Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Quick Dismissal of an Attempted Rebuttal

In response to BenFromCanada's attempt at a rebuttal to my Quickie on the POE:

First, he tries to dismiss the fact that transferring the necessity of God knowing what will happen to saying it must therefore necessarily happen is fallacious. It's simply the modal fallacy, and is accepted by philosophers as such.

He says that I assume we make choices before the choice is given to us. He continues on this strange path by saying that Jesus told Peter he'd deny him three times, and therefore it has to happen by necessity. But this is just reasserting his initial assertion that foreknowledge entails the necessity of what is foreknown, which is begging the question. That is the fallacious argument. What is foreknown by Jesus in this case is what Peter will freely choose. Jesus sees what will happen. If Peter would choose something else in the future, Jesus would see that instead. What Jesus' prophesy is is what people who've actually studied the issue of free will call soft facts in the past. These are facts contingent on future events; facts that would have been different should different choices happened in the future. To say someone other than Peter made the choice is silly. Who made the choice for Peter? Just because Jesus knew what Peter would do, He all of a sudden made the choice for him? That makes no sense.

Say you're looking at the future in a crystal ball, and you see certain people in the future making choices that you have no control over, and they are done completely freely. Did those people have to make those choices just because you knew about them in the past? How on earth could that be? What you know is what choice they WILL make, but the choice could have been otherwise (perhaps Ben needs to dust up his philosophical vocabulary. Certainty about what will happen is not necessity that they must happen).

He tries to say I misrepresented his post by saying that he said the Bible says we have no free will. But he did say that. And I quote: "there's the fact the bible itself says that free will isn't possible." He shows his (and other skeptic's) utter fail of a hermeneutic by linking to individual verses out of their contexts and saying they are contradictory. Then he reaffirms that he said the Bible says we don't have free will.....

Anyhoo, he shows his ignorance of Biblical translation by citing Isaiah 45 in saying that God creates evil, which of course is translated "calamity" in all modern translations. I never said Adam made us sinful. Adam sinned, which developed in him a sin nature, which is passed to us. No one said the capability to sin was included in original sin (free will gives us that capability). It is the inability to not sin that original sin gave us.

I never said there is no good without evil. God is good, and there was no evil when He existed alone. I said there may not be as much good in this world without some evil.

He claims it's a cop-out to say we lack God's knowledge in criticizing the problem of evil. But the POE assumes that a good God would have no reason to permit any evil whatsoever. But surely an God who sees the end from the beginning and knows the goods that suffering and evil will bring about is justified in allowing them. All Ben has is his immediate sphere to consider, doesn't know anything about the future, and probably only remembers about 20% of his past. So is Ben qualified to make such a huge assertion? He says that God should have given us the ability to see the reason for suffering. Sometime He does, but why should God do that? Who says we should know why we suffer? Ben? If God revealed the reasons for all suffering, then it seems highly probable to me that the good results that would have come from it actually wouldn't. How so? Part of the growth that a person goes through in suffering through something is not knowing how it will turn out. The other aspect is in trusting God through trials with unclear outcomes.

But here's the funny thing, God has told us the ultimate result of the suffering
of those who love Him is eternal bliss and reward.

The free will defense I gave IS the cliff-notes version of Plantinga's argument. The logical POE states that God and evil cannot coexist logically. The free will defense says that if God doesn't control our actions, then they certainly can, because it is logically impossible to make people freely act. Plantinga simply expands on that with numerous examples and uses logical notation to do so.

So in no way do Ben's assertions here hold any water. He's still using fallacious reasoning to assert that foreknowledge is not consistent with free will. He still says the Bible says we don't have free will (don't know why anyone would even remotely trust his Biblical interpretation). He says it's a cop-out to say we lack God's knowledge, but that observation directly defeats one of the assumptions of the probabilistic problem of evil. Just because he thinks God should have told us all the reasons doesn't mean God has to. The fact that God may have justified reasons to allow evil that we know nothing about is enough to defeat the assertion that God has no such reasons.

162 comments:

Ryan Anderson said...

Did those people have to make those choices just because you knew about them in the past?

Once you know about it, yes, they do have to make that choice, or you do not have perfect knowledge of the future.

What you know is what choice they WILL make, but the choice could have been otherwise...

And to reiterate, if it's possible to see a future choice, and you do see this future choice occur, once you (in the present) know what choice they will make (in the future), the future as pertaining to that particular choice is set, and they couldn't do otherwise. But, as you say, if it's actually possible for them to make another choice after you observe the future from the present, then your knowledge of the future is not perfect.

This is one of those how many angels fit on the head of pin things though as we have no reason to believe anyone or anything can see the future.

bossmanham said...

Once you know about it, yes, they do have to make that choice, or you do not have perfect knowledge of the future.

Argue for it or your statement is just as much question begging as Ben's. How does simple knowledge cause someone to choose something? Why is it foreknowledge isn't simply of what they will choose, not what they must choose? You have to escape your fallacy to prove this. Assertion is nothing.

the future as pertaining to that particular choice is set

Doesn't mean it's necessary, only known. You haven't cleared the fallacy.

if it's actually possible for them to make another choice after you observe the future from the present, then your knowledge of the future is not perfect.

If the person is seeing a free choice that will be made, then by definition they are seeing a choice that could have been otherwise. You need to show why simply knowing what they will do forces them to choose something. There's no causal power in knowing something to someone else. Just because you know what will happen doesn't mean it happens necessarily.

Argue, don't assert.

John said...

@Ryan

"Once you know about it, yes, they do have to make that choice, or you do not have perfect knowledge of the future."

I'm pretty sure, 100% sure, that given a choice between some broccoli and some gummi bears, my 5-year-old nephew would go for the latter. So you're saying that my knowledge of what his choice would be makes it impossible for him to have freely chosen the gummi bears?

Hmm.

David said...

"I'm pretty sure, 100% sure, that given a choice between some broccoli and some gummi bears, my 5-year-old nephew would go for the latter."

Do you really have absolute, 100% perfect knowledge about what your nephew would do? Is it possible that you might be wrong, is it possible that you might be suprised?

Last Tuesday, I was trying decide what I would eat on Wednesday. I was deciding between pizza and hamburgers. On Wednesday, I ate hamburgers.

Now, before I was even born, did God know that I would eat hamburgers on last Wednesday? Before I was born, what was the probability that I would eat hamburgers last Wednesday? What was the probability that I would eat pizza?

As God sat around pondering the universe in the days before I was born, thinking about what was to be last Wednesday, was there ever really even the tiniest of possibilities that I would eat pizza last Wednesday? Can I ever suprise God?

bossmanham said...

We know (knowledge being justified true belief) a lot about the future position of celestial bodies, yet our knowledge doesn't cause them to be in those positions. It's fallacious logic, plain and simple. Dead issue.

David said...

"We know (knowledge being justified true belief) a lot about the future position of celestial bodies, yet our knowledge doesn't cause them to be in those positions. It's fallacious logic, plain and simple. Dead issue."

Is our knowledge perfect and absolute? If not, then this is not the same as what is claimed for God.

Is it possible that a given body might end up in a different future position from what we predict because of some factor or event that we don't know about or failed to predict? If so, then this is not the same as what is being claimed for God.


Do the celestial bodies have a choice or free will?! You have, in fact, given a beautiful example of how knowing the future depends on the ABSENCE of choice or free will on the part of the object whose future is being predicted. To the extent that we can say that we "know" where a celestial body will be, we can only do this because the bodies LACK choice or free will. What cause the bodies to be in a given position in the future is pure, choice-free mechanics. If you're trying to offer an analogy, then what you've done is demonstrate that God knows the future because there is no choice or free will.

Now, to repeat (since I didn't get an answer before):

Before I was even born, did God know that I would eat hamburgers on last Wednesday? Before I was born, what was the probability that I would eat hamburgers last Wednesday? What was the probability that I would eat pizza?

As God sat around pondering the universe in the days before I was born, thinking about what was to be last Wednesday, was there ever really even the tiniest of possibilities that I would eat pizza last Wednesday? Can I ever suprise God?

Why can't the questions be answered?

bossmanham said...

Is our knowledge perfect and absolute? If not, then this is not the same as what is claimed for God.

About certain celestial bodies? Yes.

Is it possible that a given body might end up in a different future position from what we predict because of some factor or event that we don't know about or failed to predict?

Not with some of them, like the moon.

You have, in fact, given a beautiful example of how knowing the future depends on the ABSENCE of choice or free will on the part of the object whose future is being predicted.

Irrelevant. If knowledge of the future causes something to happen, then it doesn't matter whether the effect is personal or not.

Before I was even born, did God know that I would eat hamburgers on last Wednesday?

Yes.

Before I was born, what was the probability that I would eat hamburgers last Wednesday?

If we're talking Bayesian probability, it would vary given certain background information about you and your prior choices that I don't have.

What was the probability that I would eat pizza?

Irrelevant. God knew what you would choose (which would be nonsensical language if you in fact didn't have a choice), whatever the Bayesian probability happened to be. You're using the wrong terminology here.

Can I ever suprise God?

It's not a question of whether you can surprise God. Of course you can't. The question is could you choose otherwise. Metaphysically, yes you can. If you did, God would have known that choice instead of what He actually did know.

Why can't the questions be answered?

Uh, I answered these in the post.

bossmanham said...

David, why can't you recognize the fallacy in your logic with regard to this issue? Just because, necessarily if God knows x then x will happen, and God knows x, it doesn't follow that necessarily x will happen. That logic only entails the x will happen. But just because something will happen doesn't mean it must happen necessarily.

Ryan Anderson said...

Brennan; We don't have perfect knowledge of where celestial bodies will be in the future. We can predict where they will likely be using present knowledge.

I believe, and could be wrong, that in your theology, god is not like Maud'Dib who simply predicts the future based on present information, but that god actually KNOWS future events. That makes all the difference.

How does simple knowledge cause someone to choose something?

Well, I'm pretty sure that perfect knowledge of the future is not "simple knowledge".

So, if, on July 31st god knows that I will buy ice cream on August 2nd, is it possible for me to not buy ice cream on August 2nd?

David said...

"Irrelevant.'

Not irrelevant. Why can we predict the future position of CBs? CBs have no free will or choice. It's all mechanics.

Why can God predict the future "position" of humans?

Well, either your analogy is faulty to begin with (a real possibility) or ... humans have no free will or choice. If we're truly free, then you can't predict what we'll do.

Take you pick. Bad analogy or humans are like CBs and have no free will.


>Before I was even born, did God know that I would eat hamburgers on last Wednesday?

"Yes."

>Before I was born, what was the probability that I would eat hamburgers last Wednesday?

"If we're talking Bayesian probability, it would vary given certain background information about you and your prior choices that I don't have."

Huh? No, it wouldn't vary. If before the event occurred, God knew what the outcome would be, then the probability of the outcome is 1. Before the event occurred, the probability that it would occur was 1. There can be no other outome. If there is perfect foreknowledge, then the the probabilty of eating hamburgers is 1 and the probability of eating pizza is 0.


"But just because something will happen doesn't mean it must happen necessarily."

Of course that's what this means. Otherwise, before I was born, God could have been wrong about my dining choices last Wednesday. And you claim that God can't be wrong. If X will happen with a probability of 1, then it must happen, and I didn't really choose anything.

Or if the probablity was actually less than 1, then God does not have perfect foreknowledge.

Take your pick.

If God knew that I'd eat hamburgers before I was born, if that probability was 1, then all we have is the illusion of choice. In fact, the script has been written, and all we can do is read it as we go through our lives.

Take your pick. Perfect knowledge of the future and no free will. Or imperfect knowledge as a result of free will.

David said...

"So, if, on July 31st god knows that I will buy ice cream on August 2nd, is it possible for me to not buy ice cream on August 2nd?"

Exactly the right question to ask, and the correct answer, or course, is no. Choice is an illusion. Or God is imperfect.

bossmanham said...

We don't have perfect knowledge of where celestial bodies will be in the future. We can predict where they will likely be using present knowledge.

Then we know (have justified true belief) where they are going to be, with mathematical precision.

So, if, on July 31st god knows that I will buy ice cream on August 2nd, is it possible for me to not buy ice cream on August 2nd?

Yes it's possible that you not. What you will do is another question.

Not irrelevant. Why can we predict the future position of CBs? CBs have no free will or choice. It's all mechanics.

It is irrelevant. The debate is whether foreknowledge is determinitive. Free will is what is up for debate here. You're assuming it's possible in this "objection."

If we're truly free, then you can't predict what we'll do.

It's innate knowledge with God. Ours is derived from mathematics, but is no less correct with respect to the mathematically precise position of the moon.

Huh? No, it wouldn't vary. If before the event occurred, God knew what the outcome would be, then the probability of the outcome is 1.

This is begging the question. You're assuming His knowledge makes in a necessary event. That is as fallacious an argument as the one you're relying on to think the foreknowledge entails necessity.

. Otherwise, before I was born, God could have been wrong about my dining choices last Wednesday

Boy you're philosophically dense. There is a distinct difference between certainty and necessity. God, having perfect knowledge, is never wrong. But that doesn't mean His knowledge isn't based on something. By definition, God knows about an event. That means that the event takes logical priority in His knowing about it. The event isn't based on His knowledge.

Exactly the right question to ask, and the correct answer, or course, is no. Choice is an illusion. Or God is imperfect.

Or you're dense.

Ryan Anderson said...

It's innate knowledge with God. Ours is derived from mathematics, but is no less correct with respect to the mathematically precise position of the moon.

A broken clock is "no less correct" than working clock twice a day.

Bottom line, you are mixing up prediction of the future based on present information with actual knowledge of the future.

Ryan Anderson said...

Also, there are things our mathematical models cannot predict, like collisions with asteroids, etc... that would not invalidate our models, but would make our actual knowledge today of where the moon would be 2199 (or whenever) incorrect.

David said...

"The debate is whether foreknowledge is determinitive."

The only way that you can have perfect knowledge of the future is if the object you are observing MUST follow a certain course. Like the moon. To have perfect foreknowledge of the outcome, the outcome must have been effectively DETERMINED by unalterable forces before the game begins. If it's not determined before the game is played, then you can't know or predict the outcome.

If you have perfect foreknowledge, then there can only be one outcome. Any other outcome, and you have been shown to be wrong, and in your model, God cannot be wrong. Since God can't be wrong, outcome must be fully determined before the game began. And if God controls all things, than the unalterable force that pre-determined the outcome is effectively God.

If you don't want to call this "determintive", that's your choice. Now it's just a matter of symantics. You can play with words to your heart's content.

But if before I was born, the probability that I would eat hamburgers on Wednesday was 1, then I am no more choosing to eat burgers than the moon chose its postion in the night sky. I'm just following a script that was written before I was born. The only way that God can know what I'm going to do is if there is a determinative script written before my birth. So, who wrote the script? Who controls all things?

And if the probablity that I would eat burgers was less than 1, then God cannot have absolute perfect knowledge of the future. If the object is truly free to choose, if God does not control all things, then God can't know the outcome before it happens. But you don't want to believe it this sort of God.

As you said, we cannot suprise God any more than the moon can suprise us. So, we're just like the planets following our fixed orbits. It's all just celestial mechanics.


"Or you're dense."

Or you want to have your perfect knowledge cake and eat your free will, too. It doesn't work.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@Is our knowledge perfect and absolute? If not, then this is not the same as what is claimed for God.

No, God's knowledge would be more justified and concrete. If it's something that even finite humans can know with almost perfect certainty, then it's certainly something the infinite God can know with absolute certainty.

@If you're trying to offer an analogy, then what you've done is demonstrate that God knows the future because there is no choice or free will

Not really, despite our choices being free, we maintain that they're still predictable from God's perspective.

@There can be no other outome. If there is perfect foreknowledge, then the the probabilty of eating hamburgers is 1 and the probability of eating pizza is 0.

That "probability" is constituted by the agent's free agency (i.e. God's knowledge is that you'll most certainly eat a hamburger precisely because that is what your choice will be), so your argument is irrelevant.

@If X will happen with a probability of 1, then it must happen, and I didn't really choose anything.

Probability isn't the same thing as necessity. The probability is 1 given a certain configuration of one's free agency, it tells us nothing as to whether its agency was that way by necessity.

@To have perfect foreknowledge of the outcome, the outcome must have been effectively DETERMINED by unalterable forces before the game begins.

Wrong, it can be predicted from *contingent* forces provided they're known before the game begins. If I somehow intercept what strategy my opponent is employing/will employ, then I can predict his moves without some unalterable force making him move that way.


@So, who wrote the script?

Man self-determines, God perceives his self-determination and places him as He sees fit with certain knowledge of the outcome of that self-determination. There's no all-overpowering "script" in play.



Ryan,

@Also, there are things our mathematical models cannot predict

Irrelevant, we're talking about God, not finite models.

John said...

@David

"Do you really have absolute, 100% perfect knowledge about what your nephew would do? Is it possible that you might be wrong, is it possible that you might be suprised? "

-- Well, there is a possibility that he might choose the broccoli, but that's only because I don't know all true propositions about him --maybe he's just had a truck of gummi bears a moment ago. The limited knowledge I have of him will make me confident in betting against the broccoli every single time. But we're talking about God here, who would presumably know ALL true propositions about everything.

Ana said...

Hello all,

If I may quote from St. Thomas Aquinas' Reasons for Our Faith Against the Muslims, Greeks and Armenians: Letter to the Cantor of Antioch (1264) ...

Chapter 10: That divine predestination does not impose necessity on human acts

"... It is erroneous to say that human acts and events escape God's fore-knowledge and ordination. It is no less erroneous to say that God's fore-knowledge and ordination imposes necessity on human acts; otherwise free will would be removed, as well as the value of taking counsel, the usefulness of laws, the care to do what is right and the justice of rewards and punishments.

We must observe that God knows things differently from man. Man is subject to time and therefore knows things temporally, seeing some things as present, recalling others as past, and fore-seeing others as future. But God is above the passage of time, and his existence is eternal. So his knowledge is not temporal, but eternal. Eternity is compared to time as something indivisible to what is continuous. Thus in time there is a difference of
successive parts according to before and after, but eternity has no before and after, because eternal things are free from any change.

....

Thus God, who looks at everything from the high point of eternity, views as present the whole passage of time and everything that is done in time. Therefore, when I see Socrates sitting, my knowledge is infallible and certain, but no necessity is imposed on Socrates to be seated. Thus God, seeing everything that is past, future or
present to us as present to himself, knows all this infallibly and certainly, yet without imposing on contingent things any necessity of existing... "

(emphasis mine)

David said...

I appreciate everyone's comments, but I don't think they are quite addressing what I've been saying. Perhaps it's a problem of semantics, especially with respect to words like "necessity" and "determination".

For example, if the probability that an event will occur is 1, if the probability must be 1 and can only be 1, and if that probability is set before the event occurs...then under these conditions, the event MUST occur. Must occur. No choice, no other possible outcome. Now, I would say that the event is therefore a necessary and pre-determined event, but maybe others are using these terms in a different way. Maybe this is a question of semantics.

If God knew that I would eat hamburgers last Wednesday, then I MUST eat hamburgers. I can't suprise God. This event MUST occur. I can't, at the last instant, decide to eat pizza. I understand that one might say that I chose to eat burgers, and it's just that God knew what I would chose, but I think that this is a pseudo-choice or the illusion of choice. If the probabily of burger consumption was equal to 1, even before I was born, then there is no true choice. I might think that I thought my way to the burger conclusion, but if the probability of burger eating was 1, even before I was born, it is not choice or free will. There really is a script that is unrolling as I live.

If I go to the theater to see Hamlet, I have foreknowledge that during Act X, Scene X, the actor playing Hamlet will say "to be or not to be". However, my foreknowledge isn't perfect, because the actor is free to say something completely different like "now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York".

The actor will soon be out of work, but he could chose to say the wrong line anyway. The only way that my foreknowledge can be perfect and flawless and absolute would be if I somehow take away the actor's freedom. My foreknowledge is only perfect if the actor cannot say anything other than "to be or not to be" for any reasons, at any time, under any circumstances. Or perhaps I could make an animatronic actor that will act in a totally programed and predictable way. Either should allow me to have perfect foreknowledge. But as long the actor is really and truly a free agent, then I cannot have perfect foreknowledge.

David said...

I understand that point that says that just because we know what will happen, that doesn't mean we cause it to happen. We know that the moon will be at Point X in one week, even though we don't cause the moon to be at Point X. Really, I get it, but in the context of the issue, I don't think it's a particularly significant point.

What seems far more important and far relevant to me is the question of WHY or HOW we can know where the moon will be. We have foreknowledge of the moon's position, because the moon has no choice or free will! It's true that we're not moving the moon or causing it to be at Point X, but SOMETHING outside of the moon is moving the object in a predictable way. The moon is not deciding where it will be be in a week's time. It is subject to forces beyond itself, we understand these forces, and therefore, we have foreknowledge of its position. Give the moon a choice, and we cannot predict its position.

If a human being is truly free to choose, then you cannot predict what that that human will do, at least not with 100.000% accuracy (see "maybe he's just had a truck of gummi bears a moment ago"). Foreknowledge is only possible when an object’s position is pre-determined by outside forces or forces beyond the object’s control, whatever those forces happen to be. If God has the ability to predict human behavior with 100.000 % accuracy, then it’s because we are simply making the only “choice” we could actually make in a given situation. There really is no true choice. Though I thought I was making a choice, in reality, I was always going to eat burgers and I was never going to eat pizza. If it was possible to predict with 100% accuracy that I would eat burgers, that suggests that some force beyond my control (but understandable to the Great Predictor) caused me to eat burgers last Wendesday. I did not chose.

Finally, there also seems to be a certain amount of special pleading here. It's easy to say "we must observe that God knows things differently from man", but really, that strikes me as just an assertion to makes things come out the way we want them to. St. Thomas Aquinas also wants to have his cake and eat it, too.

How are we supposed to have the slightest idea how a god-like entity would see things? In the absence of knowledge, we fill in the gaps in a manner that pleases us, but that doesn't necessarily make it so. May it is so or maybe it's a trait that we humans have assigned to the god-like entity. Who knows?

Anyway, as I said, maybe we're just arguing sematics.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Ana,

Good quote, I think the second paragraph was especially helpful.


David,

@For example, if the probability that an event will occur is 1

I already answered this,

"That "probability" is constituted by the agent's free agency (i.e. God's knowledge is that you'll most certainly eat a hamburger precisely because that is what your choice will be), so your argument is irrelevant."


@The only way that my foreknowledge can be perfect and flawless and absolute would be if I somehow take away the actor's freedom.

Yes, but you, unlike God, can't have extratemporal access to the results of another person's agency, so the analogy falls far short.


@If a human being is truly free to choose, then you cannot predict what that that human will do, at least not with 100.000% accuracy

Yes, *we* can't, but we're not talking about us, we're talking about God, remember?


@Foreknowledge is only possible when an object’s position is pre-determined by outside forces or forces beyond the object’s control

I already addressed this as well....

"Wrong, it can be predicted from *contingent* forces provided they're known before the game begins. If I somehow intercept what strategy my opponent is employing/will employ, then I can predict his moves without some unalterable force making him move that way."

It's like you don't even read....


@Finally, there also seems to be a certain amount of special pleading here.

No, you're making a fundamental category mistake: God is not a limited human and His knowledge is therefore not so limited. You apparently assume we think God is something akin to a human being, and therefore to assume that His abilities are beyond ours somehow constitutes "special pleading," which is beyond absurd.


@How are we supposed to have the slightest idea how a god-like entity would see things?

We're not dealing with how God necessarily sees things or operates, but how it's logically possible for a transcendent Being to foreknow free choices (the underlying goal being to demonstrate taht it's quite rational to believe in an omniscient God who has created truly free agents), so the fact that no one has submitted God's "tech specs" to you is utterly irrelevant in salvaging your argument that fails to pass logical muster.

David said...

“"That "probability" is constituted by the agent's free agency (i.e. God's knowledge is that you'll most certainly eat a hamburger precisely because that is what your choice will be), so your argument is irrelevant.”

If “that is what my choice will be”, and that was known before I was born, if there was no possibility that I would eat pizza (because eating pizza would prove God wrong), then in what sense did I make a “choice”? How did I “chose”? Again, I think we have semantics issues here. We seem to be thinking of “choice” in different terms.

You know, I'm beginning to think that a response of "your argument is irrelevant" means that my point cannot be answered.


“Yes, but you, unlike God, can't have extratemporal access to the results of another person's agency, so the analogy falls far short.”

Extratemporal access? Is God a Tralfamadorian? At least Vonnegut would have acknowledged that the properties assigned to his characters were inventions. In any event, I’m not sure that this really addressed the points I’ve been trying to make.


"Yes, *we* can't, but we're not talking about us, we're talking about God, remember?"

Ok, and the point is? If God knows what we will "chose" with 100% accuracy, then in what sense have we made a "choice". The "choice" can only be one choice. It cannot be changed from what it will be. There is only one possible outcome, and that outcome existed before we were born. This is choice? It's the same choice that the moon has about its future position.


“Wrong, it can be predicted from *contingent* forces provided they're known before the game begins. If I somehow intercept what strategy my opponent is employing/will employ, then I can predict his moves without some unalterable force making him move that way."

Contingent forces? How are you defining this phrase? What does this have to do with choice or free will? Are these outside forces acting upon the observed object?

You can only predict your opponents moves IF you opponent acts in predictable way, a way consistent with the intercepted strategy. If your opponent decides or chooses at the last minute to change his strategy, then you are lost. You only win if your opponent chooses not to choose.

David said...

“No, you're making a fundamental category mistake: God is not a limited human and His knowledge is therefore not so limited. You apparently assume we think God is something akin to a human being, and therefore to assume that His abilities are beyond ours somehow constitutes "special pleading," which is beyond absurd.

Uh, no, this is not what I meant at all (so maybe we can skip the “beyond absurd” part). I’m referring to humans assigning traits and properties to God-like entities in the absence of any knowledge of what those entities are truly like in an effort to make things work out the way you want them to. It’s the imaginary can opener argument that I’m questioning.


“We're not dealing with how God necessarily sees things or operates, but how it's logically possible for a transcendent Being to foreknow free choices (the underlying goal being to demonstrate taht it's quite rational to believe in an omniscient God who has created truly free agents), so the fact that no one has submitted God's "tech specs" to you is utterly irrelevant in salvaging your argument that fails to pass logical muster.”

I don’t need to ask for the tech specs, because you’ve already insisted on presenting what you believe those tech specs are.

"Fails to pass logical muster." Oh, my!

Is it logically possible for a transcendent being to foreknow free choices?

I guess it depends on what you mean by "free choices", doesn't it? I can see that we simply have different ideas about what “choice” or "free will" means. It seems to me that whatever choices I’m going to make in the future have already been made. I can’t change the future, I can't suprise God. So, all I can do is observe what will already be. Call this “free will” if you’d like. So it goes (as the Tralfamadorians say).

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@then in what sense did I make a “choice”?

Because it arose from your own agency, not God's.


@Is God a Tralfamadorian?

Heh heh, your thought thought processes when it comes to refutation apparently only work in terms of strawmen. Again you fail basic logic. Try thinking past your simplistic sound-bites.


@Ok, and the point is?

God doesn't have the same limitations as a person, *duh!*


@You know, I'm beginning to think that a response of "your argument is irrelevant" means that my point cannot be answered.

Yet further proof that you can't follow what's being said....


@Contingent forces? How are you defining this phrase?

Something not divinely necessitated, obviously.


@What does this have to do with choice or free will?

Because free agency is a contingency not predetermined by God, but rooted in the creature.


@Are these outside forces acting upon the observed object?

I never said "outside forces," try reading context please.


@If your opponent decides or chooses at the last minute to change his strategy....

I said "will employ," not "may employ." [facepalm]


@There is only one possible outcome, and that outcome existed before we were born.

You're quite obviously confusing temporal and logical order, thus your persistent inability to follow the argument.


@because you’ve already insisted on presenting what you believe those tech specs are.

Did you just not read what you were responding to? I said we're showing how it's *logically possible*, not necessarily that we can give a full account of how God "ticks." The fact that you would make such an insipid claim about my position when I specifically implied that I hadn't attempted to give a full accounting of divine epistemology demonstrates beyond any doubt that your argumentation is rooted in ridiculous strawmen.


@I’m referring to humans assigning traits and properties to God-like entities in the absence of any knowledge of what those entities are truly like

Translation: "Waaah!! Davy want tech-specs!!"


@It cannot be changed from what it will be.

A form of immutability logically subsequent to self-determination is beside the point: our choices are what they are contingent upon our self-determination, not pre-programming by God, ergo they are free. The "acid test" of whether a choice is truly free is that: given no changes in how the world has been configured by God, could a person's choice in at least some scenarios have been different? If an affirmative answer can be given (which we do), then that is libertarian agency (aka free will).

bossmanham said...

JC,

Trust me, no one will charge David with being a logical mastermind. I often think he simply ignores half of what I say simply for the sake of trolling.

David said...

"Waaah!! Davy want tech-specs!!" (as an example).

Ah, I see that we've reached the insult stage of the discussion. Too bad.

We clearly have different ideas about choice and free will and the traits associated with god-like entities. If I can't suprise God, if the choices were known before I was born, then there's nothing to do but watch the script unfold.

To be perfectly honest, I think it would be even more depressing if free will worked as you say it does as opposed to if there is no free will at all. Then one truly must wonder about a god that does nothing when, say, a dictator exercises his freedom or "own agency" and kills a million people. Seriously, if God actually gave us choice, one must seriously question the thinking here. Major screw-up.

Perhaps we should leave it at this before I tempt you all to show me more of your Christian love. Sad.

Ryan Anderson said...

JC said "Irrelevant, we're talking about God, not finite models."

Thanks, that was precisely my point to Brennon.

bossmanham said...

We clearly have different ideas about choice and free will and the traits associated with god-like entities.

Yes. You have superficial ones based on ignorance of the terminology and concepts. JC and I, on the other hand, have a grasp of the philosophical situation (and where the current debate among scholars is for that matter).

Then one truly must wonder about a god that does nothing when, say, a dictator exercises his freedom or "own agency" and kills a million people.

Uh, partly because He already determined to give them free will. Other reasons are directly addressed in this post.

Seriously, if God actually gave us choice, one must seriously question the thinking here. Major screw-up.

Right, cause you're omniscient, eh?

David said...

"You have superficial ones based on ignorance of the terminology and concepts."

Shrug. So you say.

"He already determined to give them free will."

Yes, I'm familiar with this excuse (no wonder they call it apologetics), but it doesn't answer the question.

WHY?

"Right, cause you're omniscient, eh?"

Sorry, forgot about the perfect plan and all of that. I'll bet massacre victims have the same problem.

bossmanham said...

Shrug. So you say.

Yup, and I've studied it for about three years now by *gasp* reading the philosophers that deal with it. You clearly have very superficial opinions on the subject.

Yes, I'm familiar with this excuse (no wonder they call it apologetics), but it doesn't answer the question.

Your typical assertion. But the answer is what you just quoted.

Sorry, forgot about the perfect plan and all of that. I'll bet massacre victims have the same problem.

Ah, the emotional argument. That says it all, folks.

David said...

"You clearly have very superficial opinions on the subject."

O-tay. Whatever you say.


"Ah, the emotional argument."

Eh, no, it's the dead body argument. You dismiss a million dead as an "emotional argument"? Well, that's the power of philosophy for you.

Maybe I missed something, but what was the answer to the question of...WHY?

bossmanham said...

Maybe I missed something, but what was the answer to the question of...WHY?

You missed something? YOU!?! Really?




clearly

Ryan Anderson said...

...I, on the other hand, have a grasp of the philosophical situation (and where the current debate among scholars is for that matter).

I think your inability to diverge from the Craig script indicates you don't actually. I'm reminded of the bar/American History scene in Goodwill Hunting.

David said...

"You missed something? YOU!?! Really?"

Ok, we've had the insult, now where's the answer?

You said "the answer is what you just quoted." But I quoted a lot of things. Which quote are you referring to?

John said...

I think David has a slight point that I missed, which BMH and JC has maybe addressed.

David, are you saying that if there's a choice that could be independent of any fact of the matter, then it shouldn't be susceptible to God's knowledge? I guess free-willed agents, at least ostensibly, can make such choices --where there is no fact of the matter and are thus not based on any contingency. So, if God knows all true propositions, it should be the case that a choice for which there is no fact of the matter would not be known by him. Or maybe this has already been answered and I just missed it. Just my two cents.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@If I can't suprise God, if the choices were known before I was born, then there's nothing to do but watch the script unfold.

Re-assert, re-assert!


@one truly must wonder about a god that does nothing when, say, a dictator exercises his freedom or "own agency" and kills a million people.

[*yawn*] Red-herring....


@before I tempt you all to show me more of your Christian love.

Awww, Christian debater not being big huggy-sissy-bunny like fundy atheist troll want! To half-quote a certain meme, "'Lawful Good' doesn't always mean 'Lawful Nice.'"

zilch said...

Can Fred Flintstone choose to smoke Camels instead? If God is omniscient and omnipotent, we have just as much choice as Fred here.

Sure, it's logically possible, if not technologically feasible, for someone to have 100% accurate knowledge of the future without having any influence on the free choice involved in that future. Say God was in a fey mood, and showed your mother-in-law His video of you eating pizza tomorrow. She would thus know with 100% certainty that you would be eating pizza tomorrow (I'm assuming God would have foreseen and prevented any possible interference on her part, say by her inviting you over to dinner tomorrow). But she obviously isn't somehow "causing" you to choose pizza over hamburger, so this would be a case of foreknowledge without causation.

But the same cannot be said of God. God not only has foreknowledge of your actions, the same as we can have knowledge of Fred's ineluctably toking a Winston by watching the film; but God is also the Creator of the action in the first place: He created us, knowing exactly how we would choose pizza tomorrow, and deliberately (or accidentally?) making us in just such a way that we would do it.

We may have the illusion that we are considering hamburgers, but our consideration of hamburgers is also written into our script by God, and no matter how we may feel, we are not choosing freely, in aspectum aeternitatis. Thus, if God is omniscient and omnipotent, then there can be no free will.

David said...

"[*yawn*] Red-herring...."

Not really. It is derived directly from your assertions about God and free will. If you are correct in your assertions, this would seem to be question worth addressing.

If God created humans and created free will and knew that the dictator would kill a million people, why did God do nothing to stop this? To what degree does God bear the bear the responsibility for what happened? Given that the consequences of creating free will were known, why create free will in the first place?

If you prefer to duck and cover, that is your choice, but why not explore the implications of your position? We're obviously not going to agree on what choice and free will mean, so why not take your definition and see where it leads us?

Actually, I do see an up side to what has been said. Since I'm a free agent and can choose as I wish, it would appear to me that I control God's foreknowledge. God's foreknowledge is all about what I and my billions of fellow humans decided, and since we're free to choose, we get to choose, decide and control what God's knowledge will be. Pretty cool. I'm feeling pretty important today.

"Awww, Christian debater not being big huggy-sissy-bunny like fundy atheist troll want! To half-quote a certain meme, "'Lawful Good' doesn't always mean 'Lawful Nice.'"

Uh, no, I'm not looking for a big huggy-sissy-bunny. I'll settle for a grown-up conversation.

But this is perfect. Now perhaps I can get an answer to the following.

Since I can't seem to have a discussion with you without a degeneration into insult, I'd like to get a few things cleared up, and this post seems like the place to do it.

According to the Bible, which types of responses are acceptable to God when one disagrees with another or one thinks that another is in theological error? Which responses are righteous and which are sinful?

Insulting responses? Demeaning responses? Sneering, degrading, humiliating, shaming, disgracing responses? Questioning a man's masculinty? Which of these actions are righteous and which sinful? Check off which are in and which are out.

In responding to one who disagrees with you, it is acceptable to compare those you disagree with to...?

Feces? Used mentrual cloths? Rotting flesh? Other noxious bodily fluids? Again, just check off which are acceptable.

How about comparisons to snakes, rats, dogs, fleas? How about any other verminous creature?

How about idiots, morons and retards? Which terms are acceptable and which are

Just want some clarification here. It helps to know the rules.

bossmanham said...

Been dealt with, Zilch. If God's knowledge is based on the event, then it's irrelevant that He created the universe in which the event occurs.

bossmanham said...

You atheists are more than welcome to continue posting your amusingly funny attempts at ignorantly interacting with this issue while continuing to re-assert the same logical fallacy. Go ahead and try to reword it however you want. I'm getting many lulz out of the whole thing. Burns calories.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

@"Zilch,"

@God is also the Creator of the action in the first place: He created us, knowing exactly how we would choose pizza tomorrow, and deliberately (or accidentally?) making us in just such a way that we would do it.

You're begging the question of determinism in assuming that our actions are determined by our makeup. My suggestion to reconcile omniscience and free will has been that God created sentient creatures so that we self-determine independently, but also in such a way that God from His eternal vantage point perceives and "calculates" from those factors of self-determination what our resulting choices will be in any world He chooses to create. So God did create this world with us in it knowing exactly what we will do, but the specific choices we make don't necessarily arise from how we were created.


@David,

@this would seem to be question worth addressing.

Which is a different issue entirely than the logical coherence of omniscience and free will, hence you're still just dropping a red-herring, dear troll.


@I'll settle for a grown-up conversation.

Then try presenting grown-up ideas and pay more attention than a kindergartner high on twinkies.


@Which responses are righteous and which are sinful?

Depends upon who is being spoken to and why, ignorer of context. Your attempt to derail the discussion with such inanely oversimplified questions somehow achieves the near-impossible task of being even more ridiculous than your anti-free-will arguments.

David said...

Do I control God's foreknowledge or not? When did God learn that I would decide to eat burgers last Wednesday?


"Depends upon who is being spoken to and why."

Ok, so you are saying that there are contexts in which all of the following are acceptable. Under certain conditions, you may respond to another human being with the following.

Insulting responses. Demeaning responses. Sneering, degrading, humiliating, shaming, disgracing responses. You may question a man's masculinty or compare him to kindergartners high on twinkies.

You may compare another human being to feces, used mentrual cloths, rotting flesh or other oxious bodily fluids.

You may compare another human being to snakes, rats, dogs, fleas and other verminous creatures.

You many refer to another human as an idiot, moron or and retard.

All of these are potentially righteous in the eyes of God.
Do I understand this correctly?

David said...

"Your attempt to derail the discussion with such inanely oversimplified questions..."

I'll be glad to have this discussion over at the Mark Driscoll post where it is more relevant to the post itself. Just let me know.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@When did God learn that I would decide to eat burgers last Wednesday?

You mean you already forgot the temporal transcendence property that you were mocking? Talk about failure to pay attention....

David said...

"You mean you already forgot the temporal transcendence property that you were mocking?"

Just seeking clarification. So God never learned that I'd eat burgers?

Do I understand your position on insults correctly?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Make that "epic failure to pay attention...."

David said...

Make that "epic failure to pay attention...."

Doesn't really answer any of the questions, does it? You see, I ask for clarification to avoid misunderstanding. I'm very slow, you know, and I often get confused. I wouldn't want to draw a conclusion that you didn't intend. If you prefer not to clarify, that's your choice. I've found that philosophy works best if you don't make it clear.

David said...

Ok, I'll take a guess.

Didn't have to learn that I'd eat burgers last Wednesday because it's an eternal, timeless truth. Yes?

David said...

Should read...

God didn't have to learn that I'd eat burgers last Wednesday because it's an eternal, timeless truth.

Yes?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

Because it's a contingency based upon man's self determination (which itself arose because of God's decision to create), it's not "eternal" in the same sense that God is, but I would say it's true across all time.

David said...

"I would say it's true across all time."

Well, I'm not sure I see a real distinction between eternal and across all time, but if you prefer, we'll go with across all time.

Ok, so it's true across all time. So my burger eating is known to God across all time and is not learned. Even before I was born, it was true across time that I ate burgers last Wednesday. And yet somehow this is something that I freely decided. Hmm...

So, what if I had decided to pizza instead? I assume then that at that point, this would then be true across all time? At this point, we would have an "I ate pizza" universe instead of an "I ate burgers" universe, correct? Even before I was born, we had an "I ate pizza" universe, because this was a truth across all time, a truth known to God, but not learned by God? So, my decision changed God's foreknowledge?

It appears to me that you are saying that what is truth across all time is contingent and not fixed, yes?

Then what about tomorrow? I have to decide if I'll wear the red shirt or the blue shirts. I'm a free agent, it's my decision, I can choose either one. So, am I controling whether what is true across time is "red shirt universe (universe in which I wore a red shirt on August 3)" or "blue shirt universe"? Am I controling God's foreknowledge? How is God in control of all things when I can change the universe with a whim of fashion?


Do I understand you correctly with respect to insults? Given your fondness for them, I'd like to have the godly rules clarified.

Seth said...

haha, so I was going to read the comments on this post only to find that it would take longer than I have time for right now. :)

Not sure if you guys have covered this yet or not, but MAYBE this post by Greg Koukl will help iron out some wrinkles.
http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5261

btw, good post Boss.

John said...

@JC

"Because it's a contingency based upon man's self determination"

-- Is it possible that a free-willed agent be able to make a decision that isn't contingent on anything? Is it possible that a decision is made for which there is no fact of the matter?

For instance, God will know I will wear a green sweater tomorrow --if it's true. If it's false, he would know that it's false. But what if there's no fact of the matter? My decision isn't based on anything at all that is connected to the past, on any true proposition about me or anything around me, just pure free-will. Wouldn't you say that, if God knew all true propositions, that would be something God wouldn't know?

David said...

You atheists are more than welcome to continue posting your amusingly funny attempts at ignorantly interacting with this issue while continuing to re-assert the same logical fallacy.

It has occurred to me that the Calvinists also say that if God is omniscient, then there is no free will. Are they ignorantly asserting a logical fallacy, too? What is their argument? It must be pretty good, because it's convinced millions of people.

David said...

Sorry, first paragraph of previous post should be in quotations.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@So, my decision changed God's foreknowledge?

This is an error that I dealt with before when dealing with Dr. Zagzebski's use of the transfer of necessity principle: our having self-determined (and consequently choosing) one way or another doesn't "change" God's knowledge about us, but rather constitutes what God knows about us.


@It appears to me that you are saying that what is truth across all time is contingent and not fixed, yes?

It would be, from God's perspective, fixed (certain) and contingent (not necessitated by God's will).


@So, am I controling whether what is true across time...?

Where your own choices are concerned, short answer is "yes."


@Am I controling God's foreknowledge?

A rather bizarre spin on God giving you capacity to make free, yet (to Him) predictable choices.


@How is God in control of all things when I can change the universe with a whim of fashion?

But you can't change "the universe" in any sense not already permitted by God, you can only make your own choices (which capacity God has given you) and implement them with whatever resources God has allowed you. Yet you somehow think such a minor delegated power of agency and finite capability makes you the one in charge?


@Are they ignorantly asserting a logical fallacy, too?

Yep, usually the same ones. R.C. Sproul and John Owen's takes are especially comedic.


@It must be pretty good, because it's convinced millions of people.

Ad populum fallacy. Add to that the fact that Calvinists typically have cult of personality syndrome focused on teachers who revel in "antimony," and insist that contradictions are solved by "tension."


@John,

@Wouldn't you say that, if God knew all true propositions, that would be something God wouldn't know?

I apparently don't hold to the same theory of God in relation to time that you do, so "no."

John said...

@JC

"I apparently don't hold to the same theory of God in relation to time that you do, so "no."

-- Oh. I get it. I guess I was taking Dean Zimmeman's view that the future is just possibility and not actual, even from God's perspective.

David said...

“Our having self-determined (and consequently choosing) one way or another doesn't "change" God's knowledge about us, but rather constitutes what God knows about us.”

I don’t follow. You say that I can freely choose between red shirt and blue shirt. If I chose red shirt, then God’s time transcendent foreknowledge must include the fact that, before I was born, God knew that I’d go red shirt. If I chose blue shirt, then God’s foreknowledge must change or it would be wrong. In the second case, God’s foreknowledge must include the fact that I chose blue shirt. To be right, the foreknowledge in the second case must be different from the foreknowledge in the first case. So, the actual divine foreknowledge depends on my choices, and so it is controlled by my actions.

I am determining what God’s foreknowledge will be, and that foreknowledge will change along with changes in my fashion choices. Unless, of course, I have no real capacity to make choices or change my mind, and I never really had a choice from the start. Then I would not be in control of God's foreknowledge and my actions would have no effect on God's foreknowledge.


“A rather bizarre spin on God giving you capacity to make free, yet (to Him) predictable choices.”

My choices are predictable? Are they totally, completely 100% predictable? How does this work? Why are they predictable?


“But you can't change "the universe" in any sense not already permitted by God, you can only make your own choices (which capacity God has given you) and implement them with whatever resources God has allowed you. Yet you somehow think such a minor delegated power of agency and finite capability makes you the one in charge?”

If God has delegated power, then God has given up some control. You can say that God could take the power back, but then there’d be no free will, right?

I didn’t say that I was in charge of everything. What I’m saying is that I can change the universe at least a bit (by “universe”, I mean events in the history of the universe). It may be a minor change, but it’s still a change. It’s a change I control, so I’m in charge of that tiny bit of the universe. I control X % (where X is very small) and God controls 100 – X %, so God controls or is in charge of less than 100%.

I’m in charge of whether or not it will be a red shirt universe or a blue shirt universe. God doesn’t control that, because God has given me free will, so God is not controlling everything. Probably a mistake to give me free will when it comes to fashion, but there it is. Likewiase, the dictator is in charge of whether or not it is to be a “million massacred” universe. God does not control this, and God is not in charge of this. God is, in fact, oddly passive in this “free will” world of yours.

David said...

“Yep, usually the same ones. R.C. Sproul and John Owen's takes are especially comedic.”

Well, that’s certainly telling them! Since number of years of studying philosophy seems to carry great weight around here, I wonder how years R.C. has studied philosophy? You know I was honestly expecting something more reasoned by way of a counter-argument. Something other than more insults. You know, something like an argument that would convince the boys over at Triablogue. But I guess fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly...


“Ad populum fallacy.”

Just trying to point out that this is not something that is being argued by just a couple of superficial, ignorant, illogical “atheists”. I wasn’t trying to argue that Calvinism is true by virtue of the number of adherents. I guess maybe Calvinists are superficial, ignorant and illogical, too.

“Add to that the fact that Calvinists typically have cult of personality syndrome focused on teachers who revel in "antimony," and insist that contradictions are solved by "tension."”

Well, that’s a convincing. Again, I was looking for a reasoned counter-argument. Why do the Calvinists think that you are wrong?


Don’t want to tell me what God says is ok with respect to insults? Well, if you don’t know what God says is righteous, then maybe you should be more cautious in your choice of words.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@I am determining what God’s foreknowledge will be, and that foreknowledge will change along with changes in my fashion choices.

You're apparently stuck on the equivocation mentioned above (substituting "changes" for "constitutes"), hence your conclusions will be equally fallacious.


@Are they totally, completely 100% predictable? Why are they predictable?

Yep, explained above.


@If God has delegated power, then God has given up some control.

You don't understand the principle of delegation very well, do you?


@You can say that God could take the power back, but then there’d be no free will, right?

No, having power that could be taken back but as of yet hasn't been is still some degree of power on your part (volitional in this case). You really don't understand delegation.


@so God controls or is in charge of less than 100%.

You're repeating a common fallacy that Calvinists usually employ, confusing "controls" for "exhaustively determines." Control can also be general oversight.


@God is, in fact, oddly passive in this “free will” world of yours.

More from the, "Say Anything" school of pointless sophistry.


@You know I was honestly expecting something more reasoned by way of a counter-argument. Something other than more insults.

Owen especially is self-refuting. Are you aware that you repeatedly confuse criticism of arguments and/or positions with personal insults?


@You know, something like an argument that would convince the boys over at Triablogue.

Was that sarcasm? I can never tell with you.


@Why do the Calvinists think that you are wrong?

Because we're not Calvinists, duh.


@Don’t want to tell me what God says is ok with respect to insults?

Nope, I make a point of trying to avoid answering moronic questions from sophist trolls -especially when they're off-topic.

David said...

“You're apparently stuck on the equivocation mentioned above (substituting "changes" for "constitutes"), hence your conclusions will be equally fallacious.”

Ok, we’ll skip the word change. Had I chosen pizza last week, would God’s foreknowledge be different from what it is today?


>Are they totally, completely 100% predictable? Why are they predictable?

“Yep, explained above.”

So, my actions are totally, completely 100% predictable. And God can make this prediction with 100 % accuracy, because God completely and totally knows my nature? Do I have this right? Is this how and why God knows what I'm going to do? Yes, I undersand "foreknowledge", but is this how the foreknowledge works?


“You don't understand the principle of delegation very well, do you?”

Do I have the power to freely choose or not? Isn’t that what’s important here? What difference does it make what we call this act?


“No, having power that could be taken back but as of yet hasn't been is still some degree of power on your part (volitional in this case).”

Yes, I understand. I have some power and control. That was my point. As long as I have free will, then I have X % power and control and God has 100 – X % power and control. I know this hasn't been taken back. My point was that as long as I have free will, I have X % power and control, and I only lose this control if God takes free will back...which hasn't happened.


“Control can also be general oversight.”

Huh? What does that mean? Seems a little squishy and vague to me. Can we firm this up a bit? Does God control the actions of shirt selectors or blood-thirsty dictators or does God not control these actions?


“More from the, "Say Anything" school of pointless sophistry.”

Not exactly a counter-argument to my point. God gives us free will. Dictators kill millions. God does nothing. Looks pretty passive to me. Not pointless, but directly relevant to a discussion about free will, right?

David said...

“Owen especially is self-refuting. Are you aware that you repeatedly confuse criticism of arguments and/or positions with personal insults?”

When the “criticism” is unaccompanied by an argument of any kind, then yes, referring to someone’s position as “especially comedic” is simply an insult. You gave me nothing else to go by but your assertion that the individual’s view was “especially comedic”. What else am I to conclude? All I got was insulting assertions without any arguments.


“Was that sarcasm? I can never tell with you.”

Not really. I figure that they are well-prepared to discuss free will with you, so if you could convince them, then we might conclude that you have good arguments. In fact, from what I can tell, it looks like they think you’re a bloody idiot.


“Because we're not Calvinists, duh.”

Is this a counter-argument? Are you afraid to present and attempt to refute their arguments?


“Nope, I make a point of trying to avoid answering moronic questions from sophist trolls -especially when they're off-topic.”

Moronic question? Why is it moronic? You are a Christian engaging in insult, aren’t you?

The question seems to make sense to me. You (and Brennon) are the Christians who introduced insult into the discussion. You chose to make this a part of the game. If insult is a part of the discussion, I’d like to know what the rules are. I assume that your Christianity forms a basis for these rules, so what does Jesus say? I think that you that you really can’t defend your actions.

Again, if you don't think it's relevant here, Brennon has another post where it is most relevant, and we can discuss the matter there.

Ryan Anderson said...

David said in response to JC So, my actions are totally, completely 100% predictable. And God can make this prediction with 100 % accuracy, because God completely and totally knows my nature?

JC, this seems to put the nature of gods knowledge of our future actions back squarely into the realm of "forecasting models" (albeit with perfect information) which I think you explicitly said it was not.

John said...

"I assume that your Christianity forms a basis for these rules, so what does Jesus say? I think that you that you really can’t defend your actions."

-- Are you admitting that Jesus must be the moral standard?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@Ok, we’ll skip the word change. Had I chosen pizza last week, would God’s foreknowledge be different from what it is today?

If you had chosen pizza last week, God's knowledge over the span of all time would have encompassed that fact.


@God can make this prediction with 100 % accuracy, because God completely and totally knows my nature?

Not just your nature, but your individual self-determination, which in our view wouldn't be strictly dictated by your nature.


@As long as I have free will, then I have X % power and control and God has 100 – X % power and control.

What you have is complete and total failure to understand the issue: what is delegated is in fact still under the control of the one who delegated it. The one to whom it's delegated possesses a revocable (by the delegating authority) secondary form of control. So all this (100 – X %) nonsense completely misses the mark.


JCT:“Control can also be general oversight.”

DT: Huh? What does that mean?

Seriously, you can't even understand such a basic principle?!?


DT: If God has delegated power, then God has given up some control.
JCT: You don't understand the principle of delegation very well, do you?
DT: Do I have the power to freely choose or not? Isn’t that what’s important here?

Of course you do. If whether we have freedom is what's important, then why are you making idiotic arguments about God giving up control?


@Not exactly a counter-argument to my point. ... God does nothing. ...Not pointless, but directly relevant to a discussion about free will, right?

Nor need I deliver a counter-argument, since your insipid ideas about what you think God should be doing have nothing to do with reconciling free will and foreknowledge. Off-topic, pointless sophistry dear troll.


@When the “criticism” is unaccompanied by an argument of any kind, then yes, referring to someone’s position as “especially comedic” is simply an insult.

Hahahahahah!!


@...so if you could convince them, then we might conclude that you have good arguments.

You're a nearly endless source of trollish comedy.


@In fact, from what I can tell, it looks like they think you’re a bloody idiot.

Considering the source, I take that as a very good sign.


@Is this a counter-argument?

Nope, it's my blowing off the inconsequential ramblings of a troll.


@Are you afraid to present and attempt to refute their arguments?

Hahahahahah!!


@I think that you that you really can’t defend your actions.

...said the sophist troll who deserves no account from me....

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Ryan,

@this seems to put the nature of gods knowledge of our future actions back squarely into the realm of "forecasting models" (albeit with perfect information) which I think you explicitly said it was not.

I directly implied God was not comparable to "finite models," did I not?

David said...

Makes you feel good to call me troll, doesn't it? And it makes ME feel like I've demonstrated that you don't believe what you say you believe. Didn’t actually set out to do this, but there it is. Happiness for everyone.


"If you had chosen pizza last week, God's knowledge over the span of all time would have encompassed that fact."

Well, then I least I control something. I control what God's foreknowledge will be. I control whether God will have foreknowledge of a red shirt universe or a blue shirt universe. Right?


"Not just your nature, but your individual self-determination, which in our view wouldn't be strictly dictated by your nature."

So, what do you mean by "self-determination"? In your view, what exactly does this phrase mean? How does self-determination actually work, I mean, what’s the mechanism here?

You used the word "predict". That's really the key word. You can predict with 100 % accuracy if you fully understand all of the forces at play. In such cases, the outcome is a product of those forces and not "choice". Fully understand the forces and you will see that the object must do what it must do. If something can be predicted with 100% accuracy, then that something must happen.


DT: Do I have the power to freely choose or not? Isn’t that what’s important here?

JC: Of course you do.

DT: Well, how can I really freely choose unless God has given up some power and control over my choice?

When the captain of the ship leaves the bridge, he delegates his power and control to the first mate. Traditionally, the captain still bears responsibility for what happens next, but do you think that the captain really has 100% of the power and control if the first mate sinks the ship by steering it into a reef? If the captain had 100% power and control, would the ship have sunk? Did the first mate have at least some power and control over events, and if so, isn’t the captain’s power and control something less than 100%?

I think you want to have it both ways. You want choice, but you want for God to always be in control. It's not a matter of whether or not I understand "delegation". You can call it what you want. If I am truly free to choose, the God does not control my actions. God has given up some control to me. The only way one maintains total control is if one denies choice.

So take your pick. Total control by God or free will for humans.

David said...

"Hahahahahah!!"

I'm not sure why you are laughing. If you had arguments to make via a link, why didn't you just include your link in your initial response to me? All I had to go by were the insults. You presented no arguments until I forced the issue. That’s a fact.

So finally, after I had to push you, now you link to arguments. That's nice, but what took you so long? Besides, I wasn't looking for a link, I was looking for something by way of a summary in your own words.

For all the laughter and superior attitude, I don't see any definitive arguments or conclusions. The Calvinists and the Arminians have been going at it for half a millenium or so with no end in sight. Lots of big brains on both sides, lots of smart people devoting their lives to theology and philosophy...and no answers. Great minds on both sides, and a millennium from now, we’ll still have the same arguments and insults. I suspect, in the end, people chose their side (Calvin or Arminius) based in which fits their personalities better. Some simply like the idea of free will and some don't, and that's how the decide which side to stand on.

There are good arguments and bad arguments on both sides, there are smart people on both sides, each side is quite good at poking holes in the other’s position, and I honestly don't see how this will ever be resolved. I think that this is because there's an excellent, excellent chance that both are simply wrong. Truth is, no one knows the truth, so perhaps a little humility is in order. Or you can continue to waste your lives insulting each other. In any event, it does little to make me think that there is some absolute truth in Christianity.



"Said the sophist troll who deserves no account from me."

Is this what Jesus would do? I'm quite serious. Are you not supposed to be a witness and reflection of Christ? I ain't seein' much Jesus here.

You know, one of the many reasons I drifted away from Christianity is that I say that the belief system had little impact on how people actually lived their lives or treated others. Some people are naturally nice and some are naturally a-holes, and what one believes seems to have little effect on this. So what's the point? In the end, we live as we please, and we find post hoc justification for our actions in whatever sources we choose.

zilch said...

boss said: Been dealt with, Zilch. If God's knowledge is based on the event, then it's irrelevant that He created the universe in which the event occurs.

As David has pointed out multiple times, this is simply illogical. If God created the event, knowing exactly how it would play out, then He is fully and solely responsible for the outcome of that event. You didn't answer my question: can Fred choose Salems? How is this any different (except in complexity) between God's plan for us?

Thibodaux, you said: So God did create this world with us in it knowing exactly what we will do, but the specific choices we make don't necessarily arise from how we were created.

Again, this is simply illogical. How can it be that, given an omniscient omnipotent Creator, that our choices "don't necessarily arise from how we were created"? Of course they must. It's just as if you write a computer program to play tic-tac-toe, and you know exactly how it will play in any given situation: how does the program have any "choice" at all?

You could write the program in such a way that it would feel that it was "weighing alternatives" and "choosing of its own free will" (if you were Very Good Programmer), but as I said, such "choices" are an illusion, from the viewpoint of God. Thus, for God to impugn mortal motives is the height of hypocrisy.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@Well, then I least I control something.

That's kind of the point of having free will to begin with.


@How does self-determination actually work, I mean, what’s the mechanism here?

I didn't claim to know the exact mechanism. Self-determination is just what is says on the tin, by extension here, the set of causally independent factors of an individual that contribute to driving his/her choices.


@In such cases, the outcome is a product of those forces and not "choice".

Unless forces such as self-determination end up driving choices....


@If something can be predicted with 100% accuracy, then that something must happen.

But since (in my proposed view) God created man in such a way that the latter's self-determination logically precedes God's knowledge of the subsequently resulting choices, then that which is predicted is based on the contingency of an individual, and is therefore still a libertarian choice.


@do you think that the captain really has 100% of the power and control if the first mate sinks the ship by steering it into a reef?

In terms of authority, yes he does. You further display your ignorance in confusing the exercise of control with ultimately retaining control (i.e. authority). I've pointed out this error before but you don't seem to get it.


@If I am truly free to choose, the God does not control my actions.

I never claimed God was controlling our actions a la radio controlled cars or some such -I contend the exact opposite in fact. You do indeed have a degree of control in what you choose, and God is in control of all men in the sense that He is the Judge and Ruler who oversees things done on the earth and executes final justice.

So, no, you don't understand delegation, you mix up different categories of control in that context and you're apparently confusing our beliefs (God has supreme oversight and authority, but allows man to make free choices) with high Calvinism (God exercises exhaustive control over everything).


@You presented no arguments until I forced the issue. That’s a fact.

Hahahahahah!!

1. I've presented arguments concerning the reconciliation between free will and foreknowledge from my first post, you're being completely dishonest in asserting I've presented no arguments. One need only look above to see this.

2. The arguments I linked to were against Calvinism (not atheism) and my link was in reply to your obviously very ignorant rhetorical as to whether I was afraid to answer the former's arguments. You're either just employing more sophistry, or are so confused that you can't follow your own train of thought.


@I ain't seein' much Jesus here.

You wouldn't know, sophist troll. You've got (or pretend you've got) some fundy atheist conception of Jesus; when in reality the Christ was both gentle to the repentant and humble, but firm-handed and even harsh in His rebuke of the hypocritical and presumptuous.


@Makes you feel good to call me troll, doesn't it?

Nope, I've just tangled with enough trolls to figure out when I'm talking to one. Case in point:


@And it makes ME feel like I've demonstrated that you don't believe what you say you believe.

The commentary on your self-serving "feelings" serves merely to objectively demonstrates that you're either quite presumptively ignorant or dishonest, as I haven't told you my thoughts on the subject. Such ill-informed red herrings being passed off as something of relevance are a staple of troll methodology, dear troll.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Zilch,

@If God created the event, knowing exactly how it would play out, then He is fully and solely responsible for the outcome of that event.

Unless the event involves contingent factors which God didn't exhaustively determine such as free will....


@How can it be that, given an omniscient omnipotent Creator, that our choices "don't necessarily arise from how we were created"? Of course they must.

Which is an assertion, not an argument. Why exactly "must" they?


@It's just as if you write a computer program to play tic-tac-toe, and you know exactly how it will play in any given situation....

You're unwarrantedly assuming that men are akin to Turing machines. Do you have any evidence that people must necessarily work on such a strictly deterministic basis as a computer?

David said...

“I didn't claim to know the exact mechanism. Self-determination is just what is says on the tin, by extension here, the set of causally independent factors of an individual that contribute to driving his/her choices.”

Hmm, this is a little vague for something so critical to the equation. Don’t we need to know the mechanism in order to decide what is really going on here? If the mechanism isn’t fully understood, how do you know that free will truly exists? Maybe “self-determination” is just a phrase that sounds good, but in fact, it doesn’t actually tell us anything important about whether our choices are truly free or not. In the absence of an understanding of the mechanism, then perhaps it is the reality that we really are just Turing machines. Hard to say that we are not such machines if we don’t understand “self-determination”.

You say that there are “factors” that contribute to or drive our choices. What are those “factors”? Could you be more specific? This seems to be a critical part of the equation. Are the predictions made by God a result of knowing these "factors”? Do we humans control these “factors”?

You see, I’m a little slow, so it’s still not clear to me if God knows the future because (1) he stands at the present point in time and looks ahead and figures it out because on my nature and because he knows the “factors” involved in self-determination OR (2) is it because God races ahead to the end of time and looks back as an historian might look back at the 20th century? Could you clear this up for this poor simple troll?


“But since (in my proposed view) God created man in such a way that the latter's self-determination logically precedes God's knowledge of the subsequently resulting choices, then that which is predicted is based on the contingency of an individual, and is therefore still a libertarian choice.”

Ok, this seems to be saying that you are saying that the answer to my previouis question is Option 1. God stands at the present time and predicts the future?

By the way, if our self-determination PRECEDES God’s knowledge, doesn’t this mean that we must take some action before God knows something. Doesn’t this mean that God has to learn as we go? If my self-determine precedes God knowledge, then God DOESN'T know until I've "self-determined".

"In terms of authority, yes (the captain) does. You further display your ignorance in confusing the exercise of control with ultimately retaining control (i.e. authority). I've pointed out this error before but you don't seem to get it."

Ah, so now we’re playing with the words “authority” and “control”. This is what makes philosophy fun –it’s really all just word play. Just play with the words and their meaning until you get the desired outcome. I wish science was this easy.

Ok, so when the first mate sinks the ship, the captain is still in “authority”. So, who is responsible for sinking the ship?

David said...

"I've presented arguments concerning the reconciliation between free will and foreknowledge from my first post, you're being completely dishonest in asserting I've presented no arguments. One need only look above to see this."

I did NOT say that you had presented no arguments. I was looking specifically for the Calvinist arguments. I wasn’t asking for just any argument, I was not ignoring what you’d already said. You misunderstood. Shall I now call you ignorant?

You see, I know that the Calvinists have been working on this problem for many centuries, and unlike Brennon, I don’t years of philosophical study to aid me. (Pity the poor old, unsophisticated, illogical troll.) So anyway, I was curious about the specifically Calvinist arguments about free will. I figured that they must have some good arguments, or they wouldn’t still be around. Why should I try to re-invent the wheel? I wondered what you thought the best Calvinist arguments would be and how you would respond to them. You know, something that a couple of paragraphs to summarize the challenges and the responses. Instead, I got insults aimed at Calvinists. Sad.


“ The arguments I linked to were against Calvinism (not atheism) and my link was in reply to your obviously very ignorant rhetorical as to whether I was afraid to answer the former's arguments. “

Ok, but again, why didn’t we START with the link with I FIRST raised the questions? What took so long? I had to ask for the anti-Calvinist arguments a couple of times before you provided an answer. It’s a little sad that I had to say that you were afraid to move us beyond the insulting of Calvinists stage, but I guess that's how it is.

By the way, I followed the link and I did not see any articles entitled “Fallacies of Calvinism – The Arminian View of Divine Foreknowledge Attacks Free Will”. So, it really wasn’t that helpful.


“You wouldn't know, sophist troll. You've got (or pretend you've got) some fundy atheist conception of Jesus; when in reality the Christ was both gentle to the repentant and humble, but firm-handed and even harsh in His rebuke of the hypocritical and presumptuous.”

So, we come back to the question I asked earlier.

I won’t repeat the lists again, but of the list of types of responses, in response to sophist trolls, which may be used by Christians and which may not? Which responses would be righteous and which would be sinful? In short, what does “harsh” really mean here?

Since I must have the wrong conception of Jesus and Christianity, perhaps you could assist me by answering the question. Here is your opportunity to enlighten the sophist troll.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@Don’t we need to know the mechanism in order to decide what is really going on here?

Not necessarily, there are some "black boxes."


@If the mechanism isn’t fully understood, how do you know that free will truly exists?

The evidence in the Bible has convinced me.


@Maybe “self-determination” ... doesn’t actually tell us anything important about whether our choices are truly free or not.

Except of course by definition. [Facepalm]


@What are those “factors”?

Now if I plainly said that I didn't have the exact mechanism, then why do you continue on the sophist route of effectively asking for the same thing after you've already been answered?


@So, who is responsible for sinking the ship?

I’m talking about free will/foreknowledge, not moral responsibility (though feel free to discuss it w/Brennon -if he can tolerate it).


@By the way, if our self-determination PRECEDES God’s knowledge, doesn’t this mean that we must take some action before God knows something.

I've suggested that God created sentient creatures so that our self-determination takes place in a manner abstracted from time, so it would be logically possible for God to derive from that set of results what the creatures will do within time.


@This is what makes philosophy fun –it’s really all just word play.

Whether you understand the distinctions or not, these principles do have definite meaning, despite the ambiguities of language.

@I did NOT say that you had presented no arguments. I was looking specifically for the Calvinist arguments.

So then why did you complain, "You presented no arguments until I forced the issue," before which you didn't even request any arguments, you simply asked the very broad, "Why do the Calvinists think that you are wrong?" and rambled about criticism of a position without argument being an "insult" [*groan*]. Nothing in your statement even vaguely suggested to me that you were asking for contra-Calvinist arguments specifically.


@You misunderstood. Shall I now call you ignorant?

You should now realize that your poor phraseology will come back to bite you. But if that was indeed your intent, then I apologetically withdraw the accusation that you were being dishonest.


@I wondered what you thought the best Calvinist arguments would be and how you would respond to them.

The most advanced I know of include the grounding objection and transfer of necessity principle, both of which my own theory addresses. Beyond that, Calvinists usually employ question-begging, very poor attempts at proof-texting and caricatures of free will.


@Ok, but again, why didn’t we START with the link with I FIRST raised the questions? What took so long?

Because you didn't clearly *ASK* for them. Why should I just assume an atheist would want arguments against Calvinism? So you make only vague hintings as to what you really want, then after I (accidentally) give it, keep harping your nonsensical trumped-up charge that I didn't deliver it sooner because I'm apparently guilty of the heinous crime of not being able to read your mind! You. Are. Being. Ridiculous. Troll.


@Instead, I got insults aimed at Calvinists.

Only by your laughable redefinition of what an "insult" is.


@So, it really wasn’t that helpful.

Because it was in response to your general query about whether I could answer their arguments. Yet further evidence that you'll say any kind of blithering nonsense to gain perceived advantage. Troll Tactics 101.


@perhaps you could assist me by answering the question.

No answer could assist your understanding at this stage.

David said...

“Not necessarily, there are some "black boxes.”

So, it’s ok to say that it’s a mystery and leave it at that? Black box equals mystery, right?

You seem awfully arrogant and a bit over-confident for someone who lacks answers about key parts of his theory. Perhaps a little more humilty is in order.


“Except of course by definition. “

But your definition is squishy and vague and dependent on “factors” and “black boxes”. Given the critical importance of the phrases like "factors" and “self-determination”, I would have expected something more definite and concrete. You see, it's easy to make things sorta, kinda work out if you use vague phrases and a lot of hand-waving. Ah, philosophy.


“Now if I plainly said that I didn't have the exact mechanism, then why do you continue on the sophist route of effectively asking for the same thing after you've already been answered?”

Is it "sophistry" for me to point out a weakness? Or is it simply embarrassing for you?

Not the sophist route. Not at all. I ask because this is a very key point. To figure out the degree to which we truly chose and the means by which God predicts, we need to know and understand the factors as well as the manner in which God uses "factors".

For example, do these “factors” act on us in the same way that gravity acts on the moon? We need an answer. Without this knowledge, you cannot draw any conclusions about free will except the conclusions that you simply want to conclude before we even started. You may have an opinion but not an argument.


“I’m talking about free will/foreknowledge, not moral responsibility (though feel free to discuss it w/Brennon -if he can tolerate it).”

So, there is no answer, despite the obvious and intimate intertwining of free will and moral responsibility. Ok, your choice to duck.


“I've suggested that God created sentient creatures so that our self-determination takes place in a manner abstracted from time, so it would be logically possible for God to derive from that set of results what the creatures will do within time.”

Er, ok, but to be honest, I really don’t understand what you are saying here. Our self-determination takes place in a manner abstracted from time? So, I’m not making my decisions today, but instead, I’m making decisions in some sort of timeless way?

So, do we have to take some action before God knows something or not? Do our acts of self-determination precede God’s knowledge or not? You did say that "God created man in such a way that the latter's self-determination logically precedes God's knowledge of the subsequently resulting choices", yes?

Is God predicting the future based on knowledge of factors or is God looking back from theend of time?


“You simply asked the very broad, "Why do the Calvinists think that you are wrong?"

Sorry, I really thought it was clear enough what I meant, but perhaps my wording was too vague. My apologies.

“Because it was in response to your general query about whether I could answer their arguments. Yet further evidence that you'll say any kind of blithering nonsense to gain perceived advantage. Troll Tactics 101.”

Sigh. I understand that my wording could have been better, so your comment is simply off base. Wow, you really like saying “troll”.


“No answer could assist your understanding at this stage.”

So, again, no answer, because that would require a little introspection on your part. I must be God, because I knew that you wouldn’t answer the question. You say I’m “ignorant”, but you cannot or will not “enlighten” me. Just more the same insults and arrogance.

Do you really think that Jesus is proud of you? This is how Jesus wants you to behave?

Oh, well. Still it’s more evidence to support my conclusions about religious belief and its effects on human behavior.

John said...

@ David

"Do you really think that Jesus is proud of you? This is how Jesus wants you to behave? "

Lol!

David, maybe this will give you a different perspective on your question:

http://closertotruth.com/video-profile/Does-God-Know-the-Future-Dean-Zimmerman-/1363

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@for someone who lacks answers about key parts of his theory.

Newsflash genius, break it down far enough and there are almost always parts of theories that lack complete explanation -even in physical sciences. Quantum uncertainty doesn't stop quantum mechanics from being a valid field of study. Secondly, I never made the claim that this is definitely the way it works, I've merely worked it down to a logically viable metaphysical abstraction that I believe amply demonstrates that foreknowing the choices of His created free agents isn't a logical impossibility for the infinite God.


@we need to know and understand the factors
...
@I would have expected something more definite and concrete.

...in a discussion about metaphysics.... right.... [banging head on desk]


@I’m making decisions in some sort of timeless way?

Close: our decisions would be the result of said self-determination within the context of time and our individual circumstance. If you speak any computer language or understand mathematical functions, think of it as parameters=self-determination, time/circumstance=function, choice=return-value.


@So, there is no answer, despite ... intertwining of free will and moral responsibility.

Not to a red-herring. While related to free will, the responsibility the subject entails has nothing to do with the logical coherence of free will and foreknowledge.


@My apologies.

Fair enough, we'll leave that there.


@You seem awfully arrogant

Yes, making one's case coherently and dismissing stupid questions and attempts to derail the discussion often comes off that way to people unused to debate.


@Wow, you really like saying “troll”.

Only to trolls, dear troll.


@Is it "sophistry" for me to point out a weakness?

Nope, it's sophistry to keep asking the same question after you've gotten your answer, which seems to be a huge problem for you.


@no answer, because that would require a little introspection on your part.

I already told you why I won't answer you, you just ignore it and produce wild conjectures. I can't be reasonably faulted for not spoon-feeding answers to someone who doesn't believe/grasp the answers given to him anyway.


@You say I’m “ignorant”, but you cannot or will not “enlighten” me.

You refuse to learn; because you have free will I can't force you to understand logic or reason.


@more evidence to support my conclusions about religious belief and its effects on human behavior.

Confirmation bias mixed with an unobjective viewpoint often produces that sort of "evidence" for insipid conclusions.

David said...

"Newsflash genius, break it down far enough and there are almost always parts of theories that lack complete explanation."

If I may paraphrase...

If you can solve your logic problems by copping out with the term mystery, why can't the Calvinist types, atheists and others pull the same move?


>I would have expected something more definite and concrete.

"...in a discussion about metaphysics.... right...."

And that's really the basic problem here, isn't? It's Metaphysics. Mental masturbation. We're nailing jello to the wall. I once saw a tee-shirt that read, "Philosophers ponder, chemists solve". Says it all right there.

I know that you think that you've given me answers, but all I've seen are assertions about the nature of God and free will. It's just repetition of the same mindless catechism. It's all imaginary can openers and making up vague terms to make it seem to work out, at least to your satisfaction.

When one dares to test the propositions by ask deeper questions about what things like "self-determination" really means, everything dissolves in in vague and squishy terminology. Like "factors". As you have just acknowledged by pleading "metaphysics", there is little that is definite or concrete. Key questions cannot be answered. Bore in a little and it all degenerates into gibberish and insult.

To repeat, to really figure out the degree to which we truly chose and the means by which God predicts, we need to know and understand the factors involved in "self-determination" as well as the manner in which God uses "factors". For example, do these “factors” act on us in the same way that gravity acts on the moon? We need an answer. Without this knowledge, you cannot draw any conclusions about free will except the conclusions that you simply want to conclude before we even started. You may have an opinion but not an argument.

I've been accused of being "superficial" and "ignorant", but really, you don't have an answers that go beyond the shallow statements that God is omniscient and we have free will, and stop asking questions.


In closing, you know, I really don't understand why I can't get an answer to the question of how Jesus wants you to behave. I thought that this was a big part of Christianity.

Saying that "you can't be reasonably faulted for not spoon-feeding answers to someone who doesn't believe/grasp the answers given to him anyway" is just an excuse. Maybe I've grasped the answers quite well, but I'm just not that impressed with them (see above). In any event, you haven't given me any answers to this particular question.

Seriously, can anyone tell me how Jesus wants you to behave in the context of discussions such as this one? Anyone? Is this really such a difficult question to answer? I'll I get is ducking and evasion.

Believe it on not, I've learned a lot here, but it's probably not what you intended for me to learn. However, at point, it appears that there is nothing more to be gained.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@I really don't understand why I can't get an answer to the question of how Jesus wants you to behave.

I've only told you numerous times that I refuse to give such answers to trolls uninterested in learning; the fact that you still can't understand even that answer only goes to prove my reasoning correct: You aren't interested in facts at all, you just want to pointlessly bicker, and aside from the actual topic at hand I refuse to humor you.


@If you can solve your logic problems by copping out with the term mystery....

But the only supposed "problems" are my being unable to grab my proposed metaphysical mechanism and dissect it for you. There isn't any identified problem with the underlying logic as you fallaciously and falsely claim, as it would operate according to what we know of logic (e.g. what we know of logical orders of precedence).


@we need to know and understand the factors involved in "self-determination" ... do these “factors” act on us in the same way that gravity acts on the moon?

^
Completely missed that self-determination on the whole *was* the set of factors being spoken of.


@When one dares to test the propositions by ask deeper questions about what things like "self-determination" really means

From the "Fails to Understand Basic Philosophical Terminology" school of thought.


@You may have an opinion but not an argument.

Incorrect, I have an agument in that I've demonstrated that it logically is possible for an infinite, transcendent Being to foreknow free choices within time. Your lame counter is that I can't perfectly describe the mechanism or demonstrate that it's the one actually employed, both of which objections are inconsequential since the logical coherency of foreknowledge/free will has already been shown via a viable mechanism.


@And that's really the basic problem here, isn't? It's Metaphysics.

Since you apparently reject the idea of metaphysics altogether, and since we're discussing free will in relation to God's knowledge (a distinctly metaphysical subject), then what the heck are you doing discussing this metaphysical subject in the first place, troll? If your whole benighted point is that you think anything metaphysical is invalid and/or irrelevant, you could have said it in a lot fewer words.

To drag the sheer inanity even further, you come into the discussion declaring that there's a problem, but demand "concrete" evidence for any proposed solution to what is a metaphysical conundrum!


@It's all imaginary can openers and making up vague terms
...
@you don't have an answers that go beyond the shallow statements
...
@there is little that is definite or concrete.

"Waaaah! Lojikkly-chalLenjed troll who tink metufizziks iZ stooopid demand sumfing he can hit wif big bonky-stick!!"

David said...

"What the heck are you doing discussing this metaphysical subject in the first place, troll?"

Well, it's like the old dorm room bull sessions. Doesn't really get us anywhere, but it has a certain entertainment value. It's always fascinating to see how many things must be invented to keep a metaphysical system stumbling along.



"I have an agument in that I've demonstrated that it logically is possible for an infinite, transcendent Being to foreknow free choices within time....The logical coherency of foreknowledge/free will has already been shown via a viable mechanism."

Viable mechanism? That can't be explained? Sorry, we need more than just "mystery" here. Yes, to know of the mechanism is "viable", it must be dissected. Otherwise, you could just be talking out of you metaphysical bee-hind.

Are we talking about the "coherent" argument that says that God has perfect foreknowledge, EXCEPT that our self-determination logically PRECEDES God's knowledge of the subsequently resulting choice, a exception that renders the notion of foreknowledge inoperative. That argument?

The argument that then forces you to invent the solution that "God created sentient creatures so that our self-determination takes place in a manner abstracted from time"? Abstracted from time? Really?. That argument?

The one that leads to the "think of it as parameters=self-determination, time/circumstance=function, choice=return-value?" This is an argument?

You ever watch two kids play with "action figures". Ever notice how they just make up whatever superpower is needed to that their action is the best action figure? Yeah, there's logic there, too. Action figure metaphysics.


"Waaaah! Lojikkly-chalLenjed troll who tink metufizziks iZ stooopid demand sumfing he can hit wif big bonky-stick!!"

Hey, that's good! And that concludes this week's episode of Christians Behaving Badly.

Such an easy game to play.

J.C. Thibodaux said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@but it has a certain entertainment value.

So you enter into a discussion on metaphysics arguing that there is a certain metaphysical problem, but presupposing that any metaphysical explanation is unsatisfactory. Did it simply never dawn on you how completely absurd that is? Trying to get reactions by demanding answers that can only be of a type you're pre-committed to rejecting anyway does prove quite succinctly what I've said numerous times in this thread: you're a troll (now we just have it by your own admission).


@that concludes this week's episode of Christians Behaving Badly

From the peanut gallery with a track record of self-servingly redefining events and phrases, and has no moral foundation to define what's "bad" to begin with. And frankly, since it's established even by your own admission now that you're a troll, then there's hardly any reasonable objection to one calling you out on both that and your less-than-coherent methodology, as I've done.


@Yes, to know of the mechanism is "viable", it must be dissected

In which you inexplicably assume that evidence for what's metaphysical must necessarily be empirical. Are you just trying to talk nonsense now?


@a exception that renders the notion of foreknowledge inoperative

Besides being grammatically incorrect, that bit of tripe doesn't follow from your previous statements.


@Abstracted from time? Really?

You do realize that refuting a concept involves more than quoting or paraphrasing it, right?


@This is an argument?

No, that was an analogy. Do you not understand the difference? You complained quite a bit about me not helping you to understand the issues, yet when I did offer an analogy to help you understand, you merely scoff. This proves what I've also said, you are uninterested in learning, which is why I don't entertain your further pointless questions.


@they just make up whatever superpower is needed

(?) In case you missed it, this was a discussion about the Christian God: One who has all conceivable power for a perfectly Holy Being. One need not "make up" powers for One who is already omnipotent, and there isn't any apparent reason to think it irrational that He may use His power in a manner that He hasn't consulted you on. Checkmate.

Scribe said...

I'm considering finding ardent followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and refuting any positive arguments they may present for their fictitious being. Why? Simply because I find entertainment value in gratuitously wasting my time. And, I get to validate my rather meaningless existence in the process!! ;)

Scribe said...

Hi! Is this thing on?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Boss, Scribe's just being funny by spoofing David's absurd trolling mentality; he's actually a very committed Christian friend of mine.

bossmanham said...

My bad, JC.

David said...

"So you enter into a discussion on metaphysics arguing that there is a certain metaphysical problem, but presupposing that any metaphysical explanation is unsatisfactory."

Not necessarily "presuming", but it does always seem to work out this way. What is really interesting is seeing the degree to which one must simply make stuff up to sustain a given "system of belief".

It all depends on the kind of "logic" that would allow me to claim that invisible pink unicorns pour out of my butt ever night. You can't show that my claim is "illogical" or incorrect, but I'm guessing that you won't be buying stock in my unicorn farm.


"You do realize that refuting a concept involves more than quoting or paraphrasing it, right?"

It wasn't really intended to refute, exactly. It was intend to project something something like..."what, another imaginary can opener?"


"I did offer an analogy to help you understand, you merely scoff. "

You offered an analogy...in computer language? How many people understand computer language? I can barely send email. So, your analogy was worthless, and from the start, you should have realized the few would be likely to understand it.


"Besides being grammatically incorrect, that bit of tripe doesn't follow from your previous statements."

Hey, I'm not the one who said that God has perfect foreknowledge, EXCEPT that our self-determination logically PRECEDES God's knowledge of the subsequently resulting choice. I dunno about grammar, but if our choice precede God's knowledge, if we must act before God knows, then God has no more foreknowledge of event than I do. So, game over.


"In case you missed it, this was a discussion about the Christian God: One who has all conceivable power for a perfectly Holy Being. One need not "make up" powers for One who is already omnipotent, and there isn't any apparent reason to think it irrational that He may use His power in a manner that He hasn't consulted you on."

JC declares, "my action figure has super duper duper super duper powers, my action figure is perfect in every way, my action figure has all of the powers that anyone can imagine...so I win!" Like I said, action figure metaphysics. I love it!


"No moral foundation to define what's "bad" to begin with."

But I wasn't talking about my moral foundation, I was talking about yours. Presumably, you have one. I was asking about how YOU believe that YOU should behave.


"And frankly, since it's established even by your own admission now that you're a troll, then there's hardly any reasonable objection to one calling you out on both that and your less-than-coherent methodology, as I've done."

Well, my point was that you did a lot more than call me a troll. Regardless, I was not aware that Jesus said to treat trolls differently from those you like. I believe that you have an obligation to treat your enemies as you do your friends, and therefore, my trollishness is quite irrelevant. But as I said, your behavior suggests that you don't really believe what you say your believe.

As it turns out, it's quite easy to persuade Christians behave badly. Just ask a few questions.

David said...

Scribe,

"I'm considering finding ardent followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and refuting any positive arguments they may present for their fictitious being."

An excellent idea! You'll find that it's great fun!

J.C. Thibodaux said...

David,

@It was intend to project something something like..."what, another imaginary can opener?"

Your preferred catch-phrase to conceal your sophistry in presenting a metaphysical dilemma, but irrationally demanding empirical evidence to resolve it. Chant your can-opener mantra as many times as you wish, I doubt it will ever make your approach any less stupid.


@You offered an analogy...in computer language?

That wasn't computer language Mr. Dijkstra. It was computational terminology of functional parameters and values that someone familiar with any kind of computer/programming language would know, and is also familiar to anyone proficient in algebra. If you can't grasp even that, then it's really not surprising that you're so terribly confused by principles like logical versus temporal order.


@I was asking about how YOU believe that YOU should behave.

Not there you weren't: I was addressing your implication that I was "behaving badly" when you don't understand my standards to begin with. So your case again winds up being fueled entirely by ignorance, and you again show inability to follow your own train of thought.


@I believe that you have an obligation to treat your enemies as you do your friends

You believe wrong. Jesus did teach the idea of doing good even to our enemies in terms of things like praying for them and helping if they're in need. But in public discourse, Jesus own example is itself strong precedent for sharp, public rebuke and shaming of those who openly oppose the gospel or are contentious. So the bad behavior accusations you hurl for your own smug satisfaction wind up being merely deceptive ad hominems based upon your fundy atheist decontextualization of Jesus' words.


@but if our choice precede God's knowledge

That's where you're fundamentally confused (or just don't pay attention), for I clearly delineated the choices themselves from the self-determination that drives them.


@JC declares, "my action figure has super duper duper super duper powers..."

In case you missed it dear troll, omnipotence is one of the fundamental attributes of the Christian God, and is a given in any serious discussion involving Him. Are you really so philosophically clueless as to think I just now made up the idea of God being omnipotent?!? Looks like I need not worry much about exposing your ignorance, as you seem intent on broadcasting it to the world!

bossmanham said...

What's especially sad about you, David, is that you are so puffed up in your own mind that you think your sophistry is actually effective at defeating the arguments we've presented.

You come in here resting on the logical fallacy I have already discussed and present it as if it shows a logical contradiction between omniscience and free will. Not only are you made aware that the reasoning behind this claim is fallacious, you are presented with multiple models of where omniscience and free will are compatible and work out quite well. So you have two reasons why this silly claim of yours is defeated. I show you it's fallacious reasoning, and you are shown that there are models that in fact a case where omniscience and free will work together.

Because you cannot defeat these arguments, you must defend your puffed up yet illogical and debased mind at any cost. And that cost is being even more illogical and attempting to drag the topic into irrelevant issues, like you don't like that God is conceived of as being omniscient and omnipotent in the first place. You've shown on so many occasions your sophistry, idiocity, and just plain trollish behavior, and we have another person other than myself and Rhology that can now attest to it.

Yet you refuse to see this even now. This tells me that you're either 1) a troll who doesn't really care about logic and truth or 2) have such a dense and blinded mind that you are incapable of understanding much of anything. Whichever it is, you need to know about it.

David said...

“Your preferred catch-phrase to conceal your sophistry in presenting a metaphysical dilemma, but irrationally demanding empirical evidence to resolve it. Chant your can-opener mantra as many times as you wish, I doubt it will ever make your approach any less stupid.”

Well, that’s certainly a convincing reply. Doesn’t really address the point, but I guess this means that you’re going to buy stock in my unicorn farm after all. I have no empirical evidence for my unicorns, but it would be irrational for anyone to demand such evidence before buying the stock.


“That wasn't computer language Mr. Dijkstra. It was computational terminology of functional parameters and values that someone familiar with any kind of computer/programming language would know, and is also familiar to anyone proficient in algebra. If you can't grasp even that, then it's really not surprising that you're so terribly confused by principles like logical versus temporal order.”

Oh. It’s not computer language, it’s “computational terminology”. Well, that’s different then, isn’t it?

So instead of clarifying, you chose to insult. Very effective argument, but it’s what I’ve come to expect.

Proficient in algebra? Dude, gimme a break, I took algebra over 30 years ago. I don’t ever remember seeing anything remotely like the jargon you presented, although I admit that much of what I learned is long forgotten. But if you’d rather insult than clarify, that’s your choice.


“You believe wrong. Jesus did teach the idea of doing good even to our enemies in terms of things like praying for them and helping if they're in need. But in public discourse, Jesus own example is itself strong precedent for sharp, public rebuke and shaming of those who openly oppose the gospel or are contentious.

That is correct. On the matter of how one is to treat others, the NT contradicts itself and/or makes it impossible to actually follow the contradictory commands of the NT.


“That's where you're fundamentally confused (or just don't pay attention), for I clearly delineated the choices themselves from the self-determination that drives them.”

Call it what you want, SOMETHING preceded God’s FOREknowledge, did it not?


In case you missed it dear troll, omnipotence is one of the fundamental attributes of the Christian God, and is a given in any serious discussion involving Him.

So, these discussions always with assumption that the imaginary can opener is real. Ok.


“Are you really so philosophically clueless as to think I just now made up the idea of God being omnipotent?!? Looks like I need not worry much about exposing your ignorance, as you seem intent on broadcasting it to the world!”

Perhaps my wording was unclear. I was not trying to say that you, personally, made up the idea of omnipotence. I understand that the idea originates with other humans, and you were using their claims when you claimed super duper. Regardless, we’re left with the outcome of winning by escalation of attributions.

Since no empirical evidence is required, one can claim that God is whatever one wants God to be. We create God in our own image, and we create the God that is needed to win the game. It’s a fun game to play, but beyond its entertainment value, I’m not sure I see the point.

David said...

“What's especially sad about you, David, is that you are so puffed up in your own mind that you think your sophistry is actually effective at defeating the arguments we've presented.”

I assume that you are all aware that the word "sophist" has several meanings?

Actually, in the absence of an impartial audience, I have no one if my points are effective or not. As far as being “puffed up” is concerned, I’m not the one who stands on his puny little legs and uses his tiny human brain to make definitive declarations about any entity capable of creating universes. Now, THAT’S being puffed up. THAT is arrogance.

The older I get, the less I know. For all of our efforts at “metaphysics”, the reality is that it’s ALL a mystery, and it’s likely that there are no answers to these questions, or at least, the answers are not accessible to the human mind. To quote Paul Simon, the information's unavailable to the mortal man.

Just look at the history of Christianity.

God allows free will.

No, God does not allow free will.

God says this.

No, God says that.

God is this.

No, God is that.

You read the Bible wrong.

No, you read the Bible wrong.

You’re wrong.

No, you’re wrong.

(Exchange of insults, and in the good old days, burning at the stake.)

It’s utterly hopeless to expect to find any answers here.

"You are shown that there are models that in fact a case where omniscience and free will work together."

Which models are you referring to? The one in which our self-determination preceded God’s foreknowledge or the one in which God predicts our choices as we predict the position of the moon or was it the one in which all of the decisions that I will make in the future have already been made, and therefore, they are unchangeable, even before I make the decision? Or was it one of those models that depended on the imaginary can opener?

I understand that with a little imagination and the freedom to create untestable abstractions, one can avoid “logical contradiction”, really I do. I can see how the game is played.

But ultimately, so what? By the time you’re finished, you haven’t a clue as to whether or not you “model” reflects reality. I guess that’s good enough for you, because you’ve started with the conclusions, and you’re not really interested in the question of reality. You’re certainly not interested in considering the possibility that you are simply wrong.

I know that I don't know. How about you?

David said...

Brennon,

Have any of your arguments ever led your buddy Alan to change his mind?

bossmanham said...

I assume that you are all aware that the word "sophist" has several meanings?

Not in this context. Are you trying to look stupid?

Actually, in the absence of an impartial audience, I have no one if my points are effective or not

Sure you do. If you're claiming there's some logical incoherence about something, but your arguments (if you actually produce any) don't prove that there is, and counter-arguments show there isn't, then you know you've failed.

As far as being “puffed up” is concerned, I’m not the one who stands on his puny little legs and uses his tiny human brain to make definitive declarations about any entity capable of creating universes

Sure you do. You claim any kind of metaphysics is "mental masturbation". you claim that it's a useless subject. That certainly seems like a definitive declaration from a tiny human brain (wondering what you're comparing our brain to if said things can't exist).

You also claim that the idea of God is akin to a little kid playing and making things up, which implies you think the idea is silly. Sound like pretty arrogantly dogmatic positions if I do say so myself.

The older I get, the less I know.

Except you do know that whatever we believe in is silly, right?

You then completely straw man church history with no argument given. Nice try, you sophist troll. Your idiot skirt is showing again.

Then you misstate what the models presented were, showing that you either are incapable of comprehending what you read, or are just in it for the sake of trolling.

David: forever the stubborn troll.

bossmanham said...

Have any of your arguments ever led your buddy Alan to change his mind?

I don't know. You'll have to ask him. He's a reasonable chap.

David said...

“If you're claiming there's some logical incoherence about something, but your arguments (if you actually produce any) don't prove that there is, and counter-arguments show there isn't, then you know you've failed.”

Well, that’s the opinion of someone who is NOT impartial, isn’t it?


“Sure you do. You claim any kind of metaphysics is "mental masturbation". you claim that it's a useless subject. That certainly seems like a definitive declaration from a tiny human brain (wondering what you're comparing our brain to if said things can't exist).”

Please notice that I’m making a claim about an observable, measurable human activity. I’m not trying to make claims about undetectable entities capable of creating universes and I’m not trying to make claims in the absence of empirical evidence or appealing to “black boxes”.

Yes, I think it’s possible that humans might be able to evaluate the value of a given human activity right here on Earth. Humans can evaluate humans, and we might draw conclusions about that activity. Doesn’t seem all that arrogant to me to do so. You’ve done this yourself in labeling me with various derogatory terms. You’ve evaluated me and found me wanting. See, this is something that humans CAN do. At least my evaluation does not involve assigning traits, properties and qualities to incomprehensible entities, inventing imaginary can openers or hiding behind "black boxes". So, I think I’m still ahead (or is it behind?) in the “puffed up” game.


It’s accurate to say that I don’t see much value in metaphysics, and I could be wrong about that. But seriously, what has been gained by it? These are the same types of activities that are used to waste time in dorm rooms, but then we go on to other things. If you can show me something more concrete, then I may reconsider. At least there is chance that we could find something observable and measurable here.



“You also claim that the idea of God is akin to a little kid playing and making things up, which implies you think the idea is silly. Sound like pretty arrogantly dogmatic positions if I do say so myself.”

Did I use the word “silly”? Is it “arrogantly dogmatic” to point out how the game is being played? Is it arrogance to point out the arrogance of others?

Beside, you misunderstand. I didn’t say that the broad notion of “God” is silly. I’m quite willing to accept the possibility of incomprehensible entities capable of creating universes or at least, I’m not going to say such entities don’t exist. It’s the assigning various properties to incomprehensible entities and the insertion of “black boxes” in order to “win” an argument that is questionable here. It’s the declaration that “God is X, Y and Z” that I wonder about.


“Except you do know that whatever we believe in is silly, right?”

Again, did I use the word “silly”? I was NOT the one who started the “kindergarten” analogies. Do complain about what you all started.

Well, I know that it’s very likely that you don’t know. That’s the point. By experience, by empirical observation, I’ve become increasingly aware of the limitations of humans. It’s a useful thing to learn.

David said...

“You then completely straw man church history with no argument given. Nice try, you sophist troll. Your idiot skirt is showing again.”

Idiot skirt? Sigh.

Straw man history? Not by a long shot. It’s an abstracted and abbreviated church history, but it is nevertheless quite accurate. The argument being made should be obvious. Folks can claim they know something about God, but the empirical evidence suggests that they don’t. No one does, or least, it’s quite impossible to tell if someone does. After thousands of years, people are divided as ever and the questions remain unresolved. Dems da facts.


“Then you misstate what the models presented were, showing that you either are incapable of comprehending what you read, or are just in it for the sake of trolling.”

Misstate? How? All I did was strip away the….dare I say, it….sophistry, while you keep saying “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.


“David: forever the stubborn troll.”

I asked if your arguments ever led your buddy Alan to change his mind. You say that you don't know.

Yes, I think that you do know. I think that you know that your powerful, logical, irresistible, indefatigable arguments have had very little impact on him, especially with respect to the concept of "free will". I've been watching Alan for too long to think otherwise.

So, why is he "reasonable", while I'm a stubborn troll? Do you describe him in the same derogatory way? Why not? At the very least, he’s quite stubborn in the face of brilliant logic. He’s clearly not changing his mind either.

Either we're both stubborn trolls of very limited intelligence and little reasoning ability or your arguments just aren't very good. Take your pick.

Or maybe we just like certain positions and arguments simply because of our personalities, and we justify our beliefs in a post hoc manner (and yes, I include myself here). Who knows?

bossmanham said...

Well, that’s the opinion of someone who is NOT impartial, isn’t it?

It's the statement of someone who knows how logic works. Whether I'm impartial or not is irrelevant.

I’m not trying to make claims about undetectable entities capable of creating universes and I’m not trying to make claims in the absence of empirical evidence or appealing to “black boxes”.

You're making an absolute truth claim about a field of philosophy which, if it contains any truth, would be unable to be verified in such a way. You're also assuming, in a rather dogmatic way, that empirical observation is somehow viable and useful in determining truth, which is a metaphysical assumption that can't be proven empirically.

It’s the assigning various properties to incomprehensible entities and the insertion of “black boxes” in order to “win” an argument that is questionable here.

Except for the property of incomprehensibility, right?

Again, did I use the word “silly”? I was NOT the one who started the “kindergarten” analogies. Do complain about what you all started.

I'm not allowed to infer things from what you say? You do an awful lot of that, troll.

Straw man history? Not by a long shot.

Sure it is.

It’s an abstracted and abbreviated church history, but it is nevertheless quite accurate.

No, it is an oversimplification and focus on one particular aspect of history, instead of the broad truth and reality of church history. It is a purposeful mischaracterization designed to make the church (which is irrelevant anyway in this discussion) look bad. This is also known as lying, my trollish friend.

Misstate? How? All I did was strip away the….dare I say, it….sophistry, while you keep saying “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”.

No, by doing so you miss key elements and straw man the model. If done purposely, you are again caught lying, troll.

Re: Rhology, in the very few (like two) discussions about disagreements we've had, he doesn't continue asking the same question over and over after receiving an answer. He's able to take my position and understand it, and that it isn't logically contradictory. He also doesn't repeat the same tired discounted assertions over and over after being corrected. Plus, he loves Jesus Christ and doesn't blaspheme His name on a regular basis, unlike you gnu atheist trolls do.

JC Thib has repeated to you the same critiques I have in the past about your tendencies. How is it that both of us can see this about you? You have two independent sources that observe this empirical data regarding your behavior. What happened to your wonderful empirical method with respect to your trollish behavior?

Ryan Anderson said...

I’m not the one who...make[s] definitive declarations about any entity capable of creating universes. Now, THAT’S being puffed up. THAT is arrogance.

Well said.

David said...

"It's the statement of someone who knows how logic works. Whether I'm impartial or not is irrelevant."

Well, if you say so...


“You're making an absolute truth claim about a field of philosophy which, if it contains any truth, would be unable to be verified in such a way.”

I'm not making “an absolute truth claim”. I’m suggesting that it’s much more likely that we humans can evaluate human activity than it is that we can make accurate claims about entities capable of creating universes. I could be wrong, but that doesn’t seem likely. Seems like a reasonable conclusion to me.


“No, it is an oversimplification and focus on one particular aspect of history, instead of the broad truth and reality of church history. It is a purposeful mischaracterization designed to make the church (which is irrelevant anyway in this discussion) look bad. This is also known as lying, my trollish friend.”

Of course it focuses on one particular aspect of history. It focuses on the aspect that is relevant to the point I was trying to make. You did get the point, right? This was not an attempt to “make the church look bad”. It was an attempt to point out the realities of the church’s history and the limitations of the human mind. Nothing more.

So, I did not lie. As the result of oversensitivity, you misinterpreted and jumped to conclusions. But I will say that your quickness to accuse me of lying is very Christ-like.


“No, by doing so you miss key elements and straw man the model. If done purposely, you are again caught lying, troll.”

Matter of opinion, my friend. Straw man? Or “theory” stripped of sophistry? Matter of opinion. Sadly, we lack an impartial jury here.


“He doesn't continue asking the same question over and over after receiving an answer.”

But what if the answer is flawed in some way? What if the answer naturally leads to another question? This is how science works. Ask a question. Gather data. Maybe get a partial answer to the first question, and then look at the new questions raised by the data. It’s an iterative process.

Your problem is that you want me to stop after the catechism is recited. I used to do that when I was young. I don’t stop anymore. If you keep asking questions, you start to see more holes. There is a method to the madness.


“He's able to take my position and understand it, and that it isn't logically contradictory.”

So, why isn’t he convinced by it? If the lack of logical contradiction is so valuable or so important, then he should change his mind, right? Isn’t he being stubborn? You have to at least acknowledge that he’s stubborn, right? Otherwise, I might think that there’s a little bias here.

Or is there something wrong with quality of your “logic” and arguments? Maybe “isn’t logically contradictory” simply isn’t worth very much. You see, you can build a crap sandwich that “isn’t logically contradictory”, but it’s still a crap sandwich.


“Plus, he loves Jesus Christ and doesn't blaspheme His name on a regular basis, unlike you gnu atheist trolls do.”

Ah, so you treat your “enemies” differently from your friends. Just like Jesus said to do.


“How is it that both of us can see this about you? You have two independent sources that observe this empirical data regarding your behavior. What happened to your wonderful empirical method with respect to your trollish behavior?”

As J.C. would say … hahahahahahaha! Yes, we have empirical data, and the data suggest a very strong shared bias and a shared mind set. Of course you will come the same conclusions about me! You don’t have to be God to predict THIS outcome!

Wow, a hundred comments. So much for a quick dismissal of an attempted rebuttal.

John said...

You'd think that at this point, someone would've already understood the other.

Well, that was fun.

David, for what it's worth (not very much, I'm guessing), I think you're way smarter than I am =)

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Troll,

@Doesn’t really address the point

There would logically have to be some kind of coherent point to your rambling for that to occur. Apologies sir, you still can't hit metaphysics with big bonky stick.


@it would be irrational for anyone to demand such evidence

Only if there's credible historical evidence available, as in the case of Christ.


@It’s not computer language, it’s “computational terminology”. Well, that’s different then, isn’t it?

Poking fun at that would be redundant.


@I took algebra over 30 years ago

And we've only had the internet for about 20 years, which is why I'm sure you can't be bothered to just read up on the subject you're apparently so confused on.


@So instead of clarifying, you chose to insult.

I merely pointed out that it isn't surprising that you can't follow a discussion about logical and temporal order if you can't understand (or even bother to look up) concepts as fundamental as those taught in algebra.


@SOMETHING preceded God’s FOREknowledge, did it not?

Speaking of confusing logical and temporal order....


@the NT contradicts itself

Unless of course one bothers to do little unimportant things like read in context.


@always with assumption that the imaginary can opener is real.

How dare we discuss the nature of God's knowledge under the assumption that He exists! Anyone else notice the troll's contradiction in terms?


@I was not trying to say that you, personally, made up the idea of omnipotence.

You phrased it as if I were the one assigning it to Him. But your childish taunting about attributing "super powers" etc to God only further flaunts your ineptitude and ignorance of the subject, as omnipotence is part of who God is by definition. That's tantamount to telling someone discussing the color black that he's "assigning" the attribute of darkness to it.


And the troll epic fail quote of the day [drumroll]:

@Regardless, we’re left with the outcome of winning by escalation of attributions.

Omnipotence, by definition, cannot be escalated. Though the troll has never been known to let trifles like fundamental logic stop him!

David said...

John,

Yes, it was fun, wasn't it!

David said...

Well, I think that a hundred comments is probably enough, so let’s sum up.

I’ve actually learned quite a lot about metaphysics in this conversation. I’ve learned more about how the game is played, and about the tricks of the trade. I’ve learned about the manipulation of terminology and the assertion of untestable claims and about “black boxes”. I’ve learned a great deal about sophistry from experts in the field. I really do understand much of what has been said (except for the computational jargon), but it’s just not that impressive or convincing. All in all, it’s been quite educational.

I’ve also gathered more data to support the conclusion the Bible contradicts itself with respect to the command about how to respond and treat those who disagree with you and/or those you perceive as enemies. One is both (1) commanded, or a least permitted, to shame and (2) forbidden from shaming, all in the same document, especially in the NT.

Of course, this is a major reason for its longevity. With the contradiction in place, everyone can find something in the Bible that fits their personalities. Nice people find “God-given” reasons to be nice, and nasty people find “God-given” reasons to be nasty. Now, we do have the problem of the contradictions, but this can be dismissed with an appeal to “context” and manipulation of terminology, followed by insults.

Now, is there anything that you can learn? Yes, I think that there is.

Brennon, you need to understand why your buddy Alan is a Calvinist. I can think of at least two reasons, but there may be more.

Either Alan is a stubborn, stupid, illogical and possess little reasoning ability. Or your magnificent arguments just aren’t very good.

If you can figure out the answer to the question of why Alan is a Calvinist, then you will have learned something, grasshopper.

TTFN

J.C. Thibodaux said...

To the troll's final bit of commentary,

@I’ve learned a great deal about sophistry from experts in the field

The voices in your head, presumably.... one has to admire how thoroughly you've internalized their teachings.


@One is ... forbidden from shaming ... especially in the NT.

Funny that you fail to actually cite where this supposed contradiction occurs, and to explain why it would necessarily be contradictory. Guess you have to mask your intellectual dishonesty somehow.


To anyone reading the end of the debate, I'll briefly (and humorously) summarize our dear troll David's most compelling arguments:


"You've got a problem with your view of metaphysics, and it can't be logically resolved cause I think metaphysics is stupid to begin with!"

"Doing anything that makes me feel stupid in any way is an insult, and shows what a hypocrite you are for disobeying what I think you should think the Bible means."

"Maybe “self-determination” doesn’t actually tell us anything important about whether our choices are truly free or not."

"Repeating objections again and again long after they've been been soundly refuted is very gratifying."

"God isn't really in control if He lets me do anything. God can't have total control in a sense of general oversight because I don't even know what that means!"

"You have to able to produce the actual solution before we know whether it's a logically possible solution."

"The Bible contradicts itself because I say it does!"

"Convincing Triablogue is the standard of a good argument, and what they think of you is clearly relevant to the discussion."

"Saying "invisible can opener" makes all conceivable solutions to a metaphysical problem meaningless."

"Someone who thinks God can do something that I can't understand is just making up powers for Him."

"Tralfamadorian is riding a unicorn!! This renders your argument invalid!"

"Omnipotence can be escalated."

David said...

"Funny that you fail to actually cite where this supposed contradiction occurs."

Oh, it's there alright. Would you like for me to point it out or can you find it on your own? I'm really do think that this has gone on long enough, and I suspect that your response would involve more playing games with terms and defintions. But if you insist...

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Troll: I suspect that your response would involve more playing games with terms and defintions

Translation: "Ungahh! Reading context to interpret meaning not fair!"

David said...

"Ungahh! Reading context to interpret meaning not fair!"

Do you wish to continue this discussion?

David said...

Oh, and will respect to the foreknowledge discussion, to repeat, if you can answer the question of WHY Alan is a Calvinist, then you, too will have learned. The key word is WHY.

Seth said...

...whoa...popped in to see the outcome of the conversation (last time I looked the comment thread count was at 59 I think) and now it's at 109 (about to be 110)?

*whew*

Is this a record?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Brennon! Brennon! Some smart person somewhere is arguing that he disagrees with your position! If you could only understand WHY you'd see WHY you're totally wrong (though I'm not exactly sure WHY)! ;)

bossmanham said...

JC,

Response

David said...

"If you could only understand WHY you'd see WHY you're totally wrong."

Wow, you really missed the point!

I did not say that Brennon would see why he was wrong. I simply said that he would LEARN something. That's all. He would learn something.

I know that Brennon is not going to conclude that he is wrong. Again, I don't have to be God to predict THIS outcome.

Do you wish to continue this discussion?

David said...

Sorry, to clarify, do you wish to continue the discussion about contradictions?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Oooh snap! "Argumentum ad Vaderum."

David said...

Oh, snap? Really? Is this 2003? Are we regressing in time? Is this what you mean by "temporal transcendence"?

"Argumentum ad Vaderum."

More like Argumentum ad...non sequitar. (Probably bad Latin grammar here, but what can one do?)

In any event, I take that this has ended.

I say that there are contradictions.

You say that there are not.

And there we leave it.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Golly Brennon, I'm so glad you could LEARN exactly WHY you're so wrong by the fact that someone disagrees with THIS post. We really need to LEARN to capitalize more to help teach WHY insane-troll-logic makes God incoherent, and that ignoring stupid stuff like context and linguistics allows us to just make up contradictions in the Bible at will!

And if people ask us WHY we would take THIS stupidity-based approach to interpreting the most influential set of documents in human history, we'll tell em, "Totally crazy radical swell booyah groovy wicked epic dope far-out phat boss xtreme tight cowabunga dude off-the-chain mondo fresh slick mod outrageous tubular funky jive sick kickin' bodacious jiggy gnarly cool bling super-fly yo-mama awesome -that's WHY!"

David said...

"I'm so glad you could LEARN exactly WHY you're so wrong by the fact that someone disagrees with THIS post."

Or Brennon could learn that his buddy Alan is stubborn, stupid, illogical and possess little reasoning ability.

Either one would do.

(And what's with the anime avatar? How old are you?)

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Troll no can cover peeples eyes to his bad looze duhbate!! Troll refoote humor and abatar instead!! *Raaaaaarrhh!*"

David said...

Well, I didn't really need any more data to support the hypothesis that Christain theology contradicts itself and that one's beliefs will have little effect on actual behavior.

But, thanks anyway.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Brennon, where exactly was that scripture?

Didn't it go something like, "Thou shalt not makest fun of trolls who make up for a poor command of logic with smears, arguing irrelevant nonsense and red-herrings based on clueless textual interpretation."?

Was it in 2 Hesitations, or perhaps the epistle to Flippancy?

David said...

Well, it's been fun watching you dig deeper, but it's getting redundant.

Do you wish to engage in a discussion of the matter?

By the way, it's a odd situation indeed when the participants are allowed to decide who "won" a debate.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Better question: Why should anyone discuss a red-herring from a troll so logically inept that he argues that omnipotence can be 'escalated?' (see my "compelling arguments" summary above)

David said...

So, that would "no".

David said...

Oops, left out a word...

So, that would be "no".

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Bingo. See? Context does work. If you're genuinely curious, a fairly good expression of my views can be read at this thread on 2 Timothy 2:22-26, in which a fundy atheist is predictably reduced to smoldering rubble on the context by the person he's accusing.

David said...

Now I'm confused.

You do want to discuss the question of contradictions after all?

Just let me know.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

So, you imagine yourself some sort of interpreter/critic of ancient near eastern literature, yet can't even follow this conversation? There was some reason I've repeatedly refused to follow your rabbit-trails, but it's escaped me at the moment....

David said...

"Yet can't even follow this conversation?"

Eh?

Are we talking about the meaning of the word "context" or are talking about discussing contradictions?

I posted a comment stating that it appeared to me that the answer to my question about discussing contradictions was no. That is, my comment was solely about the question of discussing contradictions.

I assumed that your response was in some way intended as a response to my comment "so, that would be "no". I mean that's how conversations usually proceed, right? One person says something, and the response usually addresses what that person just said.

However, your comment and the link to something about 2 Timothy didn't really seem to be in direct response to my statement "so, that would be "no"."

So, I asked for clarification because it was not clear to me if you'd changed your mind about discussing contradictions. However, instead of simply clarifying your comment, you chose to further insult.

Now, I ask again. To clarify, what were you trying to say in your "2 Timothy" comment? What was the intent of this comment? Shouldn't I have expected that this comment would be a response to my statement "so, that would be "no"?

Would you like to clarify or would you prefer to insult? Your choice.



(As far as the word "context" goes, here's my concern.

How many times has a politician gotten in trouble for saying X? What does the politician always say in response to the criticism? How does he or she attempt to dig their way out of the whole?

The politician will always say "my remarks were taken out of context." Right?

Now, in some cases, this is accurate. Yes, context matters.

However, in other cases, the phrase "taken out of context" is used to weasel out of what the politician really did say and really did mean. It's a way of evading the reality of the words that were spoken.

So, I am wary of the word "context", and I believe that empirical evidence supports my conclusions that I should be wary.)

David said...

"Whole" should be "hole".

David said...

"There was some reason I've repeatedly refused to follow your rabbit-trails, but it's escaped me at the moment...."

"You can't figure this out? It's really pretty obvious, don't you think?

John said...

@ David

"Do you wish to continue this discussion?"

lol.

Maybe we should let Brennon post something new. I think this one has been discussed to death.

I think you guys discussed this more than it has ever been discussed in the history of philosophy.

David said...

"Maybe we should let Brennon post something new. I think this one has been discussed to death."

Actually, we've yet to begin the discussion of contradictions.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

@your comment and the link to something about 2 Timothy didn't really seem to be in direct response to my statement

It wasn't; it was a rather obvious FYI.


@you chose to further insult

I implied that since you're not even following a modern conversation in normal English, then commenting on a text written in another language and social context is quite beyond you (just as flying a jet liner is, at this point, beyond me). To further display this, in a move that (assuming you're not just being dishonest) plainly smacks of paranoia, you interpret the observation as an "insult." Such a faux pas only underscores the point that you simply don't have the necessary knowledge/skills to competently interpret scripture.


@"taken out of context" is used to weasel out of what the politician really did say

And like a rabid political ideologue, all you would do is vent your arbitrary skepticism by ignoring any evidence that disagrees with you and refusing to consider possible reconciliations to your supposed contradictions (as you've repeatedly done on this thread) because of your uncritical a priori assumptions of error.

David said...

Are you done ranting? Seriously, dude, take a Xanax.


"And like a rabid political ideologue, all you would do is vent your arbitrary skepticism by ignoring any evidence that disagrees with you and refusing to consider possible reconciliations to your supposed contradictions."

Well, so far, there hasn't been any evidence presented with respect to contradictions. I haven't seen any possible "reconciliations" offered. We have yet to have a discussion about contradictions. How can I ignore evidence that has not been presented in a debate that hasn't happened?


"You simply don't have the necessary knowledge/skills to competently interpret scripture."

Ken Ham, et al., have the necessary knowledge/skill to interpret scripture. They use "context" and concludes that yom most definitely means 24 hour day.

Hugh Ross, et al., have the necessary knowledge/skill to interpret scripture. They use "context" and concludes that yom most definitely does NOT mean 24 hour day.

Both groups are qualified to evaluate scripture, both use context and at least one group MUST be wrong.

So, am I really being "arbitrary" or "uncritical" when I suggest that we need to be a little wary about the use of the word "context"? "Context" is not a magic bullet that is renders the user incapable of error. My wariness or "skepticism" with respect to this term is based on empirical observation, not "rabid political ideology".

So far, there's been no discussion of contraditions. I assume that there is to be no discussion in the future.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

@My wariness or "skepticism" with respect to this term is based on empirical observation

Of course, because observing politicians and interpreting the Bible are obviously the same thing. [rolls eyes]


@"Context" is not a magic bullet that is renders the user incapable of error.

Which no one is arguing....


@I haven't seen any possible "reconciliations" offered

-as said offerings are futile in the case of one who refuses to intelligently consider them, as you've repeatedly done. It's pointless to deal further with you on these subjects since you've already proven that you're pre-committed to rejecting evidence from context and logic, and instead favor blind prejudice and assumption of error.


@dude, take a Xanax.

(?) Written in reply to my very calmly-written comment. I was saying about your inability to interpret writing....

David said...

"Of course, because observing politicians and interpreting the Bible are obviously the same thing."

I gave you a very clear biblical interpretation example. You ignored it. That makes you...a troll?


"You've already proven that you're pre-committed."

Pot. Kettle.


"It's pointless to deal further with you on these subjects."

O-tay. Bye.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

@I gave you a very clear biblical interpretation example. You ignored it.

Because two parties with competing views of what the biblical contexts imply has nothing to do with proving that we should adopt your arbitrarily skeptical view and approach the Bible as one would a crooked politician.


@Pot. Kettle.

Projection is the most uncomely of psychological defense mechanisms....

David said...

"Because two parties with competing views of what the biblical contexts imply has nothing to do with proving that we should adopt your arbitrarily skeptical view."

May I say...

It's pointless to deal further with you on these subjects since you've already proven that you're pre-committed to rejecting evidence from context and logic.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

There's that projection again. Having proven yourself a troll, I guess outright dishonesty was the only place to go from there.

David said...

"There's that projection again."

You're the one who "rejected the evidence". I just pointed it out.

You can keep digging or we can wrap this up.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I simply didn't address it because your "evidence" had nothing to do with the point you were trying to prove, which I clearly showed above. So it's quite evident now: you are lying, plain and simple.

David said...

Your "evidence" had nothing to do with the point you were trying to prove."

It didn't? Perhaps there is a misunderstanding. What point did you think I was trying to prove?

Tell me, is a false accusation of lying Christ-like?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

@What point did you think I was trying to prove?

Try reading my third comment above....

@is a false accusation of lying Christ-like?

A true one is, liar.

David said...

Try reading your third comment? You know, this would be much clearer if you would simply state your position as opposed to risking a miscounting.


I'm just guessing here...

You thought that I was saying that we should "approach the Bible as one would a crooked politician"? Is that it?

Oh, dear, you did misunderstand. I believe that you've taken my example a bit too literally and you've...dare I say it...ignored the context. I probably should have started with the Ham/Ross example.

So forget about the politicians. The more directly applicable biblical interpretation example does indeed give evidence that we need to be a little wary about the use of the word "context" and that my "skepticism" with respect to this term is based on empirical observation, not "rabid political ideology".

This was my point. We need to be a little wary about the use of the word "context". That's really all I was trying say, and evidence to support my position can be derived from observation of the activity of biblical scholars.

Would you like some more biblical interpretation examples in support of my position?

I could have chosen a better intial example, so perhaps some of the misunderstanding is my faul, but regardless, perhaps you should wait for clarificaiton before pulling out the L-word as a false accusation of lying. That's a rather strong accusation, so I think that Jesus would want you to be sure before you tossed it out there. You know, internet exchanges are notorious for their ability to create miscommunication, and it doesn't help with someone confuses miscommunication with lying.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

@you've...dare I say it...ignored the context
...
@So forget about the politicians

Newsflash: the "politicians" comment was part of the context which I was using to piece together what point you were trying to make. I never argued that context itself is a "magic bullet" (merely that it's necessary to understand the text), and I was quite clear in what I was addressing in my "competing views" comment -you even quoted it when you wrongly accused me of "reject[ing] the evidence." Hence I've concluded that you're being dishonest.

David said...

Ok, I think I'm getting a handle on things here.

It appears that you thought I was trying to make a different point from the one I was trying to make. You got hung up on the crooked politicians, and I should have started with the Ham/Ross example.

I thought that you were ignoring the evidence in support of my point, because you did not respond to my biblical interpretation example. But we clearly had different ideas of what my point really was, and we were focusing on and responding to different things. Ok, I've now explained the point I was trying to make, we'll dump the politicians, and the only evidence to be entered into court is the Ham/Ross evidence. Hopefully, that clears things up.

So, where's the dishonesty? Misunderstanding, sure, but lying? That's a strong accusation, and I don't think that you can back it up. Your desire to find the very worst interpretation of my words is not helpful...or Christ-like.

Now, you say that you understand that context itself is a "magic bullet". Ok, good. That's progress. That suggests that you are following what I'm trying to say.

But then why go on and on about "rapid political ideology" and "arbitrary skepticism" that "ignores any evidence that disagrees with you and blah, blah, blah. If you agree that context is not a "magic bullet", then what's the problem with a discussion of contradictions?

Given all of that, it's a little hard to see that you've really gotten my point.


You understand why I'm wary of the word "context", so to say...

"As said offerings are futile in the case of one who refuses to intelligently consider them, as you've repeatedly done. It's pointless to deal further with you on these subjects since you've already proven that you're pre-committed to rejecting evidence from context and logic, and instead favor blind prejudice and assumption of error."

...is to get a bit ahead of the game.

There's been no discussion. Perhaps you should save the endless comments about how the discussion would go until after the discussion has occurred.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I already have backed it up in that I was quite clear in what I was arguing. If you weren't lying, then I'd have to conclude you simply weren't seriously reading.

I also responded to your "magic bullet" argument with, "Which no one is arguing...." 6 posts back. You're just now figuring out that I'm following your arguments??

My problem with discussing contradictions with you is, again, you're obviously not competent in dealing with linguistics, context, etc. (you even have trouble keeping up even with this discussion), and your very poor handling of the debate on this thread shows a marked unwillingness to consider logical solutions to the dilemmas you present.

David said...

"I'd have to conclude you simply weren't seriously reading."

Or you could just conclude that I missed your point. Happens, you know. After all, you have little faith in my ability to understand you, right?

Why go straight to "lying" as the answer? Get it? That's the key question here. It this how Jesus does it?

"My problem with discussing contradictions with you is, again, you're obviously not competent in dealing with linguistics, context, etc. (you even have trouble keeping up even with this discussion), and your very poor handling of the debate on this thread shows a marked unwillingness to consider logical solutions to the dilemmas you present."

Well, as I've said before, in the absence of an impartial judge, it's awfully hard to know how I did in this debate. Matter of opinion, really. I have opinions about your performance, but I generally keep them to myself.

Well, whatever excuse to avoid discussion floats your boat. Guess we'll never know how it would have gone. (Unless you're omniscient.)

David said...

Footnote:

"You're just now figuring out that I'm following your arguments??"

I believe that I explained why it was so hard to figure this out. Perhaps you "simply weren't seriously reading" when you skimmed through my answer.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Heh. That'd be hard to miss -even for you. Either way, you've proven my judgment of not taking your bait to be correct.

David said...

"I generally keep them to myself."

Sorry, I should say except for the bits where I wonder about your adherence to your beliefs, you know, the Christ-like behavior thing. What I meant was that I try to refrain from saying "you lost".

Needed to make the correction. Don't want to be accused of lying again, right?

David said...

"Either way, you've proven my judgment of not taking your bait to be correct."

Well, again, your choice. I was willing to discuss this under the post about Driscoll where the said discussion would be more appropriate, but Brennon has ducked the issue, too.

It really wasn't "bait". Given what I've observed on numerous so-called Christian blog, I was truly, genuinely curious about how the behavior is reconciled with the text. I'm being quite honest when I say that it's the behavior of many Christians that leads me to conclude that there's really nothing special here.

I think that the fundamental problem is the text itself is contradictory, and that allows everyone to pick and chose the bits that correspond to their personality. In your case, it's obvious that you've concluded that it is incorrect to say that we are all made in God’s image and need to respect each other and try to esteem others as better than ourselves as the Scriptures teach.

Well, as I said, we'll never know it would have gone.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Don't be silly, you did say "generally," so your red-herring is grounds charges of scholastic incompetence at most.

David said...

Ooops. Should read...

Well, as I said, we'll never know how it would have gone.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

@it's obvious that you've concluded that it is incorrect to say that we are all made in God’s image....

Silly trolls looking for bait will say any lie that pops into their mind.

David said...

"Silly trolls looking for bait will say any lie that pops into their mind."

A lie? Sadly, no.

Well, I'll leave you to discuss this with Jesus.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Oh I see, I'm supposed to think you're somehow not lying when you claim I don't believe in Imago Dei, when I've in fact clearly stated that I do.

David said...

Dude, it's over. Believe what you want.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

I believe I'm quite happy to be telling you "good riddance," dear troll.

David said...

Glad to hear you're happy.
You know, that's what we trolls do. We spread joy and happiness throughout the land. You'd think we'd be more welcome.

zilch said...

Well, I think that's a wrap. Everyone here will be happy to hear that I'm happy too.