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The Dawkins Challenge
Catholic Things ^ | June 13, 2012 | William E. Carroll

Posted on 06/14/2012 6:58:55 AM PDT by C19fan

The noted atheist Richard Dawkins has been very active recently in his campaign to discredit religious belief, in particular Christianity, and Roman Catholicism has been a special target. He had a debate of sorts with Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, and appeared on an Australian television program, “Q and A,” with Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney. His animus against Catholicism was also evident in a joint appearance with Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and fellow non-believer (as Krauss likes to be called), at the Australian National University.

Krauss is the author of the much heralded, A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing, in which he argues that it is highly plausible that we will soon be able to understand how the entire universe, including the fundamental laws of physics, can start from “absolutely nothing” without any need to appeal to a creator or supernatural agency.

(Excerpt) Read more at thecatholicthing.org ...


TOPICS: Religion; Science
KEYWORDS: atheist; dawkins; empiricism; hume
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Sort of funny Dawkins and Krauss think they are so original and brave when all one needs to do is pick up the 18th century Scottish Enlightment philsopher David Hume and read the same exact belief system.
1 posted on 06/14/2012 6:59:02 AM PDT by C19fan
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To: C19fan

Dawkins should debate with a Jihadist.


2 posted on 06/14/2012 7:00:42 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: C19fan

Has he ever attempted to discredit any religions other than Christianity?


3 posted on 06/14/2012 7:02:57 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: stuartcr

—Has he ever attempted to discredit any religions other than Christianity?—

Why should he? He is doing Satan’s bidding. Satan’s only enemy is Christianity, and of course the deity they worship.


4 posted on 06/14/2012 7:04:27 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: C19fan

Dawkins should totally take on the most oppressive religion in the world first and then once he is done with that one he can “work his way down the ladder”. He should do a survey of all the world’s religions and find one that oppresses women, condones slavery, and the killing of people who believe otherwise and start there.

No wait, that would mean he would have to start on Islam first and he is too much of a chickenshit pansy ass to do that. So much safer to go against christians cause christians don’t saw you head off with a rusty knife to make a point.


5 posted on 06/14/2012 7:05:19 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: C19fan

—Krauss is the author of the much heralded, A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing, in which he argues that it is highly plausible that we will soon be able to understand how the entire universe, including the fundamental laws of physics, can start from “absolutely nothing” without any need to appeal to a creator or supernatural agency.—

The problem with this whole statement is that it only demonstrates that Science is about “how”.

Christianity is about “why”. And that is the higher pursuit.


6 posted on 06/14/2012 7:07:05 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: C19fan

I was surprised to learn that most of the really difficult (supposedly original) questions that Atheists ask about the existance of God, Hell, suffering, etc. have mostly been brought up more than a thousand years ago by theologians within the church playing Devil’s advocate.


7 posted on 06/14/2012 7:07:21 AM PDT by MNDude ( Victimhood is the Holy Grail of liberalism)
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To: C19fan
“He had a debate of sorts with Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury...”

Isn't this guy a huge lightweight, left wing, CINO? Heck, if he is who I think he is, he might be an atheist plant. What did that debate look like?

Dawkin-”Christianity is rotten, backwards, and bigoted against gays and minorities”

Williams-”Yes it is. Sorry.”

8 posted on 06/14/2012 7:07:42 AM PDT by nerdwithagun (I'd rather go gun to gun then knife to knife.)
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To: C19fan

Bingo! Atheists never come up with anything new, they just they do. They are very proud of themselves.

Sorry satan. Next!


9 posted on 06/14/2012 7:08:34 AM PDT by HerrBlucher
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To: cuban leaf

I guess that’s a no? thanks


10 posted on 06/14/2012 7:28:16 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: stuartcr

—I guess that’s a no? thanks—

You’re welcome. :-)


11 posted on 06/14/2012 7:30:27 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: MNDude

That’s probably because there is nothing left to debate. A long time ago we discovered that it’s simply a matter of faith...different kinds...one has it in some form, or one doesn’t. I think it will be that way forever.


12 posted on 06/14/2012 7:32:25 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: C19fan
... we will soon be able to understand how the entire universe, including the fundamental laws of physics, can start from “absolutely nothing”

Recalling the phrase: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ..." we can observe that Catholics believe that there was a beginning ... from nothing ... thanks to God.

Conversely, one might mull on the fact that there cannot be a beginning if the concept of eternity works both ways.

13 posted on 06/14/2012 7:39:28 AM PDT by OldNavyVet
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To: cuban leaf
The second problem with Dawkin's statement is that it's not true. Not remotely.

An actual scientist wouldn't try to pretend that 'science will one day prove or observe something' which isn't currently proven or observed.

Dawkins isn't acting as a scientist when he claims this stuff, but as a polemicist.

14 posted on 06/14/2012 7:43:27 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: C19fan; All

I’d like to see him tackle Islam- but then I guess he’s afraid of them like everyone else.


15 posted on 06/14/2012 7:44:17 AM PDT by patriot08 (TEXAS GAL- born and bred and proud of it!)
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To: OldNavyVet

Those things that we call the universe, time and space each only exist as a temporary ‘island’ within eternity.

There was a beginning of time and space - and of the temporary parts of creation, just like an island has a north shore.

In the same way: there will also be an end of time and space and the other pieces of temporal creation, just like an island has a south shore.

While we move and act for a few short years on the island, eternity is waiting for us. That reality - outside of time and space - is our true home.

One day the island isn’t going to be around anymore. But we will be.

Well, hope this flawed analogy was helpful.


16 posted on 06/14/2012 7:56:53 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: stuartcr

Dawkins treats all religions equally, but as he points out, because Christianity is the dominant religion in Western culture (the one in which he resides and which represents the market for his work), he often uses it as an example. But Dawkins is no more anti-Christian than he is anti-Islamic or anti-Wiccan. If anything, he is kinder to Christianity due to its more civilizing influence.


17 posted on 06/14/2012 8:01:00 AM PDT by stormer
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To: agere_contra
The second problem with Dawkin's statement is that it's not true. Not remotely. An actual scientist wouldn't try to pretend that 'science will one day prove or observe something' which isn't currently proven or observed. Dawkins isn't acting as a scientist when he claims this stuff, but as a polemicist.
It appears to be Krauss' statement, not Dawkin's, but your point still holds. Setting aside experimental evidence, I haven't even heard of a scientific hypothesis put forward of something coming from truly nothing. His "nothing" is not really nothing, although his argument may be.
18 posted on 06/14/2012 8:02:34 AM PDT by rightwingcrazy
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To: agere_contra
I believe you are referring to Krauss, not Dawkins. Nonetheless, you have mispresprented the statement in question. That said, science commonly make predictions about potential future outcomes - that's the whole point...
19 posted on 06/14/2012 8:08:47 AM PDT by stormer
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To: cuban leaf
"—Has he ever attempted to discredit any religions other than Christianity?—"

Yes. But he is British. The people that tend to want to debate him are British and American, and likely Christian.

20 posted on 06/14/2012 8:13:06 AM PDT by mlo
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To: stormer

thanks, I may have to read something of his one of these days. Any suggestions on something of his that touches on more than just Christianity?


21 posted on 06/14/2012 8:15:00 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: stuartcr
“The God Delusion”, while using Christianity as it primary example, deals with Islam and Judaism as well as polytheism. I'm also fond of “The Greatest Show on Earth”, a support of the arguments for the Theory of Evolution (I'm in the biological sciences). But regardless of whether or not one agrees with his premises, Dawkins is clear and cogent, and presents his case in a gentle, conversational tone; he is an outstanding writer.
22 posted on 06/14/2012 8:52:48 AM PDT by stormer
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: stormer

thanks


24 posted on 06/14/2012 9:20:09 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: OldNavyVet

From my perspective, eternity cannot work both ways. God created time, existing outside of its limitations, therefore time has a definite beginning. You could say God was eternal before time existed, but what do words like “eternal” and “before” mean if time does not exist? Our perception is far too limited to conceive these ideas and speak about them in a rational or sensible way.


27 posted on 06/14/2012 12:26:14 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: agere_contra
I'd say that science is far more into reality than hoped-for "eternal truths."

Oscar Wilde tells us ... “Science is out of the reach of morals, for her eyes are fixed upon eternal truths.”

28 posted on 06/14/2012 12:48:51 PM PDT by OldNavyVet
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: Boogieman
eternity cannot work both ways

In mathematics, in straight line situations, the concept of infinity works both ways; no beginning and no end.

When you think about it, time is a man created concept that makes sense; it's a past and future straight line situation with no plausable beginning or end. So far as math and science is concerned, time is eternal.

30 posted on 06/16/2012 8:57:39 PM PDT by OldNavyVet
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To: OldNavyVet

Seems to me that eternity can be many things. Just my own limited musings but eternity can be spatial in relation to scale, not just time. I’ve wondered in the past just how final the last second of life and consciousness in human form might be, applying scale to linear time. A second, a half second, a quarter, an eighth, a sixteenth... there’s not really an end there. Finality is an illusion.


31 posted on 06/16/2012 9:22:51 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: OldNavyVet

“So far as math and science is concerned, time is eternal.”

Exactly, but math and science were both created by God and therefore, He is not bound by either of them, so they are insufficient tools for us to try to draw conclusions when it comes to Him. You might as well try to count the stars in the sky with an abacus.


32 posted on 06/16/2012 9:35:22 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: RegulatorCountry
You're speaking of a very old mathematical paradox, Xeno's Dichotomy.
33 posted on 06/16/2012 9:40:11 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: libertarian66
"the existence of God and the origins of the universe are not scientific questions."

They definitely are. The universe is the reality in which you live. If folks can't make sense of reality, then there's no justification for banning hard drugs at all. If no god ever shows up to introduce himself, then he's definitely not worthy of any kind of recognition.

34 posted on 06/16/2012 9:55:44 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: Boogieman

Well, that might have been lurking about somewhere in the recesses but I wasn’t consiously aware. Vague memories of Aristotle and the tortoise, so I guess so, but neither mathematics nor philosophy held all that much charm for me during my school years.

What is striking to me is that there is a seeming eternity in every second of every day. Having lost a few loved ones over the years and not always having had a strong religious faith, that comforted me, odd as it sounds.


35 posted on 06/16/2012 10:02:43 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: rightwingcrazy
An actual scientist wouldn't try to pretend that 'science will one day prove or observe something' which isn't currently proven or observed.

Double negative correct!

Scientists know that "something" observations might lead to proving something that isn't currently proven or observed.

36 posted on 06/17/2012 8:11:48 AM PDT by OldNavyVet
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To: RegulatorCountry
Well, according to Einstein, time is not the absolute thing that we usually think it is. Our subjective experience, that you talk about, does sometimes seem to back that up. After all, time flies when you are having fun, but it drags on interminably if you are bored or anticipating something. That's probably more a function of our perception than something physical, but that doesn't change the fact that, from our perspective, it's a part of our reality.

If you want to really freak out, go look at time-lapse videos of sea stars, urchins, or coral, where it almost appears that they operate on a different relative time scale than we do. To us, they appear very sluggish or even motionless, but speed it up 6-10 times and they are very active creatures.

37 posted on 06/17/2012 9:18:15 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: spunkets

What you say is true, regarding the universe. However, the very definition of God means something supernatural. Modern science is built on a fundamental premise that they can only consider natural phenomenon. Anything supernatural is outside the bounds of modern science.


38 posted on 06/17/2012 9:21:26 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: mlo

“The people that tend to want to debate him are British and American, and likely Christian.”

Correct. The Muslims would rather just decapitate him :)


39 posted on 06/17/2012 9:24:28 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman
Re: If no god ever shows up to introduce himself, then he's definitely not worthy of any kind of recognition.

"Modern science is built on a fundamental premise that they can only consider natural phenomenon. "

No. It is built on the scientific method, which requires observables.

"the very definition of God means something supernatural. ... Anything supernatural is outside the bounds of modern science."Do these gods know they've been defined by the humans? Why do they hide behind some human's definition to avoid introducing themselves? Do they have schizoid, avoidant, or dependent personalities?

40 posted on 06/17/2012 4:38:15 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets

“No. It is built on the scientific method, which requires observables.”

Yes, you are essentially stating methodological naturalism, which is exactly what I was referring to.

“Do these gods know they’ve been defined by the humans?”

I’m not talking about “gods”, I’m talking about God, the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. So, yes, he certainly knows everything that we do. More importantly, we didn’t define Him, He defined Himself, and graciously provided us with some methods to gain at least a partial understanding of His nature. Science, however, can only ever be tangentially related to those endeavors.

“Why do they hide behind some human’s definition to avoid introducing themselves?”

He didn’t. Humans defined science to exclude any examination of the kinds that would lead to direct knowledge about God.

“Do they have schizoid, avoidant, or dependent personalities?”

To even ask that question is to descend into ludicrous anthromorphism.


41 posted on 06/17/2012 6:07:42 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman
Re: science: It is built on the scientific method, which requires observables.

"you are essentially stating methodological naturalism, which is exactly what I was referring to."

Science is built on the scientific method, not methodological naturalism. Naturalism is not science. Naturalism is a philosophy based on the logical conclusion that the laws of nature are sufficient to govern the world. It's claims may depend on science, but is in no way science itself, nor is science based on it.

"I’m not talking about “gods”, I’m talking about God, the omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe."

Which one?

"we didn’t define Him, He defined Himself

One can not define themselves.

"Humans defined science to exclude any examination of the kinds that would lead to direct knowledge about God."

No, see above. What god, muhumed's?

Re: Do they have schizoid, avoidant, or dependent personalities?

"To even ask that question is to descend into ludicrous anthromorphism."

No. It's a legitimate question to ask about any person someone else claims exists, but never shows up to introduce themselves.

42 posted on 06/18/2012 7:21:08 AM PDT by spunkets
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To: C19fan
Krauss is the author of the much heralded, A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing, in which he argues that it is highly plausible that we will soon be able to understand how the entire universe, including the fundamental laws of physics, can start from “absolutely nothing” without any need to appeal to a creator or supernatural agency.

So, does this mean we can quit worrying about "social justice," "equality," "homophobia," "speciesism," and all those "problems" and "evils" we allegedly face? Does this mean the World Totalitarian State is no longer a necessity to "solve" all these "problems" and "correct" all these "evils?"

Didn't think so.

43 posted on 06/18/2012 7:38:35 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Ki-hagoy vehamamlakhah 'asher lo'-ya`avdukh yove'du; vehagoyim charov yecheravu!)
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To: spunkets

“Science is built on the scientific method, not methodological naturalism. Naturalism is not science. Naturalism is a philosophy based on the logical conclusion that the laws of nature are sufficient to govern the world.”

You just don’t know what you are talking about. You’re confusing philosophical naturalism with methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism is not a philosophy, it’s a philosophical assumption that underpins the very scientific method that you refer to.

Perhaps this will help you understand:

“Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses. To avoid these traps scientists assume that all causes are empirical and naturalistic; which means they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically.

However, this assumption of naturalism need not extend beyond an assumption of methodology. This is what separates methodological naturalism from philosophical naturalism - the former is merely a tool and makes no truth claim; while the latter makes the philosophical - essentially atheistic - claim that only natural causes exist.”

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Methodological_naturalism

“Which one?”

To quote Highlander, there can be only one.

“One can not define themselves.”

More anthropomorphism.

“No. It’s a legitimate question to ask about any person someone else claims exists, but never shows up to introduce themselves.”

No, it’s not. You are falsely assuming that God, if He did exist, would have some personality or psychological traits that we observe in humans. That’s classic anthropomorphism.

Here’s some more help for you:

“Anthropomorphism or personification is any attribution of human characteristics (or characteristics assumed to belong only to humans) to other animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities. ... In contrast to this, conventional Western science, as well as such religious doctrines as the Christian Great Chain of Being propound the opposite, anthropocentric belief that animals, plants and non-living things, unlike humans, lack spiritual and mental attributes, immortal souls, and anything other than relatively limited awareness.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism


44 posted on 06/18/2012 8:18:25 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman
"Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses. To avoid these traps scientists assume that all causes are empirical and naturalistic; which means they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically.

The scientific method requires no assumptions. The writer of this screed confuses conclusions with prior assumptions.

"...essentially atheistic - claim that only natural causes exist.”

These claims stand w/o evidence. The scientific method requires evidence.

"To quote Highlander, there can be only one."

What is this man's evidence? Why isn't muhumed's character the one?

Re: “One can not define themselves.”

" More anthropomorphism.

Not. A definition is a blueprint for form and function, or essence of something. It's a logical conclusion that one can not draw up a blueprint for their form and function prior to their existence. No "human qualities" were attributed, or considered to draw hte conclusion.

Re: No. It’s a legitimate question to ask about any person someone else claims exists, but never shows up to introduce themselves.

"No, it’s not. You are falsely assuming that God, if He did exist, would have some personality or psychological traits that we observe in humans. That’s classic anthropomorphism.

I assumed nothing. The fact that any intelligent sentient, rational being has a personality is a conclusion based on the fact that they must be sentient rational machines. Sentience requires sensing of the surroundings, one's own machinery and to one's own thoughts. That is the nature of feelings and emotion. Without the sentience, their can be no interaction with the environment and no self awareness. ie. no personality. If there is no capacity for rational processing/thought, then likewise there can be no sentience. Sentient rational machines are persons, which must display the chacteristics of personality, because of the very functionality that is contained in their essence.

If some being chooses to always stay hidden, or simply appears to, then either the being doesn't exist, or there is some reason that he chooses to hide. His choice to hide and his reasons are quantifications of his outward personality. Consider the historical Baal for instance, he's either an inept cowardly nacissist, or he doesn't exist.

45 posted on 06/18/2012 2:20:37 PM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets

“The scientific method requires no assumptions. The writer of this screed confuses conclusions with prior assumptions.”

Every method requires assumptions. Every human intellectual endeavor is based on assumptions, and refusing to acknowledge them is not helpful to understanding the proper scope or application of those endeavors. Also, methodological naturalism cannot be a conclusion of the scientific method, since it would not be demonstrable through the scientific method, simply because you cannot prove a negative. Go ahead and try, I’ll be waiting.

“These claims stand w/o evidence. The scientific method requires evidence.”

Which is irrelevant, since those claims were about philosophical naturalism, which has does not stand or fall based on the scientific method. Moreover, the statement is from a summary description of a well known philosophy, not an attempt to prove or defend that philosophy, so expecting evidence or support for the statement is silly. If you want to examine the arguments in favor of philosophical naturalism, go out and read a book on the subject.

“What is this man’s evidence? Why isn’t muhumed’s character the one?”

I didn’t say his wasn’t. I intentionally did not answer that question in your previous post, because this isn’t a theological discussion, so I see no point in confusing the issue by descending into that. It would not be fruitful, but only serve to distract from the crux of the conversation, which is about your attempt to deny that methodological naturalism is a required assumption of the scientific method, and therefore the scientific method limits itself only to examining natural phenomena. I thought that, by quoting Highlander, you might take the hint that I was making a silly rejoinder to your equally silly attempts to drive the discussion into an only tangentially related direction.

“Not. A definition is a blueprint for form and function, or essence of something. It’s a logical conclusion that one can not draw up a blueprint for their form and function prior to their existence.”

Your very definition of “definition” is anthropomorphic as well as being self-serving. My original use of the word had nothing to do with a blueprint, but rather a description. A blueprint implies that the definition exists before the thing it describes, whereas it is much more common for the thing to exist before it is described, and of course, almost every definition in existence is created by men, to express our necessarily limited understanding of the things we are defining. Therefore, any human definition of a deity can only hope to be an incomplete and probably insufficient description. This is why I say that God defines himself, because only He would be able to do so in a truly accurate manner. We simply are not equipped with the tools to make more than a partial description of such a phenomenon.

“No “human qualities” were attributed, or considered to draw hte conclusion.”

By assuming that a God would conform to the limitations of humans, yes, you are ascribing human qualities to a deity, hence anthropomorphism.

“I assumed nothing. The fact that any intelligent sentient, rational being has a personality is a conclusion based on the fact that they must be sentient rational machines.”

How can you follow the one statement with the other? The second sentence is full of assumptions (all intelligent, sentient, rational beings will conform to your previous experience, sentient beings all have personalities, their personalities will be similar to human ones, they will be machines, etc). The fact that you don’t see the anthropomorphism fairly dripping from the statement demonstrates you are either very uncritical of your own thinking, or you simply don’t understand what anthropomorphic assumptions are. The rest of your “logic” following that statement is just more bad assumptions heaped on the previous ones, amounting to no useful information.


46 posted on 06/18/2012 9:07:36 PM PDT by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman
"Every method requires assumptions. Every human intellectual endeavor is based on assumptions,"

No.

"and refusing to acknowledge them is not helpful to understanding the proper scope or application of those endeavors."

You are free to play with assumptions all you want, but you can not force them on, or into logical schemes that never contained them. The scientific method requires only that a hypothesis be formulated and then supported by hard evidence if it is to stand and become theory. There are no assumptions contained therein.

"Also, methodological naturalism cannot be a conclusion of the scientific method, since it would not be demonstrable through the scientific method, simply because you cannot prove a negative. Go ahead and try, I’ll be waiting."

Proof only applies to mathematics, all other claims, contentions, ect... are supported by evidence. the measure of truth is the measure of the evidence and ogic supporting it.

I said methodological naturalism is based on conclusions from the scientific method. The main one is that the laws of physics are consistent and sufficient to govern the world. No external arbitrary fifth force is needed. The conclusion is based on all the reproducible evidence obtained to date. To date, there is no to refute that conclusion. The god of the gaps is that arbitrary and necessary fifth force that is never observed. Thus methodological naturalism is based on conclusions drawn using the scientific method, but nevertheless phil nat is not science, nor does science assume it.

Re: Why isn’t muhumed’s character the one?”

" I didn’t say his wasn’t. I intentionally did not answer that question in your previous post, because this isn’t a theological discussion, so I see no point in confusing the issue by descending into that.

The topic of the thread is "The Challenge". The challenge to what- theology. In particular, you brought up supernatural causal relationships, which are the fruits of theology. A scientist can determine the probability that muhumed's character is real. The scientist does not assume, he looks at the evidence for the contention. If there's no evidence, then the calculation of probability for the hypothesis, contention, claim is zero. Then the best that can be said about the "person" the theologal claim refers to is that he's hiding. One can and should also judge what is claimed about the claimed diety. Logic and the scientific method apply.

"Your very definition of “definition” is anthropomorphic as well as being self-serving. My original use of the word had nothing to do with a blueprint, but rather a description.

Nonsense, a definition is required to be the simplest accurate, precise blueprint for a thing, or concept as possible. It is an embodiment of the essence, not a mere arbitrary description.

"you simply don’t understand what anthropomorphic assumptions are.

You don't understand science, nor what a sentient rational beings are. There's no anthropromorphism in the science of sentient rational machines. In order to understand that, you'll have to drop the assumption and anthropromorphic nonsense and learn some science.

47 posted on 06/19/2012 12:10:07 AM PDT by spunkets
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To: spunkets

“The scientific method requires only that a hypothesis be formulated and then supported by hard evidence if it is to stand and become theory. There are no assumptions contained therein.”

Of course there are assumptions required by the scientific method, just as there are axioms in mathematics that one must accept without proof. The requirements you state are the process of the scientific method, which are completely different from the underpinning assumptions. You can pretend the assumptions are not there, but that does not make them go away, it merely reveals your ignorance of the subject you are trying to pontificate about. You seem to be falling prey to a phenomenon that Einstein spoke about:

“Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origin and accept them as invariable.”

The scientific method has a human origin, it is not absolute truth, so it is based on human assumptions, and quite a few at that.

Methodological naturalism isn’t even the only a priori assumption of the scientific method. For example, the scientific method also incorporates objectivist assumptions, such as that there is an objective reality that is consistent for all, and that there are physical laws which govern that reality which we can discover. There are many other assumptions, such as, that those physical laws can be sufficiently described by mathematics, or that a subset of a phenomenon can represent accurately all the properties of a larger set of that phenomenon.

All these assumptions are so universally agreed upon by scientists that they are hardly ever spoken. They “go without saying”, so I can see how you might be ignorant of them, but your ignorance doesn’t make them go away.

“I said methodological naturalism is based on conclusions from the scientific method. The main one is that the laws of physics are consistent and sufficient to govern the world.”

That isn’t a conclusion of the scientific method, it’s an another a priori assumption. If it’s not, then whose theory is it? Whose theory is methodological naturalism, for that matter? If they are conclusions of the method, then they are theories, so it should be easy for you to show which scientists posited those hypotheses and how they demonstrated them in an observable, repeatable, and falsifiable experimental manner.

“The topic of the thread is “The Challenge”. The challenge to what- theology. In particular, you brought up supernatural causal relationships, which are the fruits of theology.”

I only reference the supernatural to point out the limitations of the scientific method. I’m not making an argument in favor of supernatural causes, although you have tried to bring that matter into the discussion. I’m not going to discuss it, because it’s not relevant to my original statement, and would require an entirely different discussion. Confusing the two issues isn’t productive. I don’t care what the topic of the thread is, I made one point, which you responded to, and the ensuing discussion is what I was referring to, not the thread as a whole.

“Nonsense, a definition is required to be the simplest accurate, precise blueprint for a thing, or concept as possible.”

Again, you use the word blueprint, which is completely different from the meaning of definition. A blueprint is a techical schematic, or more broadly used, a plan or symbolic representation of some key elements of a thing. The sense of the word is different than that of a definition in important ways. If you are looking for precision and accuracy, you should at least be aware of the proper definition of the words you use, perhaps starting with the word definition.

“There’s no anthropromorphism in the science of sentient rational machines.”

I never stated there was. I stated there was anthropomorphism in your assumption that you could apply properties of “sentient rational machines”, as you call them, to a deity. The science is not anthropomorphic, your misuse of it is.


48 posted on 06/19/2012 1:09:35 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: spunkets
"Every method requires assumptions. Every human intellectual endeavor is based on assumptions," No. "and refusing to acknowledge them is not helpful to understanding the proper scope or application of those endeavors." You are free to play with assumptions all you want, but you can not force them on, or into logical schemes that never contained them. The scientific method requires only that a hypothesis be formulated and then supported by hard evidence if it is to stand and become theory. There are no assumptions contained therein. "Also, methodological naturalism cannot be a conclusion of the scientific method, since it would not be demonstrable through the scientific method, simply because you cannot prove a negative. Go ahead and try, I’ll be waiting." Proof only applies to mathematics, all other claims, contentions, ect... are supported by evidence. the measure of truth is the measure of the evidence and ogic supporting it. I said methodological naturalism is based on conclusions from the scientific metho.

I think you are being too hard on Spunkets. There are, in fact, several assumptions which science makes regarding the scientific method. Science is actually built on philosophy. Science is a slave to philosophy and cannot be done without philosophy. Philosophical assumptions are utilized in the search for causes, and therefore cannot be the result of that search. For example scientists, by faith, that reason and scientific method allow an accurate understanding of the world around them. The scientific naturalist cannot prove the tools of science-the laws of logic, the Law of Causality, the Principle of Uniformity or the reliability of observations by running an experiment. The scientist simply has to assume those things are true in order to do the experiment. The physicalist cannot epistemologically account for logic, reason, or rational thought-they are metaphysical concepts and not made of matter or energy. If materialism is true, then reason itself is impossible. For if mental processes are nothing but chemical reactions in the brain, then there is no reason to believe that anything is true, including the theory of materialism. Chemicals cannot evaluate whether or not a theory is true. Chemicals do not reason-they react. If materialism were true then determinism is true and what goes on inside your head would be the same as what goes on inside Spunkets head. But is seems, from the reading, they are not the same. Reason itself requires faith because a defense of reason by reason is circular and therefore worthless.

"you simply don’t understand what anthropomorphic assumptions are. You don't understand science, nor what a sentient rational beings are.

Do you really understand the question you put forth-do you understand what a sentient rational being is? I would simply ask you the following: Why and how would brute matter which is not sentient, not conscious of surroundings give rise to conscious, sentient beings. How can it give what it does not have to give. Perhaps this is what Spunket was referring to regarding the reference to a theistic universe. I think he was referencing the metaphysical..that which is after physics. I am sentinent, Spunket is sentient, you are sentient....three minds which behave differently. As I have said several times, if the scientific naturalist, atheist is devoted to physicalism and the exclusivity of scientific method, then for you to tell your wife that you love her has no more meaning than for you to tell her that you have a gastrointestinal pain or an itch,...and is therefore meaningless.

I did not mean to interject into your conversation with Spunket. Forgive the interruption, please.

49 posted on 06/19/2012 1:14:55 AM PDT by Texas Songwriter (Ia)
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To: Texas Songwriter
"For example scientists, by faith, that reason and scientific method allow an accurate understanding of the world around them"

Faith is belief in what someone says, w/o, or with little evidence supporting the claim. Sentience is what allows for an accurate knowledge aquisition and rational capacity provides for organization and understanding. There are no assumptions required, philosophical, or otherwise.

"The scientific naturalist cannot prove the tools of science-the laws of logic, the Law of Causality, the Principle of Uniformity or the reliability of observations by running an experiment.

The scientist can. A scientist is not a scientific naturalist, although a scientific naturalist may be a scientist in some instances. Logic contains proofs. The reliablity of observations depends on the fact that A=A, the identity concept in logic. It applies to reality, because if it is not true, then something would contradict itself, or become what it is not arbitrarily.

Causality depends on the conservation of energy and the action integral. There are no assumptions needed.

"The scientist simply has to assume those things are true in order to do the experiment.

No. They can be and are tested without assumption and they're used w/o assumption.

"The physicalist cannot epistemologically account for logic, reason, or rational thought-they are metaphysical concepts and not made of matter or energy."

Logic, reason and rational thought are functions of rational machines, which are physical configurations of energy. Sentience is also a function of a rational machine, which is dependent on physics to provide for the machinery.

"For if mental processes are nothing but chemical reactions in the brain, then there is no reason to believe that anything is true,"

That's a ridiculous conclusion.

"Chemicals cannot evaluate whether or not a theory is true"

Machines can and the most common are composed of chemicals. Sentient rational machines can sense, percieve, create and provide for rational processing.

"If materialism were true then determinism is true and what goes on inside your head would be the same as what goes on inside Spunkets head."

No. Although the brains are different networks and hold different beliefs, one of the characteristics of sentient rational machines is free will.

"Reason itself requires faith because a defense of reason by reason is circular and therefore worthless."

Faith is simply a belief in what someone says based on trust. Faith is not required to reason, although it's usuful to minimize the man hours spent on trying to know, or understand something. Also, the defense of anyhting requires reason, otherwise it's just arbitrary BS.

"Why and how would brute matter which is not sentient, not conscious of surroundings give rise to conscious, sentient beings."

Obviously you're not aware that the various forms and particles of energy have properties, which are sentient. What makes you think that the interactions between particles should be referred to as brutish, rather than the fundamental elements of sentience and perception?

"I think he was referencing the metaphysical..that which is after physics."

The physics is sufficient. No metaphysics is needed.

"As I have said several times, if the scientific naturalist, atheist is devoted to physicalism and the exclusivity of scientific method, then for you to tell your wife that you love her has no more meaning than for you to tell her that you have a gastrointestinal pain or an itch,...and is therefore meaningless."

This is ridiculous. You claim it has no meaning, therefore it has no meaning! Rubbish!

50 posted on 06/19/2012 2:34:51 AM PDT by spunkets
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