Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Bother With Philosophy?

Because we can’t help but make choices in those areas. Do we follow one of the world’s established religions, or do we live our lives without religious considerations? How do we decide what’s right and what’s wrong? How do we know the things we know? What is the best way to govern a country?
These questions are hard to escape. We can ignore politics, but politics doesn’t ignore us. We have to decide what is right to do. We claim to know certain things. I once say a bumper sticker that said “Sleep in on Sunday and Save Ten Percent.” Should we do that, or do we live in accordance with the teachings of a religion? Not to decide, is to decide. Our actions speak for us, even when our words do not.

234 comments:

1 – 200 of 234   Newer›   Newest»
B. Prokop said...

Why bother? I think it was C.S. Lewis himself that said, "The opposite of good theology is not no theology; it's bad theology". Same thing goes for philosophy. We don't get the choice of having "no" philosophy. We can only choose to live by either a good philosophy, or a bad one. There is no third option.

John W. Loftus said...

Vic Not to decide, is to decide.

Who are you trying to convince?

Not to decide on whether to collect stamps, is to decide. Not to decide on whether to become a guitarist, is to decide. Not to decide on whether to be an economist, is to decide. Not to decide on whether to believe in a religion we have never heard of before, is to decide. Not to decide on whether to become a Muslim a Hindu or a Scientologist, is to decide.

You do nothing more than special pleading here pure and simple, for we all know your point.

If I'm wrong than what is your point?

There are a whole host of things we accept that we never decided to accept. There are so many of them that is is nonsensical to say what you say.

B. Prokop said...

John,

Read my comment again. "No" is not an option. We don't get that choice.

Karl Grant said...

Loftus,

Not to decide on whether to be an economist, is to decide.

That is a pretty sorry example because unless you have no money and do not barter with other people for goods and services you are partaking in a economic system. You might not have any formal training in economics but the moment you walk into a store or get your first paycheck you are getting experience in economics. Sorry John, but the opposite of being an economist is not no economics; it's uninformed, and usually bad, economic decisions on your part.

William said...

Someone once said something along the lines that: if you believe that philosophy is a crock, then that is your philosophy.

Steve Lovell said...

John,

I really don't understand how you can simultaneously accuse Vic of:

(a) stating tautologies
(b) special pleading
(c) spouting nonsense

I'd have thought each of these would exclude the other two.

I don't think the point Vic is making is an especially deep insight logically speaking, but that's not to say that it doesn't have important consequences for how we should live ...

If the last boat is about to leave the harbour and I can't decide whether to get on it, then I'm deciding not to get on it. The decision is forced. Depending where that boat goes (and where I am now), the decision may be a fairly momentous one. I use the Jamesian terms deliberately.

The OP reminds us that we don't have the luxury of infinite tomorrows into which we can put off our decisions. Some of them have to be made, and will be made either deliberately or by default ... and if the decisions are momentous enough then it would be entirely rational for us to prefer the former to the latter.

John W. Loftus said...

Look, philosophy is a discipline of learning that many people do not participate in. They are non-philosophers. Some of them cannot even think critically. Only philosophers claim everyone is a philosopher because only philosophy is a nebulous discipline having no clear parameters.

Are you really saying that the mere act of thinking makes someone a philosopher, or that thinking is doing philosophy? Does the fact that an ignorant hick from the sticks loves wisdom but doesn't have the requisite tools to pursue it, a person who is engaging in philosophy?

I would think that if the philosophical discipline has any substantive meaning then it can be distinguished from non-philosophy, that's all. That which is defined to be everything means nothing.

The distinction between doing good philosophy verses doing bad philosophy becomes nonsensical at that point without a clear definition of what philosophy involves.

Doing philosophy is probably best seen on a continuum stretching from a child's first question of wonder to a sophisticated philosopher's answer.

Steve, your last boat about to leave the harbour analogy doesn't work. For when it comes to philosophy there is no last boat leaving the harbour since we do not have a clear definition of what the proverbial philosophical boat is all about.

In any case there are lots of people who are not making any decision when they don't participate in philosophical or religious questions.

That's sheer hubris.

I don't expect anyone to agree with me about anything here anyway. It's as if no one here has ever thought deeply about these issues or know much of anything about other religious and philosophical cultures.

Cheers.

John W. Loftus said...

From my experience there is either scientifically informed philosophy or there is scientifically uninformed philosophy. Scientifically uninformed philosophy is a crock, and that's my philosophy. But then, I know something about philosophy to say this.

Karl Grant said...

In any case there are lots of people who are not making any decision when they don't participate in philosophical or religious questions.

Most people would consider choosing not to participate making a decision in-of-itself.

That's sheer hubris.

Immediately followed by:

I don't expect anyone to agree with me about anything here anyway. It's as if no one here has ever thought deeply about these issues or know much of anything about other religious and philosophical cultures.

And:

Scientifically uninformed philosophy is a crock, and that's my philosophy. But then, I know something about philosophy to say this.

And all without any trace of irony.

John W. Loftus said...

Steve, Vic actually raises a few separate issues here. I was initially commenting on the question in his post.

John W. Loftus said...

Karl Grant, please tell us all when you decided not to believe in a green gremlin that animates every atom. Tell us all when you decided to reject Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Scientology, or the many other new religious movements you have never even heard of before.

John W. Loftus said...

James's epistemology where we are supposed to meet a forced option hypotheses halfway can ONLY lead a person to accepting his or her own prejudices, since these prejudices are the only ones that seem forced upon such a person.

It would lead people to decide to believe in Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology, or the many new religious movements we have never even heard of before.

James provides an example of a scientifically uninformed philosophy which is a crock.

Karl Grant said...

please tell us all when you decided not to believe in a green gremlin that animates every atom.

I don't know; maybe about the same time I stopped believing that you would stop using logical fallacies like the Straw-Man Argument or Appeal to Ridicule (little green gremlins, seriously?).

Tell us all when you decided to reject Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Scientology,

Hinduism and Buddhism about eight years ago when I studied up on eastern religions. Scientology was a few years earlier when I read about L Ron Hubbard (You remind me of him for some reason).

the many other new religious movements you have never even heard of before.

Considering I choose to embrace Christianity now rather than take an agnostic position is proof that I have already made a decision in that regard. Now we can apply that to you and say the minute you chose atheism instead of agnosticism you also made a decision regarding those unknown religions.

B. Prokop said...

John,

I get the impression that you're making a huge argument over a differing definition of the word "philosophy", and that you don't really have that big a problem with the initial premise.

Are you saying that it is possible to not have a "philosophy of life", i.e., a guiding principle (either thought out or unconscious) that one uses in making choices? I don't think you are, but I do think that that is the sense in which Victor used the term.

If that is indeed the case, I think you two are in "violent agreement".

John W. Loftus said...

Karl Grant, yours is anecdotal evidence. You do know what that is, don't you? Even if true this says nothing about how most people decided what to believe.

Just once, once mind you, I'd like to see just one believer, only one, who will say, "Hey, I'm like most people. How I decide to believe is based on my cultural prejudices just like most everyone eles."

I have never heard one believer admit this, not one, even though in a scientific poll Michael Shermer found that 9 out of 10 people say that other people decide what religion to believe in because of cultural and emotional reasons.

B. Prokop said...

Just once, once mind you, I'd like to see John Loftus say, "Hey, I'm like most people. I decided to believe in atheism based on my cultural prejudices, just like most other atheists."

You first, John.

John W. Loftus said...

B. Prokop, just once, once mind you, I'd like to see a believer respond to this sociological fact without using the "you too" fallacy. You see, there are just too many "you's" to "too" since there are many religious faiths to choose from.

Atheism, while not a logically deductive conclusion from the scientific evidence, is inductively warranted.

I've wasted enough time here.

Hey Vic, apart from Steve, when do you plan on getting some critical thinkers here?

I'm unsubscribing.

Karl Grant said...

yours is anecdotal evidence. You do know what that is, don't you?

Of course I know what anecdotal evidence is, do you? Doubtful considering you turn right around and say:

I have never heard one believer admit this

Again, without any trace of irony.

people decide what religion to believe in because of cultural and emotional reasons.

And I have seen studies that make a point that people chose atheism for largely emotional reasons. By the way are you familiar with the concept of Circumstantial Ad hominem? You know, suggesting that someone is in circumstances (cultural, emotional) such that he is disposed to take a particular position and thereby constitutes an attack on the bias of a source. Because you are pulling a textbook example right here.


Hey Vic, apart from Steve, when do you plan on getting some critical thinkers here?

I'm unsubscribing.


Level of surprise at this comment: 0%.

John W. Loftus said...

Oops, I forgot to unsubscribe...will do.

Karl Grant, some anecdotal evidence can be considered strong evidence lacking a scientific poll.

I have been arguing almost daily for the OTF, that's 365 days times 6 years.

And I have never seen one believer who has tried to respond to the OTF in six years admit the basis for it was true for their own faith. Not one.

Out of probably a thousand believers that's a thousand hits without exception.

Karl Grant said...

I forgot to unsubscribe...will do.

Sure John, we believe you. It's not like you're an egotist who can't leave well enough alone, after all.


some anecdotal evidence can be considered strong evidence lacking a scientific poll.

Funny how you say that when it comes to anecdotal evidence that supports your position. Though you are hardly alone in this, skeptics tend to quote anecdotal evidence when it supports their side which is kind of a double standard, is it not? So let's be frank, classifying evidence as "anecdotal" is simply a dismissal tactic upon your part and one that bit you in the ass when it was pointed out you were using the same thing, leading to the above rhetorical backsliding.

I have been arguing almost daily for the OTF...thousand hits without exception.

John, it's still your word and your word isn't worth much given your proven track record of dishonesty.

B. Prokop said...

The "you too" fallacy???
You gotta be kidding me! Like Karl Grant says, all without a trace of irony.

And he can't even see it!

John, one Big Reason why I could never be an atheist is that I've read (and listened to) all your arguments, and "ya got nothing!" The most eloquent spokesmen among the atheists (say, Christopher Hitchens) never even approach the most mediocre of Christian apologists in matters of coherence of thought and persuasiveness of presentation. The very best of the arguments seldom rise above the level of "someone was mean to me as a kid". Or worse, they wearyingly dredge up some weak-assed objection that was asked and answered in the year 300 (yet they forever seem to believe that they're the first person to have ever thought of it).

Or, as in your case, they are the masters of the Double Standard, and remain stubbornly in denial of such when it's pointed out to them.

Please, unsubscribe away. Or don't. You might actually learn something. But you'd first have to open your ears, and stop yelling "Ya, ya, ya!" for fear of actually having to listen.

Still like the hat!

B. Prokop said...

And John, I've said this before, but the so-called OTF was invented by Christianity in the year 33 AD. Who do you think were being converted by the apostles? Outsiders! They all had to approach the faith from an outsider point of view. and yet somehow it managed to survive 2000 years of outsiders coming to the Church and asking to come inside.

I'd call that 2 or 3 billion hits out of 2 or 3 billion. Kind of puts your "1000 hits" into perspective, doesn't it?

unkleE said...

I'm not sure why several of you spent time on John's comments, because it seems to me he changed the topic and implicitly agreed with Vic. Vic was talking about important questions in general (religion, ethics, politics, etc) and whether we need philosophy to resolve them, or we can do without it. He made no specific comment on resolving religious or metaphysical questions.

John's initial comments, and most of his subsequent ones, on the other hand, were about whether to choose one religion over another.

But it is entirely possible to agree with both John and Vic here, so John's comments don't in any way respond adversely to Vic's, in fact they demonstrate the correctness of what Vic wrote. Namely, that even thinking about issues of metaphysics, ethics aesthetics and politics we are thinking philosophically, and the only question is how well we do it.

Victor Reppert said...

This is pretty pedestrian stuff, taken from a lecture for introductory students. John reminds of certain Republicans who, if Barack Obama were to say that the sky is blue, they would vigorously dispute it.

Papalinton said...

Why Bother With Philosophy? Indeed.

There is much hope for the future as we begin to map and understand the religious impulse. " Science, specifically the cognitive and social neurosciences, is beginning to show us how and why human minds generate religious beliefs. Already, more than an outline is apparent, and with each passing day, the psychological mechanisms, the neuroanatomy, and the neurochemistry of religion continue to come into sharper focus.

It will not be long before another John or Jane Scopes teaches the evolutionary cognitive neuroscience of religion in a public high school biology or psychology class. When these classes are taught, you can bet on the response by the fundamentalist christians in the United States. They will take it to court. The case will ultimately be heard in a federal court, maybe even in the Supreme Court. We should all welcome such a trial. It will generate an even wider audience for these discoveries about how human minds create and sustain religious belief. If history is any guide, science - in this case, the evolutionary cognitive neuroscience of religious belief - will win decisively.

Religion may offer comfort in a harsh world; it may foster community; it may incite conflict. In short, it may have its uses - for good and evil. But it was created by human beings, and this will be a better world if we cease confusing it with fact."

["Why We Believe in God[s]; A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith"; J Anderson Thompson MD; 2011, p.116.]

Steve Lovell said...

John,

I don't understand your criticism of James. You write:

"James's epistemology where we are supposed to meet a forced option hypotheses halfway can ONLY lead a person to accepting his or her own prejudices, since these prejudices are the only ones that seem forced upon such a person.

It would lead people to decide to believe in Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology, or the many new religious movements we have never even heard of before."

Are the movements we've never heard of the ones which our predjudices are leading us to believe? Or only the ones they are leading other people to believe?

James' whole essay is about choices. And he requires that there be a miniumum of two live options, if there are two options, then other things being equal it is far from obvious that any single "option" is forced.

More later, I should be working.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton once again brings up his thoroughly discredited idea that there is some sort of conflict between science and religion. Despite the fact that he has been presented with list after list of prominent scientists, indeed giants in the field, who are believing Christians (or Jews, or Hindus, etc.), he persists in using the No True Scotsman fallacy with a vengeance. "No True Scientist" he asserts, in flat contradiction to the actuality, could ever be a theist. The fact that many nevertheless are is dismissed by the conveniently non-testable assertion that it will somehow be different in the future. Well, we'll see about that when we get there.

As to neuroscience somehow being a threat to religion, that is only in his own mind. The idea that the workings of the brain could somehow disprove the idea of the supernatural is akin to saying "because I have an eye, there is therefore no such thing as light".

Papalinton, the reason our eyes are constructed as they are, is so our bodies might be able to detect light. The reason our brains are so constructed, is so our physical selves might be able to process input from the supernatural.

Advances in neuroscience present no threat to religion - none. What they actually do is show us yet again just how marvelously God has designed us. You are once again arguing with an imaginary opponent.

Ilíon said...

Or, or paraphrase something I read years ago, and which was attributed to a Huxley (Aldous, as I recall) -- "The question is not 'Shall we, or shall we not, engage in metaphysics?' but rather 'Shall we engage in good/sound metaphysics or in bad/unsound?'"

Ilíon said...

VR: "John reminds of certain Republicans who, if Barack Obama were to say that the sky is blue, they would vigorously dispute it."

While it is a good idea to double-check *every* assertion the alleged-President makes (*), can you name one of these Republicans who would questing even that particular assertion?

Or, is it really that you're just pissed that not merely conservatives, but more and more of the vast indifferent "middle" of voters, are finally looking at that man with a critical eye?

(*) Or, for that matter, any assertion of most Democrats, in general.

Ilíon said...

Karl Grant: "... Sorry John, but the opposite of being an economist is not no economics; it's uninformed, and usually bad, economic decisions on your part."

Oh, you mean a "liberal".

Ilíon said...

Oh, come on guys: you don't *really* expect sound-and-logical reasoning and consistency in argument from John Loftus, do you?

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

By the way, Papalinton, here is an example of how the Church has no conflict with science:

Pope Creates "Science and Faith" Pontifical Foundation

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).


Benedict XVI established a new "Science and Faith" Foundation, which will be under the guidance of the Pontifical Council for Culture and several pontifical universities.

Earlier this month, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, announced that the Holy Father had established this Foundation, with headquarters in the Vatican, and endowed it with canonical and civil legal status.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, promoted the foundation. In doing so, he was seconding the requests of several Roman pontifical universities. The foundation will give continuity to the "Science, Theology and Ontological Quest Project," known by its English acronym as the STOQ Project.

This Project, which resulted from the studies of the Galileo Galilei Commission, was created by John Paul II in 2003. During its existence it has promoted dialogue between theology, philosophy and the natural sciences, through cultural study, research and public activities. It has been supported by various institutions, including the John Templeton Foundation.

The "Science and Faith" Foundation, the first of its kind in the Vatican, will continue the long-standing collaboration of the Pontifical Council for Culture and several pontifical universities, including the Lateran, the Gregorian, the Angelicum, the Salesian, the Urbaniana and that of the Holy Cross, and the Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.

The Foundation will be under the leadership of the president of the Council for Culture, but it will have autonomy to carry out its own projects.


Oh, but this can't possibly be true! I thought there was supposed to be some sort of war going on between Science and Faith... Evidently, not!

finney said...

Justice Blackmun should have recognized this when he fallaciously said in Roe v. Wade that the Court "need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate."

The Court disguised itself in the pretense of neutrality on the question whether a fetus is human life, but in effect assumes an answer by expanding the right to privacy to the choice to terminate her pregnancy.

As Michael McConnell says, "When the Roe Court stated 'we need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins' it was deciding the question without admitting it, and thus without having to support its decision with reasons."

John W. Loftus said...

Steve, I can't resist. All I've seen you do is something I call intellectual gerrymandering. The principle of charity does not apply to me. Give what I write the worse possible spin, every time, okay?

Sheesh.

To argue that there are only two choices is poppycock. Your point is stating the obvious as if it needed to be stated at all. But you are not living in the real world, the world of a myriad number of religious and non-religious choices. What, really, do you live in a cave or something? Sorry to be abrasive but you are deluded to think your points have any weight at all in the world we actually live in.

To continue defending James when his argument does not apply to the real world of choices is, well, stupid. Yes, James is right. So what? Don't be stupid!

I think you, just like Vic, are made to be stupid because you are both emotionally engaged.

I'm not here to win friends. I couldn't get a fair hearing no matter what, so I don't try. You guys are like the emperor who has no clothes on and I'm here to tell you that you're naked.

Ilíon said...

Loftus: "I think you, just like Vic, are made to be stupid because you are both emotionally engaged."

... as opposed to, like Loftus, choosing to be as though stupid. And intelectually dishonest, with no 'as though' to it.

Ilíon said...

"Justice Blackmun should have recognized this when he fallaciously said ..."

I expect he did, for the very reason that "As Michael McConnell says, "When the Roe Court stated 'we need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins' it was deciding the question without admitting it, and thus without having to support its decision with reasons."

"

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "And John, I've said this before, but the so-called OTF was invented by Christianity in the year 33 AD."

How dastardly to mention such an inconvenience. Why, next thing JWL knows, you'll be pointing out that Christianity taught the world to be rational.

Of course, that may explain why the self-proclaimed Chanpions Of Reason over the past three of so centuries have been so uniformly anti-reason ... it's all part of the battle against Christianity.

Karl Grant said...

Loftus,

are made to be stupid because you are both emotionally engaged.

Irony really is lost on you, isn't it? One, calling someone stupid is usually an emotional act (just like most insults). Two, just about every one of your posts on this blog and yours is loaded with emotional language. Three, you treat every ounce of criticism directed at you like a personal attack and are quick to insult anybody who disagrees with you or refuses to recongnize your "genius," which is a usual character trait of a very emotional person with an easily bruised ego.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Getting back to the original post, I tend to resist the snobbery that tends to come with attempts to justify philosophy. E.g., of the 'unexamined life is not worth living' sort of BS, which is easy to say if you don't have to do real work for a living.

That's the kind of line that tends to get undergraduates really excited and make them feel special, that they are doing something really important. Especially at expensive liberal art schools that don't give grades where the students think "work hard" means "study for classes".

Bah humbug! I prefer a working class stiff any day of the week.

John W. Loftus said...

Well said Blue Devil Knight.

BenYachov said...

>I tend to resist the snobbery that tends to come with attempts to justify philosophy.

But what of the snobbery of those who wax eloquently on philosophical issues but don't know Aristotle from Kant from their own arseholes & think their degree in physics or biology makes them Yoda?


>Bah humbug! I prefer a working class stiff any day of the week.

Some of the holiest and most spiritual people I know aren't exactly mega-theologically, scientifically or philosophically sophisticated.

You can be a good person and have a happy life without knowing a lot.

But knowing things is good in itself.

Thus all the spiritual and good people I know by definition can only benefit if they learned these things.

Ignorance is not strength.

BDK who would you rather deal with? A bunch of anti-science anti-evolution fundies or a bunch of Christians who love science & believe in evolution.

Speaking for myself I found I prefer Atheists who are knowledgeable in philosophy rather then wannabes who poo poo it.

B. Prokop said...

It may not be as cut and dried as that, BDK. I recall Dante's image of likening individuals to containers that are fully or partially filled. One person's requirement for an examined life might be compared to a five-gallon jug, whilst another's is analogous to a quart bottle. What matters is not the absolute volume of each container, but to what portion each one is filled (or not).

Thus, your proverbial liberal arts student might require 5 gallons of self-examination in order to live the worthwhile life (!in this respect!), but his stevedore father perhaps gets away with his own quart of the same.

In either case, there's no value judgment being made on how large one's capacity, but rather on the use one has made of it.

So, I agree with you to the extent that one man's need for the examined life may not be the same as for another, but the need in each case is real, and not just snobbishness.

I know that in my own case, to go off on a related but nevertheless different subject, I go through something very similar to withdrawal symptoms if I fail to get out for a good walk every day, but other people wouldn't miss it in the slightest. My mother-in-law goes absolutely bonkers without the television on constantly, and she cannot comprehend how I can live in a house that doesn't even have one to turn on.

So don't be so "bah humbug" judgmental about folks who might require a certain amount of self-examination in order to feel it's worthwhile getting up in the morning. That's nothing more than reverse snobbery!!!

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ben and Bob you make good points. In practice, this isn't an either-or situation, thank goodness. And frankly I am as guilty of naval-gazing as anyone, so don't have too much room to talk here. If I didn't have some love for it, I wouldn't hang out here.

Blue Devil Knight said...

My bigger concern is an attitude I sometimes see in which people who are not into intellectual exercise are seen as inferior or not living a life worth living.

The unexamined life is worth living. So is the examined life. It's all good. ;o

Blue Devil Knight said...

Aside from a public school, blue collar chip I have on my shoulder, I used to work with Special Olympics. Hard to find a less philosophically sophisticated bunch, but lives all worth living to be sure.

B. Prokop said...

BDK,

So you apparently would have come down on the "Stones" side in the great "Beatles or Stones" debate of the 1960s.

Martin said...

What is it with John Loftus?

It's always the same thing. Come in, fling a bunch of poop around like a baboon, call people idiots, and then stomp off in a huff, shrieking "I'VE HAD IT!! I'M UNSUBSCRIBING!!1!!!!"

Wait a few weeks, and repeat.

B. Prokop said...

Martin,

It's not as bad as you think. When Loftus says "I'm unsubscribing", all he means is he has no further intention of checking in on comments to this particular thread, so don't address anything to him. He won't see it.

(Other than that, you've described his behavior accurately.)

Papalinton said...

"Papalinton once again brings up his thoroughly discredited idea that there is some sort of conflict between science and religion."

No, not at all. It is a statement of objective verity that when science finds facts that refute religious claims - about man, about society, about the universe, or about god[s], religious faith must always accede to science. Religion once offered answers to many questions that have now been ceded to the care of science. This process of scientific conquest and religious forfeiture has been relentless, one directional, and utterly predictable. As it turns out, real knowledge, being both valid and verifiable across cultures, is the only remedy for religious discord.

I am reminded of Dr Harris, "Whatever is true about us, spiritually and ethically, must be discoverable now. Consequently, it makes no sense at all to have one’s spiritual life pegged to rumors of ancient miracles. What we need is a discourse about ethics and spiritual experience that is as unconstrained by ancient ignorance as the discourse of science already is. Science really does transcend the vagaries of culture: there is no such thing as “Japanese” as opposed to “French” science; we don’t speak of “Hindu biology” and “Jewish chemistry.” Imagine a world in which we could have a truly honest and open-ended conversation about our place in the universe and about the possibilities of deepening our self-understanding, ethical wisdom, and compassion. By living as if some measure of sectarian superstition were essential for human happiness, religious moderates prevent such a conversation from ever taking shape."

In the matter of:
"Pope Creates "Science and Faith" Pontifical Foundation
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2012 (Zenit.org). "

One would be a little naive not to consider the church being somewhat driven by self-interest and its survival instinct. The establishment of the foundation has more to do with, "keep your enemies close but your 'friends' closer" than any shared relationship sensitivities. Why would the catholic church feel the need to establish such an institution if it was not contemplating the science as a realtime possible threat, particularly to the church's first principles, all of which are solely predicated on the supernatural. It is interesting to note not one Science organization sees the need to open a homologous 'Faith' foundation to "promote dialogue between science, philosophy and theology, through cultural study, research and public activities." Interestingly science, as an independent stand-alone category of disciplines, generally have no need nor cause for theological input to be included in or a feature of its research activities nor its promulgation framework. It operates perfectly well upon the Laplacian model. In matter of community discourse of the role of science in society, The church model is but one of many ways that the outcomes and discoveries of science and their effects and consequences in society, can be scrutinized and assessed within the community.

"The reason our brains are so constructed, is so our physical selves might be able to process input from the supernatural."
It is becoming clearer and clearer and evidential that the supernatural is but a teleological figment of the imagination, a co-option of genetic evolutionary functions primarily predisposed to the survival instinct. The mind is what the brain does. Nothing is surer.

Steve Lovell said...

John,

This interaction isn't going well. First you accuse me of a lack of charity when what I wrote was "I don't understand". I assume you read something more into this.

You then go on to accuse me of stupidity and say that it's poppycock to think there are only two options.

That would be poppycock in many cases. But I didn't say there were only two options. I said James is considering cases where there are a minimum of two live options.

Now, if lack of understanding displayed a lack of charity, then there is presumably a more charitable interpretation of what you wrote. But, and perhaps I am being stupid here, I don't see it, and calling me names won't help me see it and isn't likely make me any more charitable.

Steve Lovell said...

Continued ...

Back up there a bit you wrote that my boat analogy doesn't work. But isn't merely an analogy. It's also an illustration. Boats do leave, and if you fail to decide whether or not to take it, then the decision will be made for you by default.

If I can't decide what to do with my vote, then then when the polling closes the "boat has left". The illustration isn't merely about deciding for or against Christianity before you die, it's about having already made your choices in life when the time for action comes. If the time for action comes and goes and we haven't made a decision, that won't stop time rolling on and the opportunity for action passing us by with our role decided by default.

Now the mention of James in this context is perhaps somewhat misleading. James was thinking about cases where the evidence leaves two options option. That's not really what Vic's post was about. Vic is encouraging us not to leave it until the last minute when a survey of the evidence will be impossible. He's encouraging us not avoid these Jamesian dilemmas by getting all the evidence and argument we need in advance.

Steve Lovell said...

I quite agree with much that BDK, Ben and Bob are saying about the value of philosophical reflection ...

If you scroll back to the top of the thread you'll see the title isn't "Why everyone should be a philosopher" but "Why bother with philosophy?" It's a well motivated discipline, and thinking about the sorts of things that philosophers qua philosophers think is worthwhile, but there are plenty of other things that are worthwhile too ... and many things that are not merely worthwhile but essential.

My problem isn't with people who genuinely don't have the "resources" (to use a hideous modern phrase) to engage in philosophical reflection.

My problem is with those that do have the resources but quite deliberately shirk from such reflection ... hide from the issues and simply refuse to think. There are plenty of these people on pretty much every side of pretty much every debate. Christians certainly aren't immune. Indeed, I dare say I'm fairly regularly guilty of this myself. The considerations that BDK is mentioning stop me being too hard on myself ... but I'm probably kinder to myself than I should be.

I vividly recall discussing religion with a friend some years ago. In a big national evangelistic campaign an apologetic tract of sorts had been delivered to pretty much every home in the country ... my friend said he had to stop reading it because he was finding it disturbingly convincing.

The condition Lewis describes in "Man or Rabbit?" is more prevalent than you might imagine. At least it seems that way to me ... but again that's not just a fault of those I disagree with.

Maths Tutor Wirral said...

'How do we decide what’s right and what’s wrong?'

Philosophers tell us what is right and what is wrong?

I thought God did.

What happens when philosophers change their mind about what is right and what is wrong?

Steve Lovell said...

This isn't meant to be insulting, the parellels are hard to ignore:
-----
'How do we decide what the answers to sums are?'

Maths tutors tell us what the answers to sums should be?

I thought the laws of arithmetic did.

What happens when the maths tutors change their minds?

Maths Tutor Wirral said...

'What happens when the maths tutors change their minds?'

You mean like when people decided that negative numbers and imaginary numbers should be regarded as valid, and no longer regarded as invalid?

Is that like deciding that abortion is now valid, when it used to be invalid?

Are you claiming philosophers have expertise in deciding what is right and wrong that non-philosophers do not have?

John W. Loftus said...

Steve and Vic, no wonder Keith Parsons quit teaching philosophy of religion classes because he cannot give the other side equal time. Much of what you offer here is empty rhetoric without substance pure and simple.

I cannot hope to convince people as deluded as you are that you are wrong. But I do so for more reasonable people who are reading who can see it for what it really is, stupidity. Sorry, but that's the way it really is.

Ilíon said...

"What is it with John Loftus?

It's always the same thing. Come in, fling a bunch of poop around like a baboon, call people idiots, and then stomp off in a huff, shrieking "I'VE HAD IT!! I'M UNSUBSCRIBING!!1!!!!"

Wait a few weeks, and repeat.
"

It's the "polite" version of 'J'

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

Perhaps then, you'll sign off on the following statement:

It is becoming clearer and clearer and evidential that light is but a teleological figment of the brain's interpretation of retinal inputs, a co-option of genetic evolutionary functions primarily predisposed to the survival instinct. Sight is only what the brain does. Nothing is surer.

And as for your statement, "It is interesting to note not one Science organization sees the need to open a homologous 'Faith' foundation to "promote dialogue between science, philosophy and theology, through cultural study, research and public activities.", there are at least two such organizations on the Johns Hopkins University campus in Baltimore alone: the Veritas Forum, founded by medical students, and the Baltimore Food and Faith Project, founded by faculty and students of the Public Health Department. And those are just the ones I know about. At least two, and on just one campus, in a university known round the world for the excellence of its medical and biological research departments (my molecular biologist son-in-law, doing genetic research at Johns Hopkins, is also a believing, practicing Catholic).

But oh, I forgot, you will regard such real-world examples as "anecdotal", and therefore irrelevant. In this regard, you remind me of the Mark Studdock character in C.S. Lewis's novel, That Hideous Strength. "His education had the curious effect of making things that he read and wrote more real to him than things he saw. Statistics about agricultural labourers were the substance; any real ditcher, ploughman, or farmer's boy was the shadow... for, in his own way, he believed as firmly as any mystic in the superior reality of the things that are not seen."

So the fact that there actually are such organizations will not alter in the slightest your belief that, since you feel such things should not exist, they therefore don't (all evidence to the contrary brushed aside as "anecdotal").

Blue Devil Knight said...

Steve: I think the unexamined life is worth living, even for someone that has the talent to do it extraordinarily well. I do not put it above digging ditches, in personal terms anyway. Of course, without smarty-pants leisure-class intellectuals, we wouldn't have microwaves and such. So in a larger-scale cultural sense, it is useful (not to mention self-perpetuating, especially philosophy which rarely, if ever, actually settles the questions it asks).

I guess a case could be made that some critical reflection is a moral virtue. But lack of it isn't necessarily a moral or personal failing. I think too much reflection is a moral failing, frankly. I'm thinking Hamlet here.

But you are right, I wasn't attacking the original post, but one natural end-point that such discussions often reach, the 'unexamined life is not worth living' slogan taken a bit too seriously.

Papalinton said...

The Vertias Forum at JHU. From the website.
"Who We Are What is Veritas?
Our Mission
Veritas Forums are university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life's hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. We seek to inspire the shapers of tomorrow's culture to connect their hardest questions with the person and story of Jesus Christ."

Just another self-serving christian apologetic trying to inveigle its 'bona fides' on the coat-tails of an august university. You forgot to mention the important point: Veritas founded by christian medical students. Nothing about science here from the Veritas mission statement. Just more stuff trying to find a role for an increasingly irrelevant jesus christ. No mention at all of the participation and acknowledgement of any other religious tradition at the 'university'. Just another club for a group of a particular brand of theism. As Dr Harris says, there is no Hindu biology or Jewish chemistry etc etc.

The JHU 'Veritas' example will have about the same effect and about as much clout and influence as the Science and Faith Pontifical Foundation will have on the potency, authority, strength and potential of science; none.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton, You prove my point with every word you post. To you, the real, the concrete, the specific does not ever count. You will forever find some convenient specificity to give you a line of retreat, an excuse to allow you to not have to actually change your mind which, like one who has looked upon the Gorgon, has hardened into eternal stone. "That's not a valid case", you claim. "It's too particular!"

What you hunger for is the bodiless Ideal (a la Plato). "None of this reality for me!" is your watchword. "Science will save us from religion", you prate endlessly and thoughtlessly like a broken record. But When confronted by Christian scientists, you fall back on your Platonist belief in the Ideal, and deny any validity to the Specific. "They don't count", is your defense mechanism. Your preconceived notions will always trump facts on the ground. When shown that uncountable Christians are actively engaged in serious, cutting-edge scientific research (unlike yourself, who probably couldn't solve m1 - m2 = [-2.5*log(I1) + C] - [-2.5 * log(I2) + C] if your life depended on it, or even tell me what I was referring to), you dismiss them as not fitting into your thesis (which is so obviously more real than actual human beings).

Well, I'm off to a workshop on how to observe red dwarf flare stars. (But wait, I couldn't possibly in interested in such things! It might be a threat to my Faith!... Not!)

BenYachov said...

Good point Bob. Let's not forget the shit Paps makes up off the top of his head.

Like oh Pope St. Gregory the Great allegedly having the Patriarch of Constantinople burned at the stake(i.e. he actually died of old age & recanted his heresy) or claiming the Holy Father said the Blessed in Heaven enjoy the suffering of their brethren in Hell.

(Which is an odd statement considering the damned are not brethren to the Saved)

I guess when you have no objective standard of right or wrong then kissing the blarney stone isn't a problem eh?;-)

Seriously Paps when are you going to learn some philosophy?

Steve Lovell said...

John,

I've asked some concrete questions about your comments, and you haven't replied to any of them. You've now called me stupid twice and accused Vic and I of empty rhetoric.

The sooner you get over your persecution complex the better off we will all be. Including you.

I'm not even clear on whether you disagree with Vic's OP. You've said his post was empty and nonsensical and at the same time said "we all know your point". You've accepted many of my points ("James is right") but you are still complaining. Vic and I have both said the main point being made isn't especially deep ... if your problem is that the point isn't especially deep, then I'm not sure that counts as a problem. You might wonder why we are bothering to assert the obvious so vigourously, but if that wondering is really what your comments here are about then you've expressed yourself remarkably badly.

Steve Lovell said...

Maths Tutor,

I'n my opinion philosophers don't have much in the way of special expertise in ethics. Indeed I often feel that philosopher's moral feelings have been distorted by the focus on "hard cases".

But they do at least think about ethical issues, and consider many ethically relevant points, which is the real point.

Of course there is much disagreement between philosophers about what is right and wrong, and this makes the philosopher/math tutor analogy a weak one. But the main point I was making with my cheeky response is that discovery and invention are different. If thinking people (not necessarily professional or non-professional philosophers) can be discoverers of ethical truth at least some of the time this does nothing to disprove the idea that morality is rooted in God. No more so than mathematicians discovering mathematical truths shows that those truths aren't a consequence of the fundamental axioms of mathematics.

Ilíon said...

"... if your problem is that the point isn't especially deep, then I'm not sure that counts as a problem. You might wonder why we are bothering to assert the obvious so vigourously ..."

The reason to "vigourously assert" the obvious it because folk who are too clever by half seem to like to deny the obvious.

Papalinton said...

".... who probably couldn't solve m1 - m2 = [-2.5*log(I1) + C] - [-2.5 * log(I2) + C] if your life depended on it...."

And just as if you had studied chemistry, you should be able to give me the answer to the reaction:

Ba + 2Na =

Karl Grant said...

Ba + 2Na =

Banana.

How cute Pap, you graduated elementary school. Really, I thought that such a feat was beyond your grasp because when you grew up you didn't have Google to look up answers to test questions nor could you do ctrl-v + ctrl-p on a typewriter.

Or maybe you just mindlessly repeat everything on a website like James Randi's? Actually, that is much more probable than you passing a high school entrance exam.

William said...

pap:

Good one.

Ba + 2Na =

My banana tree has 70 lbs of green ones.

lol

B. Prokop said...

The point, Papalinton, is that real scientists are both believers and unbelievers, they are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, atheist, or agnostic. "Science" is at best, from your viewpoint, completely neutral. At worst (again, from your standpoint) it is a glorious confirmation of Faith ("The world is charged with the grandeur of God", motto of Loyola University).

And speaking of universities, how is it, Papalinton, that they also are an invention of Christianity? According to you, people of Faith should have been terrified by all that learning going on in those institutions.

You will never get what you want out of your attempts to create a controversy where none exists, because the solid, specific facts are all against you. You are forever forced to fall back on generalities, at all costs retreating from concrete evidence lest it contradict your fundamentally non-material worldview. (Oh, the irony of it all! A self-declared materialist with the most mystical of philosophies, pure Platonism, underlying his most cherished arguments!)

Face it, your hand has been played, and it has come up both short and contradictory. You need to either come up with a new line of argument, or fall to your knees and confess your error. But keeping up with this "science trumps religion" thing is starting to look a bit like the famous definition of insanity - you know, the one where someone keeps doing the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result.

Papalinton said...

Oh! By the way, the answer is:

Ba + 2Na = Banana

But seriously Bob, christian scientists? Christians are christians, scientists are scientists, christian scientists are christian who like to dabble in science. If you compare a christian scientist with a Hindu scientist, the only universal binding commonality is the science; the rest of each descriptor is useless and meaningless to science and to anything else. It has the same impact as the comparison between a scientist with two legs and an amputee scientist, utterly irrelevant.

"To you, the real, the concrete, the specific does not ever count."

Tell me Bob, what's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'virgin births'?
What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'bodily levitation'?
What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'transubstantiation'?
What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'revivification of putrescent corpses'?
What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'outside of time and space'?
How does one socially engage and converse with [putatively] live non-human entities that inhabit an alien dimension, sometimes on a daily basis but mostly just on a Sunday, that doesn't look like a ritual of talking to oneself?
How does one distinguish the voices in one's head with that of a god?
How does the pope know god is talking to him?
How is it that the veracity of the filioque, the foundational plank of catholic theism, is only as substantial as the dried ink in the Nicene Creed?

And you say of me, "the real, the concrete, the specific does not ever count". As a philosophical naturalist, I find the hum of the theist drone indistinguishable to white noise, but I find their preternatural navel-gazing highly amusing.

Papalinton said...

"You need to either come up with a new line of argument, or fall to your knees and confess your error."

"The bended knee is not the attitude for study."

B. Prokop said...

Tell me Bob, what's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'virgin births'?

First of all, it's Virgin Birth - there was only one. What's factually concrete about it is that Christ was born of a virgin.

What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'bodily levitation'?

I have no dog in that fight.

What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'transubstantiation'?

The fact that it occurs in each and every Mass. That's an awful lot of reality there.

What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'revivification of putrescent corpses'?

The fact the Christ gloriously rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, for your and my redemption.

What's evidentially real or factually concrete about 'outside of time and space'?

The fact that time and space are creations of the Father through his Eternal Word, who are obviously outside of both.

How does one socially engage and converse with [putatively] live non-human entities that inhabit an alien dimension, sometimes on a daily basis but mostly just on a Sunday, that doesn't look like a ritual of talking to oneself?

Through prayer. And more importantly, through the habit of prayer.

How does one distinguish the voices in one's head with that of a god?

That one is answered in first John. It's a long answer, so I won't repeat it here.

How does the pope know god is talking to him?

God doesn't talk to the pope, any more than He does to you or me. This question was invented out of whole cloth by you.

How is it that the veracity of the filioque, the foundational plank of Catholic theism, is only as substantial as the dried ink in the Nicene Creed?

This was explained in the Last Supper dialogs in the Gospel of John. Once again, way too long to reprint here. Read the original.

B. Prokop said...

By the way, Papalinton, all of your rhetorical questions aside (which were ludicrously easy to answer), you are simply trying (rather desperately, I might add) to avoid the issue at hand - which is that you flee from the specific (as in, such and such a scientist is also a believer, therefore there need be no conflict between science and faith) and cling to the general (which you obviously prefer, since any actual example contrary to your thesis-of-the-day is simply thrown out as "anecdotal").

This is your modus operandi in dealing with inconvenient facts. If they don't support your predetermined outcome, you simply brush them aside as irrelevant. And the more concrete they are, the more specific, the more real, the less credence you give to them. You'd rather face the actual world of reality from your fortress of ideology. In your case it's a contradictory ideology of blind materialism coexisting with a very un-materialistic denial of the particular. You're much more comfortable dealing with aphorisms and vague platitudes. Statements like "Science will conquer religion" suffice, despite the embarrassing fact that you yourself are not a scientist at all, and really have no business speaking for those who are.

Crude said...

I decided to take a break from work, and what do I see? Bob freaking Prokop calling out The Linton and getting him dead to rights. Good show, Bob. You're a pleasure to read sometimes.

As for Loftus - hey, shouldn't you be on Freethought Blogs trying to earn some coin? Wait, wait, I forgot. You did terrible there so you were due to pull out. Some advice, pal: if you want to make money, you may want to consider a little less blogging, a little more DeVry. Don't worry, they'll let you wear the hat.

Good job on the 'I'm unsubscribing - wait, here I am again' bit, by the way. I was a bit thirsty, and the Loftus drinking game allows me a shot whenever you do that. ;)

Papalinton said...

1. "First of all, it's Virgin Birth - there was only one. What's factually concrete about it is that Christ was born of a virgin."

Please Bob, if you wish to believe in parthenogenesis, knock yourself out. But please don't trot it out as fact.
A belief in a belief does not translate into one scintilla of fact in support of this assertion.

As for Virgin Births:
Religions of all kinds were replete with virgin births;
Augustus (his father was the god Apollo)
Agdistis
Attis
Adonis
Buddha
Jesus
Korybas
Krishna
Mithras
Osirus
Perseus
Romulus and Remus
Tammuz
Zoroaster
Dionysus

Spot the mountebank in the list. Christianity simply follows the standard format of the time with its ubiquitous virgin birth.
Indeed 1,800 years before the jesus, we find carved on one of the walls of the great temple of Luxor a picture of the annunciation, conception and birth of King Amunothph III, an almost exact copy of the annunciation, conception and birth of the Christian God. No surprises there.

2. "The fact that it [transubstantiation] occurs in each and every Mass. That's an awful lot of reality there."

The ritual is the fact, not the transubstantiation. Chomping on a cracker and drinking the house wine does not a transubstantiation make. Prof Richard Hanley, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Delaware, compared Scientology's mythology to Christianity's Virgin birth and the transubstantiation, stating, "Let's be honest, these beliefs are just as ridiculous as those of Scientology." [Hanley, Richard (2007-03-28). South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating. ISBN 0812696131.]

3. "The fact the Christ gloriously rose from the dead on Easter Sunday, for your and my redemption."

Not a fact. An unsupported and factually bereft assertion that the other two members of the Abrahamic faiths specifically reject. Catholics holding to a falsehood remains a falsehood despite the contrived and contorted definition, fact = papal infallibility.

4. "The fact that time and space are creations of the Father through his Eternal Word, who are obviously outside of both."

Tell that to a billion Hindus and 800 million Buddhists, and a couple million Scientologists. Religion, most particularly catholicism is less about belief than it is about habit. So atheism is not so much refuting a belief as breaking a habit. And belief is a habit - a habit of mind.

5. "Through prayer. And more importantly, through the habit of prayer."

Prayer is what you do when you can't do anything useful or constructive.

6. "That one is answered in first John. It's a long answer, so I won't repeat it here." [to the question: "How does one distinguish the voices in one's head with that of a god?]

The moment one quotes from the written mythos, all credibility is lost. The practice is identical to quoting Harry Potter to prove the existence of Hogwarts.

7. "This was explained in the Last Supper dialogs in the Gospel of John. Once again, way too long to reprint here. Read the original." [to the question: How is it that the veracity of the filioque, the foundational plank of Catholic theism, is only as substantial as the dried ink in the Nicene Creed?]

Another referral to the Big Book of Chrestus Mythologies. The Great Schism of 1054 marks the stark and unambiguous reality and truth of the filioque as nothing more than fairy-tale assertion.

Papalinton said...

Crude
"Bob freaking Prokop calling out The Linton and getting him dead to rights."

In your wildest dreams.
The catholic church is chocked with ritual as are the other sacred cows of christianity . In fact ritual is the basis of its tradition. So much recent research is showing that:

"Like religious ideas and beliefs, religious rituals are by-products of mental mechanisms originally designed for other purposes. Rituals maintain, transmit, and propagate belief across time and space. We have seen how vulnerable the individual mind is to generating, accepting, and believing religious ideas. If the process stopped there, religious beliefs might be loosely held. But, by mobilizing powerful brain chemicals that arouse intense emotional experiences and give rise to feelings as diverse as self-esteem, pleasure, fear, motivation, pain relief, and attachment, ritual creates a whole far stronger than the sum. The group nature of ritual takes individual minds already primed for belief and throws them into a continuous loop of mutual reinforcement, creating a volatile congregation of conscious and unconscious forces." J Anderson Thompson, "Why We Believe in God[s]; Pp. 82-83

Day by day, inexorably, through the light of rational enquiry, religion is being slowly unwrapped to lay bare the wholly natural material and terrestrial foundations of its memeplex. No surprises there. "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority; and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because science works." Interview, Steven Hawking, 6 June 2010, ABC News interview.

B. Prokop said...

"Religions of all kinds were replete with virgin births"

But of course they are, Papalinton. Do I really have to assume that that you've already forgotten the many, many times I have written on this website that the world is crammed full of reflections and analogs of the Incarnation, and that the very existence of such is evidence for the historical reality of that event? You know I have made this argument repeatedly. You know that examples of the concept showing up in other settings does not phase me in the least. I have explained to you why the Christian faith, rather than being threatened by such, actually glories in their testimony (how else explain the veneration of Virgil in the Middle Ages as a Christian prophet?)

And yet you trot out the same ol', same ol', as though somehow this time the result will be different (remember what I wrote yesterday about the definition of insanity).

So once again, Papalinton, once again: If you throw a stone into a pool, there will be a splash in the immediate impact area, and the ripples from the splash will extend ultimately to the furthest reaches of the pool. In like manner, effects from the Incarnation (the biggest, most significant even in human history), are naturally felt in distant lands and far off times into both the past as well as the future, for there is no time with God. All of the myths and legends you gave in your list are analogous to the "ripples" from the actual Incarnation, from the one and only true Virgin Birth. They exist in our collective human consciousness due to our deep, sure knowledge of the reality of that event.

Ilíon said...

"Bob freaking Prokop calling out The Linton and getting him dead to rights. Good show, Bob."

I suppose it's good that someone pay attention the the Rabid Dingo, though it's not an avocation I'd recommend. Still, who better than someone who knows the mindset from the inside?

Papalinton said...

"By the way, Papalinton, all of your rhetorical questions aside (which were ludicrously easy to answer), you are simply trying (rather desperately, I might add) to avoid the issue at hand - which is that you flee from the specific (as in, such and such a scientist is also a believer, therefore there need be no conflict between science and faith) and cling to the general (which you obviously prefer, since any actual example contrary to your thesis-of-the-day is simply thrown out as "anecdotal").

An example of a believer who happens to be a scientist has absolutely no bearing on the question of conflict between science and faith. Yes you can be a christian and a scientist, because in the final analysis, theism can never compromise science, not even the pope's infallible 'creation through evolution' rhetoric, and apart from having to occasionally wear the embarrassingly meaningless ubiquitous 'god did it' coverall, for the sake of calming the theist shrill posture, godism has nil impact on science.
Your intractable denials and obdurate rejection of the simply astounding investigative work in the latest of research in the neurosciences about the neurological and neurochemical causes for religious belief is understandably a primeval fear for the protection of the imagined world of the catholic supernatural. Just as I too love to peer through a telescope, it is simply a confirmation of the superfluous and nonessential nature of christian theism to astronomy.

Research by Dr Jesse Bering, Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen's University in Belfast observes, "Without a general cognitive bias to see hidden messages as being embedded in natural events, much of religion as we know it would never have gotten off the ground. This is because such episodes as are often taken as confirmation that there are communicative "others" - god, ancestors, whatever- capable of influencing our personal lives through causal interference with the natural world. This perceived feedback from the other side induces a powerful sense for us that we [and perhaps more importantly, our behaviour] matter to something more than just here and now. And without the belief that god cares enough about us as individuals to bother sending us a veiled, personalized "just thinking of you" message every once in a while, there's not really much reason to pay attention to Him." "The Existential Theory of Mind", Review of General Psychology 6 (pp. 3-24)

Does all this disprove the existence of a god? Of course not. Science speaks only to the improbable, not the impossible. Bering goes on to say, if philosophy rules the day, god can never be ruled out entirely, because one could argue that human cognitive evolution was directly and intentionally inspired by god, as we alone, of all species, can perceive him (and reality in general) using our naturally evolved theory of mind. But if scientific parsimony prevails, and I think it should, such philosophical positioning becomes embarrassingly like clutching at straws. I say, that is why christian theists fight so hard to keep philosophy alive, because without it, religion is dead duck in the competition of ideas going forward.

The facts of evolutionary science strongly imply the improbability of the existence of god[s]. In fact, the [religious] illusion can be so convincing that you may very well refuse to acknowledge it's an illusion at all. But that may simply mean that the adaptation works particularly well in your case.

B. Prokop said...

"An example of a believer who happens to be a scientist has absolutely no bearing on the question"

Need I say more? Game, set, and match for calling you out as a non-materialist materialist. Time for me to toss my sweat soaked tennis shirt to some cutie in the stands.

"understandably a primeval fear"

Talk about projection! I love reading and hearing about advances in neuroscience. (Funny thing. I actually knowreal live neuroscientists. Two of them are Catholics. The others, I have no idea what they are, but they're certainly not blowhard militant atheists.) Perhaps it is you who are afraid of something? I wonder, because people who project as much as you habitually do, generally are describing their own mental states...

You're not going to get me on medical science, Papalinton. I swim in a medical sea here in Maryland, speaking socially, what with my daughter and son-in-law doing cutting-edge research at Johns Hopkins. I have the privilege of having an occasional cup of coffee, etc., with their colleagues, and hearing them talk about the latest discoveries. There is nothing you can bring up in the field of biological or medical research that I haven't heard already from far more competent sources (from the horse's mouth, so to speak).

"one could argue that human cognitive evolution was directly and intentionally inspired by God"

For once, we'll agree on something. Yes, one can (and I do) so argue. That is indeed the case, in the same manner that the eye was "inspired" (designed) to detect light. By your reasoning, since I have an eye possessing the specific function of detecting and reacting to light, I must conclude that light does not exist!

B. Prokop said...

One final comment, Papalinton:

You argue that religion is an evolutionary adaptation, presumably imparting some survival advantage to the religious (thus explaining its tenacity in human history). Yet, you simultaneously argue that religion is dying out, to be replaced by atheism (which by your own admission is the weaker trait, detracting from one's ability to survive).

Can you not see the contradiction here? How would it be possible for the weaker trait to prevail, whilst the survivor trait is defeated?

BenYachov said...

We can also point out the futility of arguing religion if it's an evolutionary trait since you are in effect arguing with nature.

Also if the random collection of Atoms that make up my brain are randomly fashioned to cause me to have a belief in a so called "god" & Paps' random collection of Atoms that make up his brain are randomly fashioned to cause him to disbelieve then arguing it is as futile as arguing with a rainy day.

The problem with hyper-materialism is that it is in effect no different on a practical level then hyper Calvinism. I didn't really choice to be a Theist and Paps didn't really choose to be an Atheist. Nature made us this way.

Mercifully Thomists don't have to believe any of this freaky shit.

finney said...

"Mercifully Thomists don't have to believe any of this freaky shit."

LOL.

Papalinton said...

" .. that the world is crammed full of reflections and analogs of the Incarnation, and that the very existence of such is evidence for the historical reality of that event?"

No it's not. This is crazed theo-speak, Bob, a speaking in tongue, a total submission to superstition and unconditional acquiescence to humanity's ancient evolutionary genetic predisposition towards teleological intentionality. Your naive and unenlightened dependency on ancient superstition and fantasy is the symptom of the truncated growth of the mind in matter of personal development. Christianity is a weak-minded reliance on juvenile ideation of the caring father figure, a signature indicator of a person who has yet to establish his/her independence and maturity.

"All of the myths and legends you gave in your list are analogous to the "ripples" from the actual Incarnation, from the one and only true Virgin Birth."

Please don't say it, just prove it.
And how do you reconcile on how it is that Judaism, the original Abrahamic traditions, which the christian mythos has for 2,000 years been unable to convince otherwise, say the virgin birth is just twaddle?

According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, nor will he possess supernatural qualities. The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father ― and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David.
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an "alma" as giving birth. The word "alma" has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin." This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

If you weren't joking I'd think you really believed all this malarkey.

B. Prokop said...

"but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin."

Oh, this is too rich for words. Papalinton, it wasn't Christian theologians who translated the Hebrew word almah as such, and it wasn't centuries later. It was Jewish translators, and they did so in the 3rd to the 2nd Centuries BC, when they compiled the Greek language Septuagint. One can liken the authority of that translation in the Greek world of the 1st Century AD to the Authorized, or King James, Version of the Bible in English. The Apostles and the writers of the New Testament all used the Septuagint when referring to what we now call the Old Testament. Whenever the Law and the Prophets are quoted in the NT, the Septuagint translation is used, word for word. The Septuagint uses the Greek word parthenos for virgin (which matches precisely with the modern sense of the term) in the famous text from Isaiah.

You've already demonstrated yourself to be fact-adverse (see above postings on this thread), but please, when you do attempt to use facts, at least get them straight.

Papalinton said...

"There is nothing you can bring up in the field of biological or medical research that I haven't heard already from far more competent sources (from the horse's mouth, so to speak)."

And they are all christians, right? 'Nuff said. All practicing what they should clearly understand as 'compartmentalization". I suspect this because not one of your christian medical people will have learned about virgin births in medical school. Their belief in virgin births is a product of other teachings and is compartmentalized away from the science. Your example simply demonstrates that being a christian has absolutely no bearing on science, exactly with the same effect that Hinduism would have on an Indian scientist, absolutely zilch. Thoughts that come to mind, superfluous, redundant, unessential.


Your use of, "one could argue that human cognitive evolution was directly and intentionally inspired by God", and your following response is a clear example of "quote mining", with the intention of misconstruing, so emblematic of christian ethical behaviour. Philosophy, like theology before it, has been so sullied by religion as to render it a meaningless activity. God[s] only exist within the pages of philosophy, and then, at best, only as a possibility.

You say, "You argue that religion is an evolutionary adaptation, presumably imparting some survival advantage to the religious (thus explaining its tenacity in human history). "

A further case of being caught with your pants down, lying for jesus. Religion is not the evolutionary adaption. I wrote as quoted, "Like religious ideas and beliefs, religious rituals are by-products of mental mechanisms originally designed for other purposes. " And yes, while religion has parasitized on our genetic survival mechanisms, it does not guarantee any one parochial religion of being the one true religion. Indeed history has demonstrably shown that religions do have an actuarial life after which they recede into the dust of history. The 3,500-4,000 year lifespan of the Egyptian religion is an example, as are Mithraism, the Mesopotamian religions, The Greek, Roman and northern European deities. Through the eyes of an historian, one can review that same changing cycle of christianity, after two thousand years in Europe, is gradually reducing to embers. To think that change in the US is not happening at this very moment is to put one's head in the stand and refuse to learn the lessons of history. Fundamentalists, evangelicals, catholics, baptists, calvinists, literalists and liberals, all at the throats of the others, and the ever increasing prominence and public rise of atheism onto the stage, is testimony to the groundswell of change in public sentiment in the country.

Papalinton said...

"Mercifully Thomists don't have to believe any of this freaky shit."

A 21st C person with a 13th C brain. A product of anencephaly.

B. Prokop said...

To return to the original question of this thread, I believe Papalinton has decisively demonstrated why we should indeed "bother with philosophy". His admitted contempt for the discipline has left him vulnerable to self-contradiction and incoherence. To paraphrase what I wrote in the very first posting to this thread, "The opposite of good philosophy is not no philosophy; it's bad philosophy".

Papalinton regards himself as a materialist, yet his aversion to actual, specific examples of reality show beyond question that he is actually an unthinking non-materialist Platonist, who believes in "the superior reality of those things that are not seen". I.e., presented with evidence that disproves his thesis, he simply declares such evidence to be "anecdotal", and in no way as real as the bodiless Idea that he would rather assert.

But more importantly, it just demonstrates how, by attempting to ignore or deny the importance of a good philosophical foundation, all he (and others like him), has done is left himself open to the mercies of un-thought-out and unexamined philosophical pablum.

So yes, Victor, we do indeed need to "bother with philosophy"!

BenYachov said...

>A 21st C person with a 13th C brain. A product of anencephaly.

Scientific Method from Aristotle 4th century BC, Roger Bacon a monk from the 13century, Newton 16th century, Charles Sanders Peirce 19th cenutry.

Based & formulated using philosophical reasoning.

Typical public school teacher. No wonder kids today can neither read or think.

Papalinton said...

"Whenever the Law and the Prophets are quoted in the NT, the Septuagint translation is used, word for word. The Septuagint uses the Greek word parthenos for virgin (which matches precisely with the modern sense of the term) in the famous text from Isaiah."

Come off it, Bob, you know full well that this is Apologetical embroidery, a christian inoculated version of the truth. Despite, how christians do ever so wish it, the latest works of James Still, "The Virgin Birth and Childhood Mysteries of Jesus"; Jim Lippard, "The Fabulous Prophecies Of The Messiah"; and Farrell Till, "Prophecies: Imaginary and Unfulfilled" have demonstrated clearly the ambiguous nature of the word 'parthenos'.

Equally, Jewish apologists also have detailed rebuttals online at the Messiah Truth website: Does Isaiah 7:14 Foretell the Messiah? and Isaiah and His Sons. And the Jews should know their own mythologies better than and christian pretender.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Methodological naturalism is justifiably the oxygen of science.

However, plenty of scientists are theists. If, when they stop looking at the test tube and such, they want to think some guy was resurrected 2000 years ago, fine. It does not seem to pollute their scientific skills. They simply compartmentalize their metaphysical outlook to different topics, or to different aspects of a topic.

Papalinton said...

"But more importantly, it just demonstrates how, by attempting to ignore or deny the importance of a good philosophical foundation, all he (and others like him), has done is left himself open to the mercies of un-thought-out and unexamined philosophical pablum."

The feeble and impotent whine of one, who believes in faeries at the bottom of the garden, and is trying to convince a realist that there are faeries at the bottom of the garden, if only he would step through the magic gate of 'faith'.

Come on Bob. Ditch all that supernatural dross. You will be able to look through the telescope, unencumbered, and see it for what it really is.

B. Prokop said...

Sorry, Papalinton, but I can't even pretend to take your latest posting at all seriously. Sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling "Nyah, nyah, nyah!" so as not to hear anything other than the voices in your own head is not a response.

Wow. There wasn't the tiniest iota of "apologetical embroidery" in what I wrote. It was the Plain Truth - Pure History. As Walter Cronkite used to say, "That's the way it is". I don't know how to continue a discussion with a person who denies the truth in front of his face. Come on, now! Even atheists should be able to admit every now and then that a Fact is a Fact!

Ilíon said...

BDK: "Methodological naturalism is justifiably the oxygen of science."

So, you can justify it, without begging the question, in preference to, say, 'methodological designism'?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ilion: yes, I'm claiming it is justified, not some capricious dogma. We'll need good evidence to move away from it within natural science (biology, chemistry, physics).

B. Prokop said...

As to Methodological Naturalism, I did a Papalinton and looked it up in Wikipedia: Methodological naturalism is concerned not with claims about what exists but with methods of learning what is nature. It is strictly the idea that all scientific endeavors — all hypotheses and events — are to be explained and tested [solely] by reference to natural causes and events. The genesis of nature, e.g., by an act of God, is not addressed.

Now if that's what BDK means by Methodological Naturalism, then I have zero problem with it. I know of no scientist who doesn't approach his work in that manner.

HOWEVER, I have a huge problem with Philosophical Naturalism. Now that is an altogether different ball of wax, being both Bad Science and Bad Philosophy.

Crude said...

Methodological naturalism is the oxygen of science, so long as you realize that what is or isn't a "natural cause" is the stuff of alternately grand equivocation and emptiness. Just as what is or isn't "naturalism" is the stuff of confusion.

Science has a method and a scope alright. It's just that its methodological aspect is not rightly called "naturalism". Much as people love to repeat this ad nauseum due to their philosophical commitments.

Crude said...

In your wildest dreams.

You're a hack, Linton, certainly on the subject of religion. Everyone knows this, including yourself. You squirm, you dodge, you blather, you rant, and man do you ever change subjects whenever you get smacked down - which is pretty much constantly.

But who can blame you? You apparently learned at the knee of Loftus first and foremost. Hard to blame a student who had such a poor teacher. ;)

B. Prokop said...

After some further thought, I wish to amend slightly my own earlier comment: "I know of no scientist who doesn't approach his work in that manner." What I should have written is: "I know of no scientist who does not make an attempt to approach his work in that manner". Scientists, after all, are as much a part of their cultural, economic, political, and social environment as the rest of us. There is No Such Thing as "pure science" There are literally hundreds of factors outside of the laboratory, observatory, or what have you that color what goes on inside. Scientific research is always, inevitably tinged by the circumstances surrounding it. Sometimes these factors are blatant and obvious, such as Lysenkoism or the suppression of climate change science under Bush. Sometimes it is more subtle (though no less of an influence) such as the nationality, race, or gender of the researcher (or the publisher!). Even ergonomic and geographic factors come into play. But anyone who thinks there is some aetherial purity about "Science" doesn't know what he is talking about!

William said...

Strictly speaking, the scientific method can only deal with fallible theories. Any datum, belief or explanation which cannot be allowed to be false, be it political or metaphysical, is outside the scope of what that person can test with science.

Since most of us have only a few such beliefs, this allows for a great deal of real science to be done by just about everyone.

B. Prokop said...

Exactly, William.

But when some people on this website (and elsewhere) go from the very uncontroversial statement you just made to claiming that there is a supposed "conflict" between religion and science solely on the grounds that bailiwick of science is non-overlapping with religion... well, that's like saying that there is a conflict between football and driving because the rules of football make no mention of the rules of the road! When you're playing football, you go by the rules of football. When you're on the road, you obey the traffic laws. No conflict!

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude I'm not sure what position you are saying is empty and equivocal.

When I say we (in the natural sciences) are methodological naturalists, I mean that in practice, we don't advert to gods or other supernatural agents as explanans to be taken seriously. Go to a lab and bring up God as an option when you discover a phenomenon that you (and nobody else in the lab) cannot presently explain.

This is a methodological choice justified by its productivity in science. Ask the same scientists if they can show, using science, that no such gods exist, and the majority will say that is silly. We just steer clear of such theophilosophical disputes. Qua scientist, anyway.

Such practices seem far from empty and equivocal. Sure there might be some tough cases where it isn't clear, but that is vagueness and the predicate 'supernatural' might be vague. That is different from being generally empty or equivocal.

FWIW, I am a methodological dualist in real life, a methodological naturalist in the lab, and an ontological naturalist in both worlds. Nice tidy ontology, messy methodology (outside the lab).

Crude said...

Crude I'm not sure what position you are saying is empty and equivocal.

Despite my going on about it a hundred times? It's not like it's a difficult criticism to get.

When I say we (in the natural sciences) are methodological naturalists, I mean that in practice, we don't advert to gods or other supernatural agents as explanans to be taken seriously.

Pity that what is or isn't a supernatural or even a natural explanation is the very thing under constant debate, even among naturalists - but those are precisely the terms that need to be defined for 'methodological naturalism' to have any meaning.

Science has a methodology, absolutely. It is not 'methodological naturalism'. As Ilion implied, it'd make as much sense - hell, even more sense - to call it methodological theism or similar than it does methodological naturalism.

Ask the same scientists if they can show, using science, that no such gods exist, and the majority will say that is silly.

And when others, like Stenger, say that science shows God doesn't exist, the various defenders of scientists keep their mouths shut. Likewise Dawkins says that God's existence is a scientific question.

Call them rotten scientists, I suppose. Fair enough.

FWIW, I am a methodological dualist in real life, a methodological naturalist in the lab, and an ontological naturalist in both worlds.

This suggests the idyllic conception of the field where all scientists become magical golems powered by the spirit of the scientific method - if anything is a myth or a fairy tale in this thread, it's this depiction of science in practice and scientists alike. And whether 'dualism' full stop is supernatural or natural is yet another point of debate.

B. Prokop said...

There is no such thing as the bodiless, context-less pure scientist operating on the scientific method alone (See my posting from 1:39 PM). That may well be an ideal for the vocation, but is in practice unobtainable. Nor should we expect otherwise.

Crude made an excellent point about "scientists" sometimes remaining silent when one of their own abuses his position by making unprofessional non-scientific statements about philosophy or theology, without admitting that he is speaking as an amateur in the field. An excellent example recently in the news was Stephen Hawking's embarrassingly stupid statements he made about the First Cause argument. He might be brilliant in his field (I actually have my doubts even about that), but he speaks utterly without authority when he steps outside of it.

William said...

If we want to dump the baggage of "naturalism" and "supernatural" I think we can just say that the scientific method excludes outside agency when looking for the structure of natural laws.

So if the amount of water in my sealed experimental flask doubles overnight, I fail to do science if I say that god did it OR if I say the janitor did it :)

Papalinton said...

"There is No Such Thing as "pure science" There are literally hundreds of factors outside of the laboratory, observatory, or what have you that color what goes on inside. Scientific research is always, inevitably tinged by the circumstances surrounding it."

Science and scientist understand this all to well. That is why science employs blind and double-blind research and testing to minimize if not overcome these factors. Christian theism has no analogous checks and balances to sort out the biases. Indeed theism lives on, relies on, and is sustained by biases. Theology and philosophy can never hope to match the efficacy nor the potency of science as an explanatory tool. That is why there are thousands of philosophies of religion, each appended to a particular form of godism. Philosophy, as it is used in theology, is a second or third order discipline, opened like a sieve at both ends. The list of atheist philosophers [http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/list-of-atheists-philosophy] and the list of christian philosophers [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Christian_philosophers] pretty much demonstrates the one maxim on which philosophical discourse operates, the "he said, she said" principle. No surprises there. If christian theism thinks there is a knockdown punch in support of the christian mythos in philosophy, knock youself out.

Meanwhile as science daily refutes the claims of religion, about man, about society, about the universe, and about god[s], there is no question it is theism alone that must reconcile to the facts, and to the truths. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that catholicism will come to the sensible realization that homosexuality is not a choice and homosexual acts are natural. In the meantime it is ponderously and grindingly tracking the inevitable course of the evolutionary process through random mutation and natural selection to its acceptance of the entirety of homosexuality. And it will come to this inevitable decision whether there is a god or not, in other words, despite god[s]. A far greater principle is at work here, humanist materialism, a realization that the homosexual act is immutably a function of the homosexual mind, and the homosexual mind is a naturally occurring feature of the human species.

The next exponential challenge to christian 'truthism' that will inevitably materialize in the near-term future, will be the unmasking of the foundational bases for morality. Already an outline is clearly emerging of the neurological. neurobiological and sociobiological basis for altruism and morality, the fundamental drivers which underly the formation of the cultural patterns of morality. The work is in its infancy. But the early results, provisional as they are, are simply remarkable.

I also have no doubt, Bob, you will refer to the bible and catholic tradition to provide another Apologetical obfuscatory non-answer to the challenges ahead. That is your privilege and right. But please, do not call it fact or evidence. Cal it ..... belief.

Papalinton said...

"Any datum, belief or explanation which cannot be allowed to be false, be it political or metaphysical, is outside the scope of what that person can test with science."

Commonly called, BS. Made up stuff. Christian theism has a very long history of made up stuff. And science in now sorting through all that stuff and have yet to find something it can verify or substantiate.

B. Prokop said...

"as science daily refutes the claims of religion"

Really? I can't think of a single genuine "claim of religion" that has ever been "refuted" by science. Not one.

(Cue the inevitable list of strawman issues here. Any bets that he'll bring up Young Earth Creationism, which nobody here believes? Or the Resurrection, which most definitely hasn't been refuted? Any takers?)

For once, Papalinton, could you please control yourself and restrict your argument to the actual people who are reading this thread? Give me just one article of my faith (not somebody else's) that has been "refuted" by science, 'cause I sure can't come up with one.

Papalinton said...

Methodological naturalism is indeed the foundation for the success of scientific investigation and its unrivaled level of explanatory power.

"Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific "dead ends" and God of the gaps-type hypotheses. To avoid these traps scientists assume that all causes are empirical and naturalistic; which means they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically." Rationalwiki.

If and when science investigation intersects and the most plausible explanation is that of supernature, then science will open that line of investigation. However, just as Astrology and Alchemy have been found to be scientific non-starters, all the evidence, or the absence of evidence, simply does not merit any foray into this avenue of research. Behe tried. The Discovery Institute tried. Even Baylor University tried [http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/230-the-battle-at-baylor-university] and The Institute for Creation Science struggles on under its own inertia [www.icr.org/]. And have a read of this: http://www.tfn.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5353. Zilch outcome.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

You are in violent agreement with everyone here. You are arguing with yourself. No one (other than maybe Ilion, I'm not sure I understand his comment) has disagreed with the statement that methodological naturalism is entirely appropriate within the confines of scientific research (with the caveat that the term be properly defined).

Crude said...

Bob,

No one (other than maybe Ilion, I'm not sure I understand his comment) has disagreed with the statement that methodological naturalism is entirely appropriate within the confines of scientific research

I've disagreed with it, insofar as it's an utter misnomer. There are methodological limitations to scientific research, absolutely. Science requires a certain methodology. It's just not rightly called methodological naturalism.

To be fair, even for a defender of methodological naturalism so called, Linton as usual botches things with a quote from 'rationalwiki' (not even for laughs - imagine if I cited creationwiki here!) which casts MN as 'the assumption of philosophical naturalism' when engaged in scientific research. Such BS.

Likewise BS is the claim that astrology and alchemy were 'supernatural', or that Behe (right or wrong) and company advocate supernatural explanations. This sort of crap helps illustrate what I meant about the emptiness of words like 'natural' and 'supernatural' - they're words which do little more than flag an idea as in favor or not. I've seen Stenger flat out call steady state theory as conceived by Hoyle miraculous and supernatural, despite Hoyle's offering being motivated in large part by then-naturalistic leanings. Oh, but the theory turned out to be unpopular and ultimately discarded - so it gets labeled 'miraculous' and regarded as supernatural after the fact.

Papalinton said...

Bob, you will need to grit your teeth and read this overview of the current standing of the catholic christian mythos: http://www.worldagesarchive.com/Reference_Links/False_Testament_(Harpers).htm.

An interesting aspect that particularly took my fancy was, "If the linguists of the Higher Criticism were generally skeptical in regard to the Old Testament, modern biblical archaeology as it began taking shape in the early nineteenth century was something entirely different. The first modern archaeologists to set foot in the Holy Land were New England Congregationalists determined to make use of rigorous scientific methods in order to strip away centuries of what they regarded as Roman Catholic superstition and prejudice."

And surprisingly, much of that catholic superstition and prejudice was indeed revealed. The inextricable links to the Israelites and their holy books, which forms the very base, and is at the heart of, the emergence of catholicism mythos, is itself found to be a house of cards. Then again fact and truth have never been speed bumps on the road to catholic mysticism.

Even a Nazareth before the First Jewish War 66-70AD is currently under intense investigation. It too, has been shrinking in size from a large town with a synagogue, to a small town, to a village, to a hamlet, to 'several grouped farm buildings'. There is no question most of this stuff was made up between 150-400AD. And of course the only stuff remaining of the ancient texts are those that accord with the catholic perspective. Unsurprisingly, many of the ancient works maintained by the catholic machine have pages and volumes missing. And there is a pattern emerging about which reasonable questions are being asked.

BenYachov said...

Didn't Hoyle because of his own opposition to organized religion supported Steady State because he didn't trust that creationist Big Bang Theory in part formulated by that Belgian Priest Fr. Georges Lemaître?

Papalinton said...

"No one (other than maybe Ilion, I'm not sure I understand his comment) has disagreed with the statement that methodological naturalism is entirely appropriate within the confines of scientific research..."

Methodological naturalism is entirely appropriate for all forms of research. How can one research the supernatural if it is not grounded in methodological naturalism? Philosophical and theological research [?] is simply 'ground-hog day'.

One can live in any imaginary world they wish, catholicism is bot just one alternative, as is Zorostrianism, Buddhism, as is Wikkan. Living within an imaginary world doesn't make it real. Scientologists look, smell and operate just like us, indeed they are just like us. But you wouldn't want to live in their imaginary world just as they have no wish to live in your imaginary world. The practice of religion is cultural, the fundaments of religion are imaginary.

BenYachov said...

Paps you expect us to take seriously an article written by Daniel Lazare a left wing politico & non-archeologist?

Kenneth Kitchen might take issue with him.

Indeed a more responsible Biblical archeologists who hate fraud that appear on credulous religious sights & cite the works of Israel Finklestein (i.e. a Jewish Atheist Biblical Archelogist)might as well.

see here
http://www.diggingsonline.com/pages/rese/dyns/kings.htm

The page scrolls so the article is larger than it appears.

Wow Paps you suck at this!

Will you learn some philosophy for once in your sad life so you can make an actual arguments people might take seriously?

Please?

Crude said...

How can one research the supernatural if it is not grounded in methodological naturalism?

Everyone, just... ****ing meditate on this one for a bit.

B. Prokop said...

Why did both Crude and Papalinton leave out, when quoting me, the absolutely essential words "with the caveat that the term [methodological naturalism] be properly defined"??? The quote minus that critical phrase is entirely misleading.

And to answer Papalinton's question, why don't we use methodological naturalism in philosophy or theology... well, like I said in a recent posting, that would be analogous to trying to play a game of football while obeying traffic laws (or attempting to drive by following football regulations).

BenYachov said...

This reminds me of that time back at Biologos when you cited some music teacher Atheist turned amateur archeologist who tried to claim the town of Nazareth didn't exist at the time of Jesus.

Even Finklestein went on record saying that was an ideological claim not a scientific one.

BenYachov said...

Last post I was talking to Paps.

Crude said...

Bob,

Why did both Crude and Papalinton leave out, when quoting me, the absolutely essential words "with the caveat that the term [methodological naturalism] be properly defined"??? The quote minus that critical phrase is entirely misleading.

I don't think it changes anything in regards to my response. I think that the methods of science, properly defined and understood, are not rightly called methodological naturalism. It's as simple as that.

Again, this doesn't mean that science is capable of investigating the supernatural. Apparently, Linton thinks that's the case. Indeed, he thinks one must be a methodological naturalist to learn about the supernatural, should it exist.

Like I said, meditate on it. Meditate also on this: Linton manifestly has no idea what he's talking about. I don't mean merely that he's wrong about this or that. I mean that he has no comprehension of what he speaks. He is babbling and quoting, and when he actually tries to stop and put what he thinks he's read into his own words, he makes an ass of himself.

One more time: How can one research the supernatural if it is not grounded in methodological naturalism? This competes with his previous gem where he said that the universe is not comprehensible, and that science certainly doesn't reveal it to be such.

Freaking priceless.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

On December 8th, Victor posted a link to a video of a lecture (The thread was entitled "McGrew on the Historical Reliability of the NT") which pretty much thoroughly demolished skeptics of New Testament concurrence with Holy Land Land archeological discoveries.

Neither of us are archeologists, but McGrew sounded pretty convincing to me. So, no refutation there.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

I am reluctantly coming to that same conclusion, as regards our Australian friend. I've tried to be in denial about it, but it's hard now not to just come out and say it: we are dealing with an individual well out of his depth, oblivious to how foolish he sounds, combined with an airtight steel-shuttered brain that will allow no glimmer of reason to penetrate.

I have seen no shred of evidence of any actual thought processes behind his many, increasingly bizarre postings. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. I don't believe there's any real malice behind the insanity, just a complete and total disconnect from reality. Perhaps it's a medical condition.

I'm not a psychologist (I don't even play one on TV!), so I don't know what childhood or adolescent trauma is behind the sputtering incoherence we've been observing of late. The evidence at this point is that rational argument will do no good (he's apparently impervious to it). This is probably one of those cases where some wrenching life experience might be the only thing that could help.

My late wife and dearest friend professed a casual (most definitely not militant) atheism for most of our more than 30 years of marriage. But pancreatic cancer brought her around to "that ol' time religion" quicker than you could say "hit by a lightning bolt". She died with all the sacraments. (I think she had Last rites at least four times!) And she died happy - she positively glowed. The last sound she ever heard was our daughter (a professional opera singer) singing by her bedside the Anglican hymn "Come down, O Love Divine".

Now I am not in the least wishing anything so awful upon our dear friend and fond sparring partner. But sometimes a conk on the head does the job.

Karl Grant said...

Pap,

Even a Nazareth before the First Jewish War 66-70AD is currently under intense investigation. It too, has been shrinking in size from a large town with a synagogue, to a small town, to a village, to a hamlet, to 'several grouped farm buildings'.

Exactly when was this information published, Pap? Maybe you haven't been following the latest news in archaeology. They unearthed a Roman bathhouse in 2003 that suggests that Nazareth, rather than Sephori, was the local hub of military control from Rome. The giant bath could only have been built for a Roman city or to service a significant garrison town. Here is another article dated from 2007 with more info on the subject.

Oh, They also excavated a house in Nazareth from the time period.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Folks might not like the methodological dictum to disallow supernatural elements in our explanations. They might not like that these words (natural/supernatural/God) have some vagueness. But such MN as I've described it is indeed king in the natural sciences. That's just a sociological fact.

If it just the word 'naturalism' that someone has a problem with (e.g., someone says science has a method, but it isn't 'naturalistic') then call it methodological Q-ism if you want. I won't quibble about word choice.

Have Dawkins/Stenger published any results showing God is in doubt, in peer-reviewed scientific journals (e.g., Nature, Science, etc)? I don't mean book reviews and "comments", but serious scientific research articles. It effectively never happens, and people qua scientist find it silly overall (though not quite as silly as positing gods in one's explanations).

Note I'm not advocating the 'nonoverlapping magisteria' (NOMA) bologny. There is overlap. Historically, this has been clear. It just tends to be that one of the domains cares about it, the other...not so much.

I strongly suggest people spend time in labs doing experiments, seeing how it all works. Get your hands dirty doing experiments, spend some time analyzing data, come up with ways to explain it, and try to falsify your ideas with experiments. It is exciting to see data coming up on the oscilloscope telling you what direction your thinking needs to go.

It's all the fun of philosophy with none of the utter lack of progress/results! ;p

Crude said...

I won't quibble about word choice.

You probably will once you realize the greater repercussions that concession has. But hey, make it.

Have Dawkins/Stenger published any results showing God is in doubt, in peer-reviewed scientific journals (e.g., Nature, Science, etc)? I don't mean book reviews and "comments", but serious scientific research articles.

What crap.

Stenger wrote a book bluntly stating - it's in the freaking title - that science shows God doesn't exist. Dawkins said outright that God's existence is a question for science to settle.

And the science defenders shut. their. mouths. In fact the NCSE - oh, those glorious defenders of science - had a response to it. They threw his book on their recommended reading list.

Meanwhile, Behe wrote two books suggesting that an intelligent cause - not God, but some intelligent cause - was the best conclusion one could infer from what we know of biology. Now, call Behe wrong. Call his argument flawed. But these very books were treated as an affront to and attack on science.

The fact is, for all the common talk of the importance of and limits of science, the great defenders of science puss out when atheists abuse science. Because, as ever, the concern is not about science and it never has been.

I say again, I am not sitting here saying that one can test God in a lab. Hell, I don't even think ID is science - nor is no-ID. I'm pointing out that methodological naturalism is an utter misnomer, the natural/supernatural talk is ultimately a sham, and that atheists routinely abuse science in the name of their extra-scientific concerns in a big way - and the defenders of science let them. Because the concern isn't abusing science, but who's abusing it and to what end.

Blue Devil Knight said...

So, the answer is no, they haven't published research on this in scientific research articles in the journals. They have extrapolated from science to theology. In books. Which are not peer-reviewed research articles.

Behe has done the same.

People's extracurricular reactions to such things, again, are not scientific research articles.

You manage to bleat on like you disagree vehemently with what I write, but at the same time have yet to directly contradict anything specific I've said.

Crude said...

You manage to bleat on like you disagree vehemently with what I write, but at the same time have yet to directly contradict anything specific I've said.

Considering you've conceded - or at least put aside - the question of whether the methodology of science is properly called methodological naturalism, and you've already gestured in the direction of admitting the failings re: defining natural and supernatural, what's left to freaking disagree with?

Perhaps only this: yes, BDK, I think it's a problem when people, particularly scientists, present something as 'science' that absolutely is not, regardless of whether or not they do it in a book. Stenger's book title is not "Science extrapolated to theology shows God doesn't exist" - his claim is that science, as science, rules on this. You apparently disagree, yet go silent when it comes to scientists claiming that science (dis)proves the existence of God. By all means, stay the course.

Blue Devil Knight said...

If it comes down to you disliking my choice of terms, which is the conventional choice of terms incidentally, then there isn't much to see here.

I avoid most skeptical writings because they suck, as a rule, and tend to be written by science cheerleaders, not serious scientists. I cannot defend Dawkins as scholarship.

Exception: when I am in the mood for the equivalent of a comic book. Entertaining and clever fun.
Not something I'd publicly endorse.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Note: the reason we don't come out and go after Dawkins is that most scientists assume he knows what he is talking about. It is hard to overstate just how little knowledge the average scientist has about theology. E.g., I know more than most, and I know way less than every commenter here. That's why I come here, frankly.

Crude said...

If it comes down to you disliking my choice of terms, which is the conventional choice of terms incidentally, then there isn't much to see here.

Terms carry meaning and implications. The fact that it's the conventional choice is part of the damn problem. But hey, drop it if you want.

Note: the reason we don't come out and go after Dawkins is that most scientists assume he knows what he is talking about.

Let's take that at face value. You don't think this is a massive freaking problem? And really, how goddamn dumb does a scientist have to be to think Stenger, given his book title, can even hope to still be within the bounds of proper science? "Huh, I guess Stenger performed some lab tests on God. I'm sure it was in Nature and I just missed it."?

Or maybe it's that abuse of science is only considered a problem when the wrong people engage in it on the wrong topic.

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

Karl grant
"They unearthed a Roman bathhouse in 2003 that suggests that Nazareth, rather than Sephori, ..."

Keep your fingers and toes crossed and yours tightly closed. The very best spin that could be derived from this excavation was:

"Professor Carsten Peter Thiede, a scholar in archeology and religion who spent 20 years excavating the area of Qumran and the Dead Sea with the Antiquities Authority, describes the place in his most recent book "The Cosmopolitan World of Jesus" (2005), in which he analyses the historical implications of the discovery. Prof Thiede says in his book:
“Returning to the discovery of the Roman baths in Nazareth, we realize that such an installation, should it really turn out to be Roman and to have been available to non-Roman inhabitants like Mary, Joseph and Jesus, would merely underline what we could have gathered from the sources anyway. The only real surprise to many may be the conclusion that Nazareth was anything but a nondescript village with a handful of poor Jews.”"

The telling caveat; "..should it really turn out to be Roman ..." and more critically, can it be dated before 70AD? In all likelihood the more probable story is the bathhouse built as part of extra garrison support at a time when Japhia was being rebuilt after it was razed during the First Jewish War, in 70AD.

Yes it is an important find, but goes not advance the Nazareth myth in jesus's time one jot.

Papalinton said...

Karl

What's more interesting, is that the bathhouse finding in Nazareth has not stirred the vatican one jot to dip into into coffers to fund excavation and research.

They know something we don't.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

"They know something we don't."

Papa, have you been reading The Davinci Code?

Crude said...

Papa, have you been reading The Davinci Code?

There's hardly any time to read a novel when he's got his hands full keeping up on the latest evidence that the Pope masterminded 9/11. (Not Benedict of course. The Black Pope. The one truly in charge, as Jack Chick knows.)

Papalinton said...

I am sad to hear of your loss. Commiserations.
And I am glad your wife died happy.

Perhaps after 30 years of quiet atheism, she, in her love for you, decided to seek the sacraments for your sake, a means of ensuring you would not suffer had she died without blessing. I would like to think that she was not moved into belief by the fear of eternal hell and the daunting realization of her own mortality. Deathbed conversions are as a result of that fear, and the sacraments offer a placebo salve to that fear. She would have understood how devastating that would be to a believer whose partner died without blessing. Now that is what I would call real, unselfish and true love.

My belated condolences.

Linton

Papalinton said...

Jake Elwood XVI and crude

The bible is the Da Vinci Code.

Papalinton said...

Ben

I can't access this site you cite:

http://www.diggingsonline.com/pages/rese/dyns/kings.

Check it for please

Crude said...

The bible is the Da Vinci Code.

As far as you'd ever be able to tell, anyway.

But hey, you've butchered not only science, methodological naturalism and archaeology in this thread (probably more, but I tend not to give much time to your screeds). I suppose it's only right that you should top it off with shot-from-the-hip psychoanalysis of a woman you never met. I mean, you're already intellectually bankrupt, clearly - why not go for "social misfit" on top of it all, eh?

Well done.

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

Karl

I also noticed this little gem from the Guardian piece on the Roman bathhouse:

"In a piece of marketing that is soon likely to be echoing around the world, Shama says he has stumbled across the "bathhouse of Jesus". The effects on Holy Land tourism are likely be profound, with Nazareth becoming a challenger to Jerusalem and Bethlehem as the world's most popular site of Christian pilgrimage."

" .. piece of marketing ..." indeed. Memetic propagation of the christian myth. The irony of it all.

Papalinton said...

Ben
"Indeed a more responsible Biblical archeologists who hate fraud that appear on credulous religious sights & cite the works of Israel Finklestein (i.e. a Jewish Atheist Biblical Archelogist)might as well.'

Had you read Lazare's piece, instead of frothing, you would have noticed Finklestein and Silberman are quoted regularly, among others, as sources of verification. Their opus, "The Bible Unearthed", is regarded as seminal work on the historicity of Palestine.

Karl Grant said...

Pap,

If anybody is keeping there fingers and toes crossed it is you, since your response is pretty much Oh Please! Please, don't let it be from before 70AD!

What's more interesting, is that the bathhouse finding in Nazareth has not stirred the vatican one jot to dip into into coffers to fund excavation and research.

Let's see, argument from silence combined with insinuations of a conspiracy. Pap, anybody ever tell you that you sound and act like a conspiracy theorist? That's like saying the Australian government refuses to fund the excavation of a Aboriginal burial mound! What are they hiding?!

Memetic propagation of the christian myth. The irony of it all.

Every archaeological/historical site is a potential tourist attraction. Are you going to say the Holocaust never happened because people visit Auschwitz every year?

Papalinton said...

Crude
"I mean, you're already intellectually bankrupt, clearly - why not go for "social misfit" on top of it all, eh?"

Ah, the erudite [?] musings of one that actually knows there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.

A timely reminder to my 'faith' friends: "Theology is but the ignorance of natural causes reduced to a system." Paul Thiry, philosopher

Karl Grant said...

Oh yes, I forgot to add this:

In all likelihood the more probable story is the bathhouse built as part of extra garrison support at a time when Japhia was being rebuilt after it was razed during the First Jewish War, in 70AD.

If so that still proves that Nazareth was a large and fairly important town during Jesus's time because there are only a couple of reasons a town in an occupied nation gets a permanent military garrison. Either A) it has a large population the occupying power wishes to quell or B) is strategically vital such as being positioned near important natural resources or sits atop of important trade routes or C) both.

It's not a hard concept to grasp, if I'm a general in charge of occupying a country I am not going to put one of my tank brigades in the boondocks. And the Romans weren't going to deploy a legion in the back of beyond either, especially given the time it took to send a message from rebellious city to a military garrison fifty miles away. So Pap, even if the Romans felt the need to plop a garrison in Nazareth after the revolt, not before, that still means there was already a fairly sizable town there.

But hey, you butcher every subject you touch so why should basic military strategy be any different?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude. I will not stop using the phrase meth nat. I said YOU are free to use another phrase. I am fine with some vagueness in the term. Just as I am with 'life'some but do not stop using the word 'biology.' But feel free to invent neologisms or whatever.

BenYachov said...

>Had you read Lazare's piece, instead of frothing, you would have noticed Finklestein and Silberman are quoted regularly, among others, as sources of verification.

If you had read the response you would have seen Finklestein quoted properly by an actual archeologist not a left wing political hack.

>Their opus, "The Bible Unearthed", is regarded as seminal work on the historicity of Palestine.

Kitchen has the same data as Finklestein but he interprets it differently. So your "proof" is unremarkable.

You quote left wing political hacks and ex-piano teachers.

You still suck at this.

BenYachov said...

>I can't access this site you cite:

>http://www.diggingsonline.com/pages/rese/dyns/kings.

>Check it for please

I reply: Because this is the link I actually posted:

http://www.diggingsonline.com/pages/rese/dyns/kings.htm

BenYachov said...

Paps not only do you butcher archeology, science & philosophy you can't do a simple copy/paste.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Link

Generally easier to use than a pasted url that doesn't completely show.

BenYachov said...

This link from Kitchen mightbe interesting as well

Blue Devil Knight said...

I agree with Crude that it is cause for concern when scientists throw around their street cred from science to make proclamations in other domains.

Successful physicists love to think they have unique insights into consciousness, for instance, even though they don't know the philosophy or the neuroscience. Frequently they have dualist leanings on this one though (Penrose, Stapp, Wigner) so it isn't as if this is just a concern with scientific boosters for materialistic atheism.

This doesn't seem to be limited to scientists, but is a general problem with someone successful in field X, they think they will have something useful to say in Y, for all Y. Look at all the creationist lawyers/engineers who think they can take down evolutionary biology.

Bobby Fischer was actually taken seriously by some idiots on politics just because of his chess brilliancy.

There is crap flung from the top of every vaguely intellectually-defined subculture. Try to find a space where you are least likely to get hit in the face with it.

E.g., study the primary literature and peer-reviewed journals. Once you get outside that, probability of crap goes way up. And even within that sphere, there is obviously some crap, but at least it is filtered some.

BenYachov said...

Thank your BDK for reminding me that your Atheism is as far from low-brow as East is from the West.

Cheers man.

Papalinton said...

Ben

http://www.diggingsonline.com/pages/rese/dyns/kings.

Tried again. Keeps telling me can't find URL on this server.

BenYachov said...

So Paps you don't know you have to add on an "htm" after "kings."?

Also BDK gave a link you can click on.

You are as useless as teats on a bull.

Papalinton said...

Kenneth A Kitchen - just another conservative, evangelical christian fundamentalist with a barrow to push.

Papalinton said...

Ben
You are a cyber-bully

BenYachov said...

>Kenneth A Kitchen - just another conservative, evangelical christian fundamentalist with a barrow to push.

Israel Finklestein - Just another liberal, Atheist Secular Jewish fundamentalist with a barrow to push.

Seriously dude.

Teats on a bull etc....

BenYachov said...

>Ben
You are a cyber-bully.

You are a public school teacher.

Papalinton said...

BDK
Thanks for the link, otherwise I would not have been able to post the low brow comment. I might add, it seems the impact of Kenneth A Kitchen has been somewhat less than spectacular and create almost no ripple within the archeological blogosphere on the matter of Finklestein and Silberman's contribution.

No doubt Kichen is a brilliant scholar, but it seems he wears his theism on his sleeve.

It is of interest to note:
Israel Finkelstein recently won the 2005 Dan David Prize from Tel Aviv University for his ground-breaking work in the field of archaeology. The Dan David Prize is a joint, international enterprise, endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University. See Dan David Prize. The work of Finkelstein, a leading scholar in the archeology of the Levant, has "revolutionized the interpretation of Israel's history in the Bronze and Iron Ages," the organization said regarding the award.
The Dan David Prize recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms. It aims to foster universal values of excellence, creativity, justice, democracy and progress and to promote the scientific, technological and humanistic achievements that advance and improve our world.
His Laureate bio is here http://www.dandavidprize.org/laureates/laureates-2005.html

Karl Grant said...

You are a cyber-bully

Is the Pot calling the Kettle black here?

BenYachov said...

So Paps we are back to your "No True Scotsmen/No True Scientist/No True Archelogist" fallacy again?

Rohl was also cited & he is a religous agnostic who disagrees with both Kitchen and Finkelstein.

Crude said...

There is crap flung from the top of every vaguely intellectually-defined subculture. Try to find a space where you are least likely to get hit in the face with it.

Yeah, 'ignore it and just study journals' is a non-response.

I'll say it again: the 'defenders of science' keep their mouths shut when Dawkins, Stenger and more abuse science, because abuse of science in certain directions is ignored and tolerated by said defenders. No one wants to come out and say the obvious: they are abusing and misrepresenting science in the service of an agenda. And one has to wonder why it's allowed to slide.

BenYachov said...

Crude said:
>Yeah, 'ignore it and just study journals' is a non-response.

Actually BDK said "E.g., study the primary literature and peer-reviewed journals.".

That seems reasonable to me. Wouldn't it be better to do this? How many fundies(Atheist or Theist) do that with Catholicism?
How many read Ott, Denzinger, The Summa etc?

OTOH if they did that they wouldn't be fundies.

I don't understand your response here I think BDK just agreed with you?

BenYachov said...

>I'll say it again: the 'defenders of science' keep their mouths shut when Dawkins, Stenger and more abuse science, because abuse of science in certain directions is ignored and tolerated by said defenders.

Well both Maudlin and Rees said Hawking was a brilliant scientist but didn't know enough Philosophy or Theology to save his life.

I think the real problem is there are a few responsible science defenders out there that denounce the ignorance of the Gnus but the media doesn't exactly give them any press.

BenYachov said...

Of course I would have no problem with Stenger and Dawkins giving a scientific justification of Atheism if only they would acknowledge the role and necessity of philosophy in addressing that question and made a case for Atheism, materialism and naturalism with their science.

But of course you & I know they simply don't/won't.

BenYachov said...

That is a philosophical case etc....

Crude said...

Ben,

I don't understand your response here I think BDK just agreed with you?

He agreed with me, it seems, that scientists speaking as if they were experts on matters outside their expertise is a problem. But a reply of 'just study the journals and primary literature' is a non-reply, a way of ignoring the very problem I'm bringing up.

Well both Maudlin and Rees said Hawking was a brilliant scientist but didn't know enough Philosophy or Theology to save his life.

That's a popular response, but it's not good enough. Here's why: Stenger presents his book as giving a scientific rendering of the question of God's existence. Hawking started out Grand Design declaring philosophy to be dead - that book is presented as the stuff of science and scientific thinking. Now, if Stenger and Hawking both engage in philosophy and theology when they say they're doing science, then the problem is not merely that they're philosophically non-astute. The problem is that they are abusing and misrepresenting science.

So when I see Stenger or even Hawking accused of ignorance of philosophy and theology, that's fine, but not what I'm concerned with. I focus on Stenger because his book is a clear example - he claims that science shows God does not exist. It's that misrepresentation and abuse of science that's the problem here.

I want to stress: when someone takes a philosophical or theological claim and tries to pass it off as a scientific claim, they are engaged in an abuse of science. They are misrepresenting what the practice of science can do or conclude. This is not just a problem of bad philosophy, it's a problem of bad science. This is what should be pointed out, and it's exactly this step which is never taken, yet which should be taken.

Unless, of course, that it's A-OK to mix science with philosophy and theology. In which case, everything from ID to YEC claims are legitimate science after all - it just may not be mainstream.

Don't get me wrong. Pointing out the bad philosophy of everyone from Krauss to Stenger to otherwise is important. But it's moot when they present themselves as making scientific rather than philosophical or theological claims anyway.

Papalinton said...

I'm expecting Stenger's new book from Amazon any time now.

Crude said...

I'm expecting Stenger's new book from Amazon any time now.

Of course you are. ;)

BenYachov said...

The only "god" science might disprove Catholics and other Classic Theists can't believe exists in the first place.

God can only be proven to exist philosophically. Any "god" proven to exist empirically simply isn't God.

Dawkins rather then waste his time showing the improbable existence of the Ultimate Boeing 747 "god" would be better off proving it existed.

Because if the Ultimate Boeing 747 "god" exists and created the Universe then YHWH did not do it.

Thus all of us who worship YHWH are wrong if the Ultimate Boeing 747 "god" exists.

It's that simple.

BenYachov said...

On a related note. I saw part of a discovery channel thing on Hawking & God "Curiosity". It was lame but the after show featured a panel consisting of Sean Carroll, some Catholic Theologian and Physicist Paul Davies.

part one is here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRjppIZzWzk&feature=related

Davies who denies revealed religion but whose concept of God fits anywhere between Deism & Pantheism gave the best answer to Hawking IMHO.

That Hawking sees God as this sort of wizard fellow who exists within the cosmos & that is not historically how theists have seen God.

I was surprised by Carol he was a bit muted. Carol's knowledge of Classic Philosophy and God is IMHO content wise no better than your average Gnus'but he's not a dick about like your average Gnu.

Science & Philosophy are needed for mere natural knowledge IMHO.

Not science alone.

Papalinton said...

"God can only be proven to exist philosophically. Any "god" proven to exist empirically simply isn't God."

At last agreement. God[s] are solely creatures of the philosophical construct. God[s] can only live within the pages of philosophy. They have no transferable property or attribute of any effect in the natural world and the universe pretty much operates as one would expect it to without the philosophizing.

BenYachov said...

Philosophy is not Theology.

You have learned nothing Paps. Your "Atheism" is low-bow fundie bullshit fit for kids who prayed for a Pony and didn't get one.

Crude said...

Ben, pay him little mind. He's clearly embarrassed by his own idiocy in this thread and is just lashing out weakly by now. At this point smacking down Linton is like stealing candy from a baby.

That's my advice, anyway. Linton's more to be pitied than anything else.

Papalinton said...

"Philosophy is not Theology."

Where did I say it was?

Papalinton said...

Crude
"He's clearly embarrassed by his own idiocy in this thread and is just lashing out weakly by now. At this point smacking down Linton is like stealing candy from a baby."

In your wildest dreams.
I bet you pray every day that god strike me down.

Papalinton said...

"You have learned nothing Paps. Your "Atheism" is low-bow fundie bullshit fit for kids who prayed for a Pony and didn't get one."

This example is just further evidence speaking volumes of the uselessness of prayer.

Crude said...

In your wildest dreams.
I bet you pray every day that god strike me down.


Buddy, you are talking to a man who prays every day that the worst child molesters and mass murderers see the error of their ways and are forgiven. You hope people like me 'pray that god strike you down'. The thought makes you feel important, special. Sadly, you don't meet that goal.

Like I said, you deserve pity, nothing more. Certainly not hate. At worst, blunt dismissal. It's increasingly clear that you do this for attention and due to some personal damage - not reason or even sincere belief. But you won't solve your problems by screaming and insulting people.

I've a feeling this is a lesson you've never learned in all your years. Think about it, Paps, if you can. Ah, but those who can, do, and those who can't...

BenYachov said...

>I bet you pray every day that god strike me down.

That given the circumstances would be a sinful & profane use of prayer.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude that is how to avoid the BS. It is a different issue than how to address the BS if you care to, or whether and who is taking it on.

You have suggested that it is the scientists' responsibility to refute Dawkins. This is wrong.
When someone from field X says stupid stuff about field Y, it is up to people in field Y to set them straight.

For instance, it is people more sophisticated in the relevant topic that need to refute Dawkins. That was my point in bringing up how little theology the scientists know. Why should we trust scientists to refute Dawkins' theology? The theologians should do it handily, if it is truly that naive and awful of a book (which, frankly I think it pretty much is, if taken as serious scholarship rather than superficial comic book).

This also assumes that people reading the books are not able to see the holes on their own. If folk already disagree, they tend to be good at finding objections.

Crude said...

BDK,

You have suggested that it is the scientists' responsibility to refute Dawkins. This is wrong.
When someone from field X says stupid stuff about field Y, it is up to people in field Y to set them straight.


Except there's the little problem here that Stenger, Dawkins and company are passing off field Y as being part of field X.

Your reply seems to be that biologists have no freaking idea that their field - and science generally - is incapable of using science to determine whether evolution is a guided process in the relevant sense, or whether God exists. Really? That's the line you want to take here? That they are *that* clueless about their own broad discipline?

That was my point in bringing up how little theology the scientists know. Why should we trust scientists to refute Dawkins' theology?

Because it's not Dawkins' or Stenger's theology that's the central ****ing problem here. It's their presenting science generally, and their fields particularly, with the ability to determine God's existence, among other things. One more time: Stenger's book title is "God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist".

Again, your reply seems to be "Well, scientists are pretty stupid actually. They have no idea what the limits are of their own methodology, to say nothing of their field. They need to be error-checked by theologians and philosophers, because they're not competent to know what is or is not a scientific hypothesis or what science can or can't show".

If scientist X makes a philosophical or theological claim, and regards & presents it as a philosophical or theological claim, then sure - the appropriate reply is from a philosopher or a theologian, or at least from people speaking on those terms. If scientist X makes a philosophical or theological claim, and regards & presents it as a scientific claim, one would think scientists - at least ones who talk up the importance of science literacy, science education, and defending the integrity of science - have the responsibility to point out how science is being mishandled and abused.

Flip Stenger's book title. Now it's "God: The Successful Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Exists". Let me guess: still one for the philosophers and theologians, not the scientists, right? Scientists are clueless about God, so they can't be trusted to know whether or not science can show God exists. If they criticize a book which starts off with a claim like that, they're outside their expertise.

Right?

Papalinton said...

"Because it's not Dawkins' or Stenger's theology that's the central ****ing problem here. It's their presenting science generally, and their fields particularly, with the ability to determine God's existence, among other things. One more time: Stenger's book title is "God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist"."

I think Stenger et al have a perfectly justified reason and right to demonstrate the existence or non-existence of god through science, and they have demonstrably shown that it does not exist. It is now up to the community to decide which avenue is the one that best explains reality, theology or science? We know the NOMA of S J Gould is an accommodationist non-starter and it is a battle of the mind. Unfortunately philosophy, begin terminable opened ended, as I have shown with the list of both atheist philosophers and theist philosophers battling it out on the "he says, she says" principle have equally demonstrated the for and against in the debate. But the philosophical waters are deeply sullied and a great disservice is done to philosophy when a nong such as William Lans Craig claims, ".... the inner witness of the Spirit "trumps all other evidence." It is "an intrinsic defeater-defeater" for anyone who experiences to it." This inner witness provides all the evidence he needs to know Jesus personally and that Jesus is his savior. This witness is sufficient for him. It defeats any evidence to the contrary as utterly irrelevant.

There is a Philosophy of Science. There is a Science of the natural world.
There is a philosophy of Religion. There is no Science of the supernatural world.

Here endeth the lesson.

Crude said...

I think Stenger et al have a perfectly justified reason and right to demonstrate the existence or non-existence of god through science, and they have demonstrably shown that it does not exist.

Alright, BDK. Linton's here to shore up my freaking point. Unintentionally. Because that's how smart he is.

Here we have a guy who thinks that science can 'demonstrate the existence or non-existence of god through science'. Indeed, he thinks it has done so. He cites Stenger's book and writings as support for this claim and idea.

Are you really telling me that this is not a problem for science or science education?

I want to remind you of something you said earlier in this thread: Ask the same scientists if they can show, using science, that no such gods exist, and the majority will say that is silly. We just steer clear of such theophilosophical disputes. Qua scientist, anyway.

Apparently, Stenger and company ain't steering clear. They don't think it's silly. And these are not guys regarded - or at least treated - as crackpots by their community. The community keeps their mouth shut.

Are you really telling me that it's up to philosophers and theologians to correct this or speak out against it? That - for all the talk of the importance of understanding science, of science education - abuses of science like this, which you imply the majority of scientists think are not proper uses of science, are not things scientists should speak out against and correct?

Or is there another reason for their silence? Actually, speaking of silence, will you be correcting Linton in this thread? I believe you're a scientist. Or will you be punting to the philosophers and theologians and just-plain-laymen here?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude I'm just not getting as excited as you are about what (to me) seem prosaic sociological facts.

I stand 100% by what I said about most scientists avoiding god stuff when it comes to their science. Yes, there are exceptions I mentioned. Stenger and Behe for instance.

I agree it would be cool if more specialists tackled Wu Li Masters, Tipler's physics of immortality, Stenger's work, and such.

Unfortunately, such analysis takes serious effort. It often isn't clear if field X has implications for field Y, and because they know so little about field Y, and frankly don't care about it, they don't take the time.

Aren't there plenty of religious physicists that could do this, who actually know something about theology? It is just mistaken to think that a person steeped in physics is going to feel confident enough to evaluate a book by a physicist who is very confident he knows something about theology.

Yes, some people might take Behe or Tipler or Stenger more seriously than they deserve, and have no understanding of the science. That is unfortunate. I'd prefer it didn't happen. So I don't disagree with you in general.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I haven't been reading Papalinton's posts in this way too long thread, and have no expertise in physics to say anything substantive about Stenger anyway.

If it was a work on neuroscience and god, I would have a lot to say I'm sure, and I often do to my fellow skeptics who think they have arguments against god (or the soul anyway) based on neuroscience.

Not saying neuroscience has no implications for the soul. It depends what you mean by 'soul' for one. Again, not a NOMA groupie by any stretch.

Crude said...

BDK,

Unfortunately, such analysis takes serious effort. It often isn't clear if field X has implications for field Y, and because they know so little about field Y, and frankly don't care about it, they don't take the time.

I'm glad you brought up Behe and equated him with Stenger on this front, because the comparison is beautiful here.

Behe wrote a book where he suggested a broad intelligence can be inferred in nature - and stressed that this intelligence need not be God or anything non-natural. The response? Angry, hostile reviews all over the place, stern denunciations from the NCSE. Angry attacks on the 'ID Movement' as a threat to science itself.

Victor Stenger writes a book expressly stating that God's existence is a scientific question, and has been shown not to exist. Response: silence. Except from the NCSE. They put his book on their recommended reading list.

Aren't there plenty of religious physicists that could do this, who actually know something about theology?

Uh, why should "religious physicists" do it? Is it clear only to them, but totally unclear to non-religious physicists? Or is this tantamount to saying "look, if some scientist abuses science in a cause against religious belief, don't expect non-religious scientists to criticize him if they think it will have good social effects. You're on your own, because we don't hit Our Team, right or wrong."?

I'll just note again that your line here is "Scientists actually have no idea whether or not some things are or aren't scientific questions."

Again, let's flip it. So if a scientist purports to show that science indicates God exists (as opposed to doesn't exist), or that the universe is designed (as opposed to isn't designed), your reply is 'This question has to be responded to by philosophers and theologians. Scientists are out of their league on this one and just have no idea.'?

C'mon.

Yes, some people might take Behe or Tipler or Stenger more seriously than they deserve, and have no understanding of the science. That is unfortunate. I'd prefer it didn't happen. So I don't disagree with you in general.

You're telling me that scientists not only shouldn't be expected to criticize popular books that misuse science, but that they actually are in completely the wrong field to do so if the question touches on God, creation, or otherwise - such that it's inappropriate to even expect a scientist to correct Stenger on God, or David Deutsch on the Omega Point, as opposed to a philosopher or theologian.

No, I think we have some disagreements here.

I haven't been reading Papalinton's posts in this way too long thread, and have no expertise in physics to say anything substantive about Stenger anyway.

Alright. Splendid.

So when you earlier said: "Ask the same scientists if they can show, using science, that no such gods exist, and the majority will say that is silly. We just steer clear of such theophilosophical disputes. Qua scientist, anyway."

...that was all bullshit. At most it amounts to "they say it's silly, but they actually have no idea, maybe science CAN say God does or doesn't exist, who knows"?

Not exactly confidence inspiring. In fact, it seems to back up what I said originally: the great defenders of science can be counted on to scream to high heavens if they think a scientist is suggesting science can be used to prove or imply God's existence. That's a horrible abuse of science, which is incapable of ruling on those questions in either direction. But when a scientist flat out claims God's existence is a scientific hypothesis, and science shows God doesn't exist, suddenly they go quiet.

Why, it's almost as if there's hypocrisy in play.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude:
This isn't complicated. Why don't more people in field X get up in arms when their cohorts publish something in field Y? Answer: it's because they don't care, or they don't feel competent in field Y.

No need to wax conspiratorial about such simple things.

Some thoughts on specific charges.

Behe: it could partly be a naturalistic bias that Behe got a bigger response than Stenger (assuming that he did, from practicing scientists). Or, it could be that Behe specifically attacked multiple scientists' work (e.g., Doolittle). They know their own work pretty damned well, and the 'they don't care' clause above no longer applies, so they react. How many physicists does Stenger attack? I guarantee if he did, they would take him on (if the book was widely read and popular and heavily promoted like Behe's).

Religious physicists: The reason the religious physicists would be better poised to attack Stenger is because they presumably have a better understanding of theological concerns, and they would have the motivation to respond. People who know nothing about theology aren't going to take the time to do this.

Finally, I have to repeat: I never said that scientists never go beyond the science. What I said was that within the lab environment, and what they are researching in their specific area of research, they do not go after gods.

That was the point of my pushing you for peer-reviewed research articles bearing on this question. You found none, because there are none. This is not how things work in the natural sciences.

Yet you continue to proudly point to Stenger as if that is a counterexample to my claim about first-order scientific practice. Seriously?!

And based on this, you call my original claim 'bullshit.' Seriously?!

Dude, you bet on the three legged horse. Let it go.

What I will admit is that you have pointed to some sociological phenomena that someone might find interesting. Not my cup of tea, sociology of science, but it is certainly a field some people find worth pursuing. You should spend some time in a lab to build up some first-hand data. E.g., modern-day Bruno Latour! lol

Papalinton said...

BDK
"I stand 100% by what I said about most scientists avoiding god stuff when it comes to their science. Yes, there are exceptions I mentioned. Stenger and Behe for instance."

And so you should. Your stance in no way conflicts with the prevailing convention that scientists generally do not consider science as being unable to say anything about the existence of a god or not. But this unholy state of equipoise has more to do with scientists appreciating and acknowledging the cultural impediments and incendiary sensitivities within American society, a society still predominantly drenched in neanderthal thinking in superstitious christian woo. To challenge christian woo is not in the best interests of the scientists undertaking research. They let the results of science tell its own narrative. Years of history has demonstrated the unpredictable and totally unguided nature of religious morality [abortion clinic bombings, 9/11, legislation to teach creationism in biology classes in state schools, etc] and scientists have generally heeded the lessons of history.

Stenger on the other hand, and increasingly others, are just now beginning to make the case for the appropriately conceived notion that science can indeed question the viability and validity of the christian god hypothesis. Particularly when the views of this perspective takes account of the enormous gains that have been made [still ion its early stage] through the array neuroscientific investigations; neurobiology, neurochemistry, neurosociology, neurophysiology etc.

Religions can only operate within boundaries, distinguishing the sacred from the profane. Science though, trespasses on these sacred boundaries not because it is opposed to the sacred but because it has no concept of sacred at all. Sacred is a religious concept, not a scientific one and not a natural one. It is a theologically contrived one. To science, nothing is sacred, because 'sacred' is not part of its vocabulary. Much if not most objections to science by believers is predicated on this non-recognition of the sensitivities and the vulnerability of the sacred. Science does not play favourites.

BDK, you ask, "Aren't there plenty of religious physicists that could do this, who actually know something about theology?"
There are, but they too know that 'to do a Behe' [irreducible complexity] simply cannot be sustained as a viable proposition.

And as for morality, clearly there are many sources of morality, and religion has inveigled into and colonised this domain as surely as it has colonised so many of our cherished cultural rites of passage; our critical life events such as birth, death, marriage; adulthood; as well as bodily habits, sickness, child care, education, clothing, sexuality etc.

Religion hardly creates birth or death, yet it often claims that it does. Despite their naturalness, religion rushes in to supernaturalize them.

So you have no fear of contradiction BDK in you stance despite what I write and the bleatings of Crude. But science is now justifiably questioning the veracity of the religious experience as it is perceived within the natural world.

If you sense there is little logic or merit in what I say, then I would be pleased to engage in debate.

Crude said...

BDK,

Why don't more people in field X get up in arms when their cohorts publish something in field Y? Answer: it's because they don't care, or they don't feel competent in field Y.

And I've said, repeatedly, that the problem here is that 'field Y' is being called and treated as part of 'field X'. Your "answer" has been everything from 'they have no idea if it's their field or not, they just can't tell' to 'they don't care' to 'that's for religious scientists to deal with'. Not inspiring.

Behe: it could partly be a naturalistic bias that Behe got a bigger response than Stenger

What a conspiracy theory!

But alright - the latest narrative from you seems to be "scientists don't care if people abuse science, unless they have something personal at stake". And you, apparently, think that's acceptable. Also, it's the job of 'theologians and philosophers' to address these abuses of science - not scientists.

How sensible.

Yet you continue to proudly point to Stenger as if that is a counterexample to my claim about first-order scientific practice. Seriously?!

Kiss my ass, you desperate hack. ;)

I did no such thing and you know it. I stressed that Stenger was abusing and misrepresenting science in his books - that Stenger could not perform an experiment on 'God' is something we both know. I pointed to Stenger, consistently, because he wrote a ****ing book where he alleges right in the title that science shows that God doesn't exist. That's clear case of an abuse and misrepresentation of science. I also quoted you saying explicitly that scientists, 'as scientists', stay away from such disputes 'qua scientists' as the existence of God, which are not scientific.

I called you on it, I pointed out we have a guy in this thread saying that science can and does disprove God's existence, and that he takes this from Stenger. I invited you prove you were consistent, and what did you do? You pussed out immediately and mumbled the equivalent of 'Well, uh, I don't know physics, maybe God CAN be disproved by science, don't ask me!'

And what a surprise, that's exactly what I was suggesting takes place in practice. That there's one set of standards for people making pro-religious scientific arguments, and another set for atheistic or anti-religious arguments.

What I will admit is that you have pointed to some sociological phenomena that someone might find interesting.

Yeah, I think the most interesting 'sociological phenomena' is taking place in this very thread. But hey, good boy, you wouldn't even correct the most obvious, explicit abuse of science happening right in front of you. Let me tell you, this exchange will no doubt do wonders for anyone looking to your expertise on scientific questions. At least they know, when you bullshit, what side the shit will fall on. ;)

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude now u r just getting hysterical, making no new points I didn't already address. I'm sorry you are unhappy with the title, and of course reading the title does give you penetrating insights into first order scientific practice. Whether it is abusing science I cannot say I have not read it, should I say it is based on the title?

Papa similar pt--my claims were about firstorder scientific practice. Of course results can have implications that bear on matters religious. That is one reason Darwin waited so long to publish, as it contradicted church teaching. My point was much narrower, in terms of how problems are approached in lab settings in the vast majority of cases.

Again I implore one of you to cite a paper, a single paper, that explicitly challenges theism, from a reputable scientific journal in the past 20 years.

Sure u could cite some popular books that extrapolate from such findings. Maybe even find abuses, like Tipler. My previous comment in this thread applies now. Insert it here.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I have my own rites to attend to tomorrow will check in Monday respon to crude's newest insult bravado then, if I still care after my trial of death --the bowl game.

Crude said...

BDK,

Crude now u r just getting hysterical, making no new points I didn't already address.

Yeah, I'm laughing at you because you're spinning, and spinning poorly. Your 'addressing of my points' comes down to: "Yeah, there's people who abuse science and misrepresent it. And yes, it seems scientists don't make much of a fuss when an atheist does it. But, they just don't care and aren't interested. It's up to philosophers and theologians to correct them."

Pardon me if I find that hysterical, yes. ;)

And there's hardly been an 'insult bravado' with you - what's with all this whining lately? You tried to shore up bad argumentation on your part with cockiness, I called you out for being a hack for playing that game. Get used to it.

Again I implore one of you to cite a paper, a single paper, that explicitly challenges theism, from a reputable scientific journal in the past 20 years.

There are no such papers, nor have I said there are. My goal, explicitly, has been that there are abuses and misrepresentations of science by atheists, claiming that science shows what it manifestly does not and cannot. Your latest move is "Okay, yeah, maybe, it's not scientist's jobs to correct that, I don't care, it's sociology of science. Whatever."

Fine. Take that tack, you're welcome to it. Glad to see you at least gesturing in the direction of pointing out how poorly Linton (mis)understands science - he really HAS said that science shows God does not exist, so your question applies.

Ilíon said...

"No one wants to come out and say the obvious: they are abusing and misrepresenting science in the service of an agenda. And one has to wonder why it's allowed to slide."

Stockholm Syndrome.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ok so crude doesn't disagree with anything substantive I said, but has managed to do so in a hysterical way. Lol waste of time...bye DI blog til we meet again

Crude said...

Ok so crude doesn't disagree with anything substantive I said, but has managed to do so in a hysterical way.

BDK, look.

I can appreciate your posts at times. When you don't have your back against the wall, you're civil. Even pleasant. I'll say right out, you're more worthwhile by far than Linton ever is. I'd say "on his best day" but let's face it - the man never has those. It's just all bottom-of-the-barrel for him. Not so with you.

But you bullshit at times. And you bullshit badly when you do it.

No, BDK, at no point here did I contend that there were scientists trying to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals with the title 'God does not exist: a study of zero point energy and the negation of the first mover'. Trying to tae kwon do my complaint about the public and popular presentation of science, and the double standard in play (which even you copped to, labeling it 'sociology of science') into "Crude is saying scientists are submitting peer-reviewed research papers arguing God doesn't exist" is baloney. The what.. six? Seven of us following this thread can see through it.

I even complimented you on actually - admittedly, with some prodding - calling Linton out. Seems to have shut him up too, so hey, bonus. But really, knock off this type of obfuscating. I don't know anything about you aside from these threads, but I gotta say, I bet you lose bad in poker. You don't bluff very well.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude: you have things confused here. I'm the one that originally said scientists don't try to refute god as part of their first-order scientific practice. You went on a tirade about that, with Stenger as your ace in the hole.

Which clearly showed you were talking past me, as my point about primary research articles was actually very important: we aren't in the business of showing gods don't exist in laboratories, and it would rightly be treated as kooky to even try. In the laboratory context.

In my original comment I explicitly said 'scientist qua scientist' by which I meant scientist in primary role in lab doing science: I'm sorry if that wasn't clear, but it is up to me to explain what I meant, not up to you to tell me what I meant, and go on a tirade about how wrong I am. There's a name for that, and it isn't 'brick man.'

So we actually agree on all points of fact (except perhaps the degree to which we care if scientists go after their own in the popular press), but you are still swinging as if there is a serious target.

All of this pales in comparison to the tragedy that is Welker's dropped pass.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Crude: incidentally, BenYachov immediately understood my point, which you have yet to see, but instead of just admitting you are wrong (which you have never done here), you go on the offensive with more of your insult comic dog crap?

Gimme a break, you projectionist.

Blue Devil Knight said...

In retrospect, Crude, you are the only one that didn't understand my point.

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