Tough Questions Answered

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Why Is Scientism Self-Refuting?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

More times than I can count we have skeptics comment on the blog who insist that science is the only means of attaining knowledge.  If you don’t believe me, just read the comments underneath last week’s blog posts.  I have covered this topic numerous times, but it seems to surface over and over again, which tells me that we are touching upon a fundamental disagreement between two worldviews.  In other words, this is a pivotal issue for everyone to understand.

So, I call back to the stand again Professor Edward Feser and his book, The Last Superstition.  When confronted with the assertion that only scientific reasoning gives knowledge (justified true belief), how shall we respond?

There are two problems with this view (which is known as “scientism” or “positivism”).  First, if they want to take this position, they will need to defend it and not simply assert it; otherwise they’ll be begging the question against their opponents and indulging in just the sort of dogmatism they claim to oppose. 

Feser makes an important point here.  It is not enough to merely say, as skeptics sometimes do, that scientific reasoning is the only way to know things, and then just leave it at that.  This viewpoint may be fashionable among atheists and skeptics, but among the rest of the populace, it just doesn’t fly.  The vast majority of thinkers from pre-Socratic Greece to today reject the assertion that scientific reasoning is the only way to know anything.  Given that fact, we expect an argument to be made.

Second, the moment they attempt to defend it, they will have effectively refuted it, for scientism or positivism is itself a metaphysical position that could only be justified by using metaphysical arguments. 

How so?  Why can’t science argue for science without employing metaphysical arguments?

Of  its very nature, scientific investigation takes for granted such assumptions as that: there is a physical world existing independently of our minds; this world is characterized by various objective patterns and regularities; our senses are at least partially reliable sources of information about this world; there are objective laws of logic and mathematics that apply to the objective world outside our minds; our cognitive powers – of concept-formation, reasoning from premises to a conclusion, and so forth – afford us a grasp of these laws and can reliably take us from evidence derived from the senses to conclusions about the physical world; the language we use can adequately express truths about these laws and about the external world; and so on and so on.

Notice that none of these are claims of science, are they?  As Feser explains, “Every one of these claims embodies a metaphysical assumption, and science, since its very method presupposes them, could not possibly defend them without arguing in a circle.  Their defense is instead a task for metaphysics, and for philosophy more generally; and scientism is shown thereby to be incoherent.”

Feser ends this section with a brilliant quote of philosopher E. A. Burtt:

Even the attempt to escape metaphysics is no sooner put in the form of a proposition than it is seen to involve highly significant metaphysical postulates.  For this reason there is an exceedingly subtle and insidious danger in positivism.  If you cannot avoid metaphysics, what kind of metaphysics are you likely to cherish when you sturdily suppose yourself to be free from the abomination?  Of course it goes without saying that in this case your metaphysics will be held uncritically because it is unconscious; moreover, it will be passed on to others far more readily than your other notions inasmuch as it will be propagated by insinuation rather than by direct argument. . . . Now the history of mind reveals pretty clearly that the thinker who decries metaphysics . . . if he be a man engaged in any important inquiry, he must have a method, and he will be under a strong and constant temptation to make a metaphysics out of his method, that is, to suppose the universe ultimately of such a sort that his method must be appropriate and successful. . . . But inasmuch as the positivist mind has failed to school itself in careful metaphysical thinking, its ventures as such points will be apt to appear pitiful, inadequate, or even fantastic.


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Comments

  • Anonymous

    It is not just the very nature of scientific investigation to take for granted all those lovely assumptions. It is the very nature of knowledge itself. There is no rational way to discuss the idea of something being a justified true belief without those assumptions. There is no means of attaining knowledge that does not require one to start with assumptions that are not provable by that means of attaining knowledge. Attaining knowledge by logic, reason, or revelation requires them as well.

    One has to start with the assumption that there is such a thing as a justified true belief before one can determine whether a thing is a justified true belief. It doesn’t matter what method a person uses to obtain knowledge, that method cannot establish that belief in justified true beliefs is itself justified and true. Saying “God did it” doesn’t ameliorate the dilemma.

  • Anonymous

    It is not enough to merely say, as skeptics sometimes do, that scientific reasoning is the only way to know things, and then just leave it at that. This viewpoint may be fashionable among atheists and skeptics, but among the rest of the populace, it just doesn’t fly.

    It’s not fashionable at all, Bill. You equate scientific reasoning with the philosophical stance of scientism and no one practices this for exactly the reason pointed out by Feser: it’s self-defeating.

    Let me explain.

    Scientism, in the strong sense that Feser uses, is the self-annihilating view that only scientific claims are meaningful, which is not a scientific claim and hence, if true, not meaningful. Thus, scientism is either false or meaningless. This is the way many people like you use the term, inserting ‘scientific reasoning’ as its synonym and trying to pretend that this is the faith-based starting position atheists assume.

    But atheists use the weak sense of term, the broad view that the method of the natural sciences and its single epistemology allows reality to arbitrate what’s claimed to be true about it rather than faith claims imposed upon it. In this sense, this method of honest inquiry – honest in the sense that reality rather than faith determines what’s true – should be applied to any subject matter that can yield satisfactory and reliable natural explanations for phenomena. This approach works and our practical technologies are built on it. We don’t build bridges on faith claims of hope and wishful thinking but on the scientific method and the reliable results this method produces so that we can accurately calculate load weights for different materials.

    Furthermore, the incompatibility of any epistemology that allows for faith claims to be equivalent in truth value to a method that demonstrably produces reliable and applicable results is shown to be so when we gain no further knowledge from inquiries that include supernatural and paranormal speculations equivalent to made up stuff… speculations which have a very long and ‘rich’ theological history of claims about reality being startlingly inaccurate, unnecessary in complexity, untrustworthy in results, and claims assumed to be true but without any means for independent verification. The ‘scientific reasoning’ atheists use is not a similar epistemology of the kind that informs faith-based beliefs – based on imposing a similar method of faith-based beliefs on reality as you and Feser would have us believe – but one that is founded on a method of inquiry that extracts evidence from reality to inform truth claims made about it. This is why the epistemological differences between science and faith are insurmountable because they are in direct epistemological competition. That’s also why ‘scientific reasoning’ manages to produce reliable and consistent explanations about reality we can use to produce practical applications that work for everyone everywhere all the time and faith-based beliefs do not. This is a shortcoming of faith-based beliefs that no amount of metaphysical musings can overcome.

  • Boz

    I take a less absolute, but similar position, that: the scientific method (and its required assumptions) has produced all the knowledge that currently exists.

    Bill Pratt, can you give an example of non-controversial knowledge that is gained outside of this method?

  • Anonymous

    When a Christian apologist says, “Your position is self-refuting,” it usually means “I cannot refute it.”

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Boz,
    What you said is self-refuting. You claim to KNOW that “the scientific method (and its required assumptions) has produced all the knowledge that currently exists.”

    But that claim of knowledge you just made does not come from the scientific method. There is no way that the scientific method could ever produce that claim, so some knowledge in the world clearly does not come from the scientific method.

    If you want more examples of knowledge that are not derived from the scientific method, I submit mathematical laws, laws of logic, and moral facts.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Personally, I’d say refine it to science is the best (or even only reliable) method of interpreting empirical facts to establish reality.

    Regarding laws of maths, I’d submit that many view maths as the purest of sciences, and therefore could reasonably be included under the science banner. I’d also say that ‘moral facts’ falls foul of Boz’s caveat about ‘non-controversial knowledge’. How does one test a ‘moral fact’?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    “Personally, I’d say refine it to science is the best (or even only reliable) method of interpreting empirical facts to establish reality.”

    That would escape the self-refuting nature of Boz’s claim, but it would still mean that your statement, which is itself not scientific, would be weaker than scientific statements. In other words, you are resting your epistemology on a weak foundation when you deny that philosophical claims are as strong as scientific claims. It becomes a “faith” position of the sort that you deride theists for holding.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    tildeb,
    I did not and have not ever equated scientific reasoning with scientism. That would be obviously false. What I have done is point out that there seem to be many atheists who take the position of scientism, whereby they claim that scientific reasoning is the ONLY way to know anything. This claim has been made so many times on this blog that I’ve lost count. I would encourage you to hold an online philosophy seminar where you invite atheists and skeptics and you train them to stop making this self-refuting claim. I would be most thankful as I constantly have to respond to it.

    You said, “In this sense, this method of honest inquiry – honest in the sense that reality rather than faith determines what’s true – should be applied to any subject matter that can yield satisfactory and reliable natural explanations for phenomena.”

    Faith in the biblical sense, is based on a foundation of honesty inquiry about reality. Faith merely means trusting what a person tells you is true about things you cannot observe for yourself. The reason we trust that particular person is entirely based on the fact that they have proven themselves trustworthy about things that we can check out for ourselves. We do not blindly believe what Jesus says about salavation and heaven (things we cannot observe for ourselves with our senses). We first check out what he said and did that can be observed, using the historical sciences, and we ascertain whether he is someone that can be trusted based on that evidence. There is a very strong connection between biblical faith and scientific reasoning, then. They are not completely disconnected, as you seem to assume.

    We can now see that your statement about faith and science being in direct epistemological competition is false. They are not in competition at all, once you understand what faith really is.

    But on a broader point, your comments confuse me. You hold up the scientific method as the best and strongest way to know things, but then you write detailed and thorough arguments that you surely know are true, but none of these arguments have a shred of scientific reasoning in them. Doesn’t that bother you? That all the foundations for your epistemology are necessarily much weaker than the actual knowledge gained by science. Your house is made on quick-sand. How do you escape this problem?

  • Anonymous

    Bill, have you read your own title? What you’re specifically doing is – as I point out – equating scientism with ‘scientific reasoning’. These terms are NOT synonymous. Once you define what ‘scientific reasoning’ means (rather than scientism) then there is a direct correlation between ‘knowledge’ about reality and reality. (the definition of scientific reasoning means the principles of reasoning relevant to finding explanations that work in reality, predictions that can be tested in reality, using empirical means in a rational manner, which include governing experimental design, hypothesis testing, and the interpretation of data.) What you do is insert belief about reality to be another kind of knowledge about reality, one without the benefit of being arbitrated BY reality. For example, there is simply no way to determine if truth claims about the resurrection of Jesus are in any way qualitatively different than ones made about other supposed earth bound deities; instead, believers assume a confidence not because of good reasons to do so but in their absence. This raises the central point about what the term ‘faith’ means to inform knowledge in comparison is what ‘scientific reasoning’ means.

    You use the term ‘faith’ to be equivalent to a reasonable confidence or trust or hope similar to the same made from scientific reasoning. This is absolutely false. The key differences between ‘faith’ of a religious kind and faith/trust/confidence in scientific reasoning are:
    1) the role of EVIDENCE FROM REALITY to inform the claim, and
    2) accepting the tentative nature of our explanations.

    The ‘knowledge’ we extract is utterly dependent one these two factors. In scientific reasoning, this means ‘knowledge’ is a working model, a dynamic state that must account for ALL the detailed evidence reality provides, open to change when necessary, and based on what seems to be true for everyone everywhere all the time. At the top of this heap are theories.

    In religious faith, this means ‘knowledge’ is static, a preset belief structure that accounts for reality as it seems to be without earnest detailed accounting for all the evidence (creationism pops into mind), unable to change except from external pressure that provides an overwhelming need to do so (okay, maybe the sun doesn’t really revolve around the earth), and based on some kind of revealed scripture available to everyone that produces tens of thousands of equally valid interpretations. At the top of this heap is relativism that reduces what’s true to irrlevancy and what’s knowable to be equivalent to what is believed without any need for compelling evidence from reality.

    Religious faith and scientific reasoning are incompatible methods of inquiry. Faith produces no knowledge and no practical applications, The same is not true and demonstrably so for scientific reasoning, which is why you use scientific reasoning in every aspect of your life save for your exemptions to facilitate your religious beliefs. And on this alter you sacrifice your intellectual integrity and honesty.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Not sure Bill – accepting science as the most reliable way of gathering and interpreting empiracle data is not a philosophically weak position, or a faith one – it’s simply what has been demonstrated to work. What alternative methods can you offer, and what knowledge have they given us?

  • Anonymous

    Bill’s alternative is a magic book. That is why he can do nothing more than repeat the claim that other positions are “self-refuting.”

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    “The key differences between ‘faith’ of a religious kind and faith/trust/confidence in scientific reasoning are:
    1) the role of EVIDENCE FROM REALITY to inform the claim, and
    2) accepting the tentative nature of our explanations.”

    Christian faith is also is based on the role of evidence from reality to inform the claim and the explanations are tentative.

    Let’s look at the first point. We believe the claims that Jesus makes because of the evidence from reality that he provided (fulfilled prophecies, miracles, and the resurrection). Jesus didn’t just show up one day and start telling people things about the supernatural without providing any empirical evidence to back up his claims that he knows about the supernatural. Perhaps other religious teachers make claims about the supernatural without providing evidence, but that was not what Jesus did. This is an important and fundamental difference between Christian claims and those of other religious teachers.

    With regard to the second claim, Christians are constantly examining and re-examining the words of Scripture to refine our understanding. There is nothing static about it. Our understanding of the teachings of Jesus are always progressing and changing because we look at new data from history, archeaology, and even the natural sciences. To say that Christian faith is static is just flatly wrong.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    By the way, you never answered my question about your epistemology. You continue to present claims and arguments that are philosophical and non-scientific, while claiming that philosophical and non-scientific claims are weaker than scientific claims. Where do philosophical claims fit into your epistemology?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Andrew,
    The question is what method is the best method for giving us knowledge about reality. You claim that science is the best method to give us knowledge about reality, but that claim is itself not a scientific claim. So, I ask you how you support your claim that science is the best method to gain knowledge of reality, and your answer appears to be, “it’s simply what has been demonstrated to work.”

    I will respond by saying that Christian faith also has been demonstrated to work. In fact, in billions of people’s lives, Christian faith works, and in some lives it works spectacularly well.

    Do you still want to use the fact that something works as the measure of what is the best method of giving us knowledge of reality?

  • Anonymous

    I’ll start with your second point and be very blunt: this is what we call ‘lying for Jesus’. Please correct me if I’m wrong but you do not hold Jesus as your lord and savior as a tentative proposition whatsoever.

    Do you?

    To suggest you actually and honestly hold your faith propositions to be equivalently tentative as is normal for scientific claims is simply not true on its face. What you are trying to suggest is that faith isn’t static in producing knowledge if you calling staring ever deeper into your navel a ‘dynamic’ inquiry. The comparison I used was in the changing state of knowledge, whereas you mean it to mean further introspection. But – again – you never, ever question the fundamental assumption of your faith. To prove this, ask yourself what evidence you would accept that would show you that your faith-based beliefs about Jesus as your lord and savior were completely misguided? See what I mean? You are convinced a priori that your beliefs are true.

    This is where we can revisit the first point: because you already accept the faith-based proposition that Jesus was (and remains) your lord and savior, you now utilize only that evidence that you believe supports this premise and call it your conclusion.

    Can you provide evidence that Jesus fulfilled prophesies? No. You accept on faith that he did so according to believing only the supposed testimony of others long dead.

    Can you provide evidence that Jesus performed miracles? No. You accept on faith that he did so according to believing only the supposed testimony of others long dead.

    Can you provide evidence of the resurrection? No. You accept on faith that he did so according to believing only the supposed testimony of others long dead.

    You see the problem? ALL your evidence leads back to one thing and one thing only: belief that all these testimonies are true without anyway of establishing that fact. That’s why what you believe is your belief itself and not anything external to your mind. You accept on faith that these things are true of Jesus because you believe the testimony of others long dead are all true… even though you know that all of these claims are highly unlikely to be true in reality.

    What you doing is the typical ‘lying for Jesus’ tricks such as making a claim that is knowingly inaccurate, then substituting words that mean something quite different while pretending they sort of mean the same thing. In this case, you substitute the word ‘refinement’ as if the description of ‘tentative’ and ‘refinement’ mean equivalently the same thing. They don’t but this doesn’t deter you. The object of the tentative claim I make is about knowledge subject to what reality has to say about it, whereas the object of the refinement you use is about the interpretation of scripture that remains now and forever more in your mind alone that it is the inspired word of god.

    Knowledge about the world and divinely inspired scriptural interpretations are not the same things so the refinement and tentative knowledge comparison is false.

    This tactic by religious apologists who vainly attempt to argue that the method of scientific inquiry is compatible with religious faith depends entirely on changing the meaning of words to argue that up really means down if looked at just so and that black really means white with just the right interpretive spin… and then it all fits! This is the worst kind of relativism in action, to intentionally mislead others through playing with words into believing that incompatible means compatible when you twist the right dials and fiddle with the right nobs versus throwing the whole contraption out because the knowledge produced by scientific reasoning is plentiful and is in now way compatible with that produced by faith. Regardless of additional refinement, we end up knowing nothing more about reality through scriptural interpretation. This brute fact is a good indication that the whole knowledge producing contraption known as religious belief is broken in any honest comparison of equivalency with the method of science. As another way of equivalently knowing, religious belief is an abject failure.

  • Anonymous

    Sure I did. I use methodological naturalism because it works. I also described ‘scientific reasoning':

    the principles of reasoning relevant to finding explanations that work in reality, predictions that can be tested in reality, using empirical means in a rational manner, which include governing experimental design, hypothesis testing, and the interpretation of data.

    In other words, I follow a method of inquiry – an epistemology – that respects what true in reality and allows reality to be the final arbitrator of claims made about it. Conclusions about reality based on this method is knowledge, and best method we have to do this inquiry is science.

  • Andrew Ryan

    I think you mean something completely different when you say ‘Christian faith works’. It’s not in the same sense as the science that produced your computer ‘works’. It’s in the same sense that dozens of other religions’ proponents can claim their religion ‘works’ for its followers.

    That dealt with, yes certainly a method’s success rate is obviously a good test of its success – that’s virtually a tautology. Is your suggested alternative to pick the method that performs worse?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    “To prove this, ask yourself what evidence you would accept that would show you that your faith-based beliefs about Jesus as your lord and savior were completely misguided?”

    Simple. If archeaologists produced Jesus’s remains, I would give up my faith. If there were good historical or archeaological evidence showing that the testimony of the NT writers was largely unreliable and untrustworthy, I would seriously question my faith.

    “You see the problem? ALL your evidence leads back to one thing and one thing only: belief that all these testimonies are true without anyway of establishing that fact.”

    I do not understand why you denigrate the testimony of ancient writers so much. In fact, given your statements, I can only assume that you do not accept any of the writings of ancient history to be true. Are you skeptical of Alexander the Great’s conquest and Julius Caesar’s rise to power? Do you believe that Jesus never existed? After all, we only know these people existed through ancient testimony which you have attacked as being completely untrustworthy.

    “You accept on faith that these things are true of Jesus because you believe the testimony of others long dead are all true”

    Again, what do you have against the testimony of those long dead? By your own words, we should shut down every history department at every university because the sources of ALL of our history prior to the 20th century are dead! Only testimonies of people who are alive should be trusted? Is that what you really mean to say? Do you not believe anything based on testimony? Have you personally observed every piece of knowledge you have gained in your life without ever relying on the testimony of others?

    The fact is that testimony is evidence, evidence which is accepted in every courtroom. You routinely accept testimony from people as evidence every day of your life. Otherwise you literally could not function! You may argue that certain testimony is weak or unreliable, but you surely cannot, with a wave of your hand, dismiss all ancient testimony as non-evidential.

    Finally, I do not lie for Jesus. Please give me the courtesy I have given you by abstaining from personal attacks.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    So the reason you claim that the scientific method is the best method to gain knoweldge is that “it works.”

    If that is your starting point, then my epistemology works as well. It respects what is true in reality and allows reality to be the final arbitrator of claims made about it. I don’t accept anything as true that contradicts reality. So if the ultimate test of an epistemology is that it works, then how are we to adjudicate between our two epistemologies? It seems we are now forced to go back to metaphysics, an area of philosophy you have poo-poo’ed, if I remember correctly. But how can we get past the epistemological impasse without calling on metaphysics to referee?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    It is you that is changing the game in the middle. I have asked for which method is the best for giving us knowledge about reality. You said the scientific method. I asked why. You said because it works. By saying “it works” I assumed you meant that it consistently gives us knowledge of reality.

    In the same way, Christian faith also works in that it consistently gives us knowledge of reality. In fact, Christian faith gives us not only knowledge about how computers work (after all, Christians accept the scientific method as the best method to explain how things work in the natural world), but it also gives us knowledge about far more important things than computers, things like love, goodness, God, and salvation from our sins.

    So if both of our methods work, then how do we decide which one is better?

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Boz, I don’t know if you are married or have a major significant other, but if not, let’s assume you do for the sake or argument. How do you know the other really truly loves you? Do you analyze by the scientific method? Would you call knowing that another loves you knowledge? Only Vulcans seem to use scientific analysis to determine the value and nature of relationships, and as such, they have no emotion.

    Also, it is complete circular reasoning, and to the point of this dialogue, that the scientific method cannot validate itself as the sole producer of knowledge. What it can do, by positive results, is show that it is “a way” to acquire knowledge, at least empirical knowledge. But it has no way to produce apriori knowledge (which I find nuts for anyone to think there is no apriori knowledge). Nearly all postulates of mathematics are apriori (you can’t prove them, but they seem intuitively obvious, or their contradiction self refutes). If you has no apriori knowledge, you could not do science!

    (Seems I just repeated Bill. But maybe I added something that makes some sense? And to that, without using the scientific method.)

  • Andrew Ryan

    Bill, you’ve completely gone off the deep end. Simply making claims about God and salvation, claiming they ‘work’, doesn’t actually mean you’ve actually successfully gained true information, unless you’re going down some relativism route of “It’s true for me”.

    I might as well say “Taking random guesses about reality is the best way”, and saying it’s self-confirming, as I came by that claim through a random guess, which by my own theory means it must be correct. And when you point out that random guesses seldom generate claims that work, I ask you to demonstrate that “claims that work” is a good test of a method!

    By definition, “produces working claims” is a good test of a working method of establishing reality.

    And how are you going to test your claims about God and salvation? How do you set it against the equivalent claims of rival religions?

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    When math is included as a “science,” the term science as used in this discussion no longer pertains only to scientific knowledge, but “knowledge” in general, since the word “science” means “knowledge.” And in that case, we aren’t talking about scientism, or empirical knowledge only. Once you admit math as a science in this discussion, you have mad the point that there is knowledge outside of scientific knowledge via empirical methods.

  • Anonymous

    See how you turn to evidence other than testimony? But consider: how can we confirm the remains of Jesus in such a way that you would accept? The answer? It cannot be done.

    Now look at the archeological evidence: there isn’t a shred of it for the exodus you believe happened. Do you now argue with other theists that their belief in jewish exodus is completely bogus? Nope. You maintain your belief because you believe what the bible says over and above what reality provides. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: you believe belief and impose it on reality.

    I denigrate ‘testimony’ that is contrary to what reality shows us is true about it. I do not believe the magician saws the woman in half and then puts her back together again. I do not believe the ‘magic’ the illusionist says is responsible for making things disappear. I do not believe testimony about three day old dead bodies coming back to life, a few loaves of bread that can magically produce food for thousands. I do not believe crackers becomes the flesh of Jesus by transubstantiation. I respect reality too much to award these kinds of testimonies any merit.

    In contrast, testimonies backed up by excellent archeological evidence fit reality. I may not believe Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and Britannia but I will have a very hard time explaining the rampant evidence from reality that agrees with explanation seamlessly.

    Again, Bill: I respect reality’s role in determining claims made about it. This is why testimony is the weakest form of evidence because we are so good at fooling ourselves and empowering our foolish beliefs that stand contrary to and incompatible with the reality we do have reliable and consistent knowledge about.

    I notice that you do not answer my question abut the tentative nature of your faith about Jesus as your lord and savior. My claim is that you do NOT hold this belief to be tentative but that you suggest otherwise… that you DO hold your faith to be tentative in an equivalent manner to scientific reasoning about reality. I see these two claims you make to be incompatible, meaning one of them is false, and I’m willing to bet that you do not hold your belief in Jesus as lord and savior tentatively AT ALL. Again, am I wrong? If so I will gladly retract my charge. If I’m not wrong, then you ARE being dishonest in your portrayal that your faith is tentative when it clearly is no such thing.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny, how is saying “all knowledge comes from science,” not self refuting when the claim is not a claim derived from scientific investigation?

    That science works, does not mean science is exhaustive in knowledge. Not everything is testable by science. If we go to Hume for a moment. He would say that you can’t know for sure, thus skepticism is supreme, that any effect is truly linked to a cause as posited in a scientific theorem. While in the purest sense, he is correct, most of us say that is poppycock. Why? Because we rely upon intuition to some degree on the most basic principles and it just seems empirically correct from inductive reasoning and experience. As well, simpler theories is the goal of a scientific explanation. But, why do we think that? Because it seems to be true. There is absolutely no proof that we can muster to show that is absolutely true in all cases. Our intuition seems to work for getting by, so we go with it. It hasn’t failed us yet in scientific endeavors, that we know of. So, underlying science it self is some level of intuition that is itself unprovable. It just seems to work!

  • Anonymous

    Well, Bill, you pay lip service to reality but is that what you do when your beliefs come into conflict with reality? I see no evidence for this. I do not see you dropping your creationist beliefs now that you know evolution offers us a single, cohesive, and massively informed explanation. I do not see you dropping your belief about the nature of humanity now that you know Adam and Eve are fictions. I do not see you agreeing that the Moses story of the exodus is bogus from the get go because there is neither archeological nor anthropological evidence to back it up.

    What I see is you defending your beliefs in spite of good evidence from reality contrary to it. You continue to believe in miracles. You continue to believe in prophesies. You continue to believe in prayer and faith healing and demons and free will and dualism and magical resurrections and an afterlife and heaven and hell and a thousand other silly beliefs that have no evidence from reality to inform them. How can this be if you honestly “don’t accept anything as true that contradicts reality?” All of these contradict reality, but you excuse them all in the name of your faith, of some magical creative interventionist agency that can bend reality to match up with your beliefs. That’s the epistemology you maintain, that what you believe is true takes precedence over what reality shows us is true. Metaphysics is merely an extension of belief dressed up as a philosophy about a realm we cannot know anything about, proclaiming causation without allowing us means to verify it, using an ancient physics of bodily humors and natures of objects to explain their properties. But it’s all broken an epistemology and misleading and an inquiry killer. It’s equivalent in all ways to a delusion.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, “Now look at the archeological evidence: there isn’t a shred of it for the exodus”
    What do you call a “shred”? What is your view of the Ipuwer Papyrus? I know there are differences of opinion about it, as with most archeological data (limited empirical info!), but I’d call it a shred, and there are more shreds that when pieced together give a picture.

    I don’t have time to respond to everything at the moment, but I wanted to show that when people say there is NO of something, there is often lurking the possibility of there being something. The problem with this something, as with a good bit of archeological data and historical data, is that it must be interpreted. It is impossible to assign the absolute positive knowledge to any of it that many claim we should have for any historical data when it comes to religious matters. History has an interpretive element which MUST take into account the bigger pictures and almost never is absolutely certain in the sense of modern empirical analysis can give (which still isn’t absolute, but approximate to various degrees).

  • Anonymous

    Really? A poem about tough times? Servants leaving thier posts equates as a shred of evidence with a mass migration of slaves? Really, Walt? In that case, we’re teeming with evidence about alien invasions, sasquatchs roaming the hills, yeti living in mountains, unicorns prancing through the woods, and faeries living in your garden.

    Good grief, Walt. How far are you willing to stretch your allowances to maintain belief? Is there any end in sight, any point at which the highly improbable actually matters in your adjudication of what’s probably true?

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  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, we must not be referring to the same document. The Merneptah Stele is another shred. There is new discussion of an even earlier mention of Israel in Egypt at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/ancient-israel/does-the-merneptah-stele-contain-the-first-mention-of-israel/?mqsc=E3033357

    The evidence from archeology is piecemeal, as in many things of ancient times. I will admit that without the Hebrew writings, one wouldn’t know what to make of any of these pieces. But the idea that the Israel nation was never in Egypt is merely a hypothesis based on timing difficulties which have their own explanations. But there are Hebrew writings. At one time it was said Pilate didn’t exist. There is now a stone in Caesaria (I’ve seen myself) that has his name on it with his title. At one time it was said David was myth. Now they have found a sign with his name. The point is that many “scholars” assume myth from the start. There may be stories that one might assume myth, but the story of the Hebrews as a people, whether embellished or not, most likely has some basic truth behind it as far a history goes. My point was about the “shred”.

    Even if I wasn’t a believer in Christ, I would say what I said above. The claim about believing in fairies and other things is not warranted.

  • Anonymous

    Again, Walt, the stele offer us any evidence at all of any exodus; it merely makes mention of a population that can be arguably interpreted to mean ‘Israeli’.

    Look, in other cases of a large slave group, we have ample anthropological evidence of influence. Slaves sing. Slaves speak. Slaves affect trade and laws. None of this is found in Egypt, which by itself dampens the likelihood that the jews were a slave nation inside of Egypt. But when you combine the notion that evidence that should be available is not to be found, then the likelihood is quite remote. The shreds you mention do not account for the absence of anthropological evidence that should be present, nor has any archeological evidence been found… things specific to jewish culture like sewing patterns, cooking utensils, pottery styles, etc.. Again, there should be this evidence if the slave story was actually true. The only thing backing up the slave nation notion is religious belief alone, and it is through this belief that such incredibly generous interpretations make you call shreds of evidence.

  • Anonymous

    Vinny, how is saying “all knowledge comes from science,” not self refuting when the claim is not a claim derived from scientific investigation?

    Because the way to refute the claim that “all knowledge comes from” is to demonstrate the existence of knowledge that does not come from science. Absent that, the claim is at worst unproved, not refuted.

    As I noted in my first comment, every method of attaining knowledge requires the assumption that there is such a thing as knowledge. By Bill’s logic, every method is self-refuting because none of them can prove that there is such a thing as justified true belief.

    You are quite correct in that “[t]here is absolutely no proof that we can muster to show that is absolutely true in all cases,” but I don’t think that’s a reasonable standard for what human beings can claim to know.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, the so called lack of evidence is from looking at the wrong time / chronology. There is a city called Avaris that has evidence. There is evidence of a large population surge in Canaan. Who were the Hyksos? Confusion abounds about the details. People’s interpretations of the facts are distorted by their biblical and antibiblical positions. But there is no lack of evidence. What there is a lack of is noncontroversial evidence.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    I don’t think it is a reasonable standard either. But a claim that is not made by scientific investigation that states all knowledge is by scientific investigation IS self-refuting all by itself.

    Fact is that we can’t prove anything is justified true belief other than that it is justified by its reasonableness. The reasonableness is represented in the claim, but we don’t know those claims by scientific investigation. We know them intuitively. But, any claim that refutes itself is obviously itself not a justified true belief because it is unreasonable by its self-contradiction. And I believe that is all Bill is saying.

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    If we could agree on every known belief that is both justified and true and we determined upon examination that each and every one of those beliefs was the product of scientific investigation, why wouldn’t we be justified in saying that all knowledge comes from scientific investigation?

  • Anonymous

    What I’m trying to show is that believers like to say that they draw their belief as a conclusion from reasonable evidence… justifying their belief to be likely true based on evidence from reality.

    I think this is patently false. I think believers choose to believe (for various other reasons than a preponderance of evidence from reality) and then try to put together as many supportive bits of flotsam and jetsam as they can to try to give the appearance of a reasonable conclusion. But the problem – as the acceptance of the exodus story shows – is that the probability of likelihood on such flimsy evidence (I knew a guy who knew a guy who said he once knew a guy…) is very, very low. It is more reasonable to maintain such a belief with a great deal of justifiable tentativeness, scepticism, and doubt than it is to pretend otherwise, that it reasonable to arrive at a conclusion of belief because of compelling evidence from reality when this is not the case at all.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny, if every belief was justified that way, I’d agree, but not every belief is. Basic principles are aprior beliefs that we just seem to know. They cannot be tested scientifically. Also, I mentioned elsewhere on this discussion that belief that someone loves you is not subjected to scientific analysis (it may be that doing a brain scan might allow it, but we normally don’t do that, yet we believe it and are justified, usually).

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildbe, if you were talking only about the Exodus, I’d pretty much agree with you. But it is only one part of a bigger picture.

    What I’m trying to show is that skeptics like to say that they draw their belief as a conclusion from reasonable evidence… justifying their belief to be likely true based on evidence from reality.

    I think this is patently false. I think skeptics choose to give reasons to deny even the possibility of something without taking the whole picture into account (for various other reasons than a preponderance of evidence from reality) and then try to claim that empirical evidence is the only kind of valid evidence when much of what they belief is inductively arrived at from what few things they do know from empirical observation.

    I apologize for parroting your words, but it is to make the point you are in the same boat you claim I am in. You have no real assurance of you belief system anymore than you think I have. All you have is success in a certain area of knowledge which I also claim to be a good system of knowledge, but inadequate for larger truths.

  • Anonymous

    Well Walt, you’re close. I do indeed draw my evidence from reality and so my ‘belief’ in the likelihood of your religious notions being true in this reality we share is negligible. Of course, it is a misnomer to present your lack of belief in faeries to be a ‘belief’ in the same way it is a misnomer to present my lack of belief in your religious ‘bigger picture’ to be an equivalent ‘belief’. It is due to this lack of compelling evidence that I maintain my healthy scepticism and doubt. In this sense of knowledge, I am an agnostic but concerning the probability that your god exists one can only conclude non belief to be fully justified. Hence, my atheism is of exactly the same kind that you hold towards all other gods other than the one you make an exception for.

    You keep arguing that there really is a ‘bigger picture’ to your religious faith than somehow adds to the notion when all the evidential details of each claim in this god’s existence amounts to an equivalency of zero. Surely your math is good enough to realize that no matter how many zeros are added together, we don’t end up with any ‘bigger’ amount at all, any more than we end up with an improved likelihood that your religious claims are true. In reality the lack of compelling evidence justifies the assumption that the claims are likely not true… unless we first assume it is.

    This is why it’s important to look at Bill’s answer about evidence that he says might change his mind: empirical evidence. If I could provide him with empirical evidence of Jesus’ corpse, he assures me, he would reconsider his beliefs in the resurrection, with the effect of underming all his current beliefs associated with this. He doesn’t suggest I could come up with a metaphysical explanation that describes some alternative ‘big picture’ because he, like you, knows that such a case without compelling evidence from reality is equivalent to made up imaginings, and so carry no weight to tip the scales of what’s probably true. Yet you put aside what you already know and make room for a metaphysical ‘big picture’ because you already believe it to be true and cannot in good conscience make any compelling case for coming to an informed-by-evidence-from-reality conclusion about Jesus as your lord and savior based on such a nebulous notion. You believe in your belief and try to make a case about its veracity from carefully chosen cherry picked data that seems to fit the belief. And this is why I accuse believers of imposing their beliefs on reality rather than deducing what’s true about reality from it.

  • Boz

    Walt Tucker, the existence of interpersonal emotions can be determined by people’s actions. If one person loves another, they would do X, or not do Y, or be more/less likely to do Z. So, this can be confirumed under the scientific method.

    re: a-priori assumptions, they are included in the scope of my previous comment – the scientific method (and its required assumptions) has produced all the knowledge that currently exists.

  • Boz

    Bill Pratt, this conclusion was reached via the scientific method. here is my method. 1. Randomly select a piece of knowledge. 2. How was this knowledge discovered? A: the scientific method. 3. repeat x1000. 4. extrapolate from the sample to the population.

    Mathematical and logical laws (e.g. addition, if-then) were known empirically long before the words ‘mathematics’ or ‘logic’ were ever written. They were originally produced via the scientific method (and later, described formally)

    moral facts do not exist

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    I wonder if you guys actually know what it means to know something by the scientific method? It truly is beyond me how you can know apriori knowledge from the scientific method. I also, really seriously doubt any of you do a true scientific analysis to determine if someone loves you. That something can be subject to a scientific investigation does not mean we always do so. Some stuff is just taken on faith!

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    If you agree that a certain hypothetical set of evidence might substantiate the claim that all knowledge comes from scientific investigation, then I don’t know how you can claim that the claim is self-refuting. It must be either proved or refuted by examining the evidence, not by parsing the claim itself.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    What’s the randomly selected data which verifies moral facts do not exist? Maybe you are saying, Boz, that of a thousand samples, you did find a discovered moral fact, so they don’t exist. But isn’t that circular? Aren’t you assuming you have not discovered any moral facts to conclude you have not discovered any moral facts? (By the way, does that mean electrons and photons did not exist prior to doing experiments to show they did exist? Absence of evidence sometimes just means absence of looking for it.)

    Even worse, mathematical and logical laws existed long before the words “mathematics” or “logic” were ever written, yet they were produced by the scientific method? I think you have it absolutely backwards! The scientific method exists because logical principles exist. In other words, logical principles produced the scientific method.

    What I’m seeing here among the skeptical contributors is that the scientific method IS God. It has created all things! Hmmm. How do you prove God – by observing the world of created things. How canny!

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny, you ARE missing the point! The claim IS part of the evidence. And it cannot be verified to be true by the scientific method.

    What CAN BE? The claim you just made, “that a certain hypothetical set of evidence MIGHT substantiate the claim that all knowledge comes from scientific investigation”

    You can assign a probability to it, but you CANNOT ABSOLUTELY SAY, “All knowledge comes from the scientific method.”

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    Now you are going back to your “I can’t say it’s true unless I have absolute proof that it’s absolutely true in all cases” standard which I thought we earlier agreed was not reasonable.

    I understand the game you are playing here but it strikes me as silly.

  • Boz

    Walt Tucker said: “It truly is beyond me how you can know apriori knowledge from the scientific method.”

    You are misunderstanding what I am saying.

    “the scientific method (and its required assumptions) has produced all the knowledge that currently exists.”

    the a priori assumtions are assumed, not concluded empirically.

    Walt Tucker said: “I also, really seriously doubt any of you do a true scientific analysis to determine if someone loves you.”

    This is a no true scotsman; and I am not talking about the “True Scientific Method”. Wearing a white jacket and publishing results are not prerequisites for using the scientific method. You and I use the scientific method every day, including to determine whether our husbands feel love. Cheating makes love less likely. Sex makes love more likely. That is the scientific method that we all use.

  • Boz

    Are you deliberately misunderstanding me? You have done it 6 times in 2 posts.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny, I am only saying that about the statement. My point is to not claim what we know is not true. It isn’t that we have don’t have good reason to believe many things and thus have justified true belief, but we have no good reason to believe that statement to be true when itself is an absolute statement. It is more an honesty about what we really know.

    If you do Boz’s 1000 trial experiment, you still don’t have good reason to believe the statement to be true because of the statement being absolute. You would have to do an infinity of experiments to prove there was no outlier.

    I’m not changing my position and not playing a game. I am trying the best I can to show that skepticism sits in the background to some degree on all knowledge. I think most of you agree with that, but if so, the statement that all knowledge comes from the scientific method can not be made if for nothing else that the statement itself is not known in that way because itself can’t be known as stated.

    I continue to claim that most of what we known in daily life is not scrutinized to the scientific method and yet we are justified in those beliefs.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Boz, I think what you mean then is that we use “reason” daily. That I would agree with! And reason comes from principles of logic that precede our existence, and even the existence of this universe.

    The scientific method was the subject of this discussion (I thought). When someone says that all knowledge comes from science, that is a very specific statement that just isn’t true.

    However, if you want to say, “all knowledge comes from reason, or from from the assumptions needed a priori to be able to do reason,” then I am in agreement with you!

    But that just opened up the door for why I can hold a belief about Jesus that is based on reason. My reason is that there are many pieces of the puzzle, where each is arguable and interpretable, however, when you put them all together, you find the highest probability of reality being a particular picture. For the skeptic who denies part of the picture, they have a reason for the picture they see (and are justified, even if I think not fully justified). And I, see a bigger picture and am justified in it. It is not irrational. However, the skeptic who is not looking at the whole picture will believe I am not fully justified in my belief. And for what they know, they are justified in thinking so. Or maybe better said, they have warrant.

    As some would claim, I’m not saying we are justified to believe what ever we want, but only that which is coherent, is reasonable, and has sufficient aspects to provide for an adequate picture, even if there are holes in the picture. Fairies, and such do not fall into this camp.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    No, but per the last post I just did, it may we were not talking about the same thing. Maybe it makes sense to define terms from the start. I thought we were talking about the scientific method, and even your experiment example would lead one to think you were. But, it seems you were talking about reasoning instead.

    So, I am not deliberately trying to misunderstand anybody, it just seems that the conversations are mixed and lead to confusion.

    I would say that most of what I have said seems to not be understood. But I have not thought anyone to be deliberately misunderstanding, but clearly not on the same page.

    I can understand that. When I first started studying philosophy, having come from a science background, I thought these guys didn’t understand science. Actually, it is that scientists in general don’t understand philosophy.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “How do you know the other really truly loves you?”

    I’d say that I believe my wife loves me based on my observations of how she acts. If she doesn’t love me, then there must be a quite bizarre explanation for why she’s put up with me all this time!

    But I’m not sure I’d call this ‘knowledge’. Perhaps I would. But it’s probably not knowledge in the same sense as things we have tested empirically.

    If you want a reliable empirical method for testing the truth of a statement, the scientific method still appears to be the best.

    Bill offered Christianity as an alternative, on the basis that ‘It works’. But he’s yet to offer a piece of knowledge that it has provided, or any evidence that the knowledge connects to reality, aside for a vague claim that is ‘works’ for the people who already believe in it, with ‘works’ being completely undefined.

  • Ggodat

    Your statement is self refuting. You are not a Christian apologist and therefore dont know what they are thinking when the say “your position is self-refuting”.

  • Ggodat

    Your “science” is a magic book. It has no explanation for the origin of the universe. It constanty refutes itself concerning the laws of thermodynamics. It is full of postulation with no observation.

  • Ggodat

    My computer is a piece of crap thanks to science!

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Andrew, “it’s probably not knowledge in the same sense as things we have tested empirically. ” That’s my point. If you “know” it, it is knowledge. And all I’m saying is that not all knowledge comes to us through science.

    As far as what knowledge Christianity has given us, it has given us a framework to understand the world from God’s perspective and a way of salvation. It is not empirical knowledge in the same sense either, but it is knowledge, if true, and I content (and admit I haven’t presented how yet), reasonable and most likely true.

  • Andrew Ryan

    If it is untestable, how is it any different from competing claims from Jews, Muslims, Jainists etc? This is nothing like knowledge claims by competing physicists or biologists; I don’t think you can even class it as ‘knowledge’.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Goodness me you’re jaded. Imagine showing it to someone from the 19th Century, or even to Alan Turing. They’d be astonished by your ‘piece of crap’. It would be like eating from a huge banquet in front of a starving third-worlder, and telling him: “A feast? Whaddya talking about – I’ve got rump steak instead of sirloin and I’ve run out of fresh caviar and am stuck with pasteurized!”

  • Ggodat

    I mock you and you don’t get it…

  • Anonymous

    Science may not provide answers to every question I would like answered, however, the answers it does provide are objective answers and it has the potential to correct itself when it makes mistakes. That makes it vastly superior to divine revelation as a method for attaining knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    Why should I view the statement as absolute in that sense? Isn’t it always the case that a conclusion reached by inductive reasoning is less than completely absolute? By that logic, scientific investigation never produces justified true belief at all because there is alway the chance that its conclusions can be overturned by new data.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “I mock you and you don’t get it…”

    It’s worse than that – you don’t even get that you’re pretty much mocking yourself.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Things can be tested by reason and by coherence. There are portions that have grounding but have varied interpretations due to the larger frameworks held. The only thing different about physicists and biologists (in general) is that they can do experiments to test a concept. Religion is more like history – interpretations of facts have to be tested against the larger frameworks. There are aspects of physics and biology which are more conjectural because they go beyond the bounds of testable. The enter the realm of philosophy rather than empirical science. In these far out areas, what is testable is extrapolated through reason to areas where there could be deviation but no way to prove one way or another.

  • Anonymous

    In the same way, Christian faith also works in that it consistently gives us knowledge of reality. In fact, Christian faith gives us not only knowledge about how computers work but it also gives us knowledge about far more important things than computers, things like love, goodness, God, and salvation from our sins.

    Good grief, Bill, but this reveals the depth of your confusion.

    Christian faith produces no knowledge! It produces no equivalency in results derived from the method of science. If it did, then you could show it. You could say, “Here is knowledge that is derived from Christian faith that is not derived in any other way.” This you cannot do, which utterly refutes your point.

    You add to the confusion by treating words as concrete nouns… as if ‘love’ was a thing. It’s not. It’s a description about something else. It describes a level of affection. God has nothing whatsoever to do with this description. Your affection has everything to do with informing what the word means. God plays no part. You don’t need Christian faith to have a great deal of affection for something or someone. If I’m wrong, please show how Christian faith is the necessary variable for affection called ‘love’.

    You can’t produce this knowledge, yet you claim it comes from Christian faith. The claim is empty.

    The same is true for goodness, which describes where on a moral spectrum acts that produce more positive social effects than negative ones fall in your opinion. Again, show how Christian faith is the necessary variable to produce such acts and you’ll THEN have something to inform your claim. Until then, you’ve got another empty claim.

    God is simply a construct in your mind undefinable to another person because you’ve already rejected reality’s role to demonstrate it, to produce knowledge from reality about your construct. Again, you treat this term ‘God’ as if it were a concrete noun, an actual thing in reality. Show how Christian faith is the necessary variable to produce compelling evidence for this invisible critter and you’ll THEN have something to inform your claim. Until then, you’ve got nothing but an empty claim.

    Salvation is a description of a release from a presumed negative nature. Show how Christian faith is the necessary variable to produce evidence for this negative nature and you’ll THEN have something to inform your claim. Until then, you’ve got another empty claim.

    None of these descriptive words are concrete things about which Christian faith can produce ‘knowledge’, anymore than I can produce knowledge about flabberknockerjibs. This word may describe something I hold dear in my imagination but that doesn’t make the word itself concrete and so I cannot produce knowledge about it.

    And Christain faith does not ‘give us knowledge’ about how computers work. This knowledge is completely divorced from any portion of the faith you hold dear. To show otherwise, produce evidence that faith is the necessary variable and you’ll have something to go by. Until then, pretending otherwise is simply ridiculous.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny, I’d say you understand correctly. But normally, when someone says “all”, they really mean that. If they didn’t mean that, they should say “it seems all,” or “it appears true that,” or something of that elk. But, once it is realized to not be “all”, then one can’t be so dogmatic that there is no knowledge other than that which comes from science. Which I happen to believe we have all kinds of knowledge that doesn’t come from science (and I don’t view logic as science, but a tool used by science and thus precedes science proper).

  • Ggodat

    Nope, i get it. I learned it from science…

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    I’m not sure what most people mean when they say “all,” but anyone who understands the scientific method should know that the knowledge it produces is always provisional and subject to revision as warranted by changes in data. Therefore, I would be inclined to interpret “all knowledge is produced by science” as consistent with scientific understandings of “all and “knowledge.”

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny, I thought as you are saying too. But I finally, realized most people don’t know how science works and the imprecision of the language leads to false knowledge. Why not say what is meant?

    Given that all doesn’t mean all and knowledge means only the factual type hard knowledge produced by science, which is subject to modification as more is learned, then why do naturalists claim there absolutely is no other possibility of knowledge? Seems counter to the proper understanding of scientific knowledge doesn’t it? If everyone understood knowledge as you have described it, there probably wouldn’t have been so much discussion here. But it is difficult to communicate between people when language is used in such a fuzzy way – i.e, assuming everybody knows what we mean.

    If knowledge is “justified true belief” than real knowledge encompasses more than knowledge obtained through the exercise of the scientific method.

  • Ggodat

    Ok, Dwight. Go back to the beet farm!

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    I think that a big part of my problem with these arguments about claims being self-refuting is that they assume much too great a degree of precision in the use of language. Unfortunately, language is not as precise a tool as we would like it to be and people don’t always use it precisely as they might. However, accusations about “self-refuting” claims generally strike me as no more constructive than criticisms of grammar usage. Moreover, I think that the accusation in this case is just being used to sidestep the more difficult question of what makes something a justified true belief.

    I think that scientific investigation is unique in both its objectivity and its potential for self-correction. I would claim to know that my wife loves me and that my belief is both true and justified, but that knowledge is not objective in that the data upon which it is based is not available to all observers. I suspect that many of the things that I might think I know by methods other than scientific investigation—e.g., by intuition—are subject to similar limitations. I think that beliefs that are attained by scientific investigation are “justified” in a sense that others are not.

  • Ggodat

    So, the peppered moths were objective? How about Haeckel’s fake embryonic stages? How about the fact that Piltdown Man was a total fraud and Nebraska Man turned out to be a pig, not an ape man! And in recent years we have discovered that Neanderthal Man was simply a man with rickets and arthritis, not the much desired “ape man.”

    If all you know comes from science you are not well educated….

  • Ggodat

    BTW Vinny, even though the scientific community blatently knows that Haeckels embryonic drawings are a complete fraud, you can still find them in most HS biology text books and claiming their truth.

    That doesn’t sound like a vastly superior method for gaining knowledge unless you love learing lies…

  • Anonymous

    It is objective because it is based on evidence that is available to all observers, not just those who have the Holy Spirit living in their hearts.

    When science has reached erroneous conclusions, it has been science that has identified the errors and corrected them. If revelation were left to its own devices, we would still be burning witches at the stake.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny,

    Believe it or not, Christianity is self correcting as well. It was a very small minority that got out of control that had anything to do with witch burning. That any atrocity is done in the name of Christianity represents the nature of human beings, not what the Scriptures teach about what is right. The Scriptures are not as loosy goosey with interpretation on things like that as some tend to claim by pointing fingers at a fringe element. There are fringe elements in all human endeavors.

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    I don’t believe it. I think you are fooling yourself. I think that people reinterpret revelation when sufficiently pressed to do so by outside influences and then they tell themselves that their reinterpretation is really what was revealed all along.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny, It is those people who have been fooled by the outside influences. I have a pastor that I started discipling with over Skype from India who has had no training. He and I see pretty much eye to eye on the important matters of the Scripture. How could that be? Because the Scriptures are quite plain on the important matters. It is those who don’t consult the Scriptures for what they really say and allow themselves to be influenced by the outside forces, and twist and turn Scriptures to justify their own sin that are fooled.

    Also, even the Watchtower Society has said that their members who no longer consult their teachings end up believing as the orthodox Christians do.

    People who truly surrender their own agendas and read the Bible for what it says, consult background materials to understand context, more often than not come to the same conclusions. Where most of the arguments occur is on how to articulate it precisely.

    There has been a lot of false propaganda touted that looks at only the negatives that are influence by the agendas of men. The failure has been to see what God’s agenda is, for what it is, and let Him be the influence.

  • Ggodat

    Wow, it’s still objectively a lie. The “scientific” community knows everything i posted above is false yet it uses it’s objectiveness to continue to propagate false information. You keep believing in that. You might want to dig a bunker in your back yard to save you and your family from the alien invasion….

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    I’m sorry but that seems like a terrible argument to me.

    Is there any doubt in your mind that I could find two other people who agree that the scriptures are quite plain on some point about which you and the pastor from India would disagree? Is there any doubt that I could find two such people who would be convinced that you and the pastor from India are the ones who are allowing yourself to be influenced by outside forces?

    That you and the pastor from India see eye to eye on what’s important strikes me as probative of almost nothing. If God is so clear in revealing himself, why don’t you agree with Muslims, Mormons, Scientologists, and the Urantia Brotherhood? Why can’t your revelation correct the errors in all the other errors?

    Of course the reason why your revelation is unable to correct the errors in their revelation is that they are spiritually blind which is the exact same reason they would give for their inability to correct your errors.

  • Anonymous

    Ggodat,

    Go fish.

  • Anonymous

    Walt, you write, Believe it or not, Christianity is self correcting as well. It was a very small minority that got out of control that had anything to do with witch burning.

    This is factually wrong. The Papal Bull of 1484 lays out the mandate throughout Christendom by Pope Innocent VIII (Exodus 22:18) that appoints Inquisitors to seek out and obtain the destruction of all witches. The Malleus Maleficarum – a document signed and supported by entire Holy See and many of its noble benefactors – lays out the reasons, arguments, and theological considerations for this daunting task. Estimates of resulting deaths range from a low of 38,000 to in excess of 600,000 women killed in its name and under its jurisdiction.

    Religious folk seem particularly vulnerable to assigning anything bad – supported by religious impetus – to man and anything good – supported by religious impetus – to god. How convenient. The bad are always ‘a few bad apples’ that somehow missed the memo to the rest of you who make up the barrel of good. Funny, that.

    Relying on this artificial division of thinking will always excuse criticism of religion’s pernicious effects to be the fault of man. It’s not. It’s the willingness of the deluded to be led to do bad things in the name of honouring some ‘higher’ allegiance to ‘the greater good’ than respecting the rights and freedoms and dignity of personhood to our fellow man. This is the root cause of so much unnecessary suffering. The religious are just as deluded in this sense as any Nazi or Tutsi or Al Quaida.

  • Ggodat

    Vinny,

    You said “Go fish”.

    That is about the most profound thing I have ever heard you say! I guess you mean the fish that somehow transitioned from fish to amphibian thru random mutations over millions of years even though while it was a fish and started to develop an air breathing respiratory system that had no value (over millions of years mind you) the development continued even though this type of transition violates Darwin’s explanation of evolution? (hint: some people call this an irreducibly complex system)

    Whats that sound i hear in the background? Oh, its the shockwave inside the barrel killing all the fish….

  • Anonymous

    Ggodat,

    Ignorance comes in two forms: as simple non-acquaintance with facts, or acquaintance with facts but choosing to ignore them. The former is no crime, and is easily remedied by, say, reading the link I offered to you. No evolutionary biologist, for example, is pretending Piltdown Man was anything but a hoax.

    The latter kind of ignorance is an intellectual crime, and it’s one that you commit. You are indeed ignorant in the second sense because you choose to ignore the incontrovertible scientific evidence upon which reliable and consistent medical technologies – funded to the tune of billions of dollars of private money – that work for everyone everywhere all the time are built rather than the unsupported claims of your faith. You ignore not only the evidence from biology, but from physics, chemistry, geology, genetics, pharmaceuticals, and medicine. Now that is ignorance – willful, blind, obedient-to-God ignorance. It’s not something to be proud of but something you need to rectify if you wish to avoid the label. Calling others names and using threatening examples as part of your response is not going to address the problem of your ignorance. That job is yours alone.

  • Anonymous

    Guess again.

  • Ggodat

    I’m glad you’re not my cousin and I’m not locked up in a jail in rural Alabama counting on you to get me off of murder 1 charges…

    Your’re retort is so insightful. Ever think of running for an elected office?

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad about that, too.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Vinny,

    “Is there any doubt in your mind that I could find two other people who agree that the scriptures are quite plain on some point about which you and the pastor from India would disagree? Is there any doubt that I could find two such people who would be convinced that you and the pastor from India are the ones who are allowing yourself to be influenced by outside forces?”

    Do doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. There is more agreement than just me and a pastor. Where you find real disagreement on important matters, not just about words, you find movements led by charismatic persons who have chosen to find an alternative because they didn’t like what the Scriptures said and they influenced masses of people.

    There are lots of disagreements about things that are not as important by people who choose to let the Scriptures speak for themselves. There are reasons for those confusions, but they happen to be on issues that aren’t critical.

    “If God is so clear in revealing himself, why don’t you agree with Muslims, Mormons, Scientologists, and the Urantia Brotherhood? Why can’t your revelation correct the errors in all the other errors? ” My answer is above. Who influenced each of those movements and what was their position on the Christian Scriptures? It wasn’t just a matter of differences of interpretation. It is a matter of a view of Scripture to start with. I just know you’ll cite somebody like Paul or early church fathers. Only Paul is of any significance in this discussion and I find him consistent with the Jewish Scripture that precede Christ and the gospel accounts of which at least three he had nothing to do with.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, I did not know of this event in the Roman church. I thought Vinny was referring to the Boston area witch hunts which were insignifcant. This evidently was significant, as was the crusades, but those events don’t affect my view because both were politically motivated, not biblically motivated.

    As far as self correcting. I consider the Reformation one of those self-correcting events. The Roman church for much of its history was led by charismatic leaders more interested in their power and in politics than in adherence to the Scriptures.

    When people read the Bible for themselves, without an agenda, and stop listening to cult leaders, they come to the same conclusions on the teachings of and significance of Jesus.

    I can’t help the division that exists. It just goes to verify the point that men try to be their own god.

  • Anonymous

    Walt,

    You are correct. It doesn’t mean that you are wrong. What it means is that there is no objective way to establish that you are right. There is no objective way to establish that any claim based on divine revelation is right or wrong. That’s why I prefer to stick with science.

  • Anonymous

    I fail to see the cleansing by the Church in Christendom of witches to be somehow exempt from Exodus 22:18. Last time I checked, this was in scripture and so had/has a pretty good claim to be ‘biblically motivated’. Certainly it was a way for the Church to invigorate its strangle hold on political authority while promoting the faithful to remain vigilant to heresy. But it was never subject to ‘correction’ because the Church was not subjected to any other authority but itself. It tries its best to remain so to this day. Your assertion – that Christianity in it thousands of sects is self-correcting – simply isn’t true. If it were true, you’d see these sects aligning into a cohesive whole with a set of tenets that do not conflict with knowledge. It’s not doing this; it’s forever subdividing into pockets of somewhat similar faiths that each hold their separate ‘corrections’ to be The Truth (TM). Only by conflict with scientific knowledge does any sect – eventually – yield to reality.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Boom roasted! And if I was your husband I’d drink it. Well done got getting the Karate Kid off by the way.

  • Anonymous

    Ggodat, regarding Haekel’s ‘fake’ embryonic drawings (you write even though the scientific community blatently knows that Haeckels embryonic drawings are a complete fraud, you can still find them in most HS biology text books and claiming their truth), you can learn why your understanding of them is so misguided here.

  • Anonymous

    Ggodat, I suspect what you are really criticizing about Haeckel is his hypothesis of the so-called biogenetic law that every embryo goes through all the stages of its evolution. If you better understood what an hypothesis means, you would better appreciate the corrective element of science that showed although it was an interesting idea, it hasn’t worked out. Philology doesn’t fully recapitulate ontogeny, but it’s pretty close. It helps to explain why we develop three sets of kidneys in utero, a full coat of hair, gills, tails, and so on.

    Also, realize that many notions attached to evolution were never part of Darwin’s theory itself. You could read the Origin of Species – it’s quite enjoyable, actually – which could help you to realize just how humble Darwin really was with this brilliant conclusion of natural selection and how remarkable it is that the theory has proven to be so robust.

  • Anonymous

    Oops… I’m part of the problem! I shoudl have specified gill slits or gill pouches rather than write ‘gills’ alone. Mea culpa.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, “I fail to see the cleansing by the Church in Christendom of witches to be somehow exempt from Exodus 22:18.”

    Then you fail to see how all of Scripture fits together and what the Christian message is in contrast to a set of legal laws for the nation of Israel.

    “But it (the Church) was never subject to ‘correction’ because the Church was not subjected to any other authority but itself.”

    I agree and that is my point! A man by political motivation did what he did. He was not subject to biblical teaching. As a matter of fact, he thought he had at least equal authority. I never said the Roman church was self corrective. My claim is that, even though I used the term ‘Christianity’, following the teachings of Christ are self-corrective. There is a distinction between ‘Christianity’ and the Church. The Roman church was involved in Christianity. The Church was not involved in that empire. It was always on the fringes and often bucked against it. It broke through during the Reformation only to have many splitter groups form. Some of the splitting was about matter of how to do church and how freewill plays into salvation and so forth. But very little of it is based on the central issues regarding Christ. Where there are issues with regard to Christ, there are agendas that have taken from stage. But, always, there is a remnant which survives.

    Jesus told of the wheat and the tares. He said that both would be in the kingdom of heaven as seen on earth until the end. They are side by side. The remnant always persists despite the agendas of men.

    “If it were true, you’d see these sects aligning into a cohesive whole with a set of tenets that do not conflict with knowledge. It’s not doing this;”

    And we do see that. I have much in common of people of other denominations who follow the Bible. Where I don’t have agreement is with people who don’t follow it but rather the teaching of men. As a pastor, I don’t expect people to worship my words. I expect them to check my words against the authority of Scripture. That keeps me accountable and gets them to see for themselves and not just take my word for it.

    All of the splintering is the product of human beings going their own way.

    “Only by conflict with scientific knowledge does any sect – eventually – yield to reality.”

    Only in the realm of which scientific knowledge has validity. The problem is that some claim scientific knowledge where it doesn’t have anything to say because it is blind to parts of reality.

  • Anonymous

    Walt, you’re quite the apologist! If you consider more than 30,000 christian sects ‘coming together’ then I stand corrected.

    You write All of the splintering is the product of human beings going their own way. Doesn’t that describe all religious belief? Wouldn’t it be lovely to turn to reality and be able to point and say “There is your evidence that my particular sect within my particular set of religious tenets is the most likely to be true!” Instead, we have belief to inform belief based on projected causation from realms inaccessible to us. Nice gig if you can get it.

    But the biggest problem about these empty religious claims that maintain non-correcting belief in some contrary belief from what is true in reality – having to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light of irrefutable knowledge that works for everyone everywhere all the time – is where you write Only in the realm of which scientific knowledge has validity. Isn’t it swell that the religious get to determine what knowledge does and does not have validity? This clearly isn’t a problem for believers!

    You continue, The problem is that some claim scientific knowledge where it doesn’t have anything to say because it is blind to parts of reality.

    But not to believers! You have the magic key to this Oogity Boogity reality! And this keen insight helps you to determine which knowledge is and is not valid… which – by a divinely inspired not to mention remarkable coincidence – just so happens to align with your beliefs! Amazing! Astounding! Miraculous!

    When you get to define ‘reality’ as that which aligns with your beliefs, then you’ve put the cart before the horse into any honest inquiry into reality. Why you don’t seem willing to understand how this epistemology guarantees your ability to fool yourself is a mystery to me.

    The problem, Walt, isn’t with science and isn’t with reality. The problem is that your epistemology allows your beliefs to have no boundaries. If my charge is true, then using this epistemology we should expect religious believers to make pronouncements on any and all subjects as if it mattered in an equivalent way to local expertise. And this is in fact what we see.

    Sure enough, everywhere we look we see the religious pretending that their beliefs grant them special privilege to judge the expertise of others, that they have special moral insight into the activities and behaviours of others, that they have an equivalent case to defy and deny others equal rights and equal citizenship because of their beliefs, that one’s character for public office is defined by religious agreement with a willingness to privilege religious belief, that children deserve to be indoctrinated in belief in Oogity Boogity, wear religiously ‘ceremonial’ concealed weapons, dress with religious garb while working in a public capacity, assume religious privilege paid out the public purse for unsupervised, unregulated, tax exempt duplicate public services, gain special consideration through legislation for exemptions from common civil law and equity in the workplace, and so on and so on and so on. Religious belief recognizes no boundary it should not cross – without accompanying cries of ‘Religious Discrimination!’ and a ‘WAR’ against its unwarranted and unjustified intrusions into territories over which it has no legitimate claim. You are quick to point the finger at science for daring to speak on issues it may have little on which to say, but are unwilling to apply the same standard to religious belief. For as soon as you make a claim on religious grounds about this universe and this reality we inhabit, then you have stepped into the domain of scientific inquiry. Your abject failure to provide compelling evidence for the religious beliefs you hold that describe this reality is a problem that rests solely and squarely on each believer’s shoulders. And that’s why your religious beliefs must be corralled back into your private domain and removed from the public where it has no business.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    “When you get to define ‘reality’ as that which aligns with your beliefs, then you’ve put the cart before the horse into any honest inquiry into reality.”

    Haven’t you defined reality by your beliefs? I.e, that anything outside of empirical knowledge just doesn’t exist, or at least is irrelevant. I remind you of one of my previous comments: Should we say quarks didn’t exist 100 years ago because they weren’t observed? Or should we say they don’t exist today because they are only known about through theory? What is the relevancy of a quark to human knowledge? Should they have never been considered because no one had or has physically observed one? Should we abandon all particle physics because we cannot directly observe any of it? What is the point of studying it at all? I’m sure you know.

    What if I produced a robust analytic method of showing that the God of the Bible does exist? Would He become relevant all of the sudden where He wasn’t previously?

    “Why you don’t seem willing to understand how this epistemology guarantees your ability to fool yourself is a mystery to me.”

    You have yet to see how similar my epistemology is to yours! Mine is not wishful thinking. It is not pure conjecture. The difference is that I haven’t closed my mind to what is beyond the universe. I have considered the data. I have sorted through the problems. I have arrived at a conclusion that I believe is consistent and explanatory.

    “The problem, Walt, isn’t with science and isn’t with reality. The problem is that your epistemology allows your beliefs to have no boundaries.”

    The problem tildeb, is you really don’t have a clue what my epistemology really is. You have placed me in a presuppositional category according to your beliefs about what I believe, rather than understanding what I really believe.

    I agree the problem is not with science. The problem is with people who jump to conclusions prematurely without considering the evidence. The evidence you cite against Christian faith actually highlights one of the central tenents of the faith.

    It is as clear as sparkling pure crystal that you don’t know about the Christian faith. Your tirade is against organized religions pushing their values on society. Most of what you see in the public square is not biblical Christianity. Most of what you see in the thousands of sects is not biblical Christianity. You say I have no boundaries to belief. That shows even more that you have no clue about biblical beliefs. They are quite bounded because they are grounded.

    So why are there so many sects and religions? Because man has a natural draw to worship. I know all the naturalistic theories for it, but those are just trying to explain what some don’t understand. It is universal for man to believe there is something beyond himself. Many strive to explain it according to their own imaginations and we end up with many religions and sects. The question is whether all of this has any basis in reality. It requires analyzing both the explanations for why in the case there is not a God, and explanations for why we see what we see if there is a God. You don’t just shut the door. You look at both sides. One side as if not true, and one side as if true and see where you land. After analyzing it all, you determine which is most probable. I have landed on the basic historic Christian faith which is the core of most of what the church has believed while also recognizing that the church itself has been corrupt from almost the beginning.

    It makes sense to deny the resurrection from the perspective that dead people don’t rise. But, that isn’t the whole story. Thus, it is more probable when more is taken into account.

    You and I can argue about every detail, many sects of religion, the resurrection, biblical accuracy, whether there is a core that is self-correcting, etc., on a case by case basis and neither one win an argument. This is because there are pros and cons on each detail according to one’s perspective. However, the big picture is much clearer and leads to a particular conclusion as being more probably than any other. Given that conclusion wins out, the resurrection necessarily must be true. Then, does what is known about the resurrection line up with the bigger picture. Answer is yes. Yet, until one bothers to look at this, they’ll never see it because it isn’t obvious. The fact that so many believe this stuff without even looking at the details from a big picture perspective is interesting.

  • Anonymous

    For an update on the peppered moth hypothesis, see the latest here. This is good science at work, one that takes criticisms of methodology seriously, and makes adjustments. Yes, predation is a powerful force in natural selection. Designing experiments to test this are very challenging but eventually we get some very good data.

  • Anonymous

    Haven’t you defined reality by your beliefs? I.e, that anything outside of empirical knowledge just doesn’t exist, or at least is irrelevant.

    No, Walt. You keep swinging and missing at this point: whatever is ‘outside’ of reality CANNOT be known. That’s why I insist your epistemology – the HOW you know what you say you ‘know’ about this bigger picture that includes a christian god – is a guaranteed way to fool yourself. And the best method we have for reducing this willingness to fool ourselves is with methodological naturalism, which is constrained by what is available to us in this reality. It – not belief – helps us to figure out how reality works. Belief in Oogity Boogity does not. Methodological naturalism happens to include empiricism but is not synonymous with it.

    Because you base your conclusions through the filter of your chosen a priori belief, you draw a ‘bigger picture’ that by necessity has to fit. The details you are willing to include in it do not necessarily lead to evidence for it unless and until it accounts for evidence against it. Your beliefs do not account for contrary evidence; instead, you simply and easily cast aside all contrary data to your belief claims as ‘non-biblical’ or ‘non-christian’. This is the Not a True Scotsman fallacy in action. You have created an epistemology that only allows what you already believe to be true to be evidence for what you believe is true and relegate all else to be qualitatively different by fiat. This is what I mean when I say you allow yourself to be fooled. What evidence from reality would you allow that would show your beliefs to be false?

    For example, there is perfectly good reason why so many people assume that there is some ‘agency’ greater than themselves which requires no belief in gods masquerading as fig tree haters: it’s called Error Management Theory. But how open is your mind to considering this explanation to the one you prefer, that people are prone to being religious because what religion represents is true in reality? My opinion is that you are not willing to cast aside an a priori belief that helps you to inform your ‘bigger picture’ not because it may not be true but because it conflicts with this picture you created and raises serious doubts about its fundamental veracity. Belief in agency where no agency actually exists is as old as people as is not evidence for your preferred divine agency.

    Once again you dip into the confusion between my argument about your broken epistemology for your faith arguments with your ontology about what it is you actually believe. You see, Walt, it doesn’t matter what it is you actually believe; how you arrived at the specifics of your belief cannot be trusted by others because you have relied on an epistemology that allows you to fool yourself and no way to figure out which parts. That’s why the specifics of your religious beliefs are nothing more and nothing less than imagined even if you base parts of it on historical details. Your conclusions about alternative realities and divine agencies are both unknowable and unverifiable except by assuming an a priori belief, which is exactly what you’ve done, and which is why I argue that your belief must remain only in the private domain and not extended into the public where it has no right or justification to be.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    I said, you believe “anything outside of empirical knowledge” does not exist or at least is irrelevant. You said,
    “whatever is ‘outside’ of reality CANNOT be known.”

    You have just made the claim, whether you intended to or not, that associates reality with empirical knowledge. I would agree that anything outside of reality is unknowable. But, I am not claiming there is knowledge outside of reality that we can known, I’m claiming there is knowledge in reality that points to something outside of empirical knowledge.

    It seems to me you have created in your own mind what you think I’m saying such that it is nearly impossible for you to understand what I’m actually saying. Your image of what I’m talking about just doesn’t correspond to what I’m talking about. In your mind, what I’m talking about is outside of reality. I’m saying there are things outside empirically derived knowledge. I’m not sure how to bridge the gap so that we can even be talking about the same thing. I’m not willing to talk about things outside of reality because that is fruitless. There is nothing outside of reality. Reality is what is. Our perceptions of reality may be different based on our frameworks. I’m am willing to discuss that scientific knowledge is not exhaustive and there are things that are outside of its domain. In my view, history is subjective and not really the domain of science. Science can inform our historical views, but it can not take us to the time and place of the reality of the time to a precision that we can be certain about a whole lot. Does that mean history doesn’t exist. No. But it is beyond the reach of domain of empirical science.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, “Because you base your conclusions through the filter of your chosen a priori belief, you draw a ‘bigger picture’ that by necessity has to fit. ”

    And how are you any different? Isn’t is an apriori belief that naturalism is all there is? Aren’t you forcing evidence to fit your view and discarding anything that is opposed to it?

    I continue to see how funny it is that people accuse others of exactly what they do.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    “Your beliefs do not account for contrary evidence; instead, you simply and easily cast aside all contrary data to your belief ”

    Again, EXACTLY what you are doing!

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    “This is the Not a True Scotsman fallacy in action. You have created an epistemology that only allows what you already believe to be true to be evidence for what you believe is true and relegate all else to be qualitatively different by fiat. This is what I mean when I say you allow yourself to be fooled. What evidence from reality would you allow that would show your beliefs to be false?”

    You could have written this to yourself.

    If you read what I wrote, I have several hypothesis. I don’t throw any out a priori. My hypotheses are these: Is naturalism all there is? Does theism describe reality? Does panentheism describe reality? Does reality have a spiritual element but all religions have it wrong. Is the Christian worldview consistent with reality? If the Christian worldview appears to be consistent, what of the negative evidences?

    You hypothesis as far as I can tell is that naturalism is true and there is no other option. Because that is the only hypothesis you test, you don’t even consider if the others are possibly true, and if so, how; and from that determine what best answers reality being the way it is.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    “That’s why the specifics of your religious beliefs are nothing more and nothing less than imagined even if you base parts of it on historical details. Your conclusions about alternative realities and divine agencies are both unknowable and unverifiable except by assuming an a priori belief, which is exactly what you’ve done, and which is why I argue that your belief must remain only in the private domain and not extended into the public where it has no right or justification to be. ”

    I respectfully disagree and that is why I am working on the paper which looks like it may become more of a book that answers how there is a way to assess the information using system theory. In target recognition systems, which I have worked on for many years, there are algorithms for identifying targets that are buried in clutter. I consider the truth of reality to be buried in clutter. In these algorithms, all possibilities are assessed based on the characteristics of the target being tested and the one that correlates the best to all of the characteristics being tested is selected.

  • Anonymous

    This format is getting very cumbersome – not to mention narrow.

    Your targeting system is off once you allow for belief to be substituted for the kind of empirical clutter you are trying to sort. In other words, you need something from reality to work with first. You can’t just make stuff up and then cherry pick selected data from a collection of clutter that might correlate and think yourself justified to select what has been selected. You need evidence from reality first – from nature – to give you empirical direction to your inquiry. To use your example, you need algorithms for typical human engineering like straight lines, specific angles for corners, consistently curved surfaces, and so on, in order to taget anything qualitatively different from its surroundings. You aren’t pretending that the algorithms are based on supernatural criteria, yet that is exactly what you’re selecting for targeting historical clutter to find evidence for a divine Jesus. What criterium do algorithms look for when targeted for supernatural causation? Lo and behold, the criterium looks exactly like the belief that has supposedly been deduced. It’s a shell game. That’s a hint, Walt, that you are reaffirming only what you have previously affirmed. It does not yield an honest conclusion about extracting information from the clutter; it yields a piecemeal construction of exactly what you expect to find.

    You short-circuit this process by pretending that this empirical requirement – this link between what we can know about reality and reality itslef – is somehow too bothersome to earn any consistent and reliable and testable consideration to verify that the targeting actually works. You simply select data that you think reveals your christian tenets and use it as if it were evidence that led you to your christian tenets. This method allows you to fool yourself.

    Why do you think someone like Albert Mohler is so dedicated to denying science any role in determining whether or not specific truth claims about reality in nature from biblical sources are, in fact, true in reality? We know Adam and Eve is fiction. We know a global flood is fiction. We know the ark is fiction. We know these are fictions because it simply doesn’t align with evidence we have from reality. Evidence that should</b be there for these claims to be true in reality are missing from reality. Yet without these historical biblical realities, he argues you gut christianity and sever Jesus and his supposed resurrection from having any christian meaning to save the rest of us from our historical inheretance. And that link created solely by his belief in a divine Jesus is more important to him than what’s true in reality, that certain central tenets of the faith are in conflict with and contrary to what the evidence shows: that the historicity of Genesis is false because it FAILS to account for what is.

    It is this FAILURE by christian theology to align what is with what is believed where we have such trouble, and the attempt by so many people to try to explain away the importance of what is as if were somehow unnecessary or a point of contention that doesn’t really matter where we come into conflict, or that what is must be wrong. At the forefront of this movement are apologists and accommodationsists like you who try to use your prior membership in some scientific capacity to pretend it accompanies and endorses your similar christian beliefs. But upon examination it doesn’t. It stands contrary to your beliefs. This advertising one;s intellectual capitulation only reveals the extent of the capitulation people will undergo to protect relgious beliefs from legitimate and equivalent inquiry into what is true in reality.

    If the religious wish to influence the public domain by adhereing to belief rather than what is true in reality, then you must expect strong pushback from anyone who respects what’s true about reality and who has the audacity to think that what’s true in reality matters more than what some people chose to believe about it – people who should understand that much of this belief is grounded in what is unknowable and even factually wrong.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    “Your targeting system is off once you allow for belief to be substituted for the kind of empirical clutter you are trying to sort.”

    Where did I say that was what I was doing? You are entirely missing the point, tildeb! The hypotheses are what are being tested, like in any inquiry, not the data being used to conduct the test. That would be circular – begging the question.

    “In other words, you need something from reality to work with first.” I hate to say this, but “duh!!!”

    “You can’t just make stuff up and then cherry pick selected data” What have I made up? Why do you think the hypotheses are the data? And why do you, after I explained it, think I am only testing one hypothesis? I think it is EASY to be fooled by only one hypothesis – such that the natural world is all there is, but I am testing the same data against all of the hypotheses and finding out posterior, which one correlates the best. It is your thinking that is the one hypopthesis and thus fooled fitting your data to your one hypothesis. Why do you not consider the other hypotheses?

    “You need evidence from reality first” Obviously.

    “What criterium do algorithms look for when targeted for supernatural causation?” They look for correlation with the data of the real world. It considers that data is interpretative and for each hypothesis applies the hypothesis to the data with the interpretation as a fit to the data. How well does each hypothesis explain a particular piece of data. All of the test data is combined in a multidimensional probability distribution. Others have tried something like this, but they multiply probabilities rather than integrate them in a distribution. The multiplication results in practically zero probability for any hypothesis. Each dimension of the distribution function is an element of the data set. As correlations are applied for each dimension, a resultant probability is obtained. The assignment of the probabilities is the difficult part. I’m still working on the most objective way to do that.

    “That’s a hint, Walt, that you are reaffirming only what you have previously affirmed.” If I were to do what you seem to be thinking I’m doing I would 100% agree with you. But, I’m not doing what you think I’m doing. This is being done like any other study where probabilities are assigned.

    If I were doing what you are saying in a real targeting system, I would have a one target type system. Such a system is a waste of money. A real system has many target types being tested against the data.

    I disagree with Al Mohler’s and many other’s view on this (William Lane Craig, Plantinga, Licona, etc.) The reason I disagree is because the approach they know about is that which Swinburne uses (and McGrew). That method is not correct for what they are doing because they are multiplying probabilities that are not indepedent. When you don’t have independence, you need to created the multidimensional distributions as we do in targeting systems.

    “If the religious wish to influence the public domain” My interest is not in influencing the public domain, but in helping folks see something that wasn’t so clear to them before. If more people saw this, the public domain would follow.

  • Anonymous

    So let’s cut to the chase: how is your conclusion different in quality than that of a Sikh? a Hindu? a Jew? a Muslim? a Buddhist? , a Jainist?

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    Still working details on those. I’m am separating the philosophical aspects of Hinduism from the religion. I did that because I have reason to belief the philosophy has merit as a hypothesis that might rate high while the religion itself may not. For the rest, I cannot prejudge but I expect they will have problems. In every hypothesis, including naturalism, there are negative correlators and the idea is to use a large number of variables so that the deck is not stacked. But the whole process is quite detailed and will require additional input once I get it to the points of having others review it.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    tildeb said, “You continue to believe in miracles. You continue to believe in prophesies. You continue to believe in prayer and faith healing and demons and free will and dualism and magical resurrections and an afterlife and heaven and hell and a thousand other silly beliefs that have no evidence from reality to inform them.”

    Finally we see your metaphysics!! Your starting position before you ever consider any evidence for miracles, prophesies, the afterlife, and so forth, is that these things are not real. They are not part of reality. From that starting point, you then venture to lecture Christians that there is no evidence for any of these things, and that these things cannot be known.

    Your metaphysics, which you seem oblivious of, completely rules out any epistemology which says that we can know things apart from direct empirical observation. This means that it is pointless to discuss knowledge of the supernatural with you as you ruled out even the possibility of the supernatural existing before ever talking to me or Walt or any other Christian. Every discussion with you on these matters consists of you arguing in circles. What’s worse is that you don’t realize that you are guilty of question begging on a massive scale. You simply assert that nothing outside nature exists, and then you challenge Christians to come up with evidence that something supernatural exists. But no matter what evidence we give, your very predictable response is “That isn’t evidence.” We give evidence, you say “that’s not evidence,” and round and round we go.

  • Anonymous

    Your starting position before you ever consider any evidence for miracles, prophesies, the afterlife, and so forth, is that these things are not real.

    Not true, Bill. First, I say show me the evidence that qualifies any of these claims to be true here the reality we share. This, you have not done.

    THEN, I point out that linking effects in nature – here in reality – to a SUPER nature cannot be done because we cannot know anything about what’s ‘outside’ of nature!

    THAT is why I conclude that your epistemology is broken, that you take effects you find here in reality and simply ASSIGN its cause to the supernatural. This is cheating because you have nothing to go by EXCEPT your assumption and assertion that it is so. This is what we call ‘faith’. And it allows you to fool yourself.

    How do I know?

    Simple.

    Name one thing this insight into the supernatural you magically possess has produced in the form of KNOWLEDGE here in reality.

    You’ve got NOTHING… after thousands of years of similar belief. And this is exactly what we would expect to find from people who are willing to believe in something for which there is no evidence, something equivalent in all ways to delusion, to wishful thinking, to imagined realms of existence. Your faith is based wholly and solely on your belief alone.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    “How do I know? Simple. …”

    You have a magic ball to know you have exhausted all knowledge? What does exist you don’t see because you refuse to see the effects of it.

    Of course you can’t know anything outside of reality! But, that is not really your position. Your position is that you can’t know anything outside of the natural realm. To you reality and the natural realm are one and the same. Do you think the quantum realm exists? What does it look like? You can’t know. It is outside of empirical access. However, you see the effects of it. We understand that world from its effects, don’t we! You might say that is part of the natural world. I say it is outside of anything we can directly see, hear, touch, etc. Yet, is is a part of reality, isn’t it? You don’t deny it exists do you?

    I’m sure you have answers for the documented out of body experiences where information is given that only a person who was at a distant scene at the time could have known. What is going on there? Is that entirely in the “natural” realm? How can one with no brain activity know something that happened miles away?

    I’m sure you have all the details of history worked out so perfectly that you can be 100% certain there was no exodus. You never proved it didn’t happen, all you did was show why anything I presented was not absolute proof. I agree it isn’t absolute proof, but it is some evidence as part of the collection. If only history was so clear!

    You come at this with exactly the same a priori opinion that colors your vision that you say we do.

    Your position s not infallible. Am I saying that since it is fallible that there must be a spiritual realm? Certainly not, but obviously you’ll never see anything while you have blinders on. Some humility of fallibility is important for finding God.

    The reality of God is available to anyone who seeks to know it. When one will not open the door, obviously they’ll never see it. This isn’t boogie woogie, fairy stuff, or anything of the sort. It is a rational coherent system based on historical evidences and contemporary experiences that explain a lot of what we see in this world that is too complex to divide out into independent test variables to understand.

    Your mind is made up and that is all there is to it. It has nothing to do with epistemology. It has to do with you having a view that you won’t give up that is faulty at the core. (Isn’t that what you believe about us? You are looking in the mirror to how you think. A kind of narcissism is at work.)

    I am all for not being fooled, not making up stuff, not believing in fairy tales. A lot of people of faith have missed the mark by making claims they are not entitled to make. But, there really is more to this world that you have figured out so far in your biased mind.

    I am pretty sure you won’t do it. But, Christ truly reveals Himself to those who seek Him. Not in make believe, not in mental illness, but in reality.

    I’ve mentioned a rational method for discovering this. I’m sure it will work out when all done because I have seen success with the method in other work and I know personally Christ exists (not apriori, but after the fact). Someone said to me once basically what I’m saying to you. I didn’t think they had it right, but I really wanted to know what was true. Not knowing how it would turn out, I asked God to reveal Himself to me if He existed and let me know whether the Bible was really His Word or just the work of men. In that prayer I said that if He didn’t answer, I knew either He didn’t care or didn’t exist. It took four months, but He answered that prayer in a way I cannot deny anymore than I can deny I’m writing this right now. How He answered it won’t convince anyone else who is convinced it was a mental lapse. So, that is why I am working on this approach to show there is a way to know rationally from evidences in the world with reasonable certainty that is as good, if not better, than what we know from any historical investigation.

    What knowledge has this supernatural entity revealed? That the world was intentionally created. Why all men are screwed up (women too). We focus on ourselves too much. In our persistence to do that, we are in rebellion against God, whether we realize it or not. There is a right way to live but we are unable to do it. So, as bizarre as it seems, the spiritual existence that brought this world into existence became a human being, died a cruel death because of the selfishness of mankind, but yet, overcame that death in a physical resurrection that those who place their trust and obedience in Him, take on a new form that is like His that results in physical resurrection of ourselves one day and perfect union with the Creator for ever. This does sound crazy, but this God loves us enough to want us to do right and had to do a miraculous thing in order to get us out of our condition of perishing, and give us His very life. Even the Bible says this is foolishness, but those who see God know it is true. Those who refuse to open their eyes to see Him, will never see Him and can never gain this life.

    Am I dreaming? No. All of this is verifiable to those who seek, ask, and knock. One day, you are knocked off you high horse, and wham, it all makes sense.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    tildeb,
    Walt just provided numerous pieces of knowledge, in his response, that Christianity has provided. I have also done so many times. And now for your all too predictable reply…….

  • Anonymous

    You assert that an example of knowledge made accessible to us through faith is that That the world was intentionally created.

    Fine. That’s your claim. Now comes the problem of epistemology: how do you know that?

    Faith and faith alone (by all means prove me wrong).

    So what?

    It is on such easy faith assertions that people actually are killed for their lack of agreement. The latest is here. There will be many new ones tomorrow. And the next day, and the next. And it will never stop as long as there are people who insist that their faith claims are worthy of respect when, in fact, they are not. Religious belief – faith – maintains and protects ignorance masquerading as knowledge. That’s exactly what you do when you make such a claim; you assert on faith and then act in the world as if it were true. This causes unnecessary suffering and invokes privilege (and demands respect) for doing so.

    That’s a problem, Bill. And it requires redress – one misguided believer at a time.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    Problem is you have no proof we are wrong! You call us misguided, but we are only misguided in comparison to your worldview. We think you are misguided in your closed-mindedness. How is that any different that the disputes between religious beliefs? Your view is just one more religious belief. Aren’t you forcing a worldview by trying to get people to surrender theirs?

    So, how do I know the world was intentionally created? I didn’t just make it up. It came from somewhere? Now why do I trust that somewhere? By the collective history, testimony of the first century believers, personal experience, and the coherence of it all. To me faith is not a blind belief. It is a trust going forward based on evidences from the past. It is knowing that you can trust going forward by looking in the rear view mirror.

    You put too much stock in the conflicts of agendas and power struggles of men in discounting that there is truth. If ten people have ten different opinions on something, that doesn’t mean they are all wrong. One of them could be right.

    If you were to convince me that my faith is ungrounded and worthy of giving up, that would be like convincing me I am not married and should stop thinking I am. I have a wife, therefore, it is ridiculous to claim I’m not married. In the same way, I know Jesus and cannot deny my faith. It is just as ridiculous. The only difference is you could see my wife and you can’t see my Jesus and have to come to see Him for yourself. It is like the blind man in Mark 8 that couldn’t see until Jesus actually touched his eyes. He touched twice. First was a vision that was fuzzy. He could see something in the world, but couldn’t quite make it out. The second time, he could see perfectly. Many Christians are stuck i that first mode and thus argue about things they don’t see clearly. There is the second touch where all is clear and it doesn’t make sense that that man who was healed of blindness would say, “I don’t see the one who touched me,” when he could see the world so clearly and the one who healed him was standing right before him.

    (You know, I don’t plan on this getting so long. I try one paragraph and just don’t seem to stop. But, of course I think it is as important as you think it is that we awake from our slumber to see as you do.)

  • Andrew Ryan

    I might as well say “My belief in Valhalla HAS produced knowledge – the knowledge that after warriors die, they go to Valhalla.”

    Then, when you ask me how this constitutes ‘knowledge’, I just echo Walt and say “Problem is you have no proof I am wrong!”

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Andrew, what is the basis for accepting the claim as more than a myth? What is it’s source and its validation? It can be a pretty sure bet that when a claim is made that warriors or caravan raiders get special divine treatment, that the claim is a motivation to get people to do the leader”s bidding rather than way to true godliness.

    When I say that tildeb has no proof I am wrong, that does not mean I am right. Rather, I made the statement to show that denial is as much faith as acceptance is. I will accept that you and tildeb believe your reasons for your faith are stronger than you believe Bill’s and mine are. That comes more from our views of the world and our experiences. However, it is a faith statement nevertheless to say Christian belief is not anchored in reality.

    When the evidences are evaluated, they are done so from an interpretive framework. I think the only honest approach is to evaluate it from both angles and see which one wins the most probable explanation. Tildeb is so convinced of a particular worldview that it is virtually impossible to see how another might be valid when all the pieces are evaluated against the big picture.

    Here’s an example: the book of Daniel. Some say it was written late to explain away the uncanny accuracy. Why would somebody write something hundreds of years after the person it is attributed to in prophetic form? While is it possible and there could be a motivation, it is quite odd to do that. There was denial of Pilate, of David, and yet, artifacts have been found to validate their existence. Obviously those hard artifacts are difficult to deny, but it is too easy to assign late dates to Scripture only for the reason to undermine their authority when the documents themselves testify to earlier dates. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been redacted here and there. But much of how all this is interpreted is based on an assumption it is not true. The real problem with the exodus is timing between the archeological data in the Leviant and that in Egypt as well as confusion on names and a lack of acceptance by some that there has been redaction in the texts. The testimony of the 1st and 2nd century saints that knew the apostles is written off. Do I have perfect proof that they weren’t fooled. No, but they had strong convictions and have more reason to believe their testimony than not. This history is in no way similar to the Norse myths.

    There is this idea that Christians are wrong just because there are other religions. Again, you can’t just blanket go there. Rather, each needs to be evaluated for why it exists and what is its validation. That people are sincere is not. Tildeb is likely sincere in her religious beliefs. But does that make her right? No. And I think you agree sincerity is the arbitrator of truth.

    There is the thought that Christians have just accepted the faith without thinking it through. Many may indeed have accepted it without thinking it through. But, the position that naturalism is what is true is an inductive position. Many don’t think that through either. Some do, but that doesn’t remove the fact that it is inductively arrived at and is a faith position.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “Andrew, what is the basis for accepting the claim as more than a myth? ”

    Quite. You’re conflating ‘religious belief claim’ with ‘knowledge’. If you’ve got no way of differentiating the two, then the word ‘knowledge’ becomes meaningless and we’re all swimming in a marsh of relativism. “Islam is true for me, Judaism is true for you”.

    When tildeb asks what knowledge Christianity has given the world, and you or Bill reply that it has given us knowledge of what happens after we die, then you are wading deep into that marsh. Sorry, but we’re not going to join you there. That’s a faith claim, not knowledge in any meaningful sense of the word.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Andrew,
    “If you’ve got no way of differentiating the two, then the word ‘knowledge’ becomes meaningless and we’re all swimming in a marsh of relativism.”

    And I’m not claiming you can’t differentiate. I thought you’d pick up on that. When I ask the question about the basis for the Norse myth, I meant that there is differentiation. The Norse religion and Christian faith have different foundations that tell you a lot.

    “it has given us knowledge of what happens after we die, then you are wading deep into that marsh.”

    Death is only one part. Most of what I said has to do with the hear and now.

    What is knowledge? Didn’t we agree it was “justified true belief?” A blanket claim out of thin air is not justified. If the Christian faith does not provide knowledge, then the assumption of naturalism as being all there is also is not knowledge either. Both views are justified. Whether they are true can only be determined from the basis by which they are justified. The problem with knowledge is it can get in an infinite level of justification. At some point we have to say we are justified in the means of justification. But, to help with justification, we look at the coherence of the beliefs. That must include positive and negative data. Naturalists make an assumption from the start and only look at half the picture because they only see the world from that assumption/presupposition.

    I know I’m beating a dead horse. But, since there is sufficient justification for the resurrection of the dead, I guess I keep beating. It makes you wish you could give your eyes to the blind so they can see what you can see. But even to do that, the blind have to open their eyes to see beyond their limited self generated imagery. The Amazing Grace song is true to its words!

  • Anonymous

    But Walt, it is not MY worldview! It is what reality shows us. You claim I am misguided and closed-minded. Fine. Show equivalent evidence from reality that reveals creationism! This shouldn’t be a problem and yet… all you have is a willingness to believe it is so based completely on the testimony of some ancient goat herders (which you like to call ‘collective history’), no different in quality than a thousand other different creationist claims.

    What we do know is that many creationist claims have turned out to be wrong. And we know this only because we have better tools of inquiry than testimonials. Belief is the worst possible method of inquiry because it allows you to fool yourself and does not come equipped to rectify incorrect beliefs. This is why you stick to creationism and will only cherry pick that which seems to support your beliefs while utterly ignoring all contrary evidence and pretending it is an equivalent kind of belief. This is intellectually dishonest and done solely to protect beliefs from reality’s role in arbitrating what is true about it. This is why you offer up such convoluted motives to try to discredit anyone and anything that threatens your belief. But the problem of the lack of evidence to directly support creationism remains after all you’ve said and done and it’s not going to go away no matter how much you try to blame others for the shortcomings of your own beliefs.

    “When asked what they would do if scientists were to disprove a particular religious belief, nearly two-thirds (64%) of people say they would continue to hold to what their religion teaches rather than accept the contrary scientific finding, according to the results of an October 2006 Time magazine poll.”

    See what I mean? I think this is revolting because it relegates what’s true to be something less valuable than what is believed to be true. This is dishonesty writ large. You think this dishonesty is fine, which means you don’t care about what is true nearly as much as you care about what you believe is true regardless of evidence and informed reasoning. This shows that t is YOUR motives that reveal the scope of intellectual dishonesty needed to remain misguided and closed-minded ON PURPOSE to value what is believed to be true. And this is all creationism is: a willingness to believe it is so in spite of good evidence and better reasons to the contrary.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, I need to look up the article with the poll. I don’t think the whole truth has been conveyed there. It probably has a lot to do with what kind of proof is claimed. If it was a truly empirical proof, then I doubt so many would say they would ignore it. However, I would venture to guess that the article is talking about things like evolution which many people believe science has not proven, but is an unprovable extrapolation (like many historical sciences), and which even if were true, does not debunk the beliefs they already have. Many people know that facts are interpreted and that some who claim scientific proofs are biased against what they believe and that the facts might still be true with an interpretation that encompasses what they already believe. People naturally don’t trust interpretations from people who are opposed to their views.

    Granted people should not hold on to false beliefs. But people do not easily give up beliefs so strongly held. They are more likely to question what is challenging it. That is not to say they won’t give anything up, but that extraordinary evidence is required to overturn deeply entrenched beliefs.

    And naturalism as being all that is IS your worldview. It is the reality you see. Since reality actually reveals more, you have limited your perspective by that view.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, As I suspected the poll had to do with Darwinian evolution in particular. People have various understandings of what is meant by “proof,” but the “poofs” claimed by many are not seen at “proof” by those skeptical of an agenda. If you got some of those skeptical involved in the actual scientific study, they might change their thinking and say there is proof enough. But others realize that the “proof” is extrapolation and several theories can fit the data, thus meaning the claimed “proof” is a mirage. There is really something causing the image, but it is not what it appears to be.

  • Anonymous

    You assert that reality shows that there is more than what exists in it but don’t follow through. You see the problem?

    Your assertion is based on a belief. Granted, you try to equate that belief with predicting as yet unknown ‘things’ like the Higgs boson but ignore good evidence – natural evidence from reality – that something else IS there… as yet unidentified. This is not the same kind of belief. You are asserting that reality shows us that there is more there (god) without the same kind of good evidence – natural evidence from reality (an energy spike measured by two separate recording sites for the Higgs boson) – that something else MIGHT be there. You then jump to Therefore Creationism, Therefore Jesus. It does not link because it has to first go through your belief. Without that belief in place, it does not follow. That’s why I do not subscribe to the notion that my speculations offer evidence for my speculations nor do I feel my speculations empower equivalency to special revelatory knowledge that produces none I can demonstrate to others. Religious belief produces no knowledge – of this reality or any other – but piggybacks on whatever knowledge is produced and then claims it for itself. And that’s simply the way it is with or without me pointing it out.

    The link for my quote is here.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, thanks for the link. I couldn’t find it in the actual magazine (article on evolution) but did find it at the same place as your link.

    All I can say is “big picture.” Why do we think those blips are the Higgs particles? Context. Those blips fit within a bigger schema. Without the context, it looks like noise. In the context of naturalism, Jesus looks like noise. In the context of His own claims, and in the context of the reality of this world, He makes sense.

    You say I haven’t offered anything. I keep trying. It is called opening your eyes to the bigger picture. Faith is not blind, it sees how all of the blips fit together in the field of noise. It can only do that by correlation. That is how the Higgs blips are discerned out of the noise. Without context much is missed.

  • Anonymous

    Walt, you give the game away when you use the term Darwinian evolution. That was 150 years ago. Today it goes by the term ‘biology’.

    Walt, let me prove my point about the knowledge merits of creationism this way:

    Although you can sometimes have religious belief without creationism, you can never have creationism without religious belief.

    The claim for creationism is not demonstrable through the method of science nor a reasonable starting point no matter how much you wave the ‘bigger picture’ around or you would produce this knowledge. It’s simply unavailable except by faith of the religious kind. This explains why religious belief – in spite of many empty assertions to the contrary – does not produce knowledge. Period. Never has. Never will. Why? Because it is depends on an epistemology that does not work.

    If you disagree, then show this evidence of creationist knowledge. Until you can meet this challenge to your assertions and faith claims, you’ve got nothing… nothing, that is, except your religious belief claims in creationism… which is exactly what you started with. And that’s why it’s not a conclusion but an a priori assertion you choose to believe.

    That’s the brute fact – as unpleasant as this may be to your intellectual equilibrium. No amount of prevarication and hand waving and pleas to be more open-minded and accommodating will inform your religious belief claims in creationism one bit.

    You’re the one making creationist claims: it falls to you to prove that this so-called knowledge derived from this so-called ‘other way of knowing’ is somehow qualitatively different than knowledge produced and applied by today’s biology, a knowledge that has the bad manners to work reliably and consistently well for everyone everywhere all the time.

  • Anonymous

    I made the statement to show that denial is as much faith as acceptance is. I will accept that you and tildeb believe your reasons for your faith are stronger than you believe Bill’s and mine are.

    See, this is the inevitable result of truly muddled, religiously apologetic, broken thinking that equates non belief as a different kind of belief. It’s like claiming a non woman is a different kind of woman, a non car a different kind of car. It’s so patently false that it boggles the mind that people of faith manage to trip on all the time. And you don’t even need to look beyond yourself to prove why the assertion is so foolish. You don’t have a similar faith that thousands of other gods are false to those who have faith that each and every one of them just so happens to be true; you simply have no good reasons to think ANY of them are true. Well, accept the one you believe in, that is. That’s it. That’s the sum total of this different kind of faith you have towards all these other religious faiths.

    Don’t be ridiculous, Walt.

    But you don’t stop at the ridiculous. You merrily proceed into the absurd and claim that when the evidences are evaluated and found completely wanting except through a very convoluted interpretative lens granted to you by divine revelation and personal experience unsupported by reality, only then do we hit upon the most likely explanation that concludes with Therefore Jesus. You see? It’s really a conclusion for getting the ‘big picture’ juuuust right. Sincerely right. Because what’s true is determined by the sincerity of the person making the claim.

    Pleeeease.

  • Anonymous

    But, since there is sufficient justification for the resurrection of the dead, I guess I keep beating.

    Why pretend that this is a conclusion when it is an assumption to trust testimonials in this instance that you yourself don’t trust – in fact, completely reject – in others?

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb,

    What you ask for is coming. I don’t know how long it will take to get the first article out, but it is coming. To fully cover the gamut, it will have to become a book. The method will be the first article. So, for the time being, I have no more to say and should spend the time working on it rather than spinning my wheels in a tit for tat. My aim here was not to argue creationism, which you have now gotten hung up on, but was merely to make the point that there is uncertainty in a lot of knowledge, and you have closed the door prematurely thinking your closed system of knowledge is complete. When the research is done, you will see that using the very methods used in many areas of inquiry will show you are quite mistaken.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    tildeb, because the basis is different, the character is different, the prophetic nature is different, the correspondence with your natural domain is different, the spiritual claims are different. To summarize, the Christian faith is substantially different than the others in many respects. Most similarities are superficial, whereas at the very core, they are distinctly different.

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  • Robert Clark

    Best answer in this entire thread thanks for getting to the heart of it succinctly Bill.

  • Robert Clark

    Another great post … and my fav of yours in this thread thus far Walt.

  • http://marksissel.blogspot.com/ Honey Razwell

    Scientists are NOT objective. The assertion that they are IS A MYTH. That is NOT how it works in the real world as astrophysicist, Paul Davies, has written about. Get out of your FANTASY WORLD. Science is a human endeavor. Science has ALL the politics, shenanigans and biases that ALLLL human endeavors contain……….

    Your view is an IDEAOLOGY, NOT reality. Science is NOT unbiased…….Scientists are NOT objective. The better ones try to be BUT ARE NOT. To believe scientists are not biased is TOTAL NONSENSE as Paul Davies says.

    There are gatekeepers, old ideas are let go once those previous codgers die off. For example, a British scientist who implanted a device on obese people showed they are NO LESS active than their thin counterparts, What happened? FUNDING WAS CUT OFF. POLITICS !!!!!!!

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