to her, he dislikes her 14 and makes up charges against her, slandering her by saying, “I married this woman; but when I lay with her, I did not find evidence of her virginity.” 15 The father of the young woman and her mother shall then submit the evidence of the young woman’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16 The father of the young woman shall say to the elders: “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man but he dislikes her; 17 now he has made up charges against her, saying, ‘I did not find evidence of your daughter’s virginity.’ But here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.” Then they shall spread out the cloth before the elders of the town. 18 The elders of that town shall take the man and punish him; 19 they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver (which they shall give to the young woman’s father) because he has slandered a virgin of Israel. She shall remain his wife; he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.20 If, however, this charge is true, that evidence of the young woman’s virginity was not found, 21 then they shall bring the young woman out to the entrance of her father’s house and the men of her town shall stone her to death, because she committed a disgraceful act in Israel by prostituting herself in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

        • I’ve heard Copan. Not impressed. His blather would impress few of the regular atheists here.

          If you think you have an effective rationalization for God’s moral apparent failings, tell it to us. Don’t think that “Oh, Copan has dealt with that one–next question” will work.

        • ildi

          Why havent we seen in history , a society adopt that making murder ( not killing) a objectively good moral acceptance ?

          The answer is right there in how you phrase the question. War is a huge murder machine and pretty much every society has adopted it, but redefines what constitutes murder.

        • This is a tangent, but Mother/Saint Teresa was not a particularly good person. She raised millions for Rome, but little of the donations made to her hospitals actually went to helping people.

        • Greg G.

          O my. Again this asserts that empirical is the only methodology to know reality. 

          No, you are reading your presuppositions. I said methodological naturalism can study what it can study but cannot study what it cannot study. Do you want to argue with a tautology? It can say nothing about what it cannot study. It cannot study what is cleverly contrived to be unstudiable. It does not mean that it can rule out other possibilities. There is still the problem of solipsism as we cannot know if we are a brain in a vat with a perfect simulation being fed to us. We could be in the Matrix and programmed to be unable to tell that we are. We could be a dream of Vishnu as the Hindus say. None of those are susceptible to investigation by naturalism. Your god thingy is in the same boat.

          You gave four good examples as well but the fifth is not a weakness. If science could prove itself, it would be circular. Math can model many universes but science can only study the one we are in. Here is where you are thinking I am saying we can study the whole reality but I am not.

          ” which is very effective in protecting fragile ideas from scrutiny”-says who ? Not theists…bring it on. This is a strawman attempt comment

          Theists make various claims. What is your claim that does not have to be hidden behind supernaturalism? Give me a prediction that we can possibly observe but has never yet been observed that can differentiate your theology from naturalism and other theologies. Einstein predicted that gravity could make light take a curved path. Astronomers noted that during an upcoming solar eclipse, a certain star would be behind the sun yet visible if Einstein’s theory was right. Scientists traveled from all over the world to the eclipse’s path. The detected that star precisely where the theory predicted. Do something like that. You are making the claim. Put up or shut up.

          “Only because of the misrepresentation.”-how so ? I thought it was very clearly stated how it is. I dont see your argument that it isnt presented here

          Can you hear me now?

          -simple classification fallacy here , these were all know to be myths created by man bound my naturalistic laws that do not attempt to even approach science.logic or reason. Simple ( of many o many examples of this argument fallacy) 
          https://crossexamined.org/w

          We know that now what they didn’t know then. How are your superstitions have any more backing than their superstitions?

          “God Thingy Theory has been falsified many times”–How so ? Certifiably not by you. empty assertion ( more of demonstration of emotion than argument)

          Thunder gods, demon theory of disease, intercessory prayer, to name a few.

          Also, ive told you before, When attempting to insult a theist ( first sign of not a logical argument) please spell “god” in “god thingy” as “gawd” 🙂 Get it right.

          “God thingy” is more versatile. It covers more than monotheism. I’m an equal opportunity atheist.

        • mike edwards

          “It can say nothing about what it cannot study.” –then materialist need to understand this..they try to assert naturalism ( scientism) over that line

          “your God thingy is in the same boat”–none of those other examples attempt any explanatory power that Naturalism tries to address as well…false comparison and false comparison

          “Can you hear me now?”–no, Youtube comments are not audible

          “How are your superstitions have any more backing than their superstitions?”-Christianity teaches against superstition first of all, to slump down to this comment ( ask Michael Ruse) is to show ignorance and insult over content. THis also shows how little of the christian doctrine you are arguing against ( new atheism 101)

          “Thunder gods, demon theory of disease, intercessory prayer, to name a few.”–how so, still begging….there isnt even a doctrine for these to compare….again, slumming. Come on, you can do better than this.

          “”God thingy” is more versatile. It covers more than monotheism.’–How is more versatile ? Nice cover up, its attempting to be condescending…you missed the point…gonna insult…hit hard superchief.

        • Come on, you can do better than this.

          Said the guy who thinks, “You should read Nagel. Next question!” is a satisfactory response.

        • mike edwards

          Ok but,I do not see how your comment to mine is related though , especially when you pulled it out of context.

          So “skip to next Question ! would be a better description of this unsatisfactory response

        • Greg G.

          “It can say nothing about what it cannot study.” –then materialist need to understand this..they try to assert naturalism ( scientism) over that line

          There is methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism. You keep conflating the two. I described methodological naturalism to you but you keep trying to attribute philosophical naturalism to it. The theist needs to understand this difference.

          Methodological naturalism might still hold even if there is a god.

          no, Youtube comments are not audible

          Yes they are. Maybe you need a new computer.

          Christianity teaches against superstition first of all,

          Christianity teaches against other superstitions.

          THis also shows how little of the christian doctrine you are arguing against ( new atheism 101)

          There are thousands of Christian denominations. The range for Young Earth Creationists to “Mainstream” Christians, from apolitical to Trumpsters. There is no THE Christian Doctrine. Which makes Jesus the biggest prayer failure of all time in John 17:20-23. He prayed that Christians would have such an impressive unity that the rest of the world would believe, too. But the diversity comes because there are so many ways to interpret the Bible. Don’t like this verse, there’s another that can be interpreted to mean what you prefer.

          “Thunder gods, demon theory of disease, intercessory prayer, to name a few.”–how so, still begging….there isnt even a doctrine for these to compare….again, slumming. Come on, you can do better than this.

          Is intercessory prayer not a doctrine in your bubble? I see it a lot on my Facebook feed. Or is doctrine supposed to be written down and official rather than what masses believers actually believe?

          “”God thingy” is more versatile. It covers more than monotheism.’–How is more versatile ? Nice cover up, its attempting to be condescending…you missed the point…gonna insult…hit hard superchief.

          “Gawd” is the spelling of how many pulpit beggars say it but it applies to the Christian god only. “God thingies” applies to any type of polytheism or monotheism, angels, demons, genies, totem poles…

        • mike edwards

          philosophical naturalism -is the “idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.
          Methodological naturalism is a strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes
          Both rule out Supernatural causes. Ones an idea, ones a application that go hand in hand for a minset that hinders where the evidence might lead.
          “Methodological naturalism might still hold even if there is a god”—And their results might be false because of the pre assumed commitment to this method. Its simpler just to let the evidence lead to whatever conclusion is most rational is it not ?

          “Yes they are. Maybe you need a new computer.”—To simplify it for clarity then, your comments from and about the youtube video are not audible.

          “The range for Young Earth Creationists to “Mainstream” Christians, from apolitical to Trumpsters”—none of these are denominations. Also denominations do not necessarily dictate a different doctrine, some could be started simply over a worship style…Don’t major in the minors….As a former self proclaim apologist, you should know better than this. Which would give credit to my observation that you are not better at this? ( dunning –kruger effect) ?

          “But the diversity comes because there are so many ways to interpret the Bible. Don’t like this verse, there’s another that can be interpreted to mean what you prefer.”—Someone’s interpretation doesn’t dictate if its correct or falsify the doctrine. Your equivocating translations and interpretations. you would need to show me a specific example if im wrong here, also You don’t judge a religion by its abuse, but by its truth. A former apologist should know this.

          Jesus praying for unity was not for the fall of denominations, how could it be, Christianity started after Christ . This is just history here…you should have gotten this as a former apologist

          “Is intercessory prayer not a doctrine” – its part of an act within doctrine for relationship, your example falsely compares superstition to doctrine, if it’s the same thing, you need to show that

          “Or is doctrine supposed to be written down and official rather than what masses believers actually believe?”—This is also a false alternative. Its written down for clarity and truth so as to not get twisted in abuse of a truth. Masses can believe that you were a apologist , but that wouldn’t necessarily make it true ( Hitler’s Germany for another example)

          “Gawd” is the spelling of how many pulpit beggars say it but it applies to the Christian god only. “God thingies”—where is this accepted and documented with validity, id like to read that

          “angels, demons, genies, totem poles…”—This is a hasty generalization that ignores legitimate arguments . It also demonstrates the mentality level of the person spouting this

          I forgot to ask you , you said that the KCA has been put to the grave, What exactly are the objections that put it in its grave for you ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Don’t major in the minors….As a former self proclaim apologist, you should know better than this. Which would give credit to my observation that you are not better at this? ( dunning –kruger effect) ?

          Lol, what? I just did a, admittedly cursory, search of Greg’s recent history and found no reference to such a proclamation. Did I miss something?

          Or is the loudmouth incompetent dumbfuck being a loudmouth incompetent dumbfuck again – confusing Greg G. with myself? 😀 😀

        • Greg G.

          I did not say anything about that nor have I ever been.

          Did you say “that the KCA has been put to the grave”? I got accused of that at the bottom of the post.

          Being confused with Paul B. Lot is a good way to start the New Year!

          Oh, I see new toys at the bottom of the combox! I will have to experiment.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Being confused with Paul B. Lot is a good way to start the New Year!

          Ooof, an indignity no one should have to suffer. I’m sorry for you and your loved ones. 😀

          Did you say “that the KCA has been put to the grave”? I got accused of that at the bottom of the post.

          Yeah. Well +/-. We can’t expect accuracy or precision from our newest L.I.D., but yes: I attacked the KCA briefly in prior exchanges with him.

          Oh, I see new toys at the bottom of the combox! I will have to experiment.

          Sho ’nuff, reminds me of reddit’s newfangled system.

        • Greg G.

          Methodological naturalism is a strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes
          Both rule out Supernatural causes. Ones an idea, ones a application that go hand in hand for a minset that hinders where the evidence might lead.

          This is wrong. There is no way to study supernatural causes. If you can study them, they would not be considered supernatural but natural. Methodological recognizes that fact, even if you do not.

          “Methodological naturalism might still hold even if there is a god”—And their results might be false because of the pre assumed commitment to this method. Its simpler just to let the evidence lead to whatever conclusion is most rational is it not ?

          So? If they can observe something that cannot be explained by natural means, what is left? The difficulty is that it is always to soon to jump to the supernatural conclusion. Jumping to gods as the supernatural cause of thunder was premature. Jumping to demons cause disease was premature. Jumping to gods caused the universe is premature. We need evidence that gods caused the universe or life. That you use supernatural causes is your presupposition that there is no possible natural evidence of gods.

          none of these are denominations. Also denominations do not necessarily dictate a different doctrine, some could be started simply over a worship style…Don’t major in the minors….As a former self proclaim apologist, you should know better than this. Which would give credit to my observation that you are not better at this? ( dunning –kruger effect) ?

          There are denominations within those classifications. Some of them are different denominations because they want to be independent of doctrinal statements that might change when they do not want to change or stay the same when they want to change. The point that Jesus was the greatest prayer failure of all time stands. (John 17:20-23)

          I was never an apologist and have never claim to be.

          -Someone’s interpretation doesn’t dictate if its correct or falsify the doctrine. Your equivocating translations and interpretations. you would need to show me a specific example if im wrong here, also You don’t judge a religion by its abuse, but by its truth. A former apologist should know this.

          You are presupposing that there is a correct doctrine. There are 45,000 different denominations. I gave you some ranges. Doctrines change meaning they were wrong and became right or they were right and are now wrong or they are still wrong. The doctrines are based on fairy tales.

          Jesus praying for unity was not for the fall of denominations, how could it be, Christianity started after Christ . This is just history here…you should have gotten this as a former apologist

          The prayer was for believers to be united so much that it would impress the world. The world has never been so impressed and the believers have never been united. We see disagreement between Paul and James right in the epistles. The world has always been unimpressed by the unity of Christians.

          “Is intercessory prayer not a doctrine” – its part of an act within doctrine for relationship, your example falsely compares superstition to doctrine, if it’s the same thing, you need to show that

          Many churches teach that prayer works. Many Bible verses make promises. Actual practice show that it does not work. The belief relies on confirmation bias. If one prayer is almost answered, 20 unanswered prayers are forgotten.

          where is this accepted and documented with validity, id like to read that

          Have you never listened to a Bob Jones University preacher?

          This is a hasty generalization that ignores legitimate arguments . It also demonstrates the mentality level of the person spouting this

          I have heard apologetic arguments for a few decades but none that really make a case.

          I forgot to ask you , you said that the KCA has been put to the grave, What exactly are the objections that put it in its grave for you ?

          Not me either. I saw where someone said it in this forum but I am not sure where. But the KCA extrapolates from extant matter/energy being caused to change states to a cause acting on nothing having an effect. The whole argument is based on a non sequitur.

        • mike edwards

          There is no way to study supernatural causes. –They key here is though that its Naturalism (Methodological Naturalism) that only natural causes can be considered. In example for of gravity, the actual cause is unknown, we only know it by its effects. If there is no natural cause, Theist keep an open mind to a supernatural analysis as well as natural analysis. So no, jumping right away to it must be a supernatural conclusion without examination ( God of the Gaps ) is wrong. Also, I think your presuming that if there is a natural cause ( thunder example) That we would reject it. I do not know of any sincere theist that would do this.

          Natural evidence for God: If God is supernatural, ( Timeless, spaceless, Immaterial, intelligent, powerful and moral cretor) what natural evidence could possibly be logically accepted? We can argue for his existence by his effects ( cosmological, Teleological, Objective morality…etc)

          Denominations: I get the feeling that denominations = Division for you ? The Core belief of Christianity is 1) Christ was the son of God, 2) Christ dies and rose from the grave to give salvation. Then that’s Christianity. Different translations, different races, different cultures, even if its different chandeliers in the auditorium…doesn’t mean the doctrine is different and changing….BUT, if they stray away from Christ teachings, then its not Christianity, no matter what they label it. Different denominations is a good thing ( as long as the core is Christ based) …basically, different strokes for different folks. So When I mean Doctrine, I mean Christ teachings and the resurrection…that’s it.

          Jesus Prayer: Believers united yes, how does having different denominations falsify this? One can argue that many denominations ( for reason given above: style, race culture…etc) Is bringing unity. ( I don’t like Southern Baptist style, I like Contemporary service styles, both believe in the core teaching). Christ said “follow me”, not “follow my church” . I see denominations as a good thing, but different denominations is not to equivocated with division. If a church claims it’s a different denomination, but doest follow Christ Resurrection and teaching’s, then its simply not Christianity, no matter what they call themselves….Examine by truth, not abuse.

          Praying: There is a misconception here about prayer. Its not a genie in a lamp. You do not rub it to get wishes granted. Pray is for a relationship. Eveytime a child asks his parent for something, should they get it ? If they wanted a flame thrower, that wouldn’t be good, so thru communication and understanding ( attempts) that request is not granted…this is a simple example I know, but it sets up that the act of Christian praying is more than a vending machine misconception.

          Here is Ravi Zacharias on Does prayer really help ( if interested)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESO1K02FgQg

        • Greg G.

          –They key here is though that its Naturalism (Methodological Naturalism) that only natural causes can be considered.

          Why is this so hard? If it can be detected, it is natural, even if it was something you would prefer to be completely supernatural.

          Also, I think your presuming that if there is a natural cause ( thunder example) That we would reject it. I do not know of any sincere theist that would do this.

          What is a sincere theist? If a person substitutes wishful thinking for evidence, they are an insincere seeker of truth.

          If God is supernatural, ( Timeless, spaceless, Immaterial, intelligent, powerful and moral cretor) what natural evidence could possibly be logically accepted?

          Why ask me? If a god thingy was intelligent and powerful, it could manifest undeniable evidence. Why would an intelligent and powerful god thingy only give enough evidence that gullible people would accept?

          We can argue for his existence by his effects ( cosmological, Teleological, Objective morality…etc)

          Which are only persuasive for someone who already believes rather uncritically. The Kalam relies on people not noticing that it extrapolates from causes acting on something that already exists to infer that causes acting on nothing can have an effect. That was the Number 1 argument you gave.

          Denominations: I get the feeling that denominations = Division for you ?

          45,000 different denominations is pretty clear-cut evidence for division. If you were to get into the specific beliefs of each member of a denomination, you would have trouble finding two that match.

          The Core belief of Christianity is 1) Christ was the son of God, 2) Christ dies and rose from the grave to give salvation. Then that’s Christianity.

          There have been Christians in this forum who do not think Jesus actually rose from the dead. There are Christians who think that God is not a being but “the essence of being”. So you state the Core belief to eliminate them as “Not True Christians”.

          So When I mean Doctrine, I mean Christ teachings and the resurrection…that’s it.

          That eliminates the 80% of the Evangelical movement who support Trump’s racist policies.

          Jesus Prayer: Believers united yes, how does having different denominations falsify this?

          The world does not believe. The unity of belief is supposed to be so impressive that it would make the world believe.

          Praying: There is a misconception here about prayer. Its not a genie in a lamp. You do not rub it to get wishes granted. Pray is for a relationship. Eveytime a child as his parent for something, should they get it ? If they wanted a flame thrower, that wouldn’t be good, so thru communication and understanding ( attempts) there request is not granted…this is a simple example I know, but it sets up that the act of Christian praying is more than a vending machine misconception.

          That comes from the experience of prayer not being like a genie in a lamp the way the Bible and Jesus teach it. You have eliminated yourself as a True Christian because you discount Jesus’ teaching.

          Matthew 7:7-8 (NRSV)
          7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

          Matthew 17:20 (NRSV)
          20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

          Matthew 18:19-20 (NRSV)
          19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

          Matthew 21:21-22 (NRSV)
          21 Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”

          Mark 11:24-25 (NRSV)
          24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.25 “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

          John 14:12-14 (NRSV)
          12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

          John 15:7 (NRSV)
          7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

          Those are the red letters saying that. You are reading the teachings of James, not Jesus:

          James 4:3 (NRSV)
          3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

          You get the same result praying to a lawn mower. The success of prayer depends on how flexible you are with later events corresponding to it. That feeds the confirmation bias.

          Prayer is for building a relationship like talking to an invisible dragon is building a relationship.

        • mike edwards

          “Why is this so hard? If it can be detected, it is natural, even if it was something you would prefer to be completely supernatural.”—but when the cause cannot be explained bay naturalism, is it wise to rule out other explanations before hand?
          “What is a sincere theist? If a person substitutes wishful thinking for evidence, they are an insincere seeker of truth.”-of course, this gives more plausibility to a sincere theist ( one who believes in Jesus’s teaching of love God with MIND soul and body) Rather than to Natural worldview .
          “ it could manifest undeniable evidence.”—This doesn’t logically follow. I can still deny something to be true no matter how much evidence to the contrary.
          “only give enough evidence that gullible people would accept?- Why would he give so much evidence and let arrogant people not believe it=Free will
          “Which are only persuasive for someone who already believes rather uncriticall”- Which plausible if someone believes due to being critical open.
          “The Kalam relies on people not noticing that it extrapolates from causes acting on something that already exists to infer that causes acting on nothing can have an effect. “To extrapolate – extend the application of to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable. Doesn’t predictable science rely on this though ? But, I might be missing your exact point….break down further for me ?
          “45,000 different denominations is pretty clear-cut evidence for division”-I disagree, I don’t think you have shown it to be clear cut, I think what I have offered has validity to consider
          “There have been Christians in this forum who do not think Jesus actually rose from the dead’—Then why call themselves Christian ? Paul said if Christ has not between risen from the dead, its in vail…no Christianity. It would have died right there and we would not be discussing this. I don’t really think this is a valid argument any secular historian would make either.
          “That eliminates the 80% of the Evangelical movement who support Trump’s racist policies.”—How ? How is trump lumped in with a religion from 2000 years ago? You can still believe in Christ resurrection and do wrong…hence why he is called the savior. How do trumps actions refute Christianity ?
          “The unity of belief is supposed to be so impressive that it would make the world believe.”-Then why have free will at all ( Christianity beliefs) This assumes that if God appeared to each and every one, that they would except him…that doesn’t follow by Christianity teachings..its a gift/choice…choice cant be forced, or its not a choice. He could have made autobots, be Chose not to. DO agree that to truly be loved, it has to given and not taken ?

          “Matthew 7:7-8 (NRSV)’—THis when you have faith and accepted God. What would happen if I took Pray and made it out. Please let me Rape and win the lottery dear God. Should he grant it ? Based on your understanding here . This “out of context” random verses with your own spin on ( some would argue straw-man) Christianity is just a really bad presentation. This short article can explain it better than I can https://www.gotquestions.org/context-Bible.html

        • Greg G.

          “Why is this so hard? If it can be detected, it is natural, even if it was something you would prefer to be completely supernatural.”—but when the cause cannot be explained bay naturalism, is it wise to rule out other explanations before hand?

          It is wise to not jump to any unwarranted conclusion.

          “What is a sincere theist? If a person substitutes wishful thinking for evidence, they are an insincere seeker of truth.”-of course, this gives more plausibility to a sincere theist ( one who believes in Jesus’s teaching of love God with MIND soul and body) Rather than to Natural worldview .

          Which is jumping to an unwarranted conclusion.

          “ it could manifest undeniable evidence.”—This doesn’t logically follow. I can still deny something to be true no matter how much evidence to the contrary.

          Not logically, you can’t.

          “only give enough evidence that gullible people would accept?- Why would he give so much evidence and let arrogant people not believe it=Free will

          Gullible people don’t have free will? The free will gambit is terrible.

          “Which are only persuasive for someone who already believes rather uncriticall”- Which plausible if someone believes due to being critical open.

          “Critically open” is a euphemism for “gullible”.

          “The Kalam relies on people not noticing that it extrapolates from causes acting on something that already exists to infer that causes acting on nothing can have an effect. “To extrapolate – extend the application of to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable. Doesn’t predictable science rely on this though ? But, I might be missing your exact point….break down further for me ?

          The Kalam starts with the observation of cause and effect involving matter that existed at the time of the cause. Then infers that a cause can act on nothing to have an effect, that is, causing the universe to appear out of nothing. There is no argument that a cause can act on nothing and have an effect. So the Kalam fails on the non sequitur. It’s like observing that hundreds of people can fly from New York to Korea in 15 hours in a jet plane. Then arguing that people could have made the trip in 15 hours before powered flight was invented.

          “45,000 different denominations is pretty clear-cut evidence for division”-I disagree, I don’t think you have shown it to be clear cut, I think what I have offered has validity to consider

          Remember that this is about John 17:20-23 where Jesus prayed that believers would be in such unity that the rest of the world would believe. For that prayer to come true, there would not be any denominations, nor other religions, nor unbelievers. The prayer was for the world to believe because of the unity of belief of the believers. If you believe Jesus, you should get Christians on the same page, then everybody else will become believers because of it.

          “There have been Christians in this forum who do not think Jesus actually rose from the dead’—Then why call themselves Christian ?

          Because they said they were Christian. Why go No True Scotsman on them?

          “That eliminates the 80% of the Evangelical movement who support Trump’s racist policies.”—How ? How is trump lumped in with a religion from 2000 years ago?

          The exit polls showed that Trump got something like 81% of the white Evangelical vote in 2016. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjQyPzNwN7fAhWHxYMKHUV_D5MQFjAAegQIChAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fnews%2Facts-of-faith%2Fwp%2F2016%2F11%2F09%2Fexit-polls-show-white-evangelicals-voted-overwhelmingly-for-donald-trump%2F&usg=AOvVaw1Lzn5iIbHCfDlB0A5pWPLt

          You can still believe in Christ resurrection and do wrong…hence why he is called the savior. How do trumps actions refute Christianity ?

          Not what I said. I wasn’t talking about Trump, just those who voted for him. You were defining Christians. Your definition did not align with the apparent beliefs of the vast majority of white Evangelicals who voted in 2016.

          “The unity of belief is supposed to be so impressive that it would make the world believe.”-Then why have free will at all

          Not my problem. If it diminishes free will, why did Jesus pray that? The free will excuse is weak. Satan and the one third of the angels know God exists with certainty but they apparently have free will. Will there be free will in heaven? Those angels apparently have it and they could last 15 billion years. What chance do you have to last eternity when you sin pretty much every day?

          “Matthew 7:7-8 (NRSV)’—THis when you have faith and accepted God. What would happen if I took Pray and made it out. Please let me Rape and win the lottery dear God. Should he grant it ?

          What about the prayer of a child who prays that his or her mother doesn’t die so they will not be an orphan? Those prayer verses are saying one thing but Christians tell us prayer works, just not like a vending machine, which is not what the Bible says. Christians know prayer doesn’t work like the Bible says, so the have excuses like “God works in mytherious ways”, “sometimes God says ‘not yet'”, and “sometimes God says ‘no'”.

        • mike edwards

          “It is wise to not jump to any unwarranted conclusion.”—I agree, but isn’t ruling out possibilities beforehand jumping to conclusions?

          “Not logically, you can’t.”-not logically no, but I can decide to ignore. This is a free will choice, not matter how illogical it is.most people I see, base their beliefs not on evidence, but of will. So it logically follows that people can freely choose not to follow logical conclusions. If it’s a choice

          “Gullible people don’t have free will? The free will gambit is terrible.”—How do you determine who is gullible? What’s Measuring slide here? This is also a arrogant statement for you to make. Who made you the judge of who is gullible? Im sure gullible to you is anyone who is a Christian? I think your gullible to your own pre assumed notion rather than discoverable truths…do you care? If the free will gambit is terrible, then were you not free to think the free will gambit is terrible? Was that pre-determined?

          “Critically open” is a euphemism for “gullible”.”- This is silly. Your asserting that for someone to be open to all options, they are going to be gullible to drawing a non-supported conclusion? Sure they can be susceptible to gullibility, hat doesn’t follow that they will be. I think you’re gullible in the fact that all people will become gullible if they keep their mind open, Does this logically follow? How would we ever advance?
          “The Kalam starts with the observation of cause and effect involving matter that existed at the time of the cause”—It didn’t exist, it was created at that time (scientifically knowable)
          “There is no argument that a cause can act on nothing and have an effect. “-Why not? Why doesn’t that follow? If we have time space and matter had a beginning (most cosmologist agree) Whatever Created that has to be outside of it correct? I do not see the non sequitur here. Or are you believing that there was matter before matter was created?
          “For that prayer to come true, there would not be any denominations, nor other religions, nor unbelievers”—then you do not understand Christianity as described in the God image creation teaching. 1) Ive explained that thru the world, different cultures, different worship styles, different teaching methods…etc bring the message of Christianity together (unity) all over the globe thru 2000 years. That’s the amazing thing about Christianity, no matter where or when or what culture, Christianity fits out human condition. That’s unity. 2) Your assuming that even if we were all one denomination, that people would have a light bulb would click on and just accept Christianity? Thomas Nagel has said many of times, He doesn’t WANT it to be true. If this were to happen, wouldn’t that take away your free will of choice to accept it? 3) Seems to me also that if we all saw things the same way and agreed on everything, this would impose on our free will , God would have to impose on our free will at some point..He wont do that. To freely love, it has to be a choice, not forced. Again, denominations doe not equal division . So if there are other cultures, styles that emerge, make it 65,000 denominations, as long as the core truth is there …don’t major in the minors Greg.

          “Because they said they were Christian’—What if they called themselves unicorns? A simple inquiry would show this not to be.
          Trump: 1) He is not the Christian savior. 2) He was voted in because he gave more support to Religious freedoms than Hillary would have. He was to bring in a conservative Supreme Court justice. 3) Although we wavers on the degree of abortion, they knew Hillary was all for it at any stage. This is why he got that vote. NOW, it doesn’t matter if he believes it or follows it( his actions or abuse do not negate a truth) doesn’t effect them…they just want a president that gave them that. Dr Michael Brown wrote a book on this “ Donald Trump, not my savior” that is dedicated to that evangelical movement under Trump. You can also follow the commentary on his blogs for deeper discussion points.
          “Not my problem. If it diminishes free will, why did Jesus pray that? The free will excuse is weak.’—because he knew it would be a better decision, but he loved them enough not to impose it.
          “ Will there be free will in heaven? “—yes, as Shown/taught in Revaluation, would be paradise if their wasn’t, It would be a robot stale tundra. Satan, still has free will, he was cast out of heaven to practice it…im not sure your point here, Are you saying that because they Chose to sin , that God should have Put up with that in heaven ? According to Christianity, he cant,he is the perfect being that is his essence ( the crucifixion thing remember) . Notice though, he didn’t kill them, he didn’t take away their choice (free will) He let them freely choose…he just wanted it out of his backyard. They still have their freedom to choose ( hence why we have evil, the deviation from good) .
          “What chance do you have to last eternity when you sin pretty much every day?’—in revelation, the trails of man will be judged…this will be a lot to examine, I think we will learn so much of how stupid Sin really is when we are dwelling ina a absolute perfect place, that the choice will be so insignificant in comparison, the free will choice will be so obvious. There is a place in revolution that talks about a place in the distance of a dark cloud rising. That is the reminder of choosing wrong.

          “What about the prayer of a child who prays that his or her mother doesn’t die so they will not be an orphan?’—yea, these are tough questions that are hard to answer, but if there is a all knowing God ( as we can argue to know) then it does logically follow that he would have to be more intelligent than us, and can see and know more. Not an easy question for sure. But, just because we cant comprehend the mind of God, doesn’t mean we cant apprehend the mind of God…hence why I think this world is comprehensible and there is evidence for anything at all…to know that there is a intelligent being out there.
          “know prayer doesn’t work like the Bible says”—It doesn’t work the way people want it to work is a better description.
          “God works in mysterious ways”, “sometimes God says ‘not yet'”, and “sometimes God says ‘no'”.”—-every time a child asks for something, should the parent give it to them ? Doe the Parent have more foresight, hindsight and wisdom then a child ( majorly speaking of course). I’m not saying this fits ever scenario perfectly, but more times than not, emotions can cloud this logic. The problem of pain is real, that’s why C.S>Lewis wrote a lot about it.

        • Greg G.

          “It is wise to not jump to any unwarranted conclusion.”—I agree, but isn’t ruling out possibilities beforehand jumping to conclusions?

          Ignoring an unwarranted conclusion is not ruling it out. It is impossible to consider all of the possible unwarranted possibilities people can imagine so it is practical to ignore them.

          “Not logically, you can’t.”-not logically no, but I can decide to ignore. This is a free will choice, not matter how illogical it is.most people I see, base their beliefs not on evidence, but of will. So it logically follows that people can freely choose not to follow logical conclusions. If it’s a choice

          How do you know that you are not forced to believe in free will by hard determinism?

          There are consequences for freely making incorrect choices. The trick is to minimize the incorrect choices. That’s what your brain is for.

          “Gullible people don’t have free will? The free will gambit is terrible.”—How do you determine who is gullible? What’s Measuring slide here? This is also a arrogant statement for you to make. Who made you the judge of who is gullible? Im sure gullible to you is anyone who is a Christian? I think your gullible to your own pre assumed notion rather than discoverable truths…do you care? If the free will gambit is terrible, then were you not free to think the free will gambit is terrible? Was that pre-determined?

          I learned what gullible meant by realizing I was gullible when I was a Christian and that I became a Christian because I was gullible.

          “Critically open” is a euphemism for “gullible”.”- This is silly. Your asserting that for someone to be open to all options, they are going to be gullible to drawing a non-supported conclusion?

          No, your use of the term “critically open” is a euphemism for “gullible”. You have jumped to an unwarranted position and call it being critically open. Being critically open does not mean “jumping to unwarranted conclusions”. You make it an oxymoron.

          “The Kalam starts with the observation of cause and effect involving matter that existed at the time of the cause”—It didn’t exist, it was created at that time (scientifically knowable)

          You misunderstood what I said. The observations are of causes acting on things that already exist to cause something else to exist. No matter how many observations you make of causes acting on something to have an effect, you cannot get to a cause acting on nothing having an effect. It is a non sequitur. That is the coup de grace for Kalam.

          Whatever Created that has to be outside of it correct?

          No, you are making inferences from time based on your normal experience without considering it from quantum events and Relativity. A photon that left a star 1000 years ago hits your retina at the same instance from the perspective of the photon, as time stands still at the velocity of light. A photon transfer energy that causes a change at both places simultaneously from one perspective but at different times from another. Relativity explains that you may not be able to determine which occurred first. A quantum event (or a sequence of events, depending on perspective) may not need an external cause.

          —then you do not understand Christianity

          Read the passage! John 17:20-23. The prayer is that the believers would agree in unity and the unity would bring the rest of the world to believe. It is not forcing everyone to believe. Is our free will inhibited because we are forced to believe in gravity? Giving someone convincing evidence is not inhibiting free will.

          “ Will there be free will in heaven? “—yes, as Shown/taught in Revaluation, would be paradise if their wasn’t, It would be a robot stale tundra.

          But if free will requires the possibility of sin, then there will be sin in heaven. If the angels get sent to heaven, what will happen to you?

          “Revaluation?” “There is a place in revolution “?

          Does your religion restrict your free will to spell “Revelation”?

        • He was voted in because he gave more support to Religious freedoms than Hillary would have.

          What do you think Hillary would’ve done? Atheists care about religious freedom in the US more than most people, I suspect.

        • Susan

          There is no way to supernatural cause.

          You haven’t even defined supernatural, let alone what a “supernatural cause” might look like. So, please do both.

          They key here is though that its Naturalism (Methodological Naturalism) that only natural causes can be considered.

          People have made very good attempts to distinguish Philosophical Naturalism from Methodological Naturalism to keep you from embarrassing yourself by repeating standard apologetics.

          What is a “supernatural cause”? How do you feel about my Immaterial Snowflake Theory of crystallization or my Ghost theory for unsolved homicides?

          Both claim “supernatural causes”. (That is, both are quite capable of taking advantage of unanswered questions and neither are susceptible to falsification.)

          If you aren’t going to define “supernatural” i.e. show some clear line of demarcation between “natural” and “supernatural”, then stop and come back when you’ve thought about it.

          (Hint: You have to do some work. “Not” natural, “beyond” natural and “transcends” natural are meaningless goo if you can’t define the borders of “natural”.)

          Also, keep in mind that a large number of the people you’re talking to here are ex-theists/ex-christians.

          So pretending we’re not “open” is unfounded. The fact is that we are “ex” because Yahwehjesus claims have no “there there”. It’s no different than being raised by astrologists and after much investigation, recognizing that it’s all just made up hooey that is inconsistent with reality.

          Although astrologists can employ all sorts of special pleading and Texas sharpshooting as well as any Yawhehjesus believer can.

          What neither ever does is provide support for their superstitious claims.

        • Rudy R

          What is supernatural?

        • mike edwards

          you need the tools of Philosophy ( reason and logic) to inter-put the data .

          “When the topic is cosmology, I think I’ll look to the cosmologist to have some answers, not the philosopher with an agenda.”–aw, so then what you have to say is value-lass then ?

        • Right–when I evaluate competing theories within cosmology and share with you my conclusions, you’re right to throw those in the garbage. I never talk about science except to share the consensus view.

        • That’s not what I’ve heard. I’ll watch it for myself, but that isn’t what the post addresses anyway. Where’s the evidence for that?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Dude…what? Craig reveals that he has no understanding whatsoever of the subject matter. It would have been embarrassing save that the man lacks self-respect and has an audience who cheers him for it.

        • Susan

          He’s got all of the evidence supporting his side.

          For example?

          and he trashes Sean’s model of the universe.

          Can you be more specific?

        • Pofarmer

          Craig has never even demonstrated the requisite mathematical knowledge to even understand Carroll’s models, alone trash them.

      • TheNuszAbides

        priceless!

      • Chuck Johnson

        ‘God exists. Therefore, God exists.’

        It’s not as simple as you state, and it really does work for some people.

        Those people acquire the belief that God exists (in the magical way that Christians tell us).
        That belief (or faith) then creates the preferred Christian confirmation bias.
        (Seth Andrews calls this kind of bias God Glasses.)
        That confirmation bias then provides the abundance of real evidence that the Christian God is real.

        And in this way, the “magical God” becomes the “real, logical, provable God”.
        For those who prefer the Blue Pill.

        • Greg G.

          God Glasses with a God-shaped clean spot, so everything looks like godidit.

  • Michael Murray

    I don’t think apologetics is for us. It’s for the believers so they can say to their non-believer friends. “You should read Craig, he’s got two PhD’s and he’s sorted all this stuff out. I don’t understand it myself but he walked all over [name some popular atheist] in that debate. Have a look at that online.”

    • Michael Neville

      It’s obvious that Craig isn’t aiming his arguments at us, he’s bolstering the beliefs of his fellow Christians.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        And bolstering his wallet.

    • Susan

      “You should read Craig, he’s got two PhD’s and he’s sorted all this stuff out. I don’t understand it myself but he walked all over [name some popular atheist] in that debate. Have a look at that online.”

      This is just a modern-day version of “A great big book was written on this subject, in which the guy who explains why my version of “God” exists shows that my God exists.

      But most of them don’t seem to have read the great, big book.

      Nor do they seem to acknowledge that the great, big books are a waste of time (in the sense that listening to an astrologer’s defense, for them, is a waste of time.)

      Nor do they seem to care.

      As long as someone won a debate or wrote a great, big book.

      • Len

        It’s “my brother’s bigger than your brother”.

    • Len

      Which debate did WLC actually win?

      • Michael Murray

        Who wins a debate is completely subjective. But the fact he has debated at all means his supporters can claim a victory. It’s like “plausible deniability”.

        • Joshua Frye

          Actually, Craig wins debates because the Atheists he goes against aren’t smart. They make classic “feeling” statements about the problem of evil, but never really address his arguments. That’s why he repeats what they have and haven’t addressed during his cross debate portion. That is legitimately how to win a debate, make arguments that aren’t refuted and address the arguments your opponents espouse. The closest I’ve seen to a response to Craig has come from Sean Carroll debate, however Carroll used some dishonesty by showing Gouth holding a sign about eternal universes. However, the other two dissagree (borde and Vilenkin) and the theorem soundly places all of the evidence on a finite universe.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s one theorem that Craig likes to cherry pick. He doesn’t even have the requisite knowledge to critique the theorem. Hell, the authors don’t even agree. There are multiple models of the Universe. Some are past eternal and some aren’t. We can’t know, at this point at least, what would be “before” the big bang, as in context, that might not even make sense. Craig simply dishonestly brushes away whatever doesn’t agree with him to make his theological point. He’s a Charlatan. Just one you happen to agree with .

  • Joe

    So Craig absolutely knows that his God exists, but that raises the question about what else he can know from this? He can’t even know if his God is telling the truth.

    • Kevin K

      Craig’s god exists, but it is evil. It drowns puppies, kittens, and unborn children for fun.

  • Kevin K

    What about the self-authenticating witness of Allah? Or Krishna? Or whatever god it is that the Jains worship?

    This is the purest distillation of the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle one can possibly have. All other “self-authenticating” witnesses are wrong; only the Christian one is right. And, of course, begs the question of those who experience no such “witness”. I’m assuming Craig is a Calvinist, because this argument seems to indicate that his god only reveals himself to the elect. The rest of us are SOL. So…why spend so much time wanking about it, William? If your god is going to reveal himself (it’s a male, of course) in a “self-authenticating” way, then your participation in that event is quite unneeded. Unhelpful. Meaningless. In actuality, a demonstration that your god does not exist — because why would it need your help otherwise?

  • ThaneOfDrones

    The experience of the Spirit’s witness is self-authenticating for him who really has it.

    The delusion is real for the one who id delusional.

  • TheNuszAbides

    [Mother T.] had powerful spiritual experiences as a young woman

    because anything can be intense the first time it happens, e.g. realizing/supposing [insert deepity here].

    , but then she felt them no longer.

    because repetition [among other things] breeds banality.

  • Greg G.

    Has anyone tried the new toys on the Discus combox? It has B, I, U, S, <a href=”#”>linking</a>, Spoiler, code, and

    blockquote spelled correctly

    as well as the familiar graphics upload.

    You can click the symbol to insert the opening and closing tag or highlight the text you want tagged. It’s like a belated Christmas present.