The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Ways and means of promoting skepticism
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The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:22 am

Scepticism is the self-refuting idea that one should not accept anything on ‘blind faith’..

Here’s an old joke that was apparently adapted from a popular bumper sticker:

What’s the difference between a sceptic and a Christian?
Sceptics do it with their eyes open!

This little witticism neatly captures the apparent tension that exists between scepticism (or skepticism if you insist) and the Christian faith: ‘faith’ it is said, is nothing short of a blind leap in the dark - it is accepting the unlikely and the impossible in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Or, in the words of the great American author and satirist, Mark Twain, “Faith is believing what you know ain't true!” So, according to bumper sticker wisdom, Christians are obdurate, going around with their eyes closed (as in prayer) to reality, whereas sceptics on the other hand go around with their ‘eyes open’, willing to consider new ideas rationally and without any prejudice or bias.

Scepticism is the idea that one should not accept anything on ‘blind faith’, and because all religious claims are acts of ‘blind faith’ (e.g. God, miracles, angels, heaven, Satan, hell, etc.), all religious expressions are rejected as ‘nonsense’ ideas. And so, sceptics claim for themselves a ‘neutral’ disposition toward all things until such time as they can be persuaded about the verity of something.

But here’s the sceptic’s dilemma: when does he/she cease to be sceptical about something and come to accept it as true? In other words… what is it that will persuade the sceptic that something is actually true? While most sceptics are simply not able to give a coherent answer to that question, those who have actually bothered to give any thought to it, insist that they will cease to be sceptical about something and accept it as true, provided that:

a) it is self-evidentially true - for example, sceptics will accept the proposition, “all bachelors are unmarried” as true because it is obviously true on its own merits;
b) it is incorrigible, i.e. if it cannot be corrected or if it’s not possible for believing that it can in any way be mistaken - for example, René Descartes’ famous dictum, “cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am) is most often advanced in support of this view because, it is argued, personal existence is necessary in order for anyone to entertain any belief about his/her personal existence;
c) it can be scientifically proven.

Contrary to popular belief, Christians are in fact called to be sceptical: 1John 4 (NIV) for example impels us to “test the spirits to see if they are from God”, and when Paul and Silas addressed the Bereans, we are told in Acts 17:11 (NIV) how “they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see what Paul said was true” - the Bereans were sceptical of Paul’s claims, but here’s the interesting thing: to test whether Paul’s message was actually true, they didn’t bother to check if what he was telling them was either self-evidentially true, or whether it was incorrigible, or whether it had been scientifically verified! No, they checked to see if it corresponded with Scripture!

For any truth claim to be in any way legitimate, it necessarily has to comport with some objective standard of truth! In other words, whenever anyone for example says “this is so” or “that is not so” - for that type of claim to be at all meaningful (or intelligible), it has to correspond to some benchmark that is not the product either of human invention or imagination and that will qualify it either as true or not! CS Lewis explained it like this in his book, Mere Christianity: “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line” - the idea of ‘straightness’ is only meaningful (or intelligible) if we have some measure available to us that we can compare it against. And by definition, that measure has to transcend human experience - it has to be of God! In other words, for anything to be true, it has to correspond to truth, and what is truth?

“…thy word is truth”
- John 17:17 (NIV)

Amos 7 gives us a beautiful picture of God presenting us with a plumb line against which we can measure whether or not something is straight (or is actually true), and Christ is presented as that measure:

Jesus: “...I am the truth…”
- John 14:6 (NIV)

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
- Colossians 2:2,3 (NIV)

Therefore, the Christian measure of what qualifies as true and what doesn’t, stands 180º apposed to that of the sceptic! For the Christian, something is true only if it corresponds to Truth. For the sceptic on the other hand, something is only true if it is either self-evidentially true, or if it is incorrigible, or if it is scientifically verifiable. But here’s the thing that the sceptic must answer for himself: his scepticism is neither self-evidentially true, nor is it incorrigible, and it certainly is not scientifically verifiable! One can therefore only conclude that this type of (secular) scepticism is hopelessly false!

‘Faith’ as presented to us in Scripture is nothing like a leap in the dark - it is in fact divinely imparted propositional knowledge of the Truth:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
- Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

The sceptic on the other hand, has to accept the basic tenets of his worldview on nothing less than ‘blind faith’!



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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:02 am

osks wrote:Therefore, the Christian measure of what qualifies as true and what doesn’t, stands 180º apposed to that of the sceptic! For the Christian, something is true only if it corresponds to Truth.

Here you invoked the fallacy called "begging the question". You have not demonstrated that such Truth exists. You have offered us nothing but blind faith -- and the opinion of some guy named John -- that it exists.

osks wrote:For the sceptic on the other hand, something is only true if it is either self-evidentially true, or if it is incorrigible, or if it is scientifically verifiable. But here’s the thing that the sceptic must answer for himself: his scepticism is neither self-evidentially true, nor is it incorrigible, and it certainly is not scientifically verifiable! One can therefore only conclude that this type of (secular) scepticism is hopelessly false!

Here your argument contains a mistaken notion of what skepticism is. Skepticism is not a proposition that has a truth value, and thus it is neither true nor false. It is instead an attitude or a method. And thus your conclusion is faulty.

See for example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism#Definition

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:26 pm

Here you invoked the fallacy called "begging the question". You have not demonstrated that such Truth exists. You have offered us nothing but blind faith -- and the opinion of some guy named John -- that it exists.

You are correct, but only in a very limited sense: all ultimate authorities are by definition circular (otherwise it would not be an ultimate authority!) - as a logician, I have absolutely no problem with this! For example: all words by definition imply their own meaning; one necessarily appeals to the laws of logic whenever we argue over the laws of logic; we use the eye whenever we examine the eye... Also, you are confusing what is true with what truth is - different categories!

Skepticism is not a proposition that has a truth value, and thus it is neither true nor false. It is instead an attitude or a method.

I challenge you to offer me a proposition (ANY proposition) that has no truth content (for that could not possibly then qualify as a proposition)! And to claim that skepticism is instead an attitude or a method, IS NOTHING OTHER THAN A TRUTH CLAIM ABOUT THE NATURE OF SKEPTICISM! I'm afraid your argument self-refutes at this point!

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:48 pm

osks wrote:[...]for that type of claim to be at all meaningful (or intelligible), it has to correspond to some benchmark that is not the product either of human invention or imagination [...]

Please demonstrate why this must be so.

I note that for empirical measures of time, length, and mass all of our standards of measure are invented by human imagination.

The constants of our universe which we use as benchmarks were all discovered through the application of human invention and imagination. I note that the value of Pi is discovered through calculation and proof, not any reference to scripture. In fact, if one looks to scripture for a value of Pi one discovers that the "Truth" is in fact quite false.
osks wrote:[...]And by definition, that measure has to transcend human experience - it has to be of God![...]

Why must it be of a deity? I don't see any evidence to support this claim.
osks wrote:“…thy word is truth”
- John 17:17 (NIV)

Thy word tells us absurd and untrue things and is rife with contradictions. How can it possibly be true if it contains so many obvious errors?
osks wrote:Therefore, the Christian measure of what qualifies as true and what doesn’t, stands 180º apposed to that of the sceptic! For the Christian, something is true only if it corresponds to Truth.[...]
‘Faith’ as presented to us in Scripture is nothing like a leap in the dark - it is in fact divinely imparted propositional knowledge of the Truth:

You mean like knowledge of cockatrices and unicorns? Both are described in the Bible. Does that mean they truly exist?
osks wrote:The sceptic on the other hand, has to accept the basic tenets of his worldview on nothing less than ‘blind faith’!

I'm not certain you understand how this really works.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:02 pm

The book of Leviticus tells us that rabbits chew their cud and that bats are birds, but that's not true, is it?

The book of James tells us that all of the Earth's wildlife has been tamed by humans, but that's not true, is it?

The book of Exodus tells us that we're supposed to kill any witch we can, but we know there's no such thing as witches, right?

In these examples one can clearly see that "the truth" is untrue. Unless one takes a completely absurd position that these things are true merely because the bible says so in spite of all available evidence, then clearly "the truth" can be shown to be false when measured against objective reality. Right?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:03 pm

Before I answer your somewhat desultory slew of arguments, please help me here... are you in fact saying that all values and all notions of truth are nothing more than private constructs, ie that we determine for ourselves what is right/wrong and what is true/false?
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:27 pm

osks wrote:For the sceptic on the other hand, something is only true if it is either self-evidentially true, or if it is incorrigible,


I'm used to incorrigible being applied to a person. Are you meaning unfalsifiable? Because I think that if that's the case you may have it backwards. The scientific method demands that an hypothesis be falsifiable. Science can't say whether or not something is true, it can only say if something isn't true.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:23 am

osks wrote:[...]are you in fact saying that all values and all notions of truth are nothing more than private constructs, ie that we determine for ourselves what is right/wrong and what is true/false?

Yeah, why? Is there something wrong with that?

I mean, for some details like the value of Pi, and the speed of light in a vacuum we can get the values from the natural world. For some details like how long a meter is, how heavy a kilo is, or what metric to use for temperature we had to establish some arbitrary reference. For moral values of right/wrong we only have our own judgments.

Now, how about answers to my somewhat desultory slew of questions regarding the desultory assortment of biblical nonsense?
Last edited by Blacksamwell on Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Gord » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:29 am

Blacksamwell wrote:For moral values of right/wrong we only have our own judgments.

Welllll...I have to disagree. Most of us get our values from the societies around us. When we modify them to suit our own purposes, I suspect we tend to change the things that "bother" us -- and these are often just the things that get in the way of us getting what we want.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:42 am

Gord wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote:For moral values of right/wrong we only have our own judgments.

Welllll...I have to disagree. Most of us get our values from the societies around us. When we modify them to suit our own purposes, I suspect we tend to change the things that "bother" us -- and these are often just the things that get in the way of us getting what we want.

Okay, I'd like to change my answer. Gord said it better than I did. When I said "our own" judgments I was speaking broadly about humanity. Gord's right, we generally get our wrong/right values from the culture we're immersed in.

Thanks Gord.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:06 am

OK, if all values (the idea of what is 'right' and what is 'wrong') are person-specific (or are privately held), then what basis do you have to critique anyone else's idea of right/wrong as wrong? Because then, every idea of right/wrong are equally valid (or equally invalid)! If all values are reduced to nothing more than personal opinions (because that is what it then comes down to), the moral subjectivist really has nothing positive to contribute to any discussion that is concerned with values (because his values are 'private', he has no right to foist them on anyone else or to expect anyone else to change his personal view of right/wrong just to suit him)! But here's your problem: as long as you deny the idea that all values are only intelligible if they have some objective Cause, then you have no right to say that what Seung-Hui Cho, or Kermit Gosnell... for example did, was wrong!

And if you try to rally some broader support for your ideas of right/wrong and appeal to your culture, or to your society, or to your clan... as the source of right/wrong, you run into even bigger difficulties: then America has no basis to judge what is happening in Libya, or in Iran, or in North Korea... as wrong (or as 'evil')! On that basis, the Nazi view of Jews, Gypsies, Blacks... would be utterly justified, and the South African policy of Apartheid could never be criticized as 'evil'... Moreover, if all values are nothing more then 'social constructs', then all social reformers (eg Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela...) would in fact be acting immorally whenever they try to reform a society! Do you see the self-defeating nature of moral relativism?

The same argument applies to truth claims (where epistemological relativism in fact suffers from the very same malaise) - unless we have an objective standard of truth available to us that we can appeal to in order to judge whether something qualifies either as true or as false, then all truth claims are nothing more than meaningless tautologies (then all truth claims become absurd)! Relativism (in all its forms), always self-destructs!

Once you've come to terms with this, I'd be very happy to argue the 'bigger issues' with you.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Gord » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:45 am

osks wrote:And if you try to rally some broader support for your ideas of right/wrong and appeal to your culture, or to your society, or to your clan... as the source of right/wrong, you run into even bigger difficulties: then America has no basis to judge what is happening in Libya, or in Iran, or in North Korea... as wrong (or as 'evil')! On that basis, the Nazi view of Jews, Gypsies, Blacks... would be utterly justified, and the South African policy of Apartheid could never be criticized as 'evil'... Moreover, if all values are nothing more then 'social constructs', then all social reformers (eg Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela...) would in fact be acting immorally whenever they try to reform a society! Do you see the self-defeating nature of moral relativism?

Well, I'm no expert, and maybe I can't quite explain things very clearly, but it seems to me that Nazi views of Jews, Gypsies, Blacks, or whatever, back in them days, still existed in the larger society of worldview, where they were deemed wrong. If it had been otherwise, there would have been no one objecting to them. "Society" as a term can mean just about any sized group, so long as each "member" of that group is in contact with and directly interacting with other members of the group. Nazis were the overwhelmingly force within Germany, where their values were considered right, but the member called "Nazi Germany" was still the minority among the larger population of the world, where their values were considered wrong.

And as for America deciding, alone and in some sort of moral vaccuum, what is right or wrong for other countries, then I agree with you, they shouldn't. No one member of a society should decide right and wrong in this way, especially when their sole opinion is different from the majority view.

That the Nazis imposed what we consider "wrong" onto others, and that American might do likewise to foreign nations, is evidence of the self-defeating nature of moral absolutism.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:30 pm

Yes, I'm aware of the pitfalls of relativism. But it is what it is.

Our communities work it out on scales both large and small. Sometimes with better results than other times. What's "right" today may be "wrong" in time and vice-versa.

For example, in the time and place that Jesus was supposed to have been doing his thing it was commonplace and accepted to own slaves. Jesus even gives rules for doing so in a just manner. Today we find this idea abhorrent and slavery is outlawed. Even christian culture has made changes to its relative sense of what's right and many of the abolitionists that worked against slavery were church figures.

So anywho.... Can you now address how the bible can be any form of absolute reference when it's so full of contradiction and absurdities?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:54 pm

The Bible advocates for tribalism and slavery. God, in the fictional work called the Bible, clearly states whom should be slaves and how they should be treated. If I were to believe that the Bible were true, the Truth, I would have to logically deduce that it was the work of an evil deity.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby numan » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:11 pm

'
xouper wrote:Here your argument contains a mistaken notion of what skepticism is. Skepticism is not a proposition that has a truth value, and thus it is neither true nor false. It is instead an attitude or a method. And thus your conclusion is faulty.

Finally, Xouper, you have written something that demonstrates some nous! Good for you!
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:42 am

osks wrote:
xouper wrote:
osks wrote:Therefore, the Christian measure of what qualifies as true and what doesn’t, stands 180º apposed to that of the sceptic! For the Christian, something is true only if it corresponds to Truth.

Here you invoked the fallacy called "begging the question". You have not demonstrated that such Truth exists. You have offered us nothing but blind faith -- and the opinion of some guy named John -- that it exists.

You are correct, but only in a very limited sense: ...

No, it is a very serious flaw in your argument. If Truth does not exist, then your argument fails.

osks wrote:Also, you are confusing what is true with what truth is - different categories!

I have not made that mistake. I am using your definition of "Truth". I simply pointed out that your claim about the existence of Truth remains unsubstantiated. You have not shown that Truth exists. You have merely asserted it.

osks wrote:
xouper wrote:Skepticism is not a proposition that has a truth value, and thus it is neither true nor false. It is instead an attitude or a method.

I challenge you to offer me a proposition (ANY proposition) that has no truth content (for that could not possibly then qualify as a proposition)!

Here is an example of a proposition that is neither true nor false:

"This sentence is false."

Your challenge is answered.

osks wrote:And to claim that skepticism is instead an attitude or a method, IS NOTHING OTHER THAN A TRUTH CLAIM ABOUT THE NATURE OF SKEPTICISM! I'm afraid your argument self-refutes at this point!

I did indeed state a proposition about skepticism. It does not follow, however, that such a proposition is self refuting. In fact it is not self refuting. It is not even self referential.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:51 am

osks wrote:OK, if all values (the idea of what is 'right' and what is 'wrong') are person-specific (or are privately held), then what basis do you have to critique anyone else's idea of right/wrong as wrong? Because then, every idea of right/wrong are equally valid (or equally invalid)! If all values are reduced to nothing more than personal opinions (because that is what it then comes down to), the moral subjectivist really has nothing positive to contribute to any discussion that is concerned with values (because his values are 'private', he has no right to foist them on anyone else or to expect anyone else to change his personal view of right/wrong just to suit him)! But here's your problem: as long as you deny the idea that all values are only intelligible if they have some objective Cause, then you have no right to say that what Seung-Hui Cho, or Kermit Gosnell... for example did, was wrong!

And if you try to rally some broader support for your ideas of right/wrong and appeal to your culture, or to your society, or to your clan... as the source of right/wrong, you run into even bigger difficulties: then America has no basis to judge what is happening in Libya, or in Iran, or in North Korea... as wrong (or as 'evil')! On that basis, the Nazi view of Jews, Gypsies, Blacks... would be utterly justified, and the South African policy of Apartheid could never be criticized as 'evil'... Moreover, if all values are nothing more then 'social constructs', then all social reformers (eg Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela...) would in fact be acting immorally whenever they try to reform a society! Do you see the self-defeating nature of moral relativism?

The same argument applies to truth claims (where epistemological relativism in fact suffers from the very same malaise) - unless we have an objective standard of truth available to us that we can appeal to in order to judge whether something qualifies either as true or as false, then all truth claims are nothing more than meaningless tautologies (then all truth claims become absurd)! Relativism (in all its forms), always self-destructs!

Once you've come to terms with this, I'd be very happy to argue the 'bigger issues' with you.

The huge flaw in your argument is that "moral relativism" is not the only alternative to Christian morality. Speaking for myself, I reject both, and yet I still have a strong moral code.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:46 am

xouper wrote:
osks wrote:
xouper wrote:Skepticism is not a proposition that has a truth value, and thus it is neither true nor false. It is instead an attitude or a method.

I challenge you to offer me a proposition (ANY proposition) that has no truth content (for that could not possibly then qualify as a proposition)!

Here is an example of a proposition that is neither true nor false:

"This sentence is false."

Your challenge is answered.

It has been brought to my attention that if one uses a pedantic definition of "proposition" to mean a statement that has a truth value, then my example above is not an example of such a proposition. If a statement (or claim) is neither true not false, then by that definition it is not a proposition.

In any case, my observation still stands that skepticism is not a proposition as osks claims. And thus his argument fails on that point.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:52 am

Sometimes Christians will tell me that there can be no morality without God. I then ask them what their moral position is on slavery. They usually say it is wrong. I then ask where did they get that notion from because it did not come from the Bible. This usually stumps them. I would love to hear how any Christian arrives at the position that slavery is morally wrong, especially since Jesus himself condoned it.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby numan » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:07 am

'
xouper wrote: I would love to hear how any Christian arrives at the position that slavery is morally wrong, especially since Jesus himself condoned it.

Or, at least, reportedly condoned it. Since virtually nothing in the New Testament has any independent confirmation from an outside source, there is no reason to think that anything in it is reliably reported.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:21 pm

Since virtually nothing in the New Testament has any independent confirmation from an outside source, there is no reason to think that anything in it is reliably reported

That is because Scripture is the ultimate authority on all things - if Scripture had a biography or made an appeal to anything else to establish its own credentials, then it won't be ultimate! We all have an ultimate authority - that is inevitable (only in your case, it is yourself!)
When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself - Hebrews 6:13 (NIV)

Any truth claim that is made apart from Scripture (as the one objective, absolute, immutable standard of Truth), is nothing more than mere opinion, and opinions are a dime-a-dozen - in fact, they're not even that, because all opinions are worthless! Surely you can see that?
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:35 pm

Here's this gem from the NT: Ephesians6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

If the Bible is the ultimate authority, then Osks must approve of slavery.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:23 pm

Here's this gem from the NT: Ephesians6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ - If the Bible is the ultimate authority, then Osks must approve of slavery.

You have it all wrong on several accounts: Firstly, the Bible in fact denounces slavery as sin! In fact, the NT goes so far as to put slave traders in the same category as murderers, adulterers, perverts, and liars (1Tim 1:10)! Secondly, Christ never impelled slavery but obedience in all servant/master relationships (inasmuch as you are to demonstrate faithful obedience to your employer and to your parents, only you have no basis to account for such a relationship, apart from Scripture!) Your rendering of Eph 6:5 is utterly corrupt! Thirdly, Christ recognized the custom at the time (which was largely pagan) for someone to serve in the position of bondservant and not that of a slave as you understand it (ie in the way that America for example forced people to be taken against their will in order to become the property of someone else and to be forcibly put to work). Also, because bankruptcy laws did not exist at the time, it was customary for debtors to sell themselves voluntarily into a position of bondservant (what you wrongly understand to be a 'slave') where his service would then be used to discharge a debt. Even a convicted thief was permitted to make restitution in this manner (Exo 22:3). Fourthly, it was on the basis of the Biblical of the view of man (it is only because man has been made in the image of God, that he possesses any degree of dignity and worth) that slavery was eventually abolished both in ancient Israel, in the USA, and elsewhere! Remember that ancient Israel was in fact liberated from slavery in Egypt under the command of God! Finally, on what basis do you condemn slavery (unless you adopt the standards set by Scripture)?
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:22 pm

osks wrote:[...] Scripture is the ultimate authority on all things[...]

What about those things that it is clearly wrong about?...

Bats classified as birds.
Pi rounded off to 3.
Witches.
Demons as the source of disease instead of microbes.
Unicorns and cockatrices.

What about those things where the bible contradicts itself?...

The differing accounts of creation in Genesis 1 and 2.
The different versions of the commandments before and after Moses breaks the tablets.
Did Jesus baptize people or not? (John 3:22 vs John 4:2)
There are hundreds more...

Are we to ignore the proofs regarding pi and teach everyone to use 3 regardless of the poor results that ensue? Do we give up sanitation as useless, ignore sterile practice in medicine, and simply pray to prevent infection? When was the last time you stoned someone to death for cursing as was done in Leviticus 24?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:27 pm

osks wrote:Any truth claim that is made apart from Scripture (as the one objective, absolute, immutable standard of Truth), is nothing more than mere opinion, and opinions are a dime-a-dozen - in fact, they're not even that, because all opinions are worthless! Surely you can see that?

What about those things that are proven through measurement and empirical support? This leads me back to the question of pi. The bible has it wrong but humans have worked out the necessary proofs and can give a precise value to as many decimal places as you like. This precise value of pi isn't opinion at all.

Surely you can see that, right?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:48 pm

So menstealers are slave traders, and are on equal footing with liars and homosexuals. This is divine doctrine? If a servant doesn't mean a slave, then how would I know that a manstealer is a slave trader? Why would homosexuality be viewed as equally offensive as slave trading? Why does the Bible also say that Jews may have slaves from neighboring tribes, and not to beat them so badly that they can't live for a few days?

Just as the skeptic has the propensity to cherry pick the Bible for it's numerous contradictions and atrocities, the christian only gleans what supports Christianity as a good religion.

Your question of how I can conclude that slavery is wrong without following biblical doctrine is baited. I've already submitted that I don't consider another contradiction in the Bible to be support that God was against slavery. Slavery was not abolished because of Christian doctrine, it finally came into popular opinion that it was wrong. The Emancipation Proclamation was drafted as a war strategy as much as it was to do the right thing. Why did a non-believer draft such a policy? Why do non-christian nations not practice slavery? I'm a thinking person with compassion for my fellow human, that's why I think slavery is wrong. No fear of a hell needed.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:28 pm

osks wrote:You have it all wrong on several accounts: Firstly, the Bible in fact denounces slavery as sin! In fact, the NT goes so far as to put slave traders in the same category as murderers, adulterers, perverts, and liars (1Tim 1:10)!

Hang on a second, that's not exactly what 1Timothy 1:10 says, is it?

The KJV of 1st Timothy 1:10 says:

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;


You'll note that this phrase doesn't condemn any of the persons listed, nor does it condemn their actions. When you read the phrases before and after, it becomes clear that this is just a list of the people for whom the scripture is intended.

IF one equates the term "manstealer" with a slave trader then perhaps 1Tim1:10 is saying the bible is for them. But "manstealer" could also mean a kidnapper or even one who would steal a slave as one would steal cattle, or it could be referring to adulterous women. The term may not intend slavery as the negative aspect at all. When one then reviews the numerous passages where slavery is mentioned as a normal and accepted activity it becomes even more difficult to argue that this "manstealer" reference condemns slavery.

osks wrote:Secondly, Christ never impelled slavery but obedience in all servant/master relationships[...]

So Jeebus was down with slavery. He could have clearly said "Slavery's bad, you'll go to hell if you partake in it, please free all slaves and stop doing it." But he chose not to, right? God repeatedly murders lots of people for lots of reasons using fiery tongues, serpents, floods, and angry mobs. But did he ever once slap the wrist of a slaver or slave holder? Nope.


osks wrote:Thirdly, Christ recognized the custom at the time[...]

Christ was a cultural relativist! :D

osks wrote:(which was largely pagan) for someone to serve in the position of bondservant and not that of a slave as you understand it (ie in the way that America for example forced people to be taken against their will in order to become the property of someone else and to be forcibly put to work). Also, because bankruptcy laws did not exist at the time, it was customary for debtors to sell themselves voluntarily into a position of bondservant (what you wrongly understand to be a 'slave') where his service would then be used to discharge a debt. Even a convicted thief was permitted to make restitution in this manner (Exo 22:3).

So you're saying "slavery" is all relative? Relativism! :P

Besides... You're merely playing with semantics and picking from the more benignly translated versions of the bible. Check out the NLT version of Leviticus 25:44-46:

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.


osks wrote:Fourthly, it was on the basis of the Biblical of the view of man (it is only because man has been made in the image of God, that he possesses any degree of dignity and worth) that slavery was eventually abolished both in ancient Israel, in the USA, and elsewhere! Remember that ancient Israel was in fact liberated from slavery in Egypt under the command of God! Finally, on what basis do you condemn slavery (unless you adopt the standards set by Scripture)?

It's not accepted practice within the current culture. We generally judge it to be wrong and contrary to the tenant that all humans are equal. For me personally I think it would suck to be a slave and through application of my empathy I also don't want anyone else to suffer. Simple, right?

From the available scripture on slavery all one can really say with certainty is that the bible leaves a less than clear picture on whether slavery's cool or not. There are passages that can be cited on both sides of the argument. (Although there are more that justify slavery than there are that condemn it if one's keeping score.)

If the bible is so unclear and contradictory in regards to an act so horribly abhorrent as slavery, how can one argue that the bible is a clear standard of reference for anything moral at all? The contradictions inherent in biblical scripture would appear to make it worthless as a guide since any determination will necessarily only come as the result of opinionated interpretation and would hence only be relative to the interpreter.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:01 pm

Sam wrote:The contradictions inherent in biblical scripture would appear to make it worthless as a guide since any determination will necessarily only come as the result of opinionated interpretation and would hence only be relative to the interpreter.


agreed, and:


osks wrote:Any truth claim that is made apart from Scripture (as the one objective, absolute, immutable standard of Truth), is nothing more than mere opinion, and opinions are a dime-a-dozen - in fact, they're not even that, because all opinions are worthless! Surely you can see that?


If opinions are worthless, I would assume that any interpretation of the Bible is worthless, as well, as Sam eloquently deduced. Speaking of corrupting a verse, I believe osks knows how to do this better than I do.

First you would have to have demonstrable evidence that the Bible is the word of an actual god. Faith is not evidence, and is unfalsifiable, so not debatable.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:28 am

Just to recap what others have already said ...

osks wrote:... Scripture is the ultimate authority on all things ...

Provably false.

osks wrote:Any truth claim that is made apart from Scripture ... is nothing more than mere opinion, and opinions are a dime-a-dozen - in fact, they're not even that, because all opinions are worthless! Surely you can see that?

Is that your opinion? Or does the Scripture say that all opinions are worthless?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:33 am

Truly, at the risk of sounding smug, which is not my intention, I would say that we have roundly routed a fairly well versed Christian apologist. Thanks to you guys, of course, I was happily learning.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:03 am

I do hope he comes back. He said he'd adderes my questions after I answered his and I wouldn't want our most recent Jeebusian Apologist to prove himself a liar. :twisted:

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:43 am

Not that I feel like piling on, but I cannot resist commenting about this:

osks wrote:
fromthehills wrote:Here's this gem from the NT: Ephesians6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; If the Bible is the ultimate authority, then Osks must approve of slavery.

You have it all wrong on several accounts:

Bible expert Michael Marlowe seems to disagree with you, osks. Nowhere in the Bible does anyone condemn the practice of slavery. Nowhere. In fact Paul and Jesus both implicitly endorsed slavery.

osks wrote:Firstly, the Bible in fact denounces slavery as sin! In fact, the NT goes so far as to put slave traders in the same category as murderers, adulterers, perverts, and liars (1Tim 1:10)!

"Slave trader" is a misinterpretation of the original Greek. What 1 TIM 1:10 refers to are people who steal slaves from their rightful owners. It does not refer to those who acquire their slaves legally.

See for example:
http://www.bible-researcher.com/slavery.html

Michael Marlowe wrote:Sometimes 1 Timothy 1:10 is mentioned as one verse which might indicate that the Bible considers slavery to be sinful. This misinterpretation was often put forth in abolitionist writings of the Civil-War Era. For example, in 1836 Angelina Grimke (a feminist abolitionist who was neither a scholar nor a believer in the Bible) wrote, “how can it be said Paul sanctioned slavery, when, as though to put this matter beyond all doubt, in that black catalogue of sins enumerated in his first epistle to Timothy, he mentions ‘menstealers,’ which word may be translated ‘slavedealers’?” (12) The verse lists ανδραποδισταις “menstealers” along with other ungodly and sinful persons (murderers, fornicators, sodomites, liars, etc.), and indeed this word is translated “slave traders” in the New International Version and in the New Living Translation. The New International Reader’s Version (a revision of the NIV for children) even interprets it as, “people who buy and sell slaves.” This is in keeping with Grimke’s interpretation. But this is certainly not the meaning of the word. Thayer’s Lexicon explains that the word means “one who steals the slaves of others and sells them” or “one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery.” This crime was often committed in ancient times. Penalties for it are specified in the Mosaic Law (see Exodus 21:16 and Deuteronomy 24:7), and it is frequently mentioned by Greek writers as the crime of ανδραποδον. In the ancient Roman code known as the Lex Fabia (third-second century B.C.) these slave-snatchers were called plagiarii, and so the word is translated thus in the Vulgate. (13) So ανδραποδισταις in 1 Timothy 1:10 does not refer to all slave traders, any more than the word πορνοις “whoremongers, fornicators” in the same verse could refer all men who have sexual relations with a woman. It refers to those who engage in an illegal activity, kidnapping of slaves, and not the legal slave-trade itself. For this reason, most Bible versions translate the word “kidnappers.”


And who exactly is Michael Marlowe?
http://www.bible-researcher.com/biog.html

Michael Marlowe wrote:After I got my bachelor's degree in English Literature I decided to get some formal training in Biblical Studies, and so I entered the Master of Arts program at the closest seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (a Presbyterian school). I concentrated in the biblical languages, and received the MA degree in 1994. ...

Concerning the Bible, I believe that it is the inerrant, living and powerful word of God.

People can decide for themselves which expert to believe, Michael Marlowe or osks.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Jeff D » Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:04 am

I was asked or encouraged to come here and to read osks' opening post by one of the regulars who posted above on this thread, and who also particpates in other sub-forums (or sub-fora, if you prefer) in the Julia Sweeney Discussion Forum. I am probably not going to come back here, but here goes.

It's always helpful when a Christian apologist explicitly labels himself or herself up-front as a Christian apologist.

osks has probably heard or read this suggestion before: In discussion with non-believers or skeptics, don't rely on quotations from the New or Old Testament as evidence of anything . . . other than as rough or imprecise indications of what various people claimed or felt 1,800 or 1,900 or 2,600 years ago.

When I see Scripture being quoted, it tells me that the writer and the speaker knows how to read and to use a concordance, and that he or she has a pretty good command of what other apologists have written or argued. And when the KJV or the RSV is being quoted, I can enjoy the beauty of the English translation (Sometimes this can be tough if I must "look past" the reprehensible, cruel, horrid, or morally repellent content of a passage or the larger context of the text. I love the language of the Book of Job in the KJV, but for my money, one of the core ideas in that book -- that God intentionally and cruelly tortures and beats down a pious man, essentially to win a bet, and then "replaces" his killed children with other children at the end of the story -- is as rotten as anything in the Bible).

Now, on to the original topic of this thread, as chosen by osks: The alleged "irrationality" of "skepticism."

I define "skepticism" in a way that is roughly consistent with the meaning of the original Greek root skepsis ("doubt" or "inquiry," or "to look carefully"). Skepticism is not merely an automatic or reflexive stance in which the skeptic always denies or disagrees with every claim, and keeps saying "No, I don't buy it." Skepticism is "Show me some evidence." And although the original skeptics did their thinking and talking and writing long before the discovery or invention of the scientific method, for me there is a necessary connection between the healthiest kind of skepticism and empiricism.

I am not interested in mere "belief." I'm interested in justifiable belief, which for me is the only kind of belief that can be "promoted" to the status of "knowledge." Except in realms such as mathematics or formal logic, where all depends on precisely-defined premises or operational rules that are assumed to hold true, all "justifiable belief" and "all knowledge" are provisional, and subject to being overturned, modified, or corrected by new evidence. To paraphrase Herk, over at the other forums/fora, there are things that I used to know to be true, and then I found out they were not true, and so I don't know them anymore.

What does it take for a "belief" to be justifiable? For me, it's evidence -- not just personal revelation or feeling, not appeals to hoary-headed or "venerable" authority, but direct observation or experiment, or a report of past observation or experiment that has been reproduced and that can be reproduced by others. To my kind of skeptic, "justifiable belief" is inter-subjective: If I make a claim, belief in that claim is justifiable if my claim, and my alleged evidence for it, are inter-subjective -- someone else who looks at what I looked at, and asks the same questions and performs the same tests that I did, will come to the same conclusion.

On issues of fact -- is Claim X about the world, about human nature, or about some alleged historical occurrence true? -- citations of "authority" are not evidence unless we have good reason to conclude that the individual "authority" acquired his or her information through personal observation or experiment, or unless the content of the claim was duplicated through the personal observation or experiment of many others, all of whom saw or heard the same things and gave consistent reports.

On this last point, I know in advance what most Christian apologists are going to say, but I've read the apologetics and the historical-textual critical works as well. Unfortunately for the apologists and the missionaries to the Word, the Canonical New Testament texts that we have, and the extant non-Canonical texts, are all too late, too fictionally-embellished, and too contradictory to constitute reliable historical records of what people (some of them illiterate, all of them credulous and superstitious) actually saw, heard and did. At best, what we have in the New Testament are competing compilations of teaching/preaching material and party history, as a group of 1st- and 2nd-century missionaries struggled to express in words some of the feelings and hallucinations that they shared, and to attempt to explain the ontological nature of a dead itinerant rabbi / Cynic philosopher whom none of these people saw, met or knew during his lifetime, and whose life, death and teachings were the subject of highly discrepant stories, most of which started as oral accounts that got embellished and distorted with each retelling.

I am not particularly interested in Truth with a capital T, and when I see that a discussion has veered into the territory of "absolute" truth or morality, or "ultimate" truth or "morality," or "objective" morality, I walk away. Because at least 90% of the time, if a religious apologist is participating in the discussion, he or she is the one who throws "absolute" or "ultimate" or "objective" around, and it's always done as a sort of stealth move in order to suggest that we all need to have a Supreme Being as a source of commands or pronouncements to tell us what to do and what to believe, and all we need to do is to simply accept or believe.

According to this line of apologetic argument, the "truth" that is stated in Scripture is somehow superior to the truth that human beings can confirm or approach ever more closely through their own investigation, and the "morality" that consists in obedience to God (or more precisely, obedience to people who claim to speak for God) is somehow superior to the morality that human beings discover, invent and improve for themselves (which is what human beings have always done, for thousands of years before the Bhagavad Gita, or Confucius's Analects, or the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or the Hebrew Bible).

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:52 pm

Dear Jeff - thank you for a considered (albeit somewhat specious) response. Herewith my rebuttal:
Jeff D wrote:In discussion with non-believers or skeptics, don't rely on quotations from the New or Old Testament as evidence of anything . . . other than as rough or imprecise indications of what various people claimed or felt 1,800 or 1,900 or 2,600 years ago.

In the final analysis, we ALL ultimately appeal to some standard of authority (you may do well to familiarize yourself with Foundationalism as a structure of knowledge). In my case, it is the Bible, not because it suits my particular preference or because it fits my tradition, but because it is demonstrably true (perhaps you and I can engage on the verity of our respective systems of belief, because both of us subscribe to some system of belief/worldview, so the question really is: which of our systems of belief is true?)! So my question to you Jeff is this: what is YOUR ultimate authority - are you the measure of all things (which can be easily refuted as absurd/self-refuting...), or do you appeal to something else (like science maybe - in that case, I'd be very happy to argue with you that science can NEVER furnish us with truth)?

Your remarks re the trustworthiness of Scripture smack of ignorant conjecture that clearly demonstrate a patent lack of knowledge about the very subject which you are attempting to traduce - please allow me to quote an unBiblical source here for you to consider:
After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived, and is perhaps better for the siege. Even on the critics’ own terms - historical fact - the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than they did when the rationalists began the attack.
- Time Magazine, December 30, 1974

Jeff D wrote:...I must "look past" the reprehensible, cruel, horrid, or morally repellent content of a passage - that God intentionally and cruelly tortures and beats down a pious man, essentially to win a bet, and then "replaces" his killed children with other children at the end of the story - is as rotten as anything in the Bible

Any value judgment that has no objectively grounded epistemic, must always be dismissed as nothing more than mere opinion (all opinions can safely be rejected as worthless pontification)!
Jeff D wrote:Skepticism is "Show me some evidence."

I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the idea that we ought to adopt a skeptical stance towards all truth claims - after all, it is a Biblical imperative:
...test all things...
- 1Thessalonians 5:21

But here's the thing... when do we know when to stop being skeptical and accept something as authentic (or as true)? Only if we have an objective standard of truth available to us that we can appeal to in order to judge whether something qualifies as either true or false (such as the Bible as the revealed Word of God), does skepticism become something reasonable [PS - I would grant that just because the Bible claims to be the truth, doesn't make it so, and I'm very happy to expound on that].

But there's yet another problem with what you claim: you seem to suggest that we can only things empirically (ie on the strength of our sense experience)? However: 1) the facts NEVER 'speak for themselves' (that commits the fallacy of reification), 2) the facts are ALWAYS interpreted (none of us are ever 'neutral' towards the facts/evidence - we all carry with us our biases and our presuppositions, just ask any lawyer in the US who has ever been concerned with jury selection), and 3) our senses are not always reliable/trustworthy (a fact that someone like David Copperfield has been able to exploit vey nicely whenever he makes the Statue of Liberty 'disappear')!
Jeff D wrote:Except in realms such as mathematics or formal logic, where all depends on precisely-defined premises or operational rules that are assumed to hold true, all "justifiable belief" and "all knowledge" are provisional, and subject to being overturned, modified, or corrected by new evidence.

OK... sounds good, but what is your mathematical or 'formal logical' basis for promoting this particular belief, because what you are claiming here, qualifies neither as 'mathematical' or as 'formally logical'! [PS - You also need to reckon into your definition the consideration of warrant!]

What you are really concerned with here Jeff, is the very difficult and challenging question of epistemic certitude (the subject of my thesis by the way), ie can we know anything for sure? In brief, please allow me to say this: we simply cannot be skeptics consistently and we certainly cannot be skeptics all the time, for that would make all of existence utterly absurd and probably drive us towards nihilism (or worse)! And yet, we certainly seem to conduct ourselves as though there are some things that can be known for sure (as you've demonstrated quite nicely here), so my argument is just this: unless Biblical theism is true, none of us are able to know anything - life and the world around us would be utterly unintelligible! In other words, Biblical theism is axiomatic to all knowledge (and more)!

In conclusion, please allow me to edify you on this one (very NB) point: I am not a Christian because I believe - I believe because I am a Christian! Being Christian is NOT about 'mere belief' - no amount of intellectual/emotional commitment to an idea (about God...), and no degree of positive cognitive attitude towards a proposition (about Jesus Christ...), will ever make anyone into a true Christian (for not everyone who calls himself/herself a 'Christian' in fact qualifies as one):
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven..." - Jesus (Matthew 7:21)
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:30 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:What about those things that it is clearly wrong about?... Pi rounded off to 3.

I honestly thought that this was a place where critically-minded people engaged, and so, for anyone to reject the truth of Biblical theism on basis of something as patently absurd as this, is really quite risible!

So, you tell me what IS the value of Pi exactly please! Is it 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510..., or is it 3.141592653589..., or is it 3.141592..., or is it 3.141... or is it 3...? You ought to know that the value of Pi is an irrational number (ie Pi cannot be expressed as the exact ratio between two integers), and so, the value of Pi has been calculated to more than 5x10^12 decimal places, without any ending or repetition in sight! So, if God gave the full value of Pi in 1Kings 7:23, it would've taken up every page in every book ever published (and yet to be published)!

Blacksamwell wrote:The constants of our universe which we use as benchmarks were all discovered through the application of human invention and imagination. I note that the value of Pi is discovered through calculation and proof, not any reference to scripture. In fact, if one looks to scripture for a value of Pi one discovers that the "Truth" is in fact quite false.

The value of Pi is foundational to mathematics, geometry, physics... and yet, it is not something that you are able to account for within the framework of a random chance universe! Also, how is information (Pi represents information) spawned by matter (the DVD does not produce the bits recorded on it, nor do the pages of a book produce the letters printed on it...)? The only rational basis for all universal constants, are:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. - Hebrews 13:8

You may not like the idea that this universe has an Author, but if you were being at all intellectually honest, you must admit that it is an explanation that does comport with reality (as we know it)!
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Chachacha » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:50 pm

Oh please, an irrational belief in an "Author" is as irrational as any of the other irrational beliefs in "God". You can dress it up and put lipstick on it and take it to the Science Fair, but it still belongs at the Country Fair.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:56 pm

osks wrote:......it is demonstrably true..


Not so far. There is no evidence for this. You aren't providing any argument that even shows that it should be logically considered as possibly true. Demonstrably true is more than a stretch. You gave your opinion of why you think the god of the Bible gave pi in shorthand, which is weak, but still an answer. Now answer the rest of Sam's questions on mythical animals. What about men that lived for hundreds of years? What about a talking snake? Why aren't dinosaurs mentioned? How did Noah and his sons round up 10,000,000,000 species of wild animals in a single day and fit them all on one boat? Are these tidbits demonstrably true?

Is it in accordance with Christian morality to hate your mother and father, leave your wife and children to follow Christ? Is it God's will to make sex slaves of young girls, and to kill every man woman that has lain with man, and every boy child for worshiping a false god? Should Christians put billions of people to death for working on the sabbath, for being homosexual, for wearing clothes made with different fabrics, and for swearing at their parents? Are we going against God's will for giving epidurals to women giving birth, because they are supposed to suffer during childbirth? Are women equal to men? Is there even a passage that says women can go to heaven?

Though the Bible is not demonstrably true, it is demonstrably wicked

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:19 pm

Does God command men to eat their own feces? Ez 4:12 Or can you complain and substitute cow dung for it?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:48 pm

Is it possible for stars to fall to earth? Is it possible for Jesus to hold seven stars in his hand? Can the sun turn black, and the moon turn red? Can Jesus wield a sword with his mouth?

Are these things demonstrably true? Tell me, when is all this supposed to happen, by specific verse, please.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:56 am

osks wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote:What about those things that it is clearly wrong about?... Pi rounded off to 3.

I honestly thought that this was a place where critically-minded people engaged, and so, for anyone to reject the truth of Biblical theism on basis of something as patently absurd as this, is really quite risible!

So, you tell me what IS the value of Pi exactly please! Is it 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510..., or is it 3.141592653589..., or is it 3.141592..., or is it 3.141... or is it 3...? You ought to know that the value of Pi is an irrational number (ie Pi cannot be expressed as the exact ratio between two integers), and so, the value of Pi has been calculated to more than 5x10^12 decimal places, without any ending or repetition in sight! So, if God gave the full value of Pi in 1Kings 7:23, it would've taken up every page in every book ever published (and yet to be published)!

God doesn't have to give the value of pi for us to see that the bible is incorrect in this regard. What is given are dimensions of circular objects; pools and tanks. From the dimensions given, which are not irrational numbers, one should be able to calculate pi to any precision they wish. However, when one attempts to do so with the figures provided they only get 3. Why would the true word of scripture be so imprecise? Why is it absurd to expect an omnipotent being to provide precise figures?

You're focus on the precise value of pi and the volume of text required is a non sequitur.

So would you mind please addressing directly the incorrectness of the figures provided in 1st Kings 7 and 2nd Chronicles 4? They appear to be imprecise and not at all any kind of absolute and true reference when describing a circular object.


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