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Messages - Ben Kissling

I heartily endorse this ridiculous and impossible proposal. Then all the conservatives could sit back and laugh while the Liberal Catholic Church dwindles into nothing.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Closing in on a theory of Adam
« on: April 30, 2020, 06:26:48 pm »
I'm not totally against this view but you still have a scenario where Adam makes his selection "before" the B-theory timeline. In that case if God chooses that timeline before the B-theory timeline exists then you still have an A-theory timeline like this:

1) Time t1: God scans His available timelines that meet His sovereign will.
2) Time t2: He sees that if an Adam timeline were to exist that there are two possible timelines: X-timeline where Adam obeys, Y-timeline where Adam disobeys.
3) Time t3: God chooses Y based on omniscience of knowing what Adam will do in the future. God's omniscience also informs to God what in fact He chooses at time t3 so He knows He's making the right choice at time t3.
4) Time t4: God creates the B-theory timeline where all of time exists at once. This includes the fall.

Well I'm not sure what all that meant to you but it means nothing to me. I hold that God exists outside of time and therefore His actions do not occur sequentially but "simultaneously" so to speak. I also don't really believe that counterfactual knowledge exists, therefore I don't see God as choosing from "available timelines".

Choose Your Own Topic / Craig endorses scientific Molinism
« on: April 30, 2020, 09:21:40 am »
RF recently uploaded to youtube a video of an EPS meeting discussing the ID critique of TE back in November which I watched late last night. In his talk which begins here  (transcript), Craig notes that the paper under discussion motions towards a Molinist solution to the problem of reconciling Divine Providence with Darwinian randomness.

I had previously been wondering if Craig might take that tack, but it's the first time I've heard him endorse it. I've actually run into this view before in online debates over creation. I also have been pondering Francis' Collins proposal in The Language of God for many years, and I think "scientific Molinism" (SM) is essentially the same as what Collins proposed. Collins put it this way:

If God is outside of nature, then He is outside of space and time.  In that context, God could in the moment of creation also know every detail of the future.  That could include the formation of the stars, planets, galaxies, all of the chemistry, physics, geology, and biology that led to the formation of life on earth, and the evolution of humans, right to the moment of your reading this book-and beyond.   Thus, God could be completely and intimately involved in the creation of all species, while from our perspective, limited as it is by the tyranny of linear time, this would appear a random and undirected process.

I have thought a lot about this, and unfortunately Collins never really goes into detail, but it seems to me that this solution requires a theistic version of the multiverse where God has in His mind all the possible random worlds and then chooses and manifests the random world He wants. Collins' view appears to require a B-theory of time to explain God's knowledge of the future. Craig rejects the B-theory of time and attributes God's knowledge of the many possible futures to Middle Knowledge. But I think the two approaches are quite similar. In my own mind, I have been calling Collins' view "scientific Molinism" for several years now. I think this is the most interesting solution I've heard to the TE problem.

Ever since pondering Collins' version of this I've come to the following objection which equally applies to Craig's proposed version and also to regular Molinism (RM): How does God cause the existence of the random aspects of this mental simulation without losing their randomness? In other words, once God's chosen world has been made manifest exclusive to all other possible worlds, how can it be made random again? 

The RM version of this is: How does God cause the existence of the free will aspects of this mental simulation without losing their freedom?

Since Craig rejects the B-theory of time which appears necessary to Collins' view, Craig's solution to this is to define the problem away by not defining "randomness" as "chance". He says, quoting biologist Ernst Mayr:

“There is no correlation between the production of new genotypes and the adaptational needs of an organism in a given environment.”
Such a definition of “random” is quite compatible with God’s causing mutations to occur with a certain end in view.

But if that were the case, then there is no need for SM or God's Middle Knowledge. Craig is describing a deterministic universe where God can simply predict the outcome from the initial conditions and natural law. In fact, he pretty much states that explicitly:

Given divine Middle Knowledge, supernatural intervention in the evolutionary processes are not necessary for God's direction of the evolutionary process. For God could have known that were certain initial conditions in place than given the laws of nature certain lifeforms would evolve through random mutation and natural selection. And so He put such laws and initial conditions in place.

And this brings me full circle back to RM. In the case of RM, if God specified the initial conditions and natural laws which would inevitably lead to the outcome He wanted, how does free will still exist? Obviously, Craig did not say this, but it seems to me a similar situation. If there are three possible types of causation: agency, necessity and chance, than necessity is the only deterministic cause while agency and chance are both non-deterministic. Craig rejects chance and agency in reference to SM, leaving only necessity and determinism. Is he also doing the same thing with respect to RM? That would involve rejecting both chance and agency, leaving only necessity, in which case RM and divine Middle Knowledge is superfluous. There is no actual reconciliation of chance, agency and necessity because chance and agency have just been ruled out, not reconciled.

Obviously, SM as Craig proposed it cannot be the same solution as RM, because RM purports to accept agency as a real cause, and is therefore non-deterministic, while SM rejects chance as a real cause and is clearly described as deterministic. So I fail to see why SM solves any actual problems here. The problem is instead resolved by simply rejecting "chance" as a cause and substituting determinism.

I also think Craig's definition of "randomness" taken from Mayr is not an accurate understanding of how evolutionary theory models random mutations, but that is a different discussion I might take up later. I do think this is a serious objection to RM, but for now I think we can just observe that Craig at least is making different claims about SM versus RM, and treat them differently.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Closing in on a theory of Adam
« on: April 30, 2020, 08:15:34 am »

Since we're talking about the B-theory of time I might point out that William Dembski has suggested a solution to the problem of death before the Fall in his book The End of Christianity, which I'd highly recommend. In his terms, a "kairos" rather than "chronos" view of the Fall means the Fall can be a consequence of an event which occurred prior to it on the timeline. I find that explanation satisfactory as a YEC, since as a YEC with an education in biochemistry I have to take lancia's scenario seriously. YEC's issue with death before the Fall is theologically and scientifically equivalent to OECs' and others'. So if we accept a B-theory of time and that the Fall can be an effect which occurs prior to its cause due to God's existing eternally outside of time, then I think that's preferable to the proposed "quantum woo". And it also means that as a YEC I cannot use this "death before the Fall" argument against any other views, which I'm sure you would appreciate Harvey. bff?

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Craig and the thorn in the flesh
« on: April 12, 2020, 09:02:08 am »
I always assumed it was some kind of sin, but I have no supporting evidence. Not sure why Craig assumes it's a physical disability either.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Falsifiability - for Gordon
« on: April 06, 2020, 05:17:45 pm »
Why are we discussing the falsifiability criterion in the context of theology? This is a scientific principle.  It's not a thing in theology.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Falsifiability - for Gordon
« on: April 05, 2020, 05:38:36 pm »
Curious - what brought this on and why is this for Gordon?

If you don't believe in recapitulation theory, than what in the flowerbed are you talking about?

Maybe you could show me what pictures you are talking about. There is a reason why nobody believes recapitulation theory anymore. I suppose theologians could be a century behind biology, but it can only be out of willful ignorance.

Because the body is built on the foundation of the spine, so the spine forms first.

Please don't tell me you still believe the recapitulation theory. Nobody believes that anymore.

Remember kids: as Harvey says in his epistle to the Genevians: "14. Whoever keeps the whole science and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" - Genevians 3:14

I find this to be a fair and accurate portrayal of what Harvey said.  :D

Re: lucious

Evolution denial is only new in the sense that evolutionary theory is new. Prior to the advent of evolutionary theory, Christianity pre-emptively denied evolution by believing the biblical creation account. Since then, a very small portion of the worldwide Christian church consisting of a few academics attempting to ingratiate themselves with secular academia along with a number of denominational hierarchical institutions which clearly do not represent the majority of their actual congregations have begun to deny the traditional biblical account on the basis of modern science. Their efforts have been most successful in Western civilization where publicly funded education has been forced upon the people and prescribed by law to be secular as part of a grand social engineering project which was intended as such from its very conception.

In other words, the effort required to turn western civilization away from traditional Christianity is extraordinary, but somehow we have managed to do it, showing once again man's propensity towards rebellion.

Well what did John Lennon expect using such outrageous lyrics.
He made him self the target.


LOL. Agreed.

Can we get back to talking about how awesome Nightwish is?

They went so far as to have Richard Dawkins reading selections from Origin of Species on their last album entitled Endless Forms Most Beautiful .

Obviously, they are asking to be assassinated.  /sarcasm

PS: That album sucks. Get some of their earlier stuff or wait for the new one to drop in a few months.

Choose Your Own Topic / Re: Defend your faith!
« on: March 09, 2020, 11:26:36 am »
Re: OP

God's and the Bible's definition of "love" includes choice. Therefore the only way humans could be in a loving relationship with God is if free will exists. If free will exists, than humans can choose to reject God.

God did reveal Himself directly to a number of people who then rejected Him. Therefore your claim that God revealing Himself would necessitate belief is where I would disagree with your argument.

Science is not a monolith. It's not a singular entity which must be either wholly rejected or wholly accepted. All of these things have to be examined on a case by case basis.

In the case of stars or planets forming, my judgment is pretty easy. It's never been observed, and theory saying that stars and planets can form on their own is unconvincing. It goes against observed natural law, in particular the observation that gases always expand in a vacuum. The claim is that at a certain density, called the Jeans length, gravitational collapse will occur. That means the gravitational forces within the gas cloud overpower molecular repulsive forces. But the 2nd Law would seem to suggest that gases will always expand in a vacuum. How would the Jeans length ever  be reached? I do not find this account plausible, and since it hasn't been observed I can rationally reject it. I don't have to reject the Standard Model or anything else really to do that. In fact, I appeal to known and demonstrated theories to do so.

Interesting. The rational approach upon finding out I know what I'm talking about is to respect me and my position marginally more. Instead you have chosen the irrational response and started making snide comments. The rational response from my perspective is to respect you and your position less. I hope you don't take it personally. You can always earn this respect back by not making more snide comments and engaging with on the substance.

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