Home » Philosophy, Science, worldview issues and society, Video » VIDEO: The Feb 1, 2013 Craig- Rosenberg debate: “Is Faith in God Reasonable?”

VIDEO: The Feb 1, 2013 Craig- Rosenberg debate: “Is Faith in God Reasonable?”

Thanks to Bornagain 77′s diligence, we are able to bring to UD’s readership, this important debate on the reasonableness (or otherwise) of theistic faith in an era dominated by Science, with Scientism an influential worldview rooted in the prestige of science:

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(NB: The debate proper begins at 4 10 mins 27 48 seconds in, with the moderator’s introduction.)

Let us watch, let us reflect, let us discuss. END

PS: I have also put up the Dawkins-Williams Jan 31st 2013 debate here. (HT: SG.)

PPS: I think it worthwhile to add this David Wood video on the argument from reason:

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202 Responses to VIDEO: The Feb 1, 2013 Craig- Rosenberg debate: “Is Faith in God Reasonable?”

  1. 1

    William Lane Craig is a great debater against atheists . He really takes them to town . My favourite debate of his is the one against the odious Hitchens who is now having the taste of Hell in his grave that he deservedly has coming.

  2. 2

    No wonder the dyed in wool secular establishment mascot Dawkins stays way clear of him.

  3. JM: Please, tone. KF

  4. 4

    KF: Please if you don’t don’t tell me what to do because although you are very good at articulating the case for Intelligent Design which is the right and noble thing to do you have revealed yourself to be one among the 40-50 million blind and deluded Christian Zionist Islamaphobes of America.

    Your ignorant or rather convenient misconception of Islam and Muslims has proven your malice and envy so can you do me a favour and quit addressing me because quite frankly u disgust me?
    _________
    JM, you have here AGAIN resorted to personal attack. This shows a major problem of attitude on your part, and a failure to do homework. I am not an American, and am not in America. I have done my own research and have formed my views on Islam in light of history and other relevant evidence. I make no apologies for seriously objecting to the global ambitions of IslamISM, which I distinguish from the views and behaviour of ordinary people who happen to be Muslim. I also can show on serious history that there are serious sins of the Islamic civilisation across history that have never been adequately faced and resolved. Going beyond that, as I have shown in outline, I have specific reasons to object to the theology and claims of Islam, including claims made about my own faith that are grossly inaccurate and tend to have dangerous consequences, as 1400 years of history has shown, per Jihads and Dhimmitude, with for instance the current plight of the Coptic Christians of Egypt — cf. current case here — and the Christians and Animists of Sudan, the Buddhists etc of Thailand, and the Christians of Nigeria etc in witness, not to mention Jews everywhere. That, FYI, is my right in light of responsible scholarship. It is not a reflection of base motivation but of responsible conviction and action on the right of fair and responsible comment; in defence of my civilisation and faith. That you cannot seem to process the reasons for differences and concerns but reduce such to accusations of fraud, lying and envy etc — which you should recall is the reason why I intervened in response to your earlier behaviour towards PJ and others — speaks volumes and you need to pay close attention here, to see if this can help you correct serious problems with how you are thinking and operating. KF

  5. 5

    And your envy is evident due to the fact that although Muslims believe and love Jesus and are eagerly awaiting his return you from a religious point of view still side with the Jews against Muslims even though Christians know they rejected , insult Jesus and his mother Mary in the Talmud , betrayed him and according to you killed him on the cross by which per Old Testament they believe him to be cursed.

    Your problem is that Islam being the Final revealed religion of God exposes and refuted the Man made distorted Paulinian Church version of Jesus’s message and is telling to stop worshipping Jesus and believing that he was crucified for your sins and you can’t take this .

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Kantian Naturalist

    I listened for about an hour before I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

  8. I listened for about an hour before I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

    It’s not too bad if you’re coming from Craig’s pov. :)

    In his opening he sets out 8 reasons belief in God is reasonable.

    In his first response he sets out 8 reasons why metaphysical naturalism is absurd.

    I thought he stated his position cogently.

  9. 9
    Kantian Naturalist

    I don’t understand why a belief in a transcendent Creator is supposed to be a better solution to the fine-tuning problem than belief in a multiverse is. Not that I really care one way or the other.

  10. @KF With regard to mr. Christopher Hitchens JoeMorreale1187 is just being a decent muslim.

    Q98:6 “The unbelievers among the people of the book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures. (98.6)”

  11. 11

    The Multiverse theory which is nothing more than speculation and wishful thinking on the part of atheists / materialists in a desperate attempt to GIVE CHANCE A CHANCE!

    And the answer remains the same which is NO CHANCE!

  12. KN @9:

    1. Because a multiverse that spins out universes that give rise to life would itself have to be fine-tuned.

    2. The multiverse is not itself eternal and needs an explanation.

  13. Can anyone well-informed in chemistry explain Rosenberg’s claim about the carbon atoms, which he used to show that the big bang was fortuitous.

  14. @13

    Actually his claim was bizarre. All life as we know it is carbon based. He asserted that any of a number of other chemicals would have sufficed. Pure bluff.

  15. 15
    Kantian Naturalist

    Mung @ 12:

    1. Because a multiverse that spins out universes that give rise to life would itself have to be fine-tuned.

    2. The multiverse is not itself eternal and needs an explanation.

    I don’t see why the multiverse would have to be either fine-tuned or contingent. It could just be an “eternal” quantum foam that produces infinitely many universes, one of which just happens to have the physical constants and laws that ours has. The question could arise, “but why is the multiverse the way it is?”, but I just shrug my shoulders at that one. Not everything has an explanation. There could be just be ‘brute facts’.

    In re: roundsquare @ 13

    I stopped about an hour in, so I didn’t hear anything about carbon atoms, but there was a bit about the radioactive decay of uranium. It was unclear, but here’s where I think Rosenberg was going.

    There’s no explanation for why some particular uranium atom emits this particular alpha particle at this particular moment. It’s just a brute fact that it did — a fact with no explanation. Notice: there is an explanation as to why uranium atoms in general emit alpha particles, but not about why, some particular uranium atom, an explanation as to why it does or doesn’t at any particular moment.

    Likewise, so the argument might go, the existence of the universe as a whole could be a brute fact — the sort of thing that just doesn’t have an explanation.

  16. KN, it must have been further in then, but he did make an appeal to the possibility of non carbon-based life.

  17. 17
    Kantian Naturalist

    He only mentioned silicon and germanium, right below carbon in the periodic table. The mistake he made there was this: he suggested that if the physical constants were different, there could have been silicon-based life. But if the basic physical constants were different, we simply have no idea what elements would have been possible. A difference in the physical constants could produce (for all I know) an entirely different periodic table, and who knows whether life could be made out of those unknown elements?

    In fact, although silicon has similar properties to carbon, it’s much heavier, and that makes it harder to assemble into molecules that can react easily with hydrogen and oxygen. But life, as we know it, involves not just a nice convenient carbon matrix, able to form four nice stable bonds, but also it has to be able to dissolve in water. The nice thing about water is that it has a very slight electrical current, and that allows it to do all sorts of interesting things.

    Even if Varela and Prigogine and Kaufman are all correct, and we’re able to come up with a purely formal specification of what it is for something be alive, I really don’t see any way of instantiating that formal specification, under the laws of physics that we have in this universe, without using a lot of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. My guess is that all the life out there in this universe is going to use those elements, and whether there is life in other universes is completely unknowable.

  18. It all boils down to a choice:

    The personal God of Christianity who offers hope, love and salvation

    or

    the god of BUC (blind unguided chance)- offering nothing.

    For most the choice is an obvious one.

  19. 19
    Kantian Naturalist

    It all boils down to a choice:

    The personal God of Christianity who offers hope, love and salvation

    or

    the god of BUC (blind unguided chance)- offering nothing.

    For most the choice is an obvious one.

    “Christianity” and “atheism” are not the only options, obviously.

    That being said, I agree that it does come down to a choice — and that there is nothing irrational or unreasonable about choosing a life in which all the hope, love, and forgiveness that there is, is to be found in relationships with other people and with oneself.

  20. I would like to draw attention to this ‘new’ argument that Dr. Craig made in the debate:

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/9826382

    The Applicability of Mathematics
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....athematics

    This applicability is much more mysterious than Dr. Craig let on in that short snippet:

    To give some background, an atheist claimed, in response to my observation that mathematics must ultimately be based in God, that:

    “maths just is”

    Well, contrary to this commonly held belief that ‘maths just is’, the belief that ‘maths just is’ is now demonstrably false. First to be noted, and as Dr. Craig has pointed out in the video, there is a profound epistemological mystery as to why our minds should even be able to grasp and understand reality through the enterprise of mathematics in the first place:

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer – video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way.. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”
    Albert Einstein – Goldman – Letters to Solovine p 131.

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Second, in the last century, Godel showed mathematics to be ‘incomplete’:

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8462821

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) proved that no logical systems (if they include the counting numbers) can have all three of the following properties.
    1. Validity . . . all conclusions are reached by valid reasoning.
    2. Consistency . . . no conclusions contradict any other conclusions.
    3. Completeness . . . all statements made in the system are either true or false.
    The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He summed it up this way: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.
    Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous. It was shocking, though, that logic could prove that mathematics could not be its own ultimate foundation.
    Christians should not have been surprised. The first two conditions are true about math: it is valid and consistent. But only God fulfills the third condition. Only He is complete and therefore self-dependent (autonomous). God alone is “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28), “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). God is the ultimate authority (Hebrews 6:13), and in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
    http://www.answersingenesis.or...../equation#

    In other words, the truthfulness of any given mathematical equation is not found within the equation itself, but the truthfulness of any given mathematical equation, and indeed of all of math, must be derived from a source outside of the equation(s). Moreover, being that mathematical equations are completely transcendent of any space-time constraints, (i.e. mathematical equations are always true no matter what part of the universe you are in, and they are true regardless of whatever year it happens to be in the universe), then this outside source (cause) that guarantees the truthfulness of any mathematical equation must also be transcendent of any space-time constraints.

    Also of note, Godel’s incompleteness theorem is hardly the only line of argumentation in this line of thought:

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt: A critic might reasonably question the arguments for a divine first cause of the cosmos. But to ask “What caused God?” misses the whole reason classical philosophers thought his existence necessary in the first place. So when physicist Lawrence Krauss begins his new book by suggesting that to ask “Who created the creator?” suffices to dispatch traditional philosophical theology, we know it isn’t going to end well. ,,,
    ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ng-nothing

    But of more interest as to drawing out the ‘spirituality of mathematics’, and refuting the ‘maths just is’ conception of mathematics, it is worthwhile to focus in on the Schroedinger equation:

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In The Multiverse, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – audio
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    At the 4:00 minute mark of the preceding audio, Dr. Sewell comments on the ‘transcendent’ and ‘constant’ Schroedinger’s Equation;

    ‘In chapter 2, I talk at some length on the Schroedinger Equation which is called the fundamental equation of chemistry. It’s the equation that governs the behavior of the basic atomic particles subject to the basic forces of physics. This equation is a partial differential equation with a complex valued solution. By complex valued I don’t mean complicated, I mean involving solutions that are complex numbers, a+bi, which is extraordinary that the governing equation, basic equation, of physics, of chemistry, is a partial differential equation with complex valued solutions. There is absolutely no reason why the basic particles should obey such a equation that I can think of except that it results in elements and chemical compounds with extremely rich and useful chemical properties. In fact I don’t think anyone familiar with quantum mechanics would believe that we’re ever going to find a reason why it should obey such an equation, they just do! So we have this basic, really elegant mathematical equation, partial differential equation, which is my field of expertise, that governs the most basic particles of nature and there is absolutely no reason why, anyone knows of, why it does, it just does. British physicist Sir James Jeans said “From the intrinsic evidence of His creation, the great architect of the universe begins to appear as a pure mathematician”, so God is a mathematician to’.

    i.e. the Materialist is at a complete loss to explain why this should be so, whereas the Christian Theist presupposes such ‘transcendent’ control of our temporal, material, reality,,,

    John 1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Of note: ‘The Word’ in Greek is Logos. Logos is the root word from which we derive our modern word ‘logic’.

  21. But the mystery of the Schroedinger equation goes even deeper to reveal ‘the spirituality of mathematics’.

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    Moreover,

    Wheeler’s Delayed Choice Experiment – 2010
    Excerpt: The Delayed Choice experiment changes the boundary conditions of the Schrodinger equation after the particle enters the first beamsplitter.
    http://www.physics.drexel.edu/.....elayed.pdf

    But why should a mathematical equation even care when I decide to implement boundary conditions to look at a particle? Mathematical equations can’t care about anything! Only God can care if and when I decide to look at any particular particle! Moreover in quantum teleporation, mathematics, conscious observation and ‘free will choice’, can be coordinated in such a way as to accomplish the instantaneous teleportation of atoms to another place:

    The role of each conscious observer, and the free will choice(s) of each conscious observer, and the specific operations of logic, used to achieve quantum teleportation in the teleportation experiment are summarized on the following site:

    Quantum Teleportation – A summary
    Excerpt: Assume that Alice and Bob share an entangled qubit ab. That is, Alice has one half, a, and Bob has the other half, b. Let c denote the qubit Alice wishes to transmit to Bob.
    Alice applies a unitary operation on the qubits ac and measures (i.e. consciously observes) the result to obtain two classical bits. In this process, the two qubits are destroyed. Bob’s qubit, b, now contains information about c; however, the information is somewhat randomized. More specifically, Bob’s qubit b is in one of four states uniformly chosen at random and Bob cannot obtain any information about c from his qubit.
    Alice provides her two measured classical bits, which indicate which of the four states Bob possesses. Bob applies a unitary transformation which depends on the classical bits he obtains from Alice, transforming his qubit into an identical re-creation of the qubit c.,,,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....#A_summary

    summary of logical operations
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....The_result

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,,
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo.....ammeup.asp

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.

    A few more notes on the ‘spirituality of math’:
    It is interesting to note that ‘higher dimensional’ mathematics had to be developed before Einstein could elucidate General Relativity, or even before Quantum Mechanics could be elucidated;

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss and Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

    Centrality of Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8421879

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

  22. When one looks at the 4-D space time of relativity, and the centrality of conscious observation in quantum mechanics, a very interesting ‘anomaly’ pops out:

    The Galileo Affair and the true “Center of the Universe”
    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    The following is another very ‘spiritual’ finding from mathematics:

    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph (recently updated in 2012 with cool features)
    http://htwins.net/scale2/?bordercolor=white

    The preceding interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality (not just ‘nearly’ in the exponential center!). i.e. 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle;

    Here is another finding from mathematics that has very strong ‘spiritual’ implications:

    There is also a very mysterious ‘higher dimensional’ component found in life:

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:

    Y = Yo M^b,

    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.
    http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/~dre.....18_257.pdf

    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.,,, The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection.”
    Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79

    Though Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini rightly find it inexplicable for ‘random’ Natural Selection to be the rational explanation for the invariant scaling of the physiology, and anatomy, of living things to four-dimensional parameters, they do not seem to fully realize the implications this ‘four dimensional scaling’ of living things presents. This 4-D scaling is something we should rightly expect from a Intelligent Design perspective. This is because Intelligent Design holds that ‘higher dimensional transcendent information’ is more foundational to life, and even to the universe itself, than either matter or energy are. This higher dimensional ‘expectation’ for life, from a Intelligent Design perspective, is directly opposed to the expectation of the Darwinian framework, which holds that information, and indeed even the essence of life itself, is merely an ‘emergent’ property of the 3-D material realm.

    Earth’s crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God;
    But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
    The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
    – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Music and verse:

    YOU ARE GOD ALONE, Philips, Craig and Dean
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OICArFHAa9c

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

  23. and that there is nothing irrational or unreasonable about choosing a life in which all the hope, love, and forgiveness that there is, is to be found in relationships with other people and with oneself.

    Is there anything irrational or unreasonable about choosing a life in which hope, love and forgiveness are jokes, and you can do whatever you want so long as you avoid punishment? Is there anything irrational or unreasonable about feeding some very vicious and terrible desires? Under a materialist atheism, of course.

    I think the particular failure of atheism being cited here is only drawn out all the more when someone tries to suggest that ‘atheism == “hope, love and forgiveness being found in relationships with each other and…”‘. It’s too Hallmark Card. Too obviously ‘man, we better make this sound as nice as possible, all reality aside’. Which contrasts with the other common atheist stances where one of the points of pride of atheism is supposed to be the boldness of embracing a view that’s so dismal, hope-lacking, where love and forgiveness are exposed as very petty, even meaningless things, etc.

    More than that, the ‘brute fact’ talk seems irrational itself. So we just decide that some facts have no explanation, no further inquiry required – the very things that theism is often falsely accused of advocating – but that’s okay, because to assume otherwise would diminish atheism as a rational choice/conclusion? It’s atheism’s “God did it”.

  24. Hi Kantian Naturalist,

    Thank you for your comments. You ask why the multiverse couldn’t be a brute fact. Good question. The best paper I know of which addresses this question is Professor Paul Herrick’s ob Opening: Creator of the Universe—A Reply to Keith Parsons (2009). In particular, Herrick makes use of what he calls the Daring Inquiry Principle (DIP):

    When confronted with the existence of some unexplained phenomenon X, it is reasonable to seek an explanation for X if we can coherently conceive of a state of affairs in which it would not be the case that X exists.

    Using this principle, we can reasonably ask why the multiverse exists, because we can coherently conceive its absence. (The same trick doesn’t work for God, because we can’t conceive of Him at all. We can however ask what God would have to be like if his nonexistence were inconceivable. In that connection, this article by Dr. Craig makes a powerful case for a personal Creator, although Herrick makes a good case as well.)

    Regarding the multiverse (not just the universe) having had a beginning, you might like to have a look at this short post of mine: Vilenkin’s verdict: “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” . At the end of the post, I also have several links to articles I’ve written on the multiverse, explaining why fine-tuning is real (contrary to what Victor Stenger asserts), why a multiverse would still have to be fine-tuned to make baby universes, and what assumptions the fine-tuning argument makes about the Designer. I hope you find them useful.

  25. The multi-verse only pushes the question back – who created the multi-verses? and why?

  26. KN: It could just be an “eternal” quantum foam that produces infinitely many universes, one of which just happens to have the physical constants and laws that ours has. The question could arise, “but why is the multiverse the way it is?”, but I just shrug my shoulders at that one. Not everything has an explanation. There could be just be ‘brute facts’.

    Yea – “It could be bla bla bla + “There could be just be “brute facts”
    Many question could arise – I got one: How has this multiverse “thing” become a “brute fact” upon which you hang so much “could be” (i.e. HOPE) upon?
    I see so much bias from you I suppose you don’t even have to put cloths on to go out in public :)

  27. F/N: Bradley has a useful summary on the ingredients (fr Sect D my usual note linked through my handle). Requisites for the sort of atom based life we see include:

    Order to provide the stable environment that is conducive to the development of life, but with just enough chaotic behavior to provide a driving force for change.

    Sufficient chemical stability and elemental diversity to build the complex molecules necessary for essential life functions: processing energy, storing information, and replicating. A universe of just hydrogen and helium will not “work.”

    Predictability in chemical reactions, allowing compounds to form from the various elements.

    A “universal connector,” an element that is essential for the molecules of life. It must have the chemical property that permits it to react readily with almost all other elements, forming bonds that are stable, but not too stable, so disassembly is also possible. Carbon is the only element in our periodic chart that satisfies this requirement. [--> Si does not allow good enough chaining, and Ge is worse, in addition, through certain resonances, the top four most abundant elements are H, He, C, O, which gives us from stars and the periodic table to organic chemistry and water, with N close, which gets us to proteins, and O also forms semiconducting ceramics with various things, yielding the rocky basis for terrestrial planet crusts.]

    A “universal solvent” in which the chemistry of life can unfold. Since chemical reactions are too slow in the solid state, and complex life would not likely be sustained as a gas, there is a need for a liquid element or compound that readily dissolves both the reactants and the reaction products essential to living systems: namely, a liquid with the properties of water. [Added note: Water requires both hydrogen and oxygen.]

    A stable source of energy to sustain living systems in which there must be photons from the sun with sufficient energy to drive organic, chemical reactions, but not so energetic as to destroy organic molecules (as in the case of highly energetic ultraviolet radiation).

    A means of transporting the energy from the source (like our sun) to the place where chemical reactions occur in the solvent (like water on Earth) must be available. In the process, there must be minimal losses in transmission if the energy is to be utilized efficiently.

    There can be the usual rhetorical dances, but the set-up of our cosmos is at a fine tuned local operating point that sets up requisites of C-Chemistry, cell based life. Leslie’s fly on the wall swatted by a bullet metaphor is apt, in the context of OUR cosmos:

    . . . the need for such explanations does not depend on any estimate of how many universes would be observer-permitting, out of the entire field of possible universes. Claiming that our universe is ‘fine tuned for observers’, we base our claim on how life’s evolution would apparently have been rendered utterly impossible by comparatively minor alterations in physical force strengths, elementary particle masses and so forth. There is no need for us to ask whether very great alterations in these affairs would have rendered it fully possible once more, let alone whether physical worlds conforming to very different laws could have been observer-permitting without being in any way fine tuned. Here it can be useful to think of a fly on a wall, surrounded by an empty region. A bullet hits the fly Two explanations suggest themselves. Perhaps many bullets are hitting the wall or perhaps a marksman fired the bullet. There is no need to ask whether distant areas of the wall, or other quite different walls, are covered with flies so that more or less any bullet striking there would have hit one. The important point is that the local area contains just the one fly.

    Back in the days when I used to do resonance plotting exercises, we would scan the area looking for “knees” then come back and do points near suspects, to capture the peak as best as possible. Our life foundations peak is so hard to find — so isolated — that if we did not know where it was, we would be seriously challenged to find it. That is, AR was ducking the issue that LOCAL fine tuning is in the end just as wondrous as any global one would be.

    Coming back to Leslie, hitting that locally isolated fly requires a tack driver of a rifle — itself seriously fine tuned — and someone who knows what he is doing with it. Just ask any marksman.

    Or to change metaphor, to avoid burned hockey pucks and/or doughy half baked messes, you need to set up your cosmos bakery just right. Fine tuning, once it comes into the picture, is very hard to brush off.

    Hence the significance of Sir Fred Hoyle’s observations on super-intellects monkeying with the physics of the cosmos.

    KF

  28. JM:

    I am asking you to cease from seeking to divert this thread, and I am asking you to take a serious look at the evident Anti-Semitism, anti-Christian bigotry, conspiracism, resort to turnabout false accusations, apparent glee in the perceived eternal fate of lost souls [we should mourn the lost souls, not exult over them . . . ], and more that are all too appallingly evident once your talking points were challenged on the merits.

    And BTW, with all due respect, your latterday prophet Isa (onlookers, cf here and here, on: side-kick to the end of days world-conquering Mahdi who starts out with the black flag armies from the direction of Khorasan, and who is involved in breaking all crosses, “converting” Christians to Islam [there is some stuff that suggests fakery or manipulation of gnostic documents or the like to make the historical foundations of the Christian faith seem suspect . . . ], slaughtering all pigs and in the anticipated latterday massacre of the Jews . . . ) is patently more akin to the false prophet of Rev 16 than to the Jesus of History and the anticipated returning Christ of Christian eschatology.

    Any further attempts to divert and/or poison threads that I own will be responded with a request for you to cease from commenting in such threads.

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  29. F/N: I think we may profitably look at Herrick’s Contra Carrier: Why Theism is Needed to Make Sense of Everything (2006), as a discussion of inference to best explanation (as opposed to “proof”) and on the subject of the necessary being behind a contingent world.

    Observe the contrasted cites:

    No necessary being can explain existence; contingency is not an illusion, an appearance which can be dissipated; it is absolute; and consequently perfectly gratuitous. Everything is gratuitous, that park, this town, and myself. When you realize that, it turns your stomach over and everything starts floating about.
    — John-Paul Sartre, Nausea (1938), p. 188

    That there is a contingent being actually existing has to be discovered by experience, and the proposition that there is a contingent being is certainly not an analytic proposition, though once you know, I should maintain, that there is a contingent being, it follows of necessity that there is a necessary being.
    — Father Joseph Copleston, debate with Bertrand Russell, BBC Radio (1948)

    A grounding necessary being that explains a contingent cosmos [including things like its evident fine tuning for the sort of life we enjoy, and the further evident facts of unity in diversity [which brings up Math as a unifying logical force], moral government that we find ourselves under and the experiential reality of millions who report that they have met and been transformed by God [ranging from our own Peter J of the Shetland Isles and our own Gil D on up], is a serious issue, and one that should not be brushed aside.

    KF

  30. As to KN’s king with no clothes ‘quantum foam’ conjecture:

    GRBs Expand Astronomers’ Toolbox – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: a detailed analysis of the GRB (Gamma Ray Burst) in question demonstrated that photons of all energies arrived at essentially the same time. Consequently, these results falsify any quantum gravity models requiring the simplest form of a frothy space.
    http://www.reasons.org/GRBsExp.....ersToolbox

    Moreover Vilenkin’s proof covered quantum models:

    Mathematics of Eternity Prove The Universe Must Have Had A Beginning – April 2012
    Excerpt: Cosmologists use the mathematical properties of eternity to show that although universe may last forever, it must have had a beginning.,,, They go on to show that cyclical universes and universes of eternal inflation both expand in this way. So they cannot be eternal in the past and must therefore have had a beginning. “Although inflation may be eternal in the future, it cannot be extended indefinitely to the past,” they say.
    They treat the emergent model of the universe differently, showing that although it may seem stable from a classical point of view, it is unstable from a quantum mechanical point of view. “A simple emergent universe model…cannot escape quantum collapse,” they say.
    The conclusion is inescapable. “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal,” say Mithani and Vilenkin.

    Since the observational evidence is that our universe is expanding, then it must also have been born in the past. A profound conclusion (albeit the same one that lead to the idea of the big bang in the first place).
    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27793/

  31. KN, I thought of you when I saw this following portion of the debate:

    At about the 1 hour mark of the video, which I have ‘current time’ linked here:

    Is Faith in God Reasonable? FULL DEBATE with William Lane Craig and Alex Rosenberg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=3641s

    Dr Craig stated that Dr. Rosenberg blurs together:

    Epistemological Naturalism: which holds that science is the only source of knowledge
    and,
    Metaphysical Naturalism: which holds that only physical things exist

    as to, Epistemological Naturalism, which holds that science is the only source of knowledge, Dr. Craig states it is a false theory of knowledge since,,,
    a). it is overly restrictive
    and
    b) it is self refuting

    Moreover, Epistemological naturalism does not imply metaphysical naturalism.,, In fact a Empistemological Naturalist can and should be a Theist, according to Dr. Craig, because Metaphysical Naturalism is reducto ad absurdum on (at least) these eight following points:

    1. The argument from the intentionality (aboutness) of mental states implies non-physical minds (dualism), which is incompatible with naturalism
    2. The existence of meaning in language is incompatible with naturalism, Rosenberg even says that all the sentences in his own book are meaningless
    3. The existence of truth is incompatible with naturalism
    4. The argument from moral praise and blame is incompatible with naturalism
    5. Libertarian freedom (free will) is incompatible with naturalism
    6. Purpose is incompatible with naturalism
    7. The enduring concept of self is incompatible with naturalism
    8. The experience of first-person subjectivity (“I”) is incompatible with naturalism

    KN, you really have to watch Dr. Craig’s presentation to get a full feel for how insane the metaphysical naturalist’s position is. ,,, And KN I don’t know if you watched that portion of the video for you said you only watched an hour of the video (and this part starts at the 1 hour mark), but KN, if you did watch this what say you to this, IMHO, devastating critique of naturalism?

  32. 32
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’m quite familiar with Craig’s criticisms of naturalism, and I didn’t learn anything new about his positions from the debate. As Rosenberg pointed out, Craig just re-presented the positions he’s presented elsewhere.

    As for the cogency of those criticisms: I don’t recognize anything that I accept in what Craig calls “epistemological naturalism” or “metaphysical naturalism”, so I don’t feel any particular need to respond to those criticisms.

  33. KN, but of course,,, as you hold a position that I don’t think anyone, including you, truly understands, how could be otherwise! :)

  34. 34

    Kn: its not that there is no need to respond to Dr Craig’s arguments its simple a the case that those argument are rock solid and irrefutable . And like I said earlier little wonder that he refuses to debate Dr Craig , Adam Deen and Hamza Tzortzis to name a few.
    Hamza Tzortzis and Adam Deen for eg have debated that bitter and nasty piece of work atheist Dan Barker and in my opinion demolished him completely .

  35. 35

    Apologies , I meant to say that little wonder that Dawkins refuses to debate the likes of Dr Craig and others .

  36. 36
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Nullasallus @ (23):

    Is there anything irrational or unreasonable about choosing a life in which hope, love and forgiveness are jokes, and you can do whatever you want so long as you avoid punishment? Is there anything irrational or unreasonable about feeding some very vicious and terrible desires? Under a materialist atheism, of course.

    “Irrational,” maybe not. “Unreasonable,” yes. If someone is devoid of empathy, lacks all sense of justice and fairness, it would be impossible, I conjecture, to get that person to adopt the moral point of view through reason alone. But I submit that no one who has empathy, care, concern, a sense of justice, etc. would wish that it were otherwise. (No one would want to become a psychopath.)

    This is not to say that reasoning plays no role at all in moral experience, but just that ethical reasoning is deeply informed by certain kinds of affective responses to other people – empathy, care, love, etc. — and that the job of reason is to shape these affective responses in the right ways. Ethical goodness is love informed by reason.

    I think the particular failure of atheism being cited here is only drawn out all the more when someone tries to suggest that ‘atheism == “hope, love and forgiveness being found in relationships with each other and…”‘. It’s too Hallmark Card. Too obviously ‘man, we better make this sound as nice as possible, all reality aside’. Which contrasts with the other common atheist stances where one of the points of pride of atheism is supposed to be the boldness of embracing a view that’s so dismal, hope-lacking, where love and forgiveness are exposed as very petty, even meaningless things, etc.

    I think that nihilistic atheism is implicitly committed to the same presuppositions as the theism it supposedly opposes.

    The theist is someone who implicitly identifies the worthiness or value of our ideals with their eternality — “the best things are the eternal things” (James) — it is as if the theist believes that if love and hope are not eternal, then they are not worthy of being affirmed at all. Deep at work here there is a conviction that goodness ought not be fragile>. If love, hope, and forgiveness were merely things of this world, then would be fragile, fleeting, temporary — and they ought not to be — and so the theist affirms that they are eternal, enduring, immune to corruption.

    The nihilistic atheist is someone who says that if our highest moral (also aesthetic and intellectual) values were worthy of being affirmed at all, then they would have to be eternal and unchanging, have some sort o transcendent guarantee, but they since they don’t actually have that, they aren’t worthy of being affirmed at all. The nihilist and the theist accept the same conditional; it’s just that one infers modus ponens and the other infers modus tollens.

    Hence: to deny the conditional itself is to be beyond both theism and atheism. It is to believe that acknowledging the fragility of goodness is fully consistent with affirming the value of goodness. It is to believe that acknowledging that my entire existence will end when my life ends — that the death of the body is the annihilation of the soul — is no justification for depravity, wickedness, or even just being an insensitive jerk.

    More than that, the ‘brute fact’ talk seems irrational itself. So we just decide that some facts have no explanation, no further inquiry required – the very things that theism is often falsely accused of advocating – but that’s okay, because to assume otherwise would diminish atheism as a rational choice/conclusion? It’s atheism’s “God did it”.

    No one just “decides” that something is a brute fact — whether a fact is ‘brute’ or not depends on where the inquiry takes us. Now, I do think that both theism and naturalism each have their “brute facts” beyond which explanations cannot go. But then again, at no point here in any of these discussions have I ever claimed that naturalism is more reasonable than theism. I have only claimed that it is not less reasonable.

  37. 37
    Kantian Naturalist

    Bornagain77, I understand my view perfectly well, and so do a lot of other people I interact with. If you don’t understand my view, that’s not really my problem.

  38. 38

    KN:

    You are entitled to your views but if you are trying to justify a materialistic or atheistic position via Science and Reason it is demonstrably clear that it is not possible.

  39. Hi everyone,

    For those who may be looking for a thoroughgoing critique of Rosenberg’s naturalism, please see the collection of articles at Rosenberg round-up, by the Thomist philosopher Edward Feser. It’s of excellent quality, and it hits the nail on the head, every time.

  40. 40

    The best argument for the atheist is ‘the problem of evil and suffering ‘ in the world which have its answers in theology whether to your satisfaction or not is another matter.
    But at the end of the day human beings are limited in their wisdom and God as the ‘All Wise’ is not so it would illogical fallacy to claim then that because we don’t understand it the wisdom of God is not there.
    Even so it boils down to the ‘The logic of submission’ and a choice between accepting ones limited and error prone emotions or submitting to am ‘All – Wise’ God who who we will be held accountable to at the time of death and Day of judgement.

    It is clear to me and any wise , objective and intelligent person using their free will what the correct choice is ……

  41. KN, I’m sure you think you understand your view, but as ‘your view’ of reality does not comport to reality in any way shape or form that I can tell, what have you really understood? You have understood nothing in my book but in so far as you actually buy into your view cognizantly explaining reality, I hold that you have only been successful in deceiving yourself, and others who think you are reasonable, into thinking you have actually understood any truthfulness about reality!

  42. JoeM, seeing that permanent smile/smirk on William Lane Craig’s face, as he goes on stage, sits down, approaches the podium, leaves the building, and doubtless when he sleeps th sleep of angels*, must drive a stake through the hearts of his atheist opponents.

    By the way, Joe, you should watch this video on the Shroud:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEvRqrhudU

    *What a messenger!

  43. 43

    Axel:

    Were the Roman Catholic Church confident of its authenticity they would have been shouting it from the rooftops a long time ago. The fact that they don’t and their continued silence speaks volumes……

  44. 44

    If you really believed in Jesus properly you would listen to his SIGN OF JONAH which he gave as the ONLY sign when asked of him by Children of Israel .

    The miracle of Jonah was he was expected to die during his ordeal from being thrown into the sea to the time he spent in belly of the whale but lived so Jesus was expected to die and by many thought to have died but…..

    You can work it out yourself . But if you want to pin your faith on the controversies surrounding a piece of cloth that’s you choice.

  45. A piece of cloth… That’s unworthy of you, Joe. Even of someone with as slight a respect for science as I have.

  46. 46

    Lke I said if the Science was conclusive on the matter the Roman Catholic Church would have declared it so and they have not.
    And talking about the Science how about applying it to the World Trade Center buildings that were clearly controlled demolished ?
    Or is it more convenient for you to be selective in this case?

  47. 47

    Axel:

    I have said that if anyone wants to debate me concerning comparatibpve religion they can do so on my email given above. Because what will happen is that we will end up spoiling the thread and then I will get blamed for it and I’m fed up with that.

  48. You’re quite wrong about the Catholic church shouting it from the roof tops, Joe, although it might well publicise vigorously in the light of these recent findings.

    But you have to understand that our faith, in both our religions, is not merely a matter of credence, (still less, credulity).

    Christ’s contemptuous dismissal of the request for a sign to those people was based on the fact that he did not want followers who were only impressed by worldly, if supernatural, power. That is the reason why he reserved the performance of almost all his greatest miracles for his closest disciples.

    Nevertheless, just before his crucifixion, he raised the already-putrifying body of Lazarus from the dead, yet still, instead of even acting rationally, if cynically, the religious authorities became all the more determined to have Jesus killed. Likewise, they paid the soldiers guarding the tomb to make up a ‘cock and bull’ story about how Jesus body was removed by interlopers.

    Anyway, it’s a vast subject, Joe, and I feel sure you are not ready to accede to evidence of any kind. No disrespect to you, but no one changes their core world-view in a day.

    As regards the Moslem world, I believe, like that of the Christian and post-Christian West, it very heterogenous.

    As a rule, my default position is never, but never, to accept the news concerning geopolitics given out by our Western media, which is basically the propaganda arm of the atheist billionaires.

    However, the terrorism adds further confusion, both the asymmetric fighting in the Middle East, at least prior to the inception of Russia’s involvement, and the nation-state mega-terrorism of nation invaders, whatever the disavowals, in pursuit of the countries’ natural resources.

    Today, I read that one Christian civilian is being murdered a day, I expect much of it in Africa. Yet, a few weeks ago, I read on a Catholic blog, Vatican Insider, that an African cardinal stated that the right picture is not always being given out; and that, in fact, more Moslems had been murdered by Christians there.

    So, it’s very difficult to get any kind of accurate handle on the reality.

    The Israeli Palestinian situations seems intractable. The Palestinians have been suffering immensely for decade after decade, yet they, with their supporters have equally been intent on the destruction of Israel. My feeling is that the Palestinians have been used as pawns by the Arab world and anti-Zionist Westerners, and would otherwise have prospered in an economic alliance with Israel.

    Anyway, I’m sure you would have other ideas on that subject, but it is too vast to tackle here, and in any case, intractable, imo.

  49. I agree with you, Joe. But in case you are interested, here is another better video on the subject of the Shroud:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEvRqrhudU

  50. If you really believed in Jesus properly you would listen to his SIGN OF JONAH which he gave as the ONLY sign when asked of him by Children of Israel.

    This is a bit hard to swallow coming from someone who denies that the sign was ever given to them.

  51. 51
    Kantian Naturalist

    My view is what I call “transcendental naturalism”, the core idea of which is that transcendentally-specified roles have naturalistically-specifiable role-players.

    By “transcendental specification,” I mean an inquiry into the basic sorts of cognitive capacities (and attendant incapacities) that any being must have in order to enjoy the sorts of cognitive experiences. The goal of transcendental reflection is an inventory of the basic roles, conceptual and non-conceptual, that must be filled in order for there to be cognitive experience, along with an account of their basic relations between these roles. (One can think of transcendental reflection as basically a reverse-engineering problem.)

    By “naturalistically-specifiable,” I mean that, to quote one of my favorite lines from Richard Rorty, “telling the story of how we got from the apes to the Enlightenment with as few discontinuities as possible” (which, of course, does not mean none). In other words, (1) the sorts of structures and processes that carry out the tasks of cognitive experience in rational minded animals should be roughly similar to those that produce cognitive experience in non-rational minded animals; (2) the structures and processes that produce cognitive experiences in minded animals, both rational and non-rational, should be roughly similar to structures and processes in non-minded animals (if there are any) and/or non-minded life-forms (if there are any).

  52. 52

    Mung:

    According to the New Testament the sign of Jonah are the reported words of Jesus and seeing that the NT is dedicated attempt at making the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus appear true it is hardly likely that the authors would knowingly cut and paste into gospels things that clearly contradict that .
    God in his mercy has said to us in his last revealed guidance the Quran that the previous scriptures though corrupt contain truths that have remained in them go against Jewish and Christian claims.

  53. 53

    Think of this logically too:

    (1) Adam and Eve made a mistake and sinned . Unlike the Bible which gives the impression that things happened in quick succession in days like style the Islamic position is that a long time passed before Adam and Eve pbut became forgetful and sinned allowing Satan to deceive them

    (2) They were then both expelled from Paradise and this was sufficient punishment for them. They repented and have been forgiven by God and have not been cursed and stained with the Original Sin.

    (3) NO ONE of the progeny of Adam and Eve INCLUDING YOU AND I witnessed let alone participated in their sin and yet God would curse and stain us holding us responsible for it??

    (4) and this curse/stain of Original Sin continued amongst humanity all throughout history including the Chosen perfect role models of the Messengers and Prophets of God like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David , Solomon pbut etc etc ???

    (5) with this stain/curse of Original Sin only relieved from us including all those Prophets and righteous individuals with Jesus incarnating as God allowing himself to be humiliated and killed on the Cross at the very hands of His own Creation???

    God is the Creator of us and knows our feelings , sufferings and thoughts.
    Does the maker of a product need to BECOME the product in order to know how it works?!

    Now lets be sincere , does the above which is the Pagan Paulinian Church/s version of Jesus’s message which emerged via the Paganistic Hellenistic/Roman culture and enforced by the political and military might of the Roman Empire leading up to the Council of Nicea in 325CE and onwards
    Make sense to you?

  54. 54
    Kantian Naturalist

    As for my take on what Craig calls “epistemological naturalism” and “metaphysical naturalism”.

    (1) With regards to “epistemological naturalism,” I hold a view that I call weak scientism, which says that there is a strong presumption in favor of empirically-testable explanations over other kinds of explanations with regards to publicly observable states of affairs, and that all things being equal, scientific techniques for generating and evaluating data have priority over common sense, intuitions, hunches, etc. This is my version of Sellars’ dictum, “in the dimension of describing and explaining the world, science is the measure of all things.”

    This does not entail that scientific explanations have any priority over justifications, explications, or other kinds of cognitive activity. It entails only that scientific explanations have priority over non-scientific explanations. Weak scientism, thus defined, is neither too narrow nor self-refuting, so it just doesn’t have the problems that afflict Rosenberg’s strong scientism.

    (2) With regards to what Craig calls “metaphysical naturalism,” let’s look at the list:

    1. The argument from the intentionality (aboutness) of mental states implies non-physical minds (dualism), which is incompatible with naturalism
    2. The existence of meaning in language is incompatible with naturalism, Rosenberg even says that all the sentences in his own book are meaningless
    3. The existence of truth is incompatible with naturalism
    4. The argument from moral praise and blame is incompatible with naturalism
    5. Libertarian freedom (free will) is incompatible with naturalism
    6. Purpose is incompatible with naturalism
    7. The enduring concept of self is incompatible with naturalism
    8. The experience of first-person subjectivity (“I”) is incompatible with naturalism.

    Transcendental naturalism is a way of explicating the thought that a normal mature human being is a rational animal.

    First contention: many non-rational animals exhibit consciousness, intentionality, meaning, purposiveness, agency (of a rudimentary sort, maybe), correct and incorrect beliefs, morality, etc. (If these claims are less than obvious, I recommend reading up on cognitive ethology of primates and cetaceans. Really quite fascinating!)

    Second contention: what rationality adds to animal mindedness is self-awareness, the capacity to make explicit one’s inferences and to assess the goodness of those inferences, to reflect on natural feelings of care and concern for others, and so on.

    So, of the items on Craig’s list, the only one that seems contrary to transcendental naturalism is libertarian freedom. I can happily accept all the others without opening the door to dualism or theism.

    One will not get anywhere with me without recognizing that my view is as opposed to Rosenberg as it is to Craig. Rosenberg is perfectly clear about his hostility towards soft-hearted naturalism of the Dewey-Sellars variety. (I gave away my copy of his book a while back, so I can’t look up any particular passages.)

    What I think is that what he dismisses as soft-heartedness actually cannot be dismissed, and that it can be justified through transcendental reflection on the necessary conditions of any cognitive experience that could be had by us or any being relevantly similar enough to us to count as a rational animal.

    Put otherwise — bearing in mind that his original article is “the disenchanted naturalist’s guide to reality” — my view is that a minimal degree of “enchantment” is transcendentally required, that a completely “disenchanted” world does not make sense.

    I think that Rosenberg fails to appreciate this point for several reasons, but most importantly, because he constructs his naturalism by beginning with particle physics. Since that’s his starting-point, anything that can’t be explicated in terms of particle physics — such as purpose and intentionality — can’t be real. But my starting-point isn’t physics — it’s biological anthropology and related sciences (cognitive ethology, comparative psychology, paleoanthropology, cognitive neuroscience, etc.).

    Any transcendental role (e.g. intentionality, consciousness, inference, concern, empathy, meaning) that can be correlated with what we know about ourselves and other complex animals through empirically tested explanations is good enough for me — I don’t care about how all this will line up with particle physics or cosmology at the end of the day.

    Beginning metaphysical naturalism with animals, rather than with particles, produces a view that can take on board intentionality, consciousness, meaning, value, etc. rather easily — since they turn out to be both transcendental conditions of cognitive experience and general features of what it is for something to be an animal, to be living, embodied creature with cares, concerns, needs, desires, beliefs, values, and so on.

  55. 55

    Sadly it is due to these non sensical doctrines of the Church/s that has been a major contributory factor for materialism and atheism flourishing in the Western world since Darwin .
    The troubles of the Muslim world are due to Political corruption in the latter period of the Ottomans leading the European colonial powers to vulture in and the post neo colonial times of today where tyrannical and oppressive regimes at the expense of their people have/ are being propped up by Western powers ‘acting’ in the name of so called democracy.
    When it is apparent for anyone to see that the double standard divide and rule Western powers interests are economic and strategic.

    A recent example being the hypocritical support of Al Qaeda in Libya and now Syria against the government but at the same is they are fighting AL Qaeda in Mali!!

  56. 56

    The real threat, danger and enemy of HUMANITY are the hypocritical secular Western powers and Israel who have manufactured the ‘war on terror’ since inside job 9/11 with the unholy trinity of CIA , Mi6 and Mossad at the heart of the manipulating and the agenda driven corporate and Christian Zionist owned corporate mainstream media propagandising it all.

    The tyrannical and oppressive sell out hypocritical Muslim countries in the region particularly among the Arab ones like Saudi Arabia are playing a role too.

    Do you not ever wonder why that out of both Iran and Saudi Arabia who have the ‘closest’ to proper Sharia governments are major humans rights abusers it is only Iran that gets demonised in the media and virtually never Saudi Arabia which is the worse?

    Saudi Arabia is a western maintained kingdom and ally of the Western powers and Iran who is an independent and rightly criticiser of the Zionist State of Israel is not…….

    Btw I am a Sunni Muslim

  57. Kantian Naturalist (54): First contention: many non-rational animals exhibit consciousness, intentionality, meaning, purposiveness, agency (of a rudimentary sort, maybe), correct and incorrect beliefs, morality, etc.

    Naturalism degrades all of the above – consciousness, intentionality, meaning, purposiveness, agency etc. – to illusion. So there is no consciousness there is only the illusion of consciousness. There is just matter. There is no ghost in the machine. There is nobody home.
    You are the a naturalist who – for some obscure reason- doesn’t feel the need to be consistent. Consistent would be to say : if there is just matter there cannot be consciousness, intentionality, meaning, purposiveness, agency etc.
    Rosenberg seems to be consistent in this respect.

    Off topic: Bill Warner on islam (youtube)

  58. 58

    @JoeMorreale1187:

    Do you not ever wonder why that out of both Iran and Saudi Arabia who have the ‘closest’ to proper Sharia governments are major humans rights abusers it is only Iran that gets demonised in the media and virtually never Saudi Arabia which is the worse?

    We do not wonder… We know that the USA is a human rights violator torturing innocents… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_El-Masri … and killing thousands of civilians with their nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia and USA are made for each other.

  59. 59

    @Joe

    And talking about the Science how about applying it to the World Trade Center buildings that were clearly controlled demolished ?

    You’ve been proven wrong on your lies about the pentagon. Now… Please provide a peer-reviewed paper that claims that the “Center buildings (…) were clearly controlled demolished”. Can you do that?

  60. 60
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’m pretty much consistent in the views that I actually hold. If there’s any inconsistency, it’s the inconsistency between the views that I actually hold and the views that you think I should hold by virtue of calling myself a “naturalist”.

    Now, maybe it will turn out that, on articulation and assessment of those views, that I’m not really a naturalist. But so what? I don’t care about the label. I care about the views themselves. And I’m certainly not on Rosenberg’s side — any more than I’m on Craig’s!

    I do, of course, think there’s a perfectly good sense of naturalism on which I am a naturalist — namely, the sense of naturalism proposed by Plantinga: a naturalist is someone who doesn’t think there’s a God or anything like God.

    I would sharpen that a bit, to bring out what’s really at stake for me: a naturalist is someone who thinks that all persons are animals, and there aren’t any persons who are not animals. But many animals, even those that are not persons, do display such things as consciousness, intentionality, valuation, etc.

    I will say this one last time, and then be done: I am not a materialist, I am not a physicalist, I am not an Epicurean (in my metaphysics — my ethics is something else!), I do not begin constructing the metaphysical system by starting off with particle physics. I begin with (i) transcendental reflection on the necessary conditions of human cognitive experience and (ii) the natural sciences of human beings and of those animals that are very much like us, in their behavior, anatomy, physiology, and genetics. And if there’s no room on your conceptual map for this option, then maybe you need a bigger map.

  61. 61

    JWTRUTH :

    Intelligent Design is demonstrably true , should be dominating the peer review literature but it isn’t and neither is it publicly and officially declared which it should and deserves be. You work out why that is…..

    Making and appealing to arguments from authority won’t do my sunshine.

  62. 62

    So I have not been proven wrong and to be lying but you have been proven to be conveniently blind though that’s for sure……

  63. JoeMorreale1187

    According to the New Testament the sign of Jonah are the reported words of Jesus and seeing that the NT is dedicated attempt at making the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus appear true it is hardly likely that the authors would knowingly cut and paste into gospels things that clearly contradict that.

    Jesus’ crucifixion is a historical fact, attested to by his enemies and by Greek, Roman, and Jewish historians. It is a great mistake to build your world view around a factual error.

    God in his mercy has said to us in his last revealed guidance the Quran that the previous scriptures though corrupt contain truths that have remained in them go against Jewish and Christian claims.

    According to the doctrine of abrogation as found in the Quran, God can change moral truth on a whim. As the story goes, believers are to accept the latest teaching as true and disregard the earlier teaching. This makes no sense. What God changed once, he can change again and again, making it impossible for believers to know what He really wants. Either Muhammad changed his teachings to serve his immediate interests, first preaching peace from a position of weakness and then preaching militancy from a position of power, or else God Himself is understood to be revealing irrational and contradictory truths. Either way, there is no reason to accept the Quran as the holy word of God.

    with this stain/curse of Original Sin only relieved from us including all those Prophets and righteous individuals with Jesus incarnating as God allowing himself to be humiliated and killed on the Cross at the very hands of His own Creation???

    Obviously, you do not understand the meaning of the word, “incarnate.” Prophets and righteous individuals are not, like God, pure spirits, and cannot, therefore, take on human flesh. If you are trying to make some other kind of argument, you need to appropriate another term.

  64. Kantian Naturalist (60): I will say this one last time, and then be done: I am not a materialist, I am not a physicalist, (..)

    It’s ok if you don’t want to talk about it anymore. But I still don’t get it. You tell me that you are not a materialist nor a physicalist. I also know you are neither a spiritualist nor a dualist. So what is your position?

    I begin with (i) transcendental reflection on the necessary conditions of human cognitive experience (…)

    Maybe things will get clearer when you do not tell me where you began, but instead tell me where you are.

    Off topic: Bill Warner on islam (youtube)

  65. 65

    Box:

    I think that the books ‘The lies about Muhammad: How you were deceived into Islamaphobia’ – Mustafa Zayed and

    Islam:Silencing the Critics

    Tariq Ramadan, Hamza Tzortzis , Hamza Yusuf , Jamal Badawi, Zakir Naik, Shabir Ally to name a few .
    Also try the answeringChristianity , IERA and The Deen Show websites .

    Also the works of top respected western academics who are non-Muslims like John Esposito and Karen Armstrong

    Also George Galloway and Press TV

    I have given you more than enough there if you are sincere and objective that exposes, refutes and debunks all the crap that you have heard regarding Islam on the media , cowboys on the net etc etc.

  66. 66

    @Joe:

    Evidence for intelligent design in the scientific literature is regulary discussed on this blog!

    So the “scientific evidence” (a link to a website) for your crazy conspiracy theories is not enough to produce even a single paper in a journal? Good to know.
    Why is that?

  67. KN,

    I have this Box here and I am quite sure I can fit you into it if I try hard enough. ;)

  68. 68

    Are you listening ? I said ID should be DOMINATING the peer review and the fact that it is true it should be the new public and official scientific theory and it isn’t .

    9/11 being a government conspiracy is hardly going to feature in the peer review while we have the current elites in power is it?!

    That is why what little has appeared in the Mainstream is late at night or simply hit pieces.

    I’m from the UK but I gather you are from the U.S and you are lucky to have a guy like Alex Jones there so why don’t you listen to him about what is happening to your country ?

  69. 69

    Stephen B:

    Paul abrogated not only Mosaic Law which Jesus said he came to uphold and fulfil BUT also the pure monotheism of Abraham which by the Mercy of God was fully restored through His last Messenger Muhammad saws.

    So stop throwing pebbles my friend…….

  70. KN, it all boils down to this statement of yours:

    “I don’t care about how all this will line up with particle physics or cosmology at the end of the day.”

    And thus why in blue blazes should I care one iota what you believe to be true about reality if you yourself don’t care that you have no basis in reality to support your claims?,,, Your philosophy is all bluff and hot air in my book KN! Much like a onion, as layer after layer is peeled back from your philosophy, at the end of the day when one peels away the final layer one finds there is nothing upon which you have based your claims save for the way you prefer reality to be.

  71. 71

    SB:

    You believe that God died on the cross!!

    Game over….
    _________

    JM, You have already been warned on derailing of threads. I give a final warning below. You have forced me to note to onlookers some observations that provide a measure of balance to rhetorical talking points, but that is not to invite more derailing. KF

  72. JM:

    So stop throwing pebbles my friend

    Not that anything you say should be believed, but are you familiar with the tu quoque fallacy?

    Are you placing Mohammad on a par with Paul? Just asking.

  73. BA77,

    Well, which is it. The Bluff and Bluster Philosophy or the Onion Philosophy?

  74. 74
    Kantian Naturalist

    Box,

    Fair enough; I apologize for having gotten cross with you. I just get frustrated with the limits of Internet-based communications, but still, I apologize.

    The best label I have for my view is “pragmatic naturalism.” I don’t think that everything reduces to atoms and void (or sub-atomic particles and quantum vacuum), and I don’t think that mental states [e.g. consciousness, intentionality, rationality] inhere in some non-physical substance or substrate.

    Instead, I regard mental properties are the properties of a living animal, just as its physical properties are. So I start off with the idea of animals as being the sorts of things that have both mental and physical properties, rather than thinking of mental properties as properties of something non-physical. The differences between rational animals and non-rational animals are then explained in terms of the degree and kind of mental properties in question.

    To anticipate the objection, “how did the mental properties of living animals first come into being?”, I think that I think that mental properties as being, most generally, emergent properties of extremely complex, holistic systems of particular kinds. So yes, I am committed to a pretty demanding version of emergentism.

    And to anticipate the objection, “how is it that the universe permits emergence?” — this is where I tend to get stuck. This is my version of the fine-tuning problem. And I don’t have a really good answer to it. There is this interesting question about whether the multiverse hypothesis adequately solves the fine-tuning problem. My hunch is that it does, but I know that there’s a lot of debate about this, and I haven’t explored all the permutations. Being more interested in biology than in cosmology, I’ve put a lot more time into reconciling epistemology with cognitive neuroscience than into cosmogonic speculation.

    Does that make more sense to you as where I’m at?

  75. JM:

    Pardon me but you have again invaded a thread on a different subject and have set about pulling it off track. if you wish to pursue this matter kindly take it elsewhere.

    KF

    PS: You seem to think that the passion narratives are in contradiction to one another instead of reflecting the key characteristic of true non-collusive testimony — diversity and even difficulties on details with agreement on the primary issue, involving undesigned coincidences and deeper coherence. It so happens that this objection is one I have had to address previously and have shown by applying the logic of coherence — the same logic used by Plantinga in his Free will defense [augment P, Q, R, S with E where E shows coherence . . . ] — that the narratives are strongly coherent, though showing diversity of details. In particular you may examine a table of the various narrative records presented in the linked, to see this in action. That it is possible to construct radical disharmonies, D, does not undermine this strict point of logic. Nor, do I have to hold that the explanatory harmony E is actually the exactly correct account or that it will be plausible to any particular person, all it has to be is logically possible . . . and miracles are possible once God is possible. Indeed, the objector, asserting contradiction, will have to show that no harmony E is possible. This has not been done and in fact various harmonies are possible and exist, as a matter of longstanding fact. And, furthermore, on history, even where there are clear disharmonies on secondary matters, the main line of the account may still be supported on mutually corroborative accounts. (There is a famous case with Abraham Lincoln and the shooting at a wild turkey that came to the door of his cabin when he was a child.) The death of Jesus by crucifixion is definitely not a minor, secondary detail. Notice, also: the overwhelming consensus of the relevant scholarship, across the spectrum of opinions [and on criteria of mutual corroboration, enemy agreement, embarrassment and more], is that Jesus was crucified in Palestine c AD 30. There is as a result of the weight of evidence, a strong consensus across the broad spectrum of scholarship that this is a fact of history. It is thus a valid and even fatal objection to the claim you advance, that an assertion originating c 620 AD that is essentially a bare assertion has no weight relative to multiply attested events c 30 AD with friend and foe agreement recorded within eyewitness lifetime. In addition, talking point games that assume Islamic theology to object to a fact of history that fits quite reasonably into Christian theology [as in, a triune view of God rooted in the Bible and which speaks to incarnation and redemptive sacrifice, seizing the keys of death and hades then ascending etc], simply show a problem of ideological rhetoric, not sound thinking. There is a world of difference between what seems sensible to you or me relative to concepts we hold just now and that which is sound full stop. For simple example can one stand at one place on the earth and be simultaneously due north of Tokyo, Los Angeles and London, thousands of miles apart? At first it seems weird, then if we shift conceptual frame and recall the sphericity of earth, we can see that the north pole fills the bill nicely. This is in fact a case in point of the same harmonising principle in action. Now, I write this for record, and not to entertain derailing of another thread. if you wish to continue such a discussion kindly go to the thread you have already pulled off track. If you continue to side track serious discussions like this, I will be forced to take strong action. You will receive no further warnings.

  76. Folks:

    This thread is an opportunity to discuss a major debate by major spokesmen on a major worldview issue closely connected to the plight of our civilisation.

    I therefore request that we focus on that.

    KN — a professional philosopher in his own right — has provided a useful presence and maybe we can address the issues he has raised, widening back to the full plate set by the 2 3/4 hr event.

    VJT, as well, is a PhD holding philosopher and has something of interest to say also.

    Doubtless there are others.

    KF

  77. 77
    Kantian Naturalist

    And thus why in blue blazes should I care one iota what you believe to be true about reality if you yourself don’t care that you have no basis in reality to support your claims?,,, Your philosophy is all bluff and hot air in my book KN! Much like a onion, as layer after layer is peeled back from your philosophy, at the end of the day when one peels away the final layer one finds there is nothing upon which you have based your claims save for the way you prefer reality to be.

    I’d care about how to line up the biology with the physics if I had reason to think that biology is reducible to physics. But I don’t think it is. (I don’t even think biology is reducible to chemistry, and I know philosophers of chemistry who don’t think chemistry is reducible to physics.)

    In order for me to worry about how all this cashes out at the level of physics, I’d first need to be convinced that emergentism is unworkable. Because, as long as emergentism is a viable option, then explicating the transcendental structures of human experience in terms that can be strongly correlated with the discoveries of cognitive neuroscience and ecology is most of what I need to do. And since even that is a really tall order, and my time is limited, I put my energy into that.

    Put slightly otherwise: the problem is one of the so-called “Four Fs” (feeding, fighting, fleeing, and reproduction) and the “Four Ms” (mind, meaning, modality, and morality).
    Reconciling the Four Fs and the Four Ms is my project, and that’s completely different from explaining the Four Fs in terms of fermions and bosons, or whatever the physicists tell us there is. So here’s a road-map of the debate, in the terms I just proposed:

    Rosenberg-style strong scientism: the Four Ms cannot be reconciled with the Four Fs, so the Four Ms are a sort of illusion, even if they are, as Nietzsche nicely puts it, “an illusion without which we cannot live.”

    Craig-style theism: the Four Ms are transcendentally necessary, but the Four Ms cannot be reconciled with the Four Fs, so the source of the Four Ms must be something non-natural.

    Transcendental naturalism (+ weak scientism + emergentism): the Four Ms are transcendentally necessary, but the Four Fs can be reconciled with the Four Ms, so a non-natural explanation of the Four Ms is not forced upon us.

    If you want to fault me for not taking quantum mechanics seriously, ok, I’ll accept that. But like I said, it’s a big project, and there’s only so much one person can do. For me to work on the particle physics side of things, I’d have to completely re-train myself, and go back to school, learn a lot of mathematics, etc. — and I just don’t have the time (nor, frankly, the interest) to do that.

    My grasp of epistemology, biology, and the history of philosophy is good enough that I can actually make some progress on the Four Fs/Four Ms problem. That’s the thing about me that I’m not sure you appreciate: I’m interested in figuring out things that no one else has figured out. I contribute to these discussions (and enjoy doing so) because these discussions give me opportunities to try out new ideas.

  78. 78

    This is unfair and unjust because I made it clear that I did not want to spoil a thread and gave my email address for debating because I knew I would get blamed for it. So what happened? I was sent a link to about the Turin Shroud to which I had a right to reply to and it all got going from there just like it has done on previous threads.

    it is clear to me that the truth is inconveniencing quite a few people on here…..

  79. 79

    KF:

    Sorry mate but writing stuff in Da Vinci to be deciphered code style and in red too does nothing to refute what I said . If you want to continue the debate find me on my email address . But in the meantime it is only fair that if you want me to keep on topic ask the guys on here to not tempt with comparative religious questions to which I will be obliged and in my right to answer .

    Thankyou.

  80. 80
    Kantian Naturalist

    In fairness to JoeMorreale1187, he was provoked by Axel, who was just as off-topic as JoeMorreal was. If JoeMorreal wants to contribute to discussions about the Rosenberg-Craig debate, that’s fine by me.

    And if other Uncommon Descent regulars want to chat about Islam and Christianity, then they should either take JM up on his offer to contact him personally by email, or another thread can be started for that purpose. (“Theism Cage-match: Three Theisms Enter, One Theism Leaves! Tickets on sale now!”)

  81. 81

    Thankyou KN that is fair.

  82. F/N: I have annotated two of JM’s comments here at no 4 above and here at 71, on specific points where he needs to pull up his socks. His behaviour in no 4 above was unprovoked and is indefensible.

    JM needs to realise that personal attacks and derailing, on any excuse, are not appropriate. If he wishes to continue to debate tangential matters on a previous thread, so long as he does not act abusively, I have no objection to that, but this thread on a very important matter for our civilisation, has been largely derailed and poisoned by matters that did not have to be raised or if raised did not have to be handled through personalities.

    In particular, you JM will see the point on tone in comment 3 above, in response to a statement on your part that raises serious questions on attitude.

    I do see where someone gave a context for that attitude, based on a reference. I note to others, in that light: please, this is not a forum for debates on the merits of Islam vs the Christian faith, there are various sites where such can be entertained, and if anyone wants to form a separate blog to engage such, it is a matter of five minutes’ work to do so.

    The proper matter for this thread is too important to derail it like this.

    KF

    PS: I saw a cite from Box, which fits with the strictures above. By 28 above, I asked JM to return to the focus, before heading out for the day. Axel seems to have come in very late [~ 41] and after the derailment had long since begun. And, the debate across religions suggested is not within any reasonable interpretation of UD’s remit. As I noted previously, I only intervened (i.e. in the previous thread) because of behaviour already begun and to set a balance before those who would not otherwise have easy access to such. I think it appropriate to point again to three key resources here, here and here on the general matter and on the issue of Jews and the history of Modern Israel, here and here. I do this on the principle that a price must be paid for misbehaviour that is sufficiently smarting that it will not be repeated. Johnny, don’t touch the stove, it is hot. Five minutes later: OUCH, waaah! Johnny, I warned you, now you know the hard way.

  83. Ah, but while Islam has contributed significantly to the advancement of empirical science, Joe, Christianity has contributed more substantially.

    However, the Shroud is a uniquely momentous deifact(!), which no one can seriously doubt, if they watch the video, so that the rug is pulled well and truly from under the atheists’ feet. Their invocation of a multiverse of unicorns, pink pixies and the like, as their basic hypotheses becomes not so much, wrong, wrong, wrong, as ‘not even wrong, wrong, wrong’.

    That is why that video and the posts of mine concerning it, have a place on this blog, KN. Not that my posts have always been as directly germane.

    Have you answered BA’s criticism yet concerning the endlessly-evasive character of your reasoning?
    _______
    Axel, you have a right of reply to KN. A trace of a miracle would indeed be germane to many issues, however I would appeal not to make this a shroud thread. This debate is very important as it is the obvious stand in for the Craig Dawkins one that we are obviously not now going to get. KF

  84. My apologies, KN. Just reading your response now.

  85. But alas KN, if you have no actual basis in reality (and I certainly can find no basis whatsoever for your philosophy), what is all your philosophical posturing really worth??? Nothing!!!

  86. Steady the Buffs! You should know, it’s an occupational hazard on here, BA …. you argue with atheists and their assumptions are all haywire, so you get nowhere … slowly.

  87. 87
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’d like to request that anyone who wants to engage with me in this thread read all of (36), (51), (54), (60), (74), and
    (77).

    In particular, in my (77) I suggested a road-map of how I position myself with regards to both Rosenberg and Craig, and even if you don’t want to engage with me in particular, you might find some value in how I’ve set up the contrast between them.

    In a few other posts over the past few weeks I’ve also discussed my qualified defense of teleological realism with respect to living things, different kinds of irreducibility (the irreducibility of normative facts to natural facts is different in kind than the irreducibility of biological facts to physical facts), anti-foundationalism in metaphysics and epistemology, and a social-pragmatic account of meaning and justification. (Contra StephenB’s suggestion, however, I do not reject the correspondence theory of truth.)

    Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a lot out of this! :)

    Anyway, Kairosfocus is right — there’s a lot going on in the Craig-Rosenberg debate that merits close examination.

  88. 88

    Removed as inappropriate and in the face of repeated warnings. There were several one sided claims on matters of history and theology that are best answered elsewhere. At first I was going to just strike through, but this one passed the threshold. Any further derail attempts, and I will ask JM to leave this and any other threads I own. KF

  89. Kantian Naturalist (74): I don’t think that everything reduces to atoms and void (or sub-atomic particles and quantum vacuum), and I don’t think that mental states [e.g. consciousness, intentionality, rationality] inhere in some non-physical substance or substrate.

    So what is not reducible to atoms and void?

    Kantian Naturalist (74): Instead, I regard mental properties are the properties of a living animal, just as its physical properties are. So I start off with the idea of animals as being the sorts of things that have both mental and physical properties, rather than thinking of mental properties as properties of something non-physical.

    Living animals have mental and physical properties. The question is: what is your ‘living animal’? Is it itself both non-mental and non-physical but does it have (emergent) physical and mental properties? Or is the living animal itself just physical and are only the mental properties emergent?

    Kantian Naturalist (74): To anticipate the objection, “how did the mental properties of living animals first come into being?”, I think that I think that mental properties as being, most generally, emergent properties of extremely complex, holistic systems of particular kinds. So yes, I am committed to a pretty demanding version of emergentism.

    You say that mental properties are emergent properties of ‘extremely complex, holistic systems of particular kinds’. Are ‘extremely complex, holistic systems of particular kinds’ mere physical systems subjugated to natural law? Can ‘extremely, holistic systems of particular kinds’ be explained by Darwinism? What do you think of physicalism and the causal closure principle?

  90. 90

    Removed as a continued derail attempt in the teeth of warning. KF

  91. JM: I have had to remove two off topic posts (one is about to go . . . ) that are clearly repeated derailing in the teeth of more than fair warning. You should have realised that the annotated posts and a warning were serious. KF

  92. 92

    KF:

    Do yourself a favour and rid your self of the absurd Islamaphobia to which you are ignorantly or conveniently a victim of . The enemy as I have described above are nor a few criminal Muslims roaming about that are largely supported and manipulated by intelligence agencies of CIA, MI6 and Mossad.
    What is happening in the world is in great part due to high level Freemasonry/Illuminati and Zionism which are paving the way for the one eyed (see one dollar bill) anti Christs arrival.

    Sadly knowing you you probably will dismiss this as conspiracy theories.
    Be that as it may….
    _______

    JM, I will let this stand, as it is ever so inadvertently revealing of the problem. However, I ask you that any future comments in this thread be strictly germane. You are on strike three. KF

  93. 93

    No problem KF, I knew a long time ago you couldn’t handle the truth…….
    _______
    Ad hominem. See below esp the onward linked. KF

  94. 94

    Removed for offensive language. Regarding the sins of Western civilisation, you — and the onlooker — may find Bernard Lewis’ remark commented on here helpful once you have calmed down. And no, your behaviour in public gives me no reason to try to spend time on a personal email exchange. if you had been serious about a civil exchange, you could easily have commented in the previous thread, or even created a blog. Derailing is simply not acceptable. And, I think the astute onlooker will be able to see how I have “faced the truth” about Western Civilisation, which, despite its many flaws is well worth defending. And I say that as a descendant of slaves, one who understands the role the gospel played in the liberation of my ancestors. KF

  95. 95

    Removed as off topic and as ad hominem, multiplied by derailing in focus in the teeth of reasonable alternatives. JM, you are now kindly asked to cease from threads that I own, as you have shown incorrigible derailing behaviour. GEM of TKI

  96. Box, thanks for your comment in 89,,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-445723

    i.e. Just what and just what not is KN willing to stick his neck out and claim as rigidly and objectively true about reality so that we can test the merits of his worldview???

  97. Thanks vjtorley for providing a link to Edward Feser and his excellent review of Rosenberg’s book. After reading some of the reviews I’m starting to like Rosenberg for his clarity and consistency.

    E. Feser on Rosenberg: “Since what is real is only what is reducible to physics, there are no meanings, purposes, designs, or plans of any sort, not even at the level of the human mind. Our thoughts only seem to be “about” things. And if they have no meaning, we cannot really have any plans and purposes at all. Indeed, the self that appears to think meaningful thoughts, to form plans, and to persist through the continual rewiring of the neural circuitry of the brain is also an illusion.”

    Rosenberg’s consistency is simply a joy for the mind! It confirms that consistent – stripped naked – atheism / naturalism is just laughable. It’s rather puzzling that Rosenberg seems to believe that his book contains a credible worldview. How would it be like to be living in his mind?

  98. “Irrational,” maybe not. “Unreasonable,” yes. If someone is devoid of empathy, lacks all sense of justice and fairness, it would be impossible, I conjecture, to get that person to adopt the moral point of view through reason alone. But I submit that no one who has empathy, care, concern, a sense of justice, etc. would wish that it were otherwise. (No one would want to become a psychopath.)

    ‘Justice’ and ‘fairness’ don’t amount to much on atheist materialism anyway. And what’s this “THE moral point of view” anyway? It’s just the name for another subjective set of values and judgments.

    If what you mean is ‘unreasonable… from the perspective of a certain, ultimately subjective perspective’, sure. But really, who cares? Likewise, you say no one who has empathy, care, concern, etc would wish it were otherwise. I question that – more than that, I wonder why their inability to wish otherwise would matter given atheism and materialism. Would it matter if a person who lacked those things would never want them?

    I think that nihilistic atheism is implicitly committed to the same presuppositions as the theism it supposedly opposes.

    Insofar as both may agree that X is required to eradicate nihilism, and the theist thinks X exists and the atheist thinks X doesn’t, perhaps.

    Hence: to deny the conditional itself is to be beyond both theism and atheism. It is to believe that acknowledging the fragility of goodness is fully consistent with affirming the value of goodness.

    The ‘fragility’ is not simply related to its ‘eternality’, but its grounding and ultimate nature. For the materialist atheist, the only kind of ‘goodness’ there is amounts to subjective judgment calls – and the psychopath can make a call that’s every bit as valid as the “nice, kind” person. Again, you’re trying to flower up the language and paint the distinction in poetic terms, and in the process you just highlight the problem even further.

    Saying that the non-nihilist atheism appreciates the ‘fragility of goodness’ makes it sound as if ‘goodness’ is this precious, delicate, wonderful but ultimately transient thing. But that’s not the problem. The problem is what the nature of ‘goodness’ and such is. When the “fragility” is a fundamental kind – where ‘goodness’ is fragile in that it can mean ‘being nice to old ladies’ and ‘cracking their skulls in with a hammer’ because, ultimately, it’s all about a subjective call – then the poetry goes away, and the real issue is made more stark.

    It is to believe that acknowledging that my entire existence will end when my life ends — that the death of the body is the annihilation of the soul — is no justification for depravity, wickedness, or even just being an insensitive jerk.

    The problem is you don’t need “justifications”. Justifications are required in systems where there exists some standard of good and evil – the justification would be the argued, reasonable exception to the objective rule. But there are no objective rules for the atheist materialist. There are just, at best, some material/physical facts of the matter – and ‘goodness’ is just a subjective judgment call.

    Hence, while you’re talking about justification, the nihilist replies that their acts are beyond justification. They do not need it anymore.

    No one just “decides” that something is a brute fact — whether a fact is ‘brute’ or not depends on where the inquiry takes us. Now, I do think that both theism and naturalism each have their “brute facts” beyond which explanations cannot go.

    No, the ‘brute fact’ represents the end of inquiry. You don’t discover ‘oh, this is a brute fact that has no explanation’ by anything but metaphysical assertion. The classical theists deny that they have any ‘brute facts’ – and that would be why the Principle of Sufficient Reason has its most prominent defenders as theists, and detractors as atheists.

    Either way, yes, you really can just decide that such-and-such is a brute fact, in part because ‘inquiry’ in principle never ends. You have to decide to end the inquiry – and that decision involves claiming something is a brute fact. Again, it’s the naturalist/atheist version of ‘God did it’.

  99. KN:

    Anyway, Kairosfocus is right — there’s a lot going on in the Craig-Rosenberg debate that merits close examination.

    At least Rosenberg got one thing right! The debate format does leave something to be desired. But that’s no excuse for not being prepared.

    Now, my memory is for beans unless my lessons are accompanied by pain/reward stimulus (at least that’s how I justify my particular fetish) so I cannot recall the actual arguments, but the following seems relevant:

    The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism

  100. The first few things I read about Rosenberg’s excogitations (also the last) gave me the impression that he was ‘a little on the simple side’; and was puzzled as to why William Craig would dispute with him.

    One example of this egregious simple-mindedness was his objection that Craig was re-stating an argument he had made before, in another debate…..! What was he supposed to do? Change it to make it more interesting?!?!

  101. Anyways KN, we do appreciate your presence here. I can’t wait to get to Socrates Meets Kant! Currently working through Socrates Meets Hume.

  102. nullasalus:

    The problem is you don’t need “justifications”. Justifications are required in systems where there exists some standard of good and evil – the justification would be the argued, reasonable exception to the objective rule.

    Mung:

    If atheism is true, why does it need justification?

    616

  103. @Bornagain77
    Kantian Naturalist is a mysterious thinker, isn’t he? It is difficult to persuade him to descent, for a moment, to my humble level of basic straight talk philosophy.

  104. Joe Morreale1187

    Paul abrogated not only Mosaic Law which Jesus said he came to uphold and fulfil BUT also the pure monotheism of Abraham which by the Mercy of God was fully restored through His last Messenger Muhammad saws.

    Paul did not abrogate the moral law of the Old Testament. On the other hand, Muhammad did abrogate Quran teachings in the name of God.

    I don’t want to be unkind, but as long as you continue to misrepresent Christian teachings and rationalize Islam’s errors, I will issue corrections on both counts.

    It will be far better to stay with the topic of the thread, which focuses on the contrast between theism and atheism. Stay with that, and we can do business.

    So stop throwing pebbles my friend…….

    I am not throwing pebbles, I am responding to pebbles that have already been thrown. I have asserted nothing that is not a fact about either Christianity or Islam. If we stay with the subject matter on the table, all will be well.

  105. 105

    Steohen B:

    No , Paul completely distorted the message of Jesus Christ pbuh which was the Mosaic Law and crucially the theology in he name of God clearly showing that it was some Demon spiri thatt appeared to him on the road of Damascus. [ --> NB, kindly cf here in Ac 15 for the response of the Jerusalem circle of leadership to the teachings of Paul in light of his encounter with the risen Christ as Son of Man in light of Dan 7:9 - 14 (echoing Stephen's similar vision at his lynching, in Ac 7, esp 54 - 60), and his partnership in the gospel. [NB: Onlookers, given the events in the cave outside Mecca and onward falling into trance prophetic states in which further statements were made, such visions are particularly relevant in an Islamic talking points context: Daniel speaks of Son of Man coming on clouds in glory. Jesus, at trial under oath-bound extortion, says that yes this will be so of him. Stephem irst Martyr -- at his lynching -- has, live, such a vision of the glory of the Son. And Paul, pivotal witness against him (significance of the clothes of the stoners laid at his feet) then sets out to make havoc, only to find himself seeing the light and knocked off his high horse in the presence of his companions in persecution by the same glorified Son; then later the gospel explained to him personally by Christ is CONFIRMED formally by the Jerusalem apostles and elders unanimously as being in accord with what they learned on the streets and fields of Palestine from the mouth of Jesus. So, if one is looking for visions and revelations, one OUGHT to look to the risen Christ who personally arrested Paul, who obviously knew the official they stole the body spin and knew it to be hollow, or he would never have believed the vision. in this regard, the official AD 48/9 letter of the Jerusalem leadership in Ac 15 and their solemn official summary of their witness in 1 Cor 15 -- recorded AD 55 based on events dating to 35 - 38 AD, are utterly decisive. ] Note especially the terms of the letter sent out by those apostles with a delegation: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers[c] who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you[d] with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. . . . ” I need not more than show the Johannine prologue that was written decades after Paul had passed off the scene by the last remaining Jerusalem Apostle, to highlight that Paul’s view was in fact reflective of that gospel and faith once for all handed on to the saints. We may also point out that this all is due to the demand of Islam in the Quran that Jesus was not crucified, in direct contradiction to a fact of history recorded by both Christian and non-Christian sources alike, that is as well grounded as any we would reasonably expect. Multiply, by the sort of gross misrepresentations of both Jewish and Christian theology that are also in the Quran, and we see a very different view on the merits. Instead of railing, though, I just ask this, of JM: had I suggested the like on M’s visions of “Gabriel” at that cave, how would you have responded? That should speak volumes on problems of tone. KF]

    Muhammad saws on the other hand by revelation from God was to progressively abrogate a few things so as to make it easier on the Pagan Arabs. That is a massive difference as compared to Paul who completely defaced Jesus and the Religion of Abraham.

    So I have misrepresented nothing. Quit worshipping Jesus who never told u to but directed his worship and yours to God and return to the religion of Abraham.
    ______

    Allowed to stand, as a part of an exchange with a correction by SB just above in which there was a call to return to thread focus. The talking points made are of no credibility as can be warranted otherwise — cf here and here on the debate (and here and here [Fr Boutros of Egypt] on the underlying questions on the foundations of Islam for those who need that) — but that is not germane to the subject of the thread. Cf here on the Paulianity thesis, for those who need it. Also, cf here on the history that the position being advocated by JM has such a challenge addressing. This provides a 101 on why Christians believe as we do about Jesus of Nazareth. KF.

  106. Quit worshipping Jesus who never told u to but directed his worship and yours to God and return to the religion of Abraham.

    Abraham never worshiped Allah, so why should anyone else?

  107. JM,

    If Jesus was a prophet in the service of Allah, surely he proclaimed the same message as Muhammad
    ____

    Mung, please do not respond further to trollish distractions. I have taken action to request JM not to involve himself further with threads I own for insistent thread derailing and personalities etc, even when reasonable alternatives were given. This behaviour is more and more making me pretty sure this is a Dawah advocate coming here to push an agenda, not to seriously engage issues in a civil fashion. The only material thing is that it seems the vid we looked at recently shows a new Dawah strategy of latching on to work by ID thinkers and Creationists, then rebaptising hem into a Dawah context, using the typical proselytism talking points that I have already given major references on addressing. BTW, I feel fully justigfied in taking excerpts from that vid and returning them to their proper purpose. KF

  108. Jesus is a Jew. Muhammad is an anti-semite.

    Go figure.

  109. 109

    Removed as further distraction in the teeth of reasonable alternatives. JM could easily have spent five minutes creating his own blog, and could have invited response there. he could even have called on those interested to go to the previous, derailed thread. instead, in the teeth of repeated warnings, he insisted on trying to derail this thread. KF

  110. 110

    Guys I am at work and away from a computer or my IPad so cannot deal with your replies at the moment .

    I have made it clear repeatedly that debating such issues should be done by email. It’s on record AGAIN that it is not me that is starting the derailing process.
    I am increasingly getting the impression my presence on these threads is causing a lot of discomfort and maybe a few of you ate trying to get me banned.
    _________________

    My comment here is that a look at the thread above shows different, as you hopped on in the first several posts and set a very poor tone [can you imagine the reaction of the objector sites if I had let that stand as though it represents my view? And that is apart form the fact that I find it completely wrong-headed, I am trying to open your eyes to see what you did . . . ], which I tried to correct gently. You resorted to personal attacks against the thread owner right away, as I noted on already. See comment 4 with my annotations and cautions. Someone else did take up at 10, and I have noted on not feeding a derailment. The attempt to divert blame for derailing behaviour in the teeth of two proffered reasonable alternatives, is duly rejected. If you had had a civil intent you could easily have noted please go here to my new blog, or you could have easily used the already derailed thread, derailed by your attacking persons and their character. Your incorrigible behaviour has earned you a request to leave this and all threads I own. That is not banning, and I will leave open the opportunity of an apology and promise to do better as a basis for restoration. KF

  111. Lessons from the Alex Rosenberg – William Lane Craig Debate – Carson Weitnauer – February 2, 2013
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2.....urce=pubv1

  112. NOTICE: I have had to go through the thread and clean up. Pending an apology and promise to do better, JM is hereby invited to leave this and any other blog thread I own. He has had ample opportunity to take up reasonable alternatives — make your own blog [5 minutes at blogger for instance] and link to it, or use an already derailed thread, but insisted on engaging a pattern that predictably would derail this thread if left to the natural course. KF

  113. 113

    KF:
    Once again you have showed your discomfort , hatred and intolerance for the truth
    _______
    JM, on the contrary, sadly, it is you who have shown scant regard for basic courtesies and have been unable to do other than put up well-worn talking points that have serious and thoughtful counters that you have never once engaged on the merits with any cogency or substance. I repeat, if you want to debate Dawah talking points and shoot ad hominems [as you again did, and remember it was similar behaviour that led me to intervene with you in the previous thread when you falsely accused some one of fraud then proceeded to accuse missionaries of being liars and seducing manipulators . . . ], you are not welcome to do so in threads I own. You may return to such threads on an apology and a promise to do better. I will let this stand as a token of of your insistence on unreasonable behaviour even at this late stage. The duplicate, I have removed. KF

  114. 114

    Stephen B;
    You have corrected nothing my son. Paul by his own admission admitted that his vision could have been from a devil in disguise and is also on record as having practiced the so called Taqiyya that u accuse Muslims of when he said to the Gentile he became a gentile , to the Jew a Jew etc etc

    Muhammad saws who was illiterate through the envied and unrivalled isnad/ chain of transmission which the compilation of the Bible totally lacks was witnessed on many occasions LIVE by dozens of companions receiving revelation in an inimitable Arabic which is completely different to his speech recorded in the Hadiths. [--> Cf here and here, as well as here. KF]

    Because I am not allowed to respond anymore on here and my comments will be deleted I invite and challenge you by email where I will refute whatever you have to say point by point

    If you do not take up the challenge I will have no option but to conclude that you know that your ignorant and convenient distortions and misconceptions will be exposed .
    __________

    I have let this stand, in light of its being a “final” response from JM to SB; there are adequate corrections that are easily accessed above where such accusations were already raised. In addition, this documents the manner in which Dawah advocates too often argue. There are more than sufficient reference sources above to correct what is stated. Beyond this, I will now remove further distractive comments by JM. He knows what he has done, why it is not acceptable, and what he should do in self correction, pretences and projections otherwise notwithstanding. KF

  115. F/N: In 111 above, BA77 has draw our attention to some lessons drawn from the debate at Reasons for God. Let me clip his first lesson:

    Throughout the debate, Dr. Rosenberg presented a wide variety of terrible arguments. (This is probably why he lost the debate: 4-2 by the formal panel, 1390-303 by the audience, 734-59 online).

    For instance, Rosenberg continued to insist that the logical problem of evil was a substantial problem for Christian theism. However, contemporary philosophers (e.g., Paul Draper and Peter van Inwagen) have pretty widely agreed that the free will defense, pioneered by Alvin Plantinga, has provided a satisfactory rational resolution to the logical problem of evil.

    Similarly, Rosenberg insisted that there is no way for theists to handle the Euthyphro dilemma. He seemed genuinely perplexed by the substance of Dr. Craig’s divine command theory and perfect being theology.

    Where did he get the idea that Christians have no answer for these elementary questions? Reddit? The God Delusion? Perhaps he has just gotten away with these caricatures in conversations with Christians at Duke.

    There is no good reason that high school students headed to college cannot explain why the logical problem of evil is passé or why the Euthyphro Dilemma is a false dilemma. High school youth groups need to set aside the time to study these arguments. I wonder: how many people have lost their faith because of bad arguments?

    What do you think the secular society is more concerned about? That the Christian youth group has free pizza and electric guitars? Or that they have mastered sound arguments and are known for their love of reason? If you lead a ministry, where is your money, time and energy going?

    Perhaps they already do, but I challenge the Christians in Dr. Rosenberg’s philosophy classes at Duke to come highly prepared to class, ready to graciously challenge their professor’s naive positions. May this be true of Christians at colleges and workplaces around the world.

    What is this telling us?

    KF

  116. I understand your stricture concerning disrupting the thread, even to digress on the subject of the Shroud, KF, and apologise.

    However, I would be very grateful if you would permit me to clarify a half-baked musing I posted earlier concerning the terrorist killings of civilians in Africa.

    While it is true that the prelate I referred to stated that we don’t always give out the whole truth, and that in his country, (Kenya, I believe it was) more Moslems had been killed by Christians than vice versa, I don’t think there can be the least doubt that such murders would have been in response to unprovoked murderous attacks by militant Moslems in that country, perhaps Taliban.

    Moreover, while in the past, both religions were spread ‘at the edge of the sword’ in the Middle Ages, since Vatican II, the Catholic church has acknowledged its shameful and perverse anti-Semitism, as well as expressing profound respect for Islam, as another monotheistic, Abrahamic religion, believed in by millions in good faith, and by no means without producing devout and holy men and women. I remember an old Iraqi whose whole family had been wiped out, replying to the TV interviewer, ‘It is the will of Allah. Allah be praised.’

    However, while the religions of Christianity and Islam have been tainted in the past by the cultures that espoused them, I don’t believe that it has ever been an article of their faith for Christian civilians to proselytize by killing anyone of another faith – which, apparently, cannot be said for Islam.

    Yes, I know, Joe, that any amount of the current Moslem terrorism will have been fomented by the most brutal Western imperialism, but what has been inflicted upon Moslem countries by barbarians in the name of Christianity, in no wise ensues from the tenets of the Christian faith.

    ____________

    Axel, allowed to stand as a final statement, hopefully closing the matter. KF

  117. F/N 2: The second lesson drawn by Weitnauer — noting that the common adjective now being commonly used by the New Atheists to characterise Dr Craig, as though it were established and undeniable fact that disqualifies him from discussion is “odious.”

    The contrast in the debate gives the lie to this [whatever difficulties on points at issue Dr Craig may or may not have], but the following raises sobering issues for us all:

    Dr. Rosenberg started off his opening speech by attacking Dr. Craig’s character! He claimed Dr. Craig doesn’t listen to others, that he doesn’t care about the truth, and that his debate expertise was irrelevant to finding truth. He then claimed that because an overwhelming majority of members in the National Academy of Science are atheists, Dr. Craig’s presentation of important theories in the field are illegitimate. Later, Dr. Rosenberg claimed that if Dr. Craig answered the problem of evil in a certain way, he would be dishonoring his ancestors, who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

    Wow – does Dr. Rosenberg really believe that Christians cannot even discuss science? And if the case against Christianity is so obvious, why didn’t he just explain it to us? Or is it that there is an intolerant, unreasonable prejudice against Christians in the academy?

    Beyond the personal attacks, though, was the strangeness of Dr. Rosenberg repeatedly promoting his book. At one point, he propped it up in front of him to make sure it was highly visible to the audience and the cameras.

    By contrast, Dr. Craig was kind and charitable. He simply ignored the personal attacks. He showed that he had carefully read Dr. Rosenberg’s book and quoted from it many times. He had read Dr. Rosenberg’s interview in the campus newspaper. He explained his opponent’s position with the utmost of clarity, perhaps more clearly than Dr. Rosenberg did, and explained his reasoned objections to those ideas. He looked for places of agreement and acknowledged this common ground. He rose above the pettiness and offered a mature, gracious response.

    It was clear that Dr. Craig’s worldview has strengthened his character and given him the confidence to be kind and respectful of others, even in a debate format. By contrast, Dr. Rosenberg lacked decency, attacking his opponent’s character and hawking his own book.

    People notice these differences. Our character is on display. What will it say about our worldview?

    I think this is quite relevant too.

    What are our onward thoughts?

    What about on the substance?

    KF

  118. 118

    Removed as further derailing. JM knows what he is free to do if he wishes to debate on the subjects he wants to debate, and he knows what he needs to do to return to good standing in threads I own. KF

  119. 119
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 115,

    What is this telling us?

    It suggests to me that Rosenberg under-estimated Craig and was under-prepared for a debate format.

    The latter is not surprising, actually — professional philosophers never have debates like this. Usually one person will give a lecture for about an hour or so, then there will be a Q&A. Side-by-side lectures-and-responses have been known to happen but they are extremely rare, and they are never as structured as this was: opening remarks I, opening remarks II, rebuttal I, rebuttal II, closing remarks I, closing remarks II. For good or ill, that’s not a format that professional philosophers know how to work with.

    That Rosenberg under-estimated Craig’s philosophical acumen — and the BIOLA audience’s education — is pretty disappointing — though I can’t say that I’m surprised. For example, I’d be willing to bet that most professional philosophers just assume that divine command theory cannot be rescued from the Euthyphro dilemma. And I’m be willing to bet that Rosenberg just doesn’t care enough one way or another to examine the details of Craig’s response to the Dilemma.

    What I found utterly baffling is why Rosenberg agreed to the debate in the first place. He clearly did not want to be there. I wonder if he had very different expectations as to what it would be like.

  120. Perhaps Rosenburgh just saw it as a good opportunity to promote his book? End of.

  121. Odious? There’s a wonderful expression to describe the response of the whiney new atheists, to the consummate mastery of his subject of the good Professor W L Craig of this parish: ‘They’re squealing like stick pigs.’

    Way to go, Bill! Go get ‘em!

  122. KN: Pardon, but I would think that the format had to have been agreed beforehand and is fairly standard. Though, normally, a second would take up some of the slack on the onward phases. But the one on one debate like this is also standard and should be familiar. Where, the issue of precis is there, and that of currency and cogency. Please, don’t tell me that Christian answers to Euthyphro, which go back to who, Augustine or before, are not known? Please, the dilemma is fatally handicapped by not properly addressing the sort of being that the God of theism is. Similarly, the case with the problem of evil, deductive form, is astonishing. Even web debaters nowadays know not to go there by and large. As to the ad hominems etc, that speaks for itself. What this all comes across to me as, with all due respect, is that there is a want of understanding that the ideas on such matters have passed on beyond the days of Hume etc. Which speaks volumes, given that we are dealing with a phil prof here who just wrote a work on the atheistical worldview. It looks to me like scientism has so dominated that people have not adequately thought through its foundations and implications, and do not think that serious and informed people can come from a different view. Much less, explored the comparative difficulties analysis at a really serious level. KF

  123. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

    I don’t wish to gainsay the words of scripture, but it looks as if, in this particular public context, God looks with particular care and affection on this his, surely most urbane and avuncular of attack-dogs, the said Professor W L Craig!

  124. 124
    Kantian Naturalist

    Maybe it’s “standard” in apologetics, but it’s not standard in professional philosophy — that was the only point I was trying to make there.

    A much more interesting issue raised in the debate, and one near and dear to my own heart, is the question of intentionality. Rosenberg is an eliminativist about intentionality, which is a pretty extreme view even among naturalists — most naturalists think that intentionality can be naturalized, although there are a lot of disagreements about how this is to be done (e.g. Churchland vs. Fodor).

    I found it striking that Craig’s view requires that he agree with Rosenberg’s arguments — if intentionality cannot be naturalized, and if we cannot dispense with intentionality, then the case for non-naturalism looks pretty good. Likewise for consciousness, free will, purpose, moral evaluation, etc.

    In these respects, Rosenberg is the perfect antithesis to Craig. A naturalist who thinks that naturalism can accommodate intentionality, consciousness, and/or agency would be a very different opponent for a non-naturalist or theist, and perhaps a more difficult one.

  125. KN: Pardon, but I was not speaking of apologetics. Has the academy in North America, much less ordinary schools, lost the art of the debate? (Out here no sixth former would have completed his upper high school education who has not at least seen a few debates. I here remember the debate where the advocate of a certain side had on the back of his prep sheet” “Free cokes!” [Meant as a joke.]) While I am more inclined to the panel type discussion, the debate is a well known and respected form, even a minor art. And it seems to me that the form of secularist view that is common out there these days and is rampant per the New Atheists, is scientism. Which is what AR just wrote a book to explain and promote. KF

  126. 126

    Jm , you couldn’t be more wrong about the catholic church’ and the shroud.
    The church publicly takes a neutral stance on the shroud because they rightly say that it isn’t a need prerequisite to our faith.

    Privately the last 2 popes have said that they believe in its authenticity,and for good reason, there is a preponderence of evidence in favor of its authenticity.

    You should read the over 300 peer reviewed research papers on it before you form an opinion on it.
    _________
    WS, pardon but for cause I have asked JM to leave this thread pending an apology and commitment to do better. KF

  127. 127

    It’s no coincidence that it matches the gospel accounts of Christ’s passion and crucifixion to the letter
    _______
    Cf. just above. KF

  128. 128
    Kantian Naturalist

    It is an art, but in the United States these days, it’s a rare one.

    In any event, I offered this only as an explanation of Rosenberg’s poor performance, not as an excuse. As Bill Munny said in Unforgiven, when it was pointed out that he just shot an unarmed man, “He should have armed himself if he’s going to decorate his saloon with my friend.” Well, Craig may have shot an unarmed man, in terms of the clarity of his exposition and argumentative precision, but Rosenberg should have armed himself if he’s going to agree to a debate at Biola.

    And it seems to me that the form of secularist view that is common out there these days and is rampant per the New Atheists, is scientism.

    Yes, and Rosenberg makes his defense of “scientism” quite explicit. (At one point he says he’s re-claiming the word as a badge of honor, as gays and lesbians have with “queer”.) But, to forestall confusion: one can be a secularist without being an atheist; one can be an atheist without being a naturalist; one can be a naturalist without being scientistic. And even amongst the scientistically-minded, Rosenberg speaks only for himself.

    Here’s an exchange that some of you might find interesting, between Rosenberg and Timothy Williamson (a non-naturalist atheist). Williamson starts off with his “What is Naturalism?“, to which Rosenberg replies and on which Williamson then comments.

  129. Mr. Kantian Naturalist, I do hope you will answer my questions to you in post 89.

  130. KN: I think — and, frankly, with some reluctance — debates have a very valid place; including in the academy. The Oxbridge tradition (last seen Jan 31, with Dawkins losing) is a testimony to that. Ironically, here, I have the opposite problem, they are seen as an intellectual game and a be all end all. But then I should remember the pendulum lesson on swinging between opposite extremes, with the balance point opposed to all such! KF

  131. 131
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Box @ 89:

    So what is not reducible to atoms and void?

    About “reducibility”: I’m generally hesitant to say that anything ‘reduces’ to anything else. I think of reduction as an epistemological notion, where what is ‘reduced’ is a theory to another theory. (Sometimes this involves positing a new set of entities, sometimes it doesn’t, and the differences matter.) Seen this way, I think that “reduction” is a very high standard to meet, and that cases of successful reduction are rare. For inter-theoretic reduction to succeed, we would need to be able to derive all the statements of the reduced theory from the statements of the more basic theory. But it’s not even clear to me that we can, for example, derive the truths of basic chemistry from the truths of atomic physics. Sure, we can explain chemistry in terms of physics — to some degree! — but that’s a long way from being able to reduce chemistry to physics. As Leiter and Weisberg point out in their review of Nagel, we can’t even reduce population genetics to molecular genetics!

    The really interesting question is, why aren’t there more successful reductions in science? Here there are a couple of different answers. It could just be because different theories are partly shaped by different technologies, different techniques of intervening or experimenting, such that the natural phenomena disclosed by a particle accelerator and by an electron microscope are just apples and oranges. Or, it could be because there is real, ontological emergence. Or (as I think) both — that is because there is real emergence that no one set of techniques and methods will work across the board. (On a related note: is there really such a thing as “the scientific method”? Or is there just a whole bunch of scientific methods? And if the latter, what makes them all scientific? As Richard Rorty once put it, “is natural science a natural kind?”)

    Living animals have mental and physical properties. The question is: what is your ‘living animal’? Is it itself both non-mental and non-physical but does it have (emergent) physical and mental properties? Or is the living animal itself just physical and are only the mental properties emergent?

    I would say that the living animal is just that which perceives, moves, digests, hunts, grazes, mates, etc. — whatever it does — and that some of those activities are classed as its “psychological properties” and others as “biological properties”. Maybe this is what you want me to say: yes, I do think that, at the end of the day, all of its properties — psychological, biological, etc. — do supervene on its physical composition. (Same with rational animals, too.) But that’s not going to help us understand much about what it is for something to be a psychological property.

    The main ones I’m interested in are consciousness, intentionality, and care. These supervene on the physical composition of the whole animal — I don’t think that we can locate them in just the brain all by itself.

    You say that mental properties are emergent properties of ‘extremely complex, holistic systems of particular kinds’. Are ‘extremely complex, holistic systems of particular kinds’ mere physical systems subjugated to natural law? Can ‘extremely, holistic systems of particular kinds’ be explained by Darwinism? What do you think of physicalism and the causal closure principle?

    Taking these in order:

    (1) I wouldn’t say “subjugated to natural law”. I would say that the laws of physics permit the emergence of complex systems, but I’m hesitant to say that the emergence itself is law-governed. Our notion of the laws of nature is based on work done with very simple systems — balls rolling down-hill, pendulums swinging, and the like. Complex systems just might not have laws. But I don’t know. It’s a complicated question and I haven’t done the research into it that I’d like. I know others have, I know there are answers out there to these questions, but I don’t have them on tap.

    (2) No, I don’t think that they can be explained by Darwinism — on the contrary, I think that Darwinism presupposes that there are such systems in nature. A universe without such systems (e.g. without the physical laws that permit such systems to emerge) wouldn’t have any life, let alone the sort of life that undergoes Darwinian evolution.

    (3) On the CCP, I’m torn. On the one hand, I have no reason to deny it and every reason to affirm it. On the other hand, the history of philosophy is littered with the corpses of good science turned into bad metaphysics. So I endorse the CCP, but with some hesitation.

  132. 132
    Kantian Naturalist

    I found this really neat little argument while searching for color commentary about the Craig-Rosenberg debate.

    Context: a couple of times here Kairosfocus has raised the stakes of the theism/atheism debate by giving us Goedel’s version of the ontological argument. Like Leibniz’s version, it takes as a premise that the existence of God is possible and concludes that the existence of God is necessary. So, KF concludes, the burden is on the atheist to show that the existence of God is impossible.

    Well, here’s a nice little argument that purports to do just that: The “Consciousness” Version of the IGEC Argument, where “IGEC” stands for “the Impossibility of God from Embodied Cognition”. This is a much more well-developed version of an argument I tried making here last month. (No, it’s not my argument.)

    The key move concerns mental content externalism: the idea being that our mental contents are partly constituted by our environments. (There’s both physical externalism and social externalism. I myself think that physical externalism is true for non-conceptual mental representations, e.g. sensations and perceptions, and that social externalism is true for conceptual mental representations, e.g. beliefs and desires.)

    If mental content externalism is true, then there could not be a mind which has nothing external to it, and hence nothing like God as traditionally conceived. If it is possible that God exists, then mental content externalism must be false. But, we have some really good reasons to think it’s true!

    Alternatively, it could be that mental content externalism is true for all finite minds, just not true of the infinite mind. But while that’s not unattractive, it’s problematic for orthodox religion, because it undermines our confidence that we could know what the divine mental states are — i.e. what it is that God intends, believes, desires, etc.

    Pushing on that a bit further: if finite minds, for which mental content externalism is true, are the only kinds of minds we can really get a firm handle on, conceptually speaking, then we might be forced to say that the mind of God is a mind only in an analogical sense. (Or, as I would prefer to say, in a metaphorical sense, but ok.) But that too should undermine our confidence that we really know what we’re talking about when we talk about God, and while those of mystical bent might welcome that result, those who want a tougher, more demanding metaphysics of the divine might well be out of luck.

  133. Q (B): Can ‘extremely, holistic systems of particular kinds’ be explained by Darwinism?
    A (KN): No, I don’t think that they can be explained by Darwinism — on the contrary, I think that Darwinism presupposes that there are such systems in nature. A universe without such systems (e.g. without the physical laws that permit such systems to emerge) wouldn’t have any life, let alone the sort of life that undergoes Darwinian evolution.

    By ‘extremely, holistic systems of particular kinds’ you were referring to life – organisms – right? If so, I have a problem with your answer. ‘A universe without such systems (e.g. without the physical laws that permit such systems to emerge) wouldn’t have any life, let alone the sort of life that undergoes Darwinian evolution.’ An universe without organisms wouldn’t contain life? Can you elucidate your point?

    Q (B): What do you think of physicalism and the causal closure principle?
    A (KN): On the CCP, I’m torn. On the one hand, I have no reason to deny it and every reason to affirm it. On the other hand, the history of philosophy is littered with the corpses of good science turned into bad metaphysics. So I endorse the CCP, but with some hesitation.

    So the emergent mental properties of ‘living animals’ do not disrupt the physical CCP? IOW these properties have no causal effects in the world?

  134. 134
    Kantian Naturalist

    By ‘extremely, holistic systems of particular kinds’ you were referring to life – organisms – right? If so, I have a problem with your answer. ‘A universe without such systems (e.g. without the physical laws that permit such systems to emerge) wouldn’t have any life, let alone the sort of life that undergoes Darwinian evolution.’ An universe without organisms wouldn’t contain life? Can you elucidate your point?

    I’m more inclined to think that organisms are a special class of complex, holistic systems. Not all complex, holistic systems are autopoeitic.

    I took it, though, that it’s just self-evidently true that every alive is an organism of some kind or other (even micro-organisms like bacteria, right?). (OK, so I don’t know what to say about viruses — I guess they are “quasi-alive”?)

    So the emergent mental properties of ‘living animals’ do not disrupt the physical CCP? IOW these properties have no causal effects in the world?

    You know, that’s a really good point. I might have to severely qualify my defense of the CCP in light of my views about animal agency. Thank you for forcing me to confront this issue head-on!

  135. F/N: I have put up the Dawkins/Williams debate vid here, courtesy SG. I also wrote a PS to the OP noting that.

  136. KN:

    I see your attempt to argue per link that embodiment is a condition of cognition. Thus, to infer the impossibility of a non-embodied mind, thence of God.

    Actually, the real challenge runs the other way.

    We know that — despite limitations and errors — knowing, accurately perceiving, reasoning, consciously aware, intentional minds [as in what is it like to be appeared to redly . . . ] are possible, from our own experience. (I hardly need to do more than name the hard problem of consciousness on materialistic premises, noting that the challenge is not on “reducing” mind to body, but to lead up to and base mind on bodies without begging questions and without self-refuting absurdities.)

    In addition, on pain of serious self referential incoherence, we know that minds cannot properly be merely bodies in combined action, and thence reduced to the ladder of blind chance and mechanical necessity driven evolutions from hydrogen to humans: cosmological, chemical, bio-macro, socio-cultural. Down that road, lies the sort of conundrum that we find some mechanism that discredits the mind, with Haldane giving a capital example:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    That is, mind transcends matter, or else we have the problems of incoherence as seen. Per the Smith model, we see that a cybernetic entity can be viewed as having an I/O loop controller and using also a higher order supervisory controller. It has been suggested that a level of quantum influence can be used to provide a relevant interface, crossed informationally.

    Even, computers, are not minds, they are processing engines shaped by minds and using structured interactions on the forces, materials and laws of nature to achieve goals external to the system. As one who has had to design and build in effect embedded systems, I can testify that a processor will happily execute rubbish until it crashes. {ADDED: As in, GIGO.}

    It seems from your cite that the essential claim being made is: It seems to me that theism (at least, any theism that maintains a mind is responsible for the creation of the Universe) necessitates the idea that a mind can exist without anything else; this seems fundamentally false.

    On this highly questionable assertion, the following is laid out as case 1:

    CIGEC.1: For all entities designated God, that entity had conscious mental states and there were no external objects.
    CIGEC.2: Representational content is a necessary condition of conscious mental states.
    CIGEC.3: The existence of external objects is a necessary condition of representational content.

    CIGEC.3.1: NOTE – Strict internalism about representational content seems challenging given the further state of the discourse. However, a dispute would be possible to challenge (3).
    CIGEC.4: The existence of external objects is a necessary condition of conscious mental states. (Hypothetical Syllogism; 2, 3)
    CIGEC.5: Necessarily, for all entities/states of affairs, either there are no external objects or there are conscious mental states. (Material Implication; 4)
    CIGEC.5.1: Since this is operating in a modal system, the extraction of the necessity operator is important. This seems justified (on with the exclusive ‘or’ operator) by fact that we are concerned with a necessary condition in (4).
    CIGEC.6: It is not possible that there is some entity that had conscious mental states and there were no external objects. (Modal Equivalence; 5)
    CIGEC.7: Therefore, there are no possible entities designated God.

    Claim 3 is false and patently false, begging the question.

    To see why I confidently say this, consider the system of numbers.

    You are doubtless aware of the barber paradox etc and the dilemmas of naive set theory. In response, the whole project was reconceptualised. Defining, the empty set {} = 0, we then proceed to {0} = 1, {0, 1} = 2, etc. SO, WE HERE HAVE A COUNTABLE INFINITY OF ENTITIES THAT NEEDS NO EXTERNAL REFERENCE.

    Indeed, that lack of concrete reference is the key to locking out the sort of paradox of indefinability put up by Lord Russell. As in who shaves the barber if he only shaves those who do not shave themselves, in a village where men fall into the classes A: self-shavers, B: barber-shaved, with in addition the stipulation that one cannot be both.

    Going farther, we define the relationship of equality and the operation of addition, such that for instance we have the truth asserted in 3 + 2 = 5 = 1 + 4 or {***|**} = {*|****}, the | denoting grouping; i.e we have a set of operations and relationships resulting that are in principle wholly internal and provide an example of a necessary being, independent of external causal factors. That is in all possible worlds, this truth obtains, never began and cannot cease. It is eternal.

    And, obviously, this points to an infinity of such entities.

    Going on, we can now identify that succession leads to rank ordering. Defining that we can have differing numbers expressed and ranked, we may identify a scale that is first ordinal, then interval, then via appropriate extensions of natural numbers to integers, rationals and irrationals, we may see the continuum as defined on between any two given entities a, c in the chain, there is a third b that is in the relation a LT b LT c. We have continuum, thence we may define sqrt -1 = i, and get to a plane. From a plane we have vectors. From vectors, we have the i,j,k vector system, and a definition of space.

    From space we may use the succession concept and define time on successive states.

    We may define points in the space and successive locations, and see that we have kinematics of particles that move in space. We may define concepts of inertia and momentum, thence force and energy, as well as extended bodies with properties and states and trajectories etc.

    And so forth, all without needing to go outside of a mind.

    In short, we can have an infinitely rich virtual space with necessary and contingent beings in it, all internal to a mind.

    Indeed, we do a crude version of this when we create a virtual world by programming.

    The careers of blind mathematicians would be an analogy to what I am talking about. similarly, the concept of the proverbial IMAGINARY numbers, rooted in sqrt – 1. with -1 already a very abstract entity.

    Symbolic representation patently can be internal, and it is at least plausible that it can be erected into an infinite virtual cosmos. That, post village barber paradox, is what mathematics is forced to do.

    The creative genius and power of God, is that he is able to externalise — oops, INSTANTIATE, where “in him we live and move and have our being” and also “in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen . . . all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him . . . in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together)” as well as that He is “upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power” [Thanks WJM for catching my sloppiness] — the internal [conceptual] world [as the physical one we observe and experience], freely give it physical existence ex nihilo by act of volition. And of course the empirical data in hand points that way: a singularity at a finitely remote point that then expands into a cosmos, a stretched out thinness, in which we live, move and have our being. And, this wonder holds even through a multiverse speculation.

    Going beyond, the essential issue is that we do exist as going minded concerns in a physical world, where it is deeply problematic as outlined, to try to deduce or construct mind from strictly material entities. Somewhere along the line, we invariably see a sort of poof-magic, whereby at least some minds and cognitions are held proof to the self-referential challenges. This is the fatal ungrounded exception problem highlighted by Johnson in his reply to Crick’s Astonishing Hypothesis discussed in the already linked.

    We are in addition contingent beings, this being explained in light of the example of a match. As outlined, we have good reason to see that the observed cosmos, and any multiverse that lies beyond it, would be contingent, and fine tuned in ways that facilitate our possibility of existence starting from the living aqueous medium cell in a terrestrial planet.

    The logical concept of the necessary being is explicable on the lighted match and its on/off factors. That is, what about the possibility of beings that have no such on/off enabling factors? That is non-contingent being?

    No beginning, no end, live in all possible worlds.

    Serious candidate no 1, the truth in 3 + 2 = 5. Not impossible, actual, so in all possible worlds, even [physically] empty ones per derivation from the empty set.

    But this proposition is an abstract, mental object.

    It points to a mind to hold it, which is what was implicit in the outline on a virtual world above. (And BTW, a mathematically grounded virtual world is one in which obviously mathematics will be pervasive and powerful. As in, behold the “unreasonable” effectiveness of Mathematics.)

    Going back, we have got to the level of seeing what it means to be a serious candidate necessary being.

    In that context, let us think on the idea of possibility/impossibility and actuality. A serious candidate is one that we have no good reason to see as contingent, i.e. no on/off switches in sight. Nothing assembled form components, which can therefore be broken up by splitting them up, can be necessary. Including, when those components are atoms. Similarly, nothing that begins or may cease is a candidate. That evidently includes our observed cosmos as not a candidate. Spaghetti monsters, pink unicorns etc — too often cited as though they were serious counter examples — all fail these tests.

    As Craig pointed out, eternal minds and abstract entities are the best serious candidates.

    Where the point of necessity is, that if something is a serious candidate the issue is now: is this thing possible or impossible, i.e is its existence an inherent absurdity, or is there at least one possible world in which such could be. Once that is so, then there is no possible world — including the actual one — where such a being would not be present. As in, e.g., there is no possible world in which there is a falsehood of: 3 + 2 = 5.

    If a serious candidate necessary being is possible, it is present in all possible worlds and thus the actual one we inhabit.

    The one who denies the existence of God — not, just doubts or questions it — therefore has the challenge to show that it is credible that such a being, involving an eternal mind, is impossible.

    Philosotroll recognises that and tried.

    Credibly, failed.

    Yes, there may be mysteries about how could God create the cosmos or interact with it, bu that does not stop us from seeing tha tit is highly reasonable to accept that such a necessary being is possible and actual. Which comes long before the most direct reason ever so many of us have for accepting the reality of God: we have come to know him through repentance and trust in him, and have had our lives transformed.

    Indeed, were it not for his intervention at a specific point about 40 years ago that guided my parents to the right doctor, I would not be here to type this today.

    And there are thousands or millions today and millions across the ages, who have a similar report.

    I have no more reason to doubt the eternal mind known as God than the mind and heart of my mom, whose willingness to be led to the right doctor ever so many years ago now, saved my life.

    And, onwards, yes, I think I can cite some reasons to identify him as breaking into our history in redemptive and transforming ways, cf here.

    KF

  137. @Kantian Naturalist (134)
    You are welcome. CCP, as a raised objection by J.Kim, constitutes a huge problem for emergentism. In fact I’m of the opinion that it did spell the end of emergentism.

    Wiki: Addressing emergentism (under the guise of non-reductive physicalism) as a solution to the mind-body problem Jaegwon Kim has raised an objection based on causal closure and overdetermination. Emergentism strives to be compatible with physicalism, and physicalism, according to Kim, has a principle of causal closure according to which every physical event is fully accountable in terms of physical causes. This seems to leave no “room” for mental causation to operate. If our bodily movements were caused by the preceding state of our bodies and our decisions and intentions, they would be overdetermined.

    Another huge problem for emergentism is the ‘poofery’-aspect; that is, the idea is based on the speculative idea that mental properties somehow emerge by a totally unknown process. The idea itself is an admission of the impossible leap from matter to mind.

  138. 138

    As far as a cognitive mind existing without external objects, one need look no further than the dream state. The only thing I disagree with as far as KF’s #136 is that God externalized its internal reality; externalized it where? IMO, there is no place for reality to exist except within God, which fits nicely with the propositions of divine omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.

  139. WJM, pardon my sloppy writing. Good catch, I will correct and credit [done, you will love the cites, try guessing their source!]. You are right, as Paul cited the pagan poets at Athens, “In him we live and move and have our being.” I meant instantiated as a physical reality that he everywhere maintains in existence. There is a subtle sense in which “external” may be used — i.e that this is not all a fictional simulation in the mind of God, we are real and have real minds etc, but it is probably too misleading. KF

  140. 140
    Kantian Naturalist

    Kairosfocus’ (136) misses the point of “the embodied mind” thesis by a fairly wide margin. If there’s interest in this, I can come back to it. If not, I’ll leave it be.

    Box, thank you for reminding me of that Kim article. It’s “The Myth of Non-Reductive Naturalism”, right?

  141. Mr. Kantian Naturalist, I was being sloppy. The argument is called ‘Kim’s metaphysical argument’. This two-stage argument contains a ‘downward causation argument’ and a ‘causal exclusion argument’. Earlier (post 137) I was intending to refer to the latter – incorrectly by ‘CCP’.
    The book is “Making Sense of Emergence” (1999), by Jaegwon Kim. It is discussed shortly here

  142. 142

    KF: Yes, that really hits the mark. This is the answer to why the physical world is orderly at the macro or appearance level, but when you examine it very closely it begins to break down into quantum potentials (as BA77 so often reminds us) that require mindful observation to realize form and pattern as realities.

    A lot of my philosophy is based on the examination of the dream state and its analogous relationship to our existence. I consider us all instantiated, individualized children of god, populating a world within god, capable of accepting our connection with god (grace) that is the very power that creates the universe. Accepting ones capacity for free will, IMO, is like becoming lucid in a dream state, where you understand (more or less) your relationship to the creator and use your will towards the purpose of the creator.

    This is one of the things I think atheists fail to properly understand; they interpret the god/human relationship as a master/slave relationship, where humans are given “free will” but then punished when they don’t do what the master says.

    There is no “master/slave” relationship. Even the “parent/child” analogy is insufficient and too prone to misunderstanding. I usually explain the god/individual relationship as a dreamer/dreamed relationship; becoming lucid, or moving away from the “biological automaton” or dream NPC (holographic projection) state means becoming closer to the dreamer, realizing your own deeply personal relationship with the dreamer, accepting yourself as god’s agent in this world. This is why succumbing to god, so to speak, is the true liberation; it’s like becoming lucid in a dream and understanding that you are a part of the creator of reality.

    I think atheists deeply misunderstand what “faith” is, and childishly equate it with blind, fearful superstition. Faith, IMO, is an active, creative use of free will. You get to choose what you have faith in, and that faith draws you towards manifestation. If you have faith in your own eventual annihilation from existence, then that is your willful journey. You are not forced by god to believe that; god has given us all the capacity to believe, and have faith in, whatever we want.

  143. KN: I responded to the proof offered, laying out the key point where I think there is a defect. Remember, the focus is God, and the issue is that a mind must have something outside it. That is what I addressed. As for embodied minds, they are obviously secondary and derivative, as any object with a body is necessarily contingent. I have pointed out that such minds cannot be reasonably explained on blind chance and mechanical necessity, the dominant assertion or implication of scientism in its various forms. Now, I am aware you put forward a claim that you have a form of naturalism that escapes these points, evidently by implying an inbuilt tendency in the cosmos. Do, let us see what you have to say. KF

  144. WJM: I see where our worldviews diverge. For one instance, for me faith is first acceptance as truth, linked to trust in an object such as God. Such faith is potentially reasonable, and you are doubtless aware of my view that tracing back abstract arguments on warrant shows that we come to a faith point of accepted first plausibles for any worldview that is finitely remote. Infinite regress of warrant is absurdly impossible, not least as we cannot traverse a countable transfinite in steps. Circularity comes up when we take as plausibles things that are not truly properly basic. Serious worldview level alternativs are to be assessed on comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and elegant simplicity, as opposed to ad hocness or being simplistic. KF

  145. 145

    KF:

    I don’t know that our worldviews diverge there as much as our descriptions diverge, probably because of different roads leading to much the same place.

  146. Twenty-three philosophers examine the doctrine of materialism and find it wanting. The case against materialism comprises arguments from conscious experience, from the unity and identity of the person, from intentionality, mental causation, and knowledge. The contributors include leaders in the fields of philosophy of mind, metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology, who respond ably to the most recent versions and defenses of materialism. The modal arguments of Kripke and Chalmers, Jackson’s knowledge argument, Kim’s exclusion problem, and Burge’s anti-individualism all play a part in the building of a powerful cumulative case against the materialist research program. Several papers address the implications of contemporary brain and cognitive research (the psychophysics of color perception, blindsight, and the effects of commissurotomies), adding a posteriori arguments to the classical a priori critique of reductionism. All of the current versions of materialism–reductive and non-reductive, functionalist, eliminativist, and new wave materialism–come under sustained and trenchant attack. In addition, a wide variety of alternatives to the materialist conception of the person receive new and illuminating attention, including anti-materialist versions of naturalism, property dualism, Aristotelian and Thomistic hylomorphism, and non-Cartesian accounts of substance dualism.

    The Waning of Materialism

    Be sure to check out the table of contents page.

  147. Don’t be nasty!

  148. WJM: Why not lay out the essence of your worldview case on the pivotal issue for the thread, given the debate? KF

    PS: Am I the only one who is hearing AR try to scold and instruct WLC as in effect a particularly dumb, stubborn and bumptious fundy preacher/debater sticking his nose in the hallowed halls of academia?

  149. Mung:

    Do you mean — and I see OUP there, with Robert C Koons as an editor — this:

    Table of Contents
    I. Arguments from Consciousness

    1. Against Materialism , Laurence BonJour, (University of Washington)
    2. Consciousness: A Simple Approach , Adam Pautz, (University of Texas at Austin)
    3. Saving Appearances: A Dilemma For Physicalists , Charles Siewert, (University of California, Riverside)
    4. The Property Dualism Argument , Stephen L. White, (Tufts University)
    5. Kripke’s Argument against Materialism , Eli Hirsch, (Brandeis University)
    6. The Self-Consciousness Argument: Functionalism and the Corruption of Intentional Content , George Bealer, (Yale University)

    II. Arguments from Unity and Identity

    7. On the Significance of Some Intuitions about the Mind , David Barnett, (University of Colorado)
    8. Persons and the Unity of Consciousness , William Hasker, (Huntington University)
    9. An Argument from Transtemporal Identity for Subject-Body Dualism , Martine Nida-Rümelin, (University of Fribourg)
    III. Intentionality, Mental Causation and Knowledge
    10. Burge’s Dualism , Bernard W. Kobes, (Arizona State University)
    11. Modest Dualism , Tyler Burge, (UCLA)
    12. Descartes’ Revenge Part II: The Supervenience Argument Strikes Back , Neal Judisch, (University of Oklahoma)
    13. Nonreductive Materialism or Emergent Dualism? The Argument from Mental Causation , Timothy O’Connor, (Indiana University) and John Ross Churchill
    14. Epistemological Objections to Materialism , Robert C. Koons, (University of Texas)

    IV. Alternatives to Materialism

    15. Materialism, Minimal Emergentism, and the Hard Problem of Consciousness , Terry Horgan, (University of Arizona)
    16. Dualizing Materialism , Michael Jubien, (University of Florida)
    17. Dualistic Materialism , Joseph Almog, (UCLA)
    18. Varieties of Naturalism , Mario De Caro, (Tufts University)
    19. Against Methodological Materialism , Angus J. L. Menuge, (Concordia University, Wisconsin)
    20. Soul, Mind and Brain , Brian Leftow, (University of Oxford)
    21. Materialism Does Not Save the Phenomena — and the Alternative Which Does , Uwe Meixner, (University of Regensburg)
    22. Substance Dualism: A Non-Cartesian Approach , E. J. Lowe, (Durham University)

    Bibliography
    Index

    Muy interesante!

    KF

    PS: Plato warned us on this 2350 years ago and made a cosmological design inference — in the context of seeing ensouled life as a self-moved first cause –the pivot of his answer to the challenge and cultural wedge of rampant avant garde materialism and its fellow-travellers radical relativism, nihilism and ruthless “the highest right is might” factionism, cf. The Laws, Bk X as clipped here on. let us note, Dr Rosenberg is a self-declared nihilist and Dr Craig praised him for his frankness on the consequences of his beliefs.

  150. KN: We are indeed interested. KF

  151. Thanks for the link mung. ,,, You see KN it is not only practically everyone on UD that thinks your philosophy is completely incoherent as to explaining reality.

  152. F/N: Wintery Knight has a very interesting bit on faith, reason and evidence here. Notice the classic, three element breakdown: notitia, assensus, fiducia: content, assent/confidence, trust. (Cf. Barth here!) The quality of faith is no better than its object and the trustworthiness of that object. Reasonableness in light of first principles of right reason and solid warranting evidence eliciting trust, is pivotal, cf. here on and here on on my own faith and worldview, where my very being here 40+ years later typing this note here at UD is a testimony to a pivotal, life-saving miracle of guidance that saved my life, the very morning that my Mom, in desperation surrendered me back to God. To this day I can feel myself being half-carried by my mom out the door of that prominent med centre that had not been able to see us, and can see down the steps to the taxi sitting there, door open, with the taximan saying, “Asthma, I know just the doctor for him.” A doctor we simply would not otherwise have found. That is, in the end, one must be able to say “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep [= guard] that which I have committed unto Him against That Day.” KF

    PS: I have now put up an excerpt PDF document on Reason (incl 1st princs of right reason), Thought, Faith, Worldviews and Community (incl lessons fr Schaeffer) here, as well as one on the Design Inference here. Note Plato’s warning here.

  153. 153

    JoeMorreale1187 is no longer with us.

  154. F/N: I have added David Wood’s video on the argument from reason to the original post. Food for thought.

  155. 155

    KF,

    My faith in god did not begin from an overview of competing worldviews based on merit; my faith in god was a willful choice I made from the perspective of a materialist atheist whom had dispensed with logic and reason as necessary arbiters of thought, action and belief.

    I realized that, as an atheistic materialist, I could think and do and believe whatever I wanted, regardless of if it was true or not, regardless of if it was rational, grounded, hypocritical or self-conflicting, because as an atheistic materialist, there was no inherent penalty for believing any crazy, foolish, unsupportable nonsense I felt like believing. My worldview was might makes right, and I accepted it. The only criteria I used was whether or not I enjoyed the ramifications of my beliefs and actions, not if I could defend or argue or justify them rationally.

    Perhaps at this point many turn to destructive nihilism, hedonism, or plot out how to kill as many innocents as possible to make themselves famous before their self-supposed meaningless existence is snuffed out. I looked into my heart and realized that what I really wanted was to be a good person, to believe in a god worth believing in, and for existence to fundamentally matter. I wanted to be able to serve a purpose that motivated me to get up in the morning and feel joy, happiness and fulfillment in serving a greater good – not just some made up personal or social good.

    It was at this time that I found ID materials, which exposed an opportunity towards an intellectually and spiritually satisfying theism.

    At that point I had none of the rational arguments or comparative worldviews; I had no sophisticated perspectives on the nature of god; I only had what my heart yearned for and the decision about whether or not to have faith in the god I wanted to be real. I chose to believe in, and have faith in, a god worth believing in, and worth having faith in, even if – at the time – I didn’t know how to describe or explain that god or the logic surrounding it. Even if, at the time, the only “gods” I had any exposure to were pretty lame, cartoonish, unsatisfying or even horrific figures.

    That faith transformed my life, but it was an act of uninformed will on my part based on nothing more than listening to and accepting what my heart truly desired, even if I had no training or understanding about how what I desired to be true could be true. It wasn’t until much later, reading books and what many of you here wrote that I realized that what I wanted to be true – a god worth believing in, an existence worth living, a purpose worth serving – was something supported by sound argument and evidence to the point of intellectual, emotional and spiritual satisfaction.

    Many would call that original choice of faith on my part to be blind faith; I have no problem with that. IMO it wasn’t so blind that I would sacrifice virgins or blow up the innocent or dash my children against rocks; I wanted, needed, chose to have faith in a god that was better than that, that was worthy of love, awe and worship.

    That faith has been rewarded.

    So, while others may find their way to faith via sound, rational grounds and convincing evidence or argument, my faith did not rest on a solid foundation, it was a willful choice rooted simply in the yearning for something I couldn’t even properly articulate at the time.

  156. WJM, I suggest that such brutal honesty, which you have a special knack for displaying as you just did in that post, is what was incompatible with your atheism in the long run. One simply cannot be that brutally honest with themselves and stay a consistent atheist.

  157. 157
    Kantian Naturalist

    At my 132 above, I’d mentioned the embodied mind thesis, also known as “embodied cognition” (Wikipedia and SEP for background). Kairosfocus’ reply at his 136 seemed to me to miss the point of the embodied mind thesis quite badly, in large part because he construed as a version of physicalism or materialism, which it is not.

    The very best article I’ve yet seen which explains why the embodied mind thesis is as anti-materialist as it is anti-dualist is “The Mind-Body-Body Problem” by Hanna and Thompson. (That link goes to Hanna’s page on Academia.edu, which I’m guessing no one else here uses, but one can log into it if you have a Facebook account.) If not, it doesn’t matter too much — I’ve read Hanna’s book, and some of Thompson’s, so I know the view pretty well.

    So, there are several questions here:

    (1) Is embodied cognition a plausible position in philosophy of mind?

    (2) What is the modality of the claim — is it that human and animal minds are actually embodied or necessarily so?

    (3) What does embodied cognition imply about cognition concerning abstracta and/or universals?

    (4) Does embodied cognition entail that God is impossible?

    Now, to foreshadow considerably where I’ll go with this: I have a lot to say about (1) and (2), and a bit to say about (3), though not much — though I do have strong nominalistic tendencies, I don’t see much in the embodied cognition thesis which supports them. Those arguments will have to come from elsewhere. And as for (4), I actually don’t have much to say. I brought it up because I thought it was a cool little argument.

    My personal take on things is that embodied cognition is a very attractive position because it is both anti-dualist and anti-materialist, that it is not only true but necessarily true — on some sense of “necessary”! — but that it does not have anti-theistic implications. (Or more precisely, it has anti-theistic implications only with regards a very crude conception of God.)

  158. Hi KN:

    I have been busy delving in my Dad’s setting up of financial rules for a charity a decade ago as a model for my own work on a somewhat similar venture.

    I see your just above, on a pause, which is a useful beginning.

    I should note, however something.

    I primarily noted on the common variety of materialism to give a wider context.

    If you look closely, notwithstanding: what I did was to focus on one of the premises, no 3, and answered it directly on the issue that the chain of mathematical reasoning that begins with the empty set and erects the relevant apparatus of mathematics, is a direct counter and this suffices to decisively over- turn the “impossibility of God” argument.

    It also turns out to speak to one way in which the uncanny applicability of mathematics ot physical reality cna be explained, a la thinking God’s thoughts after him.

    WJM corrected a sloppy expression on my part and I have fixed up to make explicit that the whole world is in a material sense IN God, not external to him. As in IN him we live, move and have our being, he who sustains reality and orders it by his powerful word.

    I have also given as a crude comparative to help make this understandable, the creation of a virtual in-computer world. Though of course I am not at all arguing that the cosmos we experience is a grand simulation exercise.

    And as I am arguing that the decisive overthrow of a pivotal premise breaks the grounding of the conclusion of an argument, we can reject the claimed proof of the impossibility of God. By direct counter-example with infinitely many instances.

    Now, at the next level it would be interesting to look at the onward laying out of your case.

    Though I confess, I deliberately do not have a Facebook account, not trusting that entity.

    KF

  159. WJM: Interesting discussion, do you want to give a bit more? KF

  160. F/N: I do not see why we should have a problem of having embodied minds, in a context of a mind as source of matter. If you want an operational suggestion, try, a Smith model cybernetic loop, with a supervisory controller that interacts with the one in the loop. That can be assigned to quantum level influences as has been put forward.

  161. 161
    Kantian Naturalist

    I can see the point of endorsing the following conditional:

    (1) If God exists, then abstract entities are divine mental entities.

    This, after all, is the solution to the problem of universals in the entire tradition that begins with Augustine and continues through Aquinas and so on, etc. But it won’t do to argue for this conditional by appealing to the claim,

    (2) abstract entities are mental entities

    since this is only acceptable if we first accept (1) (and that God exists).

    All the naturalist need do is offer an alternative account of the origins and structure of mathematical cognition. That could involve a commitment to nominalism, but it need not — there’s no reason at all why someone could be a naturalist and yet affirm realism or conceptualism about abstracta or universals. (A nice distinction worth making here is between abstract/concrete and universal/particular.)

    On a related point, I’ve come across a really elegant way of focusing in on the issue that divides pragmatists and Platonists (for lack of a better word).

    I came across a reference to “Contingent Transcendental Arguments for Metaphysical Principles” by Chang — haven’t found the original source yet — but he apparently makes the following nice point: that there are what he calls “P/A pairs” (for “metaphysical principle” and “epistemic activity”), such as discreteness/counting, uniform consequences/prediction, sufficient reason/explanation, subsistence/narration, transitivity/ordering, non-contradiction/assertion.

    Now, here’s the Big Question: do we explain the activities in terms of the principles, or the other way around?

    The “Platonist,” as I’m using the term here, is someone who reasons as follows:

    It is the metaphysical principles which are explanatorily basic, because we are only able to engage in some epistemic activity because we have an intellectual grasp of the corresponding metaphysical principle.

    By contrast, the “pragmatist,” if he’s read not only Dewey but also Sellars, Wittgenstein, Rorty, and Brandom, will reason as follows:

    It is the epistemic activities which are explanatorily basic; we are only able to refer to metaphysical principles because we have explicitly represented to ourselves what we implicitly doing when engaged in some epistemic activity.

    The problem confronted by the Platonist is, how to explain our intellectual access to the metaphysical principles that ground our epistemic activities? (Is there some magical fluid in the brain?) The problem confronted by the pragmatist is, how to explain the origins of epistemic activities that are linguistically explicated as metaphysical principles?

    As it usually the case when very deep issues at involved, there are a lot of furtive attempts to shift the burden of proof to the other side. I’m not going to pretend that I’ll convince anywhere here to abandon Platonism in favor of pragmatism. Instead, I’ll confine myself to the following remarks:

    (1) pragmatism accommodates the P/A-pairs that are rightly insisted upon by Platonist;
    (2) pragmatism, unlike Platonism, is compatible with naturalism;
    (3) if one is to be a naturalist at all, one ought to be a pragmatic naturalist.

  162. A Biblical View of Science and Nature – Dr. Vern Poythress – audio lecture
    http://www.wts.edu/flash/media.....Type=audio

  163. KN:

    Kindly note that (because it is the most pivotal error) I focussed on asserted premise no 3:

    CIGEC.3: The existence of external objects is a necessary condition of representational content.

    CIGEC.3.1: NOTE – Strict internalism about representational content seems challenging given the further state of the discourse. However, a dispute would be possible to challenge (3).

    This is why I highlighted the way in which set theory as a grounding for numbers and mathematics spectacularly breaks that assertion. Start with {}, then move to the numbers etc, all without external reference, all is abstract and internally symbolic. Then notice: IN Him, we live and move and have our being, i.e. the whole assertion no 3 is highly questionable.

    KF

  164. 164
    Kantian Naturalist

    Kairosfocus, your (163) suggests to me that you are using some fairly basic terminology in a way quite different from I or the anonymous blogger I’d linked to.

    The assertion is, “the existence of external objects is a necessary condition of representational content.”

    Now, there is nothing in that assertion that should ruffle the feathers of anyone who insists on the reality of abstract universals, and quite frankly, I’m simply baffled as to why you think that set-theory has any bearing on this topic at all. For one thing, nowhere do I, or the proponent of embodied cognition, insist that “external” mean “concrete” or “physical.”

    Start with {}, then move to the numbers etc, all without external reference, all is abstract and internally symbolic.

    As stated, I object to this view in the strongest possible sense. And I think that once I’ve explained why, you’ll agree with me. For one thing, taking this view turns mathematical entities into mere psychological entities, and that destroys the normativity of logic and mathematics just as much as materialism does. (It might be pointed out that Frege and Husserl took their aim against the psychologism of Mill.)

    Here’s the deeper issue: the question here is about intentionality, about what is required for the ‘aboutness’ of thought. And the externalist thesis is that, in order for there to be intentional mental contents, it must be the case that there exists something external to that mind. It needn’t be the case that there exists some external thing for every thinkable content — that would lead to well-worn problems regarding the ontology of fictional objects — but rather it’s a constraint of the following sort: in order for there to be any intentional content, there must be some external objects of some sort.

    Whether those external objects are concrete or abstract, particulars or universals, doesn’t matter to the claim under consideration. So “external”, as used here, just means, “not within my own mind,” in the way that, for example, my sensations or fantasies are. It does mean “physical” (concrete & particular).

    And in fact, I’m really shocked that we’re having this discussion at all, because I would have thought you would be among the very first to insist that when I’m thinking about “2+2=4″, the content of that thought refers to the fact that 2+2=4. But when you say,

    Start with {}, then move to the numbers etc, all without external reference, all is abstract and internally symbolic.

    I take this to mean that there really aren’t any numbers at all. To deny that our thoughts about numbers have external reference is just the same thing as saying that the thing referred to does not exist.

    Now, I of course know that that is not your view — I know that you are a realist about numbers, and indeed, about abstract universals. So I conclude that you and I are using the terms “external reference” in wildly different ways. I hope that this post has clarified why I am confused by your usage of this term in this context.

  165. KN:

    I used the construction of mathematics as an abstract mental exercise to show how, internal to a mind and without reference to external entities, a world can in principle be built.

    Where, we do not see some weird Euthyphro dilemma-like shadowy independence of a world of forms appearing so that we have some silly dilemma like are numbers arbitrary impositions by God or are they a reality independent of, external to and binding on him, so God is seen as impossible. No, the world of reason is IN Him who is Reason Himself, just as the world of morality is IN Him who is goodness himself. (That is, OUR thinking on numbers etc is external but that is not true of the One who is the ground of being and Reason Himself.)

    It is in that context that I then highlighted the “IN Him . . . ” principle, and implied the point that necessary eternal truths such as that in “3 + 2 = 5″ can be understood as eternally held in the mind of the necessary being at the root of our cosmos.

    Truth, famously, is mental.

    As for numbers [etc], please look back again: {} = 0, {0} = 1, {0, 1} = 2 is the use of the successor principle of Peano, and in no wise implies that numbers are not real, only that they are inherently abstract; that is not psychology, it is abstraction. That step in turn is a way around naive set theory’s paradoxes. though obviously, in teaching a child, the obvious gateway is through the concrete, structured towards forming the abstract through the pictorial, symbolic and representational. But, when it comes to setting up the system firmly, in a world of village barber paradoxes, the best is to start with {}. Then, notice that this is an abstract entity, which can be symbolised and assigned a numeral that represents its cardinality. Then, we move to {0} –> 1, with a successor cardinality and the property of one-ness, i.e, anything else with that cardinality can be matched to it. Then, {0, 1} –> 2, and that can be matched, etc. Indeed, the trick of counting is to notice that the sets 1, 2, 3 etc in succession have the relevant cardinalities so we just call out the names, until we exhaust an arbitrary set, That is the set in the Peano based succession that will have the same cardinality. And so forth. But do not try to teach from abstract to concrete, that is a way to confuse children!

    What I outlined is how we go from there to a mathematical world with all sorts of necessary connexions and onward implications for physical instantiation. Do you remember the point stressed in beginning Geometry on how the sketches used are only aids to understanding, the real entities are inherently abstract: points, lines, shapes, properties, etc?

    KF

  166. 166
    Kantian Naturalist

    I have to say, it strikes me as completely crazy to think that it’s just obviously true that mathematical entities are mental entities. If God exists, then mathematical entities could exist in His mind — but in the absence of the belief in God, identifying mathematical entities with mental entities just turns them into mere phantasms of the human imagination, and that can’t possibly be right!

    In other words, treating mathematical objects as mental entities is not a free-standing claim that naturalists and theists can discuss. I understand why it makes sense for a theist to take it as a conclusion from theism, but it can’t work as a premise for theism, because as a free-standing claim, it’s just nonsense.

    Do you remember the point stressed in beginning Geometry on how the sketches used are only aids to understanding, the real entities are inherently abstract: points, lines, shapes, properties, etc?

    That’s obviously correct, but you’re missing the real point:“abstract” does not mean “mental”, nor is there any logical entailment. “Abstract” just means, “not existing in space and in time”, and “mental” just means, “of or pertaining to some mind.”

    In a nutshell: if there is a divine mind, then abstracta could be mental, but if there is no divine mind, then abstracta are not mental. So you can’t start off by insisting that abstract are mental and then using that as a premise to show that there is a divine mind, without begging the question.

  167. KN: I SHOWED how they are inherently abstract and mental, please don’t try a rhetorical brush-off. (BTW, I updated a bit to explain.) The empty set is just that, nothing. But seeing this as a definable collection, allows us to go up the chain. And so, we can in succession define naturals, integers, rationals, reals, complex, spaces, time, kinematics. Inject dynamics and physics enters. Also, go back to your blogger, he was trying to project that concepts that are symbolic must refer externally and so a necessary mental being at the root of existence is impossible. THAT is what I countered and did so by pointing how math can be built up without external reference whatsoever, viewed from a mind of God point of view. As for the if I reject God point of view, my challenge was to address the assertion on externality, which I did. That as a consequence we see God as being the first logician-mathematician with a cosmos built on such connexions, is a bonus. As for the shadowy world of independent forms you would posit, I highlight that the world of mathematics is a conceptual-logical-structured one, which is mental. That does not mean unreal, it simply points out that Mind as root of being has enormous explanatory power and elegance. KF

  168. 168
    Kantian Naturalist

    I don’t dispute the conclusion, that “Mind as root of being has enormous explanatory power and elegance.” What I dispute is that treating sets as mental is a premise for reaching that conclusion.

    More deeply, what I dispute is this:

    the world of mathematics is a conceptual-logical-structured one, which is mental.

    I read this as two different claims illicitly conjoined:

    (1)the world of mathematics is a conceptual-logical-structured world.

    (2) if it is conceptual-logical, then it is mental.

    (1) is fine, by my lights; it’s (2) which I think is inherently problematic. (More precisely, (2) would be OK as a conclusion drawn from theism, but not as a premise for theism.)

    I say this because of what I take a concept to be: “a concept is an intersection in a network of implications” (that’s a quote from Sellars, but he might be quoting C. I. Lewis — I’m not sure). But the network of implications cannot be identical with the mental, because mental facts — facts about how minds work, what they do, and so on — are just descriptive. They cannot capture the fundamental normativity of implication, and hence, of concepts and of thought.

    In other words, identifying concepts with mental phenomena is a non-starter for just the same reasons as it is to identify concepts with physical phenomena.

    The conclusion is that the “network of implications” is not a phenomenon at all, because for something to be a phenomenon, whether physical or mental or whatever, is for it to be something that is described. But the network of implications is a system of rules, not of facts. (My stress on this point is related to the vastly different lessons we draw from “Hume’s guillotine”.)

    (The question, “how did the system of rules come into being?” is a related but still separate question.)

    More generally, I don’t see how the argument is supposed to go from mathematical realism to theistic realism. Let’s take mathematical realism as a premise, and let’s grant that mathematical entities (sets, sets of sets, etc.) necessarily exist. What does that do for us, philosophically? Theistic realism could function here as an inference-to-the-best-explanation, but what exactly is it needs to be explained?

    And what bearing mathematical realism has on the embodied cognition thesis still eludes me.

  169. “Abstract” just means, “not existing in space and in time”, and “mental” just means, “of or pertaining to some mind.”

    If it is possible for something that is abstract to exist, and it doesn’t exist in space or time, and it also does not exist in the mind, then where (how?) does it exist?

    Also, I’m wondering whether the doctrine of the Trinity might throw a wrench into the externalist argument and how it relates to God’s existence.

  170. Alvin Plantinga: On Christian Scholarship – CCT Conference – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd0GO6m6ys8

  171. kairosfocus:

    PS: Am I the only one who is hearing AR try to scold and instruct WLC as in effect a particularly dumb, stubborn and bumptious fundy preacher/debater sticking his nose in the hallowed halls of academia?

    Well:

    …we won’t treat theism as a serious alternative that still needs to be refuted.

    – Rosenberg, Alex. The Atheist’s Guide to Reality

  172. KN:

    “Abstract” just means, “not existing in space and in time”

    no no no

    Abstraction:

    the process of formulating generalized ideas or concepts by extracting common qualities from specific examples

    from Latin abstractus, past participle of abstrahere, to draw away

  173. Your nominalism is showing. ;)

  174. KN:

    Let me continue, after a bit of the old biologically necessary downtime.

    The set concept is that we can have unambiguously definable collections [notice the concession to Lord Russell's Village Barber paradox], including first the empty one. There is no reason why a set of relevant collections — where the required act of clustering is a conceptual operation that can be physically instantiated (a very familiar pattern to modellers) — cannot be carried out mentally.

    As for concept, I think this may help:

    concept [?k?ns?pt]n 1. an idea, esp an abstract idea the concepts of biology
    2. (Philosophy) Philosophy a general idea or notion that corresponds to some class of entities and that consists of the characteristic or essential features of the class
    3. (Philosophy) Philosophy
    a. the conjunction of all the characteristic features of something
    b. a theoretical construct within some theory
    c. a directly intuited object of thought
    d. the meaning of a predicate
    4. (Engineering / Automotive Engineering) (modifier) (of a product, esp a car) created as an exercise to demonstrate the technical skills and imagination of the designers, and not intended for mass production or sale
    [from Latin conceptum something received or conceived, from concipere to take in, conceive]

    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

    In short, I am using the term well within its normal meaning, and that meaning is precisely a mental one. Where, in particular, the concept of an unambiguously definable clustering that happens to be empty is quite feasible: {}, the empty set. Think of the abstract singleton {*} then remove its sole member.

    The successor operations already laid out are similarly mental ones, of deceptively simple form:

    {} –> 0

    {0} –> 1

    {0, 1} –> 2

    {0, 1, 2} –> 3,

    etc [even this is deceptively simple, it denotes, without limit! The transfinite nature of the successively built up collection is immediately implied.]

    I have already outlined how counting then emerges by simply chaining the successive numerals for the sets: 0, 1, 2, 3, . . . and making a match, pictorial, verbal [algebraic if you will . . . (this is the hard part, and we see why Algebra is both powerful and hard], oral or physical

    From the set of numbers, we then are able to construct all else by injecting further ideas and constructions.

    THAT TAKES US TO PARTICLE KINEMATICS, AND TO GET TO PHYSICS WE “SIMPLY” ADD INERTIA, FORCE, BODIES, ENERGY ETC AND THEN WE CAN MOVE FROM A MODEL WORLD TO A MATERIAL ONE. The mathematical linkages will then play out by the logic involved.

    Then, also, remember, just how closely integrated this is, shockingly integrated:

    Euler: 0 = 1 + e^i*pi

    In close connexion with this, we see the world of the frequency domain, and the wider one that via Laplace integrates transient behaviour. In that domain, d/dt –> s*[] and Integral – dt is [1/s]*[].

    Hence turning differential equation based analysis into sophisticated algebra with dynamical implications.

    Also, this can be discretised through the bridge to the Z transform, and the whole vista of digital signal processing opens up. In these domains, issues on stability drop out, and pole and zero location determine dynamic behaviour. The operation 1/z has the definition unit delay, and can then be directly instantiated in a network of elements. That is, we are here at the point of a comprehensive discrete time model of systems.

    I will not bother with the extension that runs through the partial differential into the world of PDE’s, the continuum, fields etc. Just say that fluids and electromagnetism, as obvious first applications, rest on that via the powerful mathematical operations, div, grad and curl etc.

    Mix in vectors and matrices which can be populated with essentially arbitrary elements, including those from the above domains, and we can do shocklingly powerful things. Sprinkle on tensors while we are really going at it.

    Run in the other direction and we are at the provinces of logic and set theory, which turn out to be absolutely foundational to the field.

    And, yes, I freely confess to the framework of thinking God’s thoughts after him as a paradigm for doing Math and science.

    Yes, I freely acknowledge that others out there can and do use the above abstractions and operations etc, without that framework. But, I would like to see their grounding of it. (In other words, I am again raising the issue of worldview grounding.)

    However, all of this is to a certain extent distractive.

    The actual task in view on the claimed proof was to address the claim of externality as inherent to symbolisation and abstract conceptualisation based on it. It should be clear from the above, that once there is a framework in which symbolic thoughts need have no external reference, then the pivotal premise 3 falls to the ground, a fatal stake through its heart.

    Let me again clip from 136, which was taken from the online argument you pointed to with approval, that God is claimed to be conceptually impossible:

    CIGEC.1: For all entities designated God, that entity had conscious mental states and there were no external objects.
    CIGEC.2: Representational content is a necessary condition of conscious mental states.
    CIGEC.3: The existence of external objects is a necessary condition of representational content.
    CIGEC.3.1: NOTE – Strict internalism about representational content seems challenging given the further state of the discourse. However, a dispute would be possible to challenge (3).
    CIGEC.4: The existence of external objects is a necessary condition of conscious mental states. (Hypothetical Syllogism; 2, 3)
    CIGEC.5: Necessarily, for all entities/states of affairs, either there are no external objects or there are conscious mental states. (Material Implication; 4)
    CIGEC.5.1: Since this is operating in a modal system, the extraction of the necessity operator is important. This seems justified (on with the exclusive ‘or’ operator) by fact that we are concerned with a necessary condition in (4).
    CIGEC.6: It is not possible that there is some entity that had conscious mental states and there were no external objects. (Modal Equivalence; 5)
    CIGEC.7: Therefore, there are no possible entities designated God.

    See the point of my use of a counter-example?

    What seems to have gone wrong is, first, the confusion of our ontological status with that of a Mind at the root of being. We do represent external objects and we do form symbols for them internally, by extensions of pictures. However, that is not necessary, and it is doubly not so for the sort of being “in whom we live and move and have our being.”

    That is why the construction of the field of numbers and other relevant mathematical objects by starting with the concept of unambiguously definable collection, and then using the empty set to actually successively construct, is important.

    I think that the abstract entity and its operations and relationships, constraints etc can be reasonably understood as being held in a mind.

    Can you identify and explain coherently and explicitly another way in which such can have a legitimate, credibly real status?

    (As in, just last evening, in discussing with my son on this discussion, I had him say the words circle square. Then, I asked him to draw me one. We can easily enough say words that are incoherent and incapable of being instantiated, abstractly or physically. Which brings us back to the Barber paradox, where set theory ran into a crucial difficulty. Allow set overlap and the collections are unambiguous, but the situation forbids that, and behold with that seemingly simple step we are at a point where the whole idea is in deep trouble and has to be reformulated.)

    I think this exchange has been very useful and it happens to be also illustrating what lurks in Craig’s argument that the effectiveness of Mathematics is one of the cluster of convergent facts or issues etc that cumulatively point on inference to best explanation, to God.

    Let’s hear your onward thoughts and those of others who have an interest.

    KF

  175. Phineas, the triune concept of God is a systems conception, of complex unity, e.g. cf. the curious legend of Patrick and the shamrock. Where the problem of the one and the many as a key characteristic of the world, is itself another deep problem in phil and worldviews, one that — cf discussion here and here — the triune concept of God addresses on a comparative difficulties basis with other major options. But, this is not a context and forum for going off on such a potentially contentious theological and ideological battle debate, there is far more than enough on the table already with Craig’s Mathematics point. I have only given the links so that you may pursue per your own interests. BTW, for the Craig debate fans, is this a new point for Craig to make in his debates? [I see a curious link here.] KF

  176. F/N: let me clip the just linked, from Craig:

    1. The Cosmological Argument from Contingency

    The cosmological argument comes in a variety of forms. Here’s a simple version of the famous version from contingency:

    Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.

    If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.

    The universe exists.

    Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence (from 1, 3).

    Therefore, the explanation of the universe’s existence is God (from 2, 4).

    Now this is a logically airtight argument. That is to say, if the premises are true, then the conclusion is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter if we don’t like the conclusion. It doesn’t matter if we have other objections to God’s existence. So long as we grant the three premises, we have to accept the conclusion. So the question is this: Which is more plausible—that those premises are true or that they are false?

    1.1. Premise 1

    Consider first premise 1. According to premise 1, there are two kinds of things: things which exist necessarily and things which are produced by some external cause. Let me explain.

    Things that exist necessarily exist by a necessity of their own nature. It’s impossible for them not to exist. Many mathematicians think that numbers, sets, and other mathematical entities exist in this way. They’re not caused to exist by something else; they just exist necessarily.

    By contrast, things that are caused to exist by something else don’t exist necessarily. They exist contingently. They exist because something else has produced them. Familiar physical objects like people, planets, and galaxies belong in this category.

    So premise 1 asserts that everything that exists can be explained in one of these two ways. This claim, when you reflect on it, seems very plausibly true. Imagine that you’re hiking through the woods and come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You’d naturally wonder how it came to be there. If one of your hiking partners said to you, “Don’t worry about it! There isn’t any explanation of its existence!”, you’d either think he was crazy or figure that he just wanted you to keep moving. No one would take seriously the suggestion that the ball existed there with literally no explanation.

    Now suppose you increase the size of the ball in this story to the size of a car. That wouldn’t do anything to satisfy or remove the demand for an explanation. Suppose it were the size of a house. Same problem. Suppose it were the size of a continent or a planet. Same problem. Suppose it were the size of the entire universe. Same problem. Merely increasing the size of the ball does nothing to affect the need of an explanation. Since any object could be substituted for the ball in this story, that gives grounds for thinking premise 1 to be true.

    It might be said that while premise 1 is true of everything in the universe, it is not true of the universe itself. Everything in the universe has an explanation, but the universe itself has no explanation.

    Such a response commits what has been aptly called “the taxicab fallacy.” For as the nineteenth-century atheist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer quipped, premise 1 can’t be dismissed like a taxi once you’ve arrived at your desired destination! You can’t say that everything has an explanation of its existence and then suddenly exempt the universe. It would be arbitrary to claim that the universe is the exception to the rule. (God is not an exception to premise 1: see below at 1.4.) Our illustration of the ball in the woods shows that merely increasing the size of the object to be explained, even until it becomes the universe itself, does nothing to remove the need for some explanation of its existence.

    One might try to justify making the universe an exception to premise 1. Some philosophers have claimed that it’s impossible for the universe to have an explanation of its existence. For the explanation of the universe would have to be some prior state of affairs in which the universe did not yet exist. But that would be nothingness, and nothingness can’t be the explanation of anything. So the universe must just exist inexplicably.

    This line of reasoning is, however, obviously fallacious because it assumes that the universe is all there is, that if there were no universe there would be nothing. In other words, the objection assumes that atheism is true. The objector is thus begging the question in favor of atheism, arguing in a circle. The theist will agree that the explanation of the universe must be some (explanatorily) prior state of affairs in which the universe did not exist. But that state of affairs is God and his will, not nothingness.

    So it seems that premise 1 is more plausibly true than false, which is all we need for a good argument.

    1.2. Premise 2

    What, then, about premise 2? Is it more plausibly true than false? Although premise 2 might appear at first to be controversial, what’s really awkward for the atheist is that premise 2 is logically equivalent to the typical atheist response to the contingency argument. (Two statements are logically equivalent if it’s impossible for one to be true and the other one false. They stand or fall together.) So what does the atheist almost always say in response to the contingency argument? He typically asserts the following:

    A. If atheism is true, the universe has no explanation of its existence.

    Since, on atheism, the universe is the ultimate reality, it just exists as a brute fact. But that is logically equivalent to saying this:

    B. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, then atheism is not true.

    So you can’t affirm (A) and deny (B). But (B) is virtually synonymous with premise 2! (Just compare them.) So by saying that, given atheism, the universe has no explanation, the atheist is implicitly admitting premise 2: if the universe does have an explanation, then God exists.

    Besides that, premise 2 is very plausible in its own right. For think of what the universe is: all of space-time reality, including all matter and energy. It follows that if the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause must be a non-physical, immaterial being beyond space and time. Now there are only two sorts of things that could fit that description: either an abstract object like a number or else an unembodied mind. But abstract objects can’t cause anything. That’s part of what it means to be abstract. The number seven, for example, can’t cause any effects. So if there is a cause of the universe, it must be a transcendent, unembodied Mind, which is what Christians understand God to be.

    1.3. Premise 3

    Premise 3 is undeniable for any sincere seeker after truth. Obviously the universe exists!

    1.4. Conclusion

    From these three premises it follows that God exists. Now if God exists, the explanation of God’s existence lies in the necessity of his own nature, since, as even the atheist recognizes, it’s impossible for God to have a cause. So if this argument is successful, it proves the existence of a necessary, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal Creator of the universe. This is truly astonishing!

    1.5. Dawkins’s Response

    So what does Dawkins have to say in response to this argument? Nothing! Just look at pages 77–78 of his book where you’d expect this argument to come up. All you’ll find is a brief discussion of some watered down versions of Thomas Aquinas’ arguments, but nothing about the argument from contingency. This is quite remarkable since the argument from contingency is one of the most famous arguments for God’s existence and is defended today by philosophers such as Alexander Pruss, Timothy O’Connor, Stephen Davis, Robert Koons, and Richard Swinburne, to name a few.4 [The New Atheism and Five Arguments for God]

    Here he simply adverts to mathematical objects as necessarily existing as a serious view among mathematicians.

    Does someone have a link where he elaborates, or someone else does, other than my own sketchy discussion above? KF

  177. F/N 2: Without endorsing it just now — i.e. I invite discussion — the following skeletal may be a place to begin:

    #8) ARGUMENT FROM MATHEMATICS.

    Premise 1) Evidence for design within mathematics would point to a teleological source of mathematics.

    Premise 2) There is evidence for design within mathematics.

    _____________________________________

    Therefore,

    [3, conclusion:] there is a teleological source of mathematics.

    {Augment: Where also, the relevant features of mathematics express necessary relationships true in any possible world.}

    {DISCUSSION:]

    Premise 1 is pretty obvious since actual design always requires a teleological source.

    Premise 2 is true because there are many examples of evidence for design within mathematics …

    1) Euler`s formula.

    2) The Mandelbrot set.

    3) The mathematical relationship between Fibonacci numbers and nature.

    4) The mathematical relationships between man and his relationship to the natural world (for example,the mass of the earth is midway between the mass of the observable universe and the mass of the atom).

    5) The fact that mathematics can actually describe the universe in a coherent way with simple mathematical equations.

    Maybe, this might be a place to begin from.

    But, I think this misses the issue of the powerful unifying force that mathematics captures and the sort of concerns I have been expressing in this thread. It does hint at some of that, e.g. the Euler expression.

    KF

  178. F/N 2: This, by C. Stephen Evans, is maybe a closer step to what I am thinking, inter alia:

    Beneficial Order and Teleological Arguments for God
    DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217168.003.0004

    This chapter argues that the theistic natural sign of “beneficial order” lies at the foundation of many of the teleological arguments for God’s existence. This sign provides more content about God than the sign of cosmic wonder. Various forms of the argument are examined and developed, including the classic one given by Aquinas. The “fine?tuning” of the physical universe, while it may provide support for a teleological argument, is not a natural sign, because it fails the Wide Accessibility Principle test [--> this sets hostage the cogency of a case to the politics of willful objectionism] . Darwinian evolutionary theory does not undermine the claim that beneficial order is a theistic natural sign [--> But the underlying, common a priori materialism tends to lead to that perception]. The chapter concludes by showing that Hume and Kant, both of whom rejected teleological arguments as proofs [--> explanatory inference per comparative difficulties is about warrant and reasonable faith, not deductive proof], still recognized the force of the sign that lies at the heart of the arguments. This fact, combined with our own experiences, gives us good reason to think that beneficial order is a theistic natural sign.

    You will see my caveats on a first look.

    My basic point is that the elegant unity provided by mathematics and its inherently abstract nature, multiplied by the necessity of key mathematical results, that confers a causeless, eternal nature to them — note, there are no possible worlds in which 3 + 2 = 5 will fail to hold good, even a world empty of physical objects (but I reckon from the context of a credibly contingent world in which we exist as embodied minded contingent creatures that points to an underlying necessary being as ground of the reality we experience] — point to a unifying mind behind reality.

    One that is as necessary as a being and so as eternal as the mathematics in it.

    KF

  179. F/N 3: BA77, you will love the related argument here by harvey1. KF

  180. F/N 4: A reader. note the neutrality issue.

  181. Thanks kf, will read it,,, you may appreciate this off topic short video:

    Hazor – Israel Aerials – video
    https://vimeo.com/59008952

  182. BA, thanks. I am having a strange vision of the beauty, power, truth and unity of Math forming in my mind, joined to a vision of eternity, infinity and more, multiplied by the one and the many. Things I did in entirely different disciplines are — live, in process, this is evidently a visitation to the mind as promised some years ago (personal promises are real and delivered upon . . . ) — reconstructing themselves into facets of a brilliant diamond. A strange and yet familiar experience of live synthesis, triggered by KN’s challenge, for which I must thank him in the providence of the God he does not yet fully acknowledge — note that Naturalism — but who is obviously calling out to him from a deep past of covenantal heritage. May he hear that still, small persistent voice as CSL did in 1929. KF

  183. Thanks kf that’s a keeper: As to Alexander Vilenkin commenting on the beauty of mathematics being ideally suited for describing our physical universe (particularly e^ipi+1=0),, He probably does not realize just how deeply true what he wrote for e^ipi+1=0 actually is:

    0 = 1 + e ^(i*pi) is found to govern the ‘macro’ structure of the universe:

    Michael Denton – Mathematical Truths Are Transcendent And Beautiful – Square root of -1 is built into the fabric of reality – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003918

    I find it extremely strange that the enigmatic Euler’s identity, which was deduced centuries ago, would find such striking correlation to how reality is actually found to be structured by modern science. In pi we have correlation to the ‘sphere of the universe’ as revealed by the Cosmic Background radiation, as well pi correlates to the finely-tuned ‘geometric flatness’ within the ‘sphere of the universe’ that has now been found. In ‘e’ we have the fundamental constant that is used for ascertaining exponential growth in math that strongly correlates to the fact that space-time is ‘expanding/growing equally’ in all places of the universe. In the square root of -1 we have what is termed a ‘imaginary number’, which was first proposed to help solve equations like x2+ 1 = 0 back in the 17th century, yet now, as Michael Denton pointed out in the preceding video, it is found that the square root of -1 is required to explain the behavior of quantum mechanics in this universe. The correlation of Euler’s identity, to the foundational characteristics of how this universe is constructed and operates, points overwhelmingly to a transcendent Intelligence, with a capital I, which created this universe! It should also be noted that these mathematical constants, pi,e, and square root -1, were at first thought by many to be completely transcendent of any material basis, to find that these transcendent constants of Euler’s identity in fact ‘govern’ material reality, in such a foundational way, should be enough to send shivers down any mathematicians spine.

    notes:

    It is also interesting to note that ‘higher dimensional’ mathematics had to be developed before Einstein could elucidate General Relativity, or even before Quantum Mechanics could be elucidated;

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss and Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Centrality of Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8421879

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    The Galileo Affair and the true “Center of the Universe”
    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15]

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    as well,,,

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8462821

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) proved that no logical systems (if they include the counting numbers) can have all three of the following properties.
    1. Validity . . . all conclusions are reached by valid reasoning.
    2. Consistency . . . no conclusions contradict any other conclusions.
    3. Completeness . . . all statements made in the system are either true or false.
    The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He summed it up this way: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.
    Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous. It was shocking, though, that logic could prove that mathematics could not be its own ultimate foundation.
    Christians should not have been surprised. The first two conditions are true about math: it is valid and consistent. But only God fulfills the third condition. Only He is complete and therefore self-dependent (autonomous). God alone is “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28), “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). God is the ultimate authority (Hebrews 6:13), and in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
    http://www.answersingenesis.or...../equation#

    Verse:

    John 1:1-5
    In the beginning was the Word(Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

  184. F/N 4: More thoughts. Let us think together on these things. KF

  185. F/N 5: To span to real numbers and space, consider the interval [0,1].

    To cover this, accept 0, and 1 per above. In so doing, note that 1 > 0.

    Now, construct an expression of form 0. abcd . . . such that in succession we make up a Baire-like tree of countably infinite depth. For convenience, at each node allow it to span {0, 1, 2, . . . 9}. Then at stage a we have ten nodes [effectively 0.1 LT 0.2 LT . . . LT 0.9].

    At b we have 10 * 10 nodes.

    Continue, using the usual place value designation connected to fractions and decimals.

    We thus define an infinite succession of points that can be ordered through less than or greater than or equality as 0.499999 . . . and 0.50000 . . . denote the same number, i.e. the underlying infinite series have the same sum. BTW, the span takes in the full interval from 0 to 1, from this, where 0.0000 . . . is 0 and 0.99999 . . . is 1. We also see that the Dedekind cut will at any point have an interior value between any two points, i.e. we have arrived at the continuum. Obviously, this procedure extends to any onward gap between successive integers, as we can slide it over to 1 –> 2, etc in succession without limit.

    BTW, we here have some sort of a picture of why it is the continuum has a higher and non countable cardinality than the natural numbers and their derivatives up to rationals. For at any point there will be an onward transfinite tree of further numbers between neighbours.

    To move to 2-d space, introduce the i* operator such that i*[i*x] = -x. (it helps us to think in terms of the sketch known as the number line, but the sketch is to help us as a crutch, the logic of assertions of concepts and constructions is more fundamental.)

    Where, – x is that value that added to x gives 0, the additive identity element. (Just defined a negative number. If you owe $x and you pay off $x, you now owe 0.)

    Of course the interpretation here, first, is that i^2 = -1, i.e. sqrt – 1 has popped up.

    Going on, we can use the inverse to see that -1 LT 0, -2 LT -1, etc, allowing extension to the full real number line via the set of integers and the Baire-like tree.

    So i* i* is a rotation by pi rads or 180 degrees in this line.

    A line being a succession of points in a continuum.

    Continuum being as noted.

    i* is then rotation anticlockwise by pi/2 rads or 90 degrees.

    (This leads into the cis theta = cos theta + i* sin theta analysis on the unit circle and also the exponential form, where e^i*theta is rot by theta in AC direction pivoted on origin. I am being summary and loose but the line should be traceable. exponentiation, cos and sin are of course defined on sums of series.)

    Of course the Euler expression is the special case of pi rad.

    We now have a plane. The complex one, and we can define points in it (x, i*y) or we can simplify to (x,y).

    That already invites extensions to (x, y, z) and r, theta phi) etc including n dimensional vectors etc, and onward matrices.

    But just go back to the idea of a segment directed origin –> point (x,y) a position vector.

    This can be seen as sum of two base vectors, with a different definition of i and j: i*x is on x axis, j*y is along y axis. We go to a z axis with k*z. Any 3-d point is now the vector sum. (And yes I know there is a road through Quaternions.) Such a point can move in succession by defining a succession in time, t. Thus kinematics. Onward we can define bodies as clusters of points, and assign inertia, force energy, momentum, angular momentum etc etc.

    Notice, we are here still in a conceptual abstraction frame, but are already seeing how these things can map over into the physical world.

    We define functions and relationships as per usual, with a function being a mapping from one set to another [which can be a replicate of the same] with the requirement of non ambiguity.

    The above is of course not rigorous and axiomatically presented, it is more of a modelling exercise, but one that is getting to the same place as a more rigid derivation would.

    It is intuitive but reasonably grounded.

    And, here we are, we have space, time, bodies, kinematics, dynamics, discretisation, continuum, rotation, translation, oscillation, transients, fields, fluxes, etc all ready to pop out.

    We are now on very familiar turf and there is no need to further elaborate.

    KF

  186. PS: How can I forget, infinity is already involved:

    1, 2, 3, . .

    x2

    2, 4, 6 . . .

    That is, we have 1:1 correspondence of a set and a proper subset, leading to a transfinite cardinality. And of course any “length” can be matched to the 0 –>1 interval, and so we see continuum cardinality with the same property.

  187. Unfortunately my knowledge of mathamatics is such that completing the captcha is quite a challenge for me every time … I was wondering though if the magic of math is also reflected in prime numbers patterns – the spiral of Ulam (1963)? See for instance this picture.
    On phys.org there is a report on a recent study (2009) of Bartolo Luque and Lucas Lacasa of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain, who have discovered yet another pattern in primes that has surprisingly gone unnoticed until now. Also here is a mysterious relationship with nature “Physicists have shown that many processes in nature can be modeled as stochastic multiplicative processes, (…)”.
    Maybe the experts here care to comment on this.

  188. KF: Sorry, my intent was not to derail your thread. I just found a certain satisfaction in the notion that, in the process of trying to discount God’s existence through an appeal to the mind’s need for otherness, one might merely end up supporting a traditional theological position.

    KN’s use of “external” or “representational” reminds me a bit of the UprightBiped thread with the brouhaha over “arbitrary.” It seems to me that the argument could go something like: thoughts are similar to language in that they require the “about-ness” discussed in that thread. But I think the flaw is in asserting that “about-ness” must be external to the being thinking the thoughts. It seems to me that this is patently untrue if the being has any complexity at all, including the minimal complexity of existing as three persons.

  189. Phinehas:

    Pardon, I doubt you were trying to derail, but if you look up-thread you will see a derail problem of significant proportions on a very similar topic.

    I decided to use something that is neutral to show that symbolic reference can be within, and that is also a context that speaks onwards very powerfully indeed.

    I think Craig was on to something with his remarks on Mathematics.

    KF

  190. Here’s the clipped portion:

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/9826382

  191. Box, Not something I have ever really looked into, strange pattern. KF

  192. KN:

    (2) abstract entities are mental entities

    [T]his is only acceptable if we first accept (1) [If God exists, then abstract entities are divine mental entities].

    I’d like to understand why you believe this to be true.

    And must we also fist accept (1) to get to (2a) abstract entities may be mental entities? How so?

  193. 193
    Kantian Naturalist

    It is one thing to say that our mental operations disclose that there are sets, quite another to say that mental operations constitute those sets. The reason I’m so surprised at the turn this conversation has taken is that you seem to be saying that mental activity constitutes the sets themselves (not just our knowledge of them, but the sets themselves), and that seems to fly in the face of what I’d assumed would be logical platonism.

    Put otherwise: does esse est concipi hold of abstract entities? That’s what Kairosfocus seems to be saying here, but just that is the nominalist position!

    I also have serious worries about the suggestion (as I interpret what Kairosfocus has written) that logic is basically divine psychology. This basically gives us a divine command theory of logic that parallels the divine command theory of ethics.

    On the one hand, I appreciate the recognition that logic and ethics are, at bottom, both normative sciences — the normative science of belief and the normative science of conduct. On the other hand, I think that grounding normativity as such in the divine will threatens to empty normativity of real content, since there is nothing to constrain the exercise of the divine will. One may say that God is necessarily good, but if goodness is itself just the divine will, then appealing to the essential goodness of God is a shameless dodge.

    Moreover, it is completely unnecessary, because one could take a more “Platonic” view, and say that the Good is not constituted by God, but that God, being all-knowing, has perfect knowledge of the Good. That gives the theist all she needs in securing a relation between revelation and ethics, without the problems of divine command theory. (Quite frankly, divine command theory has always struck me as a ‘might makes right’ view — it’s just that the right is constituted by the ultimate might.)

    Likewise, God might have perfect knowledge of mathematical objects, or of inferential relations, without constituting them. That would still preserve the theocentric conception of knowledge, and still allow one to say that human knowledge is more or less adequate insofar as it approximates divine knowledge (though of course still limited by human finitude).

  194. KN:

    Pardon, but you keep making a switcheroo: OUR mental efforts.

    We are contingent, secondary minds.

    I repeat, God, by definition would be the necessary being and root of being. One, in whom we live, move and have our being, who sustains in being everywhen and everywhere. So, it is a very different thing to speak about what our minds may recognise from what the mind at the root of being would constitute.

    Besides, the issue is that the blogger you cited was asserting that symbolic reference is necessarily external to the mind going through the symbolising process. By showing the chain from the empty set on, I am showing that that simply is not so, in the context of such a primary mind.

    And, I am pointing out that in that eternal mind, truth would eternally rest.

    So, the assertion no 3 above in the attempted disproof is question-begging at best. and, in actuality, it is false as one — especially the One in view — needs not make an EXTERNAL reference to conceive and extend a world of mathematics; such truths as 2 + 3 = 5 (and the components in it) are not contingent on any given world but hold in all possible worlds. In addition, a physical world could then be instantiated on the constructs, in this case ex nihilo.

    KF

  195. KN:

    Moreover, it is completely unnecessary, because one could take a more “Platonic” view, and say that the Good is not constituted by God, but that God, being all-knowing, has perfect knowledge of the Good.

    If Good is not constituted by God (that is, God is the standard by which Good is measured rather than Good is the standard by which God is measured), then the first horn of the Euthyphro dilemma would be in effect.

    The second horn of the Euthyphro dilemma does not require divine command theory because Good is not defined by God’s will or command, but by God’s existence and essence and being. Good is not arbitrary because God is not arbitrary. God is immutable.

  196. Mathematics has long intrigued man as a way to get to the ultimate truth about reality. This quest to find ‘ultimate truth’ through mathematics is perhaps best summarized by this quote:

    “We must know — we will know!”
    David Hilbert (January 23, 1862 – February 14, 1943) was a German mathematician recognized as one of the most influential and universal mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    But alas Hilbert’s (naturalistic) belief that mathematics could offer, within itself, a complete description of reality was overturned by the soft spoken Kurt Godel:

    BBC-Dangerous Knowledge – Part 1
    https://vimeo.com/30482156
    Part 2
    https://vimeo.com/30641992

    Hilbert’s (and every mathematician’s) dream to understand the complete mystery (truth) of reality through purely mathematical means was dashed to pieces on the rock of Godel’s incompleteness theorem:

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8462821

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Undeterred in this set back, many leading researchers, such as Stephen Hawking, with the unverifiable mathematical fantasy of M-theory, still believe that they can arrive at an ultimate ‘naturalistic’ truth for reality through purely mathematical means. And indeed, as is evidenced by Euler’s identity, there could very well be a single mathematical equation to describe all of reality (although the equation would still be dependent upon God for the inherent truthfulness therein according to Godel’s incompleteness theorem):

    God by the Numbers – Connecting the constants
    Excerpt: The final number comes from theoretical mathematics. It is Euler’s (pronounced “Oiler’s”) number: e^pi*i. This number is equal to -1, so when the formula is written e^pi*i+1 = 0, it connects the five most important constants in mathematics (e, pi, i, 0, and 1) along with three of the most important mathematical operations (addition, multiplication, and exponentiation). These five constants symbolize the four major branches of classical mathematics: arithmetic, represented by 1 and 0; algebra, by i; geometry, by pi; and analysis, by e, the base of the natural log. e^pi*i+1 = 0 has been called “the most famous of all formulas,” because, as one textbook says, “It appeals equally to the mystic, the scientist, the philosopher, and the mathematician.”,,,
    The discovery of this number gave mathematicians the same sense of delight and wonder that would come from the discovery that three broken pieces of pottery, each made in different countries, could be fitted together to make a perfect sphere. It seemed to argue that there was a plan where no plan should be.,,,
    Today, numbers from astronomy, biology, and theoretical mathematics point to a rational mind behind the universe.,,, The apostle John prepared the way for this conclusion when he used the word for logic, reason, and rationality—logos—to describe Christ at the beginning of his Gospel: “In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God.” When we think logically, which is the goal of mathematics, we are led to think of God.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=3

    Yet the broken pieces of pottery within physics were not to be nearly as cooperative as the broken pottery pieces from pure mathematics were:

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to today’s physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. However, these two pillars of modern science were bound to be incompatible. “The universe of general relativity is a smooth rubber sheet. It is continuous and flowing, never sharp, never pointy. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, describes a jerky and discontinuous universe. What the two theories have in common – and what they clash over – is zero.”,, “The infinite zero of a black hole — mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely — punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.”,, “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

    Quantum Mechanics and Relativity – The Collapse Of Physics? – video – with notes as to plausible reconciliation that is missed by materialists
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6597379/

    Yet when one allows God into math, as Godel indicated must ultimately be done to keep math from being ‘incomplete’, then there actually exists a very credible, empirically backed, reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into the long sought after ‘Theory of Everything’! ,,,, Yet it certainly is one that many dogmatic Atheists, at least the ones I’ve dealt with, will try to deny the relevance of instead of testing the truthfulness of it,,,

    Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

    As a footnote; Godel, who proved you cannot have a mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’, without allowing God to bring completeness to the ‘Theory of Everything’, also had this to say:

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed)
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

  197. @Kairosfocus (191)
    The spiral of Ulam shows simularity with the spirals based on the famous Fibonacci numbers, which are omnipresent in nature.

  198. Box:

    Indeed, a most interesting result, rather similar to the spiral structure of galaxies, which is indeed rather like the spirals that can be made based on the Fibonacci numbers. Strange, beautiful and fascinating. Order amidst an appearance that has defied our ability to predict. (Note the Wiki presentation here, that yields a cloth-like pattern. I see where here at Monash uni, it is triangle numbers that may generate the spiral you note. The pic on the right shows that beyond a certain point the structure diverges to a sort of bent arm spiral but the log-spiral structure in the heart of the pattern is plain. Yet another strange pattern like the Mandelbrot set. Which generates, with appropriate colour impositions, some of the most beautiful abstract images I have seen, with a degree of structured complexity flowing from a fairly simple algorithm that defies understanding. Where also, we see how powerful the symbolism and logical connexions of mathematics are, e.g. note in the linked vid on the sharpness of the criterion, that one needs only test the fate of 0 to categorise Julia sets.)

    BA77:

    Again, some very interesting food for thought. Godel was a true maverick among mathematicians and I remember the shock of discovering his incompleteness theorems. Mathematics is irreducibly complex and mathematicians must walk by faith and not by sight! (So much for the project of utter rationalism and deductive reasoning that eliminates faith: notitia, assensus, fiducia. Our proper worldview objective is reasonable faith, not reason in place of faith and not faith in place of reason.)

    Phinehas:

    The Euthyphro dilemma — originally developed in the context of Greek gods who were supermen, rather than the ground of being — fails spectacularly when applied to the God who is the ground of being, our inherently good creator and Lord, who as a necessary and maximally great being is worthy of worship. That which is good is intrinsic to God’s character, is not an arbitrary whim on his part, and so to live by the good, the true, the right, the reasonable, truly loving and just is a part of our reasonable service to him. (Cf. here and onward links, especially here. Note Canon Hooker’s summary used by Locke to ground the framework of liberty and justice in government and civil life.)

    KF

  199. F/N: It is easy to go in ever expanding tangential spirals on a matter like this, so let us ask ourselves, on an inference to best explanation basis, has Dr Craig made a compelling or at least reasonable case worthy of consideration?

    And, for the moment we can zoom in on his third of the eight arguments, as it seems relatively novel: does mathematics show a pattern of elegant and beautiful complexity that is strangely and powerfully applicable to the physical world, one that is best explained on it being integral to the design of the world per the act of a designer?

    Above — starting with the emptry set {} used to generate natural numbers then the reals, then mathematical spaces of two, three and in principle n dimensions, with kinematics opening a gateway to dynamics — I argued that, internal to God’s mind, we can see in dim outline a pattern that can generate a mathematically driven world that then allows physics to be spun out by moving to instantiation. Notoriously, all else in our physical world is founded on, constrained by or at least influenced by physics, including designs that harness the materials and forces of nature (in light of constraining factors such as efficiency or cost etc) to achieve purposes — a classic definition of what engineers do.

    Does the world show evidence, then of being a mathematically anchored design?

    Would that be a good reason for the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in analysing and in designs in our world?

    Or, what? Why? Specifically, why?

    KF

  200. Theism, Naturalism, and Rationality – Alvin Plantinga – video – (January 7, 2013 lecture)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApvLxnHq8Zs

  201. F/N: The papers on theology of math — yes, such exists and has something serious to say — here and here are worth pondering. KF

  202. 202
    Kantian Naturalist

    As a bit of an aside: over the weekend I came across a nice argument for the claim that “semantic platonism” is inexplicable unless supplemented by something like mind-body dualism.

    Note 1: “Semantic platonism” holds that there are real abstract universals, hence meanings, intensions, propositions, logical rules, mathematical objects, and mathematical operations must be included in any full description of the basic constituents of reality, do not depend on the existence or contents of any finite, embodied mind, and do not have the kinds of causal interactions that physical things have.)

    Note 2: It’s not entirely clear to me that semantic platonism is the only version of semantic realism, though it is the most ontologically demanding version, and it has a well-established pedigree in Western philosophy and theology.

    Suppose semantic platonism were true, but that mind-body dualism were false. Then we would not be able to arrive at any awareness of the semantic entities. (Whether there could be any awareness at all if dualism were false is a separate question.) The semantic entities would inhabit a realm of being to which we had no access; we would be metaphysically alienated from logic!

    A few further distinctions to round out this post: I think it’s a bit murky to see how one gets from semantic platonism (SP) + mind-body dualism (D) to theism (T).

    In order for the Craig-style inference-to-the-best-explanation move to get started, it would have to be the case that SP+D is somehow incomplete, or that needs to be explained, and that T is an adequate explanation of SP+D. So what is it that needs to be explained, if SP+D were true?

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