Thursday, April 12, 2012

Answering Dustin Segers’ Presuppositionalism, Part IIIa: The Uniformity of Nature

I now continue with my series of responses to several questions Christian apologist and “church-planter” Dustin Segers poses to atheists. This will be the third installment in this series. The first two included my responses to Segers’ first two questions, which can be found here:
Let us now consider his third question:
3. Science - "How do you answer the problem of induction from a secular perspective?"
Ah, now this one’s juicy!

Typically presuppositionalists bundle the problem of induction with questions about the uniformity of nature, and often give the impression of believing that satisfying those questions will be sufficient in answering the problem of induction. Of course, this is not the case. The uniformity of nature is a metaphysical concern (since nature exists independent of consciousness), while the problem of induction is primarily an epistemological matter (since induction is a form of cognitive activity). But I’m happy to explore all of these issues, probably well beyond Segers’ own comfort level.

Because Segers’ question raises issues in two distinct general categories – namely metaphysics and epistemology – I will break up my response to this question into two separate blog entries, the first devoted to the uniformity of nature, the second to the problem of induction as the Scottish philosopher David Hume informed it.

The Uniformity of Nature

In regard to the uniformity of nature, presuppositionalists usually like to challenge non-believers to “account for” the uniformity of nature in a manner that is consistent with their non-Christian worldview, implying that such a feat is impossible. Regardless of specifically how we might articulate a definition of uniformity as it applies in this question (on this, see below), the first point to make note of in response to this line of inquiry is the fact that the uniformity we observe in nature is not a product of conscious activity, but is an inherent fact of existence which obtains independent of any conscious activity. The uniformity of nature is something we discover, first implicitly merely by perceiving, and then formally by means of conceptualizing what we perceive. It is not something we impose on nature by an act of will or wishing, nor is it something that results from our cognition, our believing, our denials, our wishing, our imagining, etc. Nature is thus inherently uniform.

This means that the uniformity we discover in nature is not a product of some prior activity of any kind, whether conscious or otherwise. To suppose that the uniformity of nature is an effect of some prior cause would commit the fallacy of the stolen concept, for it would need to presume the uniformity of the nature of the agent allegedly responsible for causing uniformity in nature. It would need to assume that causality as such is uniform prior to nature being uniform, when causality itself is part of nature. Recognizing nature is inherently uniform avoids this fallacy and commits no others. For instance, it does not beg the question, as presuppositionalists will likely contend in rehearsed fashion, since it is not an attempt to prove a conclusion by means of an inference which assumes the truth of that conclusion. We will shortly see that “uniformity” denotes facts about existence which are available to us as a comprehensive, inescapable integration of the Objectivist axioms, whose truths are perceptually self-evident and thus do not rest on inferences from prior facts. Indeed, there could be nothing more fundamental than existence.

So what do we mean by the phrase, “the uniformity of nature”? I have explored this matter already in my blog entry The Uniformity of Nature, where I examine several presuppositionalist conceptions of what this means, and contrast them with the objective view on the matter. I quote from my discussion of what it means to say nature is uniform:
Peikoff explains what is meant by the concept ‘nature’ as follows:
What is nature? Nature is existence—the sum of that which is. It is usually called “nature” when we think of it as a system of interconnected, interacting entities governed by law. So “nature” really means the universe of entities acting and interacting in accordance with their identities. (The Philosophy of Objectivism, (1976) Lecture 2)
“Nature is existence,” says Peikoff. And he is right to say this. The uniformity of nature, then, is existence being itself. As Rand succinctly put it, “Existence is Identity” (Atlas Shrugged, Galt’s Speech). Nature is uniform with itself, since to exist is for something to be itself. If A exists, it must be A.
The uniformity of nature, then, is essentially the applicability of the axiom of existence to all of reality and the absolute (i.e., exceptionless) concurrence of identity with existence. Both of these aspects of the uniformity of nature are undeniable – that is, they cannot be denied without contradicting oneself. Since reality is the realm of existence, the axiom of existence necessarily applies to all of reality. Since reality is the realm of existence, existence and reality are concurrent absolutely - i.e., without exception.
Since to exist is to be something, if something exists, it is itself, it has identity, it has a nature. There’s nothing to gain by appealing to non-existence to “explain” the uniformity of nature, since there is no “non-existence” to appeal to in the first place. As Objectivism puts it, “existence exists – and only existence exists” (Leonard Peikoff, “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,” Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, p. 109).

Contrast this view with that espoused by the Christian worldview. Christianity, to the extent that it can be said to affirm the uniformity of nature, makes the uniformity of nature out to be a product of conscious activity. Some act of consciousness is said to be responsible for putting the uniformity we observe into nature; without that conscious activity, nature would be an unpredictable realm of random chaos.

Dustin Segers’ own fellow apologist, Sye Ten Bruggencate, has affirmed this view explicitly, namely that the uniformity of nature is a product of conscious activity. On the blog An Atheist Viewpoint, I had asked Bruggencate the following question:
Do you think the uniformity of nature is caused by some form of conscious activity? Yes or no?
In response to this question, Bruggencate offered a terse, affirming answer:
Yes
When apologists raise the uniformity of nature as a debating point, it is important to get them to clarify from the outset whether or not they think the uniformity we observe in nature is a product of conscious action. It’s quite possible that apologists have not considered the matter from this explicit perspective before, so they may be reluctant to give an answer without hesitation or equivocation, especially if they sense the obvious subjectivism of such a position. (Indeed, Bruggencate resisted answering this question for quite a while before giving his syllable-deficient response.)

The difference between the Objectivist view and the Christian view on the uniformity of nature, then, is the difference between objectivity and subjectivism. Objectivism affirms an explicitly objective view of the uniformity of nature, making it unequivocally clear that the uniformity we observe in nature is not a product of conscious activity, but in fact is an inherent aspect of reality which obtains independent of any action of consciousness. Opposed to this view is that represented by Christianity, which explicitly bases the uniformity of nature on the conscious activity of some knowing subject, albeit one which is accessible only by the imagination. In other words, some subject of awareness is thought to hold metaphysical primacy over nature such that nature will be uniform so long as the subject wills it. Hence the Christian view of the uniformity of nature is a form of subjectivism.

It is hard to see how presuppositionalists could think that they might make apologetic gains by raising the uniformity of nature as a debating point, unless they either never thought about their position explicitly, or they hope their non-believing opponents would not raise the question of whether or not nature’s uniformity obtains independent of conscious activity. Curiously, while it is indisputable that the assumption that nature’s uniformity is a product of some act of will is indeed lurking amongst the underlying presuppositions of the apologist’s overall worldview, defenders of the Christian worldview present no arguments to validate this assumption. But we should not doubt for a second that this assumption is present in their position, and that this view is expressed in the Christian bible.

In Pushing the Antithesis (p. 195), Greg Bahnsen cites three verses from the New Testament to document the biblical view of the uniformity of nature. They are: Ephesians 1:11, Colossians 1:16-17, and Hebrews 1:3. “These verses,” says Bahnsen, “account for the uniformity of nature” (thus giving us an example of what passes for an “account” among presuppositionalists).

Here they are in their full glory:
Ephesians 1:11: “in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will;”
Colossians 1:16-17: “[16] for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; [17] and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Hebrews 1:3: “who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”
Bahnsen focuses on certain elements embedded within these verses (while the verses from both Ephesians and Colossians are themselves embedded in massive run-on sentences that would make the most laidback writing teacher blush with embarrassment). These elements are basically phrases stated in passing which assert the Christian god’s guiding hand behind the workings of the universe, characterizing the Christian god as a micromanager busily toiling over every detail of every aspect of the “created realm,” making sure all outcomes conform to its ultimate desires. Thus the Christian god is likened to a cartoonist creating a zany world of appearances and bizarre happenings, or a voyeuristic computer programmer controlling enormously complex simulation software a la The Matrix movie franchise.

The passages’ dependence on the reader’s imagination is thick throughout, since of course no one can actually witness the Christian god “upholding” or “sustaining” the uniformity which we do witness in nature. We have to imagine it in order to think it, and so this imagining would have to come before one could try to believe it. But either this does not bother Christians, or they simply do not realize that their faith is seated firmly in the fantasies of an active imagination.

The authors of these passages want to cover all bases, and therefore make sure their god’s relationship to what believers confessionally call “the created realm” is characterized in terms of a variety of orientations, including temporal, proximal, purposive and internal relations. For instance, according to the passage which Bahnsen quotes from Colossians, the believer is to imagine that “all things have been created through” the Christian god, “in” the Christian god, and also “unto” it; that the Christian god’s “Son” is “before all things” and that “all things hold together” in this being. Bahnsen likewise puts great stock in the Ephesians passage, which holds that the Christian god (as “Christ”) “worketh all things after the counsel of his will.” The Hebrews verse makes similarly explicit overture to the primacy of the will of the Christian god over the realm of facts, stating that its abilities include “upholding all things by the word of his power.”

So there is biblical evidence after all that the Christian worldview characterizes the uniformity of nature as, at the very least, a product of the Christian god’s conscious activity.

It is at times unclear whether or not presuppositionalists think we can discover their god’s “sustaining” activity in imposing uniformity on nature through observing nature itself (so-called “general revelation”) or specifically by appeal to “Scripture.” Brian Knapp, for instance, in his paper titled “Induction and the Unbeliever,” makes the following point for presuppositional apologetics:
…consider the case where we accept the Bible’s teaching on God as creator and sustainer, but choose to leave out God’s desire to reveal himself to us through his creation. In this case, although the universe has been created and sustained in a uniform manner, there would be no reason to think that we could ever know this fact. It is only by presupposing all that the Bible has to say about God, ourselves, the universe around us, and how they all interrelate that we have a meaningful answer to the problem at hand. (The Portable Presuppositionalist, p. 133)
This proposal leaves the matter rather ambiguous whether or not the author thinks we can discover facts in the universe, apart from the influence of “Scripture,” which point to its observed uniformity originating in the activity of a supernatural consciousness. On the one hand, Knapp refers to his god’s “desire to reveal himself to us through his creation” – which implies he believes that we might be able to make such discoveries about the uniformity of nature being a product of conscious activity by looking at nature apart from the influence of biblical texts (since “his creation” presumably refers to nature itself). On the other hand, what Knapp’s scenario involves “leaving out” is this alleged “desire” on the part of his god “to reveal” itself to human beings, and yet it is out of “the Bible’s teaching on God as creator and sustainer” that Knapp’s proposal for consideration has us “leave” that alleged desire “out.” In other words, where would one learn about this “desire” allegedly belonging to the Christian god to reveal itself to human thinkers, if not in the bible (“Scripture”) itself? Although ambiguous statements like this are not uncommon, it does after mulling them around indeed seem that even presuppositionalists themselves would concede that it would not be possible to infer the existence of a supernatural agent “sustaining” the uniformity of nature through some mental process apart from the suggestions and influence of the Christian storybook.

In any case, since on the Christian view, nature is not inherently uniform, it leaves us with the only possible supposition on the matter: according to Christianity, nature is not actually uniform to begin with. On the Christian view, the natural realm is essentially formless, identity-less, nature-less, and consequently it requires some magic consciousness to come along and give it form, identity, nature, essentially by wishing. This conscious being is imagined as having the power to make its wishes automatically become fact, and believers will not allow any supposition which suggests that its wishful powers are constrained in any manner against this by some external factor which limits its activity. The size, shape and nature of the universe are the result of unbridled supernatural whim let loose on it.

But let’s step back a bit and widen our lens here. Note that Christians who raise the question of the uniformity of nature imply that they believe nature really is uniform, and go on to assert that “only” the Christian worldview can “account for” this, namely by assuming that nature is not inherently uniform and by asserting that their god consciously imposes uniformity on nature by some mysterious power of will. When asked whether or not he thinks the universe is “truly uniform,” for instance, Sye Ten Bruggencate answered with an unqualified “Yes.” Of course, by affirming that the universe is “truly uniform,” Bruggencate implies that it is absolutely uniform, unless of course he rejects the view that truth is absolute. I’m glad this isn’t my problem!

At any rate, that nature is initially presumed by the general populace to be uniform in the first place, is vital to the presuppositionalist approach of challenging the non-believer to account for the presuppositions of science, since non-believers frequently appeal to science in defense of their atheism. The presuppositionalist seeks to execute a controlled demolition of the very ground upon which non-believers build their worldview and from which they criticize the religious view of the world. In this way they are essentially out to destroy the non-believer’s foundations of thought, regardless of what they may be (whether or not those foundations are true is not a concern for the apologist; they are assumed to be false by virtue of the non-believer’s rejection of Christianity, or if their truth is granted, they are said to point to Christianity and are only being “borrowed” by the non-Christian) in order to create a vacuum in the non-believer’s cognition into which the apologist can insert his god-belief as the element that’s been missing all along.

And indeed, presuppositionalists acknowledge the dependence of science on the uniformity of nature. Greg Bahnsen, for instance, tells us:
Science is absolutely dependent upon this uniformity because without it we could not infer from past events what we can expect under like circumstances in the future. Physical science absolutely requires the ability to predict the future action of material entities. Scientific experimentation, theorizing, and prediction would be impossible were nature non-uniform. Scientific investigation is only possible in an orderly, rational, coherent, unified system. (Pushing the Antithesis, p. 187)
Similarly, presuppositionalist Brian Knapp writes:
Ask yourself this question: what must be true in order for inductive reasoning to be a meaningful process? What is it that is foundational to the ability to make generalizations about particular observations, and then proceed as if those generalizations have any applicability to that which is yet to be experienced?
There is at least one necessary precondition: nature must be uniform. Nature must proceed to operate according to the same laws it has operated according to in the past – laws which determine the effects which arise from a given cause or set of causes. After all, if there are no laws according to which the universe operates, then it is not reasonable to expect that any cause/effect relationship I have observed in the past will repeat itself in the future[5] since these relationship are contingent upon these very laws. (“Induction and the Unbeliever,” The Portable Presuppositionalist, pp. 121-122)
Presuppositionalists essentially argue that the uniformity which we observe in nature is evidence of the Christian god. As Bahnsen goes on to explain:
The uniformity of nature is perfectly compatible… with the Christian worldview. The absolute, all-creating, sovereignly-governing God reveals to us in Scripture that we can count on regularities in the world. The Bible teaches us that the sun will continue to measure time for us on the earth (Gen. 1:14-19; Eccl. 1:5; Jer. 33:20), that seasons will come and go uniformly (Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17), that planting and harvest cycles may be expected (Jer. 5:24; Mark 4:26-29), and so forth. Because of this God-governed regularity in nature, the scientific enterprise is possible and even fruitful. (Op. cit., pp. 194-195)
These sources plainly tell us that Christians subscribe to the uniformity of nature, that science necessarily depends on nature being uniform, and that only Christianity can “account for” this. They seem to offer no word on whether or not they will allow the view that the uniformity of nature to be discoverable simply by looking at nature, or if they think one needs to consult the bible to know this in the first place.

Ironically, there seems to be little uniformity among Christians on a more fundamental matter, namely whether or not nature is uniform to begin with. The sources cited in the foregoing have consistently affirmed that nature is in fact uniform. One source affirmed that nature is truly uniform (implying that it is therefore absolutelyuniform; another emphasized science’s “absolute dependence” on the uniformity of nature; another affirms that nature being uniform is a “necessary precondition” for any inductive generalization; and yet another baldly states that “the uniformity of nature is perfectly compatible… with the Christian worldview.”

But internet apologist Steve Hays seems to disagree with the view that Christianity holds that nature is uniform. By contrast, Hays states (referring to Christians as a whole):
We don’t subscribe to the uniformity of nature. (The problem of induction
Hays contrasts the uniformity of nature with “ordinary providence,” which, he says, “allows for miracles.” For Hays, it’s not enough merely to observe “natural regularities.” No, the Christian needs a supernatural authority to guarantee them (allowing for the exception of miracles, of course), for “that’s the kind of world which God made for us to inhabit” – an allegation whose truth itself cannot be discovered by observing reality. Of course, without the uniformity of nature, where does that leave science? As we saw above, presuppositionalist guru Greg Bahnsen himself affirmed that “[s]cience is absolutely dependent upon this uniformity because without it we could not infer from past events what we can expect under like circumstances in the future” (Pushing the Antithesis, p. 187). So the more Christianity’s explicitly subjective conception of the universe and what is commonly taken as uniformity in nature is endorsed, the more science is shown the proverbial door.

Since the uniformity of nature is pushed aside in favor of “ordinary providence” in order to “allow for miracles,” it should be noted that the Christian doctrine of miracles only causes havoc with the view that nature is uniform. Greg Bahnsen tell us that
Miracles, by definition, are rare divine, particular interventions in nature that are appropriately called in Scripture “signs” or “wonders” due to their overriding natural law. (Op. cit., p. 187n.1)
On the Christian view, then, since miracles are a distinctive aspect of the Christian worldview (“miracles are at the heart of the Christian position” – Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 27; quoted in full here), natural law can be “overridden,” namely by some act of consciousness (e.g., wishing, imagining, commanding, wanting, etc.). Some, like Hays, I suspect, would probably even reject this characterization, since it implies that uniformity is the norm, while they would maintain that “ordinary providence” is the norm. But either way, on the Christian view, not only is nature not inherently uniform, but any uniformity that we believe we observe can be turned on and off at will by the ruling consciousness. This can only mean that nature is not reliably uniform, it is not absolutely uniform, it is not truly uniform. Indeed, if the regularities we seem to observe obtain over a period of time, it’s really just by chance - from the human perspective anyway – that the ruling consciousness has chosen not to intervene miraculously and interrupt those regularities from persisting.

Of course, some would argue that miracles do not “by definition” involve “overriding” or violating natural law (see for example Steve Hays’ blog Breaking the laws of nature). So I admit that it’s hard to find consistency within the Christian position. It seems that, because of various stubborn ambiguities within the bible itself and in formalized playbooks, not to mention the underlying contradictory nature of the Christian worldview itself, Christian apologists have a hard time squaring the positions they affirm with one another. It seems this would not be the case if in fact they were all being guided by some supernatural “spirit” which, in the words of internet apologist Joshua Whipps (of the Choosing Hats crowd), is
the equivalent of having the author of the book standing over your shoulder, and correcting your faulty understandings, and continually adjusting your noetic “issues” as He also works to sanctify you in obedience to that revealed Word. (Debate Transcript)
Perhaps Whipps, who posts under the moniker “RazorsKiss,” is right when he tells us that
Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. (See his 30 Mar ’12 comment on this blog entry.)
There is a point, however, at which both the Christian understanding of the uniformity of nature and the doctrine of miracles do find agreement, and that is in their presupposition of the primacy of consciousness. Any uniformity which we observe in nature, even if it is only “generally” uniform, and the miracles which the Christian storybook affirm as actual historical events, are all the result of an act of consciousness which has the power to conform existence to its whims. In this sense, Hays’ affirmed view above seems the most internally consistent so far. This is consistent with the cartoon universe premise of theism: any regularity we see in a cartoon is just as much a result of the cartoonist’s whims as are the absurdities which contrast against those regularities.

Of course, just in saying that any of this is true, the Christian presuppositionally contradicts himself, for the very concept of truth necessarily presupposes the primacy of existence, which automatically refutes any expression of the primacy of consciousness. When one says that something is true, he is typically saying that what he says is true is not true simply because he wishes or wants it to be the case, but rather because what he says presumably corresponds in an objective matter to the facts he aims to identify. I have already demonstrated that Christian theism violates the primacy of existence and have successfully argued that god-belief is inherently subjective, given its dependence on the primacy of consciousness.

Meanwhile, Christians offer no rational justification for their assumption that the uniformity which we observe in nature is the product of conscious activity, even though their worldview clearly requires this to be the case. Indeed, they do not seem to recognize the stolen concept inherent in supposing that the uniformity of nature is the product of some prior cause.

So the concept of the uniformity of nature will only cause problems for the Christian if it is examined objectively. Moreover, he will be unable to find any inconsistency in the view that nature is inherently uniform (as can be seen here). So the Objectivist is on safe ground when it comes to the uniformity of nature, while the Christian position is layered with internal inconsistencies, contradictions to known facts, and outright absurdities. Thus the presuppositionalist’s aim to steer the debate to this matter is welcomed.

by Dawson Bethrick

Labels: , ,

137 Comments:

Blogger Paul Baird said...

Hi Dawson = looking at the intervening god concept, ie nature is uniform because god is making it so, surely this also brings up the issue of arbitrariness.

If god can make nature uniform and then allow miracles then the uniformity of nature cannot be described as being part of his nature in the same way as DCT is used to refute the Euthyphro dilemma.

God actions are arbitrary, and unpredictable.

Have I got that right ?

April 13, 2012 4:21 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Paul,

I’m not sure if what I will say in the proceeding will address your question. But perhaps it will help. If not, feel free to restate your question if you feel there are still some outstanding issues left unaddressed.

Presuppositionalists are essentially saying that something that has a uniform nature must have this uniformity imposed on it from without, by some agent existing independently of what that uniformity is being imposed upon. So this principle, assuming presuppositionalists are willing to adhere to it faithfully, results in a messy quandary for them. It implies that said agent has no uniform nature itself; or, if its nature is supposed to be uniform, that this uniformity had to be imposed upon it by some agent beyond it. But Christians are not likely to accept this implication sitting down.

We’re ultimately left with another expression of tape-loop apologetics. As we saw in a blog that I posted on this topic, when Christians point to their god as the source of life, while claiming at the same time that their god is a living being, they don’t make any progress in accounting for life as such. They’re simply pointing to what has been called to be explained. It’s a tape loop.

Similarly with the uniformity of nature. Presumably Christians believe that the Christian god’s nature is consistent throughout, i.e., that it is uniform with itself. But what accounts for this? Saying that uniformity is a “reflection” of their god’s nature does nothing to account for that uniformity in a manner consistent with their apologetic principle, and only borrows the thesis from Objectivism that nature is inherently uniform. And again, they’re only pointing to something that has been called to be explained.

As for the Christian god’s actions being arbitrary and unpredictable, indeed this would be the case, given how Christians describe their god. Arbitrariness results when rational standards are either not adhered to or simply unavailable. Since rationality is adherence to reason as one’s only standard of knowledge, choice of action, and value, and reason inherently involves a subject conforming its conscious activity to the objects which exist independent of that activity, rationality as a standard is simply not available for the Christian god, since there are according to Christian doctrine no objects which exist independent of its conscious activity. Given its claims of sovereignty and supernatural power, there would be nothing beyond its control to serve as constraints or limitations on its actions. The Christian god is the cosmic wild card whose poker-face unpredictability would be as much a mystery to itself as it would be to any believer willing to call his hand.

[Continued…]

April 13, 2012 7:33 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Apologists seeking to defend the reliability of induction from the toxic implications of the doctrine of miracles, often state things like “But God has a purpose for his miracles! They aren’t arbitrary. They serve to manifest his glory.” Such counters are completely unhelpful, for they do not address the cognitive requirements that induction has in man’s orientation to the world. It matters not whether said god has a “purpose” for the miracles it performs in the world, for even on Christian premises that purpose belongs to the Christian god and is private; man does not have access to the purpose behind the specifics of the Christian god’s plan of action any more than he has access to that plan itself. If the Christian god has a purpose for exploding all pomegranate trees in North America five minutes from now, the premise that it has a purpose for this does not in any way mollify such an action’s stifling of induction. Induction would be stifled all the same, for there is nothing in nature which tells us that we should expect such an event, either five minutes from now, or five thousand years from now. The Christian god’s purposes underwriting its plan are just as hidden from us as are the specifics of that plan itself. (Cf. Mt. 24:36: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”) So such counters simply miss the point, and I suspect that apologists throw their enthusiasm behind such counters precisely because they do not understand the facts that induction is a mental process performed by the human thinker, and the the human thinker’s mind is constrained to the nature of his consciousness and its access to the facts he can discover in the world.

In his paper “Induction and the Unbeliever,” Brian Knapp considers the contention that the doctrine of miracles vies against the reliability of induction. After confessing that Christianity does not assume that nature is “absolutely uniform” (which means: nature is not inherently uniform), he says that “C[hristian] T[heism] assumes nature is generally uniform,” which presumably allows for exceptions of the type characterized by miracles while preserving the epistemological benefits of an otherwise uniform nature. He expects that non-believers will still find this objectionable vis-à-vis the preconditions of scientific inquiry, asking essentially “how can science proceed if God is able to cause nature to operate in a non-uniform manner at any point in time?” We will find that Knapp never really deals with this question. He writes:

“What if God decides to capriciously change the dynamics of the universe we live in at any given time, simply to amuse himself? Well, he certainly has the right to do so, even though this is not the type of God found in the scripture presupposed by Christians.” (The Portable Presuppositionalist, p. 140)

While Knapp assures us that his god is not the kind of god which would “capriciously change the dynamics of the universe we live in at any given time,” like so many apologists he steers clear of examples of miracles like those found in the Old and New Testaments. What if the Christian god suddenly has your dog start speaking English? What if your great grandmother who’s been dead for 27 years suddenly climbs out of her grave and starts walking around, showing herself to many? What if Lake Michigan suddenly parts itself between Milwaukee, WI and Grand Haven, MI? What if the water coming out of your kitchen sink suddenly turned into wine? Such miraculous interventions would not be of the same scale which Knapp throws up for shadow-boxing purposes, and yet they are closely in line with the kinds of things we read about in the Christian storybook. Which means: a god which executes such interventions is very much “the type of God found in the scripture presupposed by Christians.” So simply saying “God is not like that” won’t do.

[Continued…]

April 13, 2012 7:33 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Knapp then pitches what he calls “two facts by way of vindication of TAG’s argument over against the critic’s attempted refutation.” In turn, they are:

“First, miracles have the impact they do just because they rarely happen.”

Even if Christians believe this, it would be irrelevant to the damage which the doctrine of miracles causes to induction. The damage which the doctrine of miracles causes to induction is not the alleged frequency of miracle occurrences, but the very acceptance of the view that a supernatural consciousness has the power to intervene without prior indication on the “ordinary ways” in which the universe predictably behaves. Given this allowance, the believer can never know what’s about to happen, since what happens next could, according to his theistic premises, be that one rare event which overturns all otherwise informed predictions. Assuming that the Christian god is real and distinct from the Christian believer who imagines it, the believer would never be able to know whether or not this is the case before it happened.

Besides, how would any believer know whether something he calls “miraculous” is “rare”? On the Christian’s worldview, he would have no idea whether or not there are talking dogs running all over the place somewhere beyond the access of his range of awareness. The Christian god could be concealing such things from believers for some “purpose,” and none would be the wiser. So not only does this response miss the point of the non-believer’s objection, it speaks beyond the believer’s own warranted range of knowledge.

[Continued…]

April 13, 2012 7:34 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Knapp’s next counter-move is as follows:

“Second, an inductive generalization gains strength based on the number of identical observations found.”

While this is a common misconception of induction (how many times do you have to burn your hand on a hot stove to formulate the general conclusion that touching a hot stove will result in pain?), it too misses the point, and for reasons very much like the previous one. Suppose a person tests 1,000 dogs to see if they speak English, and finds that none of them do (at least in his presence). On the Christian worldview, it would not follow that none of those dogs tested could in fact speak English. (If the Christian god wanted a dog to speak English, what would stop it from doing so?) Nor would such a test have any bearing on whether or not any of the millions of other dogs running around on the planet do speak English. In a world run by a supernatural consciousness, there may be much happening beyond one’s access to the facts which defies what he thinks he may be able to determine about the nature of reality by reference to the facts which he does have access.

Furthermore, the claim that the Christian god would not do anything contrary to what we can reasonably generalize about the world on the basis that it is not a deceiver, is not a legitimately biblical defense. Was the Christian god “deceiving” anyone when it gave Balaam’s ass the ability to speak? Was the Christian god “deceiving” anyone when it parted the Red Sea? Was the Christian god “deceiving” anyone when it turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana? Was the Christian god “deceiving” anyone when it resurrected Jesus from the dead in the dark of his tomb? If the Christian god was not deceiving anyone when it did these things, then there’s no reason to suppose that it would not perform similar interventions in nature on the basis that such interventions would be instances of deception. If the Christian god was deceiving people by performing the miracles described in the bible, then the claim that it wouldn’t perform miracles here and now because it’s not a deceiver, simply does not hold, given biblical precedents so interpreted.

The Christian’s defenses against the destructive implications which the doctrine of miracles has for the reliability of induction, are as flimsy and poorly thought-out as they come. A little critical thought on the matter will show that they crumble like a house of well-worn cards.

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2012 7:34 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson excellent writing!!!.

I'll be honest in the past I really wasn't sure but now I'm conviced, Dawson, that your worldview reduces to absolute absurdity.

April 13, 2012 7:58 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “Dawson excellent writing!!!.”

Why, thank you, Nide. I gave it my all, as I usually do.

Nide continued: “I'll be honest in the past I really wasn't sure but now I'm conviced, Dawson, that your worldview reduces to absolute absurdity.” [sic]

Coming from you, Nide, I take it this is a good thing.

By the way, you recently posted an entry on your blog in which you have pasted something you’ve found on the internet about pride. The very first sentence in that post reads as follows:

“There is a difference between the kind of pride that God hates (Proverbs 8:13) and the kind of pride we feel about a job well done.”

I was curious about this. It affirms that there is a distinction between two kinds of pride. Unfortunately, I could find no citation of a passage of scripture which affirms this distinction. Also, I have not found any passage in the bible which allows that some form of pride in man is morally acceptable. Can you address these two points by citation to the biblical text? Where does the bible affirm that such a distinction exists? Also, what distinguishes “the kind of pride that God hates” from “the kind of pride we feel about a job well done”? What biblical passage assures us that the Christian god does not hate “the kind of pride we feel about a job well done”? Book, chapter and verse for your responses are called for here.

For example, I have a lot of pride in my own work, for, as you say above, I have produced “excellent writing,” and I’ve worked for many years to hone my writing skills. As your own attempts at writing demonstrate, not everyone is very good at it. But I have the impression that, for some reason, the god you imagine would find my pride in my work most objectionable, even though it is of “the kind of pride” one has in relation to "a job done well." Since the source you have quoted in full suggests that such pride is morally acceptable, I wonder how you reconcile the obvious conflicts here.

Do you have anything intelligent to offer here?

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2012 8:16 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Way too many questions.

Well, Dawson, do you thank God for your writing abilities?

If not then that's sinful pride. See, the difference?


Dawson I was wondering if you would like to do an interview for my blog?

April 13, 2012 8:25 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I asked Nide whether he can provide any scriptural basis for the difference, affirmed in a piece which he has quoted in full on his blog from another website, between the kind of pride which the Christian god is imagined to hate, and “the kind of pride we feel about a job well done.”

Specifically I asked if Nide has anything intelligent to offer in regard to the obvious conflict between the two categories affirmed, as well as a scriptural basis for affirming the distinction in the first place.

Nide has reacted to my questions, but has neither offered scriptural basis for the distinction which the cite he quotes affirms, nor has he offered anything intelligent in regard to the obvious conflict between the two categories affirmed.

In fact, Nide asks a question which only shows how the two categories may in fact conflict, without resolving this conflict given the difference affirmed by the source which he quotes on his website.

So Nide strikes out again, as I figured would happen. I throw the guy a softball, but he still fails to hit the ball and score a run. He’s left meandering back to the dugout hoping for another chance at bat. He apparently doesn't want to learn.

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2012 8:41 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Yea, imagine.

Now, how about that interview?

April 13, 2012 11:20 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Another great entry in this series!

You wrote: "There is a point, however, at which both the Christian understanding of the uniformity of nature and the doctrine of miracles does find agreement, and that is in their presupposition of the primacy of consciousness."

What came to mind when reading this, is that as a result of presuppers embracing the Primacy of Consciousness -- with their view on the uniformity of nature, and their doctrine of miracles -- they are forced to double-down on nothing but the imaginary. You've done a great job once again of calling their bluff, showing them to be nothing but posers who want to sit at the poker table not only without a good hand, but also without any actual cards to play with.

Paraphrasing the earlier quote I posted from Michael J. Hurd: "They got nothin'."

Ydemoc

April 13, 2012 4:13 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Ydemoc,

Thanks for your comments. Dr. Hurd is right: they do have nothin’, and more folks should be prepared to call their bluff. That’s really what this whole series is about, in fact everything I write about presuppositionalism is basically just that: calling the presuppositionalists’ bluff.

The portion that you quoted from my blog had a grammar error – it should be “do find agreement” instead of “does find agreement” (since the subject of this verb is in fact plural). I have corrected it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2012 4:53 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Earlier Nide had asked:

“Dawson I was wondering if you would like to do an interview for my blog?”

which I ignored.

Nide then asked again: “Now, how about that interview?”

Nide, I have no interest in doing an interview with you.

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2012 4:54 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Why?

Are you really gonna act like a 5 year old?

April 13, 2012 5:25 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide, I have no interest in doing an interview with you.

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2012 5:27 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

I thought you cared about me?

Did you lie Dawson?

April 13, 2012 6:47 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide asked: “I thought you cared about me?”

What has ever given you that impression?

Nide asks: “Did you lie Dawson?”

The verb ‘lie’ has two distinct meanings. One is to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive. In that case, my answer is: No, I do not. The other is to be in a horizontal, recumbent, or prostrate position, as on a bed or the ground; recline. In that case, my answer is: whenever I get the opportunity.

Just imagine, Nide, you’re interviewing me, and I reply “Way too many questions!” and then dodge every point you try to make. Do you think there would be much value in this for anyone?

Think about it.

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2012 7:15 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

You are right Dawson I could imagine it.

Do I have to go fishing for qoutes?

You did say some time ago that you cared about me.

Remember?

April 13, 2012 7:24 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Hey Dawson remember this?


JANUARY 04, 2012 1:57 PM  
 Bahnsen Burner said...
For one thing, Nide, I care for you. Remember? I'm concerned that bloggers are deleting your comments. That's just sad. I mean, how could anyone think your comments are inflammatory?

Also, I care because you comment on my blog.

Anyway, is it true? Did a blog-owner delete a comment of yours due to inflammatory content?

Regards,
Dawson
JANUARY 04, 2012 2:00 PM



Now, how about that interview?

April 13, 2012 8:02 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Good post as always.

I've tended to think that the problem of induction can be trivially justified: in other words, one way to find out if it will continue to hold true is to continue to use it.

A non-theistic worldview at the very minimum can at least hypothesize and reasonably assume the value of induction. The theist worldview, ironically, is the one that is utterly forced to reject the uniformity of nature. Hence it's really amazing to me that they have the stones to put forth the problem of induction as if they had a solution to it. I somehow doubt that Segers has actually read Hume.

Also, Dawson, thanks for your answers to my questions on the last blog, they were quite helpful. I'm going to see if I can find a copy of ITOE to rent.

Keep up the great work,

-Alex

April 13, 2012 8:09 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Alex wrote: “I've tended to think that the problem of induction can be trivially justified: in other words, one way to find out if it will continue to hold true is to continue to use it.”

There’s no question that induction works. And continuing to use it will only confirm its usefulness. The problem of “justifying” induction is pretty much a problem that only philosophers have. But since induction is a conceptual process, it’s unclear how advocates of a worldview which has no theory of concepts, like Christianity, could seriously think that their worldview has anything of value to say on the matter.

Presuppositionalists very much seem to think that the entire problem is limited to the uniformity of nature, completely leaving aside the activity which the human mind performs when drawing inductive generalizations. Thus they seem to leave the problem very much unaddressed when they point to their god as the “cause” of nature’s uniformity. When you get right down to it, the presuppositionalist response to the problem of induction amounts to nothing more than: “God causes nature to be uniform,” and that’s all there is to it. Beyond that, induction presumably proceeds as everyone supposedly thinks it does – by estimating future outcomes based on past precedents. No attention is given to how this process is performed, other than to allude to repetition, probability, and a wide assortment of unchecked assumptions which lurk under the surface of it all.

I dare say, that’s hardly a solution to the problem of induction!

That presuppositionalists think this is all sufficient to address the problem of induction, only shows that they really don’t know or care about the problem as it was originally framed in the first place. The problem of induction simply represents an opportunity to sequester a gap in man’s knowledge away from secular philosophy (Hume is supposedly the authority, and he exhausted all possible non-theistic approaches to the matter, and they failed) in order to plant the flag of Christian theism squarely in the middle of it. In this sense, when the presppositionalist raises the question, “How do you account for induction?” apparently we’re all expected to throw up our hands and say “Duh, I donno, must be God did it!!”

Alex wrote: “A non-theistic worldview at the very minimum can at least hypothesize and reasonably assume the value of induction. The theist worldview, ironically, is the one that is utterly forced to reject the uniformity of nature. Hence it's really amazing to me that they have the stones to put forth the problem of induction as if they had a solution to it.”

Right. I’m reminded of something another atheist once stated in a discussion with Christian apologist Peter Pike when the problem of induction and the uniformity of nature was raised as an apologetic debating point. His name was Nick, and he wrote: “I believe that there is consistency in the universe because there is no god that has the power to mess with it." (See p. 99 of this PDF document.) While it does not unravel the problem of induction, it does put the theist in his place quite elegantly.

Alex wrote: “I somehow doubt that Segers has actually read Hume.”

Here’s what I recommend the next time you find an apologist invoking Hume or the problem of induction: Ask him if he thinks Hume’s skeptical argument against the reliability of induction is sound. If the apologist thinks it’s *sound*, then he’s got a real problem on his hands. If he says that Hume’s argument is *not* sound, then why invoke Hume on the subject to begin with? The apologist is caught in his own trap, and don’t be surprised if his unfamiliarity with the issues involved comes out at this point.

Alex wrote: “Also, Dawson, thanks for your answers to my questions on the last blog, they were quite helpful.”

You’re welcome, Alex. The pleasure’s all mine.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 5:52 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide asked: “Hey Dawson remember this?”

Nide quoted me from back on 4 January, when I asked: “Anyway, is it true? Did a blog-owner delete a comment of yours due to inflammatory content?”

Hey, come to think of it, you’re right! I do recall something about a comment of yours being deleted from a blog due to its inflammatory content. I also recall, Nide, that you never answered this question. (My comment and relevant discussion can be found on this blog.)

Does anyone have the skinny on this? I have forgotten which blog this occurred on. Anyone remember?

Nide asked: “Now, how about that interview?”

I have already stated twice now that I have no interest in doing an interview with you. You apparently don’t understand simple English, which only confirms that I’ve made the right decision on this matter.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 5:58 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Why did you lie Dawson?

April 14, 2012 6:04 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: "Why did you lie Dawson?"

Complex question: I have not lied.

Question: Whose name rhymes with "lied"?

Certainly not mine.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 6:14 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Yea, you did.

You said you cared about me and now you're denying it.

It's there in plain black letters. I know it's embarrasing.

But I'm happy it's there for all to see. So, how is it that you are not dishonest?

By the way my latest post is pretty interesting. Just wanna see what you think since you care about me.

April 14, 2012 6:30 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide had asked: "Why did you lie Dawson?"

I corrected him, saying: “Complex question: I have not lied.”

Now Nide writes: “Yea, you did. You said you cared about me and now you're denying it.”

Where have I denied this? Please, show me. Where have I denied this?

Nide continues: “It's there in plain black letters.”

If it’s “in plain black letters,” then please show me where I have *denied* it.

Nide: “I know it's embarrasing.” [sic]

The embarrassment is all yours, Nide.

Nide: “But I'm happy it's there for all to see.”

So am I, Nide.

Nide: “So, how is it that you are not dishonest?”

How is it that you see things that aren’t there?

Nide: “By the way my latest post is pretty interesting.”

I seriously doubt that.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 6:42 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Good. So, you care about me then.

Now, how about that interview?

April 14, 2012 6:49 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “Good. So, you care about me then.”

What have I said? Go by that.

Nide: “Now, how about that interview?”

For the fourth time: I have no interest in doing an interview with you.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 6:52 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Yea, you said you cared about me.

Don't you care that you are one of my favorite philosophers?

Now, how about that interview?

April 14, 2012 7:00 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide asked: "Don't you care that you are one of my favorite philosophers?"

No, I don't.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 7:02 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

But you care about me.

So, how about that interview?

April 14, 2012 7:12 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide asked: "So, how about that interview?"

You have my answer on this. It will not change.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 7:13 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Hahahahaaha.

By the way the great logician, mathmatecian and philosopher Bertrand Russell said something to the effect of Hume.

Just wanted to see what you think.

April 14, 2012 7:18 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "Does anyone have the skinny on this? I have forgotten which blog this occurred on. Anyone remember?"

It happened over on Ben Wallis' blog, when Hezekiah implied that I was a "stalker", after I had posted something regarding one of his favorite questions about knowing whether or not one is delusional.

Ben didn't take to kindly to Hezekiah implying that I was a stalker.

You can find the exchanges on Ben's blog, beginning around this point:

http://benwallis.blogspot.com/2011/12/james-anderson-and-non-contradiction.html?showComment=1325537817168#c2541974716695037305


Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 7:18 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “By the way the great logician, mathmatecian and philosopher Bertrand Russell”

“…great…”? Is this *your* assessment? Or someone else's?

Nide: “said something to the effect of Hume.”

What specifically did Russell say that you think is important? Why do you think it’s important?

Nide: “Just wanted to see what you think.”

Did you really? Be honest now.

By the way, I’m still wondering why you’ve accused me repeatedly in this thread of lying. Can you explain yourself? Did you err in your identification of the facts?

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 7:38 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Regarding Nide’s comment getting deleted from another blog due to its “inflammatory nature” back in January of this year, I asked: "Does anyone have the skinny on this? I have forgotten which blog this occurred on. Anyone remember?"

Ydemoc wrote: “It happened over on Ben Wallis' blog, when Hezekiah implied that I was a "stalker", after I had posted something regarding one of his favorite questions about knowing whether or not one is delusional.”

Ah yes! You know, I had suspected that it might have been Ben Wallis who deleted Nide’s comment. Only I had checked Wallis’ Goodness over God blog, not the counter-apologetics blog of Ben Wallis where in fact this clean-up actually occurred.

And indeed, Wallis himself mentions deleting Nide’s comment because of its incendiary tone. Wallis writes: “Hezekiah Ahaz did not remove his comments, I did, due to their inflammatory nature” (James Anderson and non-contradiction, comment by Wallis posted 2 January 2012).

Thanks, Ydemoc. I knew you’d come through with the relevant facts!!

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 7:41 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "Thanks, Ydemoc. I knew you’d come through with the relevant facts!!"

You're welcome! -- now if only Hezekiah would come through with some relevant facts on... well, pretty much everything.

Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 7:46 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc wrote: “now if only Hezekiah would come through with some relevant facts on... well, pretty much everything.”

Or anything. Indeed, anything relevant.

This seems really difficult for him. And I have to say, it’s hard to determine how much of his difficulty in this area is due to his anti-intellectual attitude, and how much is due to sheer inability. Either way, he continually proves himself to be a persistently dry well.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 7:52 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Well, Dawson, the only alternative I have is to imagine it along with Ben. That is, that my comments were "inflammatory". Now, See why you are one my favorite philosophers?

I'm happy you wanna talk about russell.

Stay tuned.

April 14, 2012 7:54 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “Well, Dawson, the only alternative I have is to imagine it along with Ben.”

Actually, Wallis cites evidence for his decision to eliminate your comments from the discussion on his blog. He quotes your own words. So we don’t have to rely on imagination for why he made the decision he did make.

Nide wrote: “Now, See why you are one my favorite philosophers?” [sic]

If I’m truly one of your “favorite philosophers,” why are you always so disrespectful when you address me?

As always, your actions speak louder than the words you use to express yourself.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 8:02 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

It's tough love. Apologizing with a hammer.

I don't want you to go to hell.

I actually care about my "atheist" friends.

April 14, 2012 8:08 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “It's tough love. Apologizing with a hammer. I don't want you to go to hell. I actually care about my ‘atheist’ friends.”

So the favoritism that you’ve expressed and confirmed right here on my blog, then, have nothing to do with my philosophy, but have only to do with your own self-centric wants and desires?

I see.

Perhaps that's why I'm your favorite: you are starved for light, and you recognize that you've found it right here on my blog.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 8:18 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Just a quick question before I answer some other points.

When you call God an invisible magic being and tell Christians that God is imaginary, you don't find this disrespectful?

April 14, 2012 8:28 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide asked: “When you call God an invisible magic being and tell Christians that God is imaginary, you don't find this disrespectful?”

Absolutely not. Affirming the truth is the greatest form of respect, namely respect for the facts of reality, regardless of who disapproves.

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 8:32 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 14, 2012 10:19 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

part1) Hello Friends: Its a great day to be alive and to love your own life. Existence is so cool; it exists independently of any form of consciousness. No imaginary sky faries control your destiny. You are the capitan of your fate, the CEO or your life. You chart your own course and make way to accomplish your goals. Yee-haw! it's good to be alive.


Dawson correctly observed:

In any case, since on the Christian view, nature is not inherently uniform, it leaves us with the only possible supposition on the matter: according to Christianity, nature is not actually uniform to begin with. On the Christian view, the natural realm is essentially formless, identity-less, nature-less, and consequently it requires some magic consciousness to come along and give it form, identity, nature, essentially by wishing. This conscious being is imagined as having the power to make its wishes automatically become fact, and believers will not allow any supposition which suggests that its wishful powers are constrained in any manner against this by some external factor which limits its activity. The size, shape and nature of the universe are the result of unbridled supernatural whim let loose on it.

In attempting to validate those suppositions, Christians will work at arguing for fine tunning from the Strong Anthropic Principle which says:

1. There exists one possible universe “designed” with the goal of generating and sustaining “observers.”

2. Observers are necessary to bring the universe into being.

3. An ensemble of other different universes is necessary for the existence of our universe. The authors identify a third version of the anthropic principle:

Stenger, Victor J. (2011-05-19). The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us (Kindle Locations 575-579). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.


One of the main arguments they will employ in their endeavor is to assert the ratio, arbitrrarily dubbed N(sub-1), of the electromagnetic attractive force and the gravational attractive force between an electron and proton equals ~10^39 by virtue of fine tuning activity of their magic sky fariy because

"If the gravitational force between elementary particles were not much smaller than the electrical force, then the universe would collapse long before there was a chance for stars to form and life to evolve. So, it is argued, the value for N1 above is highly improbable and must have been fine-tuned for life. ~ Ibid. location 1851

The fallacy here is the proton is not a fundamental partical; it is composed of three quarks and multiple gluons in a plasma state. The electron is a lepton and thus a fundamental particle. If we run the caluclations for and two eletrons, N(sub-1) ~ 10^47; calculated from 1.85 × 10–9 kilograms, N1 = 1 and the two forces would be equal.

The most fundamental mass is the Plank mass (found from the fundamental constants) and equals 2.18 x 10^-8 KG. Calculation of N(sub-1) for two particles of Plank mass each with a unit electrical charge yeilds 2.7027027027 x 10^-2.

April 14, 2012 10:20 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

part 2) Stenger comments on these facts he brings thusly:

In most physics textbooks you will read that gravity is the weakest of all forces, many orders of magnitude weaker than electromagnetism. Christian philosopher Robin Collins makes the same assertion: “Compared with the total range of the strengths of the other forces in nature (which span a range of 1040), it [the gravitational force] is very small, being one part in 10 thousand, billion, billion, billion.”1

We see this is wrong. Recall that the gravitational force is fictional, like the centrifugal force. No one compares the value of centrifugal force with other forces. Its value depends on the circumstances. So it is with gravity. The gravitational force depends on the masses and charges of the particles. N1 is only the ratio of the two forces for a system made of a proton and an electron, as in the hydrogen atom. It is not the relative strength of the gravitational and electrical forces in all cases. In fact, there is no universal way we can describe the strength of the gravitational force. The strength of the electromagnetic force is measured by the dimensionless parameter alpha, called historically the fine structure constant, which in standard international units is alpha=K(sub-E)e^2/(h-bar*c) [where h-bar = Planck's constant divided by 2*pi]. The value of a in our universe is currently 1/137 independent of units. In natural units,h-bar=(Ksub-E)=c, we simply have alpha = e^2. In the standard model of elementary particles and forces, a actually varies with energy, but we will put off that discussion until later.

The gravitational constant G is not dimensionless and, as we have seen, is an arbitrary number, like h-bar and c, that just sets the unit system. We can define a dimensionless parameter, alpha=K(sub-E)e^2/(h-bar*c) to represent the gravitational force strength, but that depends on some mass m. Conventionally, the proton mass is used, so for . However, as already noted, the proton is not even a fundamental particle but is composed of quarks. In short, the strength of gravity is an arbitrary number and is clearly not fine-tuned. It can be anything we want it to be. This does not mean that the strength of gravity relative to the other forces is not important. It just depends numerically on how you define it. That definition does not change the ratio of the forces between two particles in any specific situation.

Stenger, Victor J. (2011-05-19). The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us (Kindle Locations 1860-1879). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

The real question here that Christian apologist seek to evade is 'why are the masses of elementary particles so low compared to the Planck mass?' "This is explained in the standard model of elementary particles and forces. The masses of all particles are intrinsically zero and their observed masses are small (relative to the Planck mass) corrections that, in the model, arise from their interactions with other fields." ~ Stenger, 'God And The Folly Of Faith", p.182

Christian apologists claim their magic guy does magic stuff to make reality what it is. They back up those claims with scientifically bogus arguments that fall apart when compared to actual physics because existence really really is real. It exists as what it is. That humans are aware of existence is percepually obvious indicating that

Consciousness is the faculty of awareness—the faculty of perceiving that which exists. ~ Ayn Rand, ITOE, p.37 via aynrandlexicon.com.

April 14, 2012 10:21 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Correction of above typo

I typed "calculated from 1.85 × 10–9 kilograms, N1 = 1 and the two forces would be equal."

this should instead read as

calculated from two masses of 1.85 × 10–9 kilograms with unit electrical charges, N1 = 1 and the two forces would be equal.

April 14, 2012 10:25 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Correction:

I typed "Calculation of N(sub-1) for two particles of Plank mass each with a unit electrical charge yeilds 2.7027027027 x 10^-2."

This means the gravitational force would be 137 times stronger than the electromagnetic force when N(sub-1) is calculated from Planck mass particles with unit electrical charges.

Thus N(sub-1) is not an indication of fine tuning as it depends on what particles are used to make the calculation.

April 14, 2012 10:29 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson said: “…great…”? Is this *your* assessment? Or someone else's?"

That's what I hear. However, I personally don't care. He has giving me the fuel I need to hammer away.

Dawson said: "What specifically did Russell say that you think is important? Why do you think it’s important?"


"The inductive principle, however, is equally incapable of being proved by an appeal to experience. Experience might conceivably confirm the inductive principle as regards the cases that have been already examined; but as regards unexamined cases, it is the inductive principle alone that can justify any inference from what has been examined to what has not been examined. All arguments which, on the basis of experience, argue as to the future or the unexperienced parts of the past or present, assume the inductive principle; hence we can never use experience to prove the inductive principle without begging the question. Thus we must either accept the inductive principle on the ground of its intrinsic evidence, or forgo all justification of our expectations about the future. If the principle is unsound, we have no reason to expect the sun to rise to-morrow, to expect bread to be more nourishing than a stone, or to expect that if we throw ourselves off the roof we shall fall. When we see what looks like our best friend approaching us, we shall have no reason to suppose that his body is not inhabited by the mind of our worst enemy or of some total stranger. All our conduct is based upon associations which have worked in the past, and which we therefore regard as likely to work in the future; and this likelihood is dependent for its validity upon the inductive principle." Excerpt from(chapter 6, on induction) "The problems of philosophy" by Bertrand Russell

http://www.ditext.com/russell/rus6.html


See that Dawson?

You either take it for granted(induction), that is, by Faith or reduce yourself to irrationality. Your choice.


Cont.

April 14, 2012 10:58 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson said: "Did you really? Be honest now."

Yea, I am being honest. You are one of my favorite philosophers. Remember?

Dawson said: "By the way, I’m still wondering why you’ve accused me repeatedly in this thread of lying. Can you explain yourself? Did you err in your identification of the facts?"


Well, it seemed like you were trying to deny your own words. So, yea consider it "misindentified" information. However, I'm glad that you are rational enough not to deny facts especially when they are absolutely evident.

April 14, 2012 11:04 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson said: "Absolutely not. Affirming the truth is the greatest form of respect, namely respect for the facts of reality, regardless of who disapproves."

So, now you are the arbiter of what's disrespecful or not. Great.

"truth", "facts", "reality"

Let's be honest we both know you can't account for any of these.

However, The only alternative I have is to imagine it right along with you. So, how is it that I am not?



Blessings

April 14, 2012 11:09 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Gratuitous Ayn Rand quote

“You cannot prove that you exist or that you’re conscious,” they chatter, blanking out the fact that proof presupposes existence, consciousness and a complex chain of knowledge: the existence of something to know, of a consciousness able to know it, and of a knowledge that has learned to distinguish between such concepts as the proved and the unproved.

When a savage who has not learned to speak declares that existence must be proved, he is asking you to prove it by means of non-existence—when he declares that your consciousness must be proved, he is asking you to prove it by means of unconsciousness—he is asking you to step into a void outside of existence and consciousness to give him proof of both—he is asking you to become a zero gaining knowledge about a zero.

When he declares that an axiom is a matter of arbitrary choice and he doesn't’t choose to accept the axiom that he exists, he blanks out the fact that he has accepted it by uttering that sentence, that the only way to reject it is to shut one’s mouth, expound no theories and die.

An axiom is a statement that identifies the base of knowledge and of any further statement pertaining to that knowledge, a statement necessarily contained in all others, whether any particular speaker chooses to identify it of not. An axiom is a proposition that defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it."

~ Ayn Rand, 'Galt's Speech', "For the New Intellectual", 154; courtesy of Aynrandlexicon.com and as quoted in OPAR p.11

Peikoff then pointed out:

"The foregoing is not a proof that the axioms of existence, consciousness, and identity are true. Its is a proof that they are axioms, that they are at the base of knowledge and thus inescapable. This proof, however, relies on the axioms. Even in showing that no opponent can escape them, Ayn Rand too has to make use of them. All argument presupposes them."

April 14, 2012 11:27 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

Hello Robert, Ydemoc, Dawson, Alex and others. I have some thoughts on this. Hezekiah objects to using experience and yet sensory input is the metaphysical precondition for all cognition. Cognition in turn is concept formation which is a form of induction in and of itself. Hume and Russel overlooked this fact entirely. Of interest as well, Mr Russel despite accepting Hume’s argument was a lifelong atheist so obviously he did not find this problem any reason to accept christianity. I bring this up because Hezekiahs use of Russel here is an appeal to authority. Lastly it has been pointed out over and over again here that regardless of whether Hume’s problem of induction is valid or not, the presuppositionalist answer is worse than useless, it in fact makes the problem incalculably worse via its metaphysical subjectivism. It distills down to “you can't account for induction but I have an answer that makes matters worse therefore god!” Yeah I don't find that convincing. I think the problem of induction can be dealt with with a pragmatic solution in light of how concepts are formed, but even if I am wrong in this Van Til and ilk hardly have a solution.

April 14, 2012 11:46 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Nide: you're still lying your silly ass off I see.

Dude: you're name is not Hezekiah. Your not a corporate officer of a corporation that uses a bad image of Bahnsen as a corporate logo.

Why, if life is but a dream like in the Row-Row-Row-Your-Boat nursery school song are you not being convicted of your sin of lying, and disobeying the stern commands of your god, Jesus?

Its quite obvious that you are living in violation of Matt 10:16 because both serpents and doves are what they are as in A is A. But you are a liar who claims to be someone your not. You can fix that, however, by posting under your given name and posting a scan of your State issued ID. Its ok to black out sensitive info like address and ID number.

But that won't help you regarding Luke 14:26

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not [b]hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

You got a family? If so, too bad. Jesus says you got to dump them.

or Luke 14:33

So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

You got stuff. Jesus says you got to get rid of it.

Unless you do these things your only a blasphemer per Mark 3:28-29 as per John 8:44 and heretic too relative to nominal Christianity.

If Dawson, and other Objectivists are wrong, and your alleged holy spook epistemology is right, then why aren't you being convicted of your grievous sins? You just go blithely about your merry way making a fool of yourself.

As Joshua Whipps (of the Choosing Hats crowd) put it, Being guided by the Christian holy spook:

is the equivalent of having the author of the book standing over your shoulder, and correcting your faulty understandings, and continually adjusting your noetic “issues” as He also works to sanctify you in obedience to that revealed Word.

But you don't experience or do those things because you're only playing church. To prove otherwise you should take up street preaching at bus stops. Be aggressive and unload on the listener accusing them of lacking understanding due to their naturalistic biases. Get right up in their faces and scream it out. You know you want too. Go ahead; it'll be ok.

April 14, 2012 11:54 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

I feel your pain buddy.


Robert,

ahahhahahah. Really?

April 14, 2012 12:03 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

Is God also the cause of the randomness of the universe? Is randomness a part of the nature of God?

April 14, 2012 12:50 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@NAL

good question, for example quantum mechanical phenomena or chaotic systems like turbulence that can't be predicted even in principle. I too would like to the know the answer to that one.

April 14, 2012 1:06 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

NAL,

You wrote: "Is God also the cause of the randomness of the universe? Is randomness a part of the nature of God?"

Yep. Good question. Christians will just say "yes," without examining the implications of such questions. For instance, they say "yes" to a Conversational Donkey, Chit-Chatty Snake, and City Strolling Corpses. That's about as far as their thinking goes on the matter. If the bible said there was such a thing as a "Talking Turd," a la South Park's "Mr. Hankey," they would *have* to believe that crap too!

A couple more questions for believers in the imaginary:

Is doubt a reflection of their god's character and actions?

Is sarcasm a reflection of their god's character and actions?

When the "crafty" serpent in the garden spoke, did it operate on the basis of faith for it's knowledge?

When the donkey was carrying on a conversation, did it operate on the basis of faith for its knowledge in that moment?

If -- as it is claimed by these fantasizers -- that I operate without any real basis for my knowledge, how do I justify calling or recognizing that Hezekiah is a Christian? Should I stop calling him that? And why isn't he questioning my basis for calling him a Christian? I repeat: Why doesn't Hezekiah question my basis for calling him a Christian?

But if all I need to do is recognize that Hezekiah is a Christian, why would I need to look above or beyond reality, the evidence of the senses, and reason as a basis for that recognition -- the recognition Christianity is the religious belief he subscribes to?

And if I thought Hezekiah wasn't a Christian, would I need faith for that too?

Contrary to what Hezekiah would have you believe, Christianity is fertile breeding-ground for skepticism.


Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 1:54 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

To all the Dawson clones:

Im only interacting with the "real" Dawson.

Have a marvelous "life".

However, you can always come to my blog. Maybe I'll talk to you there.

Blessings.

April 14, 2012 2:03 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc
good points, however what I think NAL was getting at are not miracles or violations of identity such as talking snakes but more along the lines of things that are due to their own identity random in and of themselves without invoking a meddlesome god. Examples would be uncertainties in the ground state or vacuum energy, this is a statistical quantum mechanical phenomenon and can not be predicted, only forecast. Or on the macro scale phenomena such as turbulence or weather which again can be modeled and or forecast but never predicted. When presuppers talk about the order of the universe I wonder if they are even aware that a great deal of it is not really ordered as such. Reality is not one big huge clock where where cause and effect are linear and if we know the values for all the variables we could in principle predict any future event. That is simply not the case, so in what sense is the world orderly in their view. That is what I wonder and I suspect it is what NAL was asking as well.

@Hezekiah

I am hardly a dawson clone, so I can only take your dissmive post as not being directed at me

April 14, 2012 2:12 PM  
Blogger NAL said...

Justin Hall,

Those are good examples of the kind of random processes that I was talking about. There are numerous phenomena of nature that lend themselves to probabilistic modeling. Every physical measurement contains a random error.

How does the Christian "account" for the randomness of Brownian Motion? How does the Christian "account" for the non-uniformity of nature within a black hole?

April 14, 2012 2:43 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello All

I had a few additional thoughts regarding Nide's heresy, blasphemy and egregious sin against the stern commands of his god, Jesus.

By his actions of disobeying the stern commands of Jesus, Nide is declaring the religious revelation of the New Testament (NT) either overtly false, or partially false in that the Gospel commands of Jesus to his followers and adherents do not apply to modern self-proclaimed Christians, or that he has a personal religious revelation superseding the NT. Any of those positions is likely grounds for excommunication from the mainstream Christian sects. Main point being however that Nide's reliance upon Holy Spirit epistemology shows ole Spooky is only a fantasy in Nide's troubled mind.

Consider the following ignored teachings of Jesus not practiced by almost all Christians and probably ignored by Nide as well; a true follower of Jesus would have to be extremely poor.

"...none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. " (Luke 14:33)

No family allowed either, If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Jesus said to him, If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. (Matt. 19:21);

"Sell your possessions and give to charity" (Luke 12:33a);

" But give that which is within as charity, and then all things are clean for you." (Luke 11:41);

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,... 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. " (Matt. 6:19a,20a,21);

"How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! (Mark 10:23);

"Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. " (Matt. 19:23-24);

A certain ruler told Jesus that he had obeyed all the commandments from his youth up. But, Jesus said, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. " (Luke 18:22, Mark 10:21),

You cannot serve God and wealth. 25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. (Matt 6:24b-25a)

Paul agreed: "For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ" (Phil. 3:8 RSV)

and Polycarp writing as Paul "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content" (1 Tim. 6:8).

These biblical teachings of the Christian God probably mean nothing to Nide, but he should be concerned because of 1 John 3:3-8


3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;

8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Because Nide is obviously not a Christian in that he disregards and disobeys the commandments of his god, I dub him 'falsum fortissimus et amens mendax.' This suits Nide. The Inquisition and Protestant reformers would have burned him at a stake.

April 14, 2012 5:00 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Robert,

Satan used scripture to also tempt Jesus. How is it that you are not a devil?

April 14, 2012 5:18 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah,

You wrote: "Satan used scripture to also tempt Jesus."

Interesting. So Satan could understand scripture, which means he had knowledge. We already know that according to James 2:19, even the demons believe. So does this mean Satan has faith?

Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 5:32 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

The devil quoteth scripture, they say.

And it is scripture itself that states that the devil quoteth scripture... so, were I the Devil, and I wanted to be particularly cunning, I would myself quote scripture when it says that the devil quoteth scripture.

From this I have reached the logical conclusion that Nide is the devil.

Nice try, Satan, but we're on to you.

April 14, 2012 7:58 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Alex,

The last little train that thought he could didn't go to far.

Now, how is it that everything you just said is not from Satan?

April 14, 2012 8:17 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah,

Why would the god you believe in allow South Park's "Mr. Hankey" to be created by humans and seen by people?

Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 8:21 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah,

Clarification: Do you think that the god you worship enjoys the animated comedy show, "South Park"?

Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 8:23 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah,

Does your god allow things he doesn't approve of?

Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 8:25 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc asked: "Does your god allow things he doesn't approve of?"

Such as abortion?

Indeed, since everything that occurs, has occurred and will occur in this great creation of the Christian god is supposed to be part of some big, over-arching "plan," wouldn't that mean that abortion is part of "God's plan"?

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2012 9:17 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

"The last little train that thought he could didn't go to far.

Now, how is it that everything you just said is not from Satan?"

Imaginary beings don't force me to say things, fortunately.

"Indeed, since everything that occurs, has occurred and will occur in this great creation of the Christian god is supposed to be part of some big, over-arching "plan," wouldn't that mean that abortion is part of "God's plan"?"

Some apologists, when examining the atrocious genocides of the Old Testament, have rationalized the deaths of children by asserting that those children went to heaven anyways. If all infants and children who die are guaranteed to go to heaven, but are not guaranteed to attain salvation if they become adults, obviously the most compassionate thing we can undertake is mass abortion.

April 14, 2012 9:30 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Alex,

How do you know your imagination is not real?

Now, since you claim that I am imagining things how is it that I'm not imagining you?

April 14, 2012 9:40 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 14, 2012 9:43 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

I deleted the previous comment because I wasn't happy with what I wrote -- it wasn't as clear as it cold have been. Perhaps I'll revisit that issue sometime in the future.

In the meantime, you bring up a good point about abortion, Dawson.

And like I said at the end of my deleted comment: Consistency has never been one of Christianity's hallmarks, has it?

Ydemoc

April 14, 2012 10:02 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide referred to B. Russell as “great,” and I asked: “Is this *your* assessment? Or someone else's?"

Nide admitted that he really hasn’t a clue, replying: “That's what I hear.”

He then tried to detach himself from his earlier assessment, saying: “However, I personally don't care.”

Then why did Nide bring up Russell in the first place? Here’s why:

Nide: “He has giving me the fuel I need to hammer away.”

Exactly! Like so many other Christians who are essentially clueless about the real mechanics of induction, Nide finds it apologetically expedient to cite Russell, who was just as caught in his own epistemological traps as was Hume. As Justin rightly points out, Nide’s “use of Russel here is an appeal to authority.” And the intention behind it is clear: he wants to sustain skepticism about induction for apologetic purposes. Folks like Nide do not like it when human beings discover and understand things. But let us ask: does Nide understand the issues involved here? Of course he doesn’t. He says he “personally [doesn’t] care.” Essentially, Nide gives us a splendid example of presuppositionalist ignorance hard at work.

Nide is taking his cue from his “homeboy” Greg Bahnsen, who cited both Hume and Russell as authorities on induction as a matter of habit (yes, the irony here is intended). This is entirely predictable. As I wrote in my paper Humean Causality and Presuppositionalism:

<< Swallowing Hume’s conclusion about induction in whole without examining his premises seems to be commonplace among presuppositionalists, even in the case of those who should know better. Greg Bahnsen, for instance, who holds that “the causal principle is seen to be intelligible only within the Christian framework of thought,” cites Hume as an “unbeliever” who was “both brilliant and honest about the matter,” pointing to Hume’s “devastating critique of causal reasoning in An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding” as “the foremost example of this” (Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis, pp. 618-619, including 619n.143). Hume is said by Bahnsen to number among those “unbelievers” who “have openly conceded that they have no rational basis for believing that the future will resemble the past” (Ibid., p. 619). >>

Nowhere do we find Bahnsen questioning (let alone rejecting) any of the premises of Hume’s skeptical argument. He simply accepts the conclusion on behalf of the non-believer, as if non-believers would not question Hume’s premises as well. But Hume made some huge mistakes, as I point out in my most recently blog. This completely suffocates Bahnsen’s apologetic.

[Continued…]

April 15, 2012 5:13 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

In my comment to Alex above, I suggested that we ask presuppositionalists who cite Hume as an authority on induction tell us whether or not they think Hume’s skeptical argument against the reliability of induction is sound. If the apologist thinks it’s sound, he’s got some major problems on his hands. If he says that Hume’s argument is not sound, then why invoke Hume on the subject to begin with?


I asked Nide what specifically Russell said that he thought is important, and he quoted an excerpt from Russell’s book The Problems of Philosophy, which he found in an internet search. I had at the same time also asked Nide why he thought what Russell said was important. But Nide has not answered that. Presumably he thinks Russell is a “hammer” that he can use to nail atheists. If so, he really needs to go though his toolbox and do some major cleaning.

Nide: “You either take it for granted(induction), that is, by Faith or reduce yourself to irrationality.”

Why limit the matter merely to these two alternatives? How do you *know* that these are the only two possibilities? By faith? Wouldn’t that be circular? If by some other means, wouldn’t you be performatively admitting that these in fact are not the only two alternatives (unless you admit that it’s by means of irrationality that you “know” this)?

It must be frustrating to always be getting stuck in your own pointless pickles.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 5:14 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc,

I don’t know why you deleted your comment. I thought you made a really good point, in fact, quite an insightful connection between being “born homosexual” and being “born a depraved sinner.” Can I ask what made you reconsider this (if that’s what you had reconsidered)?

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 5:17 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Is Ayn Rand an authority?

April 15, 2012 5:59 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: "Satan used scripture to also tempt Jesus."

So what you're saying is that, when a Christian quotes "scripture" to us, we may be wrong in assuming that the agent quoting "scripture" to us is not Satan or at any rate under satanic influences. After all, on Christianity's premises, the character of Satan has had A LOT more time to hone his scripture-quoting skills than any human believer we encounter today.

How do you know, Nide, that you're not under the influence of Satan?

And if we accept Christianity's premises, how can we know, that you're not under Satan's influence?

Good grief! I'm glad these aren't my problems!

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 6:12 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Is Ayn Rand an authority?

April 15, 2012 6:22 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide asked: “Is Ayn Rand an authority?”

Of course she is. She’s an authority on her ideas and her life, and can be taken as such, since the record she left behind is non-contradictory, both with itself (internally) and with the facts of reality (externally).

I would say that you could be an authority in the same way, Nide, if you had ideas of your own, and could reliably taken as an honest individual in the manner that Rand can be taken. Unfortunately, you can’t on both counts, so you’re no authority whatsoever. Unlike an authority, you're an example, a speciman, an archetype of what should not be the case, if one wants to live honestly.

In fact, you come across as a huckster trying to land a drug deal. We have audio recording of you to confirm this. Remember your podcast with the folks at Fundamentally Flawed?

I do.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 6:24 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Yea, I Rember the podcast it's historic. Now, when are you gonna man up. You can't hide behind a keyboard all your life.

But how do you know Rand is not deceiving you. Will a deciever tell you he/she is deceiving you?


How do you know Ayn Rand was honest?

How do you know she wasn't possessed by Satan?


By the way why would Satan tell anyone not to go to hell?

April 15, 2012 6:36 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “Yea, I Rember the podcast it's historic.”

I’m glad you “rember.” And yes, it’s “historic,” I guess. At any rate, it’s all on record. How embarrassing!

Nide wrote: “Now, when are you gonna man up.”

I don’t know what you mean. You clearly don’t know me. I am a man, and I think with my own mind. Can you think of anything more manly than this?

Nide: “You can't hide behind a keyboard all your life.”

What do you mean by "hiding"? I’m right here, and I make my ideas and my reasoning behind them plain for all to see. How is that “hiding”?

Now Dustin Segers, I can see why folks might think he’s hiding. He has eliminated comments from his blog. He tries to hide in plain sight. At least Choosing Hats allows comments, but I understand they’re closely monitored.

And your role model, Sye Ten Bruggencate? Well, why hasn’t he come to defend his precious argument? He’s been refuted, you know. Why do you suppose he doesn’t “man up”?

Nide: “But how do you know Rand is not deceiving you.”

Rand would have nothing to gain by deceiving me. She’s not even alive any more. Besides, she never knew me. Your question borderlines utter incoherence on three counts.

Nide: “Will a deciever tell you he/she is deceiving you?”

Of course not. That’s one reason why I’m not a Christian. Duh!!!!

Nide: “How do you know Ayn Rand was honest?”

I checked. That’s how.

Looking for tips, eh? Ha! That’s funny!

Nide: “How do you know she wasn't possessed by Satan?”

Because there is no Satan, silly!!

Nide: “By the way why would Satan tell anyone not to go to hell?”

Complex question fallacy. There is no Satan, silly! Something that doesn’t exist can’t tell anyone to do something! Don’t you know that?

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 6:54 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Am I really suppose to take things on your say so?

The biggest fish has been fried. Do you smell it?

The "lion" has been tamed.

HahahahaHaha.

How do you know, Dawson, that a demon is not in control of your brain?

How do you know Satan is not tricking you into believing he is not real?


Want some more Dawsom?

Cuz I got plenty.

April 15, 2012 7:03 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide asked: “Am I really suppose to take things on your say so?”

No. I’ve never asked anyone to take what I say on my mere say so. Check into the relevant facts for yourself. *Show* us what you find. If you find facts which challenge my views, bring them on. Let’s examine them together. I’m man enough to do that. Aren’t you?

Nide: “The biggest fish has been fried. Do you smell it?”

Do I have to take your word for it? I don’t smell anything except laundry detergent. How did you mistake that for fried fish? What on earth have you been eating?

Nide: “The ‘lion’ has been tamed.”

Which lion? Are you going to enter its cage? How brave are you, really?

Nide: “How do you know, Dawson, that a demon is not in control of your brain?”

For one, there are no demons. Demons are fictional beings. Didn’t you know that? Also, I know from firsthand introspective evidence that I am in control of my own mind, if that’s what your concern is. I know this just by correcting my own typos.

Moreover, I know you’re a god-believer, and consequently prone to believing in all sorts of arbitrary and fictional notions. So if you’re willing to interact with me, as your comments clearly demonstrate, then obviously you couldn’t really think that I’m under the control of some demon.

Besides, you really don’t believe in such things. Your actions assure us that you don’t.

Nide: “How do you know Satan is not tricking you into believing he is not real?”

Because the arbitrary is contrary to the facts. Since my worldview is unflinchingly premised on fact, such questions as you ask can be reliably dismissed as fiction-based moot.

Nide: “Want some more Dawsom?”

Erm, it’s “Dawson,” not “Dawsom.”

Nide: “Cuz I got plenty.”

“Plenty” of what? More bullshit? Nope, I’m not interested. You have your own blog. Go play with yourself over there.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 7:32 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"For one, there are no demons. Demons are fictional beings. Didn’t you know that? Also, I know from firsthand introspective evidence that I am in control of my own mind, if that’s what your concern is. I know this just by correcting my own typos."

And you really want me to take this on your say so?
How do you know a demon didn't help you correct them?

"Moreover, I know you’re a god-believer, and consequently prone to believing in all sorts of arbitrary and fictional notions. So if you’re willing to interact with me, as your comments clearly demonstrate, then obviously you couldn’t really think that I’m under the control of some demon."

That's why I am asking you. So, how is it that you are not?


"Besides, you really don’t believe in such things. Your actions assure us that you don’t.


waittttttt. how do you know this?


"Because the arbitrary is contrary to the facts. Since my worldview is unflinchingly premised on fact, such questions as you ask can be reliably dismissed as fiction-based moot."


But that's he problem. How do you know Satan didn't trick you into saying this?

April 15, 2012 7:57 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I wrote: "For one, there are no demons. Demons are fictional beings. Didn’t you know that? Also, I know from firsthand introspective evidence that I am in control of my own mind, if that’s what your concern is. I know this just by correcting my own typos."

Nide asked: “And you really want me to take this on your say so?”

What does my “say so” have to do with this? Don’t you know what your worldview teaches? Don’t you know what mine teaches? Don’t you know what distinguishes the two from each other?

Really, this is amazing!

Nide: “How do you know a demon didn't help you correct them?”

By means of reason, of course. If you don’t know, you must not be acquainted with reason. Pity for you.

I wrote: "Moreover, I know you’re a god-believer, and consequently prone to believing in all sorts of arbitrary and fictional notions. So if you’re willing to interact with me, as your comments clearly demonstrate, then obviously you couldn’t really think that I’m under the control of some demon."

Nide asked: “That's why I am asking you. So, how is it that you are not?”

Within the context of your professed worldview, your question is unanswerable. That’s why your question persists. That’s not my problem.

I wrote: "Besides, you really don’t believe in such things. Your actions assure us that you don’t.

Nide asked: “waittttttt. how do you know this?”

I answered this in my statement: your own actions assures us that you don’t.

I wrote: “Because the arbitrary is contrary to the facts. Since my worldview is unflinchingly premised on fact, such questions as you ask can be reliably dismissed as fiction-based moot."

Nide wrote: “But that's he problem. How do you know Satan didn't trick you into saying this?

By deferring to reality. That’s how. I suggest you try it sometime.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 8:09 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

hahahaahahaha.

Really Dawson is this what you have reduced yourself to?

Wishing doesn't make it so.

Now, reality.

How do you know your "reality" is real?


Let me guess because you say so?


ahahhahhha

April 15, 2012 8:12 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

You wrote: "I don’t know why you deleted your comment. I thought you made a really good point, in fact, quite an insightful connection between being “born homosexual” and being “born a depraved sinner.” Can I ask what made you reconsider this (if that’s what you had reconsidered?"

Sure, and thanks for asking (and for your words of recognition for the point I was trying to make). Upon reading what I wrote after I had posted, I wasn't entirely happy with the phrase: "and only according to their inanity," (if that was the exact wording I used). That particular phrasing struck me as being a little clumsy and unclear.

I considered posting without that phrase, but I figured since I had to run off to watch a television show, I'd just go ahead and delete it, and maybe post a revised version a little later.

But it is a little odd, isn't it? -- that many Christians vehemently argue against the idea that anyone could be born homosexual, which is considered by Christians and their bible to be an "abomination"; yet in the same breath, they **will** say that all human beings are sinners and depraved from birth.


Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 8:16 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “hahahaahahaha.”

What is this, a melodrama? Or a character from Monty Python perhaps?

NIde: “Really Dawson is this what you have reduced yourself to?”

That you do not identify either the points of origin or terminus of the reduction you impose on me, suggests that you’re trying to mimic a dialogue from 007. Or is it Austin Powers? Since you don’t seem comfortable with “manning up” and coming out as yourself, should we call you “Dr. Evil”?

Nide wrote: “Wishing doesn't make it so.”

Indeed, it doesn’t. Now if only Christians could understand this, the world might have a better chance of turning out to be a better place.

Nided: “Now, reality.”

Yes, now, yes, reality. It is always now.

Nided: “How do you know your ‘reality’ is real?”

Because it’s not mine to begin with.

Nide: “Let me guess because you say so?”

Nope. My say so has no bearing on the nature of what is. Really, Nide, how is it that you don’t understand my worldview? What is it about the primacy of existence that neither you nor Dustin Segers understands? You yourself have affirmed that wishing doesn’t make it so. Don’t you understand why this is the case? Why not?

Nide: “ahahhahhha”

Poor guy. You’re lost in your own hilarity.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 8:23 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc: "But it is a little odd, isn't it? -- that many Christians vehemently argue against the idea that anyone could be born homosexual, which is considered by Christians and their bible to be an 'abomination'; yet in the same breath, they **will** say that all human beings are sinners and depraved from birth."

The hostile vehemence against such an idea may be fueled by the fear that scuh a view may be true, and resistance against it is an expression of the primacy of consciousness (which we already know underwrites their worldview) to send it away forcefully (as if ideas responded to force).

Regardless, I still think it was quite an insightful connection. Re-post it if you please, even if you need to revise it. It was quotable. I know, because I wanted to quote it!

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 8:28 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Do you have a copy of it? Because I failed to save one for myself as a text clipping. If you do have a copy, feel free to "resurrect" and post it.

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 8:35 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Really?

Is everything that exists real?

If not then how do you know your real?

"Because it’s not mine to begin with."

Then maybe you shoudln't make any claims about it.

"Nope. My say so has no bearing on the nature of what is. Really, Nide, how is it that you don’t understand my worldview? What is it about the primacy of existence that neither you nor Dustin Segers understands? You yourself have affirmed that wishing doesn’t make it so. Don’t you understand why this is the case? Why not?"



Look let's waste anymore time then we have to.


Is everything that exists real?

if not how do you know that you are real?


How do you get from existence to reality?


Is your imagination real?



Dr.evil? ahhaahhahaah


By the way left some questions over on my blog for you.

April 15, 2012 8:36 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide: “Really?”

Yes, really.

Nide asked: “Is everything that exists real?”

Yes. It is. Reality is the realm of existence. Why don’t you know this?

Nide asked: “How do you know your ‘reality’ is real?”

I responded: "Because it’s not mine to begin with."

Nide then said: “Then maybe you shoudln't make any claims about it.”

Why?

Nide wrote: “Look let's waste anymore time then we have to.”

Why? My time is finite. So is yours. I’m heading off, to be more productive.

Nide: “Is everything that exists real?”

Yep, it sure is. See above.

Nide: “How do you get from existence to reality?”

By recognizing that there’s no distance to travel between the two concepts.

Nide: “Is your imagination real?”

My imagination? It’s a real part of my conscious activity. It is real in the sense that I have the actual ability to imagine things, and the concept ‘imagination’ denotes this ability of mine. Does it follow from this that the things which I imagine (such as the Christian god) are real? No, it does not.

There’s a big difference between imagination as a faculty of consciousness, and what one imagines by employing that faculty.

Why don’t you already know this?

Ah, yes, that’s right: you profess Christianity as your worldview.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 8:45 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc's comment from earlier:

[snip]

Dawson,

I asked Hezekiah: "Does your god allow things he doesn't approve of?"

You wrote: "Such as abortion?"

Good point. And homosexuality?

Funny how Christians go to such great lengths to say that people aren't born homosexual, but that they *are* born sinners and depraved. So, according to Christianity (and *only* according to such inanity), wouldn't it make more sense to say that, "Of course people who are homosexual were born that way. It's part of god's plan!"

Not that big of a surprise, I suppose -- consistency has never been the hallmark of Christianity, has it?

Ydemoc

[unsnip]

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 8:49 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Ydemoc wrote: "Funny how Christians go to such great lengths to say that people aren't born homosexual, but that they *are* born sinners and depraved."

I love it. This insight exposes one of the more salient self-contradictions that is present in today's political Christianity. It exposes just how pick-and-choose Christianity's mainstream mouthpieces are in regard to both their stated position and their public talking points.

Bravo, Ydemoc!

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 8:52 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson,

Did you really think your little guns could stand up to my rockets?

Really? More say so.

I noticed you skipped a few questions. So, here are some more.

I'm happy you said your imagination is real.

Now, let me be more specific since you wanna play tricks.

How do you know what you claim to be imagining is not real?

Since, you claim that I am imagining things how is it that I am not imagining you?

April 15, 2012 8:59 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Thanks, Dawson!

I jot these little ideas down on a notepad I have sitting on my desk -- they are like little "Wait a minute" moments.

And I toss them in when I see the opportunity to do so.

I'm glad you had a copy of it, because I don't know if I would've been able to reconstruct it exactly as originally written.

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 9:00 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

My imagination is real it's just what I am imagining is not.

hahahaha.

Did you mean my imagination exists but it's not real?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Dawson clones?

April 15, 2012 9:07 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Nide wrote: “I'm happy you said your imagination is real.”

Are you denying the reality of my faculty of imagination? Seriously, what are you "happy" about? Your own line of questioning assumes it’s existence. Man, are you really that dense?

Nide: “How do you know what you claim to be imagining is not real?”

Because I’m imagining it. What one imagines and what reality is, are not the same thing in my worldview. Why is this so hard for you to grasp? Indeed, your own attempts to trap me presuppose these truths which you seem so painfully reluctant to acknowledge.

Nide: “Since, you claim that I am imagining things how is it that I am not imagining you?”

You could be imagining all kinds of things. Why ask me about what you’re imagining? Why can’t you “man up” to the fact that you’re imagining things and treating them as real?

My gosh, I’m glad these aren’t my problems!

Okay, I’m heading out for another five-day conference. I could be out for the next week. Let’s see what my “air card” can do for my internet connection.

Regards,
Dawson

April 15, 2012 9:10 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

"Are you denying the reality of my faculty of imagination? Seriously, what are you "happy" about? Your own line of questioning assumes it’s existence. Man, are you really that dense?"

No, I am really that tremendous. Here is a little qoute I have been applying to myself lately. It is quite fitting:

"I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous - a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed, demanded, hallowed so far. I am no man, I am dynamite." Nietzsche

My imagination exists. However, it's not real.



"Because I’m imagining it. What one imagines and what reality is, are not the same thing in my worldview. Why is this so hard for you to grasp? Indeed, your own attempts to trap me presuppose these truths which you seem so painfully reluctant to acknowledge."



ahahahah.....I'll save you the embarrasment.

"You could be imagining all kinds of things. Why ask me about what you’re imagining? Why can’t you “man up” to the fact that you’re imagining things and treating them as real?"


ahahahahah...How do you know, dawson, how do you know?




"My gosh, I’m glad these aren’t my problems!
Okay, I’m heading out for another five-day conference. I could be out for the next week. Let’s see what my “air card” can do for my internet connection."


I'll keep you in prayer. In fact, let me say one right now.


Lord open Dawson eyes to your truth. I pray that he would come to faith in you and be saved. Protect him on his trip. Amen

April 15, 2012 9:24 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Over on Hezekiah's blog, http://hezekiahahaz.blogspot.com/, he wrote: "Concept formation is automatic."

You're wrong.

You wrote: "However, what makes us think that we can use those concepts? Is it induction? How would Dawson answer this?"

Forget the fact that half the time your questions are barely coherent; I get the sense that even you don't know what it is you're asking.

You really don't think things through, do you?

I've noticed this is a common trait among theists like you. I guess that's to be expected when one's religion lacks a solid epistemology. There's always a price to be paid when one attempts to make the imaginary come true, and a lack of understanding due to your own religion's epistemological default appears to be the cost.

If I were you, I'd ask for my money back.

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 11:03 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Ydemoc you're seriously an idiot.

By the way did you see your hero get Hammered this morning?

How hilarious.

By the way don't waste my time.

I don't talk to Dawson clones only the "real" one.


Good bye

April 15, 2012 11:35 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah,

You are wrong about concept formation (among other things). Your religion has no way to account for the very concepts that are used to inform the fiction you subscribe to.

And your reply to my latest comment only goes to show that I was right: You really don't think things through.

How' bout that!

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 4:29 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Concept formation is automatic. end of story.

Cognitive functions for the most part are automatic.

I said this a long time ago. Now, quit wasting my time.

April 15, 2012 4:36 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah wrote: "Concept formation is automatic. end of story."

You're wrong. I know you want or wish this to be the case, because it causes all sorts of problems for you where theism is concerned, but you are wrong.

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 5:03 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson clone,

Wishing doesn't make it so.

You sound like a 5 year old.

You can say it till your blue in the face it won't make a difference

April 15, 2012 5:25 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 15, 2012 5:39 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah wrote: "Wishing doesn't make it so."

Of course it doesn't. Nor does hoping or believing or how much faith one has in something -- none it makes something so. Too bad your Storybook doesn't recognize this fact of reality.

Hezekiah wrote: "You sound like a 5 year old."

Why? Do you have a lot of 5-year-old telling you that you're wrong, also? If so, you might want to start paying attention to what they're telling you.

Hezekiah wrote: "You can say it till your blue in the face it won't make a difference"

That's true. And that concept formation is a volitional process is true independent of any physiological symptoms I may or may not be experiencing (such as being blue in the face). Luckily, I don't have to go "blue in the face" to get my point across. I simply have to tell you that you are wrong.

I realize that doesn't sit well with you since you see everything through a Storybook filter.

But I guess we'll just have to chalk this up as something else you are forced into denying as a result of accepting something that isn't based in reality.

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 5:42 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

No, you're wrong.

April 15, 2012 5:53 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

whether concept formation is automatic or not is not the issue and I for one agree, this process is largely automatic. However what is germane here is that critical examination of how this process occurs conceptually is instructive in revealing performative inconsistencies in one’s own thinking or in others. Saying it is automatic does not sweep the issue of conceptual hierarchy away. It does not defuse the issue stolen concept fallacies at the heart of the TAG argument.

April 15, 2012 6:56 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Hezekiah

just for your info I am in nealy complete disagreement with objectivists on the issue of ethics and politics so I could hardly be considered a clone.

April 15, 2012 7:02 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

From what concepts does TAG steal?

April 15, 2012 7:02 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

TAG attempts to place the concept god prior in the conceptual hierarchy to the axiomatic concepts of existence and identity. I suppose at this point you will say god is existence as if that actually has any semantic meaning but it is what I predict you will do.

April 15, 2012 7:10 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

We don't put God anywhere. We start with him.

by the way did you see my legandary duel with Dawson from this morning?

Strike the shepard and sheep will scatter.

April 15, 2012 7:20 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

"We don't put God anywhere. We start with "

exactly my point... The concept god is quite complex and requires many other concepts me intergrated and understood before it can be. I recall the very day and discussion where I did this and I had to already have had the concepts power, father, time, authority and many others before I could grasp the meaning of god and all of those are founded in turn on the concepts existence and identity

April 15, 2012 7:27 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

for some reason IE will not allow me to delete posts, please disregard the earlier one, grammar fail


"We don't put God anywhere. We start with "

exactly my point... The concept god is quite complex and requires many other concepts be integrated and understood before it can be understood. I recall the very day and discussion where I did this and I had to already have had the concepts power, father, time, authority and many others before I could grasp the meaning of god and all of those are founded in turn on the concepts existence and identity

April 15, 2012 7:30 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

I realize this is off topic but I hate MS products. I am going home now and will continue this discussion on my computer that does not do stupid BS.

April 15, 2012 7:34 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

We don't start with a concept. We start with God himself. The actual being. There is a difference between a concept and the actual thing, which you already know.
We don't work backwards. The thing is we all start with him. You may not know him personally but you know him.
His power is seen in everything you perceive.

April 15, 2012 8:46 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah: "We don't start with a concept. We start with God himself."

This is a complete fail.

A) You cannot account for your awareness of such a being. Pointing to a book full of fables does you no good here, for that book is composed of concepts. As Justin pointed out, your belief in a god requires that you assume prior conceptual knowledge. The mystics who wrote those fables (or who passed them along, orally) jumped in midstream, and concocted stories about a being that isn't even there. In fact, not only is there no being there, but there is no there, there. It is merely mysticism manufactured midstream by minds attempting plug gaps in their knowledge and ease there fears of a world they didn't understand. And it became a useful tool to control the herds -- look how it's got you drinking at the trough of ignorance!

B) This being is not a perceptually self-evident fact. This rules it out as a starting point.

C) As Dawson pointed out some time ago on Dan's blog (Oct 1, 2010 01:20 PM)

"You might say that your god is your starting point. But even Bahnsen tells us why this amounts to futility when he writes:

“Van Til uses the term ‘universal’ for any truth of a general or abstract nature – whether it be a broad concept, law, principle, or categorical statement. Such general truths are used to understand, organize, and interpret particular truths encountered in concrete experience. As Van Til goes on to say, if one does not begin with some such general truths (universal) with which to understand the particular observations in one’s experience, those factual particulars would be unrelated and uninterpretable – i.e., ‘brute’.” (Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis, p. 38n.10)

“God” is supposed to be an independently existing entity, and therefore particular, not universal. It is not “a broad concept, law, principle, or categorical statement”; it’s supposed to be a supernatural being. Given this, if you begin with “God” as your starting point, Bahnsen tells us that you’d have no way to relate and interpret facts, that they’d be “brute” in nature, which is a big no-no in presuppositionalism."

D) You have to assume the axioms and the primacy of existence even to get to the point of contemplating said god. As Dawson has pointed out, by that you "presuppose" something as your starting point you are "pointing to a mental activity of yours as your starting point, [and] you're taking certain prior facts for granted. For you to 'presuppose" anything, you would first have to exist (there's the axiom of existence), you would have to exist *as you* (there's the axiom of identity), and you would have to be conscious - since presupposing is a conscious activity (there's the axiom of consciousness). So for you even to assert your worldview's alleged starting point, my worldviews starting point (the axioms) would have to be true.

E) Your god is described as invisible, but supposedly known directly by the created order. Would you care to tell me how it is your god -- a being described as invisible, undetectable and imperceptible is directly perceived? What kind of shell game is being played here?

F) Your starting point requires that one accept contradictory evidence for the existence of your Christian god.

G) Given that what I directly perceive exists independent of consciousness does not find its source in the form of consciousness, and, in fact, confirms that existence does not find its source in the form of consciousness (paraphrased from Dawson's writings).

H) You still have not disclosed to us how you can distinguish your god from what you may merely be imagining.

So basically, you're wrong.

Again.

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 10:08 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Does anyone else see, if not a blatant contradiction, then a horribly large gulf that exists between the following comments by Hezekiah?

"We start with God himself. The actual being."

"His power is seen in everything you perceive."

If all he perceives is "His power" (whatever that may mean) then how can he claim the actual being as his starting point?

He's got nothin'.

Ydemoc

April 15, 2012 10:17 PM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Dawson clone,

How do you know Dawson is not deceiving you?

April 16, 2012 4:15 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah wrote: "How do you know Dawson is not deceiving you?"

Gosh, Hezekiah, what on earth could Dawson possibly be deceiving me about? Has he told me that there existed a Conversational Donkey, a Chit-Chatty Snake, or City-Strolling Corpses and that I must believe so?

Is he attempting to sell me on the idea of an invisible, imperceptible, undetectable all-powerful being who has remained hidden from time immemorial?

Is he telling me I need to believe in this being in order to be saved?

Is he telling me I need to believe in this hidden being in order account for knowledge?

Has he told me there is such a thing as a heaven and hell, which I'm supposed to believe based upon inputs from a book?

Has he suggested anywhere that one can receive knowledge by the tin-foil hat method of "revelation"?

Has he denied trying to convince me of all this while at the same time trying to convince me of all this?

Has he tried to sell me on the notion that believing, praying, wishing or hoping make it so?

Has he told me that evolution is not true?

Has he made an argument in favor of embracing the Primacy of Consciousness?

Has he refused to tell me how an all-loving, all-powerful, morally- pure being could possibly use and know what the concept "death" referred to prior to death entering the world?

Has he avoided answering specific questions?

Are the concepts he uses to inform what he writes, are they unable to be reduced back to the perceptual level?

Has he attempted to tell me that knowledge is not hierarchical?

Is he telling me that the destination of my soul after death relies upon my believing with all my mind and all my heart something on par with believing that square-circles are a fact?

These are just a few things that come to mind, but I can say with certainty that he is not trying to deceive me about any of the things I've just listed. So we can at least rule those out.

But maybe you have something else in mind that Dawson is deceiving me about? If so, please don't hold back. See, I'm afraid you're going to have to bring more to the table than simply asking an open-ended question like the one you've asked, i.e., you're going to have to be more specific and provide concrete evidence that what Dawson has written does not, in fact, correspond to reality and that I am being fooled. So what specifically do you have in mind?

But, ironically Hezekiah, it is actually *you* who is without any way of knowing whether or not you are being deceived by all those who have indoctrinated you and molded your mind with Storybook inputs, since you have abandoned the only way of knowing: reason. In fact, you actually *are* being deceived, as you demonstrate virtually every single time you post a comment! And **you** also are attempting to deceive others!

You eschew reason and reality, and instead appeal to the fuzzy notion of faith -- the magic concept that brings you comfort by serving as a dumping ground for all your truth-denying, reality-ignoring notions.

So, anyway, what was it again that you wanted to know?

Ydemoc

April 16, 2012 6:59 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

It's interesting that when the tables are turned on the "atheists" they suddenly fold like little chairs:

Answer the question, dawson clone.

How do you know dawson is not a demonic deciever?

April 16, 2012 7:12 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Nide: why won't you answer the questions?

Its obviously because you are a liar, delusional and a fool.

Why doesn't your alleged holy spirit convict you of your serious sins of lying and accusing the holy spirit of being a liar?

The obvious answer is that it is only a figment of your imagination.

If you will post under your real name and validate that by posting a scan of your state issued ID, then you will be on the road to obeying Matthew 10:16.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

Being innocent as a dove means not lying by concealing your identity.

To continue concealing your identity means your are blaspheming your holy spirit as per Mk 3:28-29 because alleged Christians lie through the influence and officialty of Satan as per John 8:44 and 1 John 3:3-9.

Your religious fairy tale stipulate you will lose your salvation unless you identify yourself and obey the teachings of your god Jesus in Luke 14:26 and 14:33 for starters. Hence maintaining your pretense of apologetic dialog is an act of shear insanity from the stance of your own confused world view.

Perhaps you should just go eat a bullet. Putting yourself out of your misery would be an act of mercy to your own troubled mind.

April 16, 2012 7:36 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Robert,

How is it that you are not a demon?

April 16, 2012 7:42 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah wrote: "How do you know dawson is not a demonic deciever [sic]?"

First of all, I answered your previous question in detail.

Now you're asking me a brand new question, which is even further detached from reality. The war you're waging on reality is clearly taking its toll. Did someone hit you over the head with a brick or something?

"Demonic deciever"? Demons don't exist, silly. That is how I know!

Do you ever think your questions through before you ask them?

Try bringing the concepts used in your question more in line with what qualifies as knowledge, because the ones you're using to inform this latest volley just underscores the fact that your imaginary-being belief has made you goofy.


Blarkings.


Ydemoc

April 16, 2012 7:45 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Hahahaha..

More say so.

If anybody thinks they got what it takes, I put 10 extremely difficult questions up in my blog. "Good luck"


Have a nice day.

April 16, 2012 7:55 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah wrote: "More say so."

If you think correspondence to the facts of reality is "say so," then maybe you've been hit over the head with more than one brick.

Blarkings.


Ydemoc

April 16, 2012 8:16 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 16, 2012 8:35 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Hezekiah

question for you. I was discussing your last question in your list of 10 with Derik and a question occurred to me. Is it just to punish someone with an infinite punishment for a finite crime? In my example I used the most villianous person I could think of off the top of my head, Hitler. That man killed over 11 million people by his order, terrible tho that is it is still a crime finite in extent. Is it just and proper for a loving god to send him to hell of ever? As I pointed out to Derik infinite is not some large number, it is larger then any number. It will be by definition infinitely greater then any punishment proportional to the crime anyone could commit.

Seriously, I thought I was a harsh one but I nor anyone else can hold a candle to the god of the bible.

April 16, 2012 8:37 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Justin,

I think we have to ask some preliminary questions.

Who said sin is finite?

Do you even know what sin is?

Who said there is no afterlife?

Is a Judge just for sending a criminal to prison for life or giving that person the death penalty?

How about those families that are victims of a tragedy do you think they will ever be the same?

April 16, 2012 9:46 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Nide: Its quite obvious you are not a Christian. You do not obey the stern commands of your alleged god while claiming to be guided and inspired by your imaginary god's holy spirit.

Since you disregard the Bible as a source of religious revelation as well as the teachings of mainstream Christianity in favor of the minuscule and obscene Calvinist cult to which you have adhered, you also reject Arninianism, Ortodox, and all other forms of Christian traditions as revelation in favor of your own fantasy.

From within your worldview, this puts you straight on the road to Hell and eternal damnation. You cannot deny that you do not obey the commands of Jesus, nor can you disregard that John 8:44 and 1 John 3:3-9 make it clear that for alleged Christians to disobey the commands of Jesus is accomplished through the effect of Satan. Mark 3:28-29 make it clear that to assert the holy spirit lies is to commit an unforgivable sin. No version of soteriology covers that.

Nide, the reason you are a liar and delusional is that you have bought into the silly nonsense of Calvinism's doctrine of predestination. You think you are selected by God to preach presuppositional apologetics to atheists. Why? If you're among the elect, then does it not make sense that Dawson, myself and the other readers and Objectivists aren't. Paul Barid and I are old men. We've heard your fairy tale before and reject it because its just plain silly.

You're wasting your time not only with us, but with your life as well. Since you reject the Bible and Church tradition as sources of revelation and go with your own personal hermeneutics, then you must reject the idea that suicide is a sin. In your case, popping a cap into your own brain is likely your ticket to paradise. What have you got to lose? The road you're on now leads straight to the Lake of Fire because you disobey Jesus.

Consider Matthew 5:42 "42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."

I now ask you to donate $500 to me via means of my Paypal account. Send me an email to fxinfidelreduex@gmail.com and I'll reply with my Paypal details so you can donate to me with your credit card.

I'm almost certain you won't do this because from within your world view you are apparently under the influence of Satan. That's what it says in 1 John 3:3-9. If you disobey Jesus you do so by the officalty and influence of Satan. Even Jesus agreed in John 8:42-44

"42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

However, its quite likely that if you repent and give me $500 and then commit suicide you'll wake up in Heaven with Jesus.

April 16, 2012 10:15 AM  
Blogger Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Robert,

Have a nice day.

April 16, 2012 10:24 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Hezekiah,

If you did get hit over the head by a brick (which seems likely at this point), why do you have to appeal to faith to account for your knowledge of getting hit over the head by said brick?

Are you saying that without faith you have no basis for saying that you know that you've been been hit over the head by a brick?

Ydemoc

April 16, 2012 10:56 AM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Robert wrote: "Consider Matthew 5:42 "42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."

I now ask you to donate $500 to me via means of my Paypal account. Send me an email to fxinfidelreduex@gmail.com and I'll reply with my Paypal details so you can donate to me with your credit card."

That's a great idea, Robert! Hey, Hezekiah, will you also send a check to me, please? Just make it out for $2500. And make it out to Robert, and then I'll contact him later to collect the amount.

I know you'll come through, because your Storybook instructs you to.

And thanks in advance, Christian!

P.S. I just hope another brick doesn't fall on your head before you get a chance to put the money in Robert's Paypal account; however, I won't be praying that this doesn't happen -- but don't let that stop you from sending the cash. In fact, I don't see any reason why you can't get down on your knees and whisper quiet wishes to yourself about having the strength to do so.

Ydemoc

April 16, 2012 11:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home