Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Another argument for atheism- the argument from explanatory vacuity

A redated post.

1) If Billy Graham were to fall ill, many Christians all over the world would pray for his recovery.
2) If Billy were to recover, they would all praise God and credit him with the healing.
3) If Billy were to die, they would say that it was not God’s will for Billy to recover.
4) But if God can be used to explain why something occurs but also why something does not occur, then it really does not explain it at all.
5) But if this is so, the appeal to God explains nothing.
6) If God explains nothing, then we should simply deny God’s existence.
7) Therefore, we should believe that God does not exist.

306 comments:

1 – 200 of 306   Newer›   Newest»
John W. Loftus said...

Premises should be revised to read:

4) But if God can be used to explain why something occurs but also why something does not occur, then it probably does not explain it at all.
5) But if this is so, the appeal to God probably explains nothing.
6) If God probably explains nothing, then we should simply deny God’s existence.
7) Therefore, we should probably believe that God does not exist.


And I think this works!

Tom Gilson said...

Well, John, that reduces the distance of the logical leap between 4, 5, and 6 a bit, anyway...

But on reflection I think--yes, I really do think!--that you are right. You are right, that is, if the only reason we had for believing in Jesus Christ was answered prayer, of the non-miraculous sort, for individuals' healing.

Jason Pratt said...

The broken leap is at (5). I don't recall the technical fallacy classification, but the underlying assumption that if x doesn't explain something then x explains nothing is wrong. Revising to probability doesn't fix the problem with the argument.

There's an unstated assumption back in elements (1)-(4), too, to the effect that either appeal is supposed to be being used for establishing a belief in x (as a bit of likelihood estimation weight, let's say.) While that appeal could be attempted, the face value situation is more likely to be that the people already believe and so are simply reading the situation in light of an already established belief. It would be a category error to confuse one kind of explanation with the other kind; _but_ of course neither is it impossible for someone to try making an establishment appeal by this route. Anyway, the unstated assumption should be stated for clarity.

So revising (with John's probability revisions included--I haven't tried to renumber the elements yet, but they probably should be):

1.) If Billy Graham were to fall ill, many Christians all over the world would pray for his recovery.

2.) If Billy were to recover, they would all praise God and credit Him with the healing.

3.) If Billy were to die, they would say that it was not God's will for Billy to recover.

3.1.) If Billy were to recover, someone might attempt to use this recovery as evidence for establishing a belief that God exists.

3.2.) If Billy were to die, someone might attempt to use this failure of recovery as evidence for establishing a belief that God exists.

3.3.) The attempts to establish belief represented in (3.1) and (3.2) are of equal plausibility.

4-R1.) But if something's occurence and something's failure to occur can both be used with equal plausibility as evidence for x being true, then the weights cancel one another out in favor of x being true.

4.1.) Therefore, if Billy's recovery and Billy's failure to recover can both be used with equal plausibility as evidence for God's existence being true, then the weights cancel one another out in favor of God's existence being true.

Note: I don't believe a likelihood estimate needs to be included in the inferential result so far. If it was included, though, we could adjust (4.1) accordingly ("...then the weights probably cancel one another out in favor of God's existence being true").

4.2.) If the weights cancel one another out in favor of God's existence being true, then God's existence being true is (probably?) of no use in explaining either result at all.

4.3.) If x is (probably?) of no use in explaining either of two possible results at all, then x is (probably?) of no use in explaining anything at all.

5-R1.) If God's existence being true is (probably?) of no use in explaining either Billy's recover or Billy's failure to recover, then God's existence being true (probably?) is of no use explaining anything at all.

6-R1.) If the proposal of God's existence being true (probably?) is of no use explaining anything at all, then we should simply deny God's existence.

7-R1.) Therefore, we should (probably?) deny God's existence == believe that God does not exist.

I think this is more accurate to the train of logic (such as it is) being applied in the argument originally presented by Victor (and altered for likelihood estimation results by John.)

JRP

Matt Jordan said...

I've wondered a bit about this issue myself, and it seems to me there are two related issues that ought to be taken into consideration.

1. As with the problem of evil, the problem of unanswered prayer has both philosophical and pastoral components. Those of us Christians who do apologetics-type work need to resist the temptation to think of prayer--answered or unanswered--primarily as a source of evidence for or against the existence of God.

2. Nevertheless, answered prayers can count as evidence for God's existence. It seems clear that if I pray for some improbable outcome, and then the prayed-for event occurs, this gives me good reason to believe that God has answered my prayer and (ipso facto) that God exists. And the more improbable the event, the stronger my justification.
What too many people fail to realize is that unanswered prayer does not have the same sort of evidential import. If I pray for some event, and then that event does not occur, this fact does not undermine my justification for believing in God, for the simple reason that God might have chosen not to do what I requested. This is not an ad hoc, have-it-both-ways maneuver by the theist; rather, it's an obvious truth that follows from the theist's beliefs that God acts freely and for reasons that may sometimes be unknown to us.

Relative to the present discussion, the important point is something like this:
The phrase "God can be used to explain something" is really, really ambiguous. And when we disambiguate it, I think we see pretty clearly that it's going to be enormously difficult to develop a cogent argument for atheism out of the fact that prayers are often unanswered.

Dmitry Chernikov said...

Who would possibly use Billy's recovery or death "as evidence for establishing a belief that God exists"? That's just ridiculous.

The idea behind talking about God in connection with Billy's illness is most likely to try to get Him off the hook, to find an excuse for why He allowed or caused either the illness or the death.

This is a truly pathetic way of preventing oneself from dealing with the problem of evil honestly and in its strongest form by saying that "whatever happens is God's will and is for the best." Well, no to both conjuncts. And there is nothing wrong with asking, is God to blame? is He a vicious bastard? Only by working on the problem to the best of our ability can we approach a satisfactory solution.

Matthew said...

I do agree that we can't just give God credit for good things but ignore bad things.

But only on the most extreme level. I think there are many degrees when it comes to this.

Anonymous said...

1) If Billy Graham were to fall ill, many philosophical naturalists would laugh or be apathetic.
2) If Billy were to recover, they would all credit unguided natural causes for the healing.
3) If Billy were to die, they would say it was due to unguided natural causes.
4) But if naturalism can be used to explain why something occurs but also why something does not occur, then it really does not explain it at all.
5) But if this is so, the appeal to naturalism explains nothing.
6) If naturalism explains nothing, then we should simply deny naturalism.
7) Therefore, we should not believe in naturalism.

C'mon. These are lame little arguments in both directions. And the gimmick at 5 is particularly lame - the only justification for believing in an omniscient, omnipotent God is if you're able to reliably and certainly foresee His decisions? There's tremendous justification for believing in God or some kind of fundamental intelligence/agency in our universe (and vastly little for the positive statement of atheism) even before getting to questions of prayer.

unkle e said...

Bewdy Anonymous! Your little parody shows the original "proof" (even with John's amendments) for what it's worth - pretty much nothing.

I'm also wary of the concept of "explains nothing" in premises 4-6. If one is doing statistics on data, one can test if additional data will improve the precision of our conclusion, or if inclusion of a particular variable in a regression adds to our understanding. In such cases, the conclusion that information "explains nothing" has a clear mathematical meaning, relating to our understanding of the data.

But understanding is not the only value of information. Sometimes knowing something is important, even if we cannot fully understand it. If God did actually exist, his existence would be a very important fact, even if it didn't add to our understanding of how some things work.

Matthew said...

I like Anonymous' parody.

Perezoso said...

Nevertheless, answered prayers can count as evidence for God's existence

So do unanswered prayers count towards His non-existence? Consider civilians in 30's 40's russia, germany, china, etc. praying that the nazis, stalinists won't liquidate: not much of an answer there. Guess He was busy (or didn't--couldn't --update the Celestial Rolodex).

legodesi said...

Suppose God doesn't explained answered or unanswered prayer. From that, I don't think one has enough to conclude God explains nothing. There are plenty of other arguments that try to show that God explains things, and this atheistic argument needs to address all of those.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Cute argument, much like Popper's arguments against Freudianism.

What would falsify it if, for all X, it can explain X and ~X? This is an interesting question for theists. As an atheist, there are lots of things that I would take as falsification of my viewpoint. You don't hear a lot of such things from theists. Is that because they think it is the wrong way to approach the question?

Andrew T. said...

OT, but I think the ultimate argument that explains X and ~X is the "fine-tuning" argument. It goes something like this: the theist marvels at how amazingly unlikely it is that all of the various fundamental constraints of the universe have supposedly aligned such as to permit the formation of complex life on Earth, with the inference being that God is doing all the fine-tuning.

Of course, if the exact opposite were true -- if the structure of the universe was such that the conditions for complex life were abundant throughout the universe and unavoidably produced -- they would draw the exact same inference.

Anonymous said...

Andrew T.,
Is that the exact opposite of the fine-tuning argument?
I would think it would be 'we see no conditions for complex life, hence God is fine-tuning the Universe to extinguish life' (but of course, there wouldn't be something complex to ask the question...)
- SK

Anonymous said...

unkle e said:

===============

I'm also wary of the concept of "explains nothing" in premises 4-6. If one is doing statistics on data, one can test if additional data will improve the precision of our conclusion, or if inclusion of a particular variable in a regression adds to our understanding. In such cases, the conclusion that information "explains nothing" has a clear mathematical meaning, relating to our understanding of the data.

===========================

Yes, this shows the reason the argument fails, statistically, to mean anything like its fallacious conclusion. For example, it is like using a fact that there is found a scientifically verifiable statistical finding that the "time of day versus night" has nothing to do with "whether or not an earthquake occurs in California" can be used as evidence against believing that the earth rotates :) :).

Andrew T. said...

Anon: No. The fine-tuning argument with the premise that if the universe were even a tiny bit different (one part in 10^120, according to that link!), then the conditions necessary for complex life would not exist.

The opposite of that premise, then, is that the universe could be wildly different and yet still support complex life. I submit that in that hypothetical mirror universe, theists would still claim that their universe was evidence of divine providence.

It goes to show the difficulty of making probability arguments when you have a population of one.

Perezoso said...

Another variation, somewhat pragmatic, on "God explains nothing": Religion doesn't produce anything, at least in the sense that modern medicine or technology does. Religious faith does not function (excepting perhaps aesthetically--choir practice, cathedral construction, or reciting prayers, etc. Though that could just as well be secularized).

There's no proof that prayer itself "works" in any sort of meaningful way. When your family member becomes ill, you call a physician; bridge building requires engineers, etc. The army might use a few chaplains, but they depend upon skilled technicians, engineers, doctors, nurses, etc. Ergo, in a pragmatic sense, faith or religious belief does not reveal itself in any sort of measurable fashion, thus it's meaningless (though perhaps comforting), and that would seem to apply even in terms of morality. Believers are not inherently more virtuous than non-believers (one could argue the contrary, given fundamentalists, or jihadists, etc).

Ilíon said...

Leave it to 'atheists' to get it wrong on multiple levels.

Doctor Logic said...

Matt Jordan,

Nevertheless, answered prayers can count as evidence for God's existence. It seems clear that if I pray for some improbable outcome, and then the prayed-for event occurs, this gives me good reason to believe that God has answered my prayer and (ipso facto) that God exists. And the more improbable the event, the stronger my justification.
What too many people fail to realize is that unanswered prayer does not have the same sort of evidential import.


No. What you are describing is superstition. You need to do an statistical analysis with controls to overcome your bias.

If you're saying that God can ONLY be seen when you avoid trying to compensate for your own bias, then God is just a figment of your own biased imagination. You're counting the hits and not the misses. You're cherry picking.

Besides, are you really saying that, if God didn't exist, there would never be any unlikely events or coincidences?

Steven said...

Why is premise 4 supposed to be plausible? The state of the wiring of my microwave can explain both why my Bagel Bites are burnt and why my Bagel Bites are still frozen. Does that mean it doesn't explain anything at all>

William said...

The comment from 2009 seems to me to reflect my bemusement with the argument.

If God is a personal God, His specific decisions may determine specific outcomes.

So substitute "my boss" like this:

"But if my boss can be used to explain both why something at my work occurs and also why something at my work does not occur, then it does not explain it at all."


Uh huh.. pointless assertion.

Tony Hoffman said...

As an atheist, I thought at first, "this seems like a pretty bad argument." My first inclination was to excuse God from explanatory consistency on the grounds that God is an agent. 

But I'm starting to think that the argument has some validity, in that being an agent does imply some discernible regularity. And the theist must acknowledge that something about God can be discerned, otherwise they must join the deists (the holding area, or limbo, for atheism). 

Is this an argument for  atheism? I'm not so sure it is. But it's one more way to ask the theist to do more than make an argument that their god is not impossible -- it asks, what does your God actually allow you to explain? (And by explain, I don't mean rationalize; I mean do something meaningful, and I can't get around the fact that this requires making predictions.)

Thanks for the thought provoking post.

Patrick said...

Such reasoning doesn’t apply in cases when the desired result of prayer is so unlikely that cases of failure of such an outcome wouldn’t neutralize successful cases. So, if a person suffering from an incurable disease recovers after being prayed for and another person doesn’t, the latter case doesn’t neutralize the former.

Anonymous said...

There is NO PROOF for the existence of God that JOHN LOFTUS will accept.

In WIBA he states that our existence can ultimately be explained by chance.

Given that premise, there is NOTHING that would convince him, even IN PRINCIPLE.

Any miracle, demostration, etc. could always be related back to "aliens", advanced technology, etc. that themselves were explained by chance.

Even if he were to end up in HELL, John could say "I can't believe this is real, it must be a hallucination, something caused by a bad reaction to that anesthesia, something like that."

As the years stretched on, John could say, "This can't be real...it only seems like it is going on forever, the doctors will bring me out of this soon."

I.E. there is nothing that will convince someone who accepts the undemonstrable proposition, that he states in the last chapter of WIBA, that everying can be related back to chance.

He even quotes Jacques "Monad" (he means Monod, he couldn't even spell it, showing he was not really familiar with the man) in support where Monod says "our number came up in the Monte Carlo game".

GREV said...

I can quote from a recent work about what God is doing -- ie. answering prayer.

I can do the same thing as the Apostle Paul and say that some of the same things he experienced -- I have.

I can point to the Biblical records and talk of changed lives in the participants as proof of God acting.

What does it prove?

This brings us up against the limits of the evidential argument. Please note, it is still useful, but limited.
People cannot reason themselves into the Kingdom if the Biblcal record of a fallen nature is to be believed.

On that other plane of existence so hated or disbelieved in by many, something must happen. The inability to see must be taken away.

BenYachov said...

>And the theist must acknowledge that something about God can be discerned,

Yeh only if one is a god-of-the-gaps Theist or a Theistic Personalist but I don't see how this empiricist nonsense applies to the God of Classic Theism?

Said God is a philosophical question and can only be demonstrated philosophically. Prayer Experiments are bogus. I reject even "successful" ones as pure BS.

God answers prayer according to his inscrutable will according to the Church's teachings on the nature of prayer.

In principle "prayer experiments" are falsely named they should be called "make a wish" experiments.
They are walking talking violations of the Church's doctrine of Prayer.

My object contempt for Atheists who think they are viable is only exceeded by my contempt for Theists who tout "successful" ones.

Doctor Logic said...

Patrick

Such reasoning doesn’t apply in cases when the desired result of prayer is so unlikely that cases of failure of such an outcome wouldn’t neutralize successful cases. So, if a person suffering from an incurable disease recovers after being prayed for and another person doesn’t, the latter case doesn’t neutralize the former.

This is superstition. What you need is control.

What is the natural rate of remission?

If you don't know, then you don't get to count prayer as the cause.

Otherwise, you're counting the hits and ignoring the misses, which is precisely what superstition is about.

Doctor Logic said...

BenYachov,

I disagree. You're effectively saying the God answers prayer in a way that makes his existence indistinguishable from his non-existence. He acts in a way that makes him indistinguishable from human cognitive bias.

Well, human cognitive bias is a very simple and scientifically sound explanation for reports of successful prayer.

BenYachov said...

>I disagree. You're effectively saying the God answers prayer in a way that makes his existence indistinguishable from his non-existence.

I reply: Yes & I don't apologize for it!

Along with Edward Feser I will not concede the empiricism of the Atheists like the ID people do. Or to quote Dr. Beckwith's review of Feser's THE LAST SUPERSTITION.

"There have been largely two types of critics of the `New Atheism.' One type grants the empiricism of the atheists and then tries to show that belief in God is consistent with it. This approach gives away the store by removing God from the realm of the knowable. The second also grants the atheists' empiricism, but argues that it leads to the detection of design in the universe and thus the existence of God. This approach gives away the store as well, by limiting knowledge to the empirically detectable. Professor Feser offers us a third approach, one that is far more effective in defeating the New Atheism. He provides persuasive arguments that show that God is knowable and that what is knowable is larger than the set of that which is empirically detectable. This is a tour de force that should be in the library of every thinking citizen, believer or unbeliever." -- Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University


>He acts in a way that makes him indistinguishable from human cognitive bias. Well, human cognitive bias is a very simple and scientifically sound explanation for reports of successful prayer.

I reply: I'm afraid Dr. L you are going to have to deal with the God I really believe in and not the "god" you wished I believed in just because you are not likely familiar with how to successfully polemic Classic Theism and at best your Atheist & Skeptical arguments only can be applied to a Theistic Personalist so called "god". A false "god" I both deny and truly hate.

see the following to get up to speed.
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/09/classical-theism.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/10/god-obligation-and-euthyphro-dilemma.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/10/classical-theism-atheism-and-godfather.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/10/god-man-and-classical-theism.html

John W. Loftus said...

It seems to me that given this argument, here is yet another reason to trust scientific studies on petitionary prayers, and there is no statistically relevant sense where they work anything better than chance.

Can there be any dispute about this apart from a mere wish fulfillment?

BenYachov said...

>It seems to me that given this argument, here is yet another reason to trust scientific studies on petitionary prayers, and there is no statistically relevant sense where they work anything better than chance.

As we can see Loftus intellectually and conceptionally can't deal with any other philosophical Theistic views other than the narrow Evangelical Protestant Theistic Personalism he once believed.

This is one of the reasons why the New Atheism is so bloody mentally, intellectually and practically inferior. It's kneejerk one size fits all polemics are an epic fail. It's like trying to prove Christianity wrong by pointing out mistakes in the Koran!

Why?

Regardless if God exists in anyway or not scientific studies on petitionary prayers(i.e. making a wish) are both bogus polemics and pointless apologetics when applied to a Classical Theistic concept of God.

Deal with it.

Knowing what I know if I became an Atheist tomorrow I would still believe this.

John W. Loftus said...

BenYachov, I really feel like President Obama and the question of whether or not he was born in the US. What is there not to understand about me? I do most emphatically know liberal and Catholic versions of Christianity. I was once a Catholic studying with Catholics in a PH.D. program, and I was once a liberal existentialist.

I just focus on evangelicalism.

There, I said it again. How many times must I do so. And why is it that because I do that makes me a fundamentalist?

BenYachov said...

>I do most emphatically know liberal and Catholic versions of Christianity.

I'm not a liberal Catholic I am a Traditionalist Catholic* and a Thomist. Physician heal thyself! It is you who not to understand about me. Nor do you understand Catholicism or it's subsets.

I get it! You kneejerk define anything that is not Evangelical Fundamentalis orthodoxy (like a literal six day creation) as "liberal". Well if I'm a liberal than so was St Augustine.

>I was once a Catholic studying with Catholics in a PH.D. program, and I was once a liberal existentialist.

Traditional Catholic philosophy is moderate Realist while liberal existentialism is either Conceptionalist or Nominalist.

Like I said "Disproving Christianity by pointing out mistakes in the Koran".

Now repeat after me John.

"Regardless if God exists in anyway or not scientific studies on petitionary prayers(i.e. making a wish) are both bogus polemics and pointless apologetics when applied to a Classical Theistic concept of God."

>I just focus on evangelicalism.

Then why reply to a Catholic view as if your statement was relevant to mine?

John W. Loftus said...

It's useless to respond.

BenYachov said...

>It's useless to respond.

Then here is some advice. Why don't you get off your lazy Fundie New Atheist butt, do your homework and learn something aboutclassical philosophy and classical Theism? You might actually learn enough to make rational arguments against a formidable view of Theism! Thus in one felt swoop take down the basis of all three major monotheistic religions!

You could actually pose real intelligent philosophical arguments against someone like Dr. Feser instead of embarrassing Ad Hominid personal attacks like you have been doing!

Forget it! Talking to you is like arguing with a YEC without god belief.

Anonymous said...

Damn, John, are you still wearing that hat? It must smell like the inside of a babies coffin by now?

I hope you at least change the lining.

Anonymous said...

And John, didn't the Catholics Flunk you out of that Ph.D. program?

Isn't that why you are afraid of them?

BenYachov said...

For the record I am not an anti-Vatican 2 "Traditionalist" (those people are just High church Protestants).

Also I could care less about Loftus choice in head gear. That is not an intelligent argument that is just pure snark.

Victor Reppert said...

Can we can the hat-bashing? I think it's perfectly fine.

BenYachov said...

I am going to prognosticate here. John, because of his fragile ego will no doubt respond to me on his blog and in a Dawkins like fashion try to justify why being ignorant about other philosophical views on Theism is legitimate for him.

I predict something along the lines of "I don't have to understand the intricate details of Faerie lore to disbelieve in faeries"...

I could be wrong.

Doctor Logic said...

BenYachov,

Your Courtier's Reply echoing that dead, Medieval philosophy is both meaningless and boring. You don't know the semantic content of what you're saying. And that makes the arrogance with which you state your claims even more tedious.

We start from deduction, induction, and knowledge of our own experiences. These are the only things that cannot be jettisoned without wrecking our ability to reason altogether. Any other assumption we introduce isn't a priori necessary, and we run the risk of being dogmatic and forever trapping ourselves under our secondary assumptions unless we challenge those assumptions with experience.

"Classical Theism" is the erection of an experience-proof box around some sacred and arbitrary initial axioms about God (though I hesitate to use the word erection in conjunction with such an impotent way of thinking). It's a recipe for being wrong forever. You come from a world that celebrates the circular argument, that pretends it knows the meanings of words like essence, goodness, knowledge, etc., and plays nonsensical linguistic games with these terms that Wittgenstein showed were bullshit.

At some point, you have to ask yourself how you know God exists independent of rational inference from experience. And you can't do it. Whatever reason you give has to be in terms of deduction or induction from experience. Since that would lead you to reject God, you don't bother with an approach that would lead to truth. Instead, you just give yourself a pass, and pretend that your assumptions of God's existence are just that kind of knowledge that doesn't need justification. You close your eyes.

Fine. If that's the way you roll, I don't give a damn. But if you pretend that your butt is rational, you'll get it spanked by people who understand reason and logic.

Anonymous said...

DL says

"I disagree. You're effectively saying the God answers prayer in a way that makes his existence indistinguishable from his non-existence. He acts in a way that makes him indistinguishable from human cognitive bias."

But that's fine. No-one justifies their belief in God via the success of double blind experiments. All the atheist can get out of this is some Ockham's razor type objection. But the theist is familiar with this burden already, hence natural theology.

So lets move on.

Also, your treatment is hampered by your apparent ignorance of principles of credulity. Take these to the table and believers can have answered prayer just fine.

Anonymous said...

"At some point, you have to ask yourself how you know God exists independent of rational inference from experience."

DL, is this a typo? You mean derived from, not independent of?

BenYachov said...

>Your Courtier's Reply echoing that dead, Medieval philosophy is both meaningless and boring.

I am disappointed with you. Where as I would respect an intelligent Atheist philosophical objection from in the manner of a Q. Smith or Jack Smart you channel PZ Myers.

http://www.american.com/archive/2010/march/the-new-philistinism

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-philistinism.html

Also Dr. "Logic" you are so misnamed!

You are no better than Loftus.

>At some point, you have to ask yourself how you know God exists independent of rational inference from experience.

Yeh I reject Hume & I agree with Atheist philosopher Dave Stove that he was an irrationalist.

>and pretend that your assumptions of God's existence are just that kind of knowledge that doesn't need justification.

Yeh I'm not a Fideist either that heresy was condemned by the First Vatican council.

Talk about a Courtier reply!

Mike Darus said...

It seems there is confusion about prayer to God and magic. Magic is the attempted manipulation of a supernatural power or deity to do the will of the magician. Christian prayer is seeking the will of God. The Billy Graham test is fatally flawed.

BenYachov said...

Whatever reason you give has to be in terms of deduction or induction from experience. Since that would lead you to reject God, you don't bother with an approach that would lead to truth. Instead, you just give yourself a pass, and pretend that your assumptions of God's existence are just that kind of knowledge that doesn't need justification. You close your eyes.

You managed to read all those links and Dr. Feser's book (which goes into great detail and there there is the supplementary material from the bibliography and footnotes) in a few hours and come to the above conclusion eh?

Right! Sure pal!

Anonymous said...

First timer here. I'll distinguish myself with the name,
The_Anonymous_Believer

It's old, but at the top, John W. Loftus added "probably" and said

>>I think this works!

As a probability student, I would like to see the math that would support this claim. If none can be supplied, why accept a claim with no evidence?

Oh, unlike the others, I actually LIKE the hat. Don't mind them; there are and always will be believers who don't have anything positive to say.


Best,
The_Anonymous_Believer

BenYachov said...

>you just give yourself a pass, and pretend that your assumptions of God's existence are just that kind of knowledge that doesn't need justification.

So with dogmatic New Atheists the choice is either Empiricism or Fideism as the basis of belief?

To bad that is not what I believe or how I know the existence of God.

You know I respect BDK when he says to me "I have never studied Aristotle in great depth" & then later on comes around and tries to learn at bit about it.

I have no respect for those who fake it.

BenYachov said...

>You come from a world that celebrates the circular argument, that pretends it knows the meanings of words like essence, goodness, knowledge, etc., and plays nonsensical linguistic games with these terms that Wittgenstein showed were bullshit.

I remember that name.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/06/early-wittgenstein-on-scientism.html

BenYachov said...

Here is what Feser says about Wittgenstein that he "acknowledged, without shame, that he had never read a word of Aristotle."

Much like Dr so called Logic and Loftus apparently.

Anonymous said...

BenYachov,

You really are yakking on.

BenYachov said...

>You really are yakking on.

Which is better than Yacking off.;-)

Anonymous said...

Tasteless.

Eph 5:12 "For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret."

Part of the reason I am not a Catholic, although I'm interested in A-T, is that they so often have dirty mouths.

Anonymous said...

Importantly, given your Catholicism, you can't deny that masturbation is sinful.

A point in favor of RC, but not in favor of you.

BenYachov said...

>Part of the reason I am not a Catholic, although I'm interested in A-T, is that they so often have dirty mouths.

I would then advise you not to read the KJV in the archaic English.

There is a passage in it that says "I shall strike down all those who piss against the wall".

Don't even get me started on what the Little Flowers of St Francis literally say in the original Italian vs the sanitized English.

Then there is Luther.....nuff said.

BenYachov said...

>Importantly, given your Catholicism, you can't deny that masturbation is sinful.

I don't see where I have? I agreed Yanking on is better than Yacking off.

Just as kissing my wife is better than bonking some woman who is not my wife.

Which it is.

Anonymous said...

The rule in Eph 5:12 presumably possesses only prima facie force, so if there is some good to be gained through mentioning shameful deeds then the rule is overcome.

But I don't think there was any such good in this case.

My concern isn't with 'cussing' per se, it is with dirty jokes. Perversity is serious, no? If so, then it is not a fit subject for humor.

But I'll grant you that offering rebukes as an "Anon" is very much short of ideal.

Patrick said...

Doctor Logic

Of course, the natural rate of remission has to be taken into account.

BenYachov said...

Anon 1:57 PM

I shall give serious prayerful consideration to your council.

Thank you.

Tony Hoffman said...

"Magic is the attempted manipulation of a supernatural power or deity to do the will of the magician. Christian prayer is seeking the will of God."

Okay, but that's the point of the argument. You are defining prayer so as to make the explanation of a future event that was prayed for vacuous.

BenYachov said...

>Okay, but that's the point of the argument. You are defining prayer so as to make the explanation of a future event that was prayed for vacuous.

Tony,

How do you experiment on the behavior of an omniscient, immutable Being who is Pure Actuality, contains no potency is outside of Time and space and Wills from all eternity?

I could understand a prayer/make a wish experiment on Zeus, Thor or Q from Star Trek or some other contingent meta-entity that would exist within Time and Space but on the God of Classic Theism that is just bogus. Even if God does not exist it's stupid.

Heck how do you experiment on an Omniscient who pretty much knows your model from top to bottom and might not choose to participate?

You don't have to believe in God to see that.

BenYachov said...

I lifted the following from the Straight Dope on prayer experiments.

QUOTE ”As Eric Stockton pointed out in a letter to the editor of Skeptical Inquirer (July/August 2000), if prayer works because of God’s intervention, and God is the omniscient deity of Christianity (or most any major religion), then He knows He is being tested. As such, He could accept or reject whatever prayer is offered, and either choose to give or not give evidence that it works. It would be impossible to properly blind such an experiment if it’s the deity we’re talking about. If it is supposed to be the prayer itself that heals, rather than God intervening, then we don’t have that issue, but we instead have to wonder how it might be that such prayer might work—if we ever get a decent study that shows it does, that is.”END QUOTE

This is proof the so called “prayer experiments” (or demand/make a wish experiments) are not tailored to test any specific recognized religious view of prayer & thus functionally their results are insignificant to the truth or falsehood of religion and prayer. How is it Dr. so called Logic, Loftus etc can’t see what is obvious to even rational skeptics & Atheists(sans New Atheists)?

BenYachov said...

Prayer experiments are methodologically flawed in that they fail to make a distinction between a Necessary Causal Link vs. a Personal Causal link. If I have some gas under pressure then there is a NCL between pressure & temperature. If I increase one then I increase the other. However if I have a Literary Benefactor who gives out money to aspiring authors the existence of said benefactor is not determined whether or not more or less than 50% of requested grants are given out. Gas is NOT free to NOT increase it’s temp if pressure is increased. Any personal causal link may or may not act as he freely wills. Also a personal causal link need not act according to any discernible pattern since they are not operating according to any external regularities like gas conforming to the regularities of the Laws of physics but by Pure Will. The problem with all so called prayer experiments is that they treat God like a NCL & not a PCL which renders them useless.


Besides it’s not a choice between a God who participates in the experiment and answers prayers purely for the purpose of generating a favorable statistical outcome vs. a God who sabotages the experiment because He is insulted by it’s blasphemous presumption. There is a third alternative. A God who ignores the experiment and answers prayers related to specific individual's needs according to His will & judgment for them, not some pop scientists profane idea of prayer. Prayer experiments are what you get when you mix bad philosophy, bad theology with equally bad science.

You get a bad argument for or against Theism and or Atheism.

I will have none of it.

BenYachov said...

I should add I am using the adjective personal here in an analogous sense since according to Classical teaching God is not a mere human person.

Tony Hoffman said...

Ben: "How do you experiment on the behavior of an omniscient, immutable Being who is Pure Actuality, contains no potency is outside of Time and space and Wills from all eternity?"

Um, not my problem. I'm not sure it's anybody's problem, actually. And again, that's the point. Why is a retreat to vacuous assertions considered a virtue when it comes to explanation? You see, the problem can be said that while I am agnostic on God's existence, I am an atheist when it comes to a god's existence ever being made meaningful. And a meaningful existence is kind of the whole point of the claim of being a theist, isn't it?

SteveK said...

DL,
>> You're effectively saying the God answers prayer in a way that makes his existence indistinguishable from his non-existence. He acts in a way that makes him indistinguishable from human cognitive bias.

I don't think this is what Ben is saying at all. I haven't read the follow-up comments so keep that in mind.

There are reasons for thinking God has been inserted into the situation, just as there are reasons for thinking a human mind has been inserted into a situation.

If it is reasonable to conclude that a human (one that you never met) with a particular set of character traits was involved in an outcome, then why is it unreasonable for someone to do the same with God?

BenYachov said...

Tony, what you're doing here now is all but agreeing with me that prayer experiments aren't meaningful to prove or disprove God. Now, how you intellectually arrive at your agnosticism I would probably find interesting even if I didn't agree with it. Any theist who thinks that a "successful" prayer experiment really proves the existence of God is being foolish. Any atheist who thinks that prayer experiments are meaningful in disproving the existence of God or promoting skepticism of God is the intellectual equivalent of the young earth creationist who claims "the shrinking sun" is "proof" we live in a young universe. It's hard not to laugh.

Tony Hoffman said...

Ben: "Tony, what you're doing here now is all but agreeing with me that prayer experiments aren't meaningful to prove or disprove God."

Well, I think prayer experiments are a good way to disprove the hypothesis that God answers prayers. But I don't think the argument from the OP means to limit itself to prayer -- it gives a single instance (prayer for Billy Graham), that one could easily extend to a wide variety of applications, of how a God hypothesis must be fashioned so that is explanatorily vacuous.

So, yes, if you agree that a God hypothesis that does not disprove God must be fashioned so as to be explanatorily vacuous, then I believe we would agree.

BenYachov said...

>Well, I think prayer experiments are a good way to disprove the hypothesis that God answers prayers.

I fail to see how you can rationally defend that view even if it turned out God did not exist? It's like saying "I can disprove the existence of the Andromeda Galaxy because I cannot find it when I look under my microscope." or "I can prove Stephen Hawking wrong because my radio telescope cannot detect a Hartle/Hawking State.".

The existence of God is a philosophical question not an empirical one. It's called a category mistake. The idea that empiricism alone is the only meaningful way to know truth itself cannot itself be verified empirically. That concept is philosophical. Philosophy is the primary means of natural knowledge. Not the sole means by any stretch of the imagination but clearly the primary means regardless if God exists or not.

Additionally the reasons I cited from other religious skeptics on why Prayer experiments are bogus needs to be answered by you for me to accept your belief they are "a good way to disprove the hypothesis that God answers prayers".

>But I don't think the argument from the OP means to limit itself to prayer -- it gives a single instance (prayer for Billy Graham), that one could easily extend to a wide variety of applications, of how a God hypothesis must be fashioned so that is explanatorily vacuous.

I'm afraid not since you are not testing any specific religious view of prayer. For example I consulted the Catholic Encylopedia & it says to be efficacious petitions to God must be done in humility and with the spirit that you are not owed an positive response and what you ask for must be according to God will. How do you model that scientifically and empirically? How do you test wuther or not the petitioners are asking in humility? If Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel is right and we can't know scientifically what it is like subjectively to be a bat how pray tell do you test the subjective humility of your subjects scientifically?

Also how do you scientifically test for what God's will is since that is also a factor? Go luck getting Him in your lab if He exists.

>that one could easily extend to a wide variety of applications, of how a God hypothesis must be fashioned so that is explanatorily vacuous.

There is no such thing as a "God Hypothesis". The existence and nature of God and what natural knowledge we can have of Him is the subject of philosophical investigation not empirical scientific investigation.

Before I even look at the result of a so called "Prayer Experiement" that needs to be addressed. If it can be show philosophically, God is subject to empirical investigation then by definition the Classic Theistic God could not possibly exist and the prayer experiment would be pointless anyway. Who cares if Q from Star Trek healed Billy Graham? It would not be YHWH.

>So, yes, if you agree that a God hypothesis that does not disprove God must be fashioned so as to be explanatorily vacuous, then I believe we would agree.

Rather by definition prayer experiments are by nature vacuous because they don't model any particular view of God or theology of prayer.

Atheists just have to learn there is no one size fits all refutation of God. Or they just look foolish to thoughtful Theists and more rational Atheists.

Can we agree on that?

Papalinton said...

@ Anonymous
"natural theology"

Natural theology? Natural theology? That is a classic statement bound for repackaging and exporting from the Oxymoron factory.

There is nothing natural about theology. It comes from the Greek: Theo -logos which really was simply asking a question even at the time of the ancient Greeks, god-knows?, the study of gods.

It is so painful reading the responses from Yachos and Pratt, and co. It is agonizingly painful the amount of witches' brew that has been stored in their memory banks.

As self-appointed 'Chief Advocate and Spokesguy' of the religion of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (IPU), ("Blessed be Her Holy Hooves"), Steve Eley notes:

"Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, The Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them."

This is the level at which the argument for the existence of an extra-natural or [a] supernatural spectral phantasmic god[s] is being played out. Even considering the Thomist 5-ways, in Aquinas' foray into Aristotelian philosophy, does not extend beyond simply a philosophical possibility [which I might add remains solely within the metaphysical boundaries of the brain and mind-states] for its existence.

The only proof Yachov, for example, 'thinks' [mind you that is all it is, because this is all played out only in his head] there is a 'god' is because he *believes* there is one. Nothing more. Nothing less.

An the explanatory vacuity for a god is just enormous. In fact the religious vacuity is akin to the size of the vacuum in the universe. And that's pretty big.

Sheesh

BenYachov said...

Papalinton,

Is that the best you can do?

Posting the same post you post here and over at the Biologos forum?

Blah blah blah Flying Pasta Creatures! Blah blah blah blah warmed over Dawkins and Hitchens lame arguments! Blah blah blah you theists are foolish and believe in Faeries! Blah blah blah defend a fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture you don't believe in the first place.


Come up with something original for once. Really! Read Jack Smart or Thomas Nagel or Jerry Fodor. Read an intelligent philosophically sophisticated Atheist for once in you life.

You might actually one day make an actual argument against Theism.

On that day I will praise the God you don't believe in for that!

BenYachov said...

>The only proof Yachov, for example, 'thinks' [mind you that is all it is, because this is all played out only in his head] there is a 'god' is because he *believes* there is one. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I thought I made it clear I reject Fideism?

Really Papalinton there is no shame in admitting you need to learn how to read. There are programs that can help you with this deficiency.

GREV said...

Ben -- I must congratulate you. Well stated.

GREV said...

Ben -- To follow up .... my biologist relative wishes people would stop using Dawkins as their reference when trying to argue against Theism. It just makes the other side look bad. To reference his comments. Not mine. Though I am inclined to agree.

Ilíon said...

Oddly enough, after reading some of the comments currently flooding my inbox, one might be forgiven for imagining that the obnoxionsness of (most of) the God-haters who frequent DI had nothing to do with anything I ever said.

BenYachov said...

>"Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power.

Seriously?

Well to quote Prof Vallicella-"God as traditionally conceived in the West is not an isolani — to use a chess expression. He is not like an isolated pawn, unsupported and unsupporting. For if God exists, then God is the cause of the existence of every contingent being, and indeed, of every being distinct from himself. This is not true of lunar unicorns and celestial teapots."

See here

New Atheists ladies and gentlemen! In essence they are anti-intellectual & uneducated Fundamentalists without god belief.

Sad.

BenYachov said...

A smart Atheist(which excludes the Gnu's) might challenge Classic Theism by asking "How does a omniscient Being who is outside of Time know what time it is now?"

That is a difficult and challenging question! Very tough to answer!

But no some people don't have the intellectual discipline to think in the abstract to they talk about Flying Pasta creatures or teapots.

Tedious!

Ilíon said...

Besides which, an "invisible pink unicorn" is a contradiction in terms -- leave it to the God-haters to be unable even to reason to that so-obvious point, and to foolishly imagine they can dispute the reality of God via un-reason.

It's almost as though there were something about hating God -- who is the Ground of All Being (including reason) -- which causes one to be unable to consistently reason correctly.

BenYachov said...

>Ground of All Being

Here is a book recommendation for ya guy.

THE NON-EXISTENCE OF GOD: Linguistic Paradox in Tillich's Thought

by Robert R. N. Ross

I'm in the process of reading it now it compares Tillich's views on God with Aquinas and PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS and shows a strong similarity among them.

Before I found it I was already beginning to suspect Tillich had in fact rediscovered and reasserted Classic Theism merely using modernist post-enlightenment philosophical terminology instead of the classical.

I glad to see I wasn't alone in thinking this.

Cheers.

GREV said...

Tillich attempted along with Barth to respond to Theological Liberalism.

How successful they were was another matter.

I think it can be fairly said of Tillich, is that he reinterpreted key terms but left the readers wondering what he meant.

Some think they know and call him an atheist.

Others say it is not as clear cut.

BenYachov said...

>Some think they know and call him an atheist.

He may have been at worst a ambiguous religious liberal but I find the claim he was an Atheist to be extremely doubtful.

He refers to God in his writings as a reality.

When he says "God does not exist because He is beyond existence and essence, to assert he exists is to deny him" is closer to Plato's concept of existence vs super-existence.

Blue Devil Knight said...

It's almost as if there is something about being Ilion that makes one unable to employ the principle of charity in one's arguments with non-theists.

BenYachov said...

IMHO,

Based on my experience.

BDK is not a "God hater" anymore than I am a Shiva hater.

I would take issue with anyone who says he is one.

OTOH ironically even thought I am a Classical Theist I do "hate" the Theistic Personalist concept of God with a passion.

But I have nothing against Theistic Personalist believers themselves. Heck I think Plantinga is an important philosopher. So there you go.

Papalinton said...

@ Ben Yachov
"Blah blah blah Flying Pasta Creatures! Blah blah blah blah warmed over Dawkins and Hitchens lame arguments! Blah blah blah you theists are foolish and believe in Faeries! Blah blah blah defend a fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture you don't believe in the first place."

How perceptive of you. Could not have said it better myself. indeed your statement is the quintessence of christian belief.

John Lennon wrote a wonderful song which expresses pretty much what you enunciate above:

"Imagine there's no yadda-yadda ... It's easy of you blah blah blah ..."

From the post following that of llion, and every one thereafter until that of BDK, are all interpretations and re-interpretations and re-re-interpretations of the same ole, same ole.
You will note, all that is discussed is cast back to references to Plato, classical theism [whatever that means], all products of a bye-gone era, the 'golden age' of the christianities when god ruled the roost with punishing ruthlessness. To a time when god was a macho and not the sniveling wimp he is now, hiding like a coward in the deep shadowy gaps and crevices that have yet to be illuminated by the light of reason and science.

I say that in the nicest possible way, because it is about getting to the truth of the matter.
I am sure GREV would hold to the statement," Without god we are nothing". To which I would reply, "No GREV. Without god, YOU are nothing." There would be no friends, no job, no house, no career, no medical insurance. GREV needs god for his livelihood. And I can understand that. But his reliance on god does not make it evidence for evidence of god. there were many priests reliant on Zeus, Jupiter, and Osiris.
As for Ben? Well I guess there is no harm in tilting at windmills. Don Quixote made it his reason for living.

Cheers

BenYachov said...

I guess I won't hold my breath for an intelligent philosophical Atheist argument from Paps.

Well at least he is at peace with his shameless embrace of ignorance.

We should get him a tinfoil hat for St. Nicolas' Day.

Ilíon said...

Silly man! Charity only works when the other guy is arguimg in good faith (albeit that he's wrong/mistaken).

You (nor exceeding few of your fellow God-haters) do not want charity; you want pretenses.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion there are better ways to attack it than the pedantic focus on a silly mistake like 'invisible pink' (and of course your interlocutor might say that he did that on purpose because the concept of God is itself implicitly condradictory: I'm not advocating this argument, but you never know). That's the behavior of an internet troll, not someone going after truth.

BenYachov said...

Ilíon,

Some people just rub each other the wrong way and attribute the worst to each other. That is just a fact of life. Clearly you and BDK are two of those people.

I don't judge. How could I? I have a few dozen including more than a few of my co-religious whom rub me the wrong way(some other than my fellow Catholics on this very thread) & I give as good as I get.

But what can ya do?

BenYachov said...

>That's the behavior of an internet troll, not someone going after truth.

But BDK, Papalinton is himself clearly a troll? He hasn't offered any intelligent criticisms of Theism.
Is there a single Theist here who thinks he does? Ask Victor.

>the concept of God is itself implicitly condradictory:

That is a valid way for an Atheist to make the case against God. The only limit is there is no one size fits all argument that takes out all historical concepts of God.

Gnus like Papalinton refuse to see that.

BenYachov said...

>You (nor exceeding few of your fellow God-haters) do not want charity; you want pretenses.

I have not see anything that resembles hatred of God or religion in BDK. Rejection of it yes. Maybe some benevolent indifference but hatred?

I don't see it. To be fair if it ever was there it's not there now.

Blue Devil Knight said...

BenYachov yes good point, but he did miss the exegesis "We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time." Yet Ilion thinks he has found a howler in the very contradiction they put in on purpose.

But you have a good point that Papalinton is sort of a bulldog more than a philosopher (i.e., lots of strong conclusions not a lot of argument or seeming room or interest in conversation).

Point taken I perhaps should have cut Ilion some slack given who his target was (but then again the point was fairly important and he sort of missed it entirely in his inimitable dismissive anti-conversational style of his own that I just pretty much now mock rather than even bother trying: believe me I tried when he first made the dangerous idea circuit...so in a sense, I'm the real victim here :) ).

Blue Devil Knight said...

I have to say, though, that I like Papalinton. He's smart, fun, I largely agree with him even when he's being a bit over the top. Not my style, especially not at this blog where I'm trying to learn from people. But among sympathetic friends I know I will not offend, I'm a lot like him in person.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Strangely, Loftus manages to be annoying even to me when he tries to do the atheist bulldog, but some (Dawkins, Papalinton (don't let that go to your head Paplinton)) I find quite endearing and just like to read what they write. They have a certain panache and wit that defuses the situation a bit in my mind so I can laugh and have fun with it.

If I were a theist I'd probably get annoyed.

BenYachov said...

>I have to say, though, that I like Papalinton. He's smart, fun, I largely agree with him even when he's being a bit over the top.

I don't hold that against you.

I agree with Kirk Cameron on the Deity of Christ, & I am often touched by his simple Faith in Jesus and love for the Lord.

But ya know his "Banana Argument" for the existence of God(google it)......no! I'm afraid not! No! I won't be using his religious apologetics anytime soon. I have standards. He clearly knows about as much philosophy as Papalinton.

>Not my style, especially not at this blog where I'm trying to learn from people.

Which as always earns my great respect.

> But among sympathetic friends I know I will not offend, I'm a lot like him in person.

I make fun of Atheists, Protestants and other non-Catholics in private too. I also make fun of Catholics. But I do have to remind myself I'm not perfect either.

Cheers friend.

BenYachov said...

>He's smart, fun...

I might in my better moments grant you the fun part....the other well we will have to as always agree to disagree.:-)

Cheers again!

I'm going to go watch a movie and avoid eating meat till midnight.

Lent ya know.

Ilíon said...

Oddly enough, I don't recall singling out any individual. If some persons *chose* to interpret my comment about comments as being about themselves, that is certainly within their freedom (*).

(*) And, of course, there could be no such thing as freedom were atheism the truth about the nature of reality.

Blue Devil Knight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue Devil Knight said...

Good example Yachov, must go play Medal of Honor video game and get some sleep soon.

Friday night, I had a beer at dinner, lowered my usual inhibitions for posting here.

I had been doing so well!!!

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion you talked about 'invisible pink unicorn' after Papalinton used that example explicitly. Are you saying that was a coincidence?

Papalinton said...

I love philosophy. I enjoy the riposte that even philosophy 'on the run' can bring. I enjoy the many truisms of philosophical thought that can be articulated in the most epigrammatic of responses; the aphorism.

To engage in philosophy with christians, as I have done on many occasions in the past, is a little like a father responding to his small son's interminable question 'Why?'. Dad's default response is 'because'. The asininity of theism simply does not allow for a productive forum for philosophical debate to take place. As an example, in debating the clashing reality of so many bad things happening to good people, particularly when it occurs all under the watchful eye of an all-loving, omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity. One is frequently frustrated with the illogic of 'I believe god has a plan, about which we are incapable of knowing and understanding'. And the offered notion of Theodicy is a joke and in bad taste, and is a subset of Apologetics.

The inexplicable nature of this omni-beast. What a conversation stopper. In the main, what transpires as philosophy in the minds of theists is little more than theology grounded in Plato, Aristotle and other great pagan thinkers in the rather undisguised attempt to garner some form of legitimation for nonsense as virginal parthenogenesis, spectral impregnation, spontaneous re-ignition of life of a putrescent corpse, and the coup-de-grâce, physical ascension into the atmosphere. This is the stuff of theology aided and abetted by Apologetics.

This site is not a forum for philosophy. A read through the commentary ought to clear that. BDK is closest to the 'spirit' [pardon the pun] of philosophical conversation. I am not prepared to engage in philosophical discourse here, as the responding team would offer trains of thought indiscriminately mired in and tinged with theological nuance, straight from the bible. And if there is anything I cannot abide is the resort to quoting from the judeo-christian texts as a form of 'trumping validation'.

No point.

GREV said...

Instead of just rambling it is now self justifying rambling.

If we are too dumb for you why don't you move on?

As I said earlier, right wing fundamentalists of any stripe are a bunch who cannot grant anything to the other side and thus they must sterotype and dismiss their opponents as having nothing to offer.

So, seriously if there is No Point as you end your last post, just leave us in our idiot status.

Papalinton said...

Sorry GREV. No can do.
The matter for which I contend, no point, is the foray into philosophy. i noticed you did not wish to take up the argument for why there is so much tragedy and bad things happening in the world while on your god's watch. It simply defies anything that could remotely connote goodness, through such depraved indifference, for a supposedly loving god to let things go on as if there is no god at all.

Here you have an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-benevolent, all-just being, who supposedly cares for you greatly, not even bothering to lift a finger to stop the tsunami from sweeping away thousands of people in Japan; good, honest, hard-working people, with family, just being swept away to a watery and unnecessary death.

GREV, you idolize a callous and cold-hearted sociopath. There is no question that this scenario is another argument for atheism - an argument from explanatory vacuity.
Give us you best shot at explaining this GREV. Make me want to listen to your reasoned case that I might give considered thought to the evidence you offer in support of your claim.

BenYachov said...

>I love philosophy. I enjoy the riposte that even philosophy 'on the run' can bring. I enjoy the many truisms of philosophical thought that can be articulated in the most epigrammatic of responses;

Rather as Dr. Feser once quipped "philosophy" is for the likes of you merely political speech and sophistical rhetoric by other means. Nothing more. You know nothing of philosophy.

There is no employment of logic, intellect, knowledge or basic metaphysics on your part.

Kirk Cameron can employ flowery sentiment and rhetoric in his speech to make an appeal for Theism and you are nothing more than the Atheist equivalent of him.

All talk and no substance. At best my good friend BDK finds you an amusement but he already is an Atheist so you gain nothing. OTOH BDK has often made me think because he is the polar opposite to you and actually uses rational argument.

You spurn rational argument. You have made foolish and false factual statements and when called out on it have shamelessly backpedaled with out admitting you are wrong. But what is astounding is you do so shamelessly and still have the gall to clam you are the rational one.

I have news for you. Reasoning is a learned skill it does not automatically enter your person just because you deny gods. It sad you think otherwise. Denial of God is the least of your problems.

BenYachov said...

>I am not prepared to engage in philosophical discourse here...

Because you refuse to learn how. Thus you are about as useful as teats on a bull.

>This site is not a forum for philosophy.

How is that judgment meaningful since you are by your own admission ignorant and unprepared to give philosophical argument?

You are a walking talking logical fallacy.

Why are you even here? You have nothing to offer or to gain.

Blue Devil Knight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blue Devil Knight said...

Hmmm....

I think this is a good forum for those interesting in actually doing philosophy. While there are some that just try to win with a zinger or something, or refuse to engage in conversation, it is clear that compared to other sites on the religious spectrum, the discussion here is relatively civil and truth-seeking.

I share much of Papalinton's frustrations with philosophy. However, when it comes to ordinary-language discussions of topics that are not part of an established discipline (or even discussions about the special disciplines) philosophy can be pretty useful.

I can appreciate the 'Parson's effect' of just leaving it after getting sick of the cycles of endless discussion. Luckily I left philosophy grad school before I was sucked into it as a profession.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Hi Ben Yachov
Why is it that there is so much tragedy and bad things happening to good people in the world? Why is it that when one looks at the natural world there is as much suffering by the good as there is of the wicked? Why is there absolutely no positive statistical blip in favour of the faithful when it comes to bad things happening.
From logic and reasoning you would think that the faithful would live longer, or have happier family lives, or live much more comfortably because their god is looking out for them.
Every statistic bears out that there is no difference whether one is faithful or not. Indeed it seems criminals are just as likely to be blessed by god as are the pious.
Why is it that god strikes down little children with terminal cancer? We know the naturalistic answer. But what is the theological answer?
Give it your best argument Ben. Tell me why god seems to be so indifferent to all?
What is your response which would in all fairness one could reasonably accept; one that leaves behind the 'explanatory vacuity' test?

BenYachov said...

Well spoken BDK.

>I share much of Papalinton's frustrations with philosophy.

Accept the moral & practical difference is you have learned enough philosophy to be entitled to that opinion regardless if anyone agrees with it or not.

Paps hasn't done his homework at all which would not matter if only he where not so insufferable in putting up this pretense he knows it all & learning is beneath him.

Plus his tendency to conflate Philosophy with Apologetics is equally foolish.

An accomplished Atheist apologist/polemicist needs to know philosophy to make a meaningful case for his materialist naturalist view and against any plausible theistic view.
Otherwise it's strawman city.

I don't know why he can see that?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Papalinton has his pulse on one of the toughest questions for someone who believes in a perfectly benevolent, omnipotent being. Most of us, using our moral faculty, would see it as a no-brainer to stop thousands of innocent people from being killed by a tsunami. If we really loved them, and were truly omnipotent.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Now that I have a daughter, this is even more poignant. If a wave were going toward her, and I could stop it with my will....

I would annihilate myself for her. If God loves us like His children, what's the deal?

Ben I wouldn't assume he doesn't know XYZ. He seems pretty knowledgeable, for one, and also that's just ad hominem.

But that said, of course I get the annoyance; there are some theists with his dismissive and casual style, and they can be annoying. Especially when they act like know-it-alls but don't. Not saying Papalinton is doing that, I just don't have a good bead on him yet, but I do find him very entertaining! (Unlike, say, Loftus).

BenYachov said...

@Papalinton

It is tedious to answer you since you have yet to show that you argue in good faith. But I will indulge you if only for the amusement I will get when you respond to my arguments with ridicule and dogmatically stated conclusions not backed up by any reasons.
Of course I have the very small hope you might prove me wrong in that. But I won't hold my breath.

>Why is it that there is so much tragedy and bad things happening to good people in the world?

You assume that if God exists he would make the "best of all possible worlds". I reject the implicit and erroneous post enlightenment philosophy behind that view. Logically God cannot make absolute perfection anymore than He can make 2+2=5 or the "Rock so heavy He can't lift it" farce. Only God is absolutely perfect. Part of His perfection is being uncreated and God simply cannot create something uncreated. That is a contradiction. You might retort "But can't God do anything" but a created uncreated thing doesn't describe anything. It is nothing & thus adds new meaning to the phrase "There is nothing God cannot do". God cannot make absolute perfection He can only make relative perfection. Evil is metaphysical privation. A lack of perfection. Thus anything God creates has in some sense a potential for evil or a privation.

Then there is the fallacy that God is a perfect moral agent. I'm with Brian Daves. I reject the idea of God as a perfect (human)moral agent in the first place. It is a Theistic Personalist view of God which is anathema to Classic Theism. To say God is "perfectly moral" makes about as much sense as saying "God has perfect muscle tone".
Or it's like saying "Why didn't Plato's FORM OF THE GOOD stop the holocaust if it's really by nature good?" or "This is a good beer why didn't it stop the holocaust if it's really good".

God's Goodness is in that He is Being Itself and as Aquinas taught us Being and Goodness are interchangeable. God's Goodness is in that he orders things to their final end and their perfection. God has no moral obligations to us. As the Agnostic Theist and Thomistic Expert & critic Anthony Kenny said "Morality presupposes a moral community, and a moral community must be of beings with a common language, roughly equal power, and roughly similar needs, desires and interests. God can no more be part of a moral community with them than he can be part of a political community with them. As Aristotle said, we cannot attribute moral virtues to divinity: the praise would be vulgar. Equally, moral blame would be laughable.

For details see THE REALITY OF GOD & PROBLEM OF EVIL or An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion both by Brian Davies. God & Evil by Herbert McCabe.

or these links
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/10/laws-evil-god-challenge.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/10/god-obligation-and-euthyphro-dilemma.html

>Theodicy is a joke

Brian Davies & I agree with you. Davies has two Chapters on it in his book REALITY OF GODetc.

But then again Theodicy is for Theistic Personalists (i.e like Plantinga or Swinburne both TP's). It means nothing to Classic Theists. You have to argue with the God your opponent actually believes in not the God you wish he believed in thus the one size fits all omni-polemic of the New Atheism is useless here.

BenYachov said...

BDK

>Ben I wouldn't assume he doesn't know XYZ. He seems pretty knowledgeable, for one, and also that's just ad hominem.

I've interacted with him before over at the Biologos forum. He doesn't know ditty.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ben will have to read your response later....

BenYachov said...

From the same blog:

QUOTE"God As Morally Deficient
The point for now is just to indicate how different the classical theist’s conception of divine goodness is from that of the theistic personalist – and, for that matter, from the conception taken for granted by atheists who suggest that the existence of evil shows that God, if He exists, must in some way be morally deficient. While God is not a Platonic Form, for the classical theist, to suggest that God is in some way morally deficient nevertheless makes about as much sense as suggesting that Plato’s Form of the Good might be morally deficient. The suggestion is unintelligible both because characterizing the God of classical theism as either virtuous or vicious is unintelligible, and because characterizing Him as deficient in any way is unintelligible. An atheist could intelligibly deny that such a God exists at all (just as he could intelligibly deny the existence of Platonic Forms), but to suggest that the God of classical theism might be morally deficient merely shows that such an atheist does not understand the view he is criticizing (just as an opponent of Platonism who suggested that the Form of the Good might be unloving or vicious would only show thereby that he doesn’t understand what sort of thing a Form is supposed to be)."END QUOTE

BenYachov said...

Given his level of knowledge these links might be better suited for Paps.

The God of Classical Theism And Other Popular Conceptions by Edward Feser


Reply to David Span


QUOTE"As Davies has emphasized (at length in his book The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil), theistic personalists and classical theists also differ radically in their understanding of what it means to characterize God as good. For the theistic personalist, since God is a person comparable to us, only without our limitations, His goodness amounts to a kind of superlative moral virtue. Like us, He has moral duties; unlike us, He fulfills them perfectly.

But for the classical theist, this is nonsensical. Virtue and duty have to do with habits and actions that allow us to realize the ends set for us by nature and thereby to perfect ourselves. But God, being pure actuality, cannot intelligibly be said to have ends He needs to realize or imperfections He needs to remedy. Accordingly, He cannot intelligibly be said to be “virtuous” or to have “duties” He needs to fulfill.

BenYachov said...

To say that God is good is for the classical theist to say something very different, and something that it is, frankly, not easy to summarize for readers unfamiliar with certain key metaphysical doctrines characteristic of classical, and especially Scholastic, philosophy, such as the doctrine of the convertibility of the transcendentals, the notion of evil as privation, and the principle of proportionate causality.

According to the first of these doctrines, being is “convertible” with goodness, so that whatever is pure actuality or Being Itself is necessarily also Goodness Itself. Furthermore, evil is a privation rather than a positive reality – the absence of good, as blindness is merely the absence of sight rather than a positive attribute. Whatever is pure actuality, and thus Goodness Itself, therefore cannot intelligibly be said to be evil or deficient in any way. Finally, since according to the principle of proportionate causality, whatever is in an effect must in some way be in its cause (“eminently” if not “formally”), God as the cause of all possible good must have all possible good within Him, eminently if not formally."END QUOTE

Papalinton said...

Hi Ben Yachov
i'm happy you have overcome the tedium.
I have read you various comments several times over to get the feel of the substance of your argument. Below I have listed the affirmative statements that you offer as proof of god's limits or capacities as you enumerate them, from the 'classical theism' perspective, that you consider as the only 'true' viewpoint. So i have discarded the 'theistic personalist' perspective as you suggest. I'm not sure I understand your reasoning for this as there is insufficient if any reasons given other than as your preferred option. And I suspect those true-believing christian with a theistic personalist perspective would categorically think your 'classical' view would simply be barkingly unsustainable in a modern, contemporary perspective. This not a comment per se, Ben; rather it is just an observation mindful of the many millions of 'strong believing' and righteous christians who would differ with you and would suggest it is the proper interpretation of the nature or character of god that should be pursued. None-the-less, I have acceded to your 'classical' view for the sake of debate.

[cont]

Papalinton said...

To Ben [cont.2]

Now back to the confirmative list of limits or maximums that should be understood about your god's capacity for change, action, or the degree of change and actions we would, should expect from him.
Please correct me if I have misunderstood you:
You say:

1. Logically God cannot make absolute perfection anymore than He can make 2+2=5 or the "Rock so heavy He can't lift it" farce.

2. Only God is absolutely perfect.

3. Part of His perfection is being uncreated and God simply cannot create something uncreated.

4. God cannot make absolute perfection He can only make relative perfection.

5. Thus anything God creates has in some sense a potential for evil or a privation.

6. God's Goodness is in that He is Being Itself and as Aquinas taught us Being and Goodness are interchangeable.

7. God's Goodness is in that he orders things to their final end and their perfection.

8. God has no moral obligations to us.

9. God can no more be part of a moral community with them than he can be part of a political community with them.

From the large quote you provided, Ben I crystalized the character of your 'classical' god. Please advise if I have gotten it wrong.

1. God is not morally deficient.

2. God is neither virtuous or vicious.

3. God is not deficient in any way.

4. God is being pure actuality, and has no ends to realize or imperfections to remedy.

5. God is not virtuous and has no duties to fulfill.

The following continuation of the quote notes these characteristics:

1. God as Being is “convertible” with goodness.

2. God as pure actuality, and thus Goodness Itself, therefore cannot be evil or deficient in any way.

Ben, these were taken directly from your posts immediately above.
Before I mount a philosophical contribution please confirm for me the substantive veracity of these as you have provided them to me.

BenYachov said...

Papalinton,
>From the large quote you provided, Ben I crystalized the character of your 'classical' god. Please advise if I have gotten it wrong.

1 threw 3 is wrong. You misread them.

QUOTE"The suggestion[i.e. God being morally deficient] is unintelligible both because characterizing the God of classical theism as either virtuous or vicious is unintelligible, and because characterizing Him as deficient in any way is unintelligible."

For example 2=2=5 is mathematically wrong claiming it could somehow be made true is unintelligible. See the difference?

>And I suspect those true-believing christian with a theistic personalist perspective would categorically think your 'classical' view would simply be barkingly unsustainable in a modern, contemporary perspective.

Yeh I've seen Baptist Church's with signs on the front that say "Founded 33AD" but I know the Baptists where founded in the early 17 Century by Johann Grebel from reading a Baptist Historian.

The Classic view is the old view. The TP view is post-enlightenment and therefore modern.

Now let's see what weird sophistry you have cooked up to mock I wrote?

PS. You did read ALL the links right?

BenYachov said...

>I'm not sure I understand your reasoning for this as there is insufficient if any reasons given other than as your preferred option.

Focus Paps! I am merely showing how the Euthyphro Dilemma (i.e. How can an All Powerful All Good God allow both Evil & Pauly Shore movies Yada Yada Yada etc) does not apply to a Classic Theistic concept of God.

To do this I must summarize the classical view and contrast it with the Theistic Personalist view. You did not ask for a philosophical argument proving the existence of the Classical Theistic God.

You said "Why is it that there is so much tragedy and bad things happening to good people in the world?....Tell me why god seems to be so indifferent to all?".

Changing the argument and moving the goal posts will not be tolerated.

BenYachov said...

>None-the-less, I have acceded to your 'classical' view for the sake of debate.

Thank you. That is much appreciated if you really are sincere.

But you really do need to read the links because I just gave the bare bones summery.

In the "The God of Classical Theism And Other Popular Conceptions by Edward Feser" link
please remember to read the
Doctrine Of Analogy Vs. Arguing From Analogy section.

I'm going to call it a night & see if I can get some gameplay on MASS EFFECT 2.

Cheers!

Papalinton said...

Hi Ben
You say [your exact words], "1 threw 3 is wrong. You misread them."

Bear with me a little here, Ben. You are telling me that Points 1 thru' 3 have been misread by me. I'm not sure I understand how you arrived at that decision but I sure would like to know how I misread the exact same words that you wrote me. I did not change them. I did not interpret them, nor re-interpret them. They are your exact words presented back to you for confirmation.
I would ask other commenters here to affirm whether I have noted Points 1 to 3, are exactly in the very words as Ben presented them to me, without change, without modification. Please read his comments to me from March 12, 2011 1:57 PM, onwards. I re-iterate those three points below, exactly as Ben has written them to me:

1. Logically God cannot make absolute perfection anymore than He can make 2+2=5 or the "Rock so heavy He can't lift it" farce.

2. Only God is absolutely perfect.

3. Part of His perfection is being uncreated and God simply cannot create something uncreated.

Each of the points you provide describes the 'classical' god as you have studied him. These are your words, not mine. I am very keen to know how I have misread them. How does one misread another's words if they have been parroted back exactly in the same order and sentence structure as they have been written by you?
Ben I'm simply clearing away procedural matters so each of us knows that we are both singing from the same hymn sheet. Already I have been branded as misreading you and I haven't even started yet. [cont.]

Papalinton said...

To Ben [cont. 2]
Ben, you also say, "Focus Paps! I am merely showing how the Euthyphro Dilemma (i.e. How can an All Powerful All Good God allow both Evil & Pauly Shore movies Yada Yada Yada etc) does not apply to a Classic Theistic concept of God."
Thanks for that, as it was not made clear in your first commentary. So the Euthyphro Dilemma does NOT apply to a 'classical theistic' concept of god? I'll accept your premise.

You also say, "You did not ask for a philosophical argument proving the existence of the Classical Theistic God."
Indeed I didn't. In fact, it was you that introduced the 'classical' god as the only one you are prepared to use in the debate and I was happy to go along with that distinction.


Ben, you also said, "You [PapaL] said "Why is it that there is so much tragedy and bad things happening to good people in the world?....Tell me why god seems to be so indifferent to all?".
Then Ben, you follow with, "Changing the argument and moving the goal posts will not be tolerated."
How did I change the goalposts? My original question to you was exactly as you write above: that is, "Why is it that there is so much tragedy and bad things happening to good people in the world?....Tell me why god seems to be so indifferent to all?"
This was the original question. How did I change the goalposts?

To other commenters on this thread, I would be keen for you to act as observers and adjudicators of this debate between Ben Yachov and me. I would be keen to abide by any procedural matters, or matters of relevancy that you observe and advise as appropriate or not as we progress.

Cheers

BenYachov said...

>Bear with me a little here, Ben. You are telling me that Points 1 thru' 3 have been misread by me. I'm not sure I understand how you arrived at that decision but I sure would like to know how I misread the exact same words that you wrote me.

Wow! Seriously? I accused you in the past of not being able to read English(...I think it was you? All you Gnu's sound alike anyway at this point). But I thought I was kidding?

Hello!!! I cited
>>From the large quote you provided, Ben I crystalized the character of your 'classical' god. Please advise if I have gotten it wrong.

That means clearly I was referring to points.

1. God is not morally deficient.

2. God is neither virtuous or vicious.

3. God is not deficient in any way.

after that paragraph. Not the earlier points. What you couldn't figure that out? Good Grief!

I then cited the post of mine you clearly misread.

Example: "The suggestion[i.e. God being morally deficient] is unintelligible both because characterizing the God of classical theism as either virtuous or vicious is unintelligible, and because characterizing Him as deficient in any way is unintelligible."

I then went on to explain "For example 2=2=5 is mathematically wrong claiming it could somehow be made true is unintelligible. See the difference?

It's too early in the morning and you are already getting on bad side!

Are you even taking this seriously?

Maybe you wrote something else that is intelligent? Let me look.

BenYachov said...

>Thanks for that, as it was not made clear in your first commentary. So the Euthyphro Dilemma does NOT apply to a 'classical theistic' concept of god? I'll accept your premise.

Yes that is what the Argument from Evil is called. Good, you are learning, so you are not completely hopeless.

>Indeed I didn't. In fact, it was you that introduced the 'classical' god as the only one you are prepared to use in the debate and I was happy to go along with that distinction.

Good so far.....

>This was the original question. How did I change the goalposts?

It was in reference to your statement "I'm not sure I understand your reasoning for this as there is insufficient if any reasons given other than as your preferred option."

You appeared to be asking me what where my reasons for belief in the classical Theistic God? Is this not what you meant? That is off topic since I was originally responding to you question regarding the Euthyphro Dilemma and why it doesn't apply to the Classic view of God.

That is all.

ps:I've posted 5 times I can't get it to appear! F-ing Biologos forum all over again! Stupid internet where is my coffee!!!!

BenYachov said...

>Thanks for that, as it was not made clear in your first commentary. So the Euthyphro Dilemma does NOT apply to a 'classical theistic' concept of god? I'll accept your premise.

Yes that is what the Argument from Evil is called. Good, you are learning, so you are not completely hopeless.

>Indeed I didn't. In fact, it was you that introduced the 'classical' god as the only one you are prepared to use in the debate and I was happy to go along with that distinction.

Good so far.....

>This was the original question. How did I change the goalposts?

It was in reference to your statement "I'm not sure I understand your reasoning for this as there is insufficient if any reasons given other than as your preferred option."

You appeared to be asking me what where my reasons for belief in the classical Theistic God? Is this not what you meant? That is off topic since I was originally responding to you question regarding the Euthyphro Dilemma and why it doesn't apply to the Classic view of God.

That is all.

ps:I've posted 5 times I can't get it to appear! F-ing Biologos forum all over again! Stupid internet where is my coffee!!!!

BenYachov said...

Double posts! Worst than Biologos.....

BenYachov said...

Sorry I lost my temper people. I am grouchy in the morning.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Hi Ben
Mea Culpa. you are right. It was my mistake that the '1 thru' 3' points were the second set of points you were referring to and not the first three.

However, the query still stands. How so have I misread them?
Guided by your example: "Example: "The suggestion[i.e. God being morally deficient] is unintelligible both because characterizing the God of classical theism as either virtuous or vicious is unintelligible, and because characterizing Him as deficient in any way is unintelligible." ...... the three points I made are perfectly consistent with yours. That is:
1. God is not morally deficient.

2. God is neither virtuous nor vicious, and

3. God is not deficient in any way.

I am accepting all these. If, as you say, it is *unintelligible* to characterize your god as virtuous or vicious, then the corollary would be that it is indeed *intelligible* to characterize him as 'neither virtuous or vicious'.

So where is the misread? I am looking for positive statements about your 'classical' god so that I can get a grip on your actual position in terms of describing what you perceive is your god. Once I have a positive understanding of your position I can then debate you on the merits of your positive statements. That way we will not be confused about what we are addressing in the debate. [cont.]

Papalinton said...

@ Ben [cont. 2]
So far I have posited a question about 'why do so many bad things happen to good people on the watch on an all-powerful, all-benevolent, all-caring god..... ....Tell me why god seems to be so indifferent to all?".

You followed with definitional aspects of god you wish for me to accept. I am now currently seeking clarification of some of those definitions of character of your god.

Thanks for your position on the Eurthyphro Dilemma. That has been duly noted.

And my "statement "I'm not sure I understand your reasoning for this as there is insufficient if any reasons given other than as your preferred option." was simply an observation and not part of the debate, and therefore is not a 'changing of the goalposts'. Just a side comment, Ben.

Once you are happy with the definitional points 1 thru' 3, and we are clear about any misreading, then I can begin.

Cheers

BenYachov said...

>So where is the misread?

You said it yourself.

>I am accepting all these. If, as you say, it is *unintelligible* to characterize your god as virtuous or vicious, then the corollary would be that it is indeed *intelligible* to characterize him as 'neither virtuous or vicious'.

This is what you get for not reading the links I told you too read.

Doctrine Of Analogy Vs. Arguing From Analogy
Now, for the Thomist, a proper understanding of these various aspects of classical theism requires a recognition that when we predicate goodness, knowledge, power, or what have you of God, we are using language in a way that is analogous to the use we make of it when applied to the created order. It cannot be emphasized too strongly, though, that this has nothing to do with “arguing from analogy” after the fashion of Paley’s design argument; indeed, it is diametrically opposed to Paley’s procedure. It has to do instead with Aquinas’s famous “doctrine of analogy,” which distinguishes three uses of language: Words can be used univocally, in exactly the same sense, as when we say that Fido’s bark is loud and that Rover’s bark is loud.

BenYachov said...

They can be used equivocally, or in completely unrelated senses, as when we say that Fido’s bark is loud and that the tree’s bark is rough. Or they can be used analogously, as when we say that a certain meal was good, that a certain book is good, and that a certain man is good. “Good” is not being used in exactly the same sense in each case, but neither are the senses unrelated, as they are in the equivocal use of “bark.” Rather, there is in the goodness of a meal something analogous to the goodness of a book, and analogous to the goodness of a man, even if it is not exactly the same sort of thing that constitutes the goodness in each case.

BenYachov said...

What I wrote before is mere simple summery. The links I provided give details and context.

Why are you so resistant to reading them if you really want to get a grip on my actual position?

That is assuming that is what you really want? The cynical part of me is saying you are trying to parcel my word to mock. I hope I am wrong.

BenYachov said...

>the three points I made are perfectly consistent with yours.

Rather they are bad paraphrases that clearly change the meanings.

Specifically:
>1. God is not morally deficient.

A Theistic Personalist can say the same. Thus your paraphrase changes the meaning
by dropping the concept of unintelligiblity.


2. God is neither virtuous nor vicious, and

Implies that God is not Good or evil but Neutral.
"Characterizing the God of classical theism as either virtuous or vicious is unintelligible" has a specific meaning and that is not it.

>3. God is not deficient in any way.

Which could mean God does have deficient muscle tone since it is divorced from the actual words I wrote or copied.

BenYachov said...

>That way we will not be confused about what we are addressing in the debate.

Why do you assume there needs to be debate? I contend an Atheist could conclude the Eurthyphro Dilemma does not apply to the Classic Theistic God. It wouldn't mean he believe that God or any gods exist but that is simply not a valid argument against that particular view of God.

Your profile says you where involved in education? Shouldn't you do your homework first? read the links.

BenYachov said...

>And my "statement "I'm not sure I understand your reasoning for this as there is insufficient if any reasons given other than as your preferred option." was simply an observation and not part of the debate, and therefore is not a 'changing of the goalposts'. Just a side comment, Ben.

Then I concede my misreading & apologize.

BenYachov said...

>then the corollary would be that it is indeed *intelligible* to characterize him as 'neither virtuous or vicious'.

Do we mean that univocally, equivocally or analogously?

Really read the links.

Papalinton said...

Hi Ben

">then the corollary would be that it is indeed *intelligible* to characterize him as 'neither virtuous or vicious'.
Do we mean that univocally, equivocally or analogously?"


I want you to pick which one and we can stick with that one, so that I can concentrate on your argument or proposition. I want you to define the playing field. As there are millions of different views of god in the christianities, just as you tell me [e.g. the Theistic Personalist view as distinct from the Classical Theistic God], I want to know that I am debating about your particularly defined god. This is the one on which I will concentrate my arguments and on who's watch so many bad things happen to good people through no fault of their own, or why your god allows little innocent children to be so stricken with malignant cancers.
Ben, I just want to be clear that you and I are talking about the same god, as understood by you. I would be very unhappy for you to change the definition of your god or your mind and add other definitions into the discussion. So let us be clear that it is your god that we are discussing and not some other christian's interpretation.

Equally, I say that a proper and deep understanding of my position requires that you read a range of philosophical, intertestamental and biblical scholarship, scientific, neuro-biological and clinical psychologic/psychiatric books and papers in order to garner that counterfactual understanding. I will present them as we go.


Cheers

BenYachov said...

Read the links I recommended and you will have a basic understanding.

It's only four links? Amounts to less than 10 pages.

Why is that hard?

>I say that a proper and deep understanding of my position requires that you read a range of philosophical, intertestamental and biblical scholarship, scientific, neuro-biological and clinical psychologic/psychiatric books and papers in order to garner that counterfactual understanding.

I read your profile. THE GOD DELUSION seems to be the basis of your Atheism.

Atheism's version of ANSWERS IN GENESIS.

Nuff said.

Now stop with the long winded blather and do your homework.

BenYachov said...

>As there are millions of different views of god in the christianities,

According to whom? Ya just made that up?

If your not going to take this seriously......

BenYachov said...

I'm going to bed.

Do your homework "Teacher"!

Papalinton said...

Yes Ben
I have read all the sites you gave me.

Cheers

BenYachov said...

>I have read all the sites you gave me.

Then how did you miss Aquinas's doctrine of Analogy?

Papalinton said...

Ben
"Then how did you miss Aquinas's doctrine of Analogy?"

I didn't.

BenYachov said...

If so then justify your corollary in terms of it either being *intelligible* to either univocally, equivocally or analogously characterize God as 'neither virtuous or vicious'?

Which of the three is it?

Also bonus question. I made a mistake. I confused two philosophers with similar sounding names. Which were they?

(I have to see if you really are taking this seriously)

Anonymous said...

Whoa!

Papa is being reasonable?? I'm in shock. Papa, you should be like this all time, at least on DI.

Ben,

3 objections to the classical theist account:

1) The OT presents God as making promises, yet you say that God has no obligations.
2) Do you flat out deny that God is personal? The trinity is suposed to be three persons.
3) Even if God isn't personal, surely Jesus is personal - then we can ask why Jesus doesn't stop tsunamis blah blah blah.

I'm a theistic personalist interested in classical theism as catholics bang on about it.

PS where was that Antony Kenny quote from? That was very interesting.

BenYachov said...

@Anon

>1) The OT presents God as making promises, yet you say that God has no obligations.

Well God was not obliged to make any of those promises in the first place.
God has no obligations to us. He can oblige Himself.

>) Do you flat out deny that God is personal? The trinity is suposed to be three persons.

Are you a Christian or a Mormon? Because the Divine Persons are not human persons. They are Hypostasis, focal points of attribution that possess the one Divine nature.

>3) Even if God isn't personal, surely Jesus is personal -

You need to read the links above titled "Reply to David Span".

Also you may want to read Creating God in the Image of Man? by Norman L. Geisler.

He is an Evangelical Classic Theist.

The Theistic Personalist God is nothing more than the Mormon Deity 2.0

BenYachov said...

@Anon

I am busy with Paps and don't care to fight a war on two fronts. But I just wanted to let you know Classic Theism isn't just for Catholics. There are many Evangelical & Protestant Classic Theists. Off the top of my head Geisler, Paul Helm, Brian Leftow.

You should read the links I posted. That is all. Fr. Brian Davies and Pastor Geisler both give Biblical defenses of Classic Theism.

It's not just for Catholics. It is the historical universal Christian Faith & it is shared by Judaism and even Islam.

Theistic Personalism is a modern belief based on New Philosophy post Descarte.

BenYachov said...

@Anon

>1) The OT presents God as making promises, yet you say that God has no obligations.

God doesn't do anything for us (i.e including create us) because He is somehow obligated to do it.

He does it out of pure perfect gratuitous beneficence which he freely wills from all eternity. Scripture says God is not a debtor to us or to anyone.

Anon since when do Protestants like yourself believe in works salvation(God owes us)? I thought your kind believed in Grace Alone?

Just saying...... ;-)

Anonymous said...

'God doesn't do anything for us (i.e including create us) because He is somehow obligated to do it.'

I agree, but I read you as claiming that it was a category error of sorts to claim that God has obligations, not that he is only under obligations when he is imposing them.

And where is the Keny quote from??

BenYachov said...

>And where is the Keny quote from??

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION BY Brian Davies. p216

according to the footnotes

What is Faith?(Oxford 1992) p87 by A. Kenny

Blue Devil Knight said...

Well I guess that attempt at a conversation fizzled. Papalinton tried, but hadn't exactly built up a great deal of charity capital, and nobody gave him a loan. Oh well...could have been entertaining.

BenYachov said...

>Well I guess that attempt at a conversation fizzled. Papalinton tried, but hadn't exactly built up a great deal of charity capital, and nobody gave him a loan. Oh well...could have been entertaining.

I have deal with him in the past. He is very flippant when it comes to Theistic belief. Paps doesn't treat Theism very seriously. As far as he is concerned concepts like The Absolute are the same as believing in Santa Cause. He disbelieves in unsophisticated versions of Theism with an equally unsophisticated Atheism.

He once tried to sell me on a bit of Jesus Mytherism regarding the historical reality of the town of Nazareth. I found the opinions of mainstream Atheistic Israel archeologist are, that a small hamlet named Nazareth likely existed. I could deny God tomorrow and agree with them. But he couldn't conceive of the Pop Atheist he cited might in fact be wrong.

Fundamentalism is defending to the death your invalid arguments for your Ultimate Concern at the expense of a rational defense of your belief in the Ultimate Concern.

It doesn't matter if your Ultimate Concern is Atheism or Theism.

Fundie-ness it a universal problem.

BenYachov said...

What makes New Atheist Fundies different from a rational Atheist is the Fundie can't bear the idea an Atheist could be a fundie. They are supposed to be the rational ones. How dare these superstitious claim they are more rational than them?

It is not unlike a certain species of Theistic Fundamentalist who can't stand the idea there are moral, virtuous and good Atheists. As with their infidel fundie brethren they are suppose to be the righteous ones and the Atheists are the immoral one.

Tis silly!

Ilíon said...

Blah-blah: "... It is not unlike a certain species of Theistic Fundamentalist who can't stand the idea there are moral, virtuous and good Atheists."

Really? Such people exist? Such people aren't just the imaginations of a certain sort
potpourri adherent who slavishly follow the scare-mongering of some long-dead bishops (not that those bishops didn't have institutional, which is to say, 'market-share,' reasons for their scare-mongering). You know, the sort who oddly (and foolishly) imagine in their heart-of-hearts that adherence to potpourri is what saves a man. You know, the sort who frequently will make common-cause with the enemies of Christ against the “enemies” of potpourri.

Call it what you will, it still stinks.

BenYachov said...

>Really? Such people exist?

God wrote His Law on the hearts of all men. God's One True Church teaches us non-believers by negation who follow the Light God gives them threw extra-ordinary Grace can be saved.

Of course if one choices to believe some modern variation spin off leading back to a fat German in 1517 I can't help them.

On another note why would you take offense what I have written when it is Christian truth?

I think you need to go to confession.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion if Jesus posted here unhder a pseudonym you would call him an intellectually dishonest panderer to the dregs of society.

Papalinton said...

Hi Ben

I have read your comments. I have queried a couple of things from your comments and received little in respect of clarification. You say 'classical theism' is the correct interpretation for god and his nature. From that perspective you infer that even if god was responsible for the evil and tragedy in the world, he is not responsible because 'pure actuality or Being Itself is necessarily also Goodness Itself. In other words they are transferable or interchangeable.

Generally, from my reading, not my words, is that classical theism is a term frequently used by philosophers and theologians to describe God, and to make debate about the existence of God easier. One of its 'endearing' features It that it replaced the term 'Judaeo-Islamo-Christian theism' mainly because it was easier to say and remember. Not only was the term 'classical theism' easier to write but it also attempted to push the idea of the religions sharing key aspects better.

Ben, your 'Classical theism', [that which reflects the thinking of Aquinas almost 1,000 years ago] attempts to capture the *essence* of God rather than the personal side. This is the difference that characterises the Theistic Personalist god and the classical theistic god, just as you say.

At this point I don't even have to enter the debate. I let the christians speak for themselves. The "theistic personalist god' seems to be a no-brainer in today's society. Because the Classical theist god, that is the uncaused cause, the pure actuality and goodness of Aquinas, aided and abetted by Anselm's 'That Which No Other can Be Greater' are so riven with the Deistic notion of god, most of today's christians believe that this view of God makes him seem cold and impersonal. A god for which there is no personal relationship possible. Most christians, other than the higher echelons of the catholic church, are the only ones that continue to cling to a god that nobody can come to grips with. Indeed many catholics reject the classical god for that very reason. Feser is flogging a dead horse. [cont]

Papalinton said...

@ Ben [Cont.2]

Your sticking to the 'classical theistic god' is from personal choice only. And any interpretation of a classical god is assertion only, and is not based in fact or evidence. If it was, then there would not be the raging debate among christians today with so many who outrightly reject 'classical theism' for a 'theistic personal god'. I don't have to prove anything here Ben. I let the majority of average everyday christians chuck out the 'classical god' on its ear.

And from Wiki [of all places] comes the following on why there is so much continuing controversy around the interpretation of the bible.
"William Yarchin (History of Biblical Interpretation: a Reader (Hendrickson, 2004), xi.) observes that “contemporary interpreters approach the Bible from many directions and produce different results.”
This, Ben, is the total basis for your preference for a 'classical god' as opposed to a 'theistic personal god'. Interpretation, not evidence.

In Wiki it goes on, "To illustrate, Yarchin pictures a shelf full of religious books, “none saying the same things but all presented as *reliable* interpretations of the Bible.” Conflicting interpretations of the Bible is not merely a contemporary phenomenon because Yarchin’s study goes on to exemplify “the many ways in which the Bible has been read for over two thousand years.” Robert Morgan (“Introduction” in Theology of the New Testament, Rudolf Karl Bultmann, xii (Baylor University Press, 2002, originally published 1951-1955) characterizes these conflicting interpretations as an “unfinished debate about biblical authority and the nature of theological interpretation” that engenders “a church deeply divided on these matters today.”

Marcus Borg (Reading The Bible Again For The First Time (Harper, 2002) 4.) counts the conflict in biblical interpretation as “the single greatest issue dividing Christians in North America today.”

So Ben, christians pooh-pooh your classical god. If you cannot convince fellow religionists, why should I be bothered to listen to the drivel you offer. It has not been established on any substantive base, and I know that because others of your 'kind' think very differently.

[cont.]

Papalinton said...

@ Ben [Cont.3]

The most profound debate in christian circles today is precisely over the 'classical theism' vs 'personalist theism'.
Classical theism’s Mark R. Talbot ascribes evil to God. Talbot interprets the Bible as teaching that “God’s foreordination is the ultimate reason why everything comes about, including the existence of all evil persons and things and the occurrence of any evil acts or events,” and he adds, “this is what Scripture explicitly claims.” Talbot quotes Isaiah 45:7 in which God says, “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity [lit evil], I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
(Mark R. Talbot, “All the Good That Is Ours in Christ,” in Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, ed. John Piper and Justin Taylor, 43-44 (Crossway Books, 2006))

Strongly opposing the 'classical theism' approach is Greg Boyd, who counters that "divine goodness does not completely control or in any sense will evil. Boyd and Talbot both cite the exact same passage, Isaiah 45:7. Along with the passage, Boyd quotes Claus Westermann who interprets the passage as saying that “each and every thing created, each and every event that happens, light and darkness, weal and woe, are attributed to [God], and to him alone.” However, Boyd contradicts Westermann by interpreting the passage as applying only to its immediate context and as “not concerned with God’s cosmic creative activity.” (G. Boyd, God at War, 149. Boyd references the Westermann quotation as “C. Westermann, Isaiah 40-66, trans. D. M. G. Stalker (Westminster, 1969),162)

Classical theism is based around the following: Transcendence, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence and Absolute Benevolence. Any good text will quickly points to inumerble examples of where there are some any inconsistencies between these elements.

For example: Some of the parts of classical theism contradict each other, and, occasionally, themselves. Transcendence and omnipresence seem opposite: how can a being that is entirely separate from this universe also be everywhere within this universe? He must either be one or the other - and yet, without one of them the idea of God seems incomplete. Either God is part of the universe (indeed, being everywhere, one might even say he is the universe) which means that we can have more knowledge of him than we would pretend. Otherwise God is so separate from the universe that he could not act on the universe or start it. Certainly, the idea of a non-extended 4being acting on the universe in the first place is a difficult one. [This example from The BBC's 'The Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything." It was the most succinct I could find and better than my words] [cont.]

Papalinton said...

@ Ben [Cont.4]

Because of the continuing and raging aspect of this debate in christian quarters signals at least two points. 1. The concept of 'classical theism' has not been achieved. 2. And 1,000 years on from when it was first proposed it still has not been resolved and is unlikely to be resolved as the concept is so hotly debated. As such, with the failure of the classical god conception having not captured the high ground than any further debate based on this definition is useless and cannot move one any closer to the truth.

As I said earlier, frequently, assertions about God do simply mean they are just assertions, and not backed up by anything but circularity.

Now in terms of the theodic concept of why tragic and bad things happen to good people while under the watch of Ben's classical god will follow shortly.

Cheers

Papalinton said...

At [Cont.3]
The paragraph should read:
"Classical theism is based around the following: Transcendence, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence and Absolute Benevolence. Any good text will quickly point to inumerble examples of where there are so many inconsistencies between these elements.

BenYachov said...

More that a few mistakes, off topic tangents, projecting Theistic personalist concept onto the classic concepts, fallacies of equivocation.

Merely pointing out the errors is a task in and of itself. But I took some notes and will respond tonight.

You didn't even catch the mistake I made earlier.

GREV said...

Ben: I'm part French, Italian and Irish and even I'm not that stubborn (even with that mix in me) to want to continue the interaction with Papalinton.

Have at it.

BenYachov said...

I'm northern Italian on my Mother's side which as some French roots. But I am not Irish on my Father's side. I'm Scottish!

Nuff said.

Papalinton said...

"Ben: I'm part French, Italian and Irish and even I'm not that stubborn (even with that mix in me) to want to continue the interaction with Papalinton," said one brick to the other.

GREV said...

No -- when someone wants to show even some respect and admit to the basic fact that their view Might Not Be Correct, then I love to converse with that type of person.

I am more then willing as Keith Ward says to admit I might be wrong.

Right wing fundamentalists are not that type of person. Especially when their responses remind me of Theology and Philosophy 101 and they make a much greater claim to erudition concerning these matters.

BenYachov said...

>No -- when someone wants to show even some respect and admit to the basic fact that their view Might Not Be Correct,

I wouldn't go that far. I would only require they make a good faith effort to try to understand the view they claim they disagree with.

I don't know why both religious Fundies and Fundie Gnu's find that so hard?

Ilíon said...

Blah-blah: "I don't know why both religious Fundies and Fundie Gnu's find that so hard?"

Perhaps because these "Fundies" are mostly in your imagination?

There is a certain strain in Catholicism (as in “mainstream” or “liberal” Protestantism) which, other that its "God talk", is hard to distinguish from the “Gnus” in its intellectual hubris and scorn of (mostly or entirely imaginary) “Fundies” (this hubris and scorn appear to be closely linked), which term seems to be applied:
1) by the atheists to *any* Christian who takes the Faith seriously;
2) by these “intellectual” Catholics to any non-“liberal” (or not overly-intellectualized and bloodless) Protestant.


Once again, *some* people appear to prefer to make common-cause with the enemies of Christ – so long as they’re socially respectable – than to see the Protestant “proles” as their Brothers in Christ.

Ilíon said...

I'm pretty sure that, say, Southern Baptists, understand that membership in the Southern Baptist Convention does not save a man's soul. I wonder, why is it so difficult for (some) Romanists to understand that neither does membership in the demonination which foolishly claims to be The One True Church (*).

The Body of Christ is not co-extensive with *any* human organization.

(*) Actually, I do understand it: to frankly and unreservedly acknowledge this particular truth is to deny the Romanist assertion to be The One True Church.

Ilíon said...

Blah-blah: "Of course if one choices to believe some modern variation spin off leading back to a fat German in 1517 I can't help them."

Wasn’t that one dude – you know, one of the ones whom adherents of potpourri imagine can be prayed to in place of Christ – Tom Something-or-other, a pretty hefty dude himself?

In the pictures I recall of that German dude, he doesn’t appear to me to be “fat”?

BenYachov said...

First let us deal with the main argument san Paps off topic Tangents.

>I have read your comments. I have queried a couple of things from your comments and received little in respect of clarification.

I'm sorry but you haven’t really asked any specific questions. You just paraphrased what I wrote and asked for my assent to it without telling me how you understood what I wrote.

>You say 'classical theism' is the correct interpretation for god and his nature. From that perspective you infer that even if god was
responsible for the evil and tragedy in the world, he is not responsible because 'pure actuality or Being Itself is necessarily also Goodness Itself. In other words they are transferable or interchangeable.

I reply: No I said God is not a human moral agent. God’s goodness is not the goodness of human moral agency. God has no moral obligations to us. None at all(If you read the links especially the Stephen Law one it does not mean God can do what he wants with us.). Just as God’s absolute perfection does not equate Him having perfect muscle tone. The argument is ascribing human moral obligation to God is unintelligible. Your inability to understand the concept of what it means for something to be unintelligible is what is dogging you here.

BenYachov said...

>Classical theism is based around the following: Transcendence, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence and Absolute Benevolence. Any good text will quickly point to inumerble examples of where there are so many inconsistencies between these elements.


I reply:Only if the terms “Transcendence, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence and Absolute Benevolence” are undefined. For example
Omnipotence. Descartes believed God’s Omnipotence meant God could do contradictory things like make a rock so heavy he could not lift
it. But Aquinas correctly rejected that nonsense.
Dawkins just doesn’t know what he is talking about as per usual. Channeling his arguments don't help you.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/02/dawkins-on-omnipotence-and-omniscience.html

BenYachov said...

>Transcendence and omnipresence seem opposite: how can a being that is entirely separate from this universe also be everywhere within this universe?

Well a being cannot do that anymore than anyone can make 2+2=5. However Being Itself is another matter. To cite the 24 thesis A thing is called a being because of being ("esse"). God and creature are not called beings unequivocally, nor wholly equivocally, but analogously, by an analogy both of attribution and of proportionality.

You have given a great argument as to why a TP god, who is just a being along side other beings and not Being Itself can't be both Transcendence and omnipresence.

I thought you said we where going to "discarded the 'theistic personalist' perspective"?

This is what you get when you don't do your homework.

BenYachov said...

Here is a better translation of the fourth thesis.

"Being", which takes its name from [the verb] "to be", is not spoken in the same unequivocal sense of God and of creatures, but neither is it spoken equivocally, but analogically, by an analogy of attribution or proportionality.

Some links on the 24 thesis

http://www.scottmsullivan.com/24Theses.htm

http://www.thesumma.info/reality/reality56.php

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/catholicteaching/philosophy/thomast.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomism

BenYachov said...

Now let us look at Paps' off topic tangents.

>Generally, from my reading, not my words, is that classical theism is a term frequently used by philosophers and theologians to
describe God, and to make debate about the existence of God easier.

I reply: No Classic Theism is literally the classical original and universal philosophical understanding of God. Theistic Personalism is a late novelty that was Ad Hoc created to conform God to Modern Philosophy. Aquinas didn't invent it. He built upon it from Augustine, Pseudo-Dyonesious, Photeus, Aristotle, Plato etc....

>The "theistic personalist god' seems to be a no-brainer in today's society. Because the Classical theist god, that is the uncaused cause, the pure actuality and goodness of Aquinas, aided and abetted by Anselm's 'That Which No Other can Be Greater' ….. Feser is
flogging a dead horse.


Yeh Anselm ontological argument was historically, rejected by Aquinas & Thomists like Feser
http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/11/anselms-ontological-argument.html

The ontological argument really has nothing to do with the Argument from Evil or the modern dilemma of how an All Good, All powerful God can allow evil.

Fail.

BenYachov said...

>Ben, your 'Classical theism', [that which reflects the thinking of Aquinas almost 1,000 years ago] attempts to capture the *essence* of God rather than the personal side. This is the difference that characterises the Theistic Personalist god and the classical theistic god, just as you say.

I reply: Well your erroneous historical claims and ignorance of the Development of Doctrine aside. God being personal has a different meaning for the Classical Theist than the TP. We are not ignoring God personal side we are defining it properly.

Of course the link titled

Reply to David Span in the March 12, 2011 5:26 PM post explained all this. You clearly didn't read it.

BenYachov said...

>Your sticking to the 'classical theistic god' is from personal choice only. And any interpretation of a classical god is assertion only, and is not based in fact or evidence.

Category mistake much? First of all you define “fact and evidence” in terms of empirical science only. Which is a Philosophical position not a scientific "facts or evidence" view itself. Thus it is false by it's own standards.

You should know by now I reject Scientism.

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/03/scientism-roundup.html#more

BenYachov said...

Paps wrote:
>Talbot interprets the Bible as teaching that “God’s foreordination is the ultimate reason why everything comes about, including the existence of all evil persons and things and the occurrence of any evil acts or events,” and he adds, “this is what Scripture explicitly
claims.” Talbot quotes Isaiah 45:7......Strongly opposing the 'classical theism' approach is Greg Boyd, who counters that "divine goodness does not completely control or in
any sense will evil. Boyd and Talbot both cite the exact same passage, Isaiah 45:7. Along with the passage, Boyd quotes Claus Westermann who interprets the passage as saying that “each and every thing created, each and every event that happens, light and darkness, weal and woe, are attributed to [God], and to him alone.” However, Boyd contradicts Westermann by interpreting the passage as applying only to its immediate context and as “not concerned with God’s cosmic creative activity.

I reply: So what are you trying to say? The Bible is not perspicuous and Private Interpretation is a bust contrary to what the Reformers claimed? Well I believe that! I am Catholic after all.

BenYachov said...

Really Paps this is as bad as if you mocked our cranky Protestant friend Ilíon's by attacking the Papacy & accusing it of being "Fallible".

Why should Ilion give a crap about the papacy being "Fallible"? He believes that already! Just as I reject the idea Scripture is perspicuous and can be privately interpreted apart from the Holy Church and Tradition.

Besides we are talking about Natural Theology as shown rationally by natural philosophy. Divine Revelation isn't even an issue yet.

You have other errors but I am bored now.

Like I've tried to tell u. One size fits all polemics. Not working for ya.

Papalinton said...

Hi GREV
"No -- when someone wants to show even some respect....."

No GREV, it doesn't work like that.
These days one earns respect, not accorded it by some perverse means.

If you want respect, you have to earn respect, you have to work for it. The days of showing deference to clergy, are long gone as they should be. All are treated equally, all must earn a place at the table. Peddling mythology as fact simply does not cut the mustard anymore in a more educated, wiser and worldlier world. Priests have to grub for food just as everybody else does. No free handouts anymore.
I couldn't give two rats whether you converse with me or not. You have little to contribute and nothing to offer modern society. Your worldview is through the rear-view mirror, manacled to the period 100-400CE, the formative years in the forging of the christian mythos, and ever since from which this pantomime has been marking time.

You and I agree on every other god that has ever been dreamed up by the human mind since time immemorial. They are the stuff of fictive creativity. I simply extend that agreement to include your little toadie in the panoply of contrived super-beings.

You say I should respect you and your little toadie. But I am guided by thousands of years of christian attitude and their monstrous behaviour toward other belief systems, and history informs us in no uncertain terms, 'respect' was not a word christians exercised while piously and hypocritically obliterating different and competing worldviews.

The christianities are first and foremost village level clubs of the like-minded. Segregation and separation are their key strategies. 'If you are not saved through jesus then you are destined to eternal damnation, no matter how good and kind a person you are'. This is the foundational mantra of the select and clubbish membership of the christianities. So much so, that even the various christianities themselves are branded heretics and blasphemers and apostates to each other. [cont.]

Papalinton said...

@ GREV [Cont.2]
The absolute nonsense trotted out by Ben Yachov about 'classical theism' trumping 'personalist theism' is all based on personal attribution and choice, governed by emotion and the 'warm and fuzzies'. What goes for 'evidence' in none other than factoids; information that has been repeated and repeated for so long that by default they seemed to have acquired the status of 'fact'. Of course, this form of evidence is called 'christian evidence', evidence not based on fact or proofs or substantive experimentation or reproducibility, but rather on emotion and personal experience, which is simply implication at best and inferential at worst. 'Personal experience' as applied to religion is a euphemism for dissociative hallucinations. Nothing more, nothing less. And even herding or mass swarming is capable of inducing hallucinatory experiences.

Such adherence to 'tradition', despite the overwhelming evidence accruing daily from all branches of the sciences and investigatory disciplines positing religion as just another element of this herding instinct in communities, just another social construct, through which community structure and order was originally maintained. These days of diversity, multiculturalism, internationality, sectoral and village religions like the christianities, must operate in a more benign and inclusive and wider-acceptance framework. This is a must if it is to maintain relevancy in today's society.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Papalinton didn't address the "classical" theistic perspective, mostly a red herring.

Ben said: "Classic Theism is literally the classical original and universal philosophical understanding of God."

IF I came to the bible without preconceptions, and just read the Pentateuch, I would find your claim simply unbelievable, even based on a different book from another religious tradition.

The God of the Hebrew Bible is clearly a personal god with psychological characteristics such as anger, jealousy, etc.. It seems you would need some philosophical biases, very strong ones, to come away with anything but that reading. Then when you get to the NT it doesn't get much more personal than Jesus, as someone already pointed out.

Perhaps there are philosophical reasons to reject that personalistic notion. But that doesn't mean it's Biblical. I was raised Protestant, so I take the Bible itself more seriously than Aquinas when interpreting the Bible.

For instance, if it says 'God became angry', that means God became angry.

This is a side issue from the question of whether the "classical" theistic view can solve the problem of evil.

Papalinton said...

@ Ben Yachov
"Category mistake much? First of all you define “fact and evidence” in terms of empirical science only. Which is a Philosophical position not a scientific "facts or evidence" view itself. Thus it is false by it's own standards.

You should know by now I reject Scientism."

PapaL
What twaddle. A philosophical god is no god at all. Philosophy deals with ideation, with ideas. One cannot translate a philosophical idea of a god into an actual being. That is just nonsense. Philosophy is an intellectual pursuit. An philosophy is not a proof of existence, only of a possibility of existence. Philosophy can also posit the non-existence of a god[s] through the same intellectual process.

You reject 'scientism' not because it is scientism but rather it conflicts with your 'godism'. The total intellectual scholarship of christian theology starts with the premise that god exists, and then attempts to fit the evidence to the premise. This is the fundamental suppositional technique in which Apologists are principally engaged.
This is classically the process godism, the idolatrous worship of an ethereal non-entity.

BenYachov said...

@BDK wrote:
>IF I came to the bible without preconceptions, and just read the Pentateuch, I would find your claim simply unbelievable, even based on a different book from another religious tradition.

But my friend that IMHO is a Protestant sentiment that begs the question alien to both Catholicism and Orthodox Judaism. You don't interpret the Bible privately you interpret it with tradition and Church authority.

Even the Pentateuch says the Priests are the Judges who interpret the Law. Jesus said "Harken unto the Pharisees....the successors of Moses and do what they say".

Tradition is commanded by the Bible (2 Thes 3:6)

Anyway thanks for noticing Paps has no game. It's nice interacting with an intelligent Atheist.

>Perhaps there are philosophical reasons to reject that personalistic notion. But that doesn't mean it's Biblical. I was raised Protestant, so I take the Bible itself more seriously than Aquinas when interpreting the Bible.

I appreciate your candor here. But the Protestant view IMHO is the late view. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, & Orthodox Rabbinic Jew don't approach Scripture that way.

BenYachov said...

>For instance, if it says 'God became angry', that means God became angry.

I must disagree BDK God does not have emotions. To quote Norman Geisler "Just because Scripture says God enfolds us in His wings doesn't mean God is literally a giant Chicken".

God's anger is simply is will to justice. Not an emotion.

More later I look forward to having an intelligent discussion with you.

Paps as we have seen has gone the way of Ilion.

BenYachov said...

@BDK

It is IMHO a mistake for you to do double duty(like Paps). It isn't reasonable or good strategy to try to prove to me Protestantism is true over Catholicism & then turn around and give Atheistic arguments against Protestantism.

That is more work than you need to do or should do.

GREV said...

Ben:

Refreshing to read what you write.

I might be a Pastor who serves in a Protestant Church but I do have shared affinities and deep sympathies with much of Catholic Theology.

It distresses me how little some Protestants know of our shared heritage.

I had a wonderful conversation several years ago with a Franiscan Monk who had majored in Aquinas. He got me onto Josef Pieper, a European Philosopher who is very interesting.

Carl Trueman, a professor of church history, at Westminister in Philadelphia, got himself into hot water by writing about the shared theological understandings between Catholic and Protestants.

Gets amazing when people want to read only to label and never to think about the position of the other.

GREV said...

Ben -- Quick reminder, go easy on the Fat German from the 1500's. He didn't want to leave the Catholic church. At first.

BenYachov said...

>Ben -- Quick reminder, go easy on the Fat German from the 1500's. He didn't want to leave the Catholic church. At first.

Done! His views on Mary are very Catholic & yeh having Alexander VI as Pope would be a trial. I lost count how many illegitimate children he had.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ben I'm not taking on the classical view at all as offering a solution to the problem of evil.I'm just trying to see why you would subscribe to the classical view.

I find the claim that the classical view is the oldest view strange. The oldest view is to be found in the Hebrew Bible, hence definitely not the Catholic Church. Likely we had a plethora of views depending on what strand of Judaism you belong to.

At any rate, Papalinton should have focused on your putative solution to the problem of evil rather than this (interesting) red herring. He asked, you answered. The question is whether your view can solve the problem, not whether it is really the oldest, canonical, or reasonable, view of God.

BenYachov said...

>I find the claim that the classical view is the oldest view strange.

It seems factual to me. I'l explain in a bit.....

>The oldest view is to be found in the Hebrew Bible, hence definitely not the Catholic Church.

Begs the question. What is the oldest existing interpretation of the Bible? What evidence do you have if any the primitive Israelites held a primitive anthropomorphic view.

>Likely we had a plethora of views depending on what strand of Judaism you belong to.

Yes all under a classic framework. We Catholics differ with the Muslims & Jews radically in many areas. But we all hold the same basic classical view.

None of us believe in the old man in the sky or the disembodied "unlimited" human mind in the sky.

I get back to you later friend. I have work to do.

BenYachov said...

Briefly

>The question is whether your view[classic theism] can solve the problem[of evil].

Well it can because it sees it as a non-problem. Others has said it solves the problem by dodging it.

What does it mean to say God is Good? What is evil?

As long as we understand God's Goodness is not understood as human moral goodness. Then it is a non-problem since all modern theodicy presupposes God should be a perfectly morally good well behaved individual. Like a morally good human with superpowers.

I reject that view. God is not and cannot be good in that way. Sure God can do good just as Donald Trump can choose to give me money to help my autistic kids.
But he is not my father he doesn't owe me anything. If Trump does that his good act is gratuitous not obligatory.

Blue Devil Knight said...

It doesn't beg the question to say that the "oldest" view didn't arise with the Catholic church! Now which of the Jewish views conform to what you call the classical view is the question. But your original claim that the Catholics are the ones to go to seems false. I'd go to the Jews on the historical question of early conceptions of the Judeo-Christian god. And I'd bet money that it wasn't univocal.

This is all orthogonal to whether one out of the many ways of thinking of God can bypass the problem of evil.

I direct the problem of evil toward the more personal view of God, not sure if it would come up with yours (which frankly seems to not be what we find in the Hebrew Bible, where God sees, creates in time, gets angry, walks about the land, etc.). Burden of proof is heavy to explain away all the apparent anthroporphisms in the Hebrew Bible. Just believing it because it would solve a philosophical problem doesn't mean it's the god of the Bible. YOu might be worshipping the false idol of Aquinas. :)

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ben it seems a very impersonal God indeed. I thought God so loved the world and all that. I have trouble stomaching this impersonal God, a loveless platonic form.

But again, maybe it solves the problem from evil frankly I will need to think about it for a while before I form an opinion as I need to read about it more and think.

GREV said...

BDK -- very good comments in the last two posts especially. Am interested in Ben's responses.

BenYachov said...

BDK,

Philo could hardly be said to have believed in the Old Man in sky or Disembodied Uber-Human Mind. The Rabbis of the Talmud the same. The name of God was YHWH "I AM"(i.e. I exist, I have being) a rather strange name for a God considering the anthropomorphic tenancies of semitic paganism who made their godlings mere personifications of natural forces while believing the Universe came about uncaused from mindless Chaos.

>Now which of the Jewish views conform to what you call the classical view is the question.

Rather I need to be shown the one that is anthropomorphic among them? I can't think of any.

BenYachov said...

>Ben it seems a very impersonal God indeed.

Rather he is more than merely personal. Human person with metapowers vs impersonal is a false choice.

>I thought God so loved the world and all that.

His love is an act of pure will not mere passion. He wills my ultimate good and a perfect end.
Thus he will never have a Cosmic Diva fit and fall out of love with me.

>I have trouble stomaching this impersonal God, a loveless platonic form.

I find Richard Dawkins' screed against "the god of the Old Testament" to be dead on when applied to that metaphysical abortion known as the Theistic Personalist "god".

Besides the classic God is the source of Love. Love as I know it is a mere reflection of what He is in reality! How is that not better and how can I not love Him?

more later.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 306   Newer› Newest»