Ida is not “the missing link”

Fossil_682_807080aIf you haven’t heard by now, Ida is a 47 million year old fossil which headline writers the world over are calling the missing link between humans and animals.

Strictly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as the missing link. The term was coined in Darwin’s time by naturalists who didn’t yet subscribe to the theory of natural selection, because Darwin couldn’t produce fossils which showed transition from one species to another.

The myth of the missing link persists to this day as a straw man argument, predominantly from creationists in the American evangelical movement, despite that we now have a much better understanding of how fossils form and why they are so rare.

However, since Darwin’s day, not only have we found many thousands of fossils which could be described as transitory, such as Nautiloids to Ammonoids, Invertebrates to Fish and so on, but thanks to the unwrapping of the genome we know that natural selection takes place on a much more gradual scale than it would be possible to show in the fossil record in any case.

Ida is still very important, however, because she is the nearest common ancestor of the ring tailed lemur, which connects apes to humans and humans to the rest of the evolutionary tree of life.

193 comments on “Ida is not “the missing link”

  1. Nothing about this fossil indicates that it was a human ancestor. Rather, it is a remarkably well-preserved lemur-like creature, looking nothing like an “apeman.” Besides, why would a fossil found 25 years ago suddenly become a media sensation? Only because of a major PR push by the financial backers of a new book and television documentary about the fossil. Yet even the peer reviewers of the scientific paper on the fossil asked that the human origins hype be removed. For a full exposé, visit http://www.answersingenesis.org/go/ida

  2. Jim i read the article in answer In genesis and ever read other news report and yuriy is right. others told the crowd to tune the voice it is The Link to us All down.

    If you read abc new report one of the people that was showing ida off even said it be hard to say this is a direct ancestor to us Humans but it might be our great great etc….. aunt.

    The Guy also said in abc report that it is good for publicly that it is called the Link to us and I see nothing wrong with people saying things for publicly.

    1. because something haves human traits does not mean it is Human or belongs in the human line. I can name many others animals infact all animals have some human traits so does that mean are are related to all animal Kingdom?

    2. The majority of this animal traits are anything but Human even his skeleton looks nothing human or hold traits except The back end of the animal and the fact it has nails but this is not strong evidence for there side that it is The Link.

    3. it been called the missing Link due to publicly even Thou they were told to tune down the voice it is the Link.

    4. This fossil was infant discovery in 1983 so why all the fuss now being called the Link? for publicly!

    I do not need to quote creeation sites etc…… I can quote actual news reports.

    To me this whole thing about ida is all about emotion of people just wanting this animal to be the Link.

  3. That answersingenesis have decided, albeit very selectively, to print the facts for once is not the story here. The story is that those who’ve always supported a creationist world-view are behaving as if the discovering scientists have been caught lying; that this is yet more proof of “frauds in evolution”.

    In the real world, however, non of the lead scientists have ever tried to say that this fossil is “the ape man” which only those in creation “science” continue to call for, despite that the genetic evidence solidified evolution as the mechanism by which all life on Earth arose many years ago INDEPENDENTLY of the fossil evidence which inspired Darwin to hypothesise natural selection in the first place.

    The BBC and ITV and Sky, here in the UK, all mentioned in their reports that Ida was originally discovered in the early 1980s by a fossil collector who did not know her significance. To suggest that this fact has been hidden is simply not true and if answersingenesis or anyone else is trying to say that this is proof of fraudulent behaviour perhaps says more about their chosen methods of spinning the news agenda than anything I could possibly comment on.

    The fact is, Ida is a wonderful fossil which serves as a very useful vehicle for enlightening the general public on the facts about how humans evolved from apes, but she is much more the icing on the cake than she is the only evidence we have which proves this link.

    There is an abundance of evidence in the fossil record which proves the link. Ida is, however, the most complete transitionary fossil which has ever been discovered and in that sense she is the very evidence which creationists have been calling for and will no doubt continue to call for, despite Ida. This says more about the political and religious motives of creationists than their interest in the facts.

  4. Jim Gardner, there’s no win with creationist. One told me fossil were put here by GOD to test him !!! One would think an invisible supreme being would be test enough :)

  5. The most depressing thing about this story is that there actually people who are ignorant/stupid enough to believe this cr*p about ‘Ida.’ It’s almost enough to make you consider the merits of extremist deep ecology.

  6. Why isn’t answersingenesis a credible source??? If Evolution is the truth or fact why wont it stand the test of time or be able to be victorious over any opposing view point? I may not agree with the AiG guys but i will not blindly follow one side of the argument to fulfill my own personal vendetta against “God”. What really scares me is im yet to discover how exactly you would Scientifically prove Evolution?

  7. Tim. Answers in Genesis specifically sets out to do exactly what you have already acknowledged would be an unfair test of the data. I don’t know how many times, if ever, you have had it clearly and calmly explained to you exactly how evolution works, but since you say you’re yet to discover a proof of this for yourself I can only assume this was not something you spent a great deal of time on.

    Let’s suppose for a moment that you are correct to assume an intelligent designer stands as sufficient evidence to the contrary of evolution by natural selection. Let’s call that designer God. If there were such a description of the phenomena we call life, the scientific method by nature of the fact it is not driven by subjective empiricism, but by what Karl Popper referred to as deductive logic, would reveal the hand of God in this process immediately and plainly, especially if this happened to contradict the existing data. That is what is meant by falsifiable.

    When we put a scientific theory to the test. It is not to see if it is true, it is to see if it is false. In other words, there is nothing inherent to the scientific method per se, which “insists” that God be ruled out as a working explanation for how something might have come to exist. It is simply the case that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and in that particular regard, the argument from design simply hasn’t made a compelling case, despite the very elaborate protestations of those behind sites such as answersingenesis, who actually present not one single item of falsifiable data to corroborate their claims.

    I am fully aware of creation scientists such as Michael Behe and the Discovery Institute. I am also familiar with the likes of Ray Comfort, who very successfully teaches the creation argument to younger people. There is no doubting whatsoever that the evangelical movement has mustered a considerable army against what it sees as being a threat from materialistic naturalism and, by the very nature of your being here, there is no doubting the considerable effect they are having on the general public’s awareness of creation science. But that doesn’t make any of what they say true, no matter how cleverly they entrench their opinions so as to appear to be based upon biblical literalism.

    This is a very deliberate and manipulative political move on their part. Unfortunately for them and for you, there is simply no way of dismantling what they are presenting as fact from what they have retrospectively inserted into evangelical Christianity, because they do not offer up any of their data up for peer review. They simply assume that for as long as there are people who do not trust scientists, for their own emotionally lead reasons, as opposed to reasons based upon a logical analysis of the evidence, there will always be support for what they do, despite that they have yet to present a working hypothesis to support any of their claims.

    Simply put, all creation science has to do to falsify evolution, is stop trying so hard to prove creationism right and work a little harder on proving it wrong. When they fail to do that, they have a theory. If they prove it false, they do not. It really is that simple. But they choose instead to set out with the assumption creationism is correct because of the opening chapter in a book written thousands of years before the birth of Sir Isaac Newton. This is not so much science as the very definition of close minded dogmatism and they know it. The only thing which will stop them from using these methods to sell books and seminars, DVDs and training materials, is for people like you to stop listening to their subjective opinion, on the assumption they are factual, simply because they happen chime with your cognitive bias towards Christianity, as opposed to the truth.

  8. I only want to know two things:

    WHO exactly was the journalist or other unbiased observer reporting the goings on in the so-called Garden of Eden? Hm?? Who exactly was that? And when and how did they learn to read and write Greek, Latin and Aramaic?

    WHY are religious people so utterly terrified of new discoveries and so desperate to discredit those discoveries? Is it possible that each of those discoveries further exposes the endless cracks in religious belief systems?

    As for these unintelligent comments that this found being is the missing link between humans and anything else, that is NOT what is being said. This being has opposable thumbs and therefore is part of the complex bush that is evolution in general and part of evolution toward humans. In 45,000,000, one must assume a few permutations….

    Dear Jim, your brilliant writing is, I fear, lost on those whose comprehension of language and logic is limited.

  9. Incidentally, this video is taken from Sky News, here in the UK, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, the corporation which owns Fox News.

    This is what fair and balanced reporting really looks like, when the broadcaster and the channel executives don’t have the evangelical lobby breathing down their necks, threatening to pull advertising because of “religious sensitivities”.

  10. “The only thing which will stop them from using these methods to sell books and seminars, DVDs and training materials, is for people like you to stop listening to their subjective opinion, on the assumption they are factual, simply because they happen chime with your cognitive bias towards Christianity, as opposed to the truth.”

    Firstly did i state anywhere i was a Christian? Do you presume anyone who happens to be interested in another side of the debate simply has a bias towards that side? I’m 15 years old, currently about to embark on my A Levels. I do not come from religious background and have no inclinations to believe there is a God. So I am some what of an agnostic because to say there definitely is no God is as arrogant to state there definitely is.

    Mathematics is my passion. Me and my teachers go head to head in biology classes because they know I’m interested in both sides of the debate. I’ve learnt theists and atheists both interpret the evidence with presuppositions. I was on PalTalk a year ago debating a Creationist when he sent me a link to a one Dr Schneider. I have been studying Dr Thomas D. Schneider’s peer reviewed algorithm which was published in Nucleic Acids Research (Oxford University Press publication). This leads me to various problems with mutation and selection presented in the Theory of Evolution. Hence why i am here trying to learn. Thank you for the reply none the less.

  11. Tim, you asked why answersingenesis is not a credible source and I told you. Given the credibility of the Oxford University Press, I suspect Dr. Schneider’s research does not hinge upon the Christian evangelical definition of creationism. I would be most grateful, therefore, if you would expand upon what you mean by “various problems with mutation” and how this falsifies natural selection.

  12. @Tim,
    I am some what of an agnostic because to say there definitely is no God is as arrogant to state there definitely is

    When there is no need for a GOD it is not arrogant to say so. If a omnipresent omnipotent GOD can just exist then the Universe can just exist so there is no need for GOD. The GOD Concept provides nor answers anything. Therefore “There is no God”.

  13. @Sovereign John
    When there is no need for a GOD it is not arrogant to say so. If a omnipresent omnipotent GOD can just exist then the Universe can just exist so there is no need for GOD. The GOD Concept provides nor answers anything. Therefore “There is no God”.

    I think i understand your comment, could you help me out. If the Universe “just existed” then it wouldn’t answer another question about the first cause? Wouldn’t it only just postpones it indefinitely. Mathematics is based upon Logic but how can logic just exist when its a concept in ones brain? Is it ridiculous to suggest “God” being the first cause of logic? And further more aren’t you assuming “God” and the Universe are of the same essence? How could the universe always exist if the 1st and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics demonstrates otherwise. We are heading towards “heat death” and nothing is now being created or destroyed.

    @Jim Gardner
    I was advised by some of my student advisers and peer mentors to study his algorithm. Since it’s pretty complex stuff I’m thinking of creating a blog where I can discuss some of my issues. I’ll email you once I’ve set it all up and maybe you can put in touch with someone who can help explain some of my concerns. Dr Royal Truman in Germany has a rebuttal paper that I’m currently studying and seems interesting.

  14. Tim you’re 15 years old? I’m very impressed.

    You seem to have a grasp on arguments not usually approached by people twice your age.

    If you do start a blog do you think you can send me the link?

    Good comments.

  15. first off if you knew any real science you’d know that 99% of the Universe is not made up of unseen matter. That’s the Hegelian Dialect Science.

    Do you know that the earth is bright with infra red light which is invisible to the human naked eye? We have technology that can detect it.

    Bees and other animals see frequencies we can not with our human eyes just as dogs hear sounds we humans can’t hear. Yet we hear and see these frequencies with our technology.

    We can detect them just as we detect radio waves and convert those ‘invisible’ waves into sound…its called a radio. OOOOOOH.

    Reading just a few articles on your suggested site I immediately went back to read over http://www.holoscience.com/links.php just to read some well researched documentation.

  16. first off if you knew any real science you’d know that 99% of the Universe is not made up of unseen matter. That’s the Hegelian Dialect Science.

    Do you know that the earth is bright with infra red light which is invisible to the human naked eye? We have technology that can detect it.

    Todd

    Bees and other animals see frequencies we can not with our human eyes just as dogs hear sounds we humans can’t hear. Yet we hear and see these frequencies with our technology.

    We can detect them just as we detect radio waves and convert those ‘invisible’ waves into sound…its called a radio. OOOOOOH.

    Reading just a few articles on your suggested site I immediately went back to read over http://www.holoscience.com/links.php just to read some well researched documentation.

  17. One post absent grammatical correctness was forgivable, but you had to torture me with TWO? Two posts with exactly the same content with the exception of adding my name in the second. Hmmmn? Perhaps you might consider pulling yourself away from some of those science sites and fill up with a little http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Fourth-William-Strunk/dp/020530902X.

    Okay, now that we have that out of the way, regarding the substance of your post. Why do I find myself saying out loud, “So?”

    Todd

  18. Sovereign John, you’re in dire need of a reality check. Please get it here:

    http://proofthatgodexists.org/

    Do so quickly, before you meet THE Sovereign God after He decides your time around here blaspheming him is toast.

    There’s hope for you yet since you can still fog a mirror…albeit razor thin at this point.

    Yes, He exists, with or without your acknowledgment.

    Servant Todd

  19. Sovereign John said: When there is no need for a GOD it is not arrogant to say so.

    Perhaps you can tell us then, on what basis you trust the validity of the inductive principle, the basis of ALL of science?

    For those reading along, science is wholly dependent on the inductive principle, or ‘the uniformity of nature.’ Science could not be done if nature was not FIRST assumed to be uniform, or more plainly, science would be useless if the future were not assumed to be like the past. The problem is that the atheist has exactly zero basis for assuming that the future will be like the past, yet they, on blind faith, continue to bow to their ‘god’ of science. On what basis SJ, do you assume that a scientific experiment done now, will have any bearing 5 seconds from now? (Keep in mind that saying “I assume that the future will be like the past, because the future has been like the past, is visciously circular).

    Our ability to do science is a wonderful gift from God, and it is only on the presupposition that He exists, that the validity of the scientific prnciple can be justified.

    Cheers

  20. Todd,

    I’m not surprised that someone who most likely voted for the most grammatical challenged President the United States of America ever had now avoids the discussion with pure horseshit.

    Having no basis for your position you then threaten everyone with HELL. So typical of pretending Christians. The Jews who your religion claims are the ‘chosen people’ say there is NO Hell.

    I disagree. Living here on earth with superstitious Dominionist is pure hell. My next life I hope I’m going somewhere over the rainbow without a Christian anywhere. That will be heaven.

    I should pull myself away from science sites while you immerse yourself in Christian sites, churches, books, magazines, tv shows, christian rock and roll, christian this and christian that. As ou work to destroy the Republic of the United States of America in order to establish a Christian Kingdom with no elections and no elected representation rather a Christian Kingdom with a man who if he were real has been dead for 2,009 years!!!!!!

    Lecture me on grammar? Let me lecture you on someone dead 2,009 years coming back to life, becoming King of the World here on Earth. Bitch, please.

    As your idiot President George Walker Bush used to say,

    “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

    “Mars is essentially in the same orbit… Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.”

  21. Christianity says the earth is flat
    Christianity says the earth is only 6,000 years old
    Christianity says the earth is the center of the Universe
    Christianity says Jesus if he were a real person has been dead 2,009 years but will come back to life any day now. They been waiting 2,009 years and will wait forever.

    Step away from superstition Todd, climb down out of the trees and join the rest of us who are grounded.

  22. Sye T said

    I do not trust the inductive principal blindly and on faith.

    Trust but verify. Proof, not some infinite loop as GOD created the Universe, the Universe exist therefore a GOD exists. Talk about lack of a decent foundation!!

    Hegelian Science for the mass mind is every bit a sham as Hegelian Religion for the mass mind. I’m using holoscience. There was no big bang, there are no black holes, there are no gods, goddesses, hobbits, magic, sons of GOD, virgin Mary, Thor, Isis, all are pure delusion of the slave mentality.

  23. Sovereign John said: “I do not trust the inductive principal blindly and on faith.”

    Perhaps you can tell us then, on what basis you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past, if not blind faith?

    “Trust but verify.”

    Perhaps you can include the method by which you verify the future. (No crystal balls please).

    Cheers.

  24. Sovereign John, a piece of advice on “debating” with Todd. Don’t bother. Really, it’s completely futile. He’s completely flat out asleep and blissfully so. I’ve tried to reach out to him on numerous occasions and it almost drove me as mad as him.

  25. Todd. There is no such thing as Yahweh and the bible is full of mistakes. Anyone who has actually thought about Christianity for themselves knows this to be true. At one point you also claimed to understand this, when you agreed with me that Yahweh behaves exactly as if He doesn’t exist. I see now you have reverted to your previous position on this, because you are apparently incapable of even the slightest intellectual honesty, least of all with your self, let alone anyone else.

    You had the ban on your IP address lifted because a) it expired and b) I believe in second chances, therefore I did not renew the ban. Don’t blow it by offering an opinion which isn’t relevant. You will not hijack this debate in the same way you did the others and as of posting this notice I will not hesitate to remove your comments completely if you show the slightest sign of your previous behaviour, threatening people with your imaginary fears about hell and what a god, you claim is perfectly loving nevertheless callously and cruelly does to people who can prove you and your kind are dangerous, misguided and wrong.

  26. Are you really this dense or are you pretending? When I jump up into the air I figure I’m gonna come back to earth. That’s why children love to jump. They are testing out the wonders of life. The uncertainty of the future. The probability that one will jump into the air and linger their for hours, days or forever are low enough that children love to jump. Once they figure out the probability that when they run they won’t hit a wall children begin running everywhere. Its a liberating, sharing, caring, open experience science.

    Even a child knows not to run blindfolded, yet parents chose to blind fold their inquiring child. Many do so at birth. Sad really. We’d still be swing from the trees had not science came along. It’s sad popular science is a religion too. The struggle is a long and winding path hardly travelled and pitted with snipers, thieves, bandits and walls of religion, pseudo science (to give religion something to incessantly bark about) and pseudo politic, media, infotainment, the lists is infinite as numbers.

    If science is wrong why have Dominionist Fundamentalist trotted out their own fake pseudo science. You have a museum near me in Kentucky !! LOL.

    When I was growing up the Christians of my generation told me I was going to hell for listening to rock and roll music… Today Christians have Christian Rock. You freakin’ hypocrites.

    The earth is older than 6,000 years though I suspect that Christians are not older than 2 years.

    The earth is a sphere though it would be cool to see you stop traveling because you think its flat and you’ll fall off.

    The earth is not the center of the Universe though I’m sure you think that you are.

    I’m sure you and your third wife support marriage and family values, I’m just not that sick and perverted to agree with you. I’m an Atheist, been married since I was 18 to the same great lady for 29 years (she’s not my cousin either), (I didn’t take her as my wife at the age of three either like your bible suggests is proper, well and good)

    So yeah, “Trust But Verify”, its the only thing Satanist Ronald Reagan ever gott right.

  27. @Jim Gardner,

    It’s good to debate Todd. My cat scratches her claws on stuff all the time. It keeps them sharp. ;)

  28. Jim,

    As you most likely know, when Todd brings out the fear of a GOD concept you know he is awaking and shouts aloud to remind him why he should go no further. He hopes someone will agree and confirm his fears. There is no GOD and there is nothing to fear.

    I understand Todd. When Todd realized his loving parents lied to him about Santa Claus it was devastating. Now he must hold on to the last vestige of the family lies, Todd holds on as tight as he can to the GOD concept, family is important. Unfortunately some uncles molest and some Fathers get drunk and beat their children. While other parents tell the GOD lie.

    I’m gonna go hug my family now and thank science for a wondrous beautiful world.

  29. BTW, I didn’t vote for Bush…sorry.

    (M) Stop threatening people with hell. It’s very bad form.

    (T) Wasn’t a threat.

    (SJ) The Jews who your religion claims are the ‘chosen people’ say there is NO Hell.

    (T) Good point. They said NO to Christ too. Don’t throw the Christian out with the Judaism bathwater, please.

    (SJ) Christianity says the earth is the center of the Universe.

    (T) Not true.

    (SJ) I disagree. Living here on earth with superstitious Dominionist is pure hell. My next life I hope I’m going somewhere over the rainbow without a Christian anywhere. That will be heaven.

    (T) Got it. Thanks. I now understand you believe in the channeled wisdom of Shirley MacLaine. Your claims now make sense.

    (SJ) I should pull myself away from science sites while you immerse yourself in Christian sites, churches, books, magazines, tv shows, christian rock and roll, christian this and christian that.

    (T) That’s an excellent idea. I’d be happy to provide some suggested reading / sites.

    (SJ) Let me lecture you on someone dead 2,009 years coming back to life, becoming King of the World here on Earth. Bitch, please.

    (T) Okay. Please begin…I’m all ears.

    (SJ) “Mars is essentially in the same orbit… Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.”

    (T) Makes perfect “logical” sense, SJ…I think you should book your ressies now. Sounds like the perfect retreat for you.

    (SJ) Christianity says the earth is flat

    (T) Correction, MANKIND said the earth was flat. Even then, it never ceased being round, did it? Just as atheists say there is no God, He doesn’t cease to exist. Thanks for making my point, SJ.

    (SJ) Christianity says the earth is only 6,000 years old.

    (T) There’s an internal debate here which shouldn’t bo of interest to you. As for me, I believe the earth to be 13.7 billion years old with the earth being around 4.5 billion years. I believe in micro-evolution, too…just not macro, not that you asked.

    (SJ) Christianity says Jesus if he were a real person has been dead 2,009 years but will come back to life any day now. They been waiting 2,009 years and will wait forever.

    (T) Christianity believes Jesus was and is everything He claimed. He was crucified and died a couple thousand years ago, was buried and resurrected from the dead (you’re misinformed that Jesus has been dead for 2009 years). He is now fully man and fully God, seated in heaven at the right hand of God the Father. Yes, He will one day return and every knee shall bow and every voice shall call Him by Name, even yours. Okay, Christianity 101 for SJ is finished for the day.

    (J) Todd. There is no such thing as Yahweh and the bible is full of mistakes. Anyone who has actually thought about Christianity for themselves knows this to be true. At one point you also claimed to understand this, when you agreed with me that Yahweh behaves exactly as if He doesn’t exist.

    (T) The God of the Bible does indeed exist, God(cubed). There are Christian responses to your alleged claims that the Bible is full of mistakes. Just like with the Ehrman posts above, you “claim”, I “refute”, you then simply “ignore” and continue on with your presuppositional opinion(s)…just like you did in the other thread re: Bart Ehrman. I found it telling that you didn’t respond back to the in-depth refutation given on Ehrman’s book.

    (J) Don’t blow it by offering an opinion which isn’t relevant.

    (T) By that, I assume, you mean, “Don’t blow it by offering an opinion which disagrees with ours.” You are so hypocritical, Jim, truly. I could CARE LESS if you gave me the Heisman again, Jim. Be my guest if that makes you feel superior in some sophomoric way. There’s nothing in my responses above that gives good reason to ix-nay me from your blog (other than I disagree with your worldview and post accordingly). That’s not “free thinking,” Jim…it’s “fear of truth.”

    (J) …people who can prove you and your kind are dangerous, misguided and wrong.

    (T) Just where is this proof, Jim? While I shouldn’t have to state the obvious, it seems important to do so now: TRUTH is not dependent on mere “opinions” and “claims.” Fact is, the God of the Bible is true even if NOBODY believes it, and atheism is false even if EVERYBODY believes it. As I’ve said before, He exists with or without our collective permissions or acknowledgment. We are all without excuse.

    Now, if these comments (which represent my Christian worldview) deserve me getting booted out, so be it. It’s your blog. Based on Sye’s posts above, I’m sure he’ll be soon to follow.

    Todd

  30. (SJ) Are you really this dense or are you pretending?

    (T) SJ, you deserve some debate points. I must give credit where credit is due. You have single-handedly brought me to the absolute conclusion I was wrong about the transitional record. You, in your very person, scientifically prove without doubt or refutation that transitional forms DO exist, at least between a “misinformed opinion and a sphinkter.” Jim should post your mug shot right next to Ida’s at the top of this thread.

    Thank you for your contribution to science, and to my ever-evolving opinion of atheism.

  31. SJ said: “Even a child knows not to run blindfolded”

    Exactly! Even a child proceeds with the expectation that nature is uniform! Now, back to my questions SJ,

    1. On what basis you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past, if not blind faith?

    2. What is the method by which you verify the future?

    Cheers

  32. “Unfortunately some uncles molest and some Fathers get drunk and beat their children. While other parents tell the GOD lie.
    I’m gonna go hug my family now and thank science for a wondrous beautiful world.”

    How wonderful of you to speak of your family love and to equate theistic parents with child molesters and violent drunks John.

    Also, interesting you would give thanks to “science for a wonderous beautiful world.” Is the world derived from science or is it the other way around? Interestingly most of the pioneers in science have been at least theists if not Christians as well. Just a few examples include Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, and Lord Kelvin.

    Also, as I hug my children I thank God that niether we nor the universe are simply a product of nothing but time, space, matter, and chance. There is no joy for adults or children in believing that on the purely atheistic worldview life really has no direction, aim, or purpose. In fact, to adopt Carl Sagan’s “the universe is all there ever was or ever will be” worldview is to say that ultimately all of our lives are meaningless–so too would be all of our arguments for or against thiesm.

    On the order of “there is nothing beyond the physical universe,” before each of us were conceived we were nothing and could conceive of nothing, when we die we will be nothing but decaying matter and will perceive nothing once again. In effect, in respect to every creature upon this earth, exept for our brief life span, there is nothingness. This is as if the universe does not exist but for a few years in every life. We can teach our kids to embrace a Godless universe with no worry of accountability after we die as well as the belessed comfort that there will be nothing at all. We may extol the virtues of living vicariously through our children or our acheivements, or our contributions to mankind such as a cure for a disease or our arguments against theism. However, ultimately even our graves will no longer be visited, our monuments collapse and are replaced. A new disease becomes such a thret that we find we have survived one death only to find another. And, scientifically we know that barring any divne intervention (or rescue from aliens) the earth and all of its life will die eventually. In other words, nothingness for us all.

    Your great, great, great grandchildren may one day join Kirk and Spock “on a 5 year voyage to explore new worlds,” but for you there will be nothingness, and during the travels of later generations all of your ancestors will join you in nothingness. So, as you hug your children remind them that you, they, and Mommy were all nothing and will all be nothing again. And be sure to tell them how beautiful and hopeful that really is.

    By the way, why do you think people who believed in Santa and God as kids grow up and reject Santa but retain their belief in God? Could it be that to continue to believe in Santa is irrational and beyond reason, but the belief in God just may be both reasonable and rational?
    Perhaps scientists like Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, and Lord Kelvin demonstrate such to be the case.

    God bless you and your children. I’m glad you hug them.

  33. (SJ) There is no GOD and there is nothing to fear.

    (TP) Wishful thinking on your part. Two facts:

    1. We all will die. “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27

    2. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

    While I doubt most readers within this blog will appreciate this video, at the outside chance there is any out there who does not presuppose God’s non-existence, appreciate the perspective provided here: http://deathisnotdying.com/

    Todd

  34. @Jim Gardner

    I finally see your point and it is well taken. I was just too optimistic. The depth of self inflicted ignorance is bottomless.

    [gathering up science, wiping the dust off my feet and engaging the first atheist adult I can find, I need some grown up conversation]

  35. Sovereign John, while searching for that first atheist adult, you might want to track down one who’s a doctor. Ask him or her to prescribe something for your allergy to answering Sye’s questions:

    1. On what basis you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past, if not blind faith?

    2. What is the method by which you verify the future?

  36. Ah, life…so little time, so many extinct creatures with no transitional features. But I digress.

    Scientist SJ, after you answer Sye’s questions, would you mind answering one for me? How do you account for Carbon 14 being found in diamonds (along with every fossil ever found)?

    As I stated above, it is my opinion that the earth is “billions” not “thousands” of years old. I could be wrong. Unlike the atheist, however, I AM (get it, Jim) open to compelling evidence. Here’s some for a young earth:

    With Carbon 14 having a half-life of 5,700 years, if we started with an amount of pure 14C equal to the mass of the entire observable universe, after 1.5 million years there should not be a single atom of 14C remaining, right? Yet we find 14C in diamonds, which are supposedly 3.3 billion years old or older.

    How do you reconcile this? I’m not trying to be coy…this is a serious question.

    And this, of course, then begs the obvious question, what about those radiohalos formed in ‘them thar’ diamonds? http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/research/ICC08_Radiohalos_Diamonds.pdf

    Such a puzzle.

    (for an atheist)

    Okay, sorry…I derailed the thread again. SJ, back to Sye’s unanswered questions, please.

    Carry on.

  37. I apologize for my own use of someone else’e blog site. This is only my second and final post. I came here in searching for info. other than media hype concerning “Ida” and found Jim’s opening comments to actually be a breath of fresh air in the current media frenzy–my theistic beliefs not withstanding. I would likely have come and gone quitely were it not for the fact that John stated:

    “I understand Todd. When Todd realized his loving parents lied to him about Santa Claus it was devastating. Now he must hold on to the last vestige of the family lies, Todd holds on as tight as he can to the GOD concept, family is important. Unfortunately some uncles molest and some Fathers get drunk and beat their children. While other parents tell the GOD lie.”

    Thus equating theists with, or at least placing them in the same category of, child molesters and violent drunks. I’ll not repeat my initial post in response(refer back if you missed it)I know that you are all annoyed with all of us theists and especially Todd with whom you have some apparent history. However, most of us love science and are also interested in the facts/evidence. If it were not so why would we know, much less care that:

    1. Dating systems such as Uranium/Lead and C14 are based on ASSUMPTIVE processes which cause a host of problems in dating rock, strata, fossils etc. (e.g. all the lead we find MUST have once been uranium therfore such and such fossil, found with such and such lead MUST be such and such millions(or billions) of years old based on Uranium’s known decay rate.

    2. Geo-chronology with its ASSUMPTIVE processes can be found to support (NOT PROVE MIND YOU)young earth theories. The Mississippi River Delta–current rate of growth suggests it has only been around between 5-6 thousand years. Plate tectonics with millions of years of gradual movment? The dust on the moon was expected to be several feet thick when we landed there (assuming millions to billions of years of accumulation) but we found it to be fractions of an inch to a few inches thick (suggesting 5-6 thousand years of accumulation). There is more but this should make the point. Both this and the radiometeric dating methods provide “evidence” but not any absolute “proof” of the age of the earth. All have the problems of ASSUMPTION regarding past starting conditions and the unknown dynamic or static nature of conditions over time.

    3. It is a logical impossibility to traverse an actual infinite. So much for an infinite universe–oscillating or otherwise. Oh, and let’s not forget the 1st & 2nd laws of thermodynamics. Entropy is a seriously “inconvenient truth.”

    4. Also, see all of Todd’s and Sye T’s unanswered questions.

    I could go on, but people much smarter than myself, and all of the principal posters in this blog, have debated for centuries with no end in sight. However, I leave you with two quotes from the late astronomer and agnostic Robert Jastrow from his book “God and the Astronomers”

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

    and

    “the astronomical evience leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world.”

    I guess he is just another one of those non-rational and unthinking people like Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, and Lord Kelvin. Interestingly, both John and Jim must be fans of Isaac Newton because Jim mentions his name in his diatribe while John provides a link to a site discussing gravity and electricity advancing Newton’s work with new studies of planetary orbits. Newton was a Christian–a member of the Anglican church. He spent more time in the study of theology than science.

    Goodbye to all.

  38. Jim, I respect your request to keep the debate public, which is why I didn’t post my email address to SJ last night. That said, since Mitch is leaving, I invite him to email me (todd@premiumphotogifts.com) as there are a couple of additional questions I’d like to ask him regarding the dating of the earth (I appreciate both his penchant for science and, obviously, his theistic worldview).

    Mitch, I’d be grateful to hear from you.

    Have a great Sunday everyone.

  39. My last post (today ;d).

    Mitch, in my search for answers to the age of the earth debate, I found this collection of articles (from a young earth perspective) very comprehensive. Way over my head, certainly, but ultra-comprehensive nonetheless (they also speak to Ida – homepage, I believe).

    And I respectfully submit after reading just a few articles, these guys don’t wake up every morning and eat a bowlful of Gullibilitees. They take evidence and facts seriously.

    http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=search&f_typeID=12

    God bless…More!

  40. Mitch! Please come back and comment on other stories again soon. I don’t happen to agree with most of what you’ve said, but it’s all about balance and Todd needs all the help he can get.

    As for Newton, as well being a genius mathematician he was also an alchemist, so the fact that he happened to believe in Yahweh is no great surprise. Indeed, given his religious credulity, it makes it all the more remarkable that his greatest works are remembered not because he encapsulated them in theology, but precisely because he explained why it was not necessary to invoke supernatural causation to describe observed phenomena.

    Newton was no doubt troubled by this in the same way Charles Darwin was disturbed by the natural phenomena he observed and described which similarly did away with that which was previously ASSUMED to be the mysterious ways of God.

    The fact, whether we like it or not, is that nothing is better understood by presuming it to be beyond description. There is something about mystery which both invites our imagination and demands our highest intelligence. In every single case where reason has prevailed over dogmatic assumptions about how nature works, religious ideology has refused to concede defeat because there has always been the ultimate fall-back to first cause instigation. Despite the problem of infinite regress, theology has been “allowed” to make this rather questionable move for many centuries.

    The god of the gaps has never been so tightly squeezed into such a shrinking crevice as He is today. And whilst it should be acknowledged that the likes of Lee Strobel and Dinesh D’Souza, for example, are a very different breed of apologist to those dark forces who control the Vatican, they nevertheless argue in favour of widening the gap into which special theological pleading might be inserted, with no greater reason for doing so than that their subjective biases have led them away from the very methodologies which ensure objectivity. In other words, it is their belief in belief itself which constitutes a proof their prescription is invalid.

    Ida closes a loophole in the rules of the game by which the debate on DNA based life may be played, leaving team Yahweh literally needing a miracle, if they’re to come back from such a decisive defeat.

  41. Jim, you get an A+ in writing, you really do. While we disagree, I do always enjoy reading your posts. I still submit God has big plans for you.

    I was enjoying the above read, and then came to your last paragraph. You really don’t mean what you wrote, do you? Ida, the well-coordinated public relations effort to promote an upcoming documentary and a new book titled The Link, closes the loophole? Trumps the debate? That’s your claim? Really, Jim?!

    Rather than an apeman-like loophole-closer that you irresponsibly imply, the real story is quite underwhelming. Let’s review the facts:

    * The well-preserved fossil (95 percent complete, including fossilized fur and more) is about the size of a raccoon and includes a long tail. It resembles the skeleton of a lemur (a small, tailed, tree-climbing primate). The fossil does not resemble a human skeleton.

    * The fossil was found in two parts by amateur fossil hunters in 1983. It eventually made its way through fossil dealers to the financially motivated research team.

    * Ida has opposable thumbs, which the ABC News article (stirring all the fuss) states are “similar to humans and unlike those found on other modern mammals” (i.e., implying that opposable thumbs are evidence of evolution). Yet lemurs today have opposable thumbs (like all primates). Likewise, Ida has nails, as do other primates. And the talus bone is described as “the same shape as in humans,” despite the fact that there are other differences in the ankle structure.

    * Unlike today’s lemurs, Ida lacks the “grooming claw” and a “toothcomb” (a fused row of teeth). In fact, its teeth are more similar to a monkey’s. These are minor differences easily explained by variation within a kind.

    Given these facts, it seems incredible that you would hail this “scientific breakthrough” as closing the loophole…”the nearest common ancestor of the ring tailed lemur, which connects apes to humans and humans to the rest of the evolutionary tree of life.” Nothing about this fossil suggests it is anything other than an extinct, lemur-like creature. Its appearance is far from chimpanzee, let alone “apeman” or human. If macro-evolution were true, there would be real transitional forms. Instead, the best “missing links” evolutionists can come up with are strikingly similar to organisms we see today, usually with the exception of minor, controversial, and inferred anatomical differences.

    Enough of that.

    Hey Jim, in Sovereign John’s obvious silence, can you please answer these unanswered questions?

    (From Sye) 1. On what basis you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past, if not blind faith?

    (From Sye) 2. What is the method by which you verify the future?

    (From me) 3. How do you account for Carbon 14 being found in diamonds (along with every fossil ever found…I bet if tested, they’d find Carbon 14 in dear ‘ol Ida, too)?

    Thanks,

    Todd

  42. I think what I’ve already said on the PR of The Link still stands. It is a useful vehicle for explaining the facts of evolution to the general public.

    1) Would you jump into a car and expect it to fly because it never has in the past?

    2) You can’t.

    3) How do you account for the radiometric age of all the carbon on Earth being exactly the same as the carbon in Asteroids millions of miles away–even light years away? Could it be they came into existence in the same instance? Or maybe Yahweh is just fucking with us?

    Carbon 14, incidentally, is not the only way to date fossils. Radiometric dating, which is actually far more accurate, uses two different isotope pairs to produce a sort of double blind, cross referenced result, with upwards of a 48.6 billion year accuracy, which is quite a convincing prank for the devil to have pulled. It’s almost like he’s an omnipotent, omnipresence who shows us his hatred for humanity by demanding we’re permanently frightened of him, or something.

    More…
    https://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/a-250-million-year-old-fossilised-tree-stump-in-the-grounds-of-a-church/

  43. Jim they are talking about the uniformity of the laws of nature. Once you admit that those laws exist and are predictable in nature the next step is to repeat the same process for moral laws logic and mathematics and to concede that these laws are immaterial and universal. This is taken for proof of the Biblical God’s existance. I found it an interesting argument, but incomplete as acceptance of the various premises does not actually lead to proof for the Christian God. It actually proves that its premises are logical and then makes an unjustified leap to bible quotes. The link to the site is here http://proofthatgodexists.org/ I doubt you will be convinced either, a shame really since the start was promising.

    Anyway your response to questions 1 and 2 play into their hands with that.

    Secondly, you surely realise that Carbon-14 dating IS radiometric dating? Also the upper limit you mention of 48 billion years is the rubidium to strontium method which is used to date rocks. It is not considered a particularly accurate method since the isotopes can be mobilised in hydrothermal fluids and thus move from where they originally formed. For this and other reasons it cannot be taken as proof alone, and must be used in conjunction with measures to ensure the relevant rocks have not been changed or altered by geologic processes. That said it gives accuracy of about 99.9% on a 3 billion year old sample (48 billion years is the half life, not the limit of accuracy.) That said you should at least know that this method is NOT used on fossils, carbon dating is the only form of radiometric dating which can be, and this has detection limits of roughly 60,000 years.

  44. @ Jim
    Re: God of the gaps.

    Jim, what you fail to realize is that assuming that God is not the correct answer is question begging. Your stance would be equivalent to someone posing the question “What is 2+2” and the response given is “4.” You pipe up with: “Ah, 4 of the gaps!” In order for your argument to hold any water, you would have to prove that God is not the correct answer, which clearly you have not done.

    In the “Did Jesus Really Exist” thread you posted a link to a book supposedly exposing Biblical contradictions (post 182), I asked in post 184 if any of you could tell me why contradictions are absolutely not allowed in arriving at truth according to your worldviews? You did not respond to that question.

    In this thread I asked: “On what basis do you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past, if not blind faith?” You answered: ” Would you jump into a car and expect it to fly because it never has in the past?” which is clearly not an answer to my question. I am asking YOU on what basis you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past.

    I also asked: “What is the method by which you verify the future?” which was posed in response to Sovereign John’s suggestion that he has a method for verification of the inductive principle. If you are not in accord with John, then please tell me how YOU know that the inductive principle is valid, or on what basis you proceed with the assumption that it is?

    You claim that Christians have a worldview of the gaps, but it would appear that with respect to the questions I posed regarding the absolute fallaciousness of contradictions, and your justification for the inductive principle, it is you who is expounding a worldview of the gaps. You decry contradictions, and exalt science, but you have yet to give us your foundation for either position.

    Cheers.

  45. Michael said: ”I found it an interesting argument, but incomplete as acceptance of the various premises does not actually lead to proof for the Christian God”

    Actually it does Michael, by the impossibility of the contrary. No other worldview can account for universal, abstract invariant laws, whereas the Christian God, can and does. Also, if you read more into the site, it is not at all about convincing anyone of anything. Proof does not equal persuasion. It is merely the goal of the site to expose the suppression of truth in those who deny God.

    Proofthatgodexists.org is my site, and I appreciate the kind words about it. I can defend the challenges you raise against it, but what I would rather do, is ask you to help me better the site so that the problems are better understood as not being problems at all, or receive your proposed resolution to what you see as problematic. I can be reached at sye@proofthatgodexists.org

    Cheers

  46. Sye, I can see why you would believe that from your position, but here is a link that may provide you with some perspective on this matter;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Creator_gods

    The above lists 99 different creator Gods from various religions (much too many to reproduce in this comment section.) The problem with your site is that whilst intangible, constant and universal laws of physics, logic and even to a degree morality can be said to exist, this merely indicates the presence of some distinct, transcendental organising force. It does not prove which force or God actually exists, and there are literally scores of competing deities to chose from.
    Once one has proven the existence of God (if one can beyond a reasonable doubt) the question then becomes ‘which God is it?’ Perhaps your site should dedicate some space to that!

    I guess the real issue boils down to if nature is uniform and universal, and a creator God is responsible for that, how much can you actually infer from the creation itself? And if it is possible to draw logical conclusions about the nature of God through study of nature itself (which I am sure it is, if you accept the premise) then why are there even competing religions at all?

  47. Michael, I bow in awe of your superior knowledge on carbon dating. Thanks in advance for more on this if you can, please? I’d really appreciate a layman’s terms run-down of how the process works. Thanks again.

  48. Jim, thanks for the compliment but my knowledge isn’t ‘superior’, a google search can tell you basically everything you need to know on the subject.

    However as an introduction, Carbon 14 dating is basically the process by which the age of organic matter can be assertained up to a limit of around 60000 years. Carbon 14 is produced in the troposphere by the interaction of cosmic rays or solar flare radiation with nitrogen 14 atoms.
    Following this production it is absorbed by breathing plants or animals (although animals tend to absorb it by eating plant matter.) They absorb it at a rate of secular equilibrium, meaning it is absorbed and excreted at the same rate, causing the levels to remain constant in the organism. However when that organism dies, the ratio of carbon 14 to carbon 12 (the stable form )decreases, since carbon 14 is no longer absorbed.

    As the carbon 14 decays it becomes nitrogen 14 once again, and scientists can use radiation counters to detect the electrons emitted by this process by burning a sample of the material to convert it into carbon dioxide. They can then date the object by comparing the ratio of c12 to c14 to see how much c14 has decayed. This is done using a decay formula consisting of current levels of the isotope compared to the original levels of the isotope (as they exist in living things), the time it would take to decay from the current to existing levels of the isotope and the half life of the isotope (5700 years approx.)

    The problems associated with this method are numerous, and consist mainly of the varying levels of C14 produced in the troposphere historically (especially in post industrial times,) and the variation in the levels of C14 absorbed by different plants (as animals eating low level plants may be thought to be older than they actually are.) This is the reason standard calibration curves are applied in conjunction with examination of the context the sample was found to increase the accuracy (at least in the case of the former problem.)

    All this said, there will be far more authoritative sources in the search engine, I am an autodidact on most of these subjects. I mainly study them because they prop up again and again in theist vs atheist debates, a principle interest of mine although neither side has in my mind proved their case. Hope this is useful though.

  49. Michael, thank you. Your reasoned approach is much appreciated.

    True enough, Christianity is not true by default. Of the six worldviews that oppose Christianity (Atheism, Deism, Pantheism, Panentheism, Finite Godism and Polytheism), the best case is for Jesus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Everlasting_Man). It’s obviously premature to begin this debate until one first accepts there to even be a “force” or “God” that/who actually exists.

    In the meantime, I very much look forward to being a thread-voyeur to your and Sye’s continued dialogue on the subject.

  50. Michael, something tells me you’ll actually enjoy this lecture by Dr. Greg Bahsen on ‘Foreordination and Human Responsibility.”

    Many thanks to Sye for transcribing this lecture from audio tape to YouTube so that we all might listen. Admittedly, the beginning of the series starts more technical than I can fully appreciate, but Dr. Bahnsen does answer some of the difficult challenges posed around here in a way that just might satisfy ‘the logical mind’ (from a Christian worldview perspective):

    Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqGVUng69rI
    Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQTqlBX0dMg
    Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i71o6Yj6pNI
    Part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZfOtwH5zWE
    Part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnnuvnVWhPk
    Part 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0fFKq8LfYE
    Part 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_gYlTga73Q

    By the way, if you haven’t listened to “The Great Debate” between Dr. Bahnsen and Gordon Stein, it’s well worth the listen.

  51. Michael said: “The problem with your site is that whilst intangible, constant and universal laws of physics, logic and even to a degree morality can be said to exist, this merely indicates the presence of some distinct, transcendental organising force. It does not prove which force or God actually exists”

    Sure it does, since there IS only one God. Your list is full of ‘idols’ not actual ‘Gods.’ if you wish to prove otherwise, the floor is yours.

    “Once one has proven the existence of God (if one can beyond a reasonable doubt) the question then becomes ‘which God is it?’ Perhaps your site should dedicate some space to that!”

    I actually address that in the Q&A.

    “I guess the real issue boils down to if nature is uniform and universal, and a creator God is responsible for that, how much can you actually infer from the creation itself?”

    Nothing can be known about anything apart from revelation from God who knows everything.

    “And if it is possible to draw logical conclusions about the nature of God through study of nature itself”

    “Logical conclusions” are also impossible without the presupposition that God exists. Those who make logical conclusions and deny God are merely “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.”

    “why are there even competing religions at all?”

    Because people would rather be gods, or make up false ones then submit to the real one. Romans 1: 18-21, clearly states that all men know God.

    Let me sum this all up in one question to you Michael. Does anyone have an excuse for not professing belief in God when they stand before Him on judgement day? If not, why not?

  52. Jim said “Had 4 hours sleep last night. Please stay tuned tomorrow for an honest reply to post #61.”

    Thanks for your posts #71 and #72, Jim. I expected more, but thanks nonetheless. You missed some obvious links that are sure to further support your “honest reply”…might as well give us Christians the entire “SO THERE!” arsenal:

    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Christianity/dp/159257176X/ref=pd_sim_b_2
    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Bible-Third/dp/1592573894/ref=pd_sim_b_2
    http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Idiots-Guide-Christianity/dp/159257176X/ref=pd_sim_b_2

    Get some more sleep, Jim. You need it.

  53. Sye T, I’ve re-read your post 61, having now slept, and I’m still not quiet sure what you want me to say, apart from what I’ve already said. Again, I’m not being cute, I just genuinely don’t know what you’re asking.

    I’m not sure why you would say that I am invoking inductive logic by my pointing out that a scientific explanation for natural phenomena always replaces the presumption of magisterial intervention but never the other way around. I would suggest it is you who does not, in fact, fully grasp the difference between inductive and deductive logic. It is a truism that a better description of a given phenomena can never be achieved by miraculous demarcation.

  54. Jim said: ”Sye T, I’ve re-read your post 61, having now slept, and I’m still not quiet sure what you want me to say, apart from what I’ve already said. Again, I’m not being cute, I just genuinely don’t know what you’re asking.”

    No problem, never having been a parent, I do not yet find the task of spoon-feeding monotonous :-) (And yes, I am being cute).

    In the “Did Jesus Really Exist thread, you posted a link to a book supposedly exposing Biblical contradictions (post 182). Now, it is my position that the Bible does not have any contradictions, but the fact that you suggest that contradictions are a problem for the Bible, shows that you have a precommitment to the fallacy of contradictions. In order for contradictions to be absolutely fallacious, you would need an absolute standard by which to call them fallacious. My question, which you have not even attempted to answer, is:

    1. Why are contradictions in reasoning absolutely not allowed in arriving at truth according to YOUR worldview? Or… By what absolute standard are contradictions fallacious, how do you account for that standard, and why does that standard necessarily apply to the Bible?

    You then said: ”I’m not sure why you would say that I am invoking inductive logic by my pointing out that a scientific explanation for natural phenomena always replaces the presumption of magisterial intervention but never the other way around.”

    All I am saying is that ALL of science is based on inductive reasoning. Science can only be done, or of any value, if one proceeds with the expectation that the future will be like the past. What value would a scientific experiment be, if one did not expect the same result from the same experiment, under the same conditions in the future? Would anyone climb into a rocket if the scientists said that they had no idea what was going to happen? Clearly, they base future expectations on past experiments. My second question (which again, you have not answered) is:

    2. On what basis do YOU proceed with the expectation that the future will be like the past… or, how do you know that inductive reasoning, and therefore the scientific principle is valid?

    You see Jim, as I said, you decry alleged contradictions, but you haven’t even told us why contradictions are absolutely fallacious in YOUR worldview. You also exalt science, but have yet to give us your justification for inductive reasoning, the foundation of all science. I submit that you accept both on blind faith, and you have yet to explain why that is not the case.

    Cheers.

  55. Jim,

    You stated “As for Newton, as well being a genius mathematician he was also an alchemist, so the fact that he happened to believe in Yahweh is no great surprise. Indeed, given his religious credulity, it makes it all the more remarkable that his greatest works are remembered not because he encapsulated them in theology, but precisely because he explained why it was not necessary to invoke supernatural causation to describe observed phenomena.”

    Newton believed that people are rational beings and that the world/cosmos with its rational laws can be rationally investigated and explained because both were created by a rational God (the universe reflects its source). No, theology did not pervade his scientific works (but instances can be found), however theological presuppositions were foundational to his investigations into what he would also call “God’s Creation.”

    Newton was in many respects in agreement with Anselm who said, “I do not seek to understand so that I may believe; but I believe so that I may understand. For I believe this also, that ‘unless I believe, I shall not understand’.”

    In other words for these men and other scientists (contemporary as well as those long since past) their faith led them to reason rather than reason to faith. And this leads us to what truly common ground we share–you atheists and we theists.

    That is, whether scientist or theologian or a mixture of the two in discipline we all have starting presuppositions. Of course, they are different presuppositions, but they share the common factor of neither being capable of being validated by science. For example:

    There is a God. There are immaterial realities beyond the material universe.

    or

    There is no God. The material universe is all there is, there are no immaterial realities.

    Both statements are logical and contain no contradictions (other than contradicting each other of course). However, one can not get a cup, pint, foot, temperature, height, or weight of anything to validate these statements scientifically. Neither statement is a scientifically established or scientifically varifiable statement. Rather, both are philosophical statements. Bottom line is we are all philosophers. This is not a bad thing because the word “philosophy” means “love of wisdom.” This leads me to point out a great limitation of science, and it is that wonderful word “induction” that has been so kicked around on this blog.

    To justify inductive inferences one must ASSUME some uniformity in nature. And to answer your question about the flying car–no I would not expect my car to fly when I get in it tomorrow. I would expect my car to start and run fine tomorrow because it did so yesterday. Such certainly is a REASONABLE ASSUMPTION but it is not an ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY. My car may not start tomorrow. It may not even be in my driveway.

    Let me answer SYE T’s recurring question. When one uses inductive reasoning to infer future states of affairs from past states of affairs you do so by ASSUMING the existence of universals and uniformity of nature. It is precisely these assumptions that you CAN NOT JUSTIFY INDUCTIVELY. Neither can I. Thus the problem with justifying induction is rather a philosophical issue rather than a scientific one.

    I leave you with qoute from another one of those unthinking theists.

    “I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”—Galileo Galilei

    Todd–I’ll shoot you an email before weeks end, but contrary to Jim’s assertion you don’t really need my help.

  56. Mitch said: ”To justify inductive inferences one must ASSUME some uniformity in nature.”

    And Bing-o was his name-o! Exactly, THAT is my point. The atheist has exactly zero basis for assuming uniformity, while the Christian does. We believe in a God who controls the universe and keeps it uniform, such that we can reasonably expect the future to be like the past.

    My question has been, and is, what is the atheist’s basis for assuming uniformity? Why would it be a REASONABLE ASSUMPTION for the atheist to not expect his car to fly when he gets in it tomorrow? For that matter, why is it a reasonable assumption for the atheist not to expect his car to be a penguin tomorrow, or for “car” to mean “automobile” 5 seconds from now?

    Surely you see that saying “The future WILL BE like the past (or even probably be like the past since probability also assumes uniformity), because the future HAS BEEN like the past in the past is hopelessly viciously circular? I am NOT asking about the past, I am asking what his basis is for assuming the FUTURE to be like the past. Aside from revelation, all he has is circularity, yet he exalts science as though he has a basis for it.

    Cheers

  57. Mitch also said: “I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”—Galileo Galilei

    You do know the circumstances of Galileo making this statement I take it? Still though, it is a good quote, and I use it on my site.

  58. There is nothing here, among the very interesting things which are being said, which can’t wait at least a week for me to give everything a real stab at answering honestly. Simply put, don’t presume my silence (or at least lack of a longer reply) to mean that I am ignoring any questions or individuals, but that I am simply busy doing other fun stuff, like taking my girlfriend on a camping trip and so on. So, pretty please with a cherry on top, carry on without me and trust that I will return. I should also add that some of what is being asked is covered in other blog entries, if you’d care to have a look around.

    All I will say very quickly, to Sye T, is that if you believe there are absolutely zero contradictions in the bible, you clearly haven’t read it very critically. I suggest starting with John’s account of the last supper and building from there. That’s intended as a distraction from the afore mentioned challenges, incidentally, just an aside.

    Summer is calling. Stay tuned. X!

  59. Mitch. I disagree with you somewhat, when you say there is no logical contradiction in the statement “There is a God. There are immaterial realities beyond the material universe.” It is saying, “here is something I can’t show you, but I can describe it, therefore I have proved it exists.” Whereas “There is no God. The material universe is all there is, there are no immaterial realities.” is no more presumptuous than saying, “my parents were Santa Claus all along, therefore Santa Claus does not exist.”, because there is far more evidence to support naturalistic explanations for observed phenomena than there are reasons to assume that the methodological approach to understanding anything is a preclusion to an absolutely true description of reality itself.

    For example, the Heisenberg wave-particle duality makes it impossible to know where a single unit of energy is at the same time as knowing where it is going and how fast it is going there, which means a prediction of its true behaviour is impossible. But that doesn’t mean the entire premise of a scientific approach to understanding collapses–in fact quiet the opposite. It means that we have arrived at the point where we can express all matter as discrete frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, precisely because we did not induce or assume the fundamental particles in the standard model would behave the same as they do when bundled together into you and me and everything else.

    It may well be that Santa Claus does indeed exist, in some metaphysical sense, because the imagination of the child and the intentions of the parents set up the conditions under which Santa appears to exist in all but observed physical reality. That doesn’t mean that he may as well exist or that simply because there are presents under the tree and the child’s fantastic imagination has filled in the problem of how he covers so many chimney pots in one night stands as evidence that he exists.

    The fact remains, no matter how you spin it, that Santa Claus does not exist, despite the entirely subjective artifice of evidence that he does, no matter how abundant, when the only piece missing is a physical disturbance of space-time which could only be produced by a rotund body with a white beard chortling, “ho ho ho”. Without that final piece, all remaining superimpositions are irrelevant, no matter the emotional attachment to them the individual believer may hold.

    In this way we can explain how a religious faith in a god creates its own reality completely divorced from a requirement for physical evidence of a supernatural dimension to our existence and despite that we have been proven to exist in an entirely physical reality.

    The deist would argue that a creator of the universe exists through the very inductive principal which Sye T incorrectly assigns to my world-view, by a presumption that statement A is as logical as statement B, when as I have explained, it isn’t. Perhaps I have not been clear enough in this regard, but as I also said above, I intend to address Sye T’s specific concerns better in a later, more targeted reply. Having said that, I welcome your far better, well rounded understanding of classic philosophy than mine, which I can express more in the equation, cannabis conversations divided by age over time plus good friends, than I can by holding to any institutional education or course learning. I do, as they say, the best with what I’ve got.

  60. Sye T. Think of it as your own mini 40 days and nights, only lasting just 6 to 8 days instead. Hey, the way today is panning out, I might even find time later tonight :)

  61. Erm, it was a joke, I’m not on the edge of my seat. You are not the first professed atheist who has tried to answer what is unswerable in any atheistic worldview. Still though, for entertainment value, I look forward to seeing your post.

    Cheers

  62. I didn’t say I couldn’t answer you. But I know from experience that unless I answer your questions directly you won’t deduce them for yourself from what I’ve already said, both here and elsewhere, because as you have already made abundantly clear, you aren’t actually interested in having your position proven wrong in as much as you are interested in having it proven right, whilst arrogantly asserting it is those of us with an open mind who aren’t capable of intellectual honesty. Good luck with that.

  63. “Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening a mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

    For the record, I am not at all interested in having my position proven right. ;-) I hope that you are not setting this up for weaseling out of my questions.

    Cheers

    P.S. I suppose I shouldn’t be warming up the popcorn yet though right?

  64. If Jim doesn’t mind I would like to answer these questions:

    1. Why are contradictions in reasoning absolutely not allowed in arriving at truth according to YOUR worldview? Or… By what absolute standard are contradictions fallacious, how do you account for that standard, and why does that standard necessarily apply to the Bible?

    Contradictions in logic are fallacious because they consist of a marriage of propositions, which form inversions of logic when you express them together, meaning they become mutually exclusive and cannot both be true at the same time. However contradictions absolutely can be used in arriving at truth in some cases, it is done all the time in mathematics (proof by contradiction using the law of bivalence.) Contradictions (in logic) are obviously considered fallacious by the standards of logic itself specifically the law of non-contradiction. I imagine you are hinting at the nature of logic itself being universal and non-physical, however as I have said that while this is perhaps indicative of some organisational law or principle it does not prove such, especially not a specific God as there are a great many to choose from. (It could actually also be argued that the laws of logic, mathematics, morality etc come from the mind of man himself and are therefore applied to the universe inside out rather than outside in.) As for why does that standard apply to the Bible specifically, the answer to that is simple. If the Bible were as advertised the direct word of a perfect, all knowing God passed down to man, then it would be reasonable to expect the message to be consistent and without contradictions ( for instance http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html#wise_folly .) Even if you were to focus on the idea that the Bible were dictated by God and then authored by imperfect men, that would merely cause one to wonder what the basis on the books authority will be when the ‘oneness’ of the message is diluted with contradiction by the many different authors.

    2. On what basis do YOU proceed with the expectation that the future will be like the past… or, how do you know that inductive reasoning, and therefore the scientific principle is valid?

    I believe you proceed with that expectation based upon experience (or proceed inductively as you say.) The validity of inductive logic is debated widely, mainly because you can only prove an argument based on induction using deduction. Induction is useful on a speculative basis and can arrive at cogent theories (hence its use in the sciences) however it is not absolute and it is actually deductive which proves it either way. A good example is that Newton induced his theory gravity, John Adams then used that inducted theory to deduce the location and orbit of Neptune, offering support for the theory. Is science therefore inductive, deductive, or both? As it applies to the individual however, inductive logic is necessary because an individual is forced to use the past to predict the future (expectation based upon experience) to successfully operate in the world, as attempting to use deduction to make every decision would be paralysing.

    As I said before your line of reasoning is pretty successful (and at least interesting) to a point, but I don’t think it proves as much as you seem to think it does. Jim’s position as an atheist, and my own as a curious agnostic (or fence sitter if you prefer hah) aren’t really threatened by these arguments. That said I’m actually trying to read that book Todd recommended (time permitting,) and maybe that will make a difference in my mind.

  65. I STILL want to know why religious people – and those who choose to disguise the fact that they’re religious by using the term “agnositc” (which is approximately equal to “I sit the fence because I’m to chicken to choose”) – are sooooo condescending!

    I also still want to know:
    WHO was the journalist/observer/recorder/stationary who was in the purported Garden of Eden taking notes? (And for the record, a Stationary was a person at one time: he/she being a person who wrote letters on behalf of the illiterate… and I’m assuming sometimes took MUCH literary liberty).

    Do people seriously believe there ever was such a thing as a talking snake?

    If yes, to that question, why are there no more talking snakes (assuming you don’t consider George Bush – either of them – a snake in the literal sense)?

    And Michael, you may toss any label you wish at the various writers and opinions here – straw or whatever; those labels STILL don’t make a fantasy into reality.

  66. Michael said: ”If Jim doesn’t mind I would like to answer these questions:”

    Well, since you are not a Christian, and Jim may have been waiting for something like this, you’ll do :-)

    ”Contradictions (in logic) are obviously considered fallacious by the standards of logic itself specifically the law of non-contradiction.”

    Indeed I meant logical truth. Okay, contradictions are fallacious because they violate an absolute logical standard. Fine, how do you account for an absolute logical standard according to YOUR worldview?

    It could actually also be argued that the laws of logic, mathematics, morality etc come from the mind of man himself and are therefore applied to the universe
    inside out rather than outside in.”

    It could be, and I welcome you to propose that argument, if it is in fact what you believe.

    ” As for why does that standard apply to the Bible specifically, the answer to that is simple. If the Bible were as advertised the direct word of a perfect, all knowing God passed down to man, then it would be reasonable to expect the message to be consistent and without contradictions”

    But why should it be according to YOUR worldview? What absolute standard are you appealing to when you decry contradictions, and how do YOU account for that standard?

    ”I believe you proceed with that expectation based upon experience (or proceed inductively as you say.)”

    Surely you see the problem there? I am asking how you know that inductive reasoning is valid, and you say that you ‘proceed inductively.’ I am basically asking you, on what basis you assume that past experiences are a guide to future experiences, and you answer “Based on past experiences,” which begs the very question being asked! I am not asking about the past, I want to know on what basis you proceed with the assumption that the FUTURE will be like the past, based on YOUR worldview?

    ”inductive logic is necessary because an individual is forced to use the past to predict the future (expectation based upon experience) to successfully operate in the world, as attempting to use deduction to make every decision would be paralysing.”

    I agree that it is necessary, however, that was not my question, I am asking what your basis is for assuming that the future will be like the past? Saying “Well, we couldn’t operate without that assumption,” does not answer the question.

    ”As I said before your line of reasoning is pretty successful (and at least interesting) to a point, but I don’t think it proves as much as you seem to think it does.”

    That statement shows your precommitment to the concept of ‘proof.’ You obviously accept the concept of proof, or you could not evaluate this line of reasoning as failing that standard. Proof requires logic, knowledge, and truth, how do you account for any of these concepts according to YOUR worldview? (And please don’t say, if I didn’t I couldn’t prove anything).

    Cheers

  67. Sye T said: In the “Did Jesus Really Exist thread, you posted a link to a book supposedly exposing Biblical contradictions (post 182). Now, it is my position that the Bible does not have any contradictions, but the fact that you suggest that contradictions are a problem for the Bible, shows that you have a precommitment to the fallacy of contradictions. In order for contradictions to be absolutely fallacious, you would need an absolute standard by which to call them fallacious. My question, which you have not even attempted to answer, is:

    1. Why are contradictions in reasoning absolutely not allowed in arriving at truth according to YOUR worldview? Or… By what absolute standard are contradictions fallacious, how do you account for that standard, and why does that standard necessarily apply to the Bible?

    In John’s gospel account of the last supper, Jesus specifically tells the apostles on two separate occasions he is leaving them to be with his father and the only way they can go to his father is through him. After saying this, not once but twice, he asks why non of them ask him where he is going and why he is leaving, even though he’s already told them where he is going and how they might follow.

    This is the kind of mistake which is so obvious it’s almost impossible to imagine why people who claim to have arrived at a theistic world-view through a close study of the bible, persist in shooting themselves in the foot by refusing to even acknowledge it as at the very least problematic and at the most a perfect example of that which they insist the irreligious are incapable of providing either as an absolute standard of fallaciousness or, if you prefer, just good old fashioned bullshit.

    It is trivial, however, to understand how mistakes of this kind become embedded into an ancient text where so much fervour is gathered around reverence for the cut of the cloth that no one seems to notice or even care that the emperor isn’t actually wearing anything.

    One honest slip of the quill becomes reiterated by second, third, fourth and fifth generations of scribes who could have no way of telling apart the genuine errors of their predecessors from the already cryptic writing style of the text’s original authors. The fact that this is learned on day one of seminary college by priests and ministers, theologians and biblical scholars, who then go on to enjoy a lucrative tax-free lifestyle denying it, in a bought and paid for ready made community of people who are literally discouraged from questioning anything, on pain of eternal damnation, should be a matter of concern to anyone who supposedly seeks the truth in these matters.

    I digress, however, since I accept that the first century equivalent of a self propagating typo, is somewhat different to a deliberate contradiction. For a good example of that, we have to look to the single most important event in the whole of the Jesus myth. Luke and Matthew give two completely different accounts of this. In one, Jesus on the cross appears to beg in agony, “Father, why have you forsaken me?”, while in the other he assures the robber that he will be “with me this day in the kingdom of heaven.” In one account, Jesus asserts that his father is behaving as if he does not care about his suffering, while in the other he is almost nonchalantly confident of His benevolence, not just towards him, but towards someone whose only sign of remorse is expressed during agonising torture.

    If there is any lesson to be taken from this, it is not that the thief showed faith and that faith is therefore a good thing, but that it was his disbelieving companion who showed courage in his convictions, when he refused to accept the ramblings of a man who was apparently so well connected in the heavens, his only way of saving us from ourselves was to live a life which almost exactly matches that of at least another 20 hero warrior gods from Chinese, Indian, Egyptian and Greek folklore, which predate the only book ever written about him by hundreds, if not thousands of years.

    Bart Ehrma’s work points out that what biblical literalists, such as those who have clearly influenced Sye T and Todd have done, in their attempts to confront some of these glaringly obvious errors, is to mingle these two completely different and contradictory accounts together into one super amalgamated story, which is faithful to neither Luke nor Matthew, but sufficiently reminiscent of them both, so that the discrepancies go almost completely unnoticed by those who are already predisposed to placing the assertions of their church leaders on such matters above not just their own critical faculties but that these recapitulated versions of events are, in fact, far more true to what happened than even the original text itself asks the reader to accept as having happened exactly as described.

    Arguing that a contradiction of this kind does not necessarily mean that an approximation of events can not be aggregated into some third or fourth impression, rather like a jazz musician improvising in a minor mode over a major progression, while still alluding to the melody, is simply not the kind of adaptation or interpretation Sye T is arguing for. He is appealing to a contradiction which divides matters of fact from articles of faith and asserting that they are one in the same where they happen to overlap with his world-view and irrelevant when they do not.

    Sye T either does not understand the full implications of this problem, or he is deliberately fooling himself into thinking one thing whilst expressing another and airing a frustration at the incompatibility of these diametrically opposing statements. He can calm himself, however, that this is precisely the kind of intellectual dishonesty which it is exceptionally difficult to avoid, once the pull of a cognitive framing bias exceeds the desire to truly learn from something which completely contradicts a pre-existing emotionally skewed line of thinking.

    This is why so much of what it is possible to state about logical imperatives is misconstrued as being ad hominem attack on the individual believer, when applied to a description of what is, essentially, an externalisation of the ego onto the infinite canvas of religious credulity.

    I would be happy to concede that it could also be argued that the problem of cognitive framing is also true of adherents to reductionism, but with one very important caveat which, actually, changes the premise completely: the apostate, by definition, isn’t as concerned with the same tract of apologetics as those whose belief in belief convinces them that faith is a more secure supply route towards wisdom, than humility and intellectual honesty. Particularly when this happens to contradict their upbringing and formative conditioning.

    Sye is particularly well versed, in other words, in how to point out the logical fallacies which may well be commonly held by those who would describe themselves as “atheist” but who are, in fact, just as lazy as the vast majority of the religious when reaching for the heart of the matter. He is not so quick to accept, however, that he is just as guilty of assigning himself similarly unhelpful labels, such as “believer” and on no greater reason for doing so than it is more socially acceptable to affirm a belief in the unbelievable, than it is to challenge the very foundation of our moral vocabulary–or at least that which is assumed to be the basis of ethics, where in fact this does not have to be something which is received, as opposed to inherited or instinctive.

    Which brings me to Sye T’s second question and something I would have thought rather obvious.

    Sye T said: 2. On what basis do YOU proceed with the expectation that the future will be like the past… or, how do you know that inductive reasoning, and therefore the scientific principle is valid?

    Given the occasionally abstract concepts we are attempting to bring into common language, here, I am amazed that all you seem to have drawn from my extensive writing on this and other views, is a completely nondescript assumption that I am blindly confident that tomorrow will proceed much like today and that I am, therefore, an undiagnosed champion of inductive reasoning. I am not. I do not suppose anything of the sort. In fact there is no reason to believe that anything will continue as it has before, at all, and I never tried to make an absolute statement of that sort, at all, ever.

    That is not what I understand to be the definition of the word ‘prediction’ in scientific dialogue to mean and it is not what I understand by order or decree in common language either. You have assumed that I am ignorant of the role played by trends, because while you correctly state that expectations are based upon arithmetic axioms, you then go on to suggest that there is no reasonable basis upon which to build an assumption that because n=y ∴ n≣y

    This is a compound contradiction. You have equivalently stated that because all the busses you have observed in London are red, all busses not just in London but in every world city must also be red. What’s worse (for you) is that you have accused me of doing the same thing, by way of an example which fails to prove I have done anything of the sort, because it is not one which is based upon something I would say or have said.

    It is true, that it may be possible to show a trend for red busses in London which are of a particular colour, but that tells us nothing about the colour of busses in Paris and even less about what times they run, what kind of person rides them regularly, who owns the bus company, how many children they have and so on and so forth.

    Frivolous though you might pass off this simile to be, this is exactly what you are expecting us to accept as a reasoned arrival at a truism when you say, quote, “The atheist has exactly zero basis for assuming uniformity, while the Christian does”. You undermine your own position every time you make definitive statements to the contrary of that which you are apparently intellectually incapable of placing outside of a framework which is anathema to free enquiry and open knowledge.

    A basis for uniformity is, by definition, that which can be described by making the fewest assumptions about only those constituent parts which are vital to its function. Inducing supernaturalism upon a description of natural phenomena is perhaps the single most effective way of guaranteeing the data gathered proves only that which you already set out to assume was true in the first place. Assuming there is no supernatural agent present in the process, however, makes the discovery of it all the more likely, when it is the only possible explanation which remains. Since this is not the case for the description of Ida, any more than it is for the description of you, me, that tree outside or, in point of fact ANYTHING AT ALL, the religious argument continues to recede away from the very principals which Christian teaching instilled in everyone from Galileo Galilee to Newton, all the while allowing the manipulative politics of extremism to hijack its most treasured principals in defence of its most insidious and destructive.

  68. EDIT: I accidentally posted a half finished draft of the reply above which included a paragraph at the end which I later decided to remove as irrelevant. If your RSS reader or other cache of this site shows either both versions, or only one, please let me know. Thanks!

  69. @ Jim,

    Did you really think that by increasing the length of your posts, people would see that you have not even come close to answering my questions?

    You decry contradictions, but do not tell us why they are absolutely fallacious according to your worldview? The Bible will be interpreted subject to our presuppositions of what it is, but we are nowhere near the point of evaluating alleged contradictions. I am simply asking why contradictions in logic are absolutely fallacious according to YOUR worldview. Please try again.

    As far as inductive reasoning goes, you say: ”Given the occasionally abstract concepts we are attempting to bring into common language, here, I am amazed that all you seem to have drawn from my extensive writing on this and other views, is a completely nondescript assumption that I am blindly confident that tomorrow will proceed much like today and that I am, therefore, an undiagnosed champion of inductive reasoning.”

    Never said, or implied anything of the sort, I simply want to know what your basis is for assuming that the future will be (or even probably will be) like the past (an assumption which happens to be the basis of all of science).

    You obviously had the time to write this post, perhaps in your next one, you could actually answer my questions.

    Cheers.

  70. Jim, honestly, if I saw anywhere in your post answers to my questions, I would address them. Trust me, I have engaged many people on this topic, and some have even tried to answer the questions (like Michael), and I have engaged them on those answers, but I see nowhere in your posts where you have even made an attempt. Obfuscation does not count.

    Cheers

  71. ob⋅fus⋅cate  [ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt]
    –verb (used with object), -cat⋅ed, -cat⋅ing.
    1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
    2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
    3. to darken.

    dog⋅mat⋅ic  [dawg-mat-ik, dog-]
    –adjective
    1. of, pertaining to, or of the nature of a dogma or dogmas; doctrinal.
    2. asserting opinions in a doctrinaire or arrogant manner; opinionated.
    Synonyms:
    2. arbitrary, imperious, dictatorial.

  72. Jim, I submit that if you spent half the time Googling the answers (yes, there are answers) to your alleged Bible contradictions as you did writing your post, you would not be so bold wielding your misinformed opinion about. As tempting as it was for me to refute your claims of contradiction(s), I decided not to because every other time I have presented you with evidence over the past six months, you ignore it and bully on. The fact is, no matter how much proof is presented, it’s the Holy Spirit who persuades…and for whatever reason only God knows, He’s ignoring you. Perhaps it’s because you’re so adept at sitting on His lap to slap His face.

    In summary, the Gospel truth need not be accepted to be conclusive.

    Go camping and enjoy God’s creation with your girlfriend. We’ll pray that it’s God’s will that you ultimately come to the right conclusion, the One and Only Conclusion, His Conclusion (and yes, in included the ‘caps’ on purpose).

    Todd

  73. crick-ets
    Pronunciation: \ˈkri-kəts\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English criket, from Anglo-French, of imitative origin
    Date: 14th century

    1 : any of a family (Gryllidae) of leaping orthopteran insects noted for the chirping notes produced by the male by rubbing together specially modified parts of the forewings

  74. As G.K. Chesterton said…

    If there were no God, there would be no atheists.

    – Where All Roads Lead, 1922

  75. No Writer, those labels don’t make fantasy a reality. They do indicate when someone is being glib (intentional or otherwise.) If you do not understand that the question of talking snakes or ‘invisible journalists’ is not even remotely significant to what is, and what is not provable then there is really no hope for a productive dialogue with you. Besides even a biblical layman like myself could point towards those references being either allegorical, or logical within the parameters defined by the religion. Agnosticism is in no way ‘fence sitting’ (although you would notice if you read my previous comment that I anticipated such an attack) it is rather the only position which is supportable by the evidence, and the scope of what the evidence can actually prove. I do not think I was being condescending, at all, but I also don’t find ad hominem attacks particularly useful in any debate, so I would appreciate it if you no longer engage me with such.
    To Sye T,
    ”Contradictions (in logic) are obviously considered fallacious by the standards of logic itself specifically the law of non-contradiction.”
    Indeed I meant logical truth. Okay, contradictions are fallacious because they violate an absolute logical standard. Fine, how do you account for an absolute logical standard according to YOUR worldview?

    I will answer this at the end as you ask this again.
    It could actually also be argued that the laws of logic, mathematics, morality etc come from the mind of man himself and are therefore applied to the universe
    inside out rather than outside in.”
    It could be, and I welcome you to propose that argument, if it is in fact what you believe.

    Copasetic.
    ” As for why does that standard apply to the Bible specifically, the answer to that is simple. If the Bible were as advertised the direct word of a perfect, all knowing God passed down to man, then it would be reasonable to expect the message to be consistent and without contradictions”
    But why should it be according to YOUR worldview? What absolute standard are you appealing to when you decry contradictions, and how do YOU account for that standard?

    I thought we already agreed that contradictions can be considered fallacious by the standards/laws of logic. I account for that standard in the same way that I account for the laws of gravity, they seem to work in practice.
    ”I believe you proceed with that expectation based upon experience (or proceed inductively as you say.)”
    Surely you see the problem there? I am asking how you know that inductive reasoning is valid, and you say that you ‘proceed inductively.’ I am basically asking you, on what basis you assume that past experiences are a guide to future experiences, and you answer “Based on past experiences,” which begs the very question being asked! I am not asking about the past, I want to know on what basis you proceed with the assumption that the FUTURE will be like the past, based on YOUR worldview?

    Sye, you asked me why inductive reasoning is valid yes, but I responded to say that you can’t in any way say that it definitively is. Inductive arguments need to be backed up by deductive proof. Induction can be cogent yes, but never proof of anything in itself. Secondly your original question was how do you proceed with the expectation that the past will be like the future, not on what basis are past experiences are a guide to future experiences, although I can see how reframing it like that would make me seem foolish. In any case the answer is the same, you proceed with this assumption on the basis that in most cases inference based on induction is adequate enough to proceed safely. In other words circumstances tend to regress towards the mean, which allows one to assume in most cases that exceptional events are improbable enough to ignore. Obviously the consequences of this can occasionally be devastating.
    ”inductive logic is necessary because an individual is forced to use the past to predict the future (expectation based upon experience) to successfully operate in the world, as attempting to use deduction to make every decision would be paralysing.”
    I agree that it is necessary, however, that was not my question, I am asking what your basis is for assuming that the future will be like the past? Saying “Well, we couldn’t operate without that assumption,” does not answer the question.

    See above.
    ”As I said before your line of reasoning is pretty successful (and at least interesting) to a point, but I don’t think it proves as much as you seem to think it does.”
    That statement shows your precommitment to the concept of ‘proof.’ You obviously accept the concept of proof, or you could not evaluate this line of reasoning as failing that standard. Proof requires logic, knowledge, and truth, how do you account for any of these concepts according to YOUR worldview? (And please don’t say, if I didn’t I couldn’t prove anything).

    This does seem vague to me but I will answer as best I can. I do not see logic as a concept, but as more of a process. I guess I account for it as having arose as a method to verify the accuracy, or correctness of an argument. In this manner it is a component feature of rationality. How do I account for knowledge is not something I am sure of how to answer, except to say that we are capable of absorbing large amounts of information, and that knowledge consists of this information when structured and arranged within a particular framework. Finally truth is a concept is a difficult one to account for, in that it can be both relative, and (apparently) absolute. I actually reject the idea that truth itself is valid as a form of proof, because when you state that a premise is true or false, you merely make an assertion of one proposition over another contradictory one. I think therefore that ‘truths’ need to be verifiable to be meaningful. All this however, does not account for the gap in the line of reasoning, or train of thought or whatever, that takes you from acceptance of absolute standards of morality, logic etc, to acceptance of Yahweh as your personal God. I hope my answers fare better this time around.

  76. Michael said:

    “If the Bible were as advertised the direct word of a perfect, all knowing God passed down to man, then it would be reasonable to expect the message to be consistent and without contradictions (for instance http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html#wise_folly).”

    James Patrick Holding says, http://www.tektonics.org/lp/merrit01.html.

    So let’s see if my claim in post 98 holds true. I said, “every other time I have presented you with evidence over the past six months, you ignore it.” In all fairness, Michael, I’m only PRESUPPOSING you will, too, ignore the honest scholarship and refutation presented by Mr. Holding…as Jim would. Or might you surprise the readers and WITH SOUND REASON own up to the fact that your challenge has been aptly refuted? I’ve personally contacted Mr. Holding today and if YOU have any additional challenges, I’ll arrange for a conference call.

    So think about it, Michael, if you’re flat out wrong specific to your claim (with corresponding link as YOUR evidence), might you also be wrong about everything else holding up your baseless belief that God does not exist? See, I actually give a rip about your being wrong…not because I want to be right, but because God is right, and your (and every other reader’s) eternal salvation depends on it.

    Imagine…just imagine…imagine for one instance that I am right and you are wrong. Am I such a bad person for going toe-to-toe with all of you regarding the single most important decision you will (or won’t) make your entire life…your entire eternal existence? If I am indeed right, which I am, you just might thank God that He cares enough about you to send a pain like me (and Sye). We love you guys (and gal, WriterWriter).

  77. Todd, it is late so I hope you will forgive the brief reply. I looked at the website you linked me to, for sure he seems to give reasonable rebuttals to the quotes I looked at (I did not read the links towards the bottom of the page, much too much to look at right now) although I suspect that once you start to grant artistic license for overstatement and metaphor within a religious text it becomes a case of what is the ‘word of God’ and what is added due to literary or contextual embellishment? For instance, I worked this past sunday. Now is Exodus 35:2 the accurate word of God and I should be hilled, or is that just a contextual ‘literary technique’ and my life can be spared?

    I can also point you towards the supposed contradictions of the Quran, and sites which in turn refute them. So I wouldn’t take refutation of contradiction to prove anything in itself unless you would concede that there are other religions which go through this same process. Finally I never professed an unbelief in God. God cannot be proved to not exist, so any such assertion would be redundant.

  78. Michael said: ”I thought we already agreed that contradictions can be considered fallacious by the standards/laws of logic.”

    Yes

    ” I account for that standard in the same way that I account for the laws of gravity, they seem to work in practice.”

    Perhaps Michael, it would be helpful if I further explain what I am looking for. By ‘account’ I mean, how do these universal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in your worldview? Your response would be like me asking how you account for that car sitting in your driveway, and you saying “It seems to work.” Aside from the problem that you would have to know the proper function of a thing in order to make a determination of ‘seeming to work,’ your answer in no way tells us how universal, abstract, invariant laws comport with your worldview. Furthermore, ‘seeming to work’ makes the laws of logic contingent on those past instances, and leaves no basis for applying them to anything but that which was observed.

    ”Sye, you asked me why inductive reasoning is valid yes, but I responded to say that you can’t in any way say that it definitively is.”

    Such a claim would require omniscience to support it, a very aspect that you apparently deny. Also I am not asking how you know that it is definitively valid, I want to know on what basis you proceed with the assumption that it is?

    ”Secondly your original question was how do you proceed with the expectation that the past will be like the future, not on what basis are past experiences are a guide to future experiences, although I can see how reframing it like that would make me seem foolish. “

    In post 88 the question you responded to was: “On what basis do YOU proceed with the expectation that the future will be like the past?” You responded that this expectation was “based upon (past) experience.” That’s why I asked on what basis past experiences were a guide to future experiences? If you feel the rephrasing makes you look foolish, then perhaps you should modify your answer.

    ”In any case the answer is the same, you proceed with this assumption on the basis that in most cases inference based on induction is adequate enough to proceed safely.”

    Do you realize what you are saying? You are saying “Inference based on induction has mostly worked in the past, so it is adequate enough to proceed with the assumption that it will work in the future. Problem is, saying that inferences based on induction will likely work in the future because they have worked in the past is to assume the validity of the very thing you are trying to justify – namely induction! You are telling me that it is adequate to assume that induction will work in the future, based on the past, but, and I can’t help if this makes you look foolish, what bearing does the past have on the future? How do past atoms and molecules convey to future atoms and molecules how to behave?

    This does seem vague to me but I will answer as best I can. I do not see logic as a concept, but as more of a process. I guess I account for it as having arose as a method to verify the accuracy, or correctness of an argument.”

    Could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before the law of non-contradiction ‘arose as a method to verify the accuracy, or correctness of an argument?’ (And just out of a real curiosity, how in the world could the laws of logic arise to verify the correctness of an argument? Perhaps you could give an example).

    ”How do I account for knowledge is not something I am sure of how to answer, except to say that we are capable of absorbing large amounts of information, and that knowledge consists of this information when structured and arranged within a particular framework. “

    Allow me to simplify this then: Please tell me one thing that you know and how you are able to know it.

    ”Finally truth is a concept is a difficult one to account for, in that it can be both relative,”

    Please provide an example of relative truth.

    ” and (apparently) absolute.”

    How do you account for absolute truth according to your worldview, and how could you know something to be absolutely true?

    ”I actually reject the idea that truth itself is valid as a form of proof, because when you state that a premise is true or false, you merely make an assertion of one proposition over another contradictory one. I think therefore that ‘truths’ need to be verifiable to be meaningful.”

    Is THAT true? If so, please present the verification that makes it meaningful.

    ”All this however, does not account for the gap in the line of reasoning, or train of thought or whatever, that takes you from acceptance of absolute standards of morality, logic etc, to acceptance of Yahweh as your personal God.”

    You do not seem to understand, I do not go from acceptance of absolute standards to acceptance of God. God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind by the impossibility of the contrary.

    ” I hope my answers fare better this time around.”

    I’ll leave that for you to decide.

    Cheers

    P.S. I would wholeheartedly agree with you that agnosticism is in no way fence-sitting. “He who is not with me is against me~ Matthew 12:30

  79. “ I account for that standard in the same way that I account for the laws of gravity, they seem to work in practice.”
    Perhaps Michael, it would be helpful if I further explain what I am looking for. By ‘account’ I mean, how do these universal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in your worldview? Your response would be like me asking how you account for that car sitting in your driveway, and you saying “It seems to work.” Aside from the problem that you would have to know the proper function of a thing in order to make a determination of ‘seeming to work,’ your answer in no way tells us how universal, abstract, invariant laws comport with your worldview. Furthermore, ‘seeming to work’ makes the laws of logic contingent on those past instances, and leaves no basis for applying them to anything but that which was observed.

    If only we could all conduct a debate in such a manner. Pose question, get answer, repeat question claiming reponse invalid in terms of our own parameters ad nauseum.

    ”Sye, you asked me why inductive reasoning is valid yes, but I responded to say that you can’t in any way say that it definitively is.”
    Such a claim would require omniscience to support it, a very aspect that you apparently deny. Also I am not asking how you know that it is definitively valid, I want to know on what basis you proceed with the assumption that it is?

    Do you even understand what inductive reasoning is? Omniscience is most definitely not a requirement! Inductive reasoning simply requires knowing one thing, and then having the ability to apply that to other things in a more general manner. If you however mean that omniscience is required to state that inductive reasoning is not necessarily valid, then I guess you secretly worship critics such as Sextus Empiricus or David Hume as all knowing? Of course you don’t but hopefully you get the point. Induction is the particular applied to the universal, it is only valid as shown by deduction on a case by case basis.
    ”Secondly your original question was how do you proceed with the expectation that the past will be like the future, not on what basis are past experiences are a guide to future experiences, although I can see how reframing it like that would make me seem foolish. “
    In post 88 the question you responded to was: “On what basis do YOU proceed with the expectation that the future will be like the past?” You responded that this expectation was “based upon (past) experience.” That’s why I asked on what basis past experiences were a guide to future experiences? If you feel the rephrasing makes you look foolish, then perhaps you should modify your answer.

    You didn’t ask on what basis past experiences were a guide to future experiences though did you, you rephrased your original question to “on what basis you assume that past experiences are a guide to future experiences” and then added “and you answer “Based on past experiences.” Clearly by reframing my response within a rephrased version of your original question you have created a distortion to discredit my response.

    ”In any case the answer is the same, you proceed with this assumption on the basis that in most cases inference based on induction is adequate enough to proceed safely.”
    Do you realize what you are saying? You are saying “Inference based on induction has mostly worked in the past, so it is adequate enough to proceed with the assumption that it will work in the future. Problem is, saying that inferences based on induction will likely work in the future because they have worked in the past is to assume the validity of the very thing you are trying to justify – namely induction! You are telling me that it is adequate to assume that induction will work in the future, based on the past, but, and I can’t help if this makes you look foolish, what bearing does the past have on the future? How do past atoms and molecules convey to future atoms and molecules how to behave?

    Okay I will try to make this clearer with an example. One example of an inductive argument could be something like;
    Every theist I have spoken to is dogmatic
    Therefore:
    All theists are dogmatic.

    This is an example of an inductive argument. Now I could proceed on the basis that this is valid, until such point as I spoke to a non-dogmatic theist, at which point I would have to abandon it as false, or revise it to better reflect reality based on improved information. So hopefully you see that saying that induction is useful, is not the same as saying it is valid, and that assuming the former absolutely does not indicate the later. Also our understanding of the behaviour of ‘atoms and molecules’ whilst perhaps originally induced, has been supported by observation and deduction in experimentation.

    This does seem vague to me but I will answer as best I can. I do not see logic as a concept, but as more of a process. I guess I account for it as having arose as a method to verify the accuracy, or correctness of an argument.”
    Could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before the law of non-contradiction ‘arose as a method to verify the accuracy, or correctness of an argument?’ (And just out of a real curiosity, how in the world could the laws of logic arise to verify the correctness of an argument? Perhaps you could give an example).
    You do realise that the laws of logic, whilst seemingly applying universally (from the mind of man), did indeed originate in the mind of man? How could appeals to logic have existed in a silent universe without argument? Things such as the law of contradiction are applied to the universe by us. You ask for an example so you could perhaps create something such as a ‘law of attraction’ to be based around things like body size and ratios, facial symmetry, social standing and so on. You could then test this law across the world and find it to be ‘universal’. As it doesn’t exist in concrete terms you could claim it to be immaterial or even perhaps metaphysical. None of this however would mean that the ‘universal and immaterial law of attraction’ would have existed at all without the presence of man.

    ”How do I account for knowledge is not something I am sure of how to answer, except to say that we are capable of absorbing large amounts of information, and that knowledge consists of this information when structured and arranged within a particular framework. “
    Allow me to simplify this then: Please tell me one thing that you know and how you are able to know it.
    I know that I need to go to sleep. I know it because I am finding it hard to stay awake.

    ”Finally truth is a concept is a difficult one to account for, in that it can be both relative,”
    Please provide an example of relative truth.
    Water is essential to stay alive. (Just ask the tardigrade if that is relative.)

    ” and (apparently) absolute.”
    How do you account for absolute truth according to your worldview, and how could you know something to be absolutely true?
    ”I actually reject the idea that truth itself is valid as a form of proof, because when you state that a premise is true or false, you merely make an assertion of one proposition over another contradictory one. I think therefore that ‘truths’ need to be verifiable to be meaningful.”
    Is THAT true? If so, please present the verification that makes it meaningful.
    Experimentation. Empircism.

    ”All this however, does not account for the gap in the line of reasoning, or train of thought or whatever, that takes you from acceptance of absolute standards of morality, logic etc, to acceptance of Yahweh as your personal God.”
    You do not seem to understand, I do not go from acceptance of absolute standards to acceptance of God. God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind by the impossibility of the contrary.

    Arguments like this are the reason I suggest that truth itself is invalid as proof. Your assertion the ‘impossibility of the contrary’ is true is not proven, and in any case does not prove the opposing statement ‘God is the necessary precondition.’ The trouble is here that you are attempting proof by contradiction, but the contrary argument to ‘God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is actually ‘God is not the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind.’ It is actually much easier to prove the later since you can define time as an absolute truth (although it is also relative hah) Since time is merely the passage of events within a continuum, all that it really requires is that things change from moment to moment. Thus your application of the proof by contradiction method actually backfires. Since the law of bivalence indicates that a proposition must be true or false, and time proves the existence of an absolute not requiring God as the necessary precondition, the premise ‘God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is disproved.

    ” I hope my answers fare better this time around.”
    I’ll leave that for you to decide.
    Irrelevant.

    Cheers
    P.S. I would wholeheartedly agree with you that agnosticism is in no way fence-sitting. “He who is not with me is against me~ Matthew 12:30
    False dilemma. He who is not with you (or God?) is not necessarily against you. He could also be indifferent, or perhaps not know you at all to even decide one way or the other. Besides I believe it was Groucho Marx who said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

    Later.

  80. Indeed, we Christians presuppose the Bible to be the Word of God.

    It elegantly speaks to all matters of this world. If it were written by a bunch of illiterate goat herders, as Jim has blasphemed prior, the entire lot of them were “some pretty smart goat herders whose prophecies put Nostradamus to shame.” As was evidenced by James Patrick Holding’s refutation of Merrit’s claims, the Bible has completely withstood cross-examination from you non-believers. We have the Word of God as our basis, what do YOU have? Random, non-personal matter that…SHAZAM…all of the sudden became personal. The non-believer’s worldview CANNOT intelligently make sense as to how on earth there could ever be a bi-product (a professor, let’s say) who randomly manifested over billions of years ‘from pre-biotic soup’ to one day give a lecture ‘on pre-biotic soup’ (that never existed). Think about it…your worldview believes EVERYTHING came from nothing, or perhaps from Jim’s favored ‘multi-universe lotto machine.’ We, however, have intelligent basis…we believe (and know to be true) that the Big Bang had a Big Banger, One whom manufactured the bullets, loaded the gun who pulled the trigger, and purposefully shot into existence your random chaotic matter that ultimately became a personal being with mind, morals, logic and, personally speaking, a favor for Big Macs. I just love ’em. Oh, and what about love and emotion in your worldview?…how do you account for that?

    For now…it doesn’t matter, you can’t.

    My journey with you atheists? Frustrating at best. I kept asking, “How do I convince you?”

    WITH THE BIBLE? Nyet…you don’t believe it. You don’t want to believe what the Bible teaches and will subsequently not let the facts take you to precisely what you want to avoid. I find it incredulous that while you argue so ardently against the existence of God, you know He is the only rational explanation for the fact you can, and are, reading these words and making complete sense of them in your MIND (or not, depending on your commitment to truth).

    WITH THE EVIDENCE? Nyet…you won’t allow it to bring you to THE conclusion you know to be real, because you simply cannot stand the implications as they relate to your life and lifestyle. Heaven forbid, you would have to submit your prideful selfish human nature to your Creator, who exists with or without your acknowledgment, approval or worship.

    On a side note, I have an observation (which your worldview cannot account for) regarding this blog. Jim happens to be the poster-child of a spoiled kid rebelling against his parents. He is why F.F. Bruce, late professor at the University of Manchester, concluded: “Some writers [professed atheist bloggers] may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic [a universal statement of fact] for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories, it’s dudes like Jim Gardner.” [Well, maybe I took a little editorial liberty with the last part.]

    Bruce continued, “The earliest propagators of Christianity welcomed the fullest examination of the credentials of their message. The events which they proclaimed were, as Paul said to King Agrippa, not done in a corner, and were well able to bear all the light that could be thrown on them. The spirit of these early Christians ought to animate their modern descendants. For by an acquaintance with the relevant evidence they will not only be able to give to everyone who asks them a reason for the hope that is in them, but they themselves, like Theophilus, will thus know more accurately how secure is the basis of the faith which they have been taught.”

    Sorry, I digressed.

    So where are we, really? Well, with or without your acknowledgment, we’ve arrived at THE TRUTH, and you’re not going to like it:

    Anit-theism presupposes theism. Period. This is what Sye’s cookin’ that you’re not smellin’.

    While you oppose God, you are DEPENDING on God to make sense of YOUR opposition.

    The proof of Christianity is that nothing in human experience is intelligible without it.
    Without Christianity, you could prove nothing.

  81. Hi folks! What a good read!

    I was surprised to see how small Ida’s skeleton is. Was she a baby or a full grown creature?

    Michael — thanks for posting the carbon 14 dating information. I have been trying to understand how it works (what constants does it use) for the past month and haven’t gotten enough specifics from the sites I’ve read. Your 3 paragraphs were the first time I ‘got’ it. I actually copied/pasted your post into a .doc so I can reread it for future clarification.

    In the video Jim posted, the reporter says that Ida could challenge Creationism and religion altogether. I don’t think that will be the case, because religion is either the crutch that empowers people or the cross of the martyr. Its either “I know I’m right!” or “I’m so awful for who I am… I can never atone enough!” When you’re dealing with this kind of mindset, persuasive evidence is futile.

    Even as a teenager, I used to have a little fun and ‘believe’ in Santa Claus. It was a nice feeling! Of course I had evidence against that, but I chose to put aside examination because I just wanted to indulge in a little fantasy. There’s nothing wrong with fantasy — except when you start using your fantasies to run other people’s lives.

    These days I’m much more interested in indulging in facts. I have always heard about the extensive fossil record that supports evolution, but I don’t actually know of any examples. I know the process of evolution/natural selection/DNA replication down to the nitty gritty. (I did pre-med for 3 years.) However, can someone list to me some of the transitionary fossils that help support the evolutionary argument. Aside from Darwin’s finches. That’s cake.
    \
    Lay it on me — I want the strong stuff :)

  82. Michael said: ”Do you even understand what inductive reasoning is? Omniscience is most definitely not a requirement!”

    The omniscience was not in regards to the inductive reasoning, but in regards to the suggestion that one “Can’t say that it definitely is (valid).” You would have to be omniscient to justify knowing what cannot be said, and clearly, with your misunderstanding of my response, you most certainly are not.

    ”You didn’t ask on what basis past experiences were a guide to future experiences though did you, you rephrased your original question to “on what basis you assume that past experiences are a guide to future experiences” and then added “and you answer “Based on past experiences.”

    The rephrasing was based on YOUR answer in post 88.

    ”Clearly by reframing my response within a rephrased version of your original question you have created a distortion to discredit my response.”

    Hardly, you attempted to justify the validity of induction based on past experiences, I simply then wanted to know what bearing the past has on the future (based in YOUR response).

    ”Okay I will try to make this clearer with an example. One example of an inductive argument could be something like;
    Every theist I have spoken to is dogmatic
    Therefore:
    All theists are dogmatic.
    This is an example of an inductive argument. Now I could proceed on the basis that this is valid, until such point as I spoke to a non-dogmatic theist, at which point I would have to abandon it as false, or revise it to better reflect reality based on improved information. “

    The problem being is that you are, once again, assuming the validity of induction in attempting to justify inductive reasoning! I am not asking what you could or could not do, I am asking you what your basis is for doing it. What is your basis for reasoning from the particular to the general?

    ” Also our understanding of the behaviour of ‘atoms and molecules’ whilst perhaps originally induced, has been supported by observation and deduction in experimentation.”

    And what bearing does past observation and deduction in experimentation have on future observation and deduction in experimentation? Why even do these experiments if uniformity is not FIRST assumed? I do not know how I can make it more clear but very simply, what is your basis for assuming that they future will be, or will even probably be, like the past?

    ”You do realise that the laws of logic, whilst seemingly applying universally (from the mind of man), did indeed originate in the mind of man?”

    Again, could the universe have both existed and not existed in the same time and in the same way, before man was around to ‘originate’ the law of non-contradiction?

    ”How could appeals to logic have existed in a silent universe without argument?”

    The laws of logic exist in the mind of God. Surely man’s appeal to logic necessitates man’s presence, but the existence of logic does not. Please answer my question about the universe though.

    ”You ask for an example so you could perhaps create something such as a ‘law of attraction’ to be based around things like body size and ratios, facial symmetry, social standing and so on.”

    No, I asked you for an example of “how in the world the laws of logic could arise to verify the correctness of an argument,” (obviously without using logic, in order to avoid circularity).

    ”I know that I need to go to sleep. I know it because I am finding it hard to stay awake.”

    How do you know what sleep means, how do you know that you are finding it hard to stay awake, how do you know that you are the person who is finding it hard to stay awake, for that matter, how do you know that you exist? You see Michael, without being omniscient, or having revelation from someone who is, any knowledge claim is subject to an infinite regress of “And how do you know THAT?”

    ”Please provide an example of relative truth.
    Water is essential to stay alive. (Just ask the tardigrade if that is relative.)”

    Surely you are not suggesting that that is a relative truth?!? That would be like suggesting the statement “I am hungry” is a relative truth, because not everyone is hungry! It would be absolutely true that you are hungry regardless of whether or not anyone else was hungry. Your claim is not a relative truth, it is general statement which is too general to assign any truth value.

    You: ”I actually reject the idea that truth itself is valid as a form of proof, because when you state that a premise is true or false, you merely make an assertion of one proposition over another contradictory one. I think therefore that ‘truths’ need to be verifiable to be meaningful.”

    Me: “Is THAT true? If so, please present the verification that makes it meaningful.”

    You: Experimentation. Empircism.”

    Alright, please present the experiment or empirical data which verifies that ‘truths need to be verified to be meaningful.’

    “Arguments like this are the reason I suggest that truth itself is invalid as proof.”

    Is THAT true, if so, what is the verification that makes it meaningful?

    Your assertion the ‘impossibility of the contrary’ is true is not proven, and in any case does not prove the opposing statement ‘God is the necessary precondition.’”

    Well, let’s wait until you account for the concept of proof according to your worldview, before we buy into what you say is, or is not proven. What makes my proof absolutely not a valid proof, and how do you know this?

    ”The trouble is here that you are attempting proof by contradiction, but the contrary argument to ‘God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is actually ‘God is not the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind.’ It is actually much easier to prove the later

    The floor is yours. Please prove that God is not the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind.

    ”since you can define time as an absolute truth (although it is also relative hah) Since time is merely the passage of events within a continuum, all that it really requires is that things change from moment to moment. Thus your application of the proof by contradiction method actually backfires.”

    Hardly, you have yet to give us an absolute, tell us how you know it is absolute, and tell us how it can exist without God. (I’m not holding my breath though).

    Since the law of bivalence indicates that a proposition must be true or false,

    Is this one of your man-made logical laws? Where is it, and why does it necessarily apply?

    ”and time proves the existence of an absolute not requiring God as the necessary precondition, the premise ‘God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is disproved.”

    Where did you prove that time is an absolute?

    ”I believe it was Groucho Marx who said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

    Problem is, you won’t have that choice at the gates of Hell.

  83. Like Jim, I have to head to the wilderness and will be absent this blog for a couple of days.

    In the meantime, can one of you atheists please answer the question from my earlier post?

    “(From me) 3. How do you account for Carbon 14 being found in diamonds?”

  84. Michael,

    Laws of logic?

    Here is some flawed logic, you stated:

    Okay I will try to make this clearer with an example. One example of an inductive argument could be something like;
    Every theist I have spoken to is dogmatic
    Therefore:
    All theists are dogmatic.

    This is an example of an inductive argument. Now I could proceed on the basis that this is valid, until such point as I spoke to a non-dogmatic theist, at which point I would have to abandon it as false….”

    It is actually false from the get go. I’m not being cute here. You have committed the Logical fallacy of “composition.” In other words you have advanced an argument in which the conclusion is drawn from the attributes of the parts of a whole (your premise) to the attributes of the whole itself. You have NOT spoken with ALL theists(and which would be impossible for you to do), but your conclusion would require that you had to be valid. Nice try, but how about giving an example that is not invalid while at the same time is not such a not so subtle slam of the person you are debating (Ad Hominem fallacy). Dogmatism can apply to anyone, it is not a term meant only for the theist.

    You also stated:

    “[SYE T’s Staement]Is THAT true? If so, please present the verification that makes it meaningful.
    [Your response]Experimentation. Empircism.[sic]”(you own your mispelled words and I’ll own mine:-)

    Perhaps the following kind of empirical evidence is what blows theists out of the water:

    “ONLY WHAT CAN BE KNOWN BY SCIENCE OR QUANTIFIED AND EMPIRICALLY TESTED IS RATIONAL AND TRUE.” However, this is self refuting because the statement itself can not be quantified or empirically tested. This also has bearing on the Induction debate that never ends.

    Of course, no atheist or agnostic has ever argued anything remotely like the above statement–real or implied-certainly not on this blog.

    Here is universal truth:
    “THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTE TRUTHS, ALL TRUTH IS RELATIVE.”
    Also, self refuting. Making the claim is to assert that all truth is relative except this truth claim.

    You said:

    “Arguments like this are the reason I suggest that truth itself is invalid as proof.”

    Validity and invalidity in logic apply to the soundness of an argument–not its truth or falsity. It is helpful to define your terms when you are using terms like truth. If you mean truth in the sense of true/honest statements then such statements can be valid or invalid logically, but truth in an ultimate sense is an end, not a means (proof, evidence, reason, premise)towards that end.

    You also said:

    “You do realise that the laws of logic, whilst seemingly applying universally (from the mind of man), did indeed originate in the mind of man? How could appeals to logic have existed in a silent universe without argument?”

    Do you realize that statements like “from the mind of man” and “did indeed originate in the mind of man” is begging the question (another logical fallacy).

    Best not to be too hard on SYE T about his understanding of the laws of logic and there application. We all commit logical fallacies from time to time–hopefully not intentionally, but when pointed out we should do better next time don’t you think?

  85. WriterWriter,

    Of course, it is not allowed that God was in the Garden and in later years used Moses as his amanuensis (I will not treat you like a child and define that word for you. I will assume that you either know it, or will consult a lexicon, or simply Google it). By the way a lexicon is a dictionary, though there is a wider semantic range for the word. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I just wanted you to feel as special and as cared for as we did when you helped us out.

    Anyway, I would gladly tell you the very name of the “real” journalist/observer/recorder/stationary in the Garden (that you demand to know whom he or she is). His name has been closely guarded by secret societies over the ages. I will reveal the name to you now (before Dan Brown breaks the news in his next book) on one condition. You must tell me the name of the journalist/observer/recorder/stationary who was snorkeling in the primordial sea when life began. I’m sure it is the same guy who has been around to observe and report through the Archaeozoic, Proterozoic, Palaeozoic, and other Eras of Earth’s history. Or, do you posit not one journalist/observer/recorder/stationary but several over the successive ages of the Earth. Certainly there must have been millions over the billions of years. Just one guy would be ridiculous. Posit means…just kidding:-).

    You asked:

    “Do people seriously believe there ever was such a thing as a talking snake?”

    Well, I’m surprised that Eve didn’t seem to be surprised when it spoke. Snakes freak me out as they are, if one spoke to me I would run rather than carry on a conversation.

    Actually, the snake spoke a Proto-Hebraic dialect that is well attested in pottery shards unearthed in the ruins of Neolithic age veterinary clinics.

    Oh, come on WriterWriter. Google “animal communication” and you will find all manner of “scientific” sites (and yes a few kooky horse whisperer type sites) expounding upon the subject. Here’s a quote from one of the former:

    “Among nonhuman animals, birds take first place in imitating sounds, including human words. But perhaps surprisingly, marine mammals place a respectable second. Certain harbor seals have learned to bark out (barely) recognizable words, and whales imitate each other during the development of long, complex songs. But the most widely studied marine mammal vocalizers are dolphins. Dolphins communicate with a great number of different sounds, from the repetitive clicks used for echolocation (and possibly to communicate) to whistles and grunts; in captivity, they can imitate human words to some extent. Their echolocation appears truly remarkable. A blindfolded dolphin can find an object the size of a penny on the bottom of a swimming pool and can distinguish small objects based on their shape and the material they’re made of. But more remarkable, perhaps, are the vocalizations more obviously used for communication….”

    On the Genesis account the entire created universe and all creatures were perfect. After the fall of Adam and Eve sin and death entered the world. The entire universe began to, and continues to, decay (can anyone say 1st and 2nd law of thermodynamics, could it be that something in the Genesis creation “myth” comports with reality? Of course not, that must be my imagination or irrelevant coincidence).

    Now given that many animals do communicate with each other, some quite remarkably, and given that some can mimic human sounds/words (Polly want a cracker), I don’t think that a talking snake in a pristine world before the Noetic effects of sin is silly or stupid at all. If you still do, then go tell your silly/stupid peers that they are wasting precious grant money that could be better spent exploring space in the hopes of finding that advanced alien race that must have planted the “genetic life-seed” in the primordial soup.

    Don’t get me wrong, if the spacecraft U.S.S. Enterprise gets up and running in my lifetime I want to go. Sign me up. They’ll need a chaplain on board.

    Gotta go

  86. Todd

    “Oh, and what about love and emotion in your worldview?…how do you account for that?”

    A great many animals have been shown to exhibit emotion. As for love itself, I imagine that it exists for the same reason as fear, or hunger, or myriad other states of being, i.e to motivate the organism into an action conducive with its survival. Specifically, to conceive of and raise a child.

    Mitch

    “You have committed the Logical fallacy of “composition.” In other words you have advanced an argument in which the conclusion is drawn from the attributes of the parts of a whole (your premise) to the attributes of the whole itself. ”

    Funnily enough that is the very definition of inductive reasoning, and also precisely the reason that it’s validity remains in question. Congratulations! You’ve made my argument for me.

    “Validity and invalidity in logic apply to the soundness of an argument–not its truth or falsity. It is helpful to define your terms when you are using terms like truth. If you mean truth in the sense of true/honest statements then such statements can be valid or invalid logically, but truth in an ultimate sense is an end, not a means (proof, evidence, reason, premise)towards that end.”

    You may see ‘truth’ as an end, but I maintain that it isn’t. A declaration of truth is meaningless without verifiability.

    “Do you realize that statements like “from the mind of man” and “did indeed originate in the mind of man” is begging the question (another logical fallacy).”

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I put “(from the mind of man)” in parentheses to say that it is applied to the universe from the mind of man! It is not begging the question to suggest that something which formed within man’s mind is applied to the universe from within it! If you doubt the premise that the logic originated in the mind of man, then I would invite you to research the philosophers who first used and then later developed it to its level today. Zeno of Elea is a good start.

    Sye

    I see that Jim was right about you! I answer your questions over and over, you then follow with selective quotation of my responses to suggest the answers are not valid! I cannot argue with such a mind set. I therefore concede the floor to your thick headedness. Life is too short to be lead around in circles by someone who’s mind is made up, I guess this is what it feels like when one attempts to engage the dogmatic mind. I am actually a little embarrassed it took me so long to see what he saw so very quickly!

    “Problem is, you won’t have that choice at the gates of Hell.”

    Maybe you’re right. Difference I will find out when I die, whilst people like you are already living in fear of it. Sort of like the child who chastises his brother with ‘wait until daddy gets home’ when all else fails you toss the ‘devil’ around to get your way!

    Just hope none of you guys ever work on a Sunday!

    “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. ”

    Or wear polyester or nylon!

    “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”

    Or shave that beard!

    “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard”

    Please.

  87. The theory of evolution makes a lot of biological sense to me and this Ida fascinates me.

    You know how scientists always say the fossil record supports evolution? My problem is that I don’t actually know of any fossils. Has anybody found a website or a list, or pictures of fossils, that I could read about?

    Sorry that I’m not engaging in the above argument, but I did that kind of debate for the better part of 2 weeks and it was fruitless. (Fruitless meaning I explained my points, and got dogmatic, snarky and ‘you’re going to hell’ in return. Blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.)

  88. Hi Kaybee. I like this free little ebook on evolution and the fossil record as a primer. It has good introductory information and also has the advantage of acknowledging the limits of science (although many here would argue that means it is therefore chicken and sits on the fence hah) thus it doesn’t immediately ostracise the non atheist.

    http://www.agiweb.org/news/evolution.pdf

    I hope you find it useful as a primer, and I agree with you about the futility of that type of debate having just learned the same lesson myself!

  89. Michael said: ”I see that Jim was right about you! I answer your questions over and over, you then follow with selective quotation of my responses to suggest the answers are not valid!”

    I have no problem with the intellectually honest, who may read this blog , determining whether or not you have answered my questions.

    You say logic originates in the mind of man, I asked twice if the universe could have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before man made the law of non-contradiction – no answer.

    You say that you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past based on past experiences. I ask what bearing the past has on the future – no answer

    I challenge you on your knowledge claim – no answer.

    I challenge you on your ‘relative truth’ claim – no answer.

    You say that truths need verification to make them meaningful, I ask for the verification of that ‘truth’ and you say ‘experimentation and empiricism.’ I ask for examples – no answer.

    I ask what makes my proof absolutely not valid – no answer.

    I ask for an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument” – no answer.

    I ask you where your man-made law of bivalence is, and why it necessarily applies – no answer.

    I ask where you proved that time is an absolute – no answer.

    All that is just from a cursory search of our discussion, I’m sure there are more.

    I have no problem leaving it at this, I never expected answers in the first place.

    Cheers,

    Sye

  90. On one hand I’m impressed with the sustained level of activity in this debate. On the other I’m frustrated that those of you in opposition to myself have wasted such a great opportunity to clarify the evangelical position on evidence. This thread is one of the most commented upon, throughout the whole blog. It would have been useful for future reference to have had it outlined exactly where the hard-liner’s stand, in terms of the evidence. Unfortunately, what I’m seeing is that there is no such line of demarkation between faith and reason. It’s all about the belief and the facts can literally go to hell, if they happen to contradict previously held assumptions. This is a great shame.

    It was rather ambitious of me to have hoped that this classic impasse between faith and facts could have been breached, although if this is ever to be achieved, fossils and genomes are almost certainly bound to be the chips we play with. A word of advice to certain individuals, however, you probably won’t be in the game for much longer if you keep throwing away what little collateral you have left on violent threats about hell and other personal fears about death, which those of us who are awake know only the truly lost could allow themselves to cling to.

    Kaybee raised an interesting point which I hadn’t thought about before. In terms of the general public going to Google and finding out more on Ida. I can only hope this thread does as well in the incoming links stakes as others on similar subjects have, because having seen ‘The Link’ documentary on the BBC last night, I’m surprised there aren’t a lot more creationists out there than there already are. If that is the best film the best brains can make on what is, whichever way you slice it, a milestone in palaeontology, archaeology, anthropology and a human understanding of our ancestral history, we’re doomed.

    It was dumbed down and scant on the facts. Plenty of artistic interpretations and fancy computer modelling. Based upon the available evidence, though Im sure it was, it wasn’t explained in the film how we know what we know. It was exactly the kind of thin on the detail story telling, as opposed to science explaining, which fuels the imagination of those who are already predisposed to fairy-tales to submit that there are two equally valid sides to the creation story, when we know that there is not.

    There’s no wonder that there is such a poor understanding of scientific methodological processes among the general public, when it would appear the world’s largest broadcaster can’t make a film about perhaps the most important artefact to be discovered in a generation, which even attempts to explain the basics of taxonomy, for example; or why we already knew many years before Ida that natural selection is a water tight description of how humans evolved.

    Hopefully people still looking for answers to these questions, having been let down by the film, will eventually find blog comments like those above and join the debate. I, however, will not be around after today for at least another 5 days. Camping, sunshine, drink, fun and plenty of debauched premarital sexual intercourse with a woman half my age! Hallelujah!!

  91. All facts are interpreted subject to our respective presuppositions. There is no sense in debating over facts, until we establish whose worldview can account for the logic, knowledge, and truth implicit in facts. The atheist obviously (scroll up) cannot.

    Cheers,

    Sye

  92. Sye T. When you said, “it is my position that the Bible does not have any contradictions” and I replied with at least two, were you honestly trying to juggle too much at once and simply forgot to address this in your last seven replies, or is that an example of how Christians can not (scroll up) debate the facts?

    Similarly, when you assign me and others the label of ‘atheist’ as a reason for, as you see it, our inability to understand the facts, are you speed reading over the pages and pages of text here and elsewhere which explain why that label means nothing to free thinkers, or could it be you are as guilty of holding onto precisely the same kind of blind spot to which you accuse myself and others of having?

    Frustrating though this may be, if you choose not to directly answer the above questions, as myself and others have graciously attempted to do in return for your rather confrontational demands, only to be met with derision, please be aware that I won’t be replying again to you directly, unless you specifically address these extremely problematic flaws in your already rather fragile argument.

  93. Pingback: BBC ‘The Link’ Documentary on Fossil Ida « How good is that?

  94. Michael said: ”I see that Jim was right about you! I answer your questions over and over, you then follow with selective quotation of my responses to suggest the answers are not valid!”
    I have no problem with the intellectually honest, who may read this blog , determining whether or not you have answered my questions.
    You say logic originates in the mind of man, I asked twice if the universe could have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before man made the law of non-contradiction – no answer.
    Because that does not make sense Sye. How can something ‘exist and not exist in the same time and in the same way’? You will have to be clearer.

    You say that you proceed with the assumption that the future will be like the past based on past experiences. I ask what bearing the past has on the future – no answer
    The ‘bearing’ the past has on the future I suppose relates to probability. In an objective sense the ‘bearing’ is a suggestion that in most situations an outcome can be said to most probably mirror the most frequently occurring outcome in previous, similar situations. Outliers or improbable outcomes are still however possible. Which is to say inference based on past experiences really means nothing concrete, it is an induction, if you like, to proceed with the assumption it does.

    I challenge you on your knowledge claim – no answer.
    You did not challenge me on my knowledge claim, you challenged me on my actual existence and other semi incoherencies which seemed to me unrelated to your initial question. You asked for an example of knowledge and how I knew it and I gave you one.

    I challenge you on your ‘relative truth’ claim – no answer.
    You need to look again. I answered this as well. My relative truth was ‘water is essential to stay alive.’ I used the example of the tardigrade to show that this is relative. Another example could be make using toleration of different temperatures, environments etc etc but I doubt those will be satisfactory to you either.

    You say that truths need verification to make them meaningful, I ask for the verification of that ‘truth’ and you say ‘experimentation and empiricism.’ I ask for examples – no answer.
    You didn’t ask for examples, you asked me to ‘present the verification that makes it meaningful’ which again is what I answered. Experimental or observational verifications make it meaningful.

    I ask what makes my proof absolutely not valid – no answer.
    That was included in the previous comment you were responding to if you actually looked. Your proof was invalid according to your own use logic.

    I ask for an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument” – no answer.
    Because once philosophers stopped merely proposing various visions of reality, and began to make arguments for their views in opposition to others ( such as Parmenides), the path was set for the development of a school of thought to evaluate the validity of arguments themselves in order to determine the validity of the propositions. If you understand the emergent properties of things like knowledge, behaviour and so on it really isn’t difficult to account for.

    I ask you where your man-made law of bivalence is, and why it necessarily applies – no answer.
    Where it is? In books, on the internet, within the minds of those who understand or have been taught it! Why it applies is simple. If you are using or attempting to use proof by contradiction to prove for example, for the proposition ‘God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ then you must show evidence that the contrary proposition ’God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is false. The reason for this is that according to the law of bivalence, every proposition is either true or false, which means if you prove that ’God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is false, then you prove the opposite is true by default. It’s up to you whether you choose to accept this or not. Just be aware that without the law of bivalence, proofs by contradiction such as “God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind by the impossibility of the contrary” would actually not be possible to even attempt.

    I ask where you proved that time is an absolute – no answer.
    See, I like time because it is both an absolute, and a relative truth. Time is an absolute truth because it has no exceptions. What we take from time remains for others to take and we all use the same time (although it can still be said to be relative to each of us.) If you struggle with this you could try infinity, another absolute truth.

    All that is just from a cursory search of our discussion, I’m sure there are more.
    More what? Distortions or obfuscations? Either way is tiresome.

    I have no problem leaving it at this, I never expected answers in the first place.
    And yet you received so many.

    Cheers,
    Sye
    Later

  95. Todd,

    You seem to have a lot of source material to direct people towards so I wonder if you could help me out.
    I am currently reading ‘The Selfish Gene’ by Richard Dawkins. I am finding it fascinating, but in the interests of objectivity or fairness if you like, are there any thoughtful (not inflammatory) rebuttals written by theistic writers which I could look at when I am done? I concede that the case Dawkin’s makes is utterly compelling, but I am leaving room for the possibility that it is overstated.

    Thanks

  96. Jim said: ”Sye T. When you said, “it is my position that the Bible does not have any contradictions” and I replied with at least two, were you simply trying to juggle too many replies at once and simply forgot to address this in your last 7 replies, or is that an example of how Christians can not (scroll up) debate the facts?”

    Nope, it is my position that Christians can and do debate facts. In fact, Todd gave you some links that deal specifically with alleged contradictions. It is my point, as I said that: All facts are interpreted subject to our respective presuppositions. There is no sense in debating over facts, until we establish whose worldview can account for the logic, knowledge, and truth implicit in facts. The atheist obviously (scroll up) cannot.”

    ”Similarly, when you assign me and others the label of ‘atheist’ “

    Don’t you read what you write??? Look at the first 5 words in your “Waking up in America” post from May 25: I am an American Atheist.” I didn’t assign you the label, you assigned it to yourself.

    ”as a reason for, as you see it, our inability to understand the facts, are you speed reading over the pages and pages of text here and elsewhere which explain why that label means nothing to free thinkers”

    Freethinkers? What a laugh! Free as long as it comports with your worldview you mean. When the topic of your unrepentant future home comes up, you threaten banishment from your blog. Real free.

    ”Frustrating though this may be, if you choose not to directly answer the above questions, as myself and others have graciously attempted to do in return for your rather confrontational demands, only to be met with derision, please be aware that I won’t be replying again to you directly, unless you specifically address these rather problematic flaws in your already rather fragile argument.”

    Absolute flaws presuppose an absolute standard of logic, which you have failed to justify according to your worldview. I do not answer your alleged ‘flaws’, because according to your worldview there can be no such thing. Hardly makes sense to argue against MY worldview, while borrowing the foundations for logic and science from MY worldview. I have given you ample opportunity to present your justification for logic, and science, and all you have done is hide behind Michael, who is now looking for his own place to hide.

    If you feel that you have laid the groundwork to no longer reply to me, I can only offer a heartfelt thanks on behalf of myself, and those who may be reading along.

    Cheers.

  97. Sure, happy to provide some recommended non-God-hating refutation to this leader of those who desire God not exist. Off-blog. Feel free to contact me at htirips@gmail.com if you’d like.

  98. Thanks Todd.

    Sye T:

    “all you have done is hide behind Michael, who is now looking for his own place to hide.”

    I have done no such thing. I have responded to you yet again in post 126, if you bothered to check.

    Also Jim’s post ‘I Am An American Atheist’ is an imported piece written by Marshall Evans, not Jim himself. Although you would know that as well if you had bothered to read that.

    Peace

  99. Michael said: ” Because that does not make sense Sye. How can something ‘exist and not exist in the same time and in the same way’? You will have to be clearer.”

    Well, obviously before man came up with the law of non-contradiction, as you state, it would have to be possible. You say that logical laws originate in the mind of man, so why could there not be contradictions before man existed? Why could the universe not have both existed, and not existed at the same time and in the same way before man ‘originated’ the law of non-contradiction?

    The ‘bearing’ the past has on the future I suppose relates to probability. In an objective sense the ‘bearing’ is a suggestion that in most situations an outcome can be said to most probably mirror the most frequently occurring outcome in previous, similar situations. “

    PROBABILITY ASSUMES THE VALIDITY OF INDUCTION, THE VERY THING YOU ARE TRYING TO PROVE! Again what effect does the past have on the future??? How do past atoms and molecules communicate to future atoms and molecules how to behave??? How do you know what will probably happen in the future??? How do you know anything about the future without FIRST assuming uniformity??? This is exactly my point, you say that you have answered my question, but you just regurgitate your non-answers.

    ” You did not challenge me on my knowledge claim, you challenged me on my actual existence and other semi incoherencies which seemed to me unrelated to your initial question. “

    I most certainly did challenge your knowledge claim. If you claim that you know that you are tired, implicit in that claim is that you know you exist, among other things. I challenged those things, you did not answer.

    Me: I challenge you on your ‘relative truth’ claim – no answer.
    You: You need to look again. I answered this as well. My relative truth was ‘water is essential to stay alive.’ I used the example of the tardigrade to show that this is relative.

    No, you gave a statement which was too general to have any truth value, as I pointed out, you did not answer the challenge. Your statement was not a relative truth, it was neither true nor false, it was too general to be either.

    Me:” You say that truths need verification to make them meaningful, I ask for the verification of that ‘truth’ and you say ‘experimentation and empiricism.’ I ask for examples – no answer.”
    You: “You didn’t ask for examples, you asked me to ‘present the verification that makes it meaningful’ which again is what I answered. Experimental or observational verifications make it meaningful. “

    Um yip, in post 111: “Alright, please present the experiment or empirical data which verifies that ‘truths need to be verified to be meaningful.” – no answer.

    Me: I ask what makes my proof absolutely not valid – no answer.
    You: That was included in the previous comment you were responding to if you actually looked. Your proof was invalid according to your own use logic.

    I am asking what makes it invalid according to YOUR worldview. Again, no sense borrowing the foundations of logic from MY worldview, to argue against MY worldview.

    Me: “I ask for an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument” – no answer.
    You: Because once philosophers stopped merely proposing various visions of reality, and began to make arguments for their views in opposition to others ( such as Parmenides), the path was set for the development of a school of thought to evaluate the validity of arguments themselves in order to determine the validity of the propositions.”

    Hmmm, I asked for an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument,” I still see no answer there.

    Me: “I ask you where your man-made law of bivalence is, and why it necessarily applies – no answer.
    You: “Where it is? In books, on the internet, within the minds of those who understand or have been taught it!”

    Oh, so it’s not universal then. Fine, now let’s see why something that is not universal necessarily applies…

    ”Why it applies is simple. If you are using or attempting to use proof by contradiction to prove for example, for the proposition ‘God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ then you must show evidence that the contrary proposition ’God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is false. The reason for this is that according to the law of bivalence, every proposition is either true or false, which means if you prove that ’God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is false, then you prove the opposite is true by default. It’s up to you whether you choose to accept this or not. Just be aware that without the law of bivalence, proofs by contradiction such as “God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind by the impossibility of the contrary” would actually not be possible to even attempt.”

    Oh, so it applies because it applies, I get it! And you call THAT an answer?!?

    Me: “I ask where you proved that time is an absolute – no answer.”
    You: “See, I like time because it is both an absolute, and a relative truth. Time is an absolute truth because it has no exceptions.”

    How do you know??? You obviously do not have absolute knowledge, how do you know that time is ‘an absolute truth???’

    Me: “All that is just from a cursory search of our discussion, I’m sure there are more.”
    You: More what? Distortions or obfuscations? “

    EXACTLY!

    Me:I have no problem leaving it at this, I never expected answers in the first place.
    You: And yet you received so many.

    Again, I’ll let the intellectually honest reader be the judge of that.

    Cheers

  100. Michale said: “I have done no such thing. I have responded to you yet again in post 126, if you bothered to check.”

    I did, and I responded. Still looks like hiding to me though.

    “Also Jim’s post ‘I Am An American Atheist’ is an imported piece written by Marshall Evans, not Jim himself. Although you would know that as well if you had bothered to read that.”

    I didn’t. My apologies.

  101. Well, obviously before man came up with the law of non-contradiction, as you state, it would have to be possible.
    Perhaps, although you could apply the same reasoning to aeroplanes. They must have been possible before man invented them too musn’t they. I find myself saying ‘so what?’

    You say that logical laws originate in the mind of man, so why could there not be contradictions before man existed? Why could the universe not have both existed, and not existed at the same time and in the same way before man ‘originated’ the law of non-contradiction?
    Seriously? Because before man existed there were no arguments! There were no propositions, no contentions, no mutually exclusive premises, no diametrically opposing viewpoints, no debates and therefore NO CONTRADICTIONS! The possibility of the universe existing and not existing in the same time and at the same way is not a possibility even remotely tied to man’s invention of the law of non-contradiction; it is not actually a possibility at all! The universe exists and has done so long before man ever arose to question its nature!

    PROBABILITY ASSUMES THE VALIDITY OF INDUCTION, THE VERY THING YOU ARE TRYING TO PROVE!
    What on earth are you even trying to say!?! I am not trying to prove induction what are you on about!?

    Again what effect does the past have on the future??? How do past atoms and molecules communicate to future atoms and molecules how to behave??? How do you know what will probably happen in the future??? How do you know anything about the future without FIRST assuming uniformity??? This is exactly my point, you say that you have answered my question, but you just regurgitate your non-answers.
    Oh of course! Uniformity! How did I not realise that was the buzzword you were so stubbornly waiting for! That grand metaphysical concept which in your mind somehow proves the existence Yahweh, your personal creator God! Please. Yes of course you must assume uniformity (induction) to proceed on that basis but that DOES NOT PROVE UNIFORMITY EXISTS IN TOTO! Proof requires empirical evidence, but mans sphere of influence is so unimaginably small in an unfathomably gigantic universe, existing for a ridiculously tiny fraction of time that uniformity, from our meagre perspective is something which is totally beyond our ability to prove, other than in a purely relative sense as it relates to us here and now.

    I most certainly did challenge your knowledge claim. If you claim that you know that you are tired, implicit in that claim is that you know you exist, among other things. I challenged those things, you did not answer.
    That is just silly. I suppose I could respond to every claim you have made with ‘yes well how do you know you exist’ ‘well that means you assume this so how do you know this’ ad nauseum, although quite what the point would be. It is a very childish attitude. Of course I know I exist! I believe Descartes solved that particular dilemma long ago! (Cogito, ergo sum!)

    You need to look again. I answered this as well. My relative truth was ‘water is essential to stay alive.’ I used the example of the tardigrade to show that this is relative.
    No, you gave a statement which was too general to have any truth value, as I pointed out, you did not answer the challenge. Your statement was not a relative truth, it was neither true nor false, it was too general to be either.
    It was not general in any way. It was quite specific. The tardigrade can replace water within its system with a sugar which keeps it alive in the absence of water. Therefore water is not essential for it stay alive, yet for other organisms it is. If you would like another example, how about the concept of justice. In absolute terms, justice is intended to maintain equality between personal and public rights. However in times of civil disturbance it can become impossible to protect the rights of either group. In those times therefore relative justice must be applied to protect the public in disregard of the rights of the individual. That is pretty specific isn’t it.

    Um yip, in post 111: “Alright, please present the experiment or empirical data which verifies that ‘truths need to be verified to be meaningful.” – no answer.
    You’re answer is that empirical data cannot verify such a vague statement.

    I am asking what makes it invalid according to YOUR worldview. Again, no sense borrowing the foundations of logic from MY worldview, to argue against MY worldview.
    My worldview is irrelevant. You made a proposition based on logic, I argue that is flawed using logic. Personal world views are a non factor when debating logical form.

    Me: “I ask for an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument” – no answer.
    You: Because once philosophers stopped merely proposing various visions of reality, and began to make arguments for their views in opposition to others ( such as Parmenides), the path was set for the development of a school of thought to evaluate the validity of arguments themselves in order to determine the validity of the propositions.”
    Hmmm, I asked for an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument,” I still see no answer there.
    The principle of emergence and human intellectual creativity. See you are trying to force me to suggest that the laws of logic existed before man (ie are truly universal.) Without the existence of an extraterrestrial intelligence similar to man’s however this is not a tenable argument. If man doesn’t exist, logic doesn’t exist in any meaningful way. You may as well suggest that since man came up with art, colour theory must be the universal proof of yahweh.

    Me: “I ask you where your man-made law of bivalence is, and why it necessarily applies – no answer.
    You: “Where it is? In books, on the internet, within the minds of those who understand or have been taught it!”
    Oh, so it’s not universal then. Fine, now let’s see why something that is not universal necessarily applies…”Why it applies is simple. If you are using or attempting to use proof by contradiction to prove for example, for the proposition ‘God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ then you must show evidence that the contrary proposition ’God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is false. The reason for this is that according to the law of bivalence, every proposition is either true or false, which means if you prove that ’God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind’ is false, then you prove the opposite is true by default. It’s up to you whether you choose to accept this or not. Just be aware that without the law of bivalence, proofs by contradiction such as “God is the necessary precondition for absolutes of any kind by the impossibility of the contrary” would actually not be possible to even attempt.”
    Oh, so it applies because it applies, I get it! And you call THAT an answer?!?
    No it applies because YOU CHOSE to use PROOF OF CONTRADICTION in YOUR argument. If you chose to pose your arguments in Haiku, you could be criticised for not using the right syllable counts.

    Me: “I ask where you proved that time is an absolute – no answer.”
    You: “See, I like time because it is both an absolute, and a relative truth. Time is an absolute truth because it has no exceptions.”
    How do you know??? You obviously do not have absolute knowledge, how do you know that time is ‘an absolute truth???’
    ’How do you know? how do you know?’ You really do have a hard time suppressing that inner child! Perhaps you would like to demonstrate how time and infinity are NOT absolute truths?

    You: And yet you received so many.
    Again, I’ll let the intellectually honest reader be the judge of that.
    Blah Blah Blah

  102. Michael,

    You said:

    (My statement)”“You have committed the Logical fallacy of “composition.” In other words you have advanced an argument in which the conclusion is drawn from the attributes of the parts of a whole (your premise) to the attributes of the whole itself. ”

    (Your reply)Funnily enough that is the very definition of inductive reasoning, and also precisely the reason that it’s validity remains in question. Congratulations! You’ve made my argument for me.”

    You find that funny Michael? Well guess what. You still don’t understand induction.

    Definitions please (these are from Random House Webster’s College Dictionary 2001-not the Bible, so hopefully you’ll believe),an exact quote from definition #3 which is what we are discussing:

    Induction:
    “3.(in logic) a. any form of reasoning in which the conclusion, though supported by the premises, does not follow from them necessarily. b. the process of ESTIMATING the validity of observations of part of a class of facts as evidence for a proposition about the whole class. c. a conclusion reached by this process….”[CAPS emphasis added to get your attention).

    Now 3b. is where you miss the point. When you stated:

    ”Okay I will try to make this clearer with an example. One example of an inductive argument could be something like;
    Every theist I have spoken to is dogmatic
    Therefore:
    All theists are dogmatic.
    This is an example of an inductive argument.”

    Problems:
    1. In your conclusion you, in fact, did not estimate but rather made quite a leap to universal application. Your limited experience with SOME theists can not be said to be true of ALL theist because you have not spoken to, nor could you speak, to all of them. Thus the logical fallacy. It would have been valid logic to have concluded something along the lines of “all theists may be dogmatic.”

    2. This brings us back to definition 3a. The following argument is valid because its conclusion does follow from the premise:

    Every theist I have spoken to is dogmatic
    Therefore:
    All theists may be dogmatic.

    However, it remains that by its very nature it is not necessarily true.

    Also, on another point you confuse validity with truth. As I have already stated validity and invalidity in logic apply to the soundness of an argument–not its truth or falsity. An argument can be perfectly VALID and still be completely FALSE, BUT it can not be INVALID and TRUE.

    You said:

    “You may see ‘truth’ as an end, but I maintain that it isn’t. A declaration of truth is meaningless without verifiability.”

    Michael–an “end” is a goal”, if truth is not our goal then why are we constructing arguments? Just to prove falsity? Prove falsity with out advancing an alternative that we attempt to show is true? Arguments with no goal or aim? Maybe we argue just to argue. My initial reply to your logically flawed “all theists are dogmatic argument” was correct then and after addressing your reply you are still wrong and I am right on that point. That is the truth.

    Also, I said”

    “Do you realize that statements like “from the mind of man” and “did indeed originate in the mind of man” is begging the question (another logical fallacy).”

    You replied:

    “Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I put “(from the mind of man)” in parentheses to say that it is applied to the universe from the mind of man! It is not begging the question to suggest that something which formed within man’s mind is applied to the universe from within it! If you doubt the premise that the logic originated in the mind of man, then I would invite you to research the philosophers who first used and then later developed it to its level today. Zeno of Elea is a good start.”

    Your original statement:

    ““You do realise that the laws of logic, whilst seemingly applying universally (from the mind of man), did indeed originate in the mind of man? How could appeals to logic have existed in a silent universe without argument?”

    I will grant that I misread ONLY the clause ” whilst seemingly applying universally (from the mind of man)” and you are right that it is not “begging the question.” However, that is a parenthetical clause (set off by commas) in the middle of this clause of yours:

    “You do realise that the laws of logic…did indeed originate in the mind of man?”

    YES you have stated that the LAWS of LOGIC, not simply the application thereof, are derived from the mind of man. If that is not what you meant to say then work on your sentence structure or something because that IS what you have said. That IS the fallacy of “begging the question” as well as a fallacy of “question framing.” That is you assume the truth of the statement which you have not argued, and you ask a question that is irrelevant if it has not been shown that laws of logic did indeed originate in the mind of man.

    Now, in your reply you offer proof by an appeal to an authority, namely the philosophers who first used and then later developed it to its level today. Zeno of Elea is a good start.

    There are many sub-disciplines of logic, but the basic laws have not “developed” as you say. The Law of Noncontradiction has not developed (neither have any laws of logic or nature). It is the same today as it was when those philosophers recognized and applied (not invented) the law. A dog can not be a dog and not a dog at the same time. That is just as true in the past as it is today–regardless of whether anybody is around to argue. Mathematics is formal logic. A small, uninhabited island in the Pacific ocean may have only TWO trees on it. That the number of trees is two is not established by the presence of some persons to argue about it. By the way, long before any philosophers argued anything, people could see plainly the reality of noncontradiction in daily life though they did not label that reality as a law. Also, ask any atheist if the laws found governing nature (not invented by man but recognized and named by man) did not exist for billions of years until thinking, reasoning man showed up. The same with laws of logic.

  103. Mitch inductive reasoning is the process by which you take observation of a part, and apply it to the whole. The argument I submitted most definitely was an inductive argument. Another example, (and this is straight from wiki) would be ‘this ice is cold therefore all ice is cold.’ I understand the principle quite well thank you, and perhaps if you read the dictionary definition you quote properly you would see it clearly states “any form of reasoning in which the conclusion, though supported by the premises, does not follow from them necessarily

  104. Here is an interesting new direction. Whilst avoiding convoluted rationalisations could the Christians tell me the answer to these 10 questions;

    1. If god answers prayers and performs miracles Why wont god heal amputees?
    2. If god answers prayers and performs miracles why are there millions of starving children in the world?
    3. Why does god demand the death of millions of people?
    (Exodus 35:2, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 etc etc)
    4. Why does the bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
    (worldwide floods, men living inside fish for days, man made from dust)
    5. Why is god such a huge proponent of slavery?
    (Exodus 21:20-21, Colossians 3:22-2, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Peter 2:18 etc)
    6. Why do bad things happen to good people?
    7. Why didn’t any of jesus’ miracles leave behind any evidence?
    8. How do you we explain the fact that jesus has never appeared to you?
    (considering that he is supposedly all powerful and timeless)
    9. Why would jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?
    (considering in most contexts this would be cannabalism or a bizarre pagan ritual)
    10. Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?

    Now imagining for a moment that god does not exist, how would these answers differ?

    Later.

  105. @ Michael,

    You said: ”Because that does not make sense Sye. How can something ‘exist and not exist in the same time and in the same way’? You will have to be clearer.”

    I answered: “Well, obviously before man came up with the law of non-contradiction, as you state, it would have to be possible.”

    You answered: ”Perhaps… …so what?’

    Okay, so you say that the universe could have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before man came up with the law of non-contradiction. So now, you either take the absurd position that man affected the nature of the universe such that it must now exist, or you take the absurd position that the universe (including Michael) might still both exist and not exist at the same time and in the same way. It sure would be interesting to see how you get knowledge from the position that you may not even exist!

    I said: “You say that logical laws originate in the mind of man, so why could there not be contradictions before man existed? Why could the universe not have both existed, and not existed at the same time and in the same way before man ‘originated’ the law of non-contradiction?”

    And now you refute your earlier claim by denying the possibility. You say:

    ”Seriously? Because before man existed there were no arguments! There were no propositions, no contentions, no mutually exclusive premises, no diametrically opposing viewpoints, no debates and therefore NO CONTRADICTIONS!” The possibility of the universe existing and not existing in the same time and at the same way is not a possibility even remotely tied to man’s invention of the law of non-contradiction; it is not actually a possibility at all!”

    Why not?

    You said: ” The universe exists and has done so long before man ever arose to question its nature! “

    How do you know? How do you know that you are not just a brain in a vat created 5 seconds ago with false memories? How do you know that your reasoning about the universe is valid?

    I said: ”PROBABILITY ASSUMES THE VALIDITY OF INDUCTION, THE VERY THING YOU ARE TRYING TO PROVE!

    You answered: ”What on earth are you even trying to say!?! I am not trying to prove induction what are you on about!?”

    I asked what your basis was for assuming that the future would be like the past, which is inductive reasoning. You attempted to justify your assumption that the future would be like the past (your inductive reasoning) by answering that you based your assumption that the future would be like the past, on past experience. I asked what bearing the past had on the future, and you answered “The “bearing’ the past has on the future I suppose relates to probability.”

    So, you are trying to justify your assumption that the future will be like the past (your inductive reasoning) on probability, problem is PROBABILITY IS DEPENDENT ON THE PRESUPPOSTION THAT INDUCTIVE REASONING IS VALID! Why would anyone say that something will probably happen? BECAUSE THEY HAVE A PRE-COMITTMENT TO THE VALIDITY OF INDUCTIVE REASONING! I don’t know how many more ways I can ask the same question in the hopes that you would ever answer it in a non-circular fashion: On what basis do you assume that the future will be like the past?

    So again I asked “Again what effect does the past have on the future??? “ No answer
    – How do past atoms and molecules communicate to future atoms and molecules how to behave??? – No answer
    – How do you know what will probably happen in the future??? – No answer
    – How do you know anything about the future without FIRST assuming uniformity???- No answer.

    Oh of course! Uniformity! How did I not realise that was the buzzword you were so stubbornly waiting for! That grand metaphysical concept which in your mind somehow proves the existence Yahweh, your personal creator God! Please. Yes of course you must assume uniformity (induction) to proceed on that basis but that DOES NOT PROVE UNIFORMITY EXISTS IN TOTO!”

    Never said it did, just asking you on what basis you proceed with the assumption that nature IS uniform. All you are giving me is circular answers if you answer at all.

    ” Proof requires empirical evidence”

    What is the empirical evidence which proves THAT statement? How do you know that the senses with which you perceive and the reasoning with which you interpret your perceptions are valid?

    ” but mans sphere of influence is so unimaginably small in an unfathomably gigantic universe, existing for a ridiculously tiny fraction of time that uniformity, from our meagre perspective is something which is totally beyond our ability to prove, other than in a purely relative sense as it relates to us here and now.

    Then on what basis do you proceed with the assumption that nature is uniform?

    I said: “I most certainly did challenge your knowledge claim. If you claim that you know that you are tired, implicit in that claim is that you know you exist, among other things. I challenged those things, you did not answer.”

    You answered: ”That is just silly. I suppose I could respond to every claim you have made with ‘yes well how do you know you exist’

    You could, and I’d be happy to answer you.

    ”well that means you assume this so how do you know this’ ad nauseum, although quite what the point would be. It is a very childish attitude. Of course I know I exist! I believe Descartes solved that particular dilemma long ago! (Cogito, ergo sum!)”

    No wonder you like Descartes proof, he too was begging the question! Look at the argument:

    P1. I question existence
    P2. To question existence, I have to exist
    C. Therefore I exist

    Problem is, your conclusion is presupposed in P1. To avoid question begging, P1 should be: “existence is being questioned,” and I’d really like to see how you get from THAT to “I exist.” (not to mention the fact that according to your earlier reasoning, the universe (and therefore yourself), may or may not exist).

    ” It was not general in any way. It was quite specific. The tardigrade can replace water within its system with a sugar which keeps it alive in the absence of water. “

    And where is that in your relative truth statement??? Your statement was “Water is essential to stay alive.” Where is the mention of the tardigrade in that statement??? If you include the tardigrade in your statement it would be: “Water is essential for the tardigrade to stay alive, which would be FALSE, not relative!!!

    ”If you would like another example, how about the concept of justice. In absolute terms, justice is intended to maintain equality between personal and public rights. “

    What makes that absolute??? How do you know it to be absolute???

    ”However in times of civil disturbance it can become impossible to protect the rights of either group. In those times therefore relative justice must be applied to protect the public in disregard of the rights of the individual. That is pretty specific isn’t it.

    Again that would be like saying “Michael is hungry” is not an absolute truth, because sometimes you are not hungry!

    I said: Um yip, in post 111: “Alright, please present the experiment or empirical data which verifies that ‘truths need to be verified to be meaningful.” – no answer.
    You said: “ You’re answer is that empirical data cannot verify such a vague statement. “

    Okay, so that means that your statement “truth needs to be verified to be meaningful is itself not meaningful, and for all you know, not true!

    I said: ”I am asking what makes it invalid according to YOUR worldview. Again, no sense borrowing the foundations of logic from MY worldview, to argue against MY worldview.

    You answered: ” My worldview is irrelevant. You made a proposition based on logic, I argue that is flawed using logic. Personal world views are a non factor when debating logical form. “

    On the contrary, worldviews are essential when debating logic, since you believe that logic originates in the mind of man, and you have yet to tell us how man-made laws can be absolute! If something is ‘flawed’ using your man-made logic, someone could easily come along and make up another law that says it isn’t flawed. There are worldviews that believe that contradictions in reasoning are fine, surely you would take that into consideration when having a logical debate with them!

    Me: “I ask for an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument” – no answer.

    You: “The principle of emergence and human intellectual creativity.”

    EXAMPLE PLEASE!!!

    ”See you are trying to force me to suggest that the laws of logic existed before man (ie are truly universal.) “

    Nope, I’m just asking you to give an example of how the laws of logic could “arise to verify the correctness of an argument.”

    ”Without the existence of an extraterrestrial intelligence similar to man’s however this is not a tenable argument. If man doesn’t exist, logic doesn’t exist in any meaningful way.”

    This begs the question that God does not exist, and you have come nowhere near to proving that!

    I said: “Oh, so it applies because it applies, I get it! And you call THAT an answer?!?”

    You answere: ” No it applies because YOU CHOSE to use PROOF OF CONTRADICTION in YOUR argument.”

    So…what makes your man-made law of bivalence necessarily apply to my argument??? Why can’t I just make up another law that says it cannot apply?

    Me: “I ask where you proved that time is an absolute – no answer.”

    You: “See, I like time because it is both an absolute, and a relative truth. Time is an absolute truth because it has no exceptions.”

    Me: How do you know??? You obviously do not have absolute knowledge, how do you know that time is ‘an absolute truth???’

    You: ”’How do you know? how do you know?’ You really do have a hard time suppressing that inner child! Perhaps you would like to demonstrate how time and infinity are NOT absolute truths?”

    You are the one making the claim, defend it or retract it!

    Cheers.

  106. Michael,

    Would it be better if I said you understand induction, but just not precisely?

    Ice is defined very specifically and exactly. H2O + temperature below freezing = ice. Ice by definition is cold. Ice is ice wherever it is found. Theists are theists wherever they are found, but a dogmatic theist is a sud-class of theist not every theist. “Cold” ice is not a sud-class of ice. It is just ice.
    Your argument may be inductive, but it was invalid as an argument. I said you did not understand induction because you still claimed that your argument was VALID because of the part of the definition of induction that you apparently did not read properly (“b. the process of ESTIMATING the validity of observations of part of a class of facts as evidence for a proposition about the whole class.”). As I said, you did not make an estimation but a universal argument. I am also saying now that you have confused a sub-class with the whole class. Maybe I needed to be more precise as well. By analogy tell me if the following demonstrates my point.

    Every agnostic I’ve talked to is named Mike.

    Therefore, all agnostics are named Mike.

    or

    Every believer in evolution I’ve talked to is an atheist.

    Therefore, all believers in evolution are atheists.

    or

    Every theist I’ve ever talked to are Christians.

    Therefore, all theists are Christians.

    Inductive, yes, but valid logical arguments, no.

    Alright, I’ll let it go as well.

    And to lighten the tone–I like you Mike. Your not a bad guy at all. And inspite of our disagreements here and there–I would not charge you with being unthinking.

  107. Michael said: ”Here is an interesting new direction. Whilst avoiding convoluted rationalisations could the Christians tell me the answer to these 10 questions;”

    Be glad to, as soon as you tell us by what standard of logic you are going to evaluate the answers, how you account for that standard, and why that standard necessarily applies to the answers. Surely you can see that if you cannot account for logic, then giving you logical answers would be like giving medicine to a dead man.

    Cheers

  108. Thanks for your posts Mitch, they are very good! I appreciate your input, and clear responses. I have saved some of them for future reference. Todd is working on an exciting project which would greatly benefit from your involvement. I’m sure that your involvement could be adjusted to suit the amount of time you could spare it, and it would be great if you would get in touch with him.

    Thanks again for your posts.

    Sye

  109. Sye

    In all honesty I will most probably evaluate the answers with liberal use occam’s razor, the law of parsimony. When you say ‘account for logic’ do you mean how can it exist without god? Or do you mean how do I justify my own belief in the existance of logic?

    Mitch

    Thank you for the compliment I do appreciate it. Those are good examples of inductive arguments you have suggested and I agree that no inductive arguments are not necessarily valid. That’s the reason I made bold the section in your definition which says that the conclusions do not necessarily follow from the propositions in induction. In other words they aren’t “valid logical arguments.” I must also say that while our views seem somewhat bipolar, at least you seem interested in explaining your viewpoints whilst challenging me, rather than just leading me round and round in games and guesswork and ignoring my answers. I thank you for that. Maybe you will answer my questions on the bible, since he seems only interested in playing this little game of intellectual ring a ring o’ roses ad infinitum.

    Many thanks.

  110. Michael said: “In all honesty I will most probably evaluate the answers with liberal use occam’s razor, the law of parsimony.”

    Occam’s razor states that one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything, however, the simple theory must be able to account for or explain what needs explaining. It’s not enough to have a simpler theory if you can’t account for anything. Though we shouldn’t add entities beyond what’s needed, we also should not subtract entities beyond what’s needed. ~ Paul Manata

    “When you say ‘account for logic’ do you mean how can it exist without god? Or do you mean how do I justify my own belief in the existance of logic?”

    How do universal, abstract, invariant laws make sense in YOUR worldview?

  111. They make sense because they were given to me and all humanity by the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Fletcher, the Great Laughing Hyena God, Creator of all creation. How do I know this? Because it was revealed to me in a Cave by one of Fletchers mighty and true kung fu starfish angels! And besides, abstract, invariant and universal constructs absolutely cannot exist without Fletcher, the one true God!

    Later

  112. Michael said: “They make sense because they were given to me and all humanity by the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Fletcher, the Great Laughing Hyena God, Creator of all creation. How do I know this? Because it was revealed to me in a Cave by one of Fletchers mighty and true kung fu starfish angels! And besides, abstract, invariant and universal constructs absolutely cannot exist without Fletcher, the one true God!”

    Hmmm, you told me you were agnostic, did you lie, or did this revelation happen since then?

  113. I would also like to see an answer to the 10 questions. I invite theists to answer the 10 questions simply and succinctly. I’ll go first as an example. I have two sets of answers, as I used to be theist and am now not.

    1. If god answers prayers and performs miracles, why won’t god heal amputees?

    My theist answer: because God doesn’t want to interfere with experiences that can help us be stronger.
    My answer now: God is imaginary and prayers do not work.

    2. If god answers prayers and performs miracles why are there millions of starving children in the world?
    My theist answer: Because bad men in the world steal food and run corrupt governments. It is up to good christian people to infiltrate these bad things!
    My answer now: Because God is imaginary, and prayers do not work.

    3. Why does god demand the death of millions of people?
    (Exodus 35:2, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 22:13-21 etc etc)
    My theist answer: That’s Old Testament. God isn’t like that anymore.
    My answer now: Because the Bible was written by men from the Bronze Age.

    4. Why does the bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
    (worldwide floods, men living inside fish for days, man made from dust)
    My theist answer: I don’t know… I never gave it too much analysis because it seemed so odd, but I just assumed it was a metaphor. How else could Jonah live in a whale?
    My answer now: Because the Bible was written by men in the Bronze Age, and they did not understand science as we do today, but instead used myths and storytelling to illustrate points and ethics.

    5. Why is god such a huge proponent of slavery?
    (Exodus 21:20-21, Colossians 3:22-2, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Peter 2:18 etc)
    My theist answer: That’s old Testament. God isn’t like that anymore.
    My answer now: Because the Bible was written by men in the Bronze age when slavery was acceptable.

    6. Why do bad things happen to good people?
    My theist answer: The devil causes these things.
    My answer now: Because sometimes good people make bad choices, and sometimes people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s no rhyme or reason — its just probability that at some point, a ‘bad’ thing will happen to a ‘good’ person. Sometimes its as simple as stubbing your toe on a door, and sometimes its as tragic as getting killed in a car accident.

    7. Why didn’t any of jesus’ miracles leave behind any evidence? My theist answer:Because miracles are magical, and magic never leaves behind evidence. That’s why its called MAGIC. DUH!
    My answer now: I think its more likely that the stories were told out of proportion, mixed with misunderstood, mixed with sugarcoated to make them seem more fantastical. Also, what matters more to me is why miracles these days get more and more pathetic and easily explained. A grilled cheese virgin mary? A crying statue? How about a miracle of substance, like… an amputee being repaired? Hmm… nope.

    8. How do you we explain the fact that jesus has never appeared to you?
    My theist answer: Does he need to appear before my eyes for him to be real? I feel him in my heart!
    My answer now: Belief is a subjective, personal feeling, that cannot be measured or quantified by an outside observer. Feelings can be used to justify investigation, but never as proof, because I cannot measure or compare YOUR feelings to mine. It cannot be done! It is very easy to say “Jesus lives in my heart but not yours, because your heart is closed”. Its just as easy to say “an invisible unicorn lives in my closet but not in yours, because your imagination is closed. If you opened your imagination, if you really opened it, you could have an invisible unicorn too!”

    9. Why would jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?
    (considering in most contexts this would be cannabalism or a bizarre pagan ritual)
    My theist answer: Pagan ritual? No no no… pagans do things like chant and wear costumes and cast spells. Drinking communion is a bonding moment where a pastor changes the wine into blood (but it exists as wine AND blood at the same time), and by drinking this blood/wine, I can remember the blood sacrifice of Christ for my sins, and my redemption from eternal damnation. It’s quite beautiful really.
    My answer now: Yeah, the whole cannibalism/pagan thing is bizarre. I chalk that up to the Romans borrowing Pagan rituals and infusing them with Christianity so as to make it a State religion.

    10. Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?
    My theist answer. That’s the devil. He stirs up lust and sexual deviancy and sometimes people are too weak to keep a good marriage.
    My answer now: Because not all people who get married have the communication skills or emotional wherewithal to stay married. God has nothing to do with marriages being successful or not — it has to do with people who work well together.

  114. Kaybee and Michael,

    Kaybee, I’m surprised to find that you were a theist. In your post you answer Michael’s ten questions with your answers as a theist as well as an atheist. Is that really how you would answer as a theist? If so, no wonder that theists get charged with not thinking. Actually, though you may have been a theist, I strongly suspect that your theist answers are disingenuous. They cry out “I am a caricature of a theistic answer.” Therefore, though Michael may really want an honest, thoughtful answer to these questions I truly believe that you really don’t. Sure you would like an answer from us, but since you have supplied the theistic answer that you engineered to demonstrate how unsatisfactory any theistic response could possibly be then why do you need them answered again. Because this much I am sure of, no matter what answers could be given you would find them to be unsatisfactory.

    Here is the irony. I can give you good answers. Though you may not agree with all of my postings, if you have read them you know that I am quite capable. Those particular questions are not even intimidating. Some questions on the blog are–but not those ten. However, I will not answer them for you because of what I see in you as stated above.

    Michael, you directed the questions to SYE T and later asked if I would answer. I MAY consider answering them for your sake. However, first I am curious to know how you came to those questions. Did they honestly come from you originally or did you grab them off of the internet or somewhere else? I may be wrong but I suspect the later, and here’s why. The questions with Scripture references (Exodus 21:20-21, Colossians 3:22-2, etc.) seem out of place for you. I don’t quite see you reading the Bible and coming to those passages and then having come up with those questions. Also, writers have a particular voice in their writings, and having read your posts I don’t think they are the same voice as in the questions. I could be wrong, and the change in format could account for this. However, it makes a difference for me. If they are not your own questions then save us both some time and search the web for your answers as well.

    No offense intended. Besides, like you I am finding all of this a bit tedious. I mean really, are we covering any ground that has not been covered out there on the web or elsewhere? Could we not copy and paste any of our posts (questions or answers)in google and find thousands of hits? I have never joined in on a blog debate. That is evident because I don’t know how to italicize or bold text on a blog like some of you do. I was hesitant to begin, and now I feel I’ve stayed way to long. Mike, I feel your “ring a ring o’ roses ad infinitum” pain.

  115. Here’s the reason I won’t answer Michael’s questions:

    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
    For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. ~ (Romans 1: 18-21)

    The Bible clearly teaches that all people, including Michael, Jim and Kaybee, know God. When people like Michael post questions like that, it is not to receive honest answers, it is to look for more reasons to deny the God whom they know exists. They each have their own reasons for suppressing the truth, and questions like those are intended to justify their denial of God with anything they can glean that does not (and cannot) meet with their satisfaction.

    I would be more than happy to answer the honest questions of a Christian, perhaps even some of the same ones, and if there are any Christians reading along who would like me to do so, please ask, and I will gladly comply. I will not, however, pander to the professed atheist who holds himself up as God, and is merely looking for excuses to avoid accountability to Him.

    Michael saw that he was in trouble in the discussion, and whipped out his Atheist handbook to come up with these questions. As Mitch said, they are not at all intimidating and can be easily answered.

    Seeing as I have been involved in many of these types of discussions, I now cue Michael to come up with his “mind reader” comments.

    Cheers.

  116. Sye, my own true God Fletcher has sent to me another of his starfish angels to tell me I need to warn you against your blaspheming ways. Fletcher is the only God, in the form of a hyena he laughed the cosmos into existence and then moulded man from his earwax. For you to deny this is blasphamy, and Fletcher commands you to the everlasting hokey cokey in the badland netherland, with fire and stuff. He also revealed to me your trolling ways so that I might ignore you, and your ridiculous arguments from this day forward.

    http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/search/label/sinner%20ministries'%20“proof%20of%20the%20existence%20of%20god”?max-results=20

    Brisbane Atheists

    Brisbane, AU
    695 Atheists

    Meet other local atheists & freethinkers for monthly meetings, conversation & friendship! Discuss atheism-related beliefs & philosophies with fellow atheists &consider spiritu…

    Next Meetup

    Discussions With Those Of Faith

    Saturday, Aug 23, 2014, 7:30 PM
    0 Attending

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    Praise be to Fletcher with his eternal hyena laugh!

    Mitch, no the questions are not mine, and honestly I don’t need you to answer them anymore. To be fair this ‘debate’ (I use the term quite loosely) has solidified my position, and forced me to confront my on sloppy thinking on the subject.

    I did some checking on the internet, and found the blog of a philosopher called Stephen Law. Now Stephen is a senior lecturer in philosophy, yet it took him months and months it seems to pull apart Sye’s twisted logic in a way that seemed to satisfy the troll, but he did it. I also found a forum where Sye is the sole reason for them setting up an anti-trolling policy due to his constant regurgitation of the same ridiculous argument. This is the reason I no longer take this debate seriously. That and the fact that even if there were no grounds for logic in an atheistic view, that doesn’t make his/your god the one, as I think I have shown with ‘Fletcher’. I apologise if this ended in bad taste, but I have no interest in pursing this debate any further, although I do thank you Mitch for your kind words earlier, and apologise if I cause you any offense.

    Later

  117. Mitch,

    The truth is I was baptized, confirmed and was strongly theist in a christian religion from age 0 – age 25. I went to private religious school K – 12 and set a new high score on my confirmation exam. I know my Bible and I know *MY* version of Christianity. My answers are not a caricature, and I wasn’t being sarcastic when I described communion as a beautiful thing. That really is the way I used to feel about it. You described my answers as ‘non-thinking’. Please, demonstrate yours. We’ll compare.

    You wrote: “Sure you would like an answer from us, but since you have supplied the theistic answer that you engineered to demonstrate how unsatisfactory any theistic response could possibly be then why do you need them answered again.”

    If you have different answers, write them. My gradual conversion took 3 years from theism-deism-pantheism-atheism, and its because I was unable to find comfort, satisfaction, or ethics in my church or other church’s feelings.

    You wrote: “Here is the irony. I can give you good answers… However, I will not answer them for you because of what I see in you as stated above.”

    Mitch, you misread tone and falsely accuse me of being disingenuous. As a theist, is it not your duty to spread the Word of God to someone who is asking for clarification?

    I gave you TWO sets of answers. Where’s your one?

    I’m blogging because I tried VERY HARD to stay religious but ultimately found religion answers inadequate for these kinds of questions. It’s not a trick or a cornering tactic. I’m blogging because I don’t understand HOW theists answer these questions without looking foolish. Show me your easy answers.

    Or cop out and label me again. Whatever. I’m honest about how I thought/think.

  118. Michael said:

    That and the fact that even if there were no grounds for logic in an atheistic view, that doesn’t make his/your god the one”

    Well folks, I rest my case. You see, here Michael has admitted that he has no grounds for logic, since he posits that there may not be a grounds in an atheistic worldview. Surely if he had a justification for logic, he would have given it (other than the ridiculous one he posits and refuses to defend). Oddly though he says: that doesn’t make his/your god the one but how could he possibly deduce that logically with no justification for logic??? He betrays himself with his own words. Indeed Michael is ”without excuse”.

    Yes indeed I engaged Stephen Law, a doctor of philosophy no less, and after hundreds, (perhaps even thousands) of posts, he too failed to give his own account for logic, according to his worldview. Follow the links Michael posted, and see for yourself.

    Then there are the Brisbane atheists, a “freethought” organization that banned me from their blog. I’m not sure exactly what they mean by freethought, but I guess what I offered wasn’t it. :-) Here is an excerpt from the blog administrator’s post after banning me (she then locked the thread to further comments):

    I’m pretty easy-going, but this is not the forum for these types of discussions. This is our home. Let’s keep the discussions – and arguments – amongst ourselves. Most of us choose not to let bible bashers through our front door. This one made it through the door, then proceeded to trash the loungeroom.

    For those interested in how ‘freethought’ really looks, here are the threads that led to my banning:

    Brisbane Atheists

    Brisbane, AU
    695 Atheists

    Meet other local atheists & freethinkers for monthly meetings, conversation & friendship! Discuss atheism-related beliefs & philosophies with fellow atheists &consider spiritu…

    Next Meetup

    Discussions With Those Of Faith

    Saturday, Aug 23, 2014, 7:30 PM
    0 Attending

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    Brisbane Atheists

    Brisbane, AU
    695 Atheists

    Meet other local atheists & freethinkers for monthly meetings, conversation & friendship! Discuss atheism-related beliefs & philosophies with fellow atheists &consider spiritu…

    Next Meetup

    Discussions With Those Of Faith

    Saturday, Aug 23, 2014, 7:30 PM
    0 Attending

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    Well Michael, thanks for taking the time to engage me. I’ll leave it to the intellectually honest reader to decide who was willing to debate, and who was not.

    Cheers

  119. Sye you made the exact same comment on his blog and this is what he said;

    YOU:”No one should be lost on the fact that after all our interactions, and hundreds upon hundreds of posts, Stephen Law has NEVER given us his own account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic, or on what basis he proceeds with the assumption that they WILL hold.

    I’ll leave it up to you all to determine why that is.”

    PROFESSOR LAW: “The answer is obvious – it’s because I am not sure I know the answer.

    That does not establish that only Christian theism can accomodate logic, let alone establish that no atheist world view can. Which is what you claim you can prove.

    This has been pointed out to you so many times (hundreds, probably), in so many different ways, and with such clarity, that surely no fair minded observer will be able to avoid the conclusion that you are either deliberately bulls**tting, or a nutter.

    They can decide which.” (sic)

    You have also seemingly failed to realise, in all your thousands of posts online, that if you posit an argument with a premise such as “Logic cannot be accounted for without my God Yahweh” then THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS YOURS AND NOT ANYONE ELSE’S

    I’ll leave it at that.

  120. @Sye,
    You wrote: “questions like those are intended to justify their denial of God”

    Ding ding ding, you win the prize. Those questions are BIG ones, and its something that every theist-turned-atheist has examined. Religion either cannot answer the questions or does so poorly that any human being with critical thinking skills starts to wonder about God’s role, listening skills, existence etc.

    Do you have answers to these questions that meet your satisfaction? As I wrote to Mitch, I have been theistic for %90 of my life, and my religious answers NEVER met my satisfaction… and that was when I really wanted to believe in God! I just kept on running into statements that were incompatible with the all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God I was taught to understand.

    You wrote: I would be more than happy to answer the honest questions of a Christian, perhaps even some of the same ones, and if there are any Christians reading along who would like me to do so, please ask, and I will gladly comply. I will not, however, pander to the professed atheist who holds himself up as God, and is merely looking for excuses to avoid accountability to Him.

    Why exactly are you here then? You come onto a known atheist’ blog to shout your way, and when we ask you some questions, you refuse to communicate except to those who agree with you already? If you want conversation with those who agree with you, leave this blog. If you want to exchange ideas and have some dialogue, post some answers. Let’s see what happens.

  121. Nice one Kaybee. I forgot to add that I want to thank Sye for leading me to Law’s blog, it really is very good.

    Later

  122. You just don’t get it do you Michael?

    Indeed Stephen Law did say: “The answer is obvious – it’s because I am not sure I know the answer.”

    So, there we have it, an admission that Dr. Stephen Law cannot account for logic according to his worldview, but then what does he go on to say?

    “That does not establish that only Christian theism can accomodate logic”

    BUT HOW DOES HE KNOW THAT IF HE CAN’T ACCOUNT FOR LOGIC???

    Ever wonder why the Bible says: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They cannot account for logic, then go on to make logical conclusions!

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from professed atheists: “Okay, so I can’t know anything but neither can you! How can they not see that if they can’t know anything, they can’t know what anyone else can or cannot know!

    Well, I already posted the answer to my own question: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” ~ Romans 1:21

  123. Kyabee said: “Those questions are BIG ones, and its something that every theist-turned-atheist has examined.”

    Well, let me dispel you of a myth Kaybee, if God was not the foundation of your ability to reason, then you never were a Christian. If you reasoned out of Christianity, then your ability to reason was always above God, and not submitting to Him. What you believed in was not the real God, but an idol of your own making, that you decided to discard so you could entertain your pet sins. You don’t fool God, and you don’t fool me.

    Cheers

  124. Sye, you are now being deliberately dishonest.

    Here is another quote from the blog:

    “What’s interesting, reading this other stuff, is that while Sye clearly uses a lot of standard presuppositional stuff, some of his moves are novel. Here is an illustration:

    Sye asks “What’s your account of logic, etc.?”

    Me “You mean, what makes the laws of logic hold? Well, I ‘m not sure. But here are three answers I quite like.” [I present them – one is Quinean and one Wittgensteinian. At least two explain why the laws of logic may not even require an “explanation” or “underpinning”.)

    Sye “But what’s your account! You must have one! I am not going to deal with positions you don’t even hold.”

    Me “But I am not committed to one.”

    Sye “Ah! So your world view cannot account for logic!”

    Me “No. It may be one of these answers is correct. Or perhaps some other non-Christian view is. I am just not sure, that’s all. But you say you have an argument that no non-Christian account can possibly be correct. What is it?”

    Sye: “But what’s your account of logic?””

    I apologise, but with your increasingly obvious lies and distortions it becomes clearer and clearer, that you are either a troll or a charlatan!

    Kaybee, don’t let the charlatan bully you. He has no basis for his assertion that God is the basis of reason, in all his posts he has yet to justify that premise with anything other than ‘the impossibility of the contrary’ which as we know, is merely another unjustified statement, not proof.

    Later

  125. It’s really quite simple Michael, I am prepared to engage anyone who committs to a justification for logic according to their worldview. Mr. Law has not given me his account for logic according to his worldview, and I do not have the time to refute accounts that neither of us hold. If Mr. Law had told me which justification for logic he holds to, I would have been glad to address it.

    Why don’t we make this real simple Michael, rather than hiding behind Stephen, why don’t you tell us how you account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic according to your worldview, and tell us on what basis you proceed with the assumption that they will hold. Until then, all you are doing is expending hot air.

    Cheers.

  126. @Michael:

    Here is the argument in a nutshell:

    I say: “Air exists.”
    Stephen says: “No, air does not exist.”
    I say: “Well then how is it that you are breathing?”
    Stephen says: “Well, I’m not sure, but here are 3 things I could be breathing: water, rock or wood.”
    I say: “Problem is Stephen, you have to breathe air in order to respond to my questions, so what is it that you are breathing?”
    Stephen says: “No. It may be one of these substances is correct. Or perhaps some other non-air substance is. I am just not sure, that’s all. But you say you have an argument that no non-air account can possibly be correct. What is it?”
    I say: “Erm, but Stephen, you are breathing right now, how is it possible that you are able to do this if there is no air?”

    And so on and so on and so on.

    Obviously you and Stephen are attempting to employ logic, surely you know your basis for doing so?!? Share it man, and we can start up the debate again.

    Cheers

  127. Michael said: Yawn.

    Go on, get some sleep then. I’m not in a hurry. I can surely wait till the morning for you to tell us how you account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic according to your worldview, and on what basis you proceed with the expectation that they will hold. (Not holding my breath though :-) )

    Cheers

  128. Sye,

    It’s nice to see that you read exactly two sentences of my post before firing off with a knee-jerk reaction.

    Telling me that I put reason above God is NOT a valid answer to ANY of those questions. Furthermore, you’re full of crap… I put God ahead of reason for a long long long long time and simply got tired of swallowing the same snake oil that religion peddles as answers.

    You’re a theist… how do you answer those 10 questions and still feel okay about religion? REALLY — how do you do it? I couldn’t find a way. Here’s your chance to lead a lamb back to the flock, and you keep blowing it because you’re too angry and hostile to say anything other than I wasn’t a *real* Christian. It was easy to look over your pompous, arrogant and infantile response because I was laughing too hard.

    Forgive me, but I don’t expect an answer from you at this point. Michael’s asked nicely, I’ve asked nicely, I’ve given EXAMPLES of my own personal experiences, I’ve re-explained my personal experiences and reclarified my genuine intentions.

    Why ARE you here?

  129. This in particular, is still HILARIOUSLY funny to me: “What you believed in was not the real God, but an idol of your own making, that you decided to discard so you could entertain your pet sins.

    Hahah! HAHAHAHAHA! Right. You know what my biggest sin was in religious school? I asked for cellular biology books. (My mother had cancer and I desperately hoped I could cure her if I could study how cells work.) I was told I had to put faith in God and the doctors, and that I shouldn’t try to understand the workings of God’s creation.

    My other biggest pet sin in religious school? I wanted to light the altar candles, but I was a girl. I argued that all of us are equal in the eyes of God and that it shouldn’t matter if I’m a girl or a boy… I just want to light altar candles. My 8th grade class raised enough of a stink about it that we pressured the principal to change the rules.

    My pet sins. BWAHAHAHHAHAHA

  130. Kaybee and Michael…perhaps said a bit differently:

    Not believing in God, you do not think yourself to be God’s creature. And not believing in God you do not think the universe has been created by God. That is to say, you think of yourself and the world as just being there. Now if you actually are God’s creature, then your present attitude is very unfair to Him. In that case it is even an insult to Him. And having insulted God, His displeasure rests upon you. God and you are not on “speaking terms.” And you have very good reasons for trying to prove that He does not exist. If He does exist, He will punish you for your disregard of Him. You are therefore wearing colored glasses. And this determines everything you say about the facts and reasons for not believing in Him. You have had your picnics and hunting parties there without asking His permission. You have taken the grapes of God’s vineyard without paying Him any rent and you have insulted His representatives who asked you for it.

    I must make an apology to you at this point. We who believe in God have not always made this position plain. Often enough we have talked with you about facts and sound reasons as though we agreed with you on what these really are. In our arguments for the existence of God we have frequently assumed that you and we together have an area of knowledge on which we agree. But we really do not grant that you see any fact in any dimension of life truly. We really think you have colored glasses on your nose when you talk about chickens and cows, as well as when you talk about the life hereafter. We should have told you this more plainly than we did. But we were really a little ashamed of what would appear to you as a very odd or extreme position. We were so anxious not to offend you that we offended our own God. But we dare no longer present our God to you as smaller or less exacting than He really is. He wants to be presented as the All-Conditioner, as the emplacement on which even those who deny Him must stand.

    Now in presenting all your facts and reasons, you have assumed that such a God does not exist. You have taken for granted that you need no emplacement of any sort outside of yourself. You have assumed the autonomy of your own experience. Consequently you are unable — that is, unwilling — to accept as a fact any fact that would challenge your self-sufficiency. And you are bound to call that contradictory which does not fit into the reach of your intellectual powers. You remember what old Procrustes did. If his visitors were too long, he cut off a few slices at each end; if they were too short, he used the curtain stretcher on them. It is that sort of thing I feel that you have done with every fact of human experience. And I am asking you to be critical of this your own most basic assumption. Will you not go into the basement of your own experience to see what has been gathering there while you were busy here and there with the surface inspection of life? You may be greatly surprised at what you find there.

    I shall not convert you at the end of my argument. I think the argument is sound. I hold that belief in God is not merely as reasonable as other belief, or even a little or infinitely more probably true than other belief; I hold rather that unless you believe in God you can logically believe in nothing else. But since I believe in such a God, a God who has conditioned you as well as me, I know that you can to your own satisfaction, by the help of the biologists, the psychologists, the logicians, and the Bible critics reduce everything I have said to the circular meanderings of a hopeless authoritarian. Well, my meanderings have, to be sure, been circular; they have made everything turn on God. So now I shall leave you with Him, and with His mercy.

    Kaybee and Michael…these most certainly are not my words, but those of a man much wiser than I’ll ever be. Lord knows we all need to take a deep breath in here…and I thought perhaps Cornelius Van Til’s thoughtful commentary might be of interest, and perhaps even appropriate to help express our Christian truth. Maybe it’s helpful, maybe it’s not. My intentions in providing, though, are well-intentioned.

    If you’d like to read the entire article, Google “Why I Believe in God” by: The Rev. Cornelius Van Til, Ph.D.

    Night everyone.

  131. Kaybee said: ”I put God ahead of reason for a long long long long time and simply got tired of swallowing the same snake oil that religion peddles as answers. “

    Perhaps you can explain the process of reasoning out of having God as your foundation for reason.

    ”You’re a theist… how do you answer those 10 questions and still feel okay about religion? REALLY — how do you do it?”

    Very easily, God and his Word are my ultimate authority, and if any Christian here wishes that I answer those questions, I will be more than happy to.

    ” I couldn’t find a way. Here’s your chance to lead a lamb back to the flock,”

    Again, it is the Christian position that everyone knows God, Romans 1: 18-21, and that those who deny Him are merely “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.” I am not here to lead anyone anywhere, just to expose the suppression of truth.

    ” and you keep blowing it because you’re too angry and hostile to say anything other than I wasn’t a *real* Christian. “

    I’m not the least bit angry, and your story reveals that you were not a Christian. Perhaps you should check 1 John 2: 19 ”They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

    It was easy to look over your pompous, arrogant and infantile response because I was laughing too hard.

    Well, you might as well laugh, while you still can, I suggest repentance though.

    ”Forgive me, but I don’t expect an answer from you at this point.”

    Now yer getting’ it!

    ” Michael’s asked nicely, I’ve asked nicely, I’ve given EXAMPLES of my own personal experiences, I’ve re-explained my personal experiences and reclarified my genuine intentions.”

    I don’t believe you.

    ”Why ARE you here?”

    Again, to expose the suppression of the TRUTH!

    Cheers

  132. At the very end of all that, Todd, there was information. “Why I Believe in God.” by Rev Cornelius Van Til.

    Still nobody that is willing to answer even ONE of those ten questions.

    By the way, “The Language of God” is a really interesting read that a Theist would really enjoy. I agree with the scientific information about DNA, even though I disagree with the author’s proofs for the existence of God.

    Richard Dawkins “God Delusion” is an excellent read for a theist trying to understand an Atheist, or for the unsure theist. (You’ll either go right back to religion or straight to atheism with one read of this book.)

  133. The Dawkins Delusion is a more honest read.

    It’s late over here…good night from me.

    Todd

  134. Sye wrote:

    “Very easily, God and his Word are my ultimate authority, and if any Christian here wishes that I answer those questions, I will be more than happy to.”

    Still can’t answer those questions, even with ultimate authority. Would you have this same attitude with a car dealer?

    “How do you decide my financing rate on the car?”

    “Well, the bank is the ultimate authority.”

    “That’s the price… I’m asking how the bank figures out my finance rate.”

    “The ultimate authority says you already know what the financing is.”

    “No, really, I don’t… I know what you advertised…”

    “You’re a fool. You could choose to know the financing rate if you opened your heart. The bank says everyone knows how they compute finance rates — therefore, you do not deserve the car.”

    “WhAT!?”

    “You’ve really offended the Bank by asking questions. You’re supposed to know these things.”

    Wait, wait… I’m chuckling too much.

  135. Michael and Kaybee,

    Michael, I appreciate your honesty about the source of the questions. Solid.

    Kaybee said,

    “That really is the way I used to feel about it. You described my answers as ‘non-thinking’.”

    and

    “Mitch, you misread tone and falsely accuse me of being disingenuous.”

    Hold on there a minute Kaybee, I most certainly DID NOT accuse you of being disingenuous nor did I describe your answers as being unthinking.

    Here is what I really said:

    “Is that really how you would answer as a theist? If so, no wonder that theists get charged with not thinking. Actually, though you may have been a theist, I strongly suspect that your theist answers are disingenuous.”

    I said that answers like that are the reason that theists are accused of not thinking. I am implying that this is the kind of answer THAT BRINGS THE CHARGE–NOT, THIS ANSWER IS UNTHINKING.

    Also, to SUSPECT something to be disingenuous is not to say that something IS disingenuous, much less to accuse. Much, much less to “falsely accuse.” By that you could simply be saying that I am wrong or the I am lying. Now, you aren’t accusing me of lying are you. I SUSPECT that such is not the case. Of course, my suspicions could be wrong.

    Kaybee, in my last post to you I granted that you may have been a theist. However, I HAD doubts because from your posts I believed you to be more articulate than the “theist” version of answers that you gave. I thought “no way this guy ever spoke like that.” Yes, read a compliment here. So you have convinced me you were a theist beyond doubt from the info. you provided. I am guessing Roman Catholic or Lutheran (just guessing, not accusing, etc.). I do still see a caricature in your “theist” version of the answers. Why, because you are writing from the context of your athiest position and the bias DOES show–even granting that the theistic version of the answers is truly you in the past, By “bias” I am not accusing you of some great evil–we all have bias, and sometimes it shows. They questions themselves show bias. How?

    The question “5. Why is god such a huge proponent of slavery?
    (Exodus 21:20-21, Colossians 3:22-2, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Peter 2:18 etc).” Is biased because it is clearly an instance a the logical fallacy of (question framing & poisoning the well of discourse). How’s that? Because it impugns the character of God from the beginning with the “huge proponent” phrase which implies a negative in God’s character, and it further implies “how could someone believe in such a God?”–especially in the context of a blog discussion such as this.

    It would be like me asking you “Do you still beat your wife?” That is fallacious question framing because though you may never have done so, and may never have been married, the way I have framed the question implies that both are the case and impugns your character which unjustly undermines your credibility in the minds of people reading it. No one likes a wife beater.

    By the way here is a partial answer to that question. God NEVER COMMANDED slavery. He did regulate it. Many slaves in Hebrew society became slaves to pay off a debt and after they had done so were released. Someone could pay their debt and have them freed early. In spite of the debt Hebrew slaves were supposed to be released after six years or during a Jubilee year. Sometimes slave did not want to be free and could voluntarily remain with the slave holder for life. Any freed slave was given provisions to start his/her life over. I could explain more, but this should suffice to show that a theist can give a better answer than your version of a theistic answer which is “My theist answer: That’s old Testament. God isn’t like that anymore.”

    So, I am saying two things. First, I don’t feel compelled to answer questions that are framed more like an attack than honest seeking. Secondly, a theist can give a decent answer to such questions–certainly better than what you did.

  136. Kaybee said: “Still can’t answer those questions, even with ultimate authority. Would you have this same attitude with a car dealer?”

    If the car dealer was telling me that he/she was once in Christian, but reasoned out of Christianity, then yes, if I needed to finance a car, then no.

    “Wait, wait… I’m chuckling too much.”

    As I said, if you decide not to repent, then you may as well enjoy yourself while you still can.

    That’s even Biblical (but you knew that :-) ) : If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:32

  137. Wow, Mitch, THANK YOU for actually talking to me as a human being.

    Since you read question 5 as biased, I want to reframe it:

    Question 5: Since slavery is such a violation of human rights… why did God not step in and say ‘this is wrong’? He had the ability to give Moses ten commandments but left out how slavery is wrong?

    Also, how do you account for when God condones rape, murder, or infantide in the Bible? I would think those would be HUGE no-nos!

  138. Kaybee said: “Sye, I absolutely will enjoy myself. Life is too short to take you seriously.”

    Just wait till you see how short it is compared with eternity!

  139. Kaybee, I do not believe you genuinely want answers to your questions.

    If you did, you could have easily Googled them.

    I believe all of your questions are answered here
    http://www.rationalchristianity.net/apol_index.html. I suggest you actually take the time to read them if you indeed are being genuine. I would like to think you are, but only you (and God) know the truth.

    There are answers to all your challenges / atheist claims. If you are predetermined not to consider them, though, then our case is made.

  140. Kaybee said: “Also, how do you account for when God condones rape, murder, or infantide in the Bible? I would think those would be HUGE no-nos!”

    Even though you mischaracterize what God in fact condones, perhaps between your guffaws you could stop to think about what standard of morality you use to judge God.

    If man is the measure of all things, which man (or woman)? You, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, who?

    You may even find that without God, YOU have no absolute standard of morality to call ANYTHING a “no-no.”

    Cheers

  141. More Murder, Rape and Pillage (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)
    As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

  142. Wow, Kaybee, if you worked as hard to find God versus deny Him, there might be hope for you yet. I actually held out hope that you were being genuine in your search. Apparently not.

    You asked questions, we ignored because we knew you didn’t want answers. Sye’s point(s) stand. You griped and temper-tantrumed that we didn’t provide answers…so I provided you the link to the answers (forgive me for not copying and pasting every answer within Jim’s blog…I assumed you might be capable of actually searching the site and reading the answers relating to your questions). Now you just pile on more blasphemy without THINKING!

    After six months, I’m now starting to see how futile it is (has always been) to believe that those who deny God might actually consider the strong evidence that exists…might actually read the refutations provided to childish self-centered claims…I’ve simply given you too much credit. Sye’s approach is the right one…to hold you accountable at the most basic level. He frustrates you guys because you cannot answer him, because you all know the God of the Bible exists but suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Period. Exclamation point.

    Yes, Hell is a very uncomfortable subject, especially for those going there. Michael, that doesn’t have to be you.

    Okay, on queue…more sophomoric “I’m such a victim! / I was once Christian! / God is so manacle!” rants from Kaybee. 3, 2, 1…

  143. Kaybee said: ”Sye, I’ve gotten better morals than the God of Deuteronomy.”

    In order to be able to determine if one moral standard is better than another moral standard, you need to have an absolute moral standard by which to make that determination. If I ask: What is 2 +2, and one person says “308,” and the other says “5”, both answers are wrong, but 5 is the better answer since it is closer to the truth. Now either you are claiming that your moral standard is the ideal (which would comport with wanting to be your own god), or you have an ideal moral standard by which to compare yours with God’s. What is it?

    Cheers

    P.S. WIth comments like yours I strongly suggest repentance.

  144. All good things must come to an end. If you could only send Jim smoke signals, I’m sure you could “make” his camping trip by sharing this post. Why? Because Sye and I are done with this thread…I think the subject of God’s (absolute) existence has been beaten up enough. Moreover, it is so absolutely apparent that you (Kaybee) are merely looking for a fight and have the tightest closed mind I have ever witnessed. Your eternal salvation, or lack thereof, is certainly between you and God. Good luck with that.

    Let me tell a final story about ‘evidence’ that I think effectively drives the point home when it comes to an atheist. It’s about this ‘by-all-measures’ reasonable woman who felt she was dead. She literally, genuinely self-determined she was dead. This, of course, drove her ‘more reasoned’ friends and family members crazy as it was ridiculously silly that this woman deem herself as being a walking dead woman! Well, her loved ones finally convinced her to go to their long-term trusted family doctor. After hearing his patient claim she was dead, the doctor assessed that this woman REALLY did believe she was dead; her delusion was very, very real, to her. So the doctor said, “Kaybee, do dead women bleed?” After contemplating the question for a minute, much longer than she usually thinks before responding, Kaybee replied, “No, dead women don’t bleed, of course.” So the doctor left the room to retrieve a needle, then came back to Kaybee, grabbed her right hand and pricked her finger. Immediately, her finger began to bleed.

    And then this absolute look of angst and consternation fell upon Kaybee’s face, as she was now staring at the undeniable evidence that her hypothesis was, well, dead wrong. Tears forming in her eyes, she looked up, deep into her doctor’s caring blue eyes and professed, “What do you know? Dead women DO bleed!”

    With that, I leave this thread with one quick note of thanks. Jim, to you, I thank you for allowing Sye and I to freely post, even though what we contributed was counter to your team’s worldview. I’m sure we’ll be back upon seeing another interesting post, as it is my nature (at least) to re-emerge like a good rash! ;D

    “Heavenly Father, I pray that each and every one of these professed atheists and professed agnostics stop repressing the truth of Your existence, for we know, verily, verily, that You are true, Your evidence is real, and verily, that dead men (and women) indeed do NOT bleed. Instead, they immediately find themselves in your presence, where every knee shall bow before our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, and praise His Holy Name. Sure, it’ll be too little, too late, but that’s a debate for another time…they can take it up directly with You.” (Michael, you don’t have to be one of them.)

    Say what you wish upon our exit. I’m certain you will. But for the honest skeptic, the truthful seeker, hey, start from the top…you be the judge who holds reason, and who can’t account for it.

    God bless you all…more. I pray you start giving credit where credit’s due, which is to the I AM of the Bible, not to the I AM of the mirror.

    Signing off, with deep gratitude.

    Todd

  145. Sye Said “I can surely wait till the morning for you to tell us how you account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic according to your worldview, and on what basis you proceed with the expectation that they will hold. (Not holding my breath though )”

    Sye, I wanted to let you know that I will be answering this question, and I have no intention of ‘hiding behind’ anyone, even though I am of the opinion he answered the question well already.

    I am absolutely sure that your logic is flawed. It would also in no way lead inexorably to the biblical god even if it wasn’t. However you stick to your sophistry quite stubbornly, so I don’t feel I can walk away from this without engaging you more directly, on your own relentless terms.

    To reiterate I will be answering this question specifically;

    How you account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic according to your worldview, and on what basis you proceed with the expectation that they will hold?

    The short answer is human nature, but I would like to develop the idea more fully so I can give specific, well defined reasons for why I think this is true. I would ask you to be patient while I develop the idea more fully. You may not understand this with you presuppositional nature, but questions like this are quite new to me.

    Later.

  146. “Moreover, it is so absolutely apparent that you (Kaybee) are merely looking for a fight and have the tightest closed mind I have ever witnessed.”

    The Tightest? Wow, that’s impressive, because I’m actually not nearly as atheist as Jim is. I would grant that there **might** be a God out there that caused the whole universe, but that he/she/it’s not actually involved in human activity, nor does he/she/it even aware of what is going on. The more likely answer is that God does not exist.

    Sye and Todd, you are very convinced the other way, and being a staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights, I say believe in whatever you want. You came on a blog with an opposing opinion and posted freely, as I also posted freely.

    If you can’t/don’t want to answer questions that would support your God, then don’t. I was interested in an exchange of metacognition; you are not.

    Let’s move on.

  147. I find it interesting I post a quote from the Bible about how God instructs murder, rape, and pillage, and no one steps up to defend the Bible.

    I did get useless theory about relativistic morals and math problems, and a poignant metaphorical caricature of a dead woman bleeding, but no attempts to explain the Bible quote.

  148. I had a chance to check out the website that provided answers to skeptical questions. I will bookmark it because it contained all the questions I frequently have, without the pompous arrogance of self-righteousness. Thanks for the link.

  149. Jim,

    I have to get on with life as well and will be leaving this thread, but it would not be good form to leave without saying goodbye. I have truly enjoyed this meeting of the minds. As this is your blog I feel my last response should be to you and of course you get the last word.

    You said:

    “One honest slip of the quill becomes reiterated by second, third, fourth and fifth generations of scribes who could have no way of telling apart the genuine errors of their predecessors from the already cryptic writing style of the text’s original authors. The fact that this is learned on day one of seminary college by priests and ministers, theologians and biblical scholars, who then go on to enjoy a lucrative tax-free lifestyle denying it, in a bought and paid for ready made community of people who are literally discouraged from questioning anything, on pain of eternal damnation, should be a matter of concern to anyone who supposedly seeks the truth in these matters.”

    I am a seminary educated pastor and I do not deny textual variants, and you don’t understand or are seriously down playing the wealth of manuscript evidence available for text critical analysis. Also, you are quite mistaken when you say we have “a lucrative tax-free lifestyle.” An incorporated CHURCH is tax exempt, but the minister is not. He or she gets a salary and any other money goes to the church. In fact, the minister pays more taxes than the average working Joe because the minister pays federal tax (and state if the state has such) as well as paying full social security tax. For the average Joe the employer by law pays half of his social security tax. At least that is the case on our side of the pond. Google ministerial tax. Yes, there are some mega-churches with high salaried Pastors, but most of our churches are 100 or fewer members. This also means that most of our pastors make $50,000 or less a year before taxes. Some much , much less Many work an additional job while pastoring. I’m sure you can just picture the high flying lifestyle we are living. The tax exempt church keeps all other monies for building maintenance, lights/heat etc., supplies, equipment, benevolence, various ministries, etc. Donald Trump could drop 20 million dollars in the plate and our salaries don’t go up. Don’t confuse the majority of us with some of the crooks you see on TV who dupe people out of millions.

    Also, my people are not “literally discouraged from questioning anything, on pain of eternal damnation.” This may surprise you. We are a church full of theists (a church by definition is a gathering of believers). The raging queries that are on this blog are surprisingly not at all what life is like in our church. Questions yes, but when your dealing with a bunch of folks who claim to not just believe there is a God, but actually claim to have an on going and growing relationship with Him , the questions are more along the lines of pastoral care issues, applying the Bible to everyday life and relationships. Sure there is the occasional question about the latest Dan Brown book/movie or Jesus Seminar biased Life of Jesus documentary on TV, or the “why does God allow such and such” type of question. However, people who have a relationship with God and believe the Bible to be His Word receive counsel from His Word quite well. Also, I love them—and they know it.

    Moving on

    You stated “Having said that, I welcome your far better, well rounded understanding of classic philosophy than mine, which I can express more in the equation ‘cannabis conversations divided by age over time plus good friends’, than I can by holding to any institutional education or course learning. I do, as they say, the best with what I’ve got.”

    To that I say “cheers.” Though I long ago put off the cannabis I do appreciate the sentiment. We all do the best with what we’ve got. The limitations of which are evident in all of the “see this link” postings which are generally appeals to authorities beyond ourselves.
    I also hope you enjoyed your camping trip.

    A few issues though. You said:

    “Mitch. I disagree with you somewhat, when you say there is no logical contradiction in the statement “There is a God. There are immaterial realities beyond the material universe.” It is saying, “here is something I can’t show you, but I can describe it, therefore I have proved it exists.” Whereas “There is no God. The material universe is all there is, there are no immaterial realities.” is no more presumptuous than saying, “my parents were Santa Claus all along, therefore Santa Claus does not exist.”, because there is far more evidence to support naturalistic explanations for observed phenomena than there are reasons to assume that the methodological approach to understanding anything is a preclusion to an absolutely true description of reality itself.”

    You are of course referring to my statements:

    “There is a God. There are immaterial realities beyond the material universe.

    or

    There is no God. The material universe is all there is, there are no immaterial realities.”

    Neither statement (we will go ahead and assign A to the former and B to the later) contains a logical contradiction. They are simply statements WITHOUT stated premises. Of course each clause in each statement could be taken as premises but then we have no conclusion. Therefore, strictly speaking they are not arguments. As such they are BOTH VALID statements, but neither can be said to be true or false without more information. And neither could be said to be valid arguments because neither is an argument as they stand. An argument has at least one premise and a conclusion. Am I making sense here?
    These statements are valid but not necessarily true or false taken by themselves. In fact as statements they both can be taken to be a conclusion of a respective argument (but we don’t have the premises) or each may serve as a premise toward a larger argument being advanced. When you suggest that statement A does or may contain a logical contradiction you do so by ASSUMING that it is a conclusion and then ASSUME what premises have led to such.

    Regarding statement A you state “It is saying, “here is something I can’t show you, but I can describe it, therefore I have proved it exists.”
    That is actually an argument in itself with two premises and a conclusion. Statement A does not say that AT ALL. It simply says what it says. It is neither true nor false, but it is valid in a logical sense. So is statement B–VALID but neither true nor false. Yet concerning statement B you say:

    ” Whereas “There is no God. The material universe is all there is, there are no immaterial realities.” is no more presumptuous than saying, “my parents were Santa Claus all along, therefore Santa Claus does not exist.”, because there is far more evidence to support naturalistic explanations for observed phenomena than there are reasons to assume that the methodological approach to understanding anything is a preclusion to an absolutely true description of reality itself.”

    In your phrase “Whereas “There is no God. The material universe is all there is, there are no immaterial realities.” is no more presumptuous than saying, “my parents were Santa Claus all along, therefore Santa Claus does not exist.”
    Presumption is not the problem nor is it an issue. The problem with your statement is that it is an apples to oranges comparison. Statement B, as I’ve discussed, is just that–a statement. The “my parents were Santa Claus all along, therefore Santa Claus does not exist” comment is an argument with a premise and a conclusion. Taken all together you commit the logical fallacy of using an inadequate or inappropriate analogy here. (I’ll discuss Santa more in a minute). By the way, in pointing out such fallacies I don’t imply that I never commit such fallacies myself. It is far to easy to do and hard to catch yourself “in the act “ so to speak.

    In the phrase “because there is far more evidence to support naturalistic explanations for observed phenomena than there are reasons to assume that the methodological approach to understanding anything is a preclusion to an absolutely true description of reality itself” you have introduced unargued philosophical bias. The “far more evidence” etc. has not been demonstrated (at least not here and in the context of our discussion you assume to be true that which you must demonstrate or argue to be true), but you use it as an established truism.

    Also, I believe that the sun does not literally rise and set (though it is acceptable to speak this way). I accept the naturalistic explanation for the observed phenomena (i.e. the earth rotates on it’s axis), and I believe along with you that such is “an absolutely true description of reality itself.” However, observing and explaining natural phenomena is not a PRECLUSION to the existence of any transcendent or metaphysical reality—namely God. By no stretch of the imagination can scientific methodology be thrown into a pile labeled “evidence against the existence of a personal creator God.” The fact is we theists admit of the fact that we stand with the atheist in the midst of a material universe with physical laws (though we don’t agree that the physical universe is all there is.) Also, BOTH camps use inductive reasoning. The difference is that we have a basis for our assumptions about universals and uniformity in nature to justify induction, but the atheist does not. To offer a “it is derived from the human mind, or human nature, or the nature of thought” type of explanation is just to throw something out there and call it an answer. The common refrain is “we will find one someday.” The fact is that for science to function it must assume such uniformity though it can not account for it through that methodology—period.

    Of course, our basis is the rational creator of the universe with its natural laws. And, yes, I am well aware that the insertion of God into the debate is disallowed by the atheist. I understand quite well that given the options

    A. A Creating, sustaining God .

    Or

    B. We don’t quite know now but we are confident that we will.

    B. is the clear choice for the atheist. This confidence is what we theists call faith.

    Yet why can’t the theist insert God into the debate? Largely because assertions such as the following are made:

    “ONLY WHAT CAN BE KNOWN BY SCIENCE OR QUANTIFIED AND EMPIRICALLY TESTED IS RATIONAL AND TRUE.” However, this is self refuting because the statement itself can not be quantified or empirically tested. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere in this thread.

    What many (certainly not all) atheists tend NOT to do is honestly say what science is and is not, what science can and can not do, and what science has AND has not established.

    Santa? The Santa analogy has problems Jim. You state:

    “The fact remains, no matter how you spin it, that Santa Claus does not exist, despite the entirely subjective artifice of evidence that he does, no matter how abundant, when the only piece missing is a physical disturbance of space-time which could only be produced by a rotund body with a white beard chortling, “ho ho ho”. Without that final piece, all remaining superimpositions are irrelevant; no matter the emotional attachment to them the individual believer may hold.”

    Certainly you mean Santa to be analogous to God here. The non-existence of Santa can be said to be a “fact” because we have all seen the facts in our own lives (correspondence theory of reality?) and can concede the myth but that does not suddenly apply to God. You are wrong, by the way, when you say “the only piece missing is a physical disturbance of space-time which could only be produced by a rotund body with a white beard chortling, “ho ho ho”.
    That piece certainly is not missing because millions of kids can report having seen Santa

    Yes, I know that we in turn can demonstrate that Santa was really Dad, or Uncle Pete, or a guy employed at the mall dressed in a Santa costume, but that disturbance in space time has occurred and does occur though we CAN prove it to be something other than what it appears to be. However, the athiest often positions him/herself as having ripped the beard off of Santa to reveal Dad and thus revealing the truth that Santa really does not exist in terms of God. Where is the one to one correspondence in the analogy here? There is none. Where is that “fact” of God’s non-existence? That “fact” has not produced a physical disturbance of-space-time that I have missed has it? It can not be evolution. Evolution is not the silver bullet that has taken down theism if for no other reason than many theists do readily accept both evolution and the existence of God. It can not be “I see contradictions in the Bible.” A knowledgeable theist could respond by affirming the inerrant inspiration of the original manuscripts while allowing that some scribal errors have crept into the texts in transmission over time yet do not affect any major body of doctrine. Still others would maintain the previous sentence yet assert that all apparent contradictions can be reconciled. This is an issue of the “science” of textual criticism (let the reader Google it, not you Jim –you know all of this). It can not be “I think I see God condoning murder and rape and slavery in the Bible” when such charges come from divorcing some texts from their literary context, failing to understand the historical context, failing to differentiate between what is descriptive (such as instances of rape) and what is prescriptive, assuming that God has no right to punish sin with capital punishment (I have a higher standard of morality than God that has evolved from herd instinct perhaps),etc. There is no “AHA, I got you there God, you can’t really be there.” Yet the atheist mantra “we KNOW God doesn’t exist” persists.

    Now, what I hear you saying by way of analogy is that the phenomena of religious experience can not be used as a line of evidence because it is subjective. And, there are many religious experiences that people claim to have had that even I find to be both ridiculous and embarrassing. However, many theists would not use their personal experiences as their only evidence, and others would not use such at all in making their case. And you have been around the block enough to know this. Surely you are aware of some of the methods for defending the theism—Classical, Evidential, Cumulative case, Presuppositional, and Reformed Epistemological. I invite any reader to Google any of these key words followed by the word “apologetics”(which has to do with defending the faith—not saying I’m sorry). There’s something for everyone.

    Jim, in mentioning scientific pioneers like Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, and Lord Kelvin earlier I had no intention of discussing their particular brand of theism or orthodoxy. I pointed out that these true pioneers of science were theists to prove a point that science does not belong only to the atheist, and that believing in God does not somehow disqualify someone as an intelligent thinker. You seem to imply earlier that somehow science has now moved to the point beyond such pioneers that belief in God is really old hat. However, there are still leading scientists who believe in God. One such scientist is Dr. Collins the director of the Human Genome Project. He was even once an atheist. I would like to leave you with this article by Dr. Collins from CNN.COM.. I think it is a good counterbalance to all of the theist-turned-atheist testimonies on the various threads.

    By Dr. Francis Collins
    Special to CNN
    Editor’s note: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Human Genome Project. His most recent book is “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.”
    ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) — I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.
    As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan.
    I did not always embrace these perspectives. As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked “What do you believe, doctor?”, I began searching for answers.
    I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” “Why am I here?” “Why does mathematics work, anyway?” “If the universe had a beginning, who created it?” “Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?” “Why do humans have a moral sense?” “What happens after we die?” (Watch Francis Collins discuss how he came to believe in God )
    I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist’s assertion that “I know there is no God” emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, “Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”
    But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.
    For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God’s character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God’s son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.
    So, some have asked, doesn’t your brain explode? Can you both pursue an understanding of how life works using the tools of genetics and molecular biology, and worship a creator God? Aren’t evolution and faith in God incompatible? Can a scientist believe in miracles like the resurrection?
    Actually, I find no conflict here, and neither apparently do the 40 percent of working scientists who claim to be believers. Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.
    But why couldn’t this be God’s plan for creation? True, this is incompatible with an ultra-literal interpretation of Genesis, but long before Darwin, there were many thoughtful interpreters like St. Augustine, who found it impossible to be exactly sure what the meaning of that amazing creation story was supposed to be. So attaching oneself to such literal interpretations in the face of compelling scientific evidence pointing to the ancient age of Earth and the relatedness of living things by evolution seems neither wise nor necessary for the believer.
    I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God’s majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.

  150. I’ve been on holiday for 4 days. I returned to a mail box with 160+ unread mails. The vast majority were replies to this thread and other private messages on similar topics. Please give me a day or two to read them all and reply directly to the most interesting ones.

    It’s amazing weather here in the UK at the moment and since it’s pretty rare, even in summer, to get whole days in a row of uninterrupted sunshine like this, especially up North, I thought a podcast style audio reply might be more interesting, not least more like something I can do while out and about, as opposed to hunched over the slab in the atheist baby slaughtering dungeon.. ..I mean keyboard in the computer room. So, stay tuned!!

  151. Plans to record a podcast are well underway. If you would like to contribute please send an email to me at thatjim@gmail.com with your Skype username and a GMT time you are likely to be available to take part in the conference call. The initial call, after technical check-ups, should take no more than 2 hours and will, by way of an introduction, recap the main topics of discussion from some of the longer comment threads on this blog from the past year.

    Stay tuned!

  152. Heads up! I’ve had some interest in taking part in the podcast, but I always welcome as many views as possible. Just a reminder for those subscribed to this thread to send your Skype username to thatjim@gmail.com if you want to take part.

    What I’ll then be doing is opening a Google Calendar which everyone who has mailed me with an interest in taking part will be added to, so everyone can put a pin the map and say what time and date they’ll be free to talk with me via Skype. Don’t worry your mail address won’t be revealed to anyone else who shows an interest, just the date and time you say you can make it to talk.

    Then, once we have enough people who can make it at the same time, we’ll get together and just chat. The resulting conversation will be edited as little as possible (literally just to remove unwanted “testing 1, 2, 3, can everyone hear me?” technical set-up) and then put out as a podcast on the howgoodisthat.wordpress.com blog and also mirrored on unenslaved.com

    Thanks to everyone who has shown an interest so far! Jim.

  153. Pingback: Which part of “falsifiable peer reviewed evidence” does Answers In Genesis not understand? -State of Protest

  154. Pingback: AronRa hits the nail on the head yet again « How good is that?

  155. Pingback: P.Z.’s Lyers and setting the record straight

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s