Catholic Seminarian Acts as Punching Bag

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Catholic Seminarian Acts as Punching Bag

To All:

This would make a good sticky for this forum. I am a Roman Catholic seminarian and I am hereby making myself available to answer any questions concerning Christianity or theism in general. I intend to maintain a number of propositions which I have essentially taken from the First Vatican Council:

(From the Fourth Chapter of the Canons and Decrees of the Council, edited by Fr. Norman Tanner. S.J) 

 

The perpetual agreement of the catholic church has maintained and maintains this too: that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards its source, but also as regards its object.

With regard to the source, we know at the one level by natural reason, at the other level by divine faith. With regard to the object, besides those things to which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, are incapable of being known.

Wherefore, when the Apostle, who witnesses that God was known to the gentiles from created things [29] , comes to treat of the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ [30] , he declares: We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this. God has revealed it to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God [31] . And the Only-begotten himself, in his confession to the Father, acknowledges that the Father has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to the little ones [32] .

Now reason, does indeed when it seeks persistently, piously and soberly, achieve by God's gift some understanding, and that most profitable, of the mysteries, whether by analogy from what it knows naturally, or from the connexion of these mysteries with one another and with the final end of humanity; but reason is never rendered capable of penetrating these mysteries in the way in which it penetrates those truths which form its proper object. For the divine mysteries, by their very nature, so far surpass the created understanding that, even when a revelation has been given and accepted by faith, they remain covered by the veil of that same faith and wrapped, as it were, in a certain obscurity, as long as in this mortal life we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, and not by sight [33].

Even though faith is above reason, there can never be any real disagreement between faith and reason, since it is the same God who reveals the mysteries and infuses faith, and who has endowed the human mind with the light of reason.

God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever be in opposition to truth. The appearance of this kind of specious contradiction is chiefly due to the fact that either the dogmas of faith are not understood and explained in accordance with the mind of the church, or unsound views are mistaken for the conclusions of reason.

Therefore we define that every assertion contrary to the truth of enlightened faith is totally false [34] . Furthermore the church which, together with its apostolic office of teaching, has received the charge of preserving the deposit of faith, has by divine appointment the right and duty of condemning what wrongly passes for knowledge, lest anyone be led astray by philosophy and empty deceit [35] .

Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.

Hence, so far is the church from hindering the development of human arts and studies, that in fact she assists and promotes them in many ways. For she is neither ignorant nor contemptuous of the advantages which derive from this source for human life, rather she acknowledges that those things flow from God, the lord of sciences, and, if they are properly used, lead to God by the help of his grace. Nor does the church forbid these studies to employ, each within its own area, its own proper principles and method: but while she admits this just freedom, she takes particular care that they do not become infected with errors by conflicting with divine teaching, or, by going beyond their proper limits, intrude upon what belongs to faith and engender confusion. For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated.

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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Welcome aboard, I once was

Welcome aboard, I once was studying to become a priest.  I recall in my days before leaving the faith I had several dialogues with two seminarians and a priest.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll come up with a lengthy list of things I feel you should respond to.  But for now, welcome.

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Catholic seminary, then?

Catholic seminary, then? May I ask, generally, where it was?

I will be studying Greek as well. It is nice to know people still care about dead languages Smiling

I look forward to your comments.

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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I should clarify (because

I should clarify (because I'm not dishonest).

 I had been studying to become a priest since my freshmen year of Catholic High School, and had been tutored since I was very young by a Father Michael in Jew Jersey before the Dioscese moved him.  When I was in High School, a Father Lamb and Father Baker took over in the place of father Michael.  In fact I recall them giving me copies of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica. 

I got out of my faith before I graduated.

Greek is my favorite language.  I don't think it's dead, just dorment.  Heh.  Perhaps that is a bit irrational of me, but if the Greek Philosophy is still alive and well then to me the language still lives (as the language is truely a metaphor of their philosophy and nature - Read: Schumacher and Heidegger)

 Look forward to your correspondance.

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Before you graduated...high

Before you graduated...high school?

And you were studying to be a priest? Not in seminary, then.

How did you like the Summa? I am studying Aquinas for my degree in philosophy.

 Yours In Christ,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: Before

StMichael wrote:

Before you graduated...high school?

And you were studying to be a priest? Not in seminary, then.

 Heh.  No, not in seminary - I found rationality before I went through that.  I still study obviously, my quest for knowledge and thirst for facts has never left me.

Quote:
How did you like the Summa? I am studying Aquinas for my degree in philosophy.

Aquinas can be very, very dry at times.  I have two perspectives of Aquinas now as I have had time to comb over other philosophical works since I was a student.

When I was a Christian, Aquinas was the miracle I was looking for, evidence that proved there was a God, and he did it all in a few volumes.  He tried to encompase faith and reason, and I being a logical young man was fascinated by it. 

Now, however, I have lost all of my wool-eyed boyish ignorance and see no connection with reason and faith.  To me, Aquinas is on the same level (perhaps because he read Aquinas) as Dan Brown and his "Angels and Demons" book. 

In my opinion, the works of Plato and Aristotle are far more effective in philosophical idealogy then Aquinas.  But I somehow wonder if, had it not been for his parents influence and the churches hold over schooling at the time, perhaps Aquinas may have been ascientist or even an atheist. 

This to me is one way in which being indoctrinated into a belief at a young age is so wrong. 

Anyway, I'll have those questions for you soon enough.  I was actually hopinh I could stumble upon some of my old notes from Theology classes - course that was some seven years ago.

 Yours In Christ,

StMichael

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I suppose Aquinas can

I suppose Aquinas can depend on what you read and how it is read. The Summa is not meant to be read through like a novel. I'm sad to see you lost any allowance for harmony between faith and reason, but I have to object that Dan Brown, as far as I know, never learned anything from Aquinas (if he ever read him).

I'd have to also object to that sillyness about Aquinas being indoctrinated into theology. Aquinas, to be sure, was brought up in a fairly religious age, but his family was anything but religious. They were the cousins of the apostate Emperor and not particularly friendly to the Pope and religion in general. They probably were not nearly as inimical to it as their cousin, but probably more disinterested and willing to use religion for political gain rather than practice it. It was for this reason that while they wished Aquinas to become a soldier (as his other brothers) they would have allowed him to join the Benedictines and become the abbot of Monte Casino. However, according to Aquinas' own temperment, he neither desired to be a ruler either spiritually or temporally. Even later in life he rejected the cardinalate when it was offered. He got in a great deal of trouble with his family over his eventual desire to join the Order of Friars Preachers (a poor religious order whose motto was "Truth" and who had no wordly influence at all). His parents and brothers eventually captured him and tried to seduce/persuade him in various ways to abandon his habit (famously, they did this by introducing a prostitute into his chambers). However, Aquinas never veered from his aim. Many other things could be said just about this.

On the level in which Aquinas can be compared with Plato and Aristotle is another matter. From my reading of Aquinas and from the scholarly attitude of our time, we have come back to a realization of his importance in the history of the philosophy. His philosophical ingenuity successfully completed the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle where it was lacking and forged a new synthetic thought based in their previous endeavors. I think it might be helpful to read Gilson, Maritain, Msgr. Sokolowski, Msgr. Wipple, all of whom detail many of his contributions. Especially Hume and Husserl, as well as Heideggar, use Aquinas in substantial parts.

Lastly, I suppose, I really ought to say something about "indoctrination" during youth. While there is nothing wrong with human autonomy, free will, and the like, it seems wrong to say that raising somebody in the faith is morally objectionable (which "indoctrination" seems to imply). I would point out that parents commonly do such things with children as "indoctrinating" them to the dangers of certain types of objects (knives, fire, chemicals, ect.) and "indoctrinating" them how to behave (to go to bathroom correctly, to wash ones' hands, to brush ones' teeth, ect.). Parents have a certain natural right and even obligation (I think you would agree) to care for and seek the best for their children; this could hardly be called "indoctrination." If one were to accept, as their parents do, that their religion is true and necessary for salvation, it would be fully in their power to raise their children in the way that religion proscribes (meaning, following the precepts of the religion and its moral teachings, ect.) in order to provide the best for their children. Even I, as a Christian and Catholic, fully agree that it is in the natural right of any parent, Muslim, Jew, pagan, or atheist, to raise their children in their religion. One might argue on the benefits, for example, of raising one in a particular religion (I would disagree with atheism and you would disagree with Catholicism), but one nevertheless must agree that it is perfectly within their natural right and parental obligation to do so.

Finally, in Christian and Catholic baptism, I would point out that baptism causes in the soul, ex opere operato, the effect it signifies. In other words, baptism brings to the child sanctifying grace; faith, hope, and love. Saint Augustine: "When children are presented to be given spiritual grace," he wrote, "it is not so much those holding them in their arms who present them—although, if these people are good Christians, they are included among those who present the children—as the whole company of saints and faithful Christians.... It is done by the whole of Mother Church which is in the saints, since it is as a whole that she gives birth to each and every one of them." As the Catholic Church officially teaches: "...the child is a person long before it can show it by acts of consciousness and freedom. As a person, the child is already capable of becoming, through the sacrament of Baptism, a child of God and a coheir with Christ. Later, when consciousness and freedom awake, these will have at their disposal the powers placed in the child's soul by the grace of Baptism." And, lastly, specifically in response to the objection against freedom, the Church writes: "A so-called neutral attitude on the part of the family with regard to the child's religious life would in fact be a negative choice that would deprive the child of an essential good. Above all, those who claim that the sacrament of Baptism compromises a child's freedom forget that every individual, baptized or not, is, as a creature, bound by indefeasible duties to God, duties which Baptism ratifies and ennobles through the adoption as a child of God."

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: Even

StMichael wrote:

Even though faith is above reason, there can never be any real disagreement between faith and reason, since it is the same God who reveals the mysteries and infuses faith, and who has endowed the human mind with the light of reason.

 

This is perhaps a pleasant thought, but as the church's prosecution of Galileo would attest, reason and faith are not in "perpetual agreement". That the church found scriptural passages more truthful than simple observations made through a telescope is a clear indication that "enlightened faith" is a contradiction in terms.

As far as Aquinas: His writings and those of other scholastics represent an effort to calibrate the christian myths with the philosophpy of Plato and Aristotle - an effort which is altogether fruitless. There is really no constancy between the non-sentient Prime Mover, and the anthropomorphic Yahweh. The Eucharist is an cultic, vaguely cannabilistic example of the beliefs held in various mystery religions of the 1st century. The use of Substance and Accidence to explain it as "transubstantiation" is egregiously sophistic. Plato for his part endorsed homosexuality and believed in reincarnation. That so much energy was given to twisting the thoughts of a philosophical academy to fit the beliefs of an apocalyptic religion is comical. That much of this work still forms the core of catholic theology today is depraved.

StMichael wrote:

While there is nothing wrong with human autonomy, free will, and the like, it seems wrong to say that raising somebody in the faith is morally objectionable (which "indoctrination" seems to imply). I would point out that parents commonly do such things with children as "indoctrinating" them to the dangers of certain types of objects (knives, fire, chemicals, ect.) and "indoctrinating" them how to behave (to go to bathroom correctly, to wash ones' hands, to brush ones' teeth, ect.).

Quite right to note that there are many beliefs parents ought to rotely instil in their children in regards to fire and chemical safety, hygiene, etc. It does not follow from this however, that parents should also rotely instil beliefs about god, the afterlife, etc. The dangers of fire and knives, the benefits of brushing your teeth, these are readily demonstrable. A child ought very well to simply believe that it is dangerous to cross the street, rather than "find out for himself". God, Satan, the afterlife, hell and so on, these are decidedly NOT demonstrable. While there are hard statistics documenting the dangers of fire, chemicals and cavities, there is no observable evidence to indicate the dangers of worshipping the wrong god, or the benefits of worshipping the right one. There is frankly no observable evidence to indicate what is the right god, or that there is one at all.

There are no theists on operating tables.

πππ†
π†††


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StMichael wrote:I suppose

StMichael wrote:

I suppose Aquinas can depend on what you read and how it is read. The Summa is not meant to be read through like a novel. I'm sad to see you lost any allowance for harmony between faith and reason, but I have to object that Dan Brown, as far as I know, never learned anything from Aquinas (if he ever read him).

 I agree but also disagree.  If you admit that it depends on how one reads it, it is possible to have a skewed opinion on Aquinas to produce the character of Vittoria, the daughter of a priest who is always asking questions, eventually growing up to become a scientist who believes in God (A very rare accomody as 95% of the scientific community are non-religious).

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I'd have to also object to that sillyness about Aquinas being indoctrinated into theology. Aquinas, to be sure, was brought up in a fairly religious age, but his family was anything but religious.

Really?  So you're going to suggest that his family didn't put him into the Benedictine Abby of Monte Cassino at the age of five?  That they didn't want him to one day become abbot?  According to NewAdvent.com, "Calo (1300 - Ed) relates that a holy hermit foretold his career, saying to Theodora (his mother - Ed) before his birth: "He will enter the Order of Friars Preachers, and so great will be his learning and sanctity that in his day no one will be found to equal him" (Prümmer, op. cit., 18).  In fact it is said that he was, "diligent in study, he was thus early noted as being meditative and devoted to prayer."  He didn't leave the Abby until 1239 according to the authority (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, pg. 1625) and there is some speculation that his birthdate may have even been later then 1225 (1227 - ?), and if this were the case he'd been indoctrinated from the age of 5 to the age of 12.  If you want to play that he'd been born in 1225, then it would be until the age of 14.  Either way, when you are five years old everything is absorbed, you are like a spunge.  To claim he wasn't indoctrinated is incredulous at best.  He was taught by monks, for goodness sake, for his entire youth!

His parents do not play into it, as anything that happened from his birth to the age of three would not have stuck in his memory, leaving him only two years of conscious thought.  You want to claim he wasn't indoctrinated? Tell somebody who doesn't know their history, and who doesn't have a wide variety of authoritative resources at his fingertips.

Further you state "fairly religious age" as if it were pseudo-secular or along these lines.  But you ignore the fact that during his life time (1225/7-74) there were two crusades launched by St. Louis.  One at 1249-51 and another at 1270.  I would say that's pretty damn religious.  When you launch whole armies to invade a landmass to conquer it for it's religious astetical purposes and massacre thousands to get there, that is more then "fairly" religious.

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 They were the cousins of the apostate Emperor and not particularly friendly to the Pope and religion in general. They probably were not nearly as inimical to it as their cousin, but probably more disinterested and willing to use religion for political gain rather than practice it.

 Again, his parents don't play into it.  He wasn't with them long enough to have gained anything from them, having been sent to an Abby at five years old...he was indoctrinated - just not by his parents, rather friars and monks who would punish somebody for asking questions.  Especially during a time of religious war. 

 

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It was for this reason that while they wished Aquinas to become a soldier (as his other brothers) they would have allowed him to join the Benedictines and become the abbot of Monte Casino.

I'm sorry, where is that mentioned? 

Quote:
 However, according to Aquinas' own temperment, he neither desired to be a ruler either spiritually or temporally. Even later in life he rejected the cardinalate when it was offered. He got in a great deal of trouble with his family over his eventual desire to join the Order of Friars Preachers (a poor religious order whose motto was "Truth" and who had no wordly influence at all).

He was already a Dominican. In fact he studied in the University of Paris.

And it would seem as if he didn't really care, by the way you phrase it, what his parents thought anyway.  Again, more evidence to the fact that his parents don't play into the equation.  I really hope the next time I make a statement you don't carry on with some irrelevant rant that has nothing to do with the point.  If you want to suggest that at the Abby he was not indoctrinated, I would really like to hear your sources.

Quote:
His parents and brothers eventually captured him and tried to seduce/persuade him in various ways to abandon his habit (famously, they did this by introducing a prostitute into his chambers). However, Aquinas never veered from his aim. Many other things could be said just about this.

Yes, like for example how little influence his parents had over his indoctrination by the church and the Abby.  Good job at proving my point.  I hope all our conversations continue this way.

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On the level in which Aquinas can be compared with Plato and Aristotle is another matter. From my reading of Aquinas and from the scholarly attitude of our time, we have come back to a realization of his importance in the history of the philosophy.

I'm not doubting that, nor did I make a claim that his efforts in philosophy are not with want.  But in my opinion, his nature is far less substantial then that of Ethics or Physics, of Euthyphro or Republic. 

Quote:
 His philosophical ingenuity successfully completed the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle where it was lacking and forged a new synthetic thought based in their previous endeavors.

I find your examination highly suspect. In what manner do you feel he completed works that which already had completion and acceptance for hundreds of years before Aquinas?

Quote:
 I think it might be helpful to read Gilson, Maritain, Msgr. Sokolowski, Msgr. Wipple, all of whom detail many of his contributions. Especially Hume and Husserl, as well as Heideggar, use Aquinas in substantial parts.

I think it may be helpful for you to understand who you are talking to.  You haven't made a case yet.

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Lastly, I suppose, I really ought to say something about "indoctrination" during youth.

So you're finally getting on topic? 

Quote:
While there is nothing wrong with human autonomy, free will, and the like, it seems wrong to say that raising somebody in the faith is morally objectionable (which "indoctrination" seems to imply).

I would love to hear your counter-argument. 

Quote:
 I would point out that parents commonly do such things with children as "indoctrinating" them to the dangers of certain types of objects (knives, fire, chemicals, ect.)

So you're going to use the physical dangers of objects and try to make a comparison to a spiritual thing with no real effects on human life?  You're being pretty pathetic now. 

Quote:
 and "indoctrinating" them how to behave (to go to bathroom correctly, to wash ones' hands, to brush ones' teeth, ect.).

Again, proper hygiene is not the same thing as telling your son or daughter that "the boogy man is under your bed" or "The tooth fairy will give you money if you loose a tooth" or "There's an all powerful God who always watches you and who loves you that you'll never see."   

Quote:
 Parents have a certain natural right and even obligation (I think you would agree) to care for and seek the best for their children; this could hardly be called "indoctrination."

Because the ramifications of not telling your children to be careful around knives is LIFE THREATENING.  Not teaching your child to pray is not going to kill them.  And if you want to try and claim (as so many of you do) that it's a spiritual death, I would challenge you to prove to me that a.) there is a hell and b.) there is a spiritual plane.  Until you do this, don't make such broad and arrogant presumptions. 

Quote:
 If one were to accept, as their parents do, that their religion is true and necessary for salvation, it would be fully in their power to raise their children in the way that religion proscribes (meaning, following the precepts of the religion and its moral teachings, ect.)

 In their power yes, but not right or moral.  The same could be said for racists who raise their kids to be racists,  It's well within their "rights" to teach their children that blacks are sub-human and gays are fags that should be spat at, and jews should all be incinerated, but that doesn't make it RIGHT.  Perhaps this is not so much your arrogance but your inability to decipher the difference between might and right. 

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in order to provide the best for their children. Even I, as a Christian and Catholic, fully agree that it is in the natural right of any parent, Muslim, Jew, pagan, or atheist, to raise their children in their religion.

It's a constitutional right, sure, but that doesn't make it morally right. A lot of ignorant people out there raise their kids like them, and that is not acceptable.  There is no way to have free will within the constraints of indoctrination.  You must let the child learn from his own mistakes.  If a child never touches a stove, he'll never learn the meaning of "hot" fully.  If one never cuts himself he'll never understand the meaning of "sharp."  These are things that must be taught alongside "indoctrination." Again, this is where you misunderstand the difference of having power and doing something moral.

Quote:
 One might argue on the benefits, for example, of raising one in a particular religion (I would disagree with atheism and you would disagree with Catholicism),

I find it ammusing that you think atheism is a religion.  This speaks again to your ignorance, but then again you don't know Greek. 

Quote:
 but one nevertheless must agree that it is perfectly within their natural right and parental obligation to do so.

I think it is the obligation of the parent to raise a child to be unbias.  You think it is under the obligation to raise a child to be bias.  YOU are in the morally wrong position here.  But I can't blame you, because you were raised with that bias, just like Aquinas - who stated that heretics should be murdered outright in his Summa Theologica. (Article 3:11)  I don't think anybody who belongs to a faith who condones such violence should speaking about ANYTHING related to morality and rights.  In fact your faith should probably take lessons.

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Finally, in Christian and Catholic baptism, I would point out that baptism causes in the soul, ex opere operato, the effect it signifies. In other words, baptism brings to the child sanctifying grace; faith, hope, and love.

You're talking to an apostate, here.  I know the Catholic Churches stance on baptism, in fact I own the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  That doesn't PROVE to me tehre is a soul and it doesn't prove to me that somebody without baptism can't later find religion on their own accord without indoctrination.  The problem is, you KNOW that your religion has ethical, moral and epistimological problems, and if a child wasn't indoctrinated they'd never think you were more then some cultist talking about a dying religion.  But that isn't my problem, that is YOURS.  Don't try to make it sound like you have the moral high ground when you, in fact, don't.

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 Saint Augustine: "When children are presented to be given spiritual grace," he wrote, "it is not so much those holding them in their arms who present them—although, if these people are good Christians, they are included among those who present the children—as the whole company of saints and faithful Christians.... It is done by the whole of Mother Church which is in the saints, since it is as a whole that she gives birth to each and every one of them." As the Catholic Church officially teaches: "...the child is a person long before it can show it by acts of consciousness and freedom. As a person, the child is already capable of becoming, through the sacrament of Baptism, a child of God and a coheir with Christ. Later, when consciousness and freedom awake, these will have at their disposal the powers placed in the child's soul by the grace of Baptism." And, lastly, specifically in response to the objection against freedom, the Church writes: "A so-called neutral attitude on the part of the family with regard to the child's religious life would in fact be a negative choice that would deprive the child of an essential good. Above all, those who claim that the sacrament of Baptism compromises a child's freedom forget that every individual, baptized or not, is, as a creature, bound by indefeasible duties to God, duties which Baptism ratifies and ennobles through the adoption as a child of God."

 I have a copy of Augustine as well, in fact I'm sure I've read more on my own about your faith then you have in all your years of schooling, and the fact that I can translate the Greek of the Old and New Testaments confirms that.  But in none of Augustine's works is there a testable method by which one can see the soul or the effects of baptism on the soul.

Again, if you want to try to play smart - do so with a person who doesn't have a wide variety of knowledge and resources to draw from.

The best.

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Your response was rather

Your response was rather spirited. I would rather like to condense the reply a bit, as I do not currently have enough time to answer the whole thing. We can hit the main points, at least:

 First, in terms of the 95% of scientists disbelieve in God, I find this statistic highly suspect. No profession tends to be that homogenous. The most recent study, http://www.livescience.com/othernews/050811_scientists_god.html,

shows ~60% of scientists believe in a divinity of some sort. But even a previous study which was often touted in atheists' favor claimed that possibly 60% did not believe, not 95%.

"His parents do not play into it, as anything that happened from his birth to the age of three would not have stuck in his memory, leaving him only two years of conscious thought."

I think that is quite unfair, as his parents probably often visited the monastery, as did his siblings, due partly to the fact that they were a well-to-do family. At least, this is not an unfair assumption to say that they had more than a marginal influence upon him.

"...he was indoctrinated - just not by his parents, rather friars and monks who would punish somebody for asking questions.  Especially during a time of religious war."

No friars educated Thomas at Monte Cassino, as they had only recently been "invented" and because it was a Benedictine Archabbey. It is also unfair to claim that they punished him for asking questions. As reports tell, he asked quite a few questions, but, more importantly, this was the age of debate and the resurgence of reason. I am sure that he would have attended something of a quodlibetal lecture where he would ask questions of someone defending a thesis. Similarly, he would be instructed in proper logic and debate style in the quadrivium taught at Monte Cassino (the equivalent middle to early high school instruction of the time). His later education at Naples would be much more influenced by this, as oral defense of a thesis was the chief mode of education in Europe at this time, even in lower schools.  

"I'm sorry, where is that mentioned [that Aquinas was to be made either soldier or abbot of Monte Cassino]"

A good source would be Fr. Placid Conway, OP who writes as such in his biography of St. Thomas. It would also not be inconceivable as his uncle was abbot. Most biography's of Thomas give this as the reason Theodora and his brothers waylaid him during his novitiate.

"Because the ramifications of not telling your children to be careful around knives is LIFE THREATENING.  Not teaching your child to pray is not going to kill them." 

 That's basically my argument - it would kill them spiritually from their viewpoint.

"And if you want to try and claim (as so many of you do) that it's a spiritual death, I would challenge you to prove to me that a.) there is a hell and b.) there is a spiritual plane.  Until you do this, don't make such broad and arrogant presumptions."

I wasn't making a broad or arrogant assumption, but merely stating that, if the parents did believe that it was spiritually dangerous to not be X, then it makes sense that they ought to ensure the safety of their child as he is growing up. I could show the existence of hell, ect., but that is a different discussion where I only intended to show that one could easily see the point of view of the parent.  

"In their power yes, but not right or moral.  The same could be said for racists who raise their kids to be racists,  It's well within their "rights" to teach their children that blacks are sub-human and gays are fags that should be spat at, and jews should all be incinerated, but that doesn't make it RIGHT.  Perhaps this is not so much your arrogance but your inability to decipher the difference between might and right."

This argument is true and I acknowledged it as such. It might not be a correct religion, but it is nevertheless the parents' perogative, which was all my point was about.

"I think it is the obligation of the parent to raise a child to be unbias.  You think it is under the obligation to raise a child to be bias.  YOU are in the morally wrong position here."

 What does "unbiased" mean, exactly? As it were, I could just as easily throw this at you. "You think it is the obligation of parents to raise their children as atheists. I think it is the obligation of parents to instruct them in the Catholic faith." If we were to accept my position momentarily, Christianity and morality would be liberating. I see no reason as to why this ought to be compelling as you begin the argument with "loaded" dice and assume atheism is equal to pure freedom and unbiased nature.

"But I can't blame you, because you were raised with that bias, just like Aquinas - who stated that heretics should be murdered outright in his Summa Theologica. (Article 3:11)  I don't think anybody who belongs to a faith who condones such violence should speaking about ANYTHING related to morality and rights.  In fact your faith should probably take lessons."

 Here, as elsewhere, it seems you just want to vent your anger. You can do this as much as you want, but it is not really an argument. We could answer the objection to Aquinas, but I don't think that it would be met very rationally.

"I own the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

Good place to start.

"That doesn't PROVE to me tehre is a soul and it doesn't prove to me that somebody without baptism can't later find religion on their own accord without indoctrination." 

 I don't understand what proving to you that "tehre" is a soul has to do with it. However, I never denied that one cannot "find religion" without having been baptised as an infant. The baptism and subsequent instruction just provides an early period of grace so that the child doesn't have to "find" it.

 "The problem is, you KNOW that your religion has ethical, moral and epistimological problems, and if a child wasn't indoctrinated they'd never think you were more then some cultist talking about a dying religion.  But that isn't my problem, that is YOURS.  Don't try to make it sound like you have the moral high ground when you, in fact, don't."

As you go on, more and more words become CAPITALIZED. My religion doesn't have much of a problem finding converts from outside of the "fold" and, to be honest, finds it harder to ensure proper catechesis of those born into a "Catholic" family. I never pretended to have any sort of "moral high ground" at all. I just proposed we meet on even turf.

"But in none of Augustine's works is there a testable method by which one can see the soul or the effects of baptism on the soul."

No "test" really exists to "see" the soul which is, by nature, immaterial. Saint Augustine long had the problem of coping with the idea of something immaterial and went to Manichees to find a material god. The soul is not "testable" in the same way a potatoe is. The same is true of baptism. Baptism perfects the soul and imprints a character. This character is a latent power in the soul, which the soul is free to use or not. Grace or characters, as well as the soul itself, are immaterial and not really "testable." It would be the same if one wanted to "test" whether the idea of mushrooms exist. No "test" exists, but that doesn't mean that these things do not exist.

 Yours In Christ,

StMichael

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: Your

StMichael wrote:

Your response was rather spirited.

 I was in a rush.  Laughing 

Quote:
I would rather like to condense the reply a bit, as I do not currently have enough time to answer the whole thing. We can hit the main points, at least:

Fair enough.  We're both short on time it seems.

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 First, in terms of the 95% of scientists disbelieve in God, I find this statistic highly suspect. No profession tends to be that homogenous. The most recent study, http://www.livescience.com/othernews/050811_scientists_god.html,

shows ~60% of scientists believe in a divinity of some sort. But even a previous study which was often touted in atheists' favor claimed that possibly 60% did not believe, not 95%.

 This was in regards to the National Academy of Sciences, and the number was 93%, so I apologize for that.  I was looking for the statistic but could not locate it. 

http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm

"The follow-up study reported in "Nature" reveals that the rate of belief is lower than eight decades ago. The latest survey involved 517 members of the National Academy of Sciences; half replied. When queried about belief in "personal god," only 7% responded in the affirmative, while 72.2% expressed "personal disbelief," and 20.8% expressed "doubt or agnosticism." Belief in the concept of human immortality, i.e. life after death declined from the 35.2% measured in 1914 to just 7.9%. 76.7% reject the "human immortality" tenet, compared with 25.4% in 1914, and 23.2% claimed "doubt or agnosticism" on the question, compared with 43.7% in Leuba's original measurement. Again, though, the highest rate of belief in a god was found among mathematicians (14.3%), while the lowest was found among those in the life sciences fields -- only 5.5%."

Before you claim bias, I have other links, and your study is almost two years old.

Check these out as well:

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

"Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God, and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 "greater" scientists within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85, respectively [2].

In 1996, we repeated Leuba's 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally, with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely imitated the second phase of Leuba's 1914 survey to gauge belief among "greater" scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever — a mere 7% of respondents.

Our chosen group of "greater" scientists were members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality). Overall comparison figures for the 1914, 1933 and 1998 surveys appear in Table 1."

 This is a more indepth veiw of your survey: http://www.physorg.com/news5785.html but it doesn't specify the percentage of scientists who only "don't know or are agnostic" as the other survey does.  If 41% of natural scientists do not believe, what about the percentage of people who are agnostic?  Why don't they post the finds of those who do believe?  This is why you can't just post a number like 60% and assume that it the amount.

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"His parents do not play into it, as anything that happened from his birth to the age of three would not have stuck in his memory, leaving him only two years of conscious thought."

I think that is quite unfair, as his parents probably often visited the monastery, as did his siblings, due partly to the fact that they were a well-to-do family. At least, this is not an unfair assumption to say that they had more than a marginal influence upon him.

I doubt they had more influence then the monks at the Abby.  And if they visited (I want you to provide me with some evidence here they did actually do that)how often?  And what did they speak of?  Do you HONESTLY think they sent him to an Abby just to come see him and try to pull him away from religion?

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Quote:
"...he was indoctrinated - just not by his parents, rather friars and monks who would punish somebody for asking questions.  Especially during a time of religious war."

No friars educated Thomas at Monte Cassino, as they had only recently been "invented" and because it was a Benedictine Archabbey.

 True, that was a slip of the tongue.  I apologize. 

Quote:
 It is also unfair to claim that they punished him for asking questions. As reports tell, he asked quite a few questions, but, more importantly, this was the age of debate and the resurgence of reason. I am sure that he would have attended something of a quodlibetal lecture where he would ask questions of someone defending a thesis. Similarly, he would be instructed in proper logic and debate style in the quadrivium taught at Monte Cassino (the equivalent middle to early high school instruction of the time). His later education at Naples would be much more influenced by this, as oral defense of a thesis was the chief mode of education in Europe at this time, even in lower schools.  

 I agree, but that doesn't mean he was never punished for asking questions.  He may have asked a lot of questions but that doesn't mean he wasn't punished for doing so. 

Quote:
Quote:
"I'm sorry, where is that mentioned [that Aquinas was to be made either soldier or abbot of Monte Cassino]"

A good source would be Fr. Placid Conway, OP who writes as such in his biography of St. Thomas. It would also not be inconceivable as his uncle was abbot. Most biography's of Thomas give this as the reason Theodora and his brothers waylaid him during his novitiate.

First, don't assume what my question was, that was VERY dishonest.  My questionw as not directed at your statement concerning Abbot, I'm well aware the intention was for him to one day hold Abbot - in fact I told you that in the first paragraph.  If you're going to be dishonest about things, you're on the wrong forum.  The next time you want to know what I'm asking, you ask me and don't assume.  I hope I'm clear.

Also, your claim as to his family hoping he'd become a soldier is still preposterous.  The fact that he had been educated from the age of 5 at an Abby is not evidence for this, but against this.  He would have more power as Abbot then as a soldier.  Especially in the 13th Century.

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"Because the ramifications of not telling your children to be careful around knives is LIFE THREATENING.  Not teaching your child to pray is not going to kill them." 

 That's basically my argument - it would kill them spiritually from their viewpoint.

That isn't an argument that is speculation.  You have no evidence to back it up, hense it cannot be considered an argument. 

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Quote:
"And if you want to try and claim (as so many of you do) that it's a spiritual death, I would challenge you to prove to me that a.) there is a hell and b.) there is a spiritual plane.  Until you do this, don't make such broad and arrogant presumptions."

I wasn't making a broad or arrogant assumption,

Yes you were. 

Quote:
 but merely stating that, if the parents did believe that it was spiritually dangerous to not be X, then it makes sense that they ought to ensure the safety of their child as he is growing up. I could show the existence of hell, ect., but that is a different discussion where I only intended to show that one could easily see the point of view of the parent.  

We're not discussing Parental Authority but moral obligation.  Whether or not the parent has the authority as a senior to teach their children anything they want is irrelevant - what is relevant is the immoral ramifications of doing so.

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"In their power yes, but not right or moral.  The same could be said for racists who raise their kids to be racists,  It's well within their "rights" to teach their children that blacks are sub-human and gays are fags that should be spat at, and jews should all be incinerated, but that doesn't make it RIGHT.  Perhaps this is not so much your arrogance but your inability to decipher the difference between might and right."

This argument is true and I acknowledged it as such.

Thank you.  I appreciate your honesty here. 

Quote:
Quote:
"I think it is the obligation of the parent to raise a child to be unbias.  You think it is under the obligation to raise a child to be bias.  YOU are in the morally wrong position here."

 What does "unbiased" mean, exactly?

 To be unbias about a position without evidence or of opinion is simple: Raise a child to know both sides of a position.  For example, you don't raise a child to be a democrat or a republican but you explain to then the sides of each, and even those of independant parties, and let them make a decision when they are old enough to vote.  Most parents don't do this...they indoctrinate their children with the right way (their way) to run the country and spout horrible things about the other side.  This is a bias education. 

Quote:
 As it were, I could just as easily throw this at you. "You think it is the obligation of parents to raise their children as atheists. I think it is the obligation of parents to instruct them in the Catholic faith."

But that would be false.  I want my children to think for themselves.  If they choose when they are old enough to believe in God I am not going to stop them.  Just as I would want them to choose anything in their lives.  That's the difference between religion and non-religion - I don't need to teach my children a set doctrine of faith because I have none.

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If we were to accept my position momentarily, Christianity and morality would be liberating. I see no reason as to why this ought to be compelling as you begin the argument with "loaded" dice and assume atheism is equal to pure freedom and unbiased nature.

 It is equal to pure freedom and unbias nature.  This is why it's connected with FREE-THOUGHT.  There is a reason why the Dark Ages are called so, and why the Age of Reason is called so.  America was the secular experiment that today morons in right wing churches speak of us being founded on "Christian" prinicpals...apparently they never heard of the Treaty of Tripoli. 

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Quote:
"But I can't blame you, because you were raised with that bias, just like Aquinas - who stated that heretics should be murdered outright in his Summa Theologica. (Article 3:11)  I don't think anybody who belongs to a faith who condones such violence should speaking about ANYTHING related to morality and rights.  In fact your faith should probably take lessons."

 Here, as elsewhere, it seems you just want to vent your anger.

You're being dishonest and making broad presuppositions about me.   I am not venting nor am I angry, I am making a sound argument.  Don't attack me because your Saint made comments about murdering innocent people because they were different.

Quote:
 You can do this as much as you want, but it is not really an argument. We could answer the objection to Aquinas, but I don't think that it would be met very rationally.

Are you trying to suggest that he doesn't state that?  Let me post it for you:

"With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death. " (Summa Theologica; Secunda Secundae; Question 11, Article 3)

 That is pretty clear to me.  In fact he goes on to reply to the three objections which side with toleration and repentance.  Want to try again? What I find most revealing here is the evidence that belief in a spiritual being denotes lack of completely free thought - as if Aquinas didn't believe in a God he would have no reason to kill the heretics of any faith.

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"I own the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

Good place to start.

This coming from my intellectual inferior?  I've read through it...and the tombs of other books, dictionaries and encyclopedias in my library.  That includes a NA 27 Greek and Latin addition and several Loeb texts, the ODoCC, Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, a Jewish Encyclopedia, five different versions of the Bible (including the Catholic NAB study Bible), the complete works of Josephus, Tacitus and Seutonius, Eusebius and others (all Loeb Classics).  You don't want to play "Who's more knowledgeable then who" with me.  It doesn't become you in the debate and you won't win.

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"That doesn't PROVE to me tehre is a soul and it doesn't prove to me that somebody without baptism can't later find religion on their own accord without indoctrination." 

 I don't understand what proving to you that "tehre"

Don't be a spelling Nazi.  This is very dishonest and shows me that you don't have anything but spelling to to discuss.  If you want to be an ass and point out a typo it only makes you look bad, not me. 

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 is a soul has to do with it.

It does, as it would prove the action is immoral and bias one way or another. 

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 However, I never denied that one cannot "find religion" without having been baptised as an infant.

So then you admit that indoctrination isn't necessary? 

 

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 "The problem is, you KNOW that your religion has ethical, moral and epistimological problems, and if a child wasn't indoctrinated they'd never think you were more then some cultist talking about a dying religion.  But that isn't my problem, that is YOURS.  Don't try to make it sound like you have the moral high ground when you, in fact, don't."

As you go on, more and more words become CAPITALIZED.

 This is for emphasis only. 

Quote:
 I never pretended to have any sort of "moral high ground" at all. I just proposed we meet on even turf.

If you did I apologize for not understanding that, as it seemed to me, as if you were trying to defend indoctrination. 

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"But in none of Augustine's works is there a testable method by which one can see the soul or the effects of baptism on the soul."

No "test" really exists to "see" the soul which is, by nature, immaterial.

Then it has no effect on reality, and therefore is irrelevant.  I have no desire to accept something without evidence, would you accept the position that there are little green men in your ears?  But by your logic, you'd have us all believe that were the case.  They are there, those green men, but they're immaterial, and if you don't accept those green men, when you die they'll decapitate you in a spiritual sense forever.

Quote:
 Saint Augustine long had the problem of coping with the idea of something immaterial and went to Manichees to find a material god. The soul is not "testable" in the same way a potatoe is.

Which is the difference between teaching a child about the harmful nature of fire and teaching them about a soul. 

Quote:
  No "test" exists, but that doesn't mean that these things do not exist.

If they exist they have to be testable, it's the way of things.  But nice try.

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I'd like to step in and

I'd like to step in and comment on these claims of souls existing.

 If the world is really dualistic, that is there is matter and there is spirit, then we can think of this in a number of ways.

  1. matter and spirit are ontologically distinct substances. If this is the case, then one would have to wonder how they could possibly interact.  If they share no ontological relationship, then they cannot possibly interact.  this means that our soul cannot communicate with our body, nor our body our soul.  If taht's the case, then in what sense doe sthe soul "exist," since existing is something that things do, not stuff that does not have the possibility of thingness, since it is immaterial/non-material.
  2. matter and spirit are distinct ontologies, but they are linked via some more fundamnental substance.  This would be along the line of Tillich's "ground of Being," which he calls God.  The problem with this is taht it is purely speculative. Further, it is not parsimonious. The question still remains as to what the soul does.  The processes of the body are sufficient for cognition, consciousness, will, emotion, and all kinds of experiences both 'religious' and mundane.  The soul is added on as an explanation that does not explain anything.  Thus, the entity in question has no use, thus te ground that binds it to the body is unnecessary; it's added superfluously.
  3. There is only the body, and the soul is an abstraction.  this is essentially materialism.  The idea is tah tthe mind, in creating a subjective state, projects the conception of something that exists diffeently than matter.  It's simply an illusion.  The soul is a proposed name for this metaphysicalization, which is basically a projected being derived from the sense of subjective experience; it's the illusion of immateriality.

There are other ways to think about it, but that should suffice to make my point.

 There is no reason to propose the existence of a soul. It is true tah the lack of evidence is not evidence of lack, but the same things goes for anything we could conceive of, like Invisible unicorns and dancing spoon-monsters.  

 Shaun

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


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 In response first to your

 In response first to your statistics, all I meant was that 95% seemed to be quite a bit too big. Even if we accept your statistics, it doesn't really change much of anything in terms of our argument.

 In response to the Aquinas dispute - first, it doesn't much decide anything in regard to our argument so we could just as easily ignore this to decrease how much we have to cover. Second,

  "I agree, but that doesn't mean he was never punished for asking questions.  He may have asked a lot of questions but that doesn't mean he wasn't punished for doing so."

I think it rightly unfair to criticize the monks of Monte Cassino when you don't present any reason for your assertions. You paint the age as unquestioning and ignorant (as per your later reference to the Dark Ages versus the Age of Reason - a later and biased addendum to an age that began the revolution in rational thought, the university, organized debate, libraries, and hundreds of other things important to scientific and rational analysis) without real justification.  

 

"First, don't assume what my question was, that was VERY dishonest.  My questionw as not directed at your statement concerning Abbot..."

I was not intentionally misrepresenting your statement, but answering it as I thought it was asked. I don't know how dishonesty figures into it.

"Also, your claim as to his family hoping he'd become a soldier is still preposterous.  The fact that he had been educated from the age of 5 at an Abby is not evidence for this, but against this.  He would have more power as Abbot then as a soldier.  Especially in the 13th Century."

Not true at all. Almost all children of the era were raised at cathedral schools or entrusted to abbeys for their formative training in grammar, music, mathematics, astronomy, logic, ect. It has no indication he was to be the abbot there. And, second, he would not necessarily have had more power as an abbot than as a soldier (assuming we take the rest of his family as an example); either way had its benefits or disadvantages.

 

"That isn't an argument that is speculation.  You have no evidence to back it up, hense it cannot be considered an argument."

I wasn't intending on offering an argument for hell, ect. as it was merely a statement that, assuming someone is a Christian, to raise them without their religion would be considered a "life-threatening" condition.

What is the morality character, then, of instructing someone in a false religion? I already answered this when I gave the answer that, according to the natural order, their instruction and upbringing belongs to their parents. It would not be right to seize a child from its parents and raise it in a correct religion (or, no religion at all). The question of the morality of the religion in the first place really ought not to come into the discussion at all. The parents are the ones who would need to be persuaded to accept the new position, not the child; likewise, it is the parents' responsibility to educate the child correctly after accepting the new position, not yourself or myself.

"To be unbias about a position without evidence or of opinion is simple: Raise a child to know both sides of a position.  For example, you don't raise a child to be a democrat or a republican but you explain to then the sides of each, and even those of independant parties, and let them make a decision when they are old enough to vote.  Most parents don't do this...they indoctrinate their children with the right way (their way) to run the country and spout horrible things about the other side.  This is a bias education."

Why is this biased? What determines an unbiased condition? I asked this earlier and your answer was that your child, growing up in a religiously empty environment, can choose religion at his pleasure later in life. This, in fact, is the same with Christianity. When free will and reason "kicks in," the child could abandon or accept what he has been raised with. However, there is no reason to reject it in the first place.

Again, assuming we want a religiously "neutral" environment, that itself is a particular bias expressed in the child's upbringing. "Why are you indoctrinating your child against religion?" could be asked. It seems your position of how to raise a child is inconsistent; you claim that it would be an unbiased education, yet I doubt you would raise your child with the same respect for Christianity I have (by which I mean that you would probably at least intimate that you do not believe Christianity to possess rational claims). In any event, I find it a hard place to point out an "unbiased" religious upbringing.

We could argue about the veracity of my religion and its claims, but this is really a different matter than whether the parents can rightfully raise their children in their own religion, which, as we have shown, is the case. It is another argument to begin speaking of whether the religion itself is helpful or harmful.  

"It is equal to pure freedom and unbias nature.  This is why it's connected with FREE-THOUGHT.  There is a reason why the Dark Ages are called so, and why the Age of Reason is called so...."

But what is freedom and "unbiased nature"? We haven't defined our terms. "Free-thought" is already a loaded term, as it designates a position by nature inimical to claims made by religion. It is a bias in itself. I think, finally, the Dark Ages claim has been spoken of earlier.

"... In fact he goes on to reply to the three objections which side with toleration and repentance.  Want to try again? What I find most revealing here is the evidence that belief in a spiritual being denotes lack of completely free thought - as if Aquinas didn't believe in a God he would have no reason to kill the heretics of any faith."

Your statements about Aquinas were an ad hominem, not an argument. I didn't dispute Aquinas said those things, it's just irrelevant to the argument. I would defend Aquinas' position but it seems irrelevant. I don't think it indicates lack of "free thought," and you further never explained how it did.

"This coming from my intellectual inferior?  I've read through it...and the tombs of other books, dictionaries and encyclopedias in my library.  That includes a NA 27 Greek and Latin addition and several Loeb texts, the ODoCC, Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, a Jewish Encyclopedia, five different versions of the Bible (including the Catholic NAB study Bible), the complete works of Josephus, Tacitus and Seutonius, Eusebius and others (all Loeb Classics).  You don't want to play "Who's more knowledgeable then who" with me.  It doesn't become you in the debate and you won't win."

I don't understand why you have to assert this. I merely said that the Catechism is a "good place to start," not implying any personal insult. I don't understand why you have to come back and assert your "intellectual superiority" - it makes your case look foolish when you rely purely on your own credentials. I own most of those books myself, so I don't understand - regardless - why it is so impressive that you do.

"Don't be a spelling Nazi.  This is very dishonest and shows me that you don't have anything but spelling to to discuss.  If you want to be an ass and point out a typo it only makes you look bad, not me."

I just found the mistake funny - no offense intended. It's not "dishonest," it might be offensive or insulting - maybe - but not dishonest. 

"So then you admit that indoctrination isn't necessary?"

No, "indoctrination" is not necessary - look to Saint Augustine - but it is nevertheless helpful and right from a parents' viewpoint.

  "Then it has no effect on reality, and therefore is irrelevant.  I have no desire to accept something without evidence, would you accept the position that there are little green men in your ears?  But by your logic, you'd have us all believe that were the case.  They are there, those green men, but they're immaterial, and if you don't accept those green men, when you die they'll decapitate you in a spiritual sense forever."

Immateriality does not in any way denote a lack of existence. The argument is not to accept things without evidence, but to evaluate the standards of evidence that you use. Purely physicalist account of things are inadequate - this conversations proves it. Our concepts do not exist in physical bodies and are unable to be spoken of in a purely physical way. To say the immaterial doesn't exist is foolhardy, as we always speak in this way. To say a seperated spiritual substance exists is a slightly different matter. The soul does not fall into this category (angels and God do, however) as the soul is a non-seperated spiritual substance: the rational form of the body/the mind. Its existence is proven by the fact you think and live.

"Which is the difference between teaching a child about the harmful nature of fire and teaching them about a soul."

Other than the subject, very little. 

"If they exist they have to be testable, it's the way of things.  But nice try."

Again, no standard is set to "testable." The soul, the mind, exists regardless, and it seems nonsense to say "I don't have a mind."

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

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 I'll just dig right

 I'll just dig right in.

"matter and spirit are ontologically distinct substances. If this is the case, then one would have to wonder how they could possibly interact.  If they share no ontological relationship, then they cannot possibly interact.  this means that our soul cannot communicate with our body, nor our body our soul.  If taht's the case, then in what sense doe sthe soul "exist," since existing is something that things do, not stuff that does not have the possibility of thingness, since it is immaterial/non-material."

 That depends what you mean by ontologically distinct. The soul exists as the form of the body - an intellectual "intelligibility" and informative structure behind it. It possesses the character of immateriality, but it obviously interacts with the body providing harmony of function, ect. A raccoon and a carrot are ontologically distinct in a manner of speaking but can nevertheless interact. While of a different order, spiritual things (immaterial) have effects on material entities.

"matter and spirit are distinct ontologies, but they are linked via some more fundamnental substance.  This would be along the line of Tillich's "ground of Being," which he calls God.  The problem with this is taht it is purely speculative. Further, it is not parsimonious. The question still remains as to what the soul does.  The processes of the body are sufficient for cognition, consciousness, will, emotion, and all kinds of experiences both 'religious' and mundane.  The soul is added on as an explanation that does not explain anything.  Thus, the entity in question has no use, thus te ground that binds it to the body is unnecessary; it's added superfluously."

There is no third substance, and thus is not added superfluously. The soul acts directly upon the body as it is is form - in a sense, the soul is the body in act. The body would be unintelligible without the soul.  

"There is only the body, and the soul is an abstraction.  this is essentially materialism.  The idea is tah tthe mind, in creating a subjective state, projects the conception of something that exists diffeently than matter.  It's simply an illusion.  The soul is a proposed name for this metaphysicalization, which is basically a projected being derived from the sense of subjective experience; it's the illusion of immateriality."

Really, in my opinion, (philosophical speculation imminent!) it would seem that, assuming a pure materialism, such "metaphysicalization" would be impossible. Mental concepts do not exist, so illusions would be impossible. Things would happen, but we would be totally unable to grasp either that they happen or to explain any notion of their happening at all. In so far as things have intelligibility, it would seem that ideas must exist in some real sense.

"There is no reason to propose the existence of a soul. It is true tah the lack of evidence is not evidence of lack, but the same things goes for anything we could conceive of, like Invisible unicorns and dancing spoon-monsters."

While I did argue that a lack of evidence is not evidence of lack, I was also arguing that the soul is immaterial and hence is not "testable" in a material sense (which is what it seems to mean in this discussion). However, I never claimed that is all the evidence for its existence. A soul exists because things are alive, and a rational soul exists because things think. If we deny that we are thinking, we are in a heap of trouble. We can argue later about its subsistent character, or seperability, but its existence seems fairly self-evident.

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael  

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote:

StMichael wrote:

The soul exists as the form of the body - an intellectual "intelligibility" and informative structure behind it. It possesses the character of immateriality, but it obviously interacts with the body providing harmony of function, ect.

Obviously? How so?

StMichael wrote:
A raccoon and a carrot are ontologically distinct in a manner of speaking but can nevertheless interact. While of a different order, spiritual things (immaterial) have effects on material entities.

Perhaps spiritual raccoons interact with spiritual carrots as well. Perhaps immaterial souls interract with immaterial bodies. But until I can observe an immaterial soul interracting with a material body in the same way I can observe a material raccoon interracting with a material carrot, your comparison doesn't really nail me to the wall.

StMichael wrote:
A soul exists because things are alive, and a rational soul exists because things think. If we deny that we are thinking, we are in a heap of trouble. We can argue later about its subsistent character, or seperability, but its existence seems fairly self-evident.

Because things are alive? So animals, plants, bacteria, are they also endowed with souls? I must have missed that dogmatic update.

 

"its existence seems fairly self-evident". That which is self-evident does not seem. Fairly.

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I cant wait to have time to

I cant wait to have time to read all this!


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If the soul is the form of

If the soul is the form of the body, no real proof is necessary, as common observation suffices to show that human bodies have intelligibility and structure whilst being alive and rational.

"Perhaps spiritual raccoons interact with spiritual carrots as well. Perhaps immaterial souls interract with immaterial bodies. But until I can observe an immaterial soul interracting with a material body in the same way I can observe a material raccoon interracting with a material carrot, your comparison doesn't really nail me to the wall."

First error: immaterial raccoons do not exist for the reason that the idea of a raccoon necessarily involves bodies (matter). The same goes for carrots Smiling

Second, the soul always interacts with a bodily as it is alive. The soul is, in a manner of speaking, the body "in action." It is not some seperated ghost body that floats about. Frankly, this is a common misconception about angels as well - angels do not have wings, nor do they look like people, ect. Angels are immaterial intellects that were never embodied in the first place. They might assume bodies in special cases (even then, the bodies they have are not alive), but they do not possess bodies naturally.

"Because things are alive? So animals, plants, bacteria, are they also endowed with souls? I must have missed that dogmatic update."

 Yes they are. The soul is the principle of life and immaterial. However, they are not rational nor are they subsistent in animals or plants.

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

 

PS - Merry Christmas!!! ;P

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote: To

StMichael wrote:

To All:

This would make a good sticky for this forum. I am a Roman Catholic seminarian and I am hereby making myself available to answer any questions concerning Christianity or theism in general. I intend to maintain a number of propositions which I have essentially taken from the First Vatican Council:

(From the Fourth Chapter of the Canons and Decrees of the Council, edited by Fr. Norman Tanner. S.J)

The perpetual agreement of the catholic church has maintained and maintains this too: that there is a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards its source, but also as regards its object.

I am glad that catholics affirm this position. Supernatural claims, by definition, cannot be justied for supported by any natural means.

The sole problem I have with your position is that 'faith' is not a means to knowledge at all. Theistic fatih, by definition, is an admission that one cannot have knowledge at all, in regards to the supernatural.

Hence it is basic epistemological error to refer to beliefs held without justification, 'faith', as 'knowledge. Such beliefs are only hopes.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Bible: New Testament. Hebrews 11:1.

 

and, to clarify further:

Romans 8:24-25: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (NKJV)

Quote:

With regard to the source, we know at the one level by natural reason, at the other level by divine faith.

We can only 'know' through reason. It merely begs the question that we can 'know' through faith, seeing as faith is again, acceptance without justification.

Quote:

With regard to the object, besides those things to which natural reason can attain,

We cannot attain to anything beyond nature by definition.

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there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, are incapable of being known

 

Right. They are taken on faith.

 

Which is to say that they are believed without any justification at all.

 

Which is the same as saying that it could be a belief that someone made up, as an attempt to understand the mysteries of existence. And that others, followed along with the belief, based on similar feelings, or acceptance of authority.

 

Quote:

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

 

 

Yours in Gerald Mcboing Boing

 

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StMichael wrote:If the

StMichael wrote:

If the soul is the form of the body, no real proof is necessary

 

Only if you equate the soul with the body. But then, it would be material and not 'soul' in any sense of the word.

 

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as common observation suffices

 

How can you view anything immaterial?

Quote:

First error: immaterial raccoons do not exist for the reason that the idea of a raccoon necessarily involves bodies (matter). The same goes for carrots Smiling

 

Now let's apply this error to you. EVERY concept requires materiality. To be able to consider anything, one must imagine it instantiated in some fashion: visually, tactilly, etc. If there is nothing empirical about it, then you can't conceive of it. 

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Second, the soul always interacts with a bodily as it is alive.

 

How can something immaterial 'interact' ?!

 

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Yes they are. The soul is the principle of life and immaterial.

 

Ok then, let's have you answer the three questions required for you to assert what you are claiming.

 

1) What is 'immateriality"? Please don't tell me what it ISN'T, please tell me what it is. Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy? What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? Give me it's ontology, or please stop using the term.


Can you define "immaterial" with positive characteristics?

 

2) How does something that is neither matter nor energy interact with our natural world?

 

3) If you apply ANY natural concept to answering quesiton 2, explain how do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)

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Michael, I don't know if

Michael, I don't know if you're aware of this but we have a quote feature.  It is easier to read what you have to say when you use the quote feature - i blocks the text of your opponent in a debate so we can see who is actually talking and it doesn't look like one long page of text.  If you need help with this function, just ask. 

StMichael wrote:

 In response first to your statistics, all I meant was that 95% seemed to be quite a bit too big. Even if we accept your statistics, it doesn't really change much of anything in terms of our argument.

You're right about that. Neither does pointing out typos as you did in the previous post you made.  So lets move on.

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 In response to the Aquinas dispute - first, it doesn't much decide anything in regard to our argument so we could just as easily ignore this to decrease how much we have to cover. Second,

I am not certain what you mean, which dispute?

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  "I agree, but that doesn't mean he was never punished for asking questions.  He may have asked a lot of questions but that doesn't mean he wasn't punished for doing so."

I think it rightly unfair to criticize the monks of Monte Cassino when you don't present any reason for your assertions.

I remember getting smacked around in my Catholic School by nun's when I asked questions.  Don't tell me that punishment in catholic institutions for inquisitive thinking is an assertion.  I can produce mass testimonials to such actions.

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 You paint the age as unquestioning and ignorant (as per your later reference to the Dark Ages versus the Age of Reason - a later and biased addendum to an age that began the revolution in rational thought, the university, organized debate, libraries, and hundreds of other things important to scientific and rational analysis) without real justification.

I do consider it ignorant, but I wouldn't say it was unquestioning.  And for your information it was the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague and the death of most of the worlds population (and that of many clergy) thereafter that lead to questioning, and rational thought.  The church could no longer claim that it was the power of God on earth, as so many of it's own died at the hands of plague and left no explanation for the faithful as to why.  Such death and mutilation brought about the Reniseance, a spirited rebirth of music, art and cultuire.  

I'm sure people questioned, but the fact is that those who questioned in the church usually had bad things happen to them.  You do not want to debate me on this point, I have a lit of sources indicating where scientists and thinkers were excommunicated, tortured or both by the Church.  

No wait, let's go there, because I grow tired of your inability to grasp the concept of indoctrination and anti-thought of the middle ages.  During the life of Aquinas, in fact, 1233 - to stamp out the rise of Catharism - Pope Gregory IX launched an appointment of full-time Inquisitors drawn mainly from DOMINICAN and Franciscan Orders.  (What was Aquinas again?  A Dominican?  That's what I thought.) This comes right from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, btw.

In 1184, in fact, just a few decades before, Pope Lucius III "enacted the bull Ad Abolendam that Bishops should make inquisition for heresy in their dioceses and hand over those who would not recant to the secular authorities for punishment."

What's more damaging to your claim is that in 1252, Pope Innocent IV (Who wasn't all that innocent) licensed the use of TORTURE by the inquisition in the bull Ad Extirpanda. And this punishment could be used against the obdurate suspect.

According to New Advent, there were inquisitions during the first 12 centuries as well: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm#I

It states concerning the 13th century, "In France Louis VIII decreed in 1226 that persons excommunicated by the diocesan bishop, or his delegate, should receive "meet punishment" (debita animadversio). In 1249 Louis IX ordered barons to deal with heretics according to the dictates of duty (de ipsis faciant quod debebant). A decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229) makes it appear probable that in France death at the stake was already comprehended as in keeping with the aforesaid debita animadversio. To seek to trace in these measures the influence of imperial or papal ordinances is vain, since the burning of heretics had already come to be regarded as prescriptive. It is said in the "Etablissements de St. Louis et coutumes de Beauvaisis", ch. cxiii (Ordonnances des Roys de France, I, 211): "

Keep in mind this was during the life of Aquinas, who aptly agreed with killing heretics outright.  So your claim that he himself wouldn't have been punished is incredulous.  There were no real state of laws or legislation under these centuries by which proper procedures were undertaken, and witnesses were often dubious.  People were prone to superstition as well, your common folk, and I see no reason to believe that Aquinas was above the institution of punishment to heresy as members of clergy were excommunicated as well during this period.

This is what indoctrination is - control. 

Over centuries, anybody questioning the authority of the church in any manner ran the risk of death of confinement.  In fact according to the ODoCC, containment in papal institutions was considered penence for heresy, especially more serious offenses.  Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, etc...

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"First, don't assume what my question was, that was VERY dishonest.  My questionw as not directed at your statement concerning Abbot..."

I was not intentionally misrepresenting your statement, but answering it as I thought it was asked. I don't know how dishonesty figures into it.

You didn't quote me correctly, you adde in your edition without notating it. You ignored the point.

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"Also, your claim as to his family hoping he'd become a soldier is still preposterous.  The fact that he had been educated from the age of 5 at an Abby is not evidence for this, but against this.  He would have more power as Abbot then as a soldier.  Especially in the 13th Century."

Not true at all. Almost all children of the era were raised at cathedral schools or entrusted to abbeys for their formative training in grammar, music, mathematics, astronomy, logic, ect. It has no indication he was to be the abbot there.

Straw man much? 

Quote:
 And, second, he would not necessarily have had more power as an abbot than as a soldier (assuming we take the rest of his family as an example); either way had its benefits or disadvantages.

But he didn't come out of that abby as a soldier did he?  Which points to the fact that he was schooled in more ways then on on religious affairs.

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"That isn't an argument that is speculation.  You have no evidence to back it up, hense it cannot be considered an argument."

I wasn't intending on offering an argument for hell, ect. as it was merely a statement that, assuming someone is a Christian, to raise them without their religion would be considered a "life-threatening" condition.

Which is why I'm raising awareness to the fact that Christianity is morally incapable of dealing with reality.

Quote:
What is the morality character, then, of instructing someone in a false religion? I already answered this when I gave the answer that, according to the natural order, their instruction and upbringing belongs to their parents. It would not be right to seize a child from its parents and raise it in a correct religion (or, no religion at all).

No religion at all allows for them to get a completely unbias look at all religions and choose which one calls to them - or whether they prefer to stay away from it.  Religion gains it's power from parents who teach their children.  Without it, and with proper education of reason, very few children would choose it. 

Quote:
 The question of the morality of the religion in the first place really ought not to come into the discussion at all.

That is why immoral actions of the church go unhindered in the past.  Because bringing up points such as the immorality of actions is heresy.  You've once again proven a point for me.

Quote:
 The parents are the ones who would need to be persuaded to accept the new position, not the child; likewise, it is the parents' responsibility to educate the child correctly after accepting the new position, not yourself or myself.

So we should just let a child grow up ignorant?  This is another issue with christianity.  You don't accept responcibility when it is yours.  You push it on others.  And when you do finally take credit for something (Like the murders at Worms for example) you take hundreds of years to acknowledge it.  Why is it that Pope John Paul had to apologize for Catholics during the middle ages who slaughtered millions because of the basis of intolerance?  Why did it take so long for the church to realize this was morally indefensible? 

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"To be unbias about a position without evidence or of opinion is simple: Raise a child to know both sides of a position.  For example, you don't raise a child to be a democrat or a republican but you explain to then the sides of each, and even those of independant parties, and let them make a decision when they are old enough to vote.  Most parents don't do this...they indoctrinate their children with the right way (their way) to run the country and spout horrible things about the other side.  This is a bias education."

Why is this biased? What determines an unbiased condition?

When children are taught two sides of an issue?  Why is this so hard to comprehend? 

 

Quote:
I asked this earlier and your answer was that your child, growing up in a religiously empty environment, can choose religion at his pleasure later in life. This, in fact, is the same with Christianity.

But when you're indoctrinated  by a set of beliefs you aren't taught the other beliefs outside.  Methodists are really the only practicing sect of Christianity to bring people to other faiths services before comfirmation.  But even that is not enough because you are exposed to them only later in life, after you've had twelve years of indoctrination into one specific set of beliefs.

You apparently don't understand the concept of multiple faiths all claiming to have the one true God, do you?

Quote:
 When free will and reason "kicks in," the child could abandon or accept what he has been raised with. However, there is no reason to reject it in the first place.

Reason isn't something you're born with, Michael.  It has to be taught by parents.  I would say a very low percentage of Christians know how to even form an argument let alone made a reasonable deduction, use logic or think critically.  Most accept belief without evidence - this is called faith.  You have it I'm sure, where you blindly accept the existence of a soul, god and jesus without evidence of any sort, save circular evidence - which isn't evidence.

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"... In fact he goes on to reply to the three objections which side with toleration and repentance.  Want to try again? What I find most revealing here is the evidence that belief in a spiritual being denotes lack of completely free thought - as if Aquinas didn't believe in a God he would have no reason to kill the heretics of any faith."

Your statements about Aquinas were an ad hominem, not an argument.

How is calling a spade a spade an ad hom? 

Quote:
 I didn't dispute Aquinas said those things, it's just irrelevant to the argument.

Apparently then you still don't comprehend the argument. You'd like this to be true but it just isn't the case.  It's his indoctrinated upbringing which gives him this radical immoral perspective on life - that intolerance is a virtue and those who differ from him in dogmatic thought should be killed.  This goes right into the whole indoctrination discussion.  Your inability to grasp this surprised me.

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I would defend Aquinas' position but it seems irrelevant. I don't think it indicates lack of "free thought," and you further never explained how it did.

Then defend it.  I challenge you to defend a obviously immoral position. 

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"This coming from my intellectual inferior?  I've read through it...and the tombs of other books, dictionaries and encyclopedias in my library.  That includes a NA 27 Greek and Latin addition and several Loeb texts, the ODoCC, Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, a Jewish Encyclopedia, five different versions of the Bible (including the Catholic NAB study Bible), the complete works of Josephus, Tacitus and Seutonius, Eusebius and others (all Loeb Classics).  You don't want to play "Who's more knowledgeable then who" with me.  It doesn't become you in the debate and you won't win."

I don't understand why you have to assert this.

Do you understand the meaning of the term "assert?"   

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I merely said that the Catechism is a "good place to start," not implying any personal insult.

Sounded like you were stating some sort of "for beginners" type of comment and I didn't appreciate it. 

 

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I don't understand why you have to come back and assert your "intellectual superiority" - it makes your case look foolish when you rely purely on your own credentials.

Obviously I don't rely on my own credentials if I'm backing up my claims, now do I? 

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 I own most of those books myself, so I don't understand - regardless - why it is so impressive that you do.

Because it doesn't seem as if you use them. 

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"Don't be a spelling Nazi.  This is very dishonest and shows me that you don't have anything but spelling to to discuss.  If you want to be an ass and point out a typo it only makes you look bad, not me."

I just found the mistake funny - no offense intended. It's not "dishonest," it might be offensive or insulting - maybe - but not dishonest. 

It's dishonest because you were intentionally using the comment to lead the discussion away.  This is called a dodge.

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"So then you admit that indoctrination isn't necessary?"

No, "indoctrination" is not necessary - look to Saint Augustine - but it is nevertheless helpful and right from a parents' viewpoint.

Who cares about the parents veiwpoint, we're discussing the repercussions globally of indoctrination.  It isn't right and it's far from helpful.  Just because the parents are ignorant of this doesn't somehow give them a free pass to do what they please.

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StMichael
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In reply to your argument,

In reply to your argument, faith is a species of knowledge - supernatural knowledge. It does not know without justification; its grounds of justification are different from natural reason but complimentary. The ground on which faith knows is by authority, namely God's authority as revealing

"I am glad that catholics affirm this position. Supernatural claims, by definition, cannot be justied for supported by any natural means."

No, they cannot if we speak of the object directly. Indirectly, for example, I can speak in my natural voice of supernatural claims (as I am now), while not arriving to the definition by a natural way. Supernatural claims are held on God's authority as the one revealing and are, yes, not able to be arrived at by natural means.

 "The sole problem I have with your position is that 'faith' is not a means to knowledge at all. Theistic fatih, by definition, is an admission that one cannot have knowledge at all, in regards to the supernatural."

Theistic faith is not a denial of knowledge or any admission that one cannot have knowledge of a thing. As a prerequisite it would state that knowledge, for example, of the Trinity, or of any supernatural truth is beyond human reason's natural capacity to attain knowledge. However, it is not merely an acknowledgement of a lack of knowledge. It goes beyond this by stating that God reveals things that are unknowable to human reason (according to its natural means) and discloses true knowledge about supernatural things to human beings.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Bible: New Testament. Hebrews 11:1.

and, to clarify further:

Romans 8:24-25: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (NKJV) "

The first verse from Hebrews indicates that faith is two things: first, it is the "substance of things hoped for" - it is the object of our hoping (this being, as we will later show, distinct from hope); it is a true possessing of God and the mysteries revealed. Second, it is the "evidence of things not seen" - it is the grounds on which we base our knowledge of things unable to be known by ourselves (apart from revelation). Thus, faith is both the object of our hope and the ground on which we know supernatural truths. This has been, likewise, the traditional Catholic interpretation of the text.

As to the verse from Romans, it is clearly referring to the theological virtue of hope, not faith, but it will bring out the distinction. "For we were saved in this hope" - we (Christians to whom St. Paul is addressing) were saved "in" hope - our salvation occured by means of our hope in those things which we believe by faith and possess by love. "But hope that is not seen is not hope, for why does one hope for what he sees?" - while we were saved in hope, knowing by faith the truth and possessing by love the substance of our hope, we have not yet come to the completion of our hope as this would not be hope. "But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it in perseverance" - our hope yearns for completion in the resurrection and perfect possession of God - the substance in which we hope. Our perseverance in virtue and holiness ensures our attainment of the object of our hope.

Hope works toward the object of faith, which is that which is "unseen." Faith accepts on supernatural authority supernatural truths.

 "StMichael wrote:

If the soul is the form of the body, no real proof is necessary

 

 

 

Only if you equate the soul with the body. But then, it would be material and not 'soul' in any sense of the word. "

I did not equate the soul with the body; it is the principle "behind" the body. It shares, in a manner of speaking, a substantial union with the body; man is neither a body nor a soul, but the union.

"How can you view anything immaterial?

Quote:

 

First error: immaterial raccoons do not exist for the reason that the idea of a raccoon necessarily involves bodies (matter). The same goes for carrots Smiling

 

 

 

Now let's apply this error to you. EVERY concept requires materiality. To be able to consider anything, one must imagine it instantiated in some fashion: visually, tactilly, etc. If there is nothing empirical about it, then you can't conceive of it."

Somewhat, but not entirely, true. Our concepts may come to us by knowledge of material things (sense data) but we truly do know immaterial concepts. For example, the concept of what is empirical is something empirically unverifiable. In the case of a raccoon, it is an animal and hence its idea involves all the aspects of its materiality - conditions of being an animal - as a result. A raccoon cannot exist immaterially as a subsistent entity - its idea can, but not the raccoon which has, by definition, a body.

"

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Second, the soul always interacts with a bodily as it is alive.

 

 

 

How can something immaterial 'interact' ?!"

Something immaterial can act upon something material. As I said, the soul, being an immaterial principle, acts on matter constantly. The structure behind the chair I am sitting in remains in act upon the chair the entire time it exists as a chair. The same holds true of any other form of a thing. A purely immaterial seperated substance can act upon a thing by knowing it - applying its power to a thing. Thus they "interact," acting upon each other.

Ok then, let's have you answer the three questions required for you to assert what you are claiming.

 

1) What is 'immateriality"? Please don't tell me what it ISN'T, please tell me what it is. Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy? What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? Give me it's ontology, or please stop using the term.

Can you define "immaterial" with positive characteristics?"

Immateriality is a negative concept - not having matter. It is positive when we can call it spiritual, or some such title. The concepts we use now exist apart from the matter it takes to display these words and the energy with which I write them on this page. What is immaterial is natural - the immaterial is found often in daily life often united to material things. it is not something beyond nature, but connected with it. I don't know what you wish me to state in giving an ontology of the immaterial. It has an existence that can be either subsistent or dependent upon matter, it is part of any substance and the prime instance of substance, it provides intelligibility and structure, in it can be found the essence of a thing, and it provides existence and act to matter.

"2) How does something that is neither matter nor energy interact with our natural world?"

Because it is part of the natural world. Immaterial forms act upon matter constantly, giving them "form." It is neither matter nor energy, but it is constantly present and it would be impossible to describe the natural world without these or like concepts.  

"3) If you apply ANY natural concept to answering quesiton 2, explain how do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)"

I think that Mr. (Dr.?) Dennet has a flaw in his argument, namely that immaterial things do not fall into the realm of physics except incidentally. Immaterial forms provide act and intelligibility behind action - energy itself being something "formed." Immaterial forms, whether human or inanimate, both are the principle of the action itself, not something acting upon something already acting.

 

Yours In Christ Jesus,

StMichael (not a saint)

 

PS - Go Socrates!

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote:In reply

StMichael wrote:

In reply to your argument, faith is a species of knowledge - supernatural knowledge.

Well, that's just a naked assertion. Worse, your just begging the point that you're seeking to prove. And worse yet, your claim is an oxymoron. To be 'knowledge' is be rational or empirical. These are natural concepts. "Supernatural knowledge' could not be either rational or empirical. It would have to be 'beyond' both. It couldn't have any positive attributes at all.

So what's left? Emotions? Natural. Intuition - a word we give to a type of reason, natural.

Every term you are using ceases to make sense when you attempt to apply it to the very antithesis of nature, the 'supernatural'. The term 'supernatural' has no ontological status. It is merely a set of negatives. However, a set of negatives, devoid of ANY universe of discourse, ceases to have any meaning. It is incoherent.

Oh, and one other thing: think this over. If 'faith' were merely a synonym for 'reason', why even use the term faith to begin with?

Do you see why your term 'faith' hides a serious problem for you?


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It does not know without justification; its grounds of justification are different from natural reason but complimentary.

You're contradicting your own good book here. Faith only exists in contradistinction to reason. Recall your own St. Paul: If one has reasons, why have faith?

Faith is belief without justification. It is not an epistemological stance, it is a concession that one has no grounds for one's belief.

And the negative theologian can honestly admit this. And he must. He knows that ontologically and epistemologically he cannot have any grouns for his belief.

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"I am glad that catholics affirm this position. Supernatural claims, by definition, cannot be justied for supported by any natural means."

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No, they cannot if we speak of the object directly. Indirectly, for example, I can speak in my natural voice of supernatural claims (as I am now),

Only if by 'indirectly' you mean via negativa. But then, you still have serious problems. See above.

So, you are either using positive terms, and hence natural terms, or you are speaking via negativa, and simply telling us what the supernatural is NOT.

So you can never speak of the supernatural, because, again, it is the antithesis of nature.


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Theistic faith is not a denial of knowledge or any admission that one cannot have knowledge of a thing.

Yes, it is.

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As a prerequisite it would state that knowledge, for example, of the Trinity, or of any supernatural truth is beyond human reason's natural capacity to attain knowledge. However, it is not merely an acknowledgement of a lack of knowledge.

This is all it can be.

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It goes beyond this by stating that God reveals things that are unknowable to human reason (according to its natural means) and discloses true knowledge about supernatural things to human beings.

No, you're stealing from materialism again, in direct contradiction to the negative definition of 'supernatural'

"Supernatural things' is an oxymoron. If a 'thing' is in fact a thing, it has an ontology. Recall your basic principles, the first steps of ontology.

Existence is axiomatic

To exist is to exist as something. To have identity. To have properites. To be is to be something.

If an 'entity' is in fact an entity, then we can discuss its ontology.

So this 'supernatural' 'being' cannot disclose something that has no ontology to us! We'd have no means to grasp it.

All you have left is a special plead: "He's supernatural, so he can do it anyway, damn the logic". But once you go here, you concede your position is irrational. So beware.

Quote:

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Bible: New Testament. Hebrews 11:1.

and, to clarify further:

Romans 8:24-25: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (NKJV) "

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The first verse

Let me interupt to let out the sigh that will hit me as I read your ad hoc rationalizations. Theistic faith is non contingent belief. Belief without justification. Why can't theists be honest on this point?

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from Hebrews indicates that faith is two things: first, it is the "substance of things hoped for" - it is the object of our hoping (this being, as we will later show, distinct from hope);

Hope is not knowledge. One can hope for anything, without any grounds for the hope. The 'substance' refered to here is 'faith', and the faith is hope. Belief without justification.

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it is a true possessing of God and the mysteries revealed.

No, it is a HOPE that such things exist, even though reason tells us otherwise.

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Second, it is the "evidence of things not seen" - it is the grounds on which we base our knowledge of things unable to be known by ourselves (apart from revelation).

But the 'grounds' is things NOT SEEN! So there are NO GROUNDS.

Please read it to yourself a few times, and think it over.

The point of this passage is that there IS NO GROUNDS. One HOPES that there is evidence that is unseen.

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Thus, faith is both the object of our hope and the ground on which we know supernatural truths.

You're whistling past the graveyard.

The 'grounds' is evidence of things NOT seen.

So there are no grounds. Just a hope that there is!

Do you see it now?

Quote:

As to the verse from Romans, it is clearly referring to the theological virtue of hope, not faith, but it will bring out the distinction. "For we were saved in this hope" - we (Christians to whom St. Paul is addressing) were saved "in" hope - our salvation occured by means of our hope in those things which we believe by faith and possess by love.

i.e, without justification. And that is the point of posting the passage to you. On hope. The point here is that your 'faith' is simply unjustified belief. Everything stems first from this unjustified hope.

Now, let me make something clear to you. You've not explained what this 'faith' is nor how it provides knowledge. All you've done is assert that it provides some sort of magical knowledge that is not like other knowledge. In other words, you can't actually provide an explanation of its epistemological basis.

So please, if you wish to respond further, do so. Don't just assert that it gives magical knowledge.

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Only if you equate the soul with the body. But then, it would be material and not 'soul' in any sense of the word. "

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I did not equate the soul with the body;

I didn't say you did. Read it again. I state "only if", i.e. only if you hold to this position...

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it is the principle "behind" the body. It shares, in a manner of speaking, a substantial union with the body; man is neither a body nor a soul, but the union.

This is merely another empty assertion, one that again violates basic ontology. You simply assert the word 'soul' and use it just as you'd use any natural term.

You need to answer my questions.

Quote:

Now let's apply this error to you. EVERY concept requires materiality. To be able to consider anything, one must imagine it instantiated in some fashion: visually, tactilly, etc. If there is nothing empirical about it, then you can't conceive of it."

Quote:

Somewhat, but not entirely, true.

No, it is entirely true.

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Our concepts may come to us by knowledge of material things (sense data) but we truly do know immaterial concepts.

No, we do not. Again, the term 'immaterial objects' is an oxymoron.

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For example, the concept of what is empirical is something empirically unverifiable.

So? The validation criterion for meaning is a prescription, not a description! It's a method !

But is the concept something empirical? Yes. It is an idea. It exists in a physical brain, as a bundle of neurons. It is transmitted from one brain to another through a physical medium, a book, words (vibrations in the air), etc.

Every aspect is empirical. Ideas are born of electrochemical interactions within neurons. Physical.

Quote:

In the case of a raccoon, it is an animal and hence its idea involves all the aspects of its materiality - conditions of being an animal - as a result. A raccoon cannot exist immaterially as a subsistent entity -

NOTHING can 'exist' immaterially! Again, recall your basic ontology.

To exist is to exist as something! To have identity. To have properties. Postive attributes. A basic ontology.

We cannot refer to existence devoid of identity. Recall your Kant! 

You are confusing abstractions for immateriality.  

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How can something immaterial 'interact' ?!"

 

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Something immaterial can act upon something material.

Fallacy of naked assertion.

You were asked HOW it interacts.

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As I said, the immaterial works on matter constantly

So, that's your answer to how the immaterial acts on matter?

Constantly?


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The structure behind the chair I am sitting in remains in act upon the chair the entire time it exists as a chair. The same holds true of any other form of a thing.

Now you are boldly and brazenly stealing the concept of materiality. If you define immateriality as 'not matter' then you cannot go on and apply materialistic terms to it!

Quote:

A purely immaterial seperated substance can act upon a thing by knowing it -applying its power to a thing. Thus they "interact," acting upon each other.

First, every one of your responses commits a stolen concept fallacy. You continually refer to 'the supernatural' or 'immateriality' using naturalistic, materialist terms, without even realizing it!

Second, you simply assert that these 'things' 'exist' and that they just 'work somehow'. Leaving aside that again, your terms here are materialistic, you're just asserting, not demonstrating or arguing.

Quote:

1) What is 'immateriality"? Please don't tell me what it ISN'T, please tell me what it is. Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy? What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? Give me it's ontology, or please stop using the term.

Can you define "immaterial" with positive characteristics?"

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Immateriality is a negative concept - not having matter. It is positive when we can call it spiritual, or some such title.

Only if by 'spiritual' you use postive terms! And then 'immateriality' becomes matter! .

 

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The concepts we use now exist apart from the matter it takes to display these words and the energy with which I write them on this page

Concepts are immaterial? Do I lose all my ideas then if I take a sharp turn? How would they stay in anyone's head?

 

Concepts exist in physical brains, as electrochemical interactions with neurons. They exist physicall, and are communicated physically.


Quote:

. What is immaterial is natural

You are confusing abstractions for immateriality. Abstractions do not necessarily have extra mental existence, but this does not make them 'immaterial'

To exist is to exist as something. To have identity, to have attributes.

 

Quote:

I don't know what you wish me to state in giving an ontology of the immaterial.

My three questions provide a blueprint for revealing the ontology of immateriality. Your inability to anwer them will help you understand why the immaterial (or the supernatural) are incoherent terms.

 

 

Quote:

"3) If you apply ANY natural concept to answering quesiton 2, explain how do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)"

 

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I think that Mr. (Dr.?) Dennet has a flaw in his argument, namely that immaterial things do not fall into the realm of physics except incidentally.

Then how do they work? Magic?

 

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Yours In Christ Jesus,

StMichael (not a saint)

 

PS - Go Socrates!

 

Yours in Bullwinkle.

- Chris

Yes, socrates is cool

PS Try the questions again. You didn't answer any of them.

 

 

1) Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy? What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? If not, how can we 'know" or "infer" anything about it. If we can't, what use is your 'hypothesis"? If it has no use, then why are we having this conversation?

2) How does something that is neither matter nor energy interact with our natural world?

3) How do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)

 

Help in answering these questions:

All the terms you've used have either stolen from materialism, or they are purely negative, and have NO ontological bearing.

You can't just steal from materialism and apply these terms to the supernatural, as the 'supernatural' is defined as 'not materialism'

 

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


ShaunPhilly
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StMichael wrote:

StMichael wrote:

That depends what you mean by ontologically distinct. The soul exists as the form of the body - an intellectual "intelligibility" and informative structure behind it.

This is that psudo-Platonism that hides behind all soul claims. The assumption is that matter cannot have perform the processes of thinking, feeling, and "being." It is an unfounded assertion. Let's see how it plays out.

Quote:
It possesses the character of immateriality, but it obviously interacts with the body providing harmony of function, ect. A raccoon and a carrot are ontologically distinct in a manner of speaking but can nevertheless interact. While of a different order, spiritual things (immaterial) have effects on material entities.

This is a misunderstanding of the real metaphysical problem at hand. A racoon and a carrot are not ontologically distinct in the sense I mean. They are distinct, but they exist in the same ontological categories of matter. WHen I say ontologically distinct, I'm moving from the meaning of 'immaterial.'

If something is truly non-material, really having no shared qualities with the physical world, then it's not made of energy, quarks, atoms, or anything else of the known physical universe. It must really be something else completely. We know that physical things interact via natural forces but proposing that there is also something non-material is a mere assumption. Why would anyone suggest such a thing? Well, let's read on.


Quote:
The soul acts directly upon the body as it is is form - in a sense, the soul is the body in act. The body would be unintelligible without the soul.

Why? Why is the soul necessary? You are adding an ontological category here to explain something, but it doesn't explain anything at all. You are saying that matter is essentially dead, so it cannot be responsible for all the action, so something else must be responsible.

(For those who know my refutation of the kalam argument, you may see where I'm going with this;the whole issue of pushing the cause back one step, which begs the question--special pleading).

Quote:
Really, in my opinion, (philosophical speculation imminent!) it would seem that, assuming a pure materialism, such "metaphysicalization" would be impossible. Mental concepts do not exist, so illusions would be impossible. Things would happen, but we would be totally unable to grasp either that they happen or to explain any notion of their happening at all. In so far as things have intelligibility, it would seem that ideas must exist in some real sense.

And her eyou spell out what I sensed. You think that the soul is the thing doing all of that stuff. I'm simply asking why can't the physical matter of our bodies do it?

Quote:
... A soul exists because things are alive, and a rational soul exists because things think. If we deny that we are thinking, we are in a heap of trouble. We can argue later about its subsistent character, or seperability, but its existence seems fairly self-evident.

That's the problem. I'm not saying that things don't think. That would only be true if I agred with you that things need souls to think. This is te classic dualist position of the philosophy of mind. This position is not supported by neuro-science research. I'd cite Daniel C. Dennett, but even his peers don't seem to get the point that if you reject qualia (in your case, the soul), you are saying that consciousness does not exist. The answer is that it does exist, only it doesn't exist the way that you think it does.

The soul does not explain that we think. The brain explains that we think. Merely asserting that the soul is necessary for thought to exist begs the question, and exposes a serious ignorance concerning how the brain works.

Being in seminary, I don't expect you to be an expert in neuroscience. But not being an expert on neuroscience, I also should't see you making claims about consciousness.

Shaun

 PS: I responded before reading the rest of the discussion with todangst and St. Michael.  I'll only add now that there is a rampant middle Platonism going on here. 

I'm reminded that at the philosophy dept at a local Catholic University, they stop after Aquinas.  They don't even get to Kant, Hume, or Wittgenstein. I'd be shocked if their library even carried Nietzsche.

 Eye-wink

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


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Dear Sirs, I am unsure as

Dear Sirs,

I am unsure as to whether during the next busy week or two (Christmas followed by a seminary retreat for another week) I will be able to adequately answer your posts. Just to let you know that I will be busy, and it is not a sign I am neglecting your arguments.

 Yours In Christ,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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ShaunPhilly

ShaunPhilly wrote:
StMichael wrote:

That depends what you mean by ontologically distinct. The soul exists as the form of the body - an intellectual "intelligibility" and informative structure behind it.

This is that pseudo-Platonism that hides behind all soul claims. The assumption is that matter cannot have perform the processes of thinking, feeling, and "being." It is an unfounded assertion. Let's see how it plays out.

 

Yes, its an argument from ignorance.

 

Quote:
It possesses the character of immateriality, but it obviously interacts with the body providing harmony of function, ect. A raccoon and a carrot are ontologically distinct in a manner of speaking but can nevertheless interact. While of a different order, spiritual things (immaterial) have effects on material entities.

Quote:
 

This is a misunderstanding of the real metaphysical problem at hand. A racoon and a carrot are not ontologically distinct in the sense I mean. They are distinct, but they exist in the same ontological categories of matter. WHen I say ontologically distinct, I'm moving from the meaning of 'immaterial.'

If something is truly non-material, really having no shared qualities with the physical world, then it's not made of energy, quarks, atoms, or anything else of the known physical universe. It must really be something else completely.

Yes, and this is precisely why any discussion of 'immateriality' leads to a stolen concept fallacy. To call something "not matter" is to entirely rule out our universe of discourse.

 


Quote:
The soul acts directly upon the body as it is is form - in a sense, the soul is the body in act. The body would be unintelligible without the soul.

Quote:
 

Why? Why is the soul necessary? You are adding an ontological category here to explain something, but it doesn't explain anything at all. You are saying that matter is essentially dead, so it cannot be responsible for all the action, so something else must be responsible.

To me, it's an argument from dire consequences.

If I don't have a soul, I cannot live in eternal bliss.

ergo, I have a soul. 

 

Quote:

(For those who know my refutation of the kalam argument, you may see where I'm going with this;the whole issue of pushing the cause back one step, which begs the question--special pleading).

In all the sake of holding to the hope of eternal bliss. Clearly a strong motivator. 

Quote:
Really, in my opinion, (philosophical speculation imminent!) it would seem that, assuming a pure materialism, such "metaphysicalization" would be impossible. Mental concepts do not exist, so illusions would be impossible. Things would happen, but we would be totally unable to grasp either that they happen or to explain any notion of their happening at all. In so far as things have intelligibility, it would seem that ideas must exist in some real sense.

Quote:
 

And her you spell out what I sensed. You think that the soul is the thing doing all of that stuff. I'm simply asking why can't the physical matter of our bodies do it?

Indeed. The argument is based on two irrational precepts.

"Souls are a desirable entity, so I believe I have one"

and

"abstractions are immaterial'

 

 

 

Quote:
 

That's the problem. I'm not saying that things don't think. That would only be true if I agred with you that things need souls to think. This is te classic dualist position of the philosophy of mind. This position is not supported by neuro-science research. I'd cite Daniel C. Dennett, but even his peers don't seem to get the point that if you reject qualia (in your case, the soul), you are saying that consciousness does not exist. The answer is that it does exist, only it doesn't exist the way that you think it does.

To me, this all boils down to argument people don't 'feel like' matter... well, what would it feel like to be matter?!

 

Quote:

Being in seminary, I don't expect you to be an expert in neuroscience. But not being an expert on neuroscience, I also should't see you making claims about consciousness.

Particularly when the basis of his claims is irrationalism.

Quote:
 

I'm reminded that at the philosophy dept at a local Catholic University, they stop after Aquinas. They don't even get to Kant, Hume, or Wittgenstein. I'd be shocked if their library even carried Nietzsche.

Eye-wink

S

Nice observation. They are arguing based on 13th century neuroscience!

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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Sorry about the formatting;

Sorry about the formatting; I lost it as I was writing it and transferring it, ect. I thought it more important just to post it, period.

 StMichael wrote: In reply to your argument, faith is a species of knowledge - supernatural knowledge. "Well, that's just a naked assertion. Worse, your just begging the point that you're seeking to prove. And worse yet, your claim is an oxymoron. To be 'knowledge' is be rational or empirical. These are natural concepts. "Supernatural knowledge' could not be either rational or empirical. It would have to be 'beyond' both. It couldn't have any positive attributes at all."

Supernatural knowledge would be rational, just not empirical. It is supernatural in the means of revelation, firstly, as God reveals something not discoverable by natural power. Its articles are not all supernatural in their object of knowledge. I can say something truly comprehensible when I say that Christ descended into hell - this is an article of faith whose object is not supernatural in itself. The same is true, for example, when I say that the Sacrament of Penance truly forgives sins. These things are truly comprehensible in themselves and not "supernatural" in objects per se. This is one category of supernatural truth. An example of a truth that is a true mystery whose object and means of revelation are both supernatural is the Trinity. Thus, the Trinity in itself is unable to be comprehended by man even as revealed. This is not to say, however, that nothing can be said of it. As revealed and supernatural knowledge, God reveals this truth directly and thus must be true in itself. Our possession of true supernatural knowledge by faith is a possession of the things themselves - I know the Trinity truly not by my positing of it, but by my possession of it in grace. Of the Trinity, I can posit certain relations and terms to explain it, but I cannot truly speak in human terms of its substance. Faith gives supernatural terms to speak of its substance and by grace we possess the reality.

"So what's left? Emotions? Natural. Intuition - a word we give to a type of reason, natural. "

Emotions and intuition are not related to faith. Nor are they rational.

"Every term you are using ceases to make sense when you attempt to apply it to the very antithesis of nature, the 'supernatural'. The term 'supernatural' has no ontological status. It is merely a set of negatives. However, a set of negatives, devoid of ANY universe of discourse, ceases to have any meaning. It is incoherent."

The term supernatural designates a reality "above" the natural. There are different senses of this word. It could be "above" in the sense of total unrelation, where in this case God, as a supernatural reality, would be totally and utterly unable to be spoken of as He would be totally unrelated to any concepts we have. We could not speak of Him even negatively. It could be "above" in terms of a reality "greater than" the natural. Again, this could mean "greater than" in terms of bigger size than the natural (of greater mass) or something of this sort. It could likewise mean greater ontologically than the natural. In this latter sense do we designate God beyond nature as of greater ontological character than the natural. Specifically, God is above nature because He is its source. But this relationship of God as cause to nature allows some amount of relationship to exist between supernatural and natural objects, as God is the source of both and cannot contradict Himself. This is what is mentioned in the Council of Trent as quoted on my first post in this forum. So, as a result, supernatural realities may be spoken of by saying first what they are not and then further by analogy between cause and effect, or from a likeness of the effect to the cause. This, basically, is how we speak of God. I would likewise like to enunciate the category I spoke of earlier that does not fit into these "natural" modes of speaking about God (negation and analogy), but is beyond either. This last method is the theological virtue of faith. In faith, we truly possess God and thus, (in a manner of speaking) speak as God about God in supernatural terms designating supernatural realities. This speaking, of course, occurs in two ways: first, using prayer we pray to God by God (sighs inexpressible in human speech) and this is truly speaking in supernatural terms of supernatural things to God, while the second is that of the "theology of the saints" whereby they know God by possessing Him and thus can use human terms in an analogical way as they enunciate what they know in God, as when they "read hearts" or foretell future events (this, however, is inexhaustible in relation to the divine nature and human terms are always inadequate).

"Oh, and one other thing: think this over. If 'faith' were merely a synonym for 'reason', why even use the term faith to begin with? "

Because it is not a synonym for reason, but a different thing entirely in both method and object than natural reason. It is rational, but not of the same genus as natural knowledge. It is a different species of knowledge, having both a different object and a different method, but it is true and rational knowledge.

"Do you see why your term 'faith' hides a serious problem for you? "

No.

Quote: It does not know without justification; its grounds of justification are different from natural reason but complimentary. "You're contradicting your own good book here. Faith only exists in contradistinction to reason. Recall your own St. Paul: If one has reasons, why have faith? Faith is belief without justification. It is not an epistemological stance, it is a concession that one has no grounds for one's belief."

 No it is not. I don't know why you want to insist this point. My particular affiliation, the Catholic Church, never interprets the Scriptures as saying this and their interpretation from Tradition likewise upholds this opinion with the consistent teaching of the Church throughout history, as with the Council of Trent. Also, the entire body of Christians have never interpreted the Scriptures to mean this - this school of interpretation is basically Protestant, arising only in the late sixteenth century. Finally, Scripture does not support you; Paul himself, as I had said, does not mean that when he says faith is evidence of what is not seen and the substance of things hoped for. Likewise, he gives contradictory remarks elsewhere in Scripture when, for example, at Athens he declares that the Gentile Greeks had discovered both the natural law revealed in Scripture and had also discovered the existence of God. There are quite a few more examples, but I think that the most obvious. Likewise, a great deal more of Scripture contradicts that interpretation - the entire book of Wisdom is proof enough. Faith exists as a different mode of knowledge, both in method and in object; it is revealed by God and known because God reveals it, and it indicates belief in mysteries that are supernatural.

"And the negative theologian can honestly admit this. And he must. He knows that ontologically and epistemologically he cannot have any grouns for his belief. "

I don't know why anybody would seriously uphold this (Paul Tillich comes to mind). Grounds for belief must exist if one is to uphold a Christian or Judaic conception of God, both from Scripture and from the commonly held notion that God created all things and called them good, including natural reason. Faith will never contradict what is known by natural reason. I want to point out here that I believe you may have a confusion of terms. When we use the pair "faith and reason" Christians/theologians mean the difference not between the mind or logic and religious objects of belief, but the difference between objects able to be known only by God's revelation and those knowable by "natural reason" or the human mind operating without divine assistance in order to know truths. Even the human mind can know supernatural truths, such as the existence of God (which has a supernatural object but a natural mode of discovery).

Quote: "I am glad that catholics affirm this position. Supernatural claims, by definition, cannot be justied for supported by any natural means." Quote: No, they cannot if we speak of the object directly. Indirectly, for example, I can speak in my natural voice of supernatural claims (as I am now), "Only if by 'indirectly' you mean via negativa. But then, you still have serious problems. See above. So, you are either using positive terms, and hence natural terms, or you are speaking via negativa, and simply telling us what the supernatural is NOT. So you can never speak of the supernatural, because, again, it is the antithesis of nature."

The supernatural, as I have shown above, has many interpretations. The way it is used in religious discourse is to indicate that God is "above nature" as not identified with it. God, as the source of nature, is thus able to be spoken of both by saying what He is not and by analogy. If God were truly entirely beyond nature, as you would claim, anything, even saying what God is not, is nonsense as no relation can be made between our terms and His reality. However, the latter is not the case.

Quote: It goes beyond this by stating that God reveals things that are unknowable to human reason (according to its natural means) and discloses true knowledge about supernatural things to human beings. "No, you're stealing from materialism again, in direct contradiction to the negative definition of 'supernatural' "Supernatural things' is an oxymoron. If a 'thing' is in fact a thing, it has an ontology. Recall your basic principles, the first steps of ontology. Existence is axiomatic To exist is to exist as something. To have identity. To have properites. To be is to be something. If an 'entity' is in fact an entity, then we can discuss its ontology. So this 'supernatural' 'being' cannot disclose something that has no ontology to us! We'd have no means to grasp it. All you have left is a special plead:

"He's supernatural, so he can do it anyway, damn the logic". But once you go here, you concede your position is irrational. So beware. "

Supernatural things do possess being, and we can thus speak of them. However, I also want to point out before I delve into the rest here that faith treats of objects not supernatural, such as the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, truths about the angels, and other natural objects. It would do well to define the scope of what we mean by supernatural. The discourse about the ontology of knowledge of supernatural truths whose object is supernatural, such as the Trinity, is what these arguments apply to. Some of those things, such as the immortality of the soul, which faith discloses are not supernatural in their object - the soul is not supernatural, except in a sense (as the soul or the angels are immaterial or incorporeal, they can be said to be supernatural; this is one sense of the term and we use it this way some times; the angels, however, are natural beings as they exist as part of creation). The same is true of the angels, as we know their heirarchy by way of faith; the object is natural and perfectly knowable to natural reason, but is not discoverable by human reason. There also exists a category of things known by way of faith, such as the immortality of the soul, which are not only discoverable supernaturally, but also by natural reason. In other words, there exists a distinction between [1] supernaturally discovered supernatural objects of knowledge, [2] supernaturally known natural objects of knowledge, [3] naturally known supernatural objects of knowledge, [4] naturally known natural objects of knowledge, and [5] things revealed supernaturally that are likewise known naturally. Anyway, supernatural objects exist according to the rules of logic and reason and operate accordingly (by this, I mean God does not act contrary to logic). The reason is because God is the source of logic and being. His own being is identical with Himself and He cannot act contrary to Himself.

Quote: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Bible: New Testament. Hebrews 11:1. and, to clarify further: Romans 8:24-25: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (NKJV) " Quote: The first verse "Let me interupt to let out the sigh that will hit me as I read your ad hoc rationalizations. Theistic faith is non contingent belief. Belief without justification. Why can't theists be honest on this point?"

Of course, because you are wrong and faith is not belief without justification. If I believe it when you tell me that faith is belief without justification, I believe such on your authority, which acts as the justification for my belief. The same is true in faith in school - I believe my teachers when they tell me that Crick discovered DNA and I accept his findings by a variety of faith. Religious faith is a species of this belief which relies on God's authority to substantiate its claims. It cannot be proven to be true by natural investigation as it does not fall under the scope of it; rather, the most we can show is the authority of the one revealing.

 Quote: from Hebrews indicates that faith is two things: first, it is the "substance of things hoped for" - it is the object of our hoping (this being, as we will later show, distinct from hope); "Hope is not knowledge. One can hope for anything, without any grounds for the hope. The 'substance' refered to here is 'faith', and the faith is hope. Belief without justification."

 Again, this is contrary to the text of Hebrews. Hope is not knowledge (and I had said this), but faith is not the same as hope; why would Saint Paul give the list as "faith, hope, and love" if by faith, he meant hope? He would say, "hope and love." In the second place, people cannot hope for something without hoping in "some thing." Faith is the substance of hope - its object. One cannot say, " I hope for-" as hope requires an object. Faith is the object of hope; "I [hope] for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen." People may hope without stable "grounds" for hope, but one does not hope without a ground or justification. I can hope against reason that the Communists don't kill me in the gulag. However, I do not merely hope for it without any justification whatsoever; I say, "maybe something miraculous will happen, like all of the Communists die in a giant fire," or even without elucidating a particular scenario, I still retain some reason even if it "negatively" exists. While faith provides a ground of justification (St Peter: Always be prepared to give a reason for your hope), this is not the entirety of its job. In Hebews, it is defined as both the justification for hope and the object of hope.

Quote: it is a true possessing of God and the mysteries revealed. "No, it is a HOPE that such things exist, even though reason tells us otherwise."

No it is not. This is purely contradictory to what Saint Paul says when he says, "hold fast to those things I have taught you." How can one be certain of something when one hopes for it? Likewise, if hope or faith exists contrary to what reason tells us, how can Saint Peter say, "always be ready with a reason for your hope?" Faith is what we believe in, hope is how we await it, and neither is contrary to what reason tells us.

Quote: Second, it is the "evidence of things not seen" - it is the grounds on which we base our knowledge of things unable to be known by ourselves (apart from revelation). "But the 'grounds' is things NOT SEEN! So there are NO GROUNDS. Please read it to yourself a few times, and think it over. The point of this passage is that there IS NO GROUNDS. One HOPES that there is evidence that is unseen."

But that is not what Saint Paul says. He does not say, "Faith is evidence of things non existent" or "faith is hoping that something might exist;" faith is rather evidence is something not "seen" - discovered - by natural means. Our grounds in believing in those things is God's authority as revealing these truths.

"Now, let me make something clear to you. You've not explained what this 'faith' is nor how it provides knowledge. All you've done is assert that it provides some sort of magical knowledge that is not like other knowledge. In other words, you can't actually provide an explanation of its epistemological basis. So please, if you wish to respond further, do so. Don't just assert that it gives magical knowledge. "

An Epistemological Account of Faith, by me.

First, some truth exists which cannot be known by natural human reason without divine aid.

Second, God says, "Gee, it might be good if man knew this."

Third, God reveals this truth to man somehow; He sends a prophet, or sends His Son, or some like means.

Fourth, man receives this revelation.

Fifth, man believes in the revelation due to both [a] God's inward grace, and [b] God's external evidence of authority.

Sixth, man possesses supernatural truth.

Quote: it is the principle "behind" the body. It shares, in a manner of speaking, a substantial union with the body; man is neither a body nor a soul, but the union. "This is merely another empty assertion, one that again violates basic ontology. You simply assert the word 'soul' and use it just as you'd use any natural term. You need to answer my questions. "

Soul is a natural term designating the form of a living body. It is a spiritual thing, but not really "supernatural" other than that (using the different meanings of supernatural, it is natural in origin as a creature, but supernatural in that it is a spiritual being). If you mean that, as immaterial, it somehow violates your rules of ontology, then that is a different question. While I don't know what your rules of "basic ontology" are (I believe you may be starting out with loaded dice, defining something as existing only if it has bodily specifications), I can say it does not violate any real rules of ontology. The soul is the principle of life in a body. That's what it is. This doesn't violate anything.

Quote: Our concepts may come to us by knowledge of material things (sense data) but we truly do know immaterial concepts. No, we do not. Again, the term 'immaterial objects' is an oxymoron. Quote: For example, the concept of what is empirical is something empirically unverifiable. "So? The validation criterion for meaning is a prescription, not a description! It's a method ! But is the concept something empirical? Yes. It is an idea. It exists in a physical brain, as a bundle of neurons. It is transmitted from one brain to another through a physical medium, a book, words (vibrations in the air), etc. Every aspect is empirical. Ideas are born of electrochemical interactions within neurons. Physical."

Except that it is not. The validation criterion is just that, a meaning, an idea, a method. All of these terms designate something non-physical. If it truly is non-physical and exists without matter, then there is nowhere else to go. If you want to reduce everything to neurons and synapse firings, there is no further room for discussion as this conversation has no epistemological basis nor ontological, as these terms are purely empty and meaningless (which begs the question how you can question MY ontological basis for something when YOU could not accept that being, as a thing, exists).

Quote: In the case of a raccoon, it is an animal and hence its idea involves all the aspects of its materiality - conditions of being an animal - as a result. A raccoon cannot exist immaterially as a subsistent entity - "NOTHING can 'exist' immaterially! Again, recall your basic ontology. To exist is to exist as something! To have identity. To have properties. Postive attributes. A basic ontology. We cannot refer to existence devoid of identity. Recall your Kant! You are confusing abstractions for immateriality."

What are abstractions but immaterial? I think you ought to recall your Aristotle Smiling To exist is to exist as some thing - an immaterial object is distinct, as we can speak of a thing - a soul or an idea. It does have an identity - this is the form of a chipmunk. It does have properties - it exists without matter and is the idea of a chipmunk. These examples mostly apply to forms or ideas of things; a soul is a subsistent form, so it is not much different.

Quote: The structure behind the chair I am sitting in remains in act upon the chair the entire time it exists as a chair. The same holds true of any other form of a thing. "Now you are boldly and brazenly stealing the concept of materiality. If you define immateriality as 'not matter' then you cannot go on and apply materialistic terms to it!"

But to say the immaterial is not matter does not mean it cannot act upon matter. The structure of a thing, for example, a building acts constantly in the building. It is the harmony or unity of the parts. Without that unity, the building would collapse - it would not be a building. That is a common example. If a soul was not in the raccoon, the raccoon would be a dead raccoon and would begin to decay. I am not stealing any materiality in defining immaterial action. In a manner of speaking, the action of any material thing is immaterial. The action itself, its idea and form, is immaterial!

Quote: A purely immaterial seperated substance can act upon a thing by knowing it -applying its power to a thing. Thus they "interact," acting upon each other. "First, every one of your responses commits a stolen concept fallacy. You continually refer to 'the supernatural' or 'immateriality' using naturalistic, materialist terms, without even realizing it! Second, you simply assert that these 'things' 'exist' and that they just 'work somehow'. Leaving aside that again, your terms here are materialistic, you're just asserting, not demonstrating or arguing."

I am demonstrating - every material thing must have an immaterial form governing its structure, otherwise it would cease to be that thing.

Quote: The concepts we use now exist apart from the matter it takes to display these words and the energy with which I write them on this page "Concepts are immaterial? Do I lose all my ideas then if I take a sharp turn? How would they stay in anyone's head? Concepts exist in physical brains, as electrochemical interactions with neurons. They exist physicall, and are communicated physically."

Concepts are immaterial. If your theory was true, yes, my ideas would be able to fly out of my head when I took a sharp turn (the electrons could move around and the electrochemical reactions could move around) and it would be hard for you to answer how they stayed in your head.

Quote: . What is immaterial is natural "You are confusing abstractions for immateriality. Abstractions do not necessarily have extra mental existence, but this does not make them 'immaterial' To exist is to exist as something. To have identity, to have attributes."

An abstraction is an immaterial entity. Often, this immaterial entity exists in a thing, but it can exist apart (subsistently, as a human soul or an angel or God). Even when an abstraction of a material entity happens, the material entity has an immaterial form (it cannot be thought of if it did not). Show me the matter of my abstraction. Electrochemical impulses do not suffice as a pile of them does not amount to an abstraction. If you said that their particular location in my brain and their harmony in my brain is what constituted an abstraction, I would point out that this (apart from other errors) defines the abstraction immaterially in terms of their harmony.

Quote: "3) If you apply ANY natural concept to answering quesiton 2, explain how do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)" Quote: I think that Mr. (Dr.?) Dennet has a flaw in his argument, namely that immaterial things do not fall into the realm of physics except incidentally. "Then how do they work? Magic?"

Immaterial things are not the same as matter, but they are found in bodies. Physics does not treat forms, but treats of real objects interacting. A real object has both matter and form to interact physically. The question of form might come up in physics, but only incidentally. The immaterial exists and acts in a way prior to physics; it is a metaphysical interaction of form upon matter.

I also want to answer some other questions posed in some other later columns after todangst.

 

StMichael wrote:

That depends what you mean by ontologically distinct. The soul exists as the form of the body - an intellectual "intelligibility" and informative structure behind it.

 

"This is that psudo-Platonism that hides behind all soul claims. The assumption is that matter cannot have perform the processes of thinking, feeling, and "being." It is an unfounded assertion. Let's see how it plays out."

It is not unfounded because matter does not exist in a manner that is intelligible per se. If you want to posit immaterial qualities found in matter, such as color or intelligibility, you advocate virtually the same position. Matter does not exist by itself, nor does it do anything by itself; it requires actuality apart from itself. A physical thing is not the same thing as matter; matter is an abstraction from a thing (where a thing exists as a composite substance of matter and form). 

Quote:
It possesses the character of immateriality, but it obviously interacts with the body providing harmony of function, ect. A raccoon and a carrot are ontologically distinct in a manner of speaking but can nevertheless interact. While of a different order, spiritual things (immaterial) have effects on material entities.

 

 

"This is a misunderstanding of the real metaphysical problem at hand. A racoon and a carrot are not ontologically distinct in the sense I mean. They are distinct, but they exist in the same ontological categories of matter. WHen I say ontologically distinct, I'm moving from the meaning of 'immaterial.'

If something is truly non-material, really having no shared qualities with the physical world, then it's not made of energy, quarks, atoms, or anything else of the known physical universe. It must really be something else completely. We know that physical things interact via natural forces but proposing that there is also something non-material is a mere assumption. Why would anyone suggest such a thing? Well, let's read on."

An immaterial thing cannot be made of quarks, but we are moving into a misconception of the universe when you say that. A quark is not a quark without the form of the quark in combination with the matter of the quark. Form, spiritual and immaterial reality, is present in things constantly and acting upon them; it is an essential part of the physical universe. Physical things cannot exist apart from form!  

Quote:
The soul acts directly upon the body as it is is form - in a sense, the soul is the body in act. The body would be unintelligible without the soul.

 

 

"Why? Why is the soul necessary? You are adding an ontological category here to explain something, but it doesn't explain anything at all. You are saying that matter is essentially dead, so it cannot be responsible for all the action, so something else must be responsible.

(For those who know my refutation of the kalam argument, you may see where I'm going with this;the whole issue of pushing the cause back one step, which begs the question--special pleading)."

The soul does not beg the question at all. It is a necessary category for things which exhibit life. There is a difference between things living and non-living and the soul explains this. The form argument I made above, that matter and form are united in actual things, likewise applies here as a soul is merely the term for the form of a living thing.

Quote:
Really, in my opinion, (philosophical speculation imminent!) it would seem that, assuming a pure materialism, such "metaphysicalization" would be impossible. Mental concepts do not exist, so illusions would be impossible. Things would happen, but we would be totally unable to grasp either that they happen or to explain any notion of their happening at all. In so far as things have intelligibility, it would seem that ideas must exist in some real sense.

 

 

"And her eyou spell out what I sensed. You think that the soul is the thing doing all of that stuff. I'm simply asking why can't the physical matter of our bodies do it?"

Matter is not the same as the mass of a thing, or an actually existing object. "Matter" is an abstraction designating a certain potentiality in actually existing things. A thing actually is form and matter in composite. Why is form necessary in the first place? Form is necessary as a thing by which we explain the actuality in things - its structure, action, idea, ect. It is a category necessary in a good explanation of what substance is (recall the four causes: material, formal, efficent, and final).  

Quote:
... A soul exists because things are alive, and a rational soul exists because things think. If we deny that we are thinking, we are in a heap of trouble. We can argue later about its subsistent character, or seperability, but its existence seems fairly self-evident.

 

 

"That's the problem. I'm not saying that things don't think. That would only be true if I agred with you that things need souls to think. This is te classic dualist position of the philosophy of mind. This position is not supported by neuro-science research. I'd cite Daniel C. Dennett, but even his peers don't seem to get the point that if you reject qualia (in your case, the soul), you are saying that consciousness does not exist. The answer is that it does exist, only it doesn't exist the way that you think it does.

The soul does not explain that we think. The brain explains that we think. Merely asserting that the soul is necessary for thought to exist begs the question, and exposes a serious ignorance concerning how the brain works."

The rational soul is the principle of life in a thing that thinks. That is what it designates. The man thinks. The power of reasoning is a power of his soul and it is he that thinks. The soul is a designation of that power. It is not a statement about neuroscience at all. If we assumed (as you reference Aquinas later, why not?) a Thomist conception of the person, modern neuroscience makes total sense when we look at the human being as using phantasms in thought (thinking requires images - the brain is the organ which manipulates images and presents them to the immaterial active and passive intellect).

"Being in seminary, I don't expect you to be an expert in neuroscience. But not being an expert on neuroscience, I also should't see you making claims about consciousness. "

I am not the one making neurological claims; you are. Conciousness is not equal to brain activity.

"I'm reminded that at the philosophy dept at a local Catholic University, they stop after Aquinas.  They don't even get to Kant, Hume, or Wittgenstein. I'd be shocked if their library even carried Nietzsche."

Frankly, that comment smacks of ignorance and disdain for Catholic Universities. I don't know what university you went to or if you know how the navigate the library correctly, but I point out that Catholic philosophers and universities have contributed a great deal to philosophy ancient and modern. Recall Fr. Copleston of the famous History of Philosophy (which does not stop at Aquinas), and the many contributions by other Catholic philosophers (members of the clergy as well as lay). A philosophical education would be sorely lacking if it ignored recent developments in philosophy. Heck, my own priest did his doctoral thesis in Nietzsche and my formation advisor (also a priest) specializes in French Existentialism, esp. Sartre, as well as Derrida's philosophy of language. While a Catholic university would understandably highlight the Angelic Doctor, it would not omit philosophers afterward. To say otherwise seems to be a product of malevolent ignorance.

Quote:
The soul acts directly upon the body as it is is form - in a sense, the soul is the body in act. The body would be unintelligible without the soul.

 

 

Quote:
 

 

Why? Why is the soul necessary? You are adding an ontological category here to explain something, but it doesn't explain anything at all. You are saying that matter is essentially dead, so it cannot be responsible for all the action, so something else must be responsible.

 

 

"To me, it's an argument from dire consequences.

If I don't have a soul, I cannot live in eternal bliss.

ergo, I have a soul. "

I never made this argument and it is unfair to paint me as if I did.

 

Quote:

 

(For those who know my refutation of the kalam argument, you may see where I'm going with this;the whole issue of pushing the cause back one step, which begs the question--special pleading).

 

 

"In all the sake of holding to the hope of eternal bliss. Clearly a strong motivator." 

I would hope that eternal life is a strong motivator, but I cannot claim to have argued from that premise.

"Indeed. The argument is based on two irrational precepts.

"Souls are a desirable entity, so I believe I have one"

and

"abstractions are immaterial'"

I never made the first premise whereas the second premise seems self-evident. Every living being has a soul as its form as does every physical thing. 

I would point out, even further in response to the neuroscience argument, neuroscience has never defined conciousness in terms of matter and further that neuroscience could not do so as to speak of something like conciousness is really beyond their field. I mean that they study the electrochemistry of the brain and its causes, ect. but it would be to jump the gun to identify the reactions in the brain with conciousness. I am saying, basically, that it is not their job to prove or disprove that conciousness lies within the brain - it is a higher science's task, philosophy. If they begin with the premise that it does, that is only an assumption on their part and not a result of their study.

 

Quote:

Yours In Christ Jesus,

StMichael (not a saint)

PS - Go Socrates!

"Yours in Bullwinkle. -

Chris

Yes, socrates is cool"

 

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

 

Written December 28th, the feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs.

PS - Merry Christmas to all! I might have a hard time posting again, so remember that in waiting for my response.

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


ShaunPhilly
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Quote:

Quote:
I am not the one making neurological claims; you are. Conciousness is not equal to brain activity.

There was a lot to respond to there. This quote above reveals the crucial issue.

If our awareness of the world (consciousness) is not equal to brain activity, then how is it that when certain drugs and damage occurs to specific areas of the brain, the result is a altered conscious state?

Ever drink a couple of beers? I'll bet that the effect on the brain just happens to also effect your conscious experience. How about people with brain trauma? Amazing how we've shown that damage to specific areas has the same resulting change in conscious experience and behavior.

The simple fact is that is the soul exists and it is the part that does the thinking, then why can't I think as clearly while drunk, tired, angry, etc?

The fact that the so-called "hard problem" of consciousness has not been solved does not mean that we can conclude that consciousness occurs in the brain. We know that it occurs in the brain, we just don't know precisely how.

 

As a final note, the comment about Catholic Universities was not from my personal experience; I was telling it second-hand. But the point is that these Catholic thinkers, in dealing with modern and contemporary thinkers, still refer back to Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, and Aquinas as authoritative. That's the problem.

I love reading Plato. I think he was fundamentally wrong in his idea about Forms. Aristotle's criticism and re-working of plato was an improvement, but it is still problematic.

Augustine and Aquinas were brilliant people. But they had ancient and medieval information to work with, so it is not surprising that they are now so inadequate.  If they had been here now to exercise that genius with what we know now, perhaps they could add to our understanding.

I'm not saying there are no important things to learn from these thinkers, only that the there is a problem when ancient texts are held as authoritative. The Bible is not authoritative, The Republic is not authoritative, Metaphysics is not athoritative, City of God is not authoritative, and the Summa is not authoritative.

And for that matter, neither is any Darwin, Dawkins, Harris, or anything I write.

I really don't have anything else to say in this thread. I'll read what is written, but unless this prevalent presuppositionalism is transcended, this conversation is a matter of which I shall remain silent.

Shaun

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


StMichael
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On the first point, my

On the first point, my point is not that conciousness can be altered by biological states; I think anybody agrees with that. I point out, however, that the identification between conciousness and biological processes (not just a cause-effect relationship, or an interactivity between them) is unjustified. There is no reason why if one understands properly the relationship between the mind and the body that one encounters any problem with this. The Church, for instance, has taught this for the past two thousand years and I think they knew about drunkenness and retarded people.

To the second, I never proposed holding Aquinas as a pure authority, or Plato, or Aristotle.

"As a final note, the comment about Catholic Universities was not from my personal experience; I was telling it second-hand. But the point is that these Catholic thinkers, in dealing with modern and contemporary thinkers, still refer back to Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, and Aquinas as authoritative. That's the problem.

...

I'm not saying there are no important things to learn from these thinkers, only that the there is a problem when ancient texts are held as authoritative. The Bible is not authoritative, The Republic is not authoritative, Metaphysics is not athoritative, City of God is not authoritative, and the Summa is not authoritative.

And for that matter, neither is any Darwin, Dawkins, Harris, or anything I write."

The Bible is held as an authority for a different reason than for how I reference the Summa or Metaphysics. However, no Catholic philosopher holds Aquinas, or Aristotle, or Plato, or any other philosopher dogmatically. I believe Aquinas was very right, personally, but that doesn't mean that I would reference him in order to demonstrate a point philosophically. The reason is because philosophy does not operate on the basis of authority, but of demonstration - it has a different method. There is no reason, however, a Catholic university may not teach Aquinas in order to understand his teaching and - if it is, as I suppose, fundamentally correct - it serves a good instructive purpose. To leave Aquinas, or Sartre, or Aristotle out of an education is to miss quite a deal. No Catholic philosopher (of any repute or authority) has ever proposed referencing Aquinas as an authority in a philosophical debate. It would be an insult to Aquinas' own integrity, as his arguments need no authority as they stand on their own as valid and rational (and it was for this purpose he wrote them; anyone can agree with his premises and arrive at his conclusions).

I highly disagree with the last statement you made, however. You wrote: "I really don't have anything else to say in this thread. I'll read what is written, but unless this prevalent presuppositionalism is transcended, this conversation is a matter of which I shall remain silent." You may remain silent as much as you want, but you cannot claim that it is my irrational presuppositionalism. Your inability or lack of willingness to respond to my arguments is your own problem.

However, you must either accept or reject them as rational. If you just ad hoc reject them as irrational, that is prejudice. The only response I have gotten from this group of purported "rationalists" has been irrational prejudice and hatred of religious thought without more than a superficial understanding of the issues at hand. I try to be entirely honest with my answers to your questions and to understand your points of view, but I very infrequently get a similar response. For example, I have no idea what inspired this silly Blasphemy Challenge, which displays nothing other than rampant ignorance of most Christian thought (the sin against the Holy Spirit is widely held to be final unrepentance, not denial of belief in the divinity of the Holy Ghost; do you think Christians are that arbitrary is their beliefs?). I find people putting silly little insulting remarks on the posts that bear no intellectual weight. This is not rational at all - it is hatred or indifference to argument. You must all have your minds made up before I even try to reason with you. This is not reason, it is blind faith.

However, I am patient and can and will continue to answer all your questions. I apologize if I was a bit harsh, but I find this whole thing rather distrubing in its crusading nature against theism as it smacks of an intellectual smugness that claims to be rational but is anything but.

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.


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StMichael wrote:
Supernatural knowledge would be rational, just not empirical.
 I've shown you why this CAN'T be the case. "Supernatural" is a broken concept, its merely a negative devoid of any universe of discourse, leaving the term without any ontological status.  Nothing you could think or feel could be supernatural. This leaves you with a special plead that ‘god can do it anyway’, which in turn requires that you beg the question of god’s ‘existence’ in the first place, which leaves you on irrational grounds. Please reread my prior points.  
StMichael wrote:
It is supernatural in the means of revelation, firstly, as God reveals something not discoverable by natural power.
 Then how could you discover it? We can’t discover ‘things’ without any identity. So all you can do is assert, against reason, that we 'discover it anyway'. This leaves you with a special plead fallacy. You are not on rational grounds here.  
Quote:
I can say something truly comprehensible when I say that Christ descended into hell - this is an article of faith whose object is not supernatural in itself.
 You can only comprehend it if you refer to naturalistic concepts. Again, here's a way for you to consider the problem:

St. Augustine wrote:
What then, brethren, shall we say of God? For if thou hast been able to understand what thou wouldest say, it is not God. If thou hast been able to comprehend it, thou hast comprehended something else instead of God. If thou hast been able to comprehend him as thou thinkest, by so thinking thou hast deceived thyself. This then is not God, if thou hast comprehended it; but if this be God, thou has not comprehended it. 
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The same is true, for example, when I say that the Sacrament of Penance truly forgives sins. These things are truly comprehensible in themselves and not "supernatural" in objects per se.
 Then they can have no relation to the supernatural. You have to simply take it on non contingent faith that these rituals point to their own antithesis, something without any ontological status.  
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This is one category of supernatural truth.
 "supernatural truth' is an oxymoron, as already explained. 'Supernatural' is a broken concept, it can't refer to anything. So you are not saying anything here about the 'supernatural' You can only refer to natural entities, and then pretend that it refers to something beyond nature.  
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An example of a truth that is a true mystery whose object and means of revelation are both supernatural is the Trinity.
A 'truth that is a true mystery' is gibberish. Either you know it, or it is a mystery. If it is a mystery, then you are merely projecting some desired wish onto a blank screen.
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Thus, the Trinity in itself is unable to be comprehended by man even as revealed. This is not to say, however, that nothing can be said of it.
Actually, it is to say precisely that. Anything you 'make of it' cannot have any bearing on the 'supernatural', as explained ad nauseum.
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As revealed and supernatural knowledge, God reveals this truth directly and thus must be true in itself.
I really don't see any point in us talking if you just ignore the points made to you. "Supernatural' is a broken concept, ergo the term ‘supernatural knowledge’ is an oxymoron. And again, you are just begging the question of a ‘god’ and then relying on a special plead to get around the ontological problems before you.  
StMichael wrote:
Emotions and intuition are not related to faith. Nor are they rational.
 Faith is belief based on desire. Emotions. Faith is belief without justification.  
todangst wrote:
"Every term you are using ceases to make sense when you attempt to apply it to the very antithesis of nature, the 'supernatural'. The term 'supernatural' has no ontological status. It is merely a set of negatives. However, a set of negatives, devoid of ANY universe of discourse, ceases to have any meaning. It is incoherent."
StMichael wrote:
The term supernatural designates a reality "above" the natural.
You can’t use any positive term in regards to the ‘supernatural. To be 'above', in any sense of the word, again requires that the term have ontological status.  
StMichael wrote:
There are different senses of this word.
There is no sense in which it can be used to refer to the supernatural, as no term with any ontological connotation can be applied to the supernatural.   
StMichael wrote:
It could be "above" in the sense of total unrelation, where in this case God, as a supernatural reality,
 ‘Supernatural reality’ is an oxymoron. Again, to exist is to exist as something, to have identity, to have a nature. To be real is to have a nature, an identity. You can't refer to something beyond nature as real.  To insist that 'god' can just reveal such 'supernatural knowledge' to us requires that you beg the question and assume the very thing you seek to prove: that there is a god who provides such knowledge. Then you must special plead that there is knowledge that is knowledge and yet not knowledge at the same time: supernatural knowledge. It's gibberish on top of gibberish.
StMichael wrote:
...would be totally and utterly unable to be spoken of as He would be totally unrelated to any concepts we have.
Too bad you don’t follow the ramifications of this and concede what must follow: that  if you believe this, then there are no rational grounds to hold to it!  
Quote:
It could be "above" in terms of a reality "greater than" the natural. Again, this could mean "greater than" in terms of bigger size than the natural (of greater mass) or something of this sort. It could likewise mean greater ontologically than the natural.
 No ontological terms could be applied. None. Zero. The total number of positive terms would be zero, and zero would denote the number of positive terms.   
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In this latter sense do we designate God beyond nature as of greater ontological character than the natural.
 No, you cannot call it 'greater', for that is a natural term. You can’t use any relational term for this reason.
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Specifically, God is above nature because He is its source.
 Contradiction. A source would be an existent, with ontological status. It would work causally. Another natural term. All you can say is that this ‘god’ must be defined as  ‘not natural’ 
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But this relationship of God as cause to nature allows some amount of relationship to exist between supernatural and natural objects,
 This 'relationship' is based on terms with ontological status, and therefore cannot describe the supernatural at all. Whatever you can conceive cannot be this 'god' So you can again only take it on faith that any of this applies to something that is beyond you by definition. .
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as God is the source of both
 1) fallacy of begging the question2) stolen concept fallacy, as already explained above.
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and cannot contradict Himself.
Fallacy of begging the question, and non sequitur. If 'god' is supernatural, then he is 'beyond limits', and 'beyond any type of law of any sort'. There is 'nothing' to stop 'him' from being contradictory. The insistence that 'god cannot be contradictory' is itself illogical for several reasons. First, it turns 'god' into an argument. Logic applies to arguments, not 'things'. Next, if you are referring to metaphysics and not logic, again, I must remind you that to have a non contradictory identity is to be EXIST, TO BE NATURAL. To obey natural laws. To be something is to have limits, to have identity. To have limits is to have identity. Repeat it to yourself.  But your 'god' is beyond these laws, these limits, by definition. Ergo you cannot rationally hold that this ‘god’ is non contradictory. The reality here is that theists insist that there god be 'logical' so that they can avoid the embarrassment of having to deal with the logical ramifications of positing something as supernatural.  
StMichael wrote:
This is what is mentioned in the Council of Trent as quoted on my first post in this forum. So, as a result, supernatural realities may be spoken of by saying first what they are not
 which again, leaves you with incoherence, as a set of negatives devoid of any universe of discourse leaves you with nothing.I don't see why you bother to respond if you are just going to continually ignore these points.  
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and then further by analogy between cause and effect, or from a likeness of the effect to the cause.
You can't make causal arguments concerning the supernatural! Causality is a natural concept. A 'supernatural being' would be 'beyond causality'. Magical. acausal.  You can't make arguments from likeness for the same reasons. I feel that I am talking to a wall.
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This, basically, is how we speak of God.
i.e. by contradicting yourself every step of the way.  
StMichael wrote:
I would likewise like to enunciate the category I spoke of earlier that does not fit into these "natural" modes of speaking about God (negation and analogy), but is beyond either.This last method is the theological virtue of faith. In faith, we truly possess God and thus, (in a manner of speaking) speak as God about God in supernatural terms designating supernatural realities.
No. In faith, you cling to irrational claims through desire. Period.I really don't know why theists need to run from this? Embarrassment?  
StMichael wrote:
This speaking, of course, occurs in two ways: first, using prayer we pray to God by God (sighs inexpressible in human speech) and this is truly speaking in supernatural terms of supernatural things to God
You can't speak in 'supernatural terms'. The term is a broken concept that can't refer to anything. All you can do is beg the question that a god exists, then special plead yourself past the ontological problems, and then, and only then, simply take it on non contingent belief that this ‘god’ ‘exists’  
todangst wrote:
"Oh, and one other thing: think this over. If 'faith' were merely a synonym for 'reason', why even use the term faith to begin with? "
st michael wrote:
Because it is not a synonym for reason, but a different thing entirely in both method and object than natural reason.
So you say, yet you refer to it vis-a vis a type of reason. I wish you had taken my advice and taken the time to think it over.The only 'reason' is natural reason. You can't reason over things without identity.
st michael wrote:
It is rational,
You've said it not a synonym for reason, and within the same breath used a synonym for reason. You'll go on to refer to faith as another form of reason later in your own post.
st michael wrote:
but not of the same genus as natural knowledge. It is a different species of knowledge, having both a different object and a different method, but it is true and rational knowledge.
What pains me is that you think that this is an answer. But you're not saying anything about what this is. Either it is rational or not. Either it has objects (which implies ontological status) and methods (ontological status) or it does not. If it is 'rational' then you are in fact holding that 'faith' is another type of reasoning. If it is, then what point is there in using the word 'faith' at all? Why even bother to use the term?  It appears your answer is that faith somehow opens up a conduit between yourself and god, this god provides the avenue for using reason in regards to the supernatural. But again, either this conduit involves a natural reasoning process or it does not. So you are stuck again. If it is a rational process, then it would provide you with knowledge. Yet a jew using faith comes to different conclusions from you. A muslim a different conclusion.And oddly, strangely enough, in each case, each person merely reaffirms the religion of their childhood. How strange! It's almost like your 'rational process' is nothing more than a prejudice, a desire to cling to what one has already learned culturally, or through a religious text. All you are left with is the painfully obvious reality that faith is not epistemic in nature, but in fact irrational, emotionalism. Faith is merely belief based on desire.There's nothing left for it to be.
todangst wrote:
"You're contradicting your own good book here. Faith only exists in contradistinction to reason. Recall your own St. Paul: If one has reasons, why have faith? Faith is belief without justification. It is not an epistemological stance, it is a concession that one has no grounds for one's belief."
st michael wrote:
No it is not.
Yes, it is.
st michael wrote:
I don't know why you want to insist this point.
I am not insisting, I am arguing. You are the one just insisting.I've shown this time and time again, by making the point that you can't refer to something beyond nature. You can't grasp something without identity.So this leaves you with faith being another word for rational-empirical methods. Or irrational means. So if faith is merely another term for reasoning, then the term has no value at all. Why use it? Just call it reasoning. And with yoru reasoning, you could just provide your 'god given facts'. Seems to me that all religious debate would thus end, forever, with god giving you the straight facts. Why is there any debate at all?Odd that we see the opposite situation: the sort of violent intransigence that we'd expect if faith were just belief based on desire.Why is it that you can't see this? Where facts exist, one can settle disputes. If you and I argue over the distance from here to
Timbuktu, we can measure. The measure is the means for deciding the dispute. Where facts do not exist, violent clashes occur.It's painfully obvious that faith is not another form of reasoning. Faith is belief based on desire, without any epistemological justification. It's painful obvious that theists don't like that.
[ quote]Also, the entire body of Christians have never interpreted the Scriptures to mean this - this school of interpretation is basically Protestant, arising only in the late sixteenth century.
Actually, you're wrong here. The Roman Catholic Church has built one of the oldest, most powerful and dynamic religions in existence upon the bed-rock of negative theology. Augustine, Aquinas, Thereasa of Avila or Catherine of Sienna, all Doctors of the Church, all invoked negative theology. Yes, they had lots of positive things to say about 'god'- just look at Augustine's debates with Pelagians, Donatists and Arians - but it is all based on faith, accepted by faith, with the acceptance that one must accept man's limitations vis his finite nature.  But yes, it is a more protestant idea. They took it from Catholicism.
Quote:
Finally, Scripture does not support you;
Actually, it does. It's just that the scripture supports you too, seeing that even those who accept the correct definition of faith go on to say positive things about ‘god’
Quote:
Paul himself, as I had said, does not mean that when he says faith is evidence of what is not seen and the substance of things hoped for.
Actually, it means precisely that: that faith is belief without justification. A hope that there is evidence that we cannot see.  And it has to be, seeing as there is no means of holding to 'supernatural knowledge'.   
Quote:
Likewise, he gives contradictory remarks elsewhere in Scripture
Of course he does! But these contradictions do not undo what he's said in what I've cited.   
Quote:
There are quite a few more examples, but I think that the most obvious. Likewise, a great deal more of Scripture contradicts that interpretation
Again, this is obvious. The bible contradicts itself on nearly everything. But the fact that the bible contradicts itself does not undo the fact that it asserts both A and not A. So your argument is disingenuous.But more to this point, it is natural that a person who takes theistic claims on faith would go on to equate this faith with some sort of knowledge. One believes that what one believes is true. But this is not a proof that faith is anything other than belief based on desire. It is merely proof that people believe that their beliefs are true.
st michael wrote:
- the entire book of Wisdom is proof enough.
No, it is not.
st michael wrote:
Faith exists as a different mode of knowledge, both in method and in object;
No, it does not. Faith is non contingent belief, belief without epistemological justification. That's all it can be. If faith is merely another type of knowledge (and I do wish you'd stop contradicting yourself on this matter!) then why use the term faith at all?! You'd just cite your knowledge, your facts, your evidence. If faith provides knowledge, then why do competing theists come to competing contradictory conclusions? Why does the muslim remain a muslim, the jew a jew? Why does their 'knowledge' do nothing be reaffirm the belief of their desires?If faith provides knowledge, why can't you explain how it works? Faith is not knowledge. It is merely a manner of holding to a belief. That's it.
st michael wrote:
it is revealed by God
Again, you beg the question, special plead, in order to get to this assertion. These are irrational processes. You also ignore another serious problem: that every person sees something different, and this usually involves reaffirming the beliefs of their parents and their culture. If it were revealed by god, why the confusion? And the contradictions? And the errors? I know, I know, you'll blame the receiver, but a perfect being can’t be thwarted by ANYTHING, so you are back to square zero here if you use this cop out. 
todangst wrote:
"And the negative theologian can honestly admit this. And he must. He knows that ontologically and epistemologically he cannot have any grounds for his belief. "
st michael wrote:
I don't know why anybody would seriously uphold this
To paraphrase John Paul II "Reason is faith's handmaiden, but the handmaiden is unable access faith's chamber." See JPII's encyclical letter'Fides et Ratio.' (Faith and Reason)  
st michael wrote:
(Paul Tillich comes to mind). Grounds for belief must exist if one is to uphold a Christian or Judaic conception of God, both from Scripture and from the commonly held notion that God created all things and called them good, including natural reason.
any 'grounds' you would have would be natural, which again, cannot point to their own antithesis. You can only argue from ignorance, and then special plead. Logical fallacies. Irrationalism. You can only take it on the leap of faith described by kiekegaard, that anything natural points to its own antithesis.
st michael wrote:
Faith will never contradict what is known by natural reason.
Of course it will. It's not a rational process, it's merely belief based on desire. People will cling to what they want to believe, and reason will be subverted to serving the wishes of the person. Reason can just be warped through logical fallacies, to comply to the wishes of faith.  You’ve proven that here, as your entire process is based on begging the question and special pleading. 
st michael wrote:
I want to point out here that I believe you may have a confusion of terms.
You want to, but you can't, because that's not happening. Faith is unjustified belief.
st michael wrote:
When we use the pair "faith and reason" Christians/theologians mean the difference not between the mind or logic and religious objects of belief, but the difference between objects able to be known only by God's revelation and those knowable by "natural reason" or the human mind operating without divine assistance in order to know truths.
You beg the question that there is a god, and that his god communicates to you. But when we explore the situation epistemologically, we see that your insistence that 'faith provides god knowledge' falls apart. First, it fails because the process is ontologically bankrupt. Then it fails because this ‘reasoning process’ is utterly arbitrary, the same ‘process’ leads to the Christian to deepen his belief in Christianity, whereas it leads the muslim to a different path.  
st michael wrote:
Even the human mind can know supernatural truths,
The mind cannot conceive of anything defined as purely negative, without any universe of discourse. The only ‘thing’ left is nothing.
Quote:
 such as the existence of God (which has a supernatural object but a natural mode of discovery).
No, you just beg the question that there is a god, and special plead yourself past the problems. You can’t conceive of ‘god’, as Augustine himself has informed us: whatever you conceive must be something natural, with identity.  
todangst wrote:
Quote: "I am glad that catholics affirm this position. Supernatural claims, by definition, cannot be justied for supported by any natural means." Quote: No, they cannot if we speak of the object directly. Indirectly, for example, I can speak in my natural voice of supernatural claims (as I am now), "Only if by 'indirectly' you mean via negativa. But then, you still have serious problems. See above. So, you are either using positive terms, and hence natural terms, or you are speaking via negativa, and simply telling us what the supernatural is NOT. So you can never speak of the supernatural, because, again, it is the antithesis of nature."
 
Quote:
The supernatural, as I have shown above, has many interpretations.
And I’ve shown the ontological problems with these ‘interpretations’ 
Quote:
 The way it is used in religious discourse is to indicate that God is "above nature" as not identified with it.
I’ve shown the problems of using any positive term in regards to something defined as not natural. 
Quote:
 God, as the source of nature,
I’ve shown the problem with this as well 
todangst wrote:
No, you're stealing from materialism again, in direct contradiction to the negative definition of 'supernatural' "Supernatural things' is an oxymoron. If a 'thing' is in fact a thing, it has an ontology. Recall your basic principles, the first steps of ontology. Existence is axiomatic To exist is to exist as something. To have identity. To have properites. To be is to be something. If an 'entity' is in fact an entity, then we can discuss its ontology. So this 'supernatural' 'being' cannot disclose something that has no ontology to us! We'd have no means to grasp it. All you have left is a special plead: "He's supernatural, so he can do it anyway, damn the logic". But once you go here, you concede your position is irrational. So beware. "
 
Quote:
Supernatural things do possess being, and we can thus speak of them.
 No! You just ignore what refutes you, don’t you?  To define something as ‘beyond nature’ is to say that we cannot apply any attributes to it. To be a ‘being’ is to possess positive attributes, to have an identity, to be natural 
Quote:
However, I also want to point out before I delve into the rest here that faith treats of objects not supernatural, such as the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, truths about the angels, and other natural objects.
 In other words, you cannot reason on such things, so you take them on faith, i.e.  irrationalism. You just don’t get it, do you? 
Quote:
   . In other words, there exists a distinction between [1] supernaturally discovered supernatural objects of knowledge, [2] supernaturally known natural objects of knowledge, [3] naturally known supernatural objects of knowledge, [4] naturally known natural objects of knowledge, and [5] things revealed supernaturally that are likewise known naturally. Anyway, supernatural objects exist according to the rules of logic and reason
    Come on!  Again To exist is to exist as something. To have identity. Positive attributes.  To be defined as ‘not natural’ is to not have identity. Not have attributes. Not have limits.  The term ‘supernatural’ is a broken concept, it cannot refer to ANYTHING BY DEFINITION. Thus, the term ‘supernatural object’ is an oxymoron. And according to the rules of logic, you cannot refer to anything ‘supernatural through any positive term, because any positive term is a natural term. So you are stealing the concept!     
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Of course, because you are wrong and faith is not belief without justification. 
Of course you are wrong, faith is belief without justification. 
Quote:
If I believe it when you tell me that faith is belief without justification, I believe such on your authority, which acts as the justification for my belief.
 Oh please, your argument here is juvenile. The process of properly defining the term ‘theistic faith’ has no relation to beliefs in the supernatural itself! Even if you take my definition on authority, it wouldn’t give you justification for how you used your faith!   
Quote:
The same is true in faith in school - I believe my teachers when they tell me that Crick discovered DNA and I accept his findings by a variety of faith.
 I can’t believe that you’re going to try to equivocate colloquial usages of the word faith with theistic faith.  You accept it on authority. Arguments from authority are not non-contingent faith!  Theistic faith has to do with a belief in the supernatural. You are committing a fallacy of equivocation by attempting to conflate theistic faith with contingent beliefs, or colloquial usages of the word faith. I find this argument juvenile; I had higher hopes for you.  
Quote:
Religious faith is a species of this belief which relies on God's authority to substantiate its claims.
 Which requires that you beg the question of a god’s existence in the first place, an irrational process.  
todangst wrote:
from Hebrews indicates that faith is two things: first, it is the "substance of things hoped for" - it is the object of our hoping (this being, as we will later show, distinct from hope); "Hope is not knowledge. One can hope for anything, without any grounds for the hope. The 'substance' refered to here is 'faith', and the faith is hope. Belief without justification."
 
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 Again, this is contrary to the text of Hebrews.
No, it is not. 
Quote:
 Hope is not knowledge (and I had said this), but faith is not the same as hope; why would Saint Paul give the list as "faith, hope, and love" if by faith, he meant hope?
Because hope is what faith is based on.  There’s no contradiction here. You yourself will say this below!  
Quote:
He would say, "hope and love." In the second place, people cannot hope for something without hoping in "some thing."
 Right. Which again just means that they are stealing the concept, as they must, when they hold to god beliefs. Again, Augustine made this problem clear. 
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Faith is the substance of hope - its object.
 And the hope is a human emotion. The ‘object’ is an emotion. We replace our lack of evidence with hope. That’s the point of the passage. Faith is irrational.  
todangst wrote:
it is a true possessing of God and the mysteries revealed. "No, it is a HOPE that such things exist, even though reason tells us otherwise."  
No it is not.
Yes, it is.
Quote:
 This is purely contradictory to what Saint Paul says when he says, "hold fast to those things I have taught you." How can one be certain of something when one hopes for it?
There is NO contradiction! One is to quell doubts through one’s irrational clinging to what one holds to be true!  
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Likewise, if hope or faith exists contrary to what reason tells us, how can Saint Peter say, "always be ready with a reason for your hope?"
 Look at what you just said, and this time, think: If faith were already a reason, then why would you need a reason for your hope?!?! It should be obvious to you, now, that the hope is irrational, and that the ‘reasons’ are tacked on, afterwards. The initial faith , the irrational desire to believe, fuels one’s ability to ‘find reasons’ 
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 Faith is what we believe in,
without justification. 
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hope is how we await it,
I.e. you hope it’s true. You have a desire that it’s true. Thanks for proving my point yet again. You have the desire, and you hold to the desire without justification. Thanks for again proving the point.  
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 and neither is contrary to what reason tells us.
Yes, they are. You’ve refuted yourself here.  If ‘faith’ were another form of reason, as you’ve said, then why would you need to go and get reasons to hold to your hope based faith? Checkmate.  
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An Epistemological Account of Faith, by me.  First, some truth exists which cannot be known by natural human reason without divine aid.
 Ok, first you beg the question of the existence of things that you can’t prove. Then you special plead around the problems of knowing something that you’ve defined as unknowable. 
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Second, God says, "Gee, it might be good if man knew this."
Yet this god can’t find a way to get this news to people who hold to faith in Judaism or Islam!
Quote:
Third, God reveals this truth to man somehow; He sends a prophet, or sends His Son, or some like means.
 So this perfect god transmits a perfect message through an imperfect means. Isn’t that like AT&T sending out its most important messages by hiring children with tin cans and strings to send it out? 
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Fourth, man receives this revelation.
and each man finds something that confirms the belief of his parents or culture, or his own personal religious desires. What a coincidence! 
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Fifth, man believes in the revelation due to both [a] God's inward grace, and [b]
I.e. begging the question that this god exists in the first place. 
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 God's external evidence of authority.  
I.e. committing a stolen concept fallacy and holding that the natural world can point to its own antithesis. 
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Sixth, man possesses supernatural truth.
sixth, you commit your 100th oxymoronic statement.

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So...Michael, are you going

So...Michael, are you going to address my post ever?  Or...can I just assume you can't?


todangst
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Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
So...Michael, are you going to address my post ever? Or...can I just assume you can't?

 

He seems to respond to arguments by repeating his original assertion. I don't think he's really explored what terms like 'faith' or 'supernatural' imply.

 

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Part IIst Michael

Part II

st  [quote=st Michael wrote:
Soul is a natural term designating the form of a living body.  It is a spiritual thing, but not really "supernatural" other than that (using the different meanings of supernatural, it is natural in origin as a creature, but supernatural in that it is a spiritual being). If you mean that, as immaterial, it somehow violates your rules of ontology, then that is a different question. 
 What nonsense! It doesn’t  violate ''my” rules of ontology, but the very axioms of existence and identity involved in all claims, including the very rules invoked by the definition of supernatural put forth by theologians!  To exist is to exist as something. Do you agree or disagree? To exist as something is to have identity. Do you agree or disagree?
I hope you agree, as these are axiomatic statements. To contradict them is to actually invoke them, in other words, these axioms are defended through retortion. So they are not just ‘my ontology’ but your father’s ontology and yours too! They are axiomatic, unavoidable…. And part of every theist claim too. Now, to exist as something, to have identity, is to have positive attributes. To have limits. To be is to be something. Again, this is basic ontology, it is axiomatic. It’s not a set of rules that I created, and furthermore, your theology invokes the same concepts. You steal from these concepts whenever you speak of the ‘supernatural in positive terms.  
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 While I don't know what your rules of "basic ontology" are (I believe you may be starting out with loaded dice, defining something as existing only if it has bodily specifications),
You’re entirely free to present an ontology for immateriality. I’ve only asked at least  two times now. You’re also free to provide an ontology for ‘existents without identity’. Please, by all means, do it today. And then promise to share the nobel prize you’ll win with me. 
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I can say it does not violate any real rules of ontology.
You can say it, but you can’t defend it with an argument.  
todangst wrote:
For example, the concept of what is empirical is something empirically unverifiable. "So? The validation criterion for meaning is a prescription, not a description! It's a method ! But is the concept something empirical? Yes. It is an idea. It exists in a physical brain, as a bundle of neurons. It is transmitted from one brain to another through a physical medium, a book, words (vibrations in the air), etc. Every aspect is empirical. Ideas are born of electrochemical interactions within neurons. Physical
."   
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Except that it is not.
 No, it is. Ideas exist in physical brains. They are matter. Bundles of neurons.  All you are doing is asserting, naysaying. All we know so far is that we do have a grounds for accepting that ideas are due to neural activity. Brain injuries, ablation,  are all evidence for this. All you have is arguments ignorance otherwise.  
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 The validation criterion is just that, a meaning, an idea, a method. All of these terms designate something non-physical.
 Incorrect. Abstractions exist in a physical brain. If you disagree, please present an argument, not a set of assertions. And not arguments from ignorance based on incomplete neuroscience!  
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If it truly is non-physical and exists without matter, then there is nowhere else to go.
Ideas exist as neurons in physical brains. 
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 If you want to reduce everything to neurons and synapse firings, there is no further room for discussion as this conversation

You have it backwards If you want to reduce ideas to NOTHING, which is precisely what you do when you call something supernatural or immaterial, then we have no further room for discussion. 
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(it) has no epistemological basis nor ontological, as these terms are purely empty and meaningless
 You assert without supporting your assertions. I’ve shown you precisely why your claims have no ontological basis, as your terms have no ontological import, because they violate the basic axioms of existence and identity. I’ve shown that your faith claims violate epistemology, as one cannot possess knowledge of the ‘supernatural’ seeing as it has no ontological status. I back up my assertions with argument. It would be nice if you could do the same.  
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 (which begs the question how you can question MY ontological basis for something when YOU could not accept that being, as a thing, exists).
 You have no ontological grounds for your claims at all.      
todangst wrote:
"NOTHING can 'exist' immaterially! Again, recall your basic ontology. To exist is to exist as something! To have identity. To have properties. Postive attributes. A basic ontology. We cannot refer to existence devoid of identity. Recall your Kant! You are confusing abstractions for immateriality."
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What are abstractions but immaterial?
Abstractions are neural activity, this activity is physical. It involves neurons and electrochemical action. You are confusing the fact that abstractions do not have extra mental existence for them being ‘immaterial’ Again, immateriality, like the supernatural, is a set of negative definitions, devoid of any universe of discourse. The term has no ontological import. 
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 I think you ought to recall your Aristotle Smiling
I do. I think you should recall more than just Aristotle. 
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 To exist is to exist as some thing - an immaterial object is distinct, as we can speak of a thing - a soul or an idea. It does have an identity - this is the form of a chipmunk.
 Now, do me a favor and actually think over what you’ve just said. If it has identity, the identity comes from attributes. The attributes are physical. You see them, feel them, taste them, hear them, touch them.  Every idea has empirical features. Even higher abstractions like ‘freedom’ or ‘love’ are instantiated thusly.

To have an image of a chipmunk, you have a set of positive attributes. These are physical  
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It does have properties - it exists without matter and is the idea of a chipmunk.
Incorrect. It exists as a set of neurons which represent a chipmunk visually. Every step involves material. 
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These examples mostly apply to forms or ideas of things; a soul is a subsistent form, so it is not much different.
If you conceive of a soul, you conceive of something with attributes. You conceive of something empirical. Something material. Think it over. 
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 But to say the immaterial is not matter does not mean it cannot act upon matter.
Yes, it does. If it ‘acts’ it has an influence. This requires energy. Matter/energy are one.  You are stealing the concept again and again and again and again. Please stop it. 
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The structure of a thing, for example, a building acts constantly in the building. It is the harmony or unity of the parts. Without that unity, the building would collapse - it would not be a building. That is a common example.
 The ‘structure’ of the building is found in the material of the building. There is no need for a second, immaterial substratum. You’re violating occam’s razor now too. 
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If a soul was not in the raccoon, the raccoon would be a dead raccoon and would begin to decay.
 You’re begging the question. You’re stealing from materiality. You’re asserting without  defending.  
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 I am not stealing any materiality in defining immaterial action.
YES. YOU. ARE. The term ‘action’ refers to energy!  Matter/energy! 
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 In a manner of speaking, the action of any material thing is immaterial.
 Another groundless naked assertion. This is not arguing. 
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The action itself, its idea and form, is immaterial!
No, it is not. It involves energy. Energy=matter.   
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I am demonstrating - every material thing must have an immaterial form governing its structure, otherwise it would cease to be that thing.
 No, you are demonstrating your inability to follow your own words. You are stealing the concept over and over and over and basically, your sole means of holding to your naked assertions (I can’t call what you do arguing) is your inability or unwillingless to see that ‘action’ involves matter/energy.  
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Show me the matter of my abstraction.
 Get a CAT scan.  Have a doctor inject you with a non toxic chemical. Watch the brain activity in your brain when you consider different thoughts. This is correlational, not causal evidence, but how can you just ignore it? 
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Electrochemical impulses do not suffice
Naked assertions do not suffice at all.  
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as a pile of them does not amount to an abstraction.
 So you assert, from ignorance. 
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If you said that their particular location in my brain and their harmony in my brain is what constituted an abstraction,
Which is clear correlational support for my argument.  
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 I would point out that this (apart from other errors)
Which you just assert, without even pretending to demonstrate 
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 defines the abstraction immaterially in terms of their harmony.
 No, it does not. First, you can’t ven define ‘immateriality’ to begin with. You’ve steadfastly refused to answer any of my three questions. Next, you can’t demonstrate how something ‘immaterial’ can have a relationship with matter.    
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Quote: "3) If you apply ANY natural concept to answering quesiton 2, explain how do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)" Quote: I think that Mr. (Dr.?) Dennet has a flaw in his argument, namely that immaterial things do not fall into the realm of physics except incidentally. "Then how do they work? Magic?"
 
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Immaterial things are not the same as matter, but they are found in bodies.
How? How can you find something immaterial? How can you know this? What means is there to knowing this? How can you identify something that is not matter or energy?
How? How? How? How? 
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This is that psudo-Platonism that hides behind all soul claims. The assumption is that matter cannot have perform the processes of thinking, feeling, and "being." It is an unfounded assertion. Let's see how it plays out."
 
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It is not unfounded because matter does not exist in a manner that is intelligible per se. 
 What a bizarre complaint from an advocate of immateriality! 
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I would point out, even further in response to the neuroscience argument, neuroscience has never defined conciousness in terms of matter
 Nonsense. There is no other way to define anything!  Can you please just stop asserting things? If you want to make ‘immaterial claims’ please answer my three questions first.  
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 and further that neuroscience could not do so as to speak of something like conciousness is really beyond their field.
 Not really, although some do act in this fashion. 
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 I mean that they study the electrochemistry of the brain and its causes, ect. but it would be to jump the gun to identify the reactions in the brain with conciousness.
 This coming from a person who has no problem at all asserting that a soul is behind it!  Don’t’ you find it odd that you advise caution here, but through all caution to the wind with your wild, ontologically bankrupt assertions? 
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I am saying, basically, that it is not their job to prove or disprove that conciousness lies within the brain - it is a higher science's task, philosophy.
LOL  I think you have things backwards.  Philosophy is speculation. Not science. It can be reasoned, it can work from evidence or argument, but philosophy philosophizes. 
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If they begin with the premise that it does, that is only an assumption on their part and not a result of their study.
 Please apply this to yourself, while I stand in awe of the incredible amount of hutzpah required for a theist to take anyone else to task for a presupposition. We must work from a materialist framework. There is no other framework. If you don’t like that, please provide us with an immaterial framework. All you’ve done so far is attempt to argue from ignorance for your ‘immateriality.’ That’s not a framework, its just biased naysaying.  Tell me:1)                 What is 'immateriality'? Please don't tell me what it ISN'T, please tell me what it is. Can you show that anything exists other than matter or energy? What are its "properties" - i.e. is it something natural? Give me it's ontology, or please stop using the term.  Can you define "immaterial" with positive characteristics? You seem to argue that holding that existence equates with matter is begging the question. Well then, here’s your chance. Actually back up your claim and present us with an ontology for your theory, the ontology of immateriality! Go on, or withdraw your claim. Your choice. 2) How does something that is neither matter nor energy interact with our natural world?  Don't just assert that it does!3) If you apply ANY natural concept to answering quesiton 2, explain how do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)    

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To be honest to Rook, I

To be honest to Rook, I thought I had already posted a reply to your post. Oops! I will get around to it shortly. I want to reiterate upon seeing the vast response I got to my last post that I will begin my retreat on January 1st and will have VERY little time to make a reply. If I do manage one or two, don't take it for granted that my next reply won't be a week later. I'll see if I can get to Rook's today sometime, but no promises Smiling

 

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StMichael wrote:To be

StMichael wrote:

To be honest to Rook, I thought I had already posted a reply to your post. Oops! I will get around to it shortly. I want to reiterate upon seeing the vast response I got to my last post that I will begin my retreat on January 1st and will have VERY little time to make a reply. If I do manage one or two, don't take it for granted that my next reply won't be a week later. I'll see if I can get to Rook's today sometime, but no promises Smiling

 

Yours In Christ,

StMichael

 

I see no point in further exchanges, you just repeated yourself. You repeated the same naked assertions, the same circular logic and special pleads. You ignored all the ontological and epistemological problems pointed out to you. And then you tried to defend immateriality through arguing from ignorance (a god of the gaps argument - yet  the purported weaknesses of my arguments do nothing to support your own)  If you do reply, please just reread the very same post to you as my counter reply.

 

 

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I want to see if this guy

I want to see if this guy can maintain any credibility with himself and the board. So far I say he's done 40/60.  The 40% is him being honest enough to admit something, but his dishonest claims are what is making his prestige fall.

He has some explaining to do with what he claimed, and what I refuted, and he has to make some apologies and admit to some wrongs he has stated before I feel he has made penance for his sins. 

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When people say that

When people say that thoughts are immaterial, I wonder how they feel about things like Internet forums and computer games. Do the headcrabs in Half-Life exist or not? Does the Windows desktop exist or not? They aren't "material", like a chair is. Rather, what we perceive as an object -- the files and directories of a computer, the game world in Half-Life, the threads in a discussion forum -- is really a term being applied to an interaction of multiple parts. When I see a headcrab on my screen, what is happening is that a bunch of electrons are following paths of conductive material and interacting in such a way that the LCD material in my screen is induced to show colors to generate the appearance of a little green alien crab that hops on people's heads. Is the headcrab material or not? I'd say it's a category error, because a headcrab on the computer is not a thing but a process -- an interaction between things, and the interaction itself does exist.

 

Edit: I know this doesn't have much to do with the thread per se but this is something that has been percolating in my brain, and since the topic was broached earlier I wanted to get it out there. 

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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These things are entities

These things are entities in existence apart from their individuating characteristics. That is why language is possible, as why thought about universals is possible. It is made possible by our ability to abstract universals from individual material things, such as the interactions between electrons on a computer screen. It is why these electronically created words make any sense to you or me. There are different categories of immaterial things, and the universals described herein are only one specific type.

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StMichael wrote:These

StMichael wrote:

These things are entities in existence apart from their individuating characteristics.

What do you even think you mean by that? How can something exist without characteristics?! How can you say that something exists without identity?!

 

Again, it is a basic axiom of existence that to exist is to exist as something. This is the axiom of identity. To speak of existence without identity, to use the term 'existence' as a 'character' in of itself, is to use the term as a predicate. This is basic metaphysical error. Recall your Kant. You can't use 'existence' as a predicate.

 

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That is why language is possible, as why thought about universals is possible.

 

Wrong. Abstraction is a mental process occuring in a physical brain. Abstractions make reference to characteristics that are universal to a particular set.

 

This process relies on characteristics. So you are clearly in error here.

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It is made possible by our ability to abstract universals from individual material things,

Which in turn requires a material brain, which forms abstractions by considering characteristics universal to the set in question.

 

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such as the interactions between electrons on a computer screen.

Interactions are relationships between matter. You've been informed, several times, that to use such terms in relation to 'immateriality' is a stolen concept fallacy.  Yet you just blithely repeat the same error, not even acknowledging prior arguments, let alone attempting to respond to them.


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It is why these electronically created words make any sense to you or me.

For things 'make sense' , they have to have identity, characteristics.

 

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There are different categories of immaterial things,

"Immaterial thing' is yet your latest oxymoron. To be a 'thing' is to exist, to have identity, to have characteristics. To have characteristics is to have a nature, to be empirical in some form.

******************************** 

You've been challenged over and over to present your ontology for the term 'immaterial'. Without it, your assertions are meaningless.

You just reassert the same errors, as already stated above.

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Quote:Quote:"I agree, but

Quote:Quote:"I agree, but that doesn't mean he was never punished for asking questions. He may have asked a lot of questions but that doesn't mean he wasn't punished for doing so." I think it rightly unfair to criticize the monks of Monte Cassino when you don't present any reason for your assertions."I remember getting smacked around in my Catholic School by nun's when I asked questions. Don't tell me that punishment in catholic institutions for inquisitive thinking is an assertion. I can produce mass testimonials to such actions."Again, you produce no proof that monks at Cassino in the Middle Ages smacked children for asking questions. Just that nuns might have hit kids elsewhere is not sufficent proof of smacking in Monte Cassino. I also highly doubt that nuns smacked you around. You say you are about 23 (I think, give or take ten years), in which case I highly doubt any nuns of that variety existed when you were in school. If they were and you hold to it, give me the name of the school and I want to put a stop to it. As far as I know, nuns might have smacked kids elsewhere but that is [1] not sufficent proof for any "indoctrination" at any other point in the past, including St. Thomas', and [2] is not a statement about what the Catholic Church believes. I would point out that hitting children for asking questions is nowhere a precept of the Catholic Church. In fact, I would point to the history of intellectual thought in the Catholic Church (which was highly regarded in the Middle Ages). The Benedictines inculturated Europe at a time when the secular world had all but totally abandoned thought. The Jesuits revitalized learning at the beginning of the Renaissance and cultivated it throughout history, including "critical thought." Questions are vital to the existence of the Catholic Church as they further society, natural science, philosophy, and - lo and behold - the study of theology. If one never asks any questions, there is no room for growth in theology, as well as other sciences. Nobody is rightfully penalized for asking a question in good faith. Some nuns might do such, but that is not correct, nor is it the policy of the Church. Quote:You paint the age as unquestioning and ignorant (as per your later reference to the Dark Ages versus the Age of Reason - a later and biased addendum to an age that began the revolution in rational thought, the university, organized debate, libraries, and hundreds of other things important to scientific and rational analysis) without real justification. "I do consider it ignorant, but I wouldn't say it was unquestioning. And for your information it was the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague and the death of most of the worlds population (and that of many clergy) thereafter that lead to questioning, and rational thought. The church could no longer claim that it was the power of God on earth, as so many of it's own died at the hands of plague and left no explanation for the faithful as to why. Such death and mutilation brought about the Reniseance, a spirited rebirth of music, art and cultuire. "That is more than silly. According to most historians of the Middle Ages, the Bubonic Plague brought about a revitalization of religious fervor - the Flaggelants are only one example. If anything, the Church gained ground as a result of the Plague. The death of the clergy during the Plague was a terrible thing, as clergy were replaced with inferior people during the era thereafter, both secular and religious. This later development ultimately led to the Reformation/Counter-Reformation as a result of bad clergy. The Humanists of the era previous to the Renaissance were not necessarily irreligious. Most of the growth leading into the Renaissance had a great deal to do with a rediscovery of philosophy as it was brought back by the Crusades from the Holy Land (where it had been encountered in Muslim lands). The new techniques and knowledge gained from the East spurred the West on to greater things, leading to a rebirth of civilization in the West. It became later more and more associated with a more secular bent, but most of that occured after the Thirty Years War, not before."I'm sure people questioned, but the fact is that those who questioned in the church usually had bad things happen to them. You do not want to debate me on this point, I have a lit of sources indicating where scientists and thinkers were excommunicated, tortured or both by the Church." I have a list of scientists who were members of the clergy, saints, and laymen in good standing with the Catholic Church. I see no dissonance in advocating a union between reason and faith, and the Church does not either. I challenge you to reread the position I placed at the start of this forum, as this is most certainly a definite doctrine of the Church (which may be surprising to you, given that it originated prior to the Middle Ages and was continued thereafter)."No wait, let's go there, because I grow tired of your inability to grasp the concept of indoctrination and anti-thought of the middle ages. During the life of Aquinas, in fact, 1233 - to stamp out the rise of Catharism - Pope Gregory IX launched an appointment of full-time Inquisitors drawn mainly from DOMINICAN and Franciscan Orders. (What was Aquinas again? A Dominican? That's what I thought.) This comes right from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, btw."Wonderful. Catharism and its subsequent battles are a different matter than Aquinas. I quote the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on the Albigenses (newadvent.org):

"Innocent III, in view of the immense spread of the heresy, which infected over 1000 cities or towns, called (1207) upon the King of France, as Suzerain of the County of Toulouse, to use force. He renewed his appeal on receiving news of the assassination of his legate, Peter of Castelnau, a Cistercian monk (1208), which judging by appearances, he attributed to Raymond VI. Numerous barons of northern France, Germany, and Belgium joined the crusade, and papal legates were put at the head of the expedition, Arnold, Abbot of Citeaux, and two bishops. Raymond VI, still under the ban of excommunication pronounced against him by Peter of Castelnau, now offered to submit, was reconciled with the Church, and took the field against his former friends. Roger, Viscount of Béziers, was first attacked, and his principal fortresses, Béziers and Carcassonne, were taken (1209). The monstrous words: "Slay all; God will know His own," alleged to have been uttered at the capture of Béziers, by the papal legate, were never pronounced (Tamizey de Larroque, "Rev. des quest. hist." 1866, I, 168-91). Simon of Monfort, Earl of Leicester, was given control of the conquered territory and became the military leader of the crusade. At the Council of Avignon (1209) Raymond VI was again excommunicated for not fulfilling the conditions of ecclesiastical reconciliation. He went in person to Rome, and the Pope ordered an investigation. After fruitless attempts in the Council of Arles (1211) at an agreement between the papal legates and the Count of Toulouse, the latter left the council and prepared to resist. He was declared an enemy of the Church and his possessions were forfeited to whoever would conquer them. Lavaur, Dep. of Tarn, fell in 1211, amid dreadful carnage, into the hands of the crusaders. The latter, exasperated by the reported massacre of 6,000 of their followers, spared neither age nor sex. The crusade now degenerated into a war of conquest, and Innocent III, in spite of his efforts, was powerless to bring the undertaking back to its original purpose. Peter of Aragon, Raymond's brother-in-law, interposed to obtain his forgiveness, but without success. He then took up arms to defend him. The troops of Peter and of Simon of Montfort met at Muret (1213). Peter was defeated and killed. The allies of the fallen king were now so weakened that they offered to submit. The Pope sent as his representative the Cardinal-Deacon Peter of Santa Maria in Aquiro, who carried out only part of his instructions, receiving indeed Raymond, the inhabitants of Toulouse, and others back into the Church, but furthering at the same time Simon's plans of conquest. This commander continued the war and was appointed by the Council of Montpellier (1215) lord over all the acquired territory. The Pope, informed that it was the only effectual means of crushing the heresy, approved the choice. At the death of Simon (1218), his son Amalric inherited his rights and continued the war with but little success."

I point out that most fighting in response to the Cathars had been finished by Aquinas' time, as the Cathars had mostly died out. The Roman Inquisition had been set up prior to this, but applied to southern France in 1233, to try cases of heresy throughout the region.Inquisition is not the same as "anti-thought," if I may be so bold. I would point out that heresy was much more dangerous at those times than it is today in the realm of secular politics. The main impetus behind the Inquistion in the first place was the movement by secular princes to try political opponents for heresy and thus execute them. This ploy did not last long, as it was grossly unfair and unjust. The Pope shortly thereafter commissioned theologians of every religious order and secular theologians to preside at trials of heresy in secular courts - this became the institution of the Inquistion. As heresy was a secular crime, the Inquisitors ensured that those found guilty of heresy were really guilty of heresy. In fact, looking back at history, there are a great deal of things coming out about the institutions of the Inquisition throughout Spain and Italy that are very favorable to their reputation (that the courts were so fair that ordinary people would appeal their cases to the Inquisitiors, ect.). While I do not defend every action they took, I think they were necessary for the time period. I would also point out that the Church did not force religion as a result of the Inquisition as they were courts that tried Catholics only. The Church likewise never tortured or killed a single person, as the courts existed merely for trial. The worst sentence was to hand the person over to the secular authorities, who would proceed to execute those deemed guilty of heresy. The Church created the Inquisition to temper attitudes of the secular government in general and to mitigate an evil, and the worst weapon the Church wielded herself against heretics was the pain of excommunication. Aquinas himself never exercised any inquisitorial function, nor acted under the Inquisition, as it was founded as an autonomous institution after his death. "In 1184, in fact, just a few decades before, Pope Lucius III "enacted the bull Ad Abolendam that Bishops should make inquisition for heresy in their dioceses and hand over those who would not recant to the secular authorities for punishment."What's more damaging to your claim is that in 1252, Pope Innocent IV (Who wasn't all that innocent) licensed the use of TORTURE by the inquisition in the bull Ad Extirpanda. And this punishment could be used against the obdurate suspect.According to New Advent, there were inquisitions during the first 12 centuries as well: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm#IIt states concerning the 13th century, "In France Louis VIII decreed in 1226 that persons excommunicated by the diocesan bishop, or his delegate, should receive "meet punishment" (debita animadversio). In 1249 Louis IX ordered barons to deal with heretics according to the dictates of duty (de ipsis faciant quod debebant). A decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229) makes it appear probable that in France death at the stake was already comprehended as in keeping with the aforesaid debita animadversio. To seek to trace in these measures the influence of imperial or papal ordinances is vain, since the burning of heretics had already come to be regarded as prescriptive. It is said in the "Etablissements de St. Louis et coutumes de Beauvaisis", ch. cxiii (Ordonnances des Roys de France, I, 211): ""I would merely point out firstly that Aquinas himself never saw it licit to torture heretics, but merely encouraged a toleration of practices already existing for capital punishment for unrepentant heretics. I refer you to an article by someone worthier than myself on this very subject:

"Let us try looking at the “huge elephant in our Catholic living room.” I will be drawing from an article by Jordan Bishop in the most recent New Blackfriars, a publication from which I have learned a great deal over the years. Dr Bishop begins by quoting “Law 25” of Pope Innocent IV’s bull Ad extirpanda (1252), which regulated the conduct of the Inquisition in Lombardy, Romagna, and the Marches:

The Podestà or Rector has the authority to oblige all heretics that he may have in his power, without breaking limbs or endangering their lives, to confess their errors and to accuse other heretics whom they may know, as true assassins of souls and thieves of the Sacraments of God and of the Christian faith, and their worldly goods, and believers in their doctrines, those who receive them and defend them, just as robbers and thieves of temporal goods are obliged to accuse their accomplices and confess the evil that they have done.

This would become accepted practice, so that the Italian jurist Passerinus would write in 1677, “In the event that witnesses who are clerics are to be tortured, they must not be tortured under the supervision of a lay judge, but under that of an ecclesiastical judge.”

What happened in 1252? Roman law had been rediscovered in the preceding centuries, and Pope Innocent, as seems evident, was merely allowing the Inquisition to adopt existing secular practice, which involved torturing not only accused persons but also witnesses for the purpose of gathering information. In Roman law, Dr Bishop reminds us, the testimony of those of low status (gladiators, for instance) was actually only accepted if it had first been confirmed by torture. This reliance on torture, strange to us, came in part from the Roman law’s reluctance to convict anyone on the sole basis of circumstantial evidence. As the jurist Passerinus would say, the finding of a naked man in the same bed with a naked woman was not itself grounds for conviction, but could result in the naked parties being reasonably subjected to the torture that would likely result in the confessions that would then lead to a secure conviction.

Torture was, we can say, a well-defined procedure subject to rules. Records were even kept. Torture was also a widely accepted secular practice that was subsequently adopted by the Church. Although I suspect that everyone will agree that Ad extirpanda was lamentable, the present use of torture differs because it is a hidden, secret, and often lawless practice that occurs at a climate of theoretical and official disapproval. And so, the University of Wisconsin history Alfred W. McCoy has written,

As we learned from France’s battle for Algiers in the 1950s, Argentina’s dirty war in the 1970s, and Britain’s Northern Ireland conflict in the 1970s, a nation that harbors torture in defiance of its democratic principles pays a terrible price. Its officials must spin an ever more complex web of lies that, in the end, weakens the bonds of trust that are the sine qua non of any modern society." (Todd Flowerday, http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2006/04/29/)

"Keep in mind this was during the life of Aquinas, who aptly agreed with killing heretics outright. So your claim that he himself wouldn't have been punished is incredulous. There were no real state of laws or legislation under these centuries by which proper procedures were undertaken, and witnesses were often dubious. People were prone to superstition as well, your common folk, and I see no reason to believe that Aquinas was above the institution of punishment to heresy as members of clergy were excommunicated as well during this period."Firstly, what you say is ridiculous for a number of reasons. The same question is likewise answered by Mr. Flowerday, and I will let him answer this:

"St Thomas Aquinas is infamous for defending capital punishment for heretics (for a degree of contextualization, see Michael Novak here.) But he says nothing about torture, nor does he cite Ad extirpanda. He does mention Aristotle’s Rhetoric elsewhere, so we can trust that he had read “the Philosopher’s” contention that “evidence under torture is not trustworthy, the fact being that many men whether thick-witted, tough-skinned, or stout of heart endure their ordeal nobly, while cowards and timid men are full of boldness till they see the ordeal of these others: so that no trust can be placed in evidence under torture” (1377a). But Aquinas does give a hint of what he might have said.

St Thomas pronounces that “it is in no way lawful to slay the innocent.” While he does not raise the question of merely injuring the innocent, one can speculate that the answer would be similarly negative. And Dr Bishop writes, “Here, as with Aristotle, there is no question of ‘justifying’ actions otherwise reprehensible on the basis of some greater good.” Very bluntly, then, in the ethics of Aristotle and Aquinas, only the guilty can be subject to punishment, and nothing changes that. Thus, despite what Roman law might allow, witnesses should not be tortured. Nor should the accused be tortured for a confession, because, at the time of torture, there is no real proof of guilt. Even if the judge were privately convinced of the guilt of the accused, he must not treat the accused as already guilty and suitable for punishment, for “his judgment should be based on information acquired by him, not from his knowledge as a private individual, but from what he knows as a public person.” It is entirely possible that Aquinas did not entertain the question of torture because the Summa, as the late Fr Leonard Boyle, OP, informed us, was written for working friars in St Dominic’s Priory in Orvieto to deal with practical issues that might realistically come up in the course of their pastoral work. Aquinas had complained about the “multiplication of useless question, articles, and arguments.” It is possible that his students would not be inquisitors or in any sort of position to challenge a universally accepted practice, so the question was simply irrelevant.

Dr Bishop wonders, “Was this a ‘copout’ on Aquinas’ part? Or was it simply the sad recognition of the impossibility of applying his ethics to this question? One could of course say, qui tacet, consentire videtur – silence indicates consent.” But, whatever the case, it should not be so for us. And, as Dr Bishop also wisely tells us, “both Aristotle and Aquinas provide an ethical infrastructure that is quite clear,” and we should be grateful to them for that. Torture must not be accepted. And if it is a part of our past, we must remember the moving example of the late Pope John Paul II during the Lent of 2000 when he asked pardon for “the violence some have used in the service of the truth.” Perhaps this “elephant in our Catholic living room” is not as large as we might think."

Mr. Flowerday cites an article I think might be helpful in answering this question, which can be found in "New Blackfriars" journal, Vol. 87 Issue 1009 Page 229 May 2006 Aquinas on Torture by Dr. Jordan Bishop.

"This is what indoctrination is - control. Over centuries, anybody questioning the authority of the church in any manner ran the risk of death of confinement. In fact according to the ODoCC, containment in papal institutions was considered penence for heresy, especially more serious offenses. Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, etc..."Indoctrination is not what existed even at the worst in the Church. The Church steadfastly maintained even during those times that freedom of conscience is a fundamental right of human beings. And confinement in a monastery is not nearly what you would think it is. I would not defend everything the Church did, but I think you neglect the Church's teaching that religion is not a matter of force, but of free choice. I encourage you to read the recent Pope's address at Regensburg, which was on precisely this topic. As I know most will neglect to glance at this, I quote the Pope:

"Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul.

God is not pleased by blood, and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death....

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: "For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practice idolatry.

...

The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: Come over to Macedonia and help us! (cf. Acts 16:6-10)-- this vision can be interpreted as a distillation of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.

In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, is already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates's attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: I am.

This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment, which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work of human hands (cf. Ps 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period, encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.

...

In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God's voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God's freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God's transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions.

As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf. Lateran IV). God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love transcends knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently, Christian worship is worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1)."

 Quote:And, second, he would not necessarily have had more power as an abbot than as a soldier (assuming we take the rest of his family as an example); either way had its benefits or disadvantages. "But he didn't come out of that abby as a soldier did he? Which points to the fact that he was schooled in more ways then on on religious affairs."You didn't come out of the Catholic school a Catholic? Which points to the fact you were schooled in more ways then on on atheistic affairs.Quote:Quote:"That isn't an argument that is speculation. You have no evidence to back it up, hense it cannot be considered an argument." I wasn't intending on offering an argument for hell, ect. as it was merely a statement that, assuming someone is a Christian, to raise them without their religion would be considered a "life-threatening" condition. "Which is why I'm raising awareness to the fact that Christianity is morally incapable of dealing with reality."Do you want me to prove the existence of hell? I can show this later, but it was irrelevant to my original point and has nothing to do with an "inability [to deal] with reality."Quote:What is the morality character, then, of instructing someone in a false religion? I already answered this when I gave the answer that, according to the natural order, their instruction and upbringing belongs to their parents. It would not be right to seize a child from its parents and raise it in a correct religion (or, no religion at all). "No religion at all allows for them to get a completely unbias look at all religions and choose which one calls to them - or whether they prefer to stay away from it. Religion gains it's power from parents who teach their children. Without it, and with proper education of reason, very few children would choose it. "No it does not, and I doubt you could come up with some plan by which that could be implemented. There is nothing morally objectionable to teaching my children morality, or philosophy, or science, or anything else. If I was to propose that we let our children grow up ignorant of gravity so that they could "get a completely unbias look at all theories of gravity and choose which one calls to them - or whether they prefer to stay away from it," you would call me crazy. I think it is the same thing with religious thought. There is nothing magic that makes religion purely arbitrary in the way you seem to construe it; if it truly holds a correct blueprint to reality and indicates steps necessary to salvation, people ought to be brought up in a suitable religion. It never forces choice of any viewpoint in the firstplace, but educates one as to the views of one religion. Any child has freedom to reject the religion as they attain reason; you yourself and many on this site are proof enough of that.Quote:The question of the morality of the religion in the first place really ought not to come into the discussion at all. "That is why immoral actions of the church go unhindered in the past. Because bringing up points such as the immorality of actions is heresy. You've once again proven a point for me."You're making silly accusations again. An ad hominem against Catholics for immoral action in the past never refutes their claims to veracity. And I never claimed that the morality of the religion did not exist, or that it was heresy to question it. (Heresy, just to define it, is stubborn clinging to one's own opinion contrary to the Church's teaching.)Quote:The parents are the ones who would need to be persuaded to accept the new position, not the child; likewise, it is the parents' responsibility to educate the child correctly after accepting the new position, not yourself or myself. "So we should just let a child grow up ignorant? This is another issue with christianity. You don't accept responcibility when it is yours. You push it on others. And when you do finally take credit for something (Like the murders at Worms for example) you take hundreds of years to acknowledge it. Why is it that Pope John Paul had to apologize for Catholics during the middle ages who slaughtered millions because of the basis of intolerance? Why did it take so long for the church to realize this was morally indefensible?" Your standard of ignorance is predisposed to mean "religious upbringing." You begin with loaded terms. Quote:Quote:"To be unbias about a position without evidence or of opinion is simple: Raise a child to know both sides of a position. For example, you don't raise a child to be a democrat or a republican but you explain to then the sides of each, and even those of independant parties, and let them make a decision when they are old enough to vote. Most parents don't do this...they indoctrinate their children with the right way (their way) to run the country and spout horrible things about the other side. This is a bias education." Why is this biased? What determines an unbiased condition?"When children are taught two sides of an issue? Why is this so hard to comprehend?"Any religious child is likewise taught two sides of an issue. But your own standard falls flat when we lack what can really constitute an unbiased condition.Quote:I asked this earlier and your answer was that your child, growing up in a religiously empty environment, can choose religion at his pleasure later in life. This, in fact, is the same with Christianity. "But when you're indoctrinated by a set of beliefs you aren't taught the other beliefs outside. Methodists are really the only practicing sect of Christianity to bring people to other faiths services before comfirmation. But even that is not enough because you are exposed to them only later in life, after you've had twelve years of indoctrination into one specific set of beliefs.You apparently don't understand the concept of multiple faiths all claiming to have the one true God, do you?"I do understand the different faiths having a claim to being the one true religion and that is actually more problematic to your argument. If you wanted to claim neutral upbringing between any number of religions, along with atheism, agnosticism, ect. and you wanted to educate the child about everything, it would be impossible. There is no argument against the parent's right to educate the child as they see fit; the child does not have a choice in the matter then, but does later. Anyway, there is not an argument in the fact that you are not taught other beliefs. Quote:When free will and reason "kicks in," the child could abandon or accept what he has been raised with. However, there is no reason to reject it in the first place. "Reason isn't something you're born with, Michael. It has to be taught by parents. I would say a very low percentage of Christians know how to even form an argument let alone made a reasonable deduction, use logic or think critically. Most accept belief without evidence - this is called faith. You have it I'm sure, where you blindly accept the existence of a soul, god and jesus without evidence of any sort, save circular evidence - which isn't evidence."Logic is something different from reason itself. Most people might lack tools for critical inquiry, but that does not mean they lack reason. I would point out that Catholics have been at this longer than you have, such as Monte Cassino where Aquinas was educated, as we have taught logic as a foundational subject in grammar school. I have no idea what percentage of Christians have the ability to think critically, but it is definitely not something tied to our beliefs, as we openly encourage rational discourse (the Catholic Church particularly, the Scriptures throughout, and the traditions of Christianity in general). I would object to your definition of faith, as I had with todangst, and I think my further response to him will answer this. Faith is not belief without evidence at all. Secondly, I do not blindly accept the existence of God, Our Lord, or my soul without evidence. In the first place, many of these fall under the category of truths that are demonstrable to natural reason, so that I can know them by reason rather than faith (even though faith, of course, assumes them). Second, articles of faith are known by Revelation and, as I say elsewhere, are not demonstrable according to natural reason, but only by God's authority. They are never in contradiction to reason, but they are not discoverable by ourselves acting as human beings. Faith never proceeds by circular reasoning. Now for more fun in other persons' comments. 
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StMichael wrote:

Supernatural knowledge would be rational, just not empirical.

I've shown you why this CAN'T be the case. "Supernatural" is a broken concept, its merely a negative devoid of any universe of discourse, leaving the term without any ontological status. Nothing you could think or feel could be supernatural. This leaves you with a special plead that ‘god can do it anyway’, which in turn requires that you beg the question of god’s ‘existence’ in the first place, which leaves you on irrational grounds. Please reread my prior points.

No it does not. I made a distinction between different senses of supernatural, which you have not responded to.

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StMichael wrote:

It is supernatural in the means of revelation, firstly, as God reveals something not discoverable by natural power.

Then how could you discover it? We can’t discover ‘things’ without any identity. So all you can do is assert, against reason, that we 'discover it anyway'. This leaves you with a special plead fallacy. You are not on rational grounds here.

As a revelation, it is given and has an identity. It is given in Scripture, in prophets, in Christ's teaching on earth, in any source of Revelation. I never made an assertion we discovered it apart from reason. It is disclosed by an authority that gives its origins a supernatural character, but that does not mean necessarily that the object is supernatural.

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I can say something truly comprehensible when I say that Christ descended into hell - this is an article of faith whose object is not supernatural in itself.

You can only comprehend it if you refer to naturalistic concepts. Again, here's a way for you to consider the problem:

St. Augustine wrote:
What then, brethren, shall we say of God? For if thou hast been able to understand what thou wouldest say, it is not God. If thou hast been able to comprehend it, thou hast comprehended something else instead of God. If thou hast been able to comprehend him as thou thinkest, by so thinking thou hast deceived thyself. This then is not God, if thou hast comprehended it; but if this be God, thou has not comprehended it.

And I make this distinction. God is a supernatural object, whose comprehension is beyond us. The descent into hell is an article of faith whose object is not supernatural. It is a confusion in objects.

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The same is true, for example, when I say that the Sacrament of Penance truly forgives sins. These things are truly comprehensible in themselves and not "supernatural" in objects per se.

Then they can have no relation to the supernatural. You have to simply take it on non contingent faith that these rituals point to their own antithesis, something without any ontological status.

My point is that the Sacrament is comprehensible as an object of forgiveness of sin, even though the means by which we know this is faith. The actual object of the faith is perfectly knowable and not supernatural as an object. It designates an action upon the soul. It is related to the supernatural by reason of the efficent cause of the forgiveness itself and the origin of the revelation of this truth. 

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This is one category of supernatural truth.

"supernatural truth' is an oxymoron, as already explained. 'Supernatural' is a broken concept, it can't refer to anything. So you are not saying anything here about the 'supernatural' You can only refer to natural entities, and then pretend that it refers to something beyond nature.

Again, refer to many senses of the word supernatural.

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An example of a truth that is a true mystery whose object and means of revelation are both supernatural is the Trinity.

A 'truth that is a true mystery' is gibberish. Either you know it, or it is a mystery. If it is a mystery, then you are merely projecting some desired wish onto a blank screen.

I mean an article of faith can truly be called a mystery of faith. The object and the means of revelation are supernatural. The object is comprehensible only through grace (faith as theological virtue); even then, it is not perfectly intellectually known (this is "heaven&quotEye-wink. It is known because God has told us it is. A mystery such as the Trinity could never be known by man on his own power - what insight can we have into God's nature "from the inside"? The only insight was can have is from the outside, as He is a cause of the universe. We cannot work a priori from His nature, but only a posteriori. Thus the Trinity is a thing that might be true in itself, and truly known through faith, but its discovery can only happen in man if God reveals it.

 

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StMichael wrote:

Emotions and intuition are not related to faith. Nor are they rational.

Faith is belief based on desire. Emotions. Faith is belief without justification.

This is unjustified. We are working with terms that are preassumed to mean what you want to mean. Christianity, esp. Catholicism, have radically different meanings in these terms.

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todangst wrote:

"Every term you are using ceases to make sense when you attempt to apply it to the very antithesis of nature, the 'supernatural'. The term 'supernatural' has no ontological status. It is merely a set of negatives. However, a set of negatives, devoid of ANY universe of discourse, ceases to have any meaning. It is incoherent."

StMichael wrote:

The term supernatural designates a reality "above" the natural.

You can’t use any positive term in regards to the ‘supernatural. To be 'above', in any sense of the word, again requires that the term have ontological status.

It designates a mode of existence different from the natural. We will shortly address the different senses of supernatural.

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StMichael wrote:

There are different senses of this word.

There is no sense in which it can be used to refer to the supernatural, as no term with any ontological connotation can be applied to the supernatural.

An ontological connotation can be applied to the truly supernatural by negation or analogy between effect and cause. I also point out that many articles of faith are not supernatural in object, but only in origin.

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StMichael wrote:

It could be "above" in the sense of total unrelation, where in this case God, as a supernatural reality,

‘Supernatural reality’ is an oxymoron. Again, to exist is to exist as something, to have identity, to have a nature. To be real is to have a nature, an identity. You can't refer to something beyond nature as real. To insist that 'god' can just reveal such 'supernatural knowledge' to us requires that you beg the question and assume the very thing you seek to prove: that there is a god who provides such knowledge. Then you must special plead that there is knowledge that is knowledge and yet not knowledge at the same time: supernatural knowledge. It's gibberish on top of gibberish.

StMichael wrote:

...would be totally and utterly unable to be spoken of as He would be totally unrelated to any concepts we have.

Too bad you don’t follow the ramifications of this and concede what must follow: that if you believe this, then there are no rational grounds to hold to it!

I would agree that, if one believed it, there would be no rational grounds. In fact, this is precisely my argument ad absurdum and why it is not a tenable position.

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In this latter sense do we designate God beyond nature as of greater ontological character than the natural.

No, you cannot call it 'greater', for that is a natural term. You can’t use any relational term for this reason.

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Specifically, God is above nature because He is its source.

Contradiction. A source would be an existent, with ontological status. It would work causally. Another natural term. All you can say is that this ‘god’ must be defined as ‘not natural’

The ontological manner in which we can name things in God is because of the relationship He bears to creation as cause to effect. As an effect, we can make analogies between His effects and His nature. Just because no ability to posit a quality of God univocally exists does not automatically mean that true speech about God is impossible. We posit things of God that are true substantially, as above, by negation and analogy.

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But this relationship of God as cause to nature allows some amount of relationship to exist between supernatural and natural objects,

This 'relationship' is based on terms with ontological status, and therefore cannot describe the supernatural at all. Whatever you can conceive cannot be this 'god' So you can again only take it on faith that any of this applies to something that is beyond you by definition.

The supernatural, as God, is defined as the principle of all things, existing above all things, and  removed from all things. We can define it as logically in relation to natural things as its cause. There is no contradiction.

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as God is the source of both

1) fallacy of begging the question2) stolen concept fallacy, as already explained above.

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and cannot contradict Himself.

Fallacy of begging the question, and non sequitur. If 'god' is supernatural, then he is 'beyond limits', and 'beyond any type of law of any sort'. There is 'nothing' to stop 'him' from being contradictory. The insistence that 'god cannot be contradictory' is itself illogical for several reasons. First, it turns 'god' into an argument. Logic applies to arguments, not 'things'. Next, if you are referring to metaphysics and not logic, again, I must remind you that to have a non contradictory identity is to be EXIST, TO BE NATURAL. To obey natural laws. To be something is to have limits, to have identity. To have limits is to have identity. Repeat it to yourself. But your 'god' is beyond these laws, these limits, by definition. Ergo you cannot rationally hold that this ‘god’ is non contradictory. The reality here is that theists insist that there god be 'logical' so that they can avoid the embarrassment of having to deal with the logical ramifications of positing something as supernatural.

The main error you make is that you assume that the supernatural is to say that it is totally separated with no relation to the natural. In addition, this is most definitely not what is meant. The supernatural designates a relationship as principle of nature. As principle of nature, God possesses certain characteristics in a preeminent way opposed to the mode of existence they have in creatures. You are superimposing on my arguments your own presupposed definition of supernatural is. The Catholic Church, Christianity, and philosophers likewise cannot hold that definition, and most surely the former two do not. The reason we do not hold it is because it is absurd; the different senses of supernatural are not univocal, and their use in context by Catholic theologians should be proof enough that we do not mean to posit God in a realm totally distinct from all natural being. Instead, God has a clearly defined relationship to creation as its source and principle. In this way, we can speak about Him via analogy between effect and cause. If you come back and say, “Supernatural has no ontological character, ect” you are imposing a meaning upon supernatural that is not what is meant by Christians.

 

 

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StMichael wrote:

This is what is mentioned in the Council of Trent as quoted on my first post in this forum. So, as a result, supernatural realities may be spoken of by saying first what they are not

which again, leaves you with incoherence, as a set of negatives devoid of any universe of discourse leaves you with nothing.I don't see why you bother to respond if you are just going to continually ignore these points.

Except that we never entertain that only negatives can be spoken of God. Actually, assuming your universe, negatives cannot be spoken of God because He would be beyond any category of positive or negative attributes.

 

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and then further by analogy between cause and effect, or from a likeness of the effect to the cause.

You can't make causal arguments concerning the supernatural! Causality is a natural concept. A 'supernatural being' would be 'beyond causality'. Magical. acausal. You can't make arguments from likeness for the same reasons. I feel that I am talking to a wall.

We have to assume your definition of the supernatural before we can say that casual arguments do not apply. Neither I, nor the Catholic Church, nor Christianity accept the definition you have. Look again to my writing on the different senses of supernatural.

 

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StMichael wrote:

I would likewise like to enunciate the category I spoke of earlier that does not fit into these "natural" modes of speaking about God (negation and analogy), but is beyond either.This last method is the theological virtue of faith. In faith, we truly possess God and thus, (in a manner of speaking) speak as God about God in supernatural terms designating supernatural realities.

No. In faith, you cling to irrational claims through desire. Period.I really don't know why theists need to run from this? Embarrassment?

Because we do not accept the definition you propose. It has nothing to do with fear or embarrassment.

I don’t know why atheists need to run from admitting God exists. Embarrassment?

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StMichael wrote:

This speaking, of course, occurs in two ways: first, using prayer we pray to God by God (sighs inexpressible in human speech) and this is truly speaking in supernatural terms of supernatural things to God

You can't speak in 'supernatural terms'. The term is a broken concept that can't refer to anything. All you can do is beg the question that a god exists, then special plead yourself past the ontological problems, and then, and only then, simply take it on non contingent belief that this ‘god’ ‘exists’

I am merely delineating forms of speaking about God, for which we assume God exists.

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todangst wrote:

"Oh, and one other thing: think this over. If 'faith' were merely a synonym for 'reason', why even use the term faith to begin with? "

st michael wrote:

Because it is not a synonym for reason, but a different thing entirely in both method and object than natural reason.

So you say, yet you refer to it vis-a vis a type of reason. I wish you had taken my advice and taken the time to think it over.The only 'reason' is natural reason. You can't reason over things without identity.

You are unnecessarily assuming that they are divorced from identity with a biased definition.

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st michael wrote:

It is rational,

You've said it not a synonym for reason, and within the same breath used a synonym for reason. You'll go on to refer to faith as another form of reason later in your own post.

st michael wrote:

but not of the same genus as natural knowledge. It is a different species of knowledge, having both a different object and a different method, but it is true and rational knowledge.

What pains me is that you think that this is an answer. But you're not saying anything about what this is. Either it is rational or not. Either it has objects (which implies ontological status) and methods (ontological status) or it does not. If it is 'rational' then you are in fact holding that 'faith' is another type of reasoning. If it is, then what point is there in using the word 'faith' at all? Why even bother to use the term? It appears your answer is that faith somehow opens up a conduit between yourself and god, this god provides the avenue for using reason in regards to the supernatural.

Faith is a name for a type of rational belief, and thus, can be called a form of reason. The term “faith” delineates a method for arriving a truth, believed on account of God’s authority having revealed it. The term “reason” delineates the method for arriving at a truth, by way of inquiry into natural causes (physics, biology, metaphysics).

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But again, either this conduit involves a natural reasoning process or it does not. So you are stuck again. If it is a rational process, then it would provide you with knowledge. Yet a jew using faith comes to different conclusions from you. A muslim a different conclusion. And oddly, strangely enough, in each case, each person merely reaffirms the religion of their childhood. How strange! It's almost like your 'rational process' is nothing more than a prejudice, a desire to cling to what one has already learned culturally, or through a religious text. All you are left with is the painfully obvious reality that faith is not epistemic in nature, but in fact irrational, emotionalism. Faith is merely belief based on desire.There's nothing left for it to be.

Faith is not a form of reasoning in the same way that physics is. It is rational, but not a demonstration. The reason for a difference in religious opinions is a complex one, but it might suffice to say for now that we have not really yet dealt with any articles of faith. We are discussing the nature of faith, not the plurality of religions in the world today. Religions arise for different reasons, and differ radically in how they approach some of the problems we are discussing. If we begin from the standpoint of natural reason, inquiring into nature, I believe we can see the necessity of faith and the necessity of religion. The acceptance of a particular faith is determined both by the internal coherency of its claims (whether its claims are rational) and according to the demonstration of the authority of the one who claims to reveal something in God’s name. It is a little complex, and I don’t know how far we can get with this discussion. Faith cannot be arrived at by a demonstration (as it has different principles), but that does not mean it is irrational.

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Actually, you're wrong here. The Roman Catholic Church has built one of the oldest, most powerful and dynamic religions in existence upon the bed-rock of negative theology. Augustine, Aquinas, Thereasa of Avila or Catherine of Sienna, all Doctors of the Church, all invoked negative theology. Yes, they had lots of positive things to say about 'god'- just look at Augustine's debates with Pelagians, Donatists and Arians - but it is all based on faith, accepted by faith, with the acceptance that one must accept man's limitations vis his finite nature. But yes, it is a more protestant idea. They took it from Catholicism.

This is a slanted picture of things. Positive things can be said about God outside of faith in philosophy; both Aquinas and Augustine affirmed this. Negative theology is not invoked in these authors as an exclusive basis for our knowledge of God; it came much later in the 19th and 20th centuries with Christian existentialism.

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Paul himself, as I had said, does not mean that when he says faith is evidence of what is not seen and the substance of things hoped for.

Actually, it means precisely that: that faith is belief without justification. A hope that there is evidence that we cannot see. And it has to be, seeing as there is no means of holding to 'supernatural knowledge'.

You are ignoring the context. Saint Paul often makes clear distinctions between faith and hope and that faith is held on God’s authority and not on natural discovery. You never answered my question in the first place; why does Saint Paul make a distinction at all between faith and hope if there is none?

Faith is the justification for the things not seen. We believe in some article of faith because God reveals it. It is the “substance,” or object of our hope, not the hope itself.

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st michael wrote:

Faith exists as a different mode of knowledge, both in method and in object;

No, it does not. Faith is non contingent belief, belief without epistemological justification. That's all it can be. If faith is merely another type of knowledge (and I do wish you'd stop contradicting yourself on this matter!) then why use the term faith at all?! You'd just cite your knowledge, your facts, your evidence. If faith provides knowledge, then why do competing theists come to competing contradictory conclusions? Why does the muslim remain a muslim, the jew a jew? Why does their 'knowledge' do nothing be reaffirm the belief of their desires?If faith provides knowledge, why can't you explain how it works? Faith is not knowledge. It is merely a manner of holding to a belief. That's it.

Again, faith is a different species of knowledge, which you equate with reason. Look at non-religious faith. I believe my father when he says it is raining outside. My justification for belief is his trustworthiness. It is true knowledge, but it is knowledge that has a different justification from something that I have tested/experienced myself. For example, you do not have a particle accelerator (I assume), so I don’t know how you could speak of current theories in physics without assuming that other people are reliable in their physical experiments. This is a different species of faith, but a similar mode of justification. Our justification comes from God’s authority, however, rather than my father or international scientists.

Contradictions in faith exist for different reasons. But that doesn’t negate the fact that faith can and ought to be rational. It might not be provable, but it can still be internally coherent and rational.

 

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todangst wrote:

"And the negative theologian can honestly admit this. And he must. He knows that ontologically and epistemologically he cannot have any grounds for his belief. "

st michael wrote:

I don't know why anybody would seriously uphold this

To paraphrase John Paul II "Reason is faith's handmaiden, but the handmaiden is unable access faith's chamber." See JPII's encyclical letter'Fides et Ratio.' (Faith and Reason)

John Paul II is speaking accurately, but not espousing a negative theology at all. Reason cannot demonstrate faith, but it can justify it through the authority of God. I quote the Pope:

“8. Restating almost to the letter the teaching of the First Vatican Council's Constitution Dei Filius, and taking into account the principles set out by the Council of Trent, the Second Vatican Council's Constitution Dei Verbum pursued the age-old journey of understanding faith, reflecting on Revelation in the light of the teaching of Scripture and of the entire Patristic tradition. At the First Vatican Council, the Fathers had stressed the supernatural character of God's Revelation. On the basis of mistaken and very widespread assertions, the rationalist critique of the time attacked faith and denied the possibility of any knowledge which was not the fruit of reason's natural capacities. This obliged the Council to reaffirm emphatically that there exists a knowledge which is peculiar to faith, surpassing the knowledge proper to human reason, which nevertheless by its nature can discover the Creator. This knowledge expresses a truth based upon the very fact of God who reveals himself, a truth which is most certain, since God neither deceives nor wishes to deceive.(6)9. The First Vatican Council teaches, then, that the truth attained by philosophy and the truth of Revelation are neither identical nor mutually exclusive: “There exists a twofold order of knowledge, distinct not only as regards their source, but also as regards their object. With regard to the source, because we know in one by natural reason, in the other by divine faith. With regard to the object, because besides those things which natural reason can attain, there are proposed for our belief mysteries hidden in God which, unless they are divinely revealed, cannot be known”.(7) Based upon God's testimony and enjoying the supernatural assistance of grace, faith is of an order other than philosophical knowledge which depends upon sense perception and experience and which advances by the light of the intellect alone. Philosophy and the sciences function within the order of natural reason; while faith, enlightened and guided by the Spirit, recognizes in the message of salvation the “fullness of grace and truth” (cf. Jn 1:14) which God has willed to reveal in history and definitively through his Son, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 5:9; Jn 5:31-32).” [emphasis mine] 

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st michael wrote:

(Paul Tillich comes to mind). Grounds for belief must exist if one is to uphold a Christian or Judaic conception of God, both from Scripture and from the commonly held notion that God created all things and called them good, including natural reason.

any 'grounds' you would have would be natural, which again, cannot point to their own antithesis. You can only argue from ignorance, and then special plead. Logical fallacies. Irrationalism. You can only take it on the leap of faith described by kiekegaard, that anything natural points to its own antithesis.

Again, purely negative theology is foreign to Catholicism, and I would argue, Christianity in general.

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st michael wrote:

When we use the pair "faith and reason" Christians/theologians mean the difference not between the mind or logic and religious objects of belief, but the difference between objects able to be known only by God's revelation and those knowable by "natural reason" or the human mind operating without divine assistance in order to know truths.

You beg the question that there is a god, and that his god communicates to you. But when we explore the situation epistemologically, we see that your insistence that 'faith provides god knowledge' falls apart. First, it fails because the process is ontologically bankrupt. Then it fails because this ‘reasoning process’ is utterly arbitrary, the same ‘process’ leads to the Christian to deepen his belief in Christianity, whereas it leads the muslim to a different path.

The internals of faith can be coherent without the justification of the beliefs having to be a demonstration. The justification of faith is God’s authority.

 

 

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If I believe it when you tell me that faith is belief without justification, I believe such on your authority, which acts as the justification for my belief.

Oh please, your argument here is juvenile. The process of properly defining the term ‘theistic faith’ has no relation to beliefs in the supernatural itself! Even if you take my definition on authority, it wouldn’t give you justification for how you used your faith!

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The same is true in faith in school - I believe my teachers when they tell me that Crick discovered DNA and I accept his findings by a variety of faith.

I can’t believe that you’re going to try to equivocate colloquial usages of the word faith with theistic faith. You accept it on authority. Arguments from authority are not non-contingent faith! Theistic faith has to do with a belief in the supernatural. You are committing a fallacy of equivocation by attempting to conflate theistic faith with contingent beliefs, or colloquial usages of the word faith. I find this argument juvenile; I had higher hopes for you.

Except that you overlook that this notion of faith is what Catholics accept. Faith is contingent upon authority in the same way colloquial faith is. It is a different species in religion. I don’t see how making faith contingent is at all infantile. If a person genuinely believes in God and that He truly exists, ect., there is no reason why it would be infantile for him to attempt to show that such belief is rational.

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Religious faith is a species of this belief which relies on God's authority to substantiate its claims.

Which requires that you beg the question of a god’s existence in the first place, an irrational process.

God’s existence is not begged, but known by natural reason (at least potentially).

 

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Hope is not knowledge (and I had said this), but faith is not the same as hope; why would Saint Paul give the list as "faith, hope, and love" if by faith, he meant hope?

Because hope is what faith is based on. There’s no contradiction here. You yourself will say this below!

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He would say, "hope and love." In the second place, people cannot hope for something without hoping in "some thing."

Right. Which again just means that they are stealing the concept, as they must, when they hold to god beliefs. Again, Augustine made this problem clear.

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Faith is the substance of hope - its object.

And the hope is a human emotion. The ‘object’ is an emotion. We replace our lack of evidence with hope. That’s the point of the passage. Faith is irrational.

Except that faith is not based on hope, but the object of hope.

  

 

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Likewise, if hope or faith exists contrary to what reason tells us, how can Saint Peter say, "always be ready with a reason for your hope?"

Look at what you just said, and this time, think: If faith were already a reason, then why would you need a reason for your hope?!?! It should be obvious to you, now, that the hope is irrational, and that the ‘reasons’ are tacked on, afterwards. The initial faith , the irrational desire to believe, fuels one’s ability to ‘find reasons’


You are superimposing your prejudice upon the text. The text differentiates hope and faith.

 

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hope is how we await it,

I.e. you hope it’s true. You have a desire that it’s true. Thanks for proving my point yet again. You have the desire, and you hold to the desire without justification. Thanks for again proving the point.

Hope is a hope in the fulfillment of the promises made by faith, not a hope that the claims are true. Look at what despair is. Despair is a denial, for example, that God will forgive my sins. It does not deny that any article of faith is true, except incidentally. The sin for a denial of an article of faith is disbelief. In further proof, if I may, I refer you to the acts of faith, hope, and love given traditionally in Catholic prayer books (I point out that they delineate the bounds and acts of each theological virtue):

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe all the truths that the Holy Catholic Church believes and teaches; I believe these truths, O Lord, because Thou, the infallible Truth, hast revealed them to her; in this faith I am resolved to live and die. Amen.

Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Thy promises, I hope that, through the infinite merits of Jesus Christ, Thou wilt grant me pardon of my sins, and the graces necessary to serve Thee in this life and to obtain eternal happiness in the next. Amen

Act of Love

O my God, I love Thee with my whole heart and above all things, because Thou art infinitely good and perfect; and I love my neighbour as myself for love of Thee. Grant that I may love Thee more and more in this life, and in the next for all eternity. Amen

 

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An Epistemological Account of Faith, by me. First, some truth exists which cannot be known by natural human reason without divine aid.

Ok, first you beg the question of the existence of things that you can’t prove. Then you special plead around the problems of knowing something that you’ve defined as unknowable.

I beg nothing, nor do I specially plead. You asked for an epistemological account of faith and I gave it; perfectly fair deal. If what you meant was, “Prove to me that God exists,” act directly next time. Don’t ask me something like, “How is the idea of God internally coherent?” and then criticize me for not proving that God exists; it is unfair and misleading.

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Second, God says, "Gee, it might be good if man knew this."

Yet this god can’t find a way to get this news to people who hold to faith in Judaism or Islam!

First, God did get the news to them.

Second, it has to do with human free will, as well as the ability of human beings to err, that they hold differing opinions about religion, as the same is true for philosophy, politics, or any other matter that human beings know about.

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Third, God reveals this truth to man somehow; He sends a prophet, or sends His Son, or some like means.

So this perfect god transmits a perfect message through an imperfect means. Isn’t that like AT&T sending out its most important messages by hiring children with tin cans and strings to send it out?

Frankly, God did more than that. God created man with reason, by which man can discover a great deal of truth about how to live his life on his own. God gave the natural law to us so that we can choose the good and avoid evil. He also gives all men sufficient grace for salvation, which comes from Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. The Church and its safeguarding of Revelation exist to ensure a more easy, a more reliable, a more sure way to salvation by providing sure moral and doctrinal teaching (as coming from God Himself), as well as the graces of the Sacraments. All men are destined, in a manner of speaking, by their birth into this world to become members of Christ’s Church on earth and to become members of His Church Triumphant in heaven. Some share different degrees of membership than others.

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Fourth, man receives this revelation.

and each man finds something that confirms the belief of his parents or culture, or his own personal religious desires. What a coincidence!

That is not entirely a bad thing. Nor is it truly a coincidence. If God created man in the first place, it makes sense that a religion from a God that created man would be fit for man. One more reason why Catholicism’s Sacraments and sacramentals make sense, as well as the mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord.

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Fifth, man believes in the revelation due to both [a] God's inward grace, and [b]

I.e. begging the question that this god exists in the first place.

You asked how faith is possible, not me. I assume faith is possible and answer accordingly.

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God's external evidence of authority.

I.e. committing a stolen concept fallacy and holding that the natural world can point to its own antithesis.

Why can creation, as an effect of God, not point to its cause? It is perfectly logical. And further, God is not truly an antithesis of nature at all.

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Sixth, man possesses supernatural truth.

sixth, you commit your 100th oxymoronic statement.

That’s just because you hold an erroneous concept of what supernatural means and superimpose it upon Christian doctrine.

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st Michael wrote:

Soul is a natural term designating the form of a living body. It is a spiritual thing, but not really "supernatural" other than that (using the different meanings of supernatural, it is natural in origin as a creature, but supernatural in that it is a spiritual being). If you mean that, as immaterial, it somehow violates your rules of ontology, then that is a different question.

What nonsense! It doesn’t violate ''my” rules of ontology, but the very axioms of existence and identity involved in all claims, including the very rules invoked by the definition of supernatural put forth by theologians! To exist is to exist as something. Do you agree or disagree? To exist as something is to have identity. Do you agree or disagree?
I hope you agree, as these are axiomatic statements. To contradict them is to actually invoke them, in other words, these axioms are defended through retortion. So they are not just ‘my ontology’ but your father’s ontology and yours too! They are axiomatic, unavoidable…. And part of every theist claim too. Now, to exist as something, to have identity, is to have positive attributes. To have limits. To be is to be something. Again, this is basic ontology, it is axiomatic. It’s not a set of rules that I created, and furthermore, your theology invokes the same concepts. You steal from these concepts whenever you speak of the ‘supernatural in positive terms.

And a soul is a positive and natural thing, of which we can speak positively. And I did. It is a form of a living body. A human soul is the rational subsistent form of a human body. It exists with an identity. The soul is not properly supernatural, except in a sense (when we might say, “the soul is greater than the body” or something indicating its preeminence or spiritual nature).

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While I don't know what your rules of "basic ontology" are (I believe you may be starting out with loaded dice, defining something as existing only if it has bodily specifications),

You’re entirely free to present an ontology for immateriality. I’ve only asked at least two times now. You’re also free to provide an ontology for ‘existents without identity’. Please, by all means, do it today. And then promise to share the nobel prize you’ll win with me.

Immaterial entities do have an ontology, which I have been explaining. Immaterial entities have the identity of being forms, ideas, structures, acts, ect. An angel is an immaterial, separate substance, for instance.

 

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todangst wrote:

For example, the concept of what is empirical is something empirically unverifiable. "So? The validation criterion for meaning is a prescription, not a description! It's a method ! But is the concept something empirical? Yes. It is an idea. It exists in a physical brain, as a bundle of neurons. It is transmitted from one brain to another through a physical medium, a book, words (vibrations in the air), etc. Every aspect is empirical. Ideas are born of electrochemical interactions within neurons. Physical

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Except that it is not.

No, it is. Ideas exist in physical brains. They are matter. Bundles of neurons. All you are doing is asserting, naysaying. All we know so far is that we do have a grounds for accepting that ideas are due to neural activity. Brain injuries, ablation, are all evidence for this. All you have is arguments ignorance otherwise.

Brain injuries are not sufficient proof that ideas are the same as neural activity. I agree that brain injuries hurt and even in certain cases stop thought completely, but for different reasons. The human intellect operates in combination with the physical brain that presents pictures to the soul, so that the soul never operates without an image. If the organ is damaged and no pictures are presented, thinking cannot occur. Ideas do not exist in physical brains. Ideas are immaterial; show me an idea. You can’t even see a word. Even though I write these letters, they are just assemblages of electrons projected on a phosphate (?) screen, without a true identity of their own. Meaning per se has no material existence in any thing. It is an immaterial entity which might exist in a thing, but is not coidentical with any material object. Likewise, if you want to advocate that ideas are merely neural activity, things become quite boring for you as all thinking suddenly becomes impossible, no true answer in our debate is possible, and all actions are determined.

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If you want to reduce everything to neurons and synapse firings, there is no further room for discussion as this conversation

You have it backwards If you want to reduce ideas to NOTHING, which is precisely what you do when you call something supernatural or immaterial, then we have no further room for discussion.

Just because it lacks matter does not mean it lacks existence. I preserve the existence of ideas, whereas your position CANNOT. If you want a pure materialism, accept the consequences.

Also, I would point out that you never really answered the question in the first place.

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todangst wrote:

"NOTHING can 'exist' immaterially! Again, recall your basic ontology. To exist is to exist as something! To have identity. To have properties. Postive attributes. A basic ontology. We cannot refer to existence devoid of identity. Recall your Kant! You are confusing abstractions for immateriality."

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What are abstractions but immaterial?

Abstractions are neural activity, this activity is physical. It involves neurons and electrochemical action. You are confusing the fact that abstractions do not have extra mental existence for them being ‘immaterial’ Again, immateriality, like the supernatural, is a set of negative definitions, devoid of any universe of discourse. The term has no ontological import.

Give me an ontology of ontology.

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To exist is to exist as some thing - an immaterial object is distinct, as we can speak of a thing - a soul or an idea. It does have an identity - this is the form of a chipmunk.

Now, do me a favor and actually think over what you’ve just said. If it has identity, the identity comes from attributes. The attributes are physical. You see them, feel them, taste them, hear them, touch them. Every idea has empirical features. Even higher abstractions like ‘freedom’ or ‘love’ are instantiated thusly.

To have an image of a chipmunk, you have a set of positive attributes. These are physical

If you have an idea, it also has positive attributes precisely as an idea, or as abstract. Give me an empirical account of empiricism.

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But to say the immaterial is not matter does not mean it cannot act upon matter.

Yes, it does. If it ‘acts’ it has an influence. This requires energy. Matter/energy are one. You are stealing the concept again and again and again and again. Please stop it.

While energy itself is tied to matter, the soul is not energy. Act itself is something distinct from energy and matter. Material local motion requires energy and thus the act is tied to matter. But this is not true of all things. Act in being, even of material things, does not require energy at all. Act in terms of a causal relationship between a ship and the ship’s designer does not require energy. Certain material relationships to act might require energy, but that does not negate the fact that act exists apart from energy. We are holding, I think, differing concepts of act and potency.

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The structure of a thing, for example, a building acts constantly in the building. It is the harmony or unity of the parts. Without that unity, the building would collapse - it would not be a building. That is a common example.

The ‘structure’ of the building is found in the material of the building. There is no need for a second, immaterial substratum. You’re violating occam’s razor now too.

First, Occam’s razor is arbitrary.

Second, I am not as the form of a thing is necessary to posit in order to place any intelligibility in an entity, or structure in general. Show me structure itself in a brick of a building.

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If a soul was not in the raccoon, the raccoon would be a dead raccoon and would begin to decay.

You’re begging the question. You’re stealing from materiality. You’re asserting without defending.

The raccoon in act is a raccoon with a soul. I am not stealing from materiality. Material and physical things have forms, and do not exist apart from forms. I am referring to the real world, and things actually existent (which are not pure matter, but a composite).

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I am not stealing any materiality in defining immaterial action.

YES. YOU. ARE. The term ‘action’ refers to energy! Matter/energy!

Action in matter is energy. The form is tied to the matter in a physical thing; it is separate from, but not subsistent apart from the matter of the thing.

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Show me the matter of my abstraction.

Get a CAT scan. Have a doctor inject you with a non toxic chemical. Watch the brain activity in your brain when you consider different thoughts. This is correlational, not causal evidence, but how can you just ignore it?

I don’t, and I in fact assume it when I speak about human thought. The mind uses the physical organ in thought, as human thought requires a material image. Hence, thought involves matter at some degree. The idea itself, however, is immaterial.

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as a pile of them does not amount to an abstraction.

So you assert, from ignorance.

So you assert, from ignorance.

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If you said that their particular location in my brain and their harmony in my brain is what constituted an abstraction,

Which is clear correlational support for my argument.

But not a necessary cause, which you imply.

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Quote: "3) If you apply ANY natural concept to answering quesiton 2, explain how do you avoid violating the principle of conservation of energy? If no physical energy or mass is associated with "immaterial things", then there is a serious problem: a fundamental principle of physics is that any change in any physical entity is an acceleration requiring the expenditure of energy - but if these things have no matter or energy, where does the energy come from? what you have here is something akin to the impossibilty of perpetual motion - energy from nowhere. Dan Dennet states that these questions represent the fatal flaw in any dualistic argument (i.e. to immateriliaty) (- 1990 Consciousness Explained.)" Quote: I think that Mr. (Dr.?) Dennet has a flaw in his argument, namely that immaterial things do not fall into the realm of physics except incidentally. "Then how do they work? Magic?"

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Immaterial things are not the same as matter, but they are found in bodies.

How? How can you find something immaterial? How can you know this? What means is there to knowing this? How can you identify something that is not matter or energy?
How? How? How? How?

The meaning of the terms ‘matter’ and ‘energy’ is more than empirical. The words and their meanings are more than the sounds themselves uttered or the letters on the page.

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I am saying, basically, that it is not their job to prove or disprove that conciousness lies within the brain - it is a higher science's task, philosophy.

LOL I think you have things backwards. Philosophy is speculation. Not science. It can be reasoned, it can work from evidence or argument, but philosophy philosophizes.

Conciousness is a non-empirical idea, like good or beauty. How can a scientist prove or disprove that a thing is beautiful by their scientific method? It is outside of their field. A philosopher, however, specializes in metaphysical questions like this. It is a speculative science, but not pure speculation (in the sense of trivial or merely arbitrary).

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If they begin with the premise that it does, that is only an assumption on their part and not a result of their study.

Please apply this to yourself, while I stand in awe of the incredible amount of hutzpah required for a theist to take anyone else to task for a presupposition. We must work from a materialist framework. There is no other framework. If you don’t like that, please provide us with an immaterial framework. All you’ve done so far is attempt to argue from ignorance for your ‘immateriality.’ That’s not a framework, its just biased naysaying.

A materialist framework is immaterial. We have to begin with a framework which harmonizes both matter and form; realism.

 

Yours In Christ, Eternal Wisdom,

StMichael

 PS - I just saw your more recent arguments and want to respond.

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Again, it is a basic axiom of existence that to exist is to exist as something. This is the axiom of identity. To speak of existence without identity, to use the term 'existence' as a 'character' in of itself, is to use the term as a predicate. This is basic metaphysical error. Recall your Kant. You can't use 'existence' as a predicate.

Actually, existence is a predicate and we use it as such all the time. Existence, however, as an idea exists on its own. That something 'is' can really be said of something. I have a different idea between an actually existing pile of money and a non-existent pile of money; I can predicate existence of the pile of money. However, existence is not being predicated of anything here necessarily, as we are referring to existence per se.

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Wrong. Abstraction is a mental process occuring in a physical brain. Abstractions make reference to characteristics that are universal to a particular set.

The universal might be in a set, but it is not coidentical with a set.

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Interactions are relationships between matter. You've been informed, several times, that to use such terms in relation to 'immateriality' is a stolen concept fallacy.  Yet you just blithely repeat the same error, not even acknowledging prior arguments, let alone attempting to respond to them.

If you want merely to classify interactions as relationships between matter, no thought, logical interaction, or speech is possible. Period. There is no fallacy. You cannot posit that what an interaction is per se is a material thing; what is the identity of an 'interaction' in itself?  

 

Psalm 50(1):8. For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.