Saturday, September 15, 2012

Coyne attacks Nagel

Here is a discussion of Jerry Coyne's reply to Nagel. He considers it outrageous that an atheist would admit any legitimacy whatsover to Intelligent Design.

72 comments:

rank sophist said...

Intelligent Design is a wash, but I can understand why Nagel would be interested by this particular element. It's impossible for life to rise from non-life, and no amount of Coyne's anti-intellectual handwaving will solve it.

Crude said...

I actually think ID is in better shape than most classical theists give it credit for, and I say that as a classical theist myself. That said, the overreaction to Nagel merely having kind words about the project is hilarious.

Coyne also flipped out regarding Jerry Fodor too, I believe. Fodor, after all, had the audacity to criticize Darwinism. In public!

That actually resutled in one of my favorite stories - I think from Fodor's co-writer:

Some months ago an American philosopher explained to a highly sophisticated audience in Britain what, in his opinion, was wrong, indeed fatally wrong, with the standard neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution. He made it crystal clear that his criticism was not inspired by creationism, intelligent design or any remotely religious motivation. A senior gentleman in the audience erupted, in indignation: ‘You should not say such things, you should not write such things! The creationists will treasure them and use them against science.’ The lecturer politely asked: ‘Even if they are true?’ To which the instant and vibrant retort was: ‘Especially if they are true!’ with emphasis on the ‘especially’.

Cole said...

After thinking it over I've decided that I don't know enough about the subject to say one way or the other. Biologists act as if their naturalist worldview is certain. The thing about disciplines of study is that alot of people think they have the correct worldview yet there's no agreement. I'm not saying there's no agreement on certain truths about reality. Only that reality has not been pieced together into a coherent whole. I think this is because reality itself is distorted. We are not perfect neither is the world. Moreover, we are finite and limited creatures and all that attends to this fact. Does this mean we should just give up trying? I don't think so. It's just real easy for me alot of the time to get in this mind frame and think that I have it all figured out.

Cole said...

I also forgot to say that when I'm not thinking about the "Big Issues" belief in God just comes natural to me. It's just there. It's when I start thinking about all this stuff that I start doubting and see that I very well could be wrong.

BeingItself said...

"It's impossible for life to rise from non-life"

And you know this how? (Anticipating argument from personal incredulity.)

Human Ape said...

"It's impossible for life to rise from non-life"

If it's impossible for simple living cells to develop from organic matter, then how do you explain the planet Earth which is teeming with life?

Did your Magic Jeebus Man do it?

Grow up or shut up.

http://darwinkilledgod.blogspot.com/

Human Ape said...

"Biologists act as if their naturalist worldview is certain."

Hey mister, reality is not a worldview.

DL said...

Crude said…I actually think ID is in better shape than most classical theists give it credit for, and I say that as a classical theist myself. That said, the overreaction to Nagel merely having kind words about the project is hilarious.

I think ID is not quite in as good shape as the ID people think, and in better shape than anyone else thinks. They're a bit sloppy with the philosophical side of things, which is why classical theists get annoyed, but if you clean it up and take it for what it is, it's fine. Nagel is just being honest enough to take the question seriously, even if he thinks they've got the wrong answer. But yeah, that is a great story. It's funny (in a sad way) to see people like Coyne running around like headless chickens when someone commits blasphemy — come to think of it, if they are projecting their psychologically cooped-up attitude to their own religion onto theists, it's no wonder they have such peculiar ideas about genuine religion.

ozero91 said...

"It's impossible for life to rise from non-life."

Well I wouldn't say it impossible, but unless we invent a time travel machine there is no way to verify/falsify the statement.

"Hey mister, reality is not a worldview."

This is question-begging.

Logical Empiricism everywhere. Though I think the assertion that logical empiricism is dead/untenable, as well as the claim that logical empiricism is self-refuting, is not accurate.

See Carnap's and Ayer's defense.

Creath, Richard, "Logical Empiricism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Crude said...

DL,

I think ID is not quite in as good shape as the ID people think, and in better shape than anyone else thinks.

Depends on the ID person. I think Behe tends to be so, so remarkably tame in his claims, arguments and inferences. I think the classical theists get annoyed for more reason than sloppiness (they maintain ID, if taken as an argument to infer God, requires commitment to metaphysical principles they reject), but I also think they often overreact and fail to appreciate the rhetorical and intellectual value of the arguments, even if not for classical theism.

Either way, yeah, the overreactions are just a sight to behold. I think another clear case of it was with the Tennessee bill about teaching scientific strengths and weaknesses of theories. There was widespread pants-crapping and hysteria over that bill - but if you actually read what it says, it A) doesn't do anything the critics maintain it does, and B) is absurdly tame.

Crude said...

To add on.

Another reason classical theists, I think, can be pretty damn hostile when it comes to ID and such is because it's yet another instance of "arguments that everyone is going to get confused over and claim the classical theists are making". I think they get tired, and pretty pissy, at having to explain for the Nth time that the first way is not Kalam, and the fifth way is not Paley, evolved does not mean unintentional, etc.

Reminds me of that bit from Office Space:

Samir: No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It's not that hard: Na-ghee-na-na-jar. Nagheenanajar.
Michael Bolton: Yeah, well, at least your name isn't Michael Bolton.
Samir: You know, there's nothing wrong with that name.
Michael Bolton: There *was* nothing wrong with it... until I was about twelve years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys.
Samir: Hmm... well, why don't you just go by Mike instead of Michael?
Michael Bolton: No way! Why should I change? He's the one who sucks.

Cole said...

"Grow up or shut up."

Do you think this is really a matter of growing up? Why do people like you use tactics like this to try to control others views on issues that are controversial? People use to do this to me all the time. I'm finding ways to refrain from falling into this trap though. I think everyone feels an inner lack at times. But for me, I think I have a bigger emptiness than alot of people. I cannot be satisfied with myself, so I search the world for something to worship and become obsessed with, something to fill the inner void. It's easy for me to be led astray at times by people like you who prey on peoples insecurities and try to control them. I'm learning to deny people this power by maintaining a sense of purpose. From such a position people's attacks do not harm me; they only make me more determined. The higher I raise this self-image, the fewer judgments and manipulations I tolerate. The way I see it, people with a weak ego do not have a secure sense of their worth or potential. A strong ego, however, is completely different. People who have a solid sense of their own value and who feel secure about themselves have the capacity to look at the world with greater objectivity and are less likely to be led astray. They have a greater confidence in themselves. I would rather love others from a position of security instead of insecurity. The power I need is within my heart, Higher Power, and medication and nowhere else.

ozero91 said...

Cole, resist the urge to respond, it'll only lead to further baseless ridicule.

I think BeingItselfs question deserves notice, not Human Ape's.

rank sophist said...

To the Gnus appealing to magic,

It's as metaphysically impossible for life to come from non-life as it is for an effect to lack a cause. All methods of evolution presuppose the building blocks of life, which did not exist prior to life. Every theory of abiogenesis has failed to produce results, failed to follow history (i.e. "primordial soup") and failed to solve the fundamental problem. Further, we have never observed life rise from non-life, nor can we even conceive of this possibility in the modern world. Evolution is excellent science, but its naturalistic starting point--life from non-life--is simply nonsense.

ozero91 said...

rank, what about the Miller-Urey (and similar) experiments? By simulating the conditions of early earth, they demostrated that gases can give rise to amino acids and nucleotides.

The unanswered question is how the monomers formed protocells. (DNA/RNA first or protein?)

BeingItself said...

"It's as metaphysically impossible for life to come from non-life"

How do you know this? Answer the question, don't beg it.

Cole said...

Rank,

How is it metaphysically impossible? If all theories have failed why does that mean it's impossible? Just because we haven't figured it out yet doesn't mean it's impossible. Unless I'm missing something. As to saying that it's impossible for effects to lack a cause. That depends on your views of space-time and causality.There is a principle that seems to be obvious about causality to many philosophers and scientists:

X - Within our experience causes always have a temporal relation to their effects. They are either temporally prior to or perhaps simultaneous with their effects.

In other words causality is a temporal concept. This principle is constantly confirmed and never falsified by emperical observation. So, it seems one would be justified in accepting it. If there is no space-time there is no causality (if this principle holds). It seems obvious to some. To others it doesn't. If it holds then one could argue this way: Since space and time came into existence at the Big Bang then there couldn't have been a First Cause. That is, the objects that we are familiar with that begin to exist are within space-time, with causes that are within space-time. We have no experience or examples of timeless causation. Moreover, the idea of a non-temporal person making choices requires a sequence of events which requires time showing that a timeless personal being is incoherent. Since space-time came into existence at the Big Bang then there couldn't have been a Personal First Cause. There's no one correct view on the issues of space, time, eternity, and causality.

rank sophist said...

ozero,

None of these experiments have solved the problem. At best, they demonstrate that it cannot be solved.

BI,

I would explain it in more complex terms (borrowed from David Oderberg's Real Essentialism), but you A) would not--or would pretend not to--understand any of it; and B) would claim that Aristotelian metaphysics are false. I have no interest in debating insincere trolls, though--so you can just scuttle off.

ozero91 said...

"None of these experiments have solved the problem. At best, they demonstrate that it cannot be solved."

Can't we get even a few words? I get that there may be no way to replicate the exact conditions of early earth, but how do the experiments demonstrate that it can't be solved? To me, it seems like the experiments/models do show its possible, even though they cannot tell us with certainty if abiogenesis actually happened.

Crude said...

Rank has shown himself to be more than willing to spend quite a lot of his time defending his views with critics who A) have the intelligence to grasp them, and B) are seriously inquiring.

You don't qualify in either respect, BI. ;)

ozero's in vastly better shape there.

BeingItself said...

Rank,

That is extremely weak.

How about this. Can you describe an experiment or discovery that would change your mind?

BeingItself said...

Crude,

I have been playing this game with you clowns a long time. You (or Ben or Rank) asserts something with extreme confidence.

I ask a simple question: How do you know that?

And every time, you guys punt. It's pathetic.

Crude said...

And every time, you guys punt.

Poor BI. It says a lot about your emotional state that you're reduced to bald-faced lies like these.

What happens is that you yourself either make declarations that get exposed as wrong (remember the ass-kicking grod and company handed you, multiple times?), or you ask questions and get your answer, and are reduced to whimpering about how it can't be right and trying to prove the supplied arguments are wrong, only to fail miserably.

We've quoted the arguments, we've given the metaphysical proofs, and each and every time you flail and ultimately puss out when asked to show where they fail - because you're in over your head.

You only need look as far as the archives here, or Feser's blog, to see this - not to mention Rank himself arguing at length with sincere critics who actually have intelligence in play. He's done this as recently as the past week.

Yes, we know Baby BI needs attention. But adults are talking, so shhhh. ;)

BeingItself said...

Lies? See above.

BenYachov said...

No it's the truth BI. You are just Paps without the rhetoric.

BenYachov said...

>How do you know this? Answer the question, don't beg it.

He read the argument which is a whole chapter of REAL ESSENTIALISM by Oderberg.

Remind me like Paps you haven't done any of the back round reading have you?

Crude said...

Lies? See above.

Exactly - see above to where I put you dead to rights.

We've done this dance before. You ask for explanations and insist the arguments are wrong, you socked in the temple repeatedly intellectually as the arguments are explained to you, you flail pathetically then eventually quiet up. Then repeat the same bit, with the same argument, elsewhere.

We're tired of babies. There's better folks to discuss stuff with - you're more Linton's speed. ;)

BeingItself said...

Crude,

Answer the question, you coward.

Crude said...

BI,

Answer the question, you coward.

You're a liar, BI. You know everything I've said about your past performance is true. ;)

You're intellectually outgunned, and we're tired of showing it - because it's common knowledge around here. As entertaining as your usual displays are once you've been spanked in discussion, there's simply better conversations to be had.

Thanks, however, for the laugh. (Quick, repeat yourself once more - maybe THAT will undo your poor performance history. Oops, wait, no: it will not.)

rank sophist said...

Can't we get even a few words? I get that there may be no way to replicate the exact conditions of early earth, but how do the experiments demonstrate that it can't be solved? To me, it seems like the experiments/models do show its possible, even though they cannot tell us with certainty if abiogenesis actually happened.

Oderberg dedicates a chapter to this subject, as Ben said. I would get into it, but, unless you have something of a background in A-T (i.e. you know your efficient from your final cause, your immanent from your transient teleology, your life from your non-life, etc.), it isn't going to make much sense.

im-skeptical said...

"Oderberg dedicates a chapter to this subject, as Ben said. I would get into it, but, unless you have something of a background in A-T (i.e. you know your efficient from your final cause, your immanent from your transient teleology, your life from your non-life, etc.), it isn't going to make much sense."

It seems to me that people are speaking from two entirely different perspectives. A skeptic may use science as the basis for his statements, while a theist may use theistic philosophy as his basis. Thus, the theist insists that "we have never observed life rise from non-life, nor can we even conceive of this possibility in the modern world." The skeptic replies that the first part of that statement may be only a matter of time, and the second part is patently false, noting that the subject has been discussed at length by biologists including Dawkins.

So as long as we speak from these different perspectives, I'm afraid we will continue to talk past each other.

Crude said...

im-skeptical,

A skeptic may use science as the basis for his statements, while a theist may use theistic philosophy as his basis.

It's not really "theistic philosophy". It's just plain philosophy and metaphysics.

and the second part is patently false

It's not a matter of having a conversation about it, otherwise Rank simply talking about it would have been enough.

I'd also suggest that before any conversation like this can go forward, it's important to ask what we mean by life. That's almost as difficult a question as what is meant by species for people nowadays.

Crude said...

This is also a good place to illustrate a difference between Thomists and (most) ID proponents.

Thomists would typically argue that life cannot come from non-life. (Putting aside talk of life being virtually contained in some non-life - back to the generation talk.)

ID proponents would typically argue that life can come from non-life, but for it to be at all likely to ever occur, an intelligent agent's acts is necessary.

im-skeptical said...

"it's important to ask what we mean by life. That's almost as difficult a question as what is meant by species for people nowadays."

I wholeheartedly agree. I'm not sure if there is any agreement on exactly what constitutes life. A materialist might regard life as something that has no hard edge where you could draw a line that separates living things from non-living things. But that's where concepts of the origin of life are focused. You have some organic molecule or structure that is capable of replication, and it eventually becomes complex enough that we could call it a primitive organism. This is analogous to speciation.

rank sophist said...

When I said that we couldn't conceive of life-from-non-life these days, I was specifically referring to the event occurring in recent history. But it doesn't, it hasn't, and it has never been reproduced. I could have been clearer, there.

As for the definition of life: an entity with a capacity for self-perfective activity (i.e. immanent final causality). To paraphrase Oderberg, it must be able to do things by itself for itself. Such an entity arising from things without such abilities is metaphysical nonsense.

Cole said...

Even if this is true about I.D. it still doesn't prove the Bible. Alot of Christians think that you are complaining, doubting, wondering, or just plain angry at God when you start using logic and reason to show how the Bible is just unreasonable. But this isn't true in my case. I have a Higher Power that I believe in. One of love and beauty. I just find that alot of what the Bible teaches to be bizzare and unreasonable and for some people it can really cause problems. People who have a loving and compassionate heart and are sensitive in their personalities. It's not that I hate Christians. I just take the Bible seriously and in it we find at times a tribal, warlike God. One who will condemn people to eternal suffering for the sin of unbelief. R.C. Sproul has said that people in hell are going to wish they were in a lake of fire. That's how terrible it will be. According to him the symbols and metaphors of hell don't even touch on how terrible hell is suppose to be. The way God is depicted in the Bible at times makes Him look plain insane. This seems to be the God people like Crude follow. He beats up on people who are mentally sick and insecure about themselves by calling them names and ridiculing them.

ozero91 said...

Cole are you a deist, pantheist, panentheist, or something else? How did you come to your worldview?

And rank, I'd really hate to make a promissory statement, but I don't think it is inconceivable that we will be able to simulate abiogenesis in the future. I need to make a distinction, do you reject that we will ever be able to simulate it, that we will ever observe it, or both? Anyways, it seems like I need to get my hands on Real Essentialism.

Cole said...

Ozero,

I believe in a loving Higher Power. One of beauty, love, and compassion. I came to this belief through my experiences. Through a combination of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, the twelve steps, A.A. meetings, prayer, medication, and a book that confirms it called "Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. Discovering The True Sources of Compassion Serenity And Hope"

BenYachov said...

Cole is struggling with mental illness at times. He has shifted his religious views over the course of several posts. In one case he went from Atheist to Theist in under a week.

I don't say that to condemn him but to ask you not upset him or argue with him.

I wish him nothing but good and I pray blessing upon him.

If posting his interesting opinions gives him some type of catharsis who are we to deny him?

Peace.

BeingItself said...

Rank,

If an experiment produced life from non-life, would it still be metaphysical non-sense?

My question is about your epistemic priorities. If what you decide must be true, by your naval gazing metaphysics, could empirical findings ever convince you otherwise?

Cole said...

"Cole is struggling with mental illness at times. He has shifted his religious views over the course of several posts. In one case he went from Atheist to Theist in under a week."

Actually, I became a Christian when I was 15 years old. I was a Christian up untils I was 30. I started arguing and debating these things and became confused and unsure of where to go. This is why I was swiching back and forth. I was trying to find a worldview that makes sense. I have discussed this with my Psychiatrist, A.A. sponsor, family, and I have come to the conclusion above.

BenYachov said...


>If an experiment produced life from non-life, would it still be metaphysical non-sense?

If Oerberg's argument has any validity then that's like asking "If an experiment proved 2+2 didn't always equal 4 etc".

OTOH if we who are alive produced "life" in a lab wouldn't that in fact be life from life?

OTOH would the thing produced in the lab be true "life" or would is be a mere man made bio-chemical machine?

You beg the question here by not coming up with a proper metaphysical description of life.

If I build a little toy robot out of hamburger meat that can plug itself into the wall socket and "feed" itself & gave it Von Newman abilities to construct duplicates of itself didn I really create life?

Maybe or maybe not.


>My question is about your epistemic priorities. If what you decide must be true, by your naval gazing metaphysics, could empirical findings ever convince you otherwise?

BI you are repeating your mistake you made over at Robert O's blog.

You are conflating science, philosophy and metaphysics again. Without a starting metaphysics and philosophy you can't define life in the first place in order to prove it can arise from non-life.

BenYachov said...

>I was trying to find a worldview that makes sense. I have discussed this with my Psychiatrist, A.A. sponsor, family, and I have come to the conclusion above.

Ok, I still wish you well & will keep you in my prayers. Please pray for me too.

Cheers bro.

Crude said...

If what you decide must be true, by your naval gazing metaphysics, could empirical findings ever convince you otherwise?

If empirical findings drive your beliefs, does that mean the utter failure so far to create even a designer-dependent abiogenesis mean you reject the life can come from non-life - even if you'd be open to changing your mind?

rank sophist said...

My question is about your epistemic priorities. If what you decide must be true, by your naval gazing metaphysics, could empirical findings ever convince you otherwise?

Way to confuse epistemology with ontology.

Try again.

Syllabus said...

"If what you decide must be true, by your naval gazing metaphysics, could empirical findings ever convince you otherwise?"

Dude, RS decides what is at the bottom of reality by staring at ships? That's awesome.

BeingItself said...

Rank and Crude,

So you guys, by the power of pure reason, un-tethered from any experience, are able to determine that life cannot come from non-life?

Crude said...

So you guys, by the power of pure reason, un-tethered from any experience, are able to determine that life cannot come from non-life?

Thomism isn't un-tethered from experience. And I haven't said word one on this issue - I just pointed out how sorry your criticisms of rank are.

By the way: there's been a complete failure at creating an abiogenesis event, even with intelligent agents to this point. Do you believe abiogenesis is possible? Because if you say "yes", you'll apparently be getting there via navel-gazing, by your standards. ;)

BeingItself said...

"Do you believe abiogenesis is possible?"

I have know idea. I do not pretend to know things I don't.

(I understand logical impossibility, but I have never gotten a straight answer about what metaphysical impossibility means, and what the method is to determine that.)

What I am trying to figure out is if Rank's belief that abiogenesis is impossible is falsifiable. But, I am getting no answer. Big surprise.

DL said...

Crude said: […] but I also think they often overreact and fail to appreciate the rhetorical and intellectual value of the arguments, even if not for classical theism.

Yes. The scientific side shows whatever it shows, and that science sits in a metaphysical context, so I don't see why classical theists don't pick that up and say, "here's how the philosophy behind it really works, and this is what you can really conclude from it". And I agree that there is rhetorical value too; it would be nice if everyone always reasoned everything out to a classically pedantic degree, but that will never be the case, nor need it be.

There was widespread pants-crapping and hysteria over that bill - but if you actually read what it says, it A) doesn't do anything the critics maintain it does, and B) is absurdly tame.

I get the feeling that their religion-substitute is of the cultish variety wherein you're not supposed to actually read anything other than the official sacred texts.

Another reason classical theists, I think, can be pretty damn hostile when it comes to ID and such is because it's yet another instance of "arguments that everyone is going to get confused over and claim the classical theists are making".

Heh, true. But again, the arguments aren't going to go away, surely it's more practical to present a constructive reading (possibly followed up by, "see how that doesn't get you as far as God? Now here's how you really prove it…").

DL said...

RS said: To paraphrase Oderberg, it must be able to do things by itself for itself. Such an entity arising from things without such abilities is metaphysical nonsense.

Can you clarify just what you mean by that? If the point is that ultimately any development has to trace back to the Uncaused Cause, and since God counts as "a living thing" then life (and everything else) can only come from life, then sure. However, if we're talking in terms of secondary causes, then even Aquinas believed in spontaneous generation, so life from non-life is at least hypothetically possible in that sense.

rank sophist said...

If the point is that ultimately any development has to trace back to the Uncaused Cause, and since God counts as "a living thing" then life (and everything else) can only come from life, then sure.

While God, on classical theism, is considered to be the embodiment of life, the point at hand is unrelated. It has nothing to do with an "Uncaused Cause" scenario, nor am I arguing for divine intervention in the kick-starting of life. (It may certainly have been the case, but we can set that aside for now.) I am merely saying that, given the metaphysics at play behind the scenes, there seems to be no conceivable way for life to rise from non-life.

Non-life, in terms of the four causes, cannot engage in immanent causation. Oderberg: "Living things act for themselves in order to perfect themselves, where by perfection I mean that the entity acts so as to produce, conserve, and repair its proper functioning as the kind of thing it is - not to reach a state of absolute perfection, which is of course impossible for any finite being. Living things, unlike non-living things, exercise immanent causation: this is a kind of causation that begins with the agent and terminates in the agent for the sake of the agent."

Non-living things have "transient causation" only, in which their actions end in another agent, and not in themselves.

However, if we're talking in terms of secondary causes, then even Aquinas believed in spontaneous generation, so life from non-life is at least hypothetically possible in that sense.

We are talking in terms of secondary causes, but Aquinas's false scientific ideas are not relevant to his metaphysics. Oderberg puts forth cohesive, scientifically informed objections in his Life section (pg. 177-200 of Real Essentialism) to abiogenesis given a Thomistic structure and our current knowledge, and I am inclined to agree with them.

Crude said...

DL,

Heh, true. But again, the arguments aren't going to go away, surely it's more practical to present a constructive reading (possibly followed up by, "see how that doesn't get you as far as God? Now here's how you really prove it…").

Well, I'm not saying theirs is a totally justified position. Just an understandable one. I think most classical theists/Thomists would be content to just leave the ID project alone, but they get annoyed at the confusion.

That said, I think ID's basic arguments - not necessarily the DI, but the arguments and perspective ID brings to the table - is a long-term juggernaut. Even beyond irreducible complexity and various other ID claims, the perspective of treating nature as a product and artifact - while foreign to the classical theists and thomists - is going to have an impact. It puts naturalists in a pretty odd position.

Rank,

Non-life, in terms of the four causes, cannot engage in immanent causation.

Well, here's a question for you. What about, say... non-living substances being absorbed into a metabolism? Salt's not alive, clearly (right?) Yet we eat salt, the salt is now part of something we call alive. So did that involve a change from non-life to life? I imagine the answer has to do with a holistic view.

rank sophist said...

Well, here's a question for you. What about, say... non-living substances being absorbed into a metabolism? Salt's not alive, clearly (right?) Yet we eat salt, the salt is now part of something we call alive. So did that involve a change from non-life to life? I imagine the answer has to do with a holistic view.

As Oderberg says, all immanent causation also involves transient causation. This much is clear just from the existence of non-living components (atoms, etc.) within living ones. But, yes, it has to do with A) a holistic view and B) an understanding that immanent causation does not and cannot exclude transient causation.

Cole said...

For those Christians who think I just don't understand the Bible because of my diagnosis. I do get confused sometimes about what the Bible teaches. I've tried to know the scriptures but there's just too many opposing viewpoints in it. I can't make sense out of it. Paul Tobin has made an interesting comment:

"The Bible is filled with so many diametrically opposite viewpoints that if they were present in a human being we would probably label that person bipolar or, even worse, schizophrenic."

I'm not saying that the Bible caused my diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. But it sure doesn't help it any. I became a Christian when I was 15 years old and stayed one until I was 30. It really amazes me sometimes when Christians tell me I need to read more Bible and that I just don't understand it. I hope I don't get beaten like Christ did for this confusion. I sure would hate to get beaten like that forever.

Crude said...

Rank Sophist,

Thanks. What I really need to do is just sit down and absorb Oderberg's book. I have it and understood a good part of it, but not all.

BenYachov said...

>I've tried to know the scriptures but there's just too many opposing viewpoints in it. I can't make sense out of it.

If it makes you feel any better we Catholics(as well as Eastern Orthodox & Orthodox Jews) believe that is everybody's experience with Scripture.

We believe Scripture is not clear & it needs to be interpreted threw the filter of Apostolic Tradition (2 Thes 2:15) and Church (1 Tim 3:15).

So don't worry about it bro. Just love the Higher Power, take your meds and do the best you can.

That's all you can do & don't worry about what you think other people think.

Peace to you my friend.

Syllabus said...

"We believe Scripture is not clear & it needs to be interpreted threw the filter of Apostolic Tradition (2 Thes 2:15) and Church (1 Tim 3:15)."

Here's something I've never been able to get a satisfactory answer to: to what extent does the Catholic Church fell she can modify or change things in Scripture? I'm thinking specifically about the bit in Timothy where Paul says that bishops can be married, whereas from what I understand Catholic ecclesiastical law mandates celibacy for all members of the priesthood.

BenYachov said...

>Here's something I've never been able to get a satisfactory answer to: to what extent does the Catholic Church feel she can modify or change things in Scripture?

She can't change Scripture.

>I'm thinking specifically about the bit in Timothy where Paul says that bishops can be married, whereas from what I understand Catholic ecclesiastical law mandates celibacy for all members of the priesthood.

Jesus said Matt 19:10-12 "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Also since the Church can bind & lose via Matt 16:18 She can bind it that only those who have received the gift and call to celibacy may be ordained to the clergy via the council of Jesus & Paul who said those who marry do a good thing but those who don't for the sake of the Kingdom do a better thing.

Of course the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church have married Priests. Timothy teaches us a Priest may only be married once.

If they become widowers they remain celebrate the rest of their lives(unless they have young children who need a mother).

This rule also applied in ancient times when we had married bishops & even married Popes. Clergy may only marry once.

Timothy's teaching also mandated that the then existing Jewish Christian Polygamists could not be made bishops since with the publication of the Gospel Old Testament Polygamy would no longer be allowed for future marriages.

DL said...

rank sophist said: nor am I arguing for divine intervention in the kick-starting of life. (It may certainly have been the case, but we can set that aside for now.)

Actually, that's the question I'm interested in. I'm familiar with the principles you raise, but it seemed that you were saying it was metaphysically impossible for life to "evolve" naturally. "No conceivable way" sounds like a scientific position ("it's not possible given what we know now, but who knows what we'll discover in the future?"). But metaphysically, either it's possible or it's not. Aquinas's scientific beliefs don't matter, but obviously he wouldn't have thought it to be scientifically possible if it were philosophically impossible.

Non-life, in terms of the four causes, cannot engage in immanent causation.

That sounds like yet another slightly different interpretation: that a robot, no matter how complex, is never going to be a living thing. No argument there.

Oderberg puts forth cohesive, scientifically informed objections in his Life section (pg. 177-200 of Real Essentialism) to abiogenesis given a Thomistic structure and our current knowledge, and I am inclined to agree with them.

I'm inclined to agree with St. Thomas, but we may be asking slightly different questions. Either God specially created the first biological life-form ("divine intervention", if you want to call it that), or else it was generated by some natural causes (a non-living process, or perhaps angels). I think Aquinas considered any of those as possible; maybe you and Oderberg do not, in which case what do you think are the possibilities?

Cole said...

Ben,

I started hinting around at this to my psychiatrist today. I never really came out and said this exactly. But when I started talking about it she just got quiet and didn't say anything. Check this out. The idea behind cognitive behavioral therapy is that beliefs affect your emotions and behavior. Schizoaffective disorder is people who have some signs of schizophrenia with a mood disorder. Mine's bipolar. I've never heard voices or saw things like other people. I've been studying the Bible since I was 15. I had my psychotic break when I was in my late 20's. It always centers around Biblical things. Could this statement be true for me?"

"The Bible is filled with so many diametrically opposite viewpoints that if they were present in a human being we would probably label that person bipolar or, even worse, schizophrenic." Paul Tobin

Syllabus said...

@Ben:

So I guess what you're saying is that, though the RCC can't actually change/suspend/ whatever Scripture, she does feel exegete it in a very specific and sometimes malleable way. Is that fair enough?

BenYachov said...

Cole & Syllabus,

2 Peter 3:16

QUOTE"[Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters.His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.END QUOTE

Scripture isn't absolutely clear in all places. There is a level of ambiguity that allows for multiple meanings sometimes wicked ones hence we have hundreds of Denominations with sometimes opposite beliefs about what the Bible means.

>Could this statement be true for me?"

>"The Bible is filled with so many diametrically opposite viewpoints that if they were present in a human being we would probably label that person bipolar or, even worse, schizophrenic." Paul Tobin

St Peter the Apostle seems to think this is so as I just cited.

One must read the Bible with the mind of the Church. Cole you have read the bible since you where 15. Ok but Arius the Arch-heretic who denied the deity of Christ did as well. but he didn't read it with the mind of the church.

Cole you have mental health problems so God only knows how you are reading it & it doesn't surprise you might be reading it in such a way that hurts rather then helps.

My advice get maybe a book of BIBLE PROMISES that cobble together positive & uncontroversial verses and read only that if you must.

Eat, Pray, take your Meds and Trust in the Higher Power.

We are pulling for you guy.

Peace be with you.

BenYachov said...

One other thing Cole. You technically don't have to read the Bible to serve God or be saved. If bible reading where required for salvation then only the literate could be saved and the illiterate would be automatically damned.

Which is silly. In fact before the rise of the printing press and universal public education most people where illiterate.

The Desert Fathers, holy monks who lived in the deserts of Egypt in the 4th century didn't read the Bible. They had it read too them and taught to them by the Church.

They spend most of their time praying rather then reading.

Because Bibles in the fourth century where all hand written & before the printing press very expensive only a rich man could own a private copy. One who became a Desert Father said "I sole the Book that told me to sell all I have and give it too the poor and I gave my money to the poor."

Stay positive & we support you no matter what you believe.

Cheers.

Cole said...

Ben,

The Biblical God simply at times is not compassionate. I guess I just have a loving and compassionate heart for those who suffer. The God of the Bible sends people to intense suffering forever. The Biblical God inflicts intense pain and suffering on people. To the point to where it is simply abuse. Look at what he did to Christ on the cross as He poured His fury on Him. Cruel and unusual punishment at it finest. What about the flood? God couldn't be more humane and just put people to sleep? No, He simple drowns everybody. This is barbarism. And it's insane.

Syllabus said...

"Scripture isn't absolutely clear in all places. There is a level of ambiguity that allows for multiple meanings sometimes wicked ones hence we have hundreds of Denominations with sometimes opposite beliefs about what the Bible means."

Yeah, I don't really think perspecuity works in most cases anyway. I was just trying to get my finger on some specifics.

BenYachov said...

Cole

The way you describe it & interpret the Bible is not how the Catholic Church describes or interprets it.

I accept the Church's interpretation since She is the Holy Church and you are merely Cole.

However I have no wish to upset you with an aggressive explanation so let's leave it at that.

Cole said...

Hey Ben,

I believe in a loving and compassionate Higher Power. No, it's not all powerful neither did it create the physical world. When natural disasters rip through and break the arms of little babies and cripples them I don't see any love and compassion there. My Higher Power isn't responsible for those things for it didn't create the universe. Where did the universe come from? Science seems to be taking us in the direction that it came from nothing.

BenYachov said...

Peace be with you Cole.

Cheers.

Daniel Anderson said...

Cole, what's up? I remember reading just several months ago that you were now a Christian because of the argument from beauty or something like that. Now the problem of evil is bothering you?

There is a good book out called Godforsaken by Dinesh D'Souza. You may be interested in it.

Cole said...

Hey Daniel,

It's as clear as day to me. If we accept the Christian's position, then God chose to create. Choosing instead to not-create would have been a greater good, as it would have necessarily avoided intense suffering and evil. Therefore, this God should have not chosen to create at all. This is one reason why I believe my Higher Power did not create the physical universe. What does my Higher Power do? Keeps me sober. Gives me peace and joy. Gives me confidence and hope. Fills my heart with love and compassion. And motivates me to take this love and compassion to others.

Victor Reppert said...

By what standard would you compare creation and non-creation? I can't think of one myself.