Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More Of The Same....

More on the KCA, religion, apologetics, and illogical beliefs...

Talk amongst yourselves.

200 comments:

  1. Remember, causality as such (which is what Craig is referring to) is a metaphysical concept, not a physical one..."
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    Causality a metaphysical concept and not a physical one?
    How is that not another way of saying 'our theory of how all things began should not be confused with how REAL things began, just NON-REAL things.
    How does it even make any sense at all?
    I don't get what even a christian gets out of something like this.

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  2. Now we're waiting for Eric to explain how our everyday experience that 'things beginning to exist' have causes, that is how those things began to exist, somehow confirms their metaphysical answer to the question 'why things begin to exist'?

    Everything that begins to exist has a metaphysical cause.(yep it's God)

    The universe began to exist.

    Therefore the universe has a cause(yippers, it's God)

    Why, to not see the truth of this, one would have to be some kind of materialist or atheist or something who would never read the KCA syllogism like that.

    Oooo,,, Eric and W.L.Craig are such foolers!

    But perhaps Eric couldn't figure out who he was talking to and what side they might be on concerning 'metaphysical causes', something like a preacher going on about what God wants, or what we should be praying for, to a bunch of atheists.

    You wanna be rich, right? So, obviously praying to God to get rich ought to do it. Hey, it's not going to be the physical cause, you'll have to, you know, DO something, but God is ALWAYS the metaphysical cause, the 'why', just not the 'how'.

    Wonder if Eric is willing to confirm this and perhaps give US some reasons why atheists aren't likely to believe it, you know, since he used to be one, and all that.

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  3. Eric used to be an atheist like I used to be a mujahadeen.

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  4. I've run across a lot of Christians, who have always been Christians, gone to Church since before they can remember, etc. But then they get "born again" later in life and for some reason they start claiming they were "atheist" before they were "born again".

    I think they genuinly believe that "not born again" = "atheist" regardless of what they actually used to believe.

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  5. Eric: "Craig appeals to our experience of causality not as justification for his causal premise, but as confirmatory of it. Remember, causality as such (which is what Craig is referring to) is a metaphysical concept, not a physical one..."

    Floyd: "If this is true then Craig doesn't understand how syllogisms work and apparently neither do you!
    The premisses justify the conclusion. One is justified in believing the conclusion is good if you believe the premisses are good.
    What you seem to be saying is that you already knew the conclusion to be a valid statement and the premisses are there, not in the way that premisses are usually there, that it's not really a syllogism working the way syllogisms normally work? Is that right?"

    Let's try a different approach: first, I'll point out what you got right.

    Floyd: "The premisses justify the conclusion. One is justified in believing the conclusion is good if you believe the premisses are good."

    Yes, correct (though one might add, of course, that the premises must be logically connected to the conclusion, too).

    But here's where you go wrong:

    Floyd: "If this [Eric: "Craig appeals to our experience of causality not as justification for his causal premise, but as confirmatory of it"] is true then Craig doesn't understand how syllogisms work and apparently neither do you!"

    No. Why not? Well, because (as I pointed out *in the very post you're quoting from*) Craig's fundamental justification for the first premise comes from arguments concerning the nature (or lack thereof) of 'nothingness'! *If* Craig's KCA lacked those arguments, then you might have a point, but that's like saying that if the prosecutor lacked the videotape, the defense might have a good case.

    (con't)

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  6. Floyd: "What you seem to be saying is that you already knew the conclusion to be a valid statement and the premisses are there, not in the way that premisses are usually there, that it's not really a syllogism working the way syllogisms normally work? Is that right?"

    Not even close. As I said, Craig gives two fundamental arguments to support the causal premise (and we all know that he gives both philosophical and scientific arguments to support the second premise of the KCA), and refers to our experience of causality in the world as a confirming the causal premise. Note, causal premise is justified *primarily* by the arguments Craig adduces from the nature of nothingness; our experience merely confirms the truth of this premise. Now I know the response: "But in our experience of causation, there's always material. We never experience causation ex nihilo." However, as I said, this (1) misses the fact that Craig's main arguments for the causal premise rest not on this experience, but on his arguments from the nature of nothingness, and (2) it misses the fact that 'causation' *as such* is a metaphysical concept.

    Please pay close attention to the 'as such' part. Sure, scientists can talk about whether A causes B, but they can say nothing, qua scientists, about causation per se. This is a subtle point, but think about it. Causation itself -- causation as such -- is a metaphysical concept (as are a host of other concepts scientists use all the time, e.g. relation, disposition, etc.). You may not like that, but too darn bad -- it's a fact. There's no way to test scientifically causation itself; you can only test whether A causes B. There's no way to model mathematically causation as such; you can only model the causal relationship that obtains between A and B. Now if you can't test it, and you can't model it mathematically, it ain't science. Got it?

    So, when I say that Craig is speaking about causation as such, he's talking about the concept in its widest sense, i.e. the metaphysical concept. And if, in its widest sense, we posit that nothingness is causally inert because it lacks any properties, then we can say, about causation as such, that whatever begins to exist has a cause. And if, when we say this, we're talking about causation as such, then we can appeal to out particular experience of causation in the world, in which whatever begins to exist has a cause, as being confirmatory of our general metaphysical principle.

    Floyd: "Now we're waiting for Eric to explain how our everyday experience that 'things beginning to exist' have causes, that is how those things began to exist, somehow confirms their metaphysical answer to the question 'why things begin to exist'?"

    Not how it confirms "why things begin to exist" but how it confirms "whatever begins to exist has a cause." No need to wait for the answer -- you can find it neatly explained above.

    "Eric used to be an atheist like I used to be a mujahadeen."

    Wow, you must have been quite the mujahideen!

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  7. Eric, what is the cause of god?

    Oh yeah right, he never 'began to exist.'

    Talk about kicking the can down the road, dude.

    Can you, the logical philosophical genius, see that your argument introduces an unnecessary factor? The universe can be the eternal thing, and no need for a god! See how easy that was?

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  8. "Eric, what is the cause of god?
    Oh yeah right, he never 'began to exist.'
    Talk about kicking the can down the road, dude."

    Not at all. This sort of objection just shows that you don't understand what the term 'god' means at all.

    Whether god exists or not, if a being you're talking about is contingent, it can't be god. As Aquinas argued, god's essence is to exist. Note, please, that this is not to say that god exists by definition. Suppose there is no god, and we're talking about the concept of god alone (just as we might talk about Hobbits, even though they don't exist). Now if you, in talking about the concept of god, ask what caused god, all you've done is show that you don't understand what the concept means (just as, if I asked why Hobbits look like trees, but can move and talk, I'd have shown that I don't know what the term 'Hobbit' means). So when we refer to god, whether there is a god or not, we're referring to a being with the property of 'aseity,' so we can not meaningfully ask what causes such a being (and please, remember, this is true irrespective of god's existence or non-existence).

    "Can you, the logical philosophical genius, see that your argument introduces an unnecessary factor? The universe can be the eternal thing, and no need for a god! See how easy that was?"

    *sigh* The very claim that the KCA tries to establish is the the universe has a cause, and hence cannot be eternal. You've yet to meaningfully engage with the argument.

    That aside, keep in mind that I, as a Thomist, have no problem at all with an eternal universe, since the arguments for god's existence that have persuaded me do not posit god as a temporal first cause (the cause of he beginning of the universe), but as an ontological first cause (the cause of the universe *remaining in being* at *each moment*; if such arguments succeed, then god must exist whether the universe is billions of years old or whether it's eternal).

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  9. Hypothetical:
    What if the universe IS god? The very body of god? Does your side even treat with that?

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  10. You have no way of knowing if the cause thing even means anything when you're talking about the set of all things rather than just one thing. You cannot extend inside-the-box logic to the outside of the box.
    (sigh)
    I guess I have trouble understanding your arguments because I do not follow chains of thought that are not logically consistent very well.

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  11. "What if the universe IS god? The very body of god? Does your side even treat with that?"

    Rather easily:

    From reason: God is pure act, and hence has no potentialities. But the universe has potentialities, and hence cannot be pure act, and hence cannot be god. (There are about a half a dozen similar arguments I could construct).

    From revelation: God created the world, and hence is distinct from it, and hence cannot be identified with it.

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  12. " posit that nothingness is causally inert because it lacks any properties "

    You, Craig and the rest of them can posit away since you don't believe in nothingness yourself.

    Is it true that you believe there was nothingness and now there isn't?

    If that is true, then God is nothing, part of that nothingness, and as such, God is as imaginary as nothingness is.

    Now the KCA's syllogism is not much of a point, anyways, so clouding all this nothingness and causation being metaphysical(abstract, Eric, causation is an abstract concept).

    If scientists don't know what causation 'really' is, Eric, you don't either.

    So quit appealling to the 'mystery of nothingness', asserting stuff about it, to come up with an entirely different justification for your God and plugging that into the KCA. It's just disingenuous.

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  13. "I guess I have trouble understanding your arguments because I do not follow chains of thought that are not logically consistent very well."

    If you could point out a single logical fallacy, you'd be doing me a great service, so please, help a brother out!

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  14. Do non-contingent beings have buttocks?

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  15. "So quit appealling to the 'mystery of nothingness', asserting stuff about it, to come up with an entirely different justification for your God and plugging that into the KCA. It's just disingenuous."

    Floyd, I'm sorry, but you're stuck on the first rule of checkers and we're playing chess. Please, my friend, you're already on the internet -- educate yourself. I've never understood why some people insist on spending hours each week discussing a topic that they've obviously not devoted any time to studying, *especially* given that they're *online* and hence have immediate access to libraries of information on these topics. Baffles the ol' noggin. You won't catch me pontificating on gemology with Brian, or on engineering with Ed, or on surgery with Harvey, but you guys see nothing wrong with pontificating without the slightest clue on philosophy, a subject I've studied for years.

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  16. "Do non-contingent beings have buttocks?"

    Is there an atheist in the world who is not a dyed in the wool, ultra fundamentalistic Biblical literalist?

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  17. *sigh* The very claim that the KCA tries to establish is the the universe has a cause, and hence cannot be eternal. You've yet to meaningfully engage with the argument.
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    You haven't made one yet. Not one that is a real argument. Sorry. I'll let you know when you do. Your KCA, as noted, did not establish anything. It's flawed. Just because things inside it always have causes, IN NO WAY establishes that the universe itself has to. It only speaks of things that are caused within the universe, *using existing materials!* It breaks down when you attempt to translate that argument to the whole universe. Where did the matter and energy come from to make that? You have no answer to that. None besides of course 'goddidit.' Which answer btw, your side used to also use for 'why is the sun hot?'
    The argument in no way shows that the universe is not eternal. It draws a false equivalency.

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  18. Is there an atheist in the world who is not a dyed in the wool, ultra fundamentalistic Biblical literalist?

    Me, but seriously, the spirit of the question still poses some problems for your Christian (as opposed to Theistic) faith. Or should....

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  19. The fact that you can't tell us where the materials and energy to make the universe form came from, is best interpreted as 'the materials and energy were always there in one form or another' and not as 'goddidit' you know. You must see that.

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  20. "Your KCA, as noted, did not establish anything. It's flawed. Just because things inside it always have causes, IN NO WAY establishes that the universe itself has to. It only sleaks of things that are caused within the universe, *using existing materials!*"

    Oh well, I see that you insist in sitting at the back of the class with Floyd. I've already handily demolished this point. Anyway, it's boring as hell discussing this stuff with people who both don't understand and don't understand, so...

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  21. ..so clouding all this nothingness and causation being metaphysical(abstract, Eric, causation is an abstract concept) with the KCA is being disingenuous. The bigger argument, as you say is 'metaphysical', the 'why' are there causes?

    Fine, why are there causes then? Tell us Eric.

    In the end, if that's Craig's last word on this, the KCA is just nonsense, wrapped up in a simple, yet very disingenuous, argument.

    A play on words that suits theologians.

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  22. *sigh* The very claim that the KCA tries to establish is the the universe has a cause

    That's the problem Eric, we don't know that it did. We know it might have changed states 13 billion years ago (or our maths bad), but we don't know the universe had a cause.

    Argumentation doesn't get you there...

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  23. *Anyway, it's boring as hell discussing this stuff with people who both don't understand and don't care to understand, so...

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  24. *Anyway, it's boring as hell discussing this stuff with people who both don't understand and don't care to understand, so...

    You always say that. and yet...

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  25. "That's the problem Eric, we don't know that it did. We know it might have changed states 13 billion years ago (or our maths bad), but we don't know the universe had a cause."

    Ryan no argument uses premises that can be established with 100% certainty. You know this. Yet, if we wish to be rational, we still use rational inference as we live our lives, choose what to believe is true and false, etc. There's no difference here. If the premises of an argument are more plausibly true than false, and if the argument is valid, then it's a good argument. To the extent that the premise are more probably true, it's a better argument. And I think you know that you can produce few arguments with more probable premises than 'whatever begins to exist has a cause' and 'the universe began to exist.' Or do you have an example?

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  26. And incidentally your answer to 'why can't the universe be god?' is lame, pathetic, and sad.

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  27. "You always say that. and yet..."

    It's a penance -- time off Purgatory and all ;)

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  28. "And incidentally your answer to 'why can't the universe be god?' is lame, pathetic, and sad."

    Talk about lame, pathetic and sad!

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  29. Ryan no argument uses premises that can be established with 100% certainty

    Eric, and no rational person uses only argumentation to justify a belief. And yet you do.

    If the premises of an argument are more plausibly true than false

    Like I said, we don't have enough information to even judge if the premise is true or false. Floyd's the right, we think we might know the universe "began to exist", but we don't know that it "began to exist" in a way that's different from a tree beginning to exist. In fact there's simply no evidence that it didn't.

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  30. You've 'demolished' any shred of respect that you might have gotten from me, that's for sure.
    What a Big Fat Liar. I was watching that argument and you never came close to even addressing it! I wouldn't keep arguing it, if you'd 'demolished' it. "Demolished" usually means that other people can SEE it.
    You 'stealth' demolished it I guess, when we weren't looking, in your own mind.

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  31. It's a penance -- time off Purgatory and all

    I think it's more of something that will actually cause you more time in Purgatory, given the tenants of your faith. If you know what I mean...

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  32. "And incidentally your answer to 'why can't the universe be god?' is lame, pathetic, and sad."

    Talk about lame, pathetic and sad!
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    Yes, let's talk about you. How did you ever become convinced that you were a philosopher when you fucking shit all over sophia every goddamn day?
    You think she likes it?

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  33. *Anyway, it's boring as hell discussing this stuff with people who both don't understand and don't care to understand, so...
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    That's why you come here, to talk to people that do understand it and don't fall for your bullshit, so you can practice and get better at lying.

    You'd be happier talking to mindless sycophants, I know...

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  34. "Eric, and no rational person uses only argumentation to justify a belief. And yet you do."

    Ryan, this is interesting. What do you mean by "only rational argumentation"? That is, what else would you say justifies a belief?

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  35. Brian: "I was watching that argument and you never came close to even addressing it!"

    Eric: "As I said, Craig gives two fundamental arguments to support the causal premise (and we all know that he gives both philosophical and scientific arguments to support the second premise of the KCA), and refers to our experience of causality in the world as a confirming the causal premise. Note, causal premise is justified *primarily* by the arguments Craig adduces from the nature of nothingness; our experience merely confirms the truth of this premise. Now I know the response: "But in our experience of causation, there's always material. We never experience causation ex nihilo." However, as I said, this (1) misses the fact that Craig's main arguments for the causal premise rest not on this experience, but on his arguments from the nature of nothingness, and (2) it misses the fact that 'causation' *as such* is a metaphysical concept.

    "Please pay close attention to the 'as such' part. Sure, scientists can talk about whether A causes B, but they can say nothing, qua scientists, about causation per se. This is a subtle point, but think about it. Causation itself -- causation as such -- is a metaphysical concept (as are a host of other concepts scientists use all the time, e.g. relation, disposition, etc.). You may not like that, but too darn bad -- it's a fact. There's no way to test scientifically causation itself; you can only test whether A causes B. There's no way to model mathematically causation as such; you can only model the causal relationship that obtains between A and B. Now if you can't test it, and you can't model it mathematically, it ain't science. Got it?

    "So, when I say that Craig is speaking about causation as such, he's talking about the concept in its widest sense, i.e. the metaphysical concept. And if, in its widest sense, we posit that nothingness is causally inert because it lacks any properties, then we can say, about causation as such, that whatever begins to exist has a cause. And if, when we say this, we're talking about causation as such, then we can appeal to out particular experience of causation in the world, in which whatever begins to exist has a cause, as being confirmatory of our general metaphysical principle."


    Yeah, I never even came close to addressing it! LOL!

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  36. LOL

    Don't worry Brian, you and I would likely be sitting at the back of an astrology class.

    But I've always maintained that Chriatians, no doubt all theists, in an attempt to make themselves more mysterious and their arguments seem more subtle, have special meanings for words. There's a plain meaning for cause, there's Aristotle's four kinds of causes, three of which we don't even use anymore, but W.L.Craig takes us back there to argue his case.

    Nono the causes of Michelangelo's statue are many, and in modern language, nothing to do with what the statue is made of. 'MARBLE' is part of the description of the statue. Saying marble causes the statue to be physical to us, is sheer baloney, since if we dumped the statue of David in a vat of sulphuric acid, pretty soon it would be 'the blob of marble which used to be the statue of David.'

    If we crushed the statue into small chunks to cover the driveway, we'd have a marble-chunk driveway.

    If we blasted the statue of David out into the Cosmos and it landed on a planet inhabitted by intelligent insects, they wouldn't know it was anything but a piece of marble which looked as if it were deliberately shaped into that shape.

    Craig goes out of his way to describe the causes that 'he' is talking about is 'the efficient cause' as opposed to 'the material cause' and does not explain that he is talking about some kind of 'confirmation' of 'metaphysical causation'.

    Maybe if in his apology he HAD done that, he wouldn't get all those awful rebuttals of what those darn atheists THINK he is talking about.

    Who wants to listen to that smirking, smarmy-faced jerk for an hour or read his book or whatever to find out that what HE means by the syllogism isn't what everyone thinks it means.

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  37. What do you mean by "only rational argumentation"?

    I don't mean anything by that. What I said was, no rational person uses only argumentation to justify a belief.

    Rational people use argumentation and evidence. And as far as I'm concerned, the (implied) premise of your argument is completely unevidenced, putting it on par with holocaust denial arguments and the like.

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  38. And I for one am waiting for Eric's answer to, "What causes causation, this causation that science doesn't bother describing, Eric?"

    I'm pretty sure I can guess, but hey, I could be wrong.

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  39. He's arguing about a metaphysical nothingness again.
    I'm starting to get it now. He's shifting the terms back and forth.
    We can talk all day about what is known. He isn't interested. He's basing it all on a concept, a concept that as of recent times, science is saying likely does not 'exist' at all. True nothingness. As far as we can tell, it's not a real concept. But, he and his flock of apologetic seagulls, insist.

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  40. I don't believe it is because we are sitting at the back of Eric's class that is the problem.

    How many comments, how many days have gone by before Eric decides to give us this information about Craig alluding to metaphysical causation? Was this a secret? Does Eric imagine that if we argue back and forth about silly points like, 'is it circular or isn't it', he's increasing the drama or using confusion technique on us so that we'll be willing to grasp for his (finally) explanation?

    Perhaps Eric imagines a boat-load of theists reading the banter back and forth and them grasping at Eric's new 'metaphysical causation'.

    Causation is a mystery you say? Well, as a proponent of a mystery religion, have I got an answer for you!!!

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  41. "Rational people use argumentation and evidence."

    Ah, precisely what I expected. Now Ryan, could you provide me with an example in which evidence is used to support a conclusion sans argumentation? Or, is it the case that all evidence is *only* evidence, i.e. only supports a conclusion, in the *context* of an argument? I would *love* to see an example of evidence sans argumentation supporting a belief!

    "And as far as I'm concerned, the (implied) premise of your argument is completely unevidenced, putting it on par with holocaust denial arguments and the like."

    I would also love to hear what premise, implied or not, in the KCA is "completely unevidenced, putting it on par with holocaust denial arguments and the like."

    "But I've always maintained that Chriatians, no doubt all theists, in an attempt to make themselves more mysterious and their arguments seem more subtle, have special meanings for words."

    Um, everyone does this, Floyd. As long as you're clear about your definitions, there's no problem. If you doubt that everyone does this, think about how much trouble the term 'theory' in phrases like 'evolutionary theory' cause when people with no understanding of science say things like, "but evolution is just a theory!" See, science has a technical use of the term theory, and it's not in line with the ordinary use of the term. It's the same with scientific terms like 'law' or 'space' or 'nothing'! I'm sorry, my friends, but that's *EXACTLY* how you all frequently sound to me, i.e. like the creationist who says, 'but evolution is just a theory!' Just like you guys do here daily, he's demonstrating that he has no idea what that term means in its context.

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  42. Now if you can't test it, and you can't model it mathematically, it ain't science. Got it?
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    See, I really do get that. In fact, I think that's why you're having such a hard time explaining yourself to me. Whenever you go past what science and observation can say about it, or logic and reason based on what science and observation can say, to me you're speaking gibberish. You lose me, and to me I just think you've said a bunch of nonsense words. Which indeed, they are! Because you're not basing then on anything REAL. It's made-up. Pretend.
    Like 'causation.' To me it's like you're saying that one plus one equals two, but we can't describe the process by which they become two. You're not making sense. See, if you can't test it, and you can't model it mathematically, it ain't science. So it's not TRUE. GET IT?

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  43. True nothingness. As far as we can tell, it's not a real concept.

    Brian, I think Eric would agree with this, except in place of the universe (something) he'd posit Baby Jesus must exist because nothing can't exist.

    Never mind that there's no evidence that the Universe didn't just change states (like everything else we've ever seen) rather than vomit forth from Baby Jesus like too much mac and cheese.

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  44. Christian Philosophy: For those who are too verbose to go into sales.

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  45. could you provide me with an example in which evidence is used to support a conclusion sans argumentation?

    Um no. But I can provide you an example of in which an argument is made to support a conclusion sans evidence. Guess which one it is?

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  46. Although, I can model god mathematically!

    (the empty set)

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  47. Ah, precisely what I expected. Now Ryan, could you provide me with an example in which evidence is used to support a conclusion sans argumentation?

    I mean, you even quote me saying exactly the opposite of this. It would be funny if it simply wasn't so sad...

    You should go on a date or something. Get a mountain bike.

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  48. "He's arguing about a metaphysical nothingness again.
    I'm starting to get it now. He's shifting the terms back and forth."

    No, you're decidedly not getting it.

    The causal premise of the KCA is, whatever begins to exist has a cause.

    To deny this premise is to say that not everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    But what does this mean? It means that some things, or at least one thing, begins to exist without a cause -- without *any* cause. But this means that nothing causes it to begin to exist. However, as we've said, nothing is nothing -- it has no properties, and hence no potentialities. From nothing, nothing comes. But then it can't be the case that something begins to exist uncaused, and hence it's not the case that the first causal premise of the KCA is false.

    Or, to use Craig's second argument, if some things begin to exist uncaused -- i.e. from nothing -- then why doesn't anything and everything just pop into existence? Why do I not have to worry that a Trex won't suddenly pop into existence from nothing in my living room? Or that a grand piano won't suddenly pop into existence from nothing directly above my head? Or that a number of dwarves won't pop into existence from nothing at my doorstep and try to persuade me to go on an adventure to recover a treasure that just popped into existence and is being guarded by a dragon that -- you got it -- just popped into existence? These things don't happen because nothingness has no properties; but then, that's precisely why the causal premise is true.

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  49. "I mean, you even quote me saying exactly the opposite of this. It would be funny if it simply wasn't so sad..."

    Um, who exactly uses arguments that are completely without premises that are either evidence themselves, or supported with evidence? You're setting up a straw man. Aside from arguments that are intentionally about what follows from concepts alone (e.g. ontological arguments), and hence aren't meant to provide or adduce 'evidence,' you've got nothing.

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  50. But what does this mean? It means that some things, or at least one thing, begins to exist without a cause -- without *any* cause. But this means that nothing causes it to begin to exist. However, as we've said, nothing is nothing -- it has no properties,
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    Nice switcheroo there. I was referring to an eternal universe.

    OF COURSE the universe can be eternal. What evidence do we have that it is not? Then 'nothing' caused it. But not a sea of utter nothingness. An eternal universe needs no cause; it would indeed be a 'causeless thing' or more correctly, 'the causeless everything.'
    Nice try. Not one of your better lies though.

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  51. I just love how you religious people always are total authorities on the un-knowable. Such confidence you have! So much so that, if you're wrong, why it would mean that you're all total asses!

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  52. Within the causeless everything, nothing is eternal, and all causes are merely changes in state.

    That, we can state. That, is logical. No need for your sky daddy, so sad, too bad.

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  53. "Nice switcheroo there. I was referring to an eternal universe."

    Brian, again, you manifestly don't understand the argument.

    Your objection here is to the *second* premise, not to the first premise. That is, it could be true that everything that begins to exist has a cause, but guess what, the universe never began to exist -- it's eternal -- so it doesn't have a cause! You're utterly confused here because you can't even seem to keep the two simple premises straight in your head.

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  54. Um, who exactly uses arguments that are completely without premises that are either evidence themselves, or supported with evidence?

    You keep changing what I say each time. In any case, a premise as "evidence" is not a definition of evidence that I accept.

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  55. Professor Eric stalls on the 'metaphysical causation' explanation?

    Or did you just want to run through the 'it's only a theory', which it is, and a darn good one at that.

    Plus, if genetics hadn't backed up Darwin's stuff, it really would have been 'only a theory', right?

    How about Fred Hoyle's Steady State Theory? Man was that 'just a theory'.

    But what about 'metaphysical causation', Eric?

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  56. "Professor Eric stalls on the 'metaphysical causation' explanation?"

    Floyd, I'd ask what in the world you;re talking about, but it's sadly obvious that you simply don't know.

    Causation as such -- causation as it applies to any specific of causation -- is a metaphysical concept. This isn't at all controversial -- any first year undergrad (even the really dull ones) tends to get this much. As I said, what tests are there for causation as such? What mathematical models are there? None, right? Then it's not a scientific concept *when considered this broadly*. Rather, it's a philosophical concept that scientists apply in specific ways in different contexts.

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  57. Again, you're on the freakin' internet, Floyd; try doing a smidgen of research.

    Here's what I recommend. First, work your way through a decent logic text. You have to be able to understand arguments, and how they work, and what role evidence plays in them, before you begin to critique them. Next, read through the archives of Craig's Reasonable Faith Q&As on his website. Then tackle some of his popular level articles, and some popular level responses to them, and finally some of his scholarly articles, and the scholarly responses to them. Your training in logic should prepare you, for the most part, to sort the wheat from the chaff. Then, maybe, you'll have an interesting criticism to contribute to the discussion. It's a couple of months worth of work, but hey, why not spend the next two months educating yourself, rather than spending them making ignorant and uninformed claims on websites like this?

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  58. doing a smidgen of research.

    Note that he offers nothing specific but spends about 150 words trying to insult Ian.

    Yup, more time in purgatory Eric. Good think purgatory is made up.

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  59. Eric, we're not getting the right answer on your philosophy quiz there, because it makes no SENSE.

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  60. Eric, we're not getting the right answer on your philosophy quiz there, because it makes no SENSE.

    Yes, because it's a philosophy quiz!

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  61. You want specifics?

    Get Copi and Cohen's 'Introduction to Logic' and Hodges' 'An Introduction to Elementary logic.' Supplement these with Walton's 'Informal Logic.' These three texts will prepare you to deal intelligently with the issues we're discussing here. After you study these texts (N.B. *study*, not passively read), and after you've read through the Q&A archives on Craig's Reasonable Faith website, get back to me and I'll provide you with a basic bibliography on the KCA (articles for and against).

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  62. When I took symbolic logic at PC I loved it and had no problem understanding it because it all made sense.
    Your logic isn't like that. It's not really true logic; it's logical constructions designed to hide the weakness of the argument.

    If the truth were an ingot of gold, then what you offer us is an ingot of gold-plated lead. But the owner's manual is ten thousand pages long, and it explains CLEARLY that it's really not lead inside.

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  63. Essentially you've still just said "study logic".

    We know you Eric.

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  64. As to your 'specifics' all they are are the sources that informed *you.* So their argumentation is as yours is, a tapestry of deceptive verbosity that weighs heavily on the stomach more than the mind. I prefer the spider to explain the web to me before I venture out upon it myself.
    But funny thing, the spider can't seem to explain the web. His talents do not include illumination, nay, they more lie in the provinces of umber and twilight. So he refers me to it, hoping that I am caught fast in it's perplexity since I have evaded the initial attack. No such luck, Sir Arachnid. I fart in the general direction of your spinnerettes.

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  65. Essentially you've still just said "study logic".
    ---------
    I know! Isn't he precious?

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  66. Proof that I am more logical than Eric is:

    I am an atheist. Eric is a christian.

    NEXT!

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  67. On an aside, I used to say I was an agnostic.

    Because hey, we can't KNOW, right?

    But as the years passed, I realized that you can't KNOW anything in life, but you can be sure enough to be certain in your own mind. And I'm certain that there can be no god as is described by christians *nor as described by any other religion.* So if there is *something,* it would be so different from any of that, that it wouldn't rightly even be called a 'theos.' So maybe I'm half spiritual and half doubting that first half. Maybe I could allow for some intelligence greater than ours is. Sure I could. I even hope for it. But it won't be anything like what we poor, Proud, hairy apes think that it will be like. That's for sure.

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  68. I'll say one thing for being one of those poor Proud hairy apes. We're fucking blind. I mean, if you can really perceive reality at the 50% level or higher, you're a fucking genius. And no, I'm quite sure that I'm not one of that group. But yes, I'm also quite sure that the religious folk aren't even on the right path.

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  69. As to your 'specifics' all they are are the sources that informed *you.*

    It's worse thanthat. Besides "study logic" he just said "listen to everything Willian Craig has ever said".

    Gee, thanks!

    On an aside, I used to say I was an agnostic.

    I still say I'm an atheist/agnostic, or an agnostic/atheist, because the words really are addressing two different things.

    But I'm with you, I'm half spiritual as well, but couldn't be less hard core materialist. But fuck, I'm currently reading Merton, so what do you know.

    And yes, the Shrike was awesome. I haven't started the last two books in the Hyperion series as they seem to be a stand alone set.

    Has anyone read Bakker, Martin or Abercrombie and do you have an opinion on the tempest in teapot going on right now about "realism" in fantasy?

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  70. Never read any of the three.

    Not familiar with the 'realism in fantasy' thing. My son's children's shows certainly haven't shown the slightest sign of realism. They even get the order of the colors in the rainbow wrong, at least one of them (dora the explorer) did.

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  71. Anybody here also like fantasy and/or horror?

    Dan Simmons' "Carrion Comfort" is amazing. Brahm Stoker Award winner. Long novel, too.

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  72. The argument is being led by some christian wanna be authors, they think that if a book is set in anything even resembling a Medieval European culture, that everyone should be Christian and White.

    If you are a closet nihilist, and fantasy lover, you'd enjoy Bakker's Prince of Nothing, Martin's Game of Thrones or Abercrombie's First Law books.

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  73. I'll check out Carrion Comfort as I loved the first two Hyperion books.

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  74. And I'm fond of Brian Lumley.

    He thought of a novel 'superpower' or psychic ability.

    His protagonist in his "Wamphiri" series of vampire novels, has the ability to speak with the dead. Leads to a lot of amazing things. Great plot element. It's what he *learns* from them...

    And the vampires in them, are the most hideous and disgusting of any vampires anywhere. Also he pulls no punches with grossness and grossness combined with sexuality, so it's not for the tender-hearted.

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  75. Carrion Comfort will have you looking at nice little old ladies in black dresses in a whole different way. (Obviously I can't say any more about it)

    Oh, seriously, Tim Powers 'The Anubis Gates.' Impressive novel of mixed science and old-world magic, involving time travel. Just a bunch of guys going back to see a Coleridge lecture...

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  76. It's too complex to really tell you about it, but the Wiki page does a good job, so...

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

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  77. However, if you read the plot summary there, it will kill a lot of the fun of the book... I'd skip the bottom two paragraphs.... although it'd still be a good read even with the foreknowledge...

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  78. I like the Wamphiri series... Imagine being this british boy and hearing voices and not realizing that you're hearing the dead speak? Then when you do realize what it is, and you start to learn from them, including the dead father of your school teacher... anyhow, lots of interesting twists and palpable evil in the form of the vampires... which are parasites, great slug-like things that grow inside a human, amplifying their abilities and their hungers... Anyhow, much fun to be had if you're into such nonsense as pure escapism.

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  79. Looked up metaphysical causation on the Wiki, usually that can give you a rough start anyways, the subject is divided into sub-sections and you'll find a little on what yer looking for.

    No "What Eric thinks is the cause of metaphysical causation.", at all. Nothin'.

    Guess we have to put it 100 different ways until it dawns on doofus Eric his 'solution'(and likely Craig's too) to this vexing problem that scientists, but not philosophers, have.

    He's keeping it close to his chest, but what can we expect, one minute we're at the back of Eric's class, the next he has no clue that he's the instructor, in HIS FUCKING CLASS.

    I'm beginning to think that there's no class at all here, it's likely metaphysical, and not in the sense that it teaches anything ABOUT metaphysics, since that would be 'telling', right Eric?

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  80. Eric said,

    ...no argument uses premises that can be established with 100% certainty. You know this. Yet, if we wish to be rational, we still use rational inference as we live our lives, choose what to believe is true and false, etc. There's no difference here. If the premises of an argument are more plausibly true than false, and if the argument is valid, then it's a good argument. To the extent that the premise are more probably true, it's a better argument. And I think you know that you can produce few arguments with more probable premises than 'whatever begins to exist has a cause' and 'the universe began to exist.'

    No one knows IF or WHETHER the universe "began to exist". The BGV paper states this explicitly.

    Earlier, Eric said,

    Whether god exists or not, if a being you're talking about is contingent, it can't be god. As Aquinas argued, god's essence is to exist. Note, please, that this is not to say that god exists by definition. Suppose there is no god, and we're talking about the concept of god alone (just as we might talk about Hobbits, even though they don't exist). Now if you, in talking about the concept of god, ask what caused god, all you've done is show that you don't understand what the concept means (just as, if I asked why Hobbits look like trees, but can move and talk, I'd have shown that I don't know what the term 'Hobbit' means). So when we refer to god, whether there is a god or not, we're referring to a being with the property of 'aseity', so we can not meaningfully ask what causes such a being ...

    Equivocation! First, you say "Note, please, that this is not to say that god exists by definition", and later in the same paragraph state "So when we refer to god, whether there is a god or not, we're referring to a being with the property of 'aseity,'", which is really a roundabout way of saying,

    "We theists have invented a word 'aseity', that defines the property of God that BY ITSELF prevents us from meaningfully asking "what causes such a being".

    And finally,

    That aside, keep in mind that I, as a Thomist, have no problem at all with an eternal universe...

    Then you already KNOW that the KCA is a giant Blow Job. At that point, who really cares if the flaw is circularity, or 'bait and switch', or equivocation, or unfounded premises, or....

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  81. From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

    Aseity (Latin a, from; se, itself: ens a se) is the property by which a being exists of and from itself. It will be easily understood that this property belongs, and can belong only, to God. When we look for the efficient, exemplary, and final cause of all things, of their existence, nature, and organization, we come ultimately to a Being Who does not depend for His existence, realization, or end on any cause other than Himself; Who has within Himself His own reason of existence, Who is for Himself His own exemplary and final cause. It is to this very property of absolute independence, or self-existence by nature that we give the name of aseity. This notion of aseity includes, therefore, according to our conception, a negative and a positive aspect; absolute independence and self-existence, which complement each other and form one single objective property. As is easily seen, the Catholic concept of aseity which represents God as absolutely independent and self-existent by nature, and, consequently, all-perfect without any possibility of change from all eternity, is altogether opposed to the pantheistic concept of absolute or pure being, which absolute or pure being evolves, determines, and realizes itself through all time. (See PANTHEISM.) This quality of independence and self-existence has always been affirmed of God under various names by the Fathers and Catholic theologians, though the word aseity itself began to be used in theology only in the Middle Ages. The only point disputed among the theologians is, whether this property constitutes the very essence of God. (See DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.)

    Note this gem:

    As is easily seen, the Catholic concept of aseity which represents God as absolutely independent and self-existent by nature, and, consequently, all-perfect without any possibility of change from all eternity...

    I've said elsewhere that a "perfect God cannot initiate change; for to do so implies that the previous state was imperfect"; this conforms it nicely.

    God is handcuffed by this definition of 'perfection', and thus could not have moved to create the universe.

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  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  83. Oops. Here's a link to the page where I got the definition of aseity...

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  84. "confirms", not 'conforms' three comments up... Spellcheck didn't catch that one...

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  85. And us guys at the back of the class are supposed to be dazzled by this, "How to knit God into existence by decree.", bullshit?

    As the Mythbusters have shown, it may not be easy, but you CAN polish a turd.

    "It is not logical to ask 'what caused God?', since we've defined God as 'Him who cannot logically be thought of as having been caused!'.

    What a coincidence, that's my dog's indian name!

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  86. "..it's a philosophical concept that scientists apply in specific ways in different contexts."

    To be clear here, I'm getting the 'nothingness' crap, and I'm getting that 'metaphysical causation' is about why stuff happens as opposed to the scientific 'how stuff happens', okay?

    Now, the question I'm asking is, and what is your solution to the question, "Why does stuff even happen?"

    I'm thinking that it's the exact same answer as W.L.Craig comes up with. I'm also thinking that the simple syllogism that makes up the KCA, from Craig's POV, is so steeped in this metaphysical bullshit(to give you a hint at how serious I think it is), that of course you and Craig are imagining you have an indisputable case of how, since everything has been forked over by you guys for a couple of thousand years, up to and including the answer to, "Why does stuff happen?"(hint:- Goddidit), of how, as I was saying, God did it.

    Are you fucking insane? Do you really imagine that if you all talk yourselves round in circles that you're smart? Man, you are outsmarting yourselves!

    "Think of nothingness." Really?
    "Think of why shit happens." Give your head a shake.
    Oh, good one, "Think of infinity!" LOL

    I want you to think of infinity and imagine that it is impossible.
    Now, define a horizontal line as having slope zero and as the angle increases, the slope, defined as rise/run, increases. Now in this case, infinity isn't impossible, it's just a perpendicular line, a verticle line.

    Nothingness? You cannot concieve of, or attribute anything to, nothingness. Best I can think of is an empty space. Same thing when they try to tell us that there was nothing, not even space and now we are supposed to try to imagine a bubble withing which is the universe and outside of which there is 'nothing'. So there is a membrane, an edge where the furthest part of the universe meets... nothing? I cannot 'picture' that.

    This shithouse attitude, that if I simply get me some more learnin', that I'll suddenly see that of course there must be a God and maybe that it's a three in one God and maybe that 1/3 of HIM came down to get himself hung out to dry, while that 1/3 is talking up to the sky, another 1/3 and the 'guide' 1/3 is staying neutral at this time, well, pull the other one, no-one believes this.

    Two words Eric. Jewish pogroms. For many many years, the Christian population and even the Church(cap. since it was the only one or one of two) has been persecuting the Jews, which means that they do not understand their own teaching.

    1)God did it like this for our sake, we'll be saved if we believe.
    2)Hey, it says here that it's the Jews fault!
    3)Let's kill the fuckers or torture them until they convert!

    I understand, it's a mystery religion and it works even better when it makes no sense.

    So don't tell me to study logic and read up on logical statements about 'nothingness', 'the ultimate cause of causation itself' or 'infinity'.

    It's bullshit.

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  87. "God is handcuffed by this definition of 'perfection', and thus could not have moved to create the universe."

    Not if the definition is part of a confusion technique for the very learned, you know, them who think themselves 'so' fucking smart.

    If they can talk God into being, talk HIM into being so perfect that HIM doing something makes HIMSELF more perfect or less perfect, well, they can simply talk themselves out of it when it suits themselves.

    Got to love their phony 'horror' at the idea that God is 'pure being' which describes pantheism. Must have been a good puzzle to put their victims to the test.

    "So, God is pure being you say? Let's stick a red hot poker up your arse and see what you have to say then!"

    "Whaa?? HE's NOT 'pure being' you say? For gawd's-sake tell me what HE is, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE!!!"

    "I dunno, Fred here has the poker all warmed up and everything. It would seem like such a waste. Hey, how 'bout if we do the poker thing then I give you a hint?"

    "Oh GOD NO!"

    "Look, if Fred here doesn't get to shove a hot poker up your bum, he doesn't get his bonus. You bastard! He needs this bonus, Christmas is coming and his kids need presents, you self-centred pantheists are all the same."

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  88. If they can talk God into being, talk HIM into being so perfect that HIM doing something makes HIMSELF more perfect or less perfect, well, they can simply talk themselves out of it when it suits themselves.

    You DO realize that there are no 'degrees' of perfection?

    I was musing on this idea, and it occurs to me that there's another fatal contradiction in Genesis; namely, that BEFORE "the Fall", God tells Adam and Eve "16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”" (Genesis 2:16-17 (New King James Version)).

    As I said above, perfection requires nothing; yet in "Teh Story", God's perfect creation before the Fall required His creatures to eat. In other words, their bodies required nourishment, and this shows that "Creation" was imperfect before "the Fall".

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  89. And if they ate, they pooped.
    We never hear about Adam grunting over a hole in the ground over in the corner of the garden.... 'damned beans or whatever I named them!'

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  90. Incidentally, do you all hear that faint popping noise? That is the sound of teabagger heads exploding.... Justice Roberts decided to let the mandate slide. Fantastic. I guess he was feeling the pressure of destroying what's left of the SCOTUS' credibility in the country.

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  91. No degrees of perfection?

    Less than perfect. More perfect, Fucking perfect. Absolutely perfect. Absolutely fucking perfect. Perfectly perfect. (just a stunned look on face indicating that it's so yada-yada perfect that one is beyond words)

    It's all confusion technique. Imagine nothingness. Imagine causation. Imagine infinity. Imagine perfection. Now, reconcile that with reality.

    LOL on the SCOTUS decision. Leaves the right not just wanting to get rid of Obama, now they REALLY REALLY want to get rid of Obama!

    Do they get two more votes now?

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  92. If life was perfect in the Garden, then it must have had toilet paper.

    Maybe they used gerbils.

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  93. Maybe they used gerbils.

    ...or apple cores.

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  94. On the Scifi author question, I really enjoy Stanisław Lem. Particularly the novel 'Fiasco'. I often think of it when reading some of the comments. ;)

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  95. Very highbrow Pliny, or highbrow for scifi... I read Eden and really enjoyed it and will check out Fiasco on your recommendation. But I thought Solaris was a much better movie than book, sort of how it seems to me that it takes a screenwriter and director to really completely realize Philip K Dicks genius.

    And although I suppose I'm stereotyping myself as an atheist, but can I get an amen on just how terrible Narnia and the space trilogy are as Fantasy and Scifi respectively?

    (Brian, Carrion Comfort is now on my kindle)

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  96. Fiasco is one of my favorites. I agree about Solaris. It wasn't a favorite as a book. Did you see the Clooney version or the Russian version of the movie? (or both). Fiasco is about first contact with an alien race. How well it goes is somewhat foreshadowed by the title...

    I enjoyed the Hyperion series as well. It was fun as a Canterbury Tales in space.

    I really enjoyed as the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson too. It was pretty good as hard scifi.

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  97. My poor little doggie. We went up to the hospital for Emma to give her blood samples and while she was in there I walked Moe around.

    Everyone happy to see him and that but he was checking in and out of the bushes and when I took him back to the car to go check on Emma's progress, he was obviously sick, drooling.

    Got Emma out of there and we went to a vet. The girl was almost crying as I was explaining what happened and I asked if there was a vet available. She seemed kind of relaxed talking to another customer while I was holding the dog waiting for a vet to give him something to make him sick to get whatever it was out of his belly.

    She said the vet would be ready in 40 minutes.

    Fuck sake, I said I'm going to another vet. So we get to the other vet and she wanted to give the dog an x-ray, so I had to fuck around back to the car to give Emma the price and a-okay that. But thinking back on that, that bitch was practically accusing me of treating the dog badly. It seemed to be favouring it's hind quarters she said.

    I kept insisting that it must have been something he ate, maybe a cigarette butt or a pill someone chucked in the bush.

    So, they did the x-ray, nothing.

    Now Moe's gag reflex is completely gone and the other vet, the woman's partner is thinking it's some unknown drug Moe ingested and he asked Emma for a list of pills she takes. She put me on the phone and he asked me if it could be marijuana, for fuck's sake.

    The upshot of the whole thing was that they farted around 'til he's as sick as he's going to get, but he'll need an I.V. if he's going to make it, and all 'cos they'd rather imagine that we were abusing the dog, kicking him or something or that he'd gotten into my non-existent stash of illegal drugs, or maybe Emma's drugs.

    Guess the truth was too far-fetched for them.

    I'm thinking that if we don't get a call soon, and the I.V. can flush whatever it is, out, he'll be okay.

    If we get a call around 8 or 9 tonight, my time, he'll be gone.

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  98. Sorry Ian, wishing the pup the best. Lost my cat of 18 years a couple months back. Stupid little thing, but boy did I love her.

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  99. Thanks Ryan. I understand what you mean about the cat. Mighty Moe is sure a bigger handful than I remembered last time I had a puppy, but they go through stages fairly quickly and for a stubborn breed like that I thought we were moving along pretty good.

    Here my biggest worry about the dog was the bear crap I saw on the grass early this morning. I had thought that, what with all the new construction around that the bears would have gotten the message. Guess they're attracted to a bunch of old fruit trees out back of the school across the road though.

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  100. On the Scifi author question, I really enjoy Stanisław Lem. Particularly the novel 'Fiasco'. I often think of it when reading some of the comments. ;)
    ----------------
    Lem is amazing, and unique! I can see you liking him, with his cybernetic universe.... let's see, gee, it's been years and I don't remember the name of the novel, but Trurl and Klapaucius, the two robot central characters in an evolved-machine world... Fantastic! Polish author if I recall... very cool.

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  101. Oh no... Pboy, I hope the doggy's okay... get back to us when you can....

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  102. Crap, now I'm worried about the dog. So's the wife. I hope he's alright.

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  103. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/michael-savage-john-roberts-epilepsy-medication_n_1636092.html

    Michael Savage says Robert's decision is the result of his epilepsy medication...

    Too funny.

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  104. Mighty Moe LIVES!!!

    YAY! We'll pick him up in three or four hours, the vet wants to use up the drip to make sure whatever it was(he thinks some kind of opiate, likely morphine) is flushing.. but he's eaten and crapped and stuff, always a good sign. Now he wants to give him some anti-biotics, to be sure(cha-ching), which we'll do, then blood work to check his kidney function(cha-ching, another 70 or 130).

    Emma might go for the 70.

    Don't know if the vet is just being completely thorough, being a vet, but short of taking him and looking after him himself, he's going to have to taper off on this, and it's going to have to be a steep taper. LOL

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  105. That’s great!  Go Mighty Moe!
     
    About 3 or 4 years ago, we lost an outside cat that we feed, she got into some antifreeze or something.  I was up all night at the Vets, and then the next morning in the office, this is how my side of the call went…
     
    Me: “OK, so I can pick her up anytime?”
    Girls at my office: “Awwwwww… whew!!!”
    Me:  “OK, so she’ll just be in the freezer until then?”
    Girls at my office: “OHHHHH!!!!!”
     
    But, speaking of “metaphysical intuition”, I have to wonder how many of these hucksters (apologists) actually have pets.  It seems pretty darn “intuitive”, metaphysically or otherwise, that animal consciousness and human consciousness are simply the same thing on different points of a continuum and all that can be explained without the need to posit a “soul”.   I’ve heard them claim that the difference is humans can perceive moral facts and animals can’t (in fact I think it was our pet huckster, Eric on Jesse’s old blog) unless they’ve had them beaten into them.  I would argue that we all get it beaten into us. 
     
    In any case, this seems like apologists claiming “metaphysical intuition” when it suits them, and totally ignoring it when it doesn’t actually jive with their scripture, theology, etc...
     

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  106. Ahh Pboy, you just made my day. Mary almost cried when I told her. She'll be happy to hear it, too. Fantastic. Poor pup.
    An opiate huh? Egad. So what, someone left a pill on the grass out there on the hospital grounds or something...
    It's infuriating that they wanted to put blame on you.

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  107. Back to the Roberts decision:
    Rachael pointed out today that some republican pol somewhere, forget who, said that he guesses that it's time for armed revolution now...

    And get this: Some harvard professor, a supposed liberal, wrote an article saying that this is a win for Romney! I can't stand dems that ONLY wanted single payer and aren't able to wait for it, wanted Obama to somehow shove it down republican throats when he couldn't. What an idiot.... saying that now that they call it a tax it'll look bad that Obama is instituting a new tax. Doesn't she realize that if Obama had lost this battle he likely wouldn't have been re-elected???!!! THEN they'd REALLY have something horrible to say about him, how he wasted his first term trying to pass something that they told him all along was unconstitutional, and now the supreme court agrees... it would have been a nightmare for Obama....

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  108. If it's so bad for Obama, how come the reptiles are all going absolutely batshit about it today? How come Romney has no answer to it?
    Democratic myopia can be almost as dangerous as republican idiocy.

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  109. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-angell-md/roberts-romney-health-care_b_1637397.html

    Here she is, Marcia Angell. Myopic idealist.

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  110. Well, Mitt can't complain too much since he instituted a similar plan in Mass. (I think there are actual tax penalties for not having coverage.) Consequently, Mass has the lowest rate of uninsured ~ 5.5%. Texas leads with 25% uncovered.

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  111. The Romneybot 2000 has no problem with that. Erase data, reboot!

    However, is it me, or does it seem that the people are actually waking up to it?

    Obama is a winner now. And this has given him a lot more legitimacy. I hope he runs with it. I think he will.

    Note: Up until yesterday the ACA was very unpopular, with only like 36% approving. Today, one day later, it's at 46-46. One day. One day changed everything. And Obama used his bully pulpit to good effect when he won, went on and described what people would be getting out of his plan... very good, sir, keep it up.

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  112. I'm very happy to hear the good news about your dog, Floyd. Good luck!

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  113. But Eric, I thought you were an acanineist... You're saying now that you believe in Dog?
    ;-)

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  114. Well, got the dog back, and my old job, I guess. LOL If I get up to 'go', well, I have to take him out too, right?

    When I went to get him I could hear him whining away in the back of the store, and yet another receptionist either doesn't know how to carry a small dog or they imagine him whining will loosen up the wallet.

    I told her, "I want to see 'sign of life' before I pay."
    She says, "Well, let's settle the bill first."
    So I say, "Give me the dog and I'll give you cash."
    So she goes back, brings him out holding him wrong and he's still whining.

    WTF is wrong with these people.

    "Give me the dog, I'll give you cash."

    Anyway, I think what I was saying stopped being the Charlie Brown 'Waaa-waaa-waa' thing and started sounding like English to her and she gave me the dog. It stopped whining right away, all happy and all. Great stuff.

    Then we ran like Forrest Gump! LMAO

    (not true, I forked up ~300)

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  115. Isn't that right around $2,100 in Dog Dollars?

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  116. Well, I had to break his legs when we got home.

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  117. Otherwise all the neighbourhood dogs would be taking advantage of me.

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  118. Spoken like a true libertarian.

    Glad to hear he's okay. Phew!

    Wassamattah him, he no likee the morphine?

    (Poor thing!)

    We must have spent over 5k in vet bills since we got the pug. Pugs are expensive that way. His nose job alone stood us 500. Unreal. Of course, the alternative was unthinkable. The dog couldn't breathe. He was passing out. It worked, too.

    What really sucks is, you got a shitty vet there. Seriously. Ours treats us like family. (Of course, we've put his family through school, so there's that...)

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  119. Well, the guy seemed really nice actually, and didn't charge me for taking him home and checking on him, presumably with the I.V., he told me he started coming around about midnight. I didn't have TOO much of a problem with him asking if he might have gotten into my illegal drug stash since if it were true that I were a junkie or that, he could have had an antidote.

    "Yea man, we all get nodding out, including the dog and when we straighten out a bit we use him as the ball in a game of Aztec hoop ball. The winning side has to have their hearts removed, so that's cool.(hint, never win)"

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  120. Commenting to a fb guy and I got down to the nitty-gritty.

    "Plus, I don't believe that you have read page ONE of 'Obamacare' or Mass. law 'Romneycare' either. What I think is that you believe one thing, "Whatever the Dems. want to do is WRONG! Whatever Obama does is WRONG!", now, tell the truth, isn't that right?"

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  121. I was thinking about the meaning of the word 'economy' when the show I was watching was telling us that the Southern economy was based on slave labour. WTF? This isn't what most people are are thinking when we hear 'economy'.

    Hey sure, the banks could just rig stuff so they own everything and make us all wage-slaves then cry that if we try to change that to benefit people, that our whole economy is based on them being stinking rich and basically owning everyone else.

    But I'm thinking that there is something wrong with this notion.

    Wonder who Eric feels about this? Is the fact that the South's economy was based on blacks picking cotton for nothing not the same as how the right(the banks) view 'economy' right now?

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  122. So, I'm blabbing away, ".. and I know that all the smells are outside, but it's raining out there, so you want to be inside..", then the little shit started ignoring me.

    My question is, Do you have this problem with your doggie Brian? How about your son? The wife?

    Seriously, is your wife attracted to the smells of the outside world but repelled by the rain?

    I can see how it was that she was worried about Mighty Moe. Ah, what the hell, you know, the more I go out with Moe for him to do his jobbie, the more I kind of like the outside smells too.

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  123. Maybe if I got some booties and a rain jacket with a floppy seaman's hat it would be FABulous!!!

    (thinks) Yea, well, but you're not gay so...

    Nevermind.

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  124. You're funny. And yes, the outside is good. LOL...

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  125. Hey, I have the rain slicker with the floppy hood so... and a walking stick. All for dog walking.

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  126. "But, speaking of “metaphysical intuition”, I have to wonder how many of these hucksters (apologists) actually have pets."

    I've had pets my whole life. (At one point -- my early teens, I think -- we had four dogs, at least two cats, rabbits, fish and hamsters.)

    "It seems pretty darn “intuitive”, metaphysically or otherwise, that animal consciousness and human consciousness are simply the same thing on different points of a continuum and all that can be explained without the need to posit a “soul”."

    There's a bit of a difference between an intuition, as philosophers use the term, and an all too quick, prima facie 'gee-it-seems-to-me.'

    "I’ve heard them claim that the difference is humans can perceive moral facts and animals can’t (in fact I think it was our pet huckster, Eric on Jesse’s old blog) unless they’ve had them beaten into them."

    I don't recall saying any thing like that, but it's not too far off -- the problem is that it confuses the effect with the cause. Yes, that we can perceive moral facts is a difference, but why can we perceive moral facts? Well, because we can grasp 'universals,' and it's this that animals cannot do. (I'm aware of some studies that attempt to show that some 'higher' animals can grasp universals, but they're about as persuasive as those that ascribe 'morality,' rather than mere action *we* describe as moral, to animals.)

    Anyway, there's another problem with the way you've presented the issue here. I have no problem granting that consciousness, understood in terms of awareness and sensation, differs in human beings and other animals only in degree (and not always in our favor), but what Thomists call the 'intellect' -- that which grasps universals -- cannot be identified with 'awareness' and 'sensation.' The intellect acts on the data provided by our awareness and our sensations (which are themselves dependent on the brain -- hence, the Thomist has no problem with the various sorts of dependencies neuroscience indicates obtain in the areas of brain functioning and 'consciousness'), but cannot be a product of them. Why? Well, the basic reason is that universals are themselves immaterial (and this is true whether you're a Platonic realist, an Aristotelian realist, a Scholastic realist, etc. about universals) and determinate. The latter point is what does most of the work in establishing the immateriality of the intellect (though, again, not of consciousness as such), for physical processes are *always*, by definition, indeterminate. But if physical processes are indeterminate, and the mind grasps determinate universals, it follows that the mind (read: intellect) cannot be physical (though -- I say it yet again -- consciousness, which is indeterminate, is a result of physical processes).

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  127. In case it's not clear, to say that something is, in this context, 'determinate' means, roughly, that you grasp what something is *exactly* without reference to any particular instance of it; so, when you understand what a circle is, you've grasped a determinate concept that has no reference to any particular circle, which may be drawn in chalk, or in the sand, or occur naturally, or which may poorly or very well instantiate the concept, etc. Note that these limitations *necessitate* that every physical circle be indeterminate, whereas they *necessitate* that the universal 'circle' be indeterminate. Please note that the term 'determinate' as I'm using it here has nothing at all to do with determinism.

    Anyway, as I think I've said before, I take the issue of realism about universals to be *foundational* to a *rational* approach to theism (and, hence, at least in the beginning, to Christianity -- again, from a purely rational approach). I see, in retrospect, that my own move from atheism to theism to Christianity to Catholicism began with a move from nominalism to realism about universals. (No, Ryan, it's not, 'universals, therefore Jesus and mass on Sundays, just as Darwin didn't say, finch beaks differ, therefore all living things share a common ancestor!)

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  128. "Note that these limitations *necessitate* that every physical circle be indeterminate, whereas they *necessitate* that the universal 'circle' be indeterminate."

    Sorry, that should read,

    Note that these limitations *necessitate* that every physical circle be indeterminate, whereas they *necessitate* that the universal 'circle' be determinate.

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  129. Of course, I have to emphasize the role of Grace in conversion. I'm not under the impression that I converted myself by dint of my enormous intellect; rather, I converted because God's Grace acted on me in a way that I, in my pride, needed to encounter it (i.e. in an intellectual manner), and I cooperated (which is itself a God-given act for which I 'deserve' nothing!). It's the same with a everyone -- if I ever say something that leads one of you to Christ (stop laughing), it won't be because of me.

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  130. I like you Eric, but you have mistaken 'grace' for the very pride that you think it replaced. Your pride found expression. And that, quite naturally, feels good. Very good. This is the trap of Pride.
    You will not see it. That's how it works. You may believe 'sure I'm proud, who isn't?' or something like that... you're not seeing it as it is. It's a lot more elusive than obvious bragging and such. It's very stealthy.

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  131. You feel the pride of the feeling of exclusivity because of your belief that grace found you, indicating that 'grace' found you worthy of it.
    This is so easy to see here. If you're not the one affected. The near-impossibility of you ever seeing this, saddens me.

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  132. Your peer group will respond to your prideful statements of grace finding you and affirm them. This makes you feel *really* good.

    And so on. It's all predictable.

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  133. I hate it when I comment on Eric's posts and he just ignores them. He'll tell me that it's because I'm so wrong that I'm not even wrong...

    but he still engages Ian' posts...

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  134. "I've had pets my whole life. (At one point -- my early teens, I think -- we had four dogs, at least two cats..."

    Or, it was a glitch in the Matrix.

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  135. "the 'intellect' -- that which grasps universals .."

    Yea, you, and Aquinas just mumbo-jumboed that into 'existence', didn't you?

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  136. "I hate it when I comment on Eric's posts and he just ignores them. He'll tell me that it's because I'm so wrong that I'm not even wrong..."

    Well, come on, Ed. Look what you give me:

    "No one knows IF or WHETHER the universe "began to exist". The BGV paper states this explicitly."

    It says no such thing, *unless* you understand that as, "if our assumptions are false, then..." which of course is the case with *every* argument.

    "Equivocation! First, you say "Note, please, that this is not to say that god exists by definition", and later in the same paragraph state "So when we refer to god, whether there is a god or not, we're referring to a being with the property of 'aseity,'", which is really a roundabout way of saying,
    "We theists have invented a word 'aseity', that defines the property of God that BY ITSELF prevents us from meaningfully asking "what causes such a being"."

    No, Ed, it's not an 'equivocation.' To equivocate is to use the same term differently in the same context. Where, precisely, did I equivocate?

    Further, you don't seem to understand that your critique of aseity could be applied to *any* concept. "Harumph -- you scientists conveniently define science in such a way as to disallow purely philosophical arguments." Um, no -- to say this misses just what the term 'science' *means*. Or, "Harumph -- I want to say that your belief in evolution requires faith, but you conveniently define science and faith in such a way as to render them mutually exclusive." Again, no, this sort of critique would simply evince a misunderstanding of what the terms 'science' and 'faith' mean. And so on.

    You didn't give me much to work with there, Ed.

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  137. (I'm aware of some studies that attempt to show that some 'higher' animals can grasp universals, but they're about as persuasive as those that ascribe 'morality,' rather than mere action *we* describe as moral, to animals.)

    (...hence, the Thomist has no problem with the various sorts of dependencies neuroscience indicates obtain in the areas of brain functioning and 'consciousness')

    Just in case anyone here wasn't already able to see Eric's intellectual dishonesty...

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  138. "Hey, I have the rain slicker with the floppy hood.."

    Yea, but I was talkin' about for the dog.

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  139. Back to basics Eric. How do we know anything? How do we know that we're not just brains-in-buckets, dreaming, crazy or whatever? We can't know.

    So, we have to assume that the universe is real, we can learn stuff about the universe, we can create useful models with which we can make useful predictions.

    Creating words like 'aseity' to wall in your primary assumption, to wall out inquiry seems a tad disingenuous to me or at the very least 'telling' that you have no interest in any inquiry about God.

    Seems to me that you just shrugged off my point that preachers use psychology on their sheep, copying the Bible by trying to place two opposite ideas as close together as possible to emphasize the mystery of your mystery religion.

    Jesus being God, one of God's personalities, God's only begotten son of the unbegotten God and a horrific sacrifice to Himself to show his love for us, rejected as false by His own Chosen People who nevertheless still imagine themselves as God's Chosen People destined to fulfill prophecy by taking control of a piece of real estate and rebuilding a nice little home for God who is everywhere and nowhere all the time and outside of time.

    This is the point where teenage b'lievers say something like, "Well when you put it all together like that it sounds pretty stupid."

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  140. "...this is not to say that god exists by definition".

    "...when we refer to god, whether there is a god or not, we're referring to a being with the property of 'aseity'...", aseity being defined as "the property by which a being exists of and from itself. It will be easily understood that this property belongs, and can belong only, to God." From the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    You stated that God was NOT being defined into existence by appealing to a term that does exactly that.

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  141. "You stated that God was NOT being defined into existence by appealing to a term that does exactly that."

    Couldn't be more wrong. 'Aseity' doesn't 'define god into existence'; it merely says that *if* god exists, then he exists 'in and of himself.' If you're right, Ed, then the following proposition is contradictory:

    X is defined as a being with the property of aseity, and X does not exist.

    That's not contradictory, Ed. Sorry. Let me make it a little clearer:

    X is a being that, if it exists, exists as a result of no external cause, but in and of itself, yet X doesn't exist.

    Again, it's clear as day that there's no contradiction there. But if ascribing 'aseity' to god 'defined him into existence,' then it *would*, of necessity, be contradictory (since the 'but X does not exist' part would be in direct conflict with whatever part 'defined' X into existence). There's simply no controversy here whatsoever -- you simply don't understand what 'aseity' means, despite having read the CE article. See, what I suspect is going on here, since you guys make this very sort of mistake *all* the time, is that you're reading these articles in very uncharitable ways, looking not to understand what's being said, but to refute it. Here's some advice: understand first, refute later.

    "Just in case anyone here wasn't already able to see Eric's intellectual dishonesty..."

    Huh? How in the world does conceding that *consciousness*, understood as awareness and sensation, is both essentially the same in animals and human beings and is dependent on physical brain functions, in any way conflict with the notion that the intellect, which grasps universals, cannot be material, and a result of physical processes.

    I say that just in case anyone missed Anderson's intellectual dishonesty (either that, or his inability to follow a simple line of reasoning and grasp carefully elucidated distinctions)...

    "Creating words like 'aseity' to wall in your primary assumption, to wall out inquiry seems a tad disingenuous to me or at the very least 'telling' that you have no interest in any inquiry about God."

    It no more 'walls out inquiry' than our definition of a proton rules out inquiry (what do you mean a proton has a positive electric charge? why not no charge? why not a negative charge? why not a charge we've never heard of? why are you ruling out inquiry with your disingenuous definitions?). Like any definition, it sets the boundaries of inquiry. If you want to talk about gods that have a cause, knock your socks off -- just remember that you're not talking about the Christian god. Now, of course, if you have a *reason* for thinking that the Christian god must have a cause, then please, I'm all ears; after, not all definitions are legitimate. So please, go ahead and tell me why the Christian god cannot have this property of aseity.

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  142. "..why the Christian god cannot have this property of aseity."

    There are no gods, Eric, not even one true God who morphs into one true three-in-one God. You knew this, then apparently you forgot it.

    Everyone knows that it's the bottom-of-the-garden fairies that are responsible for everything anyways.

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  143. Floyd, you know that there's a god. You know it in your bones. That's the reason you've been discussing these issues for years now. I would never even consider posting on a site, for years, dealing with an entity I didn't think exists. It makes no sense. Your innate knowledge of god is drawing you into these discussions all the time.

    Now I know the common riposte: "But I want to combat religion and its negative influence on society." Really? And how does discussing these issues with me move you one inch in that direction? It makes no sense. But it does give me hope. Maybe some day, perhaps when you least expect it, perhaps on your death bed, you'll utter something like this: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

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  144. For example, if you're poor, you're not likely to have a garden. No garden, no bottom of the garden, ergo, no fairies for you, ergo, impeccunity! Nothing could be simpler than this in explaining poverty.

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  145. Eric said,

    ...if ascribing 'aseity' to god 'defined him into existence,' then it *would*, of necessity, be contradictory (since the 'but X does not exist' part would be in direct conflict with whatever part 'defined' X into existence). There's simply no controversy here whatsoever...

    But YOU are the one who believes in God, not me. When you talk about aseity, it's pretty well axiomatic that you're NOT arguing that God doesn't exist.

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  146. Eric, Eric, Eric. So you come here to rail agaist us poor simpletons to try to convert us?

    Why should I believe your dogma over, say, some kind of Baptist, or YEC(God can do anything right?)?

    If I'm going to go 'there', why shouldn't I believe that everything was created moments ago complete with memories?

    Neverminding that nonsense, I automatically don't believe in sin since I don't believe in any gods. So why would I need forgiveness?

    I'd be much more inclined to believe your nonsense if on their deathbed, smokers, dying of cancer, asked for forgiveness and got up out of their beds, having been 'cleansed' of all the crap in their lungs.

    I'm rooting for fetal tissue transplant!

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  147. My point is that "aseity" (a property) is defined as "that which ONLY God can have".

    This pretty much is a bacwards way to come at the question; you have a definition of God (Anselmian 'greatest conceivable being', etc...) then concoct a word to fit that description and thereby attempt to lock the door against questions.

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  148. Then there's those 'universals'. Are there any 'ex-universals', ideas that were thought to be universal but later shown to be balderdash?

    What do you say Eric?

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  149. Floyd, you know that there's a god. You know it in your bones.

    This is interesting, both in that Eric is reduced to an appeal to emotion and in the fact that I used to feel this way, but I don't any more. Go figure.

    I would never even consider posting on a site, for years, dealing with an entity I didn't think exists. It makes no sense.

    Eric, you are an idiot. It's not about posting about something that doesn't exist, but more about figuring out why most of our countrymen believe in something that doesn't and how it affects their thinking, etc...

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  150. "But YOU are the one who believes in God, not me. When you talk about aseity, it's pretty well axiomatic that you're NOT arguing that God doesn't exist."

    *sigh* Of course, Ed, if I believe that god (specifically, the Christian god) exists, I believe that god has the property of aseity, but it *clearly* doesn't follow that if I believe (or if anyone believes) that god has the property of aseity, I must believe that god exists! An atheist could quite consistently concede that the concept of god has the property of aseity, but that there is no god. Wow, I'm shocked that I have to explain that one to you.

    "My point is that "aseity" (a property) is defined as "that which ONLY God can have"."

    So? There is a set of properties that only Frodo Bagggins has, and can have (since if any being had precisely the same properties as Frodo, it just would be Frodo, and not another being); it doesn't follow that Frodo must exist.

    "This pretty much is a bacwards way to come at the question; you have a definition of God (Anselmian 'greatest conceivable being', etc...) then concoct a word to fit that description and thereby attempt to lock the door against questions."

    I've already refuted this point with my 'proton' illustration above. If you don't like that because 'protons exist,' then take good ol' Frodo again and plug him into the example.

    And, as you should know by now, it's not a matter of mere definition. The reasons the property of aseity is ascribed to god follow from the arguments for god's existence.

    Man, this is as confused as I've ever seen you.

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  151. "This is interesting, both in that Eric is reduced to an appeal to emotion..."

    Huh?

    "...and in the fact that I used to feel this way, but I don't any more. Go figure."

    I doubt it (that is, that you don't any more).

    "Eric, you are an idiot. It's not about posting about something that doesn't exist, but more about figuring out why most of our countrymen believe in something that doesn't and how it affects their thinking, etc..."

    More utter nonsense. You guys constantly tell me that almost *no one* holds religious beliefs for the reasons I do, that almost no one has the same conception of god that I have, that almost no one takes the same academic approach to scripture that I do, and so on. You can't have it both ways, Ryan. Either I'm representative of what and how the average Christian believes, in which case your present point may stand, but most of your past ones are blown away, or I;m not, in which case your present point is blown away and your past ones may stand. Which is it?

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  152. The idea that God has properties just on you guys' say so seems to me to be kind of admitting that 'God' is just an idea, an imaginary being, like as if you had ascribed properties to Frodo Baggins.

    We could write a sequel to JJT's work, work things around so Frodo turns out to have aseity, yes? You might indeed rebut this by telling me that sure one could do this, but it wouldn't be 'true'.

    How could we possibly know that there isn't a huge population of God's who create universes of their own and worship their God?

    Oh wait, that's right, it's because you have defined your God, the Christian God that way, isn't it? But you may as well define your God as having a mole in the shape of Martha's Vinyard on his left buttock.

    Atheists don't believe that there are such things as gods so our 'concept' of God is a non-existing being, which is an oxymoron, but it's only a 'concept' so it doesn't have to be non-oxymoronic. We might still indeed give this ridiculous non-being 'properties' since it's the 'concept' is just a silly idea anyways, but it would be kind of pointless.

    It'd be like saying that God is invisible and also so bright that no-one can look at HIM. Stupid, right? Confusion technique.

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  153. Wishing you had an 'edit' feature here. J.R.Tolkien, not JJT, lots of Gods not 'God's' and the sentence '.. non-being 'properties' since it's..', shouldn't have that 'it's'.

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  154. Now I know the common riposte: "But I want to combat religion and its negative influence on society." Really? And how does discussing these issues with me move you one inch in that direction? It makes no sense. But it does give me hope. Maybe some day, perhaps when you least expect it, perhaps on your death bed, you'll utter something like this: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
    ---------------
    You think that's possible, really? You're a fucking idiot. :-)
    Ironically I've been trying to save YOU from your overweening PRIDE. But I can see now that it's truly fucking hopeless. Go tongue your mirror some more, you hopeless fucking fool.

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  155. I consider the christian god less likely than Quetzalcoatl, for the reasons that there is less hypocrisy in that religion than yours. And yet on my deathbed I think it highly unlikely that I'll pray to Quetzalcoatl, and totally impossible that I'd call on Jesus.
    You shouldn't call on Jesus either, Eric, on your deathbed. It's not as if you're a christian, as in actually following Christ's philosophy of loving kindness and harming none. You're a jesus-perverter, making him into someone that he never was, making your faith and that of others that listen to you, a worldly thing and not a spiritual one. So if I were you, I'd pray to your real god, Lucifer, and hope that he's good to you for all the work you've done for him. :-) I know he'll love all the Pride that you have within you... That's his specialty, after all.

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  156. How could we possibly know that there isn't a huge population of God's who create universes of their own and worship their God?

    Oh wait, that's right, it's because you have defined your God, the Christian God that way, isn't it? But you may as well define your God as having a mole in the shape of Martha's Vinyard on his left buttock.
    --------------------
    So true, and he can't fucking see it, can he? It's actually funny. Never stops to think that he's going by someone else's set and precise definition, because after all, that's god! That's god! That's god, just as Eric thinks he is, and necessarily MUST BE, because that's god...
    When you were talking about 'aseity' there, all I could think of was, 'but, how do YOU know any of this, how do YOU know that there aren't many, many gods, or that one got begets another one over and over? It's just your doctrine that tells you these things. Are you so separated from your sensibilities that you aren't aware that your doctrine is all made up by mere MEN who also CANNOT KNOW any of it to be true?
    A mighty thin reed to hang your whole life on there, and your potential afterlife... A bunch of stuff old dead men thought up to shut up inquisitive minds like you USED TO HAVE.

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  157. "The idea that God has properties just on you guys' say so..."

    And he gets it dead wrong from the very first sentence!

    Many of the properties we ascribe to god follow from *arguments* for god's existence. Here's a nice introduction to natural theology. Or, on god's nature and properties, see this and this and this and this and this and this and this.

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  158. "So true, and he can't fucking see it, can he? It's actually funny. Never stops to think that he's going by someone else's set and precise definition, because after all, that's god!"

    Um, no. See the links, read them, and attempt to understand them. Even if you disagree with the content, even if you think that the arguments are absolutely horrible, you *cannot*, in all honesty (after reading them) make this sort of claim. I see this as a test of your honesty -- let's see if you pass...

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  159. And you're (eric) so quick to always say that things like 'aseity' do not define god into existence, that IF god exists, then he has aseity. Just to play it safe and not look like a religious nut. Just to let us think that you consider both sides and think critically and all.... But to that I say, IF god doesn't exist just precisely like your old dead men thought thought that did, you can surely see what an incredible fool you are for trying to use words like that? And looking at it, there's no data that defines god anywhere that has any evidence behind it... just philosophy. Which can be truth, and can be lies, but always looks good.

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  160. Um, no. See the links, read them,
    -------------
    How about I post a shitload of links that tell you you're fucking wrong? Will you read them?
    Stop trying here. It's making you look stupid again. I can see what you're up to, even if you're unaware. I even know WHY you'd be unaware! (Hint: It begins with "P")

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  161. and attempt to understand them.
    -------------------
    Why should I when you do not? You see them as some sort of evidence for god! You're not very bright, are you? They're words. Pretty words. The world is full of such pretty words. If you can't tell they're bullshit, then you fall for it. If you really think critically and do not proceed from a theistic viewpoint but a theos-neutral one, if you acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that there is no god, or that if there is one it's nothing like what you seem to think it is, and then investigate it honestly, why, you'd be on our side. Because, we have.

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  162. "How about I post a shitload of links that tell you you're fucking wrong? Will you read them?"

    You bet I will, if they deal with this issue, so post away.

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  163. You do not acknowledge the possibility in your own mind that people of the past who had to deal with doubters with logical minds, were creative enough to think of words, pretty words, that played to such a person and could fool them into thinking (believing) that god just has to be real, at least a little... You apparently cannot believe that you're only a human that can be deceived, and so you do not guard against it, especially from your trusted sources, ie, those sources that did the best snow job on you. You can't even seriously consider it; such is your pride.

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  164. "They're words. Pretty words. The world is full of such pretty words. If you can't tell they're bullshit, then you fall for it. If you really think critically and do not proceed from a theistic viewpoint but a theos-neutral one, if you acknowledge the POSSIBILITY that there is no god, or that if there is one it's nothing like what you seem to think it is, and then investigate it honestly, why, you'd be on our side. Because, we have."

    What a load of crap. You've 'thought critically' about these issues? Really? I see ABSOLUTELY no evidence that you have thought critically for one moment about them. The links I provided have rather detailed information on THE dominant conception of god in the Christian tradition, yet you know NOTHING about it. Yet you claim to have thought critically about these things? What a laugh. You've thought critically about Oral Roberts, perhaps, or about Bob Jones, but don't pretend to have 'thought critically' about issues that dominate the Christian tradition, and which you manifestly don't understand. Don't insult my intelligence.

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  165. " You guys constantly tell me that almost *no one* holds religious beliefs for the reasons I do...", true, ".. that almost no one has the same conception of god that I have..", this stretching the truth a bit since we're not reading everyones' minds, and no-one is saying that other Christians don't agree with you even if they don't really understand you, and that is BECAUSE, ".. almost no one takes the same academic approach to scripture that I do, and so on.", not in spite of it.

    This thing you're faulting Ryan on is a technicality, an over-simplification of what we are saying is different about you in comparison to the most vocal, most politically motivated Christians who'd air their grievances about secular society and atheists on the blogs.

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  166. "You apparently cannot believe that you're only a human that can be deceived, and so you do not guard against it, especially from your trusted sources, ie, those sources that did the best snow job on you. You can't even seriously consider it; such is your pride."

    Um, Brian, philosophy *trains* people like no other discipline to do just that! What do you think the academic study of philosophy involves -- learning to parrot what Kant or Descartes of Plato said? No, it's *primarily* training in *careful* and *critical* evaluation of complex *arguments*. Now, can I make mistakes? Of course! But I'm no more going to be taken in by mere 'pretty words' than a trained doctor is going to mistake chicken pox for ebola.

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  167. You bet I will, if they deal with this issue, so post away.
    ----------------
    Even if you did read them, nothing can sway you. So I am not going to bother doing what you do and finding justification in the words of others, when you're not open to them in the first place; all you'd do is seek to invalidate them using your philosophical idiocy. Read Dawson if you want the truth about yourself. Ah, you already have? And didn't learn it, huh? Not my fault if your mind is not open to contrary beliefs and or facts.
    Watch 'Religilous' with Bill Maher. That works, too. But you won't see the humor in it. You'll just hate it.

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  168. But you look at arguments that are ridiculous, and call them valid due to your perception of their FORM!
    This is philosophy? I don't think so. That's justification, seeking it in mazey words when it doesn't exist in the real world.

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  169. Um, Brian, philosophy *trains* people like no other discipline to do just that!
    ---------------
    Then I suggest that you learn some!

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  170. Can you fashion a valid argument for the non-existence of god? The opposing view I mean?
    You can?
    Is it as compelling?
    It is? You're that good at it? You can do that? Because you were trained to? Good...
    Then you can see that it's bullshit.

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  171. "Watch 'Religilous' with Bill Maher. That works, too. But you won't see the humor in it. You'll just hate it."

    I've seen Religulous. It was funny, but in a childish way. And my goodness, he even went off on the 'Jesus and the Pagan gods' nonsense that serious academics, atheists and theists alike, have refuted. And let's face it -- Maher took on people at a truck stop chapel, a guy who played Jesus in an amusement park, young earth creationists, and the like; did he take on any trained theologians? Any trained philosophers? Nope.

    And if you think that Religulous has *anything* to say about the dominant conception of god in the Western tradition, then you're much worse off than I thought!

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  172. "Can you fashion a valid argument for the non-existence of god? The opposing view I mean?
    You can?"

    Well, sure.

    "Is it as compelling?"

    No. If it were, I'd be an agnostic. If it were more compelling, I'd be an atheist.

    "You're that good at it? You can do that? Because you were trained to? Good...
    Then you can see that it's bullshit."

    Now you're confusing what lawyers are trained to do -- i.e. argue any side of a case convincingly -- with what philosophers are trained to do -- i.e. critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of arguments, and reach conclusions accordingly.

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  173. Look, if you were to ask me to recommend a few books to help you understand Christianity, here's where I'd begin:


    First, of course, the Gospels.

    C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity, The Abolition of Man, The Problem of Pain

    G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy, The Everlasting Man

    Edward Feser: Aquinas, The Last Superstition

    Richard Purtill: Reasons to Believe

    Thomas Crean: God is no Delusion

    These are accessible, basic texts that introduce the Christian faith in ways that make the read enjoyable, whether you agree or disagree with the author. Minimally, after reading these books you'll reject Christianity on better grounds than the ones you now reject it on. (Of course, there are many, many other texts I'd recommend, but these are among the best ones to start with.)

    Do any of you have any books you'd like to recommend to me to help me understand more clearly your point of view?

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  174. Oh, here are a couple more:

    Peter Kreeft: Socrates Meets Jesus, Between Heaven and Hell, Making Sense out of Suffering, Three Philosophies of Life, Back to Virtue

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  175. I have an entire universe to show you. It refutes all those books very nicely, if one 'has the eyes to see...'

    You're so saturated in bullshit that you think it smells like daisies, and you can't wait for us to smell it that way, too.
    Get real.

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  176. I see ABSOLUTELY no evidence that you have thought critically for one moment about them.

    Why? Because we're not Ed Feser fanboys?

    PFFFFFT!

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  177. All those books want us to 'make sense' out of suffering and all the myriad things in the world that 'seem' to indicate that god is absent, that he is not to be found, that he is not real.
    They refuse to see the obvious. It's right there in front of them, but they refuse. Like you do. There is no god like you wish there were, like you argue for, like you insist *is.* None. It's all pretty words in books to you. You're refusing to LOOK UP. As in, what sheep do. You've flocked yourself!

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  178. Let's get really basic.

    There are religious people, and there are nonreligious people. I speak to both groups all the time. And the smarter people are invariably the nonreligious ones. Sure the religious can have high IQ's and be doctors or physicists even, but they invariably are flawed intellectually. They have a blind spot wherein they are incapable of thinking critically. They prefer beliefs, to facts and thoughts, even when they deal in facts and thoughts..... They're fatally flawed. Your side, is the side of dumbness, of appalling ignorance, of the tea party, of republicanism.... they have become what they are, through BLIND BELIEFS in things that cannot be proven nor even indicated by anything real.
    I'll take atheism, thanks. You can continue to swim in that sea of ignorance as long as you wish... because you get to be a big fish in it.... because even a rudimentary MIND is a rara avis over there, and you even know that instinctively.... hey, it's a free country.

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  179. Here's a line from the Catholic encyclopedia talking about tradition.

    "Side by side with Scripture there is tradition, side by side with the written revelation there is the oral revelation."

    Or were you talking about Christians hijacking non-Christian festivals and that?

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  180. Also, there are many examples of religious people, christians, defeating their egos and learning true humility. Those people I can talk to and enjoy the experience. They get it, that to try to change me, is more about them than it is about me. They clean their own houses, and do not offer advice that they do not themselves follow. They see Jesus Christ of the bible precisely as I do with the one exception that they think him divine. Their view of his philosophy is precisely the same as mine is, and yours isn't. Service and actions count; words not so much. They concentrate their energies on the poor and disenfranchised, as Jesus himself did.
    You are the other kind, the kind that is a dime a dozen, those who blindly believe without ever asking themselves if, in the light if Jesus' philosophy, it makes any sense.

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  181. Peter Kreeft: Socrates Meets Jesus, Between Heaven and Hell, Making Sense out of Suffering, Three Philosophies of Life, Back to Virtue

    Here is Peter Kreeft on Ghosts. In short, he's an idiot.

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  182. That type of christian understands the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector. And, they see your kind as the pharisee.

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  183. You guys constantly tell me that almost *no one* holds religious beliefs for the reasons I do

    This is true, and almost entirely the reason I engage you.

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  184. "Why? Because we're not Ed Feser fanboys?"

    What part of "even if you disagree" made you think that you're required to be 'fanboys'? I'd say that theists should read Dawkins and Russell and Mackie and Loftus and Sober and Tooley et al on atheism even if they disagree with them; at least then, their rejection of atheism will be well informed, and not target strawmen.

    Leek, here's the difference between me and you guys: I understand both Christianity and atheism, so I know both what I'm accepting and what I'm rejecting; you seem not to understand either one very well.

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  185. You can't have it both ways, Ryan. Either I'm representative of what and how the average Christian believes, in which case your present point may stand, but most of your past ones are blown away, or I;m not, in which case your present point is blown away and your past ones may stand. Which is it?

    Of course I can have it both ways. I think you wrongly assume that christianty is a monolithic, singular thing. It's not, as far as I can tell. When Mike, or even MI (who's in your Sect!!!) says "christian" they might as well be saying Fluegenstinhoffenbrauhaus when compared to when you say "chrisitan".

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  186. "Here is Peter Kreeft on Ghosts. In short, he's an idiot."

    Kreeft thinks that there may be ghosts. So? Brian thinks that the universe is a big brain, and you, Ryan, and Floyd think that it's not a *fact* that raping and torturing a child for fun is immoral. Who's the bigger idiot?

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  187. "Of course I can have it both ways."

    Not with respect to *me*.

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  188. Ryan, and Floyd think that it's not a *fact* that raping and torturing a child for fun is immoral.

    Fact is a funny word.

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  189. While I don't think that there are such things as moral facts, I'd say that someone who rapes and tortures children for fun is insane. I'd go as far as to say that I think anyone who rapes and tortures anyone for any reason is insane. I'd go a step further. Just either the raping or torturing.

    So there you have it Eric, is it just a couple of things that we might consider 'just dandy' if there weren't these pesky 'moral facts' in the way, or would it just be nuts?

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  190. For Eric to think there are moral 'facts' is insane.

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  191. Brian thinks that the universe is a big brain
    ----------------
    I think it likely that I am wrong in that, however I still consider it, as it is so much more likely than your god, or anyone else's, being real. I'm still investigating it, as there's no PROOF. You on the other hand, sold your soul to your religion and have no serious doubts nor the ability to question it rationally. You're insane.

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  192. I'd go as far as to say that I think anyone who rapes and tortures anyone for any reason is insane.

    I could imagine some cultural situations where this wouldn't be the case.

    Do you think all the Christian Serbs raping their way across Bosnia were clinically insane?

    Brainwashed is a better word. Brianwashed by theists... for the most part...

    Bear in mind, I'm sure warbands bent on rape have a tenancy to attract the clinically insane or even create the clinically insane...

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  193. I find your 'moral facts' arguments to be especially repugnant, Eric. Talk about sheer EGOTISM! Your little club is the sun-source of all morality? What a fucking JOKE. Your side is more IMmoral than almost anyone you can point to, on average. You people truly do suck. Trying to set yourselves above everyone else.... makes me sick.
    Pride is all you've got. But you mistake it for Grace.

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  194. Christianity: Our God is the source of morality! Oh, and of course, you can't judge that by looking at the incredibly high percentage of evil people and sinners that call themselves "christians." No, no, don't do that! Look at our WORDS, not our ACTIONS! (please!)

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  195. Is it a 'moral fact' that you aren't supposed to work on the sabbath? Why do so many christians do that, then?
    How about 'thou shalt not kill' but of course, it's okay if it's your disobedient son.... Leviticus seems to disagree with the Commandments a lot...

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  196. On a scale of one to 'completely lost touch with reality' would you say a sociopath was?

    Do you think you have to have been one of those kids who stuck firecrackers up frogs bums to imagine that forcing a person to have sex is a fun idea?

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  197. I just put up a new post so we don't have to contend with the... ahh shit, you know.

    NEW POST!

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