Response to MadMax
Thanks for your comments to my blog. As always, they were very thoughtful.
I am responding via a new blog post because Blogger is not allowing me to post comments at the moment. Some error code: "bX-y8qp7n". I've reported it to Blogger, but I have no idea what they'll do about it, or when. So I'm not waiting for them.
you've pumped out a tremendous amount of content recently.
RK used the term "noetic" at least once. I've encountered this before from theists. Noetic consciousness is supposed to have some non-rational access to knowledge, ie a form of intuition.
As for what "intuition" denotes, this is a good question, but ultimately it rests on those who affirm it as part of their system to give it a concise definition. The dictionary is only somewhat useful, as it provides a number of different definitions. For instance:
- direct perception of a truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.- a fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way.- a keen and quick insight.- the quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight.- Philosophy.- a. an immediate cognition of an object not inferred or determined by a previous cognition of the same object.- b. any object or truth so discerned.- c. pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge.
I must say, MM, I read the Bernstein article you linked me to the other day, and I really, really enjoyed it and have put a link to it on my sidebar. Bernstein covers so much territory in such a succinct and penetrating manner while thoroughly obliterating the thesis of Rodney Stark's book The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success. Bernstein must have really poured a lot of effort into it, as it is very well written. I know Bernstein mostly from his recorded lectures, so it was refreshing to see him in print. It is an excellent article, and if I were teaching a class on the history of western civilization, Bernstein's article would be on the list of required readings. I think he goes a bit far in one sentence when he states that "a heretic is nothing more than an independent mind whose freethinking leads him into conflict with the prevailing religious text," but perhaps I'm just being trivial. However, it seems to me that a heretic could very well be someone who still endorses dogmatic commitments which he would question were he truly independent in his thinking (I'm thinking of Arius, for instance, whom Bernstein discusses). He may dispute the doctrine of the trinity, for instance, but still affirm equally arbitrary notions, such as creation ex nihilo, the virgin birth, salvation through Jesus' atoning works, miracles, raising the dead, etc. But this in no way detracts from the point Bernstein is trying to make at this point in his essay, and surely not from any of the larger points he is trying to make.
I went through with my hilighter and noted a number of Bernstein's statements for future reference. I was delighted to see that he made the distinction between rationality and rationalism, as this is a key issue for the discussion. Christian apologists tend to suppose that apply norms of logic guarantees a position's rationality. But this merely emphasizes form over content, giving the the latter short-shrift. As "deduction without reference to reality," rationalism applies logic to arbitrary content, to essentially a fantasy, as Bernstein rightly notes.
I have plenty more works in the mill. But in the meantime, you might want to take a look at Chris Bolt's latest reply to me. He did a video where he takes my recent blog on divine deception to task. In it, he calls my blog entries "lengthy, arrogant posts." I thought that was rather flattering.