Saturday, September 29, 2007

The race between the Tortoise and the Atehist

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I have an argument called "temporal beginning." Its' very simple. I establish that there is no change in a timeless void. I document with Paul Davies and A guy named Fraser who runs a time study institute.

The argument says No change in a timeless void. time has a beginning, so it must have begun from a state of timelessness. Otherwise why say it begins, it would just be more time. But if there is no change in a timeless void, then how could time begin? that's a change.

Argument from Temporal Beginning.

A. loigc of the argument.

1) Time has a begining.

2) There is no causality or sequential order beyond time.

3) Therefore, no change beyond time is possible.

4) The putative state of affairs beyond time is one of timelessness.
5) Therefore, time should never have come to be.

6) We know that time did come to be, therefore, it must have been created by something capable of writing and circumventing the rules.

7) Only God would be capable of writting and circumventing the rules of time and eternity, therefore, God must exit.

B Version of argument

We need a B version because beginning of time is assumed with singularity models of Big Bang, and those are out of fashion now (at least with atheists on Message boards): Advanced physics theory posits "beyond time" in which super symmetry theory is applied to grand unified theory, but "beyond" still posits a timeless state of nothingness in which nothing can happen and no change can take place.

B. Analysis.

God must exist in order to rewrite the rules or to circumvent the rules of temporality. Now some argue that from a timeless perspective the space/time bubble in which our universe exists would also be. That may be true, and the beginning and the end of our universe would always be as well. Causality, or source may be hierarchical as well as linear

C. Objections:

1) Time is an illusion.

Some atheists have tried to answer this by using Relativity theory to argue that time is an illusion, its relative, get it? But Relativity doesn't say there is no time. It merely says that the observation of time is relative.

2) Some other freaky theory of time.

Answer: Some have tried to argue that t=0 (time has a beginning) is wrong. It could be t=>0. This is similar to xeno's paradox, in that it segments time into infinitesimals so that it gives the illusion of no time, no motion, or perhaps infinite time. But that "infinity" of time could be hiding in a Plank interval, so and that would not do anything to the basic hypothesis. From the Cosmological argument (no.II) I quote physicists saying that t=0 is still the best way to think about it. Three major sources document this. Julius Thomas Fraser in Time The Familiar Stranger (one of the major authorities on Time research), Paul Davies in God and The New Physics and in the Book Time's Arrow All agree that beyond time there is no motion, causality, or change. More documentation time begins with Big Bang:

How could anything come to be if there is change in a timeless void? that's a catch 22 that cannot be gotten around. It's iron clad, there has to be some outside agent who (or which) changes things.

Yes I am suggesting this must be God.

On CARM, that genius of philosophical Terpsichore Windmill of lies decides that my argument is Xeno's paradox. For some odd reason, he first argues that Xeno beats my argument. When I pointed out that Xeno is clearly known to be wrong, and that's just common knowledge and that he compounds the problem by arguing from analogy he says my argument is Like the paradox.

But clearly this is not so and his first argument against it shows that he originally thought the other way, that Xeno was a disproof of my argument.

Here's how it works.

Xeno says that if a tortoise raced a man and was given a head start of ten meters, he would win because every time the man made up the 10 meter gap, the turtle would have tranced another distance.

Without telling a long parable it works like this: say you want to walk to the other side of the room. That's 40 feet. But to get there you have to first go 20 feet, then do the remaining 40. But you can also cut each of the 20 in half and so how you have four sets of 10 feet to travel. You can keep doing this hundreds of times by measuring smaller and smaller distances, until finally you have thousands of miles to travel to go 40 feet. In this way Xeno "proves" that motion is impossible.

OF course the mistake is he's not really measuring the distance from one point to the other, he's measuring the distances between artificially chosen points and multiplying the number of measurements rather than the actual number of feet.

Here's how I know the atheist first thought Xeno supported his argument. He argued that there is no change from moment to moment. we don't sense change as time passes, so there's no reason why you can't have change in a timeless void because there's no change with time either.

I quickly shot this down with three answers:

(1) He is trying to gauge measurement by sensing change and that doesn't work. how can you possibly measure subatomic structures and partials the motion of subatomic partials just sensing the passage of time? So while movement and change are happening all the time it doesn't seem so. A brick wall seems motionless and changeless and yet it is changing as we watch it just sit there.

(2) hes' treating time like non time. He's not recognizing that the initial state is non temporal.

but clearly he's first trying to use Xeno to disprove my argument.

(3) he's arguing from analogy; he's trying to say that because he can draw a para ell between Xeno and my argument then that proves my argument is wrong.

After I shot him down this way he then says my argument is analogous to the paradox, so I'm wrong because Xeno is wrong. But clearly that doesn't fit because first tired to say Xeno's paradox disproves my argument by showing that change is not possible like Xeno showed motion is not possible.

IN pointing this out the genius concludes that I think space is getting smaller. why? because that's what me makes of the explanation of xeno's paradox. Not that you are measuring smaller spaces, but that I think space is actually getting smaller!

what did I do to deserve this? No matter how I shoot him down he keep insisting he's won, even though he changes the argument, because he just can't understand what's goin on. He actually thinks I"m saying space is getting smaller!

what can you do? these guys are just intent on hatting God it just does not matter how good your arguments or how logical or the facts, just doesn't matter. some how they will couture your words in such a way as to make you look stupid while they are being as dense as high viscosity motor oil.

Sten Olenwald
NASA Scientist


No time "before" BB.

In the quantum world...the world that the universe inhabited when it was less than a second old...many things work very differently. One of these is that time itself does not mean quite the same thing as it does to us in the world- at-large. Although we have no complete theory of the relevant physics, there are many indications from the mathematics that yield sound experimental results, that time itself may have ceased to have much meaning near the Big Bang event. This means that there was no 'time' as we know this concept 'before' the Big Bang. That being the case, the question of what happened before the Big Bang is now a question without any possible physical answer. The evolution of the universe has always been a process of transformation from one state to the next as the universe has expanded. At some point in this process, looking back at the Big Bang, we enter a state so removed from any that we now know, than even the laws that govern it become totally obscure to science itself. In the quantum world, we see things 'appearing' out of nothing all the time. The universe may have done the same thing. What this means to us may never be fully understood.

"As we shall see, the concept of time has no meaning before the beginning of the universe. This was first pointed out by St. Augustine. When asked: What did God do before he created the universe? Augustine didn't reply: He was preparing Hell for people who asked such questions. Instead, he said that time was a property of the universe that God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe. [Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 8]

astronmy cafe

Odenwald, 2004

Was there really no time at all before the Big Bang?

As I have mentioned in a previous question, we do not know what the state of the universe was like at the Big Bang and beyond.

Our best guess at this time suggest that time and space as we know these concepts will become rather meaningless as the universe enters a purely quantum mechanical state of indeterminacy. Cosmologists such as Stephen Hawking suggest that the dimension of time is transformed via quantum fluctuations in the so-called "signature of the space/time metric", into a space-like coordinate so that instead of 3-space and 1-time dimension, space-time becomes a 4-dimensional space devoid of any time-like features. What this state is imagined to be is anyone's guess because as humans trained to think in terms of processes evolving in time, our next question would then be, What came before the Hawking space-like state? There is no possible answer to this question because there is no time in which the concept of 'before' can be said to have a meaning. The question itself becomes the wrong question to ask.

Physical law opp orates in time Cambridge Relativity and Quantum Gravity. 1996, University of Cambridge The physical laws that govern the universe prescribe how an initial state evolves with time. In classical physics, if the initial state of a system is specified exactly then the subsequent motion will be completely predictable.

Even assuming no beginning of Time, Susy Gut theory still postulates a "beyond time" as a putative state of affairs. This description confirms my argument since it describes a state in which no change can ever come to be. That leaves the scientific solution still seeking some higher set of coordinates upon which the universe must be contingent:

Sten Odenwald "Beyond the Big Bang."

Copyright (C) 1987, Kalmbach Publishing

"Theories like those of SUSY GUTS (Supersymetry Grand Unified Theory) and Superstrings seem to suggest that just a few moments after Creation, the laws of physics and the content of the world were in a highly symmetric state; one superforce and perhaps one kind of superparticle. The only thing breaking the perfect symmetry of this era was the definite direction and character of the dimension called Time. Before Creation, the primordial symmetry may have been so perfect that, as Vilenkin proposed, the dimensionality of space was itself undefined. To describe this state is a daunting challenge in semantics and mathematics because the mathematical act of specifying its dimensionality would have implied the selection of one possibility from all others and thereby breaking the perfect symmetry of this state. There were, presumably, no particles of matter or even photons of light then, because these particles were born from the vacuum fluctuations in the fabric of spacetime that attended the creation of the universe. In such a world, nothing happens because all 'happenings' take place within the reference frame of time and space. The presence of a single particle in this nothingness would have instantaneously broken the perfect symmetry of this era because there would then have been a favored point in space different from all others; the point occupied by the particle. This nothingness didn't evolve either, because evolution is a time-ordered process. The introduction of time as a favored coordinate would have broken the symmetry too. It would seem that the 'Trans-Creation' state is beyond conventional description because any words we may choose to describe it are inherently laced with the conceptual baggage of time and space. Heinz Pagels reflects on this 'earliest' stage by saying, "The nothingness 'before' the creation of the universe is the most complete void we can imagine. No space, time or matter existed. It is a world without place, without duration or eternity..."

3)How could God create beyond time?

Answer(s) William Lane Craig's answer is that God creates everything in one throw, so time is created at exactly the same time that God desires to create. That might be worked out as an answer, but it strikes me as still requiring a sequential order. My own personal answer is that I accept Bishop Berkley's notion that we are thoughts in the mind of God. Thus, while the naturalistic assumption is that there is a "beyond time" and this is conceived as a giant room filled with non-time (and the space/time bubble like a beach ball floating around in that room--or say a beach ball in the ocean of non-time) that is purely a naturalistic assumption. We have no idea what is beyond the BB. Thus, I posit the notion that physical reality is in the mind of God. God is like the Platonic forms in that he is in an abstract reality which has no physical locus, and thus is "everywhere and nowhere." So in that case there is no "beyond time" there is only the mind of God. That is a world of the mind, thus it does contain causality, but no temporal progress, it is controlled by the "thoughts" of God. Thus the problem of causality beyond time is solved, but this only works if one believes in God.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Anonymous Rebuttle

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excavation at Nazareth

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Jesus geneaology":

Joe: >>you have no documentation that most scholars think Luke's geneology was Jo's. that;s crasy when the names stck up with the Talmudic passage. so document your point please proving what schoalrs think.<<

I have lots of documentation.

you haven't listed any of it. Just showing one or two is not "most scholars."

You might notice what the Catholic Encyclopedia article you quote says about the Lk=Mary theory: “few commentators adhere to this view of St. Luke's genealogy.” The entire article is here:

that source has been discredited. Didn't you see my series no the Tomb of Christ?

The Catholic Encyclopedia article on The Genealogy of Christ argues against your position here:

you just said that. that doesn't count as "most scholars" becasue it's three and one of them is listed twice.

The position you are advocating is rejected by Lukan commentators of all theological stripes.

do they have names? are we supposes to read your midn to know how you know this?

I’ll quote five authors of major works that argue against your position; there are many more. The first three are moderately conservative Catholic scholars; the last two are conservative evangelicals.

Raymond Brown, S.S.: >>There have been many attempts to solve this problem. The most simple and best –known is the attempt to treat them both as family records, with Matthew giving us Joseph’s record, and Luke giving us Mary’s. What influences this suggestion is the centrality of Joseph in Matthew’s infancy narrative, as compared with the spotlighting of Mary in Luke’s. Even at first glance, however, this solution cannot be taken seriously: a genealogy traced through the mother is not normal in Judaism, and Luke makes it clear that he is tracing descent through Joseph.

that's because of the adopting thing. JO was adopted into the line and it becomes his. This was the custom with families that didn't have a son.

Moreover, Luke’s genealogy traces Davidic descent and, despite later Christian speculation, we do not know that Mary was a Davidid<< (The Birth of the Messiah, 1977, 89).

that is begging the question. how can you argue against it ion the basis of "we don't' know?"

Luke Timothy Johnson: >>The two NT genealogies for Jesus are simply different and cannot be reconciled, not even by making Luke’s a line traced through Mary; Luke emphatically connects Jesus to David’s line through Joseph (1:27; 2:4). The question of historicity in this case is futile and even fatuous<< (The Gospel of Luke, Sacra Pagina Commentary, 1991, 72).

Brown and Johnson are fine scholars but they are not OT. So they re not experts on Jewish famly law. I still think we have to Edersheim because he was trained as a rabbi.

Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J.: >>Another solution was to maintain that the Matthean genealogy was Joseph’s and the Lukan Mary’s; this has been suggested because of the prominence of Joseph in the Matthean infancy narrative and of Mary in the Lucan. The view was made popular by Annius of Viterbo (ca. AD 1490) and used in modern times by J. M. Heer. Though tradition has at times thought of Mary’s Davidic descent, there is no basis for this in the NT; and Luke has traced the genealogy of Jesus specifically through Joseph<< (The Gospel According to Luke, Anchor Bible Commentary, 1981, vol. I, 497).

again begs the question. no basis for Mary's non David decent either, and perhaps this the basis , this is in the NT. Just question begging. so far all three have done nothing but beg the question. As much as I admire ;Brown and Johnson, they aren't always right. besides this last quotes doesn't really take sides and it contradicts what came before, because it establishes a body of scholarship that sees it differently.

I. Howard Marshall: >>The theory of Annius of Viterbo (AD 1490) was that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph and Luke that of Mary (cf. Hauck, 51-58). On this view, Eli (3:23) was really the father of Mary, and v.23 must be interpreted to mean either that Joseph was the son in law of Eli, or that Jesus was supposedly the son of Joseph but in reality the grandson of Eli (Geldenhuys, 151f.). Neither of these interpretations of the verse is at all plausible, and the theory does not fit with 1:27 where the Davidic descent of Joseph is stressed<< (The Gospel of Luke, New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1978, 158).

That one makes no sense at all. Look the reasnos he gives the only reasons are:

(1) not plausible (doesn't say why)

(2) doesn't fit Jo's Davidic decent?

that makes not sense at all because they go through different lines. It unfathomable why Mary can't be from Nathan and Jo from Solomon which is what the genealogies say. What's so implausible? They meet up a long tmie back. they would not even be 6th cousins.

Darrel Bock [from Excursus 5, The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke, in which he surveys six positions on the issue]:

>>1. Most [scholars] opt for a literary and theological approach to this material, regarding any attempt at harmonization as impossible. In this view, both writers relate Joseph to Jesus without any recourse to historical material other than the existing biblical materials from 1 Chronicles and Genesis…

this just says the two can't be one geneaology, we know that so what?

2. Another common approach is to argue that Matthew gives the genealogy through Joseph, while Luke gives the genealogy through Mary (Hendriksen 1978: 222-25; Godet 1875: 1.201). Dating back to Annius of Viterbo in 1490, the view argues that Joseph is not really in view in 3.23, where Luke says that Joseph was “supposed to be” (enomizeto) Jesus’ father. In addition, the absence of the particle tou before Joseph’s name is shows that he is not part of the genealogy. It is also argued that seeing Joseph in the genealogy puts Luke in a double contradiction in that he disagrees not only with Matthew, but also with himself, since he already made clear that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (1:27). Finally, it is argued that rabbinic tradition know of the connection between Heli (also spelled Eli) and Mary. There are many problems with this approach. First, it is not at all clear that the rabbinic reference applies to Mary.

that is the weakest argument I've ever seen.Rather than a long critical examination he just says "not at all clear." you have to quote a major scholar for that?

In fact, most doubt that it does, because the Miriam referred to there is not called the mother of Jesus and thus could be any Miriam.

But of course the name Jesus was taken out of the Talmud so it couldn't say that (that is an historical fact too and its documented Herford, who you quote in the other comment as a true authority so you can't impeach him). she doesn't have to be called the mother of Jesus because he's not mentioned. Moreover, when it says most most who? Talmudic Scholars? IF they centered it why would they admit it?

Second, the absence of the article tou can be explained simply because Joseph starts the list.

yes, but it can be explained either way

Third, the virgin birth does not prevent legal paternity from passing through the father (Gordon 1977). Thus, no contradiction with the virgin birth exists.

That's irrelevant has nothing to do with it.

Fourth, the most natural way to read the Greek is as a genealogy for Joseph (Carson 1984, 64), given that Mary is not named at all here and the genitive tou at the front of the list is masculine. To clearly bring in Mary, Luke could have named her and/or changed the opening genitive to a feminine, similar to Matt. 1:16 and it use of hes which makes clear that the Matthean connection is only to Mary.

that argument ignores the one made by your guy before about they didn't use women in genealogies which explains why they don't say "Mary"

The remaining views all agree that Joseph’s line is addressed by both Luke and Matthew. They disagree on how this is done… <<(Luke, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1994, vol. I, 919-920).



none of them actually give a viable reason why we should accept that. nonce of them say "most scholars agree with this." That one did say most agree that the Talmudic passage isn't' about Mary but that's hardly surprising since they censored it in the first place to remove the onus of critiquing Jesus. Now it's understandable why they did, ti is a historical fact that they did. It's been documented by Lightfoot, Herford, McDowell and many others. It is not a sinister plot they did it to avoid pogroms. So it's understandable, but the fact remains they did do so.

You also overlook my alternate view about which I am just as serious; that Lukes genealogy is an emmendation and Mat's is Mary's line.

Over all you give no effective argument.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jesus geneaology

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I found a disucssion on this blog


a rationalist’s musings on humanity, religion (especially Christianity) politics and society. Check the Categories to switch between Politics/Society and Religion/Humanity

so I answered it

The Jesus Genealogies: their different theological significances”

1. J.L. Hinman (Metacrock) Says:
September 26th, 2007 at 10:41 am

A late date and anti-Marcionite context for Luke-Acts not only has the power to explain why Luke may have rejected Matthew’s story of the birth of Jesus, but even more directly why Luke’s genealogy of Jesus is so different from Matthew’s. (The common belief that Luke records Mary’s family line and Matthew Joseph’s is a simplistic rationalization that defies the textual evidence.)

when you say “defies textual evidence” you mean the veg comment about ‘thought to be the father” in Mat? that’s hardly textual evidence. the Luke genealogy is given as Mary’s in the Talmud. The claim there is that the independent investigation which has nothing to do with Luke produces the genealogy of “such a one’s” mother and it is a woman named Mary and the same father as the Luke genealogy.

Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus goes back to Abraham and is traced through Solomon. Luke’s bypasses Solomon and traces back to Adam and God himself.

all the more reason to think these are two different lines rather than an two attempts to construct the same line.

There’s another fact worth keeping in mind too. The writings apparently penned by Justin Martyr around the mid-second century c.e. insisted that Jesus had no genealogy and that this fact was one of the proofs of his divine origin.

If he was born of a woman he had to have one. why take Justin over the NT?

Justin also expressed his conviction that it was Mary who belonged to the blood-line of David, while the canonical gospels instead trace Joseph to David, and Mary is only brought in to the family tree by marriage.

Nope! so sorry you are quite wrong. You just said Luke’s bypasses Solomon but that doesn’t mean it bypasses David. it goes through David’s other son Nathan!

See my table of Justin’s knowledge of canonical and noncanonical gospels for references. (Most scholars nevertheless believe that Justin knew some form of our current gospels that he called “the memoirs of the apostles”.)

Luke’s genealogy

As in my last post, I’m playing with the model that our canonical Luke-Acts was the product of a second-century anti-Marcionite cause. Marcionism was a form of Christianity that some authors suggest was more widespread and dominant in the early second century than what we might call “proto-orthodox” Christianity. One of its beliefs was that Jesus came from a hitherto unknown or “Alien” God and not from the God who created this world. The God of this world, the creator of Adam and giver of the Ten Commandments at Sinai, was believed to be a capricious, often cruel and blind God who was unaware of his subordinate place to the higher unknown God.

Marcion was a proto Gnostic Or a full blown ghostic. He saw the God fo the Jews as the damuerge and he saw Jesus as the son of the true uber God who created the damuerge. (sorry about that spelling I don’t have Greek font).

If Luke as we know it was written as a response to Marcionism (Tyson and others) then we can readily understand why it traced the genealogy of Jesus back to the God of Genesis, the creator God of the Jewish scriptures. This genealogy was a rebuttal of the Marcionite doctrine that Jesus was sent by another God who was higher than this “biblical” God.

But why would Luke’s genealogy bypass Solomon, and most notably avoid any mention of the famous women in Matthew’s genealogy?

good question. it’s not an attempt to construct Jo’s genealogy but is a trace of Mary’s line.

One of Marcion’s beliefs was that the God of the Jewish scriptures was often an immoral God, capricious and inconsistent. Matthew’s genealogy highlighted the role of women tainted with racial or moral dubiousness. Solomon was the son of murder and adultery, and despite this he was honoured as the rightful heir to David by the creator God of this world.

Luke’s genealogy appears to be a response to this — in the context of taking up the challenge of Marcionism — and thus proclamation that Jesus line could not only be traced back to the Creator God of Genesis but also that it could be done so legitimately and honourably. The genealogy was a statement that the God of Jesus and this world was a righteous God and not as the Marcionites portrayed him.

Matthew’s genealogy

Matthew’s genealogy appears to have originated among Christians — perhaps adoptionists like Mark — who believed that Jesus was of human origin although he later became God (at the resurrection or at baptism) or temporarily possessed by the Spirit of Christ (until his death on the cross). There are indications of these positions in our current Pauline epistles (e.g. Romans 1:4) and the Gospel of Mark (e.g. Mark 1:11), and these were all well-known variations of Christian beliefs out of which the “orthodoxy” with which we are familiar eventually emerged.

If Jesus was understood to be the illegitimate son of Mary — an accusation not unknown in the gospels — then was this genealogy responding with, So what? She was nevertheless married into a line which was sustained by Bathsheba who adulterously conceived Solomon; by Ruth who was a gentile and who teamed up with Boaz through a the euphemistically labelled custom of “uncovering his feet” when he was asleep; by a Rahab, a gentile prostitute; and by Tamar, a daughter of Judah when she turned to prostitution.

I wish I could recall where I originally read this interpretation of Matthew’s genealogy — that it belongs to an early form of Christianity that believed Jesus at least started out as fully human and only later became Christ or possessed by the Spirit of God.

a second alternative is that Luke’s genealogy is an emendation, since it is not found in the two earliest copies of Luke. Matt’s could then be Mary’s genealogy. The throne of Israel could pass through a woman, Israel had a queen at one point. Why should we assume Mat's genealogy is just Jo's line? The crucial thing he's forgetting is the custom of the son in law. In a family with no son the wife's husband is adopted into the line in term of inheritance.

Skeptics and anti-missionaries often raise many difficulties in attempts to prove that Jesus could be the Messiah. Here are the major difficulties with which I will deal:

(1)Disparity in size of two lists.

(2) Two genealogies said to contradict.

(3) Matt's genealogy is not Jesus' bloodline.

(4) Curse on Line in Matt.

(5) If Luke's list is Mary's line, King can't come through female.

(6) Luke's list is useless anyway it goes through Nathan, and Messiah must come through Solomon.

The assumptions that I will deal with here here, and in answer to the first problem:

Matthew's list is Joe's bloodline while Luke's list is Mary's genealogy. These are not the same list. That is apparent since one goes through Nathan and one Through Solomon and all the names are different except for about three, it is clear they are not meant to be the same list. I will deal with the proof that one is Joe's list and the other Mary's latter.

Matt's line = Joesph's line

Luke's Line = Mary's line

Disparity in size of two lists


Matt's genealogy is taken in reverse order to presentation--since Luke's order is reversed to Matt, I've put them all in the order of going back in time form Jesus to David.

Jechoniah (Jahoachin) is in red in Matt's list to mark the beginning of exile

highlight Matt's list to see the missing names that he left out, names of the kings of Judah (and their one Queen).

Luke's Genealogy Matt's Genealogy
supposed son of Joseph Jo husband of Mary
Joseph the husband of Mary,
Uzziah (Azariah?)

The thing is we notice something odd about Matthew's list (apart form the lack of names).It is basically a list of the king's of Judah. All the names form Rehaboum to Jahoachin are all king's of judah. That line was hereditary and it involved the one family line of Solomon. Obviously then a lot of the missing names are kings of Judah. The list abridged. This is not unknown. There abridged genealogies in the Old Testament:

Ken Palmer
visited on 5/24/06

Genealogical abridgment occurs not only in Matthew 1:1, but also in the Old Testament. Compare Ezra 7:3 with 1st Chronicles 6:7-10, and you can see how Ezra deliberately skipped six generations from Meriaoth to Azariah (son of Johanan).

Son could also be used to describe kinship without sonship. Although Zerubbabel was the nephew of Shealtiel (1st Chronicles 3:17-19), he was called the son of Shealtiel (Ezra 3:2, Nehemiah 12:1, Haggai 1:12). Jair is another example of this principle. He was a distant son-in-law of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 2:21-23 and 7:14-15). Yet, he was called the "son of Manasseh" (Numbers 32:41, Deuteronomy 3:14, 1st Kings 4:13).
The point to remember is that the word son can be applied to several types of relationships.

The reason Matthew breaks up his genealogy into groups of 14, 14,13 is probably for memorization. It makes memorizing easier.

when we stick in the names of the missing Kings of Judah the lists come up a bit more even. There is a difference in eight names with the missing Kings of Judah in there. No doubt there are other spaces for abrdigement.

Since most of my answers involve the idea that Luke = Mary and Matt = Jo let's tackle that one next. Are my reasons "totally arbitrary?" Of course not, and most Biblical Scholars agree with my reading,and in fact the great Rabbinical scholar Alfred Edersheim agreed with it.

Skeptics often argue that there's no reason to think that Luke's genealogy is Mary's and Matt's is Jo's. They must both be of Jo's line because Luke doesn't mention Mary but says Jesus was supposed the son of Jo."

Lists do not contradict: Luke = Jo, Matt = Mary

These are clearly two different lists. They are not contradictions of each other, they follow two different family lines. One is for Mary and one for Joseph.

A. Different lists.

(1) Vastly different numbers of names indicates differnt lists.

The first thing to notice is that Luke's version has twice as many people in it. The second thing is that they are all different. There aren't just one or two differences, they are all different, except Zerubabel and Shealtiel, who come 10 generations apart in the two lists, which probably indicates they are two different sets of Father and son which are over 100 years apart.

This is clelary not two attempts to make the same list, but two totally different lists.

(2) Matt gores through Solmon; Luke Through Nathan; different sons of David

Luke's line goes through Nathan, While Matt's line goes through Solomon. But only Solomon's line has the promise that is decedent would always be on the throne (presumably meaning he would be the Messiah). It cannot be that Luke was just ignorant. He's far too knowledgeable of Jewish customs and no doubt had Jews to furnish his research. So the idea that he's ust ignorant of the fact doesn't' wash. If he was trying to manufacture a line to boost Jesus Messianic credentials he would surely just make it go through Solomon. the fact that he does not suggests that he's not trying to construct the same list, but is in fact trying to make up Mary's line, because if it was through Mary it wouldn't count Messianically anyway. It would have to go through the Father to count as Messianic. We can get around that by the argument that Jospeh adopted Jesus, but why compound the problem by trying to go through Nathan?

(3) Matt is clearly trying to connect to Royal (legal) line to argue for Messiahship, Luke is demonstrating blood heritage to David.

Matt clearly identifies where Jahoacin and Shealtiel come in, and he himself says they are connected to the exile. In his list he says "After the deportation R8 to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation R7 to Babylon." " This is clealry marking the line as the line that extends from the last King of Judah, and that it is the line containing the Zerubabel who re-establishes the Messianch blessing on the line the lifts the curse of Johoachin. That would be crucial to establishing the line as having a right to the throne. Without that the author might as well just forget it. Luke has a Zerubabel and Shealteil in his line, but makes no attempt to identify them as the decendents of Jahoachin. In fact they dencend from differnt people, and their decendents are different: see above list.

Luke's list:


Matt's list:


clealry two seperate lines. If we put them in the chronological contexts the two couples would be about 100 years apart.

That is a pretty clear indication that Matt was trying to establish the connection to the throne and Luke was not! Thus they have different purposes in writting, so probably not working on the same list.

B. Matt = Joe; Luke = Mary.

Skeptics often gloat, and arrogantly entoning "it doesnt' say Mary does it?" They domgatically ingore the fact that Jews didn't put women in geneolgoies. Matt does, but only as a speical noteworthy members of the line. To set out the feamle's line would be ridiculous. In such a case the proper thing to do would be to use the husband as thel egal heir and trace it as though it were his line. This is especially the case if he was adopted as legal heir (son-in-law) by the father (in-law).

(1)Luke lists Jospeh not Mary because he was the legal heir to that line.

Complete Bible

Jesus was the natural son of Mary, who conceived by the Holy Ghost and therefore He becomes the Son of God (Luk 1:34-35). Considering the fact that by the Jewish tradition women are never listed in the genealogical links, it is acceptable that Luke lists Joseph instead of Mary (as he was the "father" of Jesus) and thus Luke names Joseph as son of Heli. Further, since Heli had no sons but only daughters, we can find a precedent of the same type of name substitution in Num 27:1-11 and Num 36:1-12.

(2) Language of the geneaologies

Matt mentions Jo is husband of Mary. This seems like a purposeful attempt to connect the geneaology to Jesus from Joseph as his adopted father. But Matt says specifically that Jospeh was begotton by Matthan; while Luke uses no such language. The terms Luke uses to describe the relationship between Jesus and Joseph is "Suppossedthe son of..." which certainly implies that there is no begatting between the two. Taken together these seem frank admittions, on Luke's part that he's not really dealing of Joseph's actutal blood line, and for Matt, that he is daling with Josephe's actually blood line.

Of course skeptics will ask "why doesn't it name Mary?" Jews tired to avoid using women in Geneaologies. If the woman was without a brother, the husband could be adopted as legal heir by father and thus it becomes his legal line. So if this was the cause Luke uses Joseph as the leagal heir to the line.

(3) Similarities in names between Mary's Parents in Luke and Mary's partens in latter traditions.

New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

"Though few commentators adhere to this view of St. Luke's genealogy, the name of Mary's father, Heli, agrees with the name given to Our Lady's father in a tradition founded upon the report of the Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal Gospel which dates from the end of the second century. According to this document the parents of Mary are Joachim and Anna. Now, the name Joachim is only a variation of Heli or Eliachim, substituting one Divine name (Yahweh) for the other (Eli, Elohim). The tradition as to the parents of Mary, found in the Gospel of James, is reproduced by St. John Damascene [24], St. Gregory of Nyssa [25], St. Germanus of Constantinople [26], pseudo-Epiphanius [27], pseudo-Hilarius [28], and St. Fulbert of Chartres [29]. Some of these writers add that the birth of Mary was obtained by the fervent prayers of Joachim and Anna in their advanced age. As Joachim belonged to the royal family of David, so Anna is supposed to have been a descendant of the priestly family of Aaron; thus Christ the Eternal King and Priest sprang from both a royal and priestly family" [30].

Talmud agrees with Protoevangelium on Mary's father:

Geneology of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible study manuels
"It is indirectly confirmed by Jewish tradition [that Luke's genealogy is of Mary's line]. Lightfoot {Horae Hebraicae on Luke iii. 28} cites from the Talmudic writers concerning the pains of hell, the statement that Mary the daughter of Heli was seen in the infernal regions, suffering horrid tortures. {Suspensam per glandulas mammarum," etc.} This statement illustrates, not only the bitter animosity of the Jews toward the Christian religion, but also the fact that, according to received Jewish tradition, Mary was the daughter of Heli; hence, that it is her genealogy which we find in Luke....

If Mary was the daughter of Heli, then Jesus was strictly a descendant of David, not only legally, through his reputed father, but actually, by direct personal descent, through His mother....

[Therefore] Mary, since she had no brothers [as evidenced in Jn 19:25-27] was an heiress; therefore her husband, according to Jewish law, was reckoned among her father's family, as his son. So that Joseph was the actual son of Jacob, and the legal son of Heli. In a word, Matthew sets forth Jesus' right to the theocratic crown; Luke, His natural pedigree. The latter employs Joseph's name, instead of Mary's, in accordance with the Israelite law that 'genealogies must be reckoned by fathers, not mothers."

(4)Luke is more connected to Mary than Matthew is.

*Luke uses words such as women and womb more times than the other Gospels (Helms p.65)

*Only Luke is interested in Mary's inner life (2:18, 34, 51)

*Luke gives us the famous lines rejoying in pregnancy--something most men woudln't think about doing.(1:42-46)

*ONly author to mention fetal quickening and mention it as a sympotom of the Holy Spirit coming into the womb 1:42)

As a phyiscian Luke was drwawn to the idea of a pregnant woman in Mary's condition and perdicatiment. it seems many scholrs find a connection and an interest that Luke had in Mary. Matthew focuses upon Joseph in the announcmenet of the child. But Luke focuses upon Mary, followers her to her cousins and puts the spot light on her.

(5)Use of definate article

Jews didn't like putting women in geneolgoies. If Jo was adopted into the line as it's legal heir, because the father was sonless, the it would be more common to use him as the heir rather than Mary, even though it was her actaul blood line. We can see the way the genealogy is written there is a clue that Joseph is only the legal heir. All the other names have definate article in front them but not Jo's name. So "the Heli," "the so and so" that would be litteral reading. Only Jo is missing this definate article, indicating there is something different.

Now one might argue that this tradition (Protoevangelium) takes it ques form Matthew. But why would they use the nick name instead of using the name givne in Matthew? That creates more confussion than it resolves. It would seem that the names have a connection, but are clearly from different traditions of use.

This quotation also gives us good reason to assume that Mary didn't have a brother. Because the alternative traidtion of the Protoevangelum and the chruch father's mentioned seem to hold to that view.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door: Jesus and Boy Dylan

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This discussion originated on a message board right after I saw the following movie.

On saturday night I watched the Martin Scorsese film No Direction HomeAmerican Master's documentary on PBS For some reason it made me think about what the Hippies thought of Jesus. Why? I didn't know at first, Dylan doesn't often make me think of Jesus. I realize now it was because they played a bit of the Woody Guthrie song z"Jesus Christ"

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor."
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.

I began to think, even though I was really a teen in the early 70s, I identified with the 60s. The 60s bled over into the early 70s and I was more aware than most children my age of hippies and protests and issues like Vietnam. I remember distinctly when I was in 6th grade telling my mother when she picked me up form School "we have to get home so I can see the news, I have to root for SDS today, find out how they did at the siege of Columbia."

and I did root for them too. I would chant "Hey hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today" along with the news, and my father, a die-hard LBJ fan would get upset (we are from Texas).

We hippies and 60s leftists liked Jesus. The modern atheists seem to hate him. We made him our own, you make him your enemy. modern atheists want to deny his existence, they try to minimize the value of his teachings, they want to make as though he was unremarkable, no reason why anyone should remember him,if he existed at all. But not us in the 60sl. The Hippies and the revolutionaries, even in our Marxist inspired fever made Jesus our own!

We did not deny his existed, we used him as an example to say "hey you are not living to the standards of the guy you claim to follow Mr and Mrs average bourgeois American. We said hey Jesus was a hippie like us. He had long hair. Even in our dope smoking, communist inspired LSD crazed revolutionary zeal many of us saw ourselves as the true Christians. Christians were leading the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. we didn't see Christianity as the enemy some object to hatred that we want to destroy.

We were the true Christians because we saw how the teachings of Jesus about love and acceptance and forgiveness and getting away form unjust unfair traditions that bind people could applied to our situation an and back up the social movement we were trying to take part in.

Why don't you guys make Jesus your own? Why can't you see the importance eof Jesus and his nature as revolutionary figure? You are always harping on how the OT is so bad, but Jesus took that repressive backward ideology and made it into a revelation that said use love and non violence to change the world.

It occurs to me that we had a social cement and you guys don't. We had the music, we had the causes, the war the civil rights, you guys don't have that. You have internet, individual stuff that brings you together as a loose collection of people with some overlapping interests but not a social cement to bind together a movement.

We wanted to change the world. You guys just wanted to blog about it.

I am not trying to put you down in saying hat. I'm just trying to understand where you are coming from.

The attitude of hippies and some kinds of revolutionary politicos I was talking about was really the beginning of the Jesus movement. I just think its' so odd that we took Jesus made him own and built a movement around him, and you guys reject him but you have no unifying cement to hold you together.

The fundies turn it into a question of literalism. He must have said and done all the tings recorded. and the discussion centers on that, did he really feed the crowd with the fishes and raise so an so form the dead and so on. For us none of that was important and I guess with my liberal thing I find myself drawing upon some of those early outlooks.

What really matters is what the resurrection tells us about what God will do in your life, not the literalism of the event in history. The attitude of understanding that the two major laws are about loving God and loving your neighbor is more important than knowing if Jesus really said that and where he was when he said it.

I wish you could catch the thrill of understanding Jesus as a revolutionary figure. If only he had had a guitar and harmonica.

I was astonished by the attitude of these atheists. They have no cultural sense of the greatness of Jesus at all. They don't like him. One of them had the audacity to say that Jesus had nothing original to say. He only only anticipated Kantian ethics by 1900 years. One of them responded, "O that wasn't original., other people said that he could have gotten that from Buddha or Confusions." Yes, if he wanted to go to India or China in the first century!

Jesus is the cultural icon of goodness, or the good man. IF we loose our respect for that we sick, deeply sick. These atheists aren't just skeptical they totally cynical. They just don't believe in anything. I mean by that not that that they have no ideas of the good, but that they don't believe anything can be good for them, they without hope.

Then I had to turn around and defend Bob Dylan! One guy thought Joni Mitchell was better than Dylan! He had the audacity to say Joni's rhymes were sophistcated and Dylan's weren't. Yea right:

flows and rows of angel hair
and ice cream castles in the air
and featured canyons everywhere

OOO so terribly sophisticated.

Make that cynical and bad taste.


(Woody Guthrie)

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor."
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in his grave
He went to the sick, he went to the poor,
And he went to the hungry and the lame;
Said that the poor would one day win this world,
And so they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
He went to the preacher, he went to the sheriff,
Told them all the same;
Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the Poor,
But they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
When Jesus came to town, the working folks around,
Believed what he did say;
The bankers and the preachers they
nailed him on a cross,
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Poor working people, they follered him around,
Sung and shouted gay;
Cops and the soldiers, they nailed him in the air,
And they nailed Jesus Christ in his grave.
Well the people held their breath when
[ Lyrics provided by ]
they heard about his death,
And everybody wondered why;
It was the landlord and the soldiers that he hired.
That nailed Jesus Christ in the sky.
When the love of the poor shall one day turn to hate.
When the patience of the workers gives away
"Would be better for you rich if
you never had been born"
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
This song was written in New York City
Of rich men, preachers and slaves
Yes, if Jesus was to preach like
he preached in Galillee,
They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave.
sung to Jesse James

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thank you

This blog will resume normal programing tomorrow, or maybe today.

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Someone has given a generous contribution to save my legs and I thank you.

I just want to point out that if everyone who reads this blog on as semi regular basis would give two dollars a month, that's two cups of coffee each month, my bandaging needs would be met!

thank you.

click here to give

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Save Metacrock's Legs

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hospital where I was first treated (Plano, Tx)

I have asked for money before, but I hate doing it and try not to make a habit of it. I only did it to save my house so my brother and I would not be homeless. Now we have an equally compelling crisis. I helped a friend get her lights turned back on, now we don't have enough to keep our lights on. Moreover,I can't buy my bandages.

I need bandages everyday because I have problem called Venus ulcer disease. It means that the circulatory system in my legs has packed up and I am not getting blood back up form my ankles to the rest of the body. The consequences is that I have big gaping sores all over my legs and the skin rots and leaks "ouk." That's not a technical term. The technical term is "interstitial mass." But it's ouk. It's gross, my pants and shoes get all messy unless I bandage my legs.

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these are not my acutal legs but they did like this at one time.
They don't look this bad now due to weight loss and proper care.

Here's an article about it but the pictures are kind of gross
The major problem is infection.IF I get a bad infection my legs might have to be cut off. I am not exaggerating.

I am supposed to bandages everyday but I can't afford to. I have to use abd pads with ace bandages around them for compression. I only bandages every two or three days because I just can't afford the bandages.

I have been to churches and ministries and charities,to government social workers, the visiting nurses; there are no structures to pay for his problem. My family can only help me now and then.

Now I hate asking but you know, there areprofessional bloggers who ask their readership to support them entirely so that they are independent and only blog for a living.

I'm asking the regular readers of (that's you!) to become micropatrons of by contributing a moderate sum of money to help enable me to edit/write/design/code the site for one year on a full-time basis. If you find valuable in any way, please consider giving whatever you feel is appropriate.

I just don't think I have that much to say. No blog is that valuable when there are million others for free. On the other hand, I am only asking for help with one bill and bandages.

It's a truly disgusting feeling to have ouk dripping down your leg into your shoe, and it really can cause infection not to bandage. Infection would result in amputation.

Please click on the link to the left side bar under "website links" "save Meta's legs" or go here. This is the link to a button where you can donate through my pay pal account.

from Pub med
Quality of life of people with venous leg ulcers: a comparison of the discriminative and responsive characteristics of two generic and a disease specific instruments.
Iglesias CP, Birks Y, Nelson EA, Scanlon E, Cullum NA.

Department of Health Sciences, University of York, North Yorkshire, UK.

BACKGROUND: Venous leg ulcers are an important source of morbidity in society. Measuring the impact of leg ulcers on quality of life is important within clinical and economic evaluations.

I really need help and there is no source that it is coming from.

Venus ulcer disease is incurable, so I've been told by the wound care specialists. I have seen hints of cures on the net, but its so extremely expensive to even go to a wound care specialist. At one hospital near by its' $300. just to have an office visit! It's a painful condition. I am always in pain and no one really cares enough to just shell out $50.00 or so bucks a month to help keep my legs bandaged.

This is all I'm asking, just from some basic help so I can treat my legs and save them and to keep my lights on. In Texas summer you can't survive without air conditioning.

Thank you

Friday, September 14, 2007

Block Takes on Doherty

Block's Blog he is going through Dougherty's Jesus Puzzle 12 points one at a time.

Please don't miss this. I am looking most forward to it. I plan to keep us all posted.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Science vs Religion: Ignorance is the Soil through Which Hate Works into the Grass Roots

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I recently had a heated exchange on a board with an atheist. I don't remember who but I take his comments to be emblematic of the basic attitude of modernity toward religion. It's the old "science gives tangible effects" ploy:

Proof? Use demonstrable results as a proxy for the congruence of a belief system with reality. The rationalist world view has produced. In spades. Over centuries. Uncountable times. Medicine, computers, physics, engineering, cars, planes, trains, food supply, energy....on and on and on. Man's living conditions vastly improved...


This understanding of faith is naive and simplistic. This person's understanding of the history of ideas is even worse. First, it is not the rationalist view that has produced anything. Rationalism was destroyed by Kant. It is so extremely naive and simplistic to think that all modern thought amounts to is how to build bridges. That's the kind of thinking that perished with the 1939 world's fair.

Secondly, you want to pretend that skepticism and atheism are the subtext to science and are the true benefactors in giving us this stream of material gadgets. But he totally ignores the fact that many of the major scientific discoveries that gave us a modern world were made by Christians, or at least by those with some tangential religious ideas. I think more by Christians than any other group.

How does the theistic world view compare in delivering results? Nada. Zero. Zilch. Silence. Christians drinking poison, handling snakes and driving out demons? Christians can't even do what the book explicitly states they should be able to do, never mind the uselessness of these claims. Predict an eclipse? Can't do it. Regrow a severed limb? Can't do it.

I am not just using my blog as a bully pulpit to fire back at this guy while he can't post. Don't think I didn't give him something to think about on that boards. But I think these "ideas," these rantings express something we can't forget about the way a lot of people view religion now days. First of all, he wants to compare results between religion and science. He tags this "rationalism" vs "religion" so for him religion is faith and faith is irrational. I have already dealt with that none recently. Science and religion exist for difference reasons. Its' absurd to compare their results. That would be like saying "the red cross has not cleared a single square foot of land for the completion of the new freeway, it's a total failure as a humanitarian organization."

Those who claim that the lack of scientific validation for the truth claims of religion fail to understand the nature of scientific inquiry. Rather, they are imposing a philosophical point of view which pretends to be "science." These people are not scientific, but "scientistic." The transform a procedural methodology, material reductionism, into a metaphysics, that of materialist reductionism. The scientific methodological procedure proceeds from the notion that we gain understanding of the material realm by breaking down its components into their smallest aggregate parts to understand how they function. The philosophy of reductionism tries to reduce everything to the material realm. The philosophical reductionist says that because we know that material effects occur due to material causes, there must be noting but material causes. Anything that is not explained by a material cause is automatically excluded from reality. In this way they assume that miracles cannot accrue, and that God must not exist, because after all, there can be nothing beyond material cause and effect. C.Science is not the enemy of religious belief. In fact many modern greats in science are Christians.

Secondly, somehow our friendly atheist seems to think that snake handling sects are a major part of the religious world. I wonder if that isn't indicative of ignorance of religious groups? As for his final taught: "Christians can't even do what the book explicitly states they should be able to do, never mind the uselessness of these claims. Predict an eclipse? Can't do it. Regrow a severed limb? Can't do it." I don't

I really don't know where the Bible says we should be able to do either of these feats. I think any Christian who takes an astronomy class could predict an eclipse. Where does the bible say we should be able to regrow severed limbs? Atheists can't do that. why has that become the litmus test for religious truth? His vaunted science can't do that.

"Truth" does not need to be believed. No amount of fasting, cajoling, praying, wishing or hoping is necessary for any natural law to operate as it does.

we don't pray for natural law to work.

No banging of pots are required to get the Sun to shine after an eclipse. No heartfelt prayers are required to get the car motor to turn over. Just chemistry and physics.

These aren't things we would pray about anyway. This person is clearly venting. What amazes and amazes me is the sort up anger, frustration and hated these guys have. They are effecting a cultrual change at the grass roots level. we might be watching the beginning demise of religious consciousness and it's odd that we don't have the balls to even to do anything about it. I do not think they can succeed in destroying conscientiousness of God. As Andrew Newberg said "God wont go away" because he's hard wired into our consciousness. What they will probably succeed in doing is in destroying the consciousness necessary to hold together the social fabric. With Christianity gone as a social institution a lot of people will be lost and will live miserable lives for their lack of hope and value. All because ignorant people rant and rave and Church is too complacent to bother learning anything so they can't deal with it.

This is something I shot back at him:

the idea that physics = truth is stupid. science is a social constrict, you are merely imposing a truth regime that you take for "truth" because you don't understand how ideas work and you don't understand how science works.

Theists wish they were on the same playing field. They are not. Theism is intellectually bankrupt.

This is comging from a guy whose read a single theologian, who thinks science is the only form of knowledge but knows so little about science he thinks the universe is like a seed inside the singularity wasting eternally to pop out. He knows so little about intellectual history that he thinks science is rationalism.Almost every major modern thinker has been a Christian or religious. Almost no atheist in the pile. He think the playing field is science and the production of modern conveniences. So you don't even know where the ball park is. The only product of modernity for these scietnistic types is gadgets and tangible scientific products to buy.

Dawkins is a scientist but he has not any major discoveries.
Sagan was a nice guy and a fine scientist but not a great one, no major discoveries (temature of Venus, good but not in the league with Newton or Boyle).

Modern science was basically invented by Christianity. It was certainly nurtered by it.

There are those who try to extend scientific knowledge beyond its proper realm, that of explaining the workings of the physical world, and to forge a philosophical pretense. This pretense works on two levels. First, it is grounded in the material. It argues that since science tells us that there are natural causes for all effects, that there must be noting beyond the physical world. Since there is nothing beyond the physical world it is "unscientific" to believe in God. They understand this term "unscientific" to mean "untrue" or "unbelievable." In realty, while it may be "unscientific" in the sense that it is not something that can be proven through scientific means, that does not equate to "untrue." Science and religious belief function in two totally different domains. Religious belief functions to integrate the individual into the universe in such a way as to offer a sense of unity and belonging. Science functions to explain the way the universe works physically. These are two different tasks, and one cannot presume upon the other. The different domains model is not the only way to understand the relation between science and religious belief, and I do not support an absolutist model. I think the two do overlap in certain areas, especially where religious believers claim that God Affects the world; for example with claims of miracles. Nor should my comments be construed as claiming that religious claims of miracles should not be investigated.B.Science or Scientism?

Science owes Christianity Debt

All of the early modern scientific greats were Christians, and not merely because "everyone was," most of them (Newton especially) were exptremely devout (even the persecuted Galileo).But it is not only because of the rise of great Christian thinkers that science owes its birth to Christianity. It is also because of the universe involved in Greek science and in Christian science. R.G. Collingwood, one of the great historians of science, and Alfred North Whitehead, one of the great thinkers, philosophers, and historians of science in the 20th century both reached this conclusion. Collingwood reprises three major periods in the development of science:

(1) Greek: Nature permeated by mind, knowable because unchanging; two views:

(a) atomists; it's all the same substance all the down.

(b) idealists; it' all appearances of same principles; sameness in dealing thwith change, change is just different kind of permanence, appearance or mode of permanence.

(2) Renaissance (really early modern)[correlation between history and the way science came to be done.

Antithetical to Greeks, in Copernicus (1473-1543) telesio (1508-80) and Bruno (1548-1600). Denial of organic model, rise of mechanistic. Nature doesn't order itself. Christian view, product of creator, analogy between God and universe, watch maker and watch. For Greeks intelligence was nature's own, for PR was product of divine intelligence. Focus shifts from nature to mind. Rationality imposed from without [regularity due to natural laws] imposed from without. In other words, because the Greek incorporated mind into nature and fussed the distinction they were not able to understand the universe as rational and independent of human observations. Because Christianity saw the world as a machine and creation of a rational machine maker they were able to develop the mechanistic model which led Newton to invent scientific reductionism and that essentially is the basis of modern science (and here I speak of methodological reductionism and I do not use the term in the pejorative at all!).

The myths about religion and its relation to science are part of the cultural battle for the hearts and souls of humanity. The force of hate is growing in the world and that hate is super heated toward Christianity for verity of reasons. We have to combat it wtih truth. We have to start dealing with these misconceptions a forceful and radical way. We can only do this by educating ourselves.

Sources and other books of interest:

Fuchs, Stephan. The Professional Quest for Truth: A social Theory of Science and Knowledge. State University of New York Press, 1992.

Gay, Peter. The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism. New York: W.W. Norton & co. 1966.

Hacking, Ian. The Emergence of Probability: A Philosophical Study of Early Ideas about Probability, Induction, and Statistical Inference. London: Cambridge University Press, 1975.

Jacob, Margaret C. The Newtonians and the English Revolution: 1689-1720. Ithica New York: Cornell University Press, 1976.

James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience.

Lukes, Steven. "On the Social Determination of Truth," Modes of Thought: Essays on Thinking in Western and Non-Western Societies. ed. Robin Horton and Ruth Finnegan. London: Faber & Faber, 1973.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Second edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970 (originally 1962).

Popkin, Richard H. The History of Skepticism From Erasmus To Spinoza. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, revised edition, 1979 (original 1948).

Editor. "Introduction," The Philosophy of The 16th and 17th Centuries. gen. ed. Paul edwards and Richard Popkin. New York: The Free Press, Div. of Macmillon, 1966.

Shapin, Steven. A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth Century England. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Shapin, Steven and Simon Schaffer. Leviathan And The Air Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life. Princeton University Press, 1985.

Stout, Jeffrey. The Flight From Authority: Religion, Morality, and The Quest For Autonomy. Notre Dame, London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981.

Redwood, John. Reason, Ridicule, And Religion: The Age of Enlightenment In England 1660-1750. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976

Willey, Basil. The Eighteenth Century Background: Studies On the Idea of Nature In the Thought of the Period. New York: Columbia University Press, 1941.


Ignorance is the Soil t

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Complexity, Parsemony and Ground of Being

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I see atheists making this mistake all the time.

(1) If God is the origin of the universe and if the universe is complex than God must be more complex than the universe.

(2) for some stupid reason they can't say they seem to think origins can't be complex. so God can't be complex so there can't be a God.

(sometimes they play this off of a design argument that uses complexity as a sign of design).

(3) maybe they also think being complex means God is not the elegant solution and belief is unparsimonious (because they mistakenly think parsimony means "take the simplest solution."

My answers:

(this was an exchange on CARM)

Originally Posted by LACanuck View Post
I've been reading Metacrock's (mostly) posts regarding God being the 'ground of being' or 'necessry being'. A little digging on my part came up with this quote from Andrew Cohen

This brought to mind the question posed in the title. If there is a ground of being, why do we endow that concept with personality? Why do we give it creative powers as if the concept is deciding what happens? Why do we anthropomorphize the concept?

If the ground of being is spaceless, timeless, thoughtless, etc. how can it dictate/inspire the bible? Or have a son. Or a holy spirit?

there are different notions of the ground of being. John MacQurrie (a major theologian) explains the Trinity by saying the ground of being would be indistinguishable from nothing if not for its own self reflexive nature, which is echoed in the Trinity.

As for the aspect of consciousness. Charmlers argues that consciousness is a basic property of nature. Hawking says that the Gut theory needs a central organizing principle which he calls "God" so I assume both of these ideas indicate that consciousness is not just produced by individual brains but is endemic to reality. it's a basic properly, it's part of the unified field and basic to all reality.

It's part of the self reflexive nature of ground of being. It's not like our consciousness. We can't expect God to actually think or use ratiocinate.

If the phenomena is complex must it's origin be more complex?

No that's a fallacy. After all evolution says that we go from simple to complex, life begins with single cell, the universe begins with mere subatomic structure and well it all comes out of a single point. The universe is not like a plant, waiting around in the singularity seed for all eternity before it can germinate. That is not what science says, even though it is a "cool" image.

"complexity" is a matter of biology and physics. God is not biological nor is God subject to physics. The laws of physics are merely ideas in the mind of God. They are nothing to God. God is no more subject to physics than you are to a stray thought. Biological complexity is a function of evolution. God does not evolve, except in process theology his concrete pole changes with the universe, but that doesn't mean he grows in complexity.

Origins can't be complex.

There is nothing about complex that means an origin couldn't be complex.The Platonic forms, just to use an analogy, would be very complex, in fact there would have to be a form for complexity itself.But no one ever said the Platonic forms had to be designed. Although Augustine did say they had to be the product of mind, God's mind.

some play this point off of the design argument itself. But the conventional design argument is fallacious. I don't use it and I think much of most Christians attempts to use it. The only except is the fine tuning argument because the target levels give us something to compare.

while we might assume complexity is a sign of design it does not follow that complexity in and of itself equals design.

Complexity is not parsimonious.

This is just a mistake in the meaning of the term. First, there's more to Parsimony than just saying 'take the simple solution." Secondly, the simple solution refers to the simplicity in assigning odds or probability not simple in terms f the prosperities of the phenomenon proposed.

human sexuality is more complex in terms of the process and function than is the explication that that starks bring babies, but it is also more correct.

Originally Posted by rounin
I see Christians making thw same mistake: "If the universe is such and such, its origins must be a sentient being."

At any rate, one would have to agree that it's a mistake.
why is that a mistake? That's the way science does it. you don't find scientists saying "So what if there's background radiation and the red shift shows us the galaxy i expanding, that doesn't mean anything about the origin."

The Big Bang is inferred directly from the nature of the universe as we find it.

although I agree we can't reason from the nature of the universe to its origin in terms of design. But if you stick to that you lose the theodicy argument too.

Now you may ask how it is that we can reason form the nature of the world to the big bang but not form nature of the world to God? Because with the big bang we have a comparison. We do not have another universe that we know was made by God (0r not) to compare with this one to see what a God made universe (or a totally random chance) universe looks like. But we do have a comparison with Doppler's shift. WE can tell which way the stars are going.

By the same token, however, we can make a God argument out of it. Andre Linde talks about the stars all moving in equal directions in a flat universe that is indicative of design because we can compare it with an idea of random expansion we know that it is indicative of some force.


HRG;1804468]Sorry, the argument is faulty.

The complexity claim by itself has nothing to do with biology or physics; it is a statement of information theory. Unlike biological or physical processes, the creation of the universe by God is supposed to be a fully [B]planned [/B]process. Such processes are bound by Kolmogorov-Chaitin: the result cannot be more complex than the generating program or entity.
In addition, God's omniscience means that a full and exact model of the universe must be present inside God's mind. Again, his mind must be more complex than the universe.

How foolish to pin god down to human standards. you want to put god under the same strictures as all biological life. God is just a big man in the sky and he's just like any biology. No, sorry wont wash.

God is not biological. he's not bound by physics. we don't understand Go, nothing you can say sums him up. you cannot understand what he's made of or why he exists and we can't even call him "him" he's not a him or he. We can't say "it" we can't even use a personal pronoun.

let's say it again [B][I][SIZE="3"]god is beyond our understanding.[/SIZE][/I][/B]

Kolmogorov-Chaitin: will one day bow before the great white throne on their knees and be judged like little persons and God will not be impressed with what mathematician they were. HE wont say "O you are so brilliant, you impress me so, thank you for being my creature, will you please come teach me mathematics?" sorry, he will not care about any big words you use he wont care about anything you learned in school. But he will love you for the little baby Hansel that you once were.

If God's complexity cannot have grown, it must be there right from the start, and the theist is left with the burden of explaining the existence of a highly complex and thus highly improbable entity.

because that's what it means to be. That's what reality is. reality a product of whatever eternal state is indicative of God's mind.

but God is very simple because he's nothing more than the most basic act that could ever be that of pure being itself.

the whole assumption you make here is based entirely upon the physical universe, and upon phenomena which are subject o natural law. you have no concept that would allow you even being to contemplate a thing that is not subject to but actually creates that natural law.

You have no basis to even begin to think about it. and you have no big fancy math word what would rule out the idea of eternal mind.

Mind is very simple idea but it can be complex in its make up. you are just trying to subject reality to the tiny little sliver of it that man thinks he has pinned down.

P.S. An omniscient being would have to know the properties of[B] every subset [/B]of the natural numbers, and thus must be [B]uncountably [/B]infinitely complex (Set Theory 101).

where does the Bible say God is omniscient? If the eternal mind is infinite why can't it do that?

when you say "complex" you mean because biological organisms have lots of prts how do you count complexity for something that has no parts at all?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

On Cause vs Correlation in Miracle Hunting

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In the discussions of miracles several atheists have made some big misconceptions.

(1) mistaken assumptions about my knowledge of correlation and cause.

some assume that since they are clever enough to know the very basic information, the difference in correlation and causality, that I must not know that because I'm a Christian and Christians are stupid, and they are so very clever to know some basic fact that all high school kids should get, correlation is not causality.

But what they don't get is that just i argue inductively that correlation is indicative of a cause if certain conditions obtain, that doesn't mean I don't know the difference.

(2) What these very clever atheist don't get is that correlation is indicative of cause.
part of the problem is that certain people don't seem know what indicative means. Be that as it may, there is an epistemological gap in our knowledge it a problem at the most fundamental philosophical level. We can only establish causality in one way, buy making very correlations and eliminating alternate causes. This is the only way there is, and that's what Hume really proved with the billiard balls.

science can't prove causes. We can only prove correlations. When I assume causes on miracles, it's the only way we ever establish cause. Hans says "only if we eliminate the alternate causes." Yes, that's true, but it also leads to recursion of the original problem. Because if we can't observe causality and it must be inferred from correlation, then you can't say "I have eliminated an alternate cause by showing causality and eliminating it." That's just a repeat of the same problem. The alternate causes are only possibilities, they are not proven either. What is boils down to is in the final analysis a really tight correlation is the only way to determine cause. Although it is important to eliminate the alternative possible causes, essential in fact. What this means is I am right to assume causes from correlations, given that I can eliminate alternatives, and I usually can.

All of this means that medical evidence showing the disease went away, when examined by scientific medicos is good evidence for miracles. It's not absolute, there is no absolute. There will always be a gap in our epistemology. We will always have to make epistemic judgment.

(2) Don't need to show hit rate

The argument is made we must show the percentage of those healed vs not healed.

That's ridiculous. The reason is because we do not know the reason when someone is not healed. We cannot assume "O not bein healed means there's no ;god, because some are healed." Knowing the hit rate is important in many cases. such as prophesy, "so and so is a true prophet he predicted x," but how many predictions did the make that did not come true?

Knowing the hist rate is not true in terms of empirical evidence of healing because:

......(a) We don't know if the not healing is the result of no god, or God just didn't want to heal. Because a will is on the other end of the prayer we cannot treat it like a natural process and expect it to behave like a drug in a field trial.

......(b) Miracles are supposed to be impossible. they violate natural law. that's the whole theory of naturalism in a nut shell; nothing happens apart form natural law.

Thus if one miracle happens that proves miracles and all it takes is one. proving that x% are not healed doesn't prove anything. miracles are supposed to be impossible and can't happen, if one of them happens, or we can assume it happened, then that proves they do happen. We don't know the rate because God is not a drug. Divine healing is a matter of God's will.

(3) God's action in healing is not indicative of God's feelings about those healed or not healed.

This is the whole fallacy of the God hates amputees thing. You might as well say God hates breakfast because not once in my Christian walk has God ever made me scrambled eggs in the morning.

St. Augustine proved that there is no correlation between worldly prosperity or success and God's love. Rome was sacked by the vandals and everyone was saying "this disproves Christianity." but Augie said "no it doesn't, divine favor is not based worldly success. Stuff happens to Christians too, God causes it rain on the just and unjust."

(4) No double blind

Lourdes evidence does not need to be double blind First of all these are not "studies." They are not set up as a longitudinal study to see if healing works. These are real people and their journey to Lourdes is part of their journey in life in a search to be healed, they are not white lab mice plotting world conquest.

Secondly, double blind is used as a means of control so we know data is not contaminated by the subjects knowledge of the test. People suffering from an incurable disease cannot cure themselves. So it doesn't matter if they know. If the data shows the condition went away immediately and it can be documented that all traces are gone, the of course can assume healing, provided there is no counter cause such as he took a wonder drug before he left for Lourdes; they do certainly screen for that.

Of course there are still epistemological problems. There will always be such problems. That's why you can't prove you exist. But just as the answer to that problem is "Make epistemic judgment based upon regularity and inconsistency of data," so it goes with miracles, proving smoking causes cancer or anything else.

Thomas Reid got it right, we are justified in assuming empirical evidence provided it's strong evidence.

One more problem. When I say "correlation" this invites the question "how can you find a correlation if you don't know the hit rate? A correlation implies X and Y are seen together a lot, not just in one instance. But we can't go around giving people cancer and praying for them over and over to see if they ar always healed. We have to let multiple cases stand for correlation. But since we can't say why healing didn't take place we have to use empirical means to assert on a case by case basis.

come discuss this with me:

at Sense of the Numinous