Monday, September 30, 2013

He Doesn't Have to Be a Harvard Man



I often hear insinuations from various sectors that evangelical schools are not as academically rigorous as other secular schools. There may be some truth to this when discussing religious schools in general, but this has not been my experience in my education. I attended secular schools before I went to Moody in my undergrad and I’ve also attended UPenn in my grad, as well as having a knowledge of what other schools are teaching from professors, students, and syllabi/courses offered from those schools. So I wanted to just compare some of the courses I’ve taken in my graduate studies with the main courses that a PhD or ThD student from Harvard University and Harvard Divinity School must take. This, of course, doesn’t necessarily tell you how rigorous the courses are, but in my experience, they are pretty equivalent to one another.

Trinity/Westminster MA/ThM/PhD Courses
Havard MA/PhD Courses (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Program)
Religions of the Ancient Near East
Introduction to Mesopotamian Religion
Akkadian I & II
Introduction to Akkadian
Biblical and Targumic Aramaic
Introduction to Ancient Aramaic and Targumic and Related Aramaic
Middle Egyptian
Introduction to Egyptian Hieroglyphs I & II
Readings in Biblical Hebrew
Rapid Reading in Classical Hebrew I & II
Hebrew Exegesis
Intermediate Classical Hebrew
History of Israel
Problems in Literature, History, and Religion of Ancient Israel
West-Semitic Inscriptions
Introduction to Northwest Semitic Epigraphy
Ugaritic
Introduction to Ugaritic
Sumerian
Elementary Sumerian
Biblical Interpretation in the Second Temple Period
Inner-Biblical Interpretation
Qumran Scrolls (Classical Hebrew Readings)

Egypt and the Bible

Theological German
German for Reading

Now, these are just the courses that my schools have in common with Harvard’s PhD program in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Obviously, at Harvard you can do further readings in some of the literature (as I experienced at UPenn). These are just the courses that I took, not everything that was offered either. My point here is to say that these “evangelical schools” are far more rigorous than one might think, as the bulk of their courses intersect heavily with those at the top Ivy League schools in our country.
Here is a comparison between Harvard’s Divinity School ThD and the Biblical Courses I’ve taken.
Biblical Interpretation in the Second Temple Period
Apocalyptic Literature of the Second Temple Period
History of the Ancient Near East
History of the Ancient Near East
Hebrew Exegesis and Advanced Hebrew Exegesis
Intermediate Hebrew I & II
New Testament Textual Criticism
New Testament Manuscript Studies and Textual Criticism
West-Semitic Inscriptions
Northwest Semitic Epigraphy
Hebrew Reading Skills
Classical Hebrew, Rapid Reading I & II
The Septuagint and the New Testament
Readings in the Septuagint
Greek Exegesis I & II
Intermediate Greek I & II
New Testament Interpretation
Diversity in New Testament Interpretation
Advanced Greek Grammar and Greek Discourse Analysis
Advanced Greek I & II
Theological German
Advanced Intermediate German Readings
Patristic Exegesis

Epistemology

The Hebrew Synoptics

Greek Exegesis of the Gospel of Luke

History of the Reformation


To tell you the truth, Havard’s divinity school is inundated with a lot sociological studies about this or that, a lot of contemporary studies that have to do with feminist biblical interpretation and gender studies, pietism, and world religious studies (studies in Buddhism, Islam, etc.) that wouldn’t overlap. The vast majority of what they offer in terms of biblical studies is represented above. One can see the overlap with just the courses I’ve taken (and much more was offered, of course, at Trinity and Westminster that I didn’t take). It also doesn’t take into account the continued readings I had to do in my Old Testament and New Testament theses.

Hence, the idea that evangelical schools are somehow less academic is complete nonsense. I only wish I could have stayed longer and taken more courses offered, like “The Origins of Israel,” or “Advanced Hebrew Exegesis in Judges,” or “Advanced Hebrew Grammar,” or “Advanced Greek Exegesis in Hebrews,” etc.

Of course, I have more overlap with what Harvard offers in my undergrad as well, but I was comparing my Grad Schools with their Grad School. If I compared my undergrad with their Undergrad/Grad, I could show a lot more overlap (History of Judaism and Islam, World Religions, Biblical Hermeneutics, Greek Grammar I & II, Hebrews, Isaiah, Survey of the Old and New Testament, Systematic Theology I, II, and III, History of Doctrine, Church History, Biblical Homiletics, Christian Ethics, German, etc.).
I think this shows that that, in many cases, the schools overlap in what they teach and the amount of work that one can do in order to obtain his degree. In some cases, Harvard offers courses to continue on in things like Sumerian and Akkadian that one would have to make a special request at Trinity to pursue (although the profs there I’m sure would comply). But in many cases, my schools offered more in other areas than Harvard does. In fact, Peter Machinist, when I went to interview there years ago, simply admitted to me, when I informed him that I wanted to pursue Egyptological studies, as well as Assyriological and Hebrew studies, in my degree, that the school was just too ill-equipped in that area. There also seems to be very little study of theory at the school in terms of applying metaphysical and epistemological insights to biblical and historical study, even though they are assumed throughout. This is a common problem, and one that I think creates the myth that evangelical schools are less rigorous simply because they do not approach the subject as philosophic naturalists.

And that seems to be the real origin of the claim that these schools are less academically rigorous. The attitude is that, unless you hold our worldview when you approach your topic of study, you are not as scholarly as we are. This is why people with less education than I have can tell me how uneducated I am, merely because if I were really educated, I would hold to their worldview and epistemology. But the assertion has nothing to do with being educated, only into which worldview one is educated. Of course, if philosophic/metaphysical naturalism is false, then the epistemology is false, and the education of the secular university is what is less scholarly, having come to faulty conclusions and a process of knowledge that is incoherent and self-defeating.

In essence, however, you don't have to be a Harvard Man to have a Harvard education, just a Harvard indoctrination. 

214 comments:

  1. I wouldn't say that education at Christian, or Muslim, or whatever, institutions is less rigorous. I have experience some of it myself, and it can be quite demanding. So I would agree with this part of your conclusion:

    In essence, however, you don't have to be a Harvard Man to have a Harvard education

    Everything else about indoctrination and naturalism is but your false perception of what goes on in those "top" tier institutions. It can't be wrong if what they do, and they do, is challenge whatever preconceptions we might have, and it can't be wrong if their "indoctrination" consists in actually challenging those preconceptions whichever they might be. However, it has become less and less about rigour. Less and less about challenging preconceptions, and more and more about learning what's in a huge curriculum.

    Anyway, not once did anybody in any university I attended attempted to tell me that "naturalism is the only way or else" or that "naturalism is true," or "gods are all false." Sure, for some professors that gods are out there was not even considered, but they never even talked about it in class (I knew when I asked specifically). Neither pro, nor against. Believer profs would however be prone to try and paint cartoons about evolution or whatever else that would conflict with their beliefs. But ether of these positions and positions between, does not count in the way of rigour. Rigour is how much is demanded from you in terms of work, and theological institutions can be quite demanding compared to other institutions. That's for sure.

    I don't think, however, that the number and names of courses reflect a better or worse education. It's all dependent on how much they demand in terms of work. It would be much better if there was a huge demand in terms of thinking whether you agreed with the prof or not. Something I try hard to incorporate in my own courses. Yes, students having contrary positions to my own have had top marks. No, I don't teach about gods. I teach science.

    See ya.

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  2. I don't have a problem with the institution challenging our preconceptions, but it is not honest about its own. That's why you think the way you do. You're completely unaware of your indoctrination.

    "Anyway, not once did anybody in any university I attended attempted to tell me that "naturalism is the only way or else" or that "naturalism is true," or "gods are all false."

    This is your problem. You think that everything is explicitly stated. If not, people don't assume it and no indoctrination is taking place. That's not how it works. Show me that a large amount of the profs in the university don't assume naturalism in their metaphysics and methodologies and then indoctrinate in that manner, and I'll agree with you. Unfortunately, you're not even aware of what you're doing, much less those who indoctrinated you.

    Everyone is a believer prof. That's what you need to learn.

    But we're in agreement about most of what you've said. Rigour is about the amount of coursework and the type of material one must study. It's about quality and quantity. I could not explain everything we had to do in the courses, but it was equivalent to what I had to do at UPenn with, frankly, a lot more thought put into it.

    If you teach science from a naturalistic perspective, then you do teach about gods in more ways than one.

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    1. What preconceptions would the institution not be honest about, and how would it indoctrinate me into "naturalism", for example, if most of my profs were Christians, and at least half of them thought a lot like you?

      As for how I teach science. I teach genetics. What would be your approach? Should I teach that Mendel's conclusions from his observations only make sense if there's a natural inheritance of characteristics from parents to offspring? That ghosts might be involved instead? That Mendel observed independent sorting does not matter, it could still be ghosts? That when other scientists discovered that chromosomes sort independently and thus thought that the inheritance found by Mendel might be in there is just a naturalistic interpretation, but ghosts are still the answer? That the discovery of an apparently contradictory non-independent assortment of hereditary characteristics, deemed linkage, it was not really linkage, and it really did not mean that many characteristics can live in a single chromosome, but rather that ghosts make it so? That it's just ghosts changing their mind? That despite we can predict from those discoveries what an offspring from parents with such and such kinds of genes (with dominance, co-dominance, and linkages, for example), would look like it's still ghosts doing the whole thing? Should I say that even though those explanations help build knowledge on top of prior knowledge, it's still ghosts all the way?

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  3. "What preconceptions would the institution not be honest about, and how would it indoctrinate me into "naturalism"

    By forcing a false dichotomy between natural and supernatural explanations of phenomena, as you've done above. By also assuming that our knowledge is not grounded by God's revelation to us, but that we can know why a gene does X by observing the natural causes of said gene, rather than understanding that such a cause may be primary or secondary, depending upon one's worldview. There are lots of ways to indoctrinate people into worldviews without explicitly stating a worldview. In fact, that's the norm of indoctrination. Explicit indoctrination is never as effective. That's why you've likely been indoctrinated from your youth. We get it from school, friends, tv, parents, etc.; and it is almost never explicitly taught to us. It is merely assumed. That's why you think you can have knowledge in the way that you do. You don't see the parasite that came with all of that fruit you ate.





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    1. That our knowledge is not grounded on any gods' revelations to us is self-evident. I have no revelations, I have knowledge, therefore you're wrong.

      Anyway, if I did what you ask I would have to add the many gods believed by the variety of students, and add the possibilities of the many gods people might imagine later. But that would add nothing to our understanding of genetics. A student would be all right to ask: but what do those many gods, ghosts, etc add to what Mendel discovered and calculated? They add nothing, and my god is not the sub-version of the sub-version of the god believed by that BC guy. So, the third or so of my Muslim students would have the right to say that it's their god, and not yours, who makes knowledge possible. Their claim would not be distinguishable from yours in any way, and would add nothing to our understanding of genetics either. It would be indoctrination if I pushed your view. Leaving it to them is much better. Besides, science does not work that way. Science is about what we can verify, not what we can't distinguish from mere imagination. Rarely do I have atheist students. Not once has any of my religious students complained that my teachings lead them to "naturalism," and I have had Calvinists in class (I have asked). None of them has felt that I am trying to indoctrinate them. So maybe it's more that you don't understand science, despite your imaginary revelations.

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    2. Clarification: I have not asked if they think that I am indoctrinating them. I have rather asked them if they have any complains about the course. All of them seemed to understand that not mentioning gods did not mean that they had to stop believing in them. One told me she did not believe in evolution (there's a bit about it in the course for reasons obvious to those who understand evolution and genetics), and I said that such thing was not a problem as long as she understood what was being explained. So what indoctrination BC? Your method would be indoctrinating. Mine is about the science, and religious implications are their problem.Not mine.

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    3. You seem to think that indoctrination would only take place if you explicitly denied the supernatural. You indoctrinate them by making it irrelevant to what your asking. It may not be that the question of God is important for what you want to naturally observe about a gene, but it feeds into your larger understanding of reality that such questions are irrelevant. And why are they irrelevant? Because you don't believe that they are true. If true, they are of utmost importance to understanding reality and the gene within the larger framework of reality. If they are not true, then they are irrelevant. That's exactly the way you treat them above. What's important to you is what can be experienced by your senses and reason. What is not as important in studying the material is looking at it in terms of how it testifies to a larger picture of order in a God-created world. Atheism is not the denial that God exists, but practicing the absence of God in your thinking and lifestyle. That is where the indoctrination exists, as well as in one's attempt to discover the nature of reality through that same naturalistic means.

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  4. Naturalism does not need to be indoctrinated. Naturalism is the reasoned conclusion when one realizes that supernaturalism is indistinguishable from the content of one's imagination.

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    1. NAL: "Naturalism is the reasoned conclusion when one realizes that supernaturalism is indistinguishable from the content of one's imagination."

      Statements like that one beg to be called stupid.

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  5. Which is what naturalism is if supernaturalism is true. Nice try. Try again.

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    1. If the supernatural is true, then the natural is imaginary? That seems to be what you are claiming.

      However, one's imagination is a natural phenomenon. You have to assume that the natural is real to show that the natural is imaginary. Maybe you don't see a distinction between the imaginary and the real.

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    2. It's only imaginary if you beg your worldview. In reality, God has communicated the real to us. That means your conceived world is imaginary, not mine.

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  6. You're equivocating with the word "natural." In supernaturalism, the world is made up of the real natural and the real supernatural. Hence, if reality is truly made up of A(+B), but you assume it is A(-B), then your metaphysical naturalism is imaginary. You cannot, therefore, confirm that A is A(-B) versus A(+B) without presupposing that A is A(-B).

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    1. What is A? What is B? Are A and B distinct? Why is B in parentheses? What does the plus/minus sign indicate? Does a person's consciousness exist in A or in B, or in both, or in neither?

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    2. NAL: "Does a person's consciousness exist in A or in B, or in both, or in neither?"

      NALformed, how does naturalism explain human consciousness?

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    3. how does naturalism explain human consciousness?

      As a natural phenomenon, of course. Questions like yours beg to be called stupid.

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    4. Oh poor TU and D got some of his/her own medicine and then was lost for words. Don't cry TU and D. We understand that your intelligence is subpar at best. You show so with gusto.

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    5. B.C, I think in your example of A(+B) and A(-B), you take B (the supernatural) to be empirically undetectable(I may be mistaken, but I think you said something like that in a previous comment on a previous post).
      If that's the case, then you misrepresent Naturalism as A(-B). Naturalism of the sort I, and I think NAL and Photo, are arguing for. It would be more appropriate to say A, for as far as we can tell, there is no B.
      And if A is all we have reason to accept, then it seems unreasonable to make claims regarding B existing.

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    6. Yes, and then it's back on the same merry-go-round.

      B is supernaturalism in the sense that A has a component that is undetectable in its worldview by empirical experience and reason alone. So A is not just A. That begs the question. B is either a component of A, which is the nature of reality, or it isn't.

      You just don't get it. Naturalism is metaphysically A(-B). It doesn't matter what you MIGHT be open to in the future given evidence. Your view of evidence and the interpretation thereof already begs the naturalism. Hence, A(-B) is assumed in order to come up with your epistemology. Ergo, A(-B) is concluded. It's circular and self defeating, as you have to assume that only that which can be settled by empiricism and rationalization, i.e., begging a naturalistic worldview, is reliable enough to be called "knowledge." Yet, your epistemology and the metaphysic upon which it relies cannot be verified in such a way, and is therefore, unreliable. Yet, you have to trust it as reliable in order to come to that conclusion about it. It's nonsense.

      So everyone is assuming a view of reality in their quest to discover reality, because everyone has to use an epistmology based on a view of reality in order to get there. That means that A cannot be said to consist of A(-B) or A(+B) without first assuming one or the other. Do you get that?

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    7. Your view of evidence and the interpretation thereof already begs the naturalism.
      You may think that is the case, but it isn't in fact true.

      you have to assume that only that which can be settled by empiricism and rationalization, i.e., begging a naturalistic worldview, is reliable enough to be called "knowledge."
      There is no reason preventing the supernatural from being empirically confirmed. If you define the supernatural as having no empirical content, then even if supernatural things exist, they have no impact on our lives, and can be ignored (and hence "A" is all we have good reason to accept).

      I've been going around with Steve on a later post concerning my assumptions, and they don't include or assume naturalism or supernaturalism.

      That means that A cannot be said to consist of A(-B) or A(+B) without first assuming one or the other. Do you get that?
      I think I get why YOU think that. However, it isn't necessarily the case.

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    8. B.C., if one needs to assume either naturalism or supernaturalism in order to come to either a natural or supernatural worldview, and you then use that to undermine claims to naturalism, don't you then undermine your own position?

      And if that is the case, then you can never know in even a provisional sense whether you might be correct or not - even Christians like yourself can't have any confidence in their supernaturalism, since they're assuming it to be true a priori. Shouldn't that lead you to some fairly extreme form of scepticism for your own position, rather than the confident theism you appear to profess?

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    9. "You may think that is the case, but it isn't in fact true."

      And unicorns live in my basement. See, assertions mean nothing without arguments.

      "There is no reason preventing the supernatural from being empirically confirmed."

      Except that I already qualified it as a part of reality that is not capable of being confirmed by empirical experience and reason based thereon. You called it "supernaturalism," not me.

      "If you define the supernatural as having no empirical content, then even if supernatural things exist, they have no impact on our lives, and can be ignored (and hence "A" is all we have good reason to accept)."

      Unless they're communicated to us by a supernatural Being who made us and whose worship is the sole purpose of our being. Then I guess it would have something to do with our lives, wouldn't it? I guess in that context, the nature of A is important.

      "(and hence "A" is all we have good reason to accept)."

      "A" isn't physical reality that can be empirically verified. A is the nature of reality. Don't get confused because you're building a strawman. You cannot accept "A" without knowing what "A" is (i.e., whether it is made up of B or not).

      "I've been going around with Steve on a later post concerning my assumptions, and they don't include or assume naturalism or supernaturalism."

      Actually, I read that exchange; and yes, they do.

      "I think I get why YOU think that. However, it isn't necessarily the case."

      No, you don't get why I think that, because then you would realize that you should think that too.

      "B.C., if one needs to assume either naturalism or supernaturalism in order to come to either a natural or supernatural worldview, and you then use that to undermine claims to naturalism, don't you then undermine your own position?"

      No, not at all. My position isn't established on the basis of a self defeating epistemology and circular argument, as is yours. I start with belief in revelation that does not assume I must come to that knowledge myself. Hence, I believe and then argue from there. Such is not the case in the atheist positions sampled here. There is an attempt at an argument and a necessity of omniscience to establish a worldview and epistemology that can only be begged first in order to be established. The only worldview undermined in that quest is the naturalists, not mine.

      "And if that is the case, then you can never know in even a provisional sense whether you might be correct or not - even Christians like yourself can't have any confidence in their supernaturalism, since they're assuming it to be true a priori. Shouldn't that lead you to some fairly extreme form of scepticism for your own position, rather than the confident theism you appear to profess?"

      If I was an atheist and had your epistemology, I would be a radical skeptic, as I think you should be. But I believe in revelation that is given to me, not knowledge I have received through my finite, and in all likelihood, deluded experience.

      As you said to Steve, all of your knowledge can only ever be provisional. It can never be true knowledge. What you believe today based on your empirical reasoning could be completely refuted tomorrow. That means that you never know that you know anything at all. Instead, because I believe that God has communicated to us, I have absolute confidence in that knowledge. Could my trust be misplaced? Sure, but there is no other way to know but to trust. And in this case, there is no other way to know the nature of reality without trusting that One who knows the true nature of reality has communicated that to us.


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    10. B.C.:

      So everyone is assuming a view of reality in their quest to discover reality, because everyone has to use an epistmology based on a view of reality in order to get there.

      Wrong. Epistemology justifies a metaphysical belief.

      Unless they're communicated to us by a supernatural Being who made us and whose worship is the sole purpose of our being.

      You have to trust your belief in the supernatural as reliable in order to come to that conclusion about it. It's nonsense.

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    11. This statement:
      Except that I already qualified it as a part of reality that is not capable of being confirmed by empirical experience and reason based thereon.
      is not compatible with this statement:
      Unless they're communicated to us by a supernatural Being who made us and whose worship is the sole purpose of our being. Then I guess it would have something to do with our lives, wouldn't it? I guess in that context, the nature of A is important.
      A claim of revelation would impart empirical content to your supernatural beliefs (not to mention all miracles that are supposed to have, and are claimed still to occur).
      You can't have things both ways B.C.

      A is the nature of reality. Don't get confused because you're building a strawman
      I think that's the first time you've clarified what it is you mean - thank you.

      Actually, I read that exchange; and yes, they do.
      I don't see how. As you said "assertions mean nothing without arguments".

      No, you don't get why I think that, because then you would realize that you should think that too.
      Because you've asserted that you need to assume your worldview?

      My position isn't established on the basis of a self defeating epistemology and circular argument, as is yours. I start with belief in revelation that does not assume I must come to that knowledge myself. Hence, I believe and then argue from there.
      And yet the claim to there being a revelation is knowledge you must come to yourself. You can't get around this by simply asserting something is the case.

      If I was an atheist and had your epistemology, I would be a radical skeptic, as I think you should be.
      Why is that?

      But I believe in revelation that is given to me, not knowledge I have received through my finite, and in all likelihood, deluded experience.
      Yet the revelation itself, even if true, is something you have received through your finite, and in all likelihood, deluded experience.

      As you said to Steve, all of your knowledge can only ever be provisional. It can never be true knowledge.
      I'm comfortable with that. In fact, I believe that everyone is stuck in the same boat - people like yourself seem uncomfortable with a lack of certainty and seek to fill it in with unjustified "beliefs".

      What you believe today based on your empirical reasoning could be completely refuted tomorrow. That means that you never know that you know anything at all.
      It could be refuted tomorrow, but it's unlikely. If I stick with a bayesian style epistemology, then any new evidence will "correct" my knowledge towards what is actually true.
      I may never be able to claim certainty concerning most things, but at least I don't pretend otherwise :-)

      Instead, because I believe that God has communicated to us, I have absolute confidence in that knowledge. Could my trust be misplaced? Sure, but there is no other way to know but to trust.
      That's nonsense. You have absolute confidence, but admit you could be wrong. The latter is surely an admission of the provisional nature of this "knowledge".

      And in this case, there is no other way to know the nature of reality without trusting that One who knows the true nature of reality has communicated that to us.
      Which, as has been pointed out, assumes the nature of reality a priori, which is exactly what you (incorrectly) assert I do which undermines my claims.
      Doesn't that strike you as just a wee bit inconsistent?

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    13. "Wrong. Epistemology justifies a metaphysical belief."

      Which it needs to justify itself in the first place. So I'd watch the dogmatic assertions that someone is wrong when you yourself don't understand how an epistemology is justified.

      "You have to trust your belief in the supernatural as reliable in order to come to that conclusion about it. It's nonsense."

      And so do you have to trust that your view of the supernatural is reliable. I've been saying that I have to trust the revelation given to me the whole time. Where have you been? I don't justify my worldview. I believe it. You do the same but want to argue that you can justify it. That's what is truly nonsensical.

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  7. PhotoStupidity... a natural phenomenon!! ROFLOL!!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. That's a very very very very smart answer for you. Kudos. Here, have a lollipop. Now try a bit harder. Maybe next time around you'll be intelligible. Go ahead!

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    3. Whatsamatta?

      Can't decide between whether you want to be "Negative IQ" or "PhotoStupidity"? LOL.

      They both fit. Use them interchangeably.

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    4. Truth - are you the same person who comments on Daniel Mann's blog from time to time?

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  8. "A claim of revelation would impart empirical content to your supernatural beliefs (not to mention all miracles that are supposed to have, and are claimed still to occur).
    You can't have things both ways B.C."

    That's equivocating. I didn't say that the communication is not empirically experienced, but the content of what is communicated about the nature of reality.

    "I don't see how. As you said "assertions mean nothing without arguments".

    1. Your idea that you can verify, without assuming the validity of your epistemology and worldview, that you are sitting at a computer typing is nonsense.

    For instance, for the Hindu, you aren't sitting at the computer. You aren't the one thinking. You aren't the one saying, "Cogito ergo sum." The Universal Mind is. Your individuality is just an illusion. You're a dream that someone else is having, and so are your thoughts. So if you want to say that you exist as a dream, that's fine; but how would you argue against the Hindu that you are actually a real person sitting at a real computer screen?

    2. If you just want to assume Point 1, that's fine. I assume it. But I also have a belief about the nature of reality that doesn't require justification, nor could a metaphysic be justified empirically.

    But you cannot get from your experience, which is only descriptive of what you can experience to the justification that what you experience or can reason from experience is all that exists. Hence, you can only come to that conclusion by first assuming it. And the epistemology you use to get there also assumes it.

    "Because you've asserted that you need to assume your worldview?"

    No, because you have to assume a worldview, no matter what that might be.

    "And yet the claim to there being a revelation is knowledge you must come to yourself."

    1. I believe that God brings men to it.
    2. My argument has nothing to do with one coming to a belief himself, but how he justifies coming to that belief. It cannot be by anything he can point to in his experience, as his experience must be interpreted by that belief in the first place.





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    1. "Why is that?"

      Because you have no way of knowing the nature of reality and your entire epistemology is reliant upon knowing it. In Christianity, there is a way to know. In atheism, there isn't.

      "Yet the revelation itself, even if true, is something you have received through your finite, and in all likelihood, deluded experience."

      Which is why Christians don't believe unless the Holy Spirit leads them to it. God has the ability to communicate and lead His people to the truth of His revelation. It is not what I am capable of achieving by my finite and deluded mind, but what God can achieve, even in spite of it.

      "I'm comfortable with that. In fact, I believe that everyone is stuck in the same boat - people like yourself seem uncomfortable with a lack of certainty and seek to fill it in with unjustified "beliefs".

      1. I think everyone who is an atheist or lacks revelation is stuck in the same boat. That's why I would be a radical skeptic if I were you.

      2. Whether one is uncomfortable with it or not is irrelevant to whether knowledge is possible in such a worldview. It is also irrelevant as to whether we are all believing something, regardless of our comfort level. In fact, the irony is that this entire conversation is about atheists are are uncomfortable about believing. Even in your own statement here. Yet, to have an uncertainty of knowledge and yet still believe something is true based upon this or that IS BELIEF!

      "It could be refuted tomorrow, but it's unlikely. If I stick with a bayesian style epistemology, then any new evidence will "correct" my knowledge towards what is actually true."

      How would you know if it is unlikely? That's knowledge that may be corrected in the future itself. You can never know if you even have something next to the truth. That would be impossible in your worldview. You may know everything there is to know, but you would never know that, or how close you are to it because you would first have to know the truth in order to know how far away or how close you are to it.

      "I may never be able to claim certainty concerning most things, but at least I don't pretend otherwise :-)"

      Isn't the conversation based upon you pretending that you know the nature of reality without believing what the nature of reality is first?

      "That's nonsense. You have absolute confidence, but admit you could be wrong. The latter is surely an admission of the provisional nature of this "knowledge"."

      We all have beliefs that what we believe is true is true. You wouldn't be able to have this conversation without those beliefs. So you're just as confident. I'm simply saying that you have no basis to be confident. I do. I may be wrong, but my epistemology allows me to believe that I truly know the nature of reality. Yours does not.

      "Which, as has been pointed out, assumes the nature of reality a priori, which is exactly what you (incorrectly) assert I do which undermines my claims.
      Doesn't that strike you as just a wee bit inconsistent?"

      In what way is it inconsistent for me to say that I a priori accept the nature of reality through belief and argue from there, and so do you? That's actually completely consistent. I don't have a double standard. I believe that everyone believes and then argues from there.

      Delete
  9. I didn't say that the communication is not empirically experienced, but the content of what is communicated about the nature of reality.
    You said that the "supernatural" part of reality cannot be confirmed by empirical experience. Now you're saying it can be confirmed by empirical experience.
    I'm not the one equivocating.

    Your idea that you can verify, without assuming the validity of your epistemology and worldview, that you are sitting at a computer typing is nonsense.
    Only because you seem commited to the claim that one must assume, a priori, their view regarding the nature of reality.

    So if you want to say that you exist as a dream, that's fine; but how would you argue against the Hindu that you are actually a real person sitting at a real computer screen?
    Well, for a start, because there is an "I" which is experiencing things, which looks to make any universal mind less probable.
    However, I couldn't argue for my position absolute certainty, as you seem to require (even while admitting that you can't achieve it).

    If you just want to assume Point 1, that's fine. I assume it.
    Yes you do. But there's no good reason for that assumption, and it results in circularity. You assume (or rather, assert) something which is rather expansive in scope, which you then try to isolate from any sort of confirmation/disconfirmation. You don't seem able to have any reasoned confidence that this belief is actually true - any confidence you feel seems limited to being just a feeling.

    But I also have a belief about the nature of reality that doesn't require justification,
    So you have stated, quite clearly. Yet these same beliefs could be mistaken, as you've admitted, and can certainly be denied without obviously being in error. However, your approach to knowledge requires these beliefs to be true, yet you cut yourself off from any capability to know they're true - you seem to want your metaphysics/ontology to inform your epistemology, but deny any chance of your epistemology informing your metaphysics (and, in fact, seem to deny such a thing being reasonable).

    nor could a metaphysic be justified empirically.
    Surely a metaphysic/ontology can be justified and/or informed by an epistemology.

    Because you have no way of knowing the nature of reality and your entire epistemology is reliant upon knowing it.
    Only if you require certainly.

    In Christianity, there is a way to know. In atheism, there isn't.
    In Christianity you have confidence in the absolute truth of something you admit could be false, and yet you seem unwilling to see this as provisional knowledge.
    What sort of probability would you give to your belief being true, and how did you come up with that figure (a rough estimate would be nice)?

    Which is why Christians don't believe unless the Holy Spirit leads them to it.
    But you could never be certain it was the Holy Spirit and not some other being, or a delusion, or something else.
    Yet you are claiming certainty.
    How can you tell that it's the Holy Spirit?

    God has the ability to communicate and lead His people to the truth of His revelation.
    If a being such as your god existed, it may well have this ability.
    You, however, would still be the limited being you currently are, prone to delusions, etc.
    How can you filter out the "real" revelations from the false ones?

    It is not what I am capable of achieving by my finite and deluded mind, but what God can achieve, even in spite of it.
    But you're not avoiding the problem. You are still reliant upon your finite and deluded mind.

    I think everyone who is an atheist or lacks revelation is stuck in the same boat.
    You don't seem to see that you are in the same boat. Your claims to revelation are only firm if they're true, and you have no way of knowing that. As you yourself have stated, you just assume it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yet, to have an uncertainty of knowledge and yet still believe something is true based upon this or that IS BELIEF!
    Which is exactly the boat both you and I find ourselves in. However, I try to accept this, while you're trying to deny it by asserting that some belief you have is certainly true.

    How would you know if it is unlikely?
    Probability theory, for the most part.

    That's knowledge that may be corrected in the future itself.
    Bayesian reasoning is logically valid, so this looks to be rather unlikely.

    You can never know if you even have something next to the truth.
    But I can compare 2 things to see which is likely closer to the truth. By accepting as absolutely true something which is possibly false, you seem to have cut yourself off from doing this.

    You may know everything there is to know, but you would never know that, or how close you are to it because you would first have to know the truth in order to know how far away or how close you are to it.
    Funny you should say that, since it's an argument against the very omniscience you rely upon in your possibly false, but absolutely certain he exists god :-)

    Isn't the conversation based upon you pretending that you know the nature of reality without believing what the nature of reality is first?
    No. The conversation is based upon you pretending that you know the nature of reality while assuming that very thing, and me trying to point out how circular that is.
    There is also a component to the conversation where you appear to be trying to tar me with the same brush, but I don't see that part sticking as yet :-)

    So you're just as confident.
    The "acting as if" that I'm doing seems rather different to the "asserting that" that you're doing.

    I'm simply saying that you have no basis to be confident.
    I've pointed out what I base my confidence on, undeniable experiences and logically valid reasoning, which looks to be a little firmer than the assertions you base your confidence on.

    I may be wrong, but my epistemology allows me to believe that I truly know the nature of reality.
    You're epistemology has the supposed nature of reality built into it from the beginning.

    Yours does not.
    My epistemology allows me to know that naturalism is probably true, given a starting point which doesn't assume it.
    You cannot say the same for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Since my comments seem to get larger and larger (sorry - I can't resist a good fisking), I thought I'd try to lay out my criticism of your position succinctly.

    If we were to grant, for the sake of argument, that Christianity, and your beliefs concerning the nature of reality, were in fact true, you still fail to provide justification for your knowledge claim regarding this.

    You claim the Holy Spirit provides guidance, but even if we were to grant that, your beliefs could still be the result of delusion (true though they are) and therefore you don't seem to have sufficient warrant to label this "knowledge" within your own epistemology.

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  12. Rian: "If we were to grant, for the sake of argument, that Christianity, and your beliefs concerning the nature of reality, were in fact true, you still fail to provide justification for your knowledge claim regarding this."

    Hodge did provide justification. He repeatedly spoke of Divine Revelation.

    Have an intellectual and spiritual grasp of the following:

    A Sound and Valid Proof For God's Existence

    Christians know God by nature and we must justify this knowledge by Scripture, the Christian's ultimate authority.

    All reasoning has a terminus point; for the Christian it is Scripture. For the unbeliever it is usually the universal laws of logic, which problematically do not cohere with any worldview that denies the existence of God and our being made in his image as rational, logical creatures.

    Since the premises in the following argument are true and the form of the argument is valid, the conclusion is reliable and true.

    P1. If God has revealed himself, then God exists
    P2. God has revealed himself
    C. Therefore, God exists

    (H/T to Reformed Ron)

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    Replies
    1. Hodge did provide justification. He repeatedly spoke of Divine Revelation.
      It's the justification for that claim that I'm asking for.

      All reasoning has a terminus point; for the Christian it is Scripture. For the unbeliever it is usually the universal laws of logic, which problematically do not cohere with any worldview that denies the existence of God and our being made in his image as rational, logical creatures.
      This is nonsense.

      P1. If God has revealed himself, then God exists
      P2. God has revealed himself
      C. Therefore, God exists

      P2 is a little contentious, don't you think? It's not self evidently true, and so far Hodge hasn't provided reasons to suppose it's true - by his own admission he simply assumes it.

      Delete
    2. A more accurate reformation of your syllogism runs something like this:


      P1. If God revealed himself, then God exists
      P2. People claim revelation for non-God beings with the same justification as those who claim revelations from God.
      P3. Therefore we lack justification for claiming a revelation from God has occurred (from 1 & 2)
      C. Therefore we're not justified in claiming God exists

      Delete
    3. P1. If God has revealed himself, then God exists
      P2. God has revealed himself
      C. Therefore, God exists



      Rian: "P2 is a little contentious, don't you think? It's not self evidently true, and so far Hodge hasn't provided reasons to suppose it's true - by his own admission he simply assumes it."

      Jesus Christ is the revelation.

      I Corinthians 15: "12 We have preached that Christ has been raised from the dead. So how can some of you say that no one rises from the dead? 13 If no one rises from the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, what we preach doesn’t mean anything. Your faith doesn’t mean anything either. 15 More than that, we would be lying about God. We have given witness that God raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if the dead are not raised.

      16 If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith doesn’t mean anything. Your sins have not been forgiven. 18 Those who have died believing in Christ are also lost.

      19 Do we have hope in Christ only for this life? Then people should pity us more than anyone else.

      20 But Christ really has been raised from the dead."

      There have been atheists who've attempted to disprove the facticity of the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, but intellectual honesty, a humbling of one's pride, and an inward surrender to the Holy Spirit, compelled them to abandon prideful, rebellious atheism, and embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

      May the same happen to you, Rian, and other staunch atheists.

      Delete
    4. Jesus Christ is the revelation.
      And Jesus Christ, as depicted in the Gospels, Epistles, etc likely never existed.
      Your claimed your syllogism was sound and valid. Relying upon contentious premises undermines that claim.

      There have been atheists who've attempted to disprove the facticity of the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, but intellectual honesty, a humbling of one's pride, and an inward surrender to the Holy Spirit, compelled them to abandon prideful, rebellious atheism, and embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
      Bully for them.
      Since the facticity of the resurrection is FAR from shown, I don't really see your point. Some people become Christians, some people stop being Christians. Doesn't seem to prove much. What is needed are good reasons FOR becoming a Christian - something that is sadly lacking :-)

      Delete
    5. That's a fascinating comment for someone who only has provisional knowledge. How exactly did you come to the knowledge that the Jesus Christ, as the NT portrays Him, "likely" didn't exist? "Likely" compared to what? You would have to know what Jesus "likely" did exist, and for that, you would have to employ particular methods of historiography that hold correct metaphysical and epistemological assumptions (and so it all flies back to the previous discussion).

      What historiographical methods did you use to come to that conclusion? What are the assumptions of those methods that you have also proven to be true in order to make such a statement? Or are you just trusting a guild of clueless Bible commentators who often don't question their own assumptions about historiographical methods and just go with what is in vogue at the time?

      Delete
    6. How exactly did you come to the knowledge that the Jesus Christ, as the NT portrays Him, "likely" didn't exist?
      Using the methods of history and science that have proven to have a very good track record for investigating the past and reality in general, respectively.

      It seems better to do that than to simply assume your beliefs are true :-)

      Delete
    7. Oh, I see. It's scientifical. I didn't realize it was scientifical. I should make the phone call to the infomercial and buy twenty then.

      I was asking you which method you use to get that. You do know that there are numerous critical methodologies in which various historians do their work, right?

      "It seems better to do that than to simply assume your beliefs are true :-)"

      Hahaha. Let me inform you of something, since you're now in my field.

      1. Your approach is likely based on the social scientific principle of analogy, which is riddled with flaws, such as thinking that you can identify what happened in one event with another that is never going to be identical.

      2. The approach begs a belief in your worldview, since it assumes that what normally occurs (i.e., non-supernatural events) has occurred in this case too, since it could not be otherwise. If it can be otherwise, then the approach fails, since there is no other way than via report that you can come to a conclusion concerning what occurred.

      3. History can't tell you who Jesus was. That's nonsense. Who Jesus was is largely speculated about because scholars are using the idea that artistic narrative description isn't history or has to be filtered for its history. That's something that most historians are shying away from now, as it's fallacious. Only biblical scholars are still stuck in the 80's and 90's when that bogus idea was popular.

      4. In order to come to the conclusion, therefore, that the Jesus the NT presents never existed, you would have to know what Jesus existed, either by trusting one report over another, or speculate that Jesus must have been simply another human being that finds himself in the same situations as others in similar situations, since He is not the unique Son of God, because such a thing cannot occur in our assumed closed naturalistic world. Hence, all methodologies to get there assume your beliefs. That's what is so funny about that comment.

      Delete
    8. That should read, "History, as some sort of science, cannot tell you who Jesus was apart from a report of who He was."

      Delete
  13. "You said that the "supernatural" part of reality cannot be confirmed by empirical experience. Now you're saying it can be confirmed by empirical experience.
    I'm not the one equivocating."

    Well, actually, you are. I cannot empirically experience of what cannot be empirically experienced by me. That's basically evident. But I can experience a report of One who has and can experience that reality. Hence, I am talking about the content of what is experienced in reality. You are talking about my experience of the report. Those are apples and oranges.

    "Only because you seem commited to the claim that one must assume, a priori, their view regarding the nature of reality.
    Well, for a start, because there is an "I" which is experiencing things, which looks to make any universal mind less probable."

    You don't know that. You're begging the question. You don't know that there is an "I" that is any more of less probable than some other "I." As I said, "you" don't exist. The "I" is another thinking your thoughts and creating the imaginary "you." But I don't want to get off on this, since we both agree that this isn't true. I just agree that it isn't true because my metaphysical worldview says it isn't. The question, then, is how you get your worldview without assuming it, something you have yet to show in any of your conversations here.

    "However, I couldn't argue for my position absolute certainty, as you seem to require (even while admitting that you can't achieve it)."

    I can't achieve it, but if I believe a report of Someone who can, then I would be a fool to think I knew better, wouldn't I? I can be wrong in trusting that such is a report of One who knows, but your view is completely made up by you. There is no claim that anyone who has experienced the sum total of reality has given you the information you need to assess its nature.

    "Yes you do. But there's no good reason for that assumption, and it results in circularity. You assume (or rather, assert) something which is rather expansive in scope, which you then try to isolate from any sort of confirmation/disconfirmation."

    Metaphysics are all expansive in scope. They encompass all things. And I'm not attempting to isolate it. It is isolated by its very nature. By its very nature, and ours, it cannot be confirmed/refuted by our empirically-gained experience itself. We must believe in order to confirm or deny a metaphysic.

    "You don't seem able to have any reasoned confidence that this belief is actually true - any confidence you feel seems limited to being just a feeling."

    That's your baseless assertion. Belief is not a "feeling." I believe all sorts of things with different emotions or the absence thereof. Belief is simply doing what you do with "provisional knowledge," i.e., trusting that what I believe to be true is actually true.

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  14. "So you have stated, quite clearly. Yet these same beliefs could be mistaken, as you've admitted, and can certainly be denied without obviously being in error. However, your approach to knowledge requires these beliefs to be true, yet you cut yourself off from any capability to know they're true - you seem to want your metaphysics/ontology to inform your epistemology, but deny any chance of your epistemology informing your metaphysics (and, in fact, seem to deny such a thing being reasonable)."

    My epistemology constantly informs my metaphysic. What you fail to grasp is that we have different epistemologies because we have different metaphysics upon which they are based. Hence, my epistemology only confirms my metaphysic because it is rooted in it. Your epistemology only confirms your metaphysic because it is also rooted in it. You're not going to have an epistemology rooted in one worldview confirm another worldview that is precluded by it. That's nonsense, and why this is simply inescapable. The only way to possibly see that one's metaphysic, and therefore, epistemology, is false is if it is self-defeating.

    "Surely a metaphysic/ontology can be justified and/or informed by an epistemology."

    It only works to confirm it. Never to refute or reject it. You cannot take what is an ultimate belief and put it up to some other standard. That means it is not an ultimate belief, but the standard by which you evaluate it is. And metaphysics are ultimate beliefs. So your epistemology, that is rooted in your metaphysic, cannot do anything but support it, nothing more.

    "Only if you require certainly."

    You can't even know that you have sufficiency, much less certainty. That means your entire bulk of knowledge is a pure, unadulterated guess.

    "In Christianity you have confidence in the absolute truth of something you admit could be false, and yet you seem unwilling to see this as provisional knowledge."

    I never made that argument. I believe that we trust to get our knowledge, so if we trust wrongly, we don't get that knowledge. But since I believe that I have revelation from God who knows, I have confidence in the knowledge acquired by it. So the only thing that is provisional is whether that trust is rightly placed or misplaced. If it is rightly placed, I have true knowledge. If it is not, I don't have the knowledge I thought I had.
    But my point is about having confidence that stems from our metaphysics and epistemology. Mine, if true, give me confidence. Yours, if true, should give you none. That's why I'm discussing that ONCE WE BELIEVE IN our metaphysic and epistemology, I can have confidence that I have a knowledge of reality, but you can have no such confidence at all. My knowledge is not provisional, once I trust my metaphysic and epistemology are true. Yours is, even after you have trusted that yours is true. That is the point.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "What sort of probability would you give to your belief being true, and how did you come up with that figure (a rough estimate would be nice)?"

    A probability based upon what? Your worldview? LOL. Nope, not going to do that. I have my worldview. I don't judge things by yours for a reason.

    "But you could never be certain it was the Holy Spirit and not some other being, or a delusion, or something else.
    Yet you are claiming certainty."

    Because I don't gain certainty from your epistemology. How could I, or anyone? Certainty is gained from trust in one who knows. If it is gained by empirical experience and reason, then it cannot be achieved by a finite being. So I think you keep switching from my worldview and epistemology to yours, and that's where the confusion is setting in. I believe knowledge is gained through belief, and therefore, I don't have to experience what I know in order to be certain about it. I just have to trust/believe that another knows.

    Now, if by "certainty" you mean "knowledge that I have confirmed to be true by experiencing it for myself," then certainty is not possible. But that's not how I see knowledge, obviously.

    "How can you tell that it's the Holy Spirit?"

    What do you mean, "how can I tell?" Tell with what? I believe it is the Holy Spirit. I believe the report of the Bible that tells me that is what the Holy Spirit does. I have come to understand the Bible in a way I did not when I was an unbeliever. And I believe in Jesus Christ. The report of the Bible says that this is the work of the Spirit, so I believe that it is.

    "If a being such as your god existed, it may well have this ability.
    You, however, would still be the limited being you currently are, prone to delusions, etc.
    How can you filter out the "real" revelations from the false ones?"

    Filter out using what? You can't. You either believe what is true or what is false, and God leads you to the truth or leaves you in darkness as a judgment upon your sin. There is no climbing out. Again, I don't have the problems of your epistemology because I don't have your epistemology and worldview. God is the one who acquires knowledge of this nature. I don't. I am left at His mercy. It is His universe, and I am utterly dependent upon what He chooses to do. This, a self-worshiper cannot accept.

    "But you're not avoiding the problem. You are still reliant upon your finite and deluded mind."

    No, I'm not. You don't get it. That would only be true if I had to find God myself. If I had to come to this knowledge myself. If I had to discover whether this or that was true myself. God is the One who brings the finite and deluded mind to the truth, and if He does not, it remains deluded. We are completely dependent upon Him.

    "You don't seem to see that you are in the same boat. Your claims to revelation are only firm if they're true, and you have no way of knowing that. As you yourself have stated, you just assume it."

    Assumed truths are truths nonetheless. You're assuming your own epistemology is necessary for anything called knowledge, and yet, all knowledge, as you have admitted, is just a belief that what you think is true actually is.

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  16. "Probability theory, for the most part."

    You have to base your probabilities against something you know to be true. In this case, you would have to know the nature of reality in order to know how probable a nature of reality was. It begs the question.

    "Bayesian reasoning is logically valid, so this looks to be rather unlikely."

    So, you believe that anything logically valid leads to certainty, or is your use of uncertain language, like "unlikely," to indicate that this too is only provisional knowledge that can be corrected (which is to agree with my point)?

    "But I can compare 2 things to see which is likely closer to the truth."

    That begs the question as to whether either one of them is the truth. You would have to know the truth of the 2 things, or even just one of them, in order for the comparison to be effective. In this case, you would have to know the nature of reality in order to compare other views of reality.

    "By accepting as absolutely true something which is possibly false, you seem to have cut yourself off from doing this."

    Something that is possibly false does not negate it as being absolutely true. Numerous things that are true can be possibly false. The point is that I don't need the amount of information and experience that you do in order to come to a position of certainty, because I don't have your epistemology and worldview.

    "Funny you should say that, since it's an argument against the very omniscience you rely upon in your possibly false, but absolutely certain he exists god :-)"

    Assertion without argument. This makes no sense as it is stated, so I would clarify how you think it is an argument against it.

    "No. The conversation is based upon you pretending that you know the nature of reality while assuming that very thing, and me trying to point out how circular that is."

    1. It's only circular if I am seeking to justify it as an argument. I've said numerous times that it cannot be justified, your view or mine in that way. So you've been arguing against something with which I made no attempt to argue. My point is that the circularity is yours.

    2. You only know that I am pretending to know if you know that my worldview and epistemology are wrong. If you don't know that, then you cannot say whether I am pretending or not. Instead, given my epistemology, there is no pretending going on at all on my part. You, however, have pretended to know something about the nature of reality that you cannot know in order to make the arguments you are trying to make.

    "There is also a component to the conversation where you appear to be trying to tar me with the same brush, but I don't see that part sticking as yet :-)"

    Of course not. The frog is the last to know he's been boiled.

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  17. "I've pointed out what I base my confidence on, undeniable experiences and logically valid reasoning, which looks to be a little firmer than the assertions you base your confidence on."

    That's an atheist talking point that goes nowhere. You cannot reason to the nature of reality with empirical experiences and logical reasoning when you have to first assume the nature of reality to believe that empirical experiences and logical reasoning are capable of getting you there. So nice try, but no cigar.

    "You're epistemology has the supposed nature of reality built into it from the beginning."

    Yep, and so does yours. That's the entire point of this conversation.

    "My epistemology allows me to know that naturalism is probably true, given a starting point which doesn't assume it."

    Nope, it doesn't. That's why these conversations are dead ends. You atheists are clueless. You just got done admitting everything I need to wipe out your argument here, but here you are in the end affirming as a whole what is contradicted by the parts. You have no basis for saying what is probably true concerning the nature of reality versus what is not without first knowing what is true about the nature of reality.

    I'm done now. I gave you chance to do better than the others who failed, but your worldview just fails you every time. It is inescapable. You can leave with the same argument and some snark about what I believe (as often occurs), and then when it clicks one day, you can shoot me an email saying how you finally got it. I get those ALL THE TIME.

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  18. "You atheists are clueless. You just got done admitting everything I need to wipe out your argument here, but here you are in the end affirming as a whole what is contradicted by the parts."

    At least, clueless atheists are frequently a good source of amusement, as well as pity.

    "You can leave with the same argument and some snark about what I believe (as often occurs), and then when it clicks one day, you can shoot me an email saying how you finally got it. I get those ALL THE TIME."

    That's super cool. Praise God.

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  19. Me: "There have been atheists who've attempted to disprove the facticity of the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, but intellectual honesty, a humbling of one's pride, and an inward surrender to the Holy Spirit, compelled them to abandon prideful, rebellious atheism, and embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior."

    Rian: "Bully for them.
    Since the facticity of the resurrection is FAR from shown, I don't really see your point."


    An intellectually honest investigation into the facticity of the Resurrection was sufficient for those deeply skeptical atheists to turn away from atheism, to repent of their sins, and to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    If the simple point eludes you, and you refuse to investigate the historical Resurrection, nothing more to do.

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    Replies
    1. And an intellectually honest investigation into the resurrection has been sufficient for committed Christians to turn away from Christianity.

      If that simple point eludes you, then there doesn't seem much point in this discussion.

      Delete
  20. But I can experience a report of One who has and can experience that reality.
    And I haven't contested that that is possible.
    What is obvious, however, is that the report you're claiming IS empirical, since it can be experienced (and you're claiming you have/do experience it).

    The "I" is another thinking your thoughts and creating the imaginary "you."
    Which doesn't match with how "I" experience things, and so is already less probable than the simpler explanation.
    I'd need further reasons to make the "I am imaginary" scenario more likely. Those reasons are lacking.

    The question, then, is how you get your worldview without assuming it, something you have yet to show in any of your conversations here.
    Since my "worldview" in the sense that you seem to be using it (a priori ontological or metaphysical commitments), doesn't assume either naturalism or supernaturalism, or anything other than "sense experiences exist", I don't really understand what you're talking about. You've not shown how I'm assuming naturalism.

    I can't achieve it, but if I believe a report of Someone who can, then I would be a fool to think I knew better, wouldn't I?
    But as I'm attempting to point out to you, you can't know that it was a report from someone who can.

    There is no claim that anyone who has experienced the sum total of reality has given you the information you need to assess its nature.
    And I'm saying that I don't require such a report. I work from what I experience of reality, and form my metaphysical conclusions from there. You also work from the exact same position, you just have a feeling that a belief you have concerning the sum total of reality is true and work from there. You require this belief to be true, but have no reason to think that it is.

    Metaphysics are all expansive in scope.
    A priori metaphysical/ontological commitments do not need to be.
    For instance, Catholic/Thomistic metaphysics only assumes the dichotomies between Essence/Existence and Potential/Actual. They don't seem to assume supernaturalism, God or Christianity a priori like yourself.

    By its very nature, and ours, it cannot be confirmed/refuted by our empirically-gained experience itself.
    Perhaps. Our epistemology can certainly help to to see what metaphysical commitments have supporting reasons and which do not, which may allow us to see whether those commitments, and our overall metaphysical commitments are reasonable or whether they should be revised :-)

    Belief is not a "feeling."
    The confidence you have that the belief is true, is a feeling.

    The only way to possibly see that one's metaphysic, and therefore, epistemology, is false is if it is self-defeating.
    Or by pointing out that it includes very expensive ontological commitments which there is no reason to accept (deniable a priori beleifs like yours, for example).

    It only works to confirm it. Never to refute or reject it.
    Which only applies to the commitments we take to be axiomatic, which for me does not include naturalism, but for you does include the Christian God.

    But since I believe that I have revelation from God who knows, I have confidence in the knowledge acquired by it.
    And still no REASON to think that belief is true, no ability to discern whether your belief is the same as so many others that you would admit are mistaken or delusional.

    If it is rightly placed, I have true knowledge. If it is not, I don't have the knowledge I thought I had.
    And without any way of even assessing whether that trust is rightly placed, I don't see how you can claim to have true knowledge.

    A probability based upon what? Your worldview?
    Nope - based upon your own.
    You admit that it could be wrong, so it CAN'T have a probability of 1. So what would your rough estimate of it be?
    0.99999? 0.11111? inscrutable?

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    1. Certainty is gained from trust in one who knows.
      Yet you can't be certain you're trusting one who knows, which undermines your certainty.

      If it is gained by empirical experience and reason, then it cannot be achieved by a finite being.
      Apart from things which are undeniable, I agree.

      I just have to trust/believe that another knows.
      Even if it's assumed that another knows, you don't know that this has been communicated to you.

      But that's not how I see knowledge, obviously.
      Obviously. Even so, there still seems to be a problem with your initial assumption/belief.

      I believe it is the Holy Spirit.
      Good for you. An unjustified belief like this doesn't seem adequate for knowledge.
      Especially when the same types of beliefs support mutually exclusive knowledge claims (such as Muslims experiencing Islam, Hindu's experiencing the Brahman, etc.

      I believe the report of the Bible that tells me that is what the Holy Spirit does.
      Because of the report of the holy spirit you claim to have experienced?
      Or for some other reason?

      The report of the Bible says that this is the work of the Spirit, so I believe that it is.
      Why?

      You either believe what is true or what is false, and God leads you to the truth or leaves you in darkness as a judgment upon your sin.
      Which assumes God is true, which is rather circular :-)

      God is the one who acquires knowledge of this nature
      But how do you acquire knowledge of God?
      You're stuck relying upon yourself for that.

      This, a self-worshiper cannot accept.
      I don't accept it because it's ridiculous.
      "I know God exists because he told me so. And I know he told me so because God exists."
      Sure, there might be a way to make your knowledge claims work if you could get them off the ground. I just don't see how you can do that.

      If I had to come to this knowledge myself.
      Which you did.

      God is the One who brings the finite and deluded mind to the truth, and if He does not, it remains deluded.
      This appears to be a conclusion that can be made only AFTER you know God exists. Yet you are using it as justification for that initial knowledge claim.

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    2. Assumed truths are truths nonetheless.
      Only if they're actually true. Simply assuming doesn't make it so.

      You have to base your probabilities against something you know to be true.
      "Reality" would be a good candidate (whatever that happens to be).

      It begs the question.
      I still don't see how. I'm only taking the things which are undeniable as my starting point.

      So, you believe that anything logically valid leads to certainty,
      A formally valid logical system leads to certainty within that system, with some caveats (like Goedel's incompleteness theorem).

      That begs the question as to whether either one of them is the truth.
      For the purposes of this discussion, we're comparing 2 (or more) models of of reality with reality itself.

      In this case, you would have to know the nature of reality in order to compare other views of reality.
      I don't have to know the nature of reality in order to see which of a number of models provides a better description of that reality.

      Something that is possibly false does not negate it as being absolutely true.
      Something that is possibly false doesn't negate it as being possibly true, unless it is axiomatic or undeniable.

      It's only circular if I am seeking to justify it as an argument. I've said numerous times that it cannot be justified, your view or mine in that way.
      Which you have - you have stated that you can claim knowledge to the nature of reality because you believe you have received the report of someone who knows the nature of reality. I've pointed out over and again that this doesn't get you off the ground because you have no justification for that particular knowledge claim.

      You, however, have pretended to know something about the nature of reality that you cannot know in order to make the arguments you are trying to make.
      There's no pretending on my part either, given my epistemology, and unlike you I'm not taking my view of the nature of reality as a priori truth.

      Of course not. The frog is the last to know he's been boiled.
      For me to be "boiled" you'd need to be making valid points against my position.

      You cannot reason to the nature of reality with empirical experiences and logical reasoning when you have to first assume the nature of reality to believe that empirical experiences and logical reasoning are capable of getting you there. So nice try, but no cigar
      The "have to first assume" is something you need to demonstrate.
      I don't see that empirical experience and reason rely upon an assumption of the nature of reality, and I'm don't see we have any other tools which can be brought to bear on the question.
      See, I think this is the problem BC. You seem to be appealing to the content of an experience as veridical, when all you really have warrant to claim as veridical is having the experience itself.

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    3. Yep, and so does yours.
      You keep asserting that, but you have not shown it.
      All mine has built into it is that I'm having experiences - I don't take naturalism to be an a priori truth.
      You can continue to assert but, but that shows me you don't understand what I'm saying (there's every chance that I'm not clearing explaining myself).

      You have no basis for saying what is probably true concerning the nature of reality versus what is not without first knowing what is true about the nature of reality.
      I could put that back on you BC - without assuming the nature of reality (and basically your entire Christian worldview) your epistemology can't get off the ground, and you've provided no reasons to justify that initial assumption.

      I gave you chance to do better than the others who failed, but your worldview just fails you every time
      Perhaps you're not explaining yourself well, because not only have you not shown my worldview fails, but you seem to misunderstand the things I take as foundational.

      and then when it clicks one day, you can shoot me an email saying how you finally got it. I get those ALL THE TIME.
      As I pointed out to Truth, people change religions or leave them ALL THE TIME.
      The numbers are meaningless if there are no good reasons behind them.

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  21. Two things of clarification just to point out that the entirety of your arguments above are strawmen.

    1, You can't justify your worldview, period. When you have attempted to do so you make a leap begging the question. Hence, asking me to justify it or give you reasons why I hold it assumes that there is some higher standard by which to judge and justify it. But that begs other beliefs. You want to say that your knowledge of certain axioms leads you to your worldview. That's what is truly ridiculous.

    Hence, get this through your head: I'M NOT TRYING TO PROVE TO YOU MY WORLDVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you get that? Because all of your supposed rebuttals to what I'm saying evidence that you think I am. I don't hold your ridiculous view that you have to have evidence that justifies a worldview and so you just interpret it in some vacuum and then justify your worldview with it. That is utterly moronic. But that is exactly what you have to have in order to accomplish what you only think you're doing.

    2. You did exactly what I said you would. You merely restated what I already refuted. Go back and read carefully.

    Finally, I want you to now show me what you've been arguing. Show me how you get from your experiencing empirical things to the nature of reality without begging the question. Because you already did in what you said above.

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  22. "You did exactly what I said you would. You merely restated what I already refuted."

    Hodge, can't give you credit for being prophetic. Predicting what a clueless atheist will do just doesn't count.

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  23. LOL. I've been in so many of these conversations, I could do their part and hold this conversation myself.

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  24. C is superdupernaturalism in the sense that A has a component that is undetectable in its worldview by empirical experience, reason, and revelation alone. So A is not just A. That begs the question. C is either a component of A, which is the nature of reality, or it isn't.

    You just don't get it. Naturalism and theism are metaphysically A(-C). Your view of evidence and revelation, and the interpretation thereof already begs both naturalism and theism. Hence, A(-C) is assumed in order to come up with your epistemology. Ergo, A(-C) is concluded. It's circular and self defeating, as you have to assume that only that which can be settled by empiricism, rationalization, and revelation i.e., begging a naturalistic and theistic worldviews, is reliable enough to be called "knowledge." Yet, your epistemology and the metaphysic upon which it relies cannot be verified in such a way, and is therefore, unreliable. Yet, you have to trust it as reliable in order to come to that conclusion about it.

    It's nonsense.

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    1. Yes, your argument is nonsense. You're attempting to compare what is necessary to know with something that has nothing to do with our knowledge. If "superdupernaturalism" existed, it could not be obtained by us through any means. But supernaturalism can be obtained via a report, just like history can be obtained via a report, your knowledge of scientific experiments that you did not perform can be obtained via report. Hence, you are making a false analogy between that which is obtainable through some means and that which is not obtainable through any means. You are also making a false analogy between what we have to know in order to possibly understand reality and what we would not be able to know, and therefore, impossible to understand reality. You're right. Your argument is pure and utter nonsense. Go back to third grade and learn how to reason.

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    2. Notice also that you have to beg naturalism in order to make this argument, since if God exists, He would know superdupernaturalism and have the ability to report it. So your argument is nonsensical in more ways than one.

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    3. If "superdupernaturalism" existed, it could not be obtained by us through any means.

      You're begging the question.

      ... since if God exists, He would know superdupernaturalism and have the ability to report it.

      God's metaphysics and epistemology make superdupernaturalism undetectable to Him.

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    4. Go back to third grade and learn how to reason.

      SPROING!! Excuse me while I fix my irony meter.

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    5. You're right. Your argument is pure and utter nonsense.

      It wasn't my argument, I copied and pasted from your argument.

      SPROING!! Excuse me ...

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    6. "You're begging the question."

      Assertion without proof. I made this comment as a result of what you said. It cannot be gained through empirical experience, reason, or revelation. Then how this knowledge gained and how do you know it is gained this way?

      "God's metaphysics and epistemology make superdupernaturalism undetectable to Him."

      That's your false god, not the One of the Bible that I am discussing. God directly knows all things and all things exist because He made them. There is nothing that is not known by Him. If it cannot be known by an omniscient Being then it does not exist. You're argument is nonsense.

      "SPROING!! Excuse me while I fix my irony meter."

      He who smelt it dealt it.

      "It wasn't my argument, I copied and pasted from your argument."

      No, you didn't. You gave two different false analogies. That means your argument is fallacious and doesn't compare to mine. Since you're too juvenile to admit that, there is no point in arguing with you. Go back and worship your boyfriend Dawson and leave your moronic comments among other fools who will delight in them.

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    7. It cannot be gained through empirical experience, reason, or revelation.

      That assertion is based on your metaphysics/epistemology. You assume your metaphysics/epistemology in order to prove your metaphysics/epistemology.

      God directly knows all things and all things exist because He made them.

      He didn't make Himself, yet you claim He exists. He didn't create the supernatural because He is supernatural, yet you claim the supernatural is part of reality.

      If it cannot be known by an omniscient Being then it does not exist.

      God cannot know that He knows everything since He doesn't know what He doesn't know. God cannot know everything because He cannot know that He knows everything, Therefore, He is not omniscient.

      God cannot know that He doesn't know about the superdupernatural.

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    8. You assume your metaphysics/epistemology in order to prove your metaphysics/epistemology.
      To be fair, Hodge doesn't seem to think metaphysics can be proved, or that you need reasons for it.

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    9. "That assertion is based on your metaphysics/epistemology. You assume your metaphysics/epistemology in order to prove your metaphysics/epistemology."

      Yep, as is yours.

      "He didn't make Himself, yet you claim He exists. He didn't create the supernatural because He is supernatural, yet you claim the supernatural is part of reality."

      "Supernatural" is a state in relation to us, not to God. He isn't natural or supernatural in essence. He just is. He is supernatural to us. And obviously, Christian theology believes that God does not make Himself. Hence, the context for everyone who graduated third grade indicates that I mean God created everything that has a contingent existence, which is everything but God Himself.

      "God cannot know that He knows everything since He doesn't know what He doesn't know."

      Again, in the Christian context in which I am speaking, God omniscience refers to all things that can possibly exist. Something that can possibly exist is known by God. If it is not known by God, it does not possibly exist. Omniscience doesn't mean that God knows things that cannot possibly exist.

      "God cannot know everything because He cannot know that He knows everything,"

      Yes, He can because He is omniscient and the Maker of all things [other than Himself]. He knows Himself and all things that can possibly exist besides. Hence, He is omniscient.

      "God cannot know that He doesn't know about the superdupernatural."

      Yep, easily.

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    10. Rian is right. You need to prove your metaphysic. I don't. That's why your claim to circular reasoning is ironic.

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    11. Hodge, given your beliefs, you can't know you're not being deluded by a Cartesian Demon. Neither could God.
      God also couldn't know that he's not contingent, since it's possible God was created by super-duper-god.
      These are things that it is possible to know (as the Cartesian Demon, or the super-duper-god both know it), and yet your God couldn't know them, so your God cannot know he is omniscient, even if, in fact he is.

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    12. Rian is right. You need to prove your metaphysic. I don't.
      While you may not need to prove it in a strong sense, you do need reasons to adopt it.
      Your lack of reasons makes your position is arbitrary, even if it it led to correct conclusions.

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    13. Rian,

      To be fair, Hodge doesn't seem to think metaphysics can be proved, or that you need reasons for it.

      Yet, once he accepts a "report" via "faith" he then claims that he "knows." That qualifies as "reasons for it." Nonsensical as they are. He also thinks that the metaphysics can be proven, because he insists that if the metaphysics are self-refuting then they are false. Yet, that assumes a standard that could be applied to any metaphysics, but then he does not want his to be refuted, so if you refute it, you assume your metaphysics, but if he tries to refute yours, despite he assumes his fantasyland, he will insist that yours is self-refuting time and again, no matter how clearly you show that your worldview is not self-refuting because you don;t buy into his fallacious claims and demands in the first place ... Hodge's kind of Christianity kills your intellect.

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    14. Feel free to point out how a Christian metaphysic is self-defeating, Photo. I haven't seen any argument from your self-defeating nonsense that you think enlivens the "intellect."

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    15. So what reason do you have for accepting the content of the report?
      It is that acceptance which undergirds your position, and the lack of reason for acceptance makes this arbitrary.

      Also, the content of what your experience claims certainly has empirical content, for you suggest that this report validates Christianity as you understand it, and Christianity makes numerous empirical claims. We could see your acceptance of the report as an hypothesis - what would we expect to be true of reality if this were the case. We could investigate to see if those expectations are met.

      However, you deny there is even reason to do this, or that such investigation could possibly demonstrate that the content of this report was mistaken.

      What you seem to have done is to simply insulate your beliefs from any form of disconfirmation (which also insulates them from any form of confirmation).

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    16. Feel free to point out how a Christian metaphysic is self-defeating,
      The attributes your god supposedly has are incoherent, either in themselves, or in conjunction with other attributes.
      Basing your metaphysic on something logically incoherent seems to be a good reason to think that metaphysics isn't actually correct.

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    17. Creating a bunch of incoherent hypotheticals and made up deities so that you find certain attributes of the real God incoherent isn't a self defeater. You need to show that Christianity collapses upon itself and is made impossible by its very core claims.

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    18. Simply asserting that the Christian conception of god is coherent doesn't make it so.

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    19. And neither does simply asserting that the Christian conception of God is not coherent make it so.

      You would have to know that there is something other than God in order to make your claim above that God does not know all things. At the most, you could say that it is possible that God does not know all things, if there is some world beyond God. But then that makes God contingent and that's not the God of the Bible.

      At any rate, I have no reason to believe that such is exists because my knowledge stems from empirical experience, reason, and revelation through the means of report, which all agree is a reliable method of knowing if the report is true, that grounds them. Since I have nothing within those to suggest that God does not know all things that exist, and something that reports the opposite, then there is nothing for me to believe beyond pure speculation of those who definitely don't know in order to rebut what I believe is known by God. Hence, there is nothing that possibly exists that He does not know. Hence, He is omniscient. Simply because you, or even I, as finite beings who lack an infinite amount of information, were to fail to put two and two together when discussing an infinite Being, doesn't say anything toward whether such a Being exists. Nor is it possible to discuss that Being without assuming a worldview, as we've said before. The real question, then, is whether you can prove that Christian epistemology is self-defeating and cancels itself out. This has not been done. But I have done it with yours. Thus, indicating that your epistemology is invalid.

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    20. OK, I'm out of this one. Thanks for the discussion, Rian.

      Delete
    21. because my knowledge stems from empirical experience, reason, and revelation through the means of report, which all agree is a reliable method of knowing if the report is true, that grounds them.
      Are you saying that experience and reason ground your knowledge of the truth of the revelation?

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    22. Because, if you are saying that your empirical experienc and reason ground your knowledge of the truth of your claimed revelation, then it seems that you do actually claim reasons for your "ultimate" beliefs, reasons which are prior to accepting the claimed revelation as veridical.

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    23. If it is not known by God, it does not possibly exist.

      I thought metaphysics was supposed to help one understand reality, not define it. I guess if your metaphysic defines reality, it's more easily understood.

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    24. I've pointed it out BC. But you are unable to process it. So I talk to those who are still able to understand what's going on.

      I shall try once again though. You might not get it, but maybe onlookers will.

      My worldview is not self-refuting. Accepting reality is accepting reality. While accepting an imaginary being, such as your god, in order to then accept reality is nonsense. That's self-refuting. Demanding my worldview to solve problems that exist in and through the lens of yours is nonsensical. Telling me that I live in a world of fantasy when you accept the very same world, is self-refuting and nonsensical. Telling me that you have a justification to believe this very same world via your imaginary being is nonsensical. Telling me that I do the same as you is nonsensical. I don't accept reality out of faith in the imaginary. I accept it because I'm in it. Huge difference. Try as you might, you will never get around the most basic axioms of my worldview. For example: existence cannot be but logical. Try as you might, you can't demonstrate otherwise. Any attempt will be self-refuting because it will try and undermine the very logic that it depends on. Therefore, my worldview is not based on faith, it's based on the inevitable. But feel free to demonstrate that existence can be any other way. Careful there, not too fast. If you use logic to try and answer, then you will be demonstrating my worldview's axiom.

      Your worldview starts being self-refuting the moment you accept presuppositionalism because it claims the impossible: that there's a need to justify logic. See how nonsensical that is. It presumes that things could be otherwise. If existence could be otherwise what would that mean exactly? To answer this question make sure that you can describe some reality where there's no logic. It would be better if you make this description without using logic.

      It gets worse when you claim that such justification is your god. Any being, no matter if it existed eternally, would have to exist logically. Existence and logic are inextricably and unavoidably bound. Therefore, no matter how all-knowing and all-powerful and all-sovereign, you could imagine some god to be, such god could not be a justification for logic since logic is the only way to exist. Therefore, if your god claimed to be such justification, this god would be a liar (you're fortunate that such claims exist only through your eisegesis of the Bible). Think carefully, and maybe you'll get it this time around.

      There's no such thing as Christian epistemology. There's no such thing as Christian metaphysics. There's no epistemology or metaphysics to be learn from the Bible. It's all manoeuvres from frustrated apologists borrowing from what actual thinkers and philosophers work out. You apologists then run to your Bibles and push this or that passage to mean what you want them to mean and thus pretend that there was metaphysics and epistemology in it. That's not epistemology. That's not metaphysics. That's pure and unadulterated nonsense.

      Again, I invite you to think about it. I don't expect a sensical answer from you any more. I don't expect you to understand what I say any more. But there you have it.

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  25. You can't justify your worldview, period.
    So you keep saying. If by worldview you mean my a priori metaphysical commitments? That I have experiences is undeniable - consider it justified.
    Do you mean the conclusions I've come to about naturalism being more likely than supernaturalism?

    Hence, asking me to justify it or give you reasons why I hold it assumes that there is some higher standard by which to judge and justify it.
    The "higher standard" you're speaking of would be reason. It's all we have, and we don't have to assume our conclusions to use it.

    You want to say that your knowledge of certain axioms leads you to your worldview. That's what is truly ridiculous.
    From my perspective your difficulty here seems to stem from your requirement to assume your worldview. Obviously I don't agree with that. I already gave you the example of Aristotlianism/Thomism which start without assuming supernaturalism/naturalism, and argues FROM there to a metaphysical position.

    I'M NOT TRYING TO PROVE TO YOU MY WORLDVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You are trying to make claims about it.

    I don't hold your ridiculous view that you have to have evidence that justifies a worldview and so you just interpret it in some vacuum and then justify your worldview with it.
    And I don't hold your ridiculous view that naturalism or supernaturalism are necessarily a priori metaphysical commitments.

    Finally, I want you to now show me what you've been arguing. Show me how you get from your experiencing empirical things to the nature of reality without begging the question. Because you already did in what you said above.
    You haven't pointed out why I must be begging the question. I've answered your queries, given you reasons to think I exist and not some over-mind, and so on.
    So Hodge, where do you think I'm begging the question? Is it that you think accepting that I have experiences, and using reason includes within it a commitment to naturalism? Or are you asserting that I'm making some serious unstated assumptions about reality and am refusing to admit it?

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    1. "You are trying to make claims about it."

      Of course. A claim about something is not a proof using your epistemology, based in your worldview. That's why you don't get what I'm saying. You want to drag me into your worldview in order to prove something to you, but I don't need to prove anything, because, as I have said before, a worldview cannot be proven. It is what is used to prove other things. That's why we label it an ultimate belief. If there was something else to verify it then it wouldn't be "ultimate." So you are asking me to beg the question of your worldview and epistemology as you do in order to give you evidence that accords with your worldview and epistemology so that I can prove my worldview and epistemology that has already ruled mine out. It's complete nonsense.

      "And I don't hold your ridiculous view that naturalism or supernaturalism are necessarily a priori metaphysical commitments."

      Hahaha. Only the fool thinks wisdom is dumb. You only think it's ridiculous because your worldview has caught you in an absurdity and you must now live in Neverland to find its superiority again.

      "Is it that you think accepting that I have experiences, and using reason includes within it a commitment to naturalism?"

      Yes, but my emphasis would be on where you jump from describing that you have experiences to the idea that since what you experience is reliable in identifying what you have experienced, all that exists is what you can experience or reason to with those experiences. That's where your begging the question is extremely evident.

      "Or are you asserting that I'm making some serious unstated assumptions about reality and am refusing to admit it?"

      Yep!

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    2. Notice also that you did not show me how you leap from one to the other. I'm asking you to show me the steps from what you experience to naturalism without assuming naturalism in order to do it. You deflected my challenge by stating that you already did. No, you didn't. So restate it if you think you did.

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    3. "That I have experiences is undeniable - consider it justified."

      That an entity is having experiences is undeniable--consider it justified as long as logic has order to it and it's not just an illusion of order fabricated within chaos.

      But, of course, we both accept those unjustifiable premises, so no issue there with me, except that you think you can establish everything from nothing.

      "Do you mean the conclusions I've come to about naturalism being more likely than supernaturalism?"

      Yes, that's what I'm primarily talking about.

      "The "higher standard" you're speaking of would be reason. It's all we have, and we don't have to assume our conclusions to use it."

      LOL. Of course you do. It assumes a universal law of order and non-contradiction that accords with reality. But I don't want to rabbit trail into all that. Reason must use knowledge in order to get knowledge. It doesn't function otherwise. Hence, to reason to a knowledge of reality you have to first use a knowledge of reality in order to do it. You can only decipher how probable it is based upon how close it is to actual reality. But you don't know actual reality in order to do that. That's why you have to beg the question in order to get your conclusion.

      "From my perspective your difficulty here seems to stem from your requirement to assume your worldview. Obviously I don't agree with that. I already gave you the example of Aristotlianism/Thomism which start without assuming supernaturalism/naturalism, and argues FROM there to a metaphysical position."

      No, it starts from the same places. It's just more disguised. Everyone has to start there. It is an ultimate belief. That's not MY requirement. It's a description of what is being done by everyone.

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  26. A short run down of how to get from raw-unintepreted experiences to naturalism, without assuming naturalism:
    - I have experiences, so I have reason to think I exist as more probable than some other I is thinking these thoughts.
    - That I have these experiences is undeniable - they're properly basic beliefs.
    - Many of these experiences are of things "outside" of myself, so I have reason to think there is an external world.
    - These external experiences are persistent. Things don't change just because I want them to, nor do they change when I lose consciousness.
    - These experiences contain interactions with what appear to be other agents much like myself, who seem to have the same sorts of experiences as I do, and the same sorts of mental life, hence other minds probably exist.
    - These other minds generally agree on the experiences of the external world (reinforcing it's persistence)
    - In attempting to understand this external world, the methods of intersubjective empirical investigation have yielded the best models - working with other agents using evidence available to all. Science is this successful methodology formalised.
    - This methodology has been incredibly successful in providing explanations of this external world, as well as some explanations of my internal mental world.
    - The explanations derived from this methodology do not make reference to, nor require, anything more than "natural" phenomena, which I take to mean things which are at base non-mental.
    - Hence my conclusion that some form of Naturalism is probably correct.
    - This approach to epistemology, and the methods used, could, if things were different, provide confirmation for non-natural phenomena, which would lead to some form of "supernaturalism" being more probable. If that were the case, and if that became the case, I would adjust my conclusions accordingly.

    That is a brief run-down of justifying a conclusion of Naturalism without assuming it from the beginning. I've elided a lot of the work, and perhaps have skipped something you feel important. If so please indicate where and I'll see if I can fill in the gaps to your satisfaction.

    On the other hand, your own starting point is arbitrary. I can claim that everyone ought to assume the same starting point as me, since these raw uninterpreted experiences are undeniable, and are, in the end, the most basic explanatory building blocks we can appeal to. You cannot make the same claim, and in fact we can see that other people, taking their starting point arbitrarily like you do, come to make different, mutually exclusive knowledge claims. These people are appealing to basically the same epistemology as you, just taking a different belief as properly basic. An epistemology which allows such arbitrary claims to be accepted as "properly basic" is obviously flawed, just using basic reasoning skills.

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  27. No, it starts from the same places. It's just more disguised. Everyone has to start there. It is an ultimate belief. That's not MY requirement. It's a description of what is being done by everyone.
    Wrong. It's your description of what you believe must be done by everyone.

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  28. "A short run down of how to get from raw-unintepreted experiences to naturalism, without assuming naturalism:
    - I have experiences, so I have reason to think I exist as more probable than some other I is thinking these thoughts."

    You already failed here. You have no reason to think that without assuming your worldview. The thoughts you experience are just as strong as the thoughts another can experience through you as an imaginary character. You leaped here already, but again, I'm in agreement with the premise, not the metaphysic that was begged to get it.

    "- That I have these experiences is undeniable - they're properly basic beliefs."

    OK.

    "- Many of these experiences are of things "outside" of myself, so I have reason to think there is an external world."

    We all agree so far.

    "- These external experiences are persistent. Things don't change just because I want them to, nor do they change when I lose consciousness."

    Yep.

    "- These experiences contain interactions with what appear to be other agents much like myself, who seem to have the same sorts of experiences as I do, and the same sorts of mental life, hence other minds probably exist."

    That's another leap. These only appear to be other agents like yourself. That does not mean they exist or they think like you do. But, again, I agree with the premise.

    "- These other minds generally agree on the experiences of the external world (reinforcing it's persistence)"

    No, they don't; but if you're just arguing that people in Western culture generally agree that what we experience confirms the above, then we'll just say that we agree and move on from here.

    "- In attempting to understand this external world, the methods of intersubjective empirical investigation have yielded the best models - working with other agents using evidence available to all. Science is this successful methodology formalised."

    This is where you're begging the metaphysic. Pay attention here. You just said that this epistemology has yielded the best models to understand the external world. You mean it has yielded the best models to understand empirical experienced data. Of course, it would. It's empirically experienced. But that doesn't tell you that it has any success whatsoever in understanding the external world in terms of whether reality is A(+B) or A(-B). That's like saying a hammer has great success in driving a nail by banging it into the wall, so it should also be successful in attempting to clean my flatscreen tv.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "- This methodology has been incredibly successful in providing explanations of this external world, as well as some explanations of my internal mental world."

      Again, you're just begging the question from this point out. You have no way to know if reality is made up of A(+B) or A(-B) if B is undetectable through the means you describe above. That means you have no way of knowing how successful it has been in identifying the nature of reality. In fact, if B is not detectable, you know at the get go that it is not successful at all in that line of inquiry, nor could it be. The only way you can conclude that it is successful in identifying reality that way is to beg the question that reality is A(-B) from the start, which is precisely what I told you that you were doing.

      "- The explanations derived from this methodology do not make reference to, nor require, anything more than "natural" phenomena, which I take to mean things which are at base non-mental."

      As long as you're just describing physical aspects of natural phenomena.

      "- Hence my conclusion that some form of Naturalism is probably correct."

      Nope, nice try, but no cigar. You're in the exact same position you're in when you started. That you can use empiricism and reason from it to discuss aspects of reality that can be detected by empiricism and reason is not at dispute. The question is how you come to naturalism when you cannot use those things to detect something. Saying that, "Well, it works for detectable stuff, so it must work for undetectable stuff as well," doesn't cut it. Hence, to get to the statement that "naturalism is probably true," you have to assume that reality is A(-B) and that since what you are experiencing is all that exists, your methodology of inquiry is successful in identifying the nature of reality. And round and round we go.

      "- This approach to epistemology, and the methods used, could, if things were different, provide confirmation for non-natural phenomena, which would lead to some form of "supernaturalism" being more probable. If that were the case, and if that became the case, I would adjust my conclusions accordingly."

      How can B, which is not detectable by your epistemology be confirmed by it? What you're essentially saying is that if B becomes the detectable part of A, and therefore, no longer B, then you could confirm it with your epistemology. That's nice, but you have to reject B then in order to get it to become the aspect of A that is no longer B. Hence, B can NEVER be detected by your epistemology, which is why it fails. And that is true whether we are discussing +B or -B.

      "That is a brief run-down of justifying a conclusion of Naturalism without assuming it from the beginning."

      No, it's a brief rundown on adventures of missing the point. You did the exact opposite of what you're claiming you did.


      Delete
    2. "I've elided a lot of the work, and perhaps have skipped something you feel important. If so please indicate where and I'll see if I can fill in the gaps to your satisfaction."

      You can start by not assuming what you need to prove. By stating that you can just discover the nature of A(-B), where B is not detectable by your epistemology, by using your epistemology that assumes A(-B), you've done nothing but prove my point, not yours.

      "On the other hand, your own starting point is arbitrary."

      No, it isn't. I affirm my starting point by believing the revelation given to me as that which has the ability to identify the nature of reality.

      "I can claim that everyone ought to assume the same starting point as me, since these raw uninterpreted experiences are undeniable,"

      Except for half the world that doesn't agree with you. But I already said that I agree as well, but I agree because I have revelation from Someone who actually has experienced the totality of reality, i.e., A as A(+B).

      "and are, in the end, the most basic explanatory building blocks we can appeal to."

      And yet, they too need belief in order to be effective.

      "You cannot make the same claim, and in fact we can see that other people, taking their starting point arbitrarily like you do, come to make different, mutually exclusive knowledge claims."

      So if other people make mutually exclusive claims, all claims are less likely true? You're making an mutually exclusive claim from mine, and I agreed with most of what you said, except that I don't pour a presupposed naturalism into it.

      "These people are appealing to basically the same epistemology as you, just taking a different belief as properly basic."

      Because they understand that they have to. There are plenty of atheists who understand that as well. It's just you and your ilk who don't.

      "An epistemology which allows such arbitrary claims to be accepted as "properly basic" is obviously flawed, just using basic reasoning skills."

      Then all reason is obviously flawed because everyone is doing the same thing, and you just proved that to us. Yet, if all reason is logically flawed, then it can't be obvious. Whoops!

      Your stating that it is arbitrary is ironic, since believing a report isn't arbitrary. What is arbitrary is just picking a metaphysic out of thin air and then attempting to identify reality with it. You still haven't explained how you know whether there is an external world to your external world, Neo. Stop telling me that it works to understand stuff inside the Matrix, therefore, everyone can know that the Matrix is all that there is. Nonsense.

      Delete
    3. "Wrong. It's your description of what you believe must be done by everyone."

      Ah, nothing so sweet as to see dogmatism in face of refutation. The fact that you couldn't do it without assuming it displays that I am so very right. If you who deny it can't even do it, then who can?

      Delete
    4. By stating that you can just discover the nature of A(-B), where B is not detectable by your epistemology, by using your epistemology that assumes A(-B), you've done nothing but prove my point, not yours.
      If it's not detectable, then it's irrelevant.
      However, as you've described it, your B would be detectable. Your criticism fails.

      No, it isn't. I affirm my starting point by believing the revelation given to me as that which has the ability to identify the nature of reality.
      That doesn't make it any less arbitrary.

      Except for half the world that doesn't agree with you.
      Then they're being unreasonable, and demonstrably so (as I've pointed out).

      but I agree because I have revelation from Someone who actually has experienced the totality of reality, i.e., A as A(+B).
      You don't know that, you just assume it.

      And yet, they too need belief in order to be effective.
      They're undeniable, self-evidence and properly basic.

      So if other people make mutually exclusive claims, all claims are less likely true?
      No, but if your epistemology can be used to support completely contradictory accounts of reality, prior to evidence, then there's a problem.

      except that I don't pour a presupposed naturalism into it.
      I don't do that either. You pour a presupposed supernaturalism into it for no good reason.

      Then all reason is obviously flawed because everyone is doing the same thing, and you just proved that to us.
      That's a non sequitur.

      since believing a report isn't arbitrary.
      Believing the content of an experience to be a report without reason is absolutely arbitrary. Why that and not another?

      What is arbitrary is just picking a metaphysic out of thin air and then attempting to identify reality with it.
      Which is why my starting point is not picked out of thin air but rather based upon properly basic beliefs.

      You still haven't explained how you know whether there is an external world to your external world,
      There's not sufficient evidence or reason to think that is probably the case.

      Stop telling me that it works to understand stuff inside the Matrix, therefore, everyone can know that the Matrix is all that there is. Nonsense.
      If we were in the matrix and it were seamless, then all we would have reason to believe would be the world the matrix shows to us.

      What is nonsense is you deciding that an experience you've interpreted in light of your cultural and religious beliefs and taking that interpretation as being a basic belief and a reason to believe the cultural and religious beliefs you already had.

      Delete
    5. The fact that you couldn't do it without assuming it displays that I am so very right.
      Yet you've not shown where I've assumed it.
      In fact it seems to be you who is assuming that we MUST do it, yet you've not shown that to be the case.
      I understand you NEED it to be the case for your approach to be seen as being reasonable, but that doesn't mean it actually is the case.

      If you who deny it can't even do it, then who can?
      If it can't be done then your god cannot do it either, and the report you claim to be from one who is certain is nothing of the sort.
      For instance, how does god know that reality is not A(+B+C)?

      Delete
    6. "If it's not detectable, then it's irrelevant.
      However, as you've described it, your B would be detectable. Your criticism fails."

      1. I said it’s not detectable through your methodology of inquiry. In order to say that whatever is not detectable by your methodology of inquiry, you have to beg your worldview.

      2. I’ve never described B as detectable by empirical experience and reason alone. I’ve consistently stated that you must believe a report concerning it or just guess. You’ve chosen to do the latter.

      3. You could only think something is irrelevant by assuming your position in the first place. If there was an invisible dragon about to eat you, that information might be relevant to you. So relevance is a matter of reality as it relates to you, whether you can detect that information or not.

      “That doesn't make it any less arbitrary.”

      “Arbitrary” means for no reason. Only in your world is someone giving you a report no reason to believe it. I guess you think all knowledge that you have not personally experienced, but rely on reports, then, is arbitrary. And don’t say you have reasons to believe them. No, you don’t. You have a massive network of beliefs that have caused you to accept all sorts of reports. You just don’t accept reports of the “supernatural/undetectable by our senses and reason” variety because you already assume your worldview that does not allow for them to exist.

      “Then they're being unreasonable, and demonstrably so (as I've pointed out).”

      You’ve only pointed out that you’re incapable of grasping the presuppositions upon which your reason relies.

      “You don't know that, you just assume it.”

      I believe it, and therefore, it becomes an assumption in my reasoning. Yes. I’ve said that the whole time, as you are also assuming what you believe to be true to actually be true. It’s just self-defeating where mine is not.

      “They're undeniable, self-evidence and properly basic.”

      I’ve already shown that they are not. You could be worse than Neo in the Matrix, who thinks “he” is the “he” in the Matrix, and self-evidently so. You could be nothing more than someone else’s thoughts, so it’s not properly basic.

      “No, but if your epistemology can be used to support completely contradictory accounts of reality, prior to evidence, then there's a problem.”

      That’s equivocation then, because all who affirm that the orthodox Christian Bible is the ground for our epistemology and come to the same conclusions concerning A(+B), as well as most of the secondary details. So you’re attempting to lump in everyone who must believe in order to know the nature of reality, but that would include you as well. As I’ve clearly shown to anyone with common sense, you must do this as well. Hence, since your epistemology brings you to a different conclusion that is mutually exclusive from others, and must be assumed before evidence, then there’s a problem with your view.

      “I don't do that either. You pour a presupposed supernaturalism into it for no good reason.”

      LOL. You did it when you leaped from saying that since you can identify an aspect of reality with epistemology X, you can identify all of reality with epistemology X, even if there are aspects of reality that cannot be identified by epistemology X. What you have to do to get there is assume that all of reality must not consist of any aspects that epistemology X cannot identify. That’s your assumed naturalism, whether you like it or not.

      Delete

    7. “That's a non sequitur.”

      No, it isn’t. If X is flawed to the point of being ineffective, and reason requires X to be effective, then no reason is effective.

      “Believing the content of an experience to be a report without reason is absolutely arbitrary. Why that and not another?”

      Because another is self-defeating and the content of this report isn’t. There may be numerous reasons. Belief is also caused by a complex of things that are not arbitrary. You must just assume your worldview to believe that it is arbitrary, which ironically, in your view, makes your worldview arbitrary.

      “Which is why my starting point is not picked out of thin air but rather based upon properly basic beliefs.”

      No, you didn’t. You used a non sequitur, “If X can identify things that X can identify, then X can identify things that X cannot identify. The only way for X to be capable of identifying all things is for all things to be identifiable by X. That’s naturalism, and you are only and at all times assuming it without justification.

      “There's not sufficient evidence or reason to think that is probably the case.”

      How could there be? You interpret all things through your naturalism which precludes it. You can only accept that there is an external world to your external world by making that external world your external world, and thus, making it no longer existent as an external world to your own. In other words, the only way for you to accept supernaturalism is if it somehow becomes natural, which is to say that you will, and can, never accept supernaturalism in your worldview.

      “If we were in the matrix and it were seamless, then all we would have reason to believe would be the world the matrix shows to us.”

      Unless you have someone from the external world come in and tell you otherwise, which is what happens in the movie. But then you would have to “arbitrarily” believe him, and since you can’t do that, you’d brush him off as a lunatic. Wow, that would have been a dud of a movie if you had been the protagonist. It also shows that if there is an external world, and we must believe a report in order to know it, you can never know the world you live in using your epistemology. You can only, at all times, guess. Ergo, your understanding of reality is limited to what you can experience, and as such, you can never know the nature of reality short of just believing that it is such and such. That’s very different than what you attempted to show here.

      “What is nonsense is you deciding that an experience you've interpreted in light of your cultural and religious beliefs and taking that interpretation as being a basic belief and a reason to believe the cultural and religious beliefs you already had.”

      What is nonsense is you deciding that an experience you've interpreted in light of your cultural and atheistic religious beliefs and taking that interpretation as being a basic belief and a reason to believe the cultural and atheistic religious beliefs you already had.

      Beliefs aren’t nonsensical because they are beliefs and not proven facts. You have to beg your worldview to even make that assessment, which shows how comically ironic it is for you to make this comment.

      Delete
    8. A little further clarification:

      The thoughts you experience are just as strong as the thoughts another can experience through you as an imaginary character.
      The idea that I am experiencing thoughts is far simpler than the idea that another is experiencing thoughts through me as an imaginary character.
      Further reasons would be required to support the latter claim over the former, and those reasons don't seem to exist.

      These only appear to be other agents like yourself. That does not mean they exist or they think like you do.
      This is true, but irrelevant. They appear to be agents like myself, they appear to have the same/similar abilities/attributes to myself. They appear to think similarly to myself. There appears to be no qualitative difference between them and me. Therefore there would need to be reasons to suppose that they're different, since all the evidence indicates they're the same.

      No, they don't; but if you're just arguing that people in Western culture generally agree that what we experience confirms the above, then we'll just say that we agree and move on from here.
      I was unclear with my statement here. What I meant was these agents and myself tend to agree on intersubjectivity. If we're gathered around a box, they'll all agree that there is a box in front of them. This is science broadly construed.

      But that doesn't tell you that it has any success whatsoever in understanding the external world in terms of whether reality is A(+B) or A(-B).
      Yet there is no good reason to suppose A(+B). Sure, you might be right, it could exist, but we have no reasons to suppose it does (neither I NOR you).
      You've already admitted that your claimed report is empirical in nature, even though you claim the content cannot be verified/falsified empirically.
      I've already argued that there certainly is empirical content to this report, since it makes claims regarding the nature of reality (historical claims, for instance).
      Since my methodology does not preclude your claimed report being true, and offers a means to actually verify/falsify the content of it, I don't see where/how I'm begging the question.

      As long as you're just describing physical aspects of natural phenomena.
      Wrong. As long we're describing empirical aspects of ANY phenomena.

      Saying that, "Well, it works for detectable stuff, so it must work for undetectable stuff as well," doesn't cut it.
      As I've pointed out, undetectable stuff is irrelevant. I've also pointed out why your claimed report has empirical/detectable content.

      How can B, which is not detectable by your epistemology be confirmed by it?
      I have pointed out why your B is indeed detectable by my methodology, since your B has empirical content.
      I've also pointed out that some other C, which has absolutely no empirical content, can be ignored as irrelevant, since if can have NO impact on us.

      No, it isn't. I affirm my starting point by believing the revelation given to me as that which has the ability to identify the nature of reality.
      It's arbitrary because you have no reasons to use that as a starting point.

      Delete
  29. "Yet you've not shown where I've assumed it.
    In fact it seems to be you who is assuming that we MUST do it, yet you've not shown that to be the case."

    If I haven't shown it, you certainly did by demonstrating it to us.

    "I understand you NEED it to be the case for your approach to be seen as being reasonable, but that doesn't mean it actually is the case."

    No, you NEED it to be the case for you approach to be reasonable, whether you see it or not.

    "If it can't be done then your god cannot do it either, and the report you claim to be from one who is certain is nothing of the sort.
    For instance, how does god know that reality is not A(+B+C)?"

    Because He's the source of all existence and knows all things that exist. I know that by revelation. If I made up a finite god out of your epistemology then that would be a great question. Since it has to use some other made-up religion to be effective, it falls short.

    I'm going to be done now. You weren't able, as I already knew you couldn't, to justify your epistemology in the way that you think you can. Feel free to just reassert it and then shoot me that email in the future when it clicks.

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  30. Hodge, you've claimed to have had an experience of your god. Such an experience IS detectable within my methodology, since I take the existence of experiences like that as basic.
    You continue to show a lack of understanding of this seemingly simple fact. You also give no reason to believe that the report you claim to have received is veridical, which means it is you who is basing his worldview on a guess.
    If the invisible dragon could eat me, then the claim of it's existence has empirical content. You seem to want to have your cake and eat it too.
    You claim B cannot be empirically experienced and then turn around and say you've empirically experienced it.
    When I say your position is arbitrary, I mean you have given no reason to think you have even received a report. You merely assume that you did, and that it was veridical.
    You say other reports are self defeating, but that's because you already assume your own worldview.
    I've already explained why raw uninterpreted experiences are properly basic, and why your claims that they are not fail. Even if I were to grant that I didn't exist, and there was another thinking my thoughts, the fact that experiences are being had is self evident, even IF the being experiencing them is the result of the thoughts of another.

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    1. Just to clarify to you, once again, before I go. I never claimed that the experience of the report was not empirically verifiable. That's obvious. But it's irrelevant to the argument because we all believe that I have experienced the report. The content of what it claims is not empirically verifiable. I cannot verify the content in that manner. Hence, you're equivocating on this point, as I said to you before.

      Delete
  31. "The real question, then, is whether you can prove that Christian epistemology is self-defeating and cancels itself out. This has not been done. But I have done it with yours. Thus, indicating that your epistemology is invalid."

    Hodge wins, Rian loses.

    Biblical Christianity wins, Staunch Atheism loses.

    Settled. Final. Accepted. Celebrated.

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    Replies
    1. Truth doesn't seem to understand the game and cheers ineffectually from the sidelines.

      Delete
  32. I understand that it's no game, and as it presently stands, you're eternally lost.

    Please understand that it doesn't always have to be that way, (there's still time), and it's better to bend the knee and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord... NOW, or at least before you die, instead of later.

    And that's no game. That's eternal life.

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    Replies
    1. Truth, all you need to give me is some decent reasons to think you're right.

      Delete
    2. And that's no game. That's eternal life.
      And that's just wishful thinking.

      Delete
    3. An eternal life offered to you via carefully crafted intellectual suicide.

      Delete
    4. Truth, I'm curious to know what you think what has eternal life?
      Science has shown that memories and personality, among other things, are dependant upon the brain. Memories and personality are major parts of what makes me me. So, when my brain dies, *I* die.

      So even if we have souls, the "I" which has eternal life is not the "I" that has life now.

      Delete
    5. Rian: "Truth, all you need to give me is some decent reasons to think you're right."

      You have been given decent reasons. Sadly, you reject them.

      Moreover, it doesn't appear that you're genuine in seeking the Triune God of the Bible.

      Delete
    6. You have been given decent reasons. Sadly, you reject them.
      Sadly, neither you nor Hodge were able to demonstrate your reasons were decent.
      Should I accept reasons that appear incoherent that I'm assured are reasonanble?

      Moreover, it doesn't appear that you're genuine in seeking the Triune God of the Bible.
      Why should I be seeking the god of the bible when there's no good reasons to think it actually exists?

      Delete
    7. Moreover, it doesn't appear that you're genuine in seeking the Triune God of the Bible.
      Truth, it doesn't appear you're genuine in seeking Allah of the Koran.

      Delete
    8. Fryin': "Sadly, neither you nor Hodge were able to demonstrate your reasons were decent."

      Yes, they were.

      "Should I accept reasons that appear incoherent that I'm assured are reasonanble?"

      Should I/We accept your incoherent foolishness that you assure us is reasonable for your rejection of Jesus as Almighty God?

      Delete
    9. Yes, they were.
      "It's true because I assume it's true, and insulate my beliefs from possible disconfirmation" isn't a good reason.

      Should I/We accept your incoherent foolishness that you assure us is reasonable for your rejection of Jesus as Almighty God?
      Of course not. Although, since you don't have any good reasons for accepting Jesus as God to begin with, your point seems moot.
      Plus, your point would have more force if you/Hodge had demonstrated that my position was "incoherent foolishness" instead of showing an unwillingness to understand.

      Delete

    10. The intelligent Christian to the unintelligent atheist: "'It's true because I assume it's true, and insulate my beliefs from possible disconfirmation' isn't a good reason."

      Fryin': "Plus, your point would have more force if you/Hodge had demonstrated that my position was "incoherent foolishness" instead of showing an unwillingness to understand."

      Demonstrated ad nauseam.

      Recall the above statement by your intellectual better:

      "The real question, then, is whether you can prove that Christian epistemology is self-defeating and cancels itself out. This has not been done. But I have done it with yours. Thus, indicating that your epistemology is invalid."

      Q.E.D. Fryin's position has been demonstrated to be incoherent foolishness. Just because the demonstration is beyond your intellect doesn't negate its force, nor its truth.

      Delete
    11. Because something is asserted doesn't make it true.
      Hodge's points failed to show my position incoherent, and failed to show that I assume naturalism. On the other hand I demonstrated that Hodge's position is ad-hoc and arbitrary, and that it assumes the truth of it's conclusions. Hodge seems to accept the latter claim.

      Delete
  33. Again, in the Christian context in which I am speaking, God omniscience refers to all things that can possibly exist. Something that can possibly exist is known by God. If it is not known by God, it does not possibly exist.

    If something is unknown to God, then God cannot know if it possibly exists or if it doesn't possibly exist.

    Therefore, in the Christian context, He is not omniscient.

    ReplyDelete
  34. "If something is unknown to God, then God cannot know if it possibly exists or if it doesn't possibly exist."

    Then it's knowledge that no one can have, and therefore, isn't knowledge. So God remains omniscient because knowledge that no one can have cannot possibly exist by definition.

    If you say there is another God above God who knows it, then you are saying that in the context of the Christian God who is infinite, which makes you essentially arguing that there is something more than infinite, which is nonsense. So your argument fails.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Then it's knowledge that no one can have, and therefore, isn't knowledge.

    If it's knowledge that no one can have, then there's no way do know whether it's knowledge or not.

    ... which makes you essentially arguing that there is something more than infinite, which is nonsense.

    There are an infinity of infinities, each one larger than the previous one.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. You have to argue nonsense to try and get an argument in. Both of these are self-defeating claims. Hence, they pose no problem to the idea that God is omniscient. Since you're fixated on this illogical form of argument, I take it that you've got nothing, then, that would serve as a refutation of the Christian view of God.

      Delete
    2. Senor Hodge, I asked you in the past how a timeless spaceless god finds the time and space to impregnate an underage Palestinian virgin, so that she can give birth to himself, as an eventual human sacrifice to himself, the save us all – you guess it – from himself.

      And you responded saying:

      “And that God is triune and one of the Persons has become a human and has experienced time, so that God can be both timeless and experience time (this is not to mention that what happens in time is produced by Him and not a separate reality apart from His own knowledge that He must gain knowledge of).”

      But this is not a defense, because even bereft of Jesus, an immaterial being still requires time to do anything – e.g. revelation, thinking, smiting disobedients, etc. A truly timeless god would be glaciated beyond all action. And god cannot be a mind, because a timeless mind is by definition, non functional. So please explain to me how it is logically possible for a timeless being to think or do anything.

      Delete
    3. Hodge, is NAL's point nonsense, or is it the concept of omniscience that is nonsensical?

      Delete
    4. You see Rian, the real problem is that BC's god's epistemology does not allow "him" to know that "he" indeed does not know everything. Because "his" worldview, like Hodge's, is that reality is A(+B)(-C) this god does not know anything about C. Because it appears to "him" that all there is is A(+B)(-C), due, again, to "his" self-refuting worldview, "he" thinks that "he" knows everything (and he tells so to Hodge, who can't know if his god knows everything or not, but has to take it on faith in this "report"). So this god is blinded by "his" a priori beliefs to the existence of A(+B)(+C). That's the problem with Hodge's and his god's epistemologies. That's what makes those epistemologies self-refuting. It's all obvious.

      Delete
  36. The Stinker: "how a timeless spaceless god finds the time and space to impregnate an underage Palestinian virgin, so that she can give birth to himself, as an eventual human sacrifice to himself, the save us all – you guess it – from himself."

    Which one do you think is more funny as an insult, the one you just gave or this one:

    "Christianity is the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

    ReplyDelete
  37. PhotoStupidity, Fryin', MALformed, The Stinker,

    Hodge's motivation in taking the time to respond to your objections and comments is understandable: He's faithful in being an instrument that God is using to help win you all to Christ as Lord and to eternal life.

    In contrast, you all appear stupid and foolish in spending so much time on this blog thread when considering your atheistic convictions and worldview. You only have a limited time on earth before you all die. Why spend those precious moments debating Hodge and other Christians?

    So laughably stupid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You only have a limited time on earth before you all die. Why spend those precious moments debating Hodge and other Christians?
      Because the truth is important.

      Truth, it demonstrate a lot that you feel the need to make up funny names for other commenters.

      Delete
  38. Fryin: "Because the truth is important."

    LOL!! I love it! Careful there, atheist boy. Keep on thinkin' that, and you'll slip over to Christian theism.

    Why does 'truth' matter in a materialistic universe with your atheist worldview? You'll die, your consciousness (which your materialistic worldview can't explain by the way) will die, the sun will die out, and so will the earth. Truth is only temporal for the honest atheist.

    In diametric opposition, in the Christian worldview Truth and truth is eternal. It makes sense for the Christian to contend for truth.

    "Truth, it demonstrate a lot that you feel the need to make up funny names for other commenters."

    I thought they were funny too!

    Truth, it demonstrate a lot that you feel the need to make up funny names for other commenters.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Careful there, atheist boy. Keep on thinkin' that, and you'll slip over to Christian theism.
      That would only happen if Christian theism were true. Unlike Hodge and yourself, I don't assume that to be the case.

      Why does 'truth' matter in a materialistic universe with your atheist worldview?
      Because it enables various things like trust (for things like being honest with other people), as well as improving our living conditions (for things like understanding reality).

      Truth is only temporal for the honest atheist.
      So what?

      In diametric opposition, in the Christian worldview Truth and truth is eternal. It makes sense for the Christian to contend for truth.
      And yet neither you nor Hodge actually ARE doing this. You both seem to assume something is true, and insulate yourselves from any possibility of knowing whether it is.
      So much for you caring what is true :-)

      I thought they were funny too!
      I guess you don't have much else to do when you're unable to participate in the conversation proper :-)

      Delete
    2. "Reasons" - Conclusions drawn from my worldview and epistemology that can support your worldview and epistemology, even though my worldview and epistemology a priori excludes them.

      In other words, adopt my metaphysic and epistemology and show me how it supports your metaphysic and epistemology.

      It doesn't support it, so why would I let you pull me onto your ground? Mine doesn't support yours either, and I believe mine is true and isn't self-defeating. Hence, I have no "reason" to adopt your definition of "reason."

      Delete
    3. even though my worldview and epistemology a priori excludes them.
      As I've stated, and shown, my approach to epistemology doesn't exclude your claims a priori, while yours cannot even the truth or falsity of your claims.

      In other words, adopt my metaphysic and epistemology and show me how it supports your metaphysic and epistemology.
      Nope. Adopt a reasonable starting point, and sensible methodology which doesn't rule out, a priori, other options than the one you've adopted.

      It doesn't support it, so why would I let you pull me onto your ground?
      My approach to epistemology and metaphysics COULD result in conclusions that lend support to your metaphysical claims.
      Shouldn't the truth "win out"?
      Shouldn't the truth not need to be assumed? Shouldn't it be demonstrable in some way?

      Mine doesn't support yours either,
      Only by drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and stating "This is true!"

      and I believe mine is true and isn't self-defeating
      I accept that you believe both of those things.
      Yet even if we were to accept the latter claim, that your position is not self defeating, that doesn't mean that it is true. Internal coherence is not the same as correspondence with reality. And given your starting point, you don't seem to have any resources with which to investigate correspondence.

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    4. Truth: Keep on thinkin' that, and you'll slip over to Christian theism.
      I would have no problem with that Truth. I'm not attached a priori to Naturalism, or a denial of Christianity, or any of those sorts of things. I'm trying to find out what is true.

      Delete
    5. "As I've stated, and shown, my approach to epistemology doesn't exclude your claims a priori, while yours cannot even the truth or falsity of your claims."

      The only thing that you've shown is (1) that you do exactly what I say you do, as proved by your attempt to argue to your worldview without supposedly using it, and (2) that you are incapable of seeing the obvious.

      "Nope. Adopt a reasonable starting point, and sensible methodology which doesn't rule out, a priori, other options than the one you've adopted."

      LOL. You can't even hear yourself. Reasonable and sensible according to what? Exactly. Keep begging those questions in the very denial that you are begging them. You only strengthen my point.

      "My approach to epistemology and metaphysics COULD result in conclusions that lend support to your metaphysical claims."

      I've already proven that it can't. You have to make that which cannot be proven in such a way provable in such a way, and thus, no longer of the nature that it is. If it remains the same nature, i.e., it remains what it is, you can't prove it. Ergo, you are admitting here that you cannot do this all the while telling us that you can. You simply can't see the contradiction.

      "Only by drawing an arbitrary line in the sand and stating "This is true!"

      Believing that an even happened in history via a report isn't arbitrary. If you want to find the term "arbitrary" in such a broad way, then your worldview and epistemology are also arbitrary--in fact, even more so, since you don't even have a report concerning it.

      "I accept that you believe both of those things."

      I believe them because they are self-evidently true if logic has universal laws that govern it (another thing I believe to be true).

      "Yet even if we were to accept the latter claim, that your position is not self defeating, that doesn't mean that it is true. Internal coherence is not the same as correspondence with reality."

      I didn't say it did. You're moving that goalpost, not me. However, if you have one view that is not self-defeating in a host of the most prominent views that are, it strengthens the case that such a view is true, since there are no other viable contenders.

      "And given your starting point, you don't seem to have any resources with which to investigate correspondence."

      My resources are revelation, empirical verification, and reason. I have everything you have AND the proper ground for the latter two. You attempt to ground everything with the latter two and end up with nothing to ground them.

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    6. that you do exactly what I say you do, as proved by your attempt to argue to your worldview without supposedly using it,
      Except that I showed why your points attempting to show this failed.

      Reasonable and sensible according to what?
      Reason and sense of course :-)

      I've already proven that it can't.
      You must have written it using invisible ink.

      You simply can't see the contradiction.
      Perhaps that is because the "contradiction" is one of your imagining.

      Believing that an even happened in history via a report isn't arbitrary.
      Because we have reasons to accept such reports (and for others, we have reasons to not to accept them).

      If you want to find the term "arbitrary" in such a broad way, then your worldview and epistemology are also arbitrary--in fact, even more so, since you don't even have a report concerning it.
      My approach to epistemology is not arbitrary, as it rests upon properly basic beliefs.

      I believe them because they are self-evidently true
      This is false - the denial of them is not obviously false or incoherent.

      However, if you have one view that is not self-defeating in a host of the most prominent views that are,
      Yet you seem only able to assess this from within your own beliefs.

      it strengthens the case that such a view is true, since there are no other viable contenders.
      Except if and when that internally coherent worldview doesn't correspond to external reality. Due to the way in which you have insulated yourself from any verification/falsification, it appears you cannot even begin to address this problem (this is not moving the goalposts, since you claim your position is actually true, not just internally coherent).

      My resources are revelation, empirical verification, and reason. I have everything you have AND the proper ground for the latter two.
      I don't see how you can make the claim of "proper ground". You seem to have deny yourself the tools to do so by accepting revelation a priori.

      You attempt to ground everything with the latter two and end up with nothing to ground them.
      What is meant by grounding?
      Why do reason and empirical experience need to be grounded in this fashion?

      Hodge, can I also ask you what the content of your claimed revelation is/was?

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    7. That's right. In the face of rebuttal, just reassert what has already been refuted. That's OK. I'll let those who read our exchange decide (using their respective worldviews of course ;-) ).

      "Hodge, can I also ask you what the content of your claimed revelation is/was?"

      In terms of what? There is a lot of content. What we're discussing now is not the whole of that revelation but the specific aspect of the nature of the universe as having natural and supernatural "components" to it.

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    8. Believing that an even happened in history via a report isn't arbitrary.
      So should we believe any report, or should we have reasons to believe a report?
      You must go with the latter concerning historical, since you don't accept the Koran's report.
      Yet you deny needing reasons for your claimed revelatory report.

      That seems a little inconsistent of you.

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    9. You don't understand what I said, yet again, so of course it seems inconsistent to you.

      Most of what we know of history is from report. You have to believe one over the other, or go with your speculated version that most often utilizes a belief in certain elements of a report (but that is usually based on pure speculation rooted in sociological analogies and material in need of interpretation). If you didn't believe reports in history (and no you don't have "reasons" that are anything beyond what you would consider "arbitrary"), then you wouldn't know much, if anything, about history. You certainly cannot verify whether the report is accurate, partially accurate, or not accurate at all. It all comes down to trusting in certain unprovable assumptions in methodology, and trusting in this over that report.

      I trust in the report of the Bible. The Bible contradicts the Quran. Ergo, I reject the Quran as an accurate report. There's nothing inconsistent about it.

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    10. You don't understand what I said, yet again, so of course it seems inconsistent to you.
      I'm not purposefully doing so - please do try to clarify, as I am genuinely interested, apart from any theism vs atheism debate.

      You certainly cannot verify whether the report is accurate, partially accurate, or not accurate at all.
      Actually, you can do this, and it is what historical methodology is all about.

      I trust in the report of the Bible. The Bible contradicts the Quran. Ergo, I reject the Quran as an accurate report. There's nothing inconsistent about it.
      You have reasons for your trust in the report of the bible, however - I think you've appealed to your claimed revelatory report in support of this.
      You also said earlier of reason and empirical experience "all agree is a reliable method of knowing if the report is true", so you seem to accept that you can apply reason and empirical experience to historical reports, in order to assess whether to accept of reject them.

      Yet you place your claimed revelatory report prior to any such methodological concerns. You seem to accept it without any question.

      It is that which seems inconsistent - application of reasonable methodology to report A but not report B.

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    11. "Actually, you can do this, and it is what historical methodology is all about."

      Are you joking? No, it isn't. You clearly don't know what you're talking about. You cannot confirm a historical event because you cannot repeat a particular event. You can only make analogies and if the event was unique, you have nothing to go on but the report(s) of the event. Everything else is speculation based on the principle of analogy, which is also guided by certain presuppositions, much like what we've been discussing here.

      "You also said earlier of reason and empirical experience "all agree is a reliable method of knowing if the report is true", so you seem to accept that you can apply reason and empirical experience to historical reports, in order to assess whether to accept of reject them."

      Wow, that's so twisted from what I was intending to convey I can now see why you don't understand my other arguments.

      This is what I was saying. If A is true, but is only known through a report that A is true, if one were to believe the report of A, he would believe what is true. Hence, all agree that if a report reports what is true, it is a reliable way of knowing that does not need to be empirically or rationally confirmed apart from the report. But this takes faith in believing, a faith that cannot be first established by another faith that automatically precludes the ability to know truth via a report.

      So there is no inconsistency. You believe one report over another, part of a report over another, or none of the reports. But this has nothing to do with empirically experiencing and verifying the event, nor can a reason based upon the principle of analogy be confirmed in terms of any event that cannot be empirically experienced and confirmed. Hence, you're left with believing or disbelieving a report. That's all you've got because that's all there is. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is selling you something.

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    12. You clearly don't know what you're talking about.
      Neither do historians then.

      You cannot confirm a historical event because you cannot repeat a particular event.
      Repetition as A means of confirmation, not the ONLY means.

      You can only make analogies and if the event was unique, you have nothing to go on but the report(s) of the event.
      The report of the event contains a lot of information (who wrote it, why, how did they know, are they prone to exaggeration, what methods did they use, and on and on).
      Such reports are also filled with empirical content. If event X occurred as report A claims, then we would also expect to find Z (where Z could be other reports confirming the event, archaeological data, etc).

      This is what I was saying. If A is true, but is only known through a report that A is true, if one were to believe the report of A, he would believe what is true.
      This is actually incorrect BC.
      While you're correct in stating that if you believe the report of A, and the report of A is true, then what you believe is true, you cannot claim to KNOW that A is true simply because you lack the justification to make that claim. You need reasons why you should trust the report of A.

      Hence, all agree that if a report reports what is true, it is a reliable way of knowing that does not need to be empirically or rationally confirmed apart from the report.
      All most certainly do not agree with this, though I am beginning to understand what you are talking about.

      Knowledge is not belief, nor is it simply belief you can trust. Knowledge requires reasons why you believe - "justified true belief" as it used to be called.
      If Christianity is true, then you have "true belief", but you still lack justification, and therefore you do not have knowledge.

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  39. Truth: Keep on thinkin' that, and you'll slip over to Christian theism.

    Maybe Not Fryin: "I would have no problem with that Truth. I'm not attached a priori to Naturalism, or a denial of Christianity, or any of those sorts of things. I'm trying to find out what is true."

    Best thing I ever heard from you. Hodge, perhaps your labors and your prayers won't be in vain.

    Should you become a Christian theist, please let your fellow atheists know: PhotoStupidity, MALformed, and The Stinker.

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    2. If the best defence for Christianity is "you have to believe my worldview" while ignoring anybody else's demonstrations that their worldviews are not self-refuting, then I don't see how I could become a Christian. As I told BC before, I could pretend, as he does, that Christianity is true, but I would know that I am lying to myself. I certainly could not fool myself and blur the distinction between "I have faith in a report" and "I know for certain." I would therefore still know the open contradiction between "I have faith in a report" and "my worldview allows me to know for certain." So, no, Christianity is too stupid for me. That leaving alone the many many many contradictory claims within the doctrine(s) and against reality.

      That leaves few if any Christianities for me. But one relying on, or supporting of, presuppositionalism is certainly out of the question. Too contradictory. Too incommensurably imbecilic.

      I like finding ways to explain the rhetorical and fallacious nature of presuppositionalism because it's fun, and because it has become a common trade among apologists. Unfortunately it can be painful to notice that someone as smart as BC would not understand what Rian means by "properly basic beliefs," or what I would call axiomatic. For example, something that is undeniable because it has to be true in order for anybody to be able to deny it. Well, he won't understand it unless he thinks that's his god, rather than the truly basic axiom(s) that even his god would have to rely on before being able to claim that "he" is the source of anything. But, in the end, I learn to explain with more clarity, and maybe a few onlookers will understand how presuppositional apologetics is nothing but rhetorical trickery.

      Finally, if TUaD is an exemplar for some other kind of Christianity, count me out of that too. Being as mentally challenged as TUaD is not among my favourite prospects in life.

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    3. Unfortunately it can be painful to notice that someone as smart as BC would not understand what Rian means by "properly basic beliefs," or what I would call axiomatic.
      I think BC understands what we mean.
      I don't think he understands why it's preferable to only treat things which are actually properly basic or axiomatic as being properly basic or axiomatic.
      Or perhaps BC thinks that Christianity IS a properly basic belief (which is similar to the position Plantinga seems to take).

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    4. Finally, if TUaD is an exemplar for some other kind of Christianity, count me out of that too. Being as mentally challenged as TUaD is not among my favourite prospects in life.
      I used to comment on another blog which TUaD occasionally commented. There he seemed to be far more reasonable than the blog author.
      Perhaps it is a different person, or perhaps his seemingly reasonable stance there was only in contrast to the ridiculousness of the blog author.

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    5. Or perhaps BC thinks that Christianity IS a properly basic belief (which is similar to the position Plantinga seems to take).

      Of course he thinks that. He has told you so. But that only means that he does not understand what "properly basic" means. He does not understand or doesn't want to understand how denying logic, for example, is self-evidently self-refuting, while denying his god would only appear to be self-refuting given his belief that this god sustains everything. Far from self-evident, and actually contradictory to the obvious (that he has to deny logic using logic only to then "justify" logic by something that requires logic in the first place).

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    6. (If some idiot like Plantinga is a standard for some belief, then count me out!)

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    7. It's my understanding that a successful ontological argument could render God belief as being undeniable.

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    9. Really? The ontological arguments I have read and heard are plagued with unwarranted assumptions and non-sequiturs to the point of pain. Supposing that there could be one such argument without those flaws, which god(s) would that(those) be? Remember that most-if-not-all believed gods are like square circles. So absurd that nothing could render them believable.

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    10. I did say a successful ontological argument would demonstrate that, I didn't say any of them were successful :-)

      If God were shown to be a logically necessary, then the statement "God does not exist" would be incoherent.
      That is the sort of proof that I think Hodge would need to demonstrate for his position to become slightly reasonable The existence of god would be an undeniable consequence of logic, though Christianity would still be up for grabs (we could still probable quibble about the system of logic being used and whether it was THE logic and not just A logic).

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    11. If God were shown to be a logically necessary, then the statement "God does not exist" would be incoherent.

      But not self-evidently incoherent (like denying logic). You would have to know of such, as of yet non-existent, ontological argument.

      Even then BC would be far far far away from having his position to be even slightly reasonable. Remember the square circles Rian. No amount of ontological arguments for geometry would render square circles to be even slightly reasonable.

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    12. But not self-evidently incoherent (like denying logic). You would have to know of such, as of yet non-existent, ontological argument.
      It would be like denying "2 + 2 = 4" after having the math explained to you.

      Remember the square circles Rian. No amount of ontological arguments for geometry would render square circles to be even slightly reasonable.
      That would be showing that god isn't logically possible, which would mean that there are no successful ontological arguments.

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    13. That would be showing that god isn't logically possible, which would mean that there are no successful ontological arguments.

      Not really. You keep forgetting the "which god(s)?" question.

      :)

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  40. I wouldn't get my hopes up Truth - while it is possible that Christian Theism is true, the probability doesn't look good (depending on the variety of Christian Theism, of course)

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    1. As it stands now, the probability is dismally low. But God can work miracles.

      Through Hodge!

      ;-)

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    2. So you're admitting Christianity has a very low probability of being true? :-)

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    3. An idiot tryin' to be funny.

      The probability of you turning away from clueless atheism to the truth of biblical Christianity is abysmally low.

      Sin makes you stupid.

      An unredeemed, unrepentant sin makes you even more stupidly foolish.

      You're trapped in your own sin. And the thing that you cling to the most, your self and your pride in your self, is the very thing that you need to let go of, surrender, and abandon, in order to attain and obtain the Truth.

      You can't and won't do it. You worship the Religion of Self as Hodge as written previously. You are your own epistemic authority And that's your downfall.

      Humble yourself. Then you'll learn the Truth. And better, even know and love the Truth.

      Right now, your pride has you loving a lie.

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    4. Truth - like Hodge, you assume the truth of your beliefs.
      By asserting a priori that Christianity is true, you are making yourselves the arbiters of truth.
      I leave it up to reality to judge what is true of reality.

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    5. Fryin: "Truth - like Hodge, you assume the truth of your beliefs."

      Hodge said it best: "In the face of rebuttal, just reassert what has already been refuted."

      Let the following be your takeaway:

      You're trapped in your own sin. And the thing that you cling to the most, your self and your pride in your self, is the very thing that you need to let go of, surrender, and abandon, in order to attain and obtain the Truth.

      You can't and won't do it. You worship the Religion of Self as Hodge has written previously. You are your own epistemic authority And that's your downfall.

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    6. Hodge said it best: "In the face of rebuttal, just reassert what has already been refuted."
      Yet Hodge has admitted he just assumes the truth of Christianity - it's his metaphysical starting point, his basic belief.

      You're also assuming an awful lot about me.

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    7. "You're also assuming an awful lot about me."

      No, I'm not. You've clearly shown yourself to be a Christ-rejector.

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    8. Can't reject something that doesn't exist.

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    9. "Can't reject something that doesn't exist."

      Hey MALformed, another laughably stupid atheist who's spending so much time on this blog thread when considering your atheistic convictions and worldview. You only have a limited time on earth before you die. Why spend those precious moments debating Hodge and other Christians?

      LOL, the MALformed atheist! That's a good one!

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    10. No, I'm not. You've clearly shown yourself to be a Christ-rejector.
      I reject Christ's existence due to a lack of good reasons, not because of "pride" or some other nonsense.

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    11. "I reject Christ's existence due to a lack of good reasons, not because of "pride" or some other nonsense."

      Fryin, thanks for acknowledging that you are indeed a Christ-rejector.

      Second, you have been given good reasons, but as been pointed out to you before, you are your own authority, and hence, you deem what is and what is not a "good" reason. It's the Religion of Self. And that is most definitely pride.

      You are an exemplar of the Prideful Fool who is incapable of recognizing and owning his prideful foolishness.

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    12. Second, you have been given good reasons,
      As I've pointed out, assuming the truth of Christianity is not a good reason to believe the truth of Christianity.

      you are your own authority, and hence, you deem what is and what is not a "good" reason.
      As do you and Hodge. Unlike the both of you, I don't assume my conclusion from the outset.

      It's the Religion of Self. And that is most definitely pride.
      My rejection of Christianity is not due to pride, but due to a lack of reasons.

      Unlike Hodge, you don't even appear to be trying to understand my position. And you seem to think ridicule is a good substitute for good reasons (and your attempts to ridicule are like your reasons for being a Christian - terrible).

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    13. "you are your own authority, and hence, you deem what is and what is not a "good" reason."

      "As do you and Hodge."

      No, we don't.

      "My rejection of Christianity is not due to pride, but due to a lack of reasons."

      Your claim of a lack of good reasons is due to your foolish pride.

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    14. No, we don't.
      Ok, so who is it that decides to accept the claimed revelation as veridical?

      Your claim of a lack of good reasons is due to your foolish pride.
      And of course you can actually back up this assertion, right?
      You can demonstrate why Hodge's assumption of the truth of Christianity is a good reason to accept that claim right?
      I'd ask you to demonstrate your own reasons are decent, but you've not really participate in the discussion, but rather just cheered and jeered from the sidelines

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    16. Ok, so who is it that decides to accept the claimed [divine] revelation as veridical?

      Here's an explanation. However, there's a good chance that it'll be lost on you.

      I don't regard myself as the ultimate authority of Truth. I fully believe that I'm a sinful, fallible, oftentimes wrong person, and knowing that, there's no way that I could be the Authority and Arbiter of Truth.

      I yield to Divine Revelation.

      In comparison, you make yourself your own God, your own Authority, and as Hodge has pointed out: It's the Religion of Self, and you worship yourself.


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    17. I yield to Divine Revelation.
      Yet your actual claim of divine revelation relies upon you, as a "sinful, fallible, oftentimes wrong person".

      You claim that "there's no way that I could be the Authority and Arbiter of Truth.", and yet it is you who makes the decision about divine revelation.

      In comparison, you make yourself your own God,
      Completely false, since the god you're comparing me to cannot err, yet I know full well that I can (and in fact build it into my epistemology.

      This really is ridiculous.
      You want to claim God as your arbiter of truth, yet it is YOU who has decided that Christianity is true - you set yourself up as being the arbiter of truth, just as you claim I am doing.

      talk about self delusion.

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    18. Remember Truth - Muslims also yield to divine revelation, as do people of many other beliefs which are incompatible with your own.

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    19. Fryin',

      I wrote this to you before you replied: "However, there's a good chance that it'll be lost on you."

      Sure enough, it was lost on you.

      "yet it is you who makes the decision about divine revelation."

      I humbled myself, yes.

      In comparison, you make yourself your own God,

      "Completely false, since the god you're comparing me to cannot err, yet I know full well that I can (and in fact build it into my epistemology."

      So dense. I'm not saying that you claim that you don't err, the claim is that you worship yourself, as Hodge puts it: The Religion of Self.

      "talk about self delusion."

      LOL!! I love it. I totally love it. This is a most excellent place to be.

      An honest conversation between prideful, intransigent atheists and biblical Christians will likely arrive at a point of recognizing or claiming that the other party is badly deluded. That's perfectly fine! Love it!

      Atheists to Christians: "You're self-deluded."

      Christians to Atheists: "Sadly, it's you who are self-deluded."

      Christian to Atheist: "According to your worldview, so what if I'm self-deluded. It's all temporal anyways. But in the Christian worldview, you being self-deluded has the eternal consequences of everlasting misery.

      Deluded, prideful atheist, repent and embrace Jesus as Lord before it's too late."

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    20. TUTU:

      I'm not saying that you claim that you don't err, the claim is that you worship yourself, as Hodge puts it: The Religion of Self.

      Atheists call it "thinking for oneself." No worship or religion involved. You claim it's worship or a religion so it will fit into some aspect of your worldview. This claim is false. Worldviews should conform to reality. Reality does not conform to worldviews.

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    21. "Worldviews should conform to reality."

      For once you said something intelligent. Good job.

      "I have been driven by one compelling question: “What way of seeing things corresponds most with reality and does not contradict what I clearly know to be true?” Or, asked differently, “What seems most plausible in light of what we see and know about humanity, the observable world and its history?

      I believe a Christian worldview offers the most logically consistent and plausibly realistic understanding of life and the world. It simply does the best job explaining the world we encounter each day. And it offers the best explanatory frame for the most extensive range of evidence in the world and in the human spirit.

      Even more, it speaks in deeply satisfying ways to shared human intuitions about meaningful and hopeful existence. It specifically addresses universal human needs regarding matters like love, forgiveness and peace."

      Read the rest: Looking for the Most Plausible Worldview

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    22. [Christianity] simply does the best job explaining the world we encounter each day.

      Christianity explains nothing regarding the motion of the planets, stars, or any celestial object. Christianity explains nothing regarding the causation of disease. Christianity explains nothing regarding the origin of species. Christianity explains nothing regarding the causes of volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. Christianity explains nothing regarding the cause of the seasons. Christianity explains nothing regarding the causes of thunder, lightning, or weather. Christianity explains nothing regarding the cause of night and day.

      Our understanding of the universe is the result of the minds of humans.

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    23. I humbled myself, yes.
      Call it whatever makes you feel better - you made yourself the final authority, in the same way you insist I have.

      the claim is that you worship yourself
      A claim that, if true, extracts any sensible meaning from the term "worship".

      The delusion I accused you of in my previous comment, was your false claim to not do exactly what I'm doing when claim "you are your own authority, and hence, you deem what is and what is not a "good" reason."

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    24. Regarding your claim that the Christian worldview is what accords most with reality - you might have a point if you were able to come to that conclusion without asserting it as truth a priori.

      When you start by assuming your conclusion, you tend to end up rationalizing away any disconfirming evidence, for the simple reason that since you "know" this thing is true, there simply cannot be any disconfirming evidence.

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    25. "Atheists call it "thinking for oneself." No worship or religion involved. You claim it's worship or a religion so it will fit into some aspect of your worldview. This claim is false."

      And "thinking for oneself" means "thinking according to whichever cult in which one finds himself," i.e., "being brainwashed." The fact that you think you can transcend the philosophical and finite box in which you live and have been philosophically-conditioned, an ability necessary to "think for oneself" in some autonomous manner, and to experience all of reality directly, another condition necessary to "think for oneself," shows how utterly naive your view of humanity, culture, and thought really are.

      And to be a card-carrying member of a materialist school of thought that can lead to nothing but the conclusion that your thoughts are all physically-predetermined for survival rather than understanding the bigger questions of life, and yet you still maintain the designation of a "free-thinker," displays the cult of the Self far more vividly than that found in any other religious system.

      You are brainwashed by your cult into assuming the possibility of self-omniscience and then that very cult tells you that you can't even know if anything is true apart from using your finite senses and boxed in reasoning skills to confirm it.

      "Worship" of another is nothing more than the yielding of one's mind, practice, and overall life to someone else. Worship of the self intends to yield primarily in an effort to exalt the self as most worthy. The irony of this process is that "freethinkers" yield the self, like any form of worship, to others without realizing it, thus creating a dogmatism that is heavily rooted in its worship of the Self.

      "Worldviews should conform to reality. Reality does not conform to worldviews."

      And the sky is blue. So what? We all agree that worldviews should conform to reality. The difference between us is that we understand that the nature of reality can only be known by a finite mind that does not known if it has access to all of reality by using a worldview to make that call. Only dogmatists say otherwise.

      Trust me, thou art the most religious of us all.

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    26. "Christianity explains nothing regarding the motion of the planets, stars, or any celestial object. Christianity explains nothing regarding the causation of disease. Christianity explains nothing regarding the origin of species. Christianity explains nothing regarding the causes of volcanic eruptions or earthquakes. Christianity explains nothing regarding the cause of the seasons. Christianity explains nothing regarding the causes of thunder, lightning, or weather. Christianity explains nothing regarding the cause of night and day."

      And science explains nothing regarding the fact that God will judge you for your murder of other human beings through your false religious system. Science explains nothing concerning how to make peace with a just God who will judge you for being a murderer. Science explains nothing concerning the true nature of our universe because it can only explain empirically testable things. Science doesn't explain anything concerning areas that science cannot access. Hence, I'd worry about your understanding of the universe through science and reason alone, since you have to first beg the question of the nature of reality in order to come up with the idea that the Bible does not address key elements of reality that are vital to know if one is to ultimately survive as a human being.

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    27. A claim that, if true, extracts any sensible meaning from the term "worship".

      Fryin: "The delusion I accused you of in my previous comment, was your false claim to not do exactly what I'm doing when claim "you are your own authority, and hence, you deem what is and what is not a "good" reason."

      Perhaps we're talking past each other. When I say I humble myself, I'm submitting to a higher authority than myself. It's a matter of will. I surrender.

      In contrast, you are your own highest authority. You decide what is right and what is wrong. You decide what is true and what is false. You decide what is a good reason and what is not. You decide what sufficient proof and what is not. You have faith in yourself. You are your own highest authority. You worship at the authority of Self-Autonomy. Self-Worship.

      Understand the difference?

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    28. Perhaps we're talking past each other.
      Probably.

      When I say I humble myself, I'm submitting to a higher authority than myself. It's a matter of will. I surrender.
      Yet it is YOU who decided that this higher power exists, and YOU who have decided what this higher power is like.

      You decide what is right and what is wrong. You decide what is true and what is false.
      As do you. However, you try to farm out the responsibility to another being who you also decided exists.

      ou decide what is a good reason and what is not. You decide what sufficient proof and what is not.
      You are not demonstrating any difference between us Truth.
      You also decide what is a good reason, and what is sufficient proof.

      You have faith in yourself. You are your own highest authority. You worship at the authority of Self-Autonomy. Self-Worship.
      You have faith in your initial assessment of the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. You have faith in your assessment of what God and Christianity are.
      You are your own highest authority in the same way you insist I am.

      Understand the difference?
      I get what you are trying to claim, but it doesn't work.

      Just as I assess arguments, reasons and evidence, so do you. Just as I decide on the basis of those what I beleive to be true, so do you.

      So, where is that difference?

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    29. B.C.:

      Hence, I'd worry about your understanding of the universe through science and reason alone, since you have to first beg the question of the nature of reality in order to come up with the idea that the Bible does not address key elements of reality that are vital to know if one is to ultimately survive as a human being.

      The belief that a human being can "ultimately survive" (whatever that means) requires a specific worldview.

      The belief that the Bible does address key elements of reality requires a specific worldview.

      Reality does not conform to worldviews, seems like a good starting point for any worldview. True beliefs, those conforming to reality, need to be established independently of our worldview, that is, objectively. One can use the method of objectivity to verify their beliefs without assuming a worldview. Using objectivity, one's view of reality is discovered and maybe incomplete. This possible incompleteness is the price one pays for minimizing false beliefs. It is a price I gladly accept.

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    30. "True beliefs, those conforming to reality, need to be established independently of our worldview, that is, objectively."

      Hence, my previous assessment is correct. This just confirms it. You cannot establish the nature of reality without first assuming it, since your epistemology is dependent upon having the right view of the nature of reality. I don't know why this is so hard for you guys to get, but I realize it would knock your objectivism off its high-horse.

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    31. "Using objectivity, one's view of reality is discovered and maybe incomplete. This possible incompleteness is the price one pays for minimizing false beliefs. It is a price I gladly accept."

      A possible incompleteness in one's view of reality, when one's view of the essential nature of reality depends upon it being complete, admits the failure of your epistemology to have any hope of discovering the nature of reality without first begging your metaphysic. Hence, everything you've said here is a self-refutation.

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    32. "The belief that a human being can "ultimately survive" (whatever that means) requires a specific worldview."

      The belief that things that are discovered through empirical observation and rationalization is more important than things known from something claiming divine revelation requires a specific worldview. Reality should not conform to a worldview, but our worldview to reality, right? Hence, there is no way to establish the importance of one over the other until one has established, apart from a worldview, which worldview is, in all fact, absolutely confirmed true.

      As your buddy so often fondly pronounces, "I'm glad these are not my problems."

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    33. Hodge, you don't have any warrant to make knowledge claims for your supposed divine revelation.

      Your entire epistemology appears to simply be your own subjective personal opinion.

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    34. A possible incompleteness in one's view of reality, when one's view of the essential nature of reality depends upon it being complete, admits the failure of your epistemology to have any hope of discovering the nature of reality without first begging your metaphysic.
      I don't demand that my view of reality is complete. Merely that it can be revised and is arrived at through sound methods

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  41. TUTU,

    Your feelings of low self-esteem are well justified.

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  42. "When you start by assuming your conclusion, you tend to end up rationalizing away any disconfirming evidence, for the simple reason that since you "know" this thing is true, there simply cannot be any disconfirming evidence."

    That's a different claim. You have to assume that a reason that accords with what is assumed to be true is a rationalizing away rather than an explaining in the context of what is known to be true. You do the same thing, so this is pure conjecture until you prove that your "evidence" can only be explained with one worldview and not another. Otherwise, it does not support the worldview as "evidence."

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  43. The fact that you think you can transcend the philosophical and finite box in which you live and have been philosophically-conditioned, an ability necessary to "think for oneself" in some autonomous manner, and to experience all of reality directly, another condition necessary to "think for oneself," shows how utterly naive your view of humanity, culture, and thought really are.
    I don't think NAL is claiming to be able to transcend our "finite box". I know I'm not.

    You are brainwashed by your cult into assuming the possibility of self-omniscience and then that very cult tells you that you can't even know if anything is true apart from using your finite senses and boxed in reasoning skills to confirm it.
    I'm curious to know where you think NAL (or myself) have advocated "self omniscience"?
    I strictly take into my limited capabilities, by assigning a provisional status to what I know.

    "Worship" of another is nothing more than the yielding of one's mind, practice, and overall life to someone else.
    What does this result in when the "other" is nothing more than a figment of the mind?

    And science explains nothing regarding the fact that God will judge you for your murder of other human beings through your false religious system
    That's not a fact Hodge, and requires Christianity to be true.
    The motion of the planets doesn't require Christianity or Naturalism - it just is.

    Science explains nothing concerning the true nature of our universe because it can only explain empirically testable things
    If something has absolutely no empirical content, then what reason could we have to think it true? And even if it were, why would we care?

    You have to assume that a reason that accords with what is assumed to be true is a rationalizing away rather than an explaining in the context of what is known to be true.
    As I pointed out above, you can't claim to know Christianity is true, since you lack justification for this "true belief".

    You do the same thing, so this is pure conjecture until you prove that your "evidence" can only be explained with one worldview and not another.
    I don't need to "prove" it. All that needs to be done (and all that we can do) is see which explanations display the greatest explanatory virtues.

    Otherwise, it does not support the worldview as "evidence."
    If we try to explain A. I appeal to X and you appeal to X+Y, and Y is not in evidence, and is ad-hoc in nature, then my explanation is a better explanation.

    For example, you and I try to explain something, like the existence of humans.
    I appeal to the stuff around us (matter/energy), and regularities in the interactions of those things (physics, chemistry, biology)
    You appeal to the stuff around us (matter/energy) and regularities in the interactions of those things (physics, chemistry, biology), and a god who just happens to want humans to exist.
    While both of our explanations are undetermined by the evidence, and there are possibly and infinite number of alternative explanations (a slightly different god who just happens to want neo-humans to exist, and humans are a stepping stone in that process, for instance), my explanation is better than yours, because it contains fewer ad-hoc ancillary hypothesis, among others, and so should be preferred.

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    1. "I don't think NAL is claiming to be able to transcend our "finite box". I know I'm not."

      The claim is implicit in stating that one is a free-thinker. I don't care what people think they're claiming. That does not necessarily accord with what they are, in fact, claiming.

      "I strictly take into my limited capabilities, by assigning a provisional status to what I know."

      I'm not getting on this merry-go-round again. You have to know the nature of reality and experience all of that reality directly, without bias or predispositions set by finitude, in order to say that you are a "free-thinker." This oft self-designation of atheists is pure, unadulterated nonsense.

      "What does this result in when the "other" is nothing more than a figment of the mind?"

      False worship. The same result from not worshiping the other who is real.

      "That's not a fact Hodge, and requires Christianity to be true.
      The motion of the planets doesn't require Christianity or Naturalism - it just is."

      That's not a fact that that's not a fact. Your definition of facts requires empirical assessment that demands your crazy form of naturalism that doesn't accept reports as vehicles of knowledge to be true. Facts are established by reports, not just empirical observation. And all of those facts depend upon the reporter to be true.

      "If something has absolutely no empirical content, then what reason could we have to think it true? And even if it were, why would we care?"

      There you go with the need to establish your metaphysic and epistemology first. What reason do I have to think that your metaphysic and epistemology is true? Don't tell me that you establish them on empirical and rational means. You don't do so without begging them first, which is what you demonstrated before.

      "As I pointed out above, you can't claim to know Christianity is true, since you lack justification for this "true belief"."

      The same goes for your metaphysic, and therefore, I don't need to justify it by your epistemology that is based upon that metaphysic. Since to do so would be begging the question and enter into a self-defeater, as you have.

      "I don't need to "prove" it. All that needs to be done (and all that we can do) is see which explanations display the greatest explanatory virtues."

      Which is determined by what metaphysic interprets it. So, yes, you do need to prove it as evidence for one view versus the other. You can't go on what "best" explains it when you have alternate worldviews interpreting it and explaining it "best" according to what they already think reality is like.

      "If we try to explain A. I appeal to X and you appeal to X+Y, and Y is not in evidence, and is ad-hoc in nature, then my explanation is a better explanation."

      Whether you think something is ad-hoc has no explanatory power for what is true. Ad hoc according to what? The bare minimum in a naturalistic worldview? That's what I thought. You're still trying to slip in your own worldview and you don't even realize it. Saying that a machine that operates on a man is a sufficient cause to explain the surgery may be all that is needed when the doctor is not visible in the same room, but it doesn't mean the machine doesn't have an operator. To say that it does is not an "ad hoc" explanation simply because it's not the bare minimum explanation. To say that all you need is that bare minimum is to beg your worldview. If my worldview is true, yours is hopelessly ignorant of the nature of the world because you see the machine but not the operator in the next room.




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  44. Hodge, the concept you have of "knowledge" seems something like "true belief".
    However, that is not knowledge, unless you have reason to think the belief is true (justification or warrant).

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    1. This is why our conversations go nowhere. You continually assume that you must have "reasons" to believe a belief is true. Now, I do have reasons. I have a report that I believe is true, but what you mean by "reasons" is empirical and rational verificationism, which itself cannot estbalish itself without begging itself without reasons in the first place.
      Your argument here concerning "reasons" is nothing more than a restatement of your worldview in different form. If the highest form of knowledge one can have is from an omniscient God who exists then there is no greater method of knowing than believing the report that He gives to you. Hence, "true belief" is not of a lesser value than knowledge gained from empirical experience, but is the highest form of knowledge one can receive. Indeed, it has made my epistemology stand and your lack of a divine report in yours has caused it to collapse in upon itself. If that's your exclusive definition of "knowledge," I'll pass.

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  45. The claim is implicit in stating that one is a free-thinker.
    you'll need to explain how it is implied.

    That does not necessarily accord with what they are, in fact, claiming.
    That is correct.

    False worship. The same result from not worshiping the other who is real.
    So you don't actually know whether you're engaging in correct worship or false worship.
    You merely believe it's correct worship.

    Your definition of facts requires empirical assessment that demands your crazy form of naturalism that doesn't accept reports as vehicles of knowledge to be true.
    I accept reports, I just don't accept ANY reports uncritically.
    That is where we differ.

    Facts are established by reports, not just empirical observation. And all of those facts depend upon the reporter to be true.
    The report IS an empirical observation Hodge.
    And we judge whether the reporter is true or the report correct by appealing to reason and other empirical observations.

    There you go with the need to establish your metaphysic and epistemology first.
    Not at all - that observation is true whether you're correct or not Hodge.
    For instance, if your position were correct, and humans had souls, then souls have an empirical effect (they play a role in determining the behaviour of our bodies, for example).

    You don't do so without begging them first, which is what you demonstrated before.
    I get that you actually believe this, but you've failed to actually show it to be the case.

    The same goes for your metaphysic,
    That's false, since I begin with properly basic beliefs.
    I don't start with a grand assertion.

    I don't need to justify it by your epistemology that is based upon that metaphysic.
    I'm not asking you to do that. I'm asking you to justify your epistemology by your own means.
    You claim knowledge that you have no justification for, and hence is not knowledge.
    Your claim to knowledge is unwarranted.

    You can't go on what "best" explains it when you have alternate worldviews interpreting it and explaining it "best" according to what they already think reality is like.
    And here I thought you were not going to get back on the merry go round :-)

    Whether you think something is ad-hoc has no explanatory power for what is true.
    But it does have explanatory power regarding what we have reason to think is true.

    Ad hoc according to what?
    Introduced for the sole reason of avoiding disconfirmation of the larger hypothesis, and serving no other purpose within the explanatory framework for a start.


    The bare minimum in a naturalistic worldview? That's what I thought.
    Then you thought wrong.
    I don't have a problem with introducing non-naturalistic components to an explanation.
    I have a problem when those components don't actually do any work, and are introduced in order to save the larger hypothesis from disconfirming evidence.

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  46. You're still trying to slip in your own worldview and you don't even realize it.
    Wrong. You're still trying to avoid discussing the inadequacy of your own.

    To say that it does is not an "ad hoc" explanation simply because it's not the bare minimum explanation.
    You misunderstand me.
    If we appeal to a soul in order to explain consciousness, and the soul is posited to just be "conscious", we have an ad-hoc hypothesis - postulating a soul doesn't add to the explanation at all, and expecially in this case, it moves what is to be explained out of the realm of explanation all together.

    To say that all you need is that bare minimum is to beg your worldview.
    Not sure where you got the idea I was advocating a "bare minimum" Hodge.

    If my worldview is true, yours is hopelessly ignorant of the nature of the world because you see the machine but not the operator in the next room.
    While true, I'll repeat once again that you have no reason to think that your worldview is true.

    You continually assume that you must have "reasons" to believe a belief is true.
    I don't assume it. What I am saying is that in order to make a claim to knowledge, it isn't enough to merely believe something to be true - that's wishful thinking, not knowledge.
    What is required for a knowledge claim is some justification or warrant for your belief.
    And it is exactly this that you lack.

    I have a report that I believe is true,
    You do not even have that, Hodge.
    You believe you have a report that you believe is true.

    but what you mean by "reasons" is empirical and rational verificationism,
    Something like that yes - what I mean by knowledge is something which we have reason to believe is true.

    which itself cannot estbalish itself without begging itself without reasons in the first place.
    As long as we don't demand too much of this, like the logical positivists did, then we can make use of it.
    You do it to, as you've stated. You just start with one huge assertion that has no justification.

    Your argument here concerning "reasons" is nothing more than a restatement of your worldview in different form.
    False. It's making holding you to task for making claims to knowledge you don't actually have.

    If the highest form of knowledge one can have is from an omniscient God who exists then there is no greater method of knowing than believing the report that He gives to you.
    And yet you do not have reasons to think that this god exists, is omniscient, and actually gave you this report.
    All you have is a nice little argument which lacks any reasonable justification.

    Hence, "true belief" is not of a lesser value than knowledge gained from empirical experience, but is the highest form of knowledge one can receive.
    This is ludicrous Hodge.
    Your epistemology is laughably flawed. You do not have knowledge within it, because you lack, worse, deny the requirement for, reasons to think a belief is true.

    Indeed, it has made my epistemology stand and your lack of a divine report in yours has caused it to collapse in upon itself.
    It has actually doomed any claim to knowledge from you to being nothing more than subjective preference.
    And you talk about atheists having a religion of self!

    If that's your exclusive definition of "knowledge," I'll pass.
    It's not mine Hodge, it's the general definition of knowledge, period.
    Even folk like Plantinga accept the need for warrant (though like you, he makes an enormous assumption from the outset).

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