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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Christian subversion of meaning

I would like to welcome CADman and James to the blog. I know they will bring a depth of expertise to this blog. I know that CADman's thought has been developing tremendously these past months, and James is already a seasoned atheologian and debater. This blog is going to be great.

Our friend Dawson Bethrick is doing a wonderful job on his blog "Incinerating Presuppositionalism" writing about his "Cartoon Universe" analogy for theism. In fact, I think it's so useful that I've added it to Strongatheism.net. I encourage everyone to read it and exploit it.

As I write these entries, it seems that simply defining one's terms is enough to show that the presuppositional arguments are blatant projections. They claim that the atheist cannot have knowledge, but it turns out the Christian cannot, and same for morality, logic, induction, etc. Presuppositionalism is nothing more than a case of cultic projection. What's more, the projection usually hides a double-flaw : one regarding the nature of God, and one regarding the Christian's use of the concept on material things.

"Meaning" is another term that presuppositionalists batter a lot in their quest for untruth. They often state that you cannot have meaning if materialism is true, which is complete nonsense. Substance has absolutely no relevance to meaning, which is an interpretive property.

Let me give you an example - the concept "table" is defined as a flat surface with legs, used to eat on or support objects, and so on. That's its meaning also - every part of this helps us identify what is a table and what is not a table. Does this meaning change if the "table" concept is contained in the mind of a human, the mind of a ghost, the mind of a god ? No, because the meaning is based on interpretation, and we are the ones doing the interpreting.

Same thing for the meaning of a sentence. Does it matter whether a sentence is written on paper, or on supernatural god-stuff ? Not at all. What is important is the presence of the symbols that are translated into meaning - the letters, words and sentences. So what importance does substance have for meaning ? Absolutely none.

But Christianity subverts meaning by making a meaningless being its central axiom. What does "god" mean ? Can we identify a god ? Being supernatural by definition, no, it's impossible for us to identify a god. We would have first to reject all natural explanations for whatever phenomena we identified as "a god", which is absolutely impossible.

They also subvert meaning as regards to literature, the second part of the double-flaw. Anyone who has ever debated a Christian knows that "Biblical analysis" is a joke. I poke fun of Christians when I say that, for them, "context" means "any rationalization you must consider when your conclusion is incompatible with mine". To them, context is completely irrelevant, just as it is in morality, and we end up not with truth but with a blow-up of a passage with the Christian's prejudices as context.

In Christianity, all meaning is subverted, post-modernist style, to social constructs. This is natural, since there is fundamentally no objective object for Christianity to align itself to. As such, any revision of Christian dogma or morality becomes itself the object on which future generations have to align themselves to. And those revisions are based on social pressure - whatever dogma makes the survival of the religion less certain must be forgotten and silenced. I'm just surprised that they haven't censored the Old Testament out of the Bible yet.

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62 Comments:

At 4/06/2005 11:50 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Who cares if an impersonal table has meaning ? ?

Only a person cares.

The table next to another table is not self aware or self motivated to understand its own tableness or how it can relate to other tables. The relationship is only material. Humans, share material and emotional, ie. interPERSONAL relationships.

So tell me, how do ethics arise from impersonal forces and causes like electromagnetic energy, mattter, chemical reactions, etc . . .

Can any atheist explain this to me ? ?

How does materialism teleologically enforce deontological standards upon human beings ? ?

 
At 4/06/2005 11:57 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"So tell me, how do ethics arise from impersonal forces and causes like electromagnetic energy, mattter, chemical reactions, etc . . ."

Ethics exists because causality applies to human action and we can understand its principles - such as metabolism. Since you don't have any basis for causality, you are the one who has to justify your use of ethics.

Of course, I don't expect you to give a justification for ethics, since you have none.

 
At 4/06/2005 12:01 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

I also find it interesting how Manata and his cronies ask questions again and again long after I've answered them on the blog (in this case, in "Values and materialism"). I wonder Mark, are you a hypocrite or do you just don't care? Or does presupping bring about selective illiteracy ?

 
At 4/06/2005 12:11 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

You have not answerd the question. You simply equivocate on every term you use.

And I did read your "Values and materialism" blog entry. That was the cause of our previous objective/subjective debate.
Your blog entry proves you have no basis to call anything objective, ergo, your ethics are anything but universal. So once again, the best you can hope for is several small groups of individuals making rules so they can enjoy mutual profit and the least amount of social suffering. (utilitarianism)

So, there is not universal absolute of what is right or wrong. Sometimes, lying might be the right thing to do to ensure civil peace. Yet, how can there be trust in a society of possible liars ?

Your system offers nothing to bridge the gap.

 
At 4/06/2005 12:16 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"Your blog entry proves you have no basis to call anything objective"

Sure I do. I live in an objective universe and have the moral will to observe it. Since you think you live in a Cartoon Universe where no will would be possible, your accusation is very hypocrite.


"(utilitarianism)"

I am not a utilitarian, I am an Objectivist. You presups sure seem to be obsessed about utilitarianism, though !


"So, there is not universal absolute of what is right or wrong. "

Yes there is. There are absolutes, and even you accept them. Even Christians eat to survive. They just won't admit that metabolism is objective.

 
At 4/06/2005 1:22 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

"Sure I do. I live in an objective universe and have the moral will to observe it. Since you think you live in a Cartoon Universe where no will would be possible, your accusation is very hypocrite."

You cannot know you live in an objective world unless someone outside of that world tells you it is objective. You, my atheist friend are trapped inside a phenomenological realm of absolute subjectivity and you are afraid to admit it.

AS I SAID BEFORE, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE SUBJECTIVELY EXPERIENCING THE WORLD AND ALL AGREEING TO CALL IT "OBJECTIVE" STILL DOES NOT MAKE IT OBJECTIVE.

You cannot define the system when you are a part of that system. You can only describe your empyrical experience within it, which is, subjective.

So, if you are willing to say you are redifining the word subjective to mean: "the world as we humans collectivly perceive it and agree upon it" then I grant you your conclusion. But philosophically speaking "objectivity" is having actual existence or reality. Which, I am sorry to tell you, can not be proven by your argments.

To use an analogy:
You are in the matrix. Christians are outside the matrix.

 
At 4/06/2005 1:42 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"You cannot know you live in an objective world unless someone outside of that world tells you it is objective."


Your very act of uttering statements contradicts that assertion. You are assuming that the universe is objective and has objective meanings. Funny, as a Christian, you weren't told by someone outside of this world that reality is objective !

At best, you read it in a book that exists in this world (the Bible). Although I'd like to know where "reality is objective" is located in the Bible, and how you figured out what it meant without objective meaning.



"You, my atheist friend are trapped inside a phenomenological realm of absolute subjectivity and you are afraid to admit it."

Why would I be afraid of a lie ? I am not the one who is denying his own absolutes. You are.

More projection from the cornered Christian.


"AS I SAID BEFORE, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE SUBJECTIVELY EXPERIENCING THE WORLD AND ALL AGREEING TO CALL IT "OBJECTIVE" STILL DOES NOT MAKE IT OBJECTIVE."

I agree with you. A million Christians agreeing on what God does and does not, does not make reality objective. So why do you persist in saying your universe is objective if God exists ?


"You can only describe your empyrical experience within it, which is, subjective."

Wrong. Empirical data is objective because it comes from an objective universe.


"But philosophically speaking "objectivity" is having actual existence or reality. Which, I am sorry to tell you, can not be proven by your argments."

I never said it was an argument. It is an ABSOLUTE. Even a subjectivist like you has to accept that reality is objective, otherwise there would be no point in cognition whatsoever. But your worldview - Christianity - is incompatible with this. Do you understand ?


"To use an analogy:
You are in the matrix. Christians are outside the matrix."

Wrong again. You are the one who lives in a cartoon, subjective universe. You are the one who believes in a Sovereign God that controls reality. Stop projecting and actually address the issues, please.

Does Mark actually have the capacity to stop parroting presuppositional projections and answer to the self-defeating nature of his worldview ? Am I wasting my time ? So far it looks like it.

I am starting to wonder if this is all there is to presuppositionalism : project all the problems with your worldview on your opponent.

 
At 4/06/2005 1:57 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

You supress the very truth I am speaking of. You just borrowed everything from a Christian world-view to make your statements. I think anyone reading these comments will come to that conclusion.

I am also beginning to realize that none of the contributors to this blog have an understanding of the history of philosophy, nor have they read it.

1Co 2:11-14
For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

 
At 4/06/2005 2:10 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

So, I am guessing here that your answer is "no, I will continue to project my subjective universe and all the flaws of my worldview on yours and never justify this" ?

Concession accepted.

 
At 4/06/2005 2:29 PM, Anonymous aaron kinney declaimed...

Mark,

I cant believe you just went off on philosophy and then followed up your statement with a Bible verse. Ugh. Philosophy doesnt have many nice things to say about God belief and superstition you know.

Mark, all life forms act "morally" based on objective truths like metabolism (as Franc mentioned) and survival and self-defense. Ever wonder why moral rules like "protect yourself" are universal, while your superstition of Christianity is not?

I would love to see you actually turn the other cheek as Jesus said if you were attacked or threatened. You wouldnt do it. You would defend yourself. Fight or flight. You would act according to an objective truth that is shared by all life forms.

Mark, can you describe a set of criteria that, if proven to you, would convince you that the universe is godless? In other words, is your belief in God falsifiable?

 
At 4/06/2005 3:28 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "Can any atheist explain this to me ? ?"

There can be no objective morality in the cartoon universe of theism. If you want objective morality, you need to discard your theistic premise that the universe is essentially a cartoon.

 
At 4/06/2005 4:44 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Wow, check this out. three people wasting their time arguing about something they beleive or presume to know does not exist. So how does it feel to spend day after day arguing about NOTHING. Since God is nonexistence hence no-thing in your world ?




"Mark, can you describe a set of criteria that, if proven to you, would convince you that the universe is godless? In other words, is your belief in God falsifiable? "

Yes, prove that aseity does not exist by necessity. Even you base all your ideas of absolutes, objectivity, and universals on something that is not dependant upon something else. Because that alone is truly real which abides unchanged.

Empirical knowledge is never universal. Do you really believe that the collective experiences as a human race sum up omniscience ?

 
At 4/06/2005 5:00 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "Yes, prove that aseity does not exist by necessity. Even you base all your ideas of absolutes, objectivity, and universals on something that is not dependant upon something else."

Existence does not depend on "something else" because there existence is all that exists.

Mark: "Because that alone is truly real which abides unchanged."

The fact that existence exists does not change. Every time you make an existence claim, you are borrowing from the Objectivist worldview.

 
At 4/06/2005 5:07 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Necessary means that the principle must be obeyed. It is not optional. Existence (at least phenomenologically) is optional.

Try again.

And besides, if you are going to argue from existentialism, then you half-way agree with me. We make our own morals. Still not universal.

 
At 4/06/2005 5:11 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

LOL I just created an account so that I can post on comments sections in other blogs related to other posters here.

Mark, if nobody proves to you that aseity does not exist by necessity, then that means that your Christian God exists? What a fucking leap that is!

I got a really good reason why your God doesnt exist, and its called The Law of Conservation of Matter/Energy. You may have heard of this one. Matter/Energy can never be created nor destroyed, they only change forms. Therefore, the universe is eternal, and matter and energy are eternal. They were never created.

"Existence exists" sure does sum that one up well. thanx bahnsen burner for that comment!

 
At 4/06/2005 5:32 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "Necessary means that the principle must be obeyed. It is not optional. Existence (at least phenomenologically) is optional."

In reality, there is no alternative to existence.

Mark: "And besides, if you are going to argue from existentialism, then you half-way agree with me. We make our own morals. Still not universal."

Since the Objectivist ethical principles are based on man's nature as a biological organism, these principles are universal to all men, since all men are biological organisms.

 
At 4/06/2005 5:34 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

"I got a really good reason why your God doesnt exist, and its called The Law of Conservation of Matter/Energy. You may have heard of this one. Matter/Energy can never be created nor destroyed, they only change forms. Therefore, the universe is eternal, and matter and energy are eternal. They were never created. "

Why don't you catch up to the 21st century.

virtual particle:
A subatomic particle whose existence violates the principle of conservation of energy but is allowed to exist for a short time by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

That law has been disproved.

http://pdg.web.cern.ch/pdg/cpep/unc_vir.html

 
At 4/06/2005 5:37 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "That law has been disproved."

Why do you want your god to exist so badly, Mark?

 
At 4/06/2005 5:43 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

"Why do you want your god to exist so badly, Mark? "

Because I profoundly need Him to exist. There is no ultimate purpose or meaning to life without Him.

 
At 4/06/2005 6:02 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Mark, you are the one that needs to catch up to the 21st century. And that starts with fully reading and understanding the links you provide, for I will use your own link against you.

Those virtual particles you speak of dont disprove anything I said. The energy still exists, it merely changes forms. Here is an excerpt from the link you provided:

"The bottom line is that energy is conserved."

Matter/energy is conserved. It never is created nor destroyed; it merely changes forms. It is eternal. And your link supports my assertion. Thank you.

 
At 4/06/2005 6:05 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Mark,

There is no meaning WITH him existing. Theres no meaning to this life if you have an eternal cop-out escape known as the afterlife.

If all that exists is this life, then it becomes much more vital and meaningful, as its the only chance you have for happiness. Like in a video game (lazy analogy I know), if you have 3 lives to spend, they are worth less. but if you only have one life to spend, it becomes much more valuable.

Youre just afraid to live for yourself and for your own happiness. You need external justification for yourself rather than internal justification, and you are afraid to take responsibility for yourself. Instead you find comfort in giving it up to an imaginary God.

 
At 4/06/2005 6:30 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

"The bottom line is that energy is conserved."

My point was on matter . . . .duh.

And energy is too nebulous to even define absolutely. I read physicists arguing about it all the time. It an be measured and utilized but not defined. We do not know if light for instance is a particle, a wave, or both . . .

Have you seen the movie "What the $&^%# do we know" ? ? ?

And matter, while it MIGHT be infinite, it is definitely not eternal. Even the big bang shows that. Singular point of infinite mass 0 volume.

Ultimately, if life is meaningless, Hedonism is God.

 
At 4/06/2005 7:38 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Well for the purposes of my argument, matter and energy are the same thing. thats why I phrased it as "matter/energy" with the slashie in between the words ;)

I never saw that movie, but I did see a two hour special on Hawkings called "A Brief History of Time" just like the book title, but the documentary was more recent with updated info as compared to what is in his book.

The Big Bang actually goes along the whole eternal thing. A singularity is still made of material, and when it was a singularity, there was no time, so there was no "before" the singularity in that sense. The singularity was always there.

Hawking says that time did not come from a point, but rather the inside edge of a curve, so the closer you get to the beginning, the slower time goes, so you can never really get to the beginning anyway.

Again we return to the whole "matter/energy is eternal" thing.

"Ultimately, if life is meaningless, Hedonism is God."

I actually agree with you here.

With God, life is meaningless. God invented evil and sin and God made rules where the default destination for everyone is Hell. So, in your cartoon universe, God is indeed hedonism (or evil if you like) and life is pointless.

Only in a godless universe with no afterlife and finite existence of consciousness does life have any meaning or value.

I mean, if everyone has unlimited money (neverending afterlife) then the money is worthless. You cant spend it on anything.

But if everyone has a finite amount of money (no afterlife or eternal existence of consciousness) then the money has lots of value, and how you spend it matters greatly.

 
At 4/06/2005 8:02 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

" A singularity is still made of material, and when it was a singularity, there was no time, so there was no "before" the singularity in that sense. The singularity was always there. "

I will admit, Hawking fries my brain. I have read it twice and still do not know if he is a genius or a moron.

Placing the singularity in a state of eternity is interesting, but it does not matter.

You have admitted life is ultimately meaningless. (Except for the existential meaning we might find in the uniqueness of our own experiences, ie. the vidoe game analogy)

But thank you for being honest as an atheist. There is no universal transcendent absolute one can look to in an atheist universe to find moral laws. Since there is no ultimate meaning. Thank you for finally stating it.

I also appreciate your statement here:

"God invented evil and sin and God made rules where the default destination for everyone is Hell. "

Now THAT is a real question for a Christian to address . . not the silly existence of God stuff.. .. but if God does exist, how does one account for evil if He is supposed to be Good ??

 
At 4/06/2005 8:20 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

I asked: "Why do you want your god to exist so badly, Mark? "

Mark answered: "Because I profoundly need Him to exist."

Exactly: you want your god to exist. And since you've invested yourself so heavily in this desire, you're determined to see all outcomes confirm what you want to be the case. You do understand that wishing doesn't make it so, do you not? If you do, do you understand why wishing doesn't make it so?

Mark also said: "There is no ultimate purpose or meaning to life without Him."

Interesting. I wonder what you mean by "meaning" here. Could you give it a definition you're willing to stick to? Perhaps the bible defines this term? Or do you have to seek your definitions outside the bible?

Mark later wrote: "I will admit, Hawking fries my brain."

That would only be a problem if you were planning to use it sometime.

 
At 4/06/2005 8:28 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Just because I also "want" God to exist, along side of His self existence does not negate anything. I never said God exists because I want Him to. But I do want Him to as well.

Do you not also say along side of "God does not exist", "I do not want Him to exist either" ?

And meaning by Biblical definition is: the reason God made us, or what He has planned to do with us. We only find our meaning in glorifying and worshipping Him. He is perfectly self centered. The Bible, you could say, is His story about Himself, to Himself, and for Himself. We get the priveledge of sharing in that divine dialogue and self-love.

(I am just waiting to hear your mockery on that last note.)

 
At 4/06/2005 9:55 PM, Blogger Michael A. Rodriguez declaimed...

To Mark I simply wish to discuss one thing in particular. He writes that, "You cannot know you live in an objective world unless someone outside of that world tells you it is objective. You, my atheist friend are trapped inside a phenomenological realm of absolute subjectivity and you are afraid to admit it."

Unfortunately this seems to get Mark nowhere, as the "someone" informing him of the objectivity of reality would of course have to be part of the objectivity of reality, and hence Mark, if he is incapable of coming to a conclusion on his lonesome - i.e. he rejects the autonomous reasoning that he charges against atheists - he could never be sure that the "someone" was truthfully there, or that if there, that his sensory impulses or whatever other human method he should think to use were accurately informing Mark of the things that his "someone" was reporting, etc. etc.

So, it seems that the truth of the matter is that without supporting epistemic autonomy you are reduced to solipsism at the very best. And simply because we do not have access to noumena, simply because we do not have access to certainty, does not entail that knowledge is impossible or futile, or that metaphysical realism is false.

- Laz

 
At 4/06/2005 10:23 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: “Just because I also ‘want’ God to exist, along side of His self existence does not negate anything.”

I wasn’t writing to say that you had negated anything. On the contrary, you only confirmed what we all suspected from the beginning: that you painfully want your god to exist. As you said, you “profoundly need Him to exist.” This suggests what I had expected to be the case, but since you candidly admit it, it’s above board now.

Mark: “I never said God exists because I want Him to.”

No, you didn’t have to say this. You already gave away the game with your own admission. What’s curious is the reason you gave for this: “There is no ultimate purpose or meaning to life without Him.”

Mark: “But I do want Him to as well.”

Good, we’re making progress here. You’re admitting that you have a preference for a pre-determined outcome. Consider John Frame's very telling comment on page 37 of his book Apologetics to the Glory of God: "a person with a wish to be fulfilled is often on the road to belief." He's quite right about this: you have a wish to be fulfilled, and that put you on "the road to belief." You may even think one day you'll get there. But you won't.

Mark: “Do you not also say along side of ‘God does not exist’, ‘I do not want Him to exist either’?”

Well for one, I’m not sure where I’ve gone on record saying “God does not exist.” I’ve simply pointed out that I don’t believe the claim that there are any gods to begin with. No one needs to point out that the non-existent doesn’t exist. I don’t have to say “God doesn’t exist” any more than I need to say “Allah doesn’t exist” or "the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist." Also, my worldview teaches me how to distinguish objectively between what I want and what is actually the case, so I don’t confuse the two, as primitive philosophies have done (and continue to do).

Mark: “And meaning by Biblical definition is: the reason God made us, or what He has planned to do with us.”

I see. So theism is built into your definition of ‘meaning’. Thus to say that non-believers have no “meaning” (as you construe it) is merely tautological: non-believers don’t go around presuming that they have an obligation to spend their lives serving an invisible magic being. We’re fine with that recognition. But of course, that’s certainly not what we would mean by the term ‘meaning’ in the sense of the phrase “the meaning of life.” The meaning of my life is to live it, and to enjoy it, even if my "neighbor" disapproves. And this I certainly do. So I would caution you not to try to internally critique a rival worldview while presuming your own definitions. That would simply confirm Franc's conclusion that the apologist is merely projecting, and not establishing any legitimate truths about anything.

By the way, can you give a verse from the bible which offers this definition of the term ‘meaning’? Offhand, it’s not clear where you got your definition. Definitions are important to you, are they not?

Mark: “We only find our meaning in glorifying and worshipping Him.”

Sounds like a miserable existence. When I read things like this, I am reminded how good it is to be free of such unnecessary, primitive burdens.

Mark: “He is perfectly self centered.”

Actually, your god isn't self-centered at all - it's a complete secondhander, completely absorbed in seeing others sacrifice themselves. Someone who is truly and perfectly self-centered is one like myself: I live and have my being in my Self. I’m certainly not a secondhander. And I'm happy when I find others who are likewise self-centered: they tend to their own, just as I tend to my own, neither demanding any sacrifices from either.

Mark: “The Bible, you could say, is His story about Himself, to Himself, and for Himself.”

I see the bible as the story of a series of primitive thinkers writing down what they mistakenly believed about the world and how it works. It's a record of what people can invent when they don't embrace reason as their only means of knowledge and their only guide to action. Mythology always "makes sense" to those who ascribe to it, but those who have not invested themselves in the outcome that it is true come hell or high water, are typically sober enough to see its faults (and any value it may have).

Mark: “We get the priveledge of sharing in that divine dialogue and self-love.”

Well, your self-loving deity displays his ‘self-love’ at the expense of other beings, wiping them out whenever it is displeased with them. Certainly not a very rational way to govern one’s choices and actions.

Yes, it is better not to get sucked into such nonsensical beliefs in the first place. Thanks for reminding me of this profound truth, Mark.

 
At 4/06/2005 10:48 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Laz writes: “So, it seems that the truth of the matter is that without supporting epistemic autonomy you are reduced to solipsism at the very best.”

Indeed, I’m reminded of a very candid admission by Christian apologist Mike Warren on the Van Til list back in Feb. ’04 when he wrote:

“The Christian view is solipsistic in the sense that there is no other autonomous mind except God's. All other minds exist because of God's ex nihilo creation of them, and thus are completely dependent on Him for their existence and functioning. The only universe that exists is the one that springs from the divine mind.” (see here)

Yep, you’re right, from the mouths of babes: theism ultimately reduces to the purely self-referential insanity of solipsism, simple as that!

 
At 4/06/2005 11:18 PM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

We are going in circles. If I could prove the existence of the Christian God, without a doubt there would be no room for faith.

However, everything I have written does call into question the world-view of atheism. It is inconsistent with even your subjective perspectives on reality.

My Christian Theism does not demand exhaustive knowledge in order to prove its own validity.

As far as epistemic autonomy, that is left for you to decide. Seems as if you have abbrogated it to reason, or the collective human consensus as far as ethics go.

And solipsism .. ?? Are you kidding me ? ? If we are made in God's image, we are self aware, yes, but that is not the only knowledge we can have. We can know something truly without knowing it exhaustively. As a matter of fact, we cannot know anything exhaustively unless we are God. But, we think God's thoughts after Him. I am sure you have heard that Van Tillian phrase. We are aware of other "selves" all around us. If anything, this points to the "personal" nature of transcendence.

I am still waiting for the chemical equation for "Thou shalt not murder" from one of you materialistic determinists.

Seems like we should b able to harness the genes for good behavior and start breeding a peaceful and productive society a la "Brave New World" . .

 
At 4/07/2005 12:49 AM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

"I will admit, Hawking fries my brain. I have read it twice and still do not know if he is a genius or a moron.

Placing the singularity in a state of eternity is interesting, but it does not matter. "

Why not? I think it does. The link you provided said that energy is eternal. Thanx to the equation E=Mc2 we know that matter and energy are just different forms of the same thing: material. And it is eternal. Therefore, God never created ANYTHING! Thats why I think it matters. If you think it doesnt matter, can you explain why?

"You have admitted life is ultimately meaningless. (Except for the existential meaning we might find in the uniqueness of our own experiences, ie. the vidoe game analogy)"

No I dont think its meaningless. Life is a meaning unto its own. The purpose of life is to LIVE IT! Having an afterlife is what makes this life meaningless. You sit here and claim that I admitted that life is meaningless, and you allude to my videogame analogy, but your assertion is unsupported. You didnt get specific with my analogy and point out why I was wrong or why I "admitted" that life is meaningless. Your assertion is unsupported.

"But thank you for being honest as an atheist. There is no universal transcendent absolute one can look to in an atheist universe to find moral laws. Since there is no ultimate meaning. Thank you for finally stating it."

Yes there is. Life requires certain actions for continued existence, like self defense and consumption of fuel and replication. These are objective truths. And the meaning of life is to live it. There is your absolute and there is your ultimate meaning.

"I also appreciate your statement here:

"God invented evil and sin and God made rules where the default destination for everyone is Hell. "

Now THAT is a real question for a Christian to address . . not the silly existence of God stuff.. .. but if God does exist, how does one account for evil if He is supposed to be Good ?? "

Yea, the problem of evil. I assert that if God does exist, then he is evil because he invented evil and put an evil snake in Eden (so the garden was never perfect) and ultimately, your God would be MORE EVIL than SATAN because he enabled Satan and invented Satan and is more powerful than Satan.

So Mark, your God doesnt exist, and if he did, he is evil. Life is a purpose unto itself (meaning of life is to live) and objective morals exist within it (like consumption of fuel, self preservation, and replication). Wasnt that fun?

 
At 4/07/2005 7:58 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: “If I could prove the existence of the Christian God, without a doubt there would be no room for faith.”

Exactly. Your god-belief is not about rational knowledge, it’s about short-circuiting your mind. Now, here’s a question for you, Mark: Do you expect others to accept your claim that your god exists on your say so? You don’t have a lot of options here so far as I see it: either you can rationally demonstrate what you say is true (i.e., use your mind), or you expect others just to say “Uh huh! I believe whatever you say” (i.e., misuse your mind).

Mark: “However, everything I have written does call into question the world-view of atheism.”

If you think you’ve presented some point or fact that calls my worldview into question, I must have missed it. When I read your comments, it’s like when I read these big-gun apologists’ books: they prove to me without a doubt that they don’t understand the human mind at all. Look at your own statements, Mark. Earlier you confessed that you “profoundly need Him to exist.” Talk about subjective! Needing something to be the case in no way implies that it actually is the case. You then say “If I could prove the existence of the Christian God, without a doubt there would be no room for faith.” That’s enough to tell me it’s an utter sham. But to be sure, Mark, even your statement conflicts with what we read in the bible, for the apostle Paul had faith, and yet it was proven to him that his god exists (per the claims we read in Acts 9 and 26).

Mark: “It is inconsistent with even your subjective perspectives on reality.”

Mark, when Christians use terms that are completely alien to what I read in the bible, such as “inconsistent” and “subjective,” etc., I have no idea what they mean by them. I don’t find any concern for objectivity in the writings of the bible, and I don’t find that Christians today understand such concepts very well at all. Can you explain clearly and in detail what you mean by “subjective” and then show how my comments confirm in your mind that my “worldview” is “subjective”? If you need more statements by me to assemble your case, you can go to my blog, and from there you will find a link to my website. Have at it. If I’m wrong, I want to know. But I don’t think I’m wrong.

Mark: “My Christian Theism does not demand exhaustive knowledge in order to prove its own validity.”

Actually, it does, to the extent that you would hazard the opportunity of actually trying to assemble a proof. For instance, to know that a given event is in fact “miraculous” would require omniscience, for you would have to know that there is no natural cause that could explain it. And so long as you’re not omniscient, there could be a natural cause that you don’t know about which accounts for said event (assuming of course that the event even took place as described, which would have to be proven in the first place to begin with). That’s just one example.

Mark: “As far as epistemic autonomy, that is left for you to decide.”

I wrote a blog about this, Mark. Given what apologists like Bahnsen, Van Til, Frame and others say about what they call “autonomous reasoning,” it’s clear that they really mean “thinking with your own mind.” The alternative they give to “autonomous reasoning” is something they call “anaological reasoning” or “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” which could only mean they think they can read someone else’s mind, and even think with someone else’s mind (cf. “the mind of Christ” in I Cor. 2:16). I’ve often wondered how the apostle Paul supposedly distinguished between his thoughts and the thoughts he attributed to his god. The potential for such mystics who think themselves spokesmen for their god to eventually think of themselves as god proper, seems quite strong with such persons.

Mark: “Seems as if you have abbrogated it to reason, or the collective human consensus as far as ethics go.”

Mark, I see ethics or morality as the application of reason to governing man’s choices and actions. I know this is completely contrary to what the bible teaches, but this is my morality because I want to live, not un-live.

Mark: “And solipsism .. ?? Are you kidding me ? ?”

No, I’m not, and I don’t think Mike Warren was either. He hangs out on the All-Bahnsen list now. Why not engage him on the matter?

Mark: “If we are made in God's image, we are self aware, yes, but that is not the only knowledge we can have.”

That does not speak to the issue at all, so I suspect you did not understand what was being said. Warren admits that his theology reduces to solipsism because everything that exists is simply a creation of his god’s originally contentless and purely self-referential consciousness. That’s solipsism with a vengeance.

Mark: “We can know something truly without knowing it exhaustively.”

Of course, but only if we guide our minds with reason. Faith in invisible magic beings cannot produce knowledge of reality. It can only confuse a thinker, and Christians are a stellar example of this.

Mark: “As a matter of fact, we cannot know anything exhaustively unless we are God. But, we think God's thoughts after Him. I am sure you have heard that Van Tillian phrase.”

Yes, I have read this phrase in the presuppositionalist literature over and over again. I told you what I thought about it above, and on my blog.

Mark: “We are aware of other ‘selves’ all around us.”

Of course we are, because we perceive those other ‘selves’. Perception is the basis of reason.

Mark: “If anything, this points to the ‘personal’ nature of transcendence.”

Like a true Vantillian, you’re just using words without understanding what you’re saying. It’s just mindless repetition at this point.

Mark: “I am still waiting for the chemical equation for "Thou shalt not murder" from one of you materialistic determinists.”

I’m not a “materialistic determinist.”

 
At 4/07/2005 8:42 AM, Anonymous francois_tremblay declaimed...

"Thou shalt not murder" is Christian nonsense. It only exists in the deluded mind of depraved anti-reason dogs such as Mark.

 
At 4/07/2005 8:43 AM, Anonymous francois_tremblay declaimed...

Wait a second. I copied this without giving it a second glance. He said "MURDER" not "kill" as it says in the Bible. Where did this "thou shalt not murder" come from ? Did Mark get this from.. an atheist ?

 
At 4/07/2005 10:36 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

You are a materialistic determinist . . . unless you do believe in a soul ? ?

Correct me if I am wrong here. You atheists reduce man from a complex personal being made in the image of God to simply an electro-chemical machine.

That is what I mean by materialistic determinism.

Aaron said:
"Yes there is. Life requires certain actions for continued existence, like self defense and consumption of fuel and replication. These are objective truths.

These are objective facts of what "is", but from those facts we cannot determine the ethical standards of what we "ought" to do.

 
At 4/07/2005 11:36 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "You are a materialistic determinist . . . unless you do believe in a soul ? ?"

What do you mean by 'soul', and what does it have to do with determinism?

Mark: "Correct me if I am wrong here. You atheists reduce man from a complex personal being made in the image of God to simply an electro-chemical machine."

You're inserting words into other people's mouths in order to make your position seem better somehow. It's not working. But Mark, consider this: I exist, I am what I am, and I don't believe your religion's claims (since I don't believe reality is a cartoon).

Now, are you saying that biological organisms have no electro-chemical processes? What's the problem?

Mark: "That is what I mean by materialistic determinism."

Then I was right when I said I'm not a "materialistic determinist." I am a man, and I think with my own mind (cf. "autonomous reasoning"). This is what bothers you.

Mark: "These are objective facts of what 'is', but from those facts we cannot determine the ethical standards of what we 'ought' to do."

We can, and we do all the time. Once you recognize that chosen action is necessarily goal-oriented (even if the goal is lousy) and that man must act in order to continue living (you do this yourself all the time), then there is no unbridgeable gap here whatsoever if "ought" refers to the course of action that one should take given any goal he wants to achieve. This is rational because it is applying the law of causality (a rational principle) to man's biological nature (a relevant fact). Value is a type of fact, and it has a biological basis. Food, for instance, is a value to man, because his life requires it. This requirement is due to his nature as a biological being. Thus if he wants to live (goal), he should eat (course of action).

The alleged "is-ought" gap is a genuine problem for the Christian, however, because his "oughts" have nothing to do with reality, no factual basis whatsoever. Their basis is someone's whim.

 
At 4/07/2005 11:54 AM, Anonymous francois_tremblay declaimed...

"These are objective facts of what 'is', but from those facts we cannot determine the ethical standards of what we 'ought' to do."

Bwahahaha !

Then how do you get from what the Bible IS, and what you perceive as BEING the Word of God, to what you OUGHT to do ?

Christian imbecile !

 
At 4/07/2005 12:00 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Franc: "Christian imbecile !"

It really is incredible, isn't it?

Did you ever see that T-shirt with a picture of an intact egg on one side, and an egg in a frying pan on the other, with the words "This is your Mind" and "This is your mind on Religion" over the pictures respectively? Now recall Mark's earlier comment:

"I will admit, Hawking fries my brain."

Need one say more?

 
At 4/07/2005 1:33 PM, Blogger HZ declaimed...

Well its very easy to call Mark an imbecile by completely disregarding distinctions that any non-imbecile would make. The Ten Commandments are by nature an ethical statement. Their very "is" is an "ought." The existence of a table and chairs is not. And unless you accept revelation (which those who believe in the ten commandments do: again, you are completely ignoring the whole distinction of our different starting points, with revelation in the mix) you can never have anything more than your subjective perception of such things as table and chairs, which will never get you to "ought."
You have still done nothing to establish the objectivity of our perceptions of material phenomenon. You are blindly trusting that causality for instance, is objective: when, as I pointed out in another post, all the examples you can come up with (for instance your example, BB, of a person crossing the street) are still just examples of phenomenon that your mind has organized into causation. You have no idea, really, what matter is, apart from this organization of your mind. And if you are honest, you cannot put any faith in the organization: it might be simply a chemical process, that has nothing to do with actuality. Science can tell you nothing about non matter: not even whether it exists. It can tell you nothing about your non-material mind (unless Francois is going to come in again with calling me a dunce because everyone knows [at least almost everyone on this comment board?] that the mind is material, in which case his comments on it are no more significant than the yippings of a dog when the postman comes by), and so it cannot even tell you if its own theories are laws-- objective. Your own mind can tell you nothing except its own perceptions. Philosophy and science are not objective studies, because the subject is also the object. They can never arrive at objectivity. Unless you are going to accept revelation (as a statement from the creator of both mind and matter, objectifying both), or be dishonest, you are going to have to live in a wholly subjective universe.
By the way, I posted a reply on the Terri Schiavo entry. As I said over there, I find it rather ironic that you try to make me feel ashamed of pointing out the similarity of your "non-person" doctrine with that of Hitler, who would define me away and make me suffer for my Jewish ancestry (which I have), by calling me a non-person wanting to make me suffer for my Christianity.

 
At 4/07/2005 2:10 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

Bahnsen and Franc,

Those last two comments from both of you cracked me up! Orange juice came out my nose and went all over a report Im working on! But it was worth it :D

 
At 4/07/2005 2:17 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

HZ, I submit your latest post as evidence that you are a solipsist, since you think you cant trust any knowledge or observations whatsoever. And that jabber about the "non-material mind" is just nonsense. Your non material mind doesnt exist; it doesnt do anything.

Every function of your brain, every thought in your head, everything you can do or think or feel, is material, because it can all be detected and quantified by machines that observe the electrical signals that travel around between the neurons in your brain. Every function of your mind, including all thoughts, are explainable by purely material and natural phenomena.

Your "nonmaterial mind" doesnt exist. It has nothing to do or account for in regards to the function of your mind. Its totally superfluous.

 
At 4/07/2005 2:32 PM, Blogger HZ declaimed...

Aaron, can the laws of logic be detected on your machines? Can the concept of a triangle? You are not distinguishing a chemical reaction in the brain from concepts. You may be able, on a machine, to see this chemical under a microscope. But you cannot see concept. You can examine a brain under a microscope. But you cannot examine the world of mind.
You can call me a solipsist, but I am not. That is missing the point of my argument. My argument is that unless you accept revelation, or are dishonest you are reduced to being a solipsist. I believe very firmly that there is reality beyond myself, and that I can know it: but I can only know it if I believe in something more authoratative than my own perceptions. The material world cannot be more authoratative, because it is only known to me through them.
If, as you posit, all concept, all law, is simply a reaction of certain chemicals in our brain, that are bound to react as they do because of the makeup of our organism, then this entire discussion means nothing. You think what you think because of a process in nature. I do the same. There is nothing more than that. And our language, our discussions, if we at all sensible, ought to be limited to utilitarian expressions: for instance, "I need to go now". "I think you're wrong" is completely irrelevant, from either of us. Wrong is nothing. Right is nothing. Thought is nothing. It is all matter, in one form or another.

 
At 4/07/2005 2:46 PM, Blogger HZ declaimed...

since I don't have much time, and won't be able to check for a response until next week, I'll go ahead and respond to one thing you might say: that I can only know God through my perceptions. This to fail to make a distinction about the nature of revelation as opposed to the nature of matter and mind.
Revelation makes it very clear that God is: the name He gives to Moses at the burning bush is "I Am that I Am." So revelation tells us that involved in the the nature of Deity is an independence of our perceptions. And the nature of revelation is to be more authoratitive than perceptions.
But you can't tell me anything about the nature of matter, that isn't one of your perceptions. And without revelation, you have nothing more authoratative to go back to. I realise that you don't believe in revelation, and to you it carries no authority whatsoever. But I am arguing from my worldview, not yours. And I am arguing that in my worldview, I can logically not be a solipsist. While in yours, unless you are going to be illogical, you can't: because the nature of everything you know is a perception that you have, and you believe in nothing more authoratative than your perceptions.

 
At 4/07/2005 2:59 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

HZ writes: "The Ten Commandments are by nature an ethical statement."

It's not because it is not established on the basis of reason. It's just a set of commands. Commands are good for dogs and computers, not for thinking human beings. Man needs an ethics of rational principles - i.e., general truths based on relevant facts of his basic nature that an individual can apply to his choices and actions. The Ten Commandments in no way provides for a thinker to identify goals or the actions that enable him to achieve them. It's a completely non-goal-oriented set of statements, which by definition precludes its use as an ethical guide.

HZ: "Their very 'is' is an 'ought'."

For that matter, the same could be said for Hitler's decrees against Jews and other hated groups. But the point is that the so-called "ought" of any command in the TC is in no way rationally derived from what is. That's why they're commandments - somebody simply wants everyone to obey him, regardless of what reality says. The TC simply command people to do something, giving no life-based reason for doing so, and holding a stick over the head if they don't obey. It's utterly barbaric. Ethical? Not even close.

HZ: "The existence of a table and chairs is not."

Apart from the context of man's biological needs (the relevant facts), there's no "ought" because there's no context to generate it. The context that provides man with a guide to his choices and actions is his nature as a biological organism, as I pointed out. You seem too eager to drop this part of the context, even though I was very clear about it.

HZ: "And unless you accept revelation (which those who believe in the ten commandments do: again, you are completely ignoring the whole distinction of our different starting points, with revelation in the mix) you can never have anything more than your subjective perception of such things as table and chairs, which will never get you to 'ought'."

Are you starting to see what happens when you drop context? You start to characterize your opponent's position while partially or completely ignoring the points he used to inform it. The fact that man is a biological organism is not a "subjective perception." The fact that he faces a fundamental alternative (to live or die) is not a "subjective perception." The fact that man must act in order to live is not a "subjective perception." The recognition of these relevant facts is objective since they obtain whether or not someone is aware of them or whether or not he doesn't like them. No amount of wishing will make you a non-biological organism.

HZ: "You have still done nothing to establish the objectivity of our perceptions of material phenomenon."

Are you saying that the facts I have pointed to are not true? Or do you really think they're based on someone's wishing? It's not clear what your point is here, or what you as a Christian could possibly mean by "objectivity." I asked Mark to clarify his use of this term, and other Christians as well, and I will ask you, too. But typically Christians don't come through with an answer on such questions.

HZ: "You are blindly trusting that causality for instance, is objective: when, as I pointed out in another post, all the examples you can come up with (for instance your example, BB, of a person crossing the street) are still just examples of phenomenon that your mind has organized into causation."

Several points here. The recognition that causality is objective is not made on the basis of "blind trust." That's not the Objectivist's epistemology, that's the Christian's primary methodology (cf. "I believe because the Bible tells me so"). So again you're projecting here, as Franc has eloquently pointed out. Also, it's not at all clear what you mean by "organized into causation." I recognize that action is always action of something, and that an entity's actions are necessarily dependent on its nature. That's the law of causality. This is not a matter of "blind trust" since our every experience provides an example of this. We simply need to identify it and understand its importance as a rational principle. Perhaps your Christianity has confused you so much that you can't grasp this; indeed, I don't know where any biblical author recognizes the law of causality.

HZ: "You have no idea, really, what matter is, apart from this organization of your mind."

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, either, or how you know anything about what I know. Why are Christians always trying to say that other people whom they've never met don't know something? Paul Manata's recent blog is all about trying to prove that Zach Moore doesn't know something. It's really amazing! Does your case depend on someone else's ignorance? Is it really that feeble? Such ranting only shows how frustrated apologists really are with their own worldview.

HZ: "And if you are honest, you cannot put any faith in the organization: it might be simply a chemical process, that has nothing to do with actuality."

It does not follow from the supposition that something is "simply a chemical process" that it "has nothing to do with actuality." If it's actually a chemical process, it's actually a chemical process. Now, it's not clear what relevance this has to the ethical principles I have elucidated. Either a person's ethics take into account the facts of man's biological nature, or it doesn't. Mine does, because I want to live. You may have adopted an ethical view that assumes inhuman standards, perhaps because living your life is not important to you. Only you can make this choice for yourself, HZ.

HZ:"Science can tell you nothing about non matter: not even whether it exists."

I don't know what you mean by "non matter" or how you would establish that science cannot tell us about it. Again, you're just saying what other thinkers cannot do, and you offer no support for such limitations.

HZ: "It can tell you nothing about your non-material mind"

How do you know this, HZ?

HZ: "(unless Francois is going to come in again with calling me a dunce because everyone knows [at least almost everyone on this comment board?] that the mind is material, in which case his comments on it are no more significant than the yippings of a dog when the postman comes by),"

Why do you think that, HZ? Significant to whom?

HZ: "and so it cannot even tell you if its own theories are laws-- objective."

Again, HZ, as a Christian, you're going to have to clarify what you mean when you use terminology alien to the bible. I have no idea what Christians mean by "objective" or where they might be getting it. But it's obvious that they're having to look outside their bible and borrow from non-biblical sources even to interject such terms into their locutions.

HZ: "Your own mind can tell you nothing except its own perceptions."

I would be amazed if you really believed this, so I'm supposing you're just trying to provoke in order to get the heat off your "Christian worldview." But just for grins, how would you go about establishing this, HZ?

HZ: "Philosophy and science are not objective studies, because the subject is also the object."

Yes, as I thought, your understanding of the meaning of non-biblical terms is not at all what I understand them to mean.

HZ: "They can never arrive at objectivity."

I don't think objectivity is something someone "arrives at." It's an orientation that one embraces, not a destination one travels to. Objectivity is not an end in itself; it's a precondition to identifying and pursuing any rational goals.

HZ: "Unless you are going to accept revelation (as a statement from the creator of both mind and matter, objectifying both), or be dishonest, you are going to have to live in a wholly subjective universe."

I've been consistently honest on this point: I don't think the universe is a cartoon. That's why I'm not a Christian.

 
At 4/07/2005 3:31 PM, Blogger HZ declaimed...

The Ten Commandments are established on the basis of reason: they are a reflection of the character of the most reasonable and righteous Being. Your saying that they exist in a void is from your perspective, your worldview, not mine. And though He is not obligated to, God does give us the relevant facts. For instance, the command against murder is based on the fact that human life is created in the image of God, with intelligence, reason, will, soul, etc. This is quite different than the void of the ethical statements made by Hitler: for one thing, it is the most authoratative foundation for ethics, and gives the most basic reason. And for another, the standard is righteous, as consistent with the righteous God Who gave it. So arguing that it comes in a void may be a good argument from your perspective, but it does not do anything to mine.

The point I was trying to make with table and chairs is, that if man is no more than a material organism, there is no more ought about his existence than there is about the existence of table and chairs. His biological makeup does not get you any further than the biological makeup of a plant.

What I mean by objective is very simply an independent state that does not depend on perception for verification. If your own perceptions are the most authoratative thing in your worldview, then nothing can have that kind of objectivity. (by the way, I use "you" merely as a pronoun to indicate the reader, which would be me, if I were reading this: it applies to Christians and atheists alike: without revelation, you, we, I, he, she, it, can honestly lay claim to no objective knowledge: I hope that clears up what you seem to perceive as my hang up that others know nothing: my statements apply to humanity by nature in general, not to any group in particular; and multiple philosophers have made the same statements).

You may assume the orientation of objectivity, but that is faith, isn't it? You a priori believe in objectivity, and in the authority of your perceptions as a measure of it: you assume this in order to prove the reality of what you already assume.

I mean by organization simply the order your mind imposes on perceptual phenomenon.

I do have to go.

 
At 4/07/2005 3:39 PM, Anonymous francois_tremblay declaimed...

None of these imbeciles have enough brain cells to realize that they are the subjectivists, and that denying material objectivity is only making their case even worse. It's unbelievable. Talk about cutting off one's head !

But one thing attracted my attention : this strange idea that the Ten Commandments can jump magically from is to ought, when the Christians themelves proclaimed that there is no such passage. Talk about contradicting yourself.

Rationally speaking, the existence of the Ten Commandments does not magically change them into an ought, any more than a secular statement is automatically an ought. To be a moral statement, it needs to pertain to human action, and therefore be CONTEXTUAL : something that the Ten Commandments are not.

 
At 4/07/2005 3:39 PM, Anonymous francois_tremblay declaimed...

Maybe we should just hammer the point that THE UNIVERSE IS NOT A CHRISTIAN CARTOON again and again until they get it. Using cartoons as an analogy is probably simple enough even for a presuppositionalist.

 
At 4/07/2005 4:09 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

The fact that he faces a fundamental alternative (to live or die) is not a "subjective perception." The fact that man must act in order to live is not a "subjective perception."

Perceptions are not subjective they just are. Conclusions have the potential to be subjective or objective. Conclusions of subjectivity and objecitivity depend upon the purpose or intent of the observer.

subjectivity: I don't want reality this way therefore I will refuse to accept it

objectivity: I have made a number of observations and conclude reality is this way - I will conform to it.

"The Ten Commandments are established on the basis of reason: they are a reflection of the character of the most reasonable and righteous Being."

They are not commandments - they are statements - as a Jew you should know this.

Aseret ha-Dibrot - meaning statements, words, things etc. If they were commandments they would be called Aseret ha-Mitzvot. The Rabbis teach that these are classifications of the 613 mitzvot.

 
At 4/07/2005 4:14 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

"Aaron, can the laws of logic be detected on your machines?"

Yes of course. The "laws of logic" are concepts, and humans contain concepts as electrical/chemical signals in the brain. And those signals can be detected on a machine.

"Can the concept of a triangle?"

A triangle is a three sided geometric shape whose angles add up to 180 degrees. We can build triangles out of matter, for example a coat hangar. As far as the "concept" of a triangle goes, yes we can see ALL concepts as signals in the brain.

"You are not distinguishing a chemical reaction in the brain from concepts. You may be able, on a machine, to see this chemical under a microscope. But you cannot see concept."

Yes we can actually. Havent you been reading the news? We can use computers to see thoughts now. Jesu Christ! catch up to modern times already!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4396387.stm

"You can examine a brain under a microscope. But you cannot examine the world of mind."

Yes we can and yes we do. Check out that BBC link.

BTW did you also know that scientists have hooked up receptors to the optic nerves of horseshoe crabs and have literally "seen" on a computer screen what the crabs eye sees? I saw it myself on the Science Channel. It was pretty amazing!

 
At 4/07/2005 4:29 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

HZ
"You are not distinguishing a chemical reaction in the brain from concepts. You may be able, on a machine, to see this chemical under a microscope. But you cannot see concept."

AK
Yes we can actually. Havent you been reading the news? We can use computers to see thoughts now. Jesu Christ! catch up to modern times already!

Come on AK - just because you can process the signals of the brain and use them to turn things on and off does not mean that concepts are stored that way. Those are just chemical functions of the brain. The real work going on here is God informing man of the world around him. In fact those scientists have only stumbled upon that technology because God has shown it to them. Man apart from God is an unthinking, unreasoning beast.

Get your facts straight AK.... ;)

 
At 4/07/2005 4:39 PM, Blogger Aaron Kinney declaimed...

"Come on AK - just because you can process the signals of the brain and use them to turn things on and off does not mean that concepts are stored that way. Those are just chemical functions of the brain. The real work going on here is God informing man of the world around him. In fact those scientists have only stumbled upon that technology because God has shown it to them. Man apart from God is an unthinking, unreasoning beast.

Get your facts straight AK.... ;) "

LOL Good one cadman!

Seriously though, if computers can receive thoughts from a handicapped man and do VERY SPECIFIC actions based on the instructions/thoughts it receives form that man, then obviously concepts are quantifiable and containable in different mediums (organic brains or silicone computer chips).

When this guy in the article tells the computer to do many different functions, isnt he actually TRANSMITTING CONCEPTS TO A MACHINE? Isnt the machine reading and processing these concepts as instructions and everything?

Concepts are quantifiable and material. They can be stored in processing mediums like brains and microchips, and even translated and understood and shared between those mediums.

Just wait until this technology advances to practical everyday use! Cell phones operating purely on thought! Technological telepathy between humans, made possible by purely material mechanical means.

All you theists can kiss your imaginary "nonmaterial mind" claims goodbye! :P

 
At 4/07/2005 4:55 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

HZ
"The Ten Commandments are established on the basis of reason: they are a reflection of the character of the most reasonable and righteous Being."

Whatever that means....

"And for another, the standard is righteous, as consistent with the righteous God Who gave it."

God is righteous because god is righteous.... yada yada...

Even though he murdered his own son, utilized human sacrifice as a means of blood atonement - forbidden and not even carried out according to the laws of Torah, broke it by having the Israelites partake in ethnic cleansing... Oh that's right God has his reasons... broke his promise to Israel for land aquisition - wait promises... doesn't that imply trust which implies a connection to values... uh oh looks like promises mean nothing for god either.. oh well... so much for objectivity of the Law eh?

AK
"Concepts are quantifiable and material."

Prove to me that those impulses are not being controlled by a soul... come AK you dirty little materialist...

 
At 4/07/2005 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

What about the concept of God? of eternity? of abstract shape (apart from any specific shape)? Can these be seen and studied on a computer screen? Or is it only a corresponding chemical you are talking about, that can be detected and analyzed and broken down into lines and blips and what have you? You say that the chemical equals the concept. But isn't it more accurate to say that the chemical accompanies the concept? Or do you not differentiate the concept from the chemical, any more than you seem to differentiate the conceptual triangle from the physical triangle? You also seem to reduce the human mind to the same level as the crab's brain (which Christians do not; so the crab proves little). But in this case, aren't our perceptions, as his, merely a product of our surroundings? As such, how are we capable of independent (and therefore meaningful) analysis of that environment? When all of our thoughts are dependent upon it? And products of it? How can one be more true than any other?

 
At 4/07/2005 6:26 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

a_n_u_s:
"When all of our thoughts are dependent upon it?"

Thoughts are the product of a conceptual mind and its environment. One cannot break the link otherwise we end up with realism - mysterious concepts and nominalism - meaningless concepts.

Our view of conceptual thought is a causal relationship.

 
At 4/07/2005 6:30 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

CADman
"Our view of conceptual thought is a causal relationship."

Let me clarify the causal relationship.

The causal relationship is between our senses and the existence - these are neither subjective nor objective. The conceptual aspect is volitional in nature and these can be subjective or objective depending upon the purpose of the individual.

 
At 4/07/2005 6:45 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Anonymous wrote: "You also seem to reduce the human mind to the same level as the crab's brain (which Christians do not; so the crab proves little)."

Where does the Christian bible say anything about any brain, human or crab? When reading any passage in the bible, I get the strong impression that none of its authors knew what the brain was for. They seem to associate the heart with consciousness, which modern science in no way confirms. And yet here we have Christian apologists talking about the nature of the human brain. Well, you just stepped out of your worldview. Since biblegod is said not to be material or have a body, I can only conclude that it is utterly brainless.

 
At 4/07/2005 11:29 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

BB
"They seem to associate the heart with consciousness,..."

I believe consciousness was associated with the kidney area and not the heart.

 
At 4/08/2005 8:42 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

"I believe consciousness was associated with the kidney area and not the heart. "

Yes, in hebrew thought. Sometimes translated "bowels" meaning the affections.

In greek you have soma(body), psuche(soul) and pneuma(spirit) or breath.

The soul is horizontal in scope, min will and emotions. It is where we relate to other people and our environment. The spirit, it vertical in scope. It is our consciousness of God. Now, I am not saying necessarily that these are seperate entities, they could be seperate functions of the immaterial aspect of man. But there is a ghost in the machine.

Soul/Spirit is simply more than the mere electro chemial functions of the brain. Check out the movie "What the &^%$* do we know". In that movie are quantum physicists affirming the existence of the soul and still denying the God of creation. They tend to wither be pantheists or kantian in their concept of God.

 
At 4/08/2005 10:19 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Mark: "Soul/Spirit is simply more than the mere electro chemial functions of the brain."

How do you know this, Mark? By faith? By reason? Can you support this assertion by relating it to relevant facts? Or are we supposed to just accept such claims on your say so?

 
At 4/08/2005 7:05 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

BB
"
How do you know this, Mark? By faith? By reason? Can you support this assertion by relating it to relevant facts? Or are we supposed to just accept such claims on your say so?"

Well, BB, we know that there is a God because all one has to do is look to oneself. The fact that god belief is so prevelent in the world is also proof of this. Even without a bible telling us that this is true we still know it to be true because of man's makeup. We know that man is created as an image of the divine - if we just take an accounting of ourselves it is quite obvious.

Now it takes scripture and a Holy Spirit epistemology in order to make the full manifestation of this fact certain but we have a promise from God that it is. Since it is impossible for God to lie we can be fully confident and 100% certain. That is why materialists swim in a sea of subjectivity and are completely lost.

In fact unbelief is evidence that God exists. How so? Well... we will have to discuss this another time...

 
At 4/08/2005 10:23 PM, Blogger CADman904 declaimed...

Mark
"The soul is horizontal in scope, min will and emotions. It is where we relate to other people and our environment. The spirit, it vertical in scope. It is our consciousness of God. Now, I am not saying necessarily that these are seperate entities, they could be seperate functions of the immaterial aspect of man. But there is a ghost in the machine."

You know, its really amazing that the same God reveals different things out the same book. Judaism teaches that man has an animal soul called Nefesh HaBehamit. After God forms man he breathes into him "Nishmat Chaim" and he becomes "Nefesh Chaya" - a living creature.

This soul that was breathed is itself divided into three parts: nefesh, ruach and neshama. The neshama is closet to man and the nefesh is closest to God. The Ruach acts as an intermediary between the two.

I have seen in other places that there are as many as six souls or levels of soul in man... but of course why believe a Rabbi eh? They aren't enlightened on these matters like Spirit filled Christians are...

 
At 5/11/2005 12:22 PM, Anonymous Vladimir declaimed...

Vladimir said

I am only 20 so people wouldn't believe me even if I cried.
but one thing I can't understand
is this how come we base our arguments on laws of creation?
if in our life we give much
bigger importance to spiritual
laws or morals if you wish.
I don’t wanna start another argument but I think it is
pretty clear that all cultures
in all ages were agreeing on
at least some moral laws-otherwise
they would not be able to communicate, not even talking about
getting married to a foreigner.
if we observe the way cultures change stay connected? in india
you can find 5 different dialects
in one house(maybe I am exaggerating).
New words, ideas,
definitions, concepts, constantly
arise on the horizon of the universe. But no matter how much
cultures mold and change there
is always a common ground.and always Someone that never changes and sprinkles the cultures so that they have common goodness
of heart.

And all cultures throughout all
ages had "believers" and "unbelievers" (as far as I know, which I really don’t know much history to be honest,so if you wanna stop reading you can do so)
but anyaway
if you didnt believe God himself
how can you belive some observations of a 20 year old
collage drop-out.
yes I know bible is not that
of a big importance this days
but anyhow...
"Choose you this day who you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"

 

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