Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Battle Rages on: Dialouge with Spacemonkey

 somehow they just never seem to listen. This is one of the things that makes me most frustrated, the way they say the same things over and over again, year after year and never seem to learn. This exchange is about three posts on CARM this morning but it could be four years ago, any day of the week. I thank my dialogue partner, the inimitable spacemoneky.

Originally Posted by Spacemonkeyadb

Do you mean here that nothing but God could have this transformative effect? Or that nothing but RE could produce this effect?


so far the only actual data of such things comes from religious experience. many things we know can't produce it such as mental illness, which is always degenerative rather than transformative.

Quote: Spacemonkey
Because you've never even come close to establishing the former. And the latter is irrelevant.
sorry you are confused. The former is what is established as scientific fact, from that we can logically deduce the latter. That is a logical deduction not "never come close" I have most certainly come close, in fact I've proved it, in terms of rational warrant.

Nothing but visual illusions have the specific effect upon me that they have. But that is no reason for me to conclude that visual illusions must be produced by really existing impossible 3D objects.

But you are doing the deductive work of the argument. you are just creating a straw man argument that's really nothing more than a bad analogy and you are leaving out the crux of the thinking that goes into the rational warrant part.

(1) The RE stuff is the co-determinate--for various reasons we can expect this to be associated with the divine to the extent that we have a historical understanding of that term.

(2) Since we do have this relationship between the co-determinate and the phenomena it is rationally warranted to believe that it is indicative of the divine.

(3) it's not a proof, it's a warrant!

And to insist upon the positive effects of RE as a relevant difference here is to commit the fallacy of appealing to consequences (or do you still think that's just a conspiracy by atheists to subvert your arguments?).

that is a totally screwy understanding of what that fallacy means. nothing in that fallacy that say you cannot based conclusions on effects.

by your logic the Surgeon general was illogical to say smoking causes cancer. essentially all cause and effect relationships are built upon construal by correlation.

even when you have a mechanism, understanding a mechanism as a mechanism is based upon the contusing form correlation.

by your logic we can scrap cause and effect.

this is an example of the fallacy in sue according to an atheist site:

…I want to list seventeen summary statements which, if true, provide abundant reason why the reader should reject evolution and accept special creation as his basic world-view. …

13. Belief in special creation has a salutary influence on mankind, since it encourages responsible obedience to the Creator and considerate recognition of those who were created by Him. …

16. Belief in evolution and animal kinship leads normally to selfishness, aggressiveness, and fighting between groups, as well as animalistic attitudes and behaviour by individuals.
that differs from my use of the RE thing. Because I'm not saying "If you believe this you get good things." Even the alleged fallacy the way it is set up is not a fallcy. this is just the atheist hijacking of logic on the net. atheists who don't study logic use these phony assertions about fallacies that are taylor made to apply to God arguments. it's nothing but a huge lie.

be that as it may my arugement says some differnce must obtain between God doing something and nature doing it. If there's no difference between the two we have no reason to think that God is involved. The difference is in outcome.

that is very different than saying this must be true because it has good consequences.

You have never established that a purely naturalistic account of RE and its positive effects is less likely or plausible than a religious account which posits an actual God as responsible for them. And until you do that your argument does not even establish rational warrant for belief.


I sure as hell have open your eyes look for a change. did you even read this far? most atheists don't even read the material did you read this? open your eyes and look for a change!

(1) no research that claims to evoke the experience has used the M scale to verify

(2) chemical association are not disproof of Divine connection because it would have to be there anyway even with God. god has to use it so it's not a proof he's not doing it. that's like saying if people have ears it proves God isn't talking to them because God can speak through ears.

(3) I have 7 tie breakers that destroy this position but you have to wait for the book if I divulge it now the publisher wouldn't like it.

(4) you are attempting to lose the phenomena
Originally Posted by Spacemonkeyadb View Post
You have your former and latter mixed up. You just said you have proved that only God could bring about the effects of RE.

No I did not. I said the difference is what tells us it's connected to God. I didn't say only God can do it i said so far only RE has this association.

But I repeat that it is irrelevant that RE has a particular and positive effect on people, unless you can show that it is less likely to have a natural explanation than a supernatural one. You haven't done this.

you are not following my argument. I am not using the positive effects of RE as the exisgence for belief at the point of pay off for the warrant. I'm plugging them at the point of the tie breaker where one says "what's the difference in nature doing it and God doing it?" In all cases where where it's undisputed to be nature it's negative, in the only case where it's claimed to be God its positive, and if god was doing it we should expect it to be positive that tells the distinction between nature doing it and God doing.

so when you then say I haven't shown nature can't do it I jsut did. I showed that nature is not doing it. see what to assume it's nature a prori that is begging the question. the issue of RE is what is being argued about so you can't just assume a prori not God you have to show other cases. I show in the other cases nature does't act this way so why think it's nature now? there are other reasons but that's part of it.

showing that nature doesn't act that way in other cases is a reason to think that it's not now.

No. Belief in God-caused RE is not warranted unless you can show that a supernatural cause is more likely than a natural one.
I just did. Because in other case nature never acts that way so why assume it's nature now? especially when the effects are the reason religion exists and they aer what we should expect from the divine?


the content of the experience is overtly about the divine so there's no real reason to assert the falsehood of the content if the experience itself is real, then knowing that nature doesn't do it otherwise there's no real reason to not accept it as such.

Don't be ridiculous. I'm not saying all cause and effect reasoning is impossible. I'm just saying that the positive effects of RE are no proof of its having a supernatural cause.
they are not proof it, they are rational warrant because they are tie breaker. do you not understand? nature in other cases does not produce positive effects. In this case the positive effects are expected if God were involved, that is a good reason to think God is involved becasue it's a good reason to think nature is not.

It's also just a priori the nature of the experience is religious.

You miss the point. If RE had purely natural causes inside the brain, then unless you can identify some point where the supernatural intercedes in the prior causal chain leading to those brain events, you will have a case of causal over-determination, rendering your postulated supernatural line of causation entirely superfluous, redundant, and non-explanatory.

I just did that. we can say this is the point becuase nature doesn't do that. get it? it is not nature because nature doesn't do it.

you need a logic class. you don't understand the basic conceptions expedience or sense data or corroboration or how we know things. you need epistemology and logic. you don't understand co-determinate.

I said all of this in the previous post. if you were really listening you should have gotten it.

it's the very same as neutrinos. the argument about consequence is nothing more than the way neutrinos came to be understood. by your phony little alleged "fallacy" we should still not accept neutrinos.

simple answer:

If RE had purely natural causes inside the brain, then unless you can identify some point where the supernatural intercedes in the prior causal chain leading to those brain events,
(1) no evidence to show that brain chemistry produces RE because the studies that claim that don't use the M scale

(2) I have showen a point where the SN intercedes.

(a) nature doesnt' behave this way in any other case, not reason to think it would here. for example in menal illness it is not trnasformative

(b) there is reason to think this is SN because it's the co-determinate: the trace of God is the original of religion the sense of the numinous.

(c) the content is about religion,

(3) no reason not to regard it as a straightforward perception of divine presence, that's what it pro-ports to be and the corroborating factors validate it; nature doesn't do it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reflection on Statement by Ingersoll


Blog reader Kristen put this quote on my boards and asked for my reaction.


When I became convinced that the Universe is natural--that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light, and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world--not even in infinite space. I was free--free to think, to express my thoughts--free to live to my own ideal--free to live for myself and those I loved--free to use all my faculties, all my senses--free to spread imagination's wings--free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope--free to judge and determine for myself--free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the "inspired" books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past--free from popes and priests--free from all the "called" and "set apart"--free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies--free from the fear of eternal pain--free from the winged monsters of the night--free from devils, ghosts, and gods. For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought--no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings--no chains for my limbs--no lashes for my back--no fires for my flesh--no master's frown or threat--no following another's steps- -no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.

Kristen asked for my reaction. My reaction is one of bemusement. I hear this kind of assertion a lot and it's really funny, becuase such people have no concept of what I feel. They don't know God so they have no idea of what it means to know God. I can't account for how Ingersoll felt about his own sense of belief but I would be willing to guess he never had a "personal relationship with Jesus" (not that I really know) but he sure doesn't have seem to have had the sort of one I have.  Such people imagine that all all religious people are like slave, crouching in fear and scared to look up at the sy for fear they admire the stars and offend God, scared to death that if we stop prying for a single second we will go straight to hell, thus we must live in a panic of anxiety always signing and yearning and secretly hating God and longing to free ourselves form the "chains of superstition" yada yada yada. What this reminds me of is a passage by Kierkegaard. I don't remember where it's found now, but he says something to the effect that everyone sees how he gave up everything, quite his social life, how much time he spends on his writing, all the does it go out to eat for an hour and then return to write for the rest of the day and night. In spite of his aches and pains and in spite of how others think he's miserable he's actually deliriously happy.

Of course the truth is atheists who were formerly associated with religious institutions imagine that everyone there was as board as they were. They imagine that everyone involved in belief is as afraid as they were. I am so far from fitting the profile of Ingersolls man of fear that strikes me that perhaps I should fear that I'm too lax, but I don't. I am a slob, I am having fun I don't give a damn and I don't fear either God or devils. I don't refuse to fear God in the sense of the righteous fear of the Lord, sure I so. I don't stick forks in light sockets either. That's hardly reason to go to a shrink. But I do not fear that God will send to hell for making mistakes. I don't fear that God will send to hell if I don't pray. I should fear this because I don't pray nearly as much as I should given the results I've gotten, it's a positive crime but I don't feel fear, I know God is loving and kind and I don't fear that a loving kind center of goodness will do something stupid or capricious. Of course I had a wonderful father, and mother too, this might make a difference. The attitude that religious mentality is a slave mentality is absurdly stupid because I've never seen more fear or slave mentality than in my arguments with atheists. They are positively scared to death to think new ideas or to disagree with the pack (Christians have flocks, or herds, atheists have packs). Atheists slavishly follow by wrote,  I can predict what any atheist will say to any given idea becasue I've seen them say the same things thousands of times. Jesus said "he who is forgiven much loves much." I think that means the reason for this fear is that not having experienced the forgiveness of God, not having sought it and not having found it they understand it. That's just part of the internationalizing the values of the good that I talk about in connection with the theodicy arguments that I make. God wants us to go on a search for truth because it is only through seeking and finding on a personal existential level that we can truly interlace the rich sense of God's love and forgiveness. Otherwise it's just resentment because we feel forced to follow a bunch of rules. It's only when you see deeper than the rules that you are able to see past them to spirit of love behind them.

The kind of fear that Ingersoll describes is the fear of the rule keeper. It's the discovery of God's grace and the meaning of grace that blows away such fear the rule keeping mentality that goes with it. By "blows away" I don't mean hurtfully but as a conceptual enlightenment. The rule keeper says "I want to drink a beer, but I can't allow myself beer because that's against the rules, that's a sin." The rule keeper lives in fear of violating the rules, o no! I broke the rules now I'll get in trouble. Paul says the rules are against us. Atheists often express incredulity because they don't see what that means. What it means is the rule keeper is not for the rules, the rule keeper struggles against the rules, he keeps only because he fears punishment. The rule keeper doesn't agree with the rules, he only keeps them them because he fears not keeping them, thus his/her whole spiritual life is a struggle agaisnt the will of the maker of rules. When we discover grace we realize not only unmerited favor, we need not earn our way in we have the "in" automatically all we need dos is love, but we also discover the power of God which gives us the strength not to break the spirit of the rules. We also gain a deeper insight, the spirit of the rules, becasue we care about the reason, the thing they are aiming at not just getting in under the bar but actually fulfilling the purpose for which the rule is made. Then if the rules bent or broken they are not necessarily violated if we are still seeking to fulfill the purpose. That's the lesson Jesus taught when he picked wheat on the sabbath so the disciples could make bread.  Or when David ate the show bread, that's the example Jesus followed. The rule keeper doesn't care about the purpose, he/she only cares about fitting the minimum requirement. So the rule keeper cant imagine actually wanting what God wants and not fearing, the lone living under grace has a hard time remembering being afraid.

Because the rule keeper is locked in a battle of will with the rule maker, for the rule keeper its about fulfilling his/her own will. When a rule keeper decides not to mess with the rules anymore, he/she mistakes his/her own will for freedom. When is free one is allowed to do one's own will and thus the rule keeper, who known only the struggle to fit the letter of the law, knows only either limitation on will or the freedom to do one's own will and thus imagines this all that of which freedom consists. This is like ignoring the distinction between constriction and responsibility. Like a child who stays up past bedtime the rule keeper is giddy with excitement at the possibility of the triumph of the will in some small area. The God lover who lives under grace understands that with freedom comes responsibility. He or She is free, but doesn't choose to use that freedom in ways that displease God. Seeking the will of one we love is not slavery, it's love. The immature emotionally distressed rule keeper doesn't understand this. This is not to say of cousre that all you do not believe in God are emotionally immature. Plenty of religious people fall into this category. That is one thing Ingeroll is right about, many Christians do think the way he did. At least those we might term "chruch goers only," might think this way. Using responsibility is not slavery, just as refusing to play on the free way is not cowardice.

This statement by Ingersoll reminds me of my attitude toward God when I was six and seven years old. In those years I was just coming to read history and to comprehend the rhetoric of patriotism and cold war anti-communism. I valued freedom above all else. Statements about being free and how great freedom is always grabbed my attention and gave me a sense of values oriented around the Texan concepts of rugged individualism and lack of formality, which we Texans mistake for real freedom. I was appalled at the idea of slavery (and still am) so when I would heard things about God is "the Lord" and connected that to feudalism I would say "why do we have to slaves!?? It seemed incredibly unjust that some big God man in the sky would tell me what to do. I ask my father, sitting in chruch during the sermon (the perfect time to get a non answer) "are we God's slaves" he didn't know what I was asking he just brushed me off saying something like "Of cousre, keep quite!" He was a great  guy but also almost def and lived in his own little world, it was hard for him to hear the sermon. He wasn't always quick on the uptake to really grasp what really bothered me, not to say that he didn't care. I blistered with anger "why do we have to slaves!?" A few years latter I got over it by just realizing that it's not the same sense, it's not a feudalistic thing. God is not a salve driver we are not required to build pyramids. Then the only problems of control revolve around people and their vain ambitions to control in God's name. I came to that when I was eleven. I suppose I was ahead of Ingersoll at that age, at least in this regard.

What this quotation reminds me of is the attitude I had when I first got saved. When I realized for the time moment that God was real and that he loved me, these two moments did not at the same time, but they did eventually merge into the same instant. When I first realized that the foundation of all reality was a center of love and goodness that  actually was there, is there, all the loneliness, rejection, frustration, were things of the past in my life because the reality was love, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense and feeling of the joy that I was set free by Jesus' blood. The walls of the prison that had been constructed for me by my own sense of rejection and outcast nature of people's selfish game playing crumbled and fell and the dungeon was flooded with God's pure light of truth and reason. That mental space of confinement was flooded with the lightning bolts of logic and I realized that I was free to find truth and to know with an utter deep confidence that permeated the depths of my soul that I had found true answers to the problems of life with which I struggled and agonized since I was a child. The chains of guilt, shame, rejection and insecurity and inferiority fell away. I was no longer a slave to my own sense of inadequacy or to the harsh judgment of those who jockeyed for their own sense of self esteem based upon ridicule of others.. I was a willing servant, which is not humiliating, service is noble not oppressive. I was not a slave, I did not understand God as "master" but as father, guardian, friend. I began to express my thoughts more, not less. I began to think more because I had much more to think about. I had an ideal to live our for the first time. I had had ideals before, but not really the kind one can live, just the kind one reads about and argues over in coffee shops. I did not seek to live for self alone because I was for the first time in a love relationship and wanted to please the other. I was not concerned with getting my way becuase I did strive against a set of rules but sought to live out the purpose for which the rules were made. I was free to love without fear of rejection or inability to sacrifice. The limits of selfishness were gone. I was for the first time able to judge for myself because now I actually had a deep sense of what I knew. I was and still am free to reject ignorance or any ignorance creed in any form, especially those of the atheists, as I grew in faith and developed more knowledge, I began to realize that I was free to reject false concepts of inerrency and seek to understand the true nature of inspiration. I was now free to use faculties of reason plus those I never realized I had, spiritual gifts, intuition, discernment. I was free to reject anything in or beyond the Christian tradition that I thought was ignorant, and I still am. I am free form the bigoted misuse of concepts about primitive people and racist nonsense about "savages" and free form the bigoted stupidity that people spout about ancinet religions they don't understand. I am free from crule creeds and free to exercise the insight that not all creeds are cruel. I am free from popes, why I'm a protestant, I'm free from the priesthood and also free to be a priest. Also free to be prophet and king. I do not fear ghosts or demons weather they exist or not. Atheists only decline fear in what they believe not to exist. I have no reason to fear the forces of hell even if they are real. For the first time I was free from the clutches of sin, and still am. I am free to seek the good and free to shun sin which I despise. I am also free to overcome sin that I carve but know is evil. I have no prohibited places in the realms of thought. I am free to seek truth and love and to live up to the light I have been given without fear and without strife. I stand erect adn fearless able to face all worlds. I do not fear economic collapse. I do not fear humans or demons nor do i fear that any highest or depth or principalities or powers can hurt me in any way that God does not sanction and nothing that happens in this life can effect what happens in the next.Nothing can separate me from the love of God.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reductionism in Action

this starts in the middle of an argument on my religious experience arguments. From the CARM board and illustrates some well worn ploys that reductionists use.

Originally Posted by souper genyus View Post
The fact that something makes you happy, comforted, content, complete, etc. is no reason to suggest it's true.

It's not a matter of happy. see you are trying to reduce it. you are losing the phenomena which what (all that) reduction every accomplishes. You are taking a complex argument about co-determinate and turning it into "It makes me happy so it must be true" I wonder why you do that? I can't believe you are not subtel enough to understand the more sophisticated argument, so you must somehow think that reducing the meaning until you lose what's said then attack the remaining straw man is the proper way to conduct an argument.

It's an argument from sign. I admit those are not always good to make but it's not a fallacy a priority. It's not argument begin happy either.

life transformation is a hell of a lot more than just happy.

the point is that it works because it does what religion is supposed to do. That makes criticizing it very pointless. After all what are you criticizing but the thing in line anyone ever found? That's not exactly an elegant solution.

now if I said "I can prove the existence of god" the yes you would have a point. But since I said "I can show it's rationally warranted" you have no case at all. Because it is rational to stick with something that works and that revolutionizes your life and basically gives you the great existential touchdown that every one is really looking for.

That's a rational reason to believe and the fact that it fits the criteria by which we determine reality is an even better reason. That in itself is a totally valid reason to believe the reality of an experience, because we use the same criteria to determine the validity of all experience, and experience is the bedrock of everything we think about reality.

Quote:Super Genyus
That's wishful thinking, plain and simple. Things do work that way. That's why nonsense like astrology, psychics, mediums, etc. all are horribly prevalent. These things give comfort.
In addition to reducing it to the point of the phenomena loss you are also arguing from analogy and a little bit guilt by association. Lump it in with BS like astrology despite the fact that it has vast amounts of empirical to prove it's true. Astrology doesn't have that. but you just ignore that and pretend you can argue form analogy anyway.

Surely if you believed that, through a medium, that your dead loved one was "on the other side," watching over you, and forgives you for the times you hurt them, you would feel a sense of wonderful comfort in that idea. That doesn't mean it's true. It isn't, as mediums and psychics are almost certainly nothing more than mentalists that pretend it's something paranormal (look up cold reading). This is an example of an error of believing a falsehood, but you can also be a victim of not believing a truth because it is discomforting. If you had cancer but remained in denial, you might be in a better state of mind than if you accepted that truth. That doesn't make it false.

all of which is beside the point because that's your straw man bad analogy argument not what we are really discussing. mystical experience is not magic and it' snot astrology and its not psychics and is validated by empirical studies a whole bunch of them. you are ignoring the issues to make bad fallacious arguments.

You should look at the section in Spilka 2003 about "Mysticism as an evolved consciousness." It exists because it is beneficial, not the other way around (so the hypothesis goes). Mysticism reduces stress, develops group unity, etc., so it is possible for it to be evolutionarily beneficial. If it's good for your genes, it doesn't matter if it causes an erroneous belief most of the time.
NONON you are misapplying what he said. Hood, Spilka's co author advised me in writing my book. I happen to know they agree with my argument. you have misinterpreted, (and I really have to wonder if not purposely) so you can introduce a bunch of emotive fallacies that atheists will go for which you yourself should know are fallacious.
Liberal and religious people often have trouble with thinking that evolution formed what's between the ears. I understand, but it's ridiculous to think it.

There's an experience. that experience is the reason religion exist. It's a reaction to the experience. The experience is a puzzle religion is an attempt to understand what it means. To the extent that it's explained well (according to the phenomena of the experience) then the experience validates the hypothesis because it conforms to the predictions. that means religion is a good explanation of the sense of the numinous so we should trust it. trust warrants belief, that = rational warrant.

I've told you I'm a pragmatist, so you know I don't believe this. But, you are confusing pragmatism with wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is unpragmatic. It doesn't work at determining what is true and false.
that's ludicrous, how in the hell can 300 studies that show transformational power in one's life be "wishful thinking?" It's wishful thinking that has come true over and over again for millions of people around the world and it's predictable. We can predict it, you have the experience, your life is transformed that's nto wishful thinking!

you don't' know what you are talking about.

It solidified my skepticism of your claims.
you didn't really read it, or if you did you have no understanding of what it says. I have been conducting an exchange of views with the author for over a year now. I know what he says I k now what says he meant.

you have not the sidelight idea what you are talking bout. your argument are nothing more straw men and fallacies.

it happens every time. you think here's one of them who can really think and is a nice, o good, no. just another hate group minion who is totally closed to reason.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quotable quote from Metacrock

I saw a right-wing guy ragging on Obama on the CARM secular political board, here's what I told him:

"your understanding the need for change is less sophisticated than my five month old nieces understanding of the need for change, but net effect is you both sound a lot alike trying to give commentary."

A life long friend, the father of my best friend from first grade, was a stanch republican. He was agaisnt the civil rights movement when I met his son in first grade in 1963. He called himself "a ultra conservative." I almost punched him out on election night 1972 when McGovern lost but two factors prevented me from doing so, I was drunker than I've ever been and was doing a bang up rendition of "The Mighty Quinn" (Bob Dylan) in his flower bed in his front yard at about 12:30 am and he was so understanding that we lost that I could not be mad at him for too long. It was not raining. UP to that time we had exchanged some pretty harsh words over politics, and Vietnam and the general drift of culture He was the most right-wing person I knew.

That guy became a Democrat after eight years of Bush. He didn't become a one night just for now kind of Democrat, though he grew up in Mississippi, he denounced racism, became a liberal, was against Bush well before the feared collapse of the banks. All of that was without Obama. He died before the primaries. Most of it was because Bush screwed up so badly, and he was a big named Accounted in a city that is extremeley busienss oriented, and he believed the Republicans had departed from all sound financial understanding.

Most people voted for Obama out of fear. Now that the banks aren't collapsing it's ok to go back to business as usual. The Dems were so helpless and depressed after eight years of Bush they can't fight for anything anymore.

I am mad as hell but I'm really too numb to care.

Just the Facts? Is Science the Only Form of Knowledge?


One thing I've often noticed about message boards, they work in waves. What I mean is, a wave of one kind of argument will come out and that's all you hear for a time. The atheists all say the same  things and point out the same things and they do it wave. Right now the wave is for the notion that sicence is the only form of Knowledge and only matters of fact are real. So in other words, if something isn't supportedd by fact hen it's "imaginary." That's the big pay off form them, God is "imaginary" so you would have to be a big fool to believe there's a God. Not one single fact proves God is He's "imaginary." The only that matters is fact. All you can believe is fact. If you believe something that is not a prove fact you are just the biggest kind of jackass the world has ever seen.

Robert T. on CARM says:

Things that are said to exist are detectable and evidenced; otherwise, existence becomes a meaningless word. What is the difference between a thing that exists and a thing that is only imaginary?

Lee Randolph on Debunking Christianity:

"Disregarding Established Knolwedge" 7/12/29

Its simple,
If your beliefs are not consitent with established human knowledge, then they probably are not justified. In that case, other people are not justified in believing what you say about them, and furthermore you have no reason to expect anyone to believe you.

So knowledge has to be established to be accepted. But then one wonders how we ever make new discoveries? They would have to start out as established, then they wouldn't be discoveries. If it is the case that we can let the barrier down long enough to find some new facts then it's not the  case that only estabilshed knowledge is valid. Of course he's going to say it matters how it's established  Now this is where the ideology comes in. Because he is going to say there's only one way to establish knowledge, that's his way; science. But not just any science obviously, because when I have discussed 350 empirical studies and documented why they are good studies and given a bibliography with every study listed, even then the atheists are too lazy to look up a single one. They brush whole lot of them aside without one single "fact" or one counter study, with no support at all for their ignorant dismissal. They are just cock sure that they must be crap and so there's no need to investigate. That's the true mark of "free thinking" that one is narrow minded and unwilling to investigate. They sweep aside studies with no good reason, using chinsy arguments such as "Depok Chopra is listed on the same bibliography so these studies must be bad." They are so deeply committed to scientific knowledge.

The fact is they have no commitment at all to learning or science. They mark out science as the only valid form of knowledge merely because they mistakenly think that it protects them from an angry God. Too lazy to think they seek to hide behind a wall of "facts." Hiding behind numbers they think makes them invulnerable to argument. They don't have to think, they don't have to face who they are or what they have done, that's not in the numbers so it doesn't matter. Now that the new mantra "just the facts" is going around as the latest atheist gimmick (just as God hates amputees did at one time) they have quick, easy to spout an automatic response so they don't have to think about the issues. There are no issues, it's easy as pie. Either you just shut up, hate Christians, follow what the atheist websites tell you is important and believe "the facts of science" and you don't have to sweat it. There's absolutely no data for God and so therefore its' stupid to believe all the other other ideological regurgitation from the great fool know nothing Dawkins.

It doesn't require some fancy Postmodern bs to see this for  the naive position it is. The absurd mythology of the pristine holy scientific data, all knowing, inviolable, enlightened data that almost reeks of medieval devotional parlance. One almost expects to see them genuflect before a test tube. People gather data. That is to say, weak foolish and self interested human beings gather data. "Facts" are deceptive and they are not always what they seem. It is super foolish to pretend that there is this great wall of data that protects you from the angry God and proves your reductionist anti-human world view and makes you invincible and all knowing.People are biased bigoted self interested jerks. Facts can be false, they can be looked at wrong, they can be misinterpreted, they can be researched selectively, they can be foolish and unimportant. The famous journal debate in the 30s between Lundberg and Lynd, Lundberg argued sociologists don't collect data on the number bricks in a tenement and economists don't collect dates on coins in the economy. All research is selective and it is always done with an ideology in mind. All research is aimed at backing a paradigm.

Facts stack up to support a paradigm. They are the bed rock upon which a paradigm sits. But when the paradigm shifts (which happens because there are too many anomalies it no longer explains enough) then the facts that supported the old paradigm, still facts, become unimportant anomalies and no longer matter. It takes more than facts. you have to understand the big picture. You have to self aware, know the limitation of your view and your biases and you have to understand the philosophical stage upon which your data is presented. That's the only way to make sense of anything. People research collectively, they screen facts selectively.

To an ideologue the only facts that matter are those that support the ideology (paradigm). Thus all other facts are not counter evidence, they are merely anomalies to be absorbed by the paradigm and forgotten. Such is the case with atheist arguments.

Look at Mark, a guy on carm who attacked my writing, droning on and on about how fact oriented he is. I have presented a slew of facts. I have 350 studies that back up a huge array of data, representing thousands of facts. These are facts. It's a fact that people with this experience score higher on self actualization tests than those who don't. But that means nothing at all to any athist. water off a ducks back. ITs' a fact and it's well prove by what do agheists choose in stead of facts. They take un supported undocumented bs off the cuff that minimize the importance of the data and totally ignores the facts.

Has Mr. Fact man (Mark) ever presented a single fact? one study? no not to my knowledge. In all the years I've been on CARM (since 99) I have seen three atheists use studies, each one of them used just one study.People like Mark rant and rave about the importance of facts. They have no facts at all that disprove God. they make totally supported statements about the alleged lack of facts backing belief in God knowing full were there are thousands of facts supporting arguments for God and the only problem is the squabble over interpretation (of course they have a totally biased motive to down paly disregard and demean the facts presented in God arguments). Suddenly the fact are totally unimportant and philosophical concerns come the fore again and interpretation becomes all important when arguments life tuning arise. The atheist respect for the facts is totally limited to facts that support his world view only!

The scientistic or reductionist crowd has changed the meaning of the term knowledge. They have redefined the concept to the point that it no longer means anything but scinece. They have done a reductionism on the concept. Wikipeidia defines scinece as "knowledge." This is not an authoritative source, but it is  a good indication of the fallout among popular view points.

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome. In this sense, science may refer to a highly skilled technique or practice.[1]

The problem here is Scientia is not science. That term had a special meaning prior to the advent of mathematical probability. I did a major paper in Graduate school on this and it was part of my dissertation research. Ian Hacking documents that scientist was authority, it was a kind of "probability" prior to Pascal's version of mathematical probability and it worked by the authoritative sighting of traditional venerated sources. In the general population the easy formulation of "science = knowledge" has come to be made so lazily and easily that this is all people know. People no longer bother to distinguish between types of knowledge. The notion that science is the only form of knowledge follows naturally out of that reductionism.

The "real" authoritative dictionary definition of "knowledge" is not limited to just scientific knowledge.

Webster's online Dictionary

Main Entry:
knowl·edge Listen to the pronunciation of knowledge
Middle English knowlege, from knowlechen to acknowledge, irregular from knowen
14th century

1obsolete : cognizance2 a (1): the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2): acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique b (1): the fact or condition of being aware of something (2): the range of one's information or understanding c: the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning : cognition d: the fact or condition of having information or of being learned 3archaic : sexual intercourse4 a: the sum of what is known : the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind barchaic : a branch of learning

This definition of knowledge from the real dictionary does not limit knowledge to science, in include awareness of anything including art. Atheist limit knowledge to science in the mistaken delusional belief that science somehow disproves God and provides them with a means of buffeting the logic of God arguments they can't beat.
The irony is that even though the reductionists have foisted this er zots view upon the public scientists themselves don't buy it. Scientists working environmental fields for example have gained respect for "traditional forms of knowledge" (that means "primitive people gathering roots and herbs). Scientists working in these fields contrived ways to preserve and venerate the use of traditional knowledge while understanding it's application to modern science.

"Science, Traditional Knowledge and Sustained Development"
CSU Series on Science for Sustainable Development No. 4

In addressing the goals of sustainable development, the role of science is crucial; scientific knowledge and appropriate technologies are central to resolving the economic, social and environmental problems that make current development paths unsustainable. However, science does not constitute the only form of knowledge, and closer links need to be established between science and other forms and systems of knowledge in addressing sustainable development issues and problems at the local level such as natural resources management and biodiversity conservation.

Traditional societies, usually with strong cultural roots, have nurtured and refined systems of knowledge of their own, relating to such diverse domains as astronomy, meteorology, geology, ecology, botany, agriculture, physiology, psychology and health. Such knowledge systems represent an enormous wealth. Not only do they represent other approaches of the acquisition and construction of knowledge and harbour information often as yet unknown to science, but they are also expressions of other relationships between society and nature in general and of sustainable ways of managing natural resources in particular.

(ICSU is tied into UNESCO).

Science still relies upon reason for it's premises and for the understanding of its data. This means that science as a pristine and pure fact rather appertains which is always objective and correct is an illusion and myth. Since still requires reason and so one must understand logic and reason to understand science.

Course "Some People think Science is the Supreme From of knowledge."
gooble html version

Science also relies on reason as a way of knowing. Reason is used to turn the data that the scientist has collected into a logical conclusion. Sometimes scientists draw the wrong conclusions from their research.  This is called post hoc ergo propter hoc or 'false cause'. For instance: 'both today and yesterday it rained. I did not take my umbrella with me on either day; I will lake it with me tomorrow to ensure that it does not rain.' It is important to realise "the essence of scientific truth: it can never be proved experimentally that a claim is correct, but it can be proved that it's wrong".4*  This is because of a characteristic of the logic that a scientist uses when interpreting his data. This interpretation is generally done through Induction, the idea that because your experiments keep confirming your hypothesis, the hypothesis is correct. Karl Popper observed that every swan he had seen was white. He concluded that all swans were white. However he had been observing swans in the northern hemisphere, and black swans exist in places such as Australia. Albert Einstein said: "A thousand experiments may prove my hypothesis right, but one experiment can prove it wrong”.5  No scientific theory is certain; it has just not been proved wrong yet. However most of us accept that it is true that day turns to night because the earth is turning on its axis. Therefore some theories are so close to certain that they are accepted as true.

The book that I'm writing, and almost finished, is a prime example of the need to go beyond this mere wall of numbers in seeking truth. There's a vast subject area atheists are as afraid  to explore, that is the field of psychology and religion. This is the field that produced the 350 studies on religious experience. There is much more to it than just that. The study I posted before, about religious expedience and the "physically challenged" is a prime example. That study demonstrates the use of reason, philosophy and other areas of knowledge in the scientific method to produce a deeper understanding of human experience. They are not trying to reduce experience to a wall of numbers so they don't have to take responsibility or feel anything, they are trying to actually get at a reality about being human. That study even uses phenomenology in a way that allows the data to suggest categories rather than submerging the data in preconceived categories.

That's the whole point of phenomenology in the first place We normally pigeon hole sense data into preconceived categories. This means that most research is done to confirm biases rather than to find truths. Phenomenology is an attempt to get around that process by allowing the data to suggest the  categories itself.  With the phenomenological outlook the kind of data used is sense data not numbers that have already been digested and transformed into ledger sheets or distilled into biased pre ordained conclusions. This sort of thing has been going on in psychology for a long time. Some of it is wacky, some is "new age," some is very valid and it requires reason to discern which is which. The reductionist pigeon hole because they have to have that unassailable wall of numbers to hide behind. They reduce anything to the distilled numbers that can be used to support their biases.

The atheists create an even more truncated step in this process by directly filtering all "facts" through the ideological lens. Half of my God arguments are based upon empirical  data. But the atheists can't handle, they can't answer God arguments so in an attempt to just make theists shut up and stop embarrassing them with stuff they can't answer they come up with the idea that God arguments are just wrong headed a priori and they are not be listened to. Thus the facts that support those arguments have to go away. They are not longer facts and they are not important facts, they are just anomalies to be absorbed into he paradigm.Atheists on the message boards have such little regard for the facts (the one's I present, well documented and totally researched thousands of empirically scientific facts gathered in hundreds of studies) they refuse to even look one of them up! that's how dedicated they are to facts.The bias and hypocrisy of researchers is the most important fact of all.

We have to think about God in terms of philosophical arguments because God transcends "thinghood" and is not given in sense data. This is far from meaning that God is not detectable. But we can't do in science, we have to use other means. There are other means. We know that scientific knowledge and method allows things to fall through the cracks away. Induction by its nature, in terms of scientific usage, only takes averages and allows things that don't fit the average to fall through he cracks. On a basic simple level, the average woman is not strong enough to beat up the average man. But there are women who can mop the floor with me because they don't fit the average, probably neither do I. The very concept that knowing about great ideas is not intelligent and doesn't require intellectual ability (which is something most of these atheists believe) merely because they don't accept philosophy and thinking, is just idiotic. They have to rule out the acquisition of knowledge concerning great ideas.

The real tyranny comes in where they attempt to rule out any epistemic or ontological alternative merely because it doesn't suit their ideology. God is at the basis of reality, God is the foundation of reality. God is not a thing in creation. So naturally God can't be studied directly through empirical means, he's not given in sense data. God has to be fall between the cracks. Then he's ruled out of established knowledge because only that which is given in sense data can be distilled into the impregnable wall of numbers. The wall of numbers (the one atheists hide behind so can't see them) is only constructed out of "facts" they deem important anyway (those that support their ideology). So at that rate they already have multiple levels of reduction where they have closed the cracks on the things that fall between them and merely pretend they were never there. The supreme arrogance of this tyranny is the worst in humanity. The reason is because they are willing to screen out the most sacred ideas, love, truth, tolerance, open mindedness, learning, thinking, art, life, emotion, morality, merely to get God arguments off their backs and to maintain this impregnable wall of numbers behind which they imagine God can't see them.

We can see them doing this screening process all the time. I hate to pick on Lee Randolph again, but he so clearly typifies this ideological goose stepping:
7/10/2009 "direct evidence of moral behavior from evolution."

My working hypothesis is that Game Theory and simple rules derived from self-interest are sufficient to generate self-organized behavior that is labeled as "Morality". Here's more evidence to back that up.

Evolution Guides Cooperative Turn-taking, Game Theory-based Computer Simulations Show,

"We published indirect evidence for this in 2004; we have now shown it directly and found a simple explanation for it. Our findings confirm that cooperation does not always require benevolence or deliberate planning. This form of cooperation, at least, is guided by an ‘invisible hand’, as happens so often in Darwin’s theory of natural selection.”

The problem with this kind of thinking is that just finding biological roots for behaviors is not morality. We are not getting at the origins of morality by showing forerunners in biology. All we do with that is to show, maybe, the origins of our inspirations for morality. Trying to reduce values to pragmatic tips for survive is not a valid means of demonstrating the nature of moral thinking. We could explore than invisible hand thing. There might be an organizing principle that suggests the TS argument, or it might just be an empty invisible hand that has nothing better to than fill itself with a  useless exercise in number crunching. But the fact remains, morality is a form of ethics, and ethical requires ethical decision making. you can't get an ought out of an is, biological tenderizes for behavior are only "is." Before you can turn these unimportant facts into ethical decisions you have to do some thinking, that thinking has been done for the most part by philosophers. This is part of what we call "knowledge." So to understand mortally we have to expand you knowledge base to something other than science.

Facts are not knowledge. We need to understand the global nature of knowledge. Facts are not the limit on the nature of knowledge. Like Webster's says that knowledge is any understanding of anything. In an educational sense "knowledge" is the learning we derive from understanding what we study. We can't narrow the field of matters deemed worthy to study to just scientific matters. The basic human condition is what should concern us because we are human Our condition implies that all knowledge is important. We need to be global in our understanding of knowledge. The ontological and the metaphysical are above the scientific because they include the sweeping structures that tell us what is important knowledge and what is a lose collection of "facts" gathered as the analogue to a string collection. The hard science reductionists are even willing to cancel out social sciences. We need all of it, art, literature, philosophy, history, social science, every field. The reductionist ideology seeks to control minds. It seeks to shut down learning and shut down reflection upon being human.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Did Paul Silence Women? The Power of Quotation Marks


Loyal opponent Loren makes the comment that Paul told women to "shut up." But he did not. If we study the actual Greek we realize that the case is just the opposite.

The passage is 1 Corinthians 14:34

14:34(RSV) the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says.
If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?
If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.
If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

Most mainline Protestant denominations ordain women as ministers. The UMC does it, the Presbyterians, the majority of Lutherns, and many others. That doesn't prove they are right of course, but it does mean that quoting commentaries on that verse is fairly useless since the "liberals" can muster several seminaries full of scholars to defend their views. Major denominational structures don't undertake major policy changes without vast study, many committee reports form tons of theologians and scholars and so forth. All of that exists in those churches on this issue.

My own view is influenced by that of Gilbert Bilezikian, in his work, Beyond The Sex Roles. Before examining that position, however, I will examine another view, that of interpolation.


In any case there is a large body of scholarship now which supports the idea that this passage is an interpolation and doesn't even belong in scripture. The major textual support for that is that in some of the earliest copies of MS the passage is placed after v 40.So my view is actually a concession to a more conservative view, because there is a case to be made for the idea that the passage doesn't even belong there; my view treats it with more respect as the word of God, but merely tries to interpret it differently than most have done.

Is There textual evidence for the Interpolation view?

Robert Nguyen Cramer writes,  Bibletext on line Bbile commentary,"Metzger and others acknowledge that there are some ancient manuscripts (as early as 5th Century) where verses 34-35 are found after verse 40. This is evidence that those verses were at least moved around in some Greek versions. The obvious awkwardness of their placement between verse 33a and verse 37 encouraged such movement. It is my current honestly held conclusion that those verse likely were added/moved INTO the letter sometime around 115 AD. Many scholars share this conclusion."


The other view besides interpolation, the one that I lean to, is re-interpritation. This is based upon understanding the Greek.The answer has been there all along, but shcolars have been laoth to point it out.

Bruce A. Robinson

Onterio Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Website:What the Bible says about women's ordination

"Others point out that Paul would hardly cite the Torah (the Law) as justification for restricting roles of women; his entire ministry involved the exact opposite: he preached liberation from the Law. Some Biblical scholars say that Paul is here describing divisive practices being promoted by the Jewish Christians in Corinth - those who believed in Jesus as Lord while still following the Torah. They were generating discord by teaching that "As in the synagogues, women should remain the Torah says." That is, they wanted to translate synagogue practice, as defined by the Torah, into the Christian assemblies. Women were not allowed to speak in synagogues, so they should not be allowed to speak in Christian assemblies. Paul follows up this passage with verse 15 which severely criticizes the Jewish Christians for this position by asking "Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?" From this interpretation, restriction on women, as taught by the Torah, should rejected; men and women should be treated equally with respect to their behavior and roles in church."

"Still others point out that the purpose of 1 Corinthians was to answer a number of questions raised by the Church at Corinth. Paul's style was to write a brief quotation supplied by a Corinthian Christian, and then respond to it. Verses 3:1, 5:1, 6:1, 7:1, 8:1 are some examples.

Following this same pattern, Verse 14:33b to 14:35 is not a comment by Paul. Rather it may be a question raised by a Corinthian who objected to women speaking in church. The church member may have asked: "As in all of the synagogues of the holy ones, women should remain silent in the synagogues. They are not allowed to speak but must be in submission, as the Torah says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the synagogue.

Paul would then have responded with an attack in Verses 36 - 38, and concludes the chapter with Verse 39, an instruction from the Lord to his "brothers and sisters" to be eager to prophesy, but in a fitting and orderly way. All that is required to come up with this translation is to rearrange the original Greek slightly. Ancient Greek was written without punctuation marks, divisions into sentences or spaces between words. This leads to a single passage having many different interpretations"

For one thing, the Greek custom of public address was to address only the men. In fact if a speaker spoke to a group of 4000 women and one man, that speaker was still customarily required to address the audience as "brothers." So the fact that he does not say "and sisters" does not exclude the women from desiring the gifts.

The vast majority of scholars today regard this passage as situational and specific to the time of Paul. There are many views, but most locate the command outside of the context of our day, they do not feel that restraining women form speaking in the church in this day and age is really what this passage as to say to our culture.

"The overwhelming consensus of the vast literature on these texts since 1970 suggests that are meant to be understood situationally, contextually, and not normatively." — Gomes, The Good Book, 1996, p. 141

Paul Attacks the Silencers

Still another version of re-interpirating the passage, and the appraoch that I defend, is that of Gilbert Bilezikian who argues that sign posts in the Greek enable us to understand in light of grammatical matters, that Paul was actually quoting a woman-silencing faction and then refutting them!

Gilbert Bilezikian, Th.D. Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman's Place in Church and Family. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985. ISBN: 0-8010-0885-9.

On page 248, Bilezikian writes, "It is worth noting that in 1 Corinthians more than in any of his other Epistles, Paul uses the é particle to introduce rebuttals to statements preceding it. As a conjunction, é appears in Paul's Epistles in a variety of uses. But the list below points to a predilection for a particular use of é which is characteristic mainly of 1 Corinthians."The verses he listed I also list below, in the order they appear, with a notation indicating the appearance of the é particle, in each case translating it as "Nonsense!" as Bilezikian did to indicate its flavor:1 Cor. 6:1-2--"If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?"

The e of which he speaks is the Greek letter "eta," which looks like h

This device is called the "rhetorical eta," many of my Greek professors confirmed its use. Paul uses this device many times in 1 Corinthians. It's importance here is that it clealry marks a refutation of the previous passage. That is what the rhetorical ate is for, it indicates that what preceeds it immediately is being refutted. Since the Greeks did not have quoation marks, this deivce serves as qutation marks and shows the injunction agianst women speaking was actually the statment of the Corinthians to Paul. Apparently some faction in the chruch, pherhaps Judaizers, or some group the Corinthians has beeen in contact with, had said this to them.

We can see this clealry in English, if we know what to look for. The verse states: (35)"If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."

(36) What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?"

Clearly that sounds like a reversal of what has been said. One can get a sense of the refutation of the previous remark, after all, those who want to allow women to speak are not demanding that mean be silent. Why would they seem to come across as thinking that they were the only one's to hear from God? That idea makes much more sense if they wanted to silence someone. It makes more sense in spaking to the silencers, because they are acting like they are the only ones to recieve the word of God.

Those skybue italicized words, "what" and "or" represent where the h comes. There are two of them, grammatically two of them should make it say "what,or" but they can also function as rehortical and that fits the sense of the passage much better. Otherwise it sounds like nonese, whith Paul railing against those he supports! So the ates are here:

h "did the word of God come only to you? h are you the only one's it has reached?" This signals the refutation of the previous idea, the silencing of women.

Examples: Rhetorical ate

1 Cor. 6:7-9--"The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

1 Cor. 6:15-20--"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.' But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from fornication.

'All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.' (é Nonsense!) Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

1 Cor. 9:5-10--"Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? (é Nonsense!) Is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk?

Do I say this merely from a human point of view? (é Nonsense!) Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: 'Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.'

Is it about oxen that God is concerned? (é Nonsense!) Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest."

1 Cor. 10:21-22--"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. (é Nonsense!) Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"

1 Cor. 11:13-14--"Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? (é Nonsense!) Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering."

1 Cor. 14:34-38--"'As in all the congregations of the saints, let the women remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law also says. If they want to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.' (é Nonsense!) Did the word of God originate with you?

(é Nonsense!) Has it reached only you? If anybody thinks he is a 'prophet' or 'spiritual,' let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored."

Bilezikian notes that in each of the cases above, there is the same pattern. First Paul cites a declarative statement containing some element of incongruity or asks a rhetorical question, then introduces his counterstatement in the form of a question introduced by the particle é, expressing his disapproval of the prior statement (250).For scholarship regarding the rhetorical usage of é, Bilezikian also refers readers to Daniel W. Odell-Scott, "Let the Women Speak in Church: An Egalitarian Interpretation of 1 Cor. 14:33b-36," Biblical Theology Bulletin 13 (July 1983): 90-93.

There is an even more simple Trnslation technique that will get the point acorss without changing a single word:

1Cr 14:34 "the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 1Cr 14:35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."

1Cr 14:36   What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?

(The use of Quotation marks is all it takes).

This makes far more sense than the traditional, woman-silencing view. After all, the context of the passage is about order in worship. We tend to think of these "women passages" as the place where the  Bible puts women in their place. This is a habit of mind, it is also a prejudice. Why must there be such a place? It is only if we assume that this must be the case to begin with does it appear necessarily that way. If we understand that the context is not about putting anyone in his/her palce, but about orderly worship and desiring the gifts, it makes no sense that Paul would disrupt the flow to exclude women from the gifts and the use of the gifts. He's telling the Corinthians that he egarly desires them to use the gifts, except for the women? Read the passage with more a more complete context. It appears that the final rebuke is against the silencers. The only way I"m going to change this is to use quotation marks where I feel they should be:

1Cr 14:26 What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1Cr 14:27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 1Cr 14:28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God. 1Cr 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 1Cr 14:30 If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent. 1Cr 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged; 1Cr 14:32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 1Cr 14:33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. "As in all the churches of the saints, 1Cr 14:34 the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 1Cr 14:35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church." 1Cr 14:36 What! Did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached? 1Cr 14:37 If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. 1Cr 14:38 If any one does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 1Cr 14:39 So, my brethren, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues; 1Cr 14:40 but all things should be done decently and in order.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Atheism and Meta ethical Theory


This was a discussion my boards (Doxa Forums) which is still on going. Parts of it are pretty interesting. There are a lot more people involved n it than I reflect here. I will just show exchanges between Fleetmouse who started the thread (and myself) and Quantum Troll (Zebnuts on CARM) and myself. But follow the thread there's a lot more to it than this.

by fleetmouse on Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:40 am

I've seen a few posts recently where Christians point at horrible acts and imply that a nontheistic worldview is inadequate to explain them. Metacrock briefly alluded to this recently in another thread on Doxa regarding a little girl who was sold into prostitution by her mother and ended up dead in a ditch.

So I would like to explore this - is the existence of acts that we would call evil a problem for naturalism, and why?

Before the ball gets rolling, we should discuss whether evil is an essence or simply an adjective. I think this is the crux of the matter.
 Meta Responds:

(1) Is evil an essence?

Well first of all, I think it's too narrow and simplistic to say it's either an essence or an adjective. I am not an essentialist. I don't believe women are women because their spirits are the essence of female or that men are male because their spirits are the essence of male. I do have Platonic tendencies (which I've tried to keep under control but the non Plato patch just doesn't work, the gum tastes horrible). But my Platonism is augmented by Augustine, so I'm not actually a full no Platonist.

I do think evil is more than just a word we use to describe stuff we don't like. But I supposes what you really mean is "is it satan or is it us?" right? I don't believe in little guys with pointed tails sitting on your shoulder encouraging you to do stuff.

I do think evil is a value judgment, but it's also more than that. It's a real tendency but not a positive essence, but rather the lack of the good. Being an Augustinian like Augustine I see evil as the absence of Good, and by "good" I mean "love." The illusion of a positive force of evil is created by positive actions that ensue from the lac of love. The analogy would be the way cold is seen as a positive force by people who don't know physics. Of cousre we (us educated types) know that there is no force radiant cold, it's all a matter of lack of heat, but the blowing of cold air gives the illusion of radiant cold. Cold does not radiate like heat. you can sit front of an ice cub and get cool, unless you blow air over it (which is the basic principle of an air conditioner) but then it's the heat being absorbed by the vacuum of cold that makes the air feel cool. It's not a force of cool blowing on you.

So it is with evil. It's the acts of evil that make it appear to be a force. It's actually the lack of love (which is synonymous with the good).

(2) Would a non theistic world be evil?

A world ran by Dawkins would be evil. A world ran by half the people on CARM would be very screwed. But then I wouldn't give much for the chances of a world ran by Mat Slick either!

I have always contended (I don't know what I said on the thread you talk about) that atheists can be good people, and many are, but they are coasting on Christian memories in the culture (meaning values). That does not men they are evil people it just means they have to get their ethical norms from some place and they usually get them from a culture that is working on the fading values of a Christian past. That's our measuring stick in this country and in the West for ethical norms.

The problem with atheists ethics wise is their inability to ground their axioms, not the inability of individual atheists to be moral. Now here's another paradox that is apt to cause misunderstanding. All have sinned and fallen short of ht Glory of God. that means Christians sin, atheist sin, everyone sins. So when atheists sin we say "see atheists can't be moral." But we forget to point out, "O yea, Neither can we!"

Paul tells us (Rm2:6-14) the moral law is written on the heart and that Gentiles not born under the law do actually keep elements of the law because they follow the moral law on their hearts. That has to mean that atheist also can be moral and have an innate sense of what is moral. But we all sin, we all fail at some point so atheists will sin and when they do there will be certain one's there to point it out, and go "ah ha" but those guys are strangely silent when their own sins are apparent.

So the ethics front is a matter of academic involvement. you have to think critically and understand the conversation among professional ethicist to really get what ethics is about. But if you do that I think it can be demonstrated that Theistic ethics is superior in terms of grounding axioms. But that has nothing to do with the rubber and road in terms of individual failings.

I think what I was getting at in that other thread is just that people tend to cover up the concept of sin nature. We don't like to think of ourselves as sinners. So when horrible things happen naturalistic types don't' want to face that something in all of us could lead any one of us to do that same kidn of thing at some point.

that does not mean that those naturalistic types aer not just as good as am I, or just as fallen as am I.

 (There were comments by several people. I'm skipping over to another exchange)

Postby Metacrock on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:10 pm
met wrote:
Metacrock wrote:but the distinction between Socratic ethics and Christian ethics is that for Socrates "good" means functional or serviceable, not moral. for Christians it means "moral" in other words, mindful not to sin.

Met: (not me, Met is another guy)
does it depend upon the end? ... if moral behavior is a means to something (getting to heaven, avoiding hell, whatever) is it then NOT moral behavior?

is "you ought'a obey God 'cause s/he carries a mighty big stick!" an ETHICAL argument or not? :shock: ... in Hume's sense of "can't derive ought from an is," i mean

no it does not depend upon the end. There are two major divisions in ethics. People who believe in truth beieve that rules and duty and obligation determine the good or the right, while godless secularist atheist heathen believe that it's based upon outcome.

I say that tongue in cheek of course it seems to fall that way. Atheists tend to be consequential and believers in some form of deity tend to be deontological in their ethics. Most ethicist today believe
that most froms consequential have been beaten.

Now Quauntum Troll comes into it, he's quoting me first then responding:
QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:no it does not depend upon the end. There are two major divisions in ethics. People who believe in truth beieve that rules and duty and obligation determine the good or the right, while godless secularist atheist heathen believe that it's based upon outcome.I say that tongue in cheek of course it seems to fall that way. Atheists tend to be consequential and believers in some form of deity tend to be deontological in their ethics. Most ethicist today believe that most from consequential have been beaten.

QT: Deontological ethics don't make sense to me, unless your moral rule is that you shouldn't hurt people. But if that's your deontological rule, then you end up with a consequentialist ethics in practice anyway. A deontological ethics that isn't based on that rule is in my opinion not a good idea.

that's contradiction to your own biological based outlook. Because your view says anything found "naturally" in nature must be an ought, right? am I misunderstanding you there? But then you have arbitrary outcome oriented understanding that is not derived from nature becuase nowhere in nature do find ideas like "hurting others is wrong."

you are imposing a teleological ethic upon deontology, and you are imposing the violation of the fork on consqeuntualism.

Suppose you follow the rule "always tell the truth". Then you might find yourself in a situation where someone will be hurt by the truth, and you knowingly tell the truth anyway and knowingly hurt this person. And you walk away feeling like you did the moral thing. Madness!

you can always keep silent. you are trying to interpret duty and obligation in a way produces the most legalistic and ineffective outcome. That's not really the result of keeping duty, it's the result of interpreting it that way on purpose. For example, the Nazis come in and say "do you have any Jews hidden about?" If you keep silent they will know and look for them so you say "no." You haven't really violated your duty because you can lexically order duty. The higher duty to protect those in danger overrides the personal duty of telling the truth.

My point here is that a deontological ethicist might say "tell the truth" only if she also says "don't hurt anyone". But as I said above, the latter rule turns the deontologist into a consequentialist in practice.

you can say your duty is not hurt anyone but you are going to measure the sucess by the outcome and say that's what makes for morality, the deontologist says morality is decided by how duty and obligation, an act is moral because it is your duty or an obligation, not determined how well you keep it. It's determined by what your duty is in the first place. That doesn't mean the outcome of violating doesn't count becuase it 's an outcome it just means it's not determined as moral because of the outcome.

In other words seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is not a moral precept.

Then there's the question of where the deontological rules come from. You might say they come from God. I don't think God cares about people following rules (such a petty God that would be!), but rather that people care about each other and act like it. While I don't see any value in following rules for their own sake, a rule can be a good guideline or hint for ethical behavior in many situations (like for example the truth-telling rule).
Your just shifting about the rules of grammar to make deontology look stupid. I don't think you do that on purpose, I think probably it's taught that way in ethics classes below graduate school because people teaching those classes have been shaped by the ideology of mid 20th century liberalism that said consequentilist ethicsl is urbane and deontology is legalisitic and hyde bound. So they cast it in terms of rule keeping rather than duty or obligation and they stick in a bunch of psychology about rule keeping being less highly devleoped than conceptual understanding.

dentology is not about rule keeping. There's a form of it called "rule deontology" but it's the lesser version for suckers. The more important version is based upon duty and obligation. No dentological ethicist say you have to rigidly keep rules when they violtate their own spirit of the rules.

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:see the problem with consequential ethics is it's illustrated prefectly by QT. His standard for "ethics" is "success." Success means purely functional not moral. So his "ethics" have no moral basis.

No no no, you have misunderstood me grievously. Or rather, I have put the focus of my post on the wrong point. My standard for ethics is the welfare or happiness of a community.

But you seem to define that in terms of success. Even so it's still teleological.

Because your view says anything found "naturally" in nature must be an ought, right? am I misunderstanding you there?
Yes, that is a misunderstanding. The point I was making about finding cooperation and some kind of "love" and care in nature is only that deriving an "ought" from an "is" is such an easy and obvious task that animals do it. There are lots of examples of altruism and selflessness to be found in nature (and the opposite). If the animals can find a reason to love selflessly, then so can we. However, just because animals do it doesn't mean that we should. So why should we? Because nobody likes suffering and we can all help each other.

you say that because you are not recalling finding an ought at all. Our ought is not based upon a moral ought but upon a practical success ought. your value system of what's best for the community is entirely based upon physical success, gene frequency completely devoid of ethical and moral content. You cannot manufacture an ought based upon an is. you have to stick in a value, you can't get the value just by looking at nature.

eating your [young] is found in nature so why not eat your young? you will stick in a values nd say "we don't do that." but you have a basis for it other than your own psychological predilection not to.
you can't reduce all of life to chemicals and expect to find values in them.

Meta:But then you have arbitrary outcome oriented understanding that is not derived from nature becuase nowhere in nature does one find ideas like "hurting others is wrong."
I think you do find that idea in nature if you're open to seeing it ;)

begging the question, whatever you can think of must be seen in nature, therefore, if you think of it it's in nature. That doesn't follow; the circle goes "my conclusion is X therefore, X is right, therefore, X must be my premise.

The higher duty to protect those in danger overrides the personal duty of telling the truth.
Exactly what I was trying to say. You don't tell the truth to the Nazi because of the consequences to the Jews you're protecting.

It's not the consequence that makes it wrong to divulge. Both deontologists and teleologists agree that doing wrong has bad consequences, but the one thinks that's what makes it wrong, the other things the consequences are bad because its wrong.

why is it wrong for millions of Jews to be murdered in camps? We find death all around us in nature. Species compete and wipe each other out all the time. If you think being in nature makes it an ought you should support the holocaust. Its' only because you have a higher value that originally came from Christian theology that says people are ends in themselves not means to an end. In nature all animals are a means to an end. An individual is not important, what matters is gene frequency, once the individual is out of the running he's no good any more. that's the "ought" you draw from nature. If an individual is not contributing to gene frequency he should die. It's only when we bring in a higher value from somewhere esle that says individual matter for their own sake, which is not in nature that we can see the holocaust is wrong.

where do you get the concept of "wrong" at all? apart from a moral context it's only in the context of practicality.

The more important version is based upon duty and obligation. No dentological ethicist say you have to rigidly keep rules when they violtate their own spirit of the rules.
Duty and obligation seem to me just more nuanced versions of the same basic idea as rules.

Nuanced is better, it's more intelligent and less rigid. Nothing wrong with rules, the problem is (1) in what are they founded? (2) how rigid, often the letter must be violated to save the spirit of the rule.

Why are these deontological duties and obligations moral? I think that deontological ethics works because keeping these duties and obligations enforces behavior that leads to good consequences.

you are trying to flatten them out and make them practical. in so doing you remove the moral dimension and thus clear the way for the holocaust. Your use of the term "good" is suppossed to sound like a moral motion but it's not. If "good" is entirely in practical terms then killing the Jews may be good for society in a Draconian sense.

If you separate the consequences from the action, then it becomes difficult to know which duty and obligation is higher and more important. In other words, I think there is a significant practical reason to be a consequentialist.

action by itself has no basis in morality, the only way to tell if an action is moral or not is to know the value and what grounds that value that the action supports or violates. You cant' do that by deriving morality from outcomes only.

saying "practical reason to a consequential" is like saying "it could be good for you to be murderer." Yes it could if you define "good for you" apart from morality. So I mean by that if you define "practical" apart from morality you are only arguing in tuatolgies and removing the moral dimension.

The only way to assign moral significance to an action is to know up from what the values are that one sets up as the axiological basis for action. once you know then and only then can you know what moral significance an outcome has.