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Evidentialism and Reformed Epistemology

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troyjs

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Atheism Cannot Justify Reason and Truth
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2011, 01:40:50 am »
Science(empiricism) does not use pure reason. It is based upon observation and inference. The philosophical school which uses pure reason is called Rationalism. Also, scienctific claims are nowadays purported to be only probably true. This is the relevance of Ockham's Razor, or the Law of Parsimony in regards to all scientific claims.

My experience is that a lot of people who think any undermining of the objective validity of science is done in fear for the sustainability of religious belief, is a retreat from answering tough philosophical questions.

kind regards
“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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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2011, 02:36:31 am »
tompaine wrote:
The problem is that nothing rules out religious thinking.


I don't see that as a problem. To me the problem is in not knowing the differences between the two. Science uses pure reason and leads to truths concerning the physical world. Those truths are submissable as knowledge. Religious thinking is based on beliefs that are influenced by emotional and social needs, it serves to provide meaning and hope and cultivate compassion. That is the true value of faith and one reason why I strongly recommend humility in the search for truths beyond those of science. To think one has got absolute truth nailed and that everyone needs to believe as you do leads to spiritual pride, factionalism, defensiveness, not things conducive to cultivating compassion.  That is why faith and belief are not submissable as knowledge.


Science doesn't use pure reason, but reason and evidence.
Your statement above about belief still shows what I'm saying which is that even if there was no God or that the God was malevolent, the religion would still continue the way it has since no evidence will make them reconsider.

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bruce culver

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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2011, 07:33:12 am »
Science(empiricism) does not use pure reason. It is based upon observation and inference. The philosophical school which uses pure reason is called Rationalism. Also, scienctific claims are nowadays purported to be only probably true. This is the relevance of Ockham's Razor, or the Law of Parsimony in regards to all scientific claims.

   

   OK, technically that may be the case. What I meant was that scientific thought has to do it's best to remove any emotionally derived biases, whereas religious thought does not. For example, the idea that there are objective moral values is emotionally derived from our feeling that certain heinous things must be objectively wrong. This may lead one to a belief in God, but not knowledge of God.

   

   I disagree with your statement that scientific claims are now purported to be only probably true. By whom? I think many scientists would agree with that

   when it comes to theories but not laws. E=mc^2 is not just probably true. It is possible that it may not be true from some as of yet unknown frame of reference, but for now it is a universal fact and a truth. I might disagree, but many scientist now consider that evolution is a fact. Actually, I also consider evolution a fact and a truth. I just don't think Darwinism or even any neo Darwinian theories necessarily give an adequate account.

   

   Oh, it is true that scientific finds become increasingly probabilistic as you move away from describing basic physical laws. For example the efficacy of a medicine in treating some disease may be considered proven even though there is say a 5% probability that the results are just due to chance.

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

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bruce culver

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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2011, 07:39:22 am »
Science doesn't use pure reason, but reason and evidence.

   

   OK, but what is unreasonable about using evidence. It may be impossible to absolutely prove that the evidence is accurate, but that is nitpicking IMO.

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

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Jeff Mitchell

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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2011, 11:02:47 am »
drcraigvideos wrote: Another video I edited with Dr. Craig and Frank Zindler:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaqmGGOZbeY


So, not having a terribly sophisticated mind, I'm having trouble understanding what Dr. Craig's alternative to Mr. Zindler's answer is.  Am I correct in the following?

- Mr. Zindler believes we use Reason because it's how we've evolved and it "works."  It is used to make fairly accurate predictions, and if those predictions end up being "wrong" (meaning, not what was expected as opposed to some metaphysical, objective "wrong")- well, we just use Reason again to figure out why our original reasoning was in error and is now corrected.

- Dr. Craig believes Reason is endowed in us by God as a mechanism by which we seek metaphysical "truth?"  And the fact that it happens to explain natural phenomena and aid in our survival is a byproduct of this REAL reason why we use Reason?  That, since Reason without a foundation in God doesn't seek some truth that ultimately is rooted in, and extends from God, that "atheism is ultimately destructive of rationality itself?"

I'm sure my inability to understand Dr. Craig's point stems from my lack of belief in some knowable "truth" that doesn't come from this world (it transcends it), we can't really prove what it is, and yet it's something that we are somehow pointing toward.

Can anyone explain Dr. Craig's point a little better?    

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« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2011, 02:54:13 pm »
tompaine wrote:
Science doesn't use pure reason, but reason and evidence.


OK, but what is unreasonable about using evidence. It may be impossible to absolutely prove that the evidence is accurate, but that is nitpicking IMO.



I never said there was something unreasonable about using evidence. Sure it may be impossible (that's what the uncertainty principle is about) but within certain parameters, it is reasonable to accept certain evidence.

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bruce culver

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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2011, 09:09:14 pm »
I never said there was something unreasonable about using evidence. Sure it may be impossible (that's what the uncertainty principle is about) but within certain parameters, it is reasonable to accept certain evidence.

   

   I'm sorry. Of course, I knew you'd have no problem with evidence. I was just trying to get cute and defend my original statement that science uses pure reason by pointing out that it is reasonable to use evidence. I should have just said, of course, you are right. What I meant to say is science is purely rational, or seeks to be, as opposed to religious belief which is influenced by emotion, and at least according to my take on it, legitimately so. The only thing I find unjustified in religious belief is when it tries to claim the status of knowledge.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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troyjs

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« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2011, 09:57:35 pm »
religion would still continue the way it has since no evidence will make them reconsider.


It must be shown that evidence is relevant to metaphysical claims.

scientific thought has to do it's best to remove any emotionally derived biases, whereas religious thought does not. For example, the idea that there are objective moral values is emotionally derived from our feeling that certain heinous things must be objectively wrong.

According to Christianity atleast, emotion is irrelevant to morality. Often, what we are emotionally disposed towards, is false. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Christians are taught not to follow their emotions, but to know the truth of the matter.

I disagree with your statement that scientific claims are now purported to be only probably true. By whom?

Einstein, P.C.W Davies, Hawking, Penrose, cosmologists affirming the multiverse hypothesis, physicists working in quantum mechanics, probability theorists, information theorists, and the people who develop the scientific method, ie. philosophers of science. I don't think any of these persons are retreating from the consequences of science, to uphold their religious beliefs. This is true for laws, just as much as for theories. Virtually everyone understands that the laws of physics break down at the big bang, and that there could very well be other locations or events, where the laws of physics are altered.

Personally, I am an Engineering student. I am not 'against' science, but I do understand the history, development, and philosophy behind it. The view that science furnishes us with Truth, is a relic of the past. I am willing to evaluate any justification for the claim that we can know things through science. The most compelling to me, is some variation of John Locke's and Quine's justification for Empiricism -- that it is impossible for us humans not to do science in our everyday lives. As long as we are thinking agents, we are 'doing' science through observation of the external world through the senses, and by making inferences. Also, given that all of our thinking is based on empiricism, it is impossible to refute the claim that knowledge is attainable through science, for to do so would be self-referentially incoherent. However, the inductive nature of science, and the refutations of empiricism undermine even this attempt in grounding truth and/or knowledge in science. Bacon, Popper, and Ayer, have all attempted to revitalise, or rather, resurrect the idea of science being an arbiter of truth, but so far, no answer has been provided to the standard refutations. At present, probability theorists are helping to formulate a probabilistic truth value calculus for scientific 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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bruce culver

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« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2011, 02:50:30 pm »

Quote: scientific thought has to do it's best to remove any emotionally derived biases, whereas religious thought does not. For example, the idea that there are objective moral values is emotionally derived from our feeling that certain heinous things must be objectively wrong.

According to Christianity atleast, emotion is irrelevant to morality. Often, what we are emotionally disposed towards, is false. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Christians are taught not to follow their emotions, but to know the truth of the matter.


I still maintain that the belief that there must be a God to objectify moral values is based on our emotional response to things like thrill killing that every sane person feels deeply is wrong. OK, maybe a good "reason" ("The heart has its reasons") to believe in God, but it is still not a rational argument. It leads to belief, but not knowledge. Also morals will always be based on emotion, even if it is God's emotion. And if you say God doesn't have emotions, then the Bible is a very misleading document telling us God is a jealous God; he is ever angry at human evil; it even tells us that God is an emotion, namely Love. OK, we are not to follow our own emotions wherever they lead, but we should follow the emotion of compassion, no?

As for the rest. I think maybe we have very different definitions of knowledge. To me knowledge is mainly information you can use to make accurate predictions. Whereas, you seem to see it as beliefs that correspond to ultimate reality or truth. Personally, when it comes to ultimate truth, I am quite skeptical of the possibility of such knowledge.

I could go on, but time is short. Suffice to say, I really don't see how anyone could be sure that their religious beliefs are anything more than just beliefs. How can they consider them to be knowledge? As a skeptic of religious knowledge I see lots of people that take their beliefs to be knowledge, but these beliefs are not consistent with each other, which means many of them must be wrong. It's only a small step to reach what I thinks is a reasonable conclusion, that they are all wrong. Wrong at least in thinking they know they are right. Perhaps there is a religious system of belief that is right, but even then I don't think that anyone's belief in it is admissible as knowledge, not by my definition.

If there was anyone who had a knowledge of absolute truth, shouldn't they be able to demonstrate it in such a way that it would be accepted as knowledge as universally as scientific knowledge is accepted, again using my definition of knowledge.

I've been reading up on epistemology so that I won't make so many mistakes in my terminology and such. I tend to be skeptical that any one system is right, and usually when you can find brilliant people on both sides of a particular debate, I think it is best to look at some way to harmonize rather than reject one in favor of the other. You seem to want to totally pitch out evidentialism, which I think would be a big mistake. I think it is bedrock concept in epistemology, but certainly not the whole answer, which i think also includes reliablism. I think once we move past physics into metaphysics, if there is a possible metaphysical epistemology, which I'm skeptical of, evidentialism and reliablism won't work the way they do with physics, but so far I don't see anything on metaphysics that I can buy into. I think we can try and justify metaphysical beliefs and perhaps come up with some ideas as to which ideas are more reasonable than others, but I'm having trouble seeing how the justification could ever reach the level necessary to call any metaphysical belief knowledge. There may be true metaphysical beliefs, but how can they be justified? BTW: I did see in my reading where probablism is coming into favor, but that doesn't mean the idea of knowledge is being pitched, just the idea of any justification being absolute. Still I'm going to say that I know if I am hit by a car I will die or be maimed and therefore will not play in the street.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2011, 01:04:04 am »
troyjs wrote:
religion would still continue the way it has since no evidence will make them reconsider.


It must be shown that evidence is relevant to metaphysical claims.


Religions don't only make metaphysical claims. Also, if one refuses to use evidence to arrive at conclusions in this universe, then they might as well accept the existence of any other mythical creatures out there.

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troyjs

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« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2011, 09:13:31 am »
Also morals will always be based on emotion, even if it is God's emotion. And if you say God doesn't have emotions, then the Bible is a very misleading document telling us God is a jealous God; he is ever angry at human evil; it even tells us that God is an emotion, namely Love. OK, we are not to follow our own emotions wherever they lead, but we should follow the emotion of compassion, no?


Not to be condescending, I would advise having a solid understanding of what Christian theology actually teaches, before trying to analyse it. Granted, there may be various schools of theology, but when dealing with someone, or a particular group, it is helpful to me atleast to know what they actually believe. Love, compassion, anger, jealousy, as they are described in the Bible, are not emotions, but 'will' or verbs.

 I really don't see how anyone could be sure that their religious beliefs are anything more than just beliefs. How can they consider them to be knowledge?

This is the big question isn't it? How does anyone know anything, or rather, how should anyone go about knowing something?

The 4 broad epistemological systems are: Rationalism, Empiricism, Irrationalism, and Revelation.

Rationalism is the attempt to know things through pure logic.
Empiricism is tha attempt to know things through our senses, and inferences made therefrom.
Irrationalism is the attempt to know things through feelings.
Revelation is the attempt to know things, as directly 'revealed' by God.

Rationalism and Revelation use deduction
Empiricism uses deduction and induction
Irrationalism allows for contradiction

Christianity falls into the Revelation camp. However, different theologies differ as to the epistemic value of science. Some regard it as providing knowledge, in the truest sense of the word -- more true than what a lot scientists would assent to. Others regard it as pragmatically valuable, that is, science is valuable for developing technology and living our lives, but we can not really know if anything is actually true in it's classical meaning.

If there was anyone who had a knowledge of absolute truth, shouldn't they be able to demonstrate it in such a way that it would be accepted as knowledge as universally as scientific knowledge is accepted, again using my definition of knowledge.

The problem is that not everyone has the same abilities or talents as others, and not everyone has the same epistemology. You don't accept Christian revelation, and therefore for you, just because something is stipulated in the Bible, doesn't make it true. Likewise, some people, not just religious people, believe that science or maths or philosophy or revelation do not provide us with truth. I discovered these people while watching an episode of 'the View' on a sick day from work (by happenstance). So whatever philosophical,Biblical,mathematical,scientific argument we were to provide such people would not be sufficient for such. So the next question then is, how do we decide which epistemology is true, without begging the question, or being arbitrary -- since logically we must use an epistemology to choose an epistemology?

Religions don't only make metaphysical claims. Also, if one refuses to use evidence to arrive at conclusions in this universe, then they might as well accept the existence of any other mythical creatures out there.

It must be understood that evidence is defined and understood, according to one's metaphysical view of reality. For an Idealist, any talk of a world apart from my thinking of it, is meaningless. First we need to have an epistemology and metaphysics, then we can properly and meaningfully define what counts as evidence. But just as foundational to the question 'what do/can we know', is the question 'what do we mean?' We also have to determine the logic of our language, and this all gets very complicated. But suffice it to say, that the question is hardly answered by appealing to what one person or group refers to as evidence -- this would be a very late step in determining what is true, and what to believe.
“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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« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2011, 11:12:55 am »
troyjs wrote:
Also morals will always be based on emotion, even if it is God's emotion. And if you say God doesn't have emotions, then the Bible is a very misleading document telling us God is a jealous God; he is ever angry at human evil; it even tells us that God is an emotion, namely Love. OK, we are not to follow our own emotions wherever they lead, but we should follow the emotion of compassion, no?


Not to be condescending, I would advise having a solid understanding of what Christian theology actually teaches, before trying to analyse it. Granted, there may be various schools of theology, but when dealing with someone, or a particular group, it is helpful to me atleast to know what they actually believe. Love, compassion, anger, jealousy, as they are described in the Bible, are not emotions, but 'will' or verbs.


Love, compassion, anger and jealousy are not emotions but wills or verbs. Interesting. So what is your theological view? What do you actually believe?

troyjs wrote:
 I really don't see how anyone could be sure that their religious beliefs are anything more than just beliefs. How can they consider them to be knowledge?

This is the big question isn't it? How does anyone know anything, or rather, how should anyone go about knowing something?

The 4 broad epistemological systems are: Rationalism, Empiricism, Irrationalism, and Revelation.

Rationalism is the attempt to know things through pure logic.
Empiricism is tha attempt to know things through our senses, and inferences made therefrom.
Irrationalism is the attempt to know things through feelings.
Revelation is the attempt to know things, as directly 'revealed' by God.

Rationalism and Revelation use deduction
Empiricism uses deduction and induction
Irrationalism allows for contradiction

Christianity falls into the Revelation camp. However, different theologies differ as to the epistemic value of science. Some regard it as providing knowledge, in the truest sense of the word -- more true than what a lot scientists would assent to. Others regard it as pragmatically valuable, that is, science is valuable for developing technology and living our lives, but we can not really know if anything is actually true in it's classical meaning.


Science uses both rationalism and empiricism. What is the epistemic value of science in your particular theological view?

troyjs wrote:
If there was anyone who had a knowledge of absolute truth, shouldn't they be able to demonstrate it in such a way that it would be accepted as knowledge as universally as scientific knowledge is accepted, again using my definition of knowledge.

The problem is that not everyone has the same abilities or talents as others, and not everyone has the same epistemology. You don't accept Christian revelation, and therefore for you, just because something is stipulated in the Bible, doesn't make it true. Likewise, some people, not just religious people, believe that science or maths or philosophy or revelation do not provide us with truth. I discovered these people while watching an episode of 'the View' on a sick day from work (by happenstance). So whatever philosophical,Biblical,mathematical,scientific argument we were to provide such people would not be sufficient for such. So the next question then is, how do we decide which epistemology is true, without begging the question, or being arbitrary -- since logically we must use an epistemology to choose an epistemology?


I don't think it is arbitrary to work logically and rationally. It isn't really about which is the True epistemology (since we can both agree that we cannot arrive at that) but which epistemology we are justified to apply given what we have found out about how the world works.

troyjs wrote:
Religions don't only make metaphysical claims. Also, if one refuses to use evidence to arrive at conclusions in this universe, then they might as well accept the existence of any other mythical creatures out there.

It must be understood that evidence is defined and understood, according to one's metaphysical view of reality. For an Idealist, any talk of a world apart from my thinking of it, is meaningless. First we need to have an epistemology and metaphysics, then we can properly and meaningfully define what counts as evidence. But just as foundational to the question 'what do/can we know', is the question 'what do we mean?' We also have to determine the logic of our language, and this all gets very complicated. But suffice it to say, that the question is hardly answered by appealing to what one person or group refers to as evidence -- this would be a very late step in determining what is true, and what to believe.


I'm pretty sure that there is some evidence that we can both agree on. Or else, what you're left with is that no one can know anything therefore the person who refuses to vaccinate their child is just as correct as the one who does vaccinate their child.
So what sort of evidence do you accept and apply at work and in your daily activities?

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bruce culver

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« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2011, 10:43:23 pm »
Quote: Also morals will always be based on emotion, even if it is God's emotion. And if you say God doesn't have emotions, then the Bible is a very misleading document telling us God is a jealous God; he is ever angry at human evil; it even tells us that God is an emotion, namely Love. OK, we are not to follow our own emotions wherever they lead, but we should follow the emotion of compassion, no?    

   

   Not to be condescending, I would advise having a solid understanding of what Christian theology actually teaches, before trying to analyse it. Granted, there may be various schools of theology, but when dealing with someone, or a particular group, it is helpful to me atleast to know what they actually believe. Love, compassion, anger, jealousy, as they are described in the Bible, are not emotions, but 'will' or verbs.

   

   Well that is a bit condescending, but pardon me for being condescending in

   return by saying that that strikes me as just sophisticated word gaming. Well, gee, we know God can't have emotions like we mere mortals, but, hmmm, it says here in the Bible that God is jealous. I know, "jealous" here doesn't describe God; it is a verb. What does that mean? Of course, emotions have to do with will in humans, too. We love what we will and get angry at that which thwarts our will. We are jealous when we will someone's attention but it is given

   to another. So, what is the point?

   

   
The 4 broad epistemological systems are: Rationalism, Empiricism, Irrationalism, and Revelation.  Rationalism is the attempt to know things through pure logic. Empiricism is tha attempt to know things through our senses, and inferences made therefrom. Irrationalism is the attempt to know things through feelings. Revelation is the attempt to know things, as directly 'revealed' by God.

   

   My experience leads me to believe that rationalism is hopeless by itself as evidenced by endless quibbling of rationalist philosophers down through the ages, with not one metaphysical claim yet resolved one way or the other to the satisfaction of more than a fraction of them. I think it has a place in metaphysical speculative philosophy, but that can lead to reasonable belief at best, not knowledge.

   

   Empiricism seems to me to be the natural way we know things and, aided by the scientific method, very powerful. IMO, to deny scientific knowledge is to descend into total skepticism.

   

   Irrationalism. That does sound pretty irrational, but we are not just rational but also passionate creatures, so I would embrace this when guided by the queen of the passions, compassion, as appropriate in discerning moral truth and forming religious beliefs, but I would stop short of calling any of that knowledge.

   

   Revelation. Well, I completely reject this if one means by it that God has made some special revelation to one small group in the past. On the other hand as a panentheist, I believe God may be unfolding into creation and revealing itself in many ways including in scriptures but also in many forms of art, literature and music, etc. If my belief is right, this is certainly meaningful, but again it's not knowledge.

   

   Or maybe I should say of some of them that I might concede they could lead to self knowledge, true beliefs, etc., that might be knowledge in some sense. But I do not consider that they could qualify as part of the common knowledge of mankind because they are no intersubjectively verifiable.

   

   Of course, this is all too cursory a treatment of such a weighty subject, but I hope it at least gives a little better idea of where I'm coming from.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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Re: Atheism Cannot Justify Reason and Truth
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2013, 12:18:38 pm »
http://proofthatgodexists.org/.