Intellectual reflection on faith and life (input from others welcome).
Friday, August 20, 2010
Major discussion with Brap Gronk
Part 1 of 2 (maybe 3): In the category of better late than never, my comments:
Meta: "Any given argument might be rationally warranted, depending upon how it's argued. Rational warrant is like "logical permission to believe something" not actual proof. A person is logically justified in not believing something if that person truly has no reason to believe it."
Brap: I had long response written about that paragraph, but in the end it didn't really go where I thought it was going. Maybe this will be shorter. Essentially I think it boils down to when an argument for rational belief or non-belief is presented, the debaters will treat it as an argument for proof of that position and respond accordingly, as you did in this post and as your friendly (and not-so-friendly) atheist opponents do on your site. I can understand your not wanting to present your arguments as positive proof of God's existence, but that's how they are perceived and addressed by the peanut gallery. Just an observation, really, since I don't think it matters whether you call it rationally warranted belief or proof of God's existence, the responses will likely be the same.
That's true. you are right but I don't know what to do about it. If you go on not making arugments they dance around going "there's no proof, there's no proof!" Now they will never ever never never admit a God argument has a good point, but at least they shut them up for a bit and one can tell they are worried when their answers are so bad it's obvious they are beaten they get testy and all, so the arguments are rhetorically necessary.
Meta: "Why do I say that "I have never seen God" and the other initial responses are only understandable for someone who has never read a book and knows nothing about modern thought? . . . I include these answers because they are fallacious as reasons not to believe in God."
Brap: These points were just to establish that God is not part of the perceived universe. (Dividing the universe (or whatever the universe is a subset of) into three categories: Perceived, Detectable, and Theoretical.) God may have chosen to be part of the perceived universe for some people in the Old Testament, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in modern times.
Yes God is part of the perceived universe. It just depends upon how one is perceiving it. God is not given in sense data, but that's a given. We all know that. Atheists accept all kinds of things that are not given in sense data. Phenomenological methods go around sense data.
Brap: 5. I am not aware of any evidence of God’s interaction with our world. Natural laws can explain how things work and why things happen, as far as I know.
I am part of the world, I have interaction with God. Natural law is a game atheists play. When they need to deny it's perspective nature they do so, then when they need to be so they spring back tot he point there it's prescriptive.
Meta: “We should not expect to see anything but natural laws at work in the world becasue they are made to work autonomously. But such laws are a dead give away that there has to be a mind running the universe at some level, see my 3d God argument, "fire in the equations.""
Brap: Can we tell the difference between these three things: a) A God that interacts with our world in ways that do not appear to violate the laws of nature. (In other words, undetectable.)
Yes we can tell the difference but not in ways that demonstrate the reality of God as objectively demonstrable apart form other phenomena. So those ways discerning it may always be subjective and thus can't be used as proof, but for the person willing to make a leap of faith they can used as a guide. One way to distinguish that is not so subjective is porobablity. For exmaple the probability of religoius experience as prophetically noetic and transformative (positive, not negative at all, teaching and restoring and reviving one to a higher life) as a total accident or misfire of the neural net is so extremely improbable that the result of religious experience are a good indication of God, that's why I call it the book The Trace of God. Although that is meant to be undestood as the Derridian trace.
b) A God that does no longer interacts with our world, because nature runs on its own and works autonomously.
God does interact with the world. The sense of the numinous and the sense of God's presence the feeling of God's love are interactions.I do believe that God answers prayer. I beieve the Lourdes miracles are good evidence to that effect.
c) A God that does not exist.
Yes obviously there's a difference in God not given in sense data and not there being no God. The term "exist" has implications for Tillich, and as a student of Tillich's thought (although unfortunately not of his classes in seminary) I have to point this out. But never mind that, there is a difference in the reality of the divine and not being able to objectively demonstrate that reality to one who does not wish to see it subjectively.
Brap:Your “fire in the equations” argument seems very similar to the argument for intelligent design, which simply theorizes that absent a more plausible scientific theory regarding the origin of an apparently designed X, some sort of intelligence is behind it.
It's similar to a design argument but it doesn't suffer from the fatal falw in most design arguments, that we don't have something known to be designed or undersigned to compare it to. This is becuase comparing to law and mind we do have previous laws and minds to compare to. Rather than God of the gaps, this is atheism of the gaps. The argument doesn't just turn on a gap, it's a logical problem; how can you have a law based upon the tendencies of universe braining that universe into existence? What are "tendencies" derived from prior to the existence of the thing with the tendencies? That would seem to mandate prescriptive laws. But if the laws are prescriptive what else makes prescriptive laws but a mind? Dawkins wants us to be persuaded by the issue that only brains produce minds and only bodies produce brains, so God must have a body or he can't have a mind. But here's evdience of mind apart from body, yet it's based upon something we also never see, prescriptive laws apart from mind. How do you get a prescription without a mind to write it?
Brap:(Intelligence - - > Supreme Being - - > God) I will agree that the appearance of design does exist in both DNA and the laws of physics, but at one point in the not too distant past the human body appeared to be intelligently designed, as did the arrangement of the earth, moon, sun and stars.
"supreme being" wrong terminology, violation of Tillichism. Begging question, you do not know that there is not intelligent design so you can't use the existence of things in nature as proof that such design is not needed. Here the skeptical answers suffers from the same flaw as the design argument. But again, we have minds to compare to in judging about prescriptive law.
Brap:Science eventually closed those gaps in human knowledge, so fewer and fewer gaps needed God as an explanation. Right now the last two major gaps seem to be abiogenesis and the Big Bang.
Brap:But I don’t push the God of the Gaps argument because it’s really pointless. If and when science does solve that last remaining gap, the believers will simply say, “So that’s how God did it” and continue believing.
Order from Amazon
Ground breaking research that boosts religious arguemnts for God to a much stronger level. It makes experience arguments some of the most formidable.Empirical scientific studies demonstrate belief in God is rational, good for you, not the result of emotional instability.
Ready answer for anyone who claims that belief in God is psychologically bad for you.
Order from Amazon
Here’s a book that has almost nothing to do with religion, but I recommend for everyone: City Limit:
While it is a novel, it rings as true in a sense as any work of nonfiction out there.
This work is about the disturbing core of our society...
This is a powerful first novel, from Lantzey Miller, which I cannot too-highly recommend.