Is this guy a christian?
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If this guy is a christian then it is obviously what the christian P.R. problem is:
1. This guy is a christian
2. This guy is a despicable and sorry excuse for a human being.
3. Ergo, ......
If this guy is NOT a christian, then who - what human or group of humans - is the recognized authority to pronounce him not a christian?
I know that one can just say "Well god and/or the bible says who is or who is not a christian. But I see that as a cop out. Anyone can say god speaks to them. How can we know that is a factual statement? Anyone can say they and only they have the correct interpretation of the bible, but again why should anyone accept them as THE authority? Just take their word for it?
It is a terrible P.R. problem. I don't see anyway out for "christians". More and more people are just becoming agnostics or atheists or Buddhists or new agers or ANYTHING except a christian. The word "christian" has become a dirty word in more and more quarters. What to do?
So, the existence of nasty Democrats means Democrat is a dirty word, right? Socialists? One bad socialist and it's all over? Trombone players?
1. JGL53 is a member of LibraryThing
2. JGL53 doesn't think logically.
3. Ergo, . . .
I think J and Mr Terry would get along great. They come off as being two sides of the same coin.
Practically every Christian I have ever had any dealings with would condemn this man's rhetoric (and I've spent 50 years or so involved with Christian communities of various mainstream denominations.
The problem Christianity has is that people like this are on TV, making their reputations and fortunes, while the millions of Christians who go about living their quiet lives of service are rarely seen or heard. They're busy raising families, working jobs, helping the food pantry, finding (or providing) homes for people on the ropes, etc., etc., etc. Boring and not TV worthy stuff, but driven by the call of the Gospel.
> 1. More and more people are just becoming agnostics or atheists or Buddhists or new agers or ANYTHING except a christian.
Not quite true.
Christianity in China -- Sons of heaven -- Inside China’s fastest-growing non-governmental organisation
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JGL53: You are a CLOWN.
Let's see what we have so far from apologists (and I use that term quite loosely) for christianity's bad P.R. problem:
#2 - (don't know, don't care - on my ignore list)
#3 - ad hominem, utterly devoid of any argument. Also devoid of any humor. Plus, logic has nothing to do with P.R. So this whole post is a non sequitur.
#4 - (another on my ignore list)
#5 - Except for the reference to the gospel in the last sentence, I could plug in "atheist" for "christian" each time and these thoughts would hold true for me. My real life experience with christians - or should I say "christians"? - a real mixed bag.
#6 - The point being that christianity is growing in china? Well, that's nice. I was thinking more so of America and Europe, but I guess I was being Eurocentric.
# 7 - ad hominem - and quite unchristian, as I am given to understand. But maybe not.
Well, it seems like we're losing ground here on working on the problem at hand - christianity's P.R.
Hmmmm - e.g., Muslims do a LOT of good things in the world. And they are the fastest growing religion in the world.
Quite persuasive. Perhaps I'll get on board with Allah.
Naaaa. Just another dualistic religion. Sucks.
Atman = Brahman
Yeah, that's the ticket.
Let's see what we have in terms of responses that show that the OP is somehow on the right track:
yeah, that would be about it.
>8 My real life experience with christians - or should I say "christians"? - a real mixed bag
Funnily enough, my real life experience with Christians is also a mixed bag. We're people, just like atheists, and people tend to be a mixed bag.
10: The difference, John, is that you approach the people around you with compassion and charity. Even when they fall to the bottom of the mixed bag, you meet them with love, rather than derision. Rather than mocking them with glee, you follow Christ and stoop down to meet them in the dust and lift them up. Rather than proudly declaring that the sins of one man have bought for all his brothers your scorn and hatred, you humbly confess that you, too, are a sinner, and that together with your brothers and sisters, you turn to the Lord for his gracious mercy.
"...turn to the Lord for his gracious mercy."
What if I don't? Whatever do you mean by this?
Please be specific.
"The problem Christianity has is that people like this are on TV, making their reputations and fortunes, while the millions of Christians who go about living their quiet lives of service are rarely seen or heard."
The problem with this argument is that people like this can only be on TV making their reputations and fortunes if there are large numbers of viewers and donors supporting them. Its not like a televangelist makes his money out of thin air - someone has to agree with him enough to become a regular viewer or supporter.
That's not a problem with my argument. If there are 100 million Christians in the US (just picking a round number), and 1 million (1 percent) support and send a few bucks every year to this guy, he can easily afford a bit of PR and some local TV airtime. But how does that say much of anything about what Christians are like on the whole?
Afraid you misunderstood the purpose of my post no 5. I was only responding to your comment regarding the PR problem for Christianity (the last paragraph in the OP, only); agreeing with the observation, but demonstrating why it does not indicate a problem with Christianity, simply a problem for Christianity. I made no claims pro or con regarding your athiest friends. They sound like good folks.
For the record (and probably repeating other posts on this thread), 1) your initial conclusion is posed to sound logical, but being based on one person selected to ensure the conclusion you desired, lacks no true logical basis. 2) The answer to your question "who - what human or group of humans - is the recognized authority to pronounce him not a christian?" is, actually, no one. Christains are not called to concern ourselves with who does or does not claim the label. and 3) regarding the penultimate paragraph in the OP, I agree, for reasons already stated. This just isn't a priority.
"....1) your initial conclusion is posed to sound logical, but being based on one person selected to ensure the conclusion you desired, lacks no true logical basis...."
Please. I offered up this person as just one EXAMPLE of a christian - or "christian" - who sets himself up as a (THE) representative of christianity. And I asked SPECIFICALLY about this one individual.
Of course it's EASY to provide many, many, many MANY other examples of bad actors speaking for christianity - presenting themselves as christians. I was addressing the P.R. problem which therefore exists because of these MANY individuals, not trying to make some illogical argument like " One member of X is Y, thus all members of X are Y."
It is unfortunate that you and yours will - apparently forever - misrepresent my Socratic questioning of what christianity is, its necessity/non-necessity for ANYTHING good and proper, who are its real representatives and who are doing it dirty, what the heck "gracious mercy" may mean, if anything, and so forth.
If christians on the whole are no better or no worse than many if not most other non-christian groups, then what is its raison d'être?
Let’s compare all the Buddhists in the world with all the Christians in the world. Let’s leave no sects or denominations out.
So - could you make the case that Buddhists are in some important sense inferior to Christians? Exactly how?
If not, then would you agree it’s a flip of the coin - one way is as good as the other? If so, then why does Christianity exist? Is it just a matter of some people PREFER chocolate chip flavored ice cream and others prefer black walnut or lemon custard or tutti fruiti? I.e., is the discussion of this whole topic THAT insignificant? If not, why not?
I know you can’t speak for all christians, but you have a Weltanschauung. Please share it.
>16 I offered up this person as just one EXAMPLE of a christian - or "christian" - who sets himself up as a (THE) representative of christianity. And I asked SPECIFICALLY about this one individual.
Sorry, re-reading your post with this in mind clarified your initial question, at least to some extent. Item 3 in your argument seems to leave me to assume what follows 'Ergo....". If the "...." is meant to be something like "Christians are despicable and sorry excuses for human beings", I don't think I need to argue that the conclusion is in error. If the "....." is meant to be something like "some Christians are despicable and sorry excuses for human beings", then I don't think we have any argument to begin with. If the "...." is meant to be "some people who claim to represent Christianity are despicable and sorry excuses for human beings", we still don't have any argument to begin with. You've simply made a case that, in a group of human beings, some are despicable and sorry excuses for human beings. So, I ssume that part is just there as an introduction to the next statement.
"If this guy is NOT a christian, then who - what human or group of humans - is the recognized authority to pronounce him not a christian? I think I answered that, for myself, at least, in my last post, when I said "no one. Christains are not called to concern ourselves with who does or does not claim the label." So I don't know what else to say about this, except that, if there is a God, determining who is a Christian is in better hands than mine and, if there's not a God, determining who is a Christian is pointless.
This leaves me with only your statement regarding the PR problem that Christians have, which I've already addressed to the best of my ability in my initial post (post 5).
Your post 16 however, opens up a whole new line by stating that your initial question (I assume you mean the one containing "Ergo....") was actually "what christianity is, its necessity/non-necessity for ANYTHING good and proper, who are its real representatives and who are doing it dirty, what the heck "gracious mercy" may mean, if anything, and so forth. This is quite a bit more than I was able to glean from the OP. Sorry, but I was in no way trying to respond to this implied line of questioning, nor trying to misrepresent it (since I never even saw it coming).
My best shot at responding to the series of questions/comments beginning with "If christians on the whole are no better or no worse than many... is to simply say that God reveals him/herself to me in a way that works for me in the culture/environment which contributed to me being who I am. My world view makes me quite comfortable with the idea that God can choose to reveal him/herself to others in ways that work for them. For example, the Saxons in the middle ages began to understand and accept Christianity partly because the Gospel was translated into Saxon in a way that cast Christ in a light that was attractive to a warrior culture. A Japanese theolgian once told me that it was the sacrificial Christ that rang true to many Christians in that part of the world, again because it rings true within that culture. This is in contrast to the strong Jesus as my personal Savior image that works well with so many Americans in this individualist, material success oriented culture. Just within Christianity, there are so many ways in which God has revealed him/herself.
Thus I am in no position to say that "Buddhists are in some important sense inferior to Christians", and, again, am not called to do so as a Christian, and don't care to do so as a human with plenty of more important ways to live out my small Christian life.
I will not agree that it's a flip of the coin, for reasons that I hope are clear from the previous two paragraphs.
There is a continuing problem with the fact that several highly distinct and utterly different religions trace their origins in one way or another to the figure or teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. American hellfire evangelical Christians have little in common with Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, and both groups are at the "conservative" end of a spectrum which runs all the way to radical feminist Episcopalians, Christian Scientists, and liberal Quakers.
And another thing...
If this guy is an American then it is obviously what the American P.R. problem is:
1. This guy is an American
2. This guy is a despicable and sorry excuse for a human being.
3. Ergo, ......
It's hilarious that J thinks he's Socrates. Would somebody please explain the real Socratic method to him? (Hint to J: Socrates didn't ask rhetorical questions, and he treated his opponents with respect.) While you're at it, you might try to explain the rules of logic to him. Good luck with that...
Also, J, if you really are interested in a discussion, you shouldn't put half the people who respond to you on your 'ignore' list, then claim nobody has a good response to you!
19>I like being on J's ignore list. Mainly because it is totally pointless. Everybody else can read my comments. And I often suspect J reads my posts because he would often respond to what I am writing.
ETA: Ignore list = fail.
Have a nice day, J!
You make several good points upon which we can agree. I won’t argue that you are not a good christian. E.g.,
“….Christians are not called to concern ourselves with who does or does not claim the label." So I don't know what else to say about this, except that, if there is a God, determining who is a Christian is in better hands than mine and, if there's not a God, determining who is a Christian is pointless…..”
“….Just within Christianity, there are so many ways in which God has revealed him/herself….”
I think all this makes you an open-ended rather liberal, progressive or modernistic christian. That is a good thing. The more of you there are the better it is for christian PR.
“….Your post 16 however, opens up a whole new line by stating that your initial question (I assume you mean the one containing "Ergo....") was actually "what christianity is, its necessity/non-necessity for ANYTHING good and proper, who are its real representatives and who are doing it dirty, what the heck "gracious mercy" may mean, if anything, and so forth. This is quite a bit more than I was able to glean from the OP. Sorry, but I was in no way trying to respond to this implied line of questioning, nor trying to misrepresent it (since I never even saw it coming)…..”
Yes, these are implied questions in the O.P. You need not respond. There seem to be plenty others here who feel the need to do so.
I think it great that there is such diverse groups who self-label and think of themselves as christian. Just think of the horror if all christians were fundies.
And I agree on your last point - maybe the problem is mainly American - of the Norte Americano variety.
No, I don’t think I am Socrates, any more than you think you are Jesus (or do you?).
- First instance of putting words in my mouth. -
As to the rules of logic, I don’t think logic has anything much to do with religion, as it does with, e.g., science. Thus we have 20,000 religions and one science. I.e., when you throw logic in a trash bin things can tend to get rather anarchical as time goes by. Know what I mean?
Also, I never claimed, or complained, that no one had a good response to my posts.
- second incident of putting words in my mouth.
Please stop putting words in my mouth. Do you think you can manage that?
"That's not a problem with my argument. If there are 100 million Christians in the US (just picking a round number), and 1 million (1 percent) support and send a few bucks every year to this guy, he can easily afford a bit of PR and some local TV airtime."
It actually is a problem with your argument, because its not just this one guy. Guys like him litter the airwaves. The people who support this substantial network of televangelists may be a minority, but they are a sizeable one. Pretending that somehow this brand of Christianity is a tiny fraction of the total number of believers is simply sticking your head in the sand - especially when they are able to influence enough people that it is worthwhile for Presidential candidates to use their platform.
Just out of curiousity, what authority says what you are and are not "called upon to do as a Christian." It seems that you are trying to avoid any definition of the term "Christian" but nevertheless know with specificity what Christians do and don't do.
A very strange position..........
As to the rules of logic, I don’t think logic has anything much to do with religion,
Well, you are the person who began this discussion with a syllogism, albeit an incomplete one.
Well, I did try to inject logic into an arena that reacts like it's an allergen.
What generally passes for "religion" is not based in any attempt at objectivity, a disinterested attitude, or formal logic. It is rather based on various fears, insecurities, superstitions, hatreds, worship of human authority, and a "What's in it for me - ultimately?" attitude - egoist personal wish-fulfillment at its worse.
It all started up rather about 100,000 years ago, thereabouts. One made sacrifices to the cave bear god, engaged in certain rituals, then had faith he would thereby agree not to sneak up and eat you.
Flash forward 100,000 years.
We have christianity - and various other forms of theism/animism/paranoia/wish-thinking.
So I take your point.
"No, I don’t think I am Socrates, any more than you think you are Jesus (or do you?).
- First instance of putting words in my mouth. -
Also, I never claimed, or complained, that no one had a good response to my posts.
- second incident of putting words in my mouth."
In post 16 you mention your "Socratic questioning of what christianity is". In other threads you have also mentioned your supposed use of the Socratic method. Yet you seem to have no clear understanding of what the Socratic method is. I suggest you try reading the Dialogues, and find out.
In post 8 you went through the list of responses to your post and dismissively implied (though you did not say explicitly) that there were no good responses. Did I misread that post? Was that not what you were trying to imply?
"I don’t think logic has anything much to do with religion"
It obviously has nothing to do with your posts, either.
JGL53 said "As to the rules of logic, I don’t think logic has anything much to do with religion, as it does with, e.g., science. Thus we have 20,000 religions and one science. I.e., when you throw logic in a trash bin things can tend to get rather anarchical as time goes by."
Only one science? Hmmm.
The rules of logic do have a place in theological discussion, but, as you intuit, can only go so far. But to say there is only one science is much like saying there is only one Christianity. I would agree that there is only one scientific method, but my experience with science and my reading of scientific history reveals many 'sects' that have formed, fought, disappeared and reformed over its short history, much like the history of Christianity. Voices crying in the wilderness, ignored by the scientific priesthood, sometimes for a generation before finally winning over enough converts to get their ideas heard. Science, like religion, is a human construct, and, as such, both are riddled throughout their history with charges and counter charges of heresy, a determined clinging to old beliefs until overwhelmed or overrun by the majority opinion, factionalism, etc. The scientific community has the advantage of a tool (the scientific method) that does not help much in theology, but deeply held beliefs hold scientists in thrall just as easily as they do theologians. They are not called denominations or sects, but these divisions within the scientific community exist, and have always existed.
More importantly, however, is that science is totally unsuitable for dealing with the "why" questions of the universe, and these are the only real questions that theology is meant to try and answer. Study the essential Western philosophies since the Enlightenment, and you'll find that science cannot even prove that the universe exists (I think, therefore I am? Perhaps, but are you?). Science and the scientific method rest on a set of core beliefs (what we can observe actually exists; the laws of physics are the same everywhere and for all time; etc.) that cannot be proven (we cannot step outside the universe to make our observations), and no attempt is made to do so. This is as it should be for answering the "how" questions of the universe.
I am happy with science and the scientific method for what it's designed for. I'm happy that it has successfully built a mountain of evidence not only that evolution happens, but how it works at the molecular level; that the universe is expanding, that there was a Big Bang (though I've heard rumblings that recent test results are casting doubt on that once again). But I wouldn't try to apply the scientific method to questions of philosophy or theology, and I don't write it off just because it's not suited for such purposes.
Meanwhile, I just focus on trying to get a better handle on why I'm here and what I should be doing while I'm here; and, thanks to science, I can do this while using my cellphone, internal combustion engine, and central air conditioning. ;-)
Edited for typo
Yes, I meant the scientific method.
Outside of science and the scientific method, there is only non-falsifiable beliefs.
Knock yourself out in that arena. There are no rules. Don't take any non-falsifiable concept that seriously.
Just have fun. That's what I do.
Well here is a belief that is outside of science and the scientific method. "Outside of science and the scientific method, there is only non-falsifiable beliefs." Is it falsifiable? If it isn't, you instruct us not to take it seriously. If it is, then there is at least one falsifiable belief outside of science, so we shouldn't take the first part seriously.
Seriously, you are instructing us not to take you seriously.
How seriously is too seriously in the taking of non-falsifiable beliefs?
Here are areas where I expect JGL and I agree that the taking is "too serious": imposing one's non-falsifiable beliefs on others; killing people because one's non-falsifiable beliefs tell one to; using one's non-falsifiable beliefs as an excuse to attack the rights of others, including reproductive freedoms and the right to marry.
Here where I suspect we disagree: going to mass every Sunday (or daily!); identifying publicly as holding one's non-falsifiable beliefs; defending one's non-falsifiable beliefs on Talk pages on LibraryThing; trying to non-coercively convert others to one's non-falsifiable beliefs.
Any action, belief, lack of action, lack of belief, argument for or against an idea, etc. - as long as such is legal then the right to it should be respected. No one here is arguing differently.
But that doesn't mean the idea/action/etc. is respectable itself. "Right to" is one thing and "fact of" is another.
One must speak out against what one perceives to be dangerous, seriously wrong-headed, destructive of civil rights, hate speech, etc. Not to do so is cowardly.
We will disagree on what is/is not the good and what is/is not the bad.
In the public arena argumentation and free speech are goods of themselves, especially unpopular speech - otherwise progress cannot be made and authoritarianism wins. What decent person would prefer the latter?
Feelings may be hurt in debate, but we all must have faith (ha ha) that the truth will eventually out, otherwise why participate?
If you constantly find yourself insulted or your feelings being hurt because someone publicly questions or opposing your heartfelt beliefs - perhaps you should recheck your premises - the problem could be you and you are projecting it onto others unfairly. Maybe. Perhaps.
When anyone promotes a non-falsifiable belief the burden will be on him or her. Such people may scream to high heaven (ha ha) that such is unfair and not right, but tough titty. Being a member of some majority does not entitle you to a free pass, nor does it priviledge the majority on any issue. That's what free speech means - and not just freedom for YOU.
Either stand up on your hind legs like a man - or adult women - and take the good with the bad and defend the right as you see the right - or be a whiner who tries too hard to browbeat, shame, and inflict guilt on others inappropriately. (I say inappropriately because shaming racists, nazis, child molesters, theocrats and similar anti-human types is just going to happen. The call for everyone to love everyone else all of the time - that's not going to happen for obvious reasons.
Did I leave anything out?
Oh, yeah - it is inappropriate argument to appeal to personal desire, to dump on science and logic, to put words in another person's mouth, to purposely misrepresent another person's position to score debating points, and to let the urge to "win" trump everything else. Ego is like ice cream - it is only healthy in appropriate amount or to a reasonable degree.
And speaking truth to power? That is not necessarily a bad thing.
Actually, in a free society, you are not required to defend your beliefs. You have the right to believe whatever you want, and practice those beliefs in any way you see fit, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others to do likewise.
If you want your beliefs to be respected, you should treat the beliefs of others with consideration. It's called the "Golden Rule", and it is common to nearly all religions and ethical philosophies. As you treat others, expect to be treated in return.
Name-calling or speaking in a derogatory way about another group of people (for example, calling Texans 'intellectual retards') is childish and non-productive. Starting innumerable threads attacking the beliefs of others, who have not attacked your beliefs, is unnecessarily antagonistic.
Finally, no religion or belief system is without its good and bad points (if not in theology, then in practice). Atheism is no exception. (If you didn't know that, you haven't studied 20th Century history!) Unfortunately, some Christians have given Christianity a bad name. Just as some atheists-- I won't name names-- make atheism look bad.
"Yes, I meant the scientific method.
Outside of science and the scientific method, there is only non-falsifiable beliefs."
People shouldn't lie.
People shouldn't hate.
People shouldn't steal.
People shouldn't wantonly kill other people.
All nonfalsifiable. I would presume that you believe that they are all, also, somewhat important and are outside of religion?
"Well here is a belief that is outside of science and the scientific method. "Outside of science and the scientific method, there is only non-falsifiable beliefs." Is it falsifiable?"
This argument doesn't work. Meta-statements don't have to follow the same rules as statements. "Jane has four letters and golden hair." doesn't make any sense because it mixes up the two uses of "Jane."
Anyone has a right to either speak out or remain silent about any subject. If you think I implied any differently, then you are a poor reader at best.
Anyone who ignorantly and proudly rejects evolution out of hand because "they ain't kin to no monkey" are intellectual retards regardless of their locale.
I understand the Golden Rule. What has such to do with racists, fascists, and ignoramuses so damn ignorant they don't even know they are ignorant?
Good grief. Atheism is not a philosophy. Atheism is certainly not a religion. If it is then baldness is a hair color and not collecting stamps is a hobby.
I consider all of the above Logic 101.
I've decided I have bigger fish to fry. You and I are DONE.
anyone who ignorantly and proudly writes people off because of their core beliefs is a bigot.
Can you quote me a bible verse to back that up?
Otherwise, I can't take you seriously, preacher.
> 37. Can you quote me a bible verse to back that up?
'But Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go."' - Exodus 5:2 NASB.
34: Meta-statements don't have to follow the same rules as statements.
The distinction isn't nearly as easy to make as you make it sound, or else Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Gödel would have all needed to find new jobs.
Not sure how that is relevant since I violently disagree with the Pharaoh’s core value that holding people in slavery is perfectly acceptable to the gods and thus utterly justifiable (especially non-Egyptian peoples).
Not sure how violently disagreeing with the Pharaoh and not being interested in listening to his side of this debate makes me a bigot. If so, then I am also bigoted against Nazis. Not sure any of that is evidence that I am a bad person.
Overlooking the slavery issue the main problem with Pharaoh vs. the Hebrews was they each had different gods. Not sure if either side ever considered for a moment that the other guy’s god/gods might very well be real and his possibly were imaginary. Would you classify that attitude as bigotry? Then many religious people are bigots. Was that your point? LOL.
BTW, if you are going to answer for AS, how about providing a bible verse from the NEW TESTAMENT that pertains to the insinuated accusation directed at me. Can you do that or are you strictly an OT kind of guy? LOL.
In any case, self-referencing logic is many times illogic, would you agree?
That may be true, but the assertion I was responding to was that demarcation rules like "no statement that isn't falsifiable is meaningful" should be subject to the inquiry, "but is that statement falsifiable"? Obviously, "meaningful" has a particular sense that is not applicable to demarcation statements - any demarcation statement. Demarcation statements are never falsifiable or true or false - they are prudent conventions.
>35 "You and I are DONE."
Thank God. :)
"I've decided I have bigger fish to fry."
Your crusade against religion, I assume? Good luck with that!
Sure, "block" me. It's almost an honour, like being on Nixon's "enemies list". A sure sign I'm doing something right.
Welcome, brother. Unfortunately, me and thee will still have to put up with these "Pope Buggers Mules" threads with no content and loads of raving. But I guess we all have our obsessions.
>42: Dithering about the logical properties of demarcation rules still begs the question. How do we know that "no statement that isn't falsifiable is meaningful", or, to restate it in terms that are slightly less ambiguous (because of the negatives): "If a statement is not falsifiable, then it is not meaningful." (Though another logical questions rears its head: is this an if-and-only-if implication, or only an if-then implication?)
JGL has not provided any reason why we should accept his demarcation rule. After all, I can make the statement "I am angry" right now. Is that statement falsifiable? In other words, do you have at your disposal any objective means by which to disprove my statement?
Assuming that you agree that my statement is not falsifiable, then the implication is that it has no meaning. However "logical" that implication may be, it is, practically speaking, absurd.
In other words, statements of subjective emotion are rarely falsifiable and yet most often meaningful.
I have no idea what jgl is talking about (as he is on my block list), but I still stand by my original statement. The speaker at the rally is a bigot, and should be treated as such. No amount of philosophical meandering will change that.
> 46. The speaker at the rally is a bigot, and should be treated as such.
How should a bigot be treated?
On Maddow's show last night - Rev. Gaddy: Santorum tactic 'a prostitution of the church'
Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, a Baptist pastor also in Louisiana responding to Terry's comments and Santorum's apparent endorsement of these views. This is how most Christians see Terry and his ilk. Maddow interviews Gaddy about 2 minutes into this clip, after showing the Terry clip - here >> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/46829903#46829903
Yes, right. The claim that I sneezed yesterday at noon is a non-falsifiable claim. So are an infinite number of other non-serious or unimportant claims.
But I am talking about SERIOUS claims - all-encompassing claims - that are true for everyone or are not true for everyone.
The Big Bang is in theory falsifiable. So is biological evolution - Darwinian or otherwise - as is a four billion plus year old earth. These are serious claims. They are true for all of us or none of us.
The alleged miracles in the holy scriptures of any world religion - serious claims? Well, yes. Any of which, individually considered, is true for all of us or none of us? Yes. Falsifiable? No.
Do you grok now? Is my EXACT viewpoint of this subject crystal clear now? I sure hope so because I am totally uninterested in a fifteen post exchange on the nuances of this idea that in the end will get us nowhere.
As my final and closing comment on this - name me a religious claim that is falsifiable - at least in theory. You can't. Name me a scientific claim that is utterly non-falsifiable - at least in theory. You can't. (Even on the multi-universe theory there are certain indicators scientists are now looking for to verify or refute it - to a scientific degree).
Science = evidence-based. Always subject to refutation by new evidence.
Religion = just because someone SAYS SO.
Have a nice day.
From Google: "Dr. C. Welton Gaddy leads the national non-partisan grassroots and educational organization Interfaith Alliance..."
In listening to him he strikes me as a liberal religionist. Probably doesn't even believe in hell. Seems like a nice guy.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Anyone who opposes theocracy is my friend - in one very important degree, at least.
Gaddy lives in Monroe, LA which is only about an hour and a half away. Nice to know there is a liberal preacher in Monroe. I would have guessed not.
49: "A religious claim that is falsifiable - at least in theory":
When you die, you will go either to Hell or to Heaven (possibly with a pitstop in purgatory). This claim is falsifiable: after all, when you die, you will find if it is true or not. In other words, there are certain experimental conditions under which that claim can be proved or disproved--death.
Rev. Terry is a professional pastor. In other words, that's how he makes his money. If he didn't make a good living, he wouldn't be saying this stuff.
Rev. Gaddy is a professional pastor. In other words, that's how he makes his money. If he didn't make a good living, he wouldn't be saying this stuff.
Pope Benedict is a professional pastor. In other words, that's how he makes his money. If he didn't make a good living, he wouldn't be saying this stuff.
I disagree with your logic. It is rather other-worldly - which, ironically, makes it non-falsifiable. LOL.
When "I" die, where I might possibly "go", if anywhere, is beyond the possibility of being falsified - to those left behind.
1. If "I" am non-existent, then I will not know that, since I need to exist to know something. In any case no other - still LIVING -human can know that.
2. If "I" still exist somewhere, then the idea of mortality is falsified - for me, the immortal spirit that is beyond all earthly observation - unless you believe in visitation by spirits or ghosts, which I don't. So for you and the other 7 billion humans still alive on earth, my ultimate fate is not known to you.
3. IOW, I was speaking of claims made by humans to other humans - obviously in this realm of existence - where a claim can be seen to be evidence-based, and thus refutable in principle - or not. What may or may not be beyond our empirical reality is not, by definition, part of the discussion. And, again, is non-falsifiable by definition. LOL.
That's rather cynical.
You suspect, e.g., that the Rev. Gaddy isn't sincere? You suspect that if he lost his cushiony job and had to go out and work for a living, he might then reveal his true beliefs at that point, because then he would have absolutely nothing to lose?
Well, that's rather cynical.
Oh, wait - I already said that, didn't I?
I didn't say that the position that "no statement that isn't falsifiable is meaningful" was my position. I was just pointing out that, LIKE EVERY OTHER DEMARCATION RULE, this one is neither true nor false, but simply a convention.
In my book (and in the book of the guy who thought up "falsification") that doesn't make demarcation rules meaningless, it just means that they are not subject to the same true/false construction criteria as statements that purport to be empirical. As you may note, that was the original point I was making: statements and meta-statements aren't subject to the same rules.
If we found a sarcophagus labelled "Here lies Jesus son of Joseph and Mary," with bones in it, wouldn't that go a long way toward falsifying the Resurrection?
Of course, there was only one Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, in Second Temple times. But, of course, that couldn't be Jesus of Nazareth, since he was the son of The Holy Spirit and Mary.
#56 Possibly, but Mariam, Joseph and Jesus were pretty common names back then.
statements and meta-statements aren't subject to the same rules
It that a statement or a meta-statement or perhaps a meta-meta-statment? Is it subject to the same rules? Is it falsifiable? Is it meaningless? The paying public need to know.
You claim to believe many concepts, in #31 in #49. You insist that for us to take any concept seriously it must meet the following conditions
i) that it should be true for everyone or should not be true for everyone and
ii) that it should be falsifiable.
What is not clear to anyone is the status, with regard to these conditions, of the concepts you claim to believe. You have failed to make the case why anyone should take your beliefs seriously.
BTW, the world has long ago moved on from theories of knowledge based on "falsifiablity". Their many issues have been well worked over. This isn't a bad place to start if you would like to be a bit more up to date.
I know plenty of professional pastors (and other religious) who don't make a "good living", at least from the financial standpoint. But they do live good lives. Making money is not their goal, or even one of their goals.
>62 Ditto. I would add that many of the ones I know (and work with on a daily basis) have risked and still continue to risk their lives, health and sanity (and in a number of cases have been killed, abducted, imprisoned and tortured) to continue serving their people during war and suffering. The hypocritical pastors exist and are very visible, but I don't believe they represent the majority of humble men and women in religious ministry.
Edited to add: This would appear to be the other side of the coin:
World's largest Christian TV channel 'funds owners' exorbitant lifestyle' (Guardian)
"It that a statement or a meta-statement or perhaps a meta-meta-statment? Is it subject to the same rules? Is it falsifiable? Is it meaningless? The paying public need to know."
Actually, it is a meta-meta statement (a statement about meta-statements).
It is not subject to the same rules as an empirical statement.
It is not falsifiable.
It is not meaningless (as I've said a couple of times now, falsifiability and meaningfulness are not the same thing, despite some people's nonreading of Popper).
So, when can expect your check in the mail?
So #64 must be a meta-meta-meta-statement and this post a meta-meta-meta-meta-statement. Oh the humanity! When will it ever end.
No. I was never very impressed by this meta-statement cop out. It leaves the question open -- your meta-statement may be meaningful but under what conditions? It doesn't get us any further forward.
56: No. Jesus (or Yeshua) was a fairly common name in that time period, as were Mary and Joseph. Finding a sarcophagus with that label wouldn't prove anything at all.
Yes indeed. But in general terms there is no empircal fact or set of facts that could disprove a "miracle" believed in by billions based on "faith" , i.e., believing something to be so because one wishes it to be so.
1. Science = verifiable or refutable, based on empirical and repeatable experiment or observation, i.e., not just subjective assertion.
2. Religion = the opposite of 1.
Why on earth do you continue to peddle the plain nonsense that religion is the opposite of science? Oh, I remember now. It's because science is your religion. A philosophy with no content and no warrant that we can all justifiably ignore.
Religion as the opposite of science? That is rich! And not very scientific.
I am assuming that jgl asked something about post 69.
According to Aristotle there are two kinds of opposites; opposites of relations, such as light and dark, good and evil, etc. One basically requires the other, and religion does not require science to exist, nor does science require religion.
The other type are opposites of contraries. White, for instance, being the presence of all colors, and black being the absence. I suppose in jgl's limited world science is the presence of reason and logic and religion is the absence of reason and logic. But in fact the absence of reason and logic would look more like chaos than say, the theology of Thomas. Even the fundamentalist uses a form of reason. It is the premises that most people would disagree with.
To say they are in opposition (as in a fight) is one thing. To say they are opposites is just ridiculous.
Where, exactly, would you like to "get". There is a difference between statements about "things in the world" and statements about linguistic usage that goes back to Hume (at least).
It is one thing to say that you think that the distinction is gray at the margins. Most distinctions are gray at the margins. It is another entirely to claim that such a distinction doesn't make any sense.
The latter claim simply displays ignorance about elementary "modern Philosophy."
Maybe I am wrong, but I have always thought of language as a "thing in the world" too. Sure, I agree that we have to be particularly careful analyzing language using language, just a we have to be careful about thinking about thought; you can't peek behind the curtain and find out what's really going on. But it is sometimes fun to ride the carousel around a few times for the dizzying experience.
It is ridiculous to say that science and religion are opposites. It is almost as ridiculous to say that they are in opposition. It would certainly be true to say that some people in some religious communities take issue with some aspects of science, but it is equally true to say that some people in the scientific community take issue with some aspects of science. Some non-scientists disagree with some scientists. Some scientists disagree with some scientists. Scientists disagree all the time. So what?
I apologize to you for using the word "opposites" without being more precise and including more detail as to what consideration I was actually addressing.
I meant "opposites" in terms of raison d'être - the main or defining reason for which they each came into being.
Science as a way of knowing - the scientific method - is a way to understand better and better the world of the five senses - or any other senses that are empirically discovered. The goal is to be as objective as humanly possible. Obviously as science is done by humans, they will many times sin and fall short of the glory of perfect objectivity (to borrow and paraphrase a religious phrase). But science, because of its never-ending dedication to objective fact, is inherently self-correcting. And it does not address the unknown and possible unknowable, except to admit the uses of science are obviously limited in scope, simply because it is an operation of humans, defined as limited and fallible entities. Of course, if some humans are personal gods, then all bets are off, but that doesn't seem to be the case. LOL.
Religion (revealed so-called supernatural or possibly dualistic religion) is the opposite of the above in terms of motivation, reason for existing. Do I need go into a long explanation of why religion was created by humans, preacher? Well, you are a preacher. I assume you have all that covered already.
Are we clear now?
>76 One of the reasons religion was created was to try to discover who we are, why we are, how we should live, etc. In a pre-scientific world, it naturally trespassed on what we now know as science, and tried to explain how we came to be. Religion is now generally happy to let the "how" be handled by science and to concentrate on the "who" and "why", which still has implications for how we live our lives.
That's not to say that all religionists have caught up with that ideal. There are many towards the fundamentalist end of the spectrum who still want religion to explain what should properly be explained by science. But they represent a particular manifestation of religion, not religion per se.
"But in fact the absence of reason and logic would look more like chaos than say, the theology of Thomas."
The "logic" of Thomas is a lot more like chaos than anything else. Thomas' "reasoning" is so riddled with idiocy that it is surprising anyone ever took it seriously.
I can see how you would disagree with Thomas's premises. Where do you see the flaws in his logic and reasoning? Not premises, but reasoning.
79: The more salient question would be where aren't there flaws in his reasoning? Every step he takes in his "reasoning" is an unjustified leap of logic.
For example, take his "first way", which is summarized as:
1. Some things are moved.
2. Everything that is moving is moved by a mover.
3. An infinite regress of movers is impossible.
4. Therefore, there is an unmoved mover from whom all motion proceeds.
5. This mover is what we call God.
Step two is an unjustified leap of logic: there is no way to know if everything that is moving is moved by a mover. Step three is also an unjustified leap of logic: there is no way to know if an infinite regress of movers is impossible - the furthest back we can get in a series is the Big Bang, and no information can be passed through that point, so there could very well be an infinite regress before that (to the extent that there can be a regress when time ceases to have meaning). Because steps two and three are unjustified leaps of logic, step four is worthless, as is step five.
Aquinas' "logic" is riddled with leaps with no supportable basis. His other four "ways" are similarly packed full of flawed logic. It is simply worthless bullshit.
there is no way to know if an infinite regress of movers is impossible
So you are open to the fact that there can be turtles, all the way down?
I think it is your logic that is faulty here, although I don't defend the whole integrity of the argument. You might want to revist step one before you talk about leaps of logic, and you will see the hole in your own reasoning.
Again, you can disagree with the premise, and even the scope of the argument. You can disagree with the whole thrust of Thomas's theology (as many do) but your facile dismissal of Thomas reeks of simplistic bias, not rigorous reason.
> 79, 82
The Prime Mover doesn't have to conform to any human's idea of a personal god. It could be an X, with no consciousness, mind, will, intention, or any attribute like any of that.
Go tell Aquinas to suck on that enchilada, AS.
Oh, wait, Aquinas is dead. Been dead for 738 years. Lived back in the time before the discovery of atoms, bacteria, a 4.5 billion-year-old earth, a universe of 40 septillion stars, quantum mechanics, relativity, black matter and energy, etc., etc. etc.
Is there any real evidence that Aquinas had access to sufficient information about reality to have produced what we might view as a learned opinion - one that should impress any modern day educated and thinking person? I would have to say no.
Ps, here is the argument as a whole:
It is certain, and evident to our sense, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is moved is moved by another, for nothing can be moved except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is moved; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be moved from a state of potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality... it is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is moved must be moved by another. If that by which it is moved must itself be moved, then this also needs to be moved by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and consequently, no other mover, seeing as subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are moved by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is moved by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at the first mover, moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
I think you will see his argument is a) a bit more detailed than your synopsis, and b) this is not so much a "proof" of the existence of God as much as it is an explanation of the work of God, which as your read on the First Part, you will see is where he goes with this. And third, you can accept the previous two assertions of mine about Thomas's theology without necessarily accepting that Thomas is totally correct, especially given what we have learned about motion since Newton--Do I have to remind you that Thomas wrote a few centuries BEFORE Newton, and therefore could not have known about Newtonian physics?
But then, when all you want is simple dismissal, the facts don't matter much.
"So you are open to the fact that there can be turtles, all the way down?"
Given that there is no way to know what happened "before" the Big Bang, how do you know it is not possible? Given that time loses meaning when we get close to the Big Bang, "regress" may not even have meaning (how does 'regress" mean anything if there is no time). It isn't necessarily true that there is infinite regress (although there could be, since we don't know what takes place prior to the Planck time), but the entire concept of regress may mean nothing at the margins.
Yes, Aquinas was operating before we discovered what we now know about physics, but that is why his "logic" is wrong. He made logical leaps without any justification and subsequent learning has shown that his logical leaps were not merely unjustified, but flat out wrong. He doesn't get points for "logic" for making logical leaps that have proven to be wrong.
"You can disagree with the whole thrust of Thomas's theology (as many do) but your facile dismissal of Thomas reeks of simplistic bias, not rigorous reason."
Thomas' theology doesn't deserve more than dismissal. Every step in each of his ways, even when you expand them out into the additional verbiage, is built on unjustified leaps of "logic" that amount to nothing more than nonsense.
"Maybe I am wrong, but I have always thought of language as a "thing in the world" too."
You are wrong. Language is what we use to refer to things in the world. Metalanguage is what we use to refer to language.
Language is a system of symbols. The symbols are used to communicate certain meanings between human minds. There are rules for combining these symbols so that the communications are coherent. The rules are not a part of the system of symbols, but are a part of a meta-system. Neither the language nor the meta-system are a part of the things being referred to by the system.
"Dick saw Jane. Jane saw Dick. Dick and Jane ran up the hill." Dick, Jan and the hill are not in that sentence, nor is the act of running up the hill. Only the symbols referring to them are in that sentence. (See my first example about two dozen posts ago.)
You know, rrp, if you are going to discuss certain topics, it helps to have at least some grounding in that topic.
Well duh, I know one definition of language is a system of symbols. What I wanted to know was why you think that system of symbols we call language is not a thing in the world. Specifically is it no thing, not in the world or neither.
I am still waiting for you to point out the sheer excess of logical leaps he made. You gave one example, based on your interpretation of his premises, and you didn't even read your own premises rightly.
90: No, it is not an interpretation of his premises. Let's break down the full text:
It is certain, and evident to our sense, that in the world some things are in motion.
Okay. Here is a premise. I don't think anyone disagrees with this unless you believe in the non-moving arrow.
Now whatever is moved is moved by another, for nothing can be moved except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is moved; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act.
This is a logical leap with no basis. Whatever is moved may be moved by something else, but there is no basis for saying that in all cases all things are moved by something else.
For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality.
This is almost meaningless, simply saying "motion is motion".
But nothing can be moved from a state of potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality...
Logical leap. He has no basis for asserting that nothing can be moved except by something else.
it is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved i.e. that it should move itself.
This statement, based upon unjustified previous logical leaps, has no basis and is itself an unjustified logical leap.
Therefore, whatever is moved must be moved by another. If that by which it is moved must itself be moved, then this also needs to be moved by another, and that by another again.
Once again, there is no justification for this other than unjustified logical leaps.
But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and consequently, no other mover, seeing as subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are moved by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is moved by the hand.
Nothing in this sentence is anything but unjustified logical leaps.
But this cannot go on to infinity... - There is no basis for saying "cannot".
...because then there would be no first mover... - So what? Reality is not obliged to work the way you want it to.
...and consequently no other mover... - An unjustified statement, since he has not demonstrated that motion only follows from other motion.
Therefore it is necessary to arrive at the first mover, moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
The entire "first mover" argument is riddled with unjustified logical leaps. It is nothing more than nonsense.
Even if there is a "first mover", jumping to "this is God" is an unjustified logical leap as well. Even if you could somehow justify everything else, the "first mover" could be nothing more than an energy fluctuation or something similar.
Aquinas has been nothing more than bullshit since the day he wrote it down.
>90: JGL won't give you a satisfactory answer, Arctic, because he's already told you his opinion of Thomas as a human being and as a thinker: every word Thomas wrote involved the sacrifice of reality to the delusion that there's this thing called God whose love created and sustains us. Such a crime against all decent thought and logic is so inexcusable, in JGL's eyes, that it's not worth his effort to do more than "simply dismiss" Thomas as ineffectual and naive at best and more likely dangerously deluded by "God".
Do I have that right, JGL?
>91: "Whatever is moved may be moved by something else, but there is no basis for saying that in all cases all things are moved by something else."
Can you explain this? Why is there no basis for making this conclusion? Can you give any experimental data to show that there exists something which goes from a state of non-motion to a state of motion without the addition of some outside force?
Or are you saying that Newton's First Law of Motion has no logical basis? Since isn't Newton's First Law of Motion simply a more precise statement of what Thomas is saying here? Namely, that any object in a uniform state of motion (or, by extension, non-motion; after all, we we commonly perceive as "non-motion" is, in fact, still some type of motion, at least in relation to some other frame of reference, i.e. any object that is "sitting" on my desk is still moving around the center of the earth at a certain velocity and also in relation to the Sun at a certain other velocity, etc.) remains in that state unless an external force is applied to it.
I think it is StormRaven and Arctic-Stranger who are having the major debate about Aquinas. In fact, they seem to be on a first-name basis with him, so I leave straightening out that ball of slimy snakes to them and to you.
SR seems to be making his case here, and AS seems to be flailing about like a drowning man searching for a lifeline, but what do I know? Apparently I am prejudiced against 13th century scholasticism.
Sitting in an arm chair and just reasoning it all out through sheer brain power is the philosopher's forte. I can appreciate that. X makes the best argument, in my judgment, than does his opponent Y, so I will go with X. OK, then.
But at the final trump science trumps philosophy. If science demonstrates A to be true to a scientific certainly, and all the philosophers in the world say, no, B is the truth, then I'm the kind of guy who at that point would tell all the philosophers in the world to get an effing life and quite bothering the rest of us. LOL.
BTW, Mr. nathanielcampbell, if you wish to argue specifically with me on this thread about anything whatsoever, then please answer my questions directed to you at my post #13, which was in response to your post #11. Do you not have answers? Did I flummox you? Or did you inadvertently overlook that post?
>94: I apologize if I inadvertently claimed for you a position you were not, in fact, taking. I hope you can appreciate that, when various arguments intertwine in threads such as these, one can easily become disoriented as to who is speaking to whom about what. That also accounts for why I have not answered your question in post #13 -- I had not noticed that you were asking me such a question. My visits to Librarything are often sporadic, interrupted by the necessities of life.
To answer your questions, then, I think it would be easiest for me to point you to a post I just wrote this morning on another thread, attempting to clarify a misunderstanding between lawecon and eclecticdodo concerning the relationship between human sin, salvation, grace, and free will. You can read that here. Feel free to respond with questions, though it might be easier for all if we continued such a discussion at the other thread, where the topic seems more current, rather than cause confusion here by intertwining the logic of Thomas Aquinas with a discussion of soteriology.
P.S. As to the question of science vs. philosophy, as I pointed out in post 93, StormRaven seems to question the logic of parts of Aquinas' argument that are, logically speaking, identical to Newton's First Law of Motion. If Aquinas the philosopher offers the same argument about motion that Newton the physicist did, then the former's illogic must be shared by the latter, no?
Finally, as to those of us calling him "Thomas": Aquinas is actually a toponym (he hailed from the Italian town of Aquino). Just as when we discuss others whose names include toponyms, it can be considered good form to use the given name rather than toponym. Thus, when we speak of Eleanor of Aquitaine, we refer to her as "Eleanor", not "Aquitaine"; likewise, Hildegard of Bingen is shortened to "Hildegard", not "Bingen". So, calling him "Thomas" rather than "Aquinas" should not be construed as being "on a first-name-basis", but simply the application of a principle of address suited to a time in history when most people had given names but not surnames.
Learn something every day, but now I am officially bored with Thomas of Aquino.
As to your "answer" to my questions - it all seems to be meaningful to you, but not at all to me. So I don't think communication is possible. There is some sort of world you live in that I can't begin to grok. But you seem happy, so there is that.
Have a nice day.
StormRaven seems to question the logic of parts of Aquinas' argument that are, logically speaking, identical to Newton's First Law of Motion. If Aquinas the philosopher offers the same argument about motion that Newton the physicist did, then the former's illogic must be shared by the latter, no?
No, it doesn't. Newton was discussing observed properties. Aquinas purports to be discussing all properties everywhere.
Further, we now know that Newton was wrong. His laws of motion approximate reality, but don't describe it. They are "good enough" for common experience, but break down at the margins. That's why Aquinas' arguments are worthless: there is no reason to believe they hold true at the margins any more than there is reason to believe that Newton's laws hold true at the margins.
>97: Then I can paraphrase your conclusion in post 91 thus: "Newton has been nothing more than bullshit since the day he wrote it down."
Your distinction that Newton was an "observational" scientist while Thomas was some delusional hack is disingenuous. It is only the modern disintegration of human knowledge into ever more discrete and isolated realms that forces the observations of Newton and those of Thomas into two opposing boxes. It is only the hobbling of materialism that declares any non-material knowledge invalid.
It's true that most philosophers and theologians no longer trade in the unmoved mover argument, but only because its "logical flaws" are only flaws because we've so defined philosophical logic to exclude the unmoved mover argument. I no longer have the time or energy to mount grand defenses of truth that exists independent of the human ability to observe it materially. It's not worth my effort to offer painstaking explanations when you have already determined that any argument that reaches past your narrow and benighted materialism is automatically and irrevocably invalid.
Redefining the realm of valid argument to exclude anything others say is certainly one way to win arguments, but it's hardly the most persuasive.
I love the American education system. We can dismiss past thinkers based on current prejudices.
The past? Why learn? History, and historical philosophy is bunk.
We don't need no edukashun.
We can dismiss past thinkers based on current prejudices.
Yes. Relativity and quantum mechanics are no more than "current prejudices". Sure.
"Your distinction that Newton was an "observational" scientist while Thomas was some delusional hack is disingenuous."
The distinction is that Newton didn't try to expand his observations into an explanation for the origin of the universe. That's Aquinas' logical flaw: his "ways" rely upon those observations necessarily holding true at all times in all places, and there is no basis to support that contention.
Further, as an accurate description of the universe, Newton's laws of motion are useless. They give a rough approximation of the universe under some conditions at certain times, but they can't give a complete picture. If you were to try to reason out the larger structure of the universe, or its history, using Newtonian mechanics, you would come to erroneous conclusions because your reasoning model is flawed.
Relativity and quantum mechanics are no more than "current prejudices".
No, those are "science-fiction" and evolution is little more than "current prejudice."
Can you give any experimental data to show that there exists something which goes from a state of non-motion to a state of motion without the addition of some outside force?
Depending on what you'd want to call an "outside" force, nuclear decay comes pretty close to fitting the bill.
The nucleus can just sit there for up to a couple of billion years, until one day it fissions, and some of its constituent neutrons or electrons go zooming away. That seems to fit the spec.
And at the other end of the range of sizes, a star will run out of fuel and explode, entirely from internal causes - and the stellar material will suddenly be in motion.
So, yeah, it looks a lot like Thomas is over-generalizing from human-scaled phenomena, for him to claim that motion must be caused externally.
>103: Except that nuclear decay is a process that had to start at some point; likewise, the "internal causes" of stellar death are still causes that all began. "Exterior" does not necessarily mean physically exterior; it simply means that the effect has a cause which is itself not the effect. If Thomas had known of such phenomena--i.e. if Thomas had known what modern physics knows--he would have, as many modern observers have, pointed out that, even if the causes of nuclear decay and stellar death could all be traced back to the moment of the Big Bang, there had to be something to trigger that Big Bang. Now, StormRaven will declare that such a conclusions is "an unjustified logical leap", but that's only because the idea that there might be some supernatural cause for that trigger is anathema to him. So he has to argue that it's illogical; no supernatural explanation can ever count as logical to him.
But as for StormRaven's charge of "Illogical!" at anything he disagrees with, my conclusion above stands: redefining the realm of valid argument to exclude anything others say is certainly one way to win arguments, but it's hardly the most persuasive.
Imagine him forgetting his high school nuclear physics when he was appropriating Aristotle.
I guess I am responding so strongly because it hits one of my pet peeves--standing in one century and blithely calling the people behind you idiots. It belies an incredible arrogance and lack of historical development. I see it when I hear kids criticize classic rock, because it is not like Adele or Katy Perry, as if music history starts with them.
And I hear as people lambast thinkers from the past because, essentially, they are not playing by 20th century rules. Whether it is Plato, Kant, Aquinas or whoever, it is really ignorant to think that one has an edge on the some of the greater minds of the past.
Were all these dead guys right? of course not. Should they all be read today? Well, my bias is yes, but then I love to see where we are not set in perspective. Where most of the people in the Great Book series smarter than almost anyone who posts on this forum?
It's not just that they're "not playing by 20th century rules"; it's more that the world they describe isn't an accurate understanding of the world we now know.
It's not blaming them for being wrong so much as it is acknowledging that they're pretty much completely irrelevant.
Aquinas' logic is every bit as ridiculous as Lucretius' physics.
>107: And yet Thomistic metaphysics are alive and well today. See the works of W. Norris Clarke (d. 2008), especially Person and Being and The One and the Many. Thomas' conception of the physical universe may not be much used anymore--and quite correctly--but his metaphysics can be quite useful.
But here I go again, introducing a whole realm of knowledge--metaphysics!--whose existence StormRaven won't acknowledge.
Not to mention, where would we be if Thomas had not introduced Aristotle to the West.
From Wikipedia concerning Lucretius:
"..Lucretius identifies the supernatural with the notion that the gods/supernatural powers created our world or interfere with its operations in any way. He argues against fear of such gods by demonstrating through observations and argument that the operations of the world can be accounted for in terms of natural phenomena—the regular but purposeless motions and interactions of tiny atoms in empty space.
He argues against the fear of death by stating that death is the dissipation of a being's material mind. Lucretius uses the analogy of a vessel, stating that the physical body is the vessel that holds both the mind (mens) and spirit (anima) of a human being. Neither the mind nor spirit can survive independent of the body. Thus Lucretius states that once the vessel (the body) shatters (dies) its contents (mind and spirit) can no longer exist. So, as a simple ceasing-to-be, death can be neither good nor bad for this being. Being completely devoid of sensation and thought, a dead person cannot miss being alive. According to Lucretius, fear of death is a projection of terrors experienced in life, of pain that only a living (intact) mind can feel. Lucretius also puts forward the 'symmetry argument' against the fear of death. In it, he says that people who fear the prospect of eternal non-existence after death should think back to the eternity of non-existence before their birth, which they probably do not fear....."
So, here's a guy who lived over 2,000 years ago who did not have his head up his own ass. Ditto Democritus and Leucippus.
I recommend them as apparently effing geniuses, compared to Aquinas. LOL.
And yet Thomistic metaphysics are alive and well today.
We had a guy drop by "Pro and Con (Religion)" a while ago and try to push this line.
That discussion didn't go well.
>111: As far as I can tell from the discussion, it ran into the very same problem (stonewalling) from StormRaven that I have mentioned several times in this thread. He seems quite content to declare that any form of inquiry that doesn't fit neatly within the realm of material reality is, quite simply, absurd. (Never mind the fact that I could fill this post so full of the names of great thinkers in the history of the world, west and east, ancient and modern, who do acknowledge that there is some type of reality beyond the material, that you'd have to hit the continuation button because the page had become so long!)
In other words, StormRaven's preferred method of argumentation is to declare any realm of ideas he disagrees with as "absurd", "illogical", and outside the realm of proper inquiry. As I've said, redefining the realm of valid argument to exclude anything others say is certainly one way to win arguments, but it's hardly the most persuasive.
I wonder what StormRaven would do with Albert Einstein, considered by many the greatest scientific mind of the modern world: a man whose ideas revolutionized physics and (as StormRaven might point out) paved the way for a "definitive" break, so to speak, from the quaint world of those "bullshit" artists, Thomas Aquinas and Isaac Newton.
I wonder if StormRaven is aware of Einstein's famous praise of those whom he considered "spiritual geniuses", among them Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Francis of Assisi, and Gandhi. Such men, in Einstein's view, were “more necessary to the sustenance of global human dignity, security, and joy than the discoverers of objective knowledge.” This was not the benighted view of a fundamentalist; rather, as Einstein delved further into the intricacies of the physical world, he saw ever clearer the danger of losing touch with that which wasn't material in the human condition.
A few more quotes from Einstein from which StormRaven will have no choice but to conclude that he was an illogical fool:
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
Don't know about StormRaven or for that matter any other person, but I have no problem with Einstein whatsoever and I am an atheist.
Einstein believed in no personal god, nor did he believe in individual human immortality. Quite good enough for me.
People who are deist or pantheist don't bother me much. Their non-falsifiable beliefs seem rather benign to me. God love them, every one - especially Einstein who seemed a rather mild-mannered pantheist of some type.
Einstein many times used the words "religion" and "god" which has obviously confused a lot of theists. He had his own definition of such. Basically he equated "religion" strictly with good moral values and behavior. Under his definition I would be foursquare for religion, even though still remaining an atheist.
Einstein's "god" is so non-personal and ephemeral I hardly know if the idea is worth critiquing. Again, no harm no foul.
I know Einstein said some rather rude things about outspoken atheists (see last three below quotes), but it is obvious he was against atheistic dogmatism and atheistic intolerance, which is no more the sum of the attitude of atheism as religious dogmatism and intolerance is the sum of organized religion.
For all practical purposes Einstein was an atheist - as I define atheism in a quite minimalist way. So, then, that is good enough for me.
And if you enjoy Einstein quotes here's some more for you to luxuriate in:
The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954, The Human Side, Princeton University Press)
It is very difficult to elucidate this (cosmic religious) feeling to anyone who is entirely without it. . . The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it ... In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, p. 207)
The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.
What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of "humility." This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being. (Albert Einstein, 1936, The Human Side.)
A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. (Albert Einstein, "Religion and Science", New York Times Magazine, 11/9/1930)
I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. (He was speaking of Quantum Mechanics and the breaking down of determinism.) My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God. (Albert Einstein, The Human Side, Princeton University Press)
If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously. (Albert Einstein, Letter to Hoffman and Dukas, 1946)
The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action.
I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it. (Albert Einstein, The Human Side)
I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.
What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos. (Albert Einstein to Joseph Lewis, Apr. 18, 1953)
Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source . . . They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, p. 214)
>114: I hardly ever have the opportunity to say this in these fora, so I will take this moment to express my appreciation for what you (JGL) have to say here. When we can all get off our soapboxes (and lest I be charged with hypocrisy, I freely admit that my last few posts have been from atop the soapbox, with rather more mockery than charity toward StormRaven) and appreciate the good things people do and say, we all end up rather happier, I think. We'd all be better people if we acted with more benignity and less intolerance.
And what we see here is a distinction in the approaches that you (JGL) and StormRaven sometimes take. You (JGL) express here an appreciation for the good things that can come of recognizing something that goes deeper than material reality; for it is that something that serves to bind us together as a community of humans, strengthening ties of communal service and friendship rather than setting us against each other. (There's an interesting opinion piece over at TIME magazine this week on the evolutionary adaptive advantages of spiritual practices: http://ideas.time.com/2012/03/27/have-we-evolved-to-be-religious/)
The problem is that StormRaven seems to want to force us away from even recognizing that. There is no reality beyond the material for StormRaven, and that diminishes his ability to see the profound interconnectedness that comes from spiritual insight.
>114 he was against atheistic dogmatism and atheistic intolerance, which is no more the sum of the attitude of atheism as religious dogmatism and intolerance is the sum of organized religion
So why so much hostility on LT towards organised religion per se? Criticise the dogmatism and intolerance and you'll find many of the religious posters agreeing with you; indeed many of them are already working against those unsavoury tendencies within their own churches. But why treat dogmatism and intolerance as if they are "the sum of organised religion" with one hand whilst agreeing with Einstein that they're not with the other hand?
Thanks for your kind comments.
I have read many hundreds of books on what we might call eastern thought or non-dualism which surely warped my brain into recognizing the reality of "no harm, no foul" disagreements, which are thus trivial disagreements.
E.g., I suffer no particular offense against the word "spiritual" in some of its many uses. After all it is just a word.
In fact there is actually a book entitled "The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality". It is not the most profound book I've ever read but the author puts forth some engaging thoughts and I could recommend it to anyone. Probably VERY liberal religionists would like it and dogmatic materialists would hate it, even though the author is a professed atheist. Go figure.
And there is the book "Elements of Pantheism", which I interpreted as making the case that pantheism/atheism are two perspectives on the same ontological concept - Ultimate Unity.
In case anyone is interested:
I thought 114 was very interesting too. Much of it rings with my own position, which I am reluctant to call either "theist" (too many assumptions about anthropomorphic religious dogma) or "atheist" (too any assumptions about naturalism-materialism). I think I am a post-Christian.
johnthefireman at #116: So why so much hostility on LT towards organised religion per se?
That sounds like it's worth a thread of its own, maybe over on "Pro and Con (Religion)".
> 119. That sounds like it's worth a thread of its own, maybe over on "Pro and Con (Religion)".
Then again, maybe not. Over on "Pro & Con (Religion)", you're likely to get called a "retard" and a "moron", and being told that whatever I say is "worthless bullshit."
I get enough of that kind of commentary at home.
Wow, Arctic, that was a little drastic, don'tcha think?
(I mean, you can even do that?)
I can and I did. It was basically becoming a place where people spouted biases and prejudices, interspersed only occasionally by thoughtful comments.
It's not just that they're "not playing by 20th century rules"; it's more that the world they describe isn't an accurate understanding of the world we now know.
It is also that the world they described required them to make leaps of logic not justified by the things they did know.
"Not to mention, where would we be if Thomas had not introduced Aristotle to the West."
I don't know. The same place we would be now since several Western writers prior to Aquinas were influenced by Aristotle? Better off maybe, since we might not have bad Christian apologetics attached to Aristotle's work.
"It was basically becoming a place where people spouted biases and prejudices, interspersed only occasionally by thoughtful comments."
Oh. So it was a place where people expressed the pros and cons of religion? Who would have thought that would happen?
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.