Friday, February 07, 2014

God, Authority, and Electrons

Atheists often make the claim that the burden of proof lies with the believer, not the unbeliever. They would ask whether you can prove that the nonexistence of anything. Rather, it should be up to the person who makes the positive claim to provide proof, not the people trying to prove a negative. 
However, there are many things that are invisible that I might have trouble proving. Let's take electrons,  for example. I've never seen one myself. Many people believe in them simply on the authority of scientists. People also believe in God, even though they can't see God, because they take his existence on the basis of authorities. What's the difference? 

61 comments:

Papalinton said...

Chalk and cheese, Victor.
You say you god is invisible. But the invisible and the non-existent are indistinguishable unless you have irrefutable, repeatable, verifiable proof of the existence. Electrons. like gravity, is invisible to the naked eye, but they exist simply because time after time after time experiments have irrefutably demonstrated their existence. So strong is the evidence that whole fields of study and research are founded on this evidence. Equally what distinguishes the robust character of the evidence is that the study of electrons is predictive. Researchers can predict outcomes or results purely on the basis of following a few discovered rules, outcomes that can be repeated consistently over time, attesting to their existence. I have it on good authority that the authority of scientists is a slam dunk when it comes to electrons. For theological authority? Not even in the same ballpark. Theological authority in relation to scientific authority is a non sequitur. You cannot get to god from electrons.

"It has been said that if you don't believe in God[s] you will believe in anything. But the opposite is true. If you believe in in a god, then you will believe in anything. Belief is a habit that, once acquired, know no bounds." Prof David Eller, Anthropologist.

Can't get much clearer than that.

jdhuey said...

However, there are many things that are invisible that I might have trouble proving. Let's take electrons, for example. I've never seen one myself. Many people believe in them simply on the authority of scientists.

Well, people might believe in electrons simply on some authority but that is not considered a good reason - especially by scientists. What should convince people about the existence of electrons is that their existence can be demonstrated in any reasonably equipped science lab by any semi-competent high school science teacher. No authority figure is really required - the observable facts of nature are the only authority needed.

Crude said...

Atheists often make the claim that the burden of proof lies with the believer, not the unbeliever. They would ask whether you can prove that the nonexistence of anything. Rather, it should be up to the person who makes the positive claim to provide proof, not the people trying to prove a negative.

'There is no elephant in my kitchen.'

Pretty simple to prove. I check my kitchen - no elephant. Negative claim disproven.

'There is no INVISIBLE elephant in my kitchen!'

Walk around, feel. Nope, checked. No elephant. Negative claim disproven.

Easily done. Are Cult of Gnu atheists really so inept that they don't know how to support the case for a negative claim?

Now, normally I ignore Linton because he's an established liar and plagiarist, who is so emotionally unstable that he feels the need to lie about his knowledge to attack ideas he finds threatening. But this time, we're going to have a little fun with him - because he's doing in this thread something similar to what he did in the linked thread.

Linton, you said...

Electrons. like gravity, is invisible to the naked eye, but they exist simply because time after time after time experiments have irrefutably demonstrated their existence.

Describe, in your own words, the theories and experiments involved.

I have it on good authority that

Describe, in your own words, what this 'good authority' is, and how you know you have it?

Prediction: you will demonstrate you know next to nothing about these subjects. You don't know how to tell who is a trustworthy authority about physics other than to check their credentials, maybe kinda-sorta get the inkling of a consensus view. You will fight, desperately, to avoid meeting my questions - you will namecall, change the subject, attack, and squirm.

Because you know nothing of physics, and your 'good authority' is wholly a matter of saying 'Me like-um scientist!' to yourself. You couldn't tell a crank from an Einstein if your life depended on it, purely on the basis of their experiments and their scientific work.

Now, let's see you teach everyone about the physics and experiments of electrons. School us, teacher. ;)

Crude said...

Well, people might believe in electrons simply on some authority but that is not considered a good reason - especially by scientists.

And you know this why? Where are the scientists arguing that the public should not believe them when it comes to scientific claims?

What should convince people about the existence of electrons is that their existence can be demonstrated in any reasonably equipped science lab by any semi-competent high school science teacher.

Quite a claim. But while I wait for Linton to thoroughly embarrass himself, I have a special question for you.

What should convince people that dolphins evolved from a Indohyus population?

Crude said...

By the way, notice right out of the gates.

Linton puffs and bloviates about how he knows something because he hears scientists have done all these experiments and 'he has it on good authority' that the authority of scientists is a slam dunk on electrons. Authority about their authority. Amazing stuff.

jdhuey meanwhile tells us that scientists would be appalled at people accepting claims about electrons on authority, that that is a bad reason to believe things, and that the REAL way to believe is to firsthand observe an experiment for yourself. No authority figure required.

Two comments in, and two atheists arrive at opposed positions about the justification of knowledge on purely scientific topics. Two of them claim to speak for scientists - both of them contradict each other.

im-skeptical said...

"Two of them claim to speak for scientists - both of them contradict each other."

Why don't we shoot for three? Why do I believe that electrons exist? Because my world would not exist (at least as I understand it) without electrons. We have a good understanding of the properties of electrons, and it fits into a larger framework of scientific understanding. We know that they carry electric charge, and move between atoms in a conductor to make electric current. We understand how they behave in semiconductors, so we can construct bipolar or field effect transistors. We can generate beams of electrons that have wavelength much shorter than visible light, so they 'illuminate' objects with much finer detail than a light microscope can. We understand how they cause the binding of atoms to form chemical compounds. I'm not a physicist, but I don't have to be in order to understand that electrons are real and detectable, and are at the core of our understanding of just about everything in our world. Without them, we'd be left with "goddidit".

Crude said...

Notice the royal 'we' with Skep.

We know this about electrons, we know that about electrons, we know they exist!

And then, towards the end...

I'm not a physicist, but I don't have to be in order to understand that electrons are real and detectable,

Okay. So all that 'We'? But 'we' he meant 'Some other people doing experiments I haven't the foggiest idea how to do, working with theories and logic I can't grok, but I trust them'.

I think the OP is relevant here:

Let's take electrons, for example. I've never seen one myself. Many people believe in them simply on the authority of scientists.

Indeed.

im-skeptical said...

"Indeed"

Sorry if you are not included in the 'we' who 'grok' crude.

I'm not a physicist, but I actually do 'grok' things that you have no clue about.

Crude said...

I'm not a physicist, but I actually do 'grok' things that you have no clue about.

Insofar as you count 'grokking' as "someone out there I'm pretty sure knows why this is true, and I believe them even if I have no idea myself!" ;)

And you know what? That's fine. Really! There's a way to describe what you do: you accept claims based on authority.

Papalinton said...

I'll repeat it for Crude's edification and benefit. 'Theological authority in relation to scientific authority is a non sequitur. You cannot get to god from electrons."

Theological Authority = Because I said so; because the bible says so; Because Aquinas said so; Because the Pope says so.

Scientific Authority = Because the EVIDENCE says so.


planks length said...

I don't get the point of this conversation. Of course we "know" various things we never personally experience from all sorts of sources:

1. other people (I've never been to Australia, but others have assured me that such a place exists)

2. books (I did not live during the Middle Ages, but know a great deal about it from books)

3. the media (i didn't personally count all the votes in the last election, but the news channels told me who won)

4. etc.

Heck, if I had to rely solely on my individual personal experience, I'd know damn little about the world. Nothing at all before the year of my birth, and nothing about anything not seen with my own two eyes.

But to the larger point, as to whether there is evidence for God and the supernatural - of course there is! Just see the conversation three below this one. There you'll find 21 bits of evidence. Whether or not they convince you does not thereby define them as non-evidence. After all, the OJ Simpson jurors were not convinced by the evidence presented to them, but it was nevertheless still evidence. (And damn good evidence, at that!)

Papalinton said...

Let me reiterate a further time for Crude's edification and benefit. "Theological authority in relation to scientific authority is a non sequitur. You cannot get to god from electrons."

In fact you cannot get to god from any where.

John "Uncle John" McCarthy, American computer scientist at Stanford U, coined the term 'artificial intelligence' in 1955, received the Turing Award in 1971, intellectually and intelligently noted:

"An atheist doesn't have to be someone who thinks he has proof that there can't be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the god question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question."

God? Werewolf? God? Werewolf? God? Werewolf? Too hard to call which is worse of the two myths when there is no evidence to draw upon.

Ilíon said...

"... What's the difference?"

God matters -- and makes moral demands -- but electrons don't do either.

David Brightly said...

There seems to be a normative dimension to this question and the subsequent discussion that I find hard to understand: the word 'should' occurs several times. This suggests to me that people think that we have choice in what we believe. If that were so we could choose our beliefs on the basis of coin-tosses. The best we can do is to expose ourselves to chosen kinds of talk and then see what happens. I think Pascal says something along these lines. I guess I have chosen more electron-talk than God-talk because I'm now more comfortable with electron-talk. Trying to do God-talk leaves me feeling a fraud. But I have had this bias from a very early age and it would be interesting to know why. Part of the problem is to understand just what belief in electrons or God amounts to. I suppose I do believe in electrons but not in quite the way I believe in people and houses. Likewise my disbelief in God is not in the same way as my disbelief in unicorns. But introducing a normative dimension seems, well, irrelevant. What do others think?

Ilíon said...

jdhuey: "Well, people might believe in electrons simply on some authority but that is not considered a good reason - especially by scientists. What should convince people about the existence of electrons is that their existence can be demonstrated in any reasonably equipped science lab by any semi-competent high school science teacher. No authority figure is really required - the observable facts of nature are the only authority needed."

My Huey dosn't really understand what he's talking about -- but then, that seems to be a virtue with God-haters.

There are any number of assumptions -- most of which, perhaps even none of which, are self-evidently true -- built into the scientism he displays/advocates.

His "observable facts of nature" are meaningless on their own, they have no authority on their own, they do not "speak for themselves": "facts" are given meaning when they are put into a context, when they are authoritatively interpreted -- everything *always* comes back to authority.

The persons (and mindset) I mock as 'scientistes' (think of Miss Piggy, the Artiste) -- the adicts of scientism -- want to grab the perks of authority without also taking up the responsibility.

Ilíon said...

David Brightly: "There seems to be a normative dimension to this question and the subsequent discussion that I find hard to understand: the word 'should' occurs several times. This suggests to me that people think that we have choice in what we believe. If that were so we could choose our beliefs on the basis of coin-tosses. The best we can do is to expose ourselves to chosen kinds of talk and then see what happens. [yada, yada, yada]"

Good Lord! what a mess!

Indeed: everyone -- including *all* those who deny it, whether explicitly or implicity -- "think[s] that we have choice in what we believe". This belief has the happy coincidence of actually being the truth of the matter.

The only reason that Mr Brightly is arguing (such as it is) against "think[ing] that we have choice in what we believe" is because he's trying to convince others to choose to believe that ... and, also, to reinforce his own choice to believe that he has no choice in believing what he believes.

David Brightly: "If that were so we could choose our beliefs on the basis of coin-tosses."

And this (*) contradicts the truth that we can and do choose to believe what we believe, how?

(*) Even here, you appear to not understand what you yourself are saying. "Choosing" some belief on the basis of a coin-toss is choosing to continue with a prior choice ("From now on, I'm going to use 'chance' to make my decisions about what I will believe is true or not ... because I *don't really care* about the truth of the matter")

A person certainly can choose to select his beliefs on the basis of a coin-toss. He can even follow-through on that choice for years on end ... and then, he'll need to choose a belief about a matter of which he does care where truth lies. At that point, he'll try "two out of three".

Your objection that IF it were true "that we have choice in what we believe", THEN "we could choose our beliefs on the basis of coin-tosses" is really just this -- IF it were true "that we have choice in what we believe", THEN people might choose to believe this or that for no (rationally) valid reason at all!

Indeed: "The best we can do is to expose ourselves to chosen kinds of talk and then see what happens."

Crude said...

Linton,

Scientific Authority = Because the EVIDENCE says so.

Scientists, philosophers and theologians all typically work off evidence. Sometimes, any group of the three will not.

But I had two specific challenges for you, Linton. Why are you ducking?

Wait, we all know why - because you don't know how to tell evidence in 'physics' from revelation. ;)

BeingItself said...

You would not be able to ask such a confused question without the electrons doing their thing in your brain and in your computer.

Electrons can be measured. We can interact with them in the lab. Visit a local physics lab and experience for yourself.

RD Miksa said...

Dear Dr. V. Reppert:

You said:

Let's take electrons, for example. I've never seen one myself. Many people believe in them simply on the authority of scientists. People also believe in God, even though they can't see God, because they take his existence on the basis of authorities. What's the difference?

If I may, perhaps a better example would be one between evolutionary theory and theism.

The grand claims implicit within and necessitated by the evolutionary process have never been directly observed by anyone; at best, evolutionary theory serves as the best inference made of the available data. And yet many people have little knowledge of evolutionary theory, but they simply accept it on the authority of scientists who say that it is the best explanation of the available evidence presented to us. And those people think that they are eminently rational in accepting the theory for that reason.

Now God, if he exists, also has not been directly observed (or at least alleged not directly observed by a lot of people, even though some claim to have seen and sensed God directly). But God is also seen either as the best inference made of the available data, or as the necessary conclusion of a deductive argument. And a preponderance (72.3%) of specialists—philosophers of religion—that study these arguments and the topic of God specifically, believe that God exists (with 8.5% being other). So why is it rational to believe the authority of scientists in reference to evolution, but not the authority of philosophers of religion on the question of God?

And note that any attempts to point to significant differences between the two disciplines does not work.

Con't....

RD Miksa said...

First, both groups are using abductive reasoning in determining which inference is the best explanation of the evidence, with the philosophers also using deductive reasoning as well as other forms to come to their conclusion.

Second, both groups use empirical evidence in their inferences.

Third, both groups are specialists in their respective fields, and the opinions of non-specialists within their respective intellectual domains (science and philosophy) are unimportant. Indeed, just as we would ignore, as an expert, a theoretical physicist who stated that he had no knowledge of evolutionary biology but thought that it was wrong, so too would we ignore, as an expert, a philosopher of law (or science) who admitted that he had no expertise in the philosophy of religion but thought that the arguments for God’s existence were unsound. (And given how many fully-trained philosophers think, for example, that the key premise of the cosmological argument is that “everything has a cause”, it is not a stretch to say that most non-philosophy of religion philosophers have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to arguments for God’s existence.)

Fourth, both evolutionary science and philosophy are “self-correcting.” A philosopher is just as capable of checking and correcting another philosopher’s work for fallacious reasoning or weak premises as an evolutionary biologists is capable of checking the work of another evolutionary biologist.

Fifth, both groups are subject to biases and other elements that may cloud their thinking, but we still do not reject their consensus because of it. For example, a theist philosopher may have been a theist before choosing to specialize in the philosophy of religion. At the same time, an evolutionary biologist may have believed in the truth of evolution since she was five (raised by atheist parents, for example), and then went into evolutionary biology to confirm her childhood beliefs.

Sixth, both fields admit to some subjectivity. An evolutionary biologist may believe that the evidence supports punctuated equilibrium while his peer is not, just as a philosopher of religion may think that his argument is sound while his peer does not.

And so on and so forth.

So, in essence, my point is this: If we are going to give rational weight to the opinion of experts, then let’s do so in a consistent manner that does not apply a double-standard. And thus, if I am rational to accept evolutionary theory due to the weight of expert opinion on the subject, then I am rational to accept theism due to the weight of expert opinion on the subject as well.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

I am sorry, but I could not resist this comment from Linton:

Scientific Authority = Because the EVIDENCE says so.

What this should really say is the following:

Scientific Authority (beholden, as it currently is, to the principle of methodological naturalism, where you can lose your job/reputation by deviating from this principle)

=

Because the EVIDENCE says so (as long as the evidence does not point to the supernatural or anything that might be related to ID, and if it does, then ignore the evidence, or downplay its importance, or invoke the multi-verse, or claim that super-aliens did it, or start to say that something can come from nothing even though it never does, or just call the evidence a "brute fact", or move the goal posts, or ask for "extraordinary" evidence, or yell about the Bible, or something....anything....just keep the damn supernatural out of it no matter what the evidence says)!

So there, Linton, I fixed it for you.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Crude said...

You would not be able to ask such a confused question without the electrons doing their thing in your brain and in your computer.

'Doing their thing'? You don't know, beyond a brief wikipedia summary, do you?

Electrons can be measured. We can interact with them in the lab. Visit a local physics lab and experience for yourself.

Oh, so if we lack a local physics lab, we have no good reason to believe in electrons?

You say 'experience for yourself'. Experience what? You can't observe electrons, that's part of the problem here. Now, you can - supposedly, and with a good amount of physics knowledge - run experiments which, combined with yet MORE scientific understanding (and yet more expertise required), you can infer the existence of electrons. Presumably falsifiable existence.

If you argue that arguments from authority don't work, and one must 'do the science' to rightfully believe in electrons, good job - you've removed the rational capability of most people to accept the existence of not just electrons, but evolution.

If you argue that arguments from authority work, well...

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"The grand claims implicit within and necessitated by the evolutionary process have never been directly observed by anyone"

Sorry, but you are ignorant of the facts.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

"a preponderance (72.3%) of specialists—philosophers of religion—that study these arguments and the topic of God specifically, believe that God exists (with 8.5% being other). So why is it rational to believe the authority of scientists in reference to evolution, but not the authority of philosophers of religion on the question of God?"

Because most philosophers of religion are theists to begin with. They use biased reasoning to rationalize their pre-existing their beliefs, rather than believing what the evidence indicates.

"both groups are specialists in their respective fields, and the opinions of non-specialists within their respective intellectual domains (science and philosophy) are unimportant"

How convenient. You define a self-selected group of believers as the "experts" and then exclude everyone else as being qualified to render an opinion.

"both evolutionary science and philosophy are “self-correcting.” A philosopher is just as capable of checking and correcting another philosopher’s work for fallacious reasoning or weak premises as an evolutionary biologists is capable of checking the work of another evolutionary biologist."

But scientists don't just accept what they believe. They work hard to disprove their hypotheses. They come to consensus based on evidence and a long process of testing. Philosophers simply disagree with one another, and don't resolve those issues. That's because they don't have a method like the scientific method that ultimately works to achieve the self-correction that you claim.

"then I am rational to accept theism due to the weight of expert opinion on the subject as well."

So you have used faulty, biased reasoning to rationalize your beliefs.

RD Miksa said...

Skep,

First, you do realize that my original post pretty much answered all your "objections" before you even asked them, right?

Second, thank you for proving my point, which is that every objection that could be raised against the expert consensus opinion of philosophers-of-religion could be raised against the expert opinion of evolutionary biologists as well.

And all this is entirely consistent with my larger point: atheists / naturalists routinely employ a double-standard when it come to the expert consensus on a given subject.

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

If fact, I would like to conduct a little experiment...

Dear Skep and Linton,

If (again, if) you woke up tomorrow and found that 99% of evolutionary biologists had legitimately, freely, and without any type of coercion or distress, changed their mind and now accepted Intelligent Design theory as the best and only rational explanation for the origin of biological life, would Intelligent Design theory then become rational to believe in based on the expert consensus of all these scientists?

Yes or No, and why? (And please don't try to dodge the question).

RD Miksa

BeingItself said...

"If (again, if) you woke up tomorrow and found that 99% of evolutionary biologists had legitimately, freely, and without any type of coercion or distress, changed their mind and now accepted Intelligent Design theory as the best and only rational explanation for the origin of biological life, would Intelligent Design theory then become rational to believe in based on the expert consensus of all these scientists?"

Yes.

im-skeptical said...

Yes or No, and why? (And please don't try to dodge the question).

NO. Absolutely not. Why? Because my beliefs are based on what I know, not what somebody thinks. I have enough education in science to understand what evolutionary theory is and how it works. And I understand that the evidence is so plentiful as to be overpowering. And no, I haven't seen all this evidence with my own eyes, but I have no reason to believe that there's some huge conspiracy to make it up. (There is very good reason to believe that the bible is a work of fiction.)

If I heard about this scenario that you proffer, The first thing I would ask is: This is contrary to what I know and what I understand. Why have they made this decision? Do they have evidence? Has the existing evidence been refuted? If I come to the realization that their change of mind was for good, legitimate reasons, then and only then would I accept it. But notice again, that my decision would be based on a rational justification, not just because others changed their mind.

Karl Grant said...

I have enough education in science to understand what evolutionary theory is and how it works.

But not enough to explain what causes water to boil apparently.

Crude said...

What a great conversation. The guys who repeatedly crow about science and their commitment to science and how science offers reason and clarity... cannot even be on the same page in describing science, science's authority, and how it manifests.

Why, one might even get the impression they don't know much or care much about science at all, save for as a talking point. ;)

im-skeptical said...

"Why, one might even get the impression they don't know much or care much about science at all, save for as a talking point. ;)"

Especially if you make no effort to understand what each of them is saying. You, on the other hand, leave no doubt.

RD Miksa said...

Just FYI: I will be off-line for a few hours.

RD Miksa

Crude said...

Especially if you make no effort to understand what each of them is saying.

Skep, it is precisely because I pay attention to what you say that I think what I do of you.

Remember, you can't even correctly read -other atheists- without screwing up what they're saying, because you're a slave to your cognitive dissonance. Others are not so crippled. ;)

Victor Reppert said...

In the case of much in science, it may very well be supported by evidence, but much of the evidence isn't directly accessible to me, and that is the relevant point. I have to take someone's word for it. MY access to the evidence is indirect, not direct.

Papalinton said...

Crude asks:
. 'Describe, in your own words, the theories and experiments involved.
. Describe, in your own words, what this 'good authority' is, and how you know you have it?

Followed immediately with "Because you know nothing of physics, and your 'good authority' is wholly a matter of saying 'Me like-um scientist!' to yourself."

And like the trained superstitious supernaturalist mutt that he is, he has resorted to prophesying my response. Let's have some fun with his reality. Crude, in your own words, describe how a three-day old rotting purulent corpse revivified with no physical ill-effect and levitated into the blue beyond, such that a Jew, say Lord Jonathan Sacks - Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, would have no alternative but to accept it as nothing other than veritable fact. And just like your alter-ego, Don Quixote tilting at windmills, Crude, so too do you sit astride the moribund Aquinas equine in your battle against the infidels. Of course we have yet to hear your seasoned response to the new religion on the block, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, The New American Religion that is sweeping the United States and elsewhere were christianity used to breed.

Perhaps you might also like to explain why it is that the explanatory power of physics [Science] is universally accepted while the explanatory power power of Christianity, not so much. Indeed the 'universality' of superstitious supernaturalism, aka Christianity, seems to be regionally parochial, culture bound and the antithesis to all that can be reasonably deemed 'universal'.

But then we are talking about Crude, the Feserite, who excoriates anything and everything that does not subscribe to his vision of the immaterial. We must be mindful though that shadow boxing is not something most of us would deem productive or meriting expending much time and energy.




Papalinton said...

Victor
"In the case of much in science, it may very well be supported by evidence, but much of the evidence isn't directly accessible to me, and that is the relevant point."

If it was that important to you, you do what others do. You get off your bum and learn about it. I would encourage it.

im-skeptical said...

Victor,

" MY access to the evidence is indirect, not direct. "

Your access to scientific knowledge is direct, if you choose to gain an understanding of it. You have the ability to learn how it works. You can see how it all fits together. You can see how the existence of electrons is an important part of the larger framework of physical reality. If we couldn't detect them, we would still have to postulate their existence, out of necessity.

Crude said...

Once again, Linton will not fulfill my requests - simple, straightforward ones. He loves to talk about what is and isn't true about electrons, but damn, he can't explain the logic, the theories, or the experiments for the life of him.

He talks about 'having it on good authority', but ask him to explain how he tells what is a good authority, how he knows what authority he has, and he runs.

Because, and this goes right back to his plagiarism - he is an atheist as a shortcut. It's not about his believing God doesn't exist. It's about being seen as intelligent without doing any work. He thought he could become, magically, informed and knowledgeable and smart - or at least though of as such - just by becoming an atheist.

But oops, no. He's as ignorant as he ever was. And he knows nothing about science. He just hopes that if he parrots 'Me Like-um Science!' enough that that counts as being scientifically informed, or intelligent.

Alas, for him - that's not the case. Not for him or any Gnu.

Which is why we have a couple of Gnus in here who keep crowing about the authority of science, about what is and isn't the case about electrons, but goddamn, ask them to explain their reasoning in their own words and they want to talk about absolutely anything else. ;)

RD Miksa said...

Dear Beingitself,

OK, here are a couple of follow-up questions:

1) Would you accept the supermajority consensus of expert lawyers concerning the interpretation of some piece of law?

2) Would you accept the supermajority consensus of expert psychologists/psychiatrists concerning the existence of some new mental illness?

3) Would you accept the supermajority consensus of expert mathematicians concerning the validity of some complex mathematical calculation?

4) Would you agree that if the legal matter under consideration concerned criminal law, then specialists in criminal law would be the experts in such a case, but specialists in corporate law or family law would not be considered experts in such a case?

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Dr. V. Reppert:

In the case of much in science, it may very well be supported by evidence, but much of the evidence isn't directly accessible to me, and that is the relevant point. I have to take someone's word for it. MY access to the evidence is indirect, not direct.

It's even worse than just taking some scientist's word concerning the evidence. It is literally, in the case of many sciences, trusting the scientist's own interpretation of the evidence and the inference that he makes from it.

And this is precisely why, to me, there is little difference in trusting a scientist who makes an inference from the evidence and trusting a philosopher who makes an inference from the evidence.

Take care,

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Dear Skep:

NO. Absolutely not. Why? Because my beliefs are based on what I know, not what somebody thinks. I have enough education in science to understand what evolutionary theory is and how it works. And I understand that the evidence is so plentiful as to be overpowering. … If I heard about this scenario that you proffer, The first thing I would ask is: This is contrary to what I know and what I understand. Why have they made this decision? Do they have evidence? Has the existing evidence been refuted? If I come to the realization that their change of mind was for good, legitimate reasons, then and only then would I accept it. But notice again, that my decision would be based on a rational justification, not just because others changed their mind.

Excellent, so you have just provided the very justification that every Creationist, IDer, Evolution-Skeptic, Evolution-Agnostic, and so on could use to deny the importance of the scientific consensus when it concerns evolution (or any other scientific issue for that matter). After all, every one of them could offer the exact same reasoning as you did. You might disagree with their evaluation of the evidence, but, given what you said, you could not disagree with their reasoning process, given that it is exactly the same as yours.

In essence, you have just negated the evidentiary value of any scientific consensus.


Why? Because my beliefs are based on what I know, not what somebody thinks.

Really? Do you only mean this concerning evolutionary theory, or all your beliefs? For example, do you use the same reasoning concerning legal matters? Plumbing & Construction? Medical issues? Complex mathematics? Engineering and architectural matters?

So, I guess the question is: Do you ever claim to trust the consensus of experts in certain matters (and this is, of course, a trick question, given that we all trust the opinion of experts in most of our matters in life)? And if yes—and it must be yes—then what are the criteria that you use to determine when you trust the experts and when not?

RD Miksa

Papalinton said...

Crude, the issue regarding universal acceptance of the existence of electrons has been acknowledged and bedded down for quite some time now. If you and Dr Reppert for whatever arcane reason elect to ignore this little matter of epistemic surety, knock yourselves out. Who am I to disabuse you of your insanely idiosyncratic belief in the immaterial which you clearly are rusted on to despite being contradicted at so many levels by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument?

The singular unrivaled and unmatched power of the authority of science as an explanatory tool in contrast to say, religio-philosophy, is that it is fundamentally embedded with a corrective mechanism, a built-in self-regulating system through which any and all claims made must be verified and must by default be unconditionally responsive to being corrected, altered, revised or modified, in the light of new evidence. A scientific claim is only as good as it is internally or intrinsically able to withstand scrutiny and the test of falsifiability. Religious or theo-philosophical claims, as championed by Classical [Thomistic] Scholasticism has no such built-in regulator. Indeed, "Thomistic scholasticism in the English speaking world went into decline in the 1970s when the Thomistic revival that had been spearheaded by Jacques Maritain, Étienne Gilson, and others, diminished in influence. Partly, this was because this branch of Thomism had become a quest to understand the historical Aquinas after the Second Vatican Council. Still, those who had learned Scholastic philosophy continued to have unresolved questions about how the insights of the medieval synthesis could be applied to contemporary problems. This conversation departed from the academic environment and entered internet discussion groups such as Aquinas,[24] Christian Philosophy,[25] and Thomism,[26] and websites such as Open Philosophy,[27] where it continues today." Wiki

Dr Reppert and you, Crude, would do well to revise your reliance on old-form old-style philosophy if you wish to remain relevant in today's conversation. Adherence to traditional, scientifically uninformed philosophy cannot be utilized as the bulwark it formally once was, attempting to legitimate your crusade in defending superstitious supernaturalism, as the drift of this OP is disposed toward, in today's modern world. To obdurately persist in this line of 'reasoning'[?] is a disservice you can well do without.

Robert Graves, renowned novelist, poet and classical scholar, best reflects the dissimilarity of theism [the driver behind supernaturalist philosophy] with that of science [the driver behind methodological naturalism]:

"What the scientist thinks today, everyone else will be thinking on the day after tomorrow."

Ilíon said...

RD Miksa (trying to reason with Bullshittery_Itself … whom we all totally believe would become an IDist tomorrow if all the ‘modern evolutionary theorists’ were to admit, “Oops!”):OK, here are a couple of follow-up questions: …

My questions:

1) Are you a recognized ‘expert’ in the field of ‘X’? Say, ‘modern evolutionary theory’, or ‘climate change’.

No?

2) So, by your own admission, your opinion concerning ‘X’ is, at best, non-expert?

Ah, I thought so.

3) As I understand your position, non-experts don’t have standing to dispute the experts. For example, some ignorant creationist, such as Ken Ham, doesn’t have standing to challenge/dispute an educated evolutionist, such as Bill Nye, and certainly not Richard Dawkins. Does this accurately summarize your position?

Ah, I thought so.

4) Hmmm.

Doesn’t this position also logically entail the claim that non-experts *also* don’t have standing to agree with the experts?

So, if you did want to be logically consistent (a stretch, I know), you must take the position that *you* have no standing to have any opinion at all about any matter of which you are not an expert … including that you have no standing to criticize/condemn those who do dispute the so-called experts.

5) Oh? You didn’t see that coming? I know … you people just don’t *think-through* to foolish assertions you make. For, after all, all you (plural) care about is that it sounds good, right now.

David Brightly said...

Yesterday morning Planks said that he didn't get the point of this conversation. I have to agree with him. More so after subsequent exchanges.

Victor says that the point is that he 'has to take somebody's word for it'. But that's just not right, in my view. Nobody has to take anybody's word for it. We can always stand back and say A friend told me something, or The textbooks say something, or The papers are saying that scientists are saying something. Some of it we tentatively accept; some of it we are indifferent to and we forget, some of it we may reject while noting that its source may be unreliable; some of it remains around us as so much wallpaper. Much of it is quite irrelevant to the core beliefs and understandings that guide our daily lives. Some of it percolates inwards and becomes part of us, only later, perhaps, to leak away. Yes, we can subject some of it to critical analysis, but that just forms a further part of the percolation process. There is no rock-bottom in propositional form.

Clearly the phenomenon we call 'trust' comes into this. We are more accepting of statements from those we trust. RD is now asking for a rational analysis of trust. Will this take us much further than platitudes such as I trust X because I've known him for a long time and he's always played straight with me? Or I trust Science because it's crowd-sourced? Just as one can't say what to believe in a few rules one can't say whom to trust in a few rules. And the reason is the same: we aren't language all the way down.

The interesting question isn't Who is right? or Who is more rational? It's How come we arrive at such distant destinations?

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"Excellent, so you have just provided the very justification that every Creationist, IDer, Evolution-Skeptic, Evolution-Agnostic, and so on could use to deny the importance of the scientific consensus when it concerns evolution"

No, I haven't. I am aligned with the scientific consensus. The IDists aren't. You misunderstand what I said. First, I know that such a sudden change of mind would never happen without extraordinary justification. There would have to be some really good evidence to convince the majority of the scientific community, and I'm pretty sure it would be convincing to me as well.

The ID crowd, on the other hand doesn't simply have an alternate interpretation of the evidence - they ignore the evidence. They have a religious agenda shrouded in a mantle of scientific terminology. They Don't do science.


"Do you ever claim to trust the consensus of experts in certain matters"

Of course, I have to rely on the accumulated knowledge of others in matters that I don't know enough about myself. But I would add that this is by no means a blind trust, and my own educational background is broad enough in the scientific arena that I can often smell the bullshit. Take medicine, for example. I don't know what the best medication for a certain condition might be, given the particular circumstances of the patient, so I would certainly rely on the expertise of the doctors (perhaps with a second opinion). But my scientific background tells me that some kinds of treatments, like homeopathic medicines, are sheer quackery.

And that background gives me at least some level of knowledge in quite a few areas (most of the knowledge areas that you mentioned). Furthermore, in an area where I don't know enough to decide the truth of a question, I am not afraid to look for information, if the question is important to me. I came here hoping to get a better understanding of religious philosophy from the perspective of the believers.
And by the way, when it comes to questions of God's existence, there are different camps, with the consensus being still in the religious camp. That's one consensus I reject. My reasons are based on all the rest of the knowledge I have, and the realization that it wouldn't make sense any more.

RD Miksa said...

Skep,

No, I haven't. I am aligned with the scientific consensus. The IDists aren't. You misunderstand what I said. First, I know that such a sudden change of mind would never happen without extraordinary justification. There would have to be some really good evidence to convince the majority of the scientific community, and I'm pretty sure it would be convincing to me as well.

The problem is, based on what you said above, it is clear that it would be the evidence itself that would convince you, not the weight of the scientific consensus concerning that evidence. At best—given your words—the change in scientific consensus would alert you to seriously consider the evidence, but it would not convince you in and of itself.

Given all this, let me rephrase the issue this way:

Imagine that tomorrow, the overwhelming scientific expert consensus, based on some new evidence, freely changed to the Intelligent Design camp and now accepted ID Theory as the best explanation for the origin and development of biological life.

Now, given this situation, let me ask you these questions:

1) If, for whatever reason, you had no access to the new evidence (and never could have access to it), would you accept the change in scientific expert consensus and come to believe in ID Theory, or would you reject the scientific consensus until and unless you were able to evaluate the evidence for yourself?

2) If, this time, you actually are evaluating this new evidence for yourself, and you find it unconvincing, would you be rational in rejecting the overwhelming scientific expert consensus in such a case?

3) If, this time, you are actually sat down by a panel of the head experts in evolutionary biology and they fully explain why the new evidence leads to ID being the best explanation for the origin and development of biological life, and yet you still reject this new evidence even though the expert panel is explaining to you that you actually don’t understand the new evidence properly, would you still be rational in rejecting the overwhelming scientific expert consensus in such a case?

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Skep,

The ID crowd, on the other hand doesn't simply have an alternate interpretation of the evidence - they ignore the evidence. They have a religious agenda shrouded in a mantle of scientific terminology. They Don't do science.

So, given the above, let me ask you this: If a group of people hold a position that is in opposition to the expert consensus, then do you believe that that gives you the grounds to suspect that that group of people have an ulterior, non-rational reason for being in opposition to that expert consensus?

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Skep,

"Do you ever claim to trust the consensus of experts in certain matters." Of course, I have to rely on the accumulated knowledge of others in matters that I don't know enough about myself.

OK, let me ask you this: Given your opinion above, is the average person—untrained in philosophy, etc.—rational for accepting the expert consensus that theism is true?

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

RD,

scenario 1 - I would not accept the change. The fact that the evidence is unknown and unavailable to me goes against the grain of scientific thinking, and points to some kind of cabal.

scenario 2 - If I saw the evidence and it is not consistent with my own scientific training and understanding, I would probably be suspicious that either I don't understand it (in which case I would need to seek further understanding), or there's still some hidden agenda at work (in which case I would want to investigate what that agenda might be).

scenario 3 - This is similar to the second scenario. The explanation offered is still inconsistent with my own scientific understanding. I would certainly have to push for more answers, and If I couldn't get them, my suspicions would be raised.

I should point out here, that there's a difference between an explanation that is beyond my understanding and one that is inconsistent with what I know. In the case of ID or creationism, I already have a fair understanding of the claims they make and the inconsistencies with real scientific methods. So the evidence offered would have to bring the whole field into alignment with real science. That's a tall order.

im-skeptical said...

RD,

"OK, let me ask you this: Given your opinion above, is the average person—untrained in philosophy, etc.—rational for accepting the expert consensus that theism is true?"

Let me put it this way: If the 'average person' is untrained in science, he could believe just about anything. Philosophy does not provide the answers. Most philosophers are atheists, as I understand it. There are philosophical positions on every side of every question. How can anyone decide which is the correct position? The best you can do is to turn to science.

RD Miksa said...

Skep,

scenario 1 - I would not accept the change. The fact that the evidence is unknown and unavailable to me goes against the grain of scientific thinking, and points to some kind of cabal.

Interesting, so you admit that the overwhelming scientific consensus could be the result of “some kind of cabal.” This sounds strangely similar to the IDers complaint that the current scientific consensus concerning evolutionary biology is a cabal in favor of an atheistic-naturalistic interpretation to the exclusion of all others, and this is why ID is ignored. So, given what you said above, do you admit that the IDers could be correct?


scenario 2 - If I saw the evidence and it is not consistent with my own scientific training and understanding, I would probably be suspicious that either I don't understand it (in which case I would need to seek further understanding), or there's still some hidden agenda at work (in which case I would want to investigate what that agenda might be).

Excellent. So IDers and Creationists could use the exact same reasoning to deny the strength of the scientific consensus concerning evolutionary biology (and please note, I am not—repeat NOT—trying to make this specifically an ID versus Neo-Darwinism debate, but because the ID example is so clear, it makes for a good example).


scenario 3 - This is similar to the second scenario. The explanation offered is still inconsistent with my own scientific understanding. I would certainly have to push for more answers, and If I couldn't get them, my suspicions would be raised.

Again, excellent. IDers and Creationists could use the exact same reasoning to deny the relevancy of the scientific consensus to their understanding of the evidence.


I should point out here, that there's a difference between an explanation that is beyond my understanding and one that is inconsistent with what I know. In the case of ID or creationism, I already have a fair understanding of the claims they make and the inconsistencies with real scientific methods. So the evidence offered would have to bring the whole field into alignment with real science. That's a tall order.

Yes, but the point is that if an overwhelming consensus of scientific experts in the relevant field were telling you that the new evidence did show that ID was the best scientific explanation of the origin and development of biological life, then you still admit that you would not accept it. Which just shows, again, that the scientific consensus has little evidentiary weight for you. Why, therefore, should it have any evidentiary weight for any one else?

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Skep:

Let me put it this way: If the 'average person' is untrained in science, he could believe just about anything.

What?! If I am untrained in science, could I believe that pigs can fly, that woman can give birth to cows, that water is poison, etc., etc., etc.. Your statement is so ridiculous as to be laughable.


Philosophy does not provide the answers. … There are philosophical positions on every side of every question. How can anyone decide which is the correct position? The best you can do is to turn to science.

Absurd.

First, you have just avoided the question I asked. So directly answer the question.

Second, your claim that the “best you can do is turn to science” is a philosophical position, so your claim is self-refuting, for we cannot turn to science to show us that science is indeed the best thing we can turn to.

Third, science is permeated with philosophical assumptions. At best, science is the bastardized step-child of philosophy.

Fourth, we cannot even know what science is without philosophy. After all, it is philosophers of science who provide the demarcation as to what is science and what is not science. And the arguments for the demarcation of science are philosophical arguments, not scientific ones.

Fifth, there are scientific positions on every side of every question as well. The best you have in science is a strong consensus.

Sixth, philosophy provides plenty of answers that are established on just as much of a consensus basis as the answers in science are. Why is the scientific consensus any better than a philosophical one?

Seventh, science is not the best that we can turn to. In fact, science, by definition, cannot even provide us with truth. Only philosophy can do that.


Most philosophers are atheists, as I understand it.

And? A philosopher of law (or any other non-related field) is no expert in the field of philosophy of religion. Or do you think that William Lane Craig’s opinion on the philosophy of law is as expertly valuable as a philosopher who specializes in the philosophy of law?



So again, answer the question: Given your opinions above, is the average person—untrained in philosophy, etc.—rational for accepting the expert consensus from the relevant field (philosophy of religion) that theism is true?

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Skep:

Here are a couple of follow-up questions:

1) Would it be rational for an average person—untrained in law—to accept the supermajority consensus of expert lawyers concerning the interpretation of some piece of law?

2) Would it be rational for an average person—untrained in psychology/psychiatry—to accept the supermajority consensus of expert psychologists/psychiatrists concerning the existence of some new mental illness?

3) Would it be rational for an average person—untrained in mathematics—to accept the supermajority consensus of expert mathematicians concerning the validity of some complex mathematical calculation?

4) Would you agree that if the legal matter under consideration concerned criminal law, then specialists in criminal law would be the experts in such a case, but specialists in corporate law or family law would not be considered experts in such a case?

RD Miksa

im-skeptical said...

RD,

From your comments, it's difficult to tell whether you think that science is philosohhy or not, or whether science is aligned with philosophy.


"your claim that the “best you can do is turn to science” is a philosophical position, so your claim is self-refuting"

Not at all. Science is philosophy. Always has been. But science differs from other branches of philosophy in some very important ways. First, it depends on empirical evidence to support its assertions. Second, it has an established method for arriving at answers to the questions it poses. Third, achieves consensus.


"science is permeated with philosophical assumptions. At best, science is the bastardized step-child of philosophy."

Science works. It might be more fair to say that theism is a bastardized step-child of philosophy, since it relies on unproven assertions, is often out of touch with empirical reality, and is the subject of immense disagreement.


"we cannot even know what science is without philosophy"

I agree.


"there are scientific positions on every side of every question as well"

There is disagreement in many areas of science, but they settle on a consensus eventually. Nobody disagrees about what makes stars burn, or how chemical compounds are formed. Contrast that with philosophical questions such as whether God exists. Will there ever be consensus in the philosophical community on that? Is there a method to arrive at the answer? I don't think so.


"philosophy provides plenty of answers that are established on just as much of a consensus basis as the answers in science are"

I don't think so.


"science, by definition, cannot even provide us with truth. Only philosophy can do that."

Science has a well-established track record the the rest of philosophy can't touch.

planks length said...

im-skeptical,

Are you aware that the word "scientist" was coined by Anglican priest and noted theologian William Whewell?

It's interesting that when you explore its history, one finds that science is a wholly-owned subsidiary of religion in general and of Christianity specifically. There is no need whatsoever for you to regard them as being somehow at odds with each other.

RD Miksa said...

Skep,

Will address your new comment when off work. But I would love to hear your answers to the other questions that I posed.

RD Miksa

RD Miksa said...

Skep:

From your comments, it's difficult to tell whether you think that science is philosohhy or not, or whether science is aligned with philosophy.

Science is not philosophy--after all, we do not call philosophers scientists, nor do scientific departments fall under the purview of Philosophy Departments--but science necessarily rests on a philosophical foundation.


Not at all. Science is philosophy. Always has been. But science differs from other branches of philosophy in some very important ways.

If science is philosophy, then philosophy is science. So are you saying that the philosophy of religion is, potentially, a scientific discipline? Really?


First, it depends on empirical evidence to support its assertions. Second, it has an established method for arriving at answers to the questions it poses. Third, achieves consensus.

Sure, but note that philosophical arguments can do this just as well. For example, the two premises of the Kalam Cosmological Argument have empirical evidence to support their claims. In addition, there is an established method for arriving at answers: namely, the rules of logic, logical inference, deductive reasoning, etc. And there is a consensus in the relevant field of experts that theism is true, or at least rational to believe (although the consensus concerning the Kalam argument specifically is unknown). Furthermore, other arguments, such as the Contigency Argument or the Fine-Tuning Argument, all meet your criteria as well.

So this raises a very peculiar question: Given what you have said above concerning science being a type of philosophy with three unique features, and given that I have shown that at least some theistic arguments meet those criteria, do you then believe that these theistic arguments are "scientific" arguments (and they may be so even if you think that they are, ultimately, wrong)?


Science works.

What does this even mean? Works how? For what? Why should I care that it works if what I am interested in is truth, whether or not that truth "works" or not?

After all, religious theism "works" too. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of religious belief; it makes many people happier, healthier, etc. So do you thus endorse theistic religious belief because it "works" in some respect or other?

Con't...

RD Miksa said...

Con't...

It might be more fair to say that theism is a bastardized step-child of philosophy

Skep, theism has been held by the greatest philosophical minds in history, and many of them came to theistic beliefs via reason alone, so please don't try to make it seem like theism is the odd position here. That's just historically incoherent.


...since it relies on unproven assertions

Actually, theism, given the potential soundness of the ontological argument, may be one of the few (or only) positions that does not rely on any unproven assertions (except for maybe the laws of logic).

Furthermore, science itself is infused with multiple unproven assertions. Just one example: science simply asserts that the speed of light is the same here as it is everywhere else in the universe, and that the speed of light is the same now as it was ten million years ago. Is there any way to prove this? None whatsoever. And science is littered with many more such unprovable assertions. So don't think for a second that scientific disciplines are immune for making such assertions. If anything, science holds to many more unproven assertions than other disciplines do.


...is often out of touch with empirical reality

Yes, because, for example, the Kalam Argument, which uses the empirical evidence from the Big Bang, and the Fine-Tuning Argument, which uses the empirical evidence from the fine-tuning of the universe, these really are out of touch with empirical reality (whatever that even means).


and is the subject of immense disagreement.

Except its not, given that there is an expert consensus in the relevant field--namely, philosophy of religion--that theism is true, or at least rational to believe.


Contrast that with philosophical questions such as whether God exists. Will there ever be consensus in the philosophical community on that? Is there a method to arrive at the answer? I don't think so.

What you personally think is irrelevant, especially since the best evidence currently shows that an expert consensus does exist, and that expert consensus maintains that belief in God is rational.


Science has a well-established track record the the rest of philosophy can't touch.

Well-established track record of what? Positing theories that are eventually shown to be horribly incorrect? A well-established track record of scientific fraud? A well-established track record of having studies that show contradictory results? A well-established track record of provisionally positing theories that can never be considered true and at best might be falsified?

My point: Science--or, more accurately, scientists--are not as impressive as you believe.

RD Miksa

frances said...


RD

A philosopher of law (or any other non-related field) is no expert in the field of philosophy of religion. Or do you think that William Lane Craig’s opinion on the philosophy of law is as expertly valuable as a philosopher who specializes in the philosophy of law?

Personally I think that WLC's opinion on the philosophy of law is exactly as expertly valuable as his opinion on the philosophy of religion - i.e. not valuable at all.

Philosophy requires certain skills and they are the essentially same skills whether you are dealing with questions of law or religion. Someone whose particular field is the philosophy of religion (or science, or law or whatever) is just applying their philosophical skills to that area. But as philosophy, their arguments will stand or fall by their philosophical abilities, not their scientific or legal or religious ones (whatever "religious" might mean in that context).

it is not comparable with expertise in different branches of the law/medicine etc because maritime law is quite different from criminal law, cardiology is quite different from opthalmology etc.

With philosophy the question is not so much "what do you know" what valid arguments can you make? 82

im-skeptical said...

RD,

> "If science is philosophy, then philosophy is science."

No. That's like saying "If all Fords are cars, then all cars are Fords."

> "there is an established method for arriving at answers: namely, the rules of logic, logical inference, deductive reasoning, etc."

No, philosophy has no way like science of arriving at well-established answers. If it did, we would agree on those answers, but we don't.

> "do you then believe that these theistic arguments are "scientific" arguments"?

No the arguments are not scientific, because they are not based on scientific methods. However the questions they attempt to answer may be subject to scientific inquiry.

> "What does this even mean? Works how? For what? Why should I care that it works if what I am interested in is truth, whether or not that truth "works" or not? "

Science gives us answers to a wide variety of questions. Philosophers give us opinions and arguments, but not answers.

> "theism has been held by the greatest philosophical minds in history, and many of them came to theistic beliefs via reason alone"

How do you know that? It seems to me that every theistic argument ever produced by a theistic philosopher is nothing more than a way to justify what that philosopher already believes.

> "the potential soundness of the ontological argument, may be one of the few (or only) positions that does not rely on any unproven assertions"

Really? Anslem's Ontological argument says this: "A being that exists both in the mind and in reality is greater than a being that exists only in the mind." How has this been proven? How can he even say that something exists both in mind and in reality? This is nothing but muddled logic.

> "Furthermore, science itself is infused with multiple unproven assertions."

Science doesn't claim absolute truth like religion does. Everything is tentative, and may be disproved.

> "Yes, because, for example, the Kalam Argument, which uses the empirical evidence from the Big Bang, and the Fine-Tuning Argument, which uses the empirical evidence from the fine-tuning of the universe, these really are out of touch with empirical reality (whatever that even means)."

The Thomistic concepts of act and potency, final causation, etc. are severely out of touch with empirical reality.

> "there is an expert consensus in the relevant field--namely, philosophy of religion"

What consensus? Which religion is the 'correct' one? Whose concept of God is the the agreed one? What are the 'objective' facts of morality? Consensus, my ass.

> "Well-established track record of what? Positing theories that are eventually shown to be horribly incorrect?"

Of explaining how things work, which is reflected in our technology.

> "My point: Science--or, more accurately, scientists--are not as impressive as you believe."

And I'm saying that theistic philosophy is much less impressive than you seem to believe.

Steve Finnell said...

THE AUTHORITY OF GOD? BY STEVE FINNELL

Where is God's authority recorded? Most denominations who use creed books AKA denominational church catechisms, use those creed books as the final authority for faith and practice.

The question is, if church creed books are used as the authoritative book, why read the Bible? The ironic thing about churches who use creed books is, they try to use the Bible to support their denominational creeds.

If creed books are used as the rules for faith and practice, then referencing the Bible rings hollow.

There is not one denomination that has written one verse of the Bible. Denominations write creed books. God does not write creed books.

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Jesus did not say if anyone loves Me, he will keep the words of the church catechism.

1 John 1:4-6 .....as we received command from the Father......6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment , that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

We are told to walk according to the commandments of God. There is no commandment that says to walk according to church creed books nor new books of revelation written by men.

If your church catechism AKA creed book, or your so-call book of new revelation contradicts doctrine that is found in the Bible, then one of two things is true. 1. The Bible is in error and therefore cannot be trusted for faith and practice. 2. Your creed book or book of new revelation is in error and cannot be trusted as God's message to mankind.

YOU CAN USE THE BIBLE AS GOD'S AUTHORITY OR YOU CAN USE MAN-MADE EXTRA-BIBLICAL SOURCES.
YOU CANNOT USE BOTH!

(Scripture from; NKJV)

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com


YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http//:steve-finnell.blogspot.com

Steve Finnell said...

THE BATTLE OF THE BIBLE TRANSLATIONS BY STEVE FINNELL

Are there translations of the Bible that are not trustworthy? I know of one or two translations out of sixty-plus English translations that are not trustworthy. Many take the position that the King James Bible is the only dependable translation of God's word.

A TRANSLATION COMPARISON.

KING JAMES BIBLE (KJV)
THE LIVING BIBLE-Paraphrased (TLB)
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (NASB)

John 3:16 For God so loved world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.(KJV)

John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (TLB-P)

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, the He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB)

You will notice in the KJV and the TLB-P use lower case when translating, he and him. The NASB uses He and Him when talking about God and Jesus. Should God and Jesus be capitalized? Of course. Does that mean that the KJV and TLB-P are not trustworthy translations? NO IT DOES NOT. All three translations say the same thing.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (KJV)

Acts 2:38 And Peter replied, "Each one of you must turn from sin, return to God, and be baptized in the name Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; then you also shall receive this gift, the Holy Spirit. (TLB-P)

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NASB)

Notice all three translation say that in order to have your sins forgiven you must repent and be baptized. Some deny that repentance and baptism are essential for sins to be forgiven. MEN DENY THIS, NOT BECAUSE OF INACCURATE TRANSLATIONS. THEY SIMPLY CHOSE NOT TO BELIEVE IT.

Men are not going to be lost because of faulty translations. Men are lost because they refuse to believe in the translations they trust.

99% of all translation are trustworthy. My translation, of choice, is the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE. You can get to heaven by reading the KJV, TLB-P, the NIV and many other translations.


JUST PICK A TRANSLATION AND BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAYS.



you are invited to follow my blog. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com