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Topics - Pieter

1
Choose Your Own Topic / The righter analogy for the FTA
« on: July 19, 2018, 10:54:02 am »
This is a spin off from LADZDAZL's post, because I don't want to distract people from engaging with his argument.

I think a better analogy can be used for the FTA:

1. Person A, blindfolded, dipped into a bag of pills, of which 1 pill cures his life threatening illness instantly and all other trillion-gazillion pills have deadly poison and kills instantly
2 After a few minutes person A discovers that he is still alive and is cured from his illness
3 Person A is dumbfounded what the odds are that he should pick just the pill that cured him as opposed to all the others that would kill him

I think this is a better analogy because we are not looking at any possible universe is as good as any other (there has to be a winner), but that only one specific universe could ever be the winner, yet all other universes are also in the lucky dip. So you have  a gazillion possible universes and 1 life permitting universe as opposed to many winners in a lottery of which any winning person will do.

See the difference?

2
If there is no such thing as the human "soul" or "spirit" as a separate substance (substance dualism, dualist/interactionism etc), it the promised resurrection by Jesus going to be me?

Either way, a physical resurrection as understood by Paul, will be a new body. So my resurrection will be (assuming it will look lile my old body) a clone.

If physicalism is true, then my future resurrection body will be a clone of me at best, or a completely different body. According to physicalism, I am my body.

The typical response I have heard is that God is able to store everything there is about me (my character, physical blue print, memories etc), which he can put in my resurrected clone body. This blue print of me is me, a bit like software that can be stored outside of its resident computer.

However, I would argue that this makes a type/token mistake. For example, each British pound coin has the same blue print, but there is more than one coin. Or take software for example that can be copied to multitalented computers. Each instance is its unique token, but the software is its type so to speak.

So imagine, God makes my resurrection clone body earlier, like right now! He then downloads all my character and memories up till this moment into this new body besides my current one. Is this new person also me?? Will we share a common conscious experience? Will I find myself "inside" his body as well as inside my own body? Or will he be more like an identical twin but with the added memory and character of me?

If not, isn’t he a different person from me? Doesn’t this imply that there is no real resurrection as I will die into oblivion and this clone of mine will take the benefit of my salvation in the new resurrection life.

Any thoughts? Am I making any mistakes? I can't see any, but it is useful to ask you guys :-)

3
Choose Your Own Topic / Different views of Heaven and resurrection
« on: June 27, 2017, 11:37:41 am »
This came up during a discussion with Animated Dirt in the "The Shack" thread and not to derail that topic, I am creating a new one.

This topic is really for Christians, though anyone is welcome to comment. However, my starting point is scripture and I am not looking to defending the truth of scripture, afterlife, God's existence, absolute truth, etc. etc. etc. in this thread ;-)

1. Some view that when we die we go to heaven as disembodied spirits/souls and be with God forever
2. Some view that when we die we first go to heaven as disembodied spirits/souls, but when Christ returns, we will receive a new body on a new Earth.
3. Some others view that when we die, we lay "asleep", so and the next thing we know is our resurrection when Christ returns

The problem with view 1 is that scripture refers to resurrection as a physical one over and over again.
The problem with view 3 is (I think) that there are still references to "going to be with Christ" after death (Paul) and the parable of Poor Lazarus where he is in heaven at Abraham's bosom. This implies that, although it is a parable, it must have been a common Jewish belief.

I used to hold view 3, but listening to WLC and NT Wright, I am veering towards 2.

What do you think?

4
Choose Your Own Topic / ...but we have not found an explanation YET!
« on: December 06, 2016, 10:27:32 am »
This is something I picked up from another thread and thought I might make a new topic here.

When it comes to Darwinian Evolution (DE), I find that people suddenly reverse their reasoning then when they are arguing against theistic arguments.

So when someone points out that there are problems with DE, i.e. the existence of irriducibly complex systems, guaranteed someone will say something like this:

Quote
Are you stating that they absolutely lack any possibility of a natural explanation ?  Or just that we haven't found one yet ?

This is just as an example and I am not picking on anyone in particular, so I am not saying from whom this was. So please do not take this the wrong way :)

This kind of answer always bothers me. I know it is generally accepted that absence of evidence/explanation is not necessarily evidence for absence and that we should avoid god-of-the-gap like arguments. So yes it is a bit of a leap to say that therefore God must have done it.

However, this kind of answer becomes a gap stopper itself.

When arguing about theism and take for example the FTE, if one of the premises lacks serious evidence, then if I were to answer "well we just haven't found the evidence yet" surely you would not accept this right? Because defending the FTE, I can't just leave gaps in my argument right?

Has anyone thought about that if you can't show evidence and/or explain a basic and foundational process in DE, then it just has not got off the ground. Of course, explanations or discovery of evidence may be found later, but until then it has not been established, because the claim is that it explains the existence of every living biological function.

So if someone challenges the Darwinian Evolution by showing a lack of evidence in a foundational way, how is it suddenly right to just say "oh but we just have not found evidence yet"?

Something that has been playing on my mind for a while and it may be that there is a good explanation for it, but I haven't found it yet (oh stop it!  ;D)

5
Choose Your Own Topic / "Nothing" is a type of food
« on: July 11, 2014, 08:09:02 am »
A patient complained to his dietitian that he keeps on putting weight, yet he was adamant that he has eaten nothing.

After careful investigation of his weight and how long he has not been eating, the dietitian concluded that we should re-define "nothing", in more proper dietists terms since it is clear that it contains energy as to account for the weight increase of the patient. You see, philosophers might tell us that nothing is not-anything, but this is obviously naive. They do not do all the legwork that dietitians do and discover its properties based on evidence. So obviously "nothing" must be a type of food.

One does well to avoid it, because it leads to weight increase!

7
After reading the post about Matt Dillahunty, I had no idea who he is, so I thought I'd look him up. Turns out he started a wiki site called Iron Chariots. So I had a quick browse around and stumbled onthe Kalam argument (how could I resist).

He begins to explain: "The kalam argument is an altered form of the cosmological argument. It is intended to circumvent the infinite regress problem contained within the traditional cosmological argument by altering the premises." http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Kalam

So it sounds like there was a traditional Cosmological Argument (TCA) which had the problem "But what caused God", so the Kalam version was invented to avoid this problem. Conveniently he also linked to another page explaining the TCA version. Now I have often heard this line of argument and did not think much of it and assumed some medieval theologians must have used this version initially.

So I thougth, where does this traditional version actually come from? The only reference to further reading was at the bottom of the page to http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/ which mentions the Kalam, Contingency, the Gale-Pruss version, but no TCA that the wiki article was tallking about. So this makes me wonder, who in the history of CAs has ever used this?

Because if it isn't, then the KCA is NOT a variation to try and circumvent the infinite regress problem.

8
Choose Your Own Topic / "Murder is wrong" is a subjective statement??
« on: February 04, 2014, 06:30:34 am »
You may be baffled by this, but I had a serious and quite heated conversation with an atheist who claimed this to be the case. In the end I was lost for other ways to explain this and gave up.

But I can't stop thinking about it so, let's at least try to rescue his argument and see where it leads. There's nothing worse than insisting on an argument and drive someone up the wall and discover later that you're wrong ;D

So his thinking goes as follows:

1. When I make a moral statement, I came up with it (subjectivism).
2. Subjectivity means that a thought or opinion originated in the individual
3. Therefore, to say "Murder is wrong" is in nature a subjective claim.
4. However, this allows me to believe that I think everyone should agree with me simply because it is a good idea. I can be wrong about this, but we can reason about this and possibly find agreement.

This is my thought on this:

If subjectivity is based on the origin of a thought, then everything becomes subjective. I mean, all statements come from the mind.

What makes a statement subjective or objective depends on what it refers to. For example:
"I like apples", refers to my personal state of mind regarding apples. So apples in this case are intended to be objective (real things existing outside my mind) and "I like" is intended to be subjective (my personal state of mind).

"Paris is the capital of France" is objective because the claim refers to something outside the mind being the case. It is not necessarily correct, but the fact that it could be wrong shows it is a claim to something objective. It has a truth value.

Thirdly, the word "is" is a existential quantifier. So when someone says "Murder is wrong", he/she is making a categorical statement because the statement has an existential quantifier and refers to something outside the mind. Hence it is an objective claim.

Yes ok, but what happens when we say "I believe murder is wrong", or "in my opinion murder is wrong". Because then we are refering both to our own state of mind and to a kind of action or state of affairs external to the mind.

So is this subjective or objective? If we say subjective, then again all statements become subjective because implicitely it is implied with every statement that I believe it. So I believe that Paris is the capitol of France" even if it is a fact. Technically we always believe facts. Belief is a necessary condition of knowledge of facts.

Opinion can mean a lot of things: judgement, belief, viewpoint, which some of them seem subjective. Yet, when stated in a sentence, there may still be an objective reference. So in the case of "it is my opinion that murder is wrong", I am really saying that "It is my subjective opinion that murder is objectively wrong" It is my subjective opinion in the sense that I could be deluded or something like that, but because I refer to an external action and use the existential quantifier, I am expressing that I think it is actually true that murder is wrong.

If I wanted to truly express a subjective opinion, I would have to say "I disapprove of murder" or "I don't like murder" and I have no say on what everyone else should believe. Because as soon as I tell people what they ought to believe, I am refering to an external state of affairs.

Now of course, in everyday language, we still say things like "The Beatles are really good", we all know it means "I like The Beatles". Yet this guy wanted to say very strongly that everyone ought to believe that murder is wrong and yet that this is a subjective view. In my view this is a contradiction.

Views?

PS: Sorry for the long winded post, but I wanted to eliminate as much abiguity as possible (I'm sure I failed ;) )

9
I was really happy when this question came up because I myself had the same question about his previous answer about the same issue.

Contrary to what others have said about the weekly Q&A, I find them usually very helpful and I read almost all of them  :-[

However, this week's one left me completely baffled:

Quote from: William Lane Craig
Rather what is correct to say is that on dualism-interactionism, you make decisions before you are aware of them. As explained in my earlier Question of the Week, this is unproblematic, since all you need in order to make free, rational decisions is an awareness of all of the relevant facts before you make the decision. Your (or the soul’s) awareness of making the decision then comes slightly after making the decision.

So to make a free, rational decision you need to be conscious of all the relevant facts, yet you make the decision itself before you are aware of it :o

Am I going bonkers or what?? Am I missing something fundamental??

10
Choose Your Own Topic / A non-moral problem of suffering?
« on: October 31, 2013, 04:53:22 am »
In Q&A #196 Problem of Evil without Objective Moral Values, Craig restructures a version of this argument avoiding all moral language

The background of this argument is that Craig has formulated a counter argument based on the notion of evil:

1. If God does not exist objective moral values do not exist
2. evil exists (see problem of evil)
3. Therefore moral values exist
4. Therefore God exists

So to avoid premise 2, atheists could remove all moral language and only refer to suffering, which some atheist philosophers did during debates with him. I seem to remember Stephen Law used this approach.

So Craig recommends atheists to formulate their argument this way:
Quote from: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/problem-of-evil-without-objective-moral-values#ixzz2jIL24czk
Here’s how I think the atheist should present the problem: he should drop all language of evil and just talk about suffering, or as some have put it, the problem of pain. Then he should argue that the nature of God, at least the Christian God, is such that because He is loving, He wouldn’t permit such terrible suffering. Here the non-theist makes no claim that the suffering is evil or that God would be wrong to permit it; rather he just claims that a loving person such as God is supposed to be wouldn’t allow such suffering

However, in what sense can we even formulate an objection to the existence of suffering and pain if we cannot affirm that this is bad? As soon as you say that a loving God would not permit such suffering, you presuppose the notion of love which is a moral notion and that it is good and valuable and that sparing human beings from suffering and pain is a good thing too. If you take this all away, what is left of the objection?

11
Choose Your Own Topic / The Core of ‘Mind and the Cosmos’
« on: August 28, 2013, 04:20:35 am »
Just read this very interesting article by Thomas Nagel.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/the-core-of-mind-and-cosmos/?_r=3

My initial reaction was that this is Naturalism hanging by a thread that he is desperately trying to hang on and so redefines it to include spiritual/mind. But then I started thinking, perhaps he has a point. From a Christian point of view, God created minds and spirits so they are part of the created order and if we can define Nature as the created order, then perhaps we should also think of mind/spirit as natural. But this surely also opens the door to other spiritual beings such as demons and angels. will Nagel be open to that too? God however, as the creator is not part of creation and hence is supernatural.

Thoughts?

12
Really interesting question of the week this week.

So basically if you have a bag of beans, but you don't know the colours, quantities etc... to say the probability of picking a red bean = 0.5 is obviouly wrong. But also if you then say the probability is 1 in N (N = however possible shades of colours there are) is equally wrong, because perhaps there are just 2 colours and probability is 0.5, perhaps there is no red so probability is 0. Or perhaps there is 1 white and the rest is red so probability of picking red is very high.

It seems so obvious now, but I never thought about this before.

Thoughts? (sorry this is not really a challenge or topic of debate, but feel free to challenge this anyway :) )

13
Choose Your Own Topic / Is the quantum vacuum nothing?
« on: July 01, 2013, 06:37:27 am »
I know this has been debated to death, but I was just thinking over this question in a more simple way.

So the argument usually goes something like this:

Scenario A
1. A virtual particle comes into being from a Quantum Vacuum (QV)
2. A QV is nothing
3. Therefore something can come from nothing

Now the standard resonse is to quote physicists who say that the quantum vacuum is not nothing at all etc...

But isn't it even simpler than that?

Stating that "the QV is nothing" is logically equivalent in saying that "the QV does/did not exist"

Therefore scenario A does not even exist.

So for scenario A to be possible, the QV has to exist. But that is equivalent to saying that the QV is something.

What do you people think? Is this a simple language trick? But isn't the one saying that "the quantum vacuum is nothing" playing a language trick in the first place?

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