Friday, August 05, 2011

Jesse Parrish and Thrasymachus: Two atheist critics of the OTF

Parrish's critique is linked from the title. Thrasymachus' is linked here.

Now, I'm not going to make the argument that since even atheists criticize the OTF, there's got to be something wrong with it. Arguments have to be discussed on their merits. However, I do like these critiques.

234 comments:

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Jesse Parrish said...

Thank you for the recommendation!

The linked post is a continuation of a more technical previous post, for those who are interested. For more related context, I also posted my thoughts on one of the silliest hyper-disputed items ever, the `lack of belief/belief' distinction.

And I have to second the recommendation for Thrasymachus' post. It is excellent, and I am jealous of its clarity.

Anonymous said...

You will make John Loftus mad at you!

He will call you names!

He may even fake a blog about you!

Jesse Parrish said...

Anonymous,

That would take me back to my teenage years. I'll wait for Loftus' response to my post before speculating about other things related to that event.

JS Allen said...

I think Loftus's answer to Jesse is pretty obvious. Loftus will just say that OTF is directed only at a subset of evangelical Christians. So Jesse is just reiterating what John has repeatedly said.

Jesse Parrish said...

JS Allen,

If that is what he had said, then all he has done is inflate and confuse a very straightforward argument. I really do not see how the relatively simple characterization you proposed meshes with the explanations that Loftus has made available.

If he has made such a statement, it really doesn't help his case. Even the term `outsider' is rendered unnecessary by this interpretation, as it is merely an appeal to differing expectations of sociological data.

JS Allen said...

In the DC post you link from your post, John says:

"I haven't yet turned my attention to the Calvinist. He does, after all, weigh things in favor of his faith irregardless of what his beliefs are. That's why I have never said the OTF is a silver bullet, that I can recall anyway, since I speak about religions that might pass the test."

This is John's standard ripcord -- whenever the OTF is pushed into this particular corner, he insists that he never intended OTF to be a silver bullet, and that it only applies to the specific type of evangelical Christianity from which he came.

BTW, I don't disagree with your conclusions, and I think your point bears frequent and broad repetition. Although John has a standard ripcord that he uses when faced with your argument, it's in his best interests that people believe OTF to be broadly applicable, so he doesn't go out of his way to disclose the limited scope.

Jesse Parrish said...

"This is John's standard ripcord -- whenever the OTF is pushed into this particular corner, he insists that he never intended OTF to be a silver bullet, and that it only applies to the specific type of evangelical Christianity from which he came."

So all of the enumerations of the number of differing religions and sects has been pure distraction?

Does Loftus grant that we must calculate the epistemic effects of sociological data on a specific type of religious doctrine? What I read in his explanations and in his comments (and comments of other supporters of the OTF) always suggested the opposite.

Eric said...

At least John's claims about the OTF are reasonable. Richard Carrier, on the other hand, has recently written that "The Christian Delusion" and "The End of Christianity" "together amount to a decisive refutation of Christianity. A bona fide litmus test. No rational person can read both volumes and not walk away a skeptic."

This is an incredibly careless claim.

First, they refute "Christianity" as such? I thought John had said repeatedly that his books take aim primarily at 'fundamentalist' evangelical Christians.

Second, if the arguments in these books are, as Carrier claims, rationally coercive, then no living scholar could (or past scholar has) raise any objection against a significant number of chapters *to even raise any doubts* about the arguments.

Does anyone buy this for a moment?

Robin Collins couldn't even raise any doubts about Carrier's chapter in design arguments?

Tim McGrew couldn't raise any doubts regarding Carrier's often ham handed use of Bayes' Theorem in his chapter on the success of Christianity?

John Hare or Michael Rea couldn't raise any doubts about Carrier's chapter on morality (about which he farcically claims, "There is no room left for any rational objection")?

No one could raise any doubts about John's OTF? (I know John doesn't necessarily claim this; I'm just going with Carrier's claim.) Dr. Reppert has doe a fine job with that (i.e. minimally raising doubts, which is all that's required to counter Carrier's claims) both here and on John's blog.

Daniel Wallace couldn't raise any doubts about Avalos's chapter on the reliability of the Biblical text?

I could go on about each of the remaining chapters (some of which, like Tarico's, aren't even worth taking seriously), but presumably the point is clear.

I've never taken Carrier very seriously at all in the past, but given his obviously outrageous claims about TCD and TEC -- and *especially* his patently absurd claims about his moral theory -- I doubt I'll ever be able to read a thing he writes from here on.

Talk about deluded!

Victor Reppert said...

Does anyone think that it's slightly disingenuous of Loftus to admit that his OTF argument is an argument against evangelical Arminian soteriological exclusivism, while at the same time making his OTF the centerpiece of books entitled "The Christian Delusion" and "The End of Christianity." He actually invented the argument in response to some comments by Calvinist Paul Manata.

Thrasymachus said...

Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, some bug with the UP website means my article's footnotes aren't showing up properly. My blog has a copy in all it's footnoted glory here.

Enjoy life!

Jesse Parrish said...

Victor,

Obviously yes. If he clearly and only claimed to be refuting the hyper-literalists, flood geologists, and pretenders to absolute certainty, I would only say one word.

Swell.

I can't avoid it any longer.

I suspect that Loftus is mentally all-in as concerns the OTF. He took an idea which sounds sensible to skeptics who do not seriously analyze it and made it the central, binding feature of his entire and very consuming project. Now that it has been eviscerated so regularly and he has had to inconsistently backtrack on so many occasions, he is in a very uncomfortable position.

He can either persist as he is, or he can admit to the world that his books are outdated and may not be worth buying.

Remember the Orwellian lessons of skeptical experience: I need not claim that he is being consciously disingenuous. (Though I admit some suspicions.) Rather, I do not expect him to fully acknowledge any fatal shortcomings of the OTF regardless of whether or not they exist.

He has a lot of intellectual energy; to me, it is sad that the products of that energy are being jeopardized by obsessively implemented, dubious diversion.

Papalinton said...

Jesse Parrish, I am one that is not convinced that Loftus' OTF has been 'eviscerated' by you or anyone. Your claim is somewhat opportunistic. The fundamental premise of the OTF is elegant; that is, to apply to your own faith the same reasoning that you apply to other's faiths.

Given the level of ardency, emotional depth, psychological reliance and level of investment in one's own 'faith', there is not a sliver of difference about how deeply a christian holds his/her faith relative to those believers whose faiths you are not privy to, that are equally held and regarded by the practitioners of those faiths.

And for a christian to dismiss them so off-handedly is simply a function of cultural disassociation or cultural imperiousness. And such casual disdain in the dismissal of others' faiths is much more an indicator or clue, not of the relative fact or truth of a person's faith, but rather the reality of the 'genetic' makeup of religions firmly grounded as a by-product of culture and society rather than the artifact of some extra-natural or supernatural shenanigans. Indeed religion is an artifice if it is anything.

So, on balance, rejecting the faith claims of others is simply a rejection of one of the mores of another's culture. Pretty simple really, without all the silly philosophizing.

Jesse, you may also wish to cut the psychologizing crap. You know that I know that you know that theists are shit-scared of the OTF, as it brings into sharp relief the tenuous nature of the fundaments of religious belief as none other than a cultural construct bound immutably into the fabric of the host culture.

Finally, "Rather, I do not expect him to fully acknowledge any fatal shortcomings of the OTF regardless of whether or not they exist."
Perhaps a touch of grandstanding, hmm?

Papalinton said...

Victor,
"Does anyone think that it's slightly disingenuous of Loftus to admit that his OTF argument is an argument against evangelical Arminian soteriological exclusivism ,,,"

Oh Dear, Victor. Please don't jump on the dumb-waiter and lower yourself to the basement with Morrison, Anon and Yachov.

Victor Reppert said...

Well, let's put it this way. If you are going to limit the scope of the argument to evangelicalism, then you have to do so consistently.

Jesse Parrish said...

"Jesse Parrish, I am one that is not convinced that Loftus' OTF has been 'eviscerated' by you or anyone. Your claim is somewhat opportunistic. The fundamental premise of the OTF is elegant; that is, to apply to your own faith the same reasoning that you apply to other's faiths"

Is `opportunistic' the word you want to use there? And if you disagree with my claim that the OTF has been thoroughly addressed (where possibly coherent), you could respond to my post or that of Thrasymachus. Or you can simply repeat how powerful it is. Either way.

"Given the level of ardency, emotional depth, psychological reliance and level of investment in one's own 'faith', there is not a sliver of difference about how deeply a christian holds his/her faith relative to those believers whose faiths you are not privy to, that are equally held and regarded by the practitioners of those faiths."

Ah, psychological reliance... level of investment... Where did I just see that?

"Jesse, you may also wish to cut the psychologizing crap."

It's about consistency and fairness, folks. Super-duper consistency here and nothing else. Move along.

"So, on balance, rejecting the faith claims of others is simply a rejection of one of the mores of another's culture. Pretty simple really, without all the silly philosophizing."

All without the silly logic and rigor and stuff. Got it. Again, you can simply regurgitate, or you can move the discussion forward by substantively addressing the outstanding criticisms.

"Perhaps a touch of grandstanding, hmm?"

I was only trying to please you, Papa! Please be proud!

Victor Reppert said...

The problem is that when I look at how I examine other faiths, I look at them not as a naturalist but as someone at least open to the possibility of supernatural intervention. The most I will say is that such intervention did not occur in this case, at least not in the way the religion claims that it did. By the way, it is not even the case that all orthodox Christians think Mormonism arose naturalistically. Some think that Joseph Smith was indeed visited by an angel, a fallen one. I can easily imagine information about these other revelation claim that would make me think twice about accepting it.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

You write: "You know that I know that you know that theists are shit-scared of the OTF".

But we've been through all of this before - indeed, several times. How many times does this have to be repeated? The so-called OTF was INVENTED by theists. Once again, read G.K. Chesterton's "The Everlasting Man".

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

Jesse Parrish said...

Papalinton,

I almost forgot something.

"You know that I know that you know that theists are shit-scared of the OTF, as it brings into sharp relief the tenuous nature of the fundaments of religious belief as none other than a cultural construct bound immutably into the fabric of the host culture."

No I don't know that, actually. I haven't noticed a lot of fright. I don't hear no boots quaking. I hear a few yawns and TVs, but that's about it.

Question: Is the OTF now a proof that religious belief is "[nothing] other than a cultural construct bound immutably into the fabric of the host culture", instead of a demand for adopting a position prior to evidence and argument?

I always get so lost, what with Loftus and Articulett and you others telling me that the extremely clear, obvious, unreasonable to reject(?), theist-TERFYIN' OTF is actually several distinct arguments with several distinct conclusions.

I could try philosophizing it by trying to analyze it in probabilistic terms, but that's not acceptable. Unless you're Loftus, in which case it is acceptable, since it's `all about odds' and he talks about the OTF in Bayesian terms. (But curiously, no formal presentation is to be found. Anybody know of one?)

JS Allen said...

"You know that I know that you know that theists are shit-scared of the OTF"

That's an empirical question that can easily be settled by checking people for GSR when they are exposed to OTF. If the evidence backs you up, I'm sure that John would be eager to publish it in his book.

But I'm sure you must mean "fundamentalist evangelical Christians are shit-scared of the OTF", since John has explicitly disclaimed that OTF doesn't apply to the overall question of theism. Regardless, since it's such an easy matter to test empirically, you should show the data.

Victor Reppert said...

Of course, a Christian would never attempt to criticize an argument unless they were shit-scared of it. They wouldn't criticize it because, well, it's a bad argument that has gotten hyped beyond all recognition.

Thrasymachus said...

It would seem to make even less sense why an atheist would bother to criticize an argument they know (rightly?) scares the shit out of the Theist team.

Papalinton said...

Yes Jesse, I was perhaps a little unclear re 'opportunistic'.
I say opportunistic in the sense that the motivation for eliciting the shortcomings of the OTF, may not have been that there were necessarily any such short-comings there, but rather, it was about establishing certain scenarios against which the OTF could be assessed to have short-comings although these scenarios may simply be ideations for the purpose of establishing those very failures. Of course, I am not saying that is what you have done, as I am not privy to your motivation. But the tactic is not unknown, and indeed, is very much de rigeur for apologists. And your challenge to the OTF has a smell of apologetics about it.

"Ah, psychological reliance... level of investment... Where did I just see that?"
This was not directed at you Jesse. The psychological reliance and level of investment refers to the bonding of theists to their specific mythos that makes it almost impossible for them to think, imagine or posit their brand of theism as being in the same boat as the religious artifacts of other cultures.

But 'the psychologizing' bit of the next para is to you and related to your, ".. it is sad that the products of that energy are being jeopardized by obsessively implemented, dubious diversion."

Notwithstanding all that I say, the OTF is a straight forward, simple, intelligible and elegant statement of challenge that theists are unlikely to relish unless they are truly having serious doubts about the veracity of their faith claims.

Anyone continuing to be blindsided by belief in belief is simply incapable of openness to the level of scrutiny demanded by the OTF. We know that. They know that. It's not rocket science.

There are no outstanding criticisms of the OTF of any merit.

Cheers

Papalinton said...

Bob
"The so-called OTF was INVENTED by theists. Once again, read G.K. Chesterton's "The Everlasting Man"."

Then how is it that Chesterton remained a theist?
Clearly, Bob, you can appreciate the sweet scent of irony of a theist inventing an OTF and having his particular stripe and color of theism pass muster. Methinks it had the makings of an Apologetical OTF.

Jesse Parrish said...

Victor Reppert,

Tim McGrew was terrified of Carrier's argument from miscalculated examples. It's a good thing that Carrier was merciful enough to admit computational errors. I bet everyone in this thread is terrified of the fierce argumentatum ad THE BIBLE SEZ pi=3 LOL...um..

Thrasymachus,

I second by opining that `internal' critique is more important than `external' critique. With confirmation bias and other human tendencies in mind, there are good epistemic reasons for this prejudice, apart from in-group mentality. (That also could be relevant.)

All,

If any visitors here are frightened by the OTF, stay with support networks like this blog. It always helps to know that others understand your suffering. I would also advise scheduling an appointment with a doctor of philosophy, many of whom are experimenting with radical new remedies like deduction, Bayes' Theorem, and other approaches called `analysis', or sometimes even `argument' or `philosophy'.

At first, I was skeptical of this fancy-pants `argumentation', as I was afraid that it might only exist due to cultural pressures. But with time came healing, and this `philosophy' really helped!

Now I live a less fearful life. Stick around; you might too.

Papalinton said...

Hi JS Allen
"That's an empirical question that can easily be settled by checking people for GSR when they are exposed to OTF."

And that GSR is starting to filter through by those who have recently undertaken the test in their journey to the sunny side. Given a little time and more exposure to the general public and it should be possible to assess more formally the anecdotal information that seems to be accumulating. Early signs seem encouraging.

Jesse Parrish said...

"And your challenge to the OTF has a smell of apologetics about it."

I happen to agree with many apologists about this issue. I imagine it smells like apologetics. In the trivial sense that it defends religion against an attack, it is apologetics. I am wholly unperturbed by the fact, and I would hope that others are not as well.

"But 'the psychologizing' bit of the next para is to you and related to your, ".. it is sad that the products of that energy are being jeopardized by obsessively implemented, dubious diversion.""

Thanks for the correction. I wouldn't call that `psychologizing', as the quoted text was meant to be descriptive of behavior, not psychological state. It's a personal judgment based on two proposals, that (1) the OTF is flawed, perhaps fatally so, and (2) Loftus is in an uncontroversial sense `obsessive' about defending it. Shall I track down his various internet travels for you?

I still stand by the psychologizing that I actually did. I also do not think it's too difficult to defend, for reasons similar to those cited in the process of your own psychologizing.

"There are no outstanding criticisms of the OTF of any merit."

So you have nothing to say about my posts or Thrasymachus' post?

"Notwithstanding all that I say, the OTF is a straight forward, simple, intelligible and elegant statement of challenge that theists are unlikely to relish unless they are truly having serious doubts about the veracity of their faith claims."

I have a challenge, which I'll call the WTF because it's fun.

1. If the OTF `is a straight forward, simple, intelligible and elegant statement', then readers and purveyors of that statement, whether supporters or opponents, consistently agree on its meaning and usage.
2. People fail to agree on its meaning and usage. If anything, confusion and contradictions about the very content of that statement are rampant.
3. By (1) and (2), the OTF is unclear.

So if you want to pass the WTF, you have to dispute (2).

Go ahead; try it out.

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

Hi Jesse
Interesting that you suggest I read Thrasymachus' take on the OTF. Yes, I have.
In all honesty Thrasymachus provided a reasoned response to Loftus' OTF. In general though, it was not so much a criticism of the Loftus model; rather he reframed points 1-3 in order to provide a varying perspective to the OTF. It seems Thrasymachus' take on the OTF was a confirmation of the efficacy of the model.

And Thrasymachus' perspective accords pretty much with my research and understanding of the singularly unequivocal cultural and social bedrock out of which the formation of religious thought emerges. The concomitant extra-natural or supernatural by-products of the development of this aspect of cultural mores results from the social process of mythologizing that which has been lost over time and over generations. Religion is essentially social, in both senses of the word. It is an activity that humans do together, it is created, maintained, and perpetuated by human group behaviour. It is also social in the sense that it extends that sociality beyond the human world, to a [putative] realm of non-human agents who also interact with us socially. I might add there is not a shred of evidence for the existence of this 'other world', any more than there is for the existence of Hogwarts.

Thrasymachus makes an illuminating point here: "For “There is no god” is definitely an idea that we arrive at, and not just some passive heuristic for belief formation (and no, not some ‘lack of belief’ either)".
My response to this is, he is correct. But not in the sense he suggests. Most atheists must move to that position when we understand and appreciate that the cultural and ideational milieu of contemporary Western society reeks of theism; theism is the 'norm'. When one experiences a gestalt and realizes that, all that has constituted religious reality, is not at all what it is purported to be, that is, a narrative based on historical fact, we as atheist can only 'arrive' at a position of, 'there is no god'. Given the soak of theism deep within the warp and weft of Western culture [American in this case] atheists must cleave to a 'there is no god' position, a deliberative move away from the status quo [there is a god] position.

Jesse Parrish said...

"In general though, it was not so much a criticism of the Loftus model; rather he reframed points 1-3 in order to provide a varying perspective to the OTF. It seems Thrasymachus' take on the OTF was a confirmation of the efficacy of the model."

If I'm wrong, I hope Thrasymachus will correct me, but I think that a better reading of his post is as follows:

Thrasymachus was not simply reinterpreting the OTF in order to provide a `perspective'. Rather, he starts out by saying that the OTF is unconvincing, pointing out that the argument is invalid, among other things. (These include his use of `garbled' in that presentation, in case you are working through the WTF at the moment.)

So what does he do? He tries to guess what John Loftus wants and attempts to build a similar but valid argument to accommodate that. The renovated argument is what he calls the `Demographic Defeater for Faith' (DDF).

But he doesn't stop there. He checks it against potential objections like those that have been applied to the OTF, and finds it wanting: "Yet, once again, exactly the same move can be deployed against the Atheist trying to argue for Atheism, or anyone arguing for any moral truths ‘taken as read’ in modern liberal society. Even if we do have the right arguments for these things, that is just epistemic luck, in the same way a Christian would be lucky if they stumbled onto cogent arguments for their faith when desperately looking to shore it up. In neither case, it seems, are the actors behaving in epistemically respectable ways, and thus our DDF, even in its most charitable light, doesn’t give the nod to Atheism over Faith."

This done, Thrasymachus attempts to see whether or not any future project along these lines would be feasible by making explicit John's key desiderata, especially the exemption of secular claims from an OTF-like argument. Thrasymachus calls this `epistemic privilege'. Reviewing what this requires, he states the following: "Both sides need to swallow their shrill assertions of epistemic privilege and settle down to trying to beat each other by the usual ‘rules of the game’ for debating these matters. For if Atheist has the better of the argument or has ‘facts on their side’, that would suggest she was right all along in asserting that the athiest-generating environment is better than the believing one. Yet doing so obviates the need for the whole DDF rigmarole in the first place: instead of presenting the DDF and demonstrating it is selectively toxic to belief by vindicating atheism’s epistemic privilege by showing it to be more reasonable, one can simply stick to demonstrating that Atheism is more reasonable. In short, this sort of argument has taken us in a long circle back to where we started."

So he ends up saying exactly what I say in my posts: stick to normal methods of argument instead of attempting to give one's own positions special epistemic status. Finally, "Loftus’s project to undermine the rationality of religious belief is a failure."

I simply do not see how you interpreted Thrasymachus as you did.

Jesse Parrish said...

As for the rest of your comment:

"Most atheists must move to that position when we understand and appreciate that the cultural and ideational milieu of contemporary Western society reeks of theism; theism is the 'norm'. When one experiences a gestalt and realizes that, all that has constituted religious reality, is not at all what it is purported to be, that is, a narrative based on historical fact, we as atheist can only 'arrive' at a position of, 'there is no god'. Given the soak of theism deep within the warp and weft of Western culture [American in this case] atheists must cleave to a 'there is no god' position, a deliberative move away from the status quo [there is a god] position."

First: are you now saying that the OTF applies to theism broadly, not just religion? If so, add another point to premise 2 of the WTF.

Second: That realization you talk about, if actually a realization, is a matter of argument. And that argument has to be conducted in the very way which Loftus is attempting to circumvent.

Papalinton said...

Hi Jesse
I'm part-way through your take on Loftus' OTF. I'll make comment after dinner.

At first blush, but don't hold me to it, your comments seem to blow out somewhat unfairly expansively and in the process pull in other things that might not necessarily be relevant. But please wait.

I take as my point for this sense of inflating, your comment," First: are you now saying that the OTF applies to theism broadly, not just religion?

Please do not take this as pejorative comment or derogatory criticism but simply a noting on my part. In the context of my comment, my 'theism' and 'religion' are synonymous. You seem to have honed in on these two words implying something that I did not mean, and you added, "If so, add another point to premise 2 of the WTF". You seem to be looking for points of difference and/or perhaps manufacturing them to make a point. If that is your game, then so be it. That is very much your prerogative.
Your comments Jesse over at DC on this subject and your discourse with Loftus an earlier hint of this strategy.
But bear with me until I have had dinner. I will respond more fully.

Cheers

Jesse Parrish said...

I'll wait for you to get back to me.

(Also, you'll note that question you objected to really was a question.)

I'll say in advance that I do pull in a lot of disparate topics. My earliest post is also my first reaction to the OTF, made in response to the thread linked therein. Doubtlessly it could be cleaned up, but I think the points are clear enough. Again, I do not think I managed to be as clear as Thrasymachus. But I had to do at least some of it because the item in question was itself ambiguous, and it related to dubious claims about priors which, in Bayesianism, make a tricky topic. Like Thrasymachus, I could not rework John's argument in a new way - I was looking specifically for a Bayesian formula - that does the things he wants it to do. Especially, I cannot figure out any way of making such claims about priors which would be irrational or unreasonable to reject to e.g. a Christian Bayesian, nor could I figure out a way to make an argument selectively work against religion generally or Christianity specifically. Every reworking I found failed to do these things, presupposed other convincing argumentation, and/or arrived at absurd or difficult conclusions... for skeptics.

What I would like to see is something which I have not found: Loftus is apparently familiar with Bayesianism; since he often says the OTF is about odds, why does he not present his argument using formal tools? That's sort of the point of Bayesianism.

(I'm also interested in your response to what Thrasymachus' post actually says, by the way.)

Jesse Parrish said...

Ok, here is my previously omitted failure to derive a working argument out of the OTF.

Papalinton said...

On second thought, Jesse, I have decided not to make further comment on your treatment of the OTF for a variety of reasons, including those in my previous comment asking you to hold on 'til I had finished my meal. The tip in the balance was my reading your comment on your website re the 'lack of belief/belief' distinction.

I say again, the OTF is a straight forward, simple, intelligible and elegant statement of challenge that theists are unlikely to relish unless they are truly having serious doubts about the veracity of their faith claims.

Your comment, "People fail to agree on its [OTF's] meaning and usage. If anything, confusion and contradictions about the very content of that statement are rampant", and your observation, is simply parroting the conventional pattern of argumentation with theists. That confusion and contradiction, is not a result of the actions and the thought processes of the proponents of the OTF. The OTF is by virtue of its very character an elegant perspective about that which is required to test one's faith claims.
Remember Jesse, the audience to which it is directed have been subjected to 2 millennia of Apologetical contrivance from which little has been resolved in the formulated narrative of the judeo-christian writings, itself a product of many centuries in the making. Misinterpretations, misrepresentations, conflictual accounts, contradictions, pseudepigrapha, interpolations, varying polemics of competing early christian sects, unknown writers of canonical texts, are all part and parcel of biblical and theological exegesis. Scholastic discipline within theology is anathema to the ethos and pathos of Apologetical interpretation and re-interpretation. Personal interpretation and revelation is standard conventional practice. This is one of a number of principal reasons for tens of thousands of variants of christian praxis and thought. Religion is unlike, say, science which is either eliminative or substitutive, by which science replaces old ideas with new ideas; In contrast, religion is fundamentally additive and/or schismatic, new ideas proliferate alongside old ideas. Christian history is replete with schisms, break-aways, claims of heresy etc etc, from its very inception. With science we get better; with religion we get more.

So if theists are obscurantist or confused by the OTF, it perhaps is a reflection more on their theological education and training than it is about the OTF per se.

Jesse Parrish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jesse Parrish said...

"...your observation, is simply parroting the conventional pattern of argumentation with theists."

I don't care if you've heard it before. I care if it's true. I think it very obviously is true. I think we've had several examples in this thread and in posts linked to from this thread and in the OP. There are more in my heavily commented thread over at DB which you referenced earlier. You can find them for yourself.

If by `the OTF is clear', you mean clear in a way that lots of familiar people of a variety of different persuasions cannot understand, we have differing notions of clarity. Otherwise, I simply do not care whether or not my statements serve as a defense of religion.

I want them to be true.

"The tip in the balance was my reading your comment on your website re the 'lack of belief/belief' distinction."

What was so profoundly wrong with that position that it makes my other writing untrustworthy or useless?

"With science we get better; with religion we get more."

Spare me the slogans and trivialities. They are completely useless for the topics at hand.

"So if theists are obscurantist or confused by the OTF, it perhaps is a reflection more on their theological education and training than it is about the OTF per se."

As I have repeatedly said, it isn't just the theists who are confused. Even many people who say that they accept the OTF contradict each other in its meaning fairly regularly.

WTF, man.

Papalinton, if you are completely uninterested in defending the OTF, don't pretend to do so or want to do so. Then, ask yourself why others should be impressed whenever you convict them of irrationality for not playing along with your apparently arbitrary standards.

Papalinton said...

Jesse
"The tip in the balance was my reading your comment on your website re the 'lack of belief/belief' distinction."

What was so profoundly wrong with that position that it makes my other writing untrustworthy or useless?"

No one said anything about being wrong or untrustworthy or useless. Try not to be so defensive.

Cheers

Papalinton said...

Jesse
"So if theists are obscurantist or confused by the OTF, it perhaps is a reflection more on their theological education and training than it is about the OTF per se."
"As I have repeatedly said, it isn't just the theists who are confused. Even many people who say that they accept the OTF contradict each other in its meaning fairly regularly."


If you mean yourself being confused, that confusion is perhaps the least likely reason for what I can can read into your take on the OTF. Indeed, Jesse, you seem particularly clear and lucid about what the OTF is and isn't, and confusion about the OTF is not the shaping premise of your claim for the fatal flaws in the OTF.
As the non-elected spokesperson for those who accept the OTF, regardless of their meaning in the OTF, is perhaps a role somewhat overextended. I am sure those that accept the OTF are big enough and ugly enough to appreciate the OTF as they see it.

No Jesse, through my brief read of your treatise I intuit you have moved well beyond the notion of 'confusion'. And as I say I am not privy to your motivations but a pattern emerges from the various comments that you have offered on the various sites. For which you are perfectly entitled to make. Your view though is very much a minority perspective among non-believer's. [Are you a contrarian by nature?] And for which, again, it is perfectly OK as it accords with your version of seeking the 'truth'.
And good luck to you.

Cheers

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

You write: "Then how is it that Chesterton remained a theist?"

Can I assume from this comment that you take the Loftus position of (his words paraphrased) "unless you end up by rejecting Christianity, you haven't really taken the OTF"? He has repeatedly stressed this idea on Victor's website, and to me this seems a classic case of Petitio Principii. By basically demanding only one outcome, you have invalidated the process.

This is an honest question. I am not just being argumentative here: Do you believe that that "taking the OTF" inevitably results in a rejection of Christianity? Or worded another way, is it possible for a Christian to examine his faith from an outsider perspective and remain a Christian?

Morrison said...

A real problem with the OTF as Loftus portrays it is that he keeps acting like he invented it.

Victor, don't we already see a form of the OTF in Hume's discussion of miracles and the like, although not under that name of course?

Morrison said...

Another problem with the claims Loftus makes about the OTF, as touched on above, is that is someone says they have take it and passed it...so to speak...then Loftus invariably claims that "then you didn't really take it or you didn't do it right".

Thus, the Loftus version of the OTF is in fact NON FALSIFIABLE.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"Can I assume from this comment that you take the Loftus position of (his words paraphrased) "unless you end up by rejecting Christianity, you haven't really taken the OTF"? "

I think that's a yes.

""By basically demanding only one outcome, you have invalidated the process."

Pretty much in the same sense that there is only one outcome should you wish to test the validity of gravity by the process of stepping out from a building at 30 stories high.

Ultimately it is a question of fact over factoid.

Anonymous said...

In other words, with that stunning false analogy, Papalinton declares the OTF Unfalsifiable, as the ubiqitous Morrison gamely pointed out.


Jeremy Manucuso, KU at Lawrence.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Loftus, though, I don't think that he would make such a foolish analogy as Papalinton did


Jeremy Manucuso, KU at Lawrence

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Loftus, though, I don't think that he would make such a foolish analogy as Papalinton did


Jeremy Manucuso, KU at Lawrence

B. Prokop said...

Here is my objection to the line of reasoning that there is only one acceptable outcome to taking the OTF, which is rejection of one’s “birth faith”:

Let’s imagine that I buy a ticket to this week’s lottery. Now the odds against my winning are millions to one. But the day of the drawing comes around, and lo and behold, I find I possess the winning ticket. Being skeptical of such good fortune, I carefully examine the ticket, digit by digit, and find that it is indeed the genuine article. I am now rich beyond my wildest ambitions.

Well. By the standards of the OTF (as interpreted by Loftus and Papalinton), there should be no circumstances whatsoever under which I could ever conclude that my ticket is in fact the winning one. In other words, unless I find against such an outcome, I must have somehow botched my examination of the ticket.

This is analogous to the position of the individual raised to be Christian in the world. There are, as a matter of objective fact, many, many religions out there, only one of which (at most) can be True (although all may possess “truths” to a greater or lesser extent, but that’s another story). But the good and conscientious Christian wonders… “Why was I so randomly fortunate as to have been born into the True Faith?” And well and good that he should ask such a question! I applaud him! He should now proceed to an objective examination of his faith, and decide whether or not he should remain a Christian.

But, no matter how much being born into the True Faith may be an argument for one’s being supremely lucky, it can never, as such, be a factor in concluding whether or not the faith itself is indeed true. In fact, it is supremely irrelevant to the issue. I may have beaten all odds by buying the winning lottery ticket, but that in no way affects the fact that I have indeed done so.

(At least in my thought experiment. I do not in reality possess any winning ticket. Just so no one gets any wrong impressions!)

The fatal error that Loftus and Paplinton make is that they fail to see how, after an objective examination of one's beliefs, a Christian can honestly, rationally, (and, I believe, correctly!) conclude that they were all along indeed true.

Thrasymachus said...

"If I'm wrong, I hope Thrasymachus will correct me, but I think that a better reading of his post is as follows:"

I'm happy to give my seal of approval to Jesse's exegesis. It is clearer than I could have managed myself.


Aside: demographic arguments (like the OTF) could work, if we could have some decent grounds of working out epistemic privilege.

Evolutionary biology is a good example. The fact that acceptance of evo bio correlates with stuff like educational level, knowledge of the biological sciences, and denial correlates with particular religious attitudes are things in favour of evolutionary biology.

Unfortunately for lots of stuff (religious belief included), we don't have some fairly widely agreed upon standards of epistemic privilege. Rather each team of partisans take agreement with them as privilege. One or other of these logically rude stories may be right, but obviously such arguments aren't going to persuade those in other ideological clans.

Following Jesse, we could cheekily suggest the demographics of those thinking the OTF is a good argument suggests it isn't true. But I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader.

BenYachov said...

Atheist critics of the OTF? Why should anyone be surprised?

Wes Morrison is a critic of the KALAM Cosmological argument and he is a Theist of the Paul Tillich variety not an Atheist.

My memory is fuzzy but I seem to remember Atheist Graham Oppy criticizing a paper that claimed the cosmology Hartle/Hawking must lead to Atheistic conclusions.

Philosophers have to test arguments even those in their ultimate truth camp. A fundamentalist (like Paps) is someone who believes in their favorite invalid argument at all costs even at the cost of their ultimate truth claim.

Cheers.

Eric said...

"Then how is it that Chesterton remained a theist?"


Chesterton (from 'Orthodoxy'): "I have alluded to an unmeaning phrase to the effect that such and such a creed cannot be believed in our age. Of course, anything can be believed in any age. But, oddly enough, there really is a sense in which a creed, if it is believed at all, can be believed more fixedly in a complex society than in a simple one. If a man finds Christianity true in Birmingham, he has actually clearer reasons for faith than if he had found it true in Mercia. *For the more complicated seems the coincidence, the less it can be a coincidence*. If snowflakes fell in the shape, say, of the heart of Midlothian, it might be an accident. But if snowflakes fell in the exact shape of the maze at Hampton Court, I think one might call it a miracle. It is exactly as of such a miracle that I have since come to feel of the philosophy of Christianity. *The complication of our modern world proves the truth of the creed more perfectly than any of the plain problems of the ages of faith*. It was in Notting Hill and Battersea that I began to see that Christianity was true. This is why the faith has that elaboration of doctrines and details which so much distresses those who admire Christianity without believing in it. When once one believes in a creed, one is proud of its complexity, as scientists are proud of the complexity of science. It shows how rich it is in discoveries. If it is right at all, it is a compliment to say that it's elaborately right. *A stick might fit a hole or a stone a hollow by accident. But a key and a lock are both complex. And if a key fits a lock, you know it is the right key*."

JS Allen said...

"Following Jesse, we could cheekily suggest the demographics of those thinking the OTF is a good argument suggests it isn't true. But I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader."

As a blow against the fundamentalism that Loftus abandoned, it might be a good argument, since it shows that fundamentalists are incapable of thinking clearly, even when they are arguing for the other side. It's mind-blowingly meta.

Morrison said...

Excellent point, Ben...Loftus and Papalinton have just switched from one fundamentalism to another.

Jesse Parrish said...

Papalinton,

"Remember Jesse, the audience to which it is directed have been subjected to 2 millennia of Apologetical contrivance from which little has been resolved in the formulated narrative of the judeo-christian writings, itself a product of many centuries in the making."

Where you assume that they'll recognize the content of this quote, amongst other things. No, I don't think you have your target audience in mind at all.

Thrasymachus,

I think you're right about epistemic privilege. I can imagine several plausible ways to defend a prior which favors skeptics of religion. However, none of these are objectively binding on religious people. It would be part of defending the reasonableness of atheism, not a questioning of the reasonableness of theism or any particular religion.

An example:

1. Christianity is true only if the Resurrection occurred.
2. The prior probability of the Resurrection is calibrated with respect to our confidence in the tendency of dead people to remain dead.
3. The textual evidence for the Resurrection is not sufficiently strong to overcome the prior yielded in (2).
4. Therefore, Christianity is probably not true.

I'm working on such a method to craft a somewhat general, Humean argument against miracles, but it relies on certain qualifiers and conditions which may be reasonable to reject. Someone may claim that (2) fails to hold if they have an adequate natural theology, independently defended, which changes the odds on the Resurrection before analyzing its evidence. But I see several plausible ways to `privilege' (2). And (3), if adequately defended, shows how this approach can easily favor skeptics.

But strictly speaking, (2) is not `objective'. If anything, Christians will be bringing a belief in Christianity to the table when analyzing the textual evidence. And as I mentioned, it is possible that they could legitimize that.

Anonymous said...

"I say again, the OTF is a straight forward, simple, intelligible and elegant statement of challenge that theists are unlikely to relish unless they are truly having serious doubts about the veracity of their faith claims."

LOL. Say it often enough and it magically becomes true. Kinda like an incantation.

B. Prokop said...

No one is, of course, likely to change anyone else's mind via a blog (at least not on an issue as momentous as "Is there a God?"), but I think we would now be safe in saying that we've settled at least one point in the course of this discussion. And that is, that theists are in no way "shit-scared of the OTF" - not in the least.

Naturally, the reactions of theists are not all the same.

Some just laugh the whole thing off, which in itself is definitely not a "shit-scared" reaction.

Others find the numerous (and fatal) logical fallacies inherent in Loftus's variant of the idea, and quite properly emphasize these to discredit the whole enterprise.

Still others (like myself) affirm that the so-called OTF is actually a Christian invention that pre-dates the birth of anyone alive today, and if properly administered, can be devastating to the Skeptical or atheist viewpoint. After all, the first generations of Christians ALL started out as outsiders to the faith. And being a proselytizing faith, we have the evidence of two thousand years of outsiders deciding on its merits to embrace Christianity. So an outsider perspective has been proven a billion times over to not be an impediment to belief.

So can we all agree that theists are not quaking in their collective boots at the very thought of the OTF?

Papalinton said...

Bob
"So can we all agree that theists are not quaking in their collective boots at the very thought of the OTF?"

But they are, Bob. Not in the same sense that atheists did in earlier times when difference of opinion was resolved by becoming the central meat-dish at a Medieval barbeque. But quaking in their boots in the sense in the manner theists have attempted to vociferously refute the OTF.

Of course, putting out innumerable brushfires and attempted back-burnings will not lessen the pace at which christian theism is being increasingly challenged from many sources within the community.

The OTF is one such challenge that will continue to grow and develop as time goes by. There has been little to date to seriously challenge the privileged and deferential state of religion within society. It is small beginnings from a low base, but the groundswell is palpable. Bob, you and others might want to [perhaps not] read the following and particularly watch the embedded videos here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14417362

And while I may have differences with Thrasymachus and Jesse Parrish, their contribution to the OTF will lead to an improved model.

You will note comments from Morrison, Anonymous and Yachov, rather than contributing to healthy discourse, remain at the swill level at the bottom of the cauldron.

Cheers

BenYachov said...

So Paps is pissed some Theists may use Jesse's criticism of OTF to advance Theism over Atheism?

(Which shows that for some people Atheist vs Theist debates are nothing more than arguing politics by other means.)

Big deal! I've seen Wes Morrison quoted rather profusely on a number of Atheist & Skeptical websites. Infidels often quote his penned refutations of William Lane Craig's Theistic arguments.

Yet many of them are surprised to find Wes Morrison is a Theist not an Atheist!

Thought I don't side with Wes Morrison's criticism of Craig as a Catholic I believe in the gospel and the saving truths of the Church. Thus in principle I am against all bad arguments for God or flawed arguments against Atheism.

That is just common sense not apologetics.

I salute Jesse for holding what seems is the same basic view as I do minus the particulars (like belief in God, Miracle, Ressurection etc).

Reason at all cost.

Poor devils like Paps threat the validity of the OTF with the same uncritical zeal a YEC puts into the "scientific" arguments of ANSWERS IN GENESIS for a 5000 year old Earth.

Both act as if their No Belief/Faith will fall to dust if their pet argument doesn't turn out to be true.

I want none of that nonsense.

Papalinton said...

My goodness, Ben!

A whiff of miff.

BenYachov said...

BTW I think somebody is scared shitless here & they are projecting it on to others.

Paps? Buddy?

Now I used to love the Protestants have broken up into 30,000 denominations polemic back when I used to argue with Anti-Catholic Fundies about 20 years ago.

But David Palm and other Catholic apologists taught me that argument is factually incorrect so I should stop using it & I have. It didn't hurt. It doesn't mean I have no more respect for Karl Keating or other Catholics I heard the argument from back in the day.

You won't suddenly believe in God or Jesus anytime soon if it turns out the OTF is bogus. Nor does it prove God must exist or Jesus rose from the dead because it might be bogus.

So at the risk of sounding all Jedi(that is a legitimate religion in your country if I recall) let go of your fear.

Trust me. You will be a better Ateist and a happer person.

BenYachov said...

BTW seriously Paps to be clear I am not even telling you to disbelieve the OTF. I'm telling you to apply reason at all costs and not to based the truth of your Atheism solely on the success of the OTF.

Commonsense is it's own reward.

Jesse Parrish said...

Papalinton,

"And while I may have differences with Thrasymachus and Jesse Parrish, their contribution to the OTF will lead to an improved model."

Remember your misreading of Thrasymachus' post earlier? You stayed rather quiet about my correction, a correction which has since been second by Thrasymachus as well.

I thought that maybe you recognized the mistake, and I wasn't going to demand explicit renunciation. But now you've done it again.

Knock it off. That's not what we're saying. That's not what our criticisms do.

I did not contribute to the OTF. I think it is un-frickin'-salvageable. If anybody thinks my criticisms worthwhile, they will return to doing what they should have been doing all along: engaging in traditional argumentation, not demanding a highly idiosyncratic version of objective probabilism for which there is no known, valid argument.

I use `demanding' very deliberately: the OTF is without content if it is not intended to be objective. This is crankery.

As I have said before, I think that the OTF does harm to the rational faculties of those who accept it. I think it fails in every imaginable way, apart from literally melting the eyes of those who read it.

It is worse than inadequate; it is a confusion. It throws a softball at those who may already be overconfident in their batting average, and it undermines the actual importance of its motivating observations. It's primary effect has been to distract and distort the efforts of skeptics and has (often rightly) reinforced the confidence of theists in the shallowness of skeptics' claims to the rational high ground.

Yawns. TV noises. Chuckles. Where is this terror you speak of? You keep repeating this. It has been addressed and mocked. You've ignored a lot of things here. You simply are not paying attention. Even the fact that you keep blandly regurgitating things has already been stated. You are not paying attention. That's fine; if you don't want to try, go away, find something uncomfortable, and sit on it for all I care.

Before you called me defensive. You over-interpreted: I was and am angry. I was angry because you accused me of vague tendencies which you invoked to avoid addressing my arguments and refused to even name them. I am now angry for that and many other reasons.

In another thread here I was warned that you are not to be taken seriously. I said I would give you a shot, and I have given you several.

Wanna try again? Like, actually try? Or should I consider you to be dangerous idea's resident crank?

Papalinton said...

Hi Jesse.

In protecting your little claim to fame on the 'evisceration' of the OTF, you remind me much of the parent watching their son/daughter graduating at military marching out parade, "Look, there she is, the only one is step.

C'mon Jesse, you know that I know that you know your take on the OTF is minor league, it is a minority perspective in the truest sense. Your angry defense of it is symptomatic of the questionable nature of the argument contained in it. Not surprisingly, the framework of the OTF model has not been raised as much of a contentious issue more widely, apart from yourself and Thrasymachus and the legion of apologists, of course.

You say, " I was angry because you accused me of vague tendencies which you invoked to avoid addressing my arguments and refused to even name them. I am now angry for that and many other reasons."
I say, of course you are, because you have been found out. I take as my reference your note, "I did not contribute to the OTF. I think it is un-frickin'-salvageable." In hindsight, it seems I did mistake your intent, Jesse. Now I understand your presupposition on the unsalvageable nature of the OTF was the true intent of your 'evisceration', your motivation; and not an offering of contributing to an improved model. So be it. That is your call.

I happen to disagree with you, and in the light of what you now inform me, your contribution can finally be consigned to the apologetical basket requiring no further consideration.

"In another thread here I was warned that you are not to be taken seriously. I said I would give you a shot, and I have given you several."
Well, bully for me. I say, produce the goods or cop an earful. It's not rocket science, Jesse. [Incidentally, would that other site be Triablogue?]

Cheers

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

Bob
"And while I may have differences with Thrasymachus and Jesse Parrish, their contribution to the OTF will lead to an improved model. "

It seems I was wrong. I got it direct from the horse's mouth. Jesse's intent was not about signaling the deficiencies with a focus to improving the model.

Jesse Parrish said...

Papalinton,

[Incidentally, would that other site be Triablogue?]

No, that would be this blog.

"Now I understand your presupposition on the unsalvageable nature of the OTF was the true intent of your 'evisceration', your motivation; and not an offering of contributing to an improved model. So be it. That is your call."

It is `an offering of contributing to an improved model', the improved model being `something else entirely. (Should I even get started on the usage of `presupposition' here?)

"I happen to disagree with you, and in the light of what you now inform me, your contribution can finally be consigned to the apologetical basket requiring no further consideration."

In light of my telling you what I've said all along, you are finally ready to continue asserting that I am wrong without substantiating it.

I guess this answers my question.

Ilíon said...

Jesse Parrish: "... Otherwise, I simply do not care whether or not my statements serve as a defense of religion.

I want them to be true.
"

I've often heard that there are 'atheists' with such an attitude. And a sense of humor, to boot!

Ilíon said...

... by the way, in my (not very humble) opinion, the best way to answer Mr Linton's frothings is to not even read them, in the first place. But, hey, if you're enjoying yourself, I certainly don't intend to be a kill-joy.

Jesse Parrish said...

I'm a masochist, so I probably won't avoid reading them. After all, there is an off-chance he might say something worth reading and I'm here as it is.

But there's no point speaking to those who are not listening.

I have better luck bouncing my ideas off my cat. Yes, my cat is also a masochist.

Papalinton said...

Jesse
"It is `an offering of contributing to an improved model', the improved model being `something else entirely. (Should I even get started on the usage of `presupposition' here?)"

These questions have been asked before, and from Loftus no less. While they were directed to a practicing christian they remain relevant. They are offered as a corollary in respect of the practical application of the OTF. You might wish to comment:

1) Do you or do you not assume other religions shoulder the burden of proof? When you examine Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Hinduism, Scientology, Mormonism, Shintoism, Jainism, Haitian Voodoo, the John Frum Cargo Cult, Satanism, or the many African or Chinese tribal religions, do you think approaching them with faith is the way to test these religions, or would you agree with the OTF, that a much fairer method is by assuming they all have the burden of proof, including your own?

2) Do you or do you not think that a consistent standard invoking fairness is the best way to objectively come to know the correct religious faith, if there is one? If not, why the double standard?

3) Do you or do you not think that if Christianity is true it should be detectably known and supported by the sciences to the exclusion of other false religious faiths?

4) Do you or do you not admit that if you reject the OTF then your God did not make Christianity such that it would lead reasonable people who were born as outsiders to come to believe it, and as such, will be condemned to hell by virtue of where they were born? If not, and if outsiders can reasonably come to believe, then why is it that you think the OTF is incoherent?

5) Do you or do you not have a better method for us to reasonably settle which religious faith is true, if there is one? If so, what is it?

If the OTF is incoherent, then you should have no trouble dispensing with these five questions.

The OTF process is very simple; all it asks of the theist is to apply to their own faith the same reasoning that they apply to other's faiths.

Jesse Parrish said...

Fine, I'll play along. I did say I was a masochist, after all.

1) As I said in a post we've both referenced, the `burden of proof' is noise. Suppose a Christian says: "here are my beliefs, now prove me wrong. Else you are irrational." How might I respond? I would grab a beer from the fridge and do something else. I'm sure Youtube will new videos about kittens. Suppose an atheist says: "Christianity is intrinsically irrational or unreasonable." Then that person is making a claim about the state of the evidence. If she does not substantiate it, a Christian can happily adopt the beer/Youtube strategy, assuming that they are OK with drinking. If a Christian claims that his beliefs are reasonable, an atheist may fairly ask what exactly those beliefs and reasons are. But we all have relevant beliefs and opinions, or we would not be asking, much less demanding. Our responsibility in argument is to make the relevant articles explicit and discuss from there. We have no need for any norms about any initial `burden of proof' in a hypothetical universe where one person has a stance, the other does not, and there are no extant arguments. There is a state of evidence and argument; work on it.

2) I very much like consistency and standards. That's part of the several reasons why I reject the OTF, as I have said. I also explained in my most recent post how exactly it is that religious people may consistently and reasonably account for differing religions (and other evidential arguments) using widely-accepted principles of reasoning.

3) If you're asking me "do you expect certain evidence given that Christianity is true", that depends on the brand of Christianity. I've explained this in the latter two of my posts on the OTF. A more general statement of this form - it applies to (many versions of) theism - is known as the hiddenness problem, which is related to the argument from reasonable atheism/non-belief. Where Christianity is exclusive to other faiths, support for it is trivially reason to doubt other faiths.

4) See (3) and basically everything else I've written. Normal arguments account for this and specify where and to what extent it is important; the OTF is not required for recognizing these details where applicable, and its invocation, if anything, prevents their strengths weaknesses from being realized.

5) Have fun.

Any trouble here?

(Quibble: I wouldn't say `objectively come to know'. Lots of scariness around here.)

Jesse Parrish said...

Hm... My comment got lost. Instead of retyping it, I'll be brief:

I've answered every one of these questions either here or in these posts. I'm not going to quote myself to you.

In case my answer to (5) wasn't clear already, have a blast.

Jesse Parrish said...

(And by `these posts', I meant to say the 3 posts I've written on the OTF and the one I wrote on the belief/lack of belief distinction.)

I'm willing to respond if you show a minimal willingness to read what I have already written and address it. I'm rather glad my comment was lost.

For the lurkers here who've read this thread and those posts: to test my clarity, would you also care to fill in the blanks? If you cannot, let me know.

BenYachov said...

@Jesse

Against stupidity and or trying to have a rational discussion with Paps, even the gods themselves contend in vain.

You have my sympathy friend.

Anonymous said...

Anybody notice where Paps asked a poster to refrain from commenting until he had dinner?

Heavens, we must keep to Paps schedule.

And later he complained that his meal was interuppted.

From the looks of Paps, it looks like he could affort to miss a meal or two.

It funny to see a bunch of retired old white men spending all their time on blogs.

Paps was over at Amazon a while back trying to defend a Loftus book. Last time I looked the comment thread had gone to over two hundred responses.

He funny

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

Five good questions. I know they weren't aimed at me, but I'll answer them anyway (briefly).

1. Yes, absolutely. The burden of proof is on the religion, no matter which one it is. Where you and I would disagree, of course, is that I believe that Christianity has more than passed the burden of proof test, indeed many times over. I'm fairly confident that I have examined the evidence in an objective manner, and I am convinced beyond all reasonable doubt - Jesus Christ did, as a matter of historical fact, rise from the dead after a very public execution, and is alive today.

2. No disagreement. There should be no double standards. And by the very strict standards for credibility that I (and countless others) have applied to Christianity, all the other religions do not pass (except possible Hinduism, but that again is another story).

3. No, no, no. Recall please, my posting on the Overton thread on this same website. Here is an excerpt from it:

Science is the tool of choice for learning about the natural world. But here is where we differ. You believe that the natural world is all there is. (And that is very much a belief, whether you wish to admit it or not.) I, on the other hand, regard the natural world as merely a construct of a much larger and, as it were, "more real" world - i.e., the supernatural. And more to the point, I go along with Catholic orthodoxy that identifies Man as a body/soul union that has a foot in each realm.

Science is useless as a tool to learn anything meaningful about the supernatural. All we know from that realm is from Revelation. Now since you have already ruled out the existence of the supernatural, I wouldn't expect you to accept the validity of Revelation. And I'm not asking you to (yet).

(I won't copy/paste the whole posting. Check it out (in context) just a few threads below this one.)

4. I think I answered this one decisively in my previous posting on this thread. Christianity only exists today by having won over literally billions of "outsiders" through the centuries. the Faith obviously has nothing whatsoever to fear from being examined from an outsider perspective.

5. Sorry, I'll take back my first line of this posting. You had only four good questions. This one is what we call "loaded". You're not very subtly fishing for a desired answer. I will simply close by saying that, at least in my own case, I have quite consistently applied "the same reasoning that [I] apply to other's faiths" to my own.

B. Prokop said...

To "anonymous" and a few others:

Cut out the gratuitous insults and ad hominems. You're not funny, and are doing nothing to advance the discussion. If you have something to say, say it, but no one is interested in playground taunts.

Papalinton said...

Hi Jesse
"(And by `these posts', I meant to say the 3 posts I've written on the OTF and the one I wrote on the belief/lack of belief distinction.)"

Yes, very interesting. And you certainly were in the wars over at DC. And interestingly, Articulett took you to task.

Jesse, your foray over at DC seemed very flat and did not appear to have inspired many. I followed your debate with Articulett from the bleaches and only contributed comments on the side not related to the substance of your discussion with her. She too was singularly unimpressed with your offerings and there were many other commenters who made it known they had significant difficulty in understanding what you were trying to say.

Jesse, I think you are in love with the process, particularly the Bayesian approach. And from an academic or theoretical perspective it is an interesting and challenging tool to play with. But it cuts no ice in the hurly-burly of polemical social discourse on the net. Your critique of the OTF only has currency with Victor and crowd as they feverishly attempt to scour for something, anything to 'validate' christian theism. Apologetics has lost its sting since heresy is no longer a capital offense. Indeed, Apologetics, as distinct from Biblical Studies and Biblical History[?] etc etc. has over recent times traded away much of its academic and scholastic merit in many institutions as secular investigation and scholarship begins to unearth a differing narrative to that ascribed to the tradition of Apologetics. Even Biblical Archeology has been consigned to history. William Albright the grand-daddy of 'Biblical Archeology' "methods and conclusions have been increasingly questioned. William Dever notes that "[Albright's] central theses have all been overturned, partly by further advances in Biblical criticism, but mostly by the continuing archaeological research of younger Americans and Israelis. The irony is that, in the long run, it will have been the newer "secular" archaeology that contributed the most to Biblical studies, not "Biblical archaeology"." [Wiki]

The OTF is a product of Loftus' experiences from both sides of the fence. He has been the arch defender of the faith. He ate, lived and breathed christian thought. He understands the emotional, physical and psychological framework out of which theists operate. It is not strange to him. Equally, he now measures those experiences against a different set of emotional, physical and psychological criteria. It is his unique comparisons across that divide from which the OTF was formulated. It is not the same as Chesterton's supposed OTF because Chesterton was always ever on one side of the fence. The OTF is here and it is improving.

Incidentally, correct me, but I do not recognize any commentary you have made that responds to the questions I posted earlier.

BenYachov said...

@Bob
>To "anonymous" and a few others:

>Cut out the gratuitous insults and ad hominems. You're not funny, and are doing nothing to advance the discussion.

I reply: I would never make fun of Paps' weight considering the gut I carry around but I will mock without pity or mercy his militant refusal to reason & think logically.

Such willful stupidity cries out for Satire.

If you don't like it then tough. Your once in a while weak knee defenses of the Church don't always thrill me either Bob. But you don't hear me complaining since sometime you get it right.

But I am neither your Father or your Father Confessor and you are not mine.

Get it?

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

Why did you assume I was referring to you? (which I wasn't)

"The wicked flee where no man pursueth."

BenYachov said...

@Bob

>Why did you assume I was referring to you? (which I wasn't)

Well in the past you called me "rude" and said I "embarrassed" the Catholic Faith etc..

So it is a natural conclusion.
Don't be coy it's not convincing.

I can forgive all that but both times you did your little hit & run your refuses to dialog with me like a man.

You just wag your finger in a condescending manner. It's doesn't move me at all.

So why don't you just man up and dialog with me, talk too me, instead of rebuking me (and running off? Since Scripture says only Priests should be doing that(sans the running part). I see no Rev Bob in your profile guy.

Your just a foot soldier like me.

I may be harsh to the willfully stupid but if you are straight with me you will find I am quite agreeable.

So what do you say Bob?

BenYachov said...

Additional:

Protestant translations render Presbyter "elder" but classically Catholics & Orthodox understand this term to apply to Priests.

Papalinton said...

Briefly, Bob, your responses are almost as I would expect them to be from a Muslim, or a Jain, or a Sikh. And if I compared your responses side by side and removed the names I do not think I could tell who wrote which.

Interestingly you too, subscribe to Gould's NOMA [non overlapping magisteria] precept. And I can understand the reason. It helps to keep religion away from the prying eyes of science. And it conveniently fits in well with the old 'body/soul' trope.

You say, "Science is the tool of choice for learning about the natural world. But here is where we differ. You believe that the natural world is all there is. (And that is very much a belief, whether you wish to admit it or not.) I, on the other hand, regard the natural world as merely a construct of a much larger and, as it were, "more real" world - i.e., the supernatural. And more to the point, I go along with Catholic orthodoxy that identifies Man as a body/soul union that has a foot in each realm."

True, I know there is a natural world. I live it every day. Part of that natural world is my capacity to use my brain, to conjure up other worlds, even a christian world replete with gods, and devils and angels etc. I also know that people can have and experience relationships, and such things as love, anger, fear. I can also create imaginary worlds that are limited only by my inherent capacity to imagine them. And all this happens just as I am, in this natural world.

Now the 'supernatural', this is where we differ. The supernatural is simply the extension of our capacity for ideation. The supernatural is only a descriptor, a classification or a library box in our mind in which we place all those inexplicable things for which there is yet to be a natural explanation. That box used to be filled with being 'possessed by the devil' until we learned what an epileptic fit was. The box used to have phlogiston in there, that is, the ethereal spirit of fire and heat, until we learned about oxygen and combustion. In that box was lightening, an angry response from the gods for something our ancestors had done that displeased him, until we learned about the accumulation and discharge of static electricity. In that box, man was made in the image of god and had not one iota of connection to the rest of the animal world, until Darwin came along.

Today, that box still contains a number of items; the 'uncaused cause' of the universe, the 'cosmological fine-tuning' knob tweaker, the font of all morality. These largely remain in our mind's library box of odd assortments until such time that they too will be explained in the 'natural' way. Needless to say, Dr Sam Harris' recent book, "The Moral Landscape" goes some way to reassessing the moral imperative in society.

If there is a 'supernatural' world, science will find it and there will be a natural explanation, at which time it will cease being 'supernatural. And there are a number of possibilities; there may well be a parallel universe in the multiverse model, and if it is there it will probably be deduced from gravity fluctuations at the brane junction of ours and the universe next door. Another likely candidate is the possibility of developing universes on the other side of black holes, but again it will be science that will discover it. Fecund universes may also be a possibility.

In terms of the theological concept of the extra-natural or supernatural, this is pretty much a function of the firing of neural networks in our brain, and the absolute beauty of this is the realization that we are fully responsible for our own destiny. That far reaches beyond the stultified constraints of imagined gods, and blood sacrifices and circumcisions, and gospel stories written by unknown writers, and prophecies and the walking dead.

To be sure, maintain your faith. You are entitled. But don't trot it out as reality.

Papalinton said...

Bob
Regardless on which side of the divide bottom feeders are still bottom feeders. Such little people need only be cause for little, if any, attention.

Jesse Parrish said...

Again, I'm not doing your work for you again, Papa. I've actually answered these quite explicitly.

(And there's more to my answer to (5) than Bayesianism. You still there, man?)

*Grabs beer; checks to see if there are new cat videos on Youtube*

Oh yeah, and Articulett is a blatantly self-contradictory liar and moron, who, after making me write 40 comments about the OTF, finally admitted no interest in arguing with theists. I won't admit being `taken to task' by this sloganeering tool.

And of the other two people who chimed in, I did change a mind and inspired a look into philosophy. The other ignored my responses.

That's fine. If I could change just one mind over there on this issue for every several thousand words written, I would do it again.

JS Allen said...

"Your take on the OTF is minor league, it is a minority perspective in the truest sense."

Wrong again. It's a take that John Loftus has repeatedly acknowledged to be correct -- OTF is "not a silver bullet" and applies only to a subset of evangelical Christians. Those are John's own words.

If anyone is "the only one in step", it's you, Paps.

Eric said...

"1) Do you or do you not assume other religions shoulder the burden of proof?"

Yes, but for a reason: I've not encountered any good reasons to abandon my own religious beliefs. Advocates of the OTF often seem to miss this simple point: When we examine what we believe, or consider what to believe, it's never just about asking, "are there good reasons for accepting conclusions I currently reject," but also, "are there good reasons for rejecting the conclusions I already accept?" This is one of the major difficulties I have with most defenses of the OTF.

"2) Do you or do you not think that a consistent standard invoking fairness is the best way to objectively come to know the correct religious faith, if there is one?"

Of course, but keep my answer to (1) in mind before you respond.

"3) Do you or do you not think that if Christianity is true it should be detectably known and supported by the sciences to the exclusion of other false religious faiths?"

This is a bit simplistic. Here's the short answer: Since there are not two truths, nothing we can come to know in one way can contradict what we can come to know in other ways. So, if we come to know P through scientific means, then none of our religious beliefs can contradict P. In this sense, religious faith must remain consistent with scientific knowledge. But to suppose that it (as a whole) must be *testable* by scientific methods is to commit a category error, insofar as you accept that (a) modern science is committed to methodological naturalism, and (b) many religious claims concern the supernatural.

I've used this example before: If you ask a statue of Jesus to give you a sign that Christianity is true, and then the statue gets down from its pedestal, walks into a nearby store, comes back to you and hands you a Bible before returning to its original position, there's a perfectly natural explanation of this event: The statue's randomly moving particles moved in a host of random but highly improbable ways to bring about the statue's motion, and that this happened just when you asked for a sign is coincidental. So, here's a remarkably improbable event, but one that can be explained without resorting to the supernatural. What would you say -- is it a miracle or is it an improbable event? If you say it's a miracle, no scientific reasoning led you to that conclusion, for there's a naturalistic explanation available. But I take it that it's obvious that 'miracle' is the most rational conclusion. (Note, I'm stipulating that it actually happened to rule out psychological explanations etc.)

So, as you can see, there are in principle possible miraculous events that could not be identified as such by science alone.

(con't)

Ilíon said...

"Oh yeah, and Articulett is a blatantly self-contradictory liar and moron ..."

A moron does not choose his state, and deserves no moral censure over it.

A liar does choose his dishonest behavior and deserves moral censure over it -- in fact, to refuse even to admit that a liar is a liar is itself a moral failing.

Eric said...

"4) Do you or do you not admit that if you reject the OTF then your God did not make Christianity such that it would lead reasonable people who were born as outsiders to come to believe it, and as such, will be condemned to hell by virtue of where they were born? If not, and if outsiders can reasonably come to believe, then why is it that you think the OTF is incoherent?"

Christianity originated among a small group of Jews in Israel two thousand years ago, and today it's believed by two billion people in areas as diverse as the U.S., China, India, Africa -- that is, by people all over the world from strikingly different cultures. In light of this incontrovertible fact, how could anyone suggest with a straight face that Christianity is such that people who are born outsiders couldn't accept it, and that this must lead us to question god's goodness, justice, etc.?

Now the issue isn't whether outsiders can come to believe reasonably. That's not even in question (as the facts above make clear). What's at issue is whether the OTF, as formulated -- e.g. in such a way that it's restricted to religious belief, that it provides no meaningful criteria for establishing what constitutes an outsider, that it fails to come to grips with the fact that there is no view from nowhere (that is, every position from which we can undertake a proposed OTF is an *inside* position, so 'outside' positions are always relative), and so on -- is clear enough to do any of the heavy lifting its advocates claim it does.

"5) Do you or do you not have a better method for us to reasonably settle which religious faith is true, if there is one? If so, what is it?"

Yes: evaluate *all* claims honestly and consistently, to the extent that you can. Be reasonable and charitable. Try not to fool yourself. Be aware of your limitations, and be aware of the limitations of the tools you're using to evaluate competing claims. Inform yourself the best you can. Be open to learning from other people. And so on.

You know all this already, don't you?

Eric said...

"Oh yeah, and Articulett is a blatantly self-contradictory liar and moron, who, after making me write 40 comments about the OTF, finally admitted no interest in arguing with theists. I won't admit being `taken to task' by this sloganeering tool."

Alas, this is true. Her typical response to any post she's critical of includes upwards of twenty of thirty questions phrased with an arrogance befitting Feynman, of which two might be relevant, fifteen or so are increasingly unclear restatements of the two relevant questions, and the rest of which are so far out there that you wonder what planet she's from. Then, if you take the time to respond to her questions, she'll either ignore or grossly distort/misunderstand what you said, ask another series of almost entirely meaningless questions, and call you a lot of names.

And yet, both the regular posters on DC and even John and Hector Avalos seem to think she actually contributes meaningful, rational and damning points to the debate! Amazing. I mean, she makes Rook Hawkins and Brian Sapient look like Mackie and Oppy. It's quite possibly the most delusional online activity I've ever encountered!

Ilíon said...

Eric: "Here's the short answer: Since there are not two truths, nothing we can come to know in one way can contradict what we can come to know in other ways. So, if we come to know P through scientific means, then none of our religious beliefs can contradict P. In this sense, religious faith must remain consistent with scientific knowledge. But to suppose that it (as a whole) must be *testable* by scientific methods is to commit a category error, insofar as you accept that (a) modern science is committed to methodological naturalism, and (b) many religious claims concern the supernatural."

Keep in mind that 'science,' by its very nature, does not and cannot deliver us truth ... about anything. (*) Therefore, in any possible dispute between "science" (that is, claims asserted by fetishists of scientism, In The Name Of 'Science!') and "religion", the "religionists" are fully justified in ignoring, as being unknowable or irrelevant, the claims asserted by the scientism fetishists.

(*) Any given scientific pronouncement may be true or may be false, but there is no way to know scientifically which is the case.

Eric said...

"Keep in mind that 'science,' by its very nature, does not and cannot deliver us truth ... about anything. (*) Therefore, in any possible dispute between "science" (that is, claims asserted by fetishists of scientism, In The Name Of 'Science!') and "religion", the "religionists" are fully justified in ignoring, as being unknowable or irrelevant, the claims asserted by the scientism fetishists."

Yes, technically, you're right. Science doesn't deal with proofs in the sense that mathematics does, but with probabilistic and falsifiable claims that follow, usually inferentially, from the available evidence, which is always incomplete. (Note, this isn't an attack on science -- someone is sure to misrepresent it as one -- but a recogintion of what it seems to me that science in fact is.)

Still, if we confine our use of the term 'true' to what can be proven, then we'll find little use for it! I think it's safe to say that many scientific claims are true while conceding that they're not strictly proven, such as in cases where the evidence is overwhelming.

Jesse Parrish said...

*Happily nods his probabilist head*

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

You disappoint me. Really, you do. Deeply.

To drag out the tired old "God of the Gaps" nonsense, when I have repeatedly written on this website that I have no patience for any such imaginary concept. God (and the supernatural) are not something you use to fill in inconvenient gaps (like caulk on the bathtub). He (and his supernatural realm) are the ocean in which our natural, physical world swims.

I'm not normally one to resort to quoting scripture, but you are trying my patience here. Listen to Paul: "For in [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, ... all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:16-17) Or, if you like, Just read John: "All things were made through [Jesus], and without him was not anything made that was made."

Does that sound like a "God of the Gaps" to you? Of course not! Continue to use that old chestnut if you insist, but just remember, your audience has moved way beyond you. You're whistling into the wind.

It was only out of exasperated frustration that I responded at all, because the charge is certainly entirely void of any meaningful intellectual content.

Jesse Parrish said...

B. Prokop,

In fairness, it is true that the "God of the Gaps" is a regular guest on the show, but you're right to point out that Christians need not - perhaps should not - accept such a concept. And once that's made clear, critics of Christianity should not pretend that nothing further has been said, of course.

B. Prokop said...

Jessie,

But after (I believe decisively) defeating the notion, you can understand my frustration when it keeps rearing its ugly, ignorant head again, and again, and again...

Apparently, the very idea of a God of the Gaps is not a theistic creation at all. It originated as a strawman argument by skeptics to disarm their opponents (I know, I know, I got this from the uber-reliable source, Wikipedia, but don't we all, occasionally?) To Christians like myself, we tend to agree with Saint Paul, who wrote, "Ever since the creation of the world, [God's] invisible nature, namely his power and deity, has been clearly seen in the things that have been made". This has certainly been the case with me, who, the more I learn about the physical world, the more I can say along with the psalmist, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament his handiwork".

No "God of the Gaps" for me!!!

Eric said...

"In fairness, it is true that the "God of the Gaps" is a regular guest on the show, but you're right to point out that Christians need not - perhaps should not - accept such a concept."

Regular, perhaps, but primarily in the cheap seats in the bleachers, while people like Pap treat it as if it occupies the front rows.

Jesse Parrish said...

Both,

I have no disagreement.

All,

I should mention that I've seen John's post that he's on a blogging break, so I do not expect any response soon.

To be honest, I don't expect a serious response. Here's what he said to Thrasymachus' post back in January:

"I see nothing here I need to respond to."

Oh, my argument is invalid, cannot be reworked to convincingly get what I want out of it, and my approach in general is a failure. Where's the problem?

Staggering. And this is followed by another unhesitant shift:

"You can insert the word “skeptical” for “outsider” if you wish. And being skeptical means doubting or rejecting anything that the sciences say otherwise."

And we return to the uniqueness problems and question-begging again...

So I'll have fun at his expense until he or others get back to me with a real argument. A satisfactory response will do the following things:

1. Restatement: the precise structure and intended conclusion(s) of the OTF must be clearly stated, along with any contested background assumptions.

2. Support: The structure and conclusions of the argument must be corroborated. Is it deductive? If so, state exactly where and why. Is it a probabilistic argument? Then capture the argument using the formal tools of probabilism and defend it. Is it an argument about prior distributions? Then state clearly why it is that a coherent agent must adopt, prior to evidence, a specific distribution based on an observation which can already accounted for by a religious person or may be calibrated in a traditional, probabilistic manner (conditionalization).

3. Comprehensiveness: Clearly state outstanding objections and why they fail or are otherwise innocuous.

I call it the Simple Test For Understanding, or STFU, because proponents of the OTF should STFU already or move on.

Thrasymachus said...

I couldn't help but smile at STFU. I shall use it myself.

You're right, of course.

Jesse Parrish said...

I have a WTF, an STFU, but I'm having trouble with `BBQ'.

Any ideas for a LOL? Perhaps something about Loftus insisting on the Objectivity of Loftus.

Meh. Not all of my swings are hits.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"To drag out the tired old "God of the Gaps" nonsense, when I have repeatedly written on this website that I have no patience for any such imaginary concept. God (and the supernatural) are not something you use to fill in inconvenient gaps (like caulk on the bathtub). He (and his supernatural realm) are the ocean in which our natural, physical world swims."

Yeah, it is a bit of a bummer. Not because I use it, but rather because it elegantly explains the inexorable shift over time those ever-so-many aspects and perspectives that were once considered non-transferrable and non-negotiable claims of christian theism. And as christian ideology forms and reforms and is compelled to release these claims, once considered the very word of god, it does so begrudgingly, with fight, just as is happening right now on this thread. Science as we know only too well, trespasses on the boundary of the sacred not because it is opposed to the sacred but because it has no concept of sacred at all. To science nothing is sacred, because sacred is not part of its vocabulary. So when science finds facts that refute religious claims - about man, about society, about the universe, or about god[s], it comes as a rend to the christian body politic.
And the 'god of the gaps' is the practical euphemism for science's process of paring back the boundary markers of the christian [theism in general actually] compound.

Nowadays in the study of religion, Apologetics is diminishing as a valid academic stream. Today, the study of religion, whether psychologically, sociologically, anthropologically etc can be done at the trivial level, things like counting up the numbers of worshippers in church or evaluate their voting habits at the ballot box. This will generate a certain amount and kind of information about religion, or at least religious behaviour. But most influential students of religion now want to do much more, such as provide a theory of religion, give an explanation of religion. What does it mean to explain religion? The one thing it does not mean is to take it at face value -to respect its claims, its authority, its boundaries. If one were to explain scientifically some ritual or ritual in general, what one would not do would be to explain it as true: "Those people do that rain-making ritual because it really does make it rain."

I must confess that David Eller, one among many, has been the principal shaper of my comments here. I wish that it was my work, but alas he is much better than I. And while you quote from the bible, I refer [and defer even] to modern scholars.

Therefore, Bob, I don't mind your quoting scripture at me. They are simply words people have written in early times about their feelings and their anxieties about the human condition. I have the capacity to substitute Yahweh for Zeus, or Apollonius of Tyana, or Isis, and it still reads fine. No problem there. But if you're thinking you are quoting god's own words to me, then I am mightily disappointed at the level of naivety demonstrated. I know Hogwarts exists because I have read about it, just recently, and I have seen it with my own eyes on that news item last night on TV. And the news at 10 o'clock is both real and factual.

Bob, I'm also very happy to see Jesse and Thrasymachus have found friends and a home on this site, among people who regard their work as seminal. Perhaps they might even become christians. Now that would be a significant fillip in Victor's chances of reaching heaven. Pass on my regards. It is nice to feel wanted.

Jesse Parrish said...

I aspire to rationalism, not atheism. I'm pretty confident I won't be a Christian anytime soon, but I won't be too upset if I should change my mind, version depending.

"Now that would be a significant fillip in Victor's chances of reaching heaven. Pass on my regards. It is nice to feel wanted"

Do you also do childrens' parties?

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

We'll just have to agree to disagree here, and move along.

You seem to make much of a supposed conflict between science and faith, whereas I see nothing of the sort. You appear to be under the impression that religion only cares about what science can't explain, while I rejoice in every advance in scientific knowledge as just giving me greater opportunity to praise the wonder of God's creation. (I am purposefully using "religious" terminology here, to make a point. You'll note I don't normally do this.)

You write that to science, nothing is sacred. And I agree with this! Totally! As I have written above in this very thread, science can tell us NOTHING about the supernatural world. If it could, it would not be supernatural. I have no problem with this - it's just as it should be.

But please, please, please, stop thinking that religion is fighting some mythical rear guard fight against the advance of science. Need I once again have to list the (very impressive) list of great scientists throughout history who have also been staunch theists? For God's sake (pun intended), the roof of the Papal Palace in Castel Gandolfo is absolutely studded with telescopes. The world's largest collection of meteorites is in the Vatican, where they are intensively studied to learn everything we can about the origin of the solar system. The observatory at Mount Graham in Arizona is largely funded by the Vatican, and nearly all the researchers there are on the Church payroll. MOST of the research being conducted today on galactic evolution is financed by the Catholic Church. Some "rear guard" action!

Papalinton said...

Bob
"As I have written above in this very thread, science can tell us NOTHING about the supernatural world."

Absolutely correct. Because there is no supernatural world per se.

Question. If there is a supernatural world, then all those channelers, tarot-card readers, crystal-ball gazers, new-age spiritualists, and Deepak Chopra are right on the money, aren't they? [pardon the pun] Just like the Catholic Church. They, to a person, all claim belief in another world conjointly existing as we live and to which we enter after death, a world filled with aunties, uncles, ghosts, gods, jesus, angels, and I also understand even babies who died before they were baptised. Now that was truly good of god to collapse the world of 'limbo'. That revelation from the pope must truly come as a welcomed surprise for all those mums who can now be reunited with their dead infants earlier than previously expected at the end of the world.

Can you not appreciate the monumental level of irony here, Bob? No, perhaps not.

Anonymous said...

Some bastards have gotten together and post THREE One Star reviews of the latest Loftus book.

Yeah, they are superficial, but they serving to cut the overall rating of the book, which is what a lot of people look at.

I plan to add one too.

And to get a few of my friends to do the same.

Its a small thing, I know, but it gives me tremendous satisfaction.

I will be blut. Loftus insulted me. I want to get back at him, the lying, arrogant, cheater.

Papalinton said...

Hey Bob,
"For God's sake (pun intended), the roof of the Papal Palace in Castel Gandolfo is absolutely studded with telescopes. The world's largest collection of meteorites is in the Vatican, where they are intensively studied to learn ....." etc etc.

Perhaps the Catholic Church is hedging its bets. Perhaps it has seen the writing on the wall with all this 'faith-based' stuff and that it is losing its grip on the credulous mass. You know, what with all this higher levels of education, and standards of living, etc etc. Perhaps there is a slow but inexorable transition to 'science-based' stuff and the fundaments of science are becoming the new dogma, the new Catholic doctrine. How else is the Catholic Church going to make money in a future community?

I only have one thought. God I hope not. We must not sully the pristine nature of science.

Jesse Parrish said...

Anonymous,

Unless you and those friends have read the book and can legitimize that rating, don't do that.

That's petty stuff. If you want to get `back at him', have fun at his expense in honest ways. Help me write acronyms!

Jesse Parrish said...

(Is anonymous a real person? I mean, who publicly says they're going to do that? The only thing missing is Garbage Day level, cheesy evil laughter.)

Papalinton said...

"I aspire to rationalism, not atheism. I'm pretty confident I won't be a Christian anytime soon, but I won't be too upset if I should change my mind, version depending."

There you go, Victor. Go for it. Weave your magic.
[Pure soft persiflage, Victor, pure persiflage]

Jesse Parrish said...

Thrasymachus,

I just had a realization: Why do I smell (a strange version of) frequentism? I don't think that this is the easiest reading of his writing so far, but then, that's not a strong field.

Ilíon said...

Anonymous: ""... I will be blut. Loftus insulted me. I want to get back at him, the lying, arrogant, cheater."

So, you're so ok with having your life dominated by Loftus that you will engage in petty activity to "get back" at him?

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps the Catholic Church is hedging its bets."

LOL. Nope, the Catholic Church, in particular the Jesuits, have been interested in astronony for hundreds of years.

There are historical explanations for these kinds of things, which you can explore if you wish to use your brain instead of engaging in speculation and "perhapses."

Anonymous said...

"there is no supernatural world per se."

A fine statement of faith, spoken like a true believer.

Papalinton said...

"LOL. Nope, the Catholic Church, in particular the Jesuits, have been interested in astronony for hundreds of years.
There are historical explanations for these kinds of things, which you can explore if you wish to use your brain instead of engaging in speculation and "perhapses.""

Historically, the catholic church always thought that the greatest challenge to its dogma and doctrine and to the very existence of its 'faith-based' rationale was to come from the stars, cosmology, astronomy; what with the Galileo and Copernican experiences. Catholics took great interest in astronomy to ensure they were ahead of the game. Indeed the Vatican astronomical component is an anachronism, misguidedly set up only to protect its prized possession - the inerrancy and legitimacy of the bible.

Little did they know they were going to be blind-sided and indeed broadsided by Charles Darwin and evolution by natural selection. The pope must have had a bad case of static on the royal telephone when god was about to suggest to him to keep a close eye on Gregor Mendel and his garden of peas when he began experimenting about inherited traits.

By then it was far too late for the church to be involved in evolutionary biology without signalling unmitigated self-interest in the venture.

Anonymous said...

"Indeed the Vatican astronomical component is an anachronism"


In your opinion. According to the beliefs of Catholics, it's entirely sensible and logical to explore the workings of God's creation. "Thinking God's thoughts" is not a new phenonemon.

"misguidedly set up only to protect its prized possession - the inerrancy and legitimacy of the bible."

Inerrancy is a Protestant belief, not a Catholic one.

You need to brush up a bit on these subjects.

Papalinton said...

"Inerrancy is a Protestant belief, not a Catholic one.
You need to brush up a bit on these subjects."

Let's rephrase: Inerrancy of catholic dogma particularly the infallibility of god's little gopher [gofa?] on earth.

Anonymous said...

We can all be thankful that Papalinton left teaching.

I had arrogant fat bastard teachers like that.

What a nightmare.

So good riddance.

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

"We can all be thankful that Papalinton left teaching."

Perhaps I should show you the awards I picked up over twenty years.

B. Prokop said...

"keep a close eye on Gregor Mendel and his garden of peas"

Uhh, the Church didn't need to keep a "close eye" on Mendel. He was a Catholic Priest and abbot of the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Thomas in Brno, Austria. His "garden of peas" was the monastery's farms.

Thank you for pointing out yet again just how many of the world's most important scientists were (and are) devout theists (in this case, devout Catholics).

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

"Uhh, the Church didn't need to keep a "close eye" on Mendel. He was a Catholic Priest and abbot of the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Thomas in Brno, Austria. His "garden of peas" was the monastery's farms."

And when he died his work stopped, not to be picked up again until much later and not within the church. A great opportunity lost to stamp their scientific credentials in the modern world. Just another god missed moment despite omni-max

Anonymous said...

Papa says he got teaching awards over 20 years.

But his profile says he taught for 17 years.

I think he is lying about something.

But I am sure he can change his story somehow.

Papalinton said...

A worm named Anonymous pops up out of a hole in the ground. Not more than a few inches away another pops out of a hole in the ground. Not known for sensitive behaviour, Anonymous leers over and badgers, "Hey cutie, Give us a kiss." The second one says, "Don't be an idiot! I'm your ass."

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton, Love it! Can I use that, or have you claimed exclusive rights?

BenYachov said...

>Inerrancy is a Protestant belief, not a Catholic one.

Heresy!

The Catholic Church does believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture. She simply denies the Protestant doctrine of perspicuity of Scripture & Sola Scriptura.

Anon you don't know your Catholic Teaching. I have little tolerance for that.

BenYachov said...

@Anon

Paps is a jerk and an idiot. He is ignorant and lacks any ability to reason logically. Also it does trouble me such an unthinking individual once taught young minds.

I don't care about him being an Atheist teacher. I had Atheist teachers who where very rational and taught me much.

But he clearly relies on his emotions not his brain as his discussion with Jesse beres out.

But the moral difference between you and me is I have no problem saying this to his face.

I have little respect for cowards who attack without revealing themselves.

So Smeg off!

BenYachov said...

@Paps
>Inerrancy of catholic dogma particularly the infallibility of god's little gopher [gofa?] on earth.

Catholic dogma is not Inerrant it is merely infallible on matters of Faith and morals.

B. Prokop said...

Personalities aside, the important thing to remember from this long thread of commentary, is that the Catholic Church has always been a champion of, and major participant in, scientific research.

Now I know, "some" (I wonder who?) will immediately shoot back with, "But what about Galileo?" good question. Our first problem with that issue is we have to peel back the centuries of myth and downright falsehoods that have accrued about the so-called persecution of that great Catholic scientist. The biggest myth (made up out of whole cloth, with no historical basis whatsoever) is that is was some sort of science-religion conflict. Nothing of the sort! The protagonists on both sides were men of science - the leading thinkers of their day.

The real issue was, unfortunately, one of personalities. It seems that Galileo, while indisputably brilliant, was also rather a jerk. His writing style closely resembled that of John Loftus today. He was in the habit of ridiculing and insulting anyone who deigned to disagree with him, in the most insulting terms imaginable. And he was a HUGE egotist. He went out of his way to not ever acknowledge the chance that any of his contemporaries might have something to contribute to the conversation. For Galileo, it all had to be "about me" (sound familiar?). He did everything he could to make enemies, before they ever got a chance to take sides in the great scientific debates of his time.

But, interestingly enough, through it all, Galileo remained to his deathbed a devout Catholic. In fact, his harshest critics on "scientific grounds" were Protestant Lutherans!!!

So once one realizes that Galileo was never persecuted for his beliefs, but rather was chastised for his atrocious attitude, then even he can be proudly entered into the great pantheon of major scientific minds throughout history who were (and are today!) firm believers in the faith.

Oh, and by the way, the story of Galileo muttering "E pur si muove" (But it does move!) during his trial is pure fiction, on a par with the story of Washington chopping down the cherry tree. It was made up more than a century after his death!

Jesse Parrish said...

B.Prokop,

I think you're about 70% correct in your description of the Galileo affair, but to claim that his scientific statements had no decisive relevance to his inquisition and subsequent house arrest is a great overstatement. I do not think that the Church, past or present, takes that view.

I would also say that in general the conflict thesis has more going for it than you suggest, though I agree that it is a grossly incomplete description of the relationship between science and religion. Surely, theology is not merely the rear-guard of religion fighting off the advancement of science. But science can in principle, and I would argue has in fact, come to results which have (rightly) unsettled theologians past and present.

While I do not think that geocentrism or the Young Earth are at all essential to Christianity, and though I do not think that (almost all aspects of) evolutionary theory are fatal to the faith, to say that the former consensus changed to the modern in an unproblematic revision of theological understanding is grossly overstating history. And there are outstanding areas of shakiness. Theologians - including a secular equivalent of the same - still insist on bounding the naturalistic scope of science, especially as related to the common descent of man and other primates and consequences for a theory of mind.

Which is reminiscent of the Galileo affair. Tricky areas of science are fine so long as in certain regards it is admitted to only really be speculation, not really real. If you add the words, "and this is how it actually happened, by the way", you are transgressing boundaries and overstepping science and sneaking in materialism and other crimes.

The great conflict of the future, which to some extent has already begun, will be in inquiry concerning the human mind. Suppose the future, accepted hard model of consciousness satisfies eliminative materialism? Will that be unproblematic? Would a scientific consensus, founded on convincing demonstration, which shows that the `conscious' mind asserts no control over action be consonant with the faith? Would a reductive account of Catholicism itself be untroubling?

No, there are areas of discovery, actual and potential, which are going to invite ideological conflict. It's not enough to say that you want to discover nature when you say that "truth cannot contradict truth", and the other truths in question are currently not up for revision.

Tony Hoffman said...

BProkop: "… the Catholic Church has always been a champion of, and major participant in, scientific research."

Tell this to George Mivart, who recognized the anti-scientific mentality among his Catholic bretheren and worked hard to drag them into the 20th Century. If the Catholic Church has always been a champion of scientific research, then whence Mivart's criticism?

I have no trouble recognizing the positive contributions the Catholic Church and the religious have made to science. But it does trouble me to see these same defenders then ignore or belittle those instances where the Church and the religious have acted in ways that have inhibited science. And few things are more anti-science than prohibiting the reading of certain works, and much more ominously, for burning people at the stake (like Bruno) for merely espousing certain ideas. Please reconcile these practices, and the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (where Wikipedia lists the works of Kepler, Descartes, Galileo, and Hume, among others, as others whose works were proscribed), with your claim that the Catholic Church "has always been a champion of… scientific research."

Sorry, BProkop, but few things disgust me more than the blitheness of those who would ignore the past cruelties inflicted by thought police and try to sell it as championing of an intellectual pursuit. That's just a falsehood, and a particularly cruel one at that.

B. Prokop said...

I fail completely to see how any conceivable advances in brain science could ever be a threat to the idea of Man being a body/soul union. That would be equivalent to a person saying, "Since the eye is designed to react to electromagnetic radiation of such-and-such wavelengths, this proves that there is no such thing as light!"

Jesse Parrish said...

"I fail completely to see how any conceivable advances in brain science could ever be a threat to the idea of Man being a body/soul union. That would be equivalent to a person saying, "Since the eye is designed to react to electromagnetic radiation of such-and-such wavelengths, this proves that there is no such thing as light!""

Try a different analogy there. And `body/soul union' aside, would a lack of conscious control over actions not have any theological implications?

B. Prokop said...

Tony,

Here is my answer to you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_Catholic_cleric%E2%80%93scientists

Chris said...

"Theologians - including a secular equivalent of the same - still insist on bounding the naturalistic scope of science, especially as related to the common descent of man and other primates and consequences for a theory of mind."

I think this is an important and often overlooked point in the interminable religion v. science debate, but one that sort of cuts both ways. That the Church was not generally hostile to science during the early modern period is largely because there was no real 'naturalism' to the science of the time. Naturalism is the real bugaboo of the church, not science.

On the other hand, naturalism is really a philosophy derived *from* science – science itself, if we are being strict, should be neutral on the question of whether the universe is a naturalistic one.

BenYachov said...

>I think you're about 70% correct in your description of the Galileo affair, but to claim that his scientific statements had no decisive relevance to his inquisition...

What scientific statements? It wouldn't be for about 2 to 3 hundred years before science developed the techniques to prove conclusively the Earth moved. That is just a brute fact.

Galileo offered no convincing scientific evidence for his claims. If he had via the Augustinian Principle the Church wouldn't have said boo to him. Father Copernicus unlike Galileo put forth His view as a Theory. He didn't assert it as a brute fact like Galileo. Because the Scientific evidence didn't exist at the time to prove it.

If I was an Atheist going by science alone in the 16th Century I doubt I would have been convinced to throw away Potomac & Aristotle merely on Galileo's say so?

What Scientific Evidence did Galileo give to prove the Earth moved? What the tides moving?

Seriously?

Richard Dawkins dismissed Big Bang proving the begining in accord with Genesis as a luck guess. "They had a 50/50 chance!" He quipped in his debate with Professor Lennoix.

I say the same applies to Galileo.

He didn't do science. He made a lucky guess. No more.

Tony Hoffman said...

BProkop, your "answer" was acknowledged in my comment. (Me: "I have no trouble recognizing the positive contributions the Catholic Church and the religious have made to science.") What you haven't answered is how you can reconcile your claim with the burning of Bruno, the List of Forbidden Books, etc., except to, apparently, bury your head in the sand.

I would have expected a better response. But I wouldn't rush to it -- I think that you may want to consider what it is I've said, and perhaps acknowledge that your claim should be softened.

BenYachov said...

Bob what Tony is really complaining about is the fact the Church didn't hold the principles of a modern post enlightenment political democracy.

Which is his true objection.

No Catholic even during the time of Galileo was forbidden from doing science to prove Copernicus. They just couldn't claim it was a fact.

The Church protected science Galileo got what was coming to him for not following science.

BenYachov said...

QUOTE"St. George Jackson Mivart PhD M.D. FRS (30 November 1827 – 1 April 1900) was an English biologist. He is famous for starting as an ardent believer in natural selection who later became one of its fiercest critics. Trying to reconcile Darwin's theory of evolution with the beliefs of the Catholic Church, he ended up being condemned by both parties.[1]"END QUOTE from the Wiki

Why was he condemned? Did he teach the Human Soul evolved? If so then he got what was coming to him.

Jesse Parrish said...

BenYachov,

First, my charge does not concern the merits of Galileo's assertion. We could discuss those, if you like, but I was not claiming that he had definitively settled the matter. What Bellarmine et. al. demanded above all else was not `more evidence', but that Galileo only treat his theory as a hypothesis and not an actual truth, and they said this not on the basis of the heliocentric model's epistemic inadequacy, but on the basis of the prevalent understanding of scripture and the Church-established science, i.e. Aristotlelianism.

Hence what I said before about the Church setting naturalistic bounds. So long as you insist that your theories are not `really' true, defer to the Church's authority, and act disingenuously in general, they were and are happy to leave you alone. In a trivial sense, I suppose that isn't `conflict'. Do you have a better word for it?

"The Church protected science Galileo got what was coming to him for not following science."

Creepy stuff. Threat of torture and house arrest are what overreaching scientists "have coming to them"? That's the protection of free inquiry?

I think you've been reading too much Chesterton. That man, his many other merits aside, would say anything to excuse the Church. And what you've said sounds exactly like what he says in his Orthodoxy about the historical crimes of the Church, excuses to which not even the popes now pretend.

BenYachov said...

@Jesse


Bellarmine also said explicitly if it could be proven the Earth moved then the verses in the Bible which seem to say difference would have to be given another interpretation.

You have not made the case the Church forbade scientific enquirey into the issue.

>Creepy stuff. Threat of torture and house arrest are what overreaching scientists "have coming to them"? That's the protection of free inquiry?

Nice cheap shot but the Church couldn't torture anybody. Only secular authority could do that.

Perhaps I should take a cheap shot and bring up Stalin and modern offical Atheist State?

Do you want to go there?

I'm sorry but post-enlightement democracy didn't exist at the time.

B. Prokop said...

Tony,

Sorry, I misunderstood your question.

Answer: I guess I "reconcile" them the same way I reconcile my deep respect for American democracy with 400 years of slavery, genocide of the Indians, and the Tea Party's attempts to destroy the New Deal. As Katherine Hepburn said so wonderfully in "The Lion in Winter", "What family doesn't have its ups and downs?"

BenYachov said...

>That man, his many other merits aside, would say anything to excuse the Church.

Jesse based on the facts if I denied God tommorow I would say the same about Galileo.

Don't turn into Paps guy. It's doesn't suit you. Atheists should give up their own historic myths before they tackle religion.

Anonymous said...

Some Christian swine, or, who knows, pissed off atheists, are giving John One Star reviews on Amazon.

The trouble is, a lot of people just look at the average at the top, and that hurts sales.

You can all KMA.

Jesse Parrish said...

BenYachov,

Give me an intellectual charity, and assume I am not so uncritically anti-Catholic as paps.

"Nice cheap shot but the Church couldn't torture anybody. Only secular authority could do that.

Perhaps I should take a cheap shot and bring up Stalin and modern offical Atheist State?

Do you want to go there?"

No I do not want that, but that isn't where I was wanting to go. If you ask me, I'll tell you that - if such historical judgment can at all be useful - Stalinism was worse than Catholicism many times over. I do not defend Stalinism. You're free to abuse Stalin as you like. Barring some factual discrepancy, I'll have no complaints.

But if you like, I can use Stalinism as an analogy. Very rarely, if ever, did Stalin explicitly order many of his purges. Rather, he would not-too-subtly encourage his most ruthless subordinates. The story is told very well in The Time of Stalin, by Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko.

Now ask yourself: is Stalin excused from the atrocities of the show trials and the purging of the `Trotsky-fascists' wherever he did not personally execute them? Do you buy his frequent self-recusings that his orders were `misunderstood' by over-zealous subordinates, or even the work of saboteurs? And ask yourself a similar question: does the Church merit a clean conscience by not directly conducting the tortures? Again, I do not think that even the popes pretend to such moral obtuseness.

It wasn't a cheap shot. And the question remains: how on Earth did the actions of the Church `protect science'? They were protecting doctrine.

Moving on:

"Bellarmine also said explicitly if it could be proven the Earth moved then the verses in the Bible which seem to say difference would have to be given another interpretation."

And he also said that the prospects of another interpretation were not good. We could probabilize the conflict if you like; in which case, it look about as follows: if you do not present evidence convincing beyond a certain threshold as calibrated by doctrine, you should be quiet, or else you will be forced to recant and suffer house arrest.

"I'm sorry but post-enlightement democracy didn't exist at the time."

Right, and it didn't have to. The crucial facts are the same regardless.

BenYachov said...

@Jesse
>Church-established science, i.e. Aristotlelianism.

If it's church-established then how come the non-christian world (Muslims & Jews ) also bought into it? What about the pre-Christian Pagans.

IT was the established science at the time based on the then existing scientific evidence.

The Church uphold the metaphysics of Aristotle to this day. She was not wedded to his physical science.

Jesse Parrish said...

Victor,

I'm willing to bet that our Amazon-obsessed Anonymous is a Loftus troll. Can you check IPs? Again, it's quite possible that I'm wrong, but the insistence on damaging book sales, in this context, is a little weird.

Jesse Parrish said...

"If it's church-established then how come the non-christian world (Muslims & Jews ) also bought into it? What about the pre-Christian Pagans."

Nothing about this contradicts that at the time, the Church fostered and encouraged and established Aristotlelianism. I did not say that it was exclusively a Church science.

"IT was the established science at the time based on the then existing scientific evidence."

That's fine but besides the point; we're talking about a different matter.

"The Church uphold the metaphysics of Aristotle to this day. She was not wedded to his physical science."

In which case, where's the problem?

Tony Hoffman said...

BProkop: "Answer: I guess I "reconcile" them the same way I reconcile my deep respect for American democracy with 400 years of slavery, genocide of the Indians, and the Tea Party's attempts to destroy the New Deal. As Katherine Hepburn said so wonderfully in "The Lion in Winter", "What family doesn't have its ups and downs?" "

So, the way you reconcile them is to say one thing, but think another? That's not really reconciling, now, is it?

BenYachov said...

@Jesse

>It wasn't a cheap shot. And the question remains: how on Earth did the actions of the Church `protect science'? They were protecting doctrine.

I think not.

>And he also said that the prospects of another interpretation were not good.

I don't see how they where protecting doctrine? St Athanasus could not say "Should it be proved Jesus wasn't really one substance with the Father in his Divine Nature then the Verses which seem to teach His Deity must be given a different interpretation" without being excommunicated.

The Deity of Christ was settled dogma on Faith and Morals. It's falsehood cannot be entertained even in theory.
The movement of the Earth is natural science and thus is governed by the Augustinian Principle that says known Natural Science takes primacy over inferences of natural science taken from particular interpretations of Scripture.

So I don't find your claim convincing.

I am sorry if I offended you by comparing you to Paps. I over reacted & I am sorry. You are better which is why I care you make a fair, rational and acurate ATheist argument.

Indeed compared to many Atheist here you are a breath of fresh air.

Anyway I don't see the Church's anti-Science here. All things equal she could have tolerated anti-Science additudes in her history & most likely has but I still say Galileo as an example of this is a bust.

B. Prokop said...

It's just acknowledging the super-obvious reality that we're all human and that (this side of Eternity) nothing's perfect. This is Christianity 101: We're all sinners.

B. Prokop said...

(My last posting was in reply to Tony.)

JSA said...

Clearly, the attitudes of the religious toward science have been a mixed bag, so it's a silly thing to argue about. It's ironic that we're discussing eliminativism regarding individual consciousness while simultaneously anthropomorphizing an imaginary beast named "The Church" and debating about whether or not this mythical beast is pro-science or anti-science. There is no monolithic beast, just lots of different people with different political agendas and vested interests. Arguing about the church being pro-science or anti-science is just cheap rhetoric.

WRT eliminativism, I really don't see how it could be an issue for Christianity. Ever since Calvin showed that Christian doctrine eliminates libertarian free will, it's been a moot point.

It was only after Henry VIII split from the Roman Church and adopted the reformed creeds, making eliminativism WRT free will the law of the land, that Bacon, Hume, and the other British thinkers proceeded with the mechanistic revolution. And, of course, libertarian free will is the only eliminativism that anyone cares about when it comes to morals, souls, etc.

BenYachov said...

@Jesse

>Nothing about this contradicts that at the time, the Church fostered and encouraged and established Aristotlelianism.

Why is that a problem since it was the best available at the time?

>I did not say that it was exclusively a Church science.

Then some friendly advic4 drop phrases like "Church-established" from your vocabulary.

Cheers.

BenYachov said...

@Jesse

Additional: Just because they endorsed the Science of Aristotle at the time doesn't mean they endorsed all his views. He did deny the immortality of the Soul. Ya really think the Church endorced that?

I have no reason they endorsed all his view on natural science either since it is likely later science disproved it.

Do you believe everything Darwin claimed at the time without question today? Does Richard Dawkins(I doubt it)? How about Enstein?

Science changes and the Church has always changed with it.

Galileo didn't change anything since he didn't prove anything.

B. Prokop said...

"Ever since Calvin showed that Christian doctrine"...

Calvin was a heretic. He didn't "show" anything about Christian doctrine.

BenYachov said...

Bob is right. Why cite Calvin to Catholics?

Jesse Parrish said...

"I am sorry if I offended you by comparing you to Paps. I over reacted & I am sorry. You are better which is why I care you make a fair, rational and acurate ATheist argument."

I thank you for your generosity.

I should be clearer about what exactly I am saying, and where I stand, as you have been. Perhaps that will help us to arrive at a consensus or at least to know where exactly we will continue to differ.

"Anyway I don't see the Church's anti-Science here. All things equal she could have tolerated anti-Science additudes in her history & most likely has but I still say Galileo as an example of this is a bust."

I do not consider the Church to be wholly `anti-Science'.

As one could infer from my previous comments, I do not consider the Church to be uniquely anti-Science. In so many ways, it has a damn good history in these matters and deserves the credit. All I say, and Galileo is an example, is that this record is blemished. I think that secular states are often worse in this respect than the Church. I think that Stalinist states have been far worse by any conceivable measure.

I also think, as my illusions to `secular equivalents' above indicate, that the primary source of hostility to science is ultimately secular. This is often reflected, rightly or not, in religious conflict. But I do not think that revulsion to a lack of conscious control is essentially religious. I think that the main conflict, where it has and will happen, will be against quite secular desires about the state of the universe.

So no, I do not think that by dissolving the Church and undermining Christianity we will reach a significantly better environment for open inquiry. I'm almost entirely satisfied with the current status of mainstream churches in first world governance and their relationship with the sciences.

That said, there are conflicts, past, present, and potential, between scientific findings and methods and religious doctrines, especially as they pertain to the place of humankind in nature.

"I don't see how they where protecting doctrine?"

If it helps, I said before that the conflict could be probabilized, as you've described it. If there is a threshold of evidential strength required to force a reinterpretation of scripture, or if there is a threshold of evidential strength below which persecution is merited, that is what I would call a conflict. It does not have to be about an essential, unchanging matter of doctrine. It can come in degrees. And that is how it applies to the "naturalistic inferences from scripture" to which you refer.

And again to be clear, I do not think that the Galileo affair is a definitive proof that the Church is or was `anti-Science'. I am happy to agree that his case is often presented as such, so I think that your reactions thus far have been more than understandable. His case was in many ways exceptional, and I think its real importance is in the `chilling effects' which such acts have on inquiry. I do not think that the modern Church introduces significant `chilling effects' in nearly all areas of inquiry, so I'm also not applying this historical opinion to the modern Church.

BenYachov said...

@Jesse

additional additional

>my charge does not concern the merits of Galileo's assertion.

I'm afraid it does since if his case had merit then I would support the anti-Science charge in this case.

Jesse your a smart guy, think for a minute? Do you buy the claims made by modern Intelligent Design proponents they are victims of an anti-science persecution? Would you be moved if they said "The scientific merits of our case are of no concern?"

Think about it. The scientific merits are everything and Galileo's case at the time had no scientific merit based on the science of the time. He did not develop any new science either.

I submit you can no more salvage him as an example of Catholic anti-science then Paps can salvage OTF.

You are free to disagree.

Cheers again.

BenYachov said...

@Jesse

Forgive me for picking on you but let me complement you on having a BDK level of rationality.

Rational Atheists are my kind of Atheists. Since as a Thomist I love Reason.

Jesse Parrish said...

"Jesse your a smart guy, think for a minute? Do you buy the claims made by modern Intelligent Design proponents they are victims of an anti-science persecution? Would you be moved if they said "The scientific merits of our case are of no concern?""

Not at all, but if there was an actual inquisition against the ID crowd and arrests were being made, I would quickly change my mind.

As I've said before, the merits of Galileo's position are secondary. I've interpreted the conflict in terms of a probability threshold, and this interpretation applies to how you've characterized the affair.

If you think my interpretation is invalid, or that it does not really constitute a `conflict', we may have that discussion.

"Forgive me for picking on you but let me complement you on having a BDK level of rationality."

And my thanks again for your generosity. As I explained in the previous post, I do not think this matter deserves the heat it generates. I admit overplaying it in my young(er) years as well, so I am happy to undertake extra effort on this matter.

BenYachov said...

>Not at all, but if there was an actual inquisition against the ID crowd and arrests were being made, I would quickly change my mind.

Then you object is the same as Tony's. You object to the Church back then not being a modern post enlightenment political democracy.

Jesse Parrish said...

"Then you object is the same as Tony's. You object to the Church back then not being a modern post enlightenment political democracy."

Not exactly; I object to the Church performing actions which stifle and discourage open inquiry. It is quite possible that the Church might have stuck to the arguments, as it often had and often does. To continue with the ID analogy: there is a qualitative difference between rejecting an ID paper on its evidential merits and rejecting it merely because it might conflict with accepted theory. There is a difference between recognizing the minority marginalized in accordance with evidential merit, and the minority marginalized by authoritarian reprisal. When ID theorists complain of an unreceptive academic audience, they are correct. But when they start with the Nazi comparisons, they misrepresent the academy, themselves, and their relations.

The Church did not have to be, nor would it have had to get along with, a modern democracy in order to avoid persecuting Galileo. If they in fact did persecute Galileo, we can say that it constituted a conflict between open scientific inquiry and the Church, and not just through the lens of a modern. Again as you well know, the Church has a very decent history of reconciling philosophies and scientific findings with its doctrines, just as it has a record of disputing findings it considers to be inadequate on grounds both doctrinal and evidential. Aristotlelianism is one example you've mentioned, and we could easily list others.

What matters, as I have outlined it as based on your characterization (which I largely agree with), is that the Galileo affair constitutes a conflict between doctrine and authority on one hand, and open scientific inquiry on the other. Had the Church merely stuck with doctrine and opposing arguments and even failed to accept Galileo's theory, that would not have necessarily been any non-trivial sort of `conflict'. And we could have a theoretical discussion about to what degree and under what definitions this would have been a conflict.

But that isn't what happened. I contend that what happened is a conflict. I've outlined exactly why I think that, and we can move forward from there.

B. Prokop said...

... and since I raised the issue of Galileo in the first place, might I be allowed to repeat my premise that, had it been anybody other than the obnoxious Galileo (and even his admirers concede his unpleasant character), the whole kerfuffle would probably never had happened in the first place?

The classical geocentric model of the universe was already on its last legs by Galileo's time, and wouldn't have lasted much longer in any case. As a matter of historical fact, Galileo himself contributed NOTHING to the debate that wasn't being written about and discussed already. What he DID contribute was observational evidence (phases of the planet Venus, moons around Jupiter, mountains on the moon). But again, there were numerous others in Europe at the time making the very same discoveries. Galileo was merely a much, much better self-promoter, and grabbed all the glory for himself.

This is clearly one of those cases where individual personalities have an outsized impact on the course of history (like Henry VIII or Mohammed).

Jesse Parrish said...

B.Prokop,

Your judgments are fair enough. I still contend that they are secondary to the point which I am making, but doubtless they are relevant to claims about any `essential conflict between science and religion' as illustrated by Galileo's travails.

BenYachov said...

>His case was in many ways exceptional, and I think its real importance is in the `chilling effects' which such acts have on inquiry.

I think it was overblown since Tycho Brach using similar if not the same science and calculations made the case for Tychonian Geocentracism.

Which of course was never condemned & of course contradicted the science of Aristotle on particulars. But it was more in harmoney with the verses that seemed to indicate the Earth did not move. Still Tycho never to my knowledge made the extreme claims Galileo made in regards to the truth of his model.

BenYachov said...

The brute fact Galileo's findings could be given a Tyconian interpretation further shows how weak his claim was at the time.

We have to wait for Fulcrum(a Catholic BTW and his Pendulum & other later advances to prove the Earth moves.

It wasn't as easy as you think.

Tony Hoffman said...

Whether or not Galileo was wrong about the science, not original, or obnoxious is beside the point; the Church forbade Galileo to promote various ideas (in this case an idea that conflicted with Church teachings), and that alone is enough to condemn the Church for being anti-science.

To repeat, it is not scientific to forbid the free movement of ideas, and to burn people for holding certain ideas, and to foster an environment of fear about holding or promoting certain ideas. One doesn't need to live in today's world to see that those practices are anti-science.

BenYachov said...

>the Church forbade Galileo to promote various ideas...

He abused it since he didn't promote an idea but made an dogmatic assertion without any convincing evidence against the view of the Time and the available evidence.

Like I said. He merely guessed right. Nothing more.

The church relaxed it's prohibitions in reaction to his extremism not long after. Copernicus was allowed to be promoted as an Idea but not as a fact till evidence was produced.

Which thanks to Fulcrum & others did come.

So no I don't think so Tony.

BenYachov said...

>and to burn people for holding certain ideas, and to foster an environment of fear about holding or promoting certain ideas.

The State held heretics to be traitors to the government. As a moral principle a government can execute a traitor since a traitor is a threat to the life of the government.

Moral theology had not progressed at that point to teach the government did not possess unlimited rights to do so. It would be centuries before this loopole is closed.

Anonymous said...

"misguidedly set up only to protect its prized possession - the inerrancy and legitimacy of the bible."

Inerrancy is a Protestant belief, not a Catholic one.

"Let's rephrase: Inerrancy of catholic dogma particularly the infallibility of god's little gopher [gofa?] on earth."

You're digging your hole deeper. First you claimed that inerrancy of the Bible is a prized possession of the Catholic Church, when it's actually a Protestant belief. Catholics believe in inspiration and infallibility of Scripture, not inerrancy a la Chicago Statement.

Now you're claiming that you really meant infallibility of the Pope (presumably when he speaks ex cathedra).

Why not just admit your mistake?

Tony Hoffman said...

I think this take from Rev. Hubert Wolf is pretty funny -- he basically explains to the journalist that much scientific work avoided being placed on the Librorum Prohibotorum because the Jesuits and Domnicans weren't interested in science per se. Here's a quote from the article, "Secrets Behind the Forbidden Books."

"Equally surprising is the fact that the censors ignored three of the most challenging authors of the 19th century—Darwin, Marx and Freud. It is not clear why, but Wolf’s hunch is that the Vatican narrowed its focus after condemning Galileo for saying the earth revolved around the sun. “We suspect—but haven’t proven it yet—that the Inquisition and Index mostly did not review scientific publications unless they clearly touched on theology, faith or the Bible,” Wolf said.

"The censors could react firmly when science and religion met. John Zahm, C.S.C., a professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Notre Dame, tried to give a Catholic interpretation of Darwinism in Evolution and Dogma (1896). “Zahm was immediately condemned as an Americanist, a modernist,” Wolf said. He had to withdraw the book from publication to escape a ban."

JSA said...

"Bob is right. Why cite Calvin to Catholics?"

Last I checked, this isn't a Catholic blog, and Jesse isn't a Catholic. And the whole point of the OP was to cite Jesse's article explaining how John's OTF does not apply to Calvinists, which John Loftus has explicitly acknowledged. Or did neither of you read the OP?

I think you are both so busy beating furiously on your hobby horses that you're having trouble seeing what's going on around you.

As I clearly explained, the point of mentioning Calvin was to show that "The Church" is not the monolithic beast you want to pretend it to be -- which is exactly what Jesse's original post said!

It's true that A-T dualism has nothing to fear from eliminativism. And in the context of the discussion about church vs. science, neither do the reformed creeds, which are professed by 100 million Christians, and which cleared the way for the scientific revolution.

Ilíon said...

I'm not that closely following the discussion, so I may have missed some subtlety, but as best I understand it, Mr Parrish is not willing to give up the mythological heart of the Galileo myth, in all its Catholicism-bashing glory (and mind you, I speak as a “fundie”, as that fool, BenYachov, likes to join with ‘atheists’ in characterizing low-church conservative Protestant Christians, who has no use at all for the organization which amusingly claims to be The One True Church).

So, with the tentative understanding that Mr Parrish is not willing to give up the myth, I must tentatively retract any admiration I had formerly extended.

BenYachov said...

Modernism did teach the heresy that the human soul evolved by natural means and was not created by a direct Divine act.

That is still condemned so I don't see what science has to do with it?

Especially since most Atheists are materialist monists who deny the soul.

Jesse Parrish said...

Ilion,

I'm content to work without your admiration if need be. If you dispute my position, I've clearly outlined how that may be done. I've also pointed out that my position is hardly a symptom of, or even supportive of, anything deserving the term `anti-Catholicism'. Unless virtually any negative statement about the Church reveals the stater to be an `anti-Catholic', I have yet to qualify.

I'm not in the mood to see `anti-Catholic' so trivialized, as everyone here should know the associated risks.

So, if you please, read again closely. I've bent over backwards to make the relevant subtleties clear. If you continue to dispute my judgment, you should know how to go about it.

BenYachov said...

Negotiating Darwin: the Vatican confronts evolution, 1877-1902
By Mariano Artigas, Thomas F. Glick, Rafael A. Martínez

http://books.google.com/books?id=Q8WrXHnQf8MC&pg=PA15&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

This book might shed some insight.


I take it Tony wants to shift to Darwin because Galileo is an obvious buster.

BenYachov said...

I'm not convinced Jesse is being anti-Catholic here. Thought he used the wrong buzz words in the beginning but has acknowledge he might need to be more clear so we can either come to a consensus or know better where we differ.

Anyway I thank Ilion for at least in the name of fairness wanting to see the Galileo incident treated fairly.

Even thought he believes our Roman Catholic beliefs are unbiblical.

Jesse Parrish said...

BenYachov,

Thanks, and that's all I ask. There are more details to work through before I could insist that all reasonable folk agree with me.

(Assuming I want that at all, and I really don't. I don't think that the Galileo affair is particularly instructive for anything of modern importance, and that it has been blown out of proportion enough as it is. Where there are or could be conflicts between science and religion in a modern context is something I regard as a separate discussion, and it requires too many details and assumptions to make any categorical statements.)

BenYachov said...

Peace be with you Jesse and to you all even Paps.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"Papalinton, Love it! Can I use that, or have you claimed exclusive rights?"

Knock yourself out. No intellectual property rights are pending.
Cheers

Papalinton said...

Jesse
Your comment to Bob re Galileo

"I think you're about 70% correct in your description of the Galileo affair, but to claim that his scientific statements had no decisive relevance to his inquisition and subsequent house arrest is a great overstatement. I do not think that the Church, past or present, takes that view. etc etc etc ...."

is very much both a reasoned and balanced response.

I would only add a comment to Bob, that the contretemps between Galileo and the Church being only about his belligerence and intransigence, it would clearly undermine the intent of the Church's belated apology to Galileo for getting it so wrong, some 400 years later. To apologise centuries later just because of a personality conflict simply does not accord with the facts.

Cheers

Jesse Parrish said...

And I didn't mention this before, but ditto JSA's comment.

S'all 'bout the details. Avoid false generalizations. Rationalists, represent!

*Throws up Nixon-style double deuces*

Papalinton said...

"The Church uphold the metaphysics of Aristotle to this day. She was not wedded to his physical science."

It is interesting how the very fundamental concept and content of Catholic christian metaphysics is unequivocally existent- dependent on and fully built around the musings of a great Pagan philosopher. Doesn't say much for the uniqueness of the christian mythos, separate and distinct from all its antecedents.

Anonymous said...

I'm an interested listener, not as schooled in the history of the Galileo affair as everyone here, but I've enjoyed the conversation.

I just wanted to ask, I've read in Against Method (IIRC) and other places that what really got Galileo in trouble was not his insistence on calling heliocentrism true, but his publication of a pamphlet that made the Pope the butt of his jokes. IIRC, the pamphlet was a dialogue in which Galileo cast himself as the clever man with all the answers and cast the Pope as the unlearned imbecile who was humiliated in the debate.

If that's true, then the "chilling effect" was not on scientific inquiry but on how one portrays one's superiors in works of satirical fiction.

Anonymous said...

Pap:

"I would only add a comment to Bob, that the contretemps between Galileo and the Church being only about his belligerence and intransigence, it would clearly undermine the intent of the Church's belated apology to Galileo for getting it so wrong, some 400 years later. To apologise centuries later just because of a personality conflict simply does not accord with the facts."

It does however accord with political expediency and the need for good publicity in the midst of a widespread child abuse scandal.

Ilíon said...

Anonymous: "If that's true, then the "chilling effect" was not on scientific inquiry but on how one portrays one's superiors in works of satirical fiction."

It's true. Moreover, Pope Urban, whom Galileo had "cast [] as the unlearned imbecile" had for years been one of his primary supporters/patrons ... and, apparently, had considered there to be a degree of friendship between the two of them.

Consider this: The Book Galileo Was Supposed to Write

Ilíon said...

Anonymous: "It does however accord with political expediency and the need for good publicity in the midst of a widespread child abuse scandal."

Also, it is part of a logical progression which follows from two facts:
1) Catholicism encourages the odd belief that we humans may contribute to Christ's salvific work by means of our sufferings, both ‘natural’ and of injustices;
2) most modern-day (over) educated Catholics – and thus, the hierarchy which are drawn from them – are what we in the US call “liberals”; that is, they are soft-core leftists.
THUS, just as you will see US “liberals” “apologizing” for someone else’s errors or sins, and even for someone else’s merely alleged error or sins (which allegation may be known false), so too will you see the modern-day Catholic hierarchy “apologizing” for someone else’s errors or sins -- even when they know that they are committing an injustice against the memory of those for whom they are “apologizing”.

Ilíon said...

a silly "liberal": "Answer: I guess I "reconcile" them the same way I reconcile my deep respect for American democracy with ... the Tea Party's attempts to destroy the New Deal."

For, as we all know, it's far more important to let the logical and fiscal out-working of the New Deal destroy America than to let Americans destroy the New Deal!

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Answer: I guess I "reconcile" them the same way I reconcile my deep respect for American democracy with 400 years of slavery, genocide of the Indians ..."

Tony Hoffman: "So, the way you reconcile them is to say one thing, but think another? That's not really reconciling, now, is it?"

I am, in part, descended from some of those Indians. For example, while I am not (to my knowledge) directly descended from this woman, some of my Indian ancestors are descended from her white step-son. My immediate Indian ancestors managed to evade being shipped out West during the "Trail of Tears" episode, though some of their siblings and cousins were sent, and some died on the way. I recently learned, via a Ward second-cousin, that my paternal grandfather lived most of his life under the name of 'Ward', and is buried under that name, even though his surname was actually 'Haley/Hailey' (we are distantly related to this man's family).

Now, all that is merely the background for this question: does it not seem that, according to the logic Mr Hoffman employs, I ought to find it nigh impossible to "reconcile" my respect for, and patriotic love of, the American Republic with the historical fact that same Republic has, upon occasion, instituted brutal -- and dishonest, being the breaking of solemn treaties -- policies with regard to my ancestors?

And, by the way, those of my direct ancestors who held slaves before the Civil War were ... pagan Indians.

B. Prokop said...

Sorry, Ilion. That was very trollish of me to write that. I guess all I can say at this point, as I recant my statement, is "E pur si muove!"

Tony Hoffman said...

Ilion, my point to Bob (and now you) is that when you hold two incompatible claims, something has to give.

Bob would like us to believe that he can reconcile an absolute claim (the Church has always been a champion of science) with a more nuanced understanding of the facts. He appears to be telling us that his original claim should stand, while he thinks otherwise.

You see, you are free to reconcile your love of country with the wrongs done your ancestors, because you have not made a claim like "The U.S. has always honored its treaties."

Tony Hoffman said...

It does appear trendy among apologists to dismiss the Galileo affair in a kind of revisionism that it does not represent a real blemish on the Church's record of supporting science. (Nobody seems to have figure out a good rationalization for Bruno yet, btw.) But it is a fact that Galileo was not allowed, by the Church, to assert that it was true that the earth orbited the sun. Just keep repeating that to yourself, and try and figure out how to make it true that the Church has always been a champion of science.

Lastly, it is a little ironic that apologists who try to cloak themselves as the true supporters of science do so by refusing to acknowledge any facts that do not support their theory. It is a poor scientist indeed that refuses to let the data interfere with a perfectly good theory. In that sense, I suppose, the apologists do have some good company from the history of science. So cheers to that.

Ilíon said...

Tony Hoffman: "Ilion, my point to Bob (and now you) is that when you hold two incompatible claims, something has to give."

But, of course, That fact is, after all, my main lines of attack to show the falsity of atheism. However, just because one of Bob's beliefs/claims is incompatible with *your* beliefs/claims (or with your underlying metaphysics) doesn't mean that he holds two that are incompatible. You know, any more than the reverse.

Now, Bob is a "liberal", so he *does* hold to a whole maresnest of incompatible beliefs, both incompatible amongst themselves and incompatible with reality, but that's probably a different matter from the current sub-topic.

Tony Hoffman: "Bob would like us to believe that he can reconcile an absolute claim (the Church has always been a champion of science) with a more nuanced understanding of the facts. He appears to be telling us that his original claim should stand, while he thinks otherwise."

I don't have a problem with his claim, and I have no use for that organization.

Then again, you may have a very warped view of what 'science' is: many 'atheists' do. I mean, more warped than the average person's is -- the average person seeming to unable to grasp the fact/truth that 'science' doesn't deal in truth (consider Eric's hand-waving dismissal of my earlier post on the matter as "technically true"). 'Atheists' tend to go that inability (or disinclination) one better, and full-bore embrace scientism, imagining that they can attack Christianity on the basis of 'Science!'

===
Tony Hoffman: "It does appear trendy among apologists to dismiss the Galileo affair in a kind of revisionism that it does not represent a real blemish on the Church's record of supporting science."

Almost everything you imagine you know about the Galileo affair is false; and you appear uninterested in knowing the truth.

Tony Hoffman: "(Nobody seems to have figure out a good rationalization for Bruno yet, btw.)"

Please! You people really do need to find some better patron saints of 'Science!'

Tony Hoffman: "But it is a fact that Galileo was not allowed, by the Church, to assert that it was true that the earth orbited the sun."

As has already been explained, it was not known to be the truth; at the time, it could not be known to be the truth.

Moreover, some of Galileo's key arguments for his view were, frankly, intellectually dishonest.

Jesse Parrish said...

*Raises hand*

But, but, science does deal in truths! It may not be that science can decisively undermine any and all forms of Christianity, but it surely affects many.

If you're confusing `truth' with `proven truth', I think I understand where we differ. But that's a separate issue than good ol' `dealing in truth'.

If you're confusing `model' - which has fictional elements and simplifications - with `complete fiction', I see also where we may differ.

It might be my leftist inability to understand logic. My paltry mathematical efforts are all in vain D:

BenYachov said...

Tony do you have anything to offer us other than arguments from special pleading and your feelings?

Anything?

>Bob would like us to believe that he can reconcile an absolute claim (the Church has always been a champion of science)..

Where pray tell did either Bob or I make the "absolute" claim the Church was the champion of science?

If anything we reacted to what is often in every Catholic's experience a kneejerk "absolute" claim the Church is opposed to science.

Jesse's view is more nuanced then I originally thought but with some tweaking can be reconciled to our view.

Thought I maintain Galileo is clearly overblown.

Tony Hoffman said...

Ben: "Where pray tell did either Bob or I make the "absolute" claim the Church was the champion of science?"

Ben, I have not said that you made an absolute claim.

Regarding Bob, it seems that you are unaware that the term "always" is an absolute one.

I can recommend a couple of good books on critical thinking, writing, and argument if that would help you.

Tony Hoffman said...

Tony Hoffman: "Ilion, my point to Bob (and now you) is that when you hold two incompatible claims, something has to give."

Ilion: "However, just because one of Bob's beliefs/claims is incompatible with *your* beliefs/claims (or with your underlying metaphysics) doesn't mean that he holds two that are incompatible."

Reread what I wrote. I did not say that one of Bob's beliefs is incompatible with one of mine, I wrote that one of Bob's beliefs is incompatible with another of his beliefs. You appear to further confuse the issue by concerning yourself with my underlying metaphysics; they are not relevant to my claim.

Ilion: "Now, Bob is a "liberal", so he *does* hold to a whole maresnest of incompatible beliefs, both incompatible amongst themselves and incompatible with reality, but that's probably a different matter from the current sub-topic."

Yup. You can only fix so many of the little people's problems at once. We understand.

Ilion: "I don't have a problem with his claim, and I have no use for that organization."

And this affects my claim how?

Ilion: "Then again, you may have a very warped view of what 'science' is: many 'atheists' do. I mean, more warped than the average person's is -- the average person seeming to unable to grasp the fact/truth that 'science' doesn't deal in truth (consider Eric's hand-waving dismissal of my earlier post on the matter as "technically true"). 'Atheists' tend to go that inability (or disinclination) one better, and full-bore embrace scientism, imagining that they can attack Christianity on the basis of 'Science!'"

Yeah, I get it. Your web persona is a self-satisfied bore who can't stop from plumping himself up on the supposed failings of those lesser than him, and apparently all are lesser. Disney villains are more interesting than the self you often portray here.

Ilion: "Almost everything you imagine you know about the Galileo affair is false; and you appear uninterested in knowing the truth."

Do tell. I love it when you are able to know the unknowable. It's like you're magical or something.

Ilion: "Please! You people really do need to find some better patron saints of 'Science!' "

Except I am not referring to Bruno as a patron saint of science. The fact that you do not understand that shows how debilitated your thinking is.

Ilion: "As has already been explained, it was not known to be the truth; at the time, it could not be known to be the truth."

Love it. So Galileo was wrong, because even though he was right those who had it wrong were actually right because they disagreed that Galileo's arguments were convincing? Ah, the championing of science is so much more complicated than I imagined.

Ilion: "Moreover, some of Galileo's key arguments for his view were, frankly, intellectually dishonest."

Possibly. However, it seems that he was able to work up enough intellectual honesty to arrive at the correct conclusions, while those who opposed him did not. Makes me think that charges of intellectual dishonesty regarding Galileo are a kind of ad hominem.

BenYachov said...

>Regarding Bob, it seems that you are unaware that the term "always" is an absolute one.

The Catholic Church has always upheld the principle of Charity. That means the belief in the principle of Charity is part of Her moral teaching. It doesn't mean Catholics are always charitable or the Church Authority always acts in a Charitable manner.

In a like manner the Catholic Church has always upheld the Augustinian Principle on Science and Scripture. It is likewise part of the fabric of Her teaching.

If you have a question about something I specifically wrote then logically you should simply ask me to clarify it?

You don't need to read a textbook on logic to know how to do that.

It's just common sense.

BenYachov said...

addition:

The same applies to Bob. Do I really need to tell you that?

BenYachov said...

>Bob's beliefs is incompatible with another of his beliefs.

I do recall Bob saying the Church isn't perfect and sometimes drops the ball.

How is this inconsistent?

BTW maybe you should talk to Bob directly? He is a very friendly guy.

BenYachov said...

Not to me sometimes(your rude BenYacov!) but one is often harder on one's spiritual relatives than to outsiders.

Tony you are an outsider so you are good.

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