Thursday, April 03, 2008

I'm getting fried on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board again

Same old stuff. It's an appeal to ignorance, Carrier refuted me back in 2004, apologists are are dishonest because, after all, they're apologists you know. It's late and I'm tired.

55 comments:

Ilíon said...

Look, I know that you don't want to know it, by the fact is that great numbers (perhaps even the majority) of 'atheists' (*) are intellectually dishonest.



(*) That's another thing you don't want to know: there aren't many *real* atheists in this world.

lurker-to anon-back to lurk said...

Don't get too frustrated Dr. Reppert.
You're book played a large role in me coming to Christianity (Catholicism in particular) in 2004.
In 2003 some really bad stuff was occurring in my life. I didn't know how to handle it. I know I needed to talk to someone, but I didn't know who. My friends were of no use. They can be broken down as being atheist, agnostic or pluralistic.
None of their "answers" did a damn thing for me. Well, they did something... just confused me alot more than I was before.
I started thinking about God and the possibility of life actually having a meaning. The possibility that this terrible thing that happened might actually have some purpose behind it, and that behind that purpose was Someone.
Not knowing much of philosophy or theology I read C.S. Lewis (a friend had suggested it to me). I read some of his books and really liked them. The great thing was it made sense. Especially one of his arguments. That argument seemed like a homerun for me. One of those "I FINALLY GET IT!!!" moments.
I was curious to see how the on-line community felt about C.S. Lewis. And quickly I lost trust in his views and that particular argument.
I don't think it was because of any great counter-argument, but simply the sheer numbers of those who seemed think along the lines of "C.S. Lewis?!? He's a no-nothing and everyone who knows anything knows that!".
A while later I was back in the local bookstore. I saw a book called "C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea" immediately a book by Dennett sprang to mind I thought, "there's someone who's going to defend C.S. Lewis?? Hmmmm".
So I picked it up and was blown away. I think it was that book of yours that played the bulk of the role in me no longer being intimidated, convinced by sheer numbers and hostility of the tone of dissenters alone.

So.... thanks for that.

lurker-to anon-back to lurk said...

Quick question though.
Regarding Plantinga's EAAN Carr says:

Did 'evolution' produce the true belief that the Giants won the Superbowl?

Did 'evolution' produce the true belief that human beings are descended from creatures that were not Homo sapiens?

How come we have true beliefs that were produced by naturalistic means, and not by selective pressure against people who believe that the Patriots won the Super Bowl?

Could it be that Plantinga has totally overlooked that he is constructing a bogus straw man?

Perhaps Plantinga's reasoning was affected by these supernatural demons he claims exist.

As I am not justified in believing a man whose thoughts could have been manipulated by demons, I take no notice of what Plantinga says.


Has Plantinga addressed this criticism?

Regardless, is that the Giants won the Superbowl a true belief? Something you believe is something you have trust in. There really doesn't seem to be need for 'trust' in something that we know for a fact has come to pass (the Giants winning the Superbowl).
If someone were to say to me, "I believe the Giants won the Superbowl" after the game had concluded I would probably respond with, "there's nothing to believe. We know for a fact that they did win."
A belief is something that occurs in various degrees. You could have a belief about something with a particular intensity.... and that intensity can increase or decrease depending on more info that is supplied.
But Carr using something that is definitive (either/or) and then showing that one can 'know' that A has happened opposed to B.

Can Carr treat the definitive victor of a game as being something that can be believed?

But along with that he smuggles in something that would indeed be a belief:

Did 'evolution' produce the true belief that human beings are descended from creatures that were not Homo sapiens?

Obviously the Giants won the Superbowl, so this must be just as obvious... right? But it's not. There might be evidential support, but in the absence of a time machine (and very long life span) we could never know this to the same extent that we would know the victor of a Superbowl.

Hans said...

I wouldn't take much notice of Carr

Look at this shoddy post of his.

It shows that he just hasn't grasped even the basis of Vic's arguments :-

Carr writes the following. I don't know how to put it in bold, but it shows how shallow his thinking is.


What is a rational inference?

Is a rational inference the same thing as a logically valid argument?

Is the following a rational inference?

1) A loving father is one who protects his children from harm
2) God is a loving father
3) God has the power to protect his children from harm
4) Therefore, if God exists, God would protect his children from harm

Ilíon said...

Hans, to bold or italicize text, enclose it in tags such as this: "[b]the bold text[/b]" or "[i]the italicized text[/i]"

EXCEPT, replace those square brackets ("[" and "]") with angle brackets ("<" and ">")


You may notice the note below the combox: "You can use some HTML tags, such as ... " This can server to remind you of the formatting to use.

lurker-to anon-back to lurk said...

Hi Hans,

I was not too impressed with Carr's point either.

1) A loving father is one who protects his children from harm
2) God is a loving father
3) God has the power to protect his children from harm
4) Therefore, if God exists, God would protect his children from harm


Protecting a child from harm? Gotta define your terms, Dr. Carr. Does a loving father protect his child from all harms? To what extent is the protection? What is considered 'harm'?

Does Dr. Carr not agree that it is in those situations of potential harm that children grow the most?

Stress can 'harm' someone physiologically. Increased levels of cAMP in your cells can be very taxing on all levels (molecular and the body as a whole); however, stressful situations are usually the situations where one has the most potential to learn and grow.

Carr's (1) should be:

An overprotective father is one who protects his children from harm

Ilíon said...

"Has Plantinga addressed this criticism?"

Is Plantinga obligated to address such an "criticism," which is, at best (and for which one must really stretch to impute good-faith to the "criticism"), addressed to a misrepresentation of his position and arguments?

Is anyone obligated to address pseudo-criticisms?

brandon said...

lurker:
Regardless, is that the Giants won the Superbowl a true belief? Something you believe is something you have trust in. There really doesn't seem to be need for 'trust' in something that we know for a fact has come to pass (the Giants winning the Superbowl).

You still have to trust in your senses to say that the Giants won, assuming that you were at the game. Of course if you weren't at the game there is a whole slew of things you might have to trust, such as the reliability of news, the function of tv, etc. So in the Superbowl case what you have a strongly justified belief. If it is very strongly justified (your mention of "various degrees" hints at this) then you could say you have knowledge about the Superbowl winner.

Facts are just things generally accepted as being strongly justified. However, factuality doesn't prove truthfulness, it is just an indicator; you might say that facts are social artifacts. Facts are not necessarily true. Just think of any old fact from the past that is not a fact anymore.

The above is of course just one position on epistemology, but I'm pretty sure it's right, or at least mostly so.

lurker-to anon-back to lurk said...

Thanks for the insight, Brandon.
I wasn't thinking of it like that.

You're right, I trust the reliability of my sense to relay accurate info to me. This still favors Plantinga's view that if our cognitive faculties are simply the result of a blind, purposeless process that simply selects that which is functional in a given situation... then we would have weak reasons (or no reason at all) to assume that those same cognitive faculties had the ability to yield true beliefs. Whether those beliefs were materialistic ones about the 'true' nature of the universe or beliefs about our ability to trust our modes of perception.

Hans said...

Paul Manata is incredibly good on why it is absurd to think that God would protect people from harm.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/04/answering-back-to-reppert-or-is-it-god.html

'God could plan, allow, decree evil for a good reason, yes.'

This is what atheists just don't get with their pathetic whining for a God who will wrap them in cotton wool.

Rhology said...

Wow, this is evidence of VERY deep thought going on over there. I shouldn't've thought I'd be impressed.

lurker-to anon-back to lurk said...

Rhology,

I was pretty stunned to read that comment. But to then find out that he/she is a moderator of that forum. That's pretty sad.

Mike Darus said...

I was intrigued by the contention that the AFR contains supernatural presuppositions and fails to use materialistic terms.

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

Rhology: "Wow, this is evidence of VERY deep thought going on over there. I shouldn't've thought I'd be impressed."

But, that's pretty much how just about any 'naturalist/atheist' one encounters will reason (*), isn't it? "Conclusion" first, followed by any bald assertion and/or denial and any question-begging and/or special-pleading as necessary to maintain the self-delusion that they have rationally adopted a rational and logically consistent worldview/metaphysic.

(*) May Socrates forgive me for so misusing the word.


Mike Darus: "I was intrigued by the contention that the AFR contains supernatural presuppositions and fails to use materialistic terms."

Nuwanda presented a summary of the AfR. The AfR undercuts naturalism as being the truth about the nature of reality; specifically, it shows that naturalism is a woefully inadequate explanation of and assertion about the nature of reality.

But, if one accepts that the AfR is a valid argument, then one *must* reject naturalism.

Therefore ("reasons" the naturalist), the AtF is ipso facto an illogical argument. And, since it refutes naturalism/materialism (and since so many "rationalists" are unconcerned with actual logical, critical and truth-based reasoning), why not simply assert that the AfR contains (hidden) supernatural presuppositions?

"... and fails to use materialistic terms."

And, why be concerned at admitting that one is presupposing materialism and accepting/rejecting arguments on the basis of how they adhere to it?


Of course, the assertion that the AfR contains (hidden) supernatural presuppositions does rather imply that the human ability to reason is "supernatural," doesn't it? I personally have no problem with that ... for it logically follows that if "the natural" is to be defined in reference to materialism/naturalism then "the mental" *must be* something other than "natural" (for, as CS Lewis points out, mind cannot be forced into that particular box).


Lurker-to-anon: "I was pretty stunned to read that comment. But to then find out that he/she is a moderator of that forum. That's pretty sad."

Get a load of this (old) thread: Reconsidering Some Atheistic Arguments. What I mean is look at how his fellow "rationalists" reacted to Jim Lazarus' attempt to critically and rationally examine whether certain common atheistic arguments are good arguments.


---------------------
From Rhology's link: GenesisNemesis: "Besides, what do you suppose scientists replace materialism with?"

Also, these self-trumpeting "rationalists" so seldom notice that they constantly give away the truth of their real beliefs.

These people like to pretend that there really is a difference and distinction between "metaphysical naturalism" and "methodological naturalism;" that 'science' (whatever that word means) can and (by its very nature) must be done on a basis of "methodological naturalism" but that this in no way implies "metaphysical naturalism."

GenesisNemesis has given away the fact that he/she equates 'science' with materialism, that is, with "metaphysical naturalism."


Oddly enough, these folk seem not to like the idea that 'science' could be done on a basis of (what we might call) "methodological designism" and that this in no way implies "metaphysical designism."

normajean said...

I'm curious, Victor. Are you aware of any "heavy hitter" pop naturalists who have engaged with yours or Hasker's book? I'm thinking of those in the company of Dennett or Searle. If so, what type of feedback, if any have you received?

Blessings,

NJ

Victor Reppert said...

I think Jaegwon Kim read Hasker's book and said it was one of the best defenses of dualism out there. People like Dennett are just contemptuous.

normajean said...

Thanks, Vic. I thought intellectually honest folks would love to get their hands on a book like yours. Perhaps, this milieu is so strapped to science and empiricism that folks are unable to see outside of their paradigm. I sure hope that’s not the case.

Victor Reppert said...

Really, in academic philosophy people are sometimes governed by "pecking order" much more than they are governed by a search for truth. Dennett is, of course, way up the pecking order from a mere community college adjunct like me, so if he wants to ignore me, he can.

philosophickle said...

Normajean,

I think the best (i.e. most honest, thought out) responses to the AfR can be found in Naturalism Defeated?, even though it is not aimed at Reppert's argument directly. As far as I know, there have been no real replies to Reppert's argument other than a long-winded reply by Richard Carrier which does not really go after the thrust of Reppert's argument.

Solon said...

>>some really bad stuff was occurring in my life.
>>I didn't know how to handle it.
>>I know I needed to talk to someone, but I didn't know who.
>>My friends were of no use.... None of their "answers" did a damn thing for me.
>>I started thinking about God and the possibility of life actually having a meaning. The possibility that this terrible thing that happened might actually have some purpose behind it, and that behind that purpose was Someone.

If that doesn't embarrass anyone with an intellectual conscience away from Christianity, I don't know what will.

exapologist said...

There's a book symposium on Vic's CSLDI in an issue of the journal Philosophia Christi several years back. That's worth a look.

Ilíon said...

Solon (concerning Lurker-to's reasons for considering the Christian claims about the nature and meaning of reality): "If that doesn't embarrass anyone with an intellectual conscience away from Christianity, I don't know what will."

Ah! So, apparently, when one has an "intellectual conscience" (*), then one is compelled (?) to understand that the true nature of reality is utterly random and ultimately meaningless?

Or, is it that when one has an "intellectual conscience," then one must limit the metaphysical claims/positions one will even entertain to those which do not lead to "embarassment" -- as though there actually were someone (Someone?) whose opinion ultimatey matters?


(*) One simply must wonder: whence comes this "intellectual conscience" thingie? and whence goes it? what worth has it? what meaning has it?

lurker-to anon-back to lurk said...

Solon,

I've got a fun idea for you. Have your mom get raped and then die of an aneurism.
Then you come and tell me about what was happening in your mind.

This is exactly why I don't post on these forums. Pricks like Solon that need a good beating more than anything else.
Going to sit back and mock what happened in my life, when this ivory tower prick probably hasn't had a rough day in his cushy life.

Want to know what? Coming to Christianity made ALL of the difference in my life.
I still struggle with alot of things.
But there is not one thing that has given me the comfort of having a relationship with Jesus.

Anonymous said...

The problem for Solon is he could never blame the rapist. He actions are not the result of free choice on his part, but rather they are merely the result of an infinite chain of physical cause and effect which are neither laudable and damnable.

Anonymous said...

why is free will incompatible with causal chains of this sort? And why is moral responsibility incompatible with it?

Victor Reppert said...

Solon: I found your comments extremely rude. The fact that someone comes to Christianity in the face of personal trauma is not something to be ashamed of, nor does it show a lack of intellectual conscience. There is nothing in this person's comments to suggest that he formed his beliefs without any interest in the truth. Otherwise, arguments such as those found in my book would not have been of any interest to him.

Solon said...

>>then one is compelled (?) to understand that the true nature of reality is utterly random and ultimately meaningless?

Who said there was a true nature? You're cheating already.

And who would dare claim that without a god the world MUST be random? Or MUST be meaningless to us? Only those who have forsaken the world we know and placed all value in another world - then had it snatched away -, might think so.

>>whence comes this "intellectual conscience" thingie? and whence goes it? what worth has it? what meaning has it?

What is hunger in a cockroach worth? It exists where it developed in the recent years of our very short existence on this rock, and it is what we make of it until this rock overheats and our species is gone again forever.

>>then one must limit the metaphysical claims/positions

Why would anyone raise metaphysics (or even assume a metaphysical basis to the world)? Psychology will suffice here:

>>But there is not one thing that has given me the comfort of having a relationship with Jesus.

Exactly. Life involves pain and death - but a 2000 year old rabbi is going to wipe all our tears away? Toughen up and show some self-worth. Get away from all this dark, pungent sickness and the ill trying to coddle you with get-rich-quick schemes. Fresh air! Your body would be better off hiking than spending an hour in a church. When your body is healthy opposite desires will arise and transfigure your suffering into challenge, future, growth, procreation, life. For now you seek the opposite - and have found it.

>>There is nothing in this person's comments to suggest that he formed his beliefs without any interest in the truth.

For those who have eyes to see, he just wrote on the wall the genealogy of his need for the Christian god - then said so explicitly.

>>I found your comments extremely rude.

Pointing out bad argument isn't considered rude in philosophy. It is in a revival meeting. What exactly is this place?

>>If that doesn't embarrass anyone with an intellectual conscience

As I said...

Ilíon said...

Solon (concerning Lurker-to's reasons for considering the Christian claims about the nature and meaning of reality): "If that doesn't embarrass anyone with an intellectual conscience away from Christianity, I don't know what will."

Ilíon: "Ah! So, apparently, when one has an "intellectual conscience" (*), then one is compelled (?) to understand that the true nature of reality is utterly random and ultimately meaningless?"

Solon: "Who said there was a true nature? You're cheating already."

Solon, I'm not going to waste even a moment of my time reading the rest of your response.


To the General Reader (and specifically to NormaJean): *this* is why I deal with 'atheists' (in general) as I do. I have encountered quite few who cannot easily, and with near transparency, trade "intellectual" places with Solon.

lurker-to..... said...

Sorry for lashing out at you, Solon.
It's something that's very real for me, that appears to be something of a joke to you.
I guess there's very little I can do to change that.

Mind you, I gave a brief retelling of something that happened over a long stretch of time.
One thing that stuck me at the time was this deep search I was on for meaning and purpose to life.
If there's no meaning and no purpose to it all.... fine. I can exist with that. At the time I was trying to step back from myself and wonder, "why does this guy (me) seem to be so focused on whether or not the universe or life has any meaning to it? Odd thing to be concerned about if there ultimately is no meaning or purpose to any of this. What is the benefit of 'evolving' this emotional need for meaning at such a deep and large scale? Which, will ultimately leave you lost.... because it's a fool's search".

So I had a decision to make: meaningful v meaningless. Either purpose or a big cosmic joke.... a cosmic joke that somehow spit out something that really hopes there is meaning. But how does meaning ever even enter into the picture?


This is what initially set me searching.

For those who have eyes to see, he just wrote on the wall the genealogy of his need for the Christian god - then said so explicitly.

Wrong, I needed meaning in order to make sense of it. Refer above for how 'meaning' was a stumbling block for me.

Get away from all this dark, pungent sickness and the ill trying to coddle you with get-rich-quick schemes.

You have no idea how demanding Christianity is on a person do you? Certainly not with your idea of a "get-rich-quick" scheme.

Your body would be better off hiking than spending an hour in a church.

An agnostic scholar named Guenter Lewy would disagree with you. And one difference being he has stats to back up his claims.
Also, why would going to Church exlude my ability to "get out"?

When your body is healthy opposite desires will arise and transfigure your suffering into challenge, future, growth, procreation, life. For now you seek the opposite - and have found it.

Funny, because historically these ideas are supported by Christian belief - growing in our struggles and suffering. Seems like you're ripping out Christian notions and cobbling them together in your own little worldview. Cute.... but no grounding.

Victor Reppert said...

I don't think Lurker was arguing from his person distress to the existence of God, but if you thought he was, then I think you misinterpreted him. He was telling a personal story about how he raised the question of God in his own life, searched for answer, and ended up accepting Christianity. Did you really think that this was meant as an argument?

Solon said...

>>I have encountered quite few who cannot easily, and with near transparency, trade "intellectual" places with Solon.

If that is English, I fail to recognize it, sorry.

>>I think you misinterpreted him.
>>Did you really think that this was meant as an argument?

There is no "truth" to be found for or against any god. There is a genealogy of one's belief though, which he disclosed, and is typical.

>>he just wrote on the wall the genealogy of his need for the Christian god
>>Wrong, I needed meaning in order to make sense of it.

That's exactly what I was indicating. Meaning is comfort. You stop questioning when you arrived at the "truth" you needed.

>>if there ultimately is no meaning or purpose to any of this

There isn't "ultimately" any judgment or any thing. "Ultimately" 2+2 doesn't even equal 4. Focus on your humanity, not the "ultimate."

>>You have no idea how demanding Christianity is on a person do you? Certainly not with your idea of a "get-rich-quick" scheme

You said it answered your desperate need for meaning and comfort. I agree it does for a one-eyed man, but I'm saying there is no such answer. You've been swindled.

>>Your body would be better off hiking than spending an hour in a church.
>>An agnostic scholar named Guenter Lewy would disagree with you.

The comment is not meant superficially. It is about the nature of truth.

>>When your body is healthy opposite desires will arise and transfigure your suffering into challenge, future, growth, procreation, life. For now you seek the opposite - and have found it.
>>Funny, because historically these ideas are supported by Christian belief

Respectfully, if you want to speak on this topic you need to go study philosophy seriously, and not in the wasteland of the typical Anglo-Saxon phil. department in the US. Christian belief is centred on the notion of a true world of being, apart from the false world of becoming. I.e., Christianity condemns the bodies we know, this world we know, as false and meaningless. Christianity has placed all value in another world for which it has no evidence whatsoever, but in which you must have faith. Your only value is that you partake in it by the mystery of the "soul." The suspicion arises, however, that this "other" world does not exist, and that it is thus, as the opposite of this world, the opposite of life, i.e., death, nothingness. Ultimate judgments are never true but only useful semiotically, revealing of the judgment creators. Christianity's genealogy suggests it's judgments arose out of a hatred of life, by a people that suffered from life. Is Christianity an expression of revenge upon life? Hence a form of illness?

It is the exact same with Socrates, who finally admitted he saw life as a disease for which death was the only answer, and his philosophy betrayed that. Understanding Eros - desire - is key. In the Symposium the father of Eros is Expedient (Poros) whose name means "path." He represents the mind and can lead to divinity as he has a touch of the divine in him (recall the good Christian, Kant). The mother of Eros is Poverty, or Need, (Penia) and represents the body and becoming. Feminine "need" is the driving force. When Eros' "expedients" succeed in "enriching" Eros by attaining true being, Eros dies! One desires, even philosophizes, only out of need; true being is static. Creativity, even philosophy, is absent from the gods, as there is nothing they could desire to change. Falling into our world is a form of degeneration, equivalent to the Semitic myth of the Fall. Once here, the goal is simply to escape back into the repose of true being. Socrates (i.e., Socratic faith in reason) is the demon who leads us out of becoming and dies into being - out of need, weakness.

Contrast the Niezschean "demon" who leads us to the thought of the eternal recurrence: "how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal". It is not thought true but rather the body's possible affirmation of and faith in the permanence - "truth" - of becoming, i.e., of life, as opposed to the unattainable "true" world of being sought via reason by Socrates for repose from life, until his search ended in the condemnation of life.

Which brings us back to the point that Mr. Glib doesn't yet grasp:

Solon: "Who said there was a true nature? You're cheating already."

philip m said...

Solon,

If I may take this moment to point something out about the entire atheist/Christian dialectical impasse.

Atheism and Christianity generally have different epistemologies. For the Christian, life is a relational enterprise, and the way they know God is relationally, through trusting him as their Lord and Saviour.

The atheist, on the other hand, comes to accept atheism because he is really really smart and figured out that God does not exist. This is why atheists will usually offer critiques of theistic proofs as their justification for their belief. The methodology of the atheist is primarily intellectual.

Now some Christians choose to supplement their belief in God with the sort of evidence that can find common ground with a believer. Because obviously, if Christianity is true and a person somehow came to know this experientially they'd never be able to offer a non-circular proof of it to anyone else. This is where apologists come in to find good reasons for others to come to believe in Jesus as well.

So it doesn't rankle any Christian's nerves if they see someone who came to the faith without a fail-proof reason for doing so. Christianity is not an intellectual hypothesis: we are sinners who need saving, not dullards who need educating.

Ilíon said...

Phillip M: "The atheist, on the other hand, comes to accept atheism because he is really really smart and figured out that God does not exist. This is why atheists will usually offer critiques of theistic proofs as their justification for their belief. The methodology of the atheist is primarily intellectual."

Well, that is certainly the atheist's mythology. I personally can't recall encountering one (in person, or on the internet, which is where I have encountered more).

There *is* one atheist I've encounterd that I'd be willing to believe this of. Check out how his fellow "free thinkers" reacted to attempt at critically and rationally examining whether certain common atheistic arguments and claims are good arguments or claims -- at Internet Infidels: Reconsidering Some Atheistic Arguments.


Phillip M: "So it doesn't rankle any Christian's nerves if they see someone who came to the faith without a fail-proof reason for doing so. Christianity is not an intellectual hypothesis: we are sinners who need saving, not dullards who need educating."

This is true, of course. Personally, it annoys me when I encounter a fellow Christian whose faith does not start with reason, or worse, who quotes the Bible as his first and last response to or interaction with unbelievers ... it's probably a mixture of (my) personality and preferences and fear that such a faith will not withstand trial. But, at the same time, I well understand that it is Christ who saves us; it has nothing to do with our qualities: CS Lewis is no more saved than the most un-intellectual Christian one might find.

I grew up in churches that many think of as being the epitome of anti-intellect: pentecostal (i.e. "Holy Rollers"). Pentecostals, at any rate the ones I grew up among, aren't nearly the unthinking automatons that the general public thinks. Now, pentecostalism is primarily an emotional approach to God ... but, it is neither "more true" nor "less true" than other approaches. Different people have different needs; Christianity isn't about method, it's about relationship.

Ilíon said...

Ilíon: "... Now, pentecostalism is primarily an emotional approach to God ..."

Better phrasing might be "pentecostalism, as an approach to God, recognizes that we are not strictly rational beings, but also emotional beings."

If reason and emotion are likened to our two feet, and if (as seemed to me as a child in those churches) pentecostalism tries to walk with both feet, may it not be that non-pentecostals saw it as overly-emotional precisely because they were hopping on one foot?

Mind you, I am the sort of person who doesn't care for emotion; it doesn't take much for it to be too much for me.

At the same time, now that pentecostalism is "respectable" (under the rubric "charismatic"), it appears to me to be rather fidestic, as it did not when I was growing up. But, perhaps that's an artifact of the change in perspective which comes with age and experience.

Solon said...

>>Christianity is not an intellectual hypothesis: we are sinners who need saving, not dullards who need educating.

You appear to be rewording my first post, for which I was promptly flamed.

I'm not one of these atheist fools offering to prove Christianity false. I'm questioning how and why Christianity came to the particular judgments on life it did, of all possible judgments, and what type of human animal is attracted to those judgments, etc.

Ilíon said...

You were not flamed. It was pointed out to you that the content of your post is foolish.

philip m said...

Solon,

Philip M: Christianity is not an intellectual hypothesis: we are sinners who need saving, not dullards who need educating.

Solon: You appear to be rewording my first post, for which I was promptly flamed.


I was directly contradicting you when you said, "If that doesn't embarrass anyone with an intellectual conscience away from Christianity, I don't know what will." Christianity is not an intellectual hypothesis, ergo no Christian ought to be embarassed that a person came to know God through something other than dry philosophical discourse.

Ilion,

Oh, don't worry, I completely agree with you. Atheists theoretically have good reasons for their disbelief, as in, that is how they intepret the situation o themselves. I don't find the case for atheism compelling at all, and I think that many atheists spend so much time acting like they've got such great reasons for disbelieving that it stigmatizes criticism (ironically re-creating the taboo on their side that everyone thinks exists only around religious ideas). Because of this, few people realize that the reasons atheists give aren't really that impressive.

lurker-to anon-gone said...

I'm done posting for now.
I'm a better lurker than a poster.

Solon, I wasn't trying to give an argument for the existence of God. I was saying what happened in my life... something that was very real for me.
You sit in a hospital room while your mom is on life support, tubes sticking out of the back of her head. Sit there while they remove all the vital readers, hold her hand as she slowly dies. Watch her skin turn gray, feel the heat leave her body.

All because a cousin of hers, that she tried to befriend, raped her.

I guess what I really needed was just a good hike, right?

I'm done with this bullshit. There's a reason why I don't typically post on this or any forum. So some atheist can mock my intellectual abilities, when he/she has no idea?

Bye.

Ilíon said...

Lurker-to: "I'm done posting for now. I'm a better lurker than a poster."

Of course, in the end you must be the judge of your abilities. But I think you're doing fine as a poster.


Lurker-to: "I'm done with this bullshit. There's a reason why I don't typically post on this or any forum. So some atheist can mock my intellectual abilities, when he/she has no idea?"

While I can't presume to judge Solon's motivations or objectives ... I don't know enough about him to judge *his* (observed) motivations and objectives, rather than some generic/idealized atheist's motivations or objectives ... I will say that quite a few of the sort of atheist one encounters on the internet "argue" precisely by trying to intimidate and drive off those who dissent from atheist.

Or, to echo a statement from 2001: If you cease to post, then the athsists win! ;)

Solon said...

Phillip, you just agreed once again with what I said!

>>ergo no Christian ought to be embarassed

I didn't say "no Christian," I said no one with an intellectual conscience. And not "ergo": many on these forums purport to not only be faithful Christians but to have an intellectual conscience. If you do, you'll be embarrassed by the tricks and tropes of Christianity - and start to think critically about it when you read of people arriving at conclusions out of personal need.

illion, I don't see that you're adding anything with your comments.

>>by trying to intimidate and drive off those who dissent from atheist.

Discussing the nature of Christian faith and values is intimidating on a forum set up to discuss such issues?

>>Anonymous lurker-to anon-gone said...

This is a philosophy discussion. Tales of woe don't get extra points, as heart wrenching as they may be. Quite literally: nothing personal :-)

>>I guess what I really needed was just a good hike, right?

As I said above, it is a comment on the nature of truth. You weren't led to Christian answers by rational argument, you were led there by a body in need of comfort. You found the answers you needed. Change the body, you change the answer. Christianity is a diet.

I'd humbly suggest looking at how you and the inventors of these particular solutions arrived at them, rather than pretending we have stepped outside our world, gazed down, and found "TRUTH". As I posted on the other thread here:

In these cases it is always helpful to look semiotically at pagan religions and their completely contrary focus on the enhancement of animal powers, growth, procreation, and the transfigurement of suffering and death into an affirmation of our world of becoming. Not a diminution of and escape from life, but an enhancement and affirmation of it. Stand any pagan lingam up in the middle of a Christian church and we immediately highlight the prudish, abstracted, anti-animal, anti-humanism of Christianity.

Really, how is it that these pagans arrived at such a contrary and positive valuation of our bodies and world, with absolutely no more or less evidence to go on than Christianity had?

Ilíon said...

anonymous #1: "The problem for Solon is he could never blame the rapist. He actions are not the result of free choice on his part, but rather they are merely the result of an infinite chain of physical cause and effect which are neither laudable and damnable."

anonymous #2: "why is free will incompatible with causal chains of this sort? And why is moral responsibility incompatible with it?"

Anonymous #2, in this particular circumstance (i.e. that you are "anonymous" and said so little), one has to assume that your question, though reflecting either some fundamental misunderstanding or not having thought carefully enough before asking, was asked honestly. Having seen Solon's last post, if you were Solon, one would have been justified in deciding that the question was not asked honestly.

"Physical cause and effect" is something quite different from "free will." An act of "free will" may initiate a novel chain of "physical cause and effect." But no "physical cause and effect" event may possibly *cause* an act of "free will;" though it may set the parameters of the choices available to be acted upon.

"Cause and effect" refers simply to the logical and definitional necessity that a "cause" has an "effect," that an "effect" is the result of a "cause." The phrase implies mechanical necessity. The qualifier "physical" explicates the implication: with "physical cause and effect" one is explicitly talking about mere matter bumping into other mere matter.

"Free will" refers to the intentionality and ability of agents/subects to initiate causal-chains, to do something not fully and mechanistically determined by the sum total of prior states and events.


Logically, atheism denies the reality of human "free will" -- it doesn't matter that there are individual atheists who adamantly (and magically) affirm "free will," for the affirmation introduces a blatant incoherence into their claim to be an atheist; the affirmation is contrary to atheism itself (*) -- for atheism, being the denial of intentionality at the center/beginning of the vast web of "physical cause and effect" which comprises "the universe," logically cannot create intentionality out of nothing.

Atheism asserts, must assert, that the vast web of "physical cause and effect" which comprises "the universe" is the totality of reality.


(*) It is analogous to me, claiming to be a Christian, denying that Christ rose from the dead and still insisting that I am a Christian. These circles cannot be squared.

Ilíon said...

Solon,
One of the things I try to avoid doing is wasting my time with people who cannot read.

It's bad enough trying to deal with those who misrepresent (and expecially when it appears to be intentional). Couple that with an inability to read clear English, and I simply refuse the expendature of my time.

Ilíon said...

Solon: "In these cases it is always helpful to look semiotically at pagan religions and their completely contrary focus on the enhancement of animal powers, growth, procreation, and the transfigurement of suffering and death into an affirmation of our world of becoming. Not a diminution of and escape from life, but an enhancement and affirmation of it. Stand any pagan lingam up in the middle of a Christian church and we immediately highlight the prudish, abstracted, anti-animal, anti-humanism of Christianity."

For the casual reader, who may not know what 'lingam' means: he's talking about a statuesque celebration of The Dick. It's an erection (commonly stylized) as an idol.

'Semiotically' refers to theories of signs and symbols.


Essentially, this fool is asserting that because Christianity does not reduce humans to mere animals, this means that Christianity is anti-human.

Ilíon said...

Philip M: "Oh, don't worry, I completely agree with you."

No, I understood that; I understood that you were representing the atheist's view of himself (and of us). After representing the atheist's view of us, you pointed out some ways in which that view is flawed. I wanted to do the same in respect the the atheist's view of himself.

Solon said...

ilion, another 4 posts, yet more insults, and nothing intelligent added yet. Give it up, fella :-)

Ilíon said...

Oh, you poor, persecuted thing!

Solon said...

The point is actually that you're just adding a lot of noise to threads, not to my life, and ruining their readability for others. But do as you will.

Ilíon said...

Solon,
You make your silly assertion as though it is capital-T Truth.

Please, pardom me as I capital-C Chortle.

Anonymous said...

You need to check out ron digiacomo the apologist. Just google him.

Mari R said...

No, they're not. You Christian apologists just HOPE they are!

Mari R said...

You are doing yourself NO favors by buying in to this, "We've-got-an-answer-for-everything" baloney. It may comfort you for a minute by providing a pseudo-explanation for your suffering, but Christianity/all religions will NEVER truly solve your problems!

Mari R said...

One question, dude: What ARE you smoking?

Mari R said...

IF God exists, he is EVIL!!!

Mari R said...

The CONCEPT of God is a fully human construct.
God serve a number of significant purposes in human Western style societies, and to a limited degree, the god concept meets unmet social and emotional needs.
Remember the Exodus story? Perfect example. Moses needed to rally the Jewish people, who had long given up on hope of escape from Egyptian bondage, to trust and obey him as their new leader and make the effort to break free from bondage.
Moses found he needed to provide a locktight rationale to justify demanding absolute obedience and cooperation from his people to prevent his authority from being undermined and the group from being plunged into endless, counterproductive bickering. Ad it was, the Old Testament describes quite a bit of contention within the group!
So, THIS was how and why the Western religious tradition (Judaism) was developed, by man (Moses), and not a supernatural being.
Note: All the OT "miracles" can easily be explained away by well-documented natural occurrences.