troyjs

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2011, 10:45:53 pm »

I was reading up on this a little, and it seems, just to be clear, that the proposition "I have lots of water, but I am out of H2O" is broadly logically impossible, whereas if we tease out H2O's referent to create the non-synonymous (but logically equivalent) proposition, "I have lots of water, but I am out of water," this is strictly logically impossible.


The idea of synonymity is crucial to this discussion. The reason that it is supposed that it is logically impossibly for a bachelor to be married, is because of synonymity. The word 'bachelor' is synonymous with 'unmarried man'.
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2011, 10:27:45 pm »
>>it is logically impossibly for a bachelor to be married<<

Why claim that the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" speaks of an impossibility? The truth is that it speaks of nothing at all.  Impossibilities are fictional things like a person flapping their arms and flying or bears talking.

But the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" is a violation of language usage and does not speak of an impossibility -- or of a possibility -- it just speaks of nothing at all.  It is a violation of the rules for language use.

My claim is based on the fact that you aren't supposed to use the word "bachelor" with an adjective which prohibits the quality of being married because the language is such that the label "bachelor" is reserved for unmarried men exclusively.   Someone may rebel and say "Don't tell me I can't put that adjective 'married' with bachelor if I want to, nobody can stop me!".  My answer will be "Indeed you do can that, but if you do that you might as well be flicking your lips going bwibbuh bwibbuh".    

So why do linguists treat the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" with such high respect as to claim that it refers to a logical impossibility?  Why should a totally useless utterance get more respect than flicking your lips and going "bwibbuh bwibbuh".  It should get less respect, because if somebody did a "bwibbuh bwibbuh" they would not be pretending to be saying anything. However somebody speaking the phrase "for a bachelor to be married" might be pretending to be saying something when he isn't.

Sorry I rambled on and on.  I'll try to be briefer next time, if there is one.  My point is that linguists and logicians are wrong to claim that "for a bachelor to be married" speaks of a logical impossibility, for it doesn't speak of anything!  So why say it refers to a logical impossibility when it refers to nothing at all. I don't get it!

EdwinMcCravy


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troyjs

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2011, 11:39:29 pm »

The concept of a married bachelor is like the concept of a round square, but where do we get our definition of bachelor from? Do we get it from a dictionary? If so, have we seen all the dictionaries which define the word bachelor, to see if they all agree? The name of a word is distinguishable to it's definition, otherwise the only way to define the word bachelor would be to use it. A word named, is logically prior to a word defined, and a word can only be defined empirically. There are therefore no analytic propositions.

“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2011, 12:42:34 am »

The concept of a married bachelor is like the concept of a round square,


Why do you say that there is a concept when there is none?  There is no way anyone could honestly claim to have a concept that they would label "a concept of a married bachelor" or "a concept of a round square". There are only those words spoken or written.  There is no concept of anything in our brain's capacity to think to match the words "married bachelor" or "round square".  Do you really believe there is any concept there?  I don't.
I see a misuse of words, and no concept registers with me.

but where do we get our definition of bachelor from? Do we get it from a dictionary?


Even if we do, the lexicographers got it from observing people using "bachelor" as a label for unmarried men.  They get it from use.

If so, have we seen all the dictionaries which define the word bachelor, to see if they all agree? The name of a word is distinguishable to it's definition, otherwise the only way to define the word bachelor would be to use it. A word named, is logically prior to a word defined, and a word can only be defined empirically. There are therefore no analytic propositions.


I agree with that 100%.  As Wittgenstein said "Don't look to the meaning, look to the use".  There is no use for contradictions or type crossings.  (A type crossing is a silly misuse of words such as "The theory of relativity is blue").  There is a use for a tautology such as "A bachelor is an unmarried man".  That could be used to teach someone the word "bachelor".  It is figurative speech for "The word 'bachelor' means 'unmarried man'".

What is your stand, religion-wise?  Do you agree with Dr. Craig's teachings?

EdwinMcCravy


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troyjs

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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2011, 01:18:50 am »
Even if we do, the lexicographers got it from observing people using "bachelor" as a label for unmarried men.  They get it from use.


The problem is that if we reduce all propositions to synthetic propositions, then we have no epistemic right to affirm that the meanings of words can not change. Lexicographers are susceptible to error, and just as the meaning of words is learned a posteriori, we can not deny the possibility that the meaning of the word bachelor is not completely understood by us. How do we know that the people who the lexicographers questioned or observed, used the word correctly? Words are useful pragmatically, but that doesn't mean we know what they mean.

As far as round-squares go, it is self-contradictory to deny that an entity with being has no meaning. Given that it is a self-contradictory idea (concept), then as Meinong said, only things with being can be self-contradictory, and so to affirm it's incoherence, is to affirm it's existence.
Non-being can not be self-contradictory or incoherent. Do nonexistent-beings exist? This is incoherent because the idea of a non-existent being is self-contradictory.

I am a Christian, Protestant, Calvinist. No, I do not subscribe to Dr Craigs' philosophy or theology, but I do respect his intelligence and work. Then again, I respect the work of Quine, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Russell, Kant, Kripke, and Popper.
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2011, 11:09:07 am »
As far as round-squares go, it is self-contradictory to deny that an entity with being has no meaning.


Are you saying it is self-contradictory to deny that the words "an entity with being" has no meaning?

How are you using "meaning"?  If I use "meaning" at all, I only use it in the sense that only symbols can be said to have meaning.  FI, I can say "The word 'dog' has meaning" but I can't say "That dog has meaning".  Or if I do say "That dog has meaning" I would be talking about some different use of the word "meaning".  Since the word "meaning" is troublesome, I often take Wittgenstein's advice and speak only of the USE of a word and avoid the word "meaning" altogether.  

Given that it is a self-contradictory idea (concept),


I cannot understand "self-contradictory idea (concept)". Since we cannot think of anything which a contradictory sentence could refer to, how could we justify saying that we are having any idea or concept at all?

I think I am correct to assume that you and he use "things with being" synonymously with "existent things".  Correct me if I'm wrong.

Edwin


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troyjs

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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2011, 09:17:51 pm »
"The word 'dog' has meaning" but I can't say "That dog has meaning".  


What is the difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'?
Why does one have meaning, while the other doesn't? One exists in the mind, while the other exists in the mind and in reality. The only difference is that the referent of the latter also happens to exist outside of our mind. But I would argue that the referent in the phrase 'that dog', is in fact not outside of our minds, otherwise it could not be known, for to be known, is to be in the mind. Therefore, there is no essential difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'.

I cannot understand  "self-contradictory idea (concept)". Since we cannot think of anything  which a contradictory sentence could refer to, how could we justify  saying that we are having any idea or concept at all?  


The definition of a being, is equivalent to all propositions which describe it.

Two descriptive propositions which refer to the round-square, are:
Entity p is round
Entity p is square

Given that to understand the descriptive propositions which refer to to an entity, is to understand what the entity is, and descriptive propositions can contradict, then we can understand an entity which is incoherent. Do you mean by 'having an idea of', to have a visual representation of?

I think I am correct to assume  that you and he use "things with being" synonymously with "existent  things".  Correct me if I'm wrong.


Technically, I would use the word 'existence' in the same or similar way to Aristotle. Essence, is being, and Existence is non-being. (Ex-istence is coming from essence to essence). Dealing what the classic problem with the 'one-and-the-many'. The pre-socratics argued mainly with 2 seemingly contradictory views -- that everything is one and nothing changes, and that everything is many and everything is always changing. In this case, I am using it in the vulgar sense to mean 'a thing which is'. So for an entity to be itself, it must have have essence, and to have essence, is to be 'a thing which is'. Untimately, the word existence is just as meaningful as the word 'is' is. For example, what do we mean when we say, 'a cat exists'? Do we mean that a cat is physical, round, red, short or cogent? Do we mean that we can interact with it and make observations about it? This is why I claim that to say a being does not exist, is to commit a self-contradiction, because we end up saying, a 'being is not a being', or 'an entity which is, isn't'.

For example. What is a Pegasus? It is a horse with wings, and can fly.
Can non-existing entities fly? Of course not, since non-being, can not do anything.
Does Pegasus exist?

To say that the word 'pegasus' is meaningless, is to deny the meaningfulness of possible-world semantics, and all counterfactual statements. For there is a possible-world in which pegasus does fly.




“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2011, 09:43:56 am »
troyjs wrote:  "The word 'dog' has meaning" but I can't say "That dog has meaning".  

What is the difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'?
You missed my point.  You thought I was contrasting the word "dog" and the phrase "that dog".  No indeed!  I was contrasting a dog with "dog":  A dog is composed of flesh, tissue, muscle, skin, hair, bones, cartilage, and blood, but "dog" is composed only of three alphabet letters.  A row of three alphabet letters is not alive, has no tail to wag when it's happy. That's the two things I was contrasting.  Maybe you did understand what I was meant and just misspoke here. The word "dog" and the phrase "that dog" are both made of alphabet letters, the former being made of three letters and the latter being made of 7 letters with a space between the second "t" and the "d".  Neither are composed of flesh and bones as a dog is.  
Why does one have meaning, while the other doesn't?
Words have meanings but dogs don't.  You can look up the word "dog" in the dictionary but it doesn't make sense to speak of 'looking up a dog in the dictionary'.  There are no dogs in the dictionary, but only words printed on paper.  So the word "dog" is something that has a meaning or a definition, but a dog doesn't have a meaning.  It just pants, barks and wags its tail.
there is no essential difference between the word 'dog', and the phrase 'that dog'.

Indeed.

The definition of a being, is equivalent to all propositions which describe it.

And what are those?  I wanted you to elaborate on what you mean by "a being".  One's first impression when he sees the word "being" is the verb "be" with the "-ing" suffix.  So one would naturally think that "being" must have to do with existence since "to be" is "to exist".

Do you mean by 'having an idea of', to have a visual representation of?
There is noting visual about my idea or concept of the taste of chocolate! yum!  We have five senses, so no, not necessarily visual.  People blind from birth have no visual sense at all. They sense most things with their other senses.  Or it's like air is to us sighted people.  We cannot see air (except when it is liquefied) but we can certainly feel it going in and out of our noses, mouths, throats and lungs and we can feel it blowing against us when we are in the wind or in front of an electric fan.  So we can sense air as well as we can sense rocks.  So again, no, ideas and concepts are not necessarily visual.  
Technically, I would use the word 'existence' in the same or similar way to Aristotle. Essence, is being, and Existence is non-being.
Now I am afraid you have lost me.  How can a word derived from the verb "to be" such as "being" mean the opposite of existence when 'to be' is 'to exist'?

Also you speak a lot of 'essence'. I take it that when somebody asks "What is the essence of X?" that they are asking "What adjectives apply to X".  So I'm asking you to further explain what you mean by "being" and "essence".    
About the "one-and-the-many".  Is it like one forest is many trees?

...2 seemingly contradictory views that everything is one and nothing changes, and that everything is many and everything is always changing.,/quote]
Everything is made of electrons and it's true that the electrons don't change themselves.  But they do change their locations.  So the electrons don't change but their locations do. So I agree they only seem to be contradictory but they are not.
we end up saying, a 'being is not a being', or 'an entity which is, isn't'.
I think you are saying this:
"Since we include 'existence' as a necessary attribute in the definition of the word 'God', then to say 'God does not exist' is to say the contradiction 'What exists does not exist'.  But is "existence" part of the definition of "God"?  If so, atheists could not say "God does not exist" for that would be a contradiction. What would they say instead? Would they say the word "God" is defined with a contradiction?

For example. What is a Pegasus? It is a horse with wings, and can fly.  Can non-existing entities fly? Of course not, since non-being, can not do anything. Does Pegasus exist?

To say that the word 'pegasus' is meaningless, is to deny the meaningfulness of possible-world semantics, and all counterfactual statements.
I agree fully that the name "Pegasus" is meaningful, for Pegasus can certainly be imagined as being sensed.  Can God be imagined as being sensed?  Do you think so?
Edwin

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troyjs

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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2011, 01:38:05 am »
You missed my point.  You thought I was contrasting the word "dog" and the phrase "that dog".  No indeed!  I was contrasting a dog with "dog":  


I understand you want to differentiate between word and object, but the problem with this is that the only objects we know are in our minds, for if they were not in our minds, then we would not know them. But given this fact, it is impossible to distinguish the word or concept, from the thing itself. They are precisely the same thing, except one is a priori, while the other is a posteriori.

The word 'dog', if it is a word, is more that the three letters we come to know a posteriori. It has meaning and a referrent  -- this referrent is supposedly external to our minds. But it is not. The referrent is the thing known, ie. the idea.

When we refer to dogs in the 'external world', we refer to our understanding of them, which is in the mind. Both the word and the object, exist only in our minds as far as we can know. The word refers to the descriptive propositions, and the object known is our understanding of those descriptive propositions.


Everything is made of electrons and it's true that the electrons don't change themselves.  But they do change their locations.  So the electrons don't change but their locations do. So I agree they only seem to be contradictory but they are not.


When an arrow is in flight, it must traverse an infinite number of points -- But this impossible. Therefore, the arrow in flight is not moving. The same for all cause/effect relations. If p, then q. If q, then r. Let p be the 'first' cause, and r be the 'last' effect in the series of causes and effects.If p, then r. That means, that the first cause can not exist or occur without the final effect occuring. Therefore, the flow of time, and cause/effect are illusory. If an entity is always changing from being being 'a' to 'b' to 'c', etc, and never static, then it can never be being 'a' or 'b' or 'c', because then it would not be changing. The conception of 'the-many' is refuted by the law of identity.


I agree fully that the name "Pegasus" is meaningful, for Pegasus can certainly be imagined as being sensed.  Can God be imagined as being sensed?  Do you think so?


I am not a Logical Positivist, nor a neo-Wittgensteinian. We can not possibly know things by sensing them, for all we would know are our sensations. Our knowledge of our sensations exist in the mind, but we infer that there is something external to our minds, in order to account for our perceptions. We can also infer logically that God exists, in order to account for propositions which we hold to be true. God is a being. It is self-contradictory to assert that a being is non-being(does not exist), therefore God exists, and it is self-contradictory to assert otherwise.

Whether God is involved in human affairs or not, is a different question, and we would be discussing Theology.
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2011, 12:09:50 pm »



troyjs wrote:  I understand you want to differentiate between word and object, but the problem with this is that the only objects we know are in our minds, for if they were not in our minds, then we would not know them.
Now I understand "mind" as a word that we use as if it referred to something other than the workings and activities of the brain, such as remembering, thinking, conceptualizing, and conceiving of. However just because we have a word in our language that we speak as though it meant something separate from the activities of the brain, there is no reason to believe that there is anything else involved with the use of "mind" other than brain activity -- "neurons firing" as they say.
But given this fact, it is impossible to distinguish the word or concept, from the thing itself. They are precisely the same thing, except one is a priori, while the other is a posteriori.
That can't be true because words are made of ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen (as here) whereas the things they represent are usually composed of something other than ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen.

The word 'dog', if it is a word, is more that the three letters we come to know a posteriori.
I disagree that the word "dog" is anything other than just the ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen. You will never hear the word "dog" bark. You will never see the word "dog" wag its tail, for it has no tail to wag, unless the tail on the bottom of the "g" :-)
It has meaning and a referrent
Yes indeed the word "dog" HAS meaning and a referent. But "HAS" is not "IS". My dog HAS a favorite toy, but you can't say my dog IS his favorite toy. Words HAVE meanings, but you can't say words ARE their meaning. You are somehow lumping "HAS" and "IS" together in a way I cannot understand.
-- this referrent is supposedly external to our minds. But it is not. The referrent is the thing known, ie. the idea.
But there are no dogs in my brain. There are only neurons with chemically stored memories of dogs in there. I'm sorry but I can't seem to get any sense out of what you are saying here. Maybe we need to discuss the words "mind" and "brain".

When an arrow is in flight, it must traverse an infinite number of points -- But this impossible.
But that is only what mathematicians SAY. They say "A line is an infinite number of points". But that's only mathspeak. There is no such thing as a point or a line. When we make a dot on a piece of paper that dot has thickness and height, yet a mathematician says "it has no thickness or height". But he only SAYS that. The same with a line. A line supposedly has only length but no thickness, but any line we draw has thickness. Mathematicians only SAY "a line has no thickness". But just because they SAY that, we can't necessarily conclude anything other than that they SAID that. Now they may make useful calculations based on using zero for the thickness of a line, but I think that's beside the point.

I am not a Logical Positivist, nor a neo-Wittgensteinian.
Neither am I. I consider the verification principle to be flawed because truth of a sentence cannot be determined until its meaning has already been established. The verification principle puts the cart before the horse by saying truth precedes meaning. .
We can not possibly know things by sensing them, for all we would know are our sensations.
When you say "All we would know are our sensations", I can only interpret that as "all we would know is what we sense or can think of sensing". I think you are misled by the fact that there happens to be a noun form of the verb "to sense" in the language, namely the noun form "sensation". But just because a noun form of a verb has been coined, that does not mean that there is anything involved with that noun form other than the activity represented by that verb. The only difference between saying "I am sensing a dog" and saying "I am having a sensation of a dog" is the grammar. Indeed all we know is what we can either sense or what we can think of sensing.
Our knowledge of our sensations exist in the mind, but we infer that there is something external to our minds, in order to account for our perceptions. We can also infer logically that God exists, in order to account for propositions which we hold to be true. God is a being. It is self-contradictory to assert that a being is non-being(does not exist), therefore God exists, and it is self-contradictory to assert otherwise.
Yes, I think you are misled by the fact that the nouns "mind" and "sensation" have been coined. Anything that can be said using the word "mind" can always be reworded using only "brain" and "brain activity". There is nothing magic about the fact that the word "mind", or the noun form of verb "to sense", i.e., "sensation", has been coined. We only sense things or think of sensing them, and reason what we can about the things we sense or think of sensing -- and we use our brains to think of sensing things.
Edwin

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troyjs

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« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2011, 07:50:54 pm »
That can't be true because words are  made of ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen (as here)  whereas the things they represent are usually composed of something  other than ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a computer screen.


Allow me to clarify my position a little better. Epistemologically, I might be properly called an Idealist. That is not to say that I don't believe in an external world, but that I don't believe we can know anything about the external world. Ink, pencils, brains, etc, are only ideas in the mind. The sensations we have are phenomena we explain by inferring an external world, but the phenomenon of sensation is not sufficient to prove that there really is a world other than our thoughts.

I disagree that the word "dog" is  anything other than just the ink, pencil lead, or lit pixels on a  computer screen. You will never hear the word "dog" bark. You will never  see the word "dog" wag its tail, for it has no tail to wag, unless the  tail on the bottom of the "g" :-)


An assortment of letters alone, do not make a word. A word such as the word 'dog', is an idea synonymous with it's descriptive propositions. You want to differentiate between the word and the object, but you end up making an object of the word, ie. instead of having 'physical' dogs, and the abstract word, which refers to the physical, we now have physical dogs, and a physical assortment of letters. The word 'dog' is a constructed idea of what the physical dog is, and is the reason why we can use words in sentences. The three letters are not essential to the word, as I would not have to use them if we were talking face-to-face. The three letters, or the phonetic sounds which refer to the word, are not the word. Yes, we may never hear the three letters bark, but the word 'dog' can be translated into descriptive propositions, which would include the idea of barking.

I do not differentiate between a thing, and the idea of a thing.

When you say "All we would know are  our sensations", I can only interpret that as "all we would know is what  we sense or can think of sensing"


Yes, but just because we have the feeling of hearing something, does not mean there is something making a sound to hear. You believe that you are seeing a screen, but you can never possibly prove to yourself that the screen outside of yourself actually exists. All we know is the dream, we infer an external world to account for our ideas, but can not prove that it is there.

But there are no dogs in my brain.  There are only neurons with chemically stored memories of dogs in there.  I'm sorry but I can't seem to get any sense out of what you are saying  here. Maybe we need to discuss the words "mind" and "brain".  


To use your categories, you could never prove that dogs are anything but the bio-chemical reactions in your brain. All you would know, are those chemical reactions, and just because you have those reactions, does not mean there are actually any dogs in the world. All we know, are our ideas.

Anything that can be said using the word "mind" can always be reworded using only "brain" and "brain activity"


Define the word brain.

“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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bruce culver

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2011, 11:55:03 pm »
WLC says there is no logical contradiction in the proposition, “God does not exist,” but he also affirms that God is a logically necessary being.  These two affirmations appear to be in conflict.  If God is a logically necessary being, then to say “God does not exist” is equivalent to saying “a logically necessary being does not exist” which is self-contradictory.   Surely WLC recognizes this.  Perhaps he just means the contradiction is not self-evident as is the case with a proposition such as “it is true that there is no truth.”  Is anyone aware of a place where WLC discusses this?  Does anyone know how WLC explains himself?  

   

   Saying God is a logically necessary being is saying next to nothing except that there is some being for which there is no other explanation than "It is what it is" , and I am going to call that being "God". But that tells you next to nothing about the nature of that being except perhaps that it must be timeless and spaceless. But since our minds are conditioned to space- time, we can not even imagine what is possible or impossible for that which is eternal. To think that we can know that it is personal or impersonal, material or immaterial, is sheer hubris.

   In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if it transcended all categories of human thought, so that the truest statements one could make about it would be paradoxical ones like "It is neither personal nor impersonal, neither good nor evil, neither existent nor non existent." OK, maybe the last goes too far, but I'm not sure. Some of the paradoxes can be somewhat intelligible if one thinks in terms of being with dual transcendental/eternal and immanent/temporal aspects, others by considering it one without other.

   

   One thing I think we can know for sure is that whatever the nature of that which is what it is, we are a product of that and a part of that. If I understand the mystics and higher philosophers of the worlds great religions, I believe most of them are panentheist. I think Einstein may have been a panentheist also, but I am only going on that I know he said he was not an atheist and not exactly a pantheist and he frequently denied a personal God, God's judgement, special revelation and other aspects of traditional Judeo/Christian theology. Panentheism is the only other theism I can think of. There is even at least one alleged quotation of Jesus that has panentheist implications; that is...

   
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the

   

   least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Sure, it's a parable, and the king and his brothers are metaphors, but maybe the identity between them is meant more literally than figuratively. But then I'm not sure Jesus ever said that, nor that he was sane.

   

   Well, I ramble. But speculation is all what is left to a radical metaphysical skeptic, who is prone to believing, yet honest enough to admit that my beliefs do not constitute knowledge.

   

   Tell me: Does it not make sense that if metaphysics were knowable in the way science is now that there would be a good deal more consensus about it?

   
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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troyjs

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« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2011, 12:43:12 am »
Tell me: Does it not make sense that if metaphysics were knowable in the way science is now that there would be a good deal more consensus about it?


How is anything in science, knowable?
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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bruce culver

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“God does not exist” is a contradiction
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2011, 11:06:36 am »
How is anything in science, knowable?


Well, now, define knowledge, then. I suppose according to an idealist epistemology, scientific knowledge is not absolute knowledge. Fine, and I understand that any idea we have in our head about reality is not reality itself, but it is a model, and I would say the scientific method is the best that human beings have come to being able to decide which models better reflect reality, or physical, temporal reality anyway. And I would say that the success of science is the best argument for that opinion.

For example, germ theory and evil spirit theory are both models of our physical reality. Germ theory however has many advantages over evil spirit theory however. First, germs are empirically evident while spirits are not. Further, germ theory has explanatory power and allows us to make testable hypothesis. If the idea that many diseases are caused by germs is not knowledge, I'm not sure what is.


"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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troyjs

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« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2011, 08:12:12 am »
I would say the scientific method is the best that human beings have come to being able to decide which models better reflect reality, or physical, temporal reality anyway.


How do we know that our observations and scientific models correspond to reality? In other words, how is anything in science knowable?

 I would say that the success of science is the best argument for that opinion.  


What do you mean in saying science is successful? Do you mean that it is successful because it corresponds very well to reality, ie. it has given us knowledge? --In which case I would repeat my question. Or do you mean that because we have been able to develop our technology? -- In which case I would ask, How do we know that the models and theorems which allowed us to develop our technology, are true?

For example, germ theory and evil spirit theory are both models of our physical reality. Germ theory however has many advantages over evil spirit theory however. First, germs are empirically evident while spirits are not. Further, germ theory has explanatory power and allows us to make testable hypothesis. If the idea that many diseases are caused by germs is not knowledge, I'm not sure what is.  


How do we know that our observations regarding germ theory, correspond to reality? Even if they are empirically evident, this would only be an indicator of truth, if the scientific procedure leads us to truth. Many false theories have enabled us to make accurate predictions and hypotheses, yet have all been shown to be false, for example, Newton's Theory of Gravity.

Since Hume, we know that there is no knowledge in science. I understand you admire Einstein. Let me close with a quote:

if I had not read Kant and Hume I never would have had the courage to propose the Theory of Relativity.

“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin