Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Reply to Michael: Further Thoughts on the Issue of Supernatural Deception

In the comments section of a previous blog entry of mine, Cognitive Reliability vs. Supernatural Deception, Christian blogger Michael Russell has offered numerous points of reaction. His last two comments, dated 7 December, were so loaded with topical material that I decided to post my response to him in a new blog entry here on Incinerating Presuppositionalism.
Michael wrote:
The question you left me with, was a clarifying comment on whether the human mind is subject to supernatural deception.
Yes, I was hoping for a clear and definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from you on this, since your previous messages on the matter have left your position a little murky here.

Michael wrote:
Again, you've pushed me beyond my previous thought with our interaction on this specific point. I can see that my previous post on 1 Tim 4 would be better if complemented with discussion of the rest of the Biblical witness on the subject of demons, in particular, demon possession.
I think specifically the area of my inquiry can be narrowed to the supernatural abilities which Christianity ascribes to demons (“deceptive spirits”) and the abilities of men to detect and resist those abilities. From what I can tell, the NT characterizes human beings as pretty much sitting ducks for the supernatural pick-off. Human beings are always “in season,” and it’s just a matter of which supernatural spirit gets to them first; or, it’s just all a matter of “God’s plan,” which no man can alter. The lesson to take home, on the Christian view, is that man never has the upper hand when confronted with a supernatural will. If a supernatural spirit wants to move in and make its home in a human being’s mind, what’s going to stop it? How can any human being resist a supernatural force?

I’m reminded of an old Star Trek episode – one from the original sixties series, perhaps you’ve seen it – where the Enterprise crew picks up a group of children who were orphaned by a scientific team that encountered disaster on some distant planet. The crew of the Enterprise don’t realize it, but these kids have supernatural powers. In one scene, the crew on the bridge of the starship are deceived into thinking that the ship is still orbiting a planet when in fact it’s traveling at maximum “warp” speed to another system. Poor Sulu and Chekhov are none the wiser – they’ve been supernaturally deceived.

What I’m saying is that, if my worldview sincerely affirmed the existence of supernatural beings, I don’t see how I could ever rule out the possibility such belief invites that I myself could be the victim of such deception. It seems extremely tenuous to think that Romans 1 alleviates such a possibility. Indeed, the whole approach that you’ve offered so far relies on inference, and thus assumes that one’s own mental faculties, including the ability to draw inferences, are immune to supernatural deception, which is the very thing in question. To date your approach seems to rely on assuming the very thing in question.

Michael wrote:
I can also see that I have not accounted for how the demonic teaching first enters into humans. So let me amend (and perhaps contradict) would I previously said. It seems I need to propose some kind of ability in demons to 'propose false teaching to a person's heart and mind'. How this actually works is beyond me. The Bible says little.
Why do you suppose that is? Why would this god, which is said to have authored the bible and “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” choose to keep his believers in the dark on such matters? Speaking as a parent myself, I do everything in my power to inform my daughter about the world and the hazards she might encounter. I certainly wouldn’t tell her something like, “Well, there are these supernatural spirits that might be a real menace to you, and I know precisely how they operate, but I’m not going to give you any details – I’m just going to leave you completely uninformed on the matter.” Since I genuinely love my daughter, I have every intention of disclosing everything I know about the hazards that could harm her. I certainly wouldn’t choose to withhold vital information from her that she could use to protect herself, as though to say, “Enjoy the darkness of your ignorance. Good luck! You’ll need it!” But perhaps on the Christian view there really is nothing that a human being can do to protect himself from supernatural forces. So why go into it? Either way, the state of affairs as we find it in the bible does not speak well for the worldview it endorses.

Michael wrote:
Let me turn to your actual question. A one word answer to your question is 'yes', I think the human mind is potentially subject to supernatural deception. This is because the Bible teaches that human minds do get deceived by demons and their teaching.
Yes, it does teach this, so I don’t see how one could avoid answering ‘yes’ to my question, even though previous efforts on your part to answer my blog Cognitive Reliability vs. Supernatural Deception implied that you were essentially trying to answer it with a ‘no’.

So it’s good to have a clear answer to this: Yes, you do think that the human mind is potentially subject to supernatural deception, given what the bible teaches.

Of course, I’m guessing there will now be a need to qualify this affirmation somehow, perhaps with a set of disclaimers which are intended to preserve other teachings also found in the bible, namely teachings which hold man culpable for his spiritual state, even though it is ultimately in the hands of supernatural forces beyond his control.

Michael wrote:
Demonic possession would obviously severely change the experience of the person who is possessed.
I don’t know why you would say this. It seems that the contrary would be the case, given the supernatural abilities of deceptive spirits. You yourself have acknowledged that “the Bible teaches that human minds do get deceived by demons and their teaching.” Effective execution of such deception would, I’d think, by virtue of such efforts qualifying as successfully deceptive, result in seamless and undetectable reshaping. Presumably demons (“deceptive spirits”) have had millennia or longer to perfect their craft. So I’m not disposed to readily accept the view that demonic possession, or merely supernatural deception (if these are distinct somehow – the latter is what I’ve been concerned about), “would obviously severely change the experience of the person” who is deceived. On the contrary, I’d expect that it would be so subtle as to be completely undetectable by any human faculty. Otherwise it seems that efforts on the part of supernatural spirits to deceive men would never get off the ground: they would result in such an “obvious” and “severe” change in a person’s experience that it would be detected right away.

Perhaps this comes down to a distinction between “supernatural deception” and “demonic possession.” Perhaps Michael has something like The Exorcist in mind here. By contrast, I don’t have such spectacular depictions in mind. Rather, I’m thinking of the average human being who simply doesn’t realize that supernatural spirits have infiltrated his consciousness and imperceptibly influenced his cognition somehow. I’ve been talking about “supernatural deception” all along, but you’ve introduced the notion of “demonic possession” while interacting with my questions on the matter. I don’t know that they are one and the same. Again, “the Bible says little” here.

Michael wrote:
But would such possession be rightly called 'deception'? In certain ways, yes. We're limited in how much we can say about this, given the limitations of what the Bible says about demon possession. We have very little in the Bible about what it feels like to be demon possessed.
Again, the concerns which I originally raised in my blog had to do with supernatural deception. It’s unclear whether or not this is distinct from or identical to “demonic possession.” In fact, it’s not for me to answer, since none of this is part of my worldview. The concept ‘deception’ inherently implies that those who have been deceived do not realize that they’ve been deceived. If victims of “demonic possession” are aware that they’ve been taken over by some demonic force, then clearly my concerns do not apply in such cases. Rather, I have in mind situations analogous to the Star Trek episode I mentioned earlier: the victims of deception have no idea that they’ve been deceived, they have no way of detecting the deception on their own, since the deceivers possess skills that are far beyond the ability of those who have been so deceived to sense or detect in any way.

So in response to your point here, I would say that the person who’s been supernaturally deceived doesn’t feel any different. Since he’s been deceived, he has no idea that he’s been deceived, and whatever deception has taken root in his being feels perfectly natural. It’s seamless in is experience.

Michael wrote:
I'll try a few comments, nonetheless: I don't know what it feels like to be demon possessed, or whether one manifestation of that might be to have one's faculties playing tricks on you.
My concern at this point is that the discussion is incrementally drifting from man’s inability to know whether or not he’s been supernaturally deceived, to what it “feels like to be demon possessed,” the latter of which was never the focus of my concern. It’s one thing to say that when a human being is possessed by a demon, he senses this, recognizes that he’s been taken over by a demon, and essentially says, “Hey, I like this! It feels great! Take me for a ride, Asmodeus! Have your way with me!” It’s quite another to say that a human being has been deceived “unawares,” which can only imply that he’s been led down the wrong path without realizing it by some supernatural influence that he can neither detect nor successfully resist on his own.

If human beings can be deceived by other human beings “unawares,” how much more can they be deceived by supernatural beings “unawares,” especially when the very nature of those supernatural beings is not only malevolent, but also beyond the reach of man’s senses as well as vastly more powerful than any human being? By nature it’s a ludicrously uneven match. But on the Christian worldview, this is all part of “God’s plan.”

Previously, Michael, you focused on I Timothy 4:2 (“by means of the hypocrisy of liars (A)seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron”) in order to draw the inference that supernatural deception finds its way into the stream of human thought through other human beings. Your interpretation of this verse apparently assumes that the “liars” mentioned in it were human in nature (even though the content of the verse does not necessarily require such an interpretation so far as I can tell). Specifically you had stated (in your 3 December comment to this blog, timestamped 3:25 am), regarding I Timothy 4:
Notice from verse 2 [I Tim. 4:2] that the deceitful spirits are doing their deceiving through teachings which come through human hypocritical liars.
We must keep in mind that certain verses in the NT indicate that supernatural beings have the ability to disguise themselves in human form. For instance, Hebrews 13:2 instructs believers as follows:
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
This is one of those “just in case” instructions that the NT gives to believers, given the potential that things aren’t as they appear to be in terms of “spiritual” (i.e., supernatural) matters. As I wrote in my 3 December comment to the same blog (timestamped 7:06 am):
I do not see that Paul specifies that the ‘hypocritical liars’ he mentions are to be understood as *human*. I say this partly because I recall, when I was a believer, how my pastor & his crew would continually refer to certain “worldly folks” as “demons” and “devils,” and very often imply that the “wicked” individuals we encountered were actually malevolent supernatural agents disguised as human beings (perhaps sort of like Jesus being the Christian god “become flesh”). In other words, given Christianity’s overt supernaturalism and the powers it ascribes to supernatural spirits, I could not take it for granted that every individual I encountered was actually a human being. I really had no way of knowing one way or another. And I don’t think this kind of self-doubt and confusion is either unbiblical or accidental.
So the biblical worldview in fact ascribes tremendous powers and abilities to supernatural beings. If I were a believer (and I’m speaking from personal experience as a former insider here), I certainly wouldn’t presume to have the intellectual confidence to discount or downplay the abilities of supernatural beings. On the contrary, their very presence in the Christian worldview seems to be deliberately affirmed for the purpose of undermining any confidence in one’s own mind on the part of the believer who takes such teachings seriously, which I’d suppose anyone calling himself a Christian would need to do, given his confession qua Christian. In other words, I think it’d be wrong – indeed “arrogant” – on the part of any human being taking Christian teachings as actually true, to say “Well, those supernatural spirits really can’t do anything harmful; they’re just a nuisance is all. They really have no power. Don’t take them seriously.”

Michael wrote:
To lose control of one's speech and action etc. to another being who is within you, that seems to be what happens to some of the demoniacs in the Bible.
What you describe here (i.e., losing control of one’s own speech and actions, one’s own will, as it were), does not seem to be restricted, going by the stories I’ve read in the bible, only to demoniacs. Indeed, there are passages, such as in the gospel of John and the Acts of the Apostles, which suggest something similar, only the supernatural agent involved is the “Holy Ghost,” not some devil or demon. Some examples might include:
John 14:26: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (How will it “teach” these things to those whom it teaches?) 
John 15:26: “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” (How will it do this “testifying”?) 
Acts 1:2: “until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.” (Jesus “gives orders” through the “Holy Spirit”? How does anyone become aware of them?) 
Acts 1:16: “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.” (So, did David just mouth the words that were given to him by the “Holy Spirit” to speak, regardless of his knowledge of what they meant? Or was such knowledge just implanted into his head supernaturally?) 
Acts 2:4: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” (So, these people supposedly spoke in some actual language that they had not already learned, and they did so because the “Holy Spirit” spoke through them?) 
Acts 2:17: “’AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;” (So, this “Holy Spirit” will be “poured forth” onto “all mankind,” and as a result, this will cause them to “prophesy” and “see visions” and “dream dreams”? How is this not an example of a supernatural being taking over human cognition?) 
Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” (So, this “filling” with the “Holy Spirit” results in the ability “to speak the word of God with boldness”? Is it the ability to speak, or the ability to speak “the word of God,” or the ability to speak this word “with boldness” that the “filling” with the “Holy Spirit” gives to men?) 
Acts 8:29: “Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot.’” (How does an immaterial, incorporeal, non-biological, and invisible “spirit” tell a man to do something like this?) 
Acts 8:39: “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.” (Here the “Spirit of the Lord” performs what is apparently a physical action, namely “snatching” someone from where they are. Perhaps many of the individuals who go missing each year have really just been “snatched away” by the “Holy Spirit.” How would anyone believing any of this know otherwise?) 
Acts 10:19: “While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.” (How did “the Spirit” say this to Peter? How did the author of Acts know what a “spirit” said to one of the characters of his story, if not by imagining this?) 
Acts 13:4: “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus” (How did the “Holy Spirit” send them “out,” such that “they went down to Seleucia”? How does that work?) 
Acts 16:6: “They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;” (How does the “Holy Spirit” forbid a person to speak? Is it through persuasion or by means of force? Again, “the Bible says little” here.) 
Acts 16:7: “and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;” (Here the “Spirit of Jesus” inexplicitly prohibits people from doing something. Apparently people do not have the ability to make their own decisions. And how does one person know whether another person is being prevented from doing something because of some supernatural force?)
According to these verses (and others which I simply haven’t had time to rummage through), the “Holy Spirit” (which is not supposed to be “deceptive,” since it represents “the Truth,” regardless of its compulsive practices), seems to work in a manner similar to the “deceptive spirits” which are said to infiltrate human minds and turn them into puppets. If the concern is to figure out how it “feels” to be supernaturally commandeered, it’s hard to see how there would be any significant difference between demonic and divine possession in this regard.

Also, consider the very phenomenon by which the “Holy Spirit” is said to manifest itself in believers, namely through “speaking in tongues.” If this is not a clear example of losing control of one’s own speech, I don’t know what is. Indeed, it seems quite strange, given the breadth of the unfolding epic of the Christian bible. In the Old Testament, diversity of tongues was a sign of divine punishment (cf. Genesis 11:1-9), while in the New Testament speaking an unknown tongue is evidence of the “indwelling” of the “Holy Spirit.” First it’s representative of something bad, then it’s representative of something good.

At any rate, I see no indication in anything I’ve read in the Christian bible which necessitates that a person who’s been taken over by a supernatural spirit will feel any different or notice the intrusion to begin with. Rather, it seems that supernatural spirits have the ability to take over one’s speech and other cognitive faculties while maintaining the impression that one is in full control of himself. Otherwise, how could it be legitimately called ‘deception’?

The curious thing to note here is that the “Holy Spirit” is characterized in the NT as behaving in a manner very similar to “deceptive spirits” in that it allegedly moves into the mind of a human being and essentially takes over. It is unclear whether or not the person so affected is actually aware of this or not. But this actually seems to be what believers are encouraged to desire: that they should invite a “spirit” to enter into their minds, hearts and/or souls and “indwell” therein, taking control or at least taking the lead in one’s life.

I remember a common piece of instruction I heard so often when I was a church-goer. The expression was “Let go and let God.” Even then I couldn’t keep images of Luke Skywalker flying an incredibly sophisticated piece of hardware through space, preparing to bomb a massive space station, and suddenly the voice of his deceased mentor could be heard, “Let go, Luke. Let go. Use your feelings.” For all the Christians who claim that atheists have no consistent foundation for reason, logic, science, morality and the rest, the appropriate response may simply be, “May the Force be with you!”

But clearly the NT indicates that spirits, both wicked and divine, essentially inhabit human beings somehow. The stories of the “Holy Spirit” guiding missionizing travelers in the Acts of the Apostles wouldn’t make sense otherwise, nor would he many instances in the gospels where Jesus is portrayed as “casting out demons” from characters inserted into these narratives.

Michael wrote:
But it's hard to guess what you would see and feel and think and know if that happened to you.
I’d think that, were supernaturalism true and some supernatural being deceived a person, that person would be deceived, and thus think everything he’s experiencing is completely normal. Since the supernatural spirit is actively deceiving him, that spirit would no doubt ensure that there weren’t anything available to the deceived’s consciousness calling attention to the deception. Certainly a supernatural being would be capable of concealing its own presence in one’s life, no? Indeed, what objective evidence do Christians provide to support the claim that the “Holy Spirit” is dwelling in them? None that I’ve ever been able to find. Frankly it all seems to be in the imagination of the believer.

Michael wrote:
I can't think that anyone would choose to be demon possessed, or 'demonized' (to use a more accurate translation of the Greek verb), knowing all that it would imply.
But you do think that the vast majority of persons have in fact chosen to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” no doubt knowing all that this implies, right?

Michael wrote:
Therefore I think it's fair to say that demons work in a deceptive way, in order to end up possessing/'demonizing' a person.
This would mean that there is in fact a distinction between “supernatural deception” (which is what I have been inquiring about all along) and “demonic possession,” which you have recently introduced into the discussion. According to what you say here, the latter (“demonic possession”) is a goal of the former (“supernatural deception”). The nefarious spirits do not begin by “possessing” their victims (which implies full custody of the person’s mind, heart and soul, like locking a cage door and allowing no escape), but by coaxing, misleading, perhaps seducing or beguiling their victims without letting on that their being deceived (which implies that the victim is not under full custody, but may in fact be able to escape somehow). Would you say this is at least roughly accurate? At any rate, it seems that you do in fact hold that, according to your worldview, the human mind is subject to supernatural deception.

That being the case, and given the fact that “the Bible says little” on all of this, particularly on the epistemology of discovering and identifying what’s taking place in the “supernatural” realm, how can someone who believes that there are supernatural spirits malevolently seeking out victims of their deceptive tactics, have any confidence that their mind is free of any and all deceitful intrusions on the part of supernatural spirits?

Michael wrote:
I would discuss this topic under the theme of whether a person ends up with an excuse on the last Day before God.
In other words, the preservation of this doctrine – that man is without excuse before the Christian god – is your guiding non-negotiable in determining whether or not supernatural spirits can deceive human beings, and if so, when, where and how; whatever view you end up affirming regarding deceptive spirits and whether or not supernatural beings can deceive human minds, it must be conform to this doctrine. Correct?

Michael wrote:
For example, if a person were demon possessed at birth or at a very young age, they could complain on the last Day to God that they had no opportunity as an adult to process God's revelation of Himself to them, so they are not to blame for their rejection of him.
So I suppose that, on your understanding of Christianity, you would rather believe that human beings, perhaps even from a very young age, are actively deceiving themselves – “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” – presumably on purpose. That’s how I understand the Christian view which is explicitly informed by the interpretation of Romans 1 that you have adopted: that everyone pretty much starts out actively deceiving themselves, apparently without influence from supernatural spirits. Would you say this is an unfair assessment, and if so, why? Would you rather say that there’s a point in people’s lives when they make some choice or decision to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness”? If so, can you elaborate on this?

Or consider this: Do you think it’s simply not possible for someone genuinely to believe that Christian theism is irrational, that its claims about supernatural beings are false? My view is that supernaturalism finds its source in people’s imaginations. Do you think I’m suppressing some truth by coming to this recognition? If so, is that because you’re simply trying to be faithful to Romans 1? Or, do you have any objective input from reality (i.e., actual facts about the case rather than claims made by someone 1900 years ago to keep believers from straying from the churches he wanted to grow) to support this assessment?

Michael wrote:
Lacking control over one's actions would also seem like a potentially good excuse for evil actions.
That’s interesting you say this. Would you agree with Van Til when he says “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (The Defense of the Faith, p. 160)?

Or how about when Greg Bahnsen writes: “God’s thoughts make the world what it is and determine what happens” (Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis, p. 243)?

Or how about when he writes: “God controls all events and outcomes (even those that come about by human choice and activity)” (Ibid., p. 489n.43)?

If the Christian god is controlling everything that happens, determining “all events and outcomes,” including “those that come about human choice and activity,” it seems that a human individual really doesn’t have any control over his own actions. In fact, I don’t see how one could. And yet, Van Til & co. affirm this all-encompassing theistic determinism while still maintaining the “no excuse” doctrine. It all strikes me to be sheerly self-contradictory, or at any rate a complete mockery of morality (which is already evident in their view that evil is morally justifiable).

So again, it seems hard to maintain the “no excuse” doctrine with any logical consistency here.

Michael wrote:
Therefore, I would conclude that God does not allow very young children to be demonized.
So if a demonic spirit wants to “demonize” a little toddler, for instance, you think something’s going to prevent it? If so, what? The “hand of God”? Why would that same god allow any of its human children to be harmed in such a way, even when they are older?

Suppose a person in his 20s becomes demonically possessed and driven to suicide. Why couldn’t this person point to his being possessed by a demon as an “excuse”? Couldn’t that person say something like, “If you [God] protected me from the demon, I would have been able to call on Jesus as my Lord and Savior. But since you [God] allowed me to be demonized, all opportunity for me to repent was taken from me, so I have a legitimate excuse”? Clearly he could say this (since people can say pretty much anything they want). But I’m guessing you would say your god would not accept it for some reason, right?

Michael wrote:
Since people will have no excuse before God, it follows that God does not allow demons to possess children when they are very young, because that would give them an excuse on the last Day before God.
I guess I just don’t see how being demonized for, say the last twenty years of one’s adult life, could not also constitute an excuse. At any rate, you’re implying that there is an age at which the gloves come off, so to say, and a child or young person is no longer immune to supernatural deception. Can you elaborate on this? What is that age, and how do you know?

Michael wrote:
I think what likely happens is that God only allows a significant level of demonic possession/influence on people when they have done something wicked enough to deserve such possession/influence.
But what, beyond being born as a human being, can a person do such that he “deserve[s] such possession/influence”? Consider the story of Job. Did Job deserve the injustices he suffered at the hands of demonic forces? My understanding of the story (and it’s been a while since I’ve read it) is that Job was “right with God” and thus did not deserve any injustice. But biblegod stood by and allowed it to happen, watching every moment of it. Perhaps it’s more like the line from Unforgiven: “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” In fact, that’s precisely how I read the Calvinist view of the world. On the Calvinist view, since every soul’s eternal destiny has been determined long before anyone has been born (and therefore before anyone’s had a chance to exercise his own volition in his life), man does nothing to “deserve” his eternal fate, whether it’s heaven or hellfire. His eternal destiny has been predetermined for all eternity. The Christian god does no choose to save anyone because he “deserves” it – there’s nothing anyone can do to “merit” salvation. It’s simply the Christian god’s arbitrary choice (only Christians will likely resist calling it arbitrary).

Also, your statement here suggests there are degrees of wickedness, some “level” of which will “earn” one the opening of the demonic floodgates. Of course, while some NT verses may confirm such a view, it does seem to go against the view expressed quite explicitly in James 2:10, that “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” This NT verse suggests that there are no “degrees” of transgression, no “levels” of “sin.”

Michael wrote:
That's why seances and witchcraft are so dangerous…
I know that the bible mentions witchcraft (and prescribes that witches be put to death), but I don’t think I’ve ever read about “séances” in the bible. Perhaps under a different name?

Michael wrote:
…if you explicitly invite demonic power to manifest itself in and around you, there is a justice in the demons taking some control over you and (perhaps) taking some control of your cognitive powers.
I will have to take your word for it. I have to admit that I really don’t understand what the word “justice” could possibly mean in a world ruled by the god described in the Christian bible. According to the NT, for instance, we’ve all been judged guilty even before we were born. I don’t understand how this can be just. Christians insist that it is. But they seem hard-pressed to explain how it’s an expression of justice.

And why suppose that “séances and witchcraft” are the only way to “explicitly invite demonic power” into one’s soul or life? If I recall, somewhere in the book of Proverbs it is intimated that the stubbornness of a defiant child is sufficient to “merit” death. Merely being born and “dying in one’s sins” is sufficient to “merit” eternal torment. Why isn’t using the Christian god’s name in vain or failing to observe the “Sabbath” sufficient to “invite demonic power” into one’s life? An “unsaved” person presumably does not have the protection of the “Holy Spirit” or the Christian god’s retinue of holy “angels,” so why not suppose that such a condition constitutes “open season” on behalf of the countless demons and devils seeking souls to consume and devour in their orgy of sin-making and soul-destroying? James tells us that one offence is sufficient to suffuse a soul with guilt.

Michael wrote:
You invited them, after all! (There are various embedded assumptions here that witchcraft and seances have real power on account of their using the real power which demons have)
But this line of reasoning you offer here somewhat implies that deceptive spirits need to be explicitly invited in the first place, when that’s not the understanding I get from the NT. They are not characterized as beings respecting the sovereignty of human beings who need to consent before being deceived or “possessed.” Rather, they are characterized as aggressive, opportunistic predators “seeking whom [they] may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). They’re actively on the prowl, not sitting back and waiting for invitations.

Michael wrote:
I strongly recommend warning your daughter against witchcraft and seances, Dawson!
I warn her about all forms of mysticism, Michael, including Christianity. Ultimately she will have to make her own decisions in life. But what a cache of resources she’ll have in what I have given her!

Michael wrote:
Incidentally, I also believe Christians can escape any potential demonization of themselves or their children, since if they 'resist Satan, standing firm in the faith... he will flee from them' (that's a conflation of a couple of Bible verses).
Yes, I’m familiar with those passages. But then I’m reminded of Matthew 5:39 where the following injunction is put into Jesus’ mouth: “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person.” Isn’t Satan a personal being? Aren’t devils and demons personal beings? It seems that Jesus would have believers not resisting evil persons.

Of course, one could be deceived into thinking that he’s really saved in the first place. There are, after all, hundreds if not thousands of different denominations, sects, factions and divisions within Christianity, many of them vehemently criticizing others for getting Christian doctrine wrong and essentially sending people to hell. Given the enormous variation among Christian teachings, and the exclusivity to truth that they claim to enjoy, the question as to which version is the correct one (assuming one of them is correct in the first place) seems entirely unanswerable. It’s a spiritual crap shoot. One might think he’s found the right church, the right doctrine, the right interpretation of that doctrine, only to have been deceived by some conniving spirit that he can’t see, hear, taste, touch or smell. He could be deceived and simply not realize it. A person in this situation may think he’s going through the right motions in protecting himself against supernatural spirits bent on deceiving him, but he could be playing into their hand all along, given the premise of supernaturalism to begin with. There really seems to be no “epistemology of the supernatural” to equip believers with the cognitive resources they would need to navigate the spirit world with any confidence. That’s what it all really boils down to.

Michael wrote:
One strength of my take on all of this, is the number of people who actually describe 'weird' things happening through witchdoctoring, seances and so on.
I’m guessing what you’re calling a “strength” here is the number of reports of such things, and its supposed value in confirming the truth of the beliefs you’ve developed in your Christian walk. I’m guessing there are people who are so anxious for confirmation that, even if there were only one or two such reports, they would happily point to them as vindication. But perhaps you think a higher number is required. If so, what is that number, and why? Is it 10? 20? 100? 1000? Would one less than the number you find significant impact your beliefs negatively?

Michael wrote:
Dismissing the reality of all these testimonies would be a weakness of your position, Dawson.
Why? People who put stock in such things are already predisposed to confusing what they imagine with reality, so it would not surprise me if persons who consider such expressions of mysticism to be legitimate forms of communing with the supernatural to report “strange occurrences” happening through such activities. Here in Thailand, mysticism is pretty much rampant throughout the culture. I see some pretty bizarre things here, and I hear some of the most outlandish stories. It’s not only generated by the mysticism of their worldview, it’s also interpreted as confirmation of its “truth.” Many people put faith in fortune-tellers, for instance. But it’s amazing how often they get things wrong, and yet still people return to them and pay for additional services. I don’t know how they rationalize the failures, but I have known people in the west who rationalize the failures of their palm-readings and horoscopes. Christian apologist Phil Fernandes, in his debate with J. J. Lowder, describes the attitude of the mystic very well when he says: “I just believe that we are very good about lying to ourselves, and only accepting, uh, or interpreting the evidence the way we would like to.” Of course, I take it that he’s speaking for himself here.

Michael wrote:
Have you not had any friends who've gone to seances and reported strange occurrences?
I certainly don’t recall any. But I’m not questioning that people who engage in such activities will come away with stories about what happened. But anything along the lines of what we see in movies like The Changeling and The Haunting in Connecticut? None that I’m aware of. The imagination seems to run wild once one buys into any form of supernaturalism.

Michael wrote:
Have you not met any Africans who ascribe real power to witchdoctors?
I work with a fellow from Cameroon. If I get a chance, I’ll ask him about this. But I don’t doubt the fact that people around the world put a lot of stock in mysticism. They do it today just as they did 2,000 years ago in Paul’s time.

Michael wrote:
Do you treat with sheer disbelief all the accumulated accounts all over the world of the power of witchcraft in its various forms and guises?
It’s not clear what I’m being asked to affirm or disaffirm here. My view is that mysticism (including belief in the supernatural) is irrational. Does that answer your question?

by Dawson Bethrick

Labels:

316 Comments:

Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Great piece. Once again, many thoughts came to mind as I was reading. My comments are more or less random thoughts and are in no particular order:

-- Why would the bible need to speak of human deception at any point, or couch it in the terms it does, since it seems to me (according to some doctrines) that man is already not only deceived at birth, but "pre-deceived" if you will, even prior to being conceived (by virtue of his deception being all planned out for him in advance).

-- According to the bible, supernatural spirits can also inhabit creatures other than man (e.g., a herd of pigs)

-- You make a great point about supernatural deception being so subtle as to be undetectable.

-- I remember hearing preachers tell believers that the supernatural spirits (the supposedly evil ones) were primarily concerned, not with unbelievers, but with believers. These evil spirits didn't worry about unbelievers, because unbelievers were already lost and evil's control. It was the believer who had to be concerned with evil spirits, for these spirits were in warfare with him. So it seems that it's the believer who would have to worry most about being "deceived." Yet, how could he tell if he was? What if the whole bible is one big deception? How would the believer be able to tell? By reference to what?

Anyway, those are just a few random thoughts I jotted down as I was reading.

Ydemoc

December 10, 2011 10:13 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson buddy,

Said: "I remember a common piece of instruction I heard so often when I was a church-goer. The expression was “Let go and let God.” Even then I couldn’t keep images of Luke Skywalker flying an incredibly sophisticated piece of hardware through space, preparing to bomb a massive space station, and suddenly the voice of his deceased mentor could be heard, “Let go, Luke. Let go. Use your feelings.” For all the Christians who claim that atheists have no consistent foundation for reason, logic, science, morality and the rest, the appropriate response may simply be, “May the Force be with you!”


This is hilarious!!!!!!!!



May the Force be with you,
HA




P.S. However, I still think your wrong.

December 11, 2011 5:09 PM  
Blogger Michael Russell said...

Hi Dawson, I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for taking so much time in thinking about my comments.

Right now, I'm spending my blog time having a good chat with Ben Wallis in the comments here:

http://richaelmussell.blogspot.com/2011/12/weve-been-too-skeptical-for-nearly-400.html

But I will, after a while, return to think about the issues you've raised, and perhaps make some further comments. So thanks again

December 13, 2011 7:50 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

Is lack of belief in or about God "not anything"?

December 13, 2011 8:42 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

Trinity is over on "An Athiest Viewpoint" asking a similar, if not the same question. And he has been answered over and over again.

In fact, here is one exchange we had:

Trinity wrote: "How do I reliably distinguish your "lack of belief" or "not anything" from what you may be merely imagining?"

Our "Lack of belief" in what? Square circles? "Not anything" as opposed to what?

Do you mean, for example, how do you, Trinity, tell the difference between our "lack of belief" in, say, "Blarko the Wonderbeing" and the fact that Blarko is "not anything" and doesn't actually exist, from the possibility that we are only imagining our "lack of belief" in Blarko and only imagining that Blarko doesn't exist?

Do I have that about right? If it is a fact that "Blarko the Wonderbeing" does not exist (it is) and we lack belief in Blarko, then why suppose that you, Trinity, need to do any distinguishing at all?

That which doesn't exist, doesn't exist.

If I were you, I would start with reality, i.e., that which does exist. If checking in with reality doesn't work, I would advise getting a check up.

--------
And this...

Trinity wrote: "There are little surprises around every corner but nothing dangerous- Willy Wonka"

I responded: "Trinity's failed attempts to make points by quoting from Willy Wonka and, on occasion, his bible, clearly demonstrate his propensity for suppressing his knowledge that the imaginary is, in fact, only imaginary."

Trinity then replied: "you're imaginary."

This response of Trinity's is quite consistent with what his belief system teaches. For he has no reliable way to determine whether I am real or not. Where should he look to determine this? His storybook? -- which is filled with spirits and ghosts, donkeys and snakes carrying on conversations, the sun standing still, stars affixed to a sky dome, dead people emerging from graves and walking about a city -- where does he go to check his premises?

He really has no reliable way (given the fact that his storybook-informed belief system allows for the possibility of such things) to tell if I am really a ghost (perhaps that of a person whose death he is in some way responsible for) who has come back to haunt him.

------

Ydemoc

December 13, 2011 8:54 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Recently, Weezel(ydemoc) has decided to follow me around. He feels the need to "expose" me for some reason.
I have asked him, repeatedly, to go bug someone else. But he claims that it's not about me but the "audience". He's desperately trying to make a name for himself.

Rember, weasel, God doesn't have a name he just is. So, call him what you want it doesn't matter.

You're still left with the problem:

When you say Blarko doesn't exist. The only alternative I Have is to imagine it. So, How is what I'm imaging not imaginary?

December 13, 2011 9:24 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 13, 2011 9:50 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Recently, Weezel(ydemoc) has decided to follow me around."

Wrong. I was posting comments here and over on "An Atheist Viewpoint before you ever showed up, spouting your nonsense. When you post, and I see something which I find it in my interest to answer, I do. That's how blogs work.

Trinity wrote: "He feels the need to "expose" me for some reason."

Even if this were true, I don't see how you could object very strongly to my need to expose you being driven by my "feelings," for belief and feelings are joined at the hip.

Secondly, I don't need to "expose" you; you do a superb job of doing that all by yourself.

Trinity wrote: "I have asked him, repeatedly, to go bug someone else."

And I'm supposed to obey your directives?

Trinity wrote: "But he claims that it's not about me but the "audience"."

Wrong. What I claimed was that I do it primarily for myself. I enjoy responding because I find it entertaining and I sharpen my writing skills responding to your nonsense. The benefit lurking fence-sitters get from what I write is only secondary concern.

Trinity wrote: "He's desperately trying to make a name for himself."

To the contrary. I have no desire to make a name for myself. But I find it interesting that you would even consider this my motivation.

Trinity wrote: "Rember, weasel, God doesn't have a name he just is. So, call him what you want it doesn't matter."

One could make this claim about any invisible magic being.

Trinity wrote: "You're still left with the problem:"

The imaginary does not, never has, and never will pose a problem, as long as one doesn't take it seriously.

Trinity wrote: "When you say Blarko doesn't exist. The only alternative I Have is to imagine it. So, How is what I'm imaging not imaginary?"

Your question has already been answered. Many times.

Blarkings.

Ydemoc

December 13, 2011 9:54 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Notice how irrational weasel want's to keep
being. He thinks I'm suppose to take thing's on his say so. If you've answered all my questions then there's no need for you to follow me around. Seriously, your a freak show.

December 13, 2011 10:24 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Notice how irrational weasel want's to keep
being."

For one who believes in talking donkeys to call someone irrational for posting on a blog shows shows the depth of your delusion.

Trinity wrote: "He thinks I'm suppose to take thing's on his say so."

To the contrary. I have never thought this nor have I told you to do so.

Trinity wrote: "If you've answered all my questions then there's no need for you to follow me around."

I do not follow you around. You post something -- sometimes it's addressed to me, sometimes it's not -- if I find it in my interest to respond, and I think I'm not being rude or disruptive by doing so, then I put in my two cents.

Trinity wrote: "Seriously, your a freak show."

This from someone who believes that bodies popped out of graves and strolled around in a city. Oh, and that donkeys can carry on a conversation. Oh, and that a god had to blood sacrifice himself so that mankind could be saved from eternal torment, a place that that very god created. And let's not forget the whole "This is my blood, this is my body" thing. I could list more, but you get the idea.

So, freak show? Your belief system would be right at home, on display at a carnival midway. "Step right up!"

Ydemoc

December 13, 2011 10:51 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Nide asked of me

“Is lack of belief in or about God "not anything"?”

Here is something to think about


Zero, Reification of

A vulgar variant of concept stealing, prevalent among avowed mystics and irrationalists, is a fallacy I call the Reification of the Zero. It consists of regarding “nothing” as a thing, as a special, different kind of existent. (For example, see Existentialism.) This fallacy breeds such symptoms as the notion that presence and absence, or being and non-being, are metaphysical forces of equal power, and that being is the absence of non-being. E.g., “Nothingness is prior to being.” (Sartre)—“Human finitude is the presence of the not in the being of man.” (William Barrett)—“Nothing is more real than nothing.” (Samuel Beckett)—”Das Nichts nichtet” or “Nothing noughts.” (Heidegger).

Ayn Rand.

I suspect that this is yet another attempt by Nide to shift the onus onto the very persons he wants to convince that god exists.

@Ydemoc

My apologies about not being in touch. Friday night my file server started crashing and by Saturday morning I had concluded that I was faced with hardware failure. I have been busy trying to find stop gap solutions until I can get that box fixed. I

December 14, 2011 9:42 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin, you wrote: "My apologies about not being in touch."

That's quite all right. I've been somewhat busy myself with things. Good luck with your computer problems.

Ydemoc

December 14, 2011 11:45 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

Can you define "lack of belief"?

December 14, 2011 2:20 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 14, 2011 4:33 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

from an online dictonary online

lack

verb (used with object)
3. to be without or deficient in: to lack ability; to lack the necessities of life.
4. to fall short in respect of: He lacks three votes to win.

belief

noun
1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

In this case the verb lacking means to be without and it refers to the subject belief, thus we have without belief. similar example, Justin is lacking a car, ie Justin does not own a car.

This remedial lecture in English brought to you by the grumpy atheist. Seriously Nide why am I answering your questions. You want me to believe in god remember? I on the other hand have very little interest in convincing you of anything. If you want to commit to the fallacy of treating nothing as if it were something I don't care. I have a question for you however that cuts to the heart of the matter if you want to convince me. I deem it to be very important to whether I accept your claim to god’s existence or not. It is simple, is the christian paradigm (world view) premised on metaphysical subjectivism or not. This is a simple yes or no question, yet you refuse to give a clear cut answer. I would accept also that you simply do not know but, please one of the three responses would be appreciated.

December 14, 2011 4:34 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

It seems like everytime we start to dig at the root of things you dissappear.

I understand that you rather not deal with the implications.

You ever ask yourself how strange space is?

How long have you been fixing boxes?

December 14, 2011 8:30 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

sense the relationship that one holds to exist between the subject of consciousnesses and the objects of consciousness will inform everything that comes after, id say that is the root of the matter.

December 14, 2011 9:04 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Jhall,

I challenged an "atheist" to show me that there isn't some "invisible magic being" at work, for example, upholding the moon. He never answered.

December 14, 2011 9:19 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote to Justin: "I challenged an "atheist" to show me that there isn't some "invisible magic being" at work, for example, upholding the moon. He never answered."

Oh, but Trinity, he did answer you, in probably the best way to answer such nonsense, by doing exactly what he did.

But it is amazing that, especially after asking him the question you did, that you can't see for yourself how his not answering you was, in fact, an answer. Think about it.

To be consistent, if you think it's in the realm of possibility that there *is* some invisible magic being upholding the moon, why isn't it within the realm of possibility that he really *did* answer you even though you say he didn't?

Ydemoc

December 14, 2011 9:51 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 15, 2011 8:25 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide
seriously? you asked that, and not in jest? Guess my suspicion was correct, you are just trying to shift the onus from where it rightfully belongs. By the way I find his none response to be a perfectly acceptable way dealing with such a question. Come on Nide, you know as well as anyone else, or you should that no one is under any obligation to argue against an arbitrary claim. And yes it is arbitrary. There is no perceptually self evident sensory inputs to validate your claim that there is an invincible magic being holding up the moon and there is no valid inductive reasoning that could lead to that conclusion. Further your conjecture fails the test of parsimony. There is no requirement that there be a magic invisible being holding up the moon. In fact there is nothing holding up the moon as anyone that has passed a high school physics course would know. For your benefit just in case you don't know, the moon is in orbit which means it is in free fall around the earth. It is falling, not being held up. It has two vectors, one directed at the earth caused by our gravitational pull, the other at right angles to the first. The two vectors add up so that the trajectory of the moon keeps missing the earth. See no need for magic invisible beings. However even if we could not explain how the moon keeps from hitting the earth, it falls to the one advocating the case that there is a magic being responsible for the moon staying up there to make his case, not the other way around. Your question is a complete waste of time but as a diversionary tactic it has worked well, consider it has induced me to write this paragraph when we could be getting back to the point at hand, namely can you give us a valid sound reason to accept god. In order for me to properly evaluate your claim I need to know if it is premised on metaphysical subjectivism. If you were truly interested in whether I believe in god or not I think you would have addressed this some time ago. It is simple Nide, it is a yes, no, or I am not sure / don't know, which is it?

December 15, 2011 8:26 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

Since you have admitted in the past that you could be wrong. Why should I not ask these questions?

December 15, 2011 10:35 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Since you have admitted in the past that you could be wrong. Why should I not ask these questions?"

What could "wrong" even mean, what ties to reality could it have, to someone who asserts or entertains the arbitrary being possible? To the "apostles of the arbitrary" (Source: Peikoff), everything provides the basis for "wrong" could change in an instant and be "right"; but then, even that could change in an instant back to being "wrong"! Nothing would ever be certain. In fact, I don't see how you could even come to that conclusion: For it uses concepts that would be in constant flux under a such arbitrariness.

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 10:58 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin has left the building.


Weezel you ever tired of being a Weezel?

December 15, 2011 5:58 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Weezel you ever tired of being a Weezel?"

The names you call me don't bother me, so how can I tire of you doing so? I do tire of seeing you misspell "Weasel" and many other words. So if you want to make me tired, keep making spelling and grammar errors.

Other than that, I'm enjoying answering all the silliness and nonsense that you've posted -- and non-existent-god knows you've posted plenty of that.

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 6:13 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Jhall,

This is from the "dialogue" between thorn and bahnsen:


Bahnsen: "The atheist world-view cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes." [5]

Thorn: Dr. Bahnsen, atheism is not a worldview. It's simply the absence of god-belief. When I say that I am an atheist, it only tells you what I do not believe, not what I do believe. The points you identify here are adequately addressed only by a rational philosophy. By its rational nature, such a philosophy is necessarily non-theistic in that it does not adhere to any god-beliefs. Do you interact with a rational philosophy in any of your writings, Dr. Bahnsen?



Are you in agreement with thorn here he claims that an absence of god believe is a belief?

December 15, 2011 6:16 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Weezel,

Don't waste your time I find your answers to be really dry and just a repeat of Dawson's delusions. Justin on the other hand thinks for himself. Im really tired of listening to your worn out slogans and statements give me a break man.

December 15, 2011 6:24 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote to Justin: "Are you in agreement with thorn here he claims that an absence of god believe is a belief?"

I must have missed it -- where does it say what you say it does?

Read it again, Trinity.

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 6:53 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Weezel,

How about you read it. It's clear thorn doesn't believe in God.

December 15, 2011 7:06 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 15, 2011 7:58 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity,

The absence or lack of a belief in your god is not a belief. It is the lack or absence of anything in reality that could or would give rise to such a belief. Since that "anything" (i.e., your god) is nothing and does not exist, it is saying that your god doesn't even rise to the level of belief. For how can one have "belief" in that which does not rise to the level of things that do exist? One can only believe in things that do, in fact, exist or have evidence of existing. Your god doesn't qualify on either count.

If I say to you "Your lack of belief that cornflakes are not human eyeballs is actually a belief," I think even you would say that, "No, my lack of belief that cornflakes are not human eyeballs, is not a belief. It's a fact, because such a notion is arbitrary." And you would be right, because such a notion doesn't even enter the realm of belief *or* cognition, because cornflakes are not eyeballs and therefore cornflake-eyeballs do not exist at all. Characterizing that which does not exist as a "belief" is a stolen concept. As the saying goes, it's like saying "Not stamp collecting is a hobby."

As Peikoff writes: "No inference can be drawn from a zero." or "One establishes the false by reference to the true, not by reference to nothing." (ITOE p. 168.)

He goes on to write: "Ayn Rand does not start with a zero and seek to discover evidence of God's nonexistence. She starts with reality, i.e., with (philosophically) known fact, then denies a claim that clashes with it." (ITOE p. 168)

But you want to place "lack of belief" in your god into the realm of belief and cognition because that is where you want the battle to be fought: belief (theistic) vs. belief (atheistic). But you fail to realize that the battle being fought is your belief vs. reality, (or belief vs. the axioms, i.e., existence, identity, consciousness, and the Primacy of Existence Principle). And since this is where the battle is being fought, it isn't even a contest.

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 8:11 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

The problem is, Weezel, "not anything" "non- existence"
"lack of belief" and blah blah are unintelligible.


Weesel be honest for once. I'm over at mike russels blog exchanging some words with a "Ben Wallis" who you probably know. He calls his unbelief a psychological position. Which is kind of funny but anyway it seems like "atheist" can't agree.

December 15, 2011 8:29 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I have to go run some errands. Perhaps I will respond to you when I get back. I can only imagine how much you must be looking forward to that.

In the meantime, I will say that I do not "know" Ben Wallis, but I did see his name over there when I took a look not too long ago. And I did not examine the exchanges going on over there.

Keep this in mind, there must be certainty of something before one can believe in anything. You'll posit your god as that certainty, and that which you are certain of, even though we can't see or hear it, and adherents talk of belief in it. I am certain of the axioms, because they are the formal recognition of anything and everything. "Belief" is not certainty; it falls well short of certainty.

Well now, it seems I may have answered you before I've run my errands.

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 8:40 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Do you know or do you believe that you have answered?

December 15, 2011 8:49 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

atheists don't agree..... well gee who would have thought. But wait if atheism is not a belief but only a lack of belief why would anyone expect them too? It would be like expecting everyone that is not from New York to naturally be from Florida, mmmmm.... it doesn't work that way Nide. Anyway what is your goal here? Do you expect me to justify my lack of belief in god to you? Don't hold your breath.

December 15, 2011 9:01 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin has entered the building.

What's "nothing"?

December 15, 2011 9:21 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

(Correction: The above quotes which I attributed to ITOE are actually from OPAR.)

Nothing, or "...non-existence is not a fact, it is the absence of a fact, it is a derivative concept pertaining to a relationship, i.e., a concept which can only be formed or grasped only in relation to some existent that has ceased to exist. (One can arrive at the concept 'absence' starting from the concept 'presence,' in regard to some particular existent(s); one cannot arrive at the concept 'presence' starting from the concept 'absence,' with the absence including everything.) Non-existence as such is a zero, with no sequence of numbers to follow it, it is the nothing, the total blank." Rand ITOE p. 58, also see p.149-150

Trinity, not only does the notion of a god not rise to the level of certainty, but it doesn't even rise to a level considered worthy enough for belief. There is no degree of confidence that a rational person can have in the notion of a god. Anyone that claims to do so, is as deluded as someone claiming that cornflake are human eyes. Because of this, such a notion is arbitrary. Though it may take longer to figure that out, it is essentially nonsense, on par with saying "Ducks quack on Venus."

This has been explained to you before.

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 10:13 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

A non-belief is a belief about non-belief.

December 15, 2011 10:26 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote, regarding my uncertainty if I had fully answered him in a previous comment: "Do you know or do you believe that you have answered?"

I think I was clear, but you seem to be dropping the context of my statement. The context was that since I had to go out and run errands and rushed my response, I wasn't certain that I had answered your question fully. So that is why I said that I "...may have answered you before I've run my errands." So my degree confidence I had as to whether or not I had answered you fully, given this context, was far less than that of certainty.

This is a legitimate use of the concept "belief." But I don't think you'll want it to apply to your notion god, because that would undermine the whole idea of being *certain* of its existence, wouldn't it? Even though your bible tells you that belief is vital to being certain of your god's existence. You see Trinity, your bible has it all backwards.

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 10:27 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Actually, weasel, you opened your too soon again.

Belief/Faith, biblically speaking, are the same.

Remember faith is the assurance and conviction of the invisible.

Assurance
1.
a positive declaration intended to give confidence he received assurances of support for the project
2.
promise or pledge guaranty surety he gave his assurance that the job would be done
3.
full confidence freedom from doubt certainty to act in the assurance of success
4.
freedom from timidity self-confidence belief in one's abilities she acted with speed and assurance
5.
presumptuous boldness impudence
6.

Conviction


1.
a fixed or firm belief
2.
the act of convicting
3.
the state of being convicted
4.
the act of convincing
5.
the state of being convinced



Happy Fools Day

December 15, 2011 10:38 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote "Remember faith is the assurance and conviction of the invisible."

I'm glad these aren't my problems.

Which definitions did you have in mind that pertained to anything I said? Please elaborate.

Mind taking us through a process by which you would form the concept "invisible?" Or will you fail to do this again, letting evidence of you doing so remain invisible while feeling confident that *you* have, in fact, carried out the process, and can "see" it?

As as the title of one of Dawson's blog-entries states: "Faith as Hope in the Imaginary"

Indeed!

Ydemoc

December 15, 2011 10:59 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Yea you go to kindergarten, then, first grade and so forth.

First You start with the alphabet then you learn how to read.

There you go concepts accounted for. No "objectivism" needed.

December 15, 2011 11:06 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

I believe Ydemoc's question to you was not were or when you learned the basic concepts but how? what was the conceptual process of integration from prior simpler concepts? So just maybe, yes a theory of concepts is needed:)

December 16, 2011 6:06 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin has entered the building.

Not at all my boy. Let's not waste more time than we have to. It's, actually, quite simple like counting 1, 2, 3.

First you learn how to count then arithmetic, algebra, trig, calculus.

Justin remember Occam's razor well I just put it to real good use?


I just shaved away all the useless and needless rhetoric.


Thanks

December 16, 2011 7:19 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide
So you do not believe we need a theory of concepts? That no critical examination of how we acquire and build up our knowledge is needed? Well that explains a lot:) Well regardless of whether you feel you can do without such considerations neither Ydemoc nor myself do. Something you should keep in mind if you wish to convince us of god’s existence.

December 16, 2011 7:47 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

“First you learn how to count then arithmetic, algebra, trig, calculus”

You just gloss right over exactly how this knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, trig, calculus is integrated into your mind conceptually. Do you think it is just magic?

December 16, 2011 7:50 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

You're exactly it's magic. You either get it or you don't. That's just the way it is. I don't need a "theory of concepts"
it's useless. For the most part concepts are learned automatically. The way my mind processes information is irrelevant for the most part I have no control the mechanisms.

December 16, 2011 8:11 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 16, 2011 8:13 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

Yes, you are right about what I was asking for.

Just to review, Trinity had written: "Remember faith is the assurance and conviction of the invisible."

I asked Trinity: "Mind taking us through a process by which you would form the concept "invisible?" Or will you fail to do this again, letting evidence of you doing so remain invisible while feeling confident that *you* have, in fact, carried out the process, and can "see" it?"

Trinity responded with: "Yea you go to kindergarten, then, first grade and so forth. First You start with the alphabet then you learn how to read. There you go concepts accounted for. No "objectivism" needed."

That's quite an interesting process of concept formation. Trinity is basically telling us his mind was a complete blank up until kindergarten, and that he was unable to form concepts prior to his entering school. Interesting. I can only assume then, that he was unable to identify a "toy" or "cookie" or "doggie" "chair" or "table" or "bed" or "pajamas" and hold that in his mind prior to attending a learning center. This means he had no knowledge prior to kindergarten. This admission of his might explain a lot.

Also, where did the people who taught Trinity how to count get their concepts that they passed along to him? How does Trinity know that what he was taught are valid concepts? Where does he look to validate them?

I do find it noteworthy, that even as feeble as Trinity's response was, that it made no mention of any supernatural deity being responsible for what he has indicated is his "process" of concept formation.

(Although, in a later comment, he does refer to it as "magic")

Ydemoc

December 16, 2011 8:21 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

quick copy and paste that post by Nide before he deletes it. It is golden, better even then his admission that we should all be conformists with regard to knowledge. Wow..... just wow!

December 16, 2011 8:26 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

don't worry about it it's not going anywhere.

So, how about you justify your "lack of belief"?

December 16, 2011 8:42 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "So, how about you justify your "lack of belief"?"

The non-existence of an invisible magic being and my non-belief in such a notion is justified by the axioms and the primacy of existence principle. That was easy.


Ydemoc

December 16, 2011 8:50 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

are you holding your breath?

December 16, 2011 8:51 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

yes it is easy to answer and I like how you did. The principle however is that we have no burden to do so. I dont want to get sidetracked from the main point. Nide has to make his case, not try to tear down our world views. Or as I said eariler, the strength of his arguement is not to be found in the weaknesses of others.

December 16, 2011 8:54 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

speaking of strength, you seriously expect me to take a world view seriously that does not take into account something as important and fundimental as concept formation?

December 16, 2011 8:56 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

And may I also add, from Dawson's blog entry, "Chris Bolt on the Conditions of Knowledge" (7/24/2009):

"As the building blocks of “beliefs,” concepts are more fundamental than “beliefs,” and need to be accounted for. Where did you get them? Or, more specifically, how did you form them? Or did you? The answers to such questions are provided by a good theory of concepts, which is ultimately what is needed if one wants to give an “account” for knowledge."

And...

"...Christian apologists endorse a storybook view of knowledge rather than a conceptual understanding of knowledge: examining knowledge in terms of its conceptual nature would demystify knowledge, make it understandable to the human mind, demonstrate how legitimate concepts have an objective relationship to reality so that they can be discovered by an individual thinker, and liberate him from those who seek to control him through the subterfuge of religious indoctrination."

And...

"Believing that something is the case (e.g., that the Christian god is real) does not make something exist that would not exist if one did not have that belief."

And...

"I can believe that the moon is made of green cheese, but these four factors will still obtain: objects will still exist, consciousness is still consciousness of objects, the proper relationship between subject and object is still the primacy of existence, and knowledge of reality is still conceptual in nature. In fact, notice that these four conditions would need to be in place for me to even consider the notion that the moon is made of green cheese, let alone believe it."

Trinity, put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Ydemoc

December 16, 2011 10:15 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

Totally off topic. You have a pretty good library of Ayn Rand’s published works. Do you know of anything were she discusses in more detail what she called the 5th section of philosophy, art?

December 16, 2011 10:21 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin wrote: "Do you know of anything were she discusses in more detail what she called the 5th section of philosophy, art?"

It's been a while since I read it completely, but you might want to look at "The Romantic Manifesto." Here's how Wiki describes it:

"The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature is a non-fiction work by Ayn Rand, a collection of essays regarding the nature of art."

Also see chapter 12 of OPAR.

Ydemoc

December 16, 2011 10:33 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

What is weseel talking about now?

Justin,

asked: "speaking of strength, you seriously expect me to take a world view seriously that does not take into account something as important and fundimental as concept formation?"

This is a junk question. I accounted for concepts the problem is it's not the answer you want. But here are my responses again:


Yea you go to kindergarten, then, first grade and so forth.

First You start with the alphabet then you learn how to read.

There you go concepts accounted for. No "objectivism" needed.



You're exactly it's magic. You either get it or you don't. That's just the way it is. I don't need a "theory of concepts"
it's useless. For the most part concepts are learned automatically. The way my mind processes information is irrelevant for the most part I have no control the mechanisms.

December 16, 2011 11:37 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 16, 2011 11:55 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

"This is a junk question. I accounted for concepts the problem is it's not the answer you want. But here are my responses again:"

You are correct in part, it is the answer that I didn't want to hear from you. However as I take reality to be the final court of appeal it is the answer ill have to accept, and I do accept this is how you view the subject matter of how concepts are formed.

December 16, 2011 11:57 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

Hey the wiki entery on concept learning is surprisingly good, lots of usful links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_learning

December 16, 2011 11:59 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

Thanks, I'll check that out.

Meanwhile, Trinity, as an apostle of the arbitrary and guardian of the imaginary is lost in the fog of faith.

Ydemoc

December 16, 2011 12:29 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Notice the continual sly ad hominem by weezel. It's amazing how emotional "objectivist" are.

December 16, 2011 2:11 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Notice the continual sly ad hominem by weezel. It's amazing how emotional "objectivist" are."

Sly? I thought it was quite obvious, actually. As for it being ad hominem, given the context of the past several months -- our exchanges, all the material presented to you -- I don't see why you would label this as such.

Also, it seems to me that you should be delighted that you are "lost in a fog of faith." The other two you would probably quibble with. But hey, if the shoe fits...

By the way, the only emotion I had writing it, was a some pride, accompanied by little chuckle. And your response made me chuckle again. How 'bout that?

Ydemoc

December 16, 2011 2:43 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

weezell said :"And your response made me chuckle again. How 'bout that?"

I laugh at me too. It's hilarious.

December 16, 2011 3:51 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken
spirit drieth the bones."
Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)

It is a good thing to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh even at yourself Nide:)

December 16, 2011 4:21 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

thanks jhall.

December 16, 2011 4:44 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

I have an off-topic comment regarding the common Christian tactic of charging non-believers as holding to the notion that the universe is "random" or just exists by "chance."

Given the fact that we are told by such supernaturalists that they believe their god "...does whatever he pleases;" and after rereading your blog entry, "The Concept of "Chance": Right and Wrong Uses," (July 10, 2009), I have re-affirmed my conclusion that such supernaturalists have no basis upon which to honestly denigrate or accuse others of holding to the notion of a "chance universe."

Furthermore, these supernaturalists have no basis upon which their own so-called "salvation" isn't also by chance. Under supernaturalists own terms -- that *everything* depends upon their deity's "good pleasure" or whim -- it would then be just by the "luck of the draw" that there happens to be a universe and that they happen to be saved!

As you wrote in your piece:

"Divine whim is the ultimate governing factor in determining ('pre-determining') what the facts and their 'relation to created law' may happen to be. As Psalms 115:3 confirms: 'our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.'

So ironically, where Bahnsen carries on as if he were concerned about preserving facts from 'randomness' and having 'no classifiable identity,' the metaphysical position to which he wants to associate facts relegates them to precisely this by making them subject to a supernatural consciousness which 'does whatever He pleases.'”

Yet supernaturalists keep on accusing others of what they themselves are guilty of holding to, a belief system that at its root is based upon nothing but chance. (And if one examines this a little deeper, their charges of "chance" -- on supernateralists' own terms -- would actually apply to the very notion of the existence of their god!)

So, despite predictable protestations from believers, it is obvious to me that the notion of "salvation" is nothing more than a code word for "luck" and "grace" is nothing more than a code word for "whim."

Talk about a "chance" universe! Amazing.

Ydemoc

December 18, 2011 11:54 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Chance is nothing, weesel, go find something better to do.

December 18, 2011 1:05 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 18, 2011 1:34 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

This attitude of it is either designed or just chance stems I believe from their complete lack of understanding of natures self organizing principles which the various sciences have discovered. We still most of us even if we don't articulate it as such are still going around with this enlightenment era notion of the clockwork universe in which the whole is directly reducible to the sum of its parts. The truth could not be more different. This is aptly demonstrated by chaos theory. Examples of this include Hadley cells in convecting fluids and spontaneous harmonics in fluid turbulence. Chemistry has many examples as well, given the properties of certain elements, ie their identity, all you need to do is add energy and they spontaneously create more complex structures, it is neither chance nor design, it is just their identity applied to action. So given their lack of understanding it is easy to understand how they get stuck with this false dichotomy of it is either chance or design.

December 18, 2011 1:36 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Jhall,

Enough with the rhetoric. Have you ,yourself, ever done any of these experiments?

December 18, 2011 2:01 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

Of course not:) I am not a logical positivist, are you?

December 18, 2011 2:13 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

No, as weezel put it once,I am a "faithist" are you?

December 18, 2011 2:19 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Chance is nothing, weesel,..."

What are the odds that "chance" is nothing? Did your god plan for you to say this according to his good pleasure? Or did you plan to say this according to your own good pleasure?

Trinity continued: "... go find something better to do."

I already did. In fact, it's too bad you weren't more specific in your directive, telling me, for instance, to go take a hike, because that's exactly what I did.

What would've been the odds of you telling me to go take a hike, and then me coming back to the blog, only to read that hiking is exactly what you ordered me to do?

Meanwhile, what I've written is left unaddressed by the believer:

"So, despite predictable protestations from believers, it is obvious to me that the notion of 'salvation' is nothing more than a code word for 'luck' and 'grace' is nothing more than a code word for 'whim.'"

December 18, 2011 3:07 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Weesel, you genius.

What part is troubling you my son?

C H A N C E is N O T H I N G

So, what is nothing? Chance



Im thinking of maybe calling you whim from now on. Since you like to ask random arbitrary rhetorical useless questions.

December 18, 2011 3:28 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

We have discussed this before, you and I have very different definitions in mind when we think of the concept “faith”. As I understand the concept faith, ”accepting propositions in the absence of or counter to reason” then no I am not a faithist. However when looking at your definition stated by you earlier

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, KJV).


Now we have a very different meaning here and it is the second part that is relevant. “evidence of things not seen”. You see I have not actually seen the vast majority of the phenomenon I have read about from the various sciences. However I accept the evidence for most of them because I find their reasoning convincing. Now because I use reason I don't call this faith mainly because of the way I define faith excludes reason from falling within the concept faith. If we use your meaning of the word faith however things are very different. What your definition however does not make clear is whether the evidence of things not seen is accepted on a rational basis using valid inductive reasoning, or not. What is clear however is that we both accept propositions of things we can not see so neither of us is a logical positivist. They make the claim that the only valid claims to knowledge is what we can interact with using our senses, they dispense with inductive reasoning and restrict themselves to the perceptually self evident.

I am curious to see how you will answer this from Ydemoc

"So, despite predictable protestations from believers, it is obvious to me that the notion of 'salvation' is nothing more than a code word for 'luck' and 'grace' is nothing more than a code word for 'whim."

If not whim, what objective criteria is used instead?

December 18, 2011 3:34 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

chance

a : something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause

nothing

: not any thing : no thing

these do not appear to be the same thing. I dont think we have a case of A = B, but more like A is not equal to B.

December 18, 2011 3:39 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Biblically speaking, jhall, chance is jibberish.


Besides, jhall, your account of induction is fallacious.

It's so fallacious that even taking things for granted, for example your senses, on your side of the fence is questionable.

December 18, 2011 4:04 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "C H A N C E is N O T H I N G"

If you mean "chance" or "random" are not metaphysical concepts, but epistemological, I would agree with you.

Unfortunately, given that you subscribe to a primacy of consciousness metaphysics (i.e., wishing makes it so, reality conforms to consciousness), you cannot escape the implications of your own "chance" and "arbitrary" worldview. You have no way of determining what god's wishes are (it's a mystery, right?). He could wish that today would be a lovely sunny day with no suprises; but tomorrow a giant, talking donkey could fall from the sky onto your neighbor's house. The only option you'd have if such a cataclysmic event occurred is pray to this god and to say that it was a blessing (luck) or by the grace of god (luck) that the giant, talking donkey didn't land on your house. This would be your only way to evaluate the situation. And it's the same way with your salvation (luck). Whim driven luck -- that is what god belief is. Whatever god feels like doing, he does, right? Whim driven luck.

Failing to integrate the arbitrariness of "god's good pleasure," and the idea of a god being ultimately a "mystery" (as you yourself have stated), Bahnsen unthinkingly writes:

"In a chance universe, all particular facts would be random, have no classifiable identity, bear no pre-determined order or relation, and thus be unintelligible to man’s mind. (Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis, p. 38n.10)"

And a talking donkey is intelligible to man's mind? Huh?

Trinity writes: "So, what is nothing? Chance"

I see. So the fact that your god predetermined (for him it would be determined on a whim, I suppose) and "saved" the elect according to his "good pleasure," (i.e., on a whim) you wouldn't consider such capriciousness falling in your favor as having anything to do with "chance" or "luck," but instead you choose to call it "grace." Got it.

Trinity wrote: "Im thinking of maybe calling you whim from now on. Since you like to ask random arbitrary rhetorical useless questions."

Aren't my arbitrary questions just a part of your god's allegedly mysterious, non-arbitrary, yet "wish and/or hedonistic based" plan?

(continued)

December 18, 2011 4:31 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Even on your own spokesperson's terms, that being that "events occur without without cause," the very existence of your god must be by chance! As Dawson notes:

"...if it is valid for the Christian to speak for the non-Christian’s position in this manner, there’s no reason why the non-Christian cannot do likewise. “God is uncaused and eternally self-existent,” explains Bahnsen. “There is nothing prior to God accounting for His origin and existence” (Pushing the Antithesis, p. 60). Like the non-Christian, the Christian too begins with something that was not created by a supernatural (or any other) being. So just as the non-Christian is said essentially to hold that the universe exists “by chance” and is thus “irrational,” so too must the Christian believe that his god exists “by chance” and is thus “irrational.”

And it wouldn’t stop there. The “chance-boundedness” of theism turns up all over the place. For instance, when Christians say that their god is “rational,” it must be “just by chance” that it’s rational; when Christians say that the laws of logic “reflect” the nature of the Christian god, it must be “just by chance” that they do this; when they say that the Christian god chose to save them from their sins, it must be “just by chance” that the Christian god chose to do this. And so on." ("The Concept of "Chance": Right and Wrong Uses," July 10, 2009)

He goes on to write: "First, it is important to notice how presuppositionalists are using the concept ‘chance’ in their characterizations of non-Christian worldviews. As Van Til makes it clear above, he is using “chance” to refer to some metaphysical phenomenon, as if it were a type of force, energy, or substance controlling the universe and the activity which takes place within it. I know of no such phenomenon which somehow causes events to happen “without cause” (as Frame’s definition requires). Rather, ‘chance’ is an epistemological concept which is used to indicate a probability assessment, or that the series of causes leading up to an action or set of actions is unknown or only partially known. Both of these are epistemological concerns, not metaphysical forces acting “behind the scenes” cancelling out the law of causality."

You have a lot of catching up to do, Trinity. Perhaps someday you'll read what's written and actually put it together for yourself. But what are the odds of that happening?

I'm also curious: What's the Weather Channel say the chances are for rain, and giant talking donkeys falling from the sky tomorrow?

Ydemoc

December 18, 2011 4:33 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

“Biblically speaking, jhall, chance is jibberish.”

Could you expand on this. Can you make a valid argument in defence of that statement that uses only the bible as its authoritative source? Mostly just curious actually if that really is the case.


“Besides, jhall, your account of induction is fallacious.”

I dont recall even attempting to “give an account of induction” in my prior post. I was using the concept induction to make the distinction between faith and reason not a defence of induction as such.


“It's so fallacious that even taking things for granted, for example your senses, on your side of the fence is questionable.”

This statement leads me to suspect that even now you have no clear conceptual understanding of what objectivism has to say on these subject matters. Could you for the record tell us what objectivism has to say about the question of accounting for induction and the related question of validation of the scenes? Given you lack of understanding of a objective theory of concepts and your complete unwillingness to even discuss it I very much doubt you could give any kind of coherent explanation of what objectivism actually has to say on this and if that is the case why would I take your criticisms seriously? Do you even know what you are taking about? Then again maybe you do and you surprise me:)

December 18, 2011 4:46 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

I enjoyed the last two posts from you, keep up the good work.

December 18, 2011 4:47 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Thanks, Justin. Trinity and I have been keeping this up for quite a while. Lately, I have ventured outside Dawson's blog to challenge his silliness with doses of rationality. I should post links to these exchanges so you can read them.

And I am enjoying crafting responses to him -- I get to sharpen my writing, re-read Dawson's blog entries, and, hopefully appeal to any rationally-leaning fence-sitters that may be lurking. It's a win, win, win, win!

Ydemoc

December 18, 2011 4:57 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

Yes one reason for my continual involvement was to improve my writing skills and thought processes. Feel free to email me the exchanges, also I wanted to discuss applying objectivism’s views on art to the subject matter of literature and you are about the only one I think would be even a little bit interested in that. This forum just seems to not be the appropriate place for that.

@Nide

I realize I asked two things of you in my last post, if you like please just answer the first question about chance and the bible, that is the one I really want to know your thoughts on. Thanks.

December 18, 2011 5:12 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Notice, weezels, fondness for question begging. How is it that your rational?

jhall,

mind telling me about "objectivists" view of induction?

Your asking me to provide an argument for the authority of the bible is this correct?


P.S. What's wrong with a giant talking donkey?

December 18, 2011 5:23 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

"Your asking me to provide an argument for the authority of the bible is this correct?"

No, sorry. The argument would assume the authority of the bible as one of its premises. What I want is an argument that ends in "and therefor chance is jibberish" or something like that.

As for a talking donkey, nothing that I can think off, other then I cant think of any valid reason to think that such a thing is possible in the first place.

December 18, 2011 5:33 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

If God is control of everything that happens then chance is nothing.

God is in control of everything that happens

Therefore chance is nothing

Valid by modus ponens


you ever gonna get around to that induction question?

December 18, 2011 6:06 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

By the way, Jhall, I hate to beat a dead horse, but how do you validate your reason?

December 18, 2011 6:08 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

Not to sound like I am beating a dead horse but my world view is not on trial here. Now about your arguement, its good but here is a question. Can god not assign something to chance by design? For exmaple I have designed games that use dice to determine outcomes. I am in complete control of how that game will run, ie I made the rules, however I determined that there will be a degree of chance involved in its out comes. However I suspose this would violate the principle of god being all knowing if he did do this. What do you think?

December 18, 2011 6:21 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Jhall,

I'm currently listening to Michael Butler vs Dan barker. Michael Butler said something interesting that I am waiting for him to expound. That is, In what way does God know everything. Maybe in the future I can bring this up.

But to your question.

Well, the word omniscient is not in the bible. However, it could be inferred from many passages. Even some that you maybe be familiar with. I'll be honest there is some mystery to God's omniscience. I am confident saying, however, that everything that happens in time he is fully aware of.



Isaiah 41:22 New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming;"

Isaiah 46:10 New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';"

December 18, 2011 6:59 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "How is it that your rational?"

Where did you get the concept "rational"? Is this virtue in your bible? Please tell me chapter and verse where I can find the concept "rational" or "rationality" in your bible.

Rationality is one's commitment to reason as his only means of knowledge and his only guide to action

Firstly, I'm rational because I recognize that to attempt to think or act in denial of the axioms and the Primacy of Existence Principle, would not only be futile and contradictory, it could also present a great danger to my life and others. If I thought and acted as if existence conformed to consciousness, what would keep me from attempting to fly by leaping out sky scraper window? What would prevent me from doing it with a loved one riding piggy-back? Or from taking up snakes and drinking lethal poison without any concern of being harmed?

One other way I know I'm rational, is that I reject faith-based beliefs. If I thought and acted as if faith-based beliefs were true, what would prevent me from flying planes into buildings, murdering witches, killing heretics, stoning stick-gatherers on the sabbath, dashing little ones heads against rocks and being happy about it. What would prevent me from advocating doing away with the Constitution and pushing for a New Christian Constitution based on the bible and the teachings of Calvin? If I was living in the 1930's, what would have prevented me from joining the Nazi party? You might say all these things would be prevented by "faith"; I say faith is what caused these things in the first place.

How is it that I am rational? I am rational because it is my nature to be so as a man; however, any particular man has a choice to think or not to think. Those who choose not to think, or replace their thinking with anything other than reason, is not rational.

Take you for example. Whatever rationality you exhibit in your daily life is not because of your faith-based belief, but in spite of it.

Ydemoc

December 18, 2011 7:15 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Notice the continual fallacious jibberings by weasel.

1. I'm rational
2. I'm a man
C. I'm rational

Wanna try again Weazel?

Remember validating your reasoning with your reasoning is invalid, arbitrary, subjective.

December 18, 2011 7:51 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

"Remember validating your reasoning with your reasoning is invalid, arbitrary, subjective."

of course you are correct, validating reason by recourse to reason is question begging, however that cuts bothways. By even asking us to validate reason or account for it in someway you also presupposing it and thus committing a stolen concept fallacy.



Back to our other line of discussion about god, I will have more to say later, got an intersting idea I want to throw at you about chance.

December 18, 2011 8:04 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ok so using my reasoning pressuposes my reasoning is valid is this correct?

Actually it pressuposes the Christian God. but that's another topic.

The only alternative I have is to, assume, my reasoning is working.

In fact for the most part everybody does. However, there has to be a reason why we can do this. And Jhall Im convinced you can't give me a non-fallacious answer.

So, yea chance

December 18, 2011 8:24 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 18, 2011 9:06 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

“Ok so using my reasoning pressuposes my reasoning is valid is this correct?”

Nope, that is not what I am saying. How this question is answered, or properly dealt with comes in the light of a proper understanding of concept formation, in other words an objective theory of concepts. However you do not feel that this is needed, in your own words you said it is magic. This is a epistemological gulf between us that makes it impossible for you to understand how we deal with your question “how do you account for reason, morality etc....” Now I am not asking you to agree with objectivsim but I think it would at least be in your interests if not down right polite if you at least understood it if you want to argue against it. Do you at least understand what we mean by a hierarchy of concepts?

Now about chance, consider this. God knows everything right? even in advance of it happening correct? Now we have phenomenon like quantum mechanical events that are not determined by prior events. That is they are statistical and not deterministic, they are chance. Now could not god have determined that some things are going to be random, that is no prior events will cause them so to us they will appear as chance, but he on the other hand still knows in advance what they will be? It would be like god said every once in a while I am going to throw the dice, I already know the outcome but I have decided that there will be no inputs from reality to influence the outcome. It seems this might be a way to reconcile both an all knowing god and chance, what do you think?

December 18, 2011 9:08 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

ok, been working late, but I am out of here, Ydemoc, Nide be safe talk to you later:)

December 18, 2011 9:10 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Remember my math example?

There you go a hierarchy of concepts.

To deny arithmetic but affirm algebra is a contradiction because you need arithmetic to do algebra. So, what's your point there Jhall?


An all knowing God and chance?

Maybe, God does tell people not to do certaint things knowing that they will do it anyway and which they do freely.


Take Cain for example.

December 18, 2011 9:53 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Take Cain for example."

What does Herman Cain have to do with any of this?

Seriously though, wasn't Cain's every action dictated by your god's good pleasure?

Ydemoc

December 18, 2011 11:05 PM  
Blogger Ben Wallis said...

Hezekiah Ahaz,

I'm hesitant to jump into this conversation since it appears to be fairly bitterly prolonged, but nevertheless I'd like to say something about trusting our own reasoning.

You complain that to trust our reasoning without presupposing the existence of God is arbitrary and subjective, and that attempting to escape this arbitrary position through the use of our reason is "invalid," by which I take you to mean circular. In a certain sense this is all true. But invoking the existence of God isn't helpful in avoiding this trap between arbitrarily assuming our reason and falling into circularity.

When we presuppose that God exists, we will either ALSO presuppose that we can reason, or else not. If not, then the alternative is to reason our way towards reason, which falls into the same trap of circularity we faced before. So to avoid the circularity, you must presuppose both God AND your reason at once. But then you're back to being arbitrary. And by lumping God into the mix, you're just ADDING more arbitrary elements, not subtracting.

So it's not as if the theist has a solution. Instead, we just have to live with our assumptions, however arbitrary they may be. Tacking on additional reasonless assumptions is going to ADD to the problem, not fix it.

--Ben

December 19, 2011 3:07 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Weezel retire.


Ben,

Welcome. Thanks for the confession.
I always suspected that "atheists" were fond of bad reasoning.


Ben said: "this conversation since it appears to be fairly bitterly prolonged"


This is nothing compared to past convos. It's part of the program, ben, I am suppose to get "buy" you coffee till you repent.

Ben said: "You complain that to trust our reasoning without presupposing the existence of God is arbitrary and subjective"


You got it all wrong, ben, I said reasoning presupposes the existence of God.

And


To validate your reasoning with your reasoning is bad reasoning.


For example,


Let's revisit weezels argument:


1. I'm rational
2. I'm a man
C. I'm rational


On the assumption that both premises are true this is a valid argument. However, it's a bad argument. It's pretty much useless and doesn't help us get any further.


When asked why he is ratonal weasel says this:

"One other way I know I'm rational, is that I reject faith-based beliefs. If I thought and acted as if faith-based beliefs were true, what would prevent me from flying planes into buildings, murdering witches, killing heretics, stoning stick-gatherers on the sabbath, dashing little ones heads against rocks and being happy about it. What would prevent me from advocating doing away with the Constitution and pushing for a New Christian Constitution based on the bible and the teachings of Calvin? If I was living in the 1930's, what would have prevented me from joining the Nazi party? You might say all these things would be prevented by "faith"; I say faith is what caused these things in the first place."


Some more bad reasoning by weasel.
It's all an appeal to emotion. I call it junk reasoning.



More later

December 19, 2011 7:34 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity had asked: "How is it that your rational?"

In response, I provided the following: "Rationality is one's commitment to reason as his only means of knowledge and his only guide to action."

I also gave him examples of my rationality, or my commitment to reason as my only means of knowledge and my only guide to action. These examples were intended to show Trinity the ways that I consistently check my premises against the axioms and the Primacy of Existence Principle. After all, it was he who asked "How is it that you are rational?" I simply gave him my answer.

As Peikoff notes in OPAR, p.159: "Reason is a faculty of awareness; its function is to perceive that which exists by organizing observational data. And reason is a volitional faculty; it has the power to direct its own actions and check its conclusions, the power to maintain a certain relationship to the facts of reality."

This is what my examples were intended to illustrate to Trinity. But he apparently hasn't been paying attention, for he writes:

Trinity wrote: "Notice the continual fallacious jibberings by weasel."

In many instances, that which we recognize in ourselves, we often attribute to others, especially when the one doing the attributing has no recourse but to ultimately appeal to mystery (as opposed to the axioms and the Primacy of Existence) to ground one's worldview. And Trinity is no exception in this case.

He failed to tell me where in his bible I could find the concept "rational" or "rationality." Yet he lashes out at others in their attempts to guide him toward what his bible warns against: "Lean not upon your own understanding."

(continued)

December 19, 2011 10:23 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

With directives like this, it is no wonder that he keeps his mind closed off, and prevents him from considering that the "elements of reason are objectively identifiable; abstractions such as "percept," "concept," and "logic" are reducible to the data of observation. But abstractions such as "intuition," "revelation," and the rest, precisely because they purport to name a faculty that transcends reason, cannot be given objective definition; there is no logical chain linking such abstractions to sensory data. As a result, there is no objective means by which to use or apply such terms. Technically, they are invalid concepts. Practically, a person who uses them has no recourse but to rely on his feelings." (OPAR, p.160).

See? I was right. When Trinity labels my response, "It's all an appeal to emotion," he is really talking about himself here. How could he not be? For he follows a storybook that tells him that "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge"!

And if we quiz him deeply enough (which isn't too far below whatever surface he purports to have), we find that he will ultimately make an appeal to "mystery." Why does your god exist? It's a mystery! Why did your god do this as opposed to that? It's a mystery! Is your god arbitrary? No1 How do you know? It's a mystery! Isn't it just by chance that you are among the "elect"? No! Well how do you know this? It's a mystery!!! Is it through faith? Yes! How does faith do this? It's a mystery! Can you validate faith for us? No! Why not? It's a mystery! Where can we directly observe your god in action? You can't! Well, why not? It's a mystery! But isn't all knowledge based on a proper identification of things that exist in reality? No! How do you know this? It's mystery!! Is it a mystery because you want it to be a mystery? Blank out.

So, as to Trinity's accusation of circular reasoning on my part, I submit the following for his predictable "blanking out":

"To grasp its [reason] meaning and implications, one must first grasp its hierarchical roots.

'Reason,' in Ayn Rand's definition, is 'the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses.' Or: reason is the faculty that enables man to discover the nature of existents -- by virtue of its power to condense sensory information in accordance with the requirements of an objective mode of cognition. Or: reason is the faculty that organizes perceptual units in conceptual terms by following the principles of logic. This formulation highlights the three elements essential to the faculty: its data, percepts; its form, concepts; its method, logic.

Is reason so defined a valid means of cognition? Does it bring man knowledge of reality? The question reduces to: are the senses valid? are concepts valid? is logic valid?" (OPAR, p. 152-153)

(continued)

December 19, 2011 10:24 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

It is at this point that Peikoff writes something that applies to Trinity: "To these questions, the answer has already been given."

Indeed, the answers have been given time and time again in this blog. In a way, Trinity is lucky that I enjoy writing all this stuff; perhaps some day he will grasp it. What are the chances?

In any event, Peikoff goes on (OPAR, p. 163) to address another familiar Trinity taunt:

"'Why should I accept reason?' means: 'Why should I accept reality' The answer is that existence exists, and only existence exists. Man's choice is either to accept reason or to consign his consciousness and life to a void.

One cannot seek a proof that reason is reliable, because reason is the faculty of proof; one must accept and use reason in any attempt to prove anything. But, using reason, one can identify its relationship to the facts of reality and thereby validate the faculty."

Again, the validation for "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses" is not only present throughout Dawson's blog, but it present all around us; plainly speaking, it is as obvious as the nose on Trinity's face.

And, whether Trinity chooses to grasp what has been presented to him here on this blog and elsewhere, depends upon whether or not he continues protecting his confessional investment.

Why else would he cling so tightly to the notion of a conversational donkey? He knows it's silly, yet he seeks to rationalize it away, finding reasons that would support it, but ultimately having to make an appeal to mystery.

Such appeals are a clear indication that he and his fellow apologists are derelict in their duties as a guardians of the imaginary.

Funny how reality has a way of exposing this.

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 10:24 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

bravo!

December 19, 2011 2:10 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Thanks, Justin.

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 2:27 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Waste of time said(weasel),


And if we quiz him deeply enough (which isn't too far below whatever surface he purports to have), we find that he will ultimately make an appeal to "mystery." Why does your god exist? It's a mystery! Why did your god do this as opposed to that? It's a mystery! Is your god arbitrary? No1 How do you know? It's a mystery! Isn't it just by chance that you are among the "elect"? No! Well how do you know this? It's a mystery!!! Is it through faith? Yes! How does faith do this? It's a mystery! Can you validate faith for us? No! Why not? It's a mystery! Where can we directly observe your god in action? You can't! Well, why not? It's a mystery! But isn't all knowledge based on a proper identification of things that exist in reality? No! How do you know this? It's mystery!! Is it a mystery because you want it to be a mystery? Blank out.



Ad Hominem
Strawmen
Sly Red Herring


"One cannot seek a proof that reason is reliable, because reason is the faculty of proof; one must accept and use reason in any attempt to prove anything. But, using reason, one can identify its relationship to the facts of reality and thereby validate the faculty."- Peikoff



Not really. It's called Logic Mr.Peikoff. Not everybody is logical, for example, weezel.



"Funny how reality has a way of exposing this."


Is it the reality based on what you see out your window?


By the way anybody ever gonna account for this hideous argument:


1. I'm rational
2. I'm a man
C. I'm rational

How about you Justin?




"See? I was right. When Trinity labels my response, "It's all an appeal to emotion," he is really talking about himself here. How could he not be? For he follows a storybook that tells him that "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge"!"


I see a sly argument here:


1. Other people are emotional
2. I am emotional
C. It's ok if I am emotional


or better yet.


1. Other people are stupid
2. I am stupid(weezel)
C. It's ok If am stupid

December 19, 2011 2:28 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Nide posted this question to me

1. I'm rational
2. I'm a man
C. I'm rational

How about you Justin?

I don't think Ydemoc ever put forth that argument. Actually he went to great length, 3 posts, to illustrate that it is his recognition of the axiomatic concepts and the relationships between them that secure his rationality and justify his use of logic, the “accounting for” that you want. Of course to understand this answer you have to have grasped the meaning of a “objective theory of concepts” and also accepted the principle of metaphysical objectivity. The later is a metaphysical presupposition if you will that has to be accepted due to the impossibility of the contrary. You yourself have said that metaphyiscial subjectivism is invalid so I cant see how you could argue against this second point.

December 19, 2011 3:08 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"How is it that I am rational? I am rational because it is my nature to be so as a man; however, any particular man has a choice to think or not to think. Those who choose not to think, or replace their thinking with anything other than reason, is not rational."

See the sly arguemnt jhall?

December 19, 2011 3:12 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I had written, quoting Leonard Peikoff: "One cannot seek a proof that reason is reliable, because reason is the faculty of proof; one must accept and use reason in any attempt to prove anything. But, using reason, one can identify its relationship to the facts of reality and thereby validate the faculty."

Trinity responded: "Not really. It's called Logic Mr.Peikoff. Not everybody is logical, for example, weezel."

Perhaps I'm assuming facts that are not in evidence by stating this, but I do not have the ability to read the contents of your mind; nor do I understand what thought(s) you are attempting to communicate in your comment, (it seems that you didn't read very carefully), so I will simply point out again what Dr. Peikoff wrote:

"'Reason,' in Ayn Rand's definition, is 'the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses.' Or: reason is the faculty that enables man to discover the nature of existents -- by virtue of its power to condense sensory information in accordance with the requirements of an objective mode of cognition. Or: reason is the faculty that organizes perceptual units in conceptual terms by following the principles of logic. This formulation highlights the three elements essential to the faculty: its data, percepts; its form, concepts; its method, logic."

Reason is the faculty; logic is its method. Did you get that?

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 4:12 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "You got it all wrong, ben, I said reasoning presupposes the existence of God."

If a human being has the ability to perceive things, and he forms the concept "rock" to identify this particular object of his perception; and if a human being has the ability to perceive things, and he forms the concept "cow" to identify this particular object of perception; and if a human being has the ability to perform this same process with other objects of his perception, and he recognizes that these concepts he formed based on this perceptual input have something in common; and he has the ability to form another concept from the concepts he already formed, which identifies this fact; and he calls this new concept "knowledge," to which his concepts "cow" and "rock" and other concepts belong; and he forms another concept which names the process he went through, and calls this concept "reasoning," then tell me where one might find room in this process for the claim that "reasoning presupposes the existence of God," except for the room man makes for such a notion within the confines of his imagination?

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 4:18 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"One cannot seek a proof that reason is reliable, because reason is the faculty of proof; one must accept and use reason in any attempt to prove anything."

Ok, Mr. peikoff, but weezel here has been commiting some tremoundous logical mistakes how could his faculites be reliable?

December 19, 2011 4:26 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

what tremendous logical mistakes has Ydemoc made?

December 19, 2011 4:35 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

also your statement indicates that you are still confusing the faculty with the method. We all have the faculty of reason tho in any particular insistence of our reasoning, our logic might be faulty. that is why we debate, to find identify and correct our reasoning with regard to using logic.

December 19, 2011 4:42 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

For one, Jhall, Weezel doesn't know what an argument is. In fact he doesn't know what correct reasoning is.

Notice his "arguments" their jibberings and besides look at what he said everybodies reasoning is reliable.

I had a classmate tell me last week. He wasn't sure he existed, he said the imaginary is real, there is no reality etc.

December 19, 2011 5:16 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "For one, Jhall, Weezel doesn't know what an argument is. In fact he doesn't know what correct reasoning is."

An "argument is a vehicle for articulating inference from what is ultimately directly perceived to that which is not directly perceived." (Dawson)

Trinity wrote: "Notice his "arguments" their jibberings and besides look at what he said everybodies reasoning is reliable."

I don't think I said this.

Trinity wrote: "I had a classmate tell me last week. He wasn't sure he existed, he said the imaginary is real, there is no reality etc."

He sounds like you! Are you sure you weren't talking to yourself, eh, I mean praying?

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 5:35 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

Although I have never explored this particular the Aesthetics section of the "Objectivism Online Forum," I went over there just now and it looks like there are plenty of threads on various topics that might interest you. Here's the link:

http://forum.objectivismonline.net/index.php?showforum=16

Trinity,

Here is a link to a fella that has a lot of interesting things to say about things that you seem to be awfully confused about. You might want to give him a read some time:

http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 5:50 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

"Trinity wrote: "I had a classmate tell me last week. He wasn't sure he existed, he said the imaginary is real, there is no reality etc."

this reminds me of the joke about the solipsist that tries to convince others of his philosophical position

December 19, 2011 5:52 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Notice the level that Weezel has stooped down to. It's embarrassing.

December 19, 2011 6:17 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Notice the level that Weezel has stooped down to. It's embarrassing."

I thought you might find that amusing. But I guess I can't even joke around with you anymore. But, hey, I can post some links to sites that might help you with this also, if you'd like.

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 6:21 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Weezeel,

Across the desert lies the promised land- Willy Wonka


Farewell, Gesunheidt

December 19, 2011 6:40 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Across the desert lies the promised land- Willy Wonka"

And Bruce Springsteen sang, "And I believe in a promised land..."

And Bob Dylan sang, "Senor, senor, can you tell me where were headin ? Lincoln County Road or Armageddon? Seems like I been down this way before. Is there any truth in that, Señor?"

And Robert De Niro said, "You talkin' to me?"

And Michael Keaton said, "Get outta town!"

Am I catching your drift?

Trinity wrote: "Farewell, Gesunheidt"

And Bob Dylan wrote:

"Farewell Angelina
The bells of the crown
Are being stolen by bandits
I must follow the sound
The triangle tingles
And the trumpets play slow
Farewell Angelina
The sky is on fire
And I must go"

Hey, arbitrarily posting stuff that has no direct connection to what is being discussed is actually kinda fun!

Ydemoc

December 19, 2011 6:57 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Weezel has decided to diagnose me with a clinical condition
i.e. sometype of insanity.

December 20, 2011 3:41 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Hey Dawson Merry Christmas and Happy new year.

Blessings and love in christ,

Me

December 23, 2011 2:56 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Jhall I'm challenging to try and refute my new argument. However, I highly doubt you will be able to.


The argument from life.

1. Atheist lack belief in God.
2. God is life.
3. Atheist believe in life.
4. Atheist believe in God Inference from 2 and 3
5. Contradiction From 1 and 4
C. Atheist don't have a lack of belief about God. Negation Intro via 5

December 26, 2011 3:15 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Premise two is not granted. You will first need an argument that concludes in that. Good form however. Much better then the sloppy syllogisms that I see throw around online. However you honestly didn't think premise two would go uncontested did you?

life
adjective
noun
1.
the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.
2.
the sum of the distinguishing phenomena of organisms, especially metabolism, growth, reproduction, and adaptation to environment.
3.
the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual: to risk one's life; a short life and a merry one.
4.
a corresponding state, existence, or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul: eternal life.
5.
the general or universal condition of human existence: Too bad, but life is like that.





God
noun
1.
the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.
2.
the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute: the God of Islam.
3.
( lowercase ) one of several deities, especially a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs.
4.
( often lowercase ) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the god of mercy.
5.
Christian Science . the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, love, Mind, Soul, Spirit,
Principle.



I take it that you are going with the 5th definition given here. However I don't think it is meaningful. Life is a biological process exhibited by biological life forms, animals, planets etc... It is a process, something entities do, not an entity in and of its self. God if he exists might be said to be alive but he is no more life then I am life just because I am alive. Like I said to you in an earlier exchange, driving is not the car. It is the car being driven. So if I am to take this argument on face value then god is not an entity. It is just another word for life and yes I do believe there is such a process as life. However life did not create the existence apart from its self. How could it? as a process it already presuppose something that is doing the actual process, the thing alive which would of course have to exist. You ran into a similar problem when dealing with consciousness, another process and not an entity in and of its self that presupposes something already existing. Life did not send its only begotten son to die for my sins, how could it, life is not a parent, an entity but would be an attribute or quality of the parent. Life did not make a deal with Abraham, a singular entity is said to have done that.

Nide you know full well that my approach to this would be. You know that premise two is an equivocation that I would not accept. Your argument is a pretty obvious attempt to define atheism away. But what would it really achieve. So I believe in life, do you honestly think that because of that that I am also going to believe the bible is true? that there is an invisible all powerful sky daddy looking out for me? Do you think this is going to get me into church on Sunday? Or is this just to make you feel better, a kind of “see you really do agree with me”. What you are not getting is while you are running around saying see the atheist really is a believer the atheist is actually saying to anyone that will listen, “No I don't, life means life and god means god and to me they are different things” But hey if it makes you feel better by all means shout it out to the high heavens, I still will not be in church this Sunday. If anyone asks if I believe in god I will reply that I reject all metaphysical subjective claims out of hand.

December 26, 2011 6:15 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

Well of course justin you can begin by poisoing the well via the loaded words. That's fine it's expected.

Anyway

God is life itself he doesn't have to look outside of himself to know anything.

God and life are identical he's life itself.

Justin it's not about trying to get you to Sunday worship.
But to show you that you are without excuse. However, eventually lord willing you will find a good church.

Let's be rational here Justin:

Me and you want to live in other word's we don't want to die evidently.

Now here is God offering FREELY through Christ eternal life
is it rational Justin to reject life especially eternal life?

Let's do this hypothetically for the sake of argument.

December 26, 2011 6:40 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

As I said, the concepts life and god have completely different referrents for me... Thus the concepts do not mean the same thing to me... Followed by as a result your argument will not achieve th goal of convincing me to believe in god. What you believe? I dont care. As for the remainder of your post, that is just Pascal's wager.

December 26, 2011 7:00 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

To all come have a cup of coffe:

http://hezekiahahaz.blogspot.com/2011/12/why-non-god-belief-is-contradiction.html

December 26, 2011 7:07 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

So instead of having a rational discussion you decide to play with straw men.

Amazing.

December 26, 2011 7:10 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@How have I misscharactorized your arguement?

December 26, 2011 7:12 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

I was referring the pascal wager thing.

How does eternal life through Christ = pascal's wager.

Actually, it's a red herring Jhall and you know it.

December 26, 2011 7:27 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Nide

"Now here is God offering FREELY through Christ eternal life
is it rational Justin to reject life especially eternal life?"

Translation, accept Jesus and live forever in heven or..... what is the alternative?

yes this is just Pascal's Wager restated.

December 26, 2011 7:31 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Repent and believe in Christ or spend an eternity away from him in utter darkness.

Pascal's waiger is a "just in case it's true" argument. It's weak and hence should be rejected.

To reject God is to choose death "lack of belief" is irrational.

December 26, 2011 7:49 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

"Pascal's waiger is a "just in case it's true" argument. It's weak and hence should be rejected."

OK ill accept that. Kind of like when atheists ask if god can make a rock to heavy to lift, it is just a bad arguement. Also have you considered that as you say it is a just in case insurance policy! Can you imagine standing before god and trying to explaine that you always paid your premiums up on time! Somehow I dont think it will wash, if god is real:)

December 26, 2011 8:01 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Don't worry Justin he is.

Why choose death? It's irrational.


Blessings.

December 26, 2011 8:09 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide
Well Nide death is not something that I can avoid indefinitely. It is in the nature of man to grow old and die. It divides time up nicely into 3 parts. The time prior to my conception when I did not exist and was thus dead for all intensive purposes. Then the finite time in between while I live followed by a return to the state of affairs prior to my existence, namely that I will no longer exist. So while I might be given a chance to choose the time and manor of my death I cant however choose to avoid it. This does not really scare me however, it is the actual dying that scares me. The failing health, but being dead, nope, don't care. I will care about being dead about as much as I cared about not existing in 1969, which is to say none at all. You have to exist to care about anything after all. And Nide, yes when the neurological activity in my brain stops as it will some day, that will be the end of what I think of as me, the inter-subjective experience of being Justin will end. I know this because this is the conclusion that reason has lead me to. I have the moral courage to accept this fact because I know reality is the final court of appeal, not my wish, desires or even my fears.

December 26, 2011 8:33 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Jhall now your begging the question but anyway here is a question.

If your reasoning can be shown to be fallacious will you recant?

December 26, 2011 8:52 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide
just how am I begging the question. Where have I used a conclusion as a premise to infer that very same conclusion?

As for recanting, that concept recanting has connotations I don't like. Lets say if my reasoning concerning my conclusions about death were shown to be incorrect due to new evidence that I was unaware of then sure:) All of my inductive conclusions are subject to the possibility of revision. However based on what I do know on the subject I would say no, I am not in error. Basically Nide you would have to give me some very good reasons for thinking consciousness is not a biological process, and thus the experience of it will not end when those processes end. Got any evidence?

ps, I am heading home and wont be there for about 2 hours.

December 26, 2011 9:07 PM  
Blogger Michael Russell said...

I hope it's not too rude to slide over the 141 comments, and comment on Dawson's original post. Since the post is a reply to me, I'll take the liberty!

I think perhaps your most pressing point, Dawson, relates to whether God has given us enough information in the Bible to deal with demons, evil spirits and other beings that might be arrayed against us in the supernatural world.

Just recently a friend was asking me lots of questions about this. She was concerned about a friend of hers who had seen a psychic, and was convinced she had received a message from her late father.

In working through how to respond, I was reminded again that the Bible has the resources to respond to this and all questions about the supernatural - not with everything we might possibly ask, but with everything we actually need to know.

There's a great power in those key verses that remind us that we can resist demons and all other effects and servants of Satan. I'll mention again that if you combine 1 Peter 5:8-10 with James 4:7, you get something like 'Resist Satan, by standing firm in the faith, and he will flee from you.'

That's enough. Just be a Christian, and trust in Jesus. No demon, evil spirit, or any agent or effect of Satan can do anything bad to you, if you resist Satan, standing firm in the faith. Are you confident Jesus is stronger than the demons? Yes? Then the demons can't possess you.

Why do you need to know more?

I wrote some detailed reflections on this here

http://richaelmussell.blogspot.com/2011/12/should-i-believe-psychics-message-from.html

I know you said a lot of stuff in your post.... I'm hoping to respond a little more. But no guarantees I'm afraid....

December 26, 2011 10:44 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Michael

No worries man, Nide and Ydemoc and myself have basically set up camp on his blog:) But it is still his blog and as you say the original post was directed at you:) Hope you had a merry christmas.

December 26, 2011 10:57 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

Any evidence I give you'll reject or twist it to suit your
beliefs.

Since I am convinced that your reasoning is fallacious that's the approach I will be taking.

The thing is Justin the point in question here is what happens after death.

It seems that we keep coming to this same point about reason.

You are using reason to justify reason see the problem?

You are your own authority or reason is your authority.
So, not only are you begging the question but your appealing to authority.

So, will you admit that your reasoning is circular and hence proves nothing?

December 26, 2011 11:17 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide


"
The thing is Justin the point in question here is what happens after death."

after my own, nothing as far as I am concerned. The dead have no concerns.

"You are using reason to justify reason see the problem?"

Umm... no I am not. I have not nor will I provide you with an argument that ends in and therefore reason is valid. I have never done that, so I am not committing circular reasoning, although I don't know why you would have a problem with it as both Van Til and Greg Bahnsen freely admit to using circular reasoning. However if its a justification you want, well thats different. A justification is not the same thing as a formal proof. Justification derived from justice is a moral concept and thus is about choice, why do I choose to be logical. That is easy to answer. I justify my use of reason, that is applying logic to my thinking because I want to foremost stay alive! If I did not say for example correctly non contradictorily identify a speeding car coming toward me and take action upon that information, well I could wind up dead or injured. Life presents me with an endless series of situations where I must use logic to come to the correct decision to preserve and enhance the quality of my life. There, that is my justification for using logic.

"You are your own authority or reason is your authority.
So, not only are you begging the question but your appealing to authority."

I am not saying death is the end because I say so, that would be an appeal to authority, however that is not what I said. As far as begging the question please name the premise that is my conclusion or drop it.

By the way, you know or should know by now that my world view holds that logic is a method of the mind used to identity and conceptually understand the world. It is made possible by the objective relationship that universally exists between the subjects of consciousness and the objects of consciousness. It conceptually begins with the axiomatic concepts of existence, identity and consciousness and there relationships to each other. We know this is the case because of the logical impossibility of the only other alternative, metaphysical subjectivism. In the alternative the key foundational concept identity has no metaphysical referent and thus logic is not possible. Do you really need to be told this? And no I am not the authority that makes this so, now that would be metaphysical subjectivism. NO Nide the ultimate authority is reality, you too look both ways before crossing a street or don't you? However scense you eschew any objective theory or concepts I bet this goes sailing right over your head, oh well. I understand it and until you address the hierarchical nature of concepts all your attempts to advance you case for god are going to flounder on the fallacy of the stolen concept.

December 26, 2011 11:44 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

note the above explanation of the metaphysical basis for logic is not an argument in the formal sense, it is an explanation that would have to presuppose the very foundations it identifies as would any explanation of anything. But to grasp that fact you would have to understand the objectivist theory of concepts.

December 26, 2011 11:50 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 27, 2011 12:01 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

We will continue tomorrow but in the mean time here is something I caught right on time and it's another reason why I'm convinced your reasoning is fallacious.

You challenged to provide evidence about the after life. I see a sly argument here however it's fallacious just because I can't provide evidence or at least evidence the way you want it doesn't make your argument true. It's an appeal to ignorance while also commiting the burden of proof fallacy.


Goodnight bud.
December 27, 2011 12:01 AM

December 27, 2011 12:03 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

"You challenged to provide evidence about the after life. I see a sly argument here however it's fallacious just because I can't provide evidence or at least evidence the way you want it doesn't not make your argument true. It's an appeal to ignorance while also commiting the burden of proof fallacy."

Very true Nide, just because you cant proof or even provide evidence for an after life does not mean it is not possible or even that it does not exist. Why do you keep failing to grasp this simple principle. We don't need a reason to not believe a non perceptually self evident fact, what we need is a reason to believe it. If you cant provide reasons to accept the afterlife then the real question is why should I believe not why I should not believe it. Valid knowledge is justified but sometimes found out later in the light of new evidence to have been wrong and thus no longer valid. As you are so fond of saying Nide the burden is on you... good night

December 27, 2011 12:07 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 27, 2011 12:11 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

Additionally, I base my conclusions on what I do know, not on what I don't know. If I did the later that would truly be an appeal to ignorance. What I do know is that consciousness is a biological process and thus it is reasonable to conclude that it ends when the processes making it possible end them selfs. If nothing else parsimony would apply here.

December 27, 2011 12:14 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote to Justin: "The thing is Justin the point in question here is what happens after death."

Notwithstanding the stolen concepts in Trinity's statement, there is an interesting concept being used and that is the concept "death."

I would ask Trinity the following: Is the concept "death" innate, or as Trinity has said "automatic."

If humans, as he puts it over on Alex's blog, are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god?


Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 9:30 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin as I said yesterday my new approach is to show you the your reasoning is fallacious. A lot was said yesterday but I want to begin here:

You said: "Umm... no I am not. I have not nor will I provide you with an argument that ends in and therefore reason is valid. I have never done that, so I am not committing circular reasoning, although I don't know why you would have a problem with it as both Van Til and Greg Bahnsen freely admit to using circular reasoning"

Well, besides that this is a "you too" fallacy and possibly a sly straw men. That's what you need to be showing that your reasoning is not circular. An argument sometime soon would be nice.


Also you said that you KNOW that God's control of everything that happens is "logically impossible". Ok this is a knowledge claim which assumes your certain about this "fact". Did you come to this conclusion because of the "lack of evidence" of the contrary?

How did you come to the conclusion that reality is the "final authority" is it based on experience?

December 27, 2011 1:31 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "How did you come to the conclusion that reality is the "final authority" is it based on experience?"

"Experience" of what, Trinity?

As Dawson writes: "For one, it is not an attempt to prove that nature is uniform as the conclusion to an argument. Also, this conception of the uniformity of nature does not make it dependent upon experience. Rather, experience depends on the uniformity of nature (since experience, as the actual relation between a subject and the objects of its awareness, exists and is therefore a part of nature, and thus has identity), since experience is processional over time. It is not an appeal to experience, but rather to the preconditions of experience as such."

And...

"Note that the Objectivist conception of the uniformity of nature is not an appeal to “experience,” but rather to the preconditions of any experience, namely those facts named explicitly by the axioms, facts without which no experience could be possible. Even to dispute the premise that nature is uniform, itself requires the uniformity of nature in order to make sense of the dispute in the first place." (from "The Uniformity of Nature," Dawson Bethrick, February 12, 2010)


Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 1:51 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Honestly,

I have no idea what Dawson is saying. However, my point is ,for any that want to take on my challenge, is how do you justify the claim that reality is what it is. Without worn out slogans, statements, begging the question, circular reasoning.

I'll accept if you decide to take your reasoning as non-fallacious for granted.

But as Dawson said nature has to be uniform for one to be able to do that. However, none of you can't account for the uniformity of nature without commiting everything I said above. So, that is my challenge to any.

December 27, 2011 2:18 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

“Well, besides that this is a "you too" fallacy and possibly a sly straw men. That's what you need to be showing that your reasoning is not circular. An argument sometime soon would be nice.”

It is not a “you too fallacy”. For one thing I denied that I was committing circular reasoning, for another I was simply pointing out that two authors that you consider authoritative both have in their own words admitted to using circular reasoning so no it is not a straw men. My point was that by accusing me of using circular reasoning as if this was a bad thing you are being a hypocrite as your own position freely admits to using circular reasoning. I don't like hypocrites. If you want an argument, well you are the one who accused me of circular reasoning, you provide it:)


“Also you said that you KNOW that God's control of everything that happens is "logically impossible". Ok this is a knowledge claim which assumes your certain about this "fact". Did you come to this conclusion because of the "lack of evidence" of the contrary?”

Nope! I came to this conclusion thru deductive reasoning. Logic is non contradictory identification. Thus is it axiomatically premised on the concept identity. In order for logic to have useful utility there must be a metaphysical referent for the concept identity. In a metaphysically subjective reality there would be no such referent. Thus logic would have no utility. Without logic one can not talk of possibilities or anything for that matter.

How did you come to the conclusion that reality is the "final authority" is it based on experience?

I really don't understand what your grip is with learning from experience. Frankly I cant think of a more moronic thing to hold to. Everything I know I have learned thru my senses. Sight, hearing, olfactory, tactile, and taste. Every single concept I have I integrated from precepts gained thru the aforementioned senses. So I would say that I have come to a metric butt ton of conclusions based upon experience. Now to the question of final authority. Back in 2002 I read the book Atheism the case Against God by George H Smith. This was my first contact with the idea of axiomatic concepts , concept hierarchy and the metaphysical relationships between subjects of consciousness and objects of consciousness. I of course learned this thru my senses via perception. Once I grasped the nature of a objective theory of concepts I realized that all along during my whole life I had implicitly been presupposing the axiomatic concepts existence, identity and consciousness. That I had also been presupposing even if I did not articulate it that the relationship between myself and the objects of my awareness was objective. That this was th necessary preconditions for logic and thus intelligibility of the world. All that changed in 2002 was that my conceptual awareness of these issues went from implicit to explicit.


continued.

December 27, 2011 3:08 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Now this has been stated over and over but for the record. There is a metaphysical relationship between the subjects of consciousness and the objects of consciousness. Either it is possible for the objects to obtain their identity from the subjects of consciousness or there is not. If not then we say that we have an objective relationship. Now even the possibility of a subjective relationship between some consciousness or even only one at some time is enough to make reality subjective so we see that the two are mutually exclusive and mutually exhaustive. Now in the subjective reality entities can be whatever the subject that enjoys a subjective relationship wants them to be, even different things to different observes in the same reference frame at the same time. That means that the law of identity is no law at all. ItS corollaries also are right out, law of non contradiction and excluded middle. That means no non contradictory identification, in other words no logic. Thus such a world view could never be logical. Now Nide you have said that god does not lie. Are you greater then god? Do you know every last detail of what it means to be god? You would in order to claim such knowledge. Basically your assurance of the concept of indentys validity is grounded in your ignorance of god’s play. Fallacy, claim from ignorance. Concepts such as truth and lies rely on the primacy of existence principle to even have meaning, objective theory of concepts again! If we live in a subjective universe then the concept truth literally means nothing, you cant say god is a liar or a Teller of truth. Concepts don't have a hierarchy to base their meaning from, you have kicked identity out from under the hierarchy and all of epistemology comes crashing down, no knowledge is possible.

Now Nide I know you don't agree with this, that for you there is no problem with the metaphysically subjective nature of the christian world view. Well I am going to give you what you want. I am hence forth in my dealing with you, and only you I am going to assume a metaphysically subjective world view. Enjoy:)

December 27, 2011 3:09 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

Did you catch that, going forward, all of my dealings with Nide will be premised on a metaphysically subjective relationship, :)

December 27, 2011 3:10 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

This reminds me of something Dawson told me once and that now I will be applying to you Justin.

Justin thinks that if he keeps repeating the same thing over and over eventually it will become true. Another fallacy see Justin why your reasoning is fallacious?

I'm happy that you brought up George Smith at least, in his exchange with Bahsen, he was honest enough to say that he could be wrong.

Notice what Justin does he claims that his reasoning is not circular and then challenges me to prove it.

Suddenly, he wants to charge me with hipocrosy because I'm not agreeing to circular reasoning. Appealing to my side of the fence to try and refute me ain't gonna do it bud. It's a sly you too.

Besides Justin and maybe Weesel can find it you admitted that begging the question is unavoidable in attempting to justify one's reason or the realibity of one's reason.

So, will you recant and admit that your reasoning is circular?

December 27, 2011 3:30 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

pine cones! what do pine cones have to do with anything:)

December 27, 2011 3:35 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Red herrings, red herrings everywhere.

December 27, 2011 3:45 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

Agreed Rob schieder is a carrot, I just dont think that will have any effect on who the GOP chooses as their candidate. I have it on good authority, Thor told me! that they plan to put forth Mitt Romney and also not to put forth Mitt Romney.

December 27, 2011 3:48 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

A short dialogue with Justin Hall:

Me: What's wrong with God being in control of everything?

JH: What's wrong is that we couldn't know anything if it were true

Me: But we do know things.

JH: That's because God is not in control of everything.

Me: How do you know?

JH: Because then we can't know anything.

Me: How do you know?

JH: I just do.

Me: Isn't that a circular argument?

JH: No

Me: How do you know?

JH: I just do.

Me: But isn't that a circular argument?

JH: No


Me: How is not?

JH: Because is not


ME: Ok, great thanks.

JH: No problem




Enjoy

December 27, 2011 4:01 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 27, 2011 4:19 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity,

Justin is right, you know, regarding the last few pot pies he's wounded, not on a blog known as "this," but elsewhere, even though they came from nowhere in particular from the pulp of oranges which don't exist in all possible worlds except the one you cannot see in your mind, which is really Stove Top Stuffing, unless birds stop meowing.

Meanwhile, is the concept "death" innate or, if you prefer, "automatic"?

If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god? I guess this would have to be the case, right? For Genesis 2:17 reads: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Do you see the concept "die"? That is the same as "death." Would you mind telling us what the referent for this concept was prior to The Fall? Remember now, the concept "death" shouldn't even exist until after The Fall, right, since it was man who brought it into the world? Yet here we have your god using the concept before The Fall! Hmmmm.

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 4:20 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

In a metaphyiscall subjective reality things could be what they are and not what they are in the same respect at the same time. Thus the following short discussion

"Me: What's wrong with God being in control of everything?
JH: What's wrong is that we couldn't know anything if it were true
Me: But we do know things.
JH: That's because God is not in control of everything.
Me: How do you know?
JH: Because then we can't know anything.
Me: How do you know?
JH: I just do.
Me: Isn't that a circular argument?
JH: No
Me: How do you know?
JH: I just do.
Me: But isn't that a circular argument?
JH: No
Me: How is not?
JH: Because is not
ME: Ok, great thanks.
JH: No problem "

could not be reliably distinguished from pine cones. By the way Thor tells me that the Christian god is a liar, mmm... who to trust, how to gage the truth of the words..

December 27, 2011 4:20 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

I have a dilemma. I have Thor here telling that the christian god is a fraud. That he lies about a lot of things. Thor tells me that god only has power over earth and beyond our little world Thor has uncontested control of reality. But on earth it is a tug of war between the two. Thor goes on vacation and god messes up everything and Thor has to come back to put everything back to rights. Now they both cant be telling the truth. In fact the both might be liars. Question is sense they both enjoy a metaphysically subjective relationship here on earth how can I objectively determine which one if either is telling the truth? Also I have this other guy telling me no something cant be what it is and what it is not in the same time and within the same respect. But how does he know that? How did he validate that knowledge?

Man! God tells me Thor does not exist, am I seeing things? But how would I know what is real and what is not if it can change in a second on a whip without reason?

December 27, 2011 5:08 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Simply put, friend, To reject life(God) is to choose death.

Remember Adam and Eve rejected God's word and got kicked out the garden where God walked.

Death is life away from God.


Blessings

December 27, 2011 5:12 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin wants to continue being fallacious:

irrelevant humor fallacy


Good job.

December 27, 2011 5:30 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I had written: "...is the concept "death" innate or, if you prefer, "automatic"?

If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god? I guess this would have to be the case, right? For Genesis 2:17 reads: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Do you see the concept "die"? That is the same as "death." Would you mind telling us what the referent for this concept was prior to The Fall? Remember now, the concept "death" shouldn't even exist until after The Fall, right, since it was man who brought it into the world? Yet here we have your god using the concept before The Fall! Hmmmm."

To this, Trinity replies: "Simply put, friend, To reject life(God) is to choose death."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity added: "Remember Adam and Eve rejected God's word and got kicked out the garden where God walked."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity wrote: "Death is life away from God."

Did your god know what death was prior to anyone having "life away" from him? If so, what would have been the referent for the concept "death" prior to there being any death?

Additionally, how could your god conceive of the concept "death" prior to The Fall if, on my terms, a god would not have its knowledge in the form of concepts; and on your (Christian) terms, there would have been no life away from god at that point i.e., no death?

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 5:31 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide
Yes, but how would Ydemoc validate that? It could just be Thor screwing with him prior to throwing Ydemoc into the North Sea for all eternity. For that matter what you are saying could be true and not true at the same time within the same respect. Or that god or Thor makes it true for you but not him, or visa vera. All you have to go on is what you believe god is going to do and no way of even in principle of finding out if he is just pulling your leg. Heck in a subjective universe god could both exist for one set of people and not for another, you could not rule that out. And yes I am being irrelevant, I cant honestly expect me to take metaphysical subjectvism seriously. Humor is the only way of dealing with anyone that does take it seriously. You need to have its absurdity shown to you.

December 27, 2011 5:34 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Justin wants to continue being fallacious: irrelevant humor fallacy Good job."

Trinity, under the Primacy of Consciousness, which you accept, that which is irrelevant is relevant. In fact, your sarcastic remark of "Good job," could actually be taken as a sincere compliment. That being said, all this could change yesterday.

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 5:36 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc
Now I am really in serious trouble. After accepting metaphysical subjectivism I realize that I have no logical basis for any of my conclusions. Oh no, how do I know what I know? Do I know anything? are there any facts at all? I feel the walls of
philosophical skepticism closing in on me. Perhaps Nide can offer a way out?

December 27, 2011 5:43 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

Have no fear, for tomorrow is not just a new day, but it is also yesterday -- which should put you back to where you started, unless where you started is where you finished.

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 5:50 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

God refers to himself.

December 27, 2011 6:13 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

are you saying that god the concept refers to the concept god? Would that not be the fallacy of pure self reference? Also I am not seeing how that helps me to validate my knowledge, sorry still lost here in the mists of subjectivism.

December 27, 2011 6:17 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 27, 2011 6:43 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc


A thought has occurred to me. I think I grasp Nide’s frustration here. Imagine if you will, no pun intended that he is right and god is everything he says he is. Then we have a god that enjoys a subjective metaphysical relationship with our universe but refrains from overt interference. More like the deistic god, even more so, he created a system that does not need him after the fact. He has made a universe that cant be distinguished from the objective universe we say is a necessary precondition for logic to have any utility. It is almost as if he is ashamed of his creation and erased all traces of his handy work, I can see it now, god claiming “No I did not make that! See it works on its own, all self sufficient, You cant pin that on me!!” Thats ok I still have Thor here claiming credit:)

December 27, 2011 6:43 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin when you sober up feel free to address me.

Good night

December 27, 2011 6:49 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

Actually I am work and very sober, 3 cups of coffee even. The wine comes later tonight:)

December 27, 2011 6:51 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I had written: "...is the concept "death" innate or, if you prefer, "automatic"?

If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god? I guess this would have to be the case, right? For Genesis 2:17 reads: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Do you see the concept "die"? That is the same as "death." Would you mind telling us what the referent for this concept was prior to The Fall? Remember now, the concept "death" shouldn't even exist until after The Fall, right, since it was man who brought it into the world? Yet here we have your god using the concept before The Fall! Hmmmm."

To this, Trinity replies: "Simply put, friend, To reject life(God) is to choose death."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity added: "Remember Adam and Eve rejected God's word and got kicked out the garden where God walked."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity wrote: "Death is life away from God."

Did your god know what death was prior to anyone having "life away" from him? If so, what would have been the referent for the concept "death" prior to there being any death?

Additionally, how could your god conceive of the concept "death" prior to The Fall if, on my terms, a god would not have its knowledge in the form of concepts; and on your (Christian) terms, there would have been no life away from god at that point i.e., no death?"

To all this, Trinity replied: "God refers to himself."

This does not address the questions I raised.

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 7:54 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

not only that but it is pure self reference, a fallacy

December 27, 2011 8:06 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

God knows the past past and future future.

Quit asking 20 questions at once what is it that you are asking

December 27, 2011 8:10 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I had written: "...is the concept "death" innate or, if you prefer, "automatic"?

If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god? I guess this would have to be the case, right? For Genesis 2:17 reads: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Do you see the concept "die"? That is the same as "death." Would you mind telling us what the referent for this concept was prior to The Fall? Remember now, the concept "death" shouldn't even exist until after The Fall, right, since it was man who brought it into the world? Yet here we have your god using the concept before The Fall! Hmmmm."

To this, Trinity replies: "Simply put, friend, To reject life(God) is to choose death."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity added: "Remember Adam and Eve rejected God's word and got kicked out the garden where God walked."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity wrote: "Death is life away from God."

Did your god know what death was prior to anyone having "life away" from him? If so, what would have been the referent for the concept "death" prior to there being any death?

Additionally, how could your god conceive of the concept "death" prior to The Fall if, on my terms, a god would not have its knowledge in the form of concepts; and on your (Christian) terms, there would have been no life away from god at that point i.e., no death?"

To all this, Trinity replied: "God refers to himself."

I wrote: "This does not address the questions I raised."

To this, Trinity replied: "God knows the past past and future future."

I'm not sure this addresses what I asked.

Trinity also wrote: "Quit asking 20 questions at once what is it that you are asking"

I don't think I asked twenty questions in my recent comments, but only a few. I think my questions are quite clear, yet I'm not sure you've addressed any of them.

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 8:18 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

curious, how do you know god knows the past and future? Is this belief held by you because the bible makes this claim?

December 27, 2011 8:19 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Farewell charlatan go waste somebody else's time.

Justin,

Looks like your sobered up. Just a little something I count as true.

I will tell you my secret the controlling factor in my thinking is God's control of everything that happens.

December 27, 2011 8:32 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Nide

you say

" will tell you my secret the controlling factor in my thinking is God's control of everything that happens."

How do I know that is what you believe tho. How do I know that is what you really wrote down or ment. How do I know there is a god and that he controls everything. Man how can I know anything?

December 27, 2011 8:35 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I had written: "...is the concept "death" innate or, if you prefer, "automatic"?

If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god? I guess this would have to be the case, right? For Genesis 2:17 reads: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Do you see the concept "die"? That is the same as "death." Would you mind telling us what the referent for this concept was prior to The Fall? Remember now, the concept "death" shouldn't even exist until after The Fall, right, since it was man who brought it into the world? Yet here we have your god using the concept before The Fall! Hmmmm."

To this, Trinity replies: "Simply put, friend, To reject life(God) is to choose death."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity added: "Remember Adam and Eve rejected God's word and got kicked out the garden where God walked."

How does this address my questions above?

Trinity wrote: "Death is life away from God."

Did your god know what death was prior to anyone having "life away" from him? If so, what would have been the referent for the concept "death" prior to there being any death?

Additionally, how could your god conceive of the concept "death" prior to The Fall if, on my terms, a god would not have its knowledge in the form of concepts; and on your (Christian) terms, there would have been no life away from god at that point i.e., no death?"

To all this, Trinity replied: "God refers to himself."

I wrote: "This does not address the questions I raised."

To this, Trinity replied: "God knows the past past and future future."

I'm not sure this addresses what I asked.

Trinity also wrote: "Quit asking 20 questions at once what is it that you are asking"

I responded: "I don't think I asked twenty questions in my recent comments, but only a few. I think my questions are quite clear, yet I'm not sure you've addressed any of them."

Trinity wrote: "Farewell charlatan go waste somebody else's time."

I don't think this addresses the questions I asked.

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 8:36 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin stay put I'm afraid you might hurt yourself.

December 27, 2011 8:58 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin wrote: "...Then we have a god that enjoys a subjective metaphysical relationship with our universe but refrains from overt interference.... No I did not make that! See it works on its own, all self sufficient, You cant pin that on me!!”..."

Right. It reminds of how this same god created what only appears to be overwhelming evidence for evolution, and yet this evidence is doubted or denied by believers. Meanwhile, for the resurrection, this same god gives us only tales from a 2000 year-old storybook, yet this event is accepted as truth by believers.

Overwhelming evidence/fact = deny.
No evidence/belief = accept.

Quite a reversal.

Ydemoc

December 27, 2011 10:22 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"It suggests never proves"- My evolution teacher after being pressed by me.

December 27, 2011 10:26 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 28, 2011 10:10 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "It suggests never proves"- My evolution teacher after being pressed by me.

What evidence would satisfy you, Trinity? What would the quantity and quality of evidence have to be in order for you to be satisfied as to the truth of evolution?

Once you tell us what your evidential standard is and/or what kind of evidence would convince you that evolution is true, then ask yourself this: Am I demanding more or better evidence for accepting the truth of evolution than I am for positing the existence of a god?

And then ask yourself: Am I demanding more and better evidence for evolution than I am for positing that this god I believe exists, is in fact, the god of Christianity?

And then ask yourself: Am I demanding more and better evidence for accepting evolution than I am for my belief in "Conversational Donkeys," "Conversational Snakes," "The Walking Dead," "Water Turning Into Wine," "Invisible Three-For-The-Price-Of-One Magic Beings," etc.?

Now that you have told us what evidence you would accept and what your evidential standard is, can you tell us if this is your evidence and standard because you want or wish this to be the case? If wanting or wishing play no part in your evidence and standard, then what is your basis for the evidence and standard you have posited?

After you share your thought process on these matters, you might want to have another look at other issues which you have yet to sufficiently address:

"If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god? I guess this would have to be the case, right? For Genesis 2:17 reads: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Do you see the concept "die"? That is the same as "death." Would you mind telling us what the referent for this concept was prior to The Fall? Remember now, the concept "death" shouldn't even exist until after The Fall, right? since it was man who brought it into the world? Yet here we have your god using the concept before The Fall! Hmmmm."

Ydemoc

December 28, 2011 10:56 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Right after you answer a couple of preliminary questions:

Have you ever taken a formal class in Logic, for example, at at a university?

And


Have you ever taken a formal class in "human evolution" for example, at at a university?

December 28, 2011 11:04 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Have you ever taken a formal class in Logic, for example, at at a university?"

No.

"Have you ever taken a formal class in "human evolution" for example, at at a university?"

No.

I have a B.S. in Business Administration from Arizona State University.

Your questions have been answered. Now, how about answering mine.

Ydemoc

December 28, 2011 11:11 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Charlatan quoting me:

"If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?


I don't remember sticking concepts in there how about you quote verbatim.

Thanks

December 28, 2011 12:07 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I had asked: "If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?"

Aye yai yai... First of all, if you notice above, I did not put quotes around "concept." Secondly, from Alex's blog, dated 21 December 2011, timestamp 20:34, your interaction with what I wrote, reads (what I wrote was given the designation "Said"):

Said:"Yes, you said this above, that concept formation was automatic. Now you've added "self-evident" to the mix. Please tell us what you mean by saying that concept formation is "self-evident."

It means it's automatic.

Said: " How do you know this? Was the knowledge you are conveying to us in this sentence (concepts strung together to make sense) also acquired and validated "automatically."

Yea. It's called comprehension. We come in, thanks to the Good Lord above, "pre-programed" to learn. It's fantastic.

--------end quoted material---------

If you notice above, you answered affirmatively to my question:

"Was the knowledge you are conveying to us in this sentence (concepts strung together to make sense) also acquired and validated "automatically."

That is why I sandwiched "concepts" in between what you wrote.

And I might add not only is your memory faulty, but you are suddenly quite nit-picky for someone who only a few paragraphs earlier in that same post, wrote concerning the process of forming concepts:

"I could not care less about the process. Really who cares."

And...

"I don't need it. I have bigger worries in life then worrying about concept formation."

Ydemoc

December 28, 2011 12:45 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ok, what's your point?

Without refering to a dictionary can you please define every word you just read.

Thanks

December 28, 2011 1:52 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Trinity wrote: "Ok, what's your point?"

My points have been clearly articulated. My questions have been clearly laid out. You said you would answer them if I answered you. I answered you, but as of this moment you have not kept your word.

Trinity wrote: "Without referring to a dictionary can you please define every word you just read."

What words did I just read? Why would I need to do this? And If I can't do it, doesn't this fly in the face of your assertion that knowledge is automatic?

Besides, I am asking about the referent(s) for the concept "death" under very specific conditions. Observe:

"If humans are "'pre-programmed' to learn" concepts "thanks to the Good Lord above..." does this apply to the concept "death"? Should we all be thanking the "Good Lord above" for the concept "death"?

In other words, according to Christians, does the concept "death" ultimately find its origins in the "mind" of the Christian god? I guess this would have to be the case, right? For Genesis 2:17 reads: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Do you see the concept "die"? That is the same as "death." Would you mind telling us what the referent(s) for this concept was prior to The Fall? Remember now, the concept "death" shouldn't even exist until after The Fall, right? since it was man who brought it into the world? Yet here we have your god using the concept before The Fall! Hmmmm."

After you are done with this question, would you mind answering the others? Here they are again:

What evidence would satisfy you, Trinity? What would the quantity and quality of evidence have to be in order for you to be satisfied as to the truth of evolution?

Once you tell us what your evidential standard is and/or what kind of evidence would convince you that evolution is true, then ask yourself this: Am I demanding more or better evidence for accepting the truth of evolution than I am for positing the existence of a god?

And then ask yourself: Am I demanding more and better evidence for evolution than I am for positing that this god I believe exists, is in fact, the god of Christianity?

And then ask yourself: Am I demanding more and better evidence for accepting evolution than I am for my belief in "Conversational Donkeys," "Conversational Snakes," "The Walking Dead," "Water Turning Into Wine," "Invisible Three-For-The-Price-Of-One Magic Beings," etc.?

Now that you have told us what evidence you would accept and what your evidential standard is, can you tell us if this is your evidence and standard because you want or wish this to be the case? If wanting or wishing play no part in your evidence and standard, then what is your basis for the evidence and standard you have posited?


Ydemoc

December 28, 2011 3:44 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ydemoc fails miserably to meet another one of my challenges.

A dialogue with my 6 year old nephew:

Me: What does "no" mean?

Nephew: No means No

Me: How do you know?

N: Because

Me: What does "because" mean?

N: I don't know

Me: Then why are you using it.

N: I don't know

Me: What do you mean you don't know?

N: I don't know

Me: So, why are you saying it?

N: Because

Me: What does because mean?

N: I don't know

Me: So, why are you using it?

N: I don't know.

Me: Ok thanks.

December 28, 2011 4:05 PM  

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