A sophisticated defense of theistic belief

Quaestio
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A sophisticated defense of theistic belief

 

I'm debating someone online in a few days and I'd like to see how an atheist laymen will react to my opening speech.  Here it is:

 

I will be presenting a cumulative case to think that theism (T) is true. By theism, I mean the belief that a God who roughly fits the classical Abrahamic concept of God exists. In order to arrive at the conclusion that that probability of T is >.5, it is not necessary that any argument alone establish the truth of T. Rather, the arguments must be taken cumulatively.

I expect my opponent, who is a strong atheist, to present arguments that God does not exist. Since he is claiming to know something about the world, he too shares the burden of proof. Only the negative atheist who merely lacks a belief in God does not shoulder the burden of proof. Time will not allow me to totally cash out each argument as much as I would like. Hopefully these arguments can be better explained and developed during the rebuttal period.The Kalam Cosmological ArgumentPerhaps one of the most convincing arguments in favor of T comes out of modern cosmology. One of the most amazing discoveries of modern cosmology is that the universe is not eternal in the past, but began a finite time ago.There is currently no major model that escapes the beginning of the universe as predicted by the standard model (Craig and Sinclair 2009). Even models which include a multiverse must have begun to exist too. In his book Many Worlds in One, eminent cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin (and proponent of the multiverse) has written: “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape; they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning” (Vilenkin 2006).Unless we are willing to say that the universe simply sprung into existence, uncaused and out of nothing, we must say that something outside of the universe caused it to come into being. So we come to the Kalam Cosmological Argument:(1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.(2) The universe began to exist.(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, the cause is an immaterial personal agent who, sans creation of the universe, is eternal and enormously powerful.(C) Therefore, the cause of the universe is an immaterial personal agent who, sans creation of the universe, is eternal and enormously powerful. Justification for P1:This premise is grounded in the intuitive first principle of metaphysics ex nihilo nihil fit: out of nothing, nothing comes. If you think about, it is very hard to deny the truth of this principle. After all, what is nothing? Nothingness has no properties whatsoever-not even the property of lacking properties. Nothingness is “what rocks dream about”. When you really come to grips with what this means, how can you honestly think that something could simply come into being from nothing? In a different context, Philosopher Peter Slezak has said “only academia could be so silly”. Only an academic could hold to such an absurd position. In one of his many debates, William Lane Craig, the greatest defender of the KCA today, once remarked, “no one takes seriously the idea that a horse may have just popped into being in your living while you are listening to this lecture and is now defiling your carpet!” Furthermore, if things really could come into being uncaused and out of nothing, it is inexplicable why anything and everything does not come into being from nothing. Why does “nothingness” only produce universes? After all, it’s not like nothingness has any properties or restrictions that limit it to universes. Even if we cannot be certain of P1, we must at least say that it is more plausible than not. Justification for P2:I think premise two is strongly supported by modern cosmology. Although atheists have typically responded to this argument by defending the possibility of a past-eternal universe, this views runs right in the face of mainstream cosmogony.Justification for P4:Since the space-time universe includes the sum of all space and time, the cause of the universe must be timeless and spaceless. Since this being is timeless and spaceless, it must not be a material being (for material beings exist in space and function in time). Lest we run into the problems of an infinite regress, the cause of the universe must itself be uncaused and hence eternal. Because this being is uncaused, it must have been able to produce its effect without prior determining conditions. A being which is immaterial and able to act without prior determining conditions just is what philosophers mean by a personal agent endowed with libertarian free will. Finally, the cause of the universe must be quite powerful because it brought all of matter, time, and space into being.    In the words of Dr. William Lane Craig, “…we are brought, not merely to a transcendent cause of the universe, but to its personal Creator” (Craig 2002). The Teleological Argument from the fine-tuningThe teleological argument has been coming up in discussions among philosophers again in recent decades. Traditionally the argument from design has been thought to have been refuted by people like David Hume and the Charles Darwin. However, with new discoveries in astrophysics, the argument has come back on the scene.Today I will be defending a Bayesian model of this argument, most notably defended in this way by philosopher Robin Collins.   I will use the likelihood principle as the basis for this argument which can be justified via the odds form of Bayes theorem.   Since my opponent is likely to understand what the “fine-tuning” I am proposing is, I will not go into great lengths to explain it here. Examples of such fine-tuning come from the constants of the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe such that if they were to be altered by an infinitesimal amount, biological life (in a broad sense) could not have come into being. Collins explains just one of the fine-tuned parameters in the initial conditions as follows:“If the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as one part in 1 in 10 to the power of 60, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself, or expanded to rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible” (Collins 2009).We can formulate the fine-tuning argument as follows:T=TheismNSU=naturalistic single universe hypothesis       (1) Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPU is very, very epistemically unlikely under NSU: that is, P(LPU|NSU & k&acuteEye-wink << 1, where k´ represents some appropriately chosen background information, and << represents much, much less than (thus making P(LPU|NSU & k&acuteEye-wink close to zero).(2) Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPU is not unlikely under theism: that is, ~P(LPU|T & k&acuteEye-wink << 1.(3) The theistic hypothesis was advocated prior to the fine-tuning evidence (and has independent motivation).(C) Therefore, by the restricted version o f the likelihood principle, LPU strongly supports theism over NSU. Justification of P1This first premise, construed in terms of epistemic probability, seems clearly established my mainstream astrophysics and utilization of the principle of insufficient reason to the fine-tuned parameters. Justification for P2This premise should not be controversial. Given a cosmic designer of the universe who is both causally potent and willing to design a LPU, then the P(LPU/T) is approximately 1. Justification for P3This premise is clearly true as well.  There are plenty of reasons to think the theistic hypothesis is true independent of the fine-tuning (we have and will see other lines of evidence in this opening statement). There have been theists prior to the recent discoveries in astrophysics. The Weak anthropic principle:There are two very popular objections to this argument that I would like to clear out of the way. First, some have suggested that the “weak anthropic principle” eliminates the need to explain the fine-tuning. The argument is that if the universe were not fine-tuned, then there would not be any observers and so it is not surprising that we should observe a fine-tuned universe because if it were any different, then there would be nobody to observe it. The problem with this response is that it is an observation, not an explanation. John Leslie of Oxford gave a clever thought experiment where he exposed the weak anthropic principle for its fallacious reasoning. Imagine that you are going to be executed by a fire squad of 50 trained marksmen. You hear the command to open fire, you hear the roar of the guns and to your surprise, all of the 50 trained marksmen have miss! What should you conclude in this case? If the marksmen had hit you, you would not be here to observe it. But should you rule out design because of this? Clearly not!  Here is a further illustration that exposes the weak anthropic principle. Philosopher Alexander Pruss has written:“If we're choosing between two evolutionary theories, both of them fitting the data, both equally simple, but one of them making it likely that observers would evolve and the other making it unlikely, we should choose the one that makes it likely” {1}Multiverse:As a general principle, we should not multiply our probabilistic resources without evidence for those resources. If my opponent would like to maintain that the multiverse explains away the fine-tuning, then he must be willing to argue for the multiverse, otherwise he would be unjustifiable multiplying his probabilistic resources. A second line of argument against the multiverse is that, everything being equal, we should prefer explanations for which we have independent evidence for or that are natural extrapolations from what we already know. Further, I don’t think a multiverse will really help the naturalist. Every worked out proposal for universe generator that would produce universes must too involve fine-tuning (Collins 2009). The generator itself is governed by a complex system of physical laws that too require fine-tuning. Dr. Craig said in one of his debates/dialogues, “the fine-tuning is like a lump in the carpet, if you suppress it at one point it just pops up somewhere else.” The Argument from ConsciousnessA relatively neglected but powerful argument for T is the argument from consciousness. Perhaps the best defenders of this argument are Richard Swinburne and J.P. Moreland. The argument can be formulated at follows:(1)    Mental events are genuine non-physical mental entities that exist.(2)    Specific mental event types are regularly correlated with specific physical event types.(3)    There is an explanation for these correlations.(4)    Personal explanation is different from natural scientific explanation.(5)    The explanation for these correlations is either a personal or natural scientific explanation.(6)    The explanation is not a natural scientific one.(7)    Therefore, the explanation is a personal one.(8)    If the explanation is personal, then it is theistic.(C)    Therefore, the explanation is theisticGeneral Comments:This argument, though in deductive form, seeks to find the best known explanation of nonphysical mental states. Thus, the list of explanatory options is not meant to be logically exhaustive. This argument has been thought of as a move from dualism to theism. If you accept P1, then this argument really takes off. So, most of my defense of this argument will be for P1. Justification for P1:I’m convinced that there are at least two lines of evidence supporting premise one of the above argument. First, the modal argument provides prima facie evidence for P1 and evidential near death experiences provide corroborating evidence for P1. We can formulate the modal argument as follows:(1) It is imaginable that one's mind might exist without one's body.Therefore(2) It is conceivable that one's mind might exist without one's body.Therefore(3) It is possible one's mind might exist without one's body.Therefore(5) One's mind is a different entity from one's body. Although this argument seems like an unconvincing linguistic trick, the jump from P3 to P4 is relatively uncontroversial among professional philosophers {1}. Although some would object to P1, I don’t think there is much of an issue here. We can easily imagine waking up one morning in the body of another person or in an animal. Meanwhile, we can imagine that our current body is destroyed. These types of thought experiments are at least imaginable. I also take it that imaginability implies conceivability, though not necessarily vice-versa. The controversial jump in this argument is from P2 to P3. Although conceivability does not necessarily entail logical possibility, the former does give prima facie reason to think that the latter is true. Unless one is to take a position of modal skepticism, conceivability is our only guide to logical possibility. Secondly, I think evidential near death experiences provide evidence for the immateriality of human persons. I would like to define NDE’s in the sense that I will use in this debate. First off, by “near death” I am referring to the medical term which means the “state in which you can be expected to die if there is not any immediate intervention”. Further, I would like to distinguish between two different categories of NDE‘s: Evidential and non-evidential NDE’s. By “evidential NDE’s”, I’m referring to a specific category of documented accounts where some feature of the experience can be empirically verified. E.g., if someone in a near death state sees a shoe on top of the roof and there is no way prior to that experience that she could have known about the shoe, that is an evidential NDE. On the other hand, most NDE’s fall into the non-evidential category. These are experiences that cannot be empirically verified. This distinction is crucial when we look at the common counter-arguments to the argument from NDE’s.There are hundreds of evidential NDE accounts. In order to see just what kind of an account that I’m talking about, let me give an example. There was a story published in two different medical journals about a little girl from Idaho, named Katie. One of the journals was Pediatrics. Anyhow, the little girl was underwater for 19 minutes. The girl was taken out of the water and was immediately cared for in the hospital. Her doctor was named Melvin Morse. He was a pediatrician and a brain specialist. There was no brainwave activity in Katie and she was profoundly comatose. After working on her for a long time, there was nothing else they could do for her and she was hooked up to machines. Her pupils were fixed and dilated which probably meant she was brain dead. Three days later, Katie spontaneously came to. I say spontaneously because the doctors weren’t doing anything special to keep her alive. Dr. Melvin Morse, while recounting the story, said, “You cannot imagine my interest when I saw the little girl look up at me and say to me that I was that kind doctor who resuscitated her!”Katie described the appearance of the emergency room and the appearance of tools that the doctors used to work on her. She also described how she had been taken back to her house by an angel named Elizabeth. Katie recounted her experience by telling the doctors what her family was doing-what her mom was cooking, the music that was playing that night, what her siblings were doing, and conversations her parents had!Although Katie was lying down, brain dead and hooked up to machines, she was right about details that she could not have known about. Better yet, the account was written right after Katie came to by independent witnesses and the account was published in two peer reviewed medical journals. It is cases like these that I call evidential cases. {2}How do we best explain these accounts?The first major attempt to explain away NDE’s is by psychology and neurology. Air fighter pilots often have NDE’s during intense flight simulation training. Also, some studies have concluded that NDE’s are produced when certain chemicals are displaced in the brain. Aren’t these arguments devastating for someone who thinks NDE’s are evidence for an afterlife? Not at all. The first counter argument is terribly weak. Simply because a false experience can be generated by stimulation should not make us doubt the rest of our beliefs produced by that cognitive faculty. For example, scientists can stimulate false beliefs about the physical world. If I were to take a hallucinogenic, it would produce in me false experiences of the physical world. Just because false beliefs can be produced by a scientists stimulation that should never make us doubt the beliefs produced by that faculty. If this counter argument were sound, we would have to be skeptical of all our beliefs about the physical world. Perhaps I’m not giving the above counter argument justice. Perhaps it isn’t so much that these experiences can be falsely simulated, it is the fact that they have a chemical correlation. I have several responses to this kind of argument. First of all, all of our experiences have physical correlations. I see physical objects because certain areas of my brain are stimulated. Should the physical cause of my sense perception make me doubt my sense perception-God forbid! Most importantly however, mere chemical imbalances don’t explain evidential NDE’s. How do private hallucinations cause someone to see things far outside of their body? Chemical imbalances are explanatorily impotent when trying to explain evidential NDE’s.The second major attempt to explain away NDE’s is by pointing out that NDE’s often reflect cultural and prior religious commitments of the individual. People who have NDE’s have experiences that often mirror their prior held religious convictions and societal upbringings. Although this may have some explanatory power in the case of how people interpret NDE’s, this explanation is still utterly impotent to explain evidential NDE’s. This counter-argument is successful only in proving that we cannot, on the basis of these experiences alone, construct what kind of worldview is true. Nonetheless, evidential NDE’s still disprove the odd man out-those who are pure physicalists about human persons. Before ending my discussion of P1 of this argument, I would like to point out that NDE’s provide an additional linking chain of argument in support of the modal argument. Śaṃkara, an Indian philosopher, argued:“If a thing outside awareness is as impossible as a barren woman’s son how can we even feel as if something is outside? Nothing even appears to be like an impossibility”Basically, “Samkara’s principle”, as Alexander Pruss has called it, is that if we can have an experience that seems like it is veridical, then it is at least possible that it is veridical. It is impossible to have an experience of something logically impossible, even if that experience is only an illusion. Impossibilities cannot even seem to be true; it can never seem as if a square circle exists. The fact that NDE’s can at least seem to be veridical to someone gives further prima facie evidence that shows it is possible for us to exist outside of our bodies. Ergo, the jump from P2 of the modal argument is sound. Thus, the rest of the modal argument follows uncontroversially and dualism is true.  Justification for P2I take this premise to be supported by the principle of sufficient reason. Unless my opponent wants to say that minds exist are correlated to brains by the necessity of their own nature, the principle of sufficient reason demands that these correlations have an explanation. I am going to quote at large from philosopher Alexander Pruss where he gives an argument for the principle of sufficient reason:“Start with the observation that once we admit that some contingent states of affairs have no explanations, a completely new sceptical scenario becomes possible: No demon is deceiving you, but your perceptual states are occurring for no reason at all, with no prior causes.Moreover, objective probabilities are tied to laws of nature or objective tendencies, and so if an objective probability attaches to some contingent fact, then that situation can be given an explanation in terms of laws of nature or objective tendencies. Hence, if the PSR is false of some contingent fact, no objective probability attaches to the fact.Thus we cannot even say that violations of the PSR are improbable if the PSR is false. Consequently, someone who does not affirm the PSR cannot say that the sceptical scenario is objectively improbable. It may be taken to follow from this that if the PSR were false or maybe even not known a priori, we wouldn’t know any empirical truths.  But we do know empirical truths. Hence, the PSR is true and maybe even known a priori” (Pruss 2009).Justification for P6If P1 is true, mental states are genuinely nonphysical entities. Mind, being nonphysical, is categorically unique from matter. If we start the universe with the Big Bang and the history of the universe is the history of the laws of chemistry and the rearrangement of matter according to the laws of physics, how do you get nonphysical mind and its correlations with matter? Since you must start the universe with mind being a fundamental property of the universe, the explanation for consciousness and its correlations cannot be a naturalistic one. Minimally, a personal explanation is more plausible than a natural scientific. Justification for P8 This still leaves two worldviews on the table: panpsychism and theism. However, I contend that panpsychism is incoherent. It doesn’t even make sense to say that thoughts exist outside of a unified subject. Secondly, every single case we have of consciousness is that consciousness belongs to a unified self. Therefore, I think a personal explanation with a unified self better explains the existence of consciousness.  Argument from MiraclesI will argue that certain facts surrounding the historical Jesus’ death and the early proceeding aftermath confirm the hypothesis that God rose Jesus rose from the dead (R).  I take it to be common sense that if naturalism is true, then the probability of Jesus’ resurrection is approximately zero. On the other hand, if the resurrection occurred, then the probability of T is approximately 1. By the very nature of the case, the stronger the confirmatory evidence for R, the higher the probability of T. I will not need to argue that R is more probable than not (though I will argue that the evidence is sufficient to infer R) for this to add to the case for T. Further, I do not need to argue that the confirmatory evidence for R makes T>.5 in order for this argument to add to my case for T. Nevertheless, I think the evidence allows for an inference to the resurrection and so provides very good evidence for T.I will be making use of the following propositions concerning the historical Jesus and the early church: The discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb, the appearances to the disciple’s (D), and the appearance to Paul (P). Taken cumulatively, I think these facts give us very powerful confirmatory evidence for R over ~R. Before I very briefly defend the historicity of each of these propositions, I would like to point out that I think that the Gospels (minimally the synoptics) are generally reliable. By “general reliability”, I mean that we ought to trust the Gospels in matters of history even when we do not have independent evidence for their reliability in respect to a specific event they record. Nevertheless, the core of the facts pertaining to the resurrection need not be defended by general reliability because they stand up to scrutiny on their own. In any case, Dr. William Lane Craig gives several reasons to think that the Gospels are generally reliable. He lists the following pieces of evidence:“1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts. The interval of time between the events themselves and recording of them in the gospels is too short to have allowed the memory of what had or had not actually happened to be erased.2. The gospels are not analogous to folk tales or contemporary "urban legends." Tales like those of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill or contemporary urban legends like the "vanishing hitchhiker" rarely concern actual historical individuals and are thus not analogous to the gospel narratives.3. The Jewish transmission of sacred traditions was highly developed and reliable. In an oral culture like that of first century Palestine the ability to memorize and retain large tracts of oral tradition was a highly prized and highly developed skill. From the earliest age children in the home, elementary school, and the synagogue were taught to memorize faithfully sacred tradition. The disciples would have exercised similar care with the teachings of Jesus.4. There were significant restraints on the embellishment of traditions about Jesus, such as the presence of eyewitnesses and the apostles’ supervision. Since those who had seen and heard Jesus continued to live and the tradition about Jesus remained under the supervision of the apostles, these factors would act as a natural check on tendencies to elaborate the facts in a direction contrary to that preserved by those who had known Jesus.5. The Gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability.” {4}Although I think the Gospels are generally reliable, I think the core of these facts can be supported without appeal to general reliability of the Gospels utilizing what Biblical critics call the “criteria of authenticity”. The criteria of authenticity are used by New Testament historians to see what we can know about the historical Jesus. {5} The criteria of authenticity includes things like the criterion of independent attestation (events reported in independent sources are more likely to be historical) and the criterion of embarrassment (events that were embarrassing for the early church are less likely to be invented and so add to the probability of the event). Using these criteria, we can see how the facts I mentioned can be substantiated. I cannot go into detail about all of the supporting lines of argument for those facts, but let me briefly outline some of the supporting lines of evidence. First, the empty tomb. The empty tomb is part of Mark’s passion narrative and so dates back earlier than Mark’s Gospel and is probably based on eye-witness testimony. Further, the discovery of the empty tomb is multiply attested by independent traditions found in Mark and by John. Moreover, the narrative in Mark meets the criteria of embarrassment because it was discovered empty by women, which were considered to be unreliable witnesses during that time period. Our record suggests that the disciples didn’t even believe the woman when they were first told. In fact, we see that the women are not even mentioned in the Apostle’s creed when it lists the witnesses to the resurrection.   Next, the earliest Jewish response recorded in Matthew and later repeated in the Talmud is that the disciples came and stole away Jesus body. However, the claim that the disciple’s stole away Jesus’ body implicitly provides attestation that the tomb was in fact found empty. Another piece of evidence comes from what has come to be known as the “Jerusalem factor”. It’s hard to see how a movement based on the bodily resurrection of a man could be proclaimed while the location Jesus’ dead body was public knowledge, known by the Christians and the Jews. For these reasons and many others, I think we ought to treat the empty tomb story reported in the Gospels as reliable history. Second, the appearance to the disciple’s. Along with accepting the general reliability of the Gospels, there are good independent reasons to accept the core of their testimony. The story is multiply attested by a wide variety of sources. First, the very early apostle’s creed cited by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 includes the appearances to the disciples and peter. It is also multiply attested by independent traditions found in John, Luke, and Mark. The appearance narratives are found in so many sources with independent traditions that barely any NT scholars dispute the authenticity of the appearances to the disciples. Further, how do you explain the earliest belief in the resurrection without the resurrection appearances? By being crucified, Jesus was shown to be a blasphemer, under the curse of the God of Israel in Jewish thinking. Jewish messianic expectations had not been met and Jesus had been killed right before the disciple’s eyes. So, how do you explain how these scared men became bold proclaimers of the resurrection despite every predisposition to the contrary? Even through intense persecution and learning that their fellow brethren were suffering miserable deaths, the disciple’s continued proclaiming the resurrection. So, how do you explain the earliest belief in the resurrection without alluding to the appearances themselves? I don’t think there are plausible ways to do so. This point is quite strong in the case of Jesus’ brother, James. Our record suggests that James was a skeptic of Jesus during his lifetime, yet we learn that James became a leader in the early church and was eventually martyred. The best explanation of these facts is the one we find attested to in the NT, “then he appeared to James” (1 Cor. 15:7). I don’t have time to discuss the appearance to Paul in detail nor all (or close to all) of the proposed naturalistic alternatives to the resurrection. Let me discuss one naturalistic explanation for these facts for now, hallucinations (H). Before going into the problems with hallucination theory, we must take note that this is only trying to explain the appearance to the disciple’s and Paul-it does not account for the empty tomb. In order to account for the empty tomb an independent explanation must be attached. Of course, if R expresses a true proposition, these facts are easily accounted for. So, P(P&D/R) is approximately 1. If we are going to look at the P(P&D/H) we have to multiply the probability of hallucinations with respect to all of the disciples. So, we aren’t really just talking about the probability of one person hallucinating. We are talking about the probability of a hallucination x hallucination x hallucination x hallucination etc. Further, if we take the Gospels seriously in what they report (as I’ve argued we should), then we would need the hallucinations to all happen simultaneously and be seamlessly integrated. Further, the hallucinations must have been able to come up spontaneously and by appointment in group and individual settings. The hallucinations would also have had to suddenly stop for everyone at once and never occur again. Finally, we have to take into account the appearance to Paul.   Paul was an avid persecutor of the early church. It’s very hard to find parallel examples in history of a fervent persecutor of a religion converting to that religion on the basis of an appearance by the respective deity of that religion. Besides not being in a proper psychological state to hallucinate, Paul had a very peculiar auditory experience followed by temporary blindness. I think must take the account of this in Acts seriously because of the reasons for the reliability of the Gospels also confirm the reliability of Acts. Some of those reasons are especially true in Luke’s case. Moreover, in all probability, the traditional authorship of Luke is true (this is controversial however there is not enough time to develop an argument for its veracity) which means Luke had personal contact with Paul. This is part of Paul’s testimony of which he was persecuted and eventually killed for. When we take all of these factors together-the facts that the improbability of all the disciples hallucinating must be multiplied by each other, the appearances had to have occurred simultaneously, be seamlessly integrated, happened by appointment, by surprise, happen in peculiar circumstances it did to an enemy of the early church, and suddenly cease all in the context of an empty tomb-hallucinations are enormously improbable. We cannot forget that we must literally multiply each of these improbabilities by each other and anyone who knows anything about mathematics will tell you that large numbers become very large quickly through multiplication. Therefore, D & P, by the likelihood principle, provide incredibly strong confirmatory evidence for R over H and therefore confirmatory evidence for T. I think this sort of amazing improbability plagues all of the proposed naturalistic explanations. However, I’ll just wait and see what my opponent thinks explains the data better than the resurrection.Problem of Miracles Most people’s problem with accepting the resurrection is accepting that the laws of nature were violated. Before addressing the concerns that are raised here, I don’t think we should operate with such emotionally charged definitions. The definition given by Timothy and Lydia Mcgrew in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology is sufficient. They have written:“…a miracle is a specific event that would not have happened if only the natural order had been operating, where the natural order is understood to involve physical entities, their interactions, and the actions and interactions of animals, humans, and beings with powers much like ours. There is some vagueness in this definition, particularly with respect to what “powers much like ours” might amount to; but it has the merit of avoiding semantic questions about what constitutes a physical law and whether a physical law cannot, by definition, be violated.” Before going on, we must alleviate some false preconceptions about the resurrection hypothesis. It is not being argued that all the cells in Jesus’ body spontaneously came back to life naturally. That is highly improbable and should not be in the pool of live explanatory options. Since we do have independent evidence for T and this evidence seems compelling in its own right, what is so improbable about believing that God raised Jesus from the dead that it overwhelms the powerful confirmatory evidence discussed above? If you think about it, the prior probability of a miracle cannot be less probable than the combination of two propositions: (1) God exists(2) God wishes to reveal himself to humanity in a way that cannot be mistaken for the work of another man or nature Given that there are other chains of evidence to think (1) is true, and the moral argument for God’s existence (which, due to limited space, could not be discussed) provides plausibility to (2) (because a moral being would want to interact with an evil and suffering world), why think the P(R/B) is so low that our confirmatory evidence cannot overcome it? This is not circular because I’m not actually arguing that God’s existence makes the inference to R justified. The point here is that, given the powerful force of our confirmatory evidence for R, the burden of proof is on my opponent to explain why he thinks P(R/B) cannot be overtaken by the confirmatory evidence. He must explain why (1) and (2) are sufficiently low as to make the prior probability of R insuperable to the evidence presented.   I am not incorrectly switching the burden of proof because strong confirmatory evidence does switch the burden of proof. Without knowing the prior probability that a dealer would cheat, if we have good confirmatory evidence that he is cheating (say he gives himself 5 royal flushes in a row), then the burden of proof is on the person who wishes to maintain that the dealer is not cheating.  Conclusion In summary then I think we’ve seen 4 good reasons to think that God exists. First, contemporary finding in the field of cosmology point to an absolute beginning of the universe and allows an inference to an immaterial personal agent as its cause. Secondly, recent astrophysical findings of the fine-tuning of the universe allows for an inference to intelligent design. Next, I presented an abductive argument for preferring theism over naturalism based on consciousness. I argued that the nonphysical nature of qualia shows that our worldview must begin with consciousness and theism is better than our competing personal explanations for consciousness. Finally, I presented a historical case for the resurrection of Jesus which provides very strong confirmatory evidence for the resurrection and hence for theism. Taken cumulatively, I think we can conclude that theism is the more sensible worldview than atheism.      1.       http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2010/12/simple-design-argument.html2.       http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dualism/#ModArg3.       See Light and Death by Michael Sabom and Beyond Death by Gary Habermas and J.P. Moreland for formal citation of these cases.4.       http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/rediscover2.html5.       http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/gp/gp1_authenticity_stein.pdf 

 


Quaestio
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jcgadfly wrote:Quaestio

jcgadfly wrote:

Quaestio wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

You keep on with this utter crap about "conceivability", and imaginability", which is utterly invalid and moronic.

To repeat, possibility is established by logical analysis. Conceivability is totally, utterly irrelevant.

The evidence for the reality of the mind actually leaving the body is essentially zero. The mind does not have organs of vision - these remain with the body, so reports of what can be seen by the 'disembodied' mind are not relevant, quite apart from the fact they frequently have failed to report things deliberately left in places that they should have been able to see if they really were floating up near the ceiling looking at their body as is often reported.

At best, they may be evidence for clairvoyance or mind-reading, although there are few that have provided anything approaching good evidence . The same feelings of leaving the body can be readily triggered by 'virtual reality' headsets giving the wearer a view of their own body from outside, so it is a psychological, mental phenomena, not evidence for a disembodied mind.

Have you read Susan Blackmore on NDE's? She started as inclined to believe it and the more she studied the less convinced she became.

So just like the uncertainty about the very existence of Jesus as portrayed in the NT, you are trying to build a mountain from sand.

The empty tomb is not evidence for a resurrection - it is irrelevant. The only thing that points to a resurrection are the reported sightings, and there are plenty of reasons to cast doubt on the veracity of those. We have had contemporary sightings of Elvis also - human memory and eye-witness testimony are very weak foundations for arguing anything beyond the most mundane of events.

Your dishonest attempt to try and mathematically combine a few crumbs of possibility into a solid case is a joke. You don't have remotely enough solid evidence after 2000 years and countless opportunities for tampering with the 'evidence', combined with very strong psychological pressure for believers to bolster the case for something they were immovably convinced had occurred, to justify that detailed manipulation.

In computer terms, even if your math is flawless, its 'Garbage in Garbage out".

If you seriously want to pursue this line of argument honestly, there are vast amounts of justification for an absence of such a God, supposed to be truly concerned about us, when you take into account all the disasters visited upon us,  a world with many nasty diseases and parasites which a God would have been responsible for if he existed, and so on. Throw those into your program and it will swamp your efforts to build a case on the crumbs of vague possibility you can harvest from 2000 years ago.

Pretty much everything we know about the history of the world and the history and nature and scale of the universe is far more plausible in the absence of your God, so I am fully justified in concluding there is none.

 

Conceivability entails possibility because it is impossible to conceive of an impossible object.  Apparent conceivability gives prima facie evidence for possibility.  "Moronic"? Would you call atheist philosopher Shelly Kagan moronic?  He takes this argument seriously.  Saul Kripke, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, took this argument seriously.  How about Alvin Plantinga, he thinks this argument is sound.  Is he, considered by professional atheist and theist philosophers to be the finest philosopher of religion of the 20th century, is moronic? 

 

I'll update this post later that will deal with the rest of your criticisms.

So you do think that God is real because men dreamed him up?


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Quaestio wrote:jcgadfly

Quaestio wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Quaestio wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

You keep on with this utter crap about "conceivability", and imaginability", which is utterly invalid and moronic.

To repeat, possibility is established by logical analysis. Conceivability is totally, utterly irrelevant.

The evidence for the reality of the mind actually leaving the body is essentially zero. The mind does not have organs of vision - these remain with the body, so reports of what can be seen by the 'disembodied' mind are not relevant, quite apart from the fact they frequently have failed to report things deliberately left in places that they should have been able to see if they really were floating up near the ceiling looking at their body as is often reported.

At best, they may be evidence for clairvoyance or mind-reading, although there are few that have provided anything approaching good evidence . The same feelings of leaving the body can be readily triggered by 'virtual reality' headsets giving the wearer a view of their own body from outside, so it is a psychological, mental phenomena, not evidence for a disembodied mind.

Have you read Susan Blackmore on NDE's? She started as inclined to believe it and the more she studied the less convinced she became.

So just like the uncertainty about the very existence of Jesus as portrayed in the NT, you are trying to build a mountain from sand.

The empty tomb is not evidence for a resurrection - it is irrelevant. The only thing that points to a resurrection are the reported sightings, and there are plenty of reasons to cast doubt on the veracity of those. We have had contemporary sightings of Elvis also - human memory and eye-witness testimony are very weak foundations for arguing anything beyond the most mundane of events.

Your dishonest attempt to try and mathematically combine a few crumbs of possibility into a solid case is a joke. You don't have remotely enough solid evidence after 2000 years and countless opportunities for tampering with the 'evidence', combined with very strong psychological pressure for believers to bolster the case for something they were immovably convinced had occurred, to justify that detailed manipulation.

In computer terms, even if your math is flawless, its 'Garbage in Garbage out".

If you seriously want to pursue this line of argument honestly, there are vast amounts of justification for an absence of such a God, supposed to be truly concerned about us, when you take into account all the disasters visited upon us,  a world with many nasty diseases and parasites which a God would have been responsible for if he existed, and so on. Throw those into your program and it will swamp your efforts to build a case on the crumbs of vague possibility you can harvest from 2000 years ago.

Pretty much everything we know about the history of the world and the history and nature and scale of the universe is far more plausible in the absence of your God, so I am fully justified in concluding there is none.

 

Conceivability entails possibility because it is impossible to conceive of an impossible object.  Apparent conceivability gives prima facie evidence for possibility.  "Moronic"? Would you call atheist philosopher Shelly Kagan moronic?  He takes this argument seriously.  Saul Kripke, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, took this argument seriously.  How about Alvin Plantinga, he thinks this argument is sound.  Is he, considered by professional atheist and theist philosophers to be the finest philosopher of religion of the 20th century, is moronic? 

 

I'll update this post later that will deal with the rest of your criticisms.

So you do think that God is real because men dreamed him up?

 

No. Nor did I make the modal ontological argument for God's existence. 

No - you just claimed that conceivability entails possibility (aka if you can think it you can be it/it is real).

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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cj wrote:Quaestio

cj wrote:

Quaestio wrote:

 

Conceivability entails possibility because it is impossible to conceive of an impossible object.  Apparent conceivability gives prima facie evidence for possibility.  "Moronic"? Would you call atheist philosopher Shelly Kagan moronic?  He takes this argument seriously.  Saul Kripke, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, took this argument seriously.  How about Alvin Plantinga, he thinks this argument is sound.  Is he, considered by professional atheist and theist philosophers to be the finest philosopher of religion of the 20th century, is moronic? 

 

I'll update this post later that will deal with the rest of your criticisms.

 

Appeal to authority - well, we can do that, too.  As in there are authorities who don't agree with you and are easy to find.  So who's authority is most right?  Oh, yours.  Because you like what they say.

As other people have demonstrated for you - I can conceive of lots of things that are - as far as we know - nonexistent.  Pink unicorns - not toys, but real, live ones.  Invisible dragons.  Tinkerbell and her relatives, not cartoons, but real, live, breathing.  God/s/dess, Jesus and disciples, moons made of green cheese, aliens that are like the ones in Mars Attacks, aliens like the ones in E.T., Thor, Zeus, Loki, Coyote, Hellboy, Sailor Moon, etc.

Why is your god/s/dess so much better than Kali Durga?  Or The Morrigan?  Lord Shiva also created the universe, according to Hindu myth.  Why not worship him? 
 

Just because you think the judeo-christian god satisfies your prejudices best, doesn't mean s/he/it/they exist. 

As for updating, why bother?  You have said it all and no one is buying it.  If the atheist you are going to debate has two brain cells to rub together, you will be demolished in 30 seconds and you won't even realize it.  Whatever you think you are going to accomplish in this debate, you probably won't, but will convince yourself that you have done it.

Try this book:  Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why we Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.  There is a chapter on religion.

http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-Made-But-Not/dp/0156033909/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1297617765&sr=8-2

 

The appeal to authority is an ontological fallacy, but not necessarily an epistemological falllacy. Aka, it's rational to believe things based on the majority of expert testimony.  Most of our historical (and for most people, scientific beliefs too) are based on majority opinions in the respective fields.  Although such an appeal is fallacious in more abstract disciplines like philosophy, I think it is rational to hold to scientific and historical beliefs based on majority expert testimony. 

Further, one of the signs of good objective evidence is when people from a variety of worldviews are forced to accept things because of the evidence.  It happens to be that nearly all reputable scholars, whether they theists or atheists, accept the core of the historical facts pertaining to JEsus' resurrection that I mentioned.  A parallel to this is what we find in evolution.  The evidence for evolution is so good that people from a variety of worldviews are forced to accept it because the evidence is there.  Of course, this won't stop a few fringe thinkers from disagreeing because of a tremendous bias to the contrary (e.g., Dembski and Behe in biology and people like Richard Carrier and Robert Price in NT history).  And of course, this vast consensus among experts won't stop uneducated people on the internet claiming the contrary based on misinformation/propoganda (e.g., creationists and Christ-mythicists). 

 

You disastrously misunderstand what my modal argument for dualism  is.  I'm talking about whether or not minds and brains share the same modal properties, this is different from the modal argument that moves from God's possibility to his actuality.  So, you are attacking a straw man. 

Now, you ask me why I continue to persist even though you guys aren't "buying" my arguments.  However, most discussions take a lot of time to really find out where our error lies.  I wouldn't expect anyone to give up a belief (especially one they passionately belief in) to be convinced after reading a few posts on a forum.  I have convinced multiple people that theism is true.  I don't expect people like you guys to be convinced because you are quite dogmatic atheists and won't consider that theism  may be true (at least some of you). More importantly, the more I explore your objections, the more I realize they are founded on either ignorance, misinformation, or misunderstanding.  For example, you misunderstand the modal argument.  One of the major tragedies of all of this is it seems that the reason some of you are atheists is because you've only been aquainted with radical, fundementalist Christianity and not the sophisticated forms that are respected in academia. 

 

I may pickup that book. I consider myself to be open minded.  I have been an atheist, agnostic, and even a muslim  at one point! (though, that was only for a few days).  My beliefs fluctuate  a lot so I will probably get hit by doubt and go back to agnosticism eventually.

 

In any case, I have read Michael Shermer's book with a similar title.   


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B166ER wrote:Quaestio wrote:

B166ER wrote:

Quaestio wrote:
It seems impossible to conceive of something logically impossible

So by that "logic" it is entirely possible (and necessary) that Santa Clause exists and can visit all the houses in the world (at least the houses that believe in him, funny how that happens) in one night. You just made every kid in the western world that celebrates Christmas very happy, since they can all imagine it as well as I or anyone else, and you think that makes it possible and real.

I can already see the headlines in the newspaper:

"Quaestio proves Santa Clause is real! Kids around the western world rejoice, at least the good kids! Rates of kids covered in coal dust sky rockets!"

Your pleas that your fairy tales are real are no less ridiculous then anyone else's appeals that their fairy tales are real, you are just too biased to look at it from an outside perspective.

Now if you would like to back up your word games with some actual evidence, then I will cease calling them by that title. But as long as you are making baseless assertions with no evidence to back them up, we are not convinced.

Quaestio wrote:
Academic philosophers take this stuff seriously, I recommend you do to.

If those academic philosophers don't require hard evidence for claims they accept, then no, I will not accept the things they do, no matter how much you recommend me to. Philosophy is great, but only when it's based in reality and has the chance of helping us solve the problems we face as a species, which is only possible when based on the best evidence available and not simply on semantics.

Quaestio wrote:
Again, don't get caught in propoganda that leads you to believe that only extrabiblical sources count.

Ah, ok. Then something making claims can be considered evidence in and of itself? Then all the Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, Gays, and others are inferior to Pure Aryans(TM), since Mein Kampf said so, and the fact that other sources don't back that "fact" up doesn't mean that it is untrue. Sorry, but that doesn't fly here. I require outside evidence backing up the claims made before I accept the claims of any source.

Quaestio wrote:
How about oral tradition?  You bringing up that game telephone made me giggle a little bit because I remember listening to a lecture once where the scholar said something along the lines of, "So, don't think about this(Jewish oral tradition) like the children's game telephone...".  I think it was in the Yale NT course so I would check there for the exact quote.

Yeah, that scholar wasn't biased at all and in no way had a vested interest in the Jewish stories having a basis in reality as a scholar (and most likely believer) in the New Testament. Yeah riiiight...

Quaestio wrote:
The criterion of multiple attestation basically says that if multiple people say things independent of each other, then it becomes less probable that the event was made up.

By that "logic", it is probable that the moon landing was faked and Elvis is still alive. Again, your word games don't equal evidence.

Quaestio wrote:
By "reputable", I mean any scholar that has a proper education and is taken seriously by their peers.  This includes radical biblical critics, atheist scholars, Christian scholars, etc.  As for evidence that the Gospels are reliable, I've given you five lines that have convinced some scholars of the general reliability of the Gospels.  So far, every objection you've made of those five lines seems to be based on ignorance or a misunderstanding.

No, all our objections revolve around all your claims being simply appeals from authority. You say that because some academic scholars agree with your pre-conceived biases, then you don't need any hard evidence for your claims. Sorry, but that doesn't fly if you want to be taken seriously.

So again, bring some hard evidence to back up the semantics or we will treat you like anyone else simply playing word games.

 

Why are you guys attacking the ontological argument?  I never made the modal argument for God's existence.  Rather, I argued that the mind and brain have different modal properties.  That's completely different from the ontological argument.

 

Am I making an appeal to authority?  Yes, but not the fallacious kind.  I'm making an epistemological argument from authority.  Aka, I think its rational to believe historical and scientific beliefs based on majority expert opinions.  In fact, for most people, all of their historical and scientific beliefs are grounded in this way.

 

Moreover, when a variety of people from different worldview finds evidence convincing, it usually means there is good evidence to be found.  For example, the fact that only a few radical fringe scientists reject evolution (E.g., dembski and Behe) and so many people from different worldviews do accept it shows that only bias leads one to deny the fact in question.
 

Likewise, you'll be hard pressed to find reputable scholars who deny the core of the facts I mentioned.  You will find radical, fringe scholars who deny these facts altogether (E.g., Carrier and Price) but the fact that almost everyone from every worldview accepts these facts show that a bias clouds their judgement.  This doesn't stop ignorant and misinformed people (usually because of propoganda) on the internet from spreading uninformed positions (creationism and Christ-mythicism). 

 

Dualism is backed up from well-documented NDE's as I argued.  So, I think  we have a good cumulative case on our hands. 

 

Again, please do your research.  At least read that article on the criteria of authenticity.  These types of methods are standard among historians.  The skepticism that you are approaching the NT with would easily destroy much secular history.  E.g., we could never establish the existence of Socrates or much history at all if you just real out the criteria of multiple attestation.  That is one of the most criteria that historians use to investigate history. 

 

Are you seriously denying the criterion of multiple attestation? PLEASE, educate yourself-it's like debating a creationist. 

 

The scholar I cited is a reputable historian from Yale university.  I

 


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So here's that PDF I was

So here's that PDF I was talking about. (thanks Bob)

http://www.filedropper.com/lookingforlifeinthemultiverse

(there appears to be two download buttons, one for the PDF and one for an AD, click the one that says download this file)

Or if anyone has access to Scientific American, you can check it out here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=looking-for-life-in-the-multiverse

I think I have adequeately addressed your origional non historical agruments Quaestio, but I'll make a comment or two on your rebuttals. Though, I'd actually like to focus on your historical arguments. 

Quaestio wrote:
Okay, lets take each argument, one at a time.  Fist of all, in current cosmogonical models, the singularity represents a boundary to space time that represents a point before which nothing existed.  However, even on models without the singularity (like Hawking's model) there is still a beginning, albeit not a defined beginning point.

I'm not sure that's what current cosmological models argue. We don't know anything about what was before the Big Bang. My point was that I think you were equivocating the usage of the word 'exist'. 

Quaestio wrote:
P4 is not simply an assertion, it is a premise that is argued for.  In fact, you later read my argument and try to respond to it.  I'm using the word "being" in the standard broad way that metaphysicians use it.  It simply means "something that exists".  You are mistaken about current models of cosmological origin.  The singularity literally represents a boundary to physical time and space and so the attributes of incorporeality follow nicely.

Sure, you made an argument for P4, but I don't think you actually made an argument and I think it still stands that P4 is an assertion. Again, it is only our universe's space-time that ceases to exist at begining of the Big Bang, not all concievable space-time. Perhaps you might say that this being of yours is outside our space-time, but I don't think you can make to the leap to saying that this being is immaterial and eternal. 

Quaestio wrote:
I'm not exactly sure what your criticism of the modal argument for dualism was.  The argument only requires that it is logically possible for us to exist outside of our bodies because of the necessity of identity.  Possibly not identity entails not identity.  We must keep in mind Kripke's concept of rigid designators too.

My criticism lies in the fact that you assume the mind can exist immaterially. In a sense you are begging the question, you assume the mind can exist outside the body (immaterially), then conclude that the mind is immaterial (dualism). 

 

Quaestio wrote:
The point about NDE's is that it is impossible, in principle, to explain them by pure reductionist brain science.  I'm arguing that the verifiable aspect of NDE's makes them implausibly attributed to hallucinations and so they represent a real objective experience.  This is especially powerful in some of the cases recounted by Michael Sabom where patients have these experiences during flat EEG readings.

I don't know much about NDE clinically, but it seems that people are jumping ahead of themselves in claiming that they are evidence for the supernatural.  I've had a NDE after being extremely sick, it was not wonderful and beautiful nor did I see anything 'on the other side'. Looking back on my memory of it, it was scary and I was in an altered state of mind (I had not taken any medicine, merely slept for 24hrs+) where I seemed hardly in control of my own speech and movement. 

Now I wish to focus on you historical arguments for Jesus. What I find most fascinating about them is that they mimic (virtually word for word) Islamic arguments for the historical accuracy of the Quran and Hadith. 

Quaestio wrote:
As for the reliability of the Gospels, you mistakenly say that they are not based on eye-witness testimony.

Actually, I did not say that. I stated that the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses. So my point still stands and you apparently agree with me. 

Quaestio wrote:
Further, we do have extrabiblical sources for Jesus. 

Show me, I would love to see some. You claim Josephus, but he wasn't born until 37 CE, which would be after Jesus's death, and Josephus mentions Jesus twice, once in passing and the second time is a point of contention between historical scholars. While you could use Josephus to support an argument that a man named Jesus existed, I don't thnik you could extend it to proving his miracles. 

Quaestio wrote:
Finally, we have evidence from Paul's epistles and particularly the Apostle's creed cited in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 that dates within a few years of the resurrection and was received directly from the apostle Peter.

Within a few years of resurrection? Try again, the epistles that are attributed to Paul were written 20 years after the 'ressureciton' (ie, in 50+ CE). 

 

Quaestio wrote:
So, we have plenty of early information from the church that was based on eye-witness testimony.

Again, based on eye-witness testimony and eye-witness testimony are two different things, one is a primary source the other is a secondary source. The NT would be a secondary source. 

Quaestio wrote:
As for the actual manuscript evidence, there is no reputable scholar who doubts that the text of the NT is less than 99% accurate to what the original authors wrote down

umm, really? The gospels aren't even internally consistent between themselves, only Biblical literalists think that the Bible is accurate. Also, oral traditions are not reliable, please stop saying that, it makes you look foolish. 

Quaestio wrote:
You try to counter this by trying to harmonize the Gospel chronologically.  However, the genre that the Gospel writers were using did not care about chronology and most of the "discrepancies" are arguments ex silentio. 

I never mentioned chronology. The list posted was an attempt to demonstrate that "reliable oral tradition" is in fact false. Sure, I'm arguing from silence, but it makes sense in this context. You claim that oral traditions are strong and what is written down decades later is accurate. I point out that they leave out important things like walking on flipping water, and you then make a comment about chronology and try to ignore my point. 

 

Quaestio wrote:
The synoptic Gospels do rely on each other to some extent but when I say "independent" I'm talking about the independent source documents behind the Gospels like "Q", "m", and "L".  Finally, Paul is an independent source when we consider that the information we used comes from other independent bodies as I mentioned is the case in 1 Cor. 15:3-8 whcih provides incredibly early independent attestation to some of the early claims of the Christian church. 

I'm glad you are aware of these source documents. Again, these proposed source documents are different, but not independent, they were all written by early christians. I don't dispute the proposition that the gospels were based on earlier writings, but calling them independent is a mistake. 

Quaestio wrote:
I dare you to find one reputable (and "reputable" is the key term) scholar that deniess the core testimony of the resurrection appearances.

How about the gospel of Mark? Not that I think it is reputable, but you get my point. 

Quaestio wrote:
How about the empty tomb?  I gave several lines of argument, none of which was given a careful response.  THe empty tomb is implied in 1 Cor. 15 which means our testimony of it can go within months of the crucifixion itself. Not to mention all the other arguments that I gave that you haven't replied to yet.

Again, there is nothing within a few months nor within an few years. The earliest writings are the epistles and they date after 50CE or 20 years after Jesus died. The Gospels were subsequently written 15+ years after the episltes. There is only one argument for the empty tomb, it was mentioned in the NT, that's it. I don't have to address any arguments for an empty tomb until we can establish the truth of the NT, which so far cannot be done. 

I don't know what you are referring to with Pliny the Younger, but he wasn't born until 62 CE.

Quaestio wrote:
All we have are traditions in the Qaran.  I'm afraid that the historical crebility of these narratives is simply not good enough to establish historicity (if you want to debate the historicity of the Qaran, lets do so) of these events.  

Now you sound like me! lol Let's rephrase your sentence.
 

All we have are traditions in the Bible (Quran). I'm afraid that the historical credibility of these narratives is simply not good enough to establish historocity of these events.

Please tell me you see the irony in your statement. Smiling I honestly think this is the most important point, if you understand why you don't take the historocity of the Quran seriously, you'll undersand why I don't do the same with the Bible. 

 


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If you don't want the

If you don't want the ontological argument attacked - stop trying to sneak it in.

You're the one who brought up possibilities and you did so in the arguments you did bring up.

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Quaestio wrote: Again,

Quaestio wrote:

 

Again, please do your research.  At least read that article on the criteria of authenticity.  These types of methods are standard among historians.  The skepticism that you are approaching the NT with would easily destroy much secular history.  E.g., we could never establish the existence of Socrates or much history at all if you just real out the criteria of multiple attestation.  That is one of the most criteria that historians use to investigate history. 

 

 

Please read this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method

Yes, when multiple independent sources mention something, we think that event is more likely to have happened. However, the NT is not independent, yes it is composed of multiple sources, but not independent. Look carefully at all the criteria, you'll see that the NT does rather poorly on some of them, especially those concerning bias and timescale. 

 

Again, I cannot emphasize enough that both the Quran and the Hadith pass the criteria of multiple attestations with flying colors (better than the NT actually), they record a chain of narration from Muhammad down to the person who wrote the hadith/Quran.



They also pass the embarrassment test, Muhammad and his followers were kicked out of town and practically starved to death in a multi-year exile. Muhammad's followers were tortured and killed in some of the most brutal ways imaginable (passing the embarrasment test) including but not limited to: literally being ripped apart, dumping animal entrails on Muhammad, death by spear up your reproductive organs (kid friendly!).



Why should I accept the NT over the Quran? If it's a question of historical reliablity, the Quran/hadith do so much better than the NT. If a person ate in public or walked while eating, they considered his testimony unreliable, compilers of hadith were super strict in what they considered authentic.


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Again, by "reputable", you mean...

Quaestio wrote:
It happens to be that nearly all reputable scholars, whether they theists or atheists, accept the core of the historical facts pertaining to JEsus' resurrection that I mentioned.

Again, by "reputable" you mean that they already accept the preconceived beliefs you hold. No one but Christians and others of Abrahamic faiths believe the "fact" that a man named Jesus lived and only Christians think he was resurrected from death. If they accept the magic of the religious text, that would make them a Christian. I see no reason to assume that magic exists outside of the realm of imagination, as all the evidence I have seen points to it being impossible. So I have no reason to assume that one internally inconsistent, biased book was evidence for it without also taking a serious look at The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. At least the writers of those books were honest enough to classify them as fiction!

Quaestio wrote:
Moreover, when a variety of people from different worldview finds evidence convincing, it usually means there is good evidence to be found.  For example, the fact that only a few radical fringe scientists reject evolution (E.g., dembski and Behe) and so many people from different worldviews do accept it shows that only bias leads one to deny the fact in question.
Likewise, you'll be hard pressed to find reputable scholars who deny the core of the facts I mentioned.  You will find radical, fringe scholars who deny these facts altogether (E.g., Carrier and Price) but the fact that almost everyone from every worldview accepts these facts show that a bias clouds their judgement.  This doesn't stop ignorant and misinformed people (usually because of propoganda) on the internet from spreading uninformed positions (creationism and Christ-mythicism).

I have been looking for some of these "reputable" scholars that are not already believers in the Abrahamic faiths that accept the magical claims of the Bible as historical. I can tell you that it's been really hard to find many of them. But apparently you know about all the "reputable" scholars in the world so I should just take your word for it. Um... no.

Quaestio wrote:
Dualism is backed up from well-documented NDE's as I argued.  So, I think  we have a good cumulative case on our hands.

So you continue to regurgitate this stuff? All the evidence gathered so far points to an entirely physical explanation for the phenomenon and against dualism, but you can't give it up since you treat it like your trump card. If it is, then your argument is on even shakier ground then I previously thought.

"This may shock you, but not everything in the bible is true." The only true statement ever to be uttered by Jean Chauvinism, sociopathic emotional terrorist.
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dictate the ends in which you find yourself."
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THe mind is not identical

THe mind is not identical with the brain, but the massive balance of evidence is that it is totally dependent on the brain, as a process taking place within the 'circuitry' of the brain.

NDE's do not contradict this - at most, they show that our perception can appear to be from a point-of-view outside the body, but there is little evidence that this is more than a confabulation of the mind, which is definitely possible, and consistent with various experiments. To prove real physical separation of the point-of-view would require reports of things that could not be seen from where the person's body is, and proof that they could not have got the information in any other way.

It also seems that we can still sense things while our brain appears to be totally inactive, but since in all NDE accounts, the brain recovers, it is highly unlikely that brain function actually completely stopped. It would be nice to get results from NDE experiences where we had access to the latest equipment for measuring brain activity.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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I just have to interject on

I just have to interject on the NDE stuff.  Saying NDE's are evidence for dualism is a fallacious argument for the gaps.  At *most* the research you are citing shows a *gap* in our knowledge about consciousness, it doesn't support dualism at all.  As some others have said, when there is a flat-line EEG and the person experiences an NDE, it is far more likely to be evidence that either A) There is brain activity we are not able to measure or B) the NDE happens either before the brain shuts down or when it starts back up.  B seems more likely, but A would be fascinating to discover.

Falsifiability.  There is no way to point to the NDE happening when the brain is shut down, because we can't measure any activity.

 

The whole dualism thing still doesn't make sense to me...for dualism to be true there has to be some sort of undetectable force that rides our brains and interacts with it in an undetectable way, and somehow breaks causality to influence our decision making process.  The whole thing is if and maybe.  Zero evidence.  Zero explanatory power.  Zero falsifiability.  A handful of gaps.

At best, there is a *gap* in our knowledge that those who favor dualism find convenient to fill with their philosophic bullshit.  The fact that the 'evidence' for dualism has been so weakened over the last two hundred years is just another sign pointing to the uselessness of the entire concept.  Everything we know about consciousness has been trending away from dualism, and with every discovery those favoring dualism cling tighter to the shadows not yet illuminated.

What does dualism explain?  How do we test for it?  How do we falsify it?  Bah.  I've read the philosophers talking about dualism, and I'm not impressed with them either.  The problem is the same common problem with other philosophical ideas...when philosophy meets reality, reality always wins.  However, philosophers often seem intent on clinging to a failed idea until they die, and their students are dead, and *their* students are dead before the rest of us can finally move on and continue making progress.  Philosophy is great for asking questions, but it is utter shit for finding answers.

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Stuff...

 

 

 

 

 

How do you quote people?  The other forums have a quote button but I don't see one here. For now, I'll just put my detractos words in quotations and bold. 

 

"Philosophy ia mostly word games, not based on empirical evidence, and most philosophy is, and has been, wrong."

 

The history of science is a history of ever-changing conclusions based on new evidence.  Most science has been false too.  If you think about it, the history of ideas (in philosophy and science) is the history of the progress of knowledge, getting a clearer picture of reality the more we study and learn about things.   All we can do is try to form the best judgments based on the evidence we have.

A lot of philosophy is meaningless word games (e.g., the debate on abstract objects and others) but the arguments I gave are not totally abstract word games like Zeno's paradoxes. Take the Kalam Cosmological Argument for example.  The second premise is supported in a purely scientific manner. Despite what a previous poster said, all models which extend beyond the Big Bang themselves include an absolute beginning of all of space-time. The first premise underpins almost of all of science.  The argument for the personhood of the cause flows almost by definition out of what it means to be the cause of all space and time. 

Take also the fine-tuning argument.  The main substance of the argument is based in astrophysics.  The conclusions follow from basic principles of confirmation theory and abduction-not "word games".

The most abstract of my arguments, the argument from consciousness, isn't pure philosophy either.  P1 (the most controversial premise) is strongly based in well documented NDE's under strict medical documentation.  The modal argument is abstract but its core is founded in basic principles of identity and modality.  The principle behind the argument is clearly true (if two propositions are identical, they have all the same properties. A=A necessarily).  The only controversial premise is that it is possible that the mind exists outside of  the body.  However, all of us use possible "counterfactuals" all of the time, and our criterion is an implicit assumption of samkara's principle.  However, applying that to our situation, we find that we have prima facie reason to think that minds can, in a logically possible world, exist without our bodies and the rest of the argument follows from the concept of identity. 

Finally, the argument from miracles is also based in principles found in standard confirmation theory and rules of abduction.  The historical evidence is very good, this is why so many scholars across a wide amount of worldviews find those facts to be historical (more on this "majority doesn't make right" debate later). 

 

So, these arguments are based in more than just groundless speculation, but are rooted in concepts of probability theory, logic, history, experience, and science. 

 

"As already pointed out, it most definitely IS possible to conceive of what is logically impossible."

 

Really now, can you conceive of a square circle, a married bachelor, or a brother that isn't a family member? 

 

"And if it is logically possible that A can exist without B, that DOES NOT imply they have different modal properties, in general"

 

Leibniz' law of the indiscernability of identicals states that for any two identical propositions a and b, for any property either one has , a and b necessarily have p.  If there is a single property that a has that b doesn't, then by the necessity of identity they are not the same thing (caps for emphasis, not anger).  If property b has the modal property "possibly not existing under circumstance c" but a does not have property "possibly not existing under circumstance c", then a and b are not the same thing via the law of identity stated above because there is a property a has that b doesn't. 

 

"NDE's do NOT, and cannot logically, show the mind can exist without the body, even if you take all the claims seriously. If the brain really died, we would not have any testimony from the patient. And unless it did fail to regain function, we have no confirmation that it really did completely cease to function."

 

If people can report things miles away from their body when they have flat brain activity and flat heart activity, then it does show that we can be conscious even though are brains are dead.  One of such cases comes from Pam Reynolds who was clinically dead and yet had qualitative experiences. 

"All the evidence from the generation of such experiences by other means suggests that it is something that occurs as the brain reaches some particular level of stress due to loss of blood flow, before it actually shuts down."

 

Dying brain hallucinations cannot explain cases where people can verify objective information that was going on in the room while they had a flat EEG reading nor can it account for people's reporting information that occurred miles away. I addressed this argument in more opening statement. 


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quaestio wrote:Dying brain

quaestio wrote:

Dying brain hallucinations cannot explain cases where people can verify objective information that was going on in the room while they had a flat EEG reading nor can it account for people's reporting information that occurred miles away. I addressed this argument in more opening statement.

There's a simpler explanation. People who had normal brain activity saw what was happening on the monitors (or a coincidence miles away) and told the person who was near death after they were brought back. Then those events got incorporated into the "vision".

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Quaestio wrote: How do you

Quaestio wrote:

 How do you quote people?  The other forums have a quote button but I don't see one here. For now, I'll just put my detractos words in quotations and bold. 

That's only allowed for members that are atheists, you have to deny the holly ghost in order to be able to quote. 

Or you could just press the quote button at the bottom of each post.  Or you could open with the tag [ quote=Quaestio ] (without the spaces) and close with the tag [ /quote ] (again without spaces).  Denning the holly ghost is easier thought, it also enables the [remove logical fallacies] and respectively [/remove] tags.  I think you could use that tag. 

Quaestio wrote:
 

"Philosophy ia mostly word games, not based on empirical evidence, and most philosophy is, and has been, wrong."

 

The history of science is a history of ever-changing conclusions based on new evidence.  Most science has been false too.  If you think about it, the history of ideas (in philosophy and science) is the history of the progress of knowledge, getting a clearer picture of reality the more we study and learn about things.   All we can do is try to form the best judgments based on the evidence we have.

Science isn't false per say, the term 'false' implies dishonesty, that's more among the lines of religion.  Theories are proven to be wrong due to new discoveries.  A scientific theory is something that best describes what we empirically know at the time.  If instruments improve and we have access to better/contradictory data, then the theories must also adapt.  We don't have an issue with that, we have an issue with your conclusions.  If you're trying to tell us that we wouldn't be able to know anything(or a god) outside our natural universe, the majority of us will agree 100%.  An unnatural god is not a btter  'possibility', in fact it is one of the most illogical ones but it is a possibility.  The problem that we're having with is the fact that you're saying YOU KNOW of a god that is unknowable.  You have a self defeating argument here.  

Quaestio wrote:

A lot of philosophy is meaningless word games (e.g., the debate on abstract objects and others) but the arguments I gave are not totally abstract word games like Zeno's paradoxes. Take the Kalam Cosmological Argument for example.  The second premise is supported in a purely scientific manner. Despite what a previous poster said, all models which extend beyond the Big Bang themselves include an absolute beginning of all of space-time. The first premise underpins almost of all of science.  The argument for the personhood of the cause flows almost by definition out of what it means to be the cause of all space and time. 

Take also the fine-tuning argument.  The main substance of the argument is based in astrophysics.  The conclusions follow from basic principles of confirmation theory and abduction-not "word games".

The most abstract of my arguments, the argument from consciousness, isn't pure philosophy either.  P1 (the most controversial premise) is strongly based in well documented NDE's under strict medical documentation.  The modal argument is abstract but its core is founded in basic principles of identity and modality.  The principle behind the argument is clearly true (if two propositions are identical, they have all the same properties. A=A necessarily).  The only controversial premise is that it is possible that the mind exists outside of  the body.  However, all of us use possible "counterfactuals" all of the time, and our criterion is an implicit assumption of samkara's principle.  However, applying that to our situation, we find that we have prima facie reason to think that minds can, in a logically possible world, exist without our bodies and the rest of the argument follows from the concept of identity. 

Finally, the argument from miracles is also based in principles found in standard confirmation theory and rules of abduction.  The historical evidence is very good, this is why so many scholars across a wide amount of worldviews find those facts to be historical (more on this "majority doesn't make right" debate later). 

 

So, these arguments are based in more than just groundless speculation, but are rooted in concepts of probability theory, logic, history, experience, and science. 

 

"As already pointed out, it most definitely IS possible to conceive of what is logically impossible."

 

Really now, can you conceive of a square circle, a married bachelor, or a brother that isn't a family member? 

I think he meant an illusion much like a pink unicorn, a biblical Jesus, Santa Clause, you know, the usual delusions people have.  He didn't mean something outside the universe like you're implying to have knowledge of.

Quaestio wrote:

 "And if it is logically possible that A can exist without B, that DOES NOT imply they have different modal properties, in general"

 

Leibniz' law of the indiscernability of identicals states that for any two identical propositions a and b, for any property either one has , a and b necessarily have p.  If there is a single property that a has that b doesn't, then by the necessity of identity they are not the same thing (caps for emphasis, not anger).  If property b has the modal property "possibly not existing under circumstance c" but a does not have property "possibly not existing under circumstance c", then a and b are not the same thing via the law of identity stated above because there is a property a has that b doesn't. 

 

"NDE's do NOT, and cannot logically, show the mind can exist without the body, even if you take all the claims seriously. If the brain really died, we would not have any testimony from the patient. And unless it did fail to regain function, we have no confirmation that it really did completely cease to function."

 

If people can report things miles away from their body when they have flat brain activity and flat heart activity, then it does show that we can be conscious even though are brains are dead.  One of such cases comes from Pam Reynolds who was clinically dead and yet had qualitative experiences. 

"All the evidence from the generation of such experiences by other means suggests that it is something that occurs as the brain reaches some particular level of stress due to loss of blood flow, before it actually shuts down."

 

Dying brain hallucinations cannot explain cases where people can verify objective information that was going on in the room while they had a flat EEG reading nor can it account for people's reporting information that occurred miles away. I addressed this argument in more opening statement. 

The NDE stuff needs to stop if you want to be taken seriously.  Even most theists will agree that it's BS, I'm not sure why you keep this up.  

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Either that or he's saying

Either that or he's saying that brain hypoxia is required for a complete Christian experience.

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jcgadfly wrote:Either that

jcgadfly wrote:

Either that or he's saying that brain hypoxia is required for a complete Christian experience.

lol, too tempting, but this is the kill them with kindness forum.  "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me then a frontal lobotomy" Smiling

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Quaestio wrote:    Take

Quaestio wrote:

  

  Take the Kalam Cosmological Argument for example.  The second premise is supported in a purely scientific manner. Despite what a previous poster said, all models which extend beyond the Big Bang themselves include an absolute beginning of all of space-time. The first premise underpins almost of all of science.  The argument for the personhood of the cause flows almost by definition out of what it means to be the cause of all space and time. 

But your Kalam argument is not supported in a purely scientific matter. I have explained this to you, yet you have chosen to ignore it. Which model states that the beginning of everything ever was in the big bang. Pay careful attention to what I am saying: yes our universe appeared to start with the Big Bang, but what does science say about things 'before' the big bang? Your argument relies on there being nothing before the Big Bang, we don't know if that is true.

Quaestio wrote:

Take also the fine-tuning argument.  The main substance of the argument is based in astrophysics.

Again, the substance of the argument is not based in astrophysics. It is an argument out of ignorance of astrophysics. Did you take a look at the PDF I posted? It clearly proposes possible universes which can exist (based on our understanding of physics) very differently yet still conceivably develop life. We don't even have to look at the whole of the universe, just look at our own planet, does extreme weather appear to be fine tuned for human life? Does the fact that our planet's distance from the sun varies by thousands of km appear to be fine tuned? Think about what you are saying. 

 

Quaestio wrote:
 

The historical evidence is very good, this is why so many scholars across a wide amount of worldviews find those facts to be historical (more on this "majority doesn't make right" debate later). 

 

Look, are you even going to address the rebuttals people are making? Only Christians think these 'facts' are 'historical', no one else does...


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Kalam Cosmological Argument

If you wanna quote Craig etc.; then I'll just cut and paste  Wiki

The argument has been widely criticized by such philosophers as J. L. Mackie, Graham Oppy, and Quentin Smith, and physicists Paul Davies and Victor Stenger.

Stenger has argued that quantum mechanics disconfirms the first premise of the argument, that is, that something can not come into being from nothing. He postulates that such naturally occurring quantum events are exceptions to this premise, like the Casimir effect and radioactive decay.

Ghazali thought that it is at least theoretically possible for there to be an infinite regress, and that there is nothing that necessitates a first-cause simply by pure deductive reason. He thus disputes one of the essential premises of the first-cause argument.

Muhammad Iqbal also rejects the argument stating, “Logically speaking, then, the movement from the finite to the infinite as embodied in the cosmological argument is quite illegitimate; and the argument fails in toto.” For Iqbal the concept of the first uncaused cause is absurd, he continues: "It is, however, obvious that a finite effect can give only a finite cause, or at most an infinite series of such causes. To finish the series at a certain point, and to elevate one member of the series to the dignity of an un-caused first cause, is to set at naught the very law of causation on which the whole argument proceeds."

Kant for example also rejects any cosmological proof on the grounds that it is nothing more than an ontological proof in disguise. He argued that any necessary object’s essence must involve existence, hence reason alone can define such a being, and the argument becomes quite similar to the ontological one in form, devoid of any empirical premises.

It is not determined that anything caused the universe. There is speculation that the universe shoots out big bangs constantly (multiverse). Weinberg suggests that to have consistent language (if universe means anything at all as the whole ball and wax) our 13.7 billion year old experiment is one subset of the universe. In that scenario the universe could be eternal.  Throwing aside a big crunch if there is no multiverse then the universe could reach infinite entropy and be back in its original state and another big bang occur.  The source could be Being that is potentiality from which things actualize as existence ( a typical panentheistic philosophical SWAG) but not be personal. Lenny Susskind  (of string theory fame) in response to Hawkings conclusion that black holes when they evaporate eat information formulated the holographic principle nowidely accepted by phsyicists.  That information is projected holgraphically as a universe from a two dimensional event horizon. In Trivia Pursuit the difference between a WAG and a SWAG is the WAG is a wild ass guess and the SWAG is a scientific wild ass guess.  Philosophy is mostly WAG and physics is barely SWAG.  It's best to use agnostic in its true sense....WE DO NOT KNOW. I'd hate to base my life on WAG or a SWAG. The tail wags the dog too often.

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TGBaker wrote:If you wanna

TGBaker wrote:

If you wanna quote Craig etc.; then I'll just cut and paste  Wiki

The argument has been widely criticized by such philosophers as J. L. Mackie, Graham Oppy, and Quentin Smith, and physicists Paul Davies and Victor Stenger.

Stenger has argued that quantum mechanics disconfirms the first premise of the argument, that is, that something can not come into being from nothing. He postulates that such naturally occurring quantum events are exceptions to this premise, like the Casimir effect and radioactive decay.

Ghazali thought that it is at least theoretically possible for there to be an infinite regress, and that there is nothing that necessitates a first-cause simply by pure deductive reason. He thus disputes one of the essential premises of the first-cause argument.

Muhammad Iqbal also rejects the argument stating, “Logically speaking, then, the movement from the finite to the infinite as embodied in the cosmological argument is quite illegitimate; and the argument fails in toto.” For Iqbal the concept of the first uncaused cause is absurd, he continues: "It is, however, obvious that a finite effect can give only a finite cause, or at most an infinite series of such causes. To finish the series at a certain point, and to elevate one member of the series to the dignity of an un-caused first cause, is to set at naught the very law of causation on which the whole argument proceeds."

Kant for example also rejects any cosmological proof on the grounds that it is nothing more than an ontological proof in disguise. He argued that any necessary object’s essence must involve existence, hence reason alone can define such a being, and the argument becomes quite similar to the ontological one in form, devoid of any empirical premises.

It is not determined that anything caused the universe. There is speculation that the universe shoots out big bangs constantly (multiverse). Weinberg suggests that to have consistent language (if universe means anything at all as the whole ball and wax) our 13.7 billion year old experiment is one subset of the universe. In that scenario the universe could be eternal.  Throwing aside a big crunch if there is no multiverse then the universe could reach infinite entropy and be back in its original state and another big bang occur.  The source could be Being that is potentiality from which things actualize as existence ( a typical panentheistic philosophical SWAG) but not be personal. Lenny Susskind  (of string theory fame) in response to Hawkings conclusion that black holes when they evaporate eat information formulated the holographic principle nowidely accepted by phsyicists.  That information is projected holgraphically as a universe from a two dimensional event horizon. In Trivia Pursuit the difference between a WAG and a SWAG is the WAG is a wild ass guess and the SWAG is a scientific wild ass guess.  Philosophy is mostly WAG and physics is barely SWAG.  It's best to use agnostic in its true sense....WE DO NOT KNOW. I'd hate to base my life on WAG or a SWAG. The tail wags the dog too often.

50 cents says he's going to ignore this whole reply and trump you with NDE again. Smiling 

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Ktulu wrote:  ... The tail

Ktulu wrote:
  ... The tail wags the dog too often.

50 cents says he's going to ignore this whole reply and trump you with NDE again. Smiling 

The experiences of NDE's can be reproduced with electro-magnetism applied to the right prefrontal cortex.  My father had an NDE after a heart attack and he later died of luekemia. I wish that it meant he really left his body and that he is still around somewhere. It is a slight possibility if there is a panpsychism a la Chalmers.  But I doubt it because the evidence shows it more probably (very Probable) that consciousness is a product of the brain.   You first hafta  determine WTF consciousness is before you go and posit it outside the body. Again WAG asnd SWAG and WE DON"T KNOW ya think?  You certainly can research it but ya can't claim ya think?????????? I will claim I saw Elvis at the store this morning.

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The Teleological Argument from the fine-tuning

The Teleological Argument from the fine-tuning The teleological argument has been coming up in discussions among philosophers again in recent decades. Traditionally the argument from design has been thought to have been refuted by people like David Hume and the Charles Darwin. However, with new discoveries in astrophysics, the argument has come back on the scene...

 

WIKI again:

 String theory predicts a large number of possible universes, called the "backgrounds" or "vacua." The set of these vacua is often called the "multiverse" or "antropic landscape" or "string landscape." Leonard Susskind has argued that the existence of a large number of vacua puts anthropic reasoning on firm ground: only universes whose properties are such as to allow observers to exist are observed, while a possibly much larger set of universes lacking such properties go unnoticed. Weinberg believes the Anthropic Principle may be appropriated by cosmologists committed to nontheist, and refers to that Principle as a "turning point" in modern science because applying it to the string landscape "...may explain how the constants of nature that we observe can take values suitable for life without being fine-tuned by a benevolent creator."

Multiverse= a lotta big bangs.  Some are right for life and/or consciousness. WE DO NOT KNOW.  Ideas are posited for research.  It is premature to base a world view on SWAGs.  As a digression..............why should someone hafts prove god does not exist.  If you make a proposition ( There's a god) then ya gotta define it and demonstrate it to someone for them to accept it.

 

We could go on and on.  The fact that all of the propositions, claims and what have you are discussed back and forth indicates there is no compelling proof in these areas. Even should we accept the explanatory gap regarding consciousness...that it can not be explained in completely physical terms.......... it is still likely that consciousness is produced by the physical and ceases with the disruption of the physical.  Again we do not know.  There is no convincing evidence of a god, consciousness out lasts the body or that Santa will come again. It is probable there is no convincing evidence. It is probable there is no god or afterlife.  The propositions and claims that there is a god and that we live after our body dies are improbable because they have made little or no headway in 2600 years.

 

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TGBaker wrote:The

TGBaker wrote:

The experiences of NDE's can be reproduced with electro-magnetism applied to the right prefrontal cortex.  My father had an NDE after a heart attack and he later died of luekemia. I wish that it meant he really left his body and that he is still around somewhere. It is a slight possibility if there is a panpsychism a la Chalmers.  But I doubt it because the evidence shows it more probably (very Probable) that consciousness is a product of the brain.   You first hafta  determine WTF consciousness is before you go and posit it outside the body. Again WAG asnd SWAG and WE DON"T KNOW ya think?  You certainly can research it but ya can't claim ya think?????????? I will claim I saw Elvis at the store this morning.

His hole argument can be summed up like this...

1) There is a possibility that something exists outside the universe.  (cosmological argument)

2) Since it is outside the universe we can't possibly know anything about it.  

then a slippery slope argument follows and we end up with 

3) The bible is infallible because... 

4) The bible is the word of god because... (which contradicts number 2)

5) The bible tells us so.

Check made atheists!

 

 

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Ktulu wrote:His hole

Ktulu wrote:

His hole argument can be summed up like this...

1) There is a possibility that something exists outside the universe.  (cosmological argument)

2) Since it is outside the universe we can't possibly know anything about it.  

then a slippery slope argument follows and we end up with 

3) The bible is infallible because... 

4) The bible is the word of god because... (which contradicts number 2)

5) The bible tells us so.

Check made atheists! 

 Well I certainly would enjoy discuss the fabrication of the New Testament since I have a BA in it. I was just tryin' to wade through the bull geschichte.  2500 years and Aristotle and Plato seem to be the dialectic in philosophy.  It has gotten us very little in the areas we want answers.

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Back to Basics

Quaestio wrote:

I'm debating someone online in a few days and I'd like to see how an atheist laymen will react to my opening speech.  Here it is:

Hi and welcome to our forum. 

I've been reading some of the responses here and in the spirit of KEWK would like to propose a simpler answer to your many questions. What struck me is that you are wondering how an atheist layman would react. In the main I think you are taking on too many sub topics and not dealing with them effectively.

What you will probably encounter is that the atheist will ask you why you believe what you do. Keep the answer short and to the point.

They will next ask you to provide evidence for your beliefs. Be prepared to have answers for everything, starting with your holy book - typically when someone reads me Genesis 1:1 my first question is a simple "why?"

When debating anything with atheists what you want to avoid is circular reasoning: make sure the points you wish to convey are based on sound logic, with verifiable references that are provable.

Most of all be prepared for the answers which I think define us: speaking for myself, I don't have to prove how the universe started because the scientific evidence which leads us to formulate theories may not be available yet. However, I am content to agree that every day new data is attainable which helps us on the quest for knowledge on our origins. As an atheist, faith, to me, is giving up on this glorious quest to define life and what makes us so remarkably unique. Once I stop asking why, how, when, where and what I reduce my potential as a thinking being to that of a person in the Middle Ages, an age where questions were either not permitted or answered with "because we say so".

I wish you well in your endeavour and congratulate you on wanting to learn more about the world from a different perspective.

What Would Jesus Drive? Well, God preferred an old Plymouth, "God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden in a Fury"; Moses was said to ride a motor bike, "the roar of Moses’ Triumph is heard in the hills", while the apostles would carpool in a Honda, "the apostles were in one Accord".


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Quaestio wrote: "As already

Quaestio wrote:

"As already pointed out, it most definitely IS possible to conceive of what is logically impossible."

 

Really now, can you conceive of a square circle, a married bachelor, or a brother that isn't a family member? 

 

Let's address this gem, shall we?

You have listed some examples of linguistic conventions, aka, definitions.  English speakers have agreed as to what a "square" and a "circle" mean.  And they are not the same.  We have examples of objects that meet those definitions - a few are naturalistic, most are contrived and both kinds are real in the sense of being measurable. 

(A true square or circle is almost never found in nature, but only approach an approximation of same.  Close, but no cigar when you pull out your measuring tape.)

Brothers not family members is easy - many church members call each other "brother" and "sister".  Heck my own sister calls me sister and I wish we weren't close family members.  So BFD.

Married bachelors - again, a linguistic convention. 

We could have other linguistic conventions that allow us to have "square circles" and "married bachelors" - all we need is to agree on a definition and get it into the general lexicon.  Sort of like GTFO or BRB or BFD or the all too ubiquitous LOL  - those collections of letters used to be nonsense, but I think we all know what they mean now.

"God", "Allah", "Shiva", "Coyote", "Thor", "Zeus", etc. are all examples of beings that are supposedly capable of supernatural acts.  There are definitions - "God" is usually associated with a christian religion or sect and is worshiped by people who claim the bible is a true history of this being's actions and desires.  But the word also means an entity - some long haired long bearded older man in a robe or diaper a la The Sistine Chapel.  And yeah, I can imagine The Sistine Chapel and Michaelangelo's famous image of what he thought god should look like.  If my imagination is congruent with the reality of the fresco, Michaelangelo preferred god in a diaphanous diaper.

("Diaphanous diaper" what a lovely alliteration.  Sorry, back on track...)

Because I know the definition of god, can imagine The Sistine Chapel, can imagine that there are people who think this old dude really exists - does this mean god exists?  No.

No more than pink unicorns or invisible dragons or Santa Clause or....... exist.  I can find definitions for all of these imaginary characters, and illustrations, and people who believe in them.  Usually the believers are very young people, but not always.  And they are not real, they do not exist, and I'll bet you can't find them any where in any reality except the marketing department of big toy sellers or movie production studios.

We are very similar in our beliefs after all.  I just believe in one less god than you do.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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 Quaestio

 

Quaestio wrote:

 "Philosophy ia mostly word games, not based on empirical evidence, and most philosophy is, and has been, wrong."

 

The history of science is a history of ever-changing conclusions based on new evidence.  Most science has been false too.  If you think about it, the history of ideas (in philosophy and science) is the history of the progress of knowledge, getting a clearer picture of reality the more we study and learn about things.   All we can do is try to form the best judgments based on the evidence we have. 

A lot of philosophy is meaningless word games (e.g., the debate on abstract objects and others) but the arguments I gave are not totally abstract word games like Zeno's paradoxes. Take the Kalam Cosmological Argument for example.  The second premise is supported in a purely scientific manner. Despite what a previous poster said, all models which extend beyond the Big Bang themselves include an absolute beginning of all of space-time. The first premise underpins almost of all of science.  The argument for the personhood of the cause flows almost by definition out of what it means to be the cause of all space and time. 

Take also the fine-tuning argument.  The main substance of the argument is based in astrophysics.  The conclusions follow from basic principles of confirmation theory and abduction-not "word games".

'Philosophical' arguments based firmly on analysis of scientific/empirical data are indeed worthy of consideration, but most philosophy is worse than a waste of time and effort. It is also crucial that they consider all the relevant evidence, and reconsider and update their arguments as new observations and theories come along.

The 'fine-tuning  argument', when more fully analysed, such as by considering the full 'space' of possibilities based on more than one 'constant' being different, there appear to be the strong possibility of more than one region in this n-dimensional space where particular combinations of the 'constants' may allow a relatively stable universe to emerge.

There are also recent observations which suggest that those 'constants' may indeed vary across our Universe.

Also, if there can be at least one 'Big Bang', there can be more than one in the context of greater reality, which means it may indeed have infinitely many 'tries'. All we need is one to be of the right scale to generate our Universe.

So unless you address all these possibilites, these ideas, which arise from scientific speculation and analysis, enhanced by what might legitimately called a 'philosophical' style of unfettered thought, are definitely being pursued, your argument is moot.

P4 is mostly a naked assertion, the fundamental hole in the KCA.

Quote:

Justification for P4:Since the space-time universe includes the sum of all space and time, the cause of the universe must be timeless and spaceless. Since this being is timeless and spaceless, it must not be a material being (for material beings exist in space and function in time). Lest we run into the problems of an infinite regress, the cause of the universe must itself be uncaused and hence eternal. Because this being is uncaused, it must have been able to produce its effect without prior determining conditions. A being which is immaterial and able to act without prior determining conditions just is what philosophers mean by a personal agent endowed with libertarian free will. Finally, the cause of the universe must be quite powerful because it brought all of matter, time, and space into being.

The "space-time universe"? 

Our BB Universe obviously is analysable in terms of space-time. That in no way entails that it "includes the sum of all space and time". That is a total non-sequiter. There is no reason to suppose that space-time is not a fundamental aspect of all existence, ie the 'metaverse', which may indeed manifest higher dimensionality, dimensions which are not apparent in our environment. It has been hypothesised that these extra dimensions are tightly wrapped up in entities within our univers, such as the proposed 'cosmic strings' - not quite the same as 'string theory', although related.

If a realm is indeed timeless, it cannot contain anything corresponding to a mind.

'Beings' that function can only meaningfully be said to function in the context of time-like dimension.

Complex, persistent structures and organisms (in the most general sense) require at least an analogue of matter.

There is no justification for your naked assumption that this outer realm of reality has no such attribute.

'Action' only requires the pre-existence of 'energy', something leading to 'motion' within the context of time, or variation along at least one dimension of an n-dimensional reality, in the more general case. If the structure of existence has some basic level of random/chaotic variation across its extent, then any combination of properties along the various dimensions has a finite probability of existing somewhere, so any given consequence, 'effect', can 'occur' without some specific determining factor preceding it (in a time view) or set of states in its n-dimensional location ( for a timeless perspective).

I already explained why an 'infinite regress' is not necessarily a problem, any more that Zeno's 'paradoxes' remain a problem.

"Eternal' is not really applicable from a timeless perspective.

There is no more reason to assert that a mind is 'undetermined' than there is for the timing of radioactive decay being 'determined'. 'Undetermined' is equivalent to random, which can be indistinguishable from 'determined by a chaotic process'. Any choice to act is based on state of the choosing mind at the time of choice, ie 'determined', or it is random, equivalent to flipping a coin.

It does NOT need to be 'powerful' in itself, merely have access to a store of energy or potentiality.

It cannot be the cause of all that exists, that requires that it bring itself into existence from a state in which it doesn't exist.

You basically arbitrarily sub-divide existence into a realm of space-time and a spaceless,timeless,matterless realm in which the creator of the other realm exists.

Apart from the incoherence of this other realm, by your own argument, it implies a further realm containing an entity capable of creating a lower-order God-realm. This implies a divergent infinite regress.

Total fail.

Quote:

The most abstract of my arguments, the argument from consciousness, isn't pure philosophy either.  P1 (the most controversial premise) is strongly based in well documented NDE's under strict medical documentation.  The modal argument is abstract but its core is founded in basic principles of identity and modality.  The principle behind the argument is clearly true (if two propositions are identical, they have all the same properties. A=A necessarily).  The only controversial premise is that it is possible that the mind exists outside of  the body.  However, all of us use possible "counterfactuals" all of the time, and our criterion is an implicit assumption of samkara's principle.  However, applying that to our situation, we find that we have prima facie reason to think that minds can, in a logically possible world, exist without our bodies and the rest of the argument follows from the concept of identity. 

I already addressed this. NDE's in no way require dualism or a separate mind.

Unless you are thinking of Out of Body Experiences, which are sometimes reported in NDE's. I have already addressed this.

Quote:

Finally, the argument from miracles is also based in principles found in standard confirmation theory and rules of abduction.  The historical evidence is very good, this is why so many scholars across a wide amount of worldviews find those facts to be historical (more on this "majority doesn't make right" debate later). 

You also have to take into account in your analysis the many reported 'miracles' which have been shown by careful investigation to have at least one plausible explanation. Also the more limited knowledge of the people of the time and place as possible alternative natural explanations. Since we no longer have access to even the remains of the important scriptural 'miracles', we are dealing here with a 'gaps' argument - "you can't explain it, therefore God'.

They do not point to an infinite creator being anyway, just , at most, something unknown with unusual powers.

Quote:

So, these arguments are based in more than just groundless speculation, but are rooted in concepts of probability theory, logic, history, experience, and science. 

But when you include in what may well a solid analysis, many baseless assertions, naked assumptions, and actual fallacies, as I have pointed out, the rigor of your analysis does not make the conclusions convincing.

Quote:

"As already pointed out, it most definitely IS possible to conceive of what is logically impossible."

Really now, can you conceive of a square circle, a married bachelor, or a brother that isn't a family member? 

This is one of the clearest examples of your limited insight into these issues you presented so far.

Those examples are impossible by definition - they would simply contradict the definitions of the terms. 

So they aren't even in the same category as impossible events or entities in reality. 

As long as the logical problem is more subtle than in those examples, requiring a more detailed working through of the chain of argument, it is all too easy for us to miss a conflation of meaning of terms, a subtle slip in interpretation, we can easily accept a faulty argument.

When it comes to the real world, the simple truth that we are not conversant with all the laws of physics, etc, so there is plenty of room for conceiving of something that is in fact, logically impossible.

It is logically impossible for a heavier object to fall faster than a lighter object, in the absence of air resistance effects, yet most people accepted that, including some allegedly clever and logical Greeks. A simple thought experiment would have sufficed to show they were wrong, even without Galileo's (probably mythical) Tower of Pisa demonstration.

From the other angle, are you seriously claiming you can truly conceive of quantum entanglement, superposition of states, time not flowing at the same rate everywhere, etc?? I don't mean just acknowledge the statements of QM and SR, GR, but actually conceive of such things, esp before you were aware of the theories.

Quote:

"And if it is logically possible that A can exist without B, that DOES NOT imply they have different modal properties, in general"

 

Leibniz' law of the indiscernability of identicals states that for any two identical propositions a and b, for any property p either one has , a and b necessarily have p.  If there is a single property that a has that b doesn't, then by the necessity of identity they are not the same thing (caps for emphasis, not anger).  If property b has the modal property "possibly not existing under circumstance c" but a does not have property "possibly not existing under circumstance c", then a and b are not the same thing via the law of identity stated above because there is a property a has that b doesn't. 

But that does not apply to the statement I criticised.

A could still exist under C while B did not, in a particular 'world', if C implies only the possibility that either not exist. If it were a necessity, then you would be correct.

Do you seriously not see that??

Quote:

"NDE's do NOT, and cannot logically, show the mind can exist without the body, even if you take all the claims seriously. If the brain really died, we would not have any testimony from the patient. And unless it did fail to regain function, we have no confirmation that it really did completely cease to function."

If people can report things miles away from their body when they have flat brain activity and flat heart activity, then it does show that we can be conscious even though are brains are dead.  One of such cases comes from Pam Reynolds who was clinically dead and yet had qualitative experiences. 

Our brains could not be totally dead or they would not recover.

Quote:

"All the evidence from the generation of such experiences by other means suggests that it is something that occurs as the brain reaches some particular level of stress due to loss of blood flow, before it actually shuts down."

Dying brain hallucinations cannot explain cases where people can verify objective information that was going on in the room while they had a flat EEG reading nor can it account for people's reporting information that occurred miles away. I addressed this argument in more opening statement. 

As  above.

What you should be referring to are accounts of claimed reincarnation, which would be stronger evidence for a mind existing without the body.

OBE's still have the body in existence, and unless their is something in the reported distant sighting that accurately times it to the period when the brain was actually flat-lining, you can't prove it wasn't something that occurred before or after that stage. So even if the authenticity of the remote viewing could be established, it would not establish that consciousness could exist independently of a functioning brain.

I am aware that there have been such claims of the patient reporting things that occurred in a separate room, but I think they have not stood up to independent analysis. If I can find time to dig up that book of Susan Blackmore where she looked into all this stuff, I will try to get back to the issue. I just retain the impression that after seriously investigating all such cases she could, she came to a very different conclusion than you have, and that she started from a position of thinking there was really something in it, which is what prompted her investigation.

In any case, we would prefer them to demonstrate the ability while in a modern scanner, far more capable of detecting brain-activity than a medical EEG.

The issues are, was brain activity totally zero, and was it possible for the patient to have had other access to the verifying information, even sub-consciously, and was the interviewing technique strictly monitored, ie, no even accidental 'leading questions'.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Part of the confusion here

Part of the confusion here is that modern Modal Logic typically uses the term 'conceivable' to refer to anything which is not logically impossible, not to "what a mind could 'conceive' ". 

It is not unlike the difference between the popular use of the word 'theory' and the scientific usage.

This, along with other comments I referred to in my previous post, suggest that Quaestio has a somewhat un-sophisticated understanding of Modal Logic.

I would genuinely like to see a sophisticated argument for God.

This one is superficially sophisticated, in applying various techniques of analysis to the 'evidence', but on closer examinations contains many fallacies and unsupported assumptions, and betrays a lack of understanding of some aspects of those techniques of analysis, so it fails as a genuinely 'sophisticated argument'.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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my 2 cents

Kalam Cosmological Argument

Recent scientific theories and emerging evidence suggests that the beginning of the universe may indeed by an uncaused cause. Given this, The Kalam Argument is but a possibility among other possibilities, but the evidence is leaning away from rather than towards cosmology that Kalam advocates endorse.

Teleological Arguments - the Anthropic Design Principle

In general, Teleological arguments create an is-ought problem, which put simply just because something is a certain way, does not mean it ought to be that way.

Anthropic arguments argue in this way, suggesting that minor variations in cosmological constants would make the universe uninhabitable for life. While minor variations in variables may result in an uninhabitable universe, this does not mean that the universe was designed to be suited for human kind. The remote probabilities often cited by proponents of the ADP are largely begging the question of design in the same manner Intelligent Design does because remote probabilities are following a rubric defined by design proponents, but they themselves don't necessarily imply design either.

Arguments from Consciousness

The notion of mental events almost presupposes some sort of metaphysical state for such things, as if they were actually real, quantifiable entities. I think then any sort of argument to nonphysical metaphysical entities then is begging the question too. On the other hand,  Insofar as I know, every mental event that has ever happened in the context of a brain. The challenge here then is for the proponents to show how mental events operate independent of a physical entity (ie, a brain) if this is possible, then it is quite possible that such things exist, otherwise they are necessarily contingent on brains and therefore not non-physical entities.

Argument from Miracles

Miracles as described here are generally to testify to something’s authenticity. The problem is there is inconsistency in such miracles -- that is inconsistent revelation. Whose miracles should I accept as authentic and whose should I deny? Miracles have been attributed to any number of would gods and messengers of god, necessarily, one cannot believe them all.

 

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Bob, It's also important to

Bob, It's also important to remember that Quaestio's definition of sophistication is "the person espousing this argument has a degree".

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Quaestio

Quaestio wrote:

Conceivability entails possibility because it is impossible to conceive of an impossible object.  Apparent conceivability gives prima facie evidence for possibility.  "Moronic"? Would you call atheist philosopher Shelly Kagan moronic?  He takes this argument seriously.  Saul Kripke, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, took this argument seriously.  How about Alvin Plantinga, he thinks this argument is sound.  Is he, considered by professional atheist and theist philosophers to be the finest philosopher of religion of the 20th century, is moronic? ...

Plantinga does not think his ontolgical argument proves God.  He believes his argument is rational and therefore believes it is rational to speak of god.

Plantinga himself agrees: the “victorious” modal ontological argument is not a proof of the existence of a being which possesses maximal greatness. But how, then, is it “victorious”? Plantinga writes: “Our verdict on these reformulated versions of St. Anselm's argument must be as follows. They cannot, perhaps, be said to prove or establish their conclusion. But since it is rational to accept their central premise, they do show that it is rational to accept that conclusion.” (Plantinga (1974, 221)).

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p { margin-bottom: 0.08in;

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }Entailment: V "entails" W if and only if in all possible worlds, all objects with property V also have property W. Note that if in all possible worlds, there is not a single object with property V, then V automatically entails

Godel comes closest to an ontological argument worthy of taking a look:

 

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

All capital letters represent any given property. All small letters represent objects. I use the word "negative" to merely mean non-positive.

  • Entailment: V "entails" W if and only if in all possible worlds, all objects with property V also have property W. Note that if in all possible worlds, there is not a single object with property V, then V automatically entails W.

  • Axiom 1: If Z entails Y, and if Z is positive, then Y is also positive.

  • Axiom 2: For all properties Z, either Z is positive or not-Z is positive, but not both.

  • Theorem 1: If a property Q is positive, then in some possible world there exists an object with property Q.

    • Proof by contradiction:

    • Suppose that Q is positive, and that there is not any possible world where there exists an object with property Q.

    • Then in all possible worlds, there are no objects with property Q.

    • Therefore Q entails any given property. Q entails R and Q entails not-R.

    • Therefore R and not-R are both positive. This contradicts Axiom 2.

  • God-like: An object is "god-like" if and only if the object has every property which is positive. Note that a god-like object cannot have any negative properties. If a god-like object had negative property V, then it would fail to have the positive property not-V.

  • Axiom 3: The property of being god-like is a positive property.

  • Theorem 2: In some possible world, there exists an object which is god-like.

    • Since god-like is a positive property, Theorem 1 states that in some possible world there exists an object with the god-like property.

  • Essence: Property V is an "essence" of x if and only if the following conditions hold:

    • The object x has the property V.

    • If x has any property U, then V entails U.

  • Axiom 4: If a property is positive, then it is positive in all possible worlds.

  • Theorem 3: If an object x is god-like, then the god-like property is the essence of x.

    • Suppose x has any property Q. x cannot have any negative properties, so Q must be positive.

    • Therefore, in all possible worlds, Q is a positive property.

    • Therefore, in all possible worlds, any god-like object must have property Q.

    • Therefore the god-like property entails Q.

  • Necessary existence: Object x is "necessarily existing" if and only if the following condition holds: For any property V, if V is an essence of x, then in all possible worlds there exists an object with property V.

  • Axiom 5: Necessary existence is a positive property.

  • Theorem 4: In all possible worlds, there exists a god-like object.

    • We know that in some possible world, there exists a god-like object.

    • Since necessary existence is a positive property in all possible worlds, that god-like object must be necessarily existing.

    • That object has the god-like property as its essence.

    • By the definition of necessary existence, there must, in all possible worlds, exist an object which has the god-like property.

  • Corrolary 1: If there are two god-like objects, then they cannot have any properties which are different.

    • Proof by contradiction:

    • Suppose we have two god-like objects, and some property Q which applies to one object, but not the other.

    • Since god-like objects cannot have negative properties, Q must be positive.

    • Similarly, not-Q must be positive. This contradicts Axiom 2.

      p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

      Definition 1: x is God-like if and only if x has as essential properties those and only those properties which are positive

      Definition 2: A is an essence of x if and only if for every property B, x has B necessarily if and only if A entails B

      Definition 3: x necessarily exists if and only if every essence of x is necessarily exemplified

      Axiom 1: If a property is positive, then its negation is not positive.

      Axiom 2: Any property entailed by—i.e., strictly implied by—a positive property is positive

      Axiom 3: The property of being God-like is positive

      Axiom 4: If a property is positive, then it is necessarily positive

      Axiom 5: Necessary existence is positive

      Axiom 6: For any property P, if P is positive, then being necessarily P is positive.

      Theorem 1: If a property is positive, then it is consistent, i.e., possibly exemplified.

      Corollary 1: The property of being God-like is consistent.

      Theorem 2: If something is God-like, then the property of being God-like is an essence of that thing.

      Theorem 3: Necessarily, the property of being God-like is exemplified.

       

       

      There are still a lot of presuppositions in it.  It is only worth a look because of his incompleteness theory.

 

 

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TGBaker wrote:Plantinga does

TGBaker wrote:
Plantinga does not think his ontolgical argument proves God.  He believes his argument is rational and therefore believes it is rational to speak of god.

Plantinga himself agrees: the “victorious” modal ontological argument is not a proof of the existence of a being which possesses maximal greatness. But how, then, is it “victorious”? Plantinga writes: “Our verdict on these reformulated versions of St. Anselm's argument must be as follows. They cannot, perhaps, be said to prove or establish their conclusion. But since it is rational to accept their central premise, they do show that it is rational to accept that conclusion.” (Plantinga (1974, 221)).

Plantinga's argument is question begging in the same form as any other ontological argument as it attempts to define something in reality without grounding it in reality.

If it is only in all possible worlds according to Plantinga, then it is still speculative. If Plantinga or anyone else claims that the actual world is a possible world under his or her ontological argument, it fails to be an a priori argument and is really question begging.

If this is the case, I can make gibberish rational to speak about if it exists in all possible world according to me of which this one is part of the set of possible worlds, then gibberish is rational.

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ubuntuAnyone wrote:TGBaker

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

TGBaker wrote:
Plantinga does not think his ontolgical argument proves God.  He believes his argument is rational and therefore believes it is rational to speak of god.

Plantinga himself agrees: the “victorious” modal ontological argument is not a proof of the existence of a being which possesses maximal greatness. But how, then, is it “victorious”? Plantinga writes: “Our verdict on these reformulated versions of St. Anselm's argument must be as follows. They cannot, perhaps, be said to prove or establish their conclusion. But since it is rational to accept their central premise, they do show that it is rational to accept that conclusion.” (Plantinga (1974, 221)).

Plantinga's argument is question begging in the same form as any other ontological argument as it attempts to define something in reality without grounding it in reality.

If it is only in all possible worlds according to Plantinga, then it is still speculative. If Plantinga or anyone else claims that the actual world is a possible world under his or her ontological argument, it fails to be an a priori argument and is really question begging.

If this is the case, I can make gibberish rational to speak about if it exists in all possible world according to me of which this one is part of the set of possible worlds, then gibberish is rational.

Very true. In fact has been pointed out that you can do the antithetical of Plantinga's argument and demonstrate that atheism is a rational conclusion.

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Did we kill this

Did we kill this thread?????????


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TGBaker wrote:Did we kill

TGBaker wrote:

Did we kill this thread?????????

You can do last rights, you used to be ordained right?

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Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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This poster hasn't been

This poster hasn't been active for over 8 days, so seems like they gave up on us.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


TGBaker
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Ashes to ashes and dust to

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Lets leave it alone then and let it rust.


ubuntuAnyone
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BobSpence1 wrote:This poster

BobSpence1 wrote:

This poster hasn't been active for over 8 days, so seems like they gave up on us.

I 'spose he was a troll...

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”


TGBaker
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ubuntuAnyone

ubuntuAnyone wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

This poster hasn't been active for over 8 days, so seems like they gave up on us.

I 'spose he was a troll...

I think he had a good understanding of those types of arguments and wanted his to work (scratch that that was Mr. meta ).... I use Ubuntu Studio 10.10 by the way... ubuntuAnyone

No stinking Microsoft here.

 

 

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whip cream."--Frank Zappa

http://atheisticgod.blogspot.com/ Books on atheism