Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Reductios and the argument from evil

This links to a bunch of posts I did on the topic of the argument from evil as a reductio. What happens when someone who doesn't believe in moral objectivity defends the argument from evil?

The problem arises when the argument requires are fairly finely tuned moral claim. Someone might say "If God is good, then he can't allow gratuitous suffering. The theist answers "Why? What's wrong with permitting gratuitous suffering?" The atheist can't say that it's objectively wrong for God to do that, so he has to argue that the theist believes that it is wrong for God to do that? The atheist then has to work from inside the moral belief system of the person with whom he is arguing. But moral belief-systems amongst theists, and even Christians differ from one another.

Calvinists think that God is justified in creating people for the sake of reprobating them in hell forever, for the sake of God's own glory. I happen to disagree with them, but I believe in objective moral values. How can a subjectivist argue with them?

104 comments:

Grundy said...

If even Christians differ on their moral beliefs, isn't morality in the eye of the beholder and therefore not objective?

Victor Reppert said...

Not if one of the "beholders" is God.

Crude said...

I think another reasonable fast reply to a fast objection like that is, a thousand incorrect answers to a math problem doesn't mean there's a correct answer.

rank sophist said...

The argument from evil is only remotely powerful in reductio form, since, otherwise, the atheist falls into Lewis's objective morality problem. But you're right that it gets tricky once the atheist is forced to argue from inside a Christian's system. Particularly if that Christian views evil as a privation.

Crude said...

doesn't mean there's a correct answer.

Doesn't mean there ISN'T a correct answer. Duh.

And I'd agree with two claims I've seen around recently. Yes, the PoE is the most powerful argument against the Christian God, and yes, I think it's a pretty weak argument.

cl said...

I'm glad you mention this, I brought it up a while back but nobody seemed to care. A moral anti-realist arguing the POE with passion is contradictory. The very fact of their moral outrage betrays their appeal to moral anti-realism.

Lapa Pinton said...

“The atheist can't say that it's objectively wrong for God to do that,”

“A moral anti-realist arguing the POE with passion is contradictory.”

You see, Victor and Cl, when one is not a cognitively disabled savage who believes in supernaturalism, one certainly can say this. I somehow manage to say this every day, so I don’t see how this is a sound objection. As Stephen Law, Professor at the University of London has said, “those who believe in God will often acknowledge that it certainly isn’t easy to explain why God would inflict quite so much pain and suffering on the sentient inhabitants of this planet.”

Perhaps those of us in the reality-based community might be more convinced if believers in abject filthy irrational nonsense had at least attempted to respond to Law and those others who have liberated themselves from your superstitious dogmas, but, in my extensive readings, I am unaware of any such response.

Moreover, even if you succeed in defeating the problem from evil, how does this in any way at all make the vast decaying memeplex of specifically Christian myths (e.g. the Immaculate Conception of Jesus, the parting of the Dead Sea and alleged the winemaking trick at the wedding) more plausible than any other superstition? As the anthropologist David Eller points out, “The verdant plenitude of myth has made it very problematic to study”.

To which I would add, why bother studying them at all? You can’t expect those of us who are rationally minded to simply dumbly acquiesce and read through your material, given that the cat is out of the bag, and we already know that you believe in rotting corpses springing back to life after three days. Those posts to which you linked to are nothing but apologetics to rationalise another ultimately “faith-based initiative”.

rank sophist said...

Lapa Pinton, eh?

Stephen Truckk said...

CL: “The very fact of their moral outrage betrays their appeal to moral anti-realism.”

STEPHEN TRUCKK: Yes, well some of us simply can’t stand by while you defend hatred and genocide, Cl. Do you, for example agree with Craig that for Heinrich, “being a Nazi may have been the best thing that happened to Heinrich, since it led to his salvation”?

PAPA LINTON: “rotting corpses springing back to life after three day”

TRUCKK: Did I mention I had a debate on the resurrection and SMASHED my opponent?

http://resurrectiondebate.blogspot.com/

SOPHIST: "The argument from evil is only remotely powerful in reductio form, since, otherwise, the atheist falls into Lewis's objective morality problem."

TRUCKK:

The conceit and snobbery of an Oxbridge don shines through in everything Lewis writes, a reminder of a world largely gone. His brand of Christianity is practiced in Africa, where people read Mere Christianity and know they are right to kill witches.

rank sophist said...

The conceit and snobbery of an Oxbridge don shines through in everything Lewis writes, a reminder of a world largely gone. His brand of Christianity is practiced in Africa, where people read Mere Christianity and know they are right to kill witches.

Oh, boy: content-free New Atheist rhetoric. Throw a few fancy words and phrases around, distract from the argument with a couple of not-so-subtle ad hominems, mention "witch hunts" or "Crusades" and call it done.

Stephen Truckk said...

SOPHIST: "Throw a few fancy words and phrases around"

TRUCKK: So to the mind of a Christian expressing disapproval of genocide is a "fancy phrase"? To others, it's just common sense.

Did I mention I had an Easter debate on the resurrection and SMASHED my opponent?

http://resurrectiondebate.blogspot.com

Stephen Truckk said...

TRUCKK: Or do you, Rank Sophist, agree with Craig that for Heinrich, “being a Nazi may have been the best thing that happened to Heinrich, since it led to his salvation”

Crude said...

I'm pretty sure we're seeing some parodies here, Rank. :D

Ryan M said...

I don't know how people could post on this blog often and not notice that those are parodies of Linton and Carr.

Grundy said...

But it's not like math where we can easily determine the correct answer. If most people disagree on a moral value, how do we know which is objectively correct?

Zach said...

so the atheist can just shape his argument to the theist he is arguing with. so what, there isn't a univocal argument from evil because there isn't a univocal sense of 'evil' among all Christians.

BenYachov said...

Wow those are parodies of Carr and Paps?

I feel a little stupid because I couldn't tell the difference.

BenYachov said...

Somebody do Zack.

Victor Reppert said...

Parodies? I would have missed that if the names hadn't been altered.

rank sophist said...

I thought Lapa Pinton was an attempt by Papa to get us to debate him again. But I'd forgotten about Stephen Carr--now I feel ridiculous.

Victor Reppert said...

Let me get at this another way. I will admit that Calvinists are kind of extreme, but let's look at the value of free will debate that comes up in the course of the problem of evil debate. Theists will say that the value of free will is such that it justifies large amounts of suffering, atheists may say that it would be preferable for God to have made righteous robots than to allow us to wreak so much havoc on the world through the abuse of free will. But unless the atheist has an objective moral standard from which to argue, if the atheist is using a reductio, he has to concede that point to the theist.

BenYachov said...

*Sigh*

Argument from Evil again eh?

I thought we settled this people. The whole Problem of Evil nonsense is based on the idea God is a moral agent(i.e. something comparible to a human moral agent in the full unequivocal sense) with obligations to His creatures. A concept which makes sense if we think of God as a being alongside other beings(only more Uber).

But a concept which makes no sense when compared to a Classic View of God.

God is metaphysically and ontologically God and the ultimate source of Goodness in things.

But God has no moral obligations to you.

Also this concept of gratuitous evil is undefined.

Given Aristotle and Plato's concept of Goodness and the concept of Evil as privation I don't think there is any such thing as "gratuitous" natural evil in the strict sense.

There can be "gratuitous" moral evil by moral agents.

BenYachov said...

God is Good but His Goodness does not consist of Him being a moral agent.

Thus the whole problem of Evil is bupkis to me.

BenYachov said...

As too Calvinists. Anything less then a full blown hardcore 5 pointer is just a Protestant Augustinian or Protestant Thomist.

Papalinton said...

Victor
There is a considerable body of neuroscientific research that seems to be challenging the concept of 'free will' as we currently define it. Indeed the notion of free will seems to be a misnomer and the idea of an act of free will is an imagined state of choice.

Just saying.

Cheers

B. Prokop said...

How comforting it must be to deny free will. "I wasn't responsible for that action. It was predetermined by inexorable physical laws, of which I am the helpless (and blameless) pawn."

Papalinton said...

How comforting it must be to immaturely caricature the absence of free will. "Please, please, you have to believe me, God made me do it!"

BeingItself said...

"How comforting it must be to deny free will."

How comforting it must be to believe in babyish fairy tales.

Jim S. said...

Free will is a babyish fairy tale? Really? Can you support that? I'm willing to entertain the possibility that there is no free will -- although if I'm willing to do it that may make it difficult -- but to claim it's a babyish fairy tale seems outlandish.

B. Prokop said...

Jim,

Wonderful sentence!

"I'm willing to entertain the possibility that there is no free will -- although if I'm willing to do it that may make it difficult."

You've nailed it!!!

BenYachov said...

If there is no free will then why complain about religion?

After all no free will means my belief in God is not therefore a product of willful superstition or denial of scientific reasoning.

Nor is your disbelief in God a product of willfully resisting superstition and or enlightened scientific reasoning(the latter is logically impossible since it requires an intellect and free will).

It is just the random configuration of atoms in my brain that causes the lump of matter called "BenYachov" to "believe" vs others whose random configuration of atoms causes them to "disbelieve".

So complaining about religion to me and or trying to persuade me to give up my belief makes about as much sense as trying to talk a rain cloud out of undergoing condensation.

Anti-Free Will weirdos wither hyper-Calvinist or Materialists are just as inconsistent.

As I recall the late Christopher Hitchens said he believed in free will.

So he wasn't completely clueless.

BeingItself said...

Christianity was the babyish fairy tale I was referring to, not free will.

im-skeptical said...

If I understand Victor's position, a skeptic can't defend the argument from evil unless he concedes that there are objective moral values. This is a parlor trick. It's equivalent to saying that if I want to make the statement "If A then B" I must first concede that A is true.

If you accept Victor's position, why not take the same logic one step further and demand that the skeptic concede that God exists before he can defend AE?

Victor Reppert said...

In philosophy, there are, notoriously, two concepts of free will. One of them is the libertarian (metaphysical, not political) idea that, given the past, you could have done otherwise than what you did. At least, what is necessary for this kind of freedom is the absence of determination by anything other than yourself. This is incompatibilist free will, meaning that it is incompatible with determinism.

The other is the compatibilist conception of free will, where if you wanted to do what you did, and you did it, it was a free act, regardless of causal antecedents. Dennett, for example, has written books defending this conception of freedom, going all the way back to 1984 and Elbow Room.

Both conceptions of freedom, however, require mental causation. You have to do what you do, in the last analysis, because of your mental state, and so if you are a naturalist, this has to be compatible with all causation being physical causation. Otherwise, we could say of any action "He thinks he did it because of the motive, but actually he did it because the underlying physical state of his brain caused him to do it."

BenYachov said...

Nice save BI too bad you had to throw poor Linton under the bus.

finney said...

Which studies show that there is no free will?

finney said...

Vic,
I think of it this way: Catch-22.

(1) Evil (sin) exists, and therefore a holy God exists.
(2) Evil (sin) exists, and therefore a good God does not exist.

Both of these quasi arguments seem reasonable. What is a Christian to do? If one, by reason of the evil he believes to exist in the world, rejects his belief in God, he also rejects his basis for rejecting his belief in God. So instead, he - I - tries to live out to reconcile his belief in a God with the presence of evil in the world.

rank sophist said...

How comforting it must be to believe in babyish fairy tales.

I like how you don't even pretend to make arguments anymore.

cl said...

finney,

Some people allege the Libet experiments falsify the concept of free will. In my experience, hardly anybody ever realizes that such claims are unscientific. Neither free will nor determinism are testable scientific theories. Rather, they're metaphysical preferences bolstered by one's interpretation of the evidence.

Here's what one neuroscientist, Marcel Brass, said:

But of course you have to be a little bit careful about the conclusions you draw from your data. And in my opinion there is not much evidence that free will doesn’t exist. There is also not much evidence that it does exist.

Of course these data seem to indicate that one should be a little bit careful about coming up with statements about free will.


As you can see, like Luke Muehlhauser and his crew, certain atheists in this thread throw such caution to the wind—despite the admonition from an actual scientist on the matter. Real scientists know when to step back and separate metaphysic from empiricism. It doesn't surprise me that the "no such thing as free will" crowd ignores them entirely.

Papalinton said...

It seems many on this site have not kept pace with the research.
It is also fairly evident that how we define 'free will' is fogging the issue. But it is nonetheless exciting that we have at last begun to investigate and test what is 'free will'.

Victor, whatever the philosophical discussion on free will, that discussion must account for the scientific information now emerging if it to remain relevant.

Some interesting articles to becoming acquainted with the research:

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110831/full/477023a.html
http://neuroscientificallychallenged.blogspot.com.au/2008/02/can-neuroscience-and-free-will-co-exist.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=free-will-and-the-brain-michael-gazzaniga-interview
and the ubiquitous Wiki,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_free_will

Yes, one can point to others that disagree or challenge the science, but one must ask if the basis of objection is predicated on sound verifiable refuting evidence or simply rhetoric founded on the argument from personal incredulity.

Papalinton said...

cl
You quote Marcel Brass,:
"But of course you have to be a little bit careful about the conclusions you draw from your data. And in my opinion there is not much evidence that free will doesn’t exist. There is also not much evidence that it does exist."

All Brass is doing here is questioning the timing, not challenging the findings. He is saying that the quantum of evidence is not fully in. And that we need to be a little judicious in premature claims and the possible social consequences of the findings. Perhaps a mirage of free will may be warranted. However the truth is still the ruth.

Here is the final few words of that interview from which your quote was taken:

"LUKE: Those studies about the effects of belief in free will on people’s behavior are really interesting to me as well.

I’ve read that some researchers or some philosophers think that this indicates maybe we should not… Let’s say science discovers a lot of things that really place heavy, serious doubt on the existence of free will, and some people like Saul Smilansky will argue that the scientists and philosophers who are investigating free will shouldn’t tell the public this.

That they just shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag because society will crumble, and people will have less self-efficacy, and they will be less motivated to act morally and less motivated to act at all. [laughs]

It’s a very interesting debate to have. I don’t even know how you go about arguing those kinds of things, but it sounds like you’re interested in investigating those issues as well.

MARCEL: In a way, our data support that, and also the social-psychological data support this basic idea. I have to admit that I would question that you can withhold the information in a way, I think that’s not really the way to solve this problem.

But of course you have to be a little bit careful about the conclusions you draw from your data. And in my opinion there is not much evidence that free will doesn’t exist. There is also not much evidence that it does exist.

Of course these data seem to indicate that one should be a little bit careful about coming up with statements about free will.

But on the other hand, I also have to say that I think you can’t really completely question belief in free will and people. I mean, even people that would argue that free will doesn’t exist. I think in everyday life, they don’t really implement this knowledge, because you can’t, in a way.

You have to believe that your intentions are effective. If you wouldn’t believe that, yeah, I think yeah… suicide would be the only solution, in a way.

LUKE: [laughs]

MARCEL: So in this sense, you might be able to modulate these intentions about free will or belief in free will. But I think everybody in fact behaves as if free will exists.

If you lose this experience or conviction, then you are really in trouble, and we see specific pathologies where this is the case, in depression, or other pathologies where people have the impression that they can’t influence the world.

If they can’t control the environment, they have serious psychological problems. Because our belief that we can control our environment is extremely crucial for our health.

LUKE: Well Marcel, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Thanks for coming on the show.

MARCEL: Thanks again for inviting me."

Papalinton said...

The podcast and transcript of the interview with Marcel brass is at:

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=12153

finney said...

cL,

Yeah, I'm familiar with Libet's study. Did not Libet himself, and others who repeated his study, say that it doesn't disprove free will?

finney said...

"challenge the science,"

Papalinton,
Thank you for providing us with those links.

The first was a (rather good) survey of the dialogue/conflict between philosophers and scientists over defining and testing free-will, but the article doesn't provide any opinion of its own as to how free will ought to be defined, or if there is any sense in which we have free will.

The second link, to the blog, actually affirms a limited form of free will, one that is fixed by a range of choices - this is the sort of free will that most libertarians would be comfortable adopting. The writer also theorizes why the belief in a stronger form of free will confers an evolutionary advantage, but the article expressly designates the future of neuroscience - not the present - to resolve the conflict. So again, I don't see how this supports your contention that the idea of free will is a misnomer.

Your last link is actually to a guy who defends, in the article, emergent dualism. Do you support emergent dualism, Papalinton?

Papalinton said...

finney
You're welcome.
Re emergent dualism? Be that as it may, I try not to be in the business of selectively putting up information. I offer these as a starter or introduction to the research into 'free will', so that people can assess for themselves the level at which this research is proceeding.

Please don't verbal me, finney. I think my words were to the effect, ".... free will seems to be a misnomer ..." See for yourself. When one generally looks at the available literature, they tend to be pointing in that direction. Too early to tell yet, but there must be an explanation why decisions and choices are made well in advance of when one becomes conscious of the choice made or selection of decision/activity. [When I say 'well in advance', please do not misconstrue; the time between the decision-making process or activity and when we become conscious of our decision ranges from nanoseconds to several seconds, depending on the activity and testing procedure.]

There are 100s of first-rate peer reviewed research papers now accessible to the reader on neurological activity when decision-making is initiated in the exercise of 'free will'.

People should be interested. People should familiarize themselves with the data. That is all I suggest.

Cheers

finney said...

"they tend to be pointing in that direction. Too early to tell yet, but there must be an explanation why decisions and choices are made well in advance of when one becomes conscious of the choice made or selection of decision/activity"

But how can you really say it's pointing in that direction (of making free will "seem" like a misnomer), when every one of your links never suggest so much, and two of your links even espouse free will?

The data is complicated. The research is complicated. Nothing as of yet supports the conclusion that free will seems to be a misnomer.

And I only asked because I'm interested: What do you think of neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga's Leibnizian argument for emergent dualism? That's the basis for his assertion of a moderate free will.

finney said...

Also, Michael Gazzaniga wrote a book (currently in my wish list) in which he defends the existence of free will and moral responsibility. So I really am puzzled as to why you pick this guy as if his research and findings support your contention that free will is (or seems to be) a misnomer.

B. Prokop said...

Finney,

You will find out, if you read Papalinton's postings long enough, that he doesn't actually read the things he links to. And when he does, he doesn't understand them.

Papalinton said...

"Finney,
You will find out, if you read Papalinton's postings long enough, that he doesn't actually read the things he links to. And when he does, he doesn't understand them."


What wrong, Bob? Isn't lying for jesus satisfying your emotional needs enough now that christians aren't allowed to burn heretics at the stake any more?

Benjamin Barr Lindsey, American judge and social reformer in Colorado noted: "The churches used to win their arguments against atheism, agnosticism, and other burning issues by burning the -ismists, which is fine proof there is a devil but hardly evidence that there is a god."

BenYachov said...

>What wrong, Bob? Isn't lying for jesus satisfying your emotional needs enough now that christians aren't allowed to burn heretics at the stake any more?

Paps you didn't read the links and this isn't the first time you have done this & it isn't the first time you have been called on it.

Geez teacher boy you remind me why my mother took me out of public school and sent me to private school.

B. Prokop said...

Ben,

You'll note that he equates calling someone out on their own lies the equivalent of burning them at the stake. How's that for objective, rational thought? (Plus accusing me of being a liar when all I'm doing is pointing out his own falsehoods!)

Besides, Papalintin isn't a heretic. He's an apostate.

B. Prokop said...

Plus, please observe that he neither denied nor contradicted my posting... because it's true!

cl said...

finney,

"Yeah, I'm familiar with Libet's study. Did not Libet himself, and others who repeated his study, say that it doesn't disprove free will?"

I believe so, that's why I linked to the Marcel Brass podcast. Unlike Paps, Brass has a healthy scientific attitude towards the matter and doesn't use an incomplete data set to bolster his own metephysical preferences or get the upper hand in an argument. I fully welcome Paps or anyone else to write a logical argument explaining how the Libet data suggest there is no such thing as free will. Link soup doesn't cut it.

As for Libet himself, he doesn't seem to accept the staunch materialist determinism theory of consciousness, which makes me chuckle every time I hear staunch materialist determinists bastardize his findings. The last I looked into it, Libet endorses consciousness as a sort of field. The potential for spiritual compatibility should be obvious.

It's also worth pointing out the Christianity is hardly incompatible with a determinist account of mind. The only thing that would change is one may have to abandon Plantinga's free will defense, or any other argument that depended on free will as a premise. Not that big a deal at all, IMHO.

Paps can quip about us "not being familiar with the research" but that's just a naked assertion on his behalf. How does he know what you or I have read? Moreover, his links aren't that impressive. The first cites Haynes / Libet. The second is pure speculation. The third is simply a short interview that contains a passing reference to Haynes / Libet. The fourth focuses again on Haynes / Libet, but actually has a little more research: Matsuhashi / Hallett, and Kuhn / Brass. Did Paps draft any arguments from any of this? No. Did he ask any pertinent questions or state anything that may actually advance the discussion? No. He simply sniped at us, then continued—as is his usual 'more is less' custom—to quote a large section from Dr. Brass, whom I had already quoted and linked to.

The question remains: why assume that awareness of an event necessarily denotes the initialization of a conscious sequence? I would note that, as usual, and despite his pompous and smarmy remark that *WE* should familiarize ourselves with the data, Paps doesn't include any links to any sources that would challenge his agenda. For example, subsequent research by Trevena and Miller which—as I just alluded to—undermines the idea that readiness potential indicates a decision. In short, either A) Paps is the one who needs to familiarize himself with the data, or B) Paps knowingly withheld data that challenges his conclusion. Neither bear well for Mr. Linton's integrity.

Lastly, Paps fully dodged my claim that free will and determinism are not testable scientific theories, but unfalsifiable metaphysical conclusions drawn from the data. I'd be willing to reneg on that claim if somebody could give me a principled reason for doing so. Of course, I'm on the Paps challenge, so, if anybody thinks he's actually raised a point worth discussing, I'm willing to discuss it with them—but not Paps.

Papalinton said...

cl
"For example, subsequent research by Trevena and Miller which—as I just alluded to—undermines the idea that readiness potential indicates a decision."

Another case of lying for jesus? Unprincipled indifference to the truth, no? You did a quick Google to look for suitable words, found the Miller and Trevener abstract, and quoted that. You sure as hell didn't pay the $31.50 to pull the article from the SciVerse archive to read it. Is there scholarship and learning behind what you do, cl, or do you confine yourself to scanning for articles with a contra perspective? I actually make the effort to read the articles that I offer as sources of evidence. They don't sit behind pay walls.

You are called to prove you are not dishonest.

What? Now you are going to go back and buy it to prove I'm wrong? If you do offer it, send the receipt of purchase which will have the date of purchase on it.
Boom!

B. Prokop said...

"You are called to prove you are not dishonest."

Interesting strategy here. He's called out on his own dishonesty, and responds with a "so are you" defense (based, I note, on his favorite tactic of the google search).

But by far the biggest irony here is that these baseless accusations are coming from a person who praised the despicable actions of a demonstrator who disrupted a religious service with his own private political agenda. Papalinton has placed himself squarely on the level of the bottom-feeding Westboro Baptist Church, which routinely disrupts funerals and other religious rites with their hatred and bile.

Papalinton has yet to repudiate these actions, thus putting himself beneath all contempt.

In case you were wondering, Paplinton, why I stopped playing nice guy with you, it was this loathsome affinity you confessed (heck, you trumpeted with pride) to having with such individuals that finally proved to be too much for me.

I am waiting for you to rejoin the civilized world by unconditionally condemning such disruptions. Otherwise, I shall continue to regard you as no better than the League of the Godless, which charmingly made their political views known by spitting on icons, jeering at mourners in funeral processions, loudly interrupting religious services, and slandering those who attended them.

finney said...

Papalinton,
I'm still interested in what you thought of the argument that neuroscientist (that you linked us to in order to educate us) made in favor emergent dualism. Didn't you describe emergent dualism as superstitious theology? So what do you think of this guy?

Papalinton said...

Yes, finney, I'd be interested too where it is that Gazzaniga talks of being in favour of emergent dualism. Gazzaniger does mention Leibnitz to illustrate what was considered to be truth a few centuries ago, but not in the sense of his [Gazzaniger's] being in favour of emergent dualism. Indeed all he refers to is the idea of the 'emergent mind', and about the concept of 'emergence', but very much in the context of how it is normally defined in "physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, you name it." But I think he is pretty clear about his perspective:

"The world is not flat. Before this truth was realized, people use to wonder what happened when you got to the end of the earth-- did you fall off? Once we knew the earth was round, the new perspective, made us see how the old questions were silly. New questions also seem silly many times until a new perspective is accepted. I think we will get over the idea of free will and and accept we are a special kind of machine, one with a moral agency which comes from living in social groups. This perspective will make us ask new kinds of questions."

Of course, emergent dualism, of mind and body, or brain and mind, is a pretty old concept. No, I don't think Gazzaniger is attempting to resurrect an old concept. I am pretty sure it will be the neurosciences that will provide the answers and the explanations, finney, not philosophy and theology. The track record speaks for itself in large measure.

Cheers

cl said...

Bob,

Heed the challenge. See how, again, Paps completely avoids the scholarly issues at the center of all this, launching into accusations of "lying" like Hallquist, Stephen R. Diamond, BeingItself, Steven Carr and every other knee-jerk, froth-at-the-mouth atheist with no better strategy to use?

B. Prokop said...

cl,

I'm back on the wagon. Hopefully for good this time.

The last nail in the coffin has got to be the absolute howler in his latest posting, just above yours. "The world is not flat. Before this truth was realized"... So even though the "everyone used to think the Earth was flat" myth has been thoroughly debunked time and time and time again, he drags its sorry ass out yet once more, showing that he either understands nothing or (more probably) willfully ignores whatever facts don't fit his blinkered worldview.

Papalinton said...

cl
So you are a dishonest person. It's not as though had you purchased that article from SciVerse, as any honest person would have done, it would take only a matter of minutes to produce the receipt and even a receipt number.

You have been caught out. In your premeditated attempt to sheet the responsibility onto the challenger, " Paps completely avoids the scholarly issues at the center of all this ....." simply reinforces the untrustworthy, unscrupulous, and unprincipled nature of your conduct. You have not only misused your participation on this site but you have abused the privilege and sullied it.

I also note [and somewhat take exception with] the manner in which Prokop has not only misunderstood, but in a state of deranged vitriol, misrepresented the quote in which Dr Michael Gazzaniga employed the example [the world once thought not to be round] as analogous to how humans posited questions in the light of new evidence. There is much turmoil in his mind that he is incapable of discerning that it was not I that spoke the words, nor that they had any bearing, relevance or reference to the silly idea about flat-earth christians,"... the Earth was flat" myth has been thoroughly debunked time and time and time again, he [Papalinton] drags its sorry ass out yet once more, showing that he either understands nothing or (more probably) willfully ignores whatever facts don't fit his blinkered worldview." I can only infer that such unfettered anger is symptomatic of psychotypal behaviour, a behaviour and an emotional state through which reason and logic is suspended.
I am very happy, if he so wishes, as with cl, not to communicate with me. It is his prerogative. But of course, once more he misunderstands my commentary in that it is not the contributor that interests me so much on various websites, rather it is the mix of ideas, philosophies, science, knowledge and learning, that is my focus, from supporting and defending veritable and verifiable information, together with vigorously critiquing much of the hokum and woo that invariably is trotted out over time. But unfortunately, Prokop and cl are unable to sequester my criticisms of religious woo from their long and personal social and financial investment in supernatural beliefs. I understand that to robustly challenge the supernatural mythologies around which they have built their lives can appear to be a personal attack. But the seemingness of purported 'personal effrontery' is an insufficient reason to stop critiquing.

Unfortunately, my remarks on the person of cl and Prokop in this combox is in defense only, in response to earlier personal attacks on me. I am saddened by their conduct.

cl said...

B. Prokop,

"...showing that he either understands nothing or (more probably) willfully ignores whatever facts don't fit his blinkered worldview."

That was exactly my point about the choice of links he provided: he willfully omitted any links that challenged his idea that free will is "an imagined state of choice." Then, when I called him on it and provided one, with typical froth-at-the-mouth Gnu atheist chicanery he tried to spin the whole thing into accusations that I'm a "lying for Jesus" because I linked to a pay article. As if the fact of it being a pay article somehow invalidates either A) the evidence of the researchers, or B) the fact that Paps only linked to articles he thought supported his point and completely omitted links to any articles that would challenge his point. And notice, it was all masterfully orchestrated such as to alleviate his own responsibility for the aforementioned transgressions. The original discussion of whether or not free will exists has now fallen by the wayside as Paps indulges in libel instead of logic.

Here are four more interesting PDF's that challenge Paps' contentions. Each of these links goes straight to the PDF so depending on your browser, if you're not into downloads you may wish to proceed with caution. I can testify that I've loaded them all with no adverse affects (but hey I'm probably just "lying for Jesus" again so that atheist's browsers will crash):

Libertarian free will and quantum indeterminism
Chetan S. Mandayam Nayakar, S. Omkar, R. Srikanth
http://arxiv.org/pdf/1202.4440.pdf

Libet and Liberty
http://www.julian.nida-ruemelin.de/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/07/Libet-and-Liberty_Models-of-Mind-Roma.pdf

Libet’s experiment provides no evidence against strong libertarian free will because it does not investigate voluntary actions
Daniel von Wachter (Pre-submission version)
http://sammelpunkt.philo.at:8080/2097/1/Wachter_2012-Libet-urges.pdf

Henry Stapp
Quantum Interactive Dualism: The Libet and Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Causal Anomalies
http://thewarfareismental.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/stapp-quantum-interactive-dualism.pdf

So there you go, people: here are four more links telling the other side of the story that didn't fit in with Paps' desired conclusions. Next time you here an atheist like Paps bastardizing science to prove his point, just ask for links that challenge his claims.

cl said...

Okay, I possibly overstated something. I said Paps "willfully omitted any links that challenged his idea that free will is an imagined state of choice."

To say 'willfully' implies that I know Paps had intent to omit said evidence. I don't know if that's the case or not, so I amend my claim to: "Paps omitted any links that challenged his idea that free will is an imagined state of choice."

It may seem minor but these are the kind of safeguards one must employ lest they fall into trigger-happy atheist syndrome.

Papalinton said...

cl
You have been found out for being a dishonest person. You have been found out to have quoted a source which you have not read, nor offered a copy of the source that it can be reviewed by others for comment.
One that behaves or is prone to behave in an untrustworthy or fraudulent way is a dishonourable and unprincipled person.

cl said...

B. Prokop,

See? Another comment from Paps, another libelous accusation, no logic, no addressing of the actual arguments, no explaining why he *ONLY* linked to sources that he felt proved his beliefs, just another tourettic outburst of vitriol, hate, and accusations of lying. In short, more Gnu atheist bluster. I bet this guy farts illogic!

Here's something interesting. In the "Dark Ages" thread, BI linked to a book on Amazon. The book costs money. Yet, why didn't Paps accuse BI of being a liar?

Here's Paps, ostensibly "lying" for Libet, then when he gets called on it, his only retort is, again, "Nuh-uh, you're the liar!"

Wash, rinse, repeat. It's the same, every single time. As has been said elsewhere, none so blind as those who don't wish to see?

(I use scare quotes because I don't know if Paps is actually lying or not, but he sure is being an apologist for something he clearly doesn't know a lick about).

B. Prokop said...

I really don't care any longer what Papalinton says or who he accuses. He departed from the company of civilized humanity the day he praised the disruptor of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He has yet to recant of his error. As far as I am concerned, until he does he deserves no more respect than the so-called Westboro Baptist Church, whose vile tactics he so wholeheartedly embraces.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"He departed from the company of civilized humanity the day he praised the disruptor of The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass."

No. I didn't praise him. I simply recounted the courage with which the person with the camera was undertaking, exposing the fraud that was being perpetuated in a so-called house of worship. The fool in the pulpit was about to read out, under privilege, homophobic prejudice, intolerance and bigotry. When the camera began recording the actual event, the coward lost his composure knowing full well that what he was about to do was an immoral, unethical and anti-social act in the extreme, and on suddenly appreciating that he was going to be exposed to the world, the fool spinelessly refrained from reading out the homophobic message. The sudden disinclination to being recorded is a testament to the lilly-livid nature of the clergy. The only other reason that I believe he refrained from reading out the letter is that he was not going to be the fall-guy for proselytising homophobia on the orders of the church hierarchy.

If the promulgation of homophobia is synonymous with the holy sacrifice of the mass, then I question your capacity for reasoned discourse.

B. Prokop said...

Can anyone possibly believe this tool? In his first sentence he says "No. I didn't praise him." but with his very next words he then writes "I simply recounted the courage (my emphasis) [of] the person".

Now usually when someone is lying (to use Papalinton's own terminology), they at least try to put some distance between their falsehoods. I seldom see someone attempting to pull off a deception of this magnitude in consecutive sentences.

Papalinton then proceeds to dig himself into a deeper hole by blaming the victim. The priest being interrupted in the middle of a worship service is labeled the "fool". I guess that justifies the despicable behavior of the demonstrator. After all, we can treat "fools" in any manner we choose - don't they deserve whatever they get?

Papalinton has long ago surrendered any claim to reason or objectivity - he now proceeds to abandon all connection with civilized humanity. See the trend here?

Papalinton said...

So, this fool of a priest was in the middle of a worship service in which he was about to vent spleen on those who through no fault of their own, by accident of their genetic make-up and birth, were born homosexual.

To imagine that taking a camera to film a service was a reprehensible and an unimaginably horrendous act, an act, incidentally, in which no one is hurt, injured or killed, seems a bit of a stretch to me, Bob. I mean, when the clergy are allowed free and untrammeled access to spout bigoted, discriminatory and inflammatory words against such a minute sector of the community, for no good reason other than 'god hates poofs', I think you have your priorities pretty much mixed up.

"Dr. David Gushee, a Christian ethicist, author and Southern Baptist minister, wrote the following about CRISIS in the June 2009 issue of Christian Century (a mainline Protestant publication going to 70,000 members, largely clergy): “As an evangelical Christian whose career has been spent in the South, I must say I find it scandalous that the most physically and psychologically dangerous place to be (or even appear to be) gay or lesbian in America is in the most religiously conservative families, congregations and regions of this country. Many of the most disturbing stories in this volume come from the Bible Belt. This marks an appalling Christian moral failure."
http://www.faithinamerica.org/bigotry/

Of course, I should point out that faithinamerica.org is set up by a believing homosexual organisation. But I suspect you will denounce their search for a just society for all, as some polemical ploy. And I suspect you will also brand this as some form of 'bad-ass' move on my part. The trouble is, Bob, unlike you, I don't give the pulpit a free pass to denigrate a minority group in the community. That fool of a priest together with the bishops and cardinals who wrote that splenetic message should be called to account before the courts.

I think the magisterium should pull its finger out and stop all this hate-fomenting rhetoric. They know they will eventually be subjected to being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century on this issue, in quite an undignified manner if they don't change their attitude for homophobia. I see a change, on their own volition, as being good for the church, good for the parishioners, good for the gay community, and good for society. Such an outcome would be a win, win, win, win for all concerned.

Surely you can see the beauty, logic and reason in my argument, no?

B. Prokop said...

I want everyone visiting this website to pay careful attention to what Papalinton has just posted. Instead of recanting his support for those who would walk into a worship service with the deliberate intention of disrupting it for their own personal political agenda, he has doubled down and justifies such actions.

OH, don't worry, he tells us. After all, no one was hurt! Please tell that to the mourners at family funerals which were picketed by demonstrators from the so-called Westboro Baptist Church. Where is there even a sliver of distance between their tactics and those favored by Papalinton? They also, exactly like him, believe that their "cause" justifies their loathsome actions.

But it gets worse! He doesn't want to stop at interfering with people at prayer, he wants to call them "to account before the courts"!!! (Get the names of those attending services! Make sure the full force of the law descends upon them!)

Papalinton, we have seen this road before. It never ends well. "Surely you can see the beauty, logic and reason in my argument, no?" No, but what I do see is that with every word you post, you only prove my point.

And by the way, the very last thing anyone can accuse me of is "homophobia". If you've been paying even the least attention to what I posted recently to other threads on this site, you will know that I am completely indifferent to the issue. Frankly, it bores me.

BenYachov said...

Paps why do public school teachers rape children & how come you care more about children raped by clergy and not a flying fig leaf about children raped by public school teachers?

Forgotten Study: Abuse in School 100 Times Worse than by Priests
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/apr/10040101

I guess you are just trying to give your own kind a pass eh?

Victor Reppert said...

I guess the "challenge" isn't going so well, is it.

cl said...

Ben,

"... how come [Paps cares] more about children raped by clergy and not a flying fig leaf about children raped by public school teachers?"

Because it's not about caring for the victims, it's about presenting cherrypicked arguments to bolster his metaphysical preferences and thumb his nose at theists, whom he fancies himself intellectually superior to. Look what he did in this thread: cite a few articles supportive of the "Libet's work disproves free will" claim, while wholly failing to provide any articles that challenge it—all the while having the audacity to say *WE* need to keep pace with the data, and that he's just trying to provide links for discussion.

Could it be any more transparent? If only the guy would start his own blog. He never engages with the arguments here. He never uses logic to dismantle premises. He doesn't challenge hidden assumptions. He just rants. And rants. And rants and rants and rants.

BenYachov said...

Victor is right.

Paps is sucking up all the oxygen because he can't answer the morality challenge.

B. Prokop said...

Victor,

You are, of course, absolutely right here. I guess it's just that I feel burned by trying for so many months to have a rational discussion with him. I bent over backwards to ignore his more egregious violations of simple civility in hopes that I might somehow by example steer him on to a more rational course. But the effort was probably doomed from the start.

And now his simultaneous skattergunning of "liar" accusations in every direction, all the while giving aid and comfort to the most despicable of bottom-feeders (and boasting of the fact!) is just too much provocation. I definitely need to exercise more self-restraint!

As Kramer would say on Seinfeld when he was trying to swear off further speaking, "Starting... Now!"

cl said...

I accept my share of the responsibility for talking about him in the third person. Although, today, I had an epiphany: Paps had actually attempted some arguments in the "McCormick on faith" thread, and I'm considering counting actual arguments as an attempt at good faith.

I'm asking any and/or all of you, do you think that might be a good idea? Amend the challenge to allow exchanges whenever Paps actually attempts logical arguments?

B. Prokop said...

It's probably a Fool's Errand, but "Hope springs eternal". Let's see how far it gets you.

You might actually be on to something there. Respond to anything coherent that he says, and ignore him when he goes batshit crazy. But don't be surprised when he starts calling you a liar!

cl said...

B. Prokop,

"But don't be surprised when he starts calling you a liar!"

I wasn't surprised last time. In fact, I would have been surprised if he said, "Okay cl, you're right, I shouldn't of said you need to keep pace with the data when I didn't even bother to tell both sides of the story. I'm sorry."

Had he said that, I'd probably be in the coronary care unit. But the
"liar" thing, that's to be expected when somebody can't or won't take responsibility and address the issues at hand.

Papalinton said...

Bob
"And by the way, the very last thing anyone can accuse me of is "homophobia". "

Absolutely correct. No one can. And in reading every one of your posts I know that you personally do not hold any woo nonsense against homosexuality, for which society can be truly grateful. It would be great if the incalculable bible crazies out there thought as you do in the matter of homosexuality.

That idiot priest obviously was not one. Nor the bishops and cardinals who dreamt up the writing of that message feeding the flames of homophobia. Why would they do that? Why are they singling out gays and lesbians in such a subversive manner and embedding that foment within the, "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass", as you claim it to be, and you would know because you are a practicing catholic? Give me a reason, Bob.

Victor
I am surprised at your reaction, being a philosopher, one that should by nature revel in the differing of philosophical perspectives. How do you personally reconcile the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which encouragement to continue stigmatizing homosexuality as an abomination by god? Surely you would have some sensitivity to what this believer says:

""Dr. David Gushee, a Christian ethicist, author and Southern Baptist minister, wrote the following about CRISIS in the June 2009 issue of Christian Century (a mainline Protestant publication going to 70,000 members, largely clergy): “As an evangelical Christian whose career has been spent in the South, I must say I find it scandalous that the most physically and psychologically dangerous place to be (or even appear to be) gay or lesbian in America is in the most religiously conservative families, congregations and regions of this country. Many of the most disturbing stories in this volume come from the Bible Belt. This marks an appalling Christian moral failure."
http://www.faithinamerica.org/bigotry/


I know Bob is incensed by my somewhat terse perspective on catholic ritual and that it do not share his deference to such events, and therefore his call for 'no speakies' is not guided by reason at all, but the deep personal emotional pressure he is experiencing from the cognitive dissonance through which his notion of the 'sacred' is seemingly violated. But he does not understand that 'sacred' is a purely religious concept, a concept I do not share.

But your call for 'no speakies' seems equally to be based on misplaced and misdirected piety. Are you now also actively seeking to invoke 'no speakies' on none other than unfounded religious reasons? Or are you now encouraging others to take the decision out of your hands, a decision you seem so reluctant to take, [and a reluctance for very good reasons, I might add] to censor me, to muzzle my commentary on the basis that it upsets their sensibility.

Those few that have been baying for censorship have been challenged robustly and their defense found singularly wanting. The contribution of the scholarship o each has been demonstrated to be flawed, deficient, substandard, or just shoddy.

Finally Victor, you have posted comprehensively on the AfE and reductios. When one reads the comments and the various OPs you have posted over the period, do you not appreciate the sense that something is missing in the equation? The commentary goes round and round. There is the depressing sense of circularity. Perhaps a fresh and very different approach to the argument is required. Perhaps after centuries of a religious perspective to the concept and notion of 'evil', we have reached an impasse. Perhaps a redefining of what is meant by 'evil', and what should be included under the rubric of evil is in order.

Papalinton said...

Bob
I don't recall calling anyone a liar. I may have said they were dishonest. Dishonesty doesn't necessarily imply lying. I do however, say that people were 'lying for jesus'. And that is perhaps the bet description of the situation. But it best reflects why good people would mostly inadvertently lie, when one appreciates that, as many christians concede, lying for jesus is a good thing to do, an honourable task under the circumstances.

"Lying for Jesus happens as a byproduct of some Christians' belief that falsifying information is acceptable if that brings people to Jesus.
The practice has a long and venerable history in the Christian religions."
Rational Wiki

"Blurring the line between fiction and truth in spreading the Christian message dates back to the Gospels. Matthew 27 recounts a series of spectacular and improbable events around the crucifixion which do not appear in the other Gospels or in other contemporaneous accounts. These include: the veil of the temple being torn, an earthquake, several hours of darkness, and the dead rising from their graves." Rational Wiki

Eusebius, Emperor Constantine's bishop, was one of the earliest active advocates of the process:
"How it may be lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine, and for the benefit of those who want to be deceived.”
Rational Wiki

Martin Luther:
"What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church ... a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them."
Rational Wiki

Bob, it is highly problematic as this account clearly demonstrates:
http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=Lying-for-Jesus-.html&Itemid=114

Where does one draw the line? Clearly christian ethics and morality is not a good source for advice.

Papalinton said...

From cl
"I'm asking any and/or all of you, do you think that might be a good idea? Amend the challenge to allow exchanges whenever Paps actually attempts logical arguments?"

Bob
"You might actually be on to something there. Respond to anything coherent that he says, and ignore him when he goes batshit crazy. But don't be surprised when he starts calling you a liar!"

AT LAST
Reason prevails. That is all ask folks. Nothing more, nothing less.

BenYachov said...

Paps' clueless mental processes never cease to amaze.

>improbable events around the crucifixion which do not appear in the other Gospels....These include: the veil of the temple being torn, an earthquake, several hours of darkness, and the dead rising from their graves"

Yet the Resurrection of Jesus is mentioned in all four Gospels? Does this mean the Atheist genius who wrote the above considers that event less improbable? Seriously? Beg the question much?

As to the rest of these quotes that allegedly justify "lying for Jesus" our resident Fundie Gnu cites Eusebius the semi-Arian and Martin Luther to a bunch of Catholics?

Seriously?

You are a real piece of work Public School teacher man.

You suck at this.

Big time suck.

BenYachov said...

>How do you personally reconcile the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which encouragement to continue stigmatizing homosexuality as an abomination by god?

Actually anal sex is an abomination if one literally follows the Bible. Especially having anal sex in public.

According to Jewish Tradition other gay sex acts such as oral sex and mutual genital stimulation are not abominations but merely acts of licentiousness.

Of course we all know Paps doesn't give a shit about gay people.

When AIDS first broke out here in NYC it was Catholic Hospitals that refused under the direction of the Bishop to turn AID patients away while the secular Hospitals wouldn't give them a bed.

Hypocrites and bigots like Paps don't care about gays he only sees them as a props so he can lie about religious people with impunity.

Paps likewise doesn't care about sex abuse in public school among his fellow public school teachers.

He never speaks out against it or denounces it. He only denounces pedophilia if someone wearing a religious collier does it.

Paps nobody here believes you give a shit about gays or children or logic or coming up with an even remotely intelligent Atheist philosophical argument.

All that I can forgive except that last part where you reject philosophy.

I am only flesh & blood.

Papalinton said...

"As to the rest of these quotes that allegedly justify "lying for Jesus" our resident Fundie Gnu cites Eusebius the semi-Arian and Martin Luther to a bunch of Catholics?"

To cathoholics, sometimes Eusebius is a grand old 'Father of Church History" when he is needed to support an argument, and sometimes he is a semi-Arian when you don't want him to support an argument.

Equivocation writ large.

Papalinton said...

"All that I can forgive except that last part where you reject philosophy."

Thanks Ben. But I do not want nor have I asked for your forgiveness. I haven't rejected philosophy. What I reject is the misguided notion there is some close and cosy link between theology and philosophy. Good philosophy is scientifically-informed philosophy. Theology is not scientifically informed. In my opinion scientifically-uniformed philosophy is just ... well... theology.
I understand your anger and rage towards me, Ben. You were burned by me over at BioLogos and you have been burned by me here at DI. No one likes to have their worldview tested and found to be based on nothing more than insubstantial superstitious woo and the tradition of longevity for its existence.

But, woo is woo no matter how many years it has been around. Homophobia has also been around for just as long as christianity, indeed longer. But it is only in recent times, with the advent of far greater understanding of genetics, evolution, and knowledge though modern medicine, psychiatry, psychology etc that homophobia is known to be driven by nothing more than a personal dislike and the tradition of continual persecution of gays and lesbians fanned largely by religious intolerance and bigotry.

Of all the comments from believers on this thread, not one, not one apart from Bob, has come out, not so much to denounce the treatment metered out to gays and lesbians in the community, but even to express any empathy towards or sympathy for the plight of those who happen to be different through no fault of their own. Not even Victor.

I find that unconscionable.

Victor Reppert said...

Have you seen my critique of the Sodom and Gomorrah argument?

My longtime friend, who introduced me to C. S. Lewis's writings, is now a gay Episcopal priest. So I have trouble believing in the idea that you can "pray the gay away," because if that were possible, he would have done it, I'm sure. Some people might be able to choose a straight lifestyle, but certainly not all of them.

BenYachov said...

Paps you are pointless.

>To cathoholics, sometimes Eusebius is a grand old 'Father of Church History" when he is needed to support an argument, and sometimes he is a semi-Arian when you don't want him to support an argument.

So he is good source for historical facts but his theology and moral philosophy are shit. So what?
Dawkins is the go to guy for defending evolution against YEC anti-evolution nonsense. I accept his role in that even though he sucks arse outside this narrow field. It's not hard.

>I haven't rejected philosophy.

Of course you do. You believe in Scientism and Positivism via dogmatic fiat not because you reasoned yourself there philosophically.

>What I reject is the misguided notion there is some close and cosy link between theology and philosophy. Good philosophy is scientifically-informed philosophy. Theology is not scientifically informed. In my opinion scientifically-uniformed philosophy is just ... well... theology.

Sorry but even in a godless universe philosophy preceeds science not the other way around. As I said you reject philosophy. You believe in Positivism and maybe a little reductionist materialism by fiat but not because of any philosophical reasoning. You just replaced your fundamentalist religous dogmas with secular ones. Nothing more.


>I understand your anger and rage towards me, Ben. You were burned by me over at BioLogos and you have been burned by me here at DI. No one likes to have their worldview tested and found to be based on nothing more than insubstantial superstitious woo and the tradition of longevity for its existence.

In your dreams! As I recall I burned you all the time. Like the time you cited a piano teacher amature archeologist to "prove" Nazereth didn't exist and other discredited Mythers denounced by other professional Atheist Archeologists.

You have never tested any of my beliefs(since you lack both the learning and the intelligence) but my patience at your lack of both decency and commonsense logic. You have merely traded the superstitious fundametalist religious faith of your youth with an equally superstitious fundamentalist Atheism that is just a low brow.

>Homophobia has also been around for just as long as christianity, indeed longer.

You don't care about homosexuals Paps nor kids. You see them as sticks to hit the church with and you swing at the wrong target and still mannage to miss it.

>Of all the comments from believers on this thread, not one, not one apart from Bob, has come out, not so much to denounce the treatment metered out to gays and lesbians in the community,

Nonsense I do it all the time. I've never missed an oportunity to bash Phelps and jerks like him. You OTOH have never complained about Pedophilia unless a Clergyman does it. You are quite silent when it is done by public school teachers. Your a public school teacher right? So naturally you cover for them. I OTOH have always said the bishops dropped the ball.


>I find that unconscionable.

Do you even have a conscience? I have my doubts.

BenYachov said...

@ Victor

>Have you seen my critique of the Sodom and Gomorrah argument?

Do we need to believe Sodom and Gomorrah where only destroyed for all the gay & straight anal sex? The Scripture says it was for a host of sins including sexual perversion, oppressing the poor, defrauding workers of their wages, idol worship etc in essence all the sins in the Bible that cry out for Divine Vengeance.

Catholics reject the whole either/or mentality. If Sodom and Gamorrah where only guilty of sexual perversion & nothing else then I doubt it would have been destroyed.

>So I have trouble believing in the idea that you can "pray the gay away,"

That is the wrong mentality. The idea gays need to be fixed by being made straight is harmful. I once had the pleasure of speaking to the Priest founder of COURAGE.

He told me sometimes in some cases when gays choose a chaste lifestyle they go threw a sort of sexual maturing and develop straight tendencies. But not in all cases. Too many misguided ministries think they have to change someone instead of inviting them to chastity.

I do not equivocate between homosexuality and pedophilia but if I may make this comparison.

If homosexuals can't be called to chastity then neither can pedophiles. That sounds cruel & crazy.

Papalinton said...

"Have you seen my critique of the Sodom and Gomorrah argument?"

Is this question directed at me, Victor, because you do not make it clear? I will look it up in your sidebar to refresh.

"So I have trouble believing in the idea that you can "pray the gay away," because if that were possible, he would have done it, I'm sure."

Thanks Victor.

Crude said...

Victor,

My longtime friend, who introduced me to C. S. Lewis's writings, is now a gay Episcopal priest. So I have trouble believing in the idea that you can "pray the gay away," because if that were possible, he would have done it, I'm sure. Some people might be able to choose a straight lifestyle, but certainly not all of them.

I missed where this conversation came up in this thread, but - whatever problems there may be with their views - not every group says you can "pray the gay away", as in "turn straight". Even Exodus International denies that.

The people who think that having same sex attraction means a guy needs cock like a diabetic needs insulin are, frankly, pretty despicable - whether or not they themselves have SSA.

cl said...

Paps, you attempt premises and a conclusion, like you did in the other thread, and I'll bite. Day or night. For now at least.

But your rants and cries for attention get ignored. And you owe me an apology by the way. In fact I'm going to make the amendment to the challenge provisional on an apology and a concession:

1) you apologize for the "lying for Jesus" bit; and,

2) you concede that I was in fact quit "up to pace" on the research regarding Libet, then apologize for your smarmy remark to the contrary.

You pull those off and I'll amend the Paps challenge to allow for response to premises and a conclusion.

But no rants. Choice is yours.

BenYachov said...

Paps challenge? Oh we are doing that again?

Kay.

B. Prokop said...

Interesting. So "Rational Wiki" seems to think that the events recounted in Matthew Chapter 27 are "lying for Jesus".

Funny thing about Matthew. It wasn't that long ago that even many Christians were apt to dismiss accounts of the Star of Bethlehem as theological embellishment to be read "poetically". But now, thanks to computer software and the ability to reproduce the night sky for any time and place with extreme accuracy, we know for absolute certainty that the Star did in fact exist in literal truth. (It's an entirely different matter as to to what theological significance you attach to its appearance, but the fact of its historicity can no longer be seriously denied - at least, not without denying science. And we wouldn't want to do that, now would we?)

So my point? Just this - if Matthew can turn out to be historically accurate about his birth narratives despite centuries of being taken allegorically, don't be surprised if his accounts of what occurred in Jerusalem immediately after the Crucifixion turn out to be similarly reliable.

"Lying for atheism happens as a byproduct of some atheists' belief that falsifying information is acceptable if that turns people away from Jesus. The practice has a long and venerable history in the cult of atheism." (Slightly amended version of) Rational Wiki

Papalinton said...

Bob
"Funny thing about Matthew. It wasn't that long ago that even many Christians were apt to dismiss accounts of the Star of Bethlehem as theological embellishment to be read "poetically". But now, thanks to computer software and the ability to reproduce the night sky for any time and place with extreme accuracy, we know for absolute certainty that the Star did in fact exist in literal truth. (It's an entirely different matter as to to what theological significance you attach to its appearance, but the fact of its historicity can no longer be seriously denied - at least, not without denying science. And we wouldn't want to do that, now would we?)"

First you tried to convince us that some form of conjunction between Jupiter and another planet appeared to look like a bright star in the sky over Bethlehem to prop up the historicity of Matthew. Now you are telling us that "... for absolute certainty that the Star did in fact exist in literal truth"
Nonsense and bunkum.

Perhaps this theist site should take a leaf out of the site below in a frank and full discussion about the so-called "Star of Bethlehem":

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/frank-tipler-refuted-on-his-star-of.html#more

One would do well to read this to balance the nonsense promulgated on this site. And boy, is it comprehensive.

B. Prokop said...

Papalinton,

As usual, you missed my entire point. I can't figure out how you manage to do so with such regularity. You seem to have skipped right over this line: "It's an entirely different matter as to to what theological significance you attach to [the star's] appearance".

But yes, I will double down here. Your denying the star's physical and historical reality is on a par with insisting there was no full moon last month. You just can't rationally do it.

My point here is not to defend Matthew's interpretation of the real world events he was describing (I'll be happy to do that elsewhere), but rather to point out that he is being a faithful historian, recounting actual occurrences. Matthew doesn't just make this stuff up.

For you to dismiss the star as "nonsense and bunkum" only serves to show how far from the Path of Reason you have strayed. You have reached the point, in your zeal to defend your faith, where you are willing to not only ignore material facts, you even deny them.

Another case of lying for atheism?

Papalinton said...

Matthew doesn't just make this stuff up?

""Blurring the line between fiction and truth in spreading the Christian message dates back to the Gospels. Matthew 27 recounts a series of spectacular and improbable events around the crucifixion which do not appear in the other Gospels or in other contemporaneous accounts. These include: the veil of the temple being torn, an earthquake, several hours of darkness, and the dead rising from their graves." Rational Wiki

. Torn temple curtain
. earthquake
. several hours of darkness
. zombies rising from their graves all over jerusalem.

And Matthew's tale of a jesus some fifty years later, half a century after the purported event. That would be like me recording the miracle of the Medjugorje apparitions in another twenty years time. "Since 1981, it has become a popular site of religious pilgrimage due to reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six local Catholics." And millions upon millions of catholics around the world are now firmly convinced that it is true beyond probability that these apparitions are truly a sign from god.

Matthew's tale, Medjugorje tale. The common thread here here is that they are both tales.

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

If you had been paying attention, you'll note that Matthew 27 was the very reason I brought this subject up in the first place! So why are you referring to it now, as though it were some sort of "gotcha" moment? I really can't figure you out.

To refresh your memory, here is what I wrote yesterday at 4:55 AM:

"If Matthew can turn out to be historically accurate about his birth narratives despite centuries of being taken allegorically, don't be surprised if his accounts of what occurred in Jerusalem immediately after the Crucifixion turn out to be similarly reliable."

So why in the world are you bringing this up as though you were scoring some sort of point?

B. Prokop said...

For your further edification.

You are skeptical of the following details in Matthew 27:

Earthquake - What is so strange about that? Earthquakes happen all the time in that part of the world. Matthew has no need to "make one up".

Torn temple curtain - Easily a result of said earthquake. Again, even from a purely naturalist perspective, no big deal.

Saints rising from their graves all over Jerusalem - Once one accepts the divinity of Christ, this is (pun intended) a no-brainer. Why shouldn't God be able to raise up whomever He wishes? I fail to see your problem here.

Several hours of darkness - Ah, now we get into some really interesting stuff! You've stepped into it this time. Because you see, we know that the Crucifixion occurred on April 3rd, 33 AD. Jesus was nailed to the Cross at 9 AM, and died at 3 PM. Now how's this for a celestial coincidence? At precisely that hour (3 PM), the moon entered into a total lunar eclipse (or as the prophets would have expressed it, "turned to blood"). By the time it rose later that afternoon, it was BLOOD RED in the sky of Jerusalem!

physphilmusic said...

TRUCKK: Or do you, Rank Sophist, agree with Craig that for Heinrich, “being a Nazi may have been the best thing that happened to Heinrich, since it led to his salvation”

IF the Christian worldview were true
IF Heinrich would not have been capable of salvation otherwise
IF we affirm that it is the set of things which happened FOR Heinrich, not for Mr. Goldberg who got exterminated...

then by rational logic it IS the best thing which happened to Heinrich...

Pure rational logic.
Logic.
Logic.
Not left-liberal-faux-moral-outrage hysterical convulsions...

Papalinton said...

"If you had been paying attention, you'll note that Matthew 27 was the very reason I brought this subject up in the first place! So why are you referring to it now, as though it were some sort of "gotcha" moment? I really can't figure you out."

No. Not referring to it *now*. You have entirely failed to catch the context of my comment, and the reason you did so is because you interpreted it through the distorting lens of Apologetics. It was a reiteration from a previous point that I had offered from Rational Wiki that highlighted the unhistorical and largely hysterical nonsense Matthew trotted out fifty or sixty years after the event, which you are unable to appreciate because of the inculcation of centuries of the ubiquitous strategy of christian apologetical misconstrual.

To defend the historicity of Matthew is to defend an illusion. I borrowed this from a true believing christian: "Christ Himself told us that the story of Jonah should be read quite literally:
Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Jesus made it clear that He would only make one sign (which means that curing the blind, walking on water and raising the dead doesn't even count as signs compared to this - the big one) and that He considered His resurrection to be a re-enactment of Jonah's fish story extraordinary.

If you don't believe in Jonah and the whale, then you can't believe in the resurrection. And you know what Paul tells us about not believing in the resurrection:

1st Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1st Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1st Corinthians 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."


You'll notice that all this mythological nonsense comes from Matthew. The links are clearly visible. Fable after fable, myth following mythos. Star, supernova, or transition of planets being interpreted as the Star of David?; all superstition and faery tales., all standard practice in pre-scientific days, looking for signs, that has come down to us straight from the bronze age to the present, not by truth, but by the wheels of tradition, like all faerie stories.

When are you going to set aside this stuff, as adults should do by the time they reach maturity?

Papalinton said...

"Ah, now we get into some really interesting stuff! You've stepped into it this time. Because you see, we know that the Crucifixion occurred on April 3rd, 33 AD. Jesus was nailed to the Cross at 9 AM, and died at 3 PM. Now how's this for a celestial coincidence? At precisely that hour (3 PM), the moon entered into a total lunar eclipse (or as the prophets would have expressed it, "turned to blood"). By the time it rose later that afternoon, it was BLOOD RED in the sky of Jerusalem!"

The one word you write that truly captures the insubstantial nature of this event; 'coincidence', or others of equal descriptive value, accident chance, serendipity, and fluke. Highly improbable, <0.00000000000000001, in other words, mythos.

B. Prokop said...

And yet there you are, still looking for a sign... How many times have I heard some atheist say "If only God would prove His existence to me"? That's what Matthew was talking about! The only sign you're going to get is the sign of Jonah. Enough pussyfooting around, Papalinton. Put up or shut up. You either know damn well you are spouting total nonsense or else you are a complete an utter fool. I don't see any third alternative. (Well, actually I do, but it involves your willing embrace of pure evil, and I don't wish to accuse anyone of that (yet) - although you're skirting the edge with your embrace of quasi-terrorist actions during worship services.)

B. Prokop said...

mythos

So are you denying that the lunar eclipse did occur? (Ple-e-e-ase tell me that you are, so I can label you as "anti-science".)

Papalinton said...

"And yet there you are, still looking for a sign... How many times have I heard some atheist say "If only God would prove His existence to me"?

"You either know damn well you are spouting total nonsense ..."

You mistake me for a bible crazy, Bob, because in your worldview that is all that is available to you. There are no options in your perspective because you have not been taught them. There is no sign for me to look for as I do not subscribe to superstitious magic. I don't ask for god to show his existence because it is unlikely that non-existence can reveal itself non-existently.

And I think I agree with you about my sprouting nonsense and I think your assessment on this occasion is logical. I can only sprout nonsense because that is what christian theism is, pure, unadulterated nonsense. So I can appreciate your reasoning for saying that I sprout nonsense when I talk about the bible because your interpretation of the bible is complete apologetical nonsense. You tend to forget I was once there imagining it as you do. Believe me, it ...is ...all... imaginary, a figment of one's own imagination.

And the beauty of the clarity of this position is that one can see with great insight the same problematical adherence to Islam, and Judaism and some 10,998 other religions extant, and the 33,000 irreconcilable versions of the christian mythos.

My daughter has just reminded me: "Study one religion and it will take you a lifetime. Study two and you'll be done in an hour."