Thursday, December 23, 2010

Putting the Cross back into Christmas

It is difficult to be a human being. Illness, injury, death, bereavement, depression, frustrated hopes, unfulfilled dreams, unrequited love, despair, humiliation, hunger, nakedness, want of every kind – the usual illustrations of the problem of evil provide ample evidence of this. The point applies no less to those relatively untouched by such misfortunes. For they are more prone than their fellows to become complacent, superficial, ungrateful, and selfish – an even graver misfortune, and one that tends to lead us into the lesser ones after all. But every human being has his own distinctive moral weaknesses. It is difficult to be a human being because it is difficult to be a good human being – a human being who flourishes, who fulfills the various ends nature has set for us, whether they be our animal ends or our higher, rational and moral ends.

That is itself, in a sense, our natural lot. Nature determines the good for us and obliges us to pursue it. But she has put us in circumstances that make its fulfillment far from easy. We share the world with bacteria, viruses, and wild animals, with earthquakes and floods, and with other human beings who share our limitations. What we need for our fulfillment is there for the getting, but actually to get it takes fortitude, hard work, hard thinking, and being in the right place at the right time. Being a human being can sometimes seem like being a humble sperm cell – billions upon billions with the same end, and only a tiny fraction ever realizing it. Or it would seem that way if we did not also by nature have immortal souls. The light of reason tells us that there is a God, that He is good, and that the sufferings of this life are not the end of the story for us. Thus does nature give some consolation even in the face of the obstacle course she has set before us. But only some – in part because she gives us no details about the life to come, and in part because even what she does tell us she tells us only under the best of cultural circumstances. Understanding natural theology requires some leisure and philosophical wherewithal. It also helps to live in an age which isn’t as intellectually decadent as ours is.

Original sin involves, in part, the loss of the supernatural assistance that would have removed the various difficulties of our natural state. Nature as God made her was good, if austere in the ways described. Nothing beyond what she gave us was “owed” to us. But God would have given us more anyway, by His grace – would have added to what had already been given us by nature, so as to enable us to get around her obstacles – if not for the Fall. The restoration of this supernatural gift is part of the meaning of the Incarnation, and thus part of the meaning of Christmas. But there is more to it than the restoration itself. As Aquinas says, the Incarnation was not in the strictest sense necessary for remedying the Fall, since God by His infinite power could have accomplished this another way. But it was necessary in a weaker sense, insofar as there was no more fitting way for it to be accomplished. (ST III.1.2) Quoting Augustine, Aquinas gives as one of several reasons it was most fitting the consideration that "Nothing was so necessary for raising our hope as to show us how deeply God loved us. And what could afford us a stronger proof of this than that the Son of God should become a partner with us of human nature?"

The problem of evil poses no intellectual difficulty for classical theism, in part because we have no reason whatsoever to believe that God cannot draw an outweighing good out of even the worst evils we suffer, and every reason to believe that He can and will. But it is an enormous practical difficulty, one that Christian theology remedies in a way mere philosophy cannot. Reason tells us to trust in God, but reason is cold, and falters in the face of a dying child. Yes, we are rational animals. But we are rational animals – creatures of flesh and feeling as well as of thought. And it is simply difficult to be a rational animal, a human being – to bleed, to feel one’s heart break, to suffer. The Son of God in His divine nature is beyond all that. Yet He took on human nature anyway, so that we poor men and women would not suffer alone. In Jesus Christ the God of the philosophers wears a human face. And in the end, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev 21:4). But not before crying some of them Himself, on a cross, and in a manger.

132 comments:

Left-footer said...

Thank you for this quietly inspiring meditation.

Happy Christmas, and God bless!

McDavid said...

God says that he won't give us more than we can handle, but if that's true, how do you explain the fact that people commit suicide everyday?

The only answer I've heard is the "blame the victim" approach of accusing the individual who committed suicide of "feeling" like they couldn't handle it when in fact they could have.

That kind of explanation is more of a cop-out than a real answer.

jt said...

The myth of the Fall is quite difficult to square with a caring and loving God who also designs a natural order that quickly evolves into conscious animals being judged guilty for acting according to that nature.

It is little consolation to the gratuitous suffering endured by billions of creatures who are doomed to lives kill or be killed, victims of earthquakes who spend their last hours buried alive, and the millions murdered for one ideology or other in the 20th century alone. To say that natural theology offers a satisfying response to this level of suffering is to blaspheme.

George R. said...

McDavid:
"God says that he won't give us more than we can handle, but if that's true, how do you explain the fact that people commit suicide everyday?"

God promised not to give His servants more than they can handle. On the other hand, the servants of the Devil get more than they can handle all the time -- and will get more than they can handle for all eternity.

This is not to say that the servants of God do not suffer greatly; they do. But they also receive the grace to endure it. In comparison, the servants of the devil, I would say, are treated with kid gloves; but without the grace of God they are more likely react to any suffering like cowards.

Moreover, those who are not the servants of God tend to be ignorant of certain eternal realities. So, while the suicide, for example, might have seen that there are things worse than death, he probably would not know that there are things even worse than those things that are worse than death. Had he known these things, he might have persevered.

All God promises is that His grace is sufficient. If you reject that, well, you're on your own.

Anonymous said...

To George R.:

That is exactly the blame the victim mentality that McDavid was talking about, in my opinion. Everyone who commits suicide is not a servant of God?

Domini Canes said...

@McDavid:

Three remarks:

First, if the suicide is the victim, who is the perpetrator?

Second, the verse in question (I Cor. 10:13) is referring explicitly to not being tempted beyond what we can bear. As in, being tempted to sin. It is not a reference to life generally, and thus is not subject to refutation on account of miserable lives.

Third, what makes the explanation people have given you a "cop-out"? Do you have any actual criticism of it?

Brandon said...

God says that he won't give us more than we can handle

Where does God say he won't give us more than we can handle?

It's unclear to me why it's supposed to be a "cop-out" to say that individuals who commited suicide felt like they couldn't handle it when in fact they could have; even at most conservative estimate this is going to be true most of the time -- otherwise it would be futile to counsel people with suicidal thoughts. It would only be reasonable to counsel people not to commit suicide if that really was usually a real option; so a person giving the 'cop-out' charge in the theological case would have to explain why it isn't a 'cop-out' in explanations of why it makes sense to try to encourage people not to commit suicide. An objection to a theological position that would require that we give up suicide counseling is surely coming at too high a price.

Likewise, I'm not sure why one would have to assume that it is an 'accusation' or an act of 'blaming' rather than simply stating a fact.

Seriously, guys, don't you have better things to do on Christmas Eve than engage in overwrought rhetoric about the evils of the world in some comment box that will have no practical effect on the world. Surely if there's a time not to play rhetorical games about evil but simply to go out and actually fight it, fix it, compensate for it, this is it.

Anonymous said...

Great reflection, Ed.

M. Flood said...

Beautiful, Ed, simply beautiful.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Feser, I think you are great, but before you converted to Catholicism, did you at all look into our biological and evolutionary history to see if the Adam and Eve story makes sense? I am well aware that the Church does not take the Protestant approach to Genesis, and I agree that the Catholic approach is more true to the text.

HOWEVER, the dogma of Original Sin does commit the CC to believing that there was an actual event of sin committed by our first parents which, in turn, implicates us in the consequences of that act of disobedience, whatever it might have been. The problem with this commitment is that humanity emerged from a population of humans, not any one male-female pair. So while there is no problem in believing in a male-female prepare which produced descendants, there is a problem in saying that this male-female pair are the progenitors of the entire human race. It simply is not true. This, I think, has some rather nasty implications on theology. It may be the case that many of us living today do not have Original Sin because we are not descended from Adam. Or, if we say that Adam's sin still affected all of humanity, than we have to modify de fide statements on Original Sin.

Now, I am quite sympathetic to the CC, so if there is a resolution to this problem, I would be glad to hear it.

J.B. star said...

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Anonymous said...

@JT

You did not understand a word you read, did you?

jt said...

I thought I had. Can you be more specific of what I missed?

jt said...

I reread Ed's post, and think I got it right on 1st read.

The myth of a sin committed by two people (even if figurative) being the cause of the manifold suffering in God's creation minimizes any God for whom "my heart will not rest until it rest in thee."

Check it out, there ARE other attempts to frame our existence, even within Mother Church.

Anonymous said...

It "minimizes" no such thing. But there's little chance of you realizing that, since you've made it clear that you've got your personal hobby horses you'll ride, and anything that doesn't line up with it is not an idea to be stood, but to be attacked and crushed and (since you never manage so much as a dent) whined about ultimately.

Maybe one day you'll actually understand what you criticize, and work off at least some reason instead of exclusively emotion.

jt said...

Sign on Catholic Church:

All Catholic Emoters Go to Heaven!

Crude said...

Great post, Ed, and a belated Merry Christmas to you.

Jinzang said...

The New York Times has an article about Phillipa Foot,

jt said...

Hey Crude

You might get a double lick of the chops with this vid...

http://www.dogwork.com/ddsff4/

Crude said...

jt,

I probably have vastly more awareness - and appreciation - for pet welfare and wildlife than you do. Pigs (smarter than dogs, I hear) remain delicious, and eating dog is not cannibalism. Amateur home movies don't change that a notch.

(Incidentally, your dog would agree with me about the pigs, if they were capable of speech or reason.)

jt said...

You might be right about the tasty pig thought in a dog's mind, but you nor I have a clue as to how much reasoning a dog is capable of.

But say affective neuroscience were to show the world just how much rational activity goes on in a dogs emotional life, the A-T crowd would simply drop the rationality is king schtick and emphasize some other aspect of cognition like willful-directedness-to-God.

Animals reason - look it up, perhaps start with Panksepp and Solm.

jt said...

A paraphrase of Panksepp: We are bio-physical creatures that feel and think…non-humans are affectively enhanced and less cognitive, while we are more cognitive and less in touch with our affects.

'Leggo my Fido!'

Crude said...

but you nor I have a clue as to how much reasoning a dog is capable of.

Actually, I do, and you constantly at least pretend you do. Falsely, of course.

But say affective neuroscience were to show the world just how much rational activity goes on in a dogs emotional life,

And you obviously don't grok even the basics of neuroscience, or its relation to this question.

But what's the point of discussing this? You've made it clear that this isn't about reasoning for you, either on your part or any other hypothetical creature. You like your dogs. You're quite crazy about them. And that's, really, the extent of it - everything else is a bluff or spin, one long protracted "I am crazy about my dogs!" said in different ways. To discuss this further would be like arguing with a bumper sticker.

I get it, and I don't care. Go play fetch with your dog, or your adopted pseudo-child, or whatever you call it. But I'll save conversation with people who know how to converse, thank you.

jt said...

Wanna bet I know more neuroscience than you.

You merely approach this branch of study with your hands variously covering your eyes and ears crying 'In the name of A-T, I see no evil and hear no evil.'

Who is Panksepp?

You may respond anonymously as you had been doing.

Anonymous said...

Crude, you live up to your name.

Free-Thought-Free-Man said...

Is Tim McGrew a reputable philosopher/scholar? Or is he just another apologist?

jt said...

Apologist. It's his wife that's a real piece of work.

Crude said...

Anon,

Thank you. ;)

JT,

You merely approach this branch of study with your hands variously covering your eyes and ears crying 'In the name of A-T, I see no evil and hear no evil.'

Right. I mean, I've only discussed everything from panpsychism to hylozoism to idealism to more in the comments on this very blog, often sympathetically. But I find your particular brand of insult-laden craziness to be... well, crazy. So clearly it must be because I'm some diehard A-T advocate. It can't be that you're just obviously pretty wingnutty. I must be part of the Great Thomistic Conspiracy Against Dogs!

BenYachov said...

The problem is JT dogmatically and almost fundamentalistically makes a moral and metaphysical equivalence between humans and animals.

Animals have no intellective immortal souls. They are not like us not only in degree but in kind.

The problem is he is an animal-lover but he goes to far with it IMHO. I love animals thanks to the influence of my Paternal Grandmother of happy memory. But I love them as animals and pets not as mini-humans. An animal is not the moral equivalent of a human and animal suffering is no more "evil" than the "suffering" of the Planet Jupiter when it is stuck by comets. It's matter damaging other matter. Humans have Spirit. Animals are mere material beings only.

Thus the suffering of animals is a non-issue to me. Morally I would be more concerned with relieving an Animal's suffering then stripping a vandal's spray paint of a park statue but I would be more concerned with the suffering of a human child. It would be immoral to consider the child & the animal equivalent.

Anonymous said...

FreeThought,

Tim McGrew is an excellent philosopher who has done serious work in epistemology and has co-authored an extensive anthology in the philosophy and history of science. It would be foolhardy to label him a mere "apologist":

http://www.amazon.com/Internalism-Epistemology-Architecture-Contemporary-Philosophy/dp/041577067X/

http://www.amazon.com/Internalism-Epistemology-Architecture-Contemporary-Philosophy/dp/041577067X/

http://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-Science-Historical-Anthology-Anthologies/dp/1405175427/


Frankly, this "jt" character doesn't know what he's talking about.

BenYachov said...

>The problem with this commitment is that humanity emerged from a population of humans, not any one male-female pair. So while there is no problem in believing in a male-female prepare which produced descendants, there is a problem in saying that this male-female pair are the progenitors of the entire human race.

I reply: Here is an easy answer. The church doctrinally requires theological monogenism but there is no logical reason why she can't combine that with a biological polygenism(which IMHO would concur with the restrictions of Pius XII). Simply put there is no reason why we can't believe Adam & Eve's offspring did in fact mate with the unsouled hominids that where their contemporaries. The offspring of such unions would have had souls and over time Souled Humans absorbed the human race and became dominate.

Indeed there seems to be some precedence in Jewish Tradition for this concept. In my judgment this Tradition seems compatible with the Faith and might likely be true.

see here:
http://www.aish.com/tp/i/moha/48931772.html


OTOH Israeli archeologists have claimed to have found evidence of modern human remains from 400,000 B.C. (twice as old as previously thought).

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101227/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_ancient_teeth

So maybe humanity coming from a two person bottleneck is not so far fetched if you go far enough back. Or maybe there are other unknown natural or supernatural factors at work?

Either way belief in a real Adam & Eve are compatible with Evolution. Liberal Protestant types of Theistic Evolution that deny a real Adam and Ever are just plain gay! I'm talking more gay than making Jedi Exile a female and Darth Revan a male in the Expanded Universe canon(it should be the other way around, but no...LucasArts had to be gay!).

Another reason why Biologos is going to turn into an epic fail if they don't straighten up and fly right.

Anonymous said...

"Simply put there is no reason why we can't believe Adam & Eve's offspring did in fact mate with the unsouled hominids that where their contemporaries."

this sounds both pathetically ad hoc and just plain disgusting. humans coming into profligate sexual contact with non-humans? really? Yachov you are advocating bestiality and for that you are a heretic. you have thereby also denigrated the holiness of the sex act. repent of such shameless speculative ventures or henceforth be banished from all future philosophical conversation.

Crude said...

this sounds both pathetically ad hoc and just plain disgusting. humans coming into profligate sexual contact with non-humans? really? Yachov you are advocating bestiality and for that you are a heretic.

He's doing no such thing, anymore than the traditional explanation 'advocates incest'. But then, I suspect this is just some goat-getting.

Ben's right that the answers to the question originally asked are multiple, and not particularly worrying. (Though I think he's making a mistake in holding out hope for Biologos. I can't help but think that their mission is largely one of ingratiation to certain academics and culture more than anything else.)

BenYachov said...

Thank you Crude that pretty much sums my response to the coward Anon-December 27, 2010 1:18 PM.

Anyway let me supply some intelligent response to this idiot if only for my own amusement.

>humans coming into profligate sexual contact with non-humans?

Genetically they would be human even thought metaphysically they would not be human. Thus there would be a moral difference between mating with one of these humanoid Atavists vs a sheep or a goat. OTOH this is morally no worse than in a Fiat Creationist scheme brothers marrying sisters (or Adam marrying some of his daughters after Eve's death to build up the world if we believe some Rabbis).

>Yachov you are advocating bestiality and for that you are a heretic.

I reply: Says the pervert who wants people to shtup their sisters.

>you have thereby also denigrated the holiness of the sex act.

OTOH it lines up rather well with Genesis 6:4. Perhaps God never intended the offspring of Adam & Eve to mate with humanoid Atavists and that activity was simply the sinful result of the fall?

Historically the Fathers & the Rabbis interpret Genesis 6:4 as forbidden couplings between the Sons of Seth & the Daughters of Cain OR they understand the incident as (fallen?)Angels coupling with human women. Now logically Angelic beings can't really mate with anything material since they are immaterial forms. But if they possessed the bodies Human Atavists(like Legon did with Pigs in the Gospels) then that would solve a lot.

>repent of such shameless speculative ventures or henceforth be banished from all future philosophical conversation.

I betcha you are one of those gay butt-kisser Lucas Hounds over at the Wookieepedia who persecutes anyone who denies the Jedi Exile is a Female?

Kiss my Wookiee you Kriffing Nerf Herder!

BTW like I said all versions of TE that deny the real existence of Adam & Eve are just gay!

BenYachov said...

@Crude

>Though I think he's making a mistake in holding out hope for Biologos. I can't help but think that their mission is largely one of ingratiation to certain academics and culture more than anything else.

If it makes you feel any better bro I wouldn't say I had a good hope.

Catholics should start something like Biologs for advocates of Theistic Evolution. Accept we would be more tolerant of the Old & Young Earth Creationist crowd and we would banish the anti-original sin anti-Adam & Eve crowd because they are so many levels of wrong!

Wrong I say!

Cheers again.

Cheers!

Hype said...

JT,
If you're really going to claim that Timothy McGrew is "nothing but" an apologist you are a complete moron.
Now, maybe you were joking around.
But if you sincerely believe what you just posted then you are most certainly a blowhard that doesn't know what he's talking about.
Timothy McGrew is heavily respected. Labeling him as an apologist in contrast to being a philosopher is insane.

Pleaase respond, JT. I really would like to hear you defend what you said.
Because as it stands, that comment really fleshed you out.

Free-Thought-Free;
Would you mind explaining why such a random question would find it's way here? You wouldn't happen to be the guy who was trying to invalidate McGrew over on Reppert's page when Reppert was offering McGrew's criticism of Babinski, would you?

George R. said...

Contra Ben Yachov's ravings --

Pope Pelagius, 557 A.D:

“For I confess that all men from Adam, even to the consummation of the world, having been born and having died with Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other, however, from the rib of man.”


Pope Leo XIII, Arcane Divinae Sapientiae, 1880:

“We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of Creation, having made man from the slime of the Earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated, and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time.”

jt said...

http://homepages.wmich.edu/~mcgrew/cv.htm

Judge for yourselves

George R, said...

Contra Yachov (cont.):

The Biblical Commission, June 30, 1909:

III. In particular may the literal historical sense be called in doubt in the case of facts narrated in the same chapters which touch the foundations of the Christian religion: as are, among others, the creation of all things by God in the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man; the unity of the human race; the original felicity of our first parents in the state of justice, integrity, and immortality; the command given by God to man to test his obedience; the transgression of the divine command at the instigation of the devil under the form of a serpent; the degradation of our first parents from that primeval state of innocence; and the promise of a future Redeemer?

Answer: IN THE NEGATIVE [emphasis mine]

BenYachov said...

@George R the High Church Protestant.

Yes I read Fr Brian Harrison too.

>“For I confess that all men from Adam, even to the consummation of the world, having been born and having died with Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other, however, from the rib of man.”

I reply: Accept if God created Adam by infusing a soul into a hominid the animal creatures from whom His body was born would not really be His parents in the strict sense.

Animals can be Sires & or Dames but not Fathers, Mothers or Parents in the True Sense. These are spiritual titles. Which is why Abraham a Hebrew can be Father to a Baptized Scot, Arab or Gentile even thought he is not related to any of these(accept the Arab). Adam would not owe his biological sires "Honor" as parents. Effectively His only Father/Parent would be God alone.

As for the "Rib" the Hebrew can be translated as "side" and thus it does not have to be understood as a literal bone structure being transformed into a woman. Which leads us to Denis Bonnette's speculation on the creation of Eve from Adam's side.

In womb of Adam's Dame an Ovum with XXY chromosomes could have been formed(which would technically be Male) but after it underwent mitosis due to either a supernatural act(akin to God altering the ovum which formed in Our Lady's womb making male) or a freak providential natural accident, two unique twin ovums where produced where one lost it's extra X chromosome & other it's Y.

This is all discussed at length in
Origin of the Human Species by Denis Bonnette including the implications of the Pontifical Biblical Commission of 1909.

I'm sorry George R but you are just going to have to accept the Church of God allows for belief in Theistic Evolution within certain limits and does not mandate Fiat Creationism as Dogma.

Proof Texting Papal documents doesn't cut it. I no more Trust your Protestant misrepresentations anymore than I would those of your low Church Protestant Brethren.

BenYachov said...

Contra George R.

Of course Dr. Bonnette's speculation is within the boundaries of the Pontifical Biblical Commission 1909's judgement.

"What is the literal sense of a passage is not always as obvious in the speeches and writings of the ancient authors of the East, as it is in the works of our own time. For what they wished to express is not to be determined by the rules of grammar and philology alone, nor solely by the context; the interpreter must, as it were, go back wholly in spirit to those remote centuries of the East and with the aid of history, archaeology, ethnology, and other sciences, accurately determine what modes of writing, so to speak, the authors of that ancient period would be likely to use, and in fact did use. For the ancient peoples of the East, in order to express their ideas, did not always employ those forms or kinds of speech which we use today; but rather those used by the men of their times and countries. What those exactly were the commentator cannot determine as it were in advance, but only after a careful examination of the ancient literature of the East" (Divino Afflante Spiritu 35–36) Pope Pius XII.

"the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36).



"no real disagreement can exist between the theologian and the scientist provided each keeps within his own limits. . . . If nevertheless there is a disagreement . . . it should be remembered that the sacred writers, or more truly ‘the Spirit of God who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men such truths (as the inner structure of visible objects) which do not help anyone to salvation’; and that, for this reason, rather than trying to provide a scientific exposition of nature, they sometimes describe and treat these matters either in a somewhat figurative language or as the common manner of speech those times required, and indeed still requires nowadays in everyday life, even amongst most learned people" (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus 18).

BenYachov said...

Fr Brian Harrison in his essays on Genesis and the creation of Eve seems to believe if Adam's body came from "pre-existent and living matter" it would have come from God infusing a soul into the fertilized ovum conceived in His Dame's womb. I see no reason for this limitation. Indeed Fr. Harrison gives no reason for it.

In Jewish & Christian tradition Adam is often portrayed as being created as a fully formed adult. Thus I am skeptical of Fr. Harrison's treatment of this subject but he has the same Christian liberty afforded to him by the Church to believe his speculations as does Dr. Bonnette and I would be a fool if I declared Fr. Harrison's view wrong.

George R. said...

Yachov,

The teachings of the Church are not open to further interpretation. They are the interpretation.

Let’s again consider the word’s of Pope Leo XIII:

“We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of Creation, having made man from the slime of the Earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated, and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time.”

Now except for the phrase “having breathed into his face the breath of life,” which must be taken as the description of a divine act in a figurative way, everything in that statement can be taken a literally true – and, in fact, has been taken as literally true by all the Fathers of the Church, all the Doctors of the Church, all the Popes, all the saints, and, of course, yours truly. Therefore, the question has to be asked: If the literal sense is good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for you?

I’ll tell you why it isn’t good enough for you. Because you think you know more than they did – when in reality you know much, much less. You think you have science, when in reality you are wallowing in utter ignorance. You think yourself wise, when in reality you are a fool. And I say that you are a fool in all charity as trying to shake you out of a stupor that has led you to substitute for the plain meaning of the teachings of Holy Mother Church the ravings of her bitterest enemies. For the theory of evolution is not only erroneous, it is, in fact, the stupidest theory in the history of stupid theories. It is expressly contrary to the teachings of the Church; it is an audacious blasphemy cooked up by the most vehement enemies of God; it is supported by precisely zero empirical evidence; and, of course, it’s metaphysically absurd, as I have demonstrated in the other thread. What, then, can justify your opinion that Pope Leo’s words can be interpreted as meaning that man came into the world as a result of a pair of copulating orangutans? Even assuming that you are allowed to believe what you want on this issue, which btw you are not, on what rational grounds do you believe what you do?

George R. said...

Yachov,

The teachings of the Church are not open to further interpretation. They are the interpretation.

Let’s again consider the word’s of Pope Leo XIII:

“We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of Creation, having made man from the slime of the Earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated, and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time.”

Now except for the phrase “having breathed into his face the breath of life,” which must be taken as the description of a divine act in a figurative way, everything in that statement can be taken a literally true – and, in fact, has been taken as literally true by all the Fathers of the Church, all the Doctors of the Church, all the Popes, all the saints, and, of course, yours truly. Therefore, the question has to be asked: If the literal sense is good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for you?

I’ll tell you why it isn’t good enough for you. Because you think you know more than they did – when in reality you know much, much less. You think you have science, when in reality you are wallowing in utter ignorance. You think yourself wise, when in reality you are a fool. And I say that you are a fool in all charity as trying to shake you out of a stupor that has led you to substitute for the plain meaning of the teachings of Holy Mother Church the ravings of her bitterest enemies. For the theory of evolution is not only erroneous, it is, in fact, the stupidest theory in the history of stupid theories. It is expressly contrary to the teachings of the Church; it is an audacious blasphemy cooked up by the most vehement enemies of God; it is supported by precisely zero empirical evidence; and, of course, it’s metaphysically absurd, as I have demonstrated in the other thread. What, then, can justify your opinion that Pope Leo’s words can be interpreted as meaning that man came into the world as a result of a pair of copulating orangutans? Even assuming that you are allowed to believe what you want on this issue, which btw you are not, on what rational grounds do you believe what you do?

George R. said...

Yachov,

The teachings of the Church are not open to further interpretation. They are the interpretation.

Let’s again consider the word’s of Pope Leo XIII:

“We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of Creation, having made man from the slime of the Earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated, and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time.”

Now except for the phrase “having breathed into his face the breath of life,” which must be taken as the description of a divine act in a figurative way, everything in that statement can be taken a literally true – and, in fact, has been taken as literally true by all the Fathers of the Church, all the Doctors of the Church, all the Popes, all the saints, and, of course, yours truly. Therefore, the question has to be asked: If the literal sense is good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for you?

I’ll tell you why it isn’t good enough for you. Because you think you know more than they did – when in reality you know much, much less. You think you have science, when in reality you are wallowing in utter ignorance. You think yourself wise, when in reality you are a fool. And I say that you are a fool in all charity as trying to shake you out of a stupor that has led you to substitute for the plain meaning of the teachings of Holy Mother Church the ravings of her bitterest enemies. For the theory of evolution is not only erroneous, it is, in fact, the stupidest theory in the history of stupid theories. It is expressly contrary to the teachings of the Church; it is an audacious blasphemy cooked up by the most vehement enemies of God; it is supported by precisely zero empirical evidence; and, of course, it’s metaphysically absurd, as I have demonstrated in the other thread. What, then, can justify your opinion that Pope Leo’s words can be interpreted as meaning that man came into the world as a result of a pair of copulating orangutans? Even assuming that you are allowed to believe what you want on this issue, which btw you are not, on what rational grounds do you believe what you do?

George R. said...

Oops.

Free-Thought-Free-Man said...

My apologies.
I was simply curious as to the legitimacy of Timothy McGrew. I have since been informed (from a terrible atheist philosopher none the less) that McGrew would certainly be considered a knowledgeable philosopher. That obviously doesn't mean I'll agree with him; because even knowledgeable philosophers can be wrong.
And while I did ask some questions about McGrew over at Reppert's blog awhile back I never insulted the man. Get your facts straight if you're going to chase me around the blogosphere.

Free-Thought-Free-Man said...

JT,
I might be missing something.
Is that link supposed to show that McGrew is mainly an apologist?
Maybe there's more than one JT posting here or maybe you are now just taking the piss so to speak.
Making light at my expense.

One Brow said...

For the theory of evolution is not only erroneous, it is, ... supported by precisely zero empirical evidence; and, of course, it’s metaphysically absurd, as I have demonstrated in the other thread.

Thank you for the chuckle. The notion that evolution is unsupported by empirical evidence is as flatly counter to reality as a statement can be, and the notion that some formal system of metaphysics can refute empirical knowledge is a serious category error (as would be the notion that empircal knowledge can refute a formal system, to be clear).

BenYachov said...

@Geroge R
>The teachings of the Church are not open to further interpretation. They are the interpretation.

Amusing Protestant Novelty, tell me what is the basis for this novel private concept of yours in the teachings of either the Fathers or the Popes that doctrine stops developing at some point just because some heretic who believes the Papacy went extinct about 50 years ago says so?

>Let’s again consider the word’s of Pope Leo XIII:

I already cited Pope Leo's Providentissimus Deus on the study and interpretation of Holy Scripture which touches on science. You OTOH cited Arcane Divinae Sapientiae which is on Christian Marriage, not origins, or the relation between science and faith, or permissible biblical interpretation of Genesis etc....

So really who do you think you are fooling?

>Now except for the phrase “having breathed into his face the breath of life,” which must be taken as the description of a divine act in a figurative way, everything in that statement can be taken a literally true.

That's your interpretation. Which may or may not be correct. Which is not binding on me anymore than Dr. Bonnette's interpretation is binding on you.

Which is why we having a Living Church that the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against to settle these matters. You OTOH believe Hell murdered Her during the 1960's or whenever & the Chair of Peter became vacant for half a century.

It's not convincing. Never the less I would prefer a Catholic Young Earth Creationist who is loyal to Pope Benedict over a Theistic Evolutionist Sede, Modernist or whatever any day of the week.

BenYachov said...

>it’s metaphysically absurd, as I have demonstrated in the other thread.

You have done no such thing you have only shown you can't read plain English. Oderberg doesn't teach Essences are not fixed and he doesn't teach they can change into other essences. Deal with it and get your fingers out of your ears.

jt said...

Free thought

I merely gave his resume for your consideration and to note to others here that they could, as I had, make a judgment as to his preferences as a philosopher. I stand by my opinion in light of it all.

BenYachov said...

>What, then, can justify your opinion that Pope Leo’s words can be interpreted as meaning that man came into the world as a result of a pair of copulating orangutans?

Man could could not come into existence in such a fashion. Rather God would have to take a hominid and by a Divine Supernatural Act create and infuse a Soul into such a creature thus creating a new being called Adam. It is impossible for the human soul to evolve or for a man to come from animals without divine intervention.

Pius XII said "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" -Humani Generis 36

Pius XII is the successor to Peter and the Lawful interpreter of Leo's words and you are who again?

Some guy who believes the Papacy died during the 60's?

Yeh, good luck with that!

George R. said...

Ben Yachov,

You still haven’t told me on what rational grounds you hold to the ridiculous and utterly blasphemous notion that man, i.e., the form assumed by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Himself, was introduced into the world by a pair of copulating monkeys. Where is your evidence for this?

(Update: Yachov’s onto a new theory.)

“Man could could not come into existence in such a fashion. Rather God would have to take a hominid and by a Divine Supernatural Act create and infuse a Soul into such a creature thus creating a new being called Adam. It is impossible for the human soul to evolve or for a man to come from animals without divine intervention.”

OK, where is there a shred of evidence for this.


As far as the sedevacantist issue is concerned, since you seem to be obsessed with it, perhaps I might be persuaded to believe that these guys were real popes if they were to start, you know, acting like real popes -- maybe issue an anathema or two against some heretical error. But let’s face it, that ain’t about to happen. And why not? Because the new church has become the church of lo-o-o-o-ve, baby. It is now nothing but one big Jew-huggin’, Koran-kissin’ hootenanny – and that’s not the Church that Christ founded.

One Brow,

What are you saying, there is evidence for evolution? Really? Wow, that’s news to me. What is this evidence? I’m dying to know.

One Brow said...

George R. said...
What are you saying, there is evidence for evolution? Really? Wow, that’s news to me. What is this evidence? I’m dying to know.

Feel free to browse around talkorigins.org. You might want to start with Theobald's essay on 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution. Let me know if you need a link.

BenYachov said...

@George R
>You still haven’t told me on what rational grounds you hold to the ridiculous and utterly blasphemous notion that man, i.e., the form assumed by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Himself, was introduced into the world by a pair of copulating monkeys. Where is your evidence for this?

I reply: What part of Pius XII's words are unclear to you George? Or do you reject His authority as well as John XXIII threw Benedict XXVI? Just let me know.

>OK, where is there a shred of evidence for this.

So you need "evidence" (and like your average New Atheist or Radical Kneejerk Skeptic you seem to link it to Empirical Science Alone sans philosophy, theology, Church Teaching....How pathetic? So you now use the standards of Hume & Kant? Oh that's Catholic......NOT!!!)?

Anyway you haven't given me any of this undefined "evidence" for your views. So why should I bust my arse for the likes of you?

The Church allows my view via Pius XII. Get over it!

>It is now nothing but one big Jew-huggin’...

FYI I'm Partisan of the Association of Hebrew Catholics too. They gave me the Jewish nickname. Wow anti-Semitism (like Luther)! Your such a lovely fellow George R. Let me tell ya...

You reject the Pope! You are not Catholic! Tradition-the living Faith of the Dead. Radical Traditionalism-the dead Faith of the living.

There is nothing more to say.

BenYachov said...

Your average New Atheist often does a bait and switch. He asks a philosophical question but then demands an empirical answer instead of a philosophical one.

We see that George is no better.

BenYachov said...

>the notion that some formal system of metaphysics can refute empirical knowledge is a serious category error.

This is correct but the interpretation of the empirical data would fall within the realm of philosophy. Metaphysics can show that something is logically impossible therefore empirically no evidence will ever be available to verify it.

If one disagrees then I look forward to their empirical evidence that four sided triangles are real.

jt said...

All Catholic Dogs Go to Heaven!

(This is an internalized epistemic acceptance.)

Anonymous said...

Did Adam have sex with animals? Are suicides servants of the Devil? Do dogs have souls or can you eat them without commiting mortal sin?

You can kinda see why Scholasticism died out...

George R. said...

Yachov:
"Wow anti-Semitism (like Luther)! Your such a lovely fellow George R. Let me tell ya..."

You got me all wrong; I love the Jews. You're the one saying that they are descended from apes.

BenYachov said...

>You got me all wrong; I love the Jews.

Then why object to hugging them?

Given half the a chance I'd hug an Atheist(i.e if the Atheist was Sagan or Adam Savage or the cute Russian girl I hug out with when I was 21. Not Dawkins thought, Ewee! OTOH Mrs. Dawkins ABSOLUTELY what DR WHO geek wouldn't want a hug from Romania?).


>You're the one saying that they are descended from apes.

Actually I'm saying belief they could be is compatible with Catholic Belief as taught by Pius XII. Also I'm saying you have to submit to the authority of the Pope in general.

Nothing more.

BenYachov said...

>the form assumed by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity Himself, was introduced into the world by a pair of copulating monkeys.

Do you realize the Sires of Adam's body would have likely had the basic physical form he had accept with no rational soul?

Besides I don't see how being created directly from inanimate Slime would make the human form more worthy of being Incarnate from The Word than from "pre-existent and living matter"?

Logically living matter(which by definition would have a vegetative soul) is metaphysically superior to inanimate matter. Living Matter with a Sensitive Animal Soul is more superior. Indeed why wouldn't it be a more fitting material/vessel for the creation of a being with a Rational Soul made in the Divine Image which in turn becomes the Vessel of the Incarnation of the Divine Word of Life?

It's not hard.

But that doesn't matter repent and submit to the Pope! There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church and I don't think you can plead invincible ignorance before God. I could be wrong & I hope for your sake I am.

Repent George R! Return to the True Church! I would rather submit to a fornicators like Pope Alexander VI or Sergus III who where the True Popes than some celibate schismatic and heretic (like Arius) whose Church is not the True One.

St Augustine said schism and heresy are never justified. Even upon the admission the Church is ruled by sinful and or wicked men.

Repent!

Hype said...

I merely gave his resume for your consideration and to note to others here that they could, as I had, make a judgment as to his preferences as a philosopher. I stand by my opinion in light of it all.

Is there something in that resume that leads you to think he isn't a scholarly philosopher?

jt said...

*Did Adam have sex with animals? Are suicides servants of the Devil? Do dogs have souls or can you eat them without commiting mortal sin?

You can kinda see why Scholasticism died out...*

Au contrare. As long as there will be conservative Catholics, there will be medieval philosophy - it's hard-wired in.

George R. said...

"You might want to start with Theobald's essay on 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution."

One Brow,
We need to talk. I'll explain the problems with Theobald's essay later.

Yachov,
Pius XII never said it was alright for Catholics to believe in evolution, no matter how many times you (pathetically) cite him as doing so.

jt said...

Hype

You seem to dissociate apologist with scholarly - why. Ed is an apologist, too, but he dors research when formulating his writings.

George R. said...

One Brow,

I skimmed through some of Theobald’s (much-too-long) essay, and I’m afraid to say I was left thoroughly unimpressed. From what I read, this seems to be his basic argument: If evolution is true, one would expect to find X. One finds X, therefore, evolution is true. Unfortunately, this kind of “evidence” is about as flimsy and worthless as it gets. Taken as a strict logical syllogism, it is none other than the fallacy of “Affirming the Consequent.” For just because evolution would cause X does not mean that X is necessarily evidence of evolution. For example, consider this argument: If this city is Paris, one would expect to find people in it. People are found in it. Therefore, it’s Paris. The argument, of course, is worthless, because even if you denied the antecedent you’d expect to find the consequent. But Theobald makes the same type of worthless argument when he asserts that “unity” and “ordered hierarchy” in nature are evidence of common descent and natural selection. But if one were to deny evolution and affirm instead a Divine Creator, one would expect to find the same unity and ordered hierarchy.

Consider, also, this version of the same fallacious reasoning: If boys are cats, then one would expect to find some climbing trees. One finds some boys climbing trees. Therefore, boys are cats. It’s easy to see how ridiculous this argument is. Boys climbing trees are, and can be, in no way evidence of their being cats. That’s because, although the proposition as a whole may be valid, the antecedent (boys are cats) is logically, metaphysically, and physically impossible. Similarly, if evolution is metaphysically and physically impossible, which it is, the existence of what would follow were it to be true would be no evidence at all of its being true.

jt said...

George

You really deny evolution occurs?

And you called me a jackass!

I had no idea there were still YE believers except in the sticks and certainly nowhere near anything as complex as a keyboard.

OMG. That's just funny.

BenYachov said...

>Pius XII never said it was alright for Catholics to believe in evolution, no matter how many times you (pathetically) cite him as doing so.

Clearly he said it was alright to have the opinion that Adam's body might have come from pre-existent and living matter.

I should remind you none of the authorities you cited (no matter how many times you cite them) mandate Catholics must believe in Species Fixism or forbids them from believing in Species Transformism.

Any Catholic is of course free to believe the former and doubt the later(or vice versa). But only the Pope & the Church can bind someone dogmatically.

The Human Soul is created by God Alone and all forms of liberal Protestant Process Theology bulls**t that say otherwise are gay.

Deal with it.

Good Luck fighting One Brow over the "fact" vs the "falsehood" of evolution. It's a pointless argument but it might be worth a laugh.

One Brow said...

This is correct but the interpretation of the empirical data would fall within the realm of philosophy.

Depending on the type of interpretaion, I agree.

Metaphysics can show that something is logically impossible therefore empirically no evidence will ever be available to verify it.

Metaphysics can show that, when you assume a specific calculus is an accurate reflection of the notions of reality in additon to various assumptions about something, that thing is logically impossible and therefore empirically no evidence will ever be available to verify it. I agree.

If one disagrees then I look forward to their empirical evidence that four sided triangles are real.

Something defined as being A is in reality not-A? I agree you will have a long wait.

One Brow said...

George R. said...
From what I read, this seems to be his basic argument: If evolution is true, one would expect to find X. One finds X, therefore, evolution is true. Unfortunately, this kind of “evidence” is about as flimsy and worthless as it gets. Taken as a strict logical syllogism, it is none other than the fallacy of “Affirming the Consequent.”

Well, of course it is. Evolution is an empirical undertaking, not a formal undertaking. Judging an empirical undertaking by the standards of a formal undertaking is like judging the pies in a contest by the color of the plate on which they were placed. You asked for evidence. The gathering of evidence requires an empirical framework, not a formal one.

But if one were to deny evolution and affirm instead a Divine Creator, one would expect to find the same unity and ordered hierarchy.

Why would a divine creator create a twin-nested heirarchy? Not just that there is a heirarchy of morphology and a heirarchy of amino-acid arrangment in protiens doing the same work, but that these heirarchies agree to such a high level? Remember, you can replace many of these protien in plant with animal proteins, and they function just as well, because they perform the same job in the same biological pathway. So, why should they match the heirarchy, especially since a scrambled heirarchy would be such good evidence against evolution? As I have said, design can imitate non-design when the designer so intends. Do you think this designer intended this facet to look undesigned?

Similarly, if evolution is metaphysically and physically impossible, which it is, ...

Under whose metaphysics and whose physics?

jt said...

Ben and Brow

Why on earth would you guys waste time arguing with a person who most surely must think we live on a flat planet at the center of the universe, that we never went to the moon, and that Darwin and Einstein are antichrists.

Leave the poor man alone in light of his mental challenges - let him get back to playing Lydia's puppy dog and schmoozing the W4 populace.

BenYachov said...

I wish to make a small contribution.

>Why would a divine creator create a twin-nested heirarchy?

Why wouldn't He? Forgive me but that is a very dumb question IMHO.

>Evolution is an empirical undertaking, not a formal undertaking.

It's not a strict empirical undertaking like Physics or Chemistry. Nobody has seen a species evolve into another species. Based on certain presuppositions one might infer such an act has taken place from the fossil evidence and the study of genetics but it's not strictly an empirical undertaking. That doesn't make it false or invalidate the circumstantial evidence but to call it an empirical undertaking is misleading.

Plus there is the whole Species Problem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem

"First, the species problem is not primarily an empirical one, but it is rather fraught with philosophical questions that require - but cannot be settled by - empirical evidence." Pigliucci (2003)

Now carry on you two. Fight for my amusement!

George R. said...

One Brow:
“Remember, you can replace many of these protien in plant with animal proteins, and they function just as well, because they perform the same job in the same biological pathway. So, why should they match the heirarchy, especially since a scrambled heirarchy would be such good evidence against evolution?”

I can’t believe you are unable to see how incredibly feeble this type of argumentation is. I could just as easily argue that similar hierarchies and proteins exist in plants and animals because God wanted to show both that they were made by the same Creator and that, since the material structures were so similar in such diverse modes of living things, life is, therefore, not reducible to material structures. Now I admit that my “argument” here is not proof of anything whatsoever. I’d appreciate it if you would be decent enough to admit the same about yours.

Yachov,
I guess I’m left to conclude that you can neither produce any evidence for your silly evolution theories, nor show me where Pius XII said it was all right for Catholics to believe in silly evolution theories. Right?

jt said...

George, don't walk too far in one direction...

BenYachov said...

>I guess I’m left to conclude that you can neither produce any evidence for your silly evolution theories, nor show me where Pius XII said it was all right for Catholics to believe in silly evolution theories. Right?

You question reminds me of the Baptist(your fellow Protestant but more low Church) who once said to me "Ok so `kecharitomene' can legitimately be translated `Full of Grace' now show me where the Bible says Mary never committed a sin...it's ok to do vain repetitions with a Rosary....She a Mediatrix..etc..etc...etc blah blah blah".

Move the goal posts much?

Species fixism is not a Catholic dogma George R. Species transformism is not a heresy.

Get over it.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Why wouldn't He? Forgive me but that is a very dumb question IMHO.

I was responding to the point that a putative Creator would be *expected* to make a twin-nested heirarchy. I acknowledged the possibility in my response.

Nobody has seen a species evolve into another species.

You mean, physically observed the process from start to finish? I supposed even researchers need to sleep.

If you mean we have not seen the creation of new species within our lifetimes, that is incorrect.

Based on certain presuppositions one might infer such an act has taken place from the fossil evidence and the study of genetics but it's not strictly an empirical undertaking.

If all you have are presuppositions based on fossil evidence, I agree. With evolution, we have actual predictive ability, and veryfying predictions is empirical.

Plus there is the whole Species Problem.

This is only a problem for people who expect clean, clear delineations.

One Brow said...

I could just as easily argue that similar hierarchies and proteins exist in plants and animals because God wanted to show both that they were made by the same Creator ...

If you wanted that argument to be believable, you would need to explain why imitating a pattern that can be explained without a Creator, as opposed to hundreds of other patters that could not be so explained, helps to show they are made by a Creator.

Now I admit that my “argument” here is not proof of anything whatsoever.

Proof is for metaphysics and alcohol. You requested evidence. I presented evidence.

BenYachov said...

>This is only a problem for people who expect clean, clear delineations.

Without them then how can your next statement......

>If you mean we have not seen the creation of new species within our lifetimes, that is incorrect.

......be true?

Without a clear understanding of what constitutes a "species" then the above claim is meaningless.

>With evolution, we have actual predictive ability, and veryfying predictions is empirical.

What are we predicting empirically? Since we haven't/can't witnessed the process from start to finish?

Plus there is that whole species problem......

Anonymous said...

One Brow is a thread-killer.
There's a reason he was booted from Maverick's blog back when people posted there.
There's a reason his posts at Prosblogion never see the light of day.
There's a reason he's ignored over at Reppert's blog.
There's a reason he has a kindered soul with J.

BenYachov said...

@Anonymous December 29, 2010 12:18 PM

Yeh, I've argued with him in the past and my personal impression (which One Brow is free to disagree with) is he does seem to go out of his way to not get the point or to move the goalposts on occasion.

But that having been said, I don't so much mind you heckling him but could you at least man up and not hide behind "Anonymous"?

As for being "booted from Maverick's blog" that is not very scandalous since well Prof Vallicella is a brilliant philosophical mind but as others have noted he can't seem to handle rational criticism very well.

Heck he took down a post of mine that was rather innocuous back when he was kvetching about the Trinity. Another blogger commented on it.

Anonymous said...

BY, you are a petulant, internet bully. How dare you tell me to stop "hiding" behind "anonymous." "One Brow" is not the person's real name. "JT" is not the person's real name. "Crude" is not the person's real name. And, for all I know, "Ben Yachov" is not your real name. Even those who have an "official internet name" are totally free to create another internet name if they want to cover up the fact that it is they who are proffering up whatever new post they feel like making.

This disdain for anonymouses makes you look extremely bizarre. Additionally, Dr. Feser approves of the anonymity. Please stop.


-Anonymoose

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Without them then how can your next statement......

>If you mean we have not seen the creation of new species within our lifetimes, that is incorrect.

......be true?


It can be true in the general idea. For example, whether you define species as "a population that exchanges DNA", "a population that reproduces", or some other notion, we have seen, for example, populations of mosquitos separate into two different species that no longer interbreed, or two different species species of plant derived from the same invasive ancestral species. talkorigins.org has a page devoted to known instances of speciation, many of them under any proposed definition.

What are we predicting empirically? Since we haven't/can't witnessed the process from start to finish?

One recent example was the predicted find of the fossils for Tiltaalik rosae. They went looking for those fossils at a location they were predicted to be likely to appear.

Without a clear understanding of what constitutes a "species" then the above claim is meaningless.

>With evolution, we have actual predictive ability, and veryfying predictions is empirical.

What are we predicting empirically? Since we haven't/can't witnessed the process from start to finish?

One Brow said...

Anonymous said...

One Brow is a thread-killer.
There's a reason he was booted from Maverick's blog back when people posted there.


I was? Dr. Vallicella never informed me of such. Further, he did on occasion exchange emails with me on a topic.

There's a reason his posts at Prosblogion never see the light of day.

Where? How long ago was this? I don't recall the place.

There's a reason he's ignored over at Reppert's blog.

I seldom respond there.

There's a reason he has a kindered soul with J.

I find J amusing, true. I think "kindred soul" is pushing it.

"One Brow" is not the person's real name.

You're going to tell me that something people have been calling me for the last 30 years is not a real name? Perhaps you meant not a legal name.

Additionally, Dr. Feser approves of the anonymity. Please stop.

I approve of anonimity also. The ideas matter, not the person saying them.

One Brow said...

I looked at Prosblogion and I don't think I have ever commented there. I don't ever recall seeing it, although I have seen it linked to.

Then, it occured to me you may have meant Dr. Wile's place, Proslogion, although he has posted every comment I have offered, so a claim that my "posts at Prosblogion [sic?} never see the light of day" would be completely inaccurate. I have nothing but praise for Dr. Wile's willingness to converse maturely and in detail.

One Brow said...

BenYachov said...
Yeh, I've argued with him in the past and my personal impression (which One Brow is free to disagree with) is he does seem to go out of his way to not get the point or to move the goalposts on occasion.

Since I'm still trying to learn the terminology and its implications, can we go with a gentler interpretation of the second, say "has to recast his ideas on occasion"? As to the first, I am surprised how often people seem to think that because I disagree that a particular point is not well-founded, I didn't really understand it. Although, it's true that sometimes I just don't get it. For example, I'm still trying to understand the difference between a formal cause and a description.

Crude said...

As I have said, design can imitate non-design when the designer so intends. Do you think this designer intended this facet to look undesigned?

So, we're back to being able to identify and assert what is in fact 'undesigned' after all. And when someone replies they've not seen anything that 'looks undesigned' in their life?

The question of 'design v evolution' begs the question since evolution itself is regarded as a designed process by many, both in terms of operations and outcomes.

So if we're going to make a distinction between science and metaphysics, let's make it clear. And "this thing was not designed, it evolved" is - unless qualified to mean something banal, like 'not designed by humans' - metaphysics through and through. Poor metaphysics at that.

Further, I accept evolution, but the talk origins page is downright shoddy. The little aside at 3.0 is funny (Well, most biologists I run into don't know much about speciation, the speciation literature is poorly organized, most of the speciation 'events' are ones of inference, but most biologists I talked to think this is all settled. It's a testament to how clear the answers to these questions are that biologists are so confident in it they don't even bother to learn about it!)

As for the TO examples of speciation, they're not exactly thrilling. Almost an exclusive emphasis on plant interfertility, along with counting mating preferences rather than actual infertility as speciation. Which is a hair away from saying that supermodels are in a different species from fat poor guys.

One recent example was the predicted find of the fossils for Tiltaalik rosae. They went looking for those fossils at a location they were predicted to be likely to appear.

Hey, I hear some of those guys hunting for Noah's Ark in the middle east have found some of what they were expecting to find in an area they were predicted likely to appear. Interesting scientists, those.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting fed-up with all you science deniers. The scientific method is the only reliable means of uncovering truth we have. Therefore, you have a duty to believe whatever it tells you.

Evolution is a fact. Deal with it.

Most importantly:

That the actions and thoughts of human beings are ultimately determined by the material/neurological processes in the brain is a basic fact of neuroscience. There is no free will. Humans can't interrupt their brain chemistry. Brain chemistry determines all actions taken by humans. Deal with it. (Appealing to the "inability of materialists to explain the mental in materialist terms" does nothing to change this fact. Hell I even agree that we can't explain the mental in terms of the material! But show me how your "soul" interrupts the deterministic firing of neurons and the deterministic movement of molecules, or remain forever silent.)

Without free will, no morality. Without morality, no Christian God.

Science (in particular modern neuroscience, which is EXTREMELY detailed) proves that the Christian God does not exist.

Are you free to believe in some vague "God of Classical Theism"? Sure! Just don't patronize me with your rubbish, bullshit notions of free will and morality and hence Christianity.

Crude said...

Alright, even I can tell that's not a serious post. C'mon guy, you gotta at least insist that Dawkins personally 'proved God doesn't exist'.

jt said...

Ed

Did you deny me the satisfaction of a few posts jabbing George R? He did call me a jackass, remember, and I distinctly remember when you chided Lydia for schmoozing with him against you in the great ID blog war.

The guy is obviously not of this century. What is y'alls connection?

BenYachov said...

>BY, you are a petulant, internet bully. How dare you tell me to stop "hiding" behind "anonymous."

So I guess you would rather be a coward than a man?

Also a big problem with your embrace of the Anonymous is we can't tell you from the other Anonymous who post here.

I mean are you a Theisitic Critic of One Brow's agnostic skepticism or are you the fundie Atheist Dawklins wannabe who posted December 29, 2010 3:48 PM.

How can anyone tell?

BenYachov said...

>for example, populations of mosquitos separate into two different species that no longer interbreed,

I am aware of this example and to call it an example of a new species is more than a bit of a stretch IMHO. At best it might show that a species becoming another species is plausible or more plausible but no. I agree with Crude "Fat guys vs Supermodels" and all that(give it up to Crude on that one).

The TALKORIGINS people are great at answering some if not most of the misinformation the YEC crowd puts out about the state of evolutionary science. But sometimes they oversell it & they ignore the general limitations of that field science. In short their Philosophy of Science(& philosophy in general) leaves something to be desired.

>Since I'm still trying to learn the terminology and its implications, can we go with a gentler interpretation of the second, say "has to recast his ideas on occasion"?

Granted because I am such a wonderful, kind & just Internet bully. ;-)

>As to the first, I am surprised how often people seem to think that because I disagree that a particular point is not well-founded, I didn't really understand it.
Although, it's true that sometimes I just don't get it. For example, I'm still trying to understand the difference between a formal cause and a description.

Fair enough.

I have to go now. The wife is bugging me. Plus I have a Cold.

BenYachov said...

BWT last post I was addressing One Brow the post before The Stalker.

Least anyone dare think I am confusing the two. I'm not.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

December 29 3:48 Anon here.

I never said science disproves God. I said science disproves the Christian God. Because sciences, in particular neuroscience, reveals the truth of determinism, determinism implies no morality, no morality implies no Christianity, and no Christianity implies no Christian God.

It would help for you lot to read things carefully from time to time.

Crude said...

I never said science disproves God. I said science disproves the Christian God. Because sciences, in particular neuroscience, reveals the truth of determinism, determinism implies no morality, no morality implies no Christianity, and no Christianity implies no Christian God.

You should really take my advice. If you want to be convincing, do the Dawkins thing. Every gnu schmuck loves Dawkins, and your act doesn't seem complete with out that bit! But you did a great job, mixing up 'proves' with 'implies' - especially since what's 'implied' by science.. actually isn't.

But like I said, we've had this 'Christian masquerading as an atheist' schtick before. Personally, I don't think this sockpuppetry is needed - gnus are hilarious on their own, so why imitate 'em? But then again, I suppose it's all in good fun.

Anonymous said...

@ my dear Crude

Not an atheist. An adamant agnostic, actually. With Deistic leanings.

Crude said...

Not an atheist. An adamant agnostic, actually. With Deistic leanings.

Deistic leanings? Still describing most atheists I know of - you're just more honest. Naturally, the presence of some honesty in your exchange means you're either not trying to imitate a gnu, or are doing a terrible job.

Still, swing and a miss here. Especially since the question of 'determinism' didn't burst on the scene with neuroscience - it was a question considered by the positing of an omniscient and omnipotent God to begin with. Even the incompatiblists who take this line (Strawson comes to mind) grok that 'neuroscience' isn't doing the heavy lifting, but metaphysics and philosophical argument.

Either way - if you really aren't putting on an act - ditching the rhetoric and simply conversing on this subject? Or, what, you're just showing up here to vent?

Anonymous said...

Partially to vent, yes. But primarily to find answers, since I'd be lying if I said that I am not constantly plagued by worms of doubt. This frustrating and exhausting agnosticism of mine leads to the passive-aggressive venting on my part. Sorry. What exacerbates my unruly and often infantile behavior are comments such as these:

"..the theory of evolution is not only erroneous, it is, in fact, the stupidest theory in the history of stupid theories. It is expressly contrary to the teachings of the Church; it is an audacious blasphemy cooked up by the most vehement enemies of God; it is supported by precisely zero empirical evidence; and, of course, it’s metaphysically absurd, as I have demonstrated in the other thread."

Look, I'm a hardened guy of science (currently pursuing an M.A. in neuroscience), but as of late I've been wondering whether the philosophy of mind is worth my time. I'm not a hardened naturalist - I'm an agnostic and a Mysterian, and probably always will be - so why should I bother with the subject? In particular, why should I bother with it if it doesn't address the crucial problem of determinism? As of now, I simply see no reason why human beings - out of all the innumerable material things in our big, honkin', materialistic, deterministic universe - should be exempted from the total dominion of the natural order. To my mind, they, like every other material entity, unravel deterministically according to the laws of physics.

But let's deal in a concrete fact for a moment: Every action and every thought is underwritten by a physical brain state. To doubt this is to be ridiculous. Unless I know precisely how an immaterial "soul" is supposed to effect changes in a material brain state, I cannot accept free will. How the bloody hell does the immaterial (the soul) effect changes in the material (the body)?

Furthermore, if the immaterial does effect changes in the physical realm, shouldn't we be able to see those changes and interruptions in the physical realm via some sort of scanning/microscopy/spectroscopy/etc.? At present, the belief that there exists some mystical presence in my body that is messing around with my neurons, astrocytes, and so on every time I act on volition is more than a little bit absurd.

Thus:

No free will -> no moral responsibility -> no religion.


Am I going wrong somewhere?

Crude said...

Anon,

I wrote up a response, it published, but it seems to have disappeared. I'm going to wait to see if it turns up again - if not, I'll reply later.

Thanks, by the way, for at least turning the conversation from the raging to the civil. Could be productive.

Hype said...

I never said science disproves God. I said science disproves the Christian God. Because sciences, in particular neuroscience, reveals the truth of determinism, determinism implies no morality, no morality implies no Christianity, and no Christianity implies no Christian God.

Anon,
It's not just a defeater for morality.... it's a defeater for intentionality.
In giving this little, goofy, poorly thought chain of reasoning you just undercut your own ability to reason; your own ability to have a mind that is directed towards/about 'other things'.
So, don't cheer too loudly over the slaying of morality with your dogmatic creed.... because you also killed any reason you have for trusting your own insights.

Leo Carton Mollica said...

@Anon:

Three points:

First, have you read anything of Peter van Inwagen's? He's a materialist about the human person, a confessing Anglican, and an advocate of libertarian (incompatibilist) freedom, so he might be worth your while.

Second, you might want to seriously consider compatibilism with regards to human freedom. While it might initially seem silly, compatibilism is taken seriously by many contemporary philosophers, so it's worth examining. (The fact that they take it seriously does not prove it to be correct or even plausible, of course, but it does at least secure it a minimally respectable position.)

Finally, have you read Ed Feser's Philosophy of Mind? It includes both a rudimentary discussion of the interaction problem written from a dualist point of view and references to more advanced discussions of a like nature. So check it out!

Hype said...

It is little consolation to the gratuitous suffering endured by billions of creatures who are doomed to lives kill or be killed, victims of earthquakes who spend their last hours buried alive, and the millions murdered for one ideology or other in the 20th century alone. To say that natural theology offers a satisfying response to this level of suffering is to blaspheme.

From your worldview why do you even care? You married JT? Have a mom or dad or sister or brother or children? One day, guess what.... they'll all be worm food. Nothing to shed a tear over. They were just sacks of chemicals from the get go. Never anything more important than the proteins that made them up. Those loved one of yours are more meaningful decomposing than when they were alive.
All of your faux-anger at God and the religious is confusing.
What are you angry at if the supernatural is so obviously wrong?
Your beef should be with the human mind.... which doesn't even exist. So it should be with the brain.... since people don't consciously will/choose one decision over another. As you said, they just follow their natures. So, your beef shouldn't be with the God that you deny.... or even the human mind that invents the notion of the God.... because that assumes intentionality/mind. Your beef is really with chemicals yielding one arbitrary belief over any other set of equally arbitrary beliefs.

So, in closing you're a fool.

BenYachov said...

>in particular neuroscience, reveals the truth of determinism,

Even if I started by presupposing the non-existence of God in general there are so many things wrong with this statement. So many things....

Anyway I wounder how long it's going to be before 3:48Anon starts equating all forms of Dualism with Cartesian Dualism(which naturally every Thomist by definition hates & rejects)?

Has this guy ever heard of Property Dualism? Substance Dualism?

Logically he couldn't have heard of hylomorphic dualism otherwise he would realize whatever warmed over anti-Cartesian arguments he simplistically uses to knock dualism in general by definition can't be refuted by mere neuroscience. It's called a category mistake.

Anyway I can't wait to see what Crude post. That should be good.

BenYachov said...

>Every action and every thought is underwritten by a physical brain state. To doubt this is to be ridiculous.

"One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears... unless Reason is an absolute[,] all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based." —C.S. Lewis,

You mind=mere chemistry & physics yet it has the power to reason, yet there is no whom who is reasoning, not really meme, is more ridiculous.

Sort of on the level of the proverbial aerodynamics paper that concludes a bumble bee can't fly.

Yet it does.

Even Daniel Dennett proving even a stopped watch can be right twice a day says there is no such thing as a philosophy free science. There is just science with unexamined philosophical presuppositions.

You really need to study philosophy guy. Your science is incoherent without it.

BenYachov said...

“ If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees."-CS Lewis

If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. ”

—J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds, page 209

Of course some Atheists agree with Lewis.

To put it schematically, the claim “Everything is subjective” must be nonsense, for it would itself have to be either subjective or objective. But it can’t be objective, since in that case it would be false if true. And it can’t be subjective, because then it would not rule out any objective claim, including the claim that it is objectively false.
-Thomas Nagel

..materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself. ”

—Arthur Schopenhauer,

BenYachov said...

"Thus, even those who appreciate the metaphysical depth of Thomism in other matters have expressed surprise that he does not deal at all with what many now think the main metaphysical question; whether we can prove that the primary act of recognition of any reality is real. The answer is that St. Thomas recognized instantly, what so many modern skeptics have begun to suspect rather laboriously; that a man must either answer that question in the affirmative, or else never answer any question, never ask any question, never even exist intellectually, to answer or to ask. I suppose it is true in a sense that a man can be a fundamental skeptic, but he cannot be anything else: certainly not even a defender of fundamental skepticism. If a man feels that all the movements of his own mind are meaningless, then his mind is meaningless, and he is meaningless; and it does not mean anything to attempt to discover his meaning. Most fundamental skeptics appear to survive, because they are not consistently skeptical and not at all fundamental. They will first deny everything and then admit something, if for the sake of argument--or often rather of attack without argument. I saw an almost startling example of this essential frivolity in a professor of final skepticism, in a paper the other day. A man wrote to say that he accepted nothing but Solipsism, and added that he had often wondered it was not a more common philosophy. Now Solipsism simply means that a man believes in his own existence, but not in anybody or anything else. And it never struck this simple sophist, that if his philosophy was true, there obviously were no other philosophers to profess it. ”

—G.K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas

“ Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God." ”

—C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

Crude said...

Anon,

Looks like my comment isn't coming back, so I'll add this reply.

First, again, you keep talking about determinism in neuroscience being a problem for Christianity. But as I've said, the particular problem you're discussing - determinism and morality - isn't some new issue that neuroscience created for Christianity. It naturally falls out from God being omniscient and omnipotent, and thus there have been all manner of replies and opinions about it over the centuries (calvinism, arminianism, etc.) Have you looked that up?

Second, the claim made by Ed isn't that 'The whole world is materialist, except for humans. Humans have special spiritual matter' or something. Just as Bertrand Russell didn't say "I'm a neutral monist about human beings, but all the other stuff is physical", and Berkeley didn't say that humans are made of thought but everything else is made of matter.

So when you talk about the 'total dominion of the natural order', keep in mind that philosophers and theologians aren't making arguments about 'humans' and refusing to consider anything else. The Aristo-Thomist, for example, doesn't just think materialists are wrong about human brains - they're wrong about matter, about nature, and about quite a lot more.

Even to say that something is made of matter leads to asking, 'Great. What is the ultimate nature of matter? What is this material you speak of?'

I say all this to note that the questions you're asking are either misplaced (The idea of a soul as 'that ghost which moves the particles in the brain around' is wildly off-target for Thomists, and even for Cartesians quite likely), or really are addressed (Determinism & morals) - they aren't new, and certainly aren't ignored. Philosophers and theologians often argue at length about minutae, they're not known for skipping big topics.

I'd recommend Ed's "The Last Superstition" if you've not read it, to get a sample of some Aristo-Thomist understanding. Or even reading through the past blog entries on this site - you're already here after all, so to speak. It's a good start.

Anonymous said...

3:48Anon here. First, besides my previous post, I should just apologize for my initial condescending, diagnostic remarks on this thread. The evolution comment by George R. put me in a terrible, terrible mood.

--

@Hype

I'm well-aware of this supposed rejoinder. So then I take it you disagree with my first premise that science implies determinism about the human body? Since the others...

"determinism -> no morality"
"no morality -> no Christianity"
"no Christianity -> no Christian God"

...are pretty damn air-tight. (Any rational person realizes that libertarian free will, and no other watered-down notion of 'freedom,' is required for morality)

So either (1)"science implies determinism about the material body" or (2)"determinism infinitely undercuts all rationality" is true.

Assume for a moment that you're right and that (2) is true. Then we must conclude, by logical necessity, that it is not the case that science implies determinism about the material body. If that is true, however, then a break or interruption in the body's deterministic neural/cerebral pathways must in principle be observable, which means that something immaterial (i.e. something definitionally not bound by the laws of physics) must be what is ultimately moving my neurons, astrocytes, etc., around in some way whenever I engage in any act of genuine libertarian volition. It must be the wellspring of action.

This 'something' is what I suppose is normally called the soul. Whatever version of "soul" is correct (Cartesian or Thomistic or whatever), some 'shifting of neuronal biomolecules' must occur at some physical level or another in order to break the deterministic chain of interacting matter.

But again, I'm just gonna rely on incredulity here - I cannot picture some mystical presence within my body acting as a tireless dictator over my biomolecules. The very idea sounds absurd. Secondly, if it were true, we should in principle be able to observe the physical effects of the mystical presence. But we haven't observed these effects yet. So, yeah, modus tollens (in a probabilistic way).

Thus, I currently am forced to reject (2) in favor of (1). (1) just seems to be a heck of a lot more plausible. So I must brush (2) off as word-play, an unfortunate consequence of our imperfect human language systems. Or maybe I don't. Maybe I see some plausibility in (2) after reading Ben Yachov's informative quotes. Either way, (1) seems stronger than (2), because of the aforementioned bizarreness that results from not-(1).


@LCM

Thanks for the book recommendations. Peter van Inwaggen sounds interesting.


@Ben Yachov

Minus the patronizing snark, thanks for the lengthy, informative quotes. At the end of the day, though, I need to be able to actually picture how the soul moves biomolecules around, since a break in the deterministic material chain is required for libertarian freedom.

Anonymous said...

Oh, just saw and read Crude's post. I need to sleep on it, though.

Crude said...

At the end of the day, though, I need to be able to actually picture how the soul moves biomolecules around, since a break in the deterministic material chain is required for libertarian freedom.

But libertarian freedom of the sort you're suggesting isn't viewed as necessary for morals or morality on many views. You may dislike that, you may reject it - fair enough, if so - but you can't rightly say that your objection is being ignored, or really, that it's somehow new.

So the claim of "Any rational person realizes that libertarian free will, and no other watered-down notion of 'freedom,' is required for morality" seems to have as much weight as "Any rational person realizes that rationality itself requires libertarian free will". After all, if your decisions - whatever those can be on materialism - aren't caused by arguments and reason, but by chemical reactions that themselves are directed towards no reason, etc.. you're done anyway.

Not to mention, I wonder what your take on quantum physics is. Not that I'd argue that indeterminacy at the quantum level 'solves' the free will problem, but you seem convinced that the only alternative to determinism is - I don't know, magic? In which case, hey, magic is a popular idea in science lately.

That should especially drive the point home since you describe yourself as a mysterian, so you're already conceding that our understanding of matter and mind is radically incomplete on one subject (consciousness, and qualia I take it.) Further, if you're willing to play the mysterianism card with regards to the material, why wouldn't a libertarian about free will be open to playing the mysterianism card about lfw?

Which, in turn, introduces problems for claims about violations of laws of physics. If the laws of physics as we know them were able to explain the mind obviously, you wouldn't be a mysterian would you? Just taking that position alone seems to at least open the door to either the laws of physics incomplete, or us radically misunderstanding them on some level. And even with the physics we have, what are these 'laws'? How do 'laws' "move stuff around"?

Anyway, if this all comes down to personal incredulity, there's little conversation to be had here. You know the deal - be incredulous all you like, it doesn't mean the idea is wrong.

George R. said...

(The simpering) Anonymous writes:
"The evolution comment by George R. put me in a terrible, terrible mood."

It's encouraging to see that my efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

juth thayin said...

Mr Hype

*So, in closing you're a fool.* Well, that’s better than jackass in some curcles. I suppose you are correct as I am silly enough to take a moment to respond to your singular attack above.

I have no beef with God – my criticism (if you will look carefully) is with those whose theology of Him demeans the experience of His creatures.

You also seem to think I am the anon raising materialist issues – nope.

BTW, where’s the ‘my bad’ w/r to your jumping my shit over my assessment of a resume and how your own opinion of apologists is ironically, for a fan of Ed, to assume they are inferior morons.

Anonymous said...

(different anon)

crude, to be fair, he didn't exactly say that it all boils down to incredulity for him. he also gave the modus tollens "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" claim here:

"Secondly, if it were true, we should in principle be able to observe the physical effects of the mystical presence. But we haven't observed these effects yet. So, yeah, modus tollens (in a probabilistic way)."

One Brow said...

So, we're back to being able to identify and assert what is in fact 'undesigned' after all. And when someone replies they've not seen anything that 'looks undesigned' in their life?

Then it's difficult to use that criteria to convince someone something is designed. If you think the series of results from 50 coin flips shows design in the pattern of heads and tails, how do I take your other proclamations of design seriously?

It's a testament to how clear the answers to these questions are that biologists are so confident in it they don't even bother to learn about it!)

Even a biologist needs to specialize. The details of speciation among eukaryotes don't mean too much if you are trying to eradicate guinea worms or fight HIV.

As for the TO examples of speciation, they're not exactly thrilling.

I would not expect to see "thrilling" examples within 150 years.

Hey, I hear some of those guys hunting for Noah's Ark in the middle east have found some of what they were expecting to find in an area they were predicted likely to appear. Interesting scientists, those.

Last I heard, their results were not confirmed by other scientists, and in fact didn't really match what they were expecting. Still, I have no objection to their attempts.

One Brow said...

I agree with Crude "Fat guys vs Supermodels" and all that(give it up to Crude on that one).

And people think I'm a cynic. Let me respond with equal cynicism: enough money overcomes the difference.

More seriously, the kids and grandkids of the "fat guy" will frequently interbreed with those of the "supermodel", while the offspring of the popluaitons of the mosquitos will not. Further, if you had any larger differences that appear in such a short time, it would be proof against evolution (as currently understood), nor for it.

One Brow said...

Hype said...
It's not just a defeater for morality.... it's a defeater for intentionality.

Hype,

I respectfully disagree. Intentionality may need to function differently under a deterministic paradigm (unless you import a specific method of functioning into that definition), but that does not mean it is non-existant.

Hype said...

I respectfully disagree. Intentionality may need to function differently under a deterministic paradigm (unless you import a specific method of functioning into that definition), but that does not mean it is non-existant.

You're reasoning is so ad hoc. You're wedded to your beliefs for more than empirical concerns (much like you criticized Feser in the comments of your blog).

So morality would be simply a deterministic outcome while the content of thoughts truly exhibit intentionality and have the ability of reflecting (to a greater or less degree) 'truths' about the nature of nature.

Very nice belief on your part, oneBrow. Also, nice that you know this isn't the product of deterministic factors beyond your conscious control.

hype said...

I'm well-aware of this supposed rejoinder. So then I take it you disagree with my first premise that science implies determinism about the human body? Since the others...

"determinism -> no morality"
"no morality -> no Christianity"
"no Christianity -> no Christian God"

...are pretty damn air-tight. (Any rational person realizes that libertarian free will, and no other watered-down notion of 'freedom,' is required for morality)


What an obnoxious jump in your "air tight" logic.

If science implies determinism about the human body (the entire body - mind included) then your thoughts/beliefs are not true because of some preternatural ability to apprehend the truth of nature/reality. It's simply pre-determined based off of the proteins that constitute your body (body and brain).

If morality doesn't exist for the reasons you mentioned (your goofy rider allowing for libertarian notions of freedom/morality tossed to the side) then your entire house collapses.

Anonymous said...

hype, you are exactly that! all hype and vituperative bluster without a scintilla of substance!

jt said...

*hype, you are exactly that! all hype and vituperative bluster without a scintilla of substance!*

I don't know what that means, anon, but it sure sounds right!

One Brow said...

Hype said...
You're reasoning is so ad hoc.

How very human of me.

You're wedded to your beliefs for more than empirical concerns (much like you criticized Feser in the comments of your blog).

I fully acknowledge that I choose my intial beliefs subjectively.

So morality would be simply a deterministic outcome while the content of thoughts truly exhibit intentionality and have the ability of reflecting (to a greater or less degree) 'truths' about the nature of nature.

From your comment, you seem to see a dissonance in that paragraph. I see no dissonance in the notion that the process of intentionality is deterministic, unless you build non-determinism into the definition to begin with.

Also, nice that you know this isn't the product of deterministic factors beyond your conscious control.

You mean, I think they are deterministic factors within my conscious control? That's an interesting idea, although I'd guess many in here would call it an oxymoron.

BenYachov said...

>Minus the patronizing snark, thanks for the lengthy, informative quotes.

You are welcome.


>At the end of the day, though, I need to be able to actually picture how the soul moves biomolecules around, since a break in the deterministic material chain is required for libertarian freedom.

I was going to mention the Scientism Fallacy & give the link to Feser’s essay but it was late & I was tired. Now here you are rocking the Scientism Fallacy. If I may proceed to give my explanation by analogy. As a Catholic I’ve often argued Marian Doctrine with your average Baptist. Your response here reminds me when one of them answers my theological justifications for Marian Doctrine by exclaiming “Yes that is interesting but at the end of the day, though, I need to be able to see where this doctrine is literally found in the Bible or I can’t believe it.” Now unlike the Baptist, Catholics do not presuppose that religious doctrine must be justified by the Bible alone. Indeed I don’t have to prove Marian doctrine using the Bible alone(sans Tradition, Theological Inference, Church Authority etc) a presupposition I as a Catholic reject. Rather the Baptist has to prove to me the Bible Alone presupposition from the Bible Alone! Of course he can’t because the concept is not taught anywhere in the Bible and thus is false by it’s own standards!

continue.....

BenYachov said...

continued...

Now let’s relate this analogy back to you(BTW FYI this is not an argument to believe or disbelieve in the Bible or Catholicism, one must learn to crawl before they can walk or fly). You statement implies the only valid knowledge you can have is that which you gain from science. The problem with that view is the concept is either itself trivially true or it is self-refuting (like the Baptist’s Sola Scriptura doctrine). The idea that the only valid knowledge is scientific knowledge is not itself a scientific statement (and it cannot be verified or falsified by science) it is a philosophical one. A really bad silly incoherent self-refuting one. A form of Positivism that even philosopher A.J. Flew abandoned as incoherent at the height of his Atheism. You can’t prove scientifically that only scientific knowledge is valid. Thus the very concept is false by it’s own standards.

Feser examines this here

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1174

and here
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2010/03/1184


Thus we don’t have to show you “how the soul moves biomolecules around” in the empirical panphysical sense(enough of the kneejerk Cartesian bulls*** already)! You’re killing me) Rather you either have to show us materialism is true or scientism is true. If you try either way you are making a philosophical argument not a scientific one.

Science is not the only or sole valid source of natural knowledge. You need philosophy. Being anti-philosophy(as so many of the New Atheist Fundie skeptics are these days, thanks for nothing Dawkins) is not the same as being anti-religion. To argue against the validity of philosophy is to make a philosophical argument (& as such is self-refuting which is why Stephen Hawkings has his head up his arse. I would not dispute one legitimate scientific assertion made in his latest book but his philosophy is dumber than learning evolution from ANSWERS IN GENESIS, like I said Killing me).

It all about the philosophy. Your statement science refutes the existence of the Christian God is comically false. If I rejected the existence of God tomorrow (on philosophical grounds) I would still reject your statement as comically false.

So my unsolicited advice read the books Crude recommended.

Cheers to you & Happy New Year.

Crude said...

anon,

crude, to be fair, he didn't exactly say that it all boils down to incredulity for him. he also gave the modus tollens "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" claim here:

I think incredulity is clearly motivating a large part of his reasoning as displayed so far. And when he talks about 'observing the physical effects of the mystical presence' I'd like to know what that even means, even putting aside that expecting such is as near as I can tell a drastic misunderstanding of the thomistic and likely other dualist positions. Indeterminacy of the physical? Because we've got that. If it's something else, then I have to ask what he's expecting to see.

Crude said...

If you think the series of results from 50 coin flips shows design in the pattern of heads and tails, how do I take your other proclamations of design seriously?

You're not going to take them seriously anyway - again, I'm not interested in convincing someone determined to disagree. But you're the one who said 'design can imitate non-design' and that obviously the designer 'intended to make things look non-designed'. I'm just pointing out the lack of support there.

Even a biologist needs to specialize.

Apparently there are no specialists in speciation then, as the FAQ implies. He seemed downright surprised at the results he got - he just had a quick, funny excuse.

I would not expect to see "thrilling" examples within 150 years.

Good thing relevant observations aren't necessary for science! Wait a minute...

Last I heard, their results were not confirmed by other scientists, and in fact didn't really match what they were expecting.

Funny, they seemed pleased with their results - but of course more effort was needed. And 'not confirmed by other scientists'? Even Jerry Coyne admits his field of evolutionary science hardly ever sees much replication. Guess we can write off a lot of that work, eh?

More seriously, the kids and grandkids of the "fat guy" will frequently interbreed with those of the "supermodel", while the offspring of the popluaitons of the mosquitos will not.

They will? You've studied this? 'Kids of fat poor guys frequently sleep with supermodel children'? Which issue of Nature did this pop up in?

Further, if you had any larger differences that appear in such a short time, it would be proof against evolution (as currently understood), nor for it.

'As currently understood.' We've been getting tremendous amounts of that for years now, from deep homology to HGT to mutational biases to convergence to more. All that results are changes to the theory, an assertion that 'this is how science works!', and a freak-out by some people whenever someone runs the (true) article title/headline of 'Darwin was wrong about (this particular part of evolution)'.

It didn't look 'non-designed' even when Darwin's version of the theory was around - hence why Asa Gray thought it was not only a teleological theory, but a theological one. But the current product would make Darwin spin in his grave for how many concessions to his theory were made, what was added to it, and how much more the whole thing looks designed.

Leo Carton Mollica said...

@George R:

So... you have the authority of every Pope and Saint on your side with regards to evolution, and if I were to cite any counterexamples (the current Pontiff, for example, or any number of saints of the past century), why, they aren't TRVE CHRISTIANS. Clever move, that!

@Agnostic Anon:

(Any rational person realizes that libertarian free will, and no other watered-down notion of 'freedom,' is required for morality)

Do you really mean to tell me that anyone who subscribes to some form of moral compatibilism is irrational? Really? Why? Do you have any arguments to support this contention? Because it's a pretty big assumption, so you had better be able to back it up well.

At least one difficulty with such a claim is that it seems to set unusual standards for moral goodness, as opposed to goodness of other varieties. The truth of determinism, for example, would in no way negate the fact that blindness is bad for the eye, or that a child does truly well on his math exam. So, if you're going to claim different conditions for moral goodness, you had better be willing to explain why. All that is necessary for an account of objective good and evil is some form of finality, which is not imperilled by determinism as such. (I am not, incidentally, claiming that these objections are insuperable, merely that they must be met.)

I could say more, but I'll stop before this gets too long.

One Brow said...

I think this thread has lost comments overnight.

Crude said...
You're not going to take them seriously anyway

I took Dr. Feser's criticisms seriously enough to read his book three times through while reveiwing it, plus going over passages as needed in addition. I assure that if you think enough of an argument to present it seriously, I'll take it in that vein.

I'm just pointing out the lack of support there.

Saying everything looks designed doesn't undermine the position trying to determine whether things look designed, so much as trying toprevent the discussion at all by claiming no discriminatory powers.

Apparently there are no specialists in speciation then, as the FAQ implies. He seemed downright surprised at the results he got - he just had a quick, funny excuse.

Based on this and subsequent comments, it doesn't seem like you were responding to this page, and iun particular the examples listed in 5.1 thourgh 5.8.

Good thing relevant observations aren't necessary for science!

Do you seriously think "relevant" means "thrilling"? Because, I would agree thrilling oberservations are not necessary for science.

So, people around here think I'm the sophist, eh?

Funny, they seemed pleased with their results -

People can be pleased with unexpected, non-duplicated results.

Which issue of Nature did this pop up in?

A natural extension of family history. Children of fat peple can be supermodels, for one thing.

But the current product would make Darwin spin in his grave

I don't either of us is a position to say what Darwin would think, and I'm not sure why that would be relevant to begin with.

BenYachov said...

I just lifted this from the Wikipedia on the FALLACY OF COMPOSITION.

Some properties are such that, if every part of a whole has the property, then the whole will, too. In such instances, the fallacy of composition does not apply. For example, if all parts of a chair are green, then it is acceptable to infer that the chair is green. Or if all parts of a table are wooden, it is acceptable to infer that the table is wooden. A property of all parts that can be ascribed to the whole is called an "expansive" property, according to Nelson Goodman.[1] For a property to be expansive, it must be absolute (as opposed to relative) and structure-independent (as opposed to structure dependent), according to Frans H. van Eemeren.[5]

The meanings of absolutes do not imply a comparison, whereas the meanings of relatives do. E.g., being green or wooden are absolutes, whereas fast or heavy or cheap are relatives. We know whether something is green or wooden without reference to other things, whereas we do not know whether something is fast or heavy or cheap without implicitly comparing it to other things. Relative properties are never expansive. E.g., it does not follow that if all parts of a chair are cheap, then the chair is cheap.

Absolute properties shared by all constituent parts of a whole are expansive only if they are independent of the nature of the whole's structure or arrangement. That is, if it does not matter whether the whole is a summation or integration, an unordered collection or a cohesive whole, then the property is said to be independent.[5] Consider the example, X is green. It does not matter whether X is a chair (an integration or coherent whole) or just a pile of twigs (a summation or unordered collection). Green is therefore an independent property. Now consider the example, X is rectangular. Rearrange a rectangular object—e.g., tear up the pages of a book—and it might not stay rectangular. Rectangularness is a structure dependent property and is therefore non-expansive.END QUOTE

BenYachov said...

Sorry for the above wrong thread.

Sorry!

Crude said...

I took Dr. Feser's criticisms seriously enough

The ability to talk at length does not mandate that one taking serious what is being discussed in the relevant sense.

Saying everything looks designed doesn't undermine the position trying to determine whether things look designed, so much as trying toprevent the discussion at all by claiming no discriminatory powers.

And saying that something doesn't look designed does not make it either A) not, in fact, be designed, nor B) not, in fact, look designed. Like I said, I'm just highlighting the lack of support.

Do you seriously think "relevant" means "thrilling"? Because, I would agree thrilling oberservations are not necessary for science.

I seriously think the examples given are on the banal side with regards to the relevancy of what's being discussed, yes.

A natural extension of family history. Children of fat peple can be supermodels, for one thing.

Again, there has been a Nature study on supermodels and their breeding habits with fat people?

I don't either of us is a position to say what Darwin would think, and I'm not sure why that would be relevant to begin with.

Go tell that to the NCSE and others who regularly refer to 'What Darwin thought' as a gold standard. The last time it was pointed out that Darwin was wrong about something (competition driving evolution as opposed to the opening of new niches), there were hysterics.

One Brow said...

Crude said...
The ability to talk at length does not mandate that one taking serious what is being discussed in the relevant sense.

The only evidence I feel I need to submit is the resulting review. You may peruse those posts, or not, at your leisure.

And saying that something doesn't look designed does not make it either A) not, in fact, be designed, nor B) not, in fact, look designed.

I agree with A) unreservedly. B) seems like a quibble.

I seriously think the examples given are on the banal side with regards to the relevancy of what's being discussed, yes.

I can accept banal and relevant. What sort of examples were you thinking could be presented, within a single lifetime?

Again, there has been a Nature study on supermodels and their breeding habits with fat people?

As long as their childrens, or children's children, etc., interbreed, they are in the same populaiton. Why would I need a Nature study to verify what I have seen?

Go tell that to the NCSE and others who regularly refer to 'What Darwin thought' as a gold standard.

How can I talk to mythical people (those at the NCSE who think Darwin's thoughts are preeminant).

The last time it was pointed out that Darwin was wrong about something (competition driving evolution as opposed to the opening of new niches), there were hysterics.

I don't recall seeing that conversation. If the true reaction was merely to the notion that Darwin was wrong about something, I agree such people are misguided. Should I see that happening in the future, I will certainly point out that it's importantto remember Darwin started something that we have been improving for the last 150 years, and the start was hardly perfect (else no improvements would have been needed).