Thursday, March 14, 2019

Wrath darkens the mind


A straw man fallacy is committed when you attack a caricature of what your opponent has said rather than addressing his actual views.  Hypocrisy involves blithely doing something that you admit is wrong and criticize in others.  But what do you call it when you bitterly criticize someone else for doing something you approve of and praise in yourself and others?  I don’t know if there’s a label for that.  “Being an unhinged weirdo” is about the best I can come up with, and I’ve got a couple of examples.

Take our old buddy Jerry Coyne.  I can perfectly well understand why he doesn’t like me.  Over the years, he has made a fool of himself over and over and over and over and over and over again, and I cruelly keep calling attention to the fact.  Now, longtime readers will recall that some years back I had an exchange with David Bentley Hart about whether there will be non-human animals in the afterlife.  Hart had argued that there will be, and I argued that there will not be, on the grounds that non-human animals (unlike, I would argue, human beings) are entirely corporeal, so that there is nothing in their nature that can survive death.  Coyne found this dispute especially worthy of mockery.  Or rather, he pretended that he did.  As I noted at the time, it was obvious that in fact Coyne was merely irked that I had recently exposed one of his idiocies du jour, and pounced on my exchange with Hart as a way to try to change the subject.  Standard Coyne shtick.

What’s odd is that this has turned out to be more than just a one-off ad hoc attempt at distraction.  The question of whether there will be animals in the afterlife is not one that I am terribly interested in.  Had Hart not raised the issue, I probably wouldn’t have addressed it, and I haven’t revisited it since.  Coyne, by contrast, seems obsessed by it.  It’s been over three years, and he keeps bringing it up, every time I say something that inspires one of his periodic anti-Feser rants.  The latest example is from a few days ago.  He there characterizes my view that “dogs don’t go to Heaven” as “deranged.”

Now, that’s the really bizarre thing.  Why is it “deranged” for me to say that there is no afterlife for dogs and other non-human animals?  Does Coyne think dogs do go to heaven?  Does he agree with Hart?  Of course not.  Coyne is an atheist, and a very militant one at that.  He too thinks that dogs don’t go to heaven, and that there is no aspect of their nature that survives death.  In other words, Coyne calls me “deranged” for agreeing with him.  And while agreeing with Jerry Coyne no doubt often is a sign of derangement, it is strange for Coyne himself to think so!

Could it be that what Coyne really finds objectionable is rather that I think that there is an afterlife for human beings?  Is it that I hold that there is in human beings, unlike non-human animals, something incorporeal?  The trouble with that supposition – apart from the fact that, as usual, Coyne has absolutely nothing of substance to say in response to my arguments – is that that isn’t what Coyne actually says.  He doesn’t say that Feser is deranged because he thinks there is an afterlife for human beings, but rather that Feser is deranged because he thinks there is no afterlife for non-human animals. 

Go figure.  Near as I can tell, what is going on is simply that Coyne dislikes me so intensely that he cannot help but sputter whatever pops into his head, however ill-thought-out.  It’s not that Coyne is stupid.  On the contrary, he’s obviously very intelligent, and even sometimes interesting when he comments on a subject other than religion.  It’s that his obsessive hatred for religion and religious people has so distorted his judgment that he cannot even see when he is being incoherent and (yet again, alas) making a fool of himself. 

Needless to say, religious people can be guilty of the same thing, which brings me to my other example.  As my longtime readers know, Mark Shea is what you get when you marry the letter of Catholicism to the spirit and style of New Atheist polemic.  Take your average rant from one of Coyne’s or P. Z. Myers’ teenage combox dwellers and replace the shrill and superficial secularist content with some shrill and superficial theology, and you essentially have your typical Shea blog post or Facebook entry.  Very different targets, but the same venom.  Though at one time he devoted his efforts to writing helpful works of popular apologetics, Shea has in recent years become utterly obsessed with left-wing politics, and with demonizing any of his fellow Catholics who do not share his politics.  And unlike Coyne, he is no longer even occasionally interesting.  He has a little bag of talking points, epithets, and caricatures he’s mostly borrowed from others (“Right Wing Noise Machine,” “Christianist,” etc., Always All In Caps) and robotically pulls one or two out of the bag and flings them at whichever person is the object of his hatred on any particular day.  Snore.

However, one of Shea’s stock epithets is very curious, and the occasion for my commentary here.  Shea frequently accuses the conservative and traditionalist Catholics he so intensely dislikes of regarding themselves as the “Greatest Catholics of All Time.”  This is a very strange accusation.  I cannot think of a single conservative or traditionalist Catholic who can plausibly be said to take such an attitude toward himself or his fellows.  On the contrary, conservative and traditionalist Catholics tend if anything to have a rather low opinion of contemporary Catholics, including themselves.  They tend to think that even the most orthodox and devout Catholics of today simply don’t come close to measuring up to the heroic figures of Church history.  When they complain about the low state of the Church and the heterodoxy and cowardice of so many churchmen, they often suggest that contemporary Catholics – including, again, conservative and traditionalist Catholics themselves – are simply getting the bishops they deserve, and suffering divine punishment for their sins.

By contrast, Shea and other left-wing Catholics tend to take the view that the contemporary Church has much deeper moral understanding than the Church of the past did.  In particular, they hold that the views expressed by Pope Francis and other contemporary churchmen on topics like capital punishment, torture, religious liberty, interreligious dialogue, divorce and remarriage, feminism, homosexuality, social justice, etc. reflect a deeper understanding of the demands of the Gospel, and of the dignity of the human person, than was possessed by churchmen of the past.  When modern popes and other churchmen apologize for the sins of the historical Church, or suggest (as Pope Francis has) that churchmen of the past had “a mentality more legalistic than Christian” and a “concern for preserving power and material wealth” that “prevented a deeper understanding of the Gospel,” these progressive Catholics applaud, and regard such actions as evidence that today’s Church has matured morally, spiritually, and doctrinally. 

In short, if anyone is plausibly accused of thinking that contemporary Catholics are the “Greatest Catholics of All Time,” it is Shea and Catholics of like mind.  Like Coyne, Shea is criticizing people he dislikes for an attitude that in other contexts he takes himself, and approves of in others.

What explains such incoherence?  The answer is that hatred blinds the intellect.  More precisely, and as I discussed in a blog post on wrath and its daughters, anger that is excessive or otherwise disordered has as one of its byproducts what Aquinas calls “clamor” or “disorderly and confused speech.”  Anger has the function of prodding us to make things right when in some way they are not – when there is some injustice to be redressed, some error to be corrected, or what have you.  When guided by reason, anger can result in coherent speech and action, but in a wrathful person anger comes to dominate reason, and he lashes out incoherently.  If he’s frenzied enough, he may even lash out with a condemnation he would in other contexts regard as a commendation.

182 comments:

  1. I don't see why the fact that existing animals lack an incorporeal nature that can survive death means that there will be no animals in the next life. Surely when God renews everything, and there is a new heaven and a new earth, He can include animals if He wishes. Newly created ones.

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    1. Michael,

      I suspect we're talking about two different things.

      If by "Heaven" we mean a non-corporeal frame-of-reference in which one beholds the face of God, then animals won't be there because once you make Fido "non-corporeal" there's nothing of him left.

      But the General Resurrection includes the idea of a "New Heaven AND a New Earth." And the New Earth seems an entirely corporeal...though perhaps the matter involved in its corporeality might differ from matter as we experience it today in the same way that Jesus' resurrected body differs from our own pre-resurrected ones. The latter speculation might help explain the idea that the New Earth is "wedded" to Heaven in some way: Grace perfects Nature, applied in the most wholesale way imaginable.

      At any rate, at the resurrection, there is matter and thus there could be animals. No problem there.

      But that isn't what most people are thinking of when the muse about "animals in heaven." (Or, if they're better-formed doctrinally, "animals at the resurrection.")

      No, what most people are pondering is, "Will I see my favorite pet again?"

      Now THAT would seem to require something intrinsically spiritual about the animal (which Thomism asserts is absent) for it to work. The reason is simple: Your deceased pet didn't survive death (past tense) and thus, even if identically re-created atom-by-atom in the renewed New Earth, your "resurrected" pet wouldn't actually be the same animal, but only photocopy (so to speak), entirely discontinuous with the original.

      Now, if that's enough for you and you're perfectly happy with it; fine. But that idea leaves me a bit cold, frankly.

      Ah, but there is another thing to consider: What if there is a way to "see" (experience) your deceased pet "in Heaven" and "at the Resurrection," without that pet being bodily resurrected?

      I don't remember who said it, but some theologian I've heard speculated that we continue to experience something like time after death, but it is somehow bound up with God's eternity so as to have freedom of perception throughout space and time (though probably not all at once and with utter completeness, which only God can do).

      If that's correct, then you can experience, love, and appreciate everything that your pet was, at every moment of that pet's existence, including moments when you weren't personally present during your life, merely by observing that moment from your after-death, slice-of-eternity perspective.

      That's the original pet, not a photocopy. Indeed, it's a more full experience and appreciation of the original pet than you ever had in earthly experience. And thus, it's not "memory"; it's reality.

      But all this is highly speculative, of course.

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    2. Michael, I do agree with you. From a philosophical point of view, it absolutely makes no sense for non-human animals to "go to Heaven", meaning that some part of them (their rational soul, which they don't have) would survive the death of the body. Thomistic philosophy leaves no room for that.

      However, philosophy has its boundaries, and at some point, we just enter into theology. The Christian truths do not follow from Thomistic thought, but they come from the revealed divine Word, which is Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. And when H. S. often talks about how EVERYTHING is renewed, it would at least make sense that there are non-human animals in afterlife, just as there were in paradise, although they could not possibly have enjoyed the beatific vision (or the earthly version thereof) that Adam and Eve had. There was no reason for animals to exist in Paradise, other than that God willed it (remember, the first Humans were supposed to only eat veggies, fruits, and herbs, which changed only later on).

      I have no strict dogmatic view on this issue, but unless Holy Magisterium decides to make a formal pronouncement on this, theologians are open to hold any view they like, although it should be reasonable, duh!

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    3. @R.C.,



      1) There actually is a Platonic position which holds that the sensual nature that animals possess is itself immaterial, and thus subsists after death.

      Of course, the sensual nature of animals isn't rational, so they can't have the Beatific Vision, but they still have a degree of immateriality that subsists after the death of the body - which entails that the sensual animal form can be united with the body again, thus ensuring a continued identity for them after they are restored.


      2) "And the New Earth seems an entirely corporeal...though perhaps the matter involved in its corporeality might differ from matter as we experience it today in the same way that Jesus' resurrected body differs from our own pre-resurrected ones."



      Actually, our bodies at the resurrection at the end of time are essentially the same as our current bodies, only glorified and incorruptible.

      So the New Earth's matter is going to be essentially the same matter that currently exists right now, only glorified.

      In other words, there is a continuity of identity between the Old and the New - just as Jesus' resurrected body is the same original body, only glorified.



      3)"Your deceased pet didn't survive death (past tense) and thus, even if identically re-created atom-by-atom in the renewed New Earth, your "resurrected" pet wouldn't actually be the same animal, but only photocopy (so to speak), entirely discontinuous with the original."


      Which brings up the interesting question: If your pet died completely, and the corpse was then brought back to life anew, would that living animal still be the same as your pet? Or would it be completely different by virtue of having a new living animal form that enforms the matter?


      4)"Ah, but there is another thing to consider: What if there is a way to "see" (experience) your deceased pet "in Heaven" and "at the Resurrection," without that pet being bodily resurrected?"


      One way I've heard this could be done is using the Beatific Vision to experience the goodness the pet had, because God as goodness itself contains virtually within Himself the goodness of any and every creature.

      Some say this is problematic because it denigrates the goodness of creatures; it makes the goodness of creatures seem superfluous and otiose because everything desirable and enjoyable about them is completely contained within God, so to see God is basically to have seen everything, meaning that there is nothing desirable about created goods since one already possesses any goodness they might have when possessing God in the Beatific Vision.

      However, this argument falls apart when one considers the fact that Jesus in His human nature had the Beatific Vision, and yet He clearly desired and enjoyed the created goods He encountered; He enjoyed spending time with His friends and family, He likely laughed, enjoyed food and drink, and He even wept several times over the death of Lazarus and the fall of Jerusalem - clearly showing concern for created things and that "losing them" in some sense is a cause of sorrow, meaning that these created goods were real goods to Him that caused some sorrow when lost.


      Another way some have proposed this could be done is because the past doesn't cease to exist - it is recorded in God as the highest intelligible reality, meaning that nothing is lost and that every moment is safely kept in some way, so one could enjoy every moment and every object from the past all over again.

      contd. in Part Two

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    4. @R.C.,


      (Part Two)

      contd.


      Yet another way would be by accessing the past through our memories; and since our bodies will be glorified, our memories will likely be glorified too. This means that we'll be able to re-enjoy the past with greater clarity and greater joy and delight.

      One anonymous user from the Animal Souls discussion that took place in 2015 posted this comment on first blog post "Animal Souls Part I":

      "A remark on the issue of resurrected pets: I note not only a lack of arguments as to how an animal could be meaningfully resurrected, but also arguments as to why. I myself am open to possible arguments from haecceity or the like, but we need to bear in mind that going to Heaven isn't like going to France, or Antarctica. You won't miss dear old Rover because his absence leaves a Rover-shaped hole in your life. In Heaven we not only see God, but we see everything else through God's eyes, as it were. In Heaven, even our memories will be more vivid than our direct experiences now. You won't miss Rover because you will appreciate everything about him as much as it is possible for you to do so. Having Rover physically present would not actually add anything to your appreciation, so there will be nothing to miss! (It would be a bit like, say, having this really lovely postcard of the French Riviera and then one day you finally get to visit the Riviera in person and your reaction is, "Oh, it's very nice and all, but I sure miss that postcard!")"


      We could also entertain the possibility that everything that God created has infinite subtility, or infinite thickness and depth of participation in God, meaning it can be enjoyed and appreciated forever without end, which would apply to our memories of pets as well.


      5)"I don't remember who said it, but some theologian I've heard speculated that we continue to experience something like time after death, but it is somehow bound up with God's eternity so as to have freedom of perception throughout space and time "


      Well, time is the measure of change, and since the material cosmos will continue to exist at the resurrection and after, change will exist as well. But how that will tie to eternity must be specified. We obviously won't be "in eternity outside time" because that would mean we're "stuck in time", which is not good for material creatures.

      We could reach the past through the Beatific Vision, as said before, but I'm skeptical about knowledge of the future.

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    6. Surely the nature of anything is immaterial; nature being an immaterial principle.

      Similarly, I don't understand why animal souls are held to be different from the human soul. A soul, being a principle of life, is, by definition, incorporeal, be it animal or human.

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    7. Whether or not non-rational animals go to heaven is not really the topic of this thread.

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  2. Perhaps they are envious.

    If you do or think something they approve of, but it was you who did it and not them, they have reason to feel envy.

    Don't even talk about doing it better than them, being better than them; hence the "epithet" Greatest Catholics of all time.

    He is actually giving away his insecurity. Despite all of the supposed perfection that Coyne and Shea have , or would like to have, they are miserable.
    You on the other hand, are successful, well balanced, and secure.

    When YOU then disagree with them, or show them to be wrong, their envy drives them to wrath.

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    1. Yes it could just simple jealously. People like that wish there was an afterlife, but feel disappointment because their philosophy does not allow it. They are envious of those who take comfort in the anticipation of heaven, even though they may act as if they are intellectually superior to us.

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  3. Actually according to Shea it's "The Greatest Living Catholics (TM)" Yeah it cracks me up too.

    When Shea banned me (because I thought that Trump was better than the alternative) Shea told me that I support "aborting brown babies." Best I know I have never voted for a "pro choice" candidate. Shea repeatedly advertises his desire to vote for pro abortion candidates.

    Neil Parille

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  4. Hypocrisy involves blithely doing something that you admit is wrong and criticize in others.

    No. Hypocrisy is pretending to believe something you actually don't. A 60-year-old alcoholic who criticizes young adults for binge drinking but can't quit the bottle due to addiction is not a hypocrite even though he is doing something that he criticizes in others.

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    1. "Blithely" doing something involves doing it without guilt or internal conflict, which presumably wouldn't be the case with someone who wants to stop drinking but can't due to addiction.

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    2. @Gaius did you know that drinking spirits makes you more spiritual (but not religious)?

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    3. Hypocrisy is pretending to have virtues one does not have, and/or pretending not to have vices one does have, and especially, condemning others for vices one has oneself, in order to maintain human respect and other goods.

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  5. ‪Feser is not “deranged.” But he is willing to buttress his beliefs with ad hoc premises that simply delay the question one step further, a question he never asks. In other words why does he bother coming up with imaginative and weak ad hoc excuses, because anyone can see that once you remove them he is merely declaring that God makes it such that “There are no animals resurrected in the afterlife,” or in another case, “Nobody in hell can ever repent and leave.”‬

    ‪For instance Feser says, “Animals are entirely corporeal, so there is nothing in their nature that can survive death.” But that merely raises further questions. Doesn’t everything exist eternally in God’s omniscient mind? And doesn’t He have the power to reconstitute animals with their memories intact? Or will Feser propose ad hoc limitations to God’s omniscience or power to justify his earlier ad hoc pronouncement? (Furthermore, Christian philosophers have studied the use of the term “soul” in the OT and they point out that humans don’t “have” souls in the OT but ARE souls. So to resurrect a human would include the same type of reconstitution I mentioned above concerning animals.)‬

    Feser’s pronouncement concerning animals reminds me of his explanation as to why the damned won’t have the free will to repent. Feser tells us the damned can't repent after regaining bodies at the general resurrection because new resurrection bodies are restricted concerning changes they can undergo. But why? He neglects to ask. Why are the damned only given resurrected given bodies that prevent them from expressing free will and lock them out of any possibility of repenting or seeing the light? So he proposes ad hoc means to ensure the damned never get a metaphysical chance in hell to repent throughout eternity.

    Let’s add the further ad hoc proposal that God will never upgrade the resurrection bodies of any of the damned so that they regain free will and the possibility of repentance. There, it is done. God is as heartless and eternally unforgiving as one wants, He has relinquished his love for some of His children, relinquished His desire to heal and teach throughout eternity.

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    1. Why are the damned only given resurrected given bodies that prevent them from expressing free will and lock them out of any possibility of repenting or seeing the light?

      Repenting after seeing God is cheating you gotta play by the rules.

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    2. Peep show theology is not a response unless you were being sarcastic. Moses showed the people God’s backside, no? And they each could still repent. People saw Jesus, no? And they got a chance to repent. Heck, why can’t Satan, whom also saw God, get a chance to repent? Feser probably has another ad hoc answer. Satan isn’t even an evil being in Job but more like God’s attorney for the prosecution, going round the world and back to God’s throne, etc. where they gamble together. Satan only becomes evil in intertestamental literature.

      Or to give another example, one can see the police and the legal system here on earth, but to demand we all take it on faith that an invisible police force and legal system exists, and an eternal concentration camp exist to stow away people for crimes committed during a mere splinter of eternity, and when the criminals were practically newborns, during the first decades of their lives, which they also had to live on a planet strewn with demons (God arranged that too?), temptations, hormones, ignorance, annoyances, distractions, boredom, repetitious mentally regressive jobs, sickness, decrepitude, death, followed by what, an eternity of sorrow? That all seems about right only to Christian apologists who assure us this is the marvelous plan of a loving God.

      But I suggest it makes more sense to suggest that the folks living on the trembling surface of this far less than ideal world deserve a medal for simply being here. Heck, most zygotes don’t even survive. So heaven will be overfilled with folks who never even got to live lives on earth.

      And here you are suggesting, if you are not being sarcastic, that oops, once you see God, eternal damnation just for being born Adam’s kin. No backsies.

      Paul says love never fails, charity remains. Not sure I see much charity in eternal damnation making ethical rational sense given all the circumstances I mentioned above, and given the premise of a truly loving patient healing teacher God. It would make more ethical rational sense to send us cosmos newborns, only decades old, to summer school, allowing God and time to continue to heal and teach. Can free will eternally reject the only truth there is, that lies at the heart of all things and sustains them? Not if God himself is love.

      At any rate Feser is speaking ad hoc Jabberwocky whenever he invents such imaginative ad hoc excuses.

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    3. Mr. Babinski, I don't think cogniblog was being sarcastic. They simply expressed Truth with a grain of humoristic salt.
      We must accept the infallible Truths that God has revealed to us, because He is Truth itself. We are not allowed to question God's holy will, but we are obligated to better understand it, which Holy Tradition agrees on (otherwise I could not say that).
      Eternal damnation does make sense, and it is perfectly coherent with love/charity.
      You won't find many theologians today defending this view, because they have mostly adopted some form of Hypokatastasis, but that is a heresy officially condemned by H. M. C.
      We also mustn't take some verses of H. S. to reprove other verses. That is what the Tentator did with Jesus: Asking Him rhetorical questions quoting H. S. without context, and without any deeper understanding (although of course he does understand H. S.), to say to Him: "Well, it's written there." Jesus shows how H. S. only makes sense when the entire picture is in view and singular verses are not separated from the entirety of H. S.
      No Christian ever rejoices in the misery of eternal damnation. Only the Saints at the Day of Judgement praise God for the damnation of sinners because in this He shows His Truth, Love, Justice, and Mercy.
      If you think in strictly secular terms ("concentration camp for sinners"), it won't make you happy, I guess. But theology is far more than "I don't like this because God is a big meanie". Try to understand how love and punishment go together.
      Maybe the debate on capital punishment will give some enlightenment because it's basically the same thing.
      And yes, it is a revealed Truth of the Faith that we can't repent after death. Death is where the journey ends, and the corporeal resurrection does not change that.

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    4. Ad hoc.

      I don't think that means what you think it means.

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    5. All things are by Nature! Jesus intimated that in the Parable of the Sower Soweth the Seed! The Seed only grew on "good ground"--- or on Good Soil --- On a Good Nature. The Nature of the Person determines the, not only the existence of the Faith, but also the Permanence of the Faith!

      Evil people are BY NATURE after-awhile! Evil Nature is cemented. God can't change that! It is NOT all Free Will. The Natural Law is that there is a combinatorial system throughout nature, i.e. Body/Soul ---- Will/Nature, or Nurture/Nature.

      All Things are by Nature. Once a person dies---His Nature is cemented! Evil people go to Hell. Hell is the Trashcan of degenerates and reprobates that will NOT change and can NOT change.

      "All Things are by Nature". There is NO salvation/changing after Death.

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    6. ‪For instance Feser says, “Animals are entirely corporeal, so there is nothing in their nature that can survive death.” But that merely raises further questions. Doesn’t everything exist eternally in God’s omniscient mind? And doesn’t He have the power to reconstitute animals with their memories intact? Or will Feser propose ad hoc limitations to God’s omniscience or power to justify his earlier ad hoc pronouncement?

      I think feser and hart would be the first to admit that this question is not de Fide. It is merely theological speculation whether you believe all dogs go to heaven or not.

      And your point about the Jewish understanding of the soul applies more to Platonism than Aristotelianism.

      Out of curiosity, have you read any of Feser's books? If not, I'd recommend starting with Aquinas. It's really the best intro you can find.

      God bless,
      Dani

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    7. @W.LindsayWheeler

      Good = life of solutions, creating solutions to life

      Neutral = life of problems, unable to create solutions.

      Evil = not good and not neutral

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    8. @Cogniblog. What you describe of Good, Neutral or evil is nonsense. That is not at all even near what Christianity teaches. Solutions, non-solutions, has nothing to do with Good, Neutral or Evil. Good and Evil have to do with Morality, not solutions.

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    9. @W.LindsayWheeler do you really think it is possible for someone who life is full of solutions and who creates solutions to be evil or neutral?

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    10. @W.LindsayWheeler

      "Evil people are BY NATURE after-awhile!"

      And how did they get to being evil, whereas you got to be good (if you are good)? A random dial spin of the soul? Why did Lucifer choose 0, whereas Michael chose 1? "Free will" only explains why they could choose 0 or 1; it doesn't tell me why they chose 0 or 1 respectively over the counterfactual choice.

      Imagine Lucifer's rebellious desire had a strength of .3. If we did 100 replays, in about 30 of them, we'd see poor Lucy rebel, but in 70 of them, he obeys. How is it not a mere matter of luck what he ends up "freely" or randomly choosing -- given that nothing about his mental constitution (desires, beliefs, motivations, dispositions, etc.) explains why he did one thing rather than another. You might say he had reasons for his evil choice, but given Lucifer's torn self, there was no way for him to ensure that the wise reasons prevailed. It's luck: what possible world fragment came after t1?

      "Hell is the Trashcan of degenerates and reprobates that will NOT change and can NOT change. "

      An omnipotent can't extend his love to the poor coins who landed on tails? God could easily make hell a paradise that is not as blissful as heaven, but still fun nonetheless -- or annihilate them. (God actualizes their continuing existence at every moment. Not loving at all.) Punishing someone just increases the amount of harm felt by sentience; it doesn't undo any of the evil things they randomly did.

      "There is NO salvation/changing after Death." God is the one who made nature.

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    11. @WLindsayWheeler you are not using "Nature" in a Thomistic sense. What you are describing is an ingrained and entrenched habit, which is colloquially referred to as "second nature" because it can become so conditioned that it is as automatic *as if* it were truly Nature. But the very fact that we have to say that it's *as if* it were our nature that shows that it is not in fact such. You don't become "naturally evil" by engaging in a lengthy career of sin, instead you become habituated to it and become steadily less and less willing to reject it.

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    12. "Doesn’t everything exist eternally in God’s omniscient mind?"

      No. Creation, and everything in it, is definitely separate from God. But creation, and everything in it, derives their being from God. The human form is in the mind of God, but it is also in you, since you are human. It is also in your intellect when you think about it. The human form in you is derived from the form in the mind of God, similar to (but not the same as) how the human form in your intellect is derived from the human form you come to understand through empirical knowledge of the form in you and other human.

      I'm not bothering with the rest. Just because you haven't bothered to try to understand, it is very uncharitable to just assume there is no answer.

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    13. @ Coniblog "...do you really think it is possible for someone who life is full of solutions and who creates solutions to be evil or neutral?

      Again, Evil is determined by morality, not by "having solutions" or "creating solutions". Solving a geometry problem, or an algebra problem does not make one good or evil. Solving or helping someone in poverty does not make one good or evil. Fixing climate change does not make one good or evil.

      One can solve, create all day long, but if that one lies, cheats, fornicates, he is evil.

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    14. @ Cantus and @ CounterRebel. Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:..."

      The "heart" is the nature of the person. Again, Jesus's parable of the Fruit. A good tree produces good fruit. A bad tree, bad fruit.

      The normal atheist is filled with rage and hate towards God. (There are a few who are not; but then they are not standard.) He doesn't convert. Dies in his atheism. Jesus said to the rich man, even if you come back from the dead, they still won't believe. Even when the atheist sees God, he is NOT going to change. He will still have that hatred. It will not disappear. They are by nature.

      What you miss Counter Rebel, is the environment of Lucifer---his context. The environment of Lucifer was much like the environment of Adam. Lucifer was surrounded by jewels and a lover of music. Adam grew soft in the Garden of Eden. Both characters were immersed in luxury! That Luxury produced effeminacy in them. It was their effeminate character that THEN led to them sinning! Why did God throw Adam out for? Why did God curse the ground? The cursing of the ground was the Medicine for Adam's children!

      You all forget, (because the Church never teaches and preaches on this topic!), St. Peter's teaching II Peter 1:5 "Supplement the Faith with Virtue". Virtue is character training and the first Virtue is Manliness. It is Toughness of character. The Law is Hard and only a Hard man is Obedient. It is Character. Adam was called "the effeminated apple-eater". Adam and Lucifer both grew up in soft environments and that softness led to their sinning!

      It is NOT all """Free""" will. Their Nature led them there! It is the Parable of the Sower Soweth the Seed. All things are By Nature.

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    15. @W.LindsayWheeler You misunderstood me. You interpreted "a life of solutions, creating solutions to life" as "a trackrecord of solutions, creating solutions to events in life." The examples you gave of algebra, geometry, poverty, and climate change are all events in life. And yes, you are correct that it is possible for a neutral or evil person to be good at solving events in life--although someone really good at solving events in life is likely to be a good person. This fits in well with the distinction between accidents and essence. Someone who creates solutions to events in life has the accidents of a good person. Someone who creates solutions to life is a good person by essence.

      Does that make sense?

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    16. So my nature (created by God) determines my choices. Is W.LindsayWheeler a Calvinistic determinist?

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    17. @Cogniblog

      Repenting after seeing God is cheating you gotta play by the rules

      But can the unrepentant even see God? To see God as He is would be to experience Him as the unconditioned Good, but to experience the unconditioned Good as the same would require seeing God as necessarily and irresistibly desirable, but that would require an incorruptible will. Yet only the Beatific Vision can irresistibly attract the will, which means one is at a catch-22, the only solution to which is the Incarnation.

      Whilst the unrepentant would indeed have some experience of God, they would react with even more fear (and hatred) than the Israelites did at Sinai, for to see ultimate reality being opposed to one's selfish desires and will to power would not be a pleasant experience. And since one doesn't really have sensation after death, except what is supernaturally infused, rejecting the vision of God afforded would leave the unrepentant dead in utter darkness. There is no question of repentance after that, since one cannot seek after God if one has blinded oneself to Him.

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    18. Hitler had a Final Solution. Does that make him good?

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    19. Hitler had a Final Solution. Does that make him good?

      Hitler was brain-damaged, psychotic, and hallucinating. He believed his girlfriend was broadcadting thoughts of her live into his mind. Whatever he considered a "solution" is too insane to qualify as a solution in truth.

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  6. Isn't this what is called "projecting"? To see in one's opponents one's own failings?

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    1. No, it's not that, exactly, because in the examples I gave, the one doing the projecting doesn't see them as failings, at least not in other contexts. That's what makes the examples odd.

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  7. Is it possible that Coyne objects to an apparent lack of respect for animal rights? There are many left-wing atheists who claim that people don't respect the dignity of animals because these "deranged" religious folks think that animals don't have souls. I've heard a few scientists claim that humans are really no different from animals. They sometimes say this because they want to make people more humble, and hopefully realize that they are really nothing but matter in motion. They might also be trying to promote an environmentalist cause. They think humans harm nature because of their belief that humans are "special" in some way. This whole thing might be related to abortion issues too. If someone thinks of an unborn human as just a non-human organism, then abortion appears more justifiable to those who promote it. So I think all of this could be an objection to human uniqueness in order to advocate for certain social justice issues.

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    1. Jonathan, no doubt you are right about how some people emote about these issues. Of course, feeling (even, feeling very strongly) that humans are not special in nature and it's just matter in motion doesn't excuse the rabid nonsense of asserting that humans "harm" nature: if all we are all just matter in motion, when humans fill the ocean with garbage it's just matter being moved around, and wanting a different arrangement of the matter is just preferencing ONE state of matter over another, without any basis. Maybe putting all the trash in the ocean benefits bacteria? And if it's just matter moving around, there is no room for free will and thus no room to object to whatever actions anyone has done or is going to do: they didn't have a choice.

      That is to say, we can point out that talking irrationally is not the way to show that humans are not different from the rest of nature.

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  8. Heaven is the place of God. Of course there is no animals in heaven, or resurrected. Animals do NOT have immortal souls. Here, Feser is correct.

    But God said, the earth will be destroyed and then recreated---purified of man's blood guilt. Nature will be reconstituted and animals are a part of Nature! The Earth will be reborn, the saved and born again will repopulate a New Earth--and there WILL BE animals there! We will have our corporeal bodies back, purified and immortal. God can bring animals into heaven---Nothing stops Him from doing that. But no animal will be "resurrected". Nature will always be; the Cosmos will always be! Plants and Animals are part of the Cosmos! We will be put back on Earth with plants and animals! What about the 4 Horsemen? Are they NOT riding Horses! I wouldn't put it past God that He has some dogs for friends. When they die--they die, and He gets some puppies!

    We will be BACK in Nature!

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    1. Wheeler, I can agree with most of what you say here, but I would just point out a small clarification:

      When Prof. Feser says (or is attributed to say) "animals don't go to heaven, what he is referring to is the notion of THIS animal (such as Fido) dying and then being restored to life in heaven. He is not addressing the other possibilities, such as (a) that God simply creates a new animal from scratch in heaven, or (b) taking a living animal and moving it to heaven by physical motion, (with it remaining alive the whole way). While either of these are logically possible events and thus present OTHER avenues for discussion, it wasn't the situation he was addressing.

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  9. Is there any evidence that would change your mind about animals not having a rational nature? I ask because from the outside, it does appear as though some animals are to some degree at least rational and to say that what appears rational is actually just behaviourism etc lays us open to the charge that to a higher order alien he could say much the same about us (and be wrong)?

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    1. Sandymount -- Rationality is NOT the sign of immortality. It is the Soul. A Mentally Disabled person, an idiot, or a severe cerebral palsy victim has no sign of rationality---but if they are baptized---They will be born again. Sandymount --- What about babies who die at birth or within a year of birth? They show NO signs of rationality but if they were baptized, they will be born again.

      Immortality of humans comes from the Divine Spark in our souls. All plants, all animals have souls---but not the divine spark. All humans regardless of their condition, whether they can exercise rationality, are all immortal off the bat!

      The sign of immortality is NOT rationality, but what type of soul it has.

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    2. Well, since WL Wheeler didn't bother to answer Sandymount at all, I will give it a shot.

      There is a kind of "intelligence" that is capable of more and less in the animals, and clearly some animals are a LOT more intelligent than others. Dogs are smarter than squirrels, dolphins are smarter than dogs (probably, at least). What we don't see (or at least, had no evidence for until fairly recently) is animals grasping concepts of universals, and especially concepts of abstract or non-material realities. That's the dividing line. Rationality is the term used for the kind of mind that CAN grasp universal concepts and immaterial, abstract concepts. A mind like this is capable of recursive thinking, such as thinking about thinking, the concept of concepts, the idea of not just true statements but of truth itself.

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    3. Thanks for your replies. I read Feser closely and love his work but still, wonder what evidence would change his mind about animals rational ability that he thinks is the key to our immortality etc (WL Wheeler I dont think your interpretation of rational is what he means (or me)).

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    4. Well, the argument has been around since before Aristotle, in one form or another, but there are numerous signs that animals don't have that kind of rational faculty: they don't have language in which they express universals and abstract concepts. They don't give any evidence of reasoning about thinking or even about sensation, feeling, etc) - they appear to just act without regard to an explicit course of reasoning. (For instance, catepillars will make a cocoon in a certain way, first steps, several middle steps, and then end steps. This is well suited to achieving the proper cocoon. But if you come along half way through and remove the first steps, they don't say "gee, I have to start over from scratch", they just go on with the later steps as if the first steps were there: THERE IS a good reason for the process of the steps, but THEY aren't in possession of the good reason.

      In the last 3 decades or so there have been numerous attempts to teach primates various "language" types. And attempts to understand dolphins sonar communication, to see if it is a proper language. As far as I know, the jury is still out on the implications: there is at best only ambiguous evidence that they have the faculties for what we mean by concepts, and the more abstract it gets, the less they portray anything that even seems like they have a grasp of it. (I admit that I have not followed the science closely.) So while it is hard to say exactly where the boundary line is for what SHOULD amount to satisfactory evidence of grasp of abstract concepts and universals, what we don't seem to have is CLEAR proof of it in animals. We don't, for instance, have animals who can follow a proof from geometry, or even a more modest but abstract syllogism like "All A's belong to B class. All B's belong to C class. Therefore all A's belong to C class."

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    5. @Tony,


      Quote:"or even a more modest but abstract syllogism like "All A's belong to B class. All B's belong to C class. Therefore all A's belong to C class.""


      Actually, there are some experiments that trained sea lions to associate A with B, B with C, and thus A with C in the end.

      Here's a paper: https://pinnipedlab.ucsc.edu/publications/pub_080_1993.pdf


      I've discussed this a few threads back with Sri Nahar, who pointed out that the training showed not necessarily that the sea lions understood the concept of transitivity, but only instantiated it by remembering associations. In other words, the animal researchers were likely anthropomorphising and not distinguishing sensation from intellect sufficiently.


      But it's an interesting paper to read nonetheless.

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  10. New Atheists are just mentally and intellectually inferior. Treat them like rabid dogs and kick them in the face (metaphorically).

    I have no respect for any New Atheist anymore then I respect Radtrad Traditionalist extremists or Sheatrad lunatic leftist pseudo Catholics.

    Nuts to the lot of them.

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    1. Excuse me? What would be wrong with Traditionalism?

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    2. ‘Radtrad’ is what’s wrong, not Traditionalism per se. The ecclesiology of it could be roughly expressed as follows: ‘The Church ceased to exist at Vatican II, except for us few holy and enlightened souls who see that (contrary to Christ’s own promise) the gates of Hell have prevailed against it.’ This view is slightly more sophisticated than (say) that of the Old Believers in Russia who thought they could not get into Heaven without their beards, but at bottom it is the same kind of gaga, and it is poisonous both to charity and to the reasoning faculties.

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    3. @Tom Simon:

      I agree. Thank you for clarifying, and also thanks to Son of Jakob.

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    4. The problem with so-called "Traditionalists" is that their Spirit is the spirit of Protestantism, just as with modernists. Whilst modernists are iconoclasts when it comes to Sacred Tradition, many so-called Traditionalists elevate their own understanding of Sacred Tradition to the extent that they end up creating a new sect, the Sola Patristica (as I like to call it). One can argue almost anything by selectively quoting the Bible, ditto with quote-mining the Fathers. And thus,many of these "Traditionalists" tend to give less honour to the existing Magisterium than it deserves. But to quote a true traditionalist, the inimitable J. R. R. Tolkien, "Those who would defend authority from rebellion must not themselves rebel."

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    5. Sri,

      We should distinguish traditionalists from sedevacantists. The former are legitimate, but the latter are not, because no individual Catholic can judge whether a Pope has committed heresy, and whether he loses his office for that. It is neither the individual's place nor expertise. That is indeed Protestant in spirit. But traditionalists, when they criticise the new liturgy, ecumenism, the Popes from the last 50 years, among other things, are not being Protestant, since the Church is inherently traditional; what it consists in is what has been handed down in a general patrimony, teaching and practices together. Since in many ways the current Church has acted contrary to tradition, it is altogether Catholic to point this out.

      Perhaps you meant exactly the above. If so, I apologise; your comment was ambiguous.

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    6. because no individual Catholic can judge whether a Pope has committed heresy,

      I seem to recall that when Pope John XXII tried to deny in his teaching that the blessed in heaven immediately enjoy the beatific vision after death. In this link,

      https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/12/denial-flows-into-tiber.html#more

      Prof Feser quoted the Catholic Encyclopedia as follows:

      In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view… Before his death [the pope] withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.

      As the passage indicates, the pope recanted his error, and did so precisely as a consequence of the vigorous criticism raised against him by theologians of the day.

      I know that it is difficult to sort out what is OK to criticize a pope for, and what is not. I too think the sedevacantists have gone too far. But one must tread very carefully here.

      Sede'ists would have little ground to stand on if it weren't for the bull promulgated by Paul IV, Cum ex apostolatus officio, which seems to declare that if a cardinal before elevation to the papal office has deviated from the Catholic faith or has fallen into heresy, then his elevation shall be null and void. Although canon 188.4 of the 1917 Canon Law seems to have somewhat of the same effect.

      I for one don't want to defend the validity of the acts of the current occupant of the Chair of Peter by denigrating the validity of the acts of the prior popes. One way to solve the conundrum is this conclusion by Charles Rene Billuart, O.P.:

      Nevertheless, the more common opinion (sententia communior) holds that Christ, by a special dispensation, for the common good and tranquility of the Church, will continue to give jurisdiction even to a manifestly heretical pope, until he has been declared a manifest heretic by the Church."

      Thus, it isn't so much that "no lay person can say the pope has taught a heresy" (since non-prelates did so in the case of John XXII, apparently correctly), it is more that even if he has taught a heresy, he does not lose jurisdiction of his office until the Church declares he has taught heresy.

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    7. Thus, it isn't so much that "no lay person can say the pope has taught a heresy" (since non-prelates did so in the case of John XXII, apparently correctly), it is more that even if he has taught a heresy, he does not lose jurisdiction of his office until the Church declares he has taught heresy.

      Exactly. Thanks for properly explaining what I was only implicitly getting at. I agree one should remain very careful and guarded even when legitimately criticising the Pope. It's something very many trads don't follow, in my experience.

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    8. Also Tony,

      This is unrelated, but I wonder if you would give me your thoughts on it:

      1. Catholicism is inherently a religion of tradition.
      2. This tradition is composed of two basic kinds: Dominical tradition, which is absolutely immutable, and ecclesiasticaltradition.(There are further distinctions, but we set them aside for present purposes). For simplicity, divine tradition corresponds to doctrine and ecclesiastical to practice.
      3. These traditions are related as soul to body. Indeed, they must be, because the Church and man himself, her subject, are both such composites.
      4. So both are constitutive of the very nature of Catholicism, forming an inseparable unity.
      5. Tradition is composed of object (that which is passed on) and transmitter (that which passes on).
      6. The transmitter receives the object to be passed on. Thus the transmitter is inferior to the object and subject to it.
      7. The Magisterium is the official transmitter or organ of tradition.
      8. So the Magisterium does not own the tradition but rather is bound to it.
      9. Qua receiver, it can do what is necessary to preserve it, and add to it, or improve it. It cannot invent or block (ie refuse to pass on) tradition.
      10. So the Magisterium is bound to the practices it has received, most importantly the traditional Rites of the sacraments.
      11. But the Novus Ordo Missae of 1969 is a new rite of Mass created by the Magisterium, contrary to 9.

      Therefore, it is illicit.

      Is this argument at least valid, if not sound? The topic's been on my mind a lot.

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    9. @Deus Primus Est,

      How are we defining "traditionalist" here? For it by this one is referring to someone who adheres to the deposit of faith delivered to us through the Fathers, then everyone should be a traditionalist. But there is a difference between Tradition and traditions, and when someone starts to ignore the polyphony that exists within the Tradition with respect to some things and instead insists that one of the strands of this polyphony is the only valid perspective, then one runs into problems. I have come across self-proclaimed "traditionalists" who have quote-mined St. John Chrysostom to support anti-Semitic drivel (as opposed to the mere criticism of Judaism) or other Fathers in order to argue that allowing female altar servers is "heresy". Also big on the list of "heresies" is affirming evolution or even allowing women to teach men in any capacity -- I have been in online forums where I saw women being shut down by these supposed devotees of Tradition because "a woman must be silent". What is this but Protestantism in another form?

      Yes, I agree re: sedes and criticizing Popes. But there's a difference between criticizing the Pope with charity and respect, as this blog does, and disrespecting his office by referring to him as "Jorge Bergoglio". In my opinion, the latter sort of behaviour veers dangerously close to sedevacantism and Protestantism.

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    10. This tradition is composed of two basic kinds: Dominical tradition, which is absolutely immutable, and ecclesiastical tradition.

      I would agree with Sri Nahar, in that one must distinguish between Tradition and mere traditions. It is unchangeable Tradition that there be one head of the Apostles, the successor of Peter. It is not Tradition that he wear white, that is a much later mere tradition. It is from Tradition that we know that the Biblical recounting intends exactly 7 sacraments, it is mere tradition that rosaries are sacramentals.

      10. So the Magisterium is bound to the practices it has received, most importantly the traditional Rites of the sacraments.

      I would say that this is stated to strongly: there are several different rites that developed over the first 3 centuries, including the Byzantine, the Coptic, and Ruthenian rites. There are other rites that developed later, eg the Maronite rite developed in the 4th century but borrowed from the Antiochene rite. They are all valid. There are other things referred to as "uses" by some and "rites" by others, such as the Dominican rite. Some call it a "use" of the Roman Rite, and some of the Gallican rite, so it is unclear which rite it "belongs" to. And as a result, it is rather difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to state definitively and on principled grounds what distinguishes a "rite" from a "use": it comes down to more of a pragmatic result, "this is how we have called them".

      All along the history of the Church, the popes and the patriarchs have instituted modifications to rites and practices as conditions warranted. They have added prayers, changed prayers, etc. Hence if one refers to the "Roman Rite", to be clear one would have to be more specific, such as "the Roman Rite as prescribed by Pope Gregory" or "as said by Pope Innocent IV" etc. They are not all perfectly identical.

      As a result, there is a blurriness around the edges of what constitutes (a) a modification of a rite, (b) a new "use" of a rite, and (c) a new rite. Hence it is not clearly and manifestly true that the Novus Ordo is a "different rite" in the sense required to say that the pope eradicated the Roman Rite. Nor is it manifest that the pope has not the authority to create a brand new rite distinct from the prior rites, given that each of the ancient rites are distinct from each other and boast (generally) being founded by one of the apostles (since the Pope is an apostolic successor).

      The pope is bound to the Tradition of the Mass as the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary under the species of bread and wine, with Christ's words of Institution. But within that Tradition, I don't know how one can prove that he cannot form a new rite, much less alter an old one to a great extent.

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    11. Sri,

      I mean this as given by Joseph Shaw:

      "A Traditionalist is a Catholic who wishes to live in organic continuity with previous generations of Catholics."

      As I mentioned above, the Church is more than its immutable teachings as contained in the Deposit of Faith. It is also the customs, habits and thoughts of all her faithful members. This is generally referred to as the Church's patrimony: art, architecture, music, the writings of the saints, the teachings of theologians, the diverse customs of prayer and devotion, etc. These two (the deposit and the patrimony) are classed as Divine Tradition and ecclesiastical tradition. Now the ecclesiastical tradition flows out of the Divine Tradition; Church art, architecture, schools of spirituality, etc. all developed from reflecting on the immutable truths of the faith, which reflection was handed on to succeeding generations. Therefore, ecclesiastical tradition is necessarily part of the Church's very being.

      So, in light of all this, the traditionalist is committed to adhering not only to dogma, but all customs organically grown and passed down throughout the Church's life. Thus, the insistence on the Traditional Latin Mass (in the Roman Rite), the older and stricter fasting & abstinence customs, the 3 sets Mysteries of the Rosary, the clearer and more rigorous theological formulations before Vatican II, and so on. All in humble gratitude and love for those who bequeathed them to us. This is surely something every Catholic should want.

      As to the instances you cite, quite clearly it is no part of the Church's tradition (in any sense) to be anti-Jews as a race. Ditto for women to teach in any way at all. This is certainly Protestantism. Such people don't seem to fall into traditionalism as I have defined it; they're just ideological motivated.

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    12. @Deus Primus Est:

      Thank you for clarifying what you meant by the word in question. I have no issue with traditionalism so defined, and I strive to be a traditionalist of this sort. My issue is with the ideologically motivated (as you rightly put it) hacks who have hijacked traditionalism and claim to be its spokesmen.

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  11. Ha... I remember Babinski back from the old Intelligent Design debates. If he was kind of out of place in those he's setting a new standard for being confused and out of place on this topic.

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  12. I realize this is somewhat tangential to the subject matter, but I was wondering, Dr. Feser, if an improvement might be made to the Aristotelian proof. I think it might be more simple and convincing to, once you have reached the Unmoved Mover through per se causes, to rely on the essence-existence distinction to show that this being must be existence itself, rather than using the Aristotelian proof and the existential proof as two separate arguments. Do you think this would be a valid presentation?

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  13. Feser showing off his hubris and intellectual elitism again.

    "Does Coyne think dogs do go to heaven? Does he agree with Hart? Of course not. Coyne is an atheist, and a very militant one at that."

    Coyne could hold a sort of counterfactual belief, namely, that if there were a heaven, then dogs would go there too.

    Feser uses words like "superficial" and "shrill" to describe "teenage" atheist commenters. I shall remind everyone that it is not the atheists who think that people deserve to go to hell because they randomly chose 0 instead of 1. No, that's Catholics and other free will Christians. In Lucifer's torn state, there was no way for him to ensure they his choice would be causally influenced by his belief that obedience is the wise option. Before the instant of choice, he didn't know what his choice would be, and once the choice actualized, it's too late. So there's no room for robust control.

    One does what one desires to do, and you can't choose your desires, lest that choice be random or based on a prior set of desires. That prior set, in turn, would be baseless (random) or based on an even prior set of desires, ad infinitum. There is no free will. (Even if you have two conflicting desires, they would only serve as a partial explanation for the choice (they'd be necessary conditions), but it wouldn't explain why one outcome transpired *as opposed* to the other one.)

    I consider it the epitome of human pride and arrogance to think you get to go to heaven, and someone else deserves hell, all because you were lucky enough to land on heads while they landed on tails. Of course, many Catholics are too proud and thick-skinned to admit they believe in a god who punishes spinning coins for landing on the wrong side: it would require them to admit that their whole life (or a large part of it) has been a sham.

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    1. Remember folks, try not to feed the trolls.

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    2. If even one person comes to the realization that free will is indistinguishable from randomness (even if it takes years after the seed is planted by my comment), then I've accomplished my end. It could be a person casually strolling through the comments but never feels inclined to leave one.

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    3. If even one person comes to the realization that free will is indistinguishable from randomness (even if it takes years after the seed is planted by my comment), then I've accomplished my end.

      Why does Christianity make you freak the freak out?

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    4. He's not a troll. He honestly believes free will is incoherent. Whether it's on topic for this post is playing it fine. Still, for those interested in answering the luck objection I recommend Griffith, O'Connor and Furlong's dissertation on Aquinas as a libertarian.

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    5. He is not the only one who believes free will is incoherent. Lots of philosophers believe that and they offer serious arguments in favour of that position.
      The debate on libertarian free will is still very much open, but calling somebody who doesn't believe in LFW a troll is not the way to address the problem.

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    6. Walter And Jedi.
      The reason he is called a troll is not because he denies LFW. It is because he often posts off topic comments, insults, ad hominems etc. He has had his claims addressed at length in previous posts in addition he is showed to be incoherent himself but just repeats the same claims over and over again.
      Any one who calls him a troll has a very legitimate case to be made.

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    7. Counter Rebel, you keep talking about an understanding of freewill that someone like Aquinas wouldn't accept. You are literally making up your own understanding of it, then proving it false, then projecting that on to others.

      The fact that you are able to reason to freewill not existing is proof of freewill itself. If you didn't have freewill, your intellect could never tell the difference between good reasoning and bad reasoning. It will just make a judgement based on randomness or external causes. You could reason badly, thinking it is good, and be none the wiser because you would never have any control over your reasoning process at all.

      Since you have to judge and accept that you are reasoning well, it's self-defeating to accept it if the acceptance is just random or out of your control. Maybe you are the one showing off hubris considering you seem to think you aren't in control of anything, including your reasoning, but just always reason well anyway.

      To reason properly requires control over your intellect and will working in unison, not divided like the moderns thought of it, which then lead to the some of the problems you have raised.

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    8. @Cogniblog

      "Why does Christianity make you freak the freak out?"

      Opposition to euthanasia (torturing the sick, depressed, and elderly) and the doctrine of hell (psychological abuse of minors). Bigotry against homosexuals and polygamists. Opposition to artificial birth control.

      @Billy

      "you keep talking about an understanding of freewill that someone like Aquinas wouldn't accept."

      Libertarian free will is defined as the categorical ability to refrain from a given action. Like it or not, if Aquinas believed in alternate possibilities, then he was a libertarian. (You could make a case for Aquinas being a compatibilist, and you could also make a strong case (like Katherin Rodgers) that he was a libertarian-then-compatibilist. Humans on earth have libertarian freedom, which becomes compatibilist freedom in the beatific vision, since it's no longer possible to will the evil at that point.)

      "If you didn't have freewill, your intellect could never tell the difference between good reasoning and bad reasoning."

      This is a problem for epistemology independent of whether we have alternatives. How does adding indeterminacy into the stream of thoughts make one's thoughts any more reliable? I'd be free to just reject a line of reasoning for another, without a further set of reasons for doing so. Is God free to just accept or reject a given proposition?

      "You could reason badly, thinking it is good, and be none the wiser because you would never have any control over your reasoning process at all. "

      But you could still reason badly even if you do have alternate possibilities. Imagine a mad neuroscientist hooks up a device to your brain and gives you alternate ways of thinking, both of which are stupid. You'd have alternatives (LFW), but you'd still reach the wrong conclusion.

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    9. A Counter Rebel is the typical New Atheist. He is intellecually inferior. He has nothing to teach us and no coherent rational rebuttels.

      I would just insult him by calling him "gay" if Prof Feser would let me.

      So I will refrain from doing that.

      He Trolls because deep down he is threatened by a rational case for Theism.

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    10. Can you insult someone by calling him "gay"?

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    11. Opposition to euthanasia (torturing the sick, depressed, and elderly) and the doctrine of hell (psychological abuse of minors). Bigotry against homosexuals and polygamists. Opposition to artificial birth control.

      But all of these things can be and are independently supported by non-christian and non-theistic argumentation (and in my opinion sound argumentation).
      Also consider many Christians don't hold such views.
      Why then contempt for Christianity?

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    12. SoY that was embarrassing. Let's drop the childish replies. The irony here being a comment on a blog post about Jerry Coyne.

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    13. "But all of these things can be and are independently supported by non-christian and non-theistic argumentation (and in my opinion sound argumentation)."

      First, the doctrine of hell can be supported by "non-theistic argumentation"?

      Secondly, no, they can't. Opposition to euthanasia is stupid, cruel, and sadistic. The person is going to die anyway, and prolonging their life is making them suffer just to please you or your hateful deity, which isn't loving at all.

      But what would Christians know about love? They worship a god who tortures people forever for randomly landing on evil instead of good, when they had no way of making sure (given indeterminism) that the choice would end up being the good one. You can't control something indeterministic; it's self-contradictory.

      And, especially, what would Thomists know about love? Their god actualizes the penis of a man as he rapes a woman.

      Delete
    14. This again seems to do no explaining on your part. There are much better reasons to oppose Euthanasia then pleasing the deity.
      And from you post it seems you simply do not really understand theism at all.
      All these thoughts are really well accommodated within theistic worldview.

      Delete
    15. And though I really don't want to keep going on an on but it really should be noted that this here is you at your worst.

      But what would Christians know about love? They worship a god who tortures people forever for randomly landing on evil instead of good,

      Even if your claims about randomness were correct this still doesn't make sense because they themselves don't think such is the case.

      Delete
    16. So it looks like kids haven't learnt much from this blog. . . . .

      Delete
    17. Walter,
      obviously you haven´t been here long enough but Counter Rebel was on a longer hiatus and I hoped that would stay ike that, but no here he is back in his eternal quest to drag down intelligent discussions to something betwwen goldfish and PZ Myers. Also FYI he´s an atheist who believes in a personal, omnipotent God, but because he doesn´t provide us with free will, he doesn´t fit any moral standards, so he can still be an atheist. It is completely idiotic.

      And now to your point that [there is still a debate in academic philosophy and there are many that think LFW is incoherent] (paraphrased).
      Well yes, but actually no. I think there is zero doubt that academic philosophy is in a paltry state and the denial of free will arises from the insitence of down-up-causality and the denial of interactionalism. This again arises from a strictly materialistic position which denies everything from mental aspects in matter to teleology. However, as many secular philosophers have pointed out, this position isn´t really defensible and Ed himself has made several posts, as to why materialism is a contradictory and ultimately false position.(Really,your usage of "incoherent" when talking about judging Libertarian Free Will is completely false). However, what puts a stick into the wheels of those denying interaction between the mental and the material, is the fact that top-down-causation has been experimentally veriefied, which gives you the possibility to argue for free will, even if you are a non-reductive materialist. If anyone wants to read a good book on this topic, check out Alfred Mele. But stating, that there is still a "serious philosophical debate" is highly overstated once you put the arguments of the opponents under serious philosophical and metaphysical analysis

      Delete
    18. Walter, he has literally been banned as a logorrheic, SP-wannabe troll by Feser. This was not because of his position on free will, but because he is, in fact, a massive troll who fouls up the place with masses of incoherent rambling. No one calls you a troll, even though you are not theist, but please have some respect for the place, and stop feeding the trolls.

      Delete
    19. Aristotle's jedi, I think you have too narrow a definition of a troll. It is quite normal to consider sincere posters trolls if they go about acting in trollish ways, like posting logorrheic rants, as CR does constantly. This is why he is literally banned as a troll. So let's all have respect for Feser and his blog and not feed the troll.

      Delete
    20. @ACounterRebel this idea that because LFW is nondeterministic therefore arbitrary is actually a red herring.

      Think of it like this. God is the ultimate gift-giver. He is perfect at giving people the gifts they want. God knows that the wicked want an existence of hatred and rage. Isn't the ultimate gift-giver obligated by his goodness to give them the gift they want?

      Delete
    21. @Anonymous "There are much better reasons to oppose Euthanasia then pleasing the deity. "

      You say that, but it's not the case. Euthanasia is the humane thing to do, given what I said. If a dog or cat is in pain, out of care we let it die. Religious people have more respect and care for their pets than their loved ones. They would have their loved ones rot in a nursing home for years instead of letting them have a graceful exit.

      @Dominik Kowalski "Also FYI he´s an atheist who believes in a personal, omnipotent God, but because he doesn´t provide us with free will, he doesn´t fit any moral standards, so he can still be an atheist. It is completely idiotic."

      I don't believe in any disembodied minds. My position is *if* Feser's arguments were sound, they wouldn't disprove atheism, since they fail to prove that the supposed sentient first cause is morally good, whether in the univocal sense or any sense. I think Feser's arguments rely upon the controversial notion of simultaneous causation and essentialism. I think simultaneous causation (or top-down causation) is nonsense. In any given instantaneous state, A (the supposed cause) and B (the supposed effect) are both fully actual, so I don't know even know what it means to say A is causing (or bringing about) B. Change requires temporal passage. One state causes the next one.

      David Lewis, David Lewis, wherefore art thou, David Lewis?

      Secondly, the incoherence of free will is not dependent on materialism. Even if we grant the mind is immaterial, the fact remains that there is no reason why the agent does one thing rather than another. It's random. Free will is self-contradictory -- you need determinism to control what happens next, but you need indeterminism for alternative possibilities. The agent has no antecendent determinate control over what happens, so any "control" is trivial since it can lead to two+ different outcomes, and he is blind to the outcome. Even if the choice is "caused" (whatever that means), it's still a matter of luck how he exercises that agent-causal power. To control what sliver of the agent's torn mental consitution (MC) gives rise to a particular choice would require another sliver of the MC that does the "controlling" (whatever that means), but then that sliver itself is uncontrolled, unless there's an even further aspect of the MC that settles how that MC sliver settles the outcome. You end up with controlled randomness, which as I pointed out, is utterly incoherent. The intention just sort of pops into being and latches itself to the poor/lucky agent, the poor/lucky spinning coin.

      By the way, materialism is true. You are atoms arranged Kowalski-wise, and nothing more.

      @Cogniblog "God is the ultimate gift-giver."

      He creates people without their consent into a s***** world marred with suffering, and then punishes them for acting on their natural inclinations (many of whom work crappy jobs (unlike Ed Feser and Bill Craig) and need "sinful" relief). A gift can be rejected without threat, but God tortures people for rejecting the "gift."

      "God knows that the wicked want an existence of hatred and rage."

      I want an existence of eternal drug use and sexual intercourse. Domino's Pizza too, with bacon.

      @Son of Ya'Kov

      It's 2019, dude. It's inappropriate to use "gay" as an insult. Furthermore, I'm attracted to women. I sometimes go to SSPX Latin Mass just to see the young ladies in their pretty, flowery dresses. That's the only good thing about Catholicism: dresses instead of pants.

      Delete
    22. He creates people without their consent into a s***** world marred with suffering, and then punishes them for acting on their natural inclinations (many of whom work crappy jobs (unlike Ed Feser and Bill Craig) and need "sinful" relief). A gift can be rejected without threat, but God tortures people for rejecting the "gift."

      That's exactly what's at question here. God doesn't torture anyone. He gives the wicked the life of hatred and rage they want. It's not torture to give a good gift.

      I want an existence of eternal drug use and sexual intercourse. Domino's Pizza too, with bacon.

      The wicked use these things as distractions from the undying hatred and rage in their heart. The only thing that changes in the afterlife is that there are no distractions. So your "counterexample" doesn't disprove God being the perfect gift-giver.

      It's 2019, dude. It's inappropriate to use "gay" as an insult.

      You sound politically correct. Winston's torturers in 1984 were depicted as the logical conclusion of political correctness.

      Delete
    23. You say that, but it's not the case. Euthanasia is the humane thing to do, given what I said. If a dog or cat is in pain, out of care we let it die. Religious people have more respect and care for their pets than their loved ones. They would have their loved ones rot in a nursing home for years instead of letting them have a graceful exit.

      Once again this is simply the case of your characteristic assertions, Killing someone in any state is evil. No matter how much pain someone is in killing them won't make their state any better.There are many secular philosophers that reject this sort of Epicurean
      intuition that death can't be bad or at least it has no implication on whether life was good.
      Furthermore you would have to argue whether pain and suffering is intrinsically bad things (they are not) And how supporting Euthanasia won't make any sort of painless murder permissible.

      Delete
    24. A (the supposed cause) and B (the supposed effect) are both fully actual, so I don't know even know what it means to say A is causing (or bringing about) B. Change requires temporal passage. One state causes the next one.

      David Lewis, David Lewis, wherefore art thou, David Lewis?


      Yea if he was here he would just tell you how wrong that statement of yours is.

      Delete
    25. the fact remains that there is no reason why the agent does one thing rather than another. It's random. Free will is self-contradictory -- you need determinism to control what happens next, but you need indeterminism for alternative possibilities. The agent has no antecendent determinate control over what happens, so any "control" is trivial since it can lead to two+ different outcomes, and he is blind to the outcome. Even if the choice is "caused" (whatever that means), it's still a matter of luck how he exercises that agent-causal power. To control what sliver of the agent's torn mental consitution (MC) gives rise to a particular choice would require another sliver of the MC that does the "controlling" (whatever that means), but then that sliver itself is uncontrolled, unless there's an even further aspect of the MC that settles how that MC sliver settles the outcome. You end up with controlled randomness, which as I pointed out, is utterly incoherent. The intention just sort of pops into being and latches itself to the poor/lucky agent, the poor/lucky spinning coin.

      How many times do I have to point out problems with this before you just stop asserting this over and over again.
      Just note the times ...has no control,...is contradictory is asserted in above without any right consideration. This doesn't really follow from anything you have said here. there is nothing incoherent about something being random yet in control. Randomness simply pertains to in-determinism of the outcome, by itself, it has no bearing on whether someone is in control and responsible. Once again the problem is you completely beg the question against free will rather than showing it to be false. You still haven't replied to my detailed criticisms of this argument.
      And I would really want you to define "luck".

      Delete
    26. @Cogniblog "God doesn't torture anyone." Yes, He does. He continues to actualize the existence of the damned, despite their unhappiness. All sentient beings necessarily desire happiness, which is one of the few things Aquinas got right. If God were loving, he would annihilate the damned or at least give them cannabis and Domino's Pizza.

      "The only thing that changes in the afterlife is that there are no distractions." So God isn't giving them what they want, if he deprives them of pleasurable, fun distractions. Furthermore, theism is a distraction too.

      @Anonymous "Killing someone in any state is evil." No, it's not. That's a bare assertion. If someone is in excruciating pain, it's loving to give them relief if they ask for it.

      "There are many secular philosophers that reject this sort of Epicurean
      intuition that death can't be bad or at least it has no implication on whether life was good."

      So what? Not at secular philosophers are correct. Any philosopher who rejects utilitarianism is incorrect, for example.

      "And how supporting Euthanasia won't make any sort of painless murder permissible."

      Slippery slope nonsense. Randomly killing people with no justification would make society chaotic, which we don't want. And loved ones don't want them killed for no reason. Though I would kill my pet if it were in pain, I wouldn't want my dumb neighbor killing them for no reason.

      @Anonymous "Yea if [David Lewis] was here he would just tell you how wrong that statement of yours is." Lewis affirmed event casuation. And he rejected the free will defense to the logical argument from evil, and thought the argument from evil is sound.

      J.L. Mackie was refuting theism back when you were in diapers, buddy. He wrote "Evil and Omnipotence" in '55. It has yet to be refuted. Plantinga tried, but failed, given that freedom is randomness. And don't tell me that Mackie admitted defeat: that was an error on his part. If I were Mackie, I would've challenged Plantinga on the incoherence of free will.

      Delete
    27. @Red "there is nothing incoherent about something being random yet in control." That makes no sense. If I control what the dice will land on, that that cancels out its being random.

      "Once again the problem is you completely beg the question against free will rather than showing it to be false."

      I didn't beg the question. I showed that free will is incoherent because there's no explanation for why the agent does 0 *rather than* 1. The reason-desire set is only an explanation in the sense that it forms the probability distribution and is a necessary condition for the outcome of 1, but it doesn't explain why 1 is actualized rather than 0, since it's compatible with both. The explanation doesn't distinguish it from a random outcome. If a randomizer machine had a blue light and a red light, and one of them turned on when a key is turned, the fact that you could "explain" why the blue light turned by the key turning doesn't change that it's a random outcome, since there's no reason why the blue light turned on *rather* than the red one.

      "Luck" means it's a matter of chance what the agent ends up choosing. The reason-desire set only explains why 1 is chosen once it is chosen, but it doesn't explain why 1 was chosen rather than 0, so it's random. The agent has no robust control. Ultimate control (and hence moral responsibility) is incoherent. It would require that the agent has control over how he exercises his control, and that he has control over how he exercises his control over his control, ad infinitum. In a "free" choice, how the agent exercises his control his control is unknown to him until the possible world-fragment is actualized, at which point it's too late to do anything else. At t1, he sees the two doors, and at t2, he just finds himself having walked through one of them. The randomness would be at the very instant he goes from not-having walked, to having walked.

      Do you have an explanation for why the agent did 0 rather than 1, Red?

      Delete
    28. That makes no sense. If I control what the dice will land on, that that cancels out its being random.

      So? Does it follow that randomness must mean no control from this, further even if you control it it could still be random because of its unpredictability.

      I didn't beg the question. I showed that free will is incoherent because there's no explanation for why the agent does 0 *rather than* 1. The reason-desire set is only an explanation in the sense that it forms the probability distribution and is a necessary condition for the outcome of 1, but it doesn't explain why 1 is actualized rather than 0, since it's compatible with both. The explanation doesn't distinguish it from a random outcome.

      My point is that this argument is question question begging. Its not that no explanation is provided its that you disagree whether this means agent is responsible. That is where the question-begging part comes. Why think "but it doesn't explain why 1 is actualized rather than 0, since it's compatible with both."? Where is incoherence you mentioned here?

      The explanation doesn't distinguish it from a random outcome. If a randomizer machine had a blue light and a red light, and one of them turned on when a key is turned, the fact that you could "explain" why the blue light turned by the key turning doesn't change that it's a random outcome, since there's no reason why the blue light turned on *rather* than the red one.

      Right, but it need not be distinguished from random outcome in order for responsibility. What it needs to be distinguished from is when random outcome is imposed , from the outside. when agent is randomly made to do something. there is no reason to think all random actions are of this sort.

      "Luck" means it's a matter of chance what the agent ends up choosing.
      But then simply pointing out that libertarianism is incoherent because its a matter of luck does nothing to actually show it to be the case.Because of what is said above.

      The agent has no robust control. Ultimate control (and hence moral responsibility) is incoherent. It would require that the agent has control over how he exercises his control, and that he has control over how he exercises his control over his control, ad infinitum. In a "free" choice,
      This isn't true it simply requires control over the outcome given antecedent conditions there is no need for a regress here because they form exhaustive reasons. And even so I would consider this regress to be trivial.

      how the agent exercises his control his control is unknown to him until the possible world-fragment is actualized, at which point it's too late to do anything else. At t1, he sees the two doors, and at t2, he just finds himself having walked through one of them. The randomness would be at the very instant he goes from not-having walked, to having walked.

      This doesn't even remotely sound like an argument, why does foreknowing a requirement here. He doesn't really just find himself having walked through one of them he can observer himself making a decision to do so.

      Do you have an explanation for why the agent did 0 rather than 1, Red?

      Note how I am making and replying to exact same point as before. Please for your own sake stop making this bizarre assertion its getting seriously embarrassing on your part.

      Delete
    29. "Killing someone in any state is evil." No, it's not. That's a bare assertion. If someone is in excruciating pain, it's loving to give them relief if they ask for it.

      I literally gave reasons for it in very same paras you even attempted to reply to some. What are you on bro?
      on the other hand we do see bare assertion in your statement , why think relieving (which doesn't happen in killing btw) excruciating pain is more valuable than someone's life?

      So what? Not at secular philosophers are correct. Any philosopher who rejects utilitarianism is incorrect, for example.
      The point is your assertions here rest on some very questionable premises which you don't justify and which people of diverse world views reject. Still you fault only those who disagree with you.

      Slippery slope nonsense. Randomly killing people with no justification would make society chaotic, which we don't want. And loved ones don't want them killed for no reason. Though I would kill my pet if it were in pain, I wouldn't want my dumb neighbor killing them for no reason.

      Not at all , this is a logical conclusion that you just can not avoid. All this you mentioned still doesn't change it. If its morally permissible then no body has to care for what anyone wants. there is reason to think that actually this would make society more orderly if done in a way, won't make it more permissible. And pretty ironic above you mentioned how not wanting loved ones murdered is leaving them to rot.

      Delete
    30. Metaphysics is important. Events vs substances makes a massive difference.

      Delete
    31. @Dominik Kowalski

      If Feser wants to ban ACR, he should do so. It's his blog. Up and until then, I can decide for myself what i agree with and what I oppose.
      And as it is, I don't like ACR's style of posting but i do think he has a few good points that should not be ignored just because we don't like the way he expresses himself.
      I don't like Jerry Coyne's style either, and neither does Feser, but there are still points in Coyne's view that are worth considering.

      ACR's case against LFR is IMO one of those things worth considering because it is true that the (in)coherence of LFW is still very much debated. And if you think that's only becasue of materialistic considerations, yoi are simply wrong. LFW is under debate for various reasons, and the interaction problem is only a minor reason.
      In short : denying that "there is still a serious philospical debate about LFW" is hiding your head in the sand.

      Delete
    32. Walter,

      certainly people like Coyne have some good thoughts, but they are generally not of philosophical nature, due to his incompetence of defending them in a factual, rather than emotional manner. But in fields like evolutionary biology I of course wouldn´t deny his expertise, he just isn´t able to integrate the findings in a coherent worldview.
      Your usage of "Incohrence" is wrong in this context, since the term doesn´t describe mere false arguments, but nonsequitar fallacies.

      And how about you present some arguments, so we can discuss and attack them here? The arguments for LFW are not only philosophical, but also of biological and archeological nature since I´d argue that a resources-demanding system like consciousness wouldn´t survive natural selection, if it wouldn´t make it possible to use our abstractions of nature to influence our body in ways that conform with the conclusions we made about it. For example me not only running away from danger (instinct), but using the knowledge I gained about elements and physics to build a handgun for defense is an abstraction about several possibilities which can occur in a natural environment, but in a FW denying world, this would have been a natural response by my neurons, reacting instinctively to a signal send by my eyeballs and hearing system. It requires consciousness to make abstract concepts possible, but consciousness also implies free will, since in a non.interactive environment, my conclusions, wouldn´t influence any of the actions my body takes, which not only leaves this system to be entirely worthless, but also again leaves us with the question, how the non-mental matter was able to make the abstract concepts for manufactoring the handgun. The archeological evidences for this rely n the Great Leap Forward (Tattersall: Becoming Human, Conway Morris:Life´s solution) and, to summarize it here, speaks about the facts, that the Homo Sapiens have been here for 200.000 years, while we only have evidences for developing cultures since around 100,000 years, but with the bones indicating, that we don´t have any differences in brain size.
      So present your evidences and let us attack them, if you think that the discourse is really still so undecided.

      Delete
    33. "@Anonymous "Yea if [David Lewis] was here he would just tell you how wrong that statement of yours is." Lewis affirmed event casuation. And he rejected the free will defense to the logical argument from evil, and thought the argument from evil is sound."

      I mean he would reject your analysis of causation you provide just before droping his name.

      "J.L. Mackie was refuting theism back when you were in diapers, buddy. He wrote "Evil and Omnipotence" in '55. It has yet to be refuted."

      Nope, problems of evil are being refuted or at least shown to be less than persuasive for centuries now, there hasn't been a single compelling version in sight.

      "And don't tell me that Mackie admitted defeat: that was an error on his part"

      Major clue for you right there buddy, he was a smart guy certainly more so then you.
      This randomness objection has also been addressed numerous times, won't help you much.

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    34. @A Counter Rebel

      "I think simultaneous causation (or top-down causation) is nonsense."

      It has been experimentally verified. But keep up the good work!

      Delete
    35. I have now read ACRs rambling about the supposed incoherence of free will. So let´s have a look:

      "My position is *if* Feser's arguments were sound, they wouldn't disprove atheism, since they fail to prove that the supposed sentient first cause is morally good, whether in the univocal sense or any sense."

      SOunds like the "Evil God" challenge to me. Feser adressed it a few years ago here. But let´s just summarize, that your concept doesn´t apply to classical theism, since "evil" is a privation of "goodness" and thus there is no way to coherently apply that concept to God himself, who his goodness himself. Read the posts for more information.

      "In any given instantaneous state, A (the supposed cause) and B (the supposed effect) are both fully actual, so I don't know even know what it means to say A is causing (or bringing about) B"

      Of course, you don´t understand, because if you did, you wouldn´t write this passage. A is actualizing the potential of B to have the same property as A, which B cannot in principle get, if A wouldn´t actualize B´s potential to get it in the first place. The Coffee can´t become cold, unless the cold air surrounding it actualizes the Coffee´s potential to become cold. Only after this actualization are both A and B fully actual, but only in this property. A third agent C, here the heater, has again the ability to actualize the potentials of A and B to become hot again. This is an accidental causal series.

      " Change requires temporal passage. One state causes the next one."

      You writing the quotation above and this here in the same passage shows that you don´t even know what you are conflating here. And because you were here for quite some time, you will never learn. But if you freeze time there would still be a hierarchichal causal series, which, what Aristotle has shown, requires a first mover. This argument works also in an infinite multiverse, so don´t try to mix this position with the Kalam Cosmological argument. My atoms actualize the potential for me to exist, the quarks actualize the potential of the protons to exist, and so on.


      "Even if we grant the mind is immaterial, the fact remains that there is no reason why the agent does one thing rather than another. It's random. Free will is self-contradictory -- you need determinism to control what happens next, but you need indeterminism for alternative possibilities."

      Not within an interactionistic environment, and certainly not if we ascribe attributes to matter outside of what we find in the laboratory. If the laws of physics would explain everything, then you were probably right, but they don´t, or do you think that? The principle of emergence shows that there are spects to matter which aren´t reducible to the parts itselves, which makes your "determinism vs. indeterminism" a false dichotomy. How it would work in both environments, for that read Mele´s work on Agnostic Autonomism. Determinism requires a closed sstem, which I´m not opposed t, but with the possibility of mater in its emergent form and with its mental properties, free will would make for the indeterminate system within a closed one. It´s not that complicated. The determinancy of a lifeless universe is nothing I would deny, but shows how the evolution to the mental properties we have now is able to alter a determinate system with altering the state of the smallest parts through using emgerging properties.

      Continued

      Delete

    36. "Even if the choice is "caused" (whatever that means), it's still a matter of luck how he exercises that agent-causal power."

      I´m not even sure what you wanted to say in the following passage, but it is proven that our emotions, arising from the concentration of hormons, are influencing our decisions. However, the more control you have about your body, the more free you become to not reacting to the instinct and act in a more rational way. By the way this is a good example as to why your dichotomy with determinism and indeterminism is wrong. And again, interactionalism is the key. If the matter influences the mind through hormons, the mind, in the best cases, makes his decision by linking his emotional state with a rational picture of the occuring situation and with regards to the possible consequences the following action has. A good example of this interaction can be seen at the "Anonymous Alcoholics".

      "By the way, materialism is true. You are atoms arranged Kowalski-wise, and nothing more."

      Feser and other philosophers, religious and secular, have pointed out the fatal flaws in this belief system, so I would say rather than making such a sweeping statement you should provide rguments for the position. But since I haven´t read any posts from you with a bit of substance I´m not sure if you are able to provide some. But since this isn´t exactly my field of expertise here and because I enjoyed his comments, I´ll let Anon here make the arguments, since he has been giving you a good run for your money.

      Delete
    37. Dominik

      I am not planning to derail this thread any more, so my ideas on libertarian free will will have to wait until Dr Feser chooses to write about it. All I said was that the coherence of libertarian free will is still very much debated, not that LFW has been proven incoherent. I know that there are arguments for libertarian free will, but there are also arguments against it, and, like the vast majority of philosophical issues, this issue is still undecided.
      Denying this is a sign of incredibly misplaced hubris, IMO. It ignores thousands of pages written about the subject by well-informed philosophers who happen not to share your over-confidence.

      Delete
    38. This will be my second to last comment. I think I've made the randomness objection very clear. The rest of my responses (if any) will be on my blog, which I may leave a link to.
      Atheism is utterly beautiful.

      "Sing me something soft
      Sad and delicate
      Or loud and out of key
      Sing me anything" -Straylight Run, "Existentialism on Prom Night"

      Delete
    39. @ACounterRebel existentialism is a freak ideology like Lovecraft.

      Delete
    40. Walter,
      i think I should apologize then, since we talked pass each other. I thought that you were rephrasing ACRs arguments but now that you´ve clarified, this was obviously not the issue. My tone was due to the fact that I have no patience with ACRs comments because all the times in the past posts from here when he was around, he flooded the combox with his claims and no matter how often people here refuted him, he repeated the same in the next combox.

      To the rest of your comment: Yes I know that there are still many philosophers having the opinion that free will is wrong. And I wouldn´t call any of them uninformed or whatever, just based on a worldview, they hopefully came up with after studying the available material. I spent several months last year reading and listening on this topic, since after all it is an important issue for the individual and society.
      With that said, I wouldn´t call it over-confidence, since free will doesn´t have the same sound arguments like the prooves for the existence of God, I can never rule out neuronal determinism with certainty. And of course I haven´t and can´t read all contributions to the field, but I think I know enough to have a reasonable opinion. And I never came across any argument against free will, which didn´t rely on materialism, almost always in a reductionist way, because of the insistence on bottom-up-causation. Furthermore an overconfidence in neuroscientific experiments, which Mele has pointed out and he exposed those flaws, and often enough an attraction towards scientism. So, you can call it over-confidence if you insit, although I´d disagree vehemently, but those philosophical flawed systems, the soundness of Aristotelian concepts of nature (here particularly teleology and intention), as well as the fact that we have consciouness, developed culture and science and have ways not only to change the brain stucture through top-down-causality (psychotherapy causes a neuroplasticity for example) but also are able (or at least appear to be able) to control our instincts, e.g. anger, in the ways that we don´t have to act a certain way, just because the adrenalin rushes through our bloodvessels, but can stop it and calm ourselves down through self-control and the reflection of possible consequences.

      Yes that all makes me pretty certain, that we have control about our actions. The opposite would have too much to account for.

      Delete
    41. Walter, ACR is banned. Feser told him to get lost before. To ban someone on blogger, though, means you either have to moderate comments and not let that pposter's comments through, or delete his comments when they appear. It isn't like a forum or something. ACR is clearly a troll, and he was one of the reasons Feser had to bring in comment moderation a while back. So, if you respect Feser and his blog, please stop feeding the trolls. The same goes for everyone else.

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    42. Dominik

      No need to apologize. You have your opinion, I have mine.

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    43. Sure, but because I thought you meant something else, I had an inappropriate tone. I stand by my objections I made in the other comments.

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  14. In Coyne's case, this might be overthinking it.

    A quick glance at his blog shows he's fond of animals.
    His reaction at Feser's point about animals not going to heaven is emotional, not rational. Like people who insist that anyone arguing against gay marriage or abortion must harbor a hatred of homosexuals or women.

    To Coyne, this is Feser manifesting his "animalophobia".

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  15. @Randolph Crane

    What Tom Simon said.....

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  16. @Walter Van den Acker

    >Can you insult someone by calling him "gay"?

    I usually follow up by saying "Naturally by 'gay'I don't mean in the fun, campy sexy way of Milo Yiannopoulos or the intellectually fine way of Tammy Bruce. I mean 'gay' in the sad creepy way of Uncle Ernie from the Tommy movie or the President of Mediamatters.

    Then it's freaking hilarious.

    @Aristotle jedi

    >Let's drop the childish replies.

    I'll think about it. But trolls don't merit respect only satire. I refuse to take ACR seriously.

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    1. "I refuse to take ACR seriously."

      You don´t have to. I mean no one does who ever read a few of his argumentative completely devoid comments. But let me at least tell you that I always enjoyed your comments when you were giving arguments in a serious discussion, but since that is impossible with ACR to accomplish, why not just do anything else?

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    3. Son of Ya'kov

      I would just insult you by calling you "straight" if Prof Feser would let me. Natrurally by '"straight" I don't mean in the intellectually fine way of Pierce Brosnan, I mean 'straight' in the sad creepy way of the President of United States.
      But I will refrain from doing that.

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    4. Walter, you do know most here consider homosexual attraction to be disordered, right? So it wouldn't be the same as calling someone straight. Still, homosexual attraction is not itself sinful, so that's why it is best not to call people gay as an insult

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    5. Still, homosexual attraction is not itself sinful, so that's why it is best not to call people gay as an insult

      Just a note of clarification: the "gay community" has decided to reject the term "same sex attraction" because it tries to divest from any moral or existential claims about the status of homosexual attraction, but it does so in order that people who think same sex attraction is disordered can say so WITHOUT saying that it is sinful - and they (gays) reject that approach. By and large, people who use the term "gay" for themselves ARE NOT the people who recognize their same sex attraction is distinct from their nature or being, and that this implies that they could be otherwise: the people who call themselves gay embrace their attraction and call it a part of themselves and of their identity as such. For such people, calling them gay is just calling them by what they name themselves. Unless you use it in a specifically derogatory manner, it is not an insult, it is just an identifier.

      People who are gay (i.e. who both have SSA and embrace the condition as part of their identity) commit willful acts that are disordered by choosing to adhere to a disorder as a part of their identity - regardless of whether they are sexually active or not. These voluntary acts are disordered. If they are also living a gay lifestyle by being sexually active with same sex partners, they are also committing voluntary acts that are intrinsically disordered.

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    6. Natrurally by '"straight" I don't mean in the intellectually fine way of Pierce Brosnan,

      News bulletin: Brosnan is "straight" in the "metro-sexual" sense created by media and fashionistas in the 1990s, as a way of moving away from the SIMPLY straight that men like Chuck Norris illustrate - i.e. an intentionally chosen model to undermine the difference between straight and homosexual.

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    7. Tony

      That is exactly why I chose Brosnan as an example.

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  17. Funny how this thread about wrath darkening the mind has such wrathful comments by ACR... I guess this article was on point after all!

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  18. Mordechai of BingenMarch 17, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    Or, Coyne is taking offense at the elevation of Man above the other animals. Or, given his materialism, believes the attribution of immaterial aspects to any being is crazy talk (atheists has on many occasions viewed the attribution of such qualities to human beings as fantastic "speciesism"). Whether his reactions are sensible I leave to the side. The interest here is not in the coherence of Coyne's views, only the content of this claim and the motives behind making it. It simply isn't clear to me that this is a particularly good or unequivocal instance of Coyne condemning in one situation what he praises in the next. Is this perhaps your own blindness at work? Your feelings toward the New Atheists are no secret and it doesn't take much imagination to suspect a couple of relatively benign, if ignorant and puerile, reasons for his reaction.

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  19. Mark Shea is a sad case, but also a bad case. I never forget that I could go the same way if not careful. There was nothing to suggest Mark would go that direction 20 years ago. In fact, much of what Mark now does and advocates he once condemned as horrible behavior at best, evil and sin at worst. Likewise, those things he once championed, and those ways of approaching online discourse, he now mocks and condemns. And yes, as someone said more cleverly than I could, 90% of his ministry includes yelling 'don't be like one of those damn fools who go around damning stupid people.' This doesn't count his resource to actual sinful slander and lies to attack people and defend the worst of the political Left.

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    1. I learned everything I needed to know about Mark Shea from his remarks on the Covington Catholic School debacle, when so many Christians joined the secular left in spewing hate all over a 16 year old boy...then doubled down on the hate after the two hour video exonerated the boys.

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    2. David GriffeyMarch 17, 2019 at 3:45 PM

      David Griffey says "Mark Shea is a sad case, but also a bad case. I never forget that I could go the same way if not careful. There was nothing to suggest Mark would go that direction 20 years ago."

      I'm sorry but that is ridiculous reasoning. In fact - it's fallacious reasoning because it suggests that what happened to Shea actually did happen TO him as some sort of external fate allowed by God instead of the more obvious reality - Shea did it TO himself. But even more to the point - you keep claiming that there was nothing about Shea in his past that gave a clue to his present implosion. And that too is ridiculous, because I clearly remember my very first impression of Shea when I saw him on EWTN on "The Journey Home" - I instantly could tell from his look, his words, his tone, and his overall demeanor that he was really getting off on being celebrated as someone special. Go back and look at the video sometime - he clearly is basking in the fallacy of his own brilliant intellect - which BTW - never existed. As I repeatedly pointed out to people - ALL of Shea's brilliant insights throughout the years were cribbed - borrowed - outright stolen from other writers and speakers. Shea was always in this as a career to stroke his insecure ego and line his pockets. That's it. Nothing more.

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    3. @Lazarus,


      Quote:"I instantly could tell from his look, his words, his tone, and his overall demeanor that he was really getting off on being celebrated as someone special."


      It looks like this is something he himself admits to in one of his articles about Lent recently on patheos when he says:

      " I want a salvation that comes with the praises of this world. I want people applauding me, understanding me, acclaiming my goodness and intelligence. I want cash prizes and awards ceremonies where (after the tearful tribute from, say, the Pope which concludes, “Thanks Mark. I have learned so much from you!”) the people I admire most in this world leap to their feet and drown me with thunderous applause and roses. "


      Now, the way he describes it is clearly meant to be hyperbolical and not completely serious, and is meant to illustrate some of the things people may desire and which he himself happens to desire too.

      And let's face it, the love of honor and praise and the desire to be admired by others that Shea describes is a natural desire for most human beings, and isn't always necessarily sinful either.

      But the fact he includes it in his list of things he really likes may support your contention that he really wants to be seen as brilliant, and takes pleasure in that glories thought.


      Quote:"As I repeatedly pointed out to people - ALL of Shea's brilliant insights throughout the years were cribbed - borrowed - outright stolen from other writers and speakers."


      Wait, what?!? Is this true? Are all of his apologetics books with all of those insights and arguments actually completely unoriginal and stolen?

      This is the first time I've ever heard of such a claim made about Shea. But is it actually true? Can you bring up an example of such outright plagiarism on the part of Shea?

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    4. Lazarus Gethsemane, I mean that the sin-hole that Mark slipped into could happen to anyone. I don't think Mark was devoid of worth from the beginning. But clearly something went horribly wrong. I no longer go to his sites, desiring to avoid the near occasion of sin that they are. Nonetheless, last I checked, his contributions were of almost no worth now. What few lights of Gospel he might reference were completely smashed by the lies, slander, sin, and advocacy for or defense of unthinkable evil and horror from the political movement he now endorses. Nonetheless, as in all sin, I must remind myself that it could happen to me if I'm not vigilant. Which is why, among other reasons, I stopped going to his sites.

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    5. Don, I heard that. Was not surprised, and Mark was not the only Catholic on Patheos who joined the lies and calumny and then made little to no attempt to make it right. I'd say Patheos itself, with few exceptions, is a hotbed of sin, blaspheme, heresy and outright hatred of Christ and Christ's followers. And that's just on the Catholic page.

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    6. @David,


      Quote:"I don't think Mark was devoid of worth from the beginning. But clearly something went horribly wrong."


      I haven't really been following Shea for any significant amount of time, but when exactly did Shea start to spiral though? Was it during the last election? Was it before that?

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    7. JoeD, he seems to have begun back during the Waterboard/Harry Potter days. There was also heated debate over the A-Bombs of WWII. In each case, he framed the debate as either being stupid and/or evil, or agreeing with him. Then he made the statement once in a post that there was a time when - by his own account - he considered American conservatism and the gospel to be in the same boat. Perhaps it came as a shock to him that the two were not always the same. He began speaking more of people at Patheos, and I don't know when he first met her, but he began posting more gushing praise for Simcha Fisher (who he more or less has praised in a 'Simcha - drunk or sober' sort of way). It was then, c. 2007/2008 that he really began to conclude the GOP was just as bad as the Democrats, and Conservatives as inclined toward being as bad as Liberals. Which probably could be argued in some way at some point - all have sinned after all. But somewhere during the later Obama years, after he ducked out of blogging and then came back, when he was at Patheos, after he began his Facebook account, he began to swing radical Left, and went down the tubes he's dwelt in since, becoming almost everything he once condemned, and attacking those who still cling to things he once called good and virtuous. That's as best as I can remember.

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    8. The original Mr. XMarch 24, 2019 at 5:09 PM

      "As I repeatedly pointed out to people - ALL of Shea's brilliant insights throughout the years were cribbed - borrowed - outright stolen from other writers and speakers."

      TBH I think that's one of the good points about his works -- we have a word for novel theological insights, and it's "heresy".

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  20. I mean, if we're being honest, Hart and Feser's little spat about doggies in the afterlife is objectively madness if Christianity is bunk.

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    2. It's actually a more poignant form of madness to assume our beloved pets don't go to Heaven if Christianity is True and those little creatures actually DO greet us in Heaven.

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  21. Maybe it's just me, but speaking of dogs (or people for that matter) "going to heaven" not only sounds childish, but also de-emphasizes the importance of the resurrection of the body. IT is far better to use the language of the Creed -- the "life of the world-to-come". So will dogs as a species inherit the world-to-come? I hope so. Will individual dogs inherit the same? The answer to this depends on what it is that individuates any contingent substance. If, as is argued here, the principle of individuation is constituted by its relation to God, then I don't see why dogs and other entirely material substances cannot be reconstituted in the eschaton.

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  22. I can't speak for others, but a recreation of my pets with their memories of their earthly life on the New Earth would be good enough for me. Given that there will be a New Heaven & New Earth, does that imply that the Heaven you go to when you die is an intermediate place? What if your spirit still exists somewhere in the created universe, you just have the Beatific vision? As a child I had a very literal idea of Heaven, streets paved with gold, pearly gates, etc, but as an adult, my mental picture is more like Janet's void from The Good Place, with Jesus, the Angels & Saints floating around there.

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    1. "does that imply that the Heaven you go to when you die is an intermediate place?"

      According to Aquinas, and Christian teaching in general, yes.

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    2. Can I get a reference for St Thomas? I'll probably have a look through the Summa anyway

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    3. Aquinas writes that the existence of the soul is subsistent and can carry on (unnaturally) apart from the body (after death), but that its unnatural state is not eternal. It awaits the resurrection of the dead to be re-united with a body.

      This is in the ST, in the Treatise on Human Nature. I'll try to get a more specific reference soon.

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    4. I think it's in or close to ST I.91.

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  23. C.S. Lewis has an interesting speculation--that, just as we are "raised up together in Christ to heavenly places," as the Bible promises, so also perhaps all that is lesser and lower which remains in our love might also be "raised up to heavenly places" in US. As we abide in Christ's love, and by His Resurrection are graciously elevated and transfigured, so through our own resurrection that which abides in our own love might also be elevated and transfigured with us.

    Speculation, as I said. However, as far as what we actually know of the relations and differences between humans and animals goes, I am with Prof. Feser. There just remains that niggling feeling, perhaps not even a thought: "All of this that we love can't just go away"--unless the reality of the blessed afterlife is such that we really cannot even imagine it in our current situation.

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  24. God does not create beings and then place them in an environment in which their natures cannot be fulfilled. Beings that are material and temporal can only exist in an environment that is also material and temporal. Hence animals would be out of place in heaven. However, animals could exist happily on a new earth if that is a part of God's plan.

    As for humans, it seems as though we will be citizens of both heaven and the new earth as that is what would most perfectly fulfill our nature.

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  25. Ed:

    I think your argument that someone who does not believe in an afterlife for any living thing should not consider you deranged for not believing in an afterlife for dogs is too quick.

    After all, it would be quite reasonable for an atheist to call deranged a heretical Christian who thinks there is no afterlife for blue-eyed people, even though the atheist agrees that there is no afterlife for blue-eyed people. And a natural way to phrase the criticism would be to say that the heretical Christian is deranged for thinking blue-eyed people have no afterlife. Of course, we would all know that this is just an abbreviated way for the atheist to say that what is deranged is making this kind of an eye-color-based distinction with respect to the afterlife, and they would be right that making such a distinction is deranged.

    Now, I don't of course think that it is deranged to make the distinction between animals and humans with respect to the afterlife.

    (Do brute animals have an afterlife? I don't know. On my views, an afterlife for non-human animals would not require the possibility of their souls existing disembodied. I have no problem about spatially-gappy existence: there are spaces between our molecules. And I likewise have no problem about temporally-gappy existence: it's basically just time-travel to the future, which is the unproblematic direction for time-travel. So I think God _could_ arrange an afterlife for brute animals--or plants, for that matter. I am inclined to doubt he in fact did, though.)

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    1. @Alexander Pruss,


      Quote:" On my views, an afterlife for non-human animals would not require the possibility of their souls existing disembodied."


      Well it depends on what type of soul they might have. One platonist view of the sensitive soul is that it too is immaterial, just like the human rational soul. So animal souls could be immaterial and disembodied like ours, only our soul is rational and has the capacity for the Beatific Vision, while animal souls don't.


      Quote:"And I likewise have no problem about temporally-gappy existence: it's basically just time-travel to the future, which is the unproblematic direction for time-travel. So I think God _could_ arrange an afterlife for brute animals--or plants, for that matter."


      Very interesting!

      If that is the case for animals, then it also obviously could be the case for other material things as well!

      But how would this jive with the fact animals die, or that material substances corrupt and cease? Doesn't this require an eternalist or B-theory approach to time where a temporal part of a material thing is brought to the future?

      The only other option to bring animals back from the dead to a future date would be if one accepts the reality of haecceity; that every material thing has a haecceity or unique essence that can always be combined with existence at any point in time.

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    2. After all, it would be quite reasonable for an atheist to call deranged a heretical Christian who thinks there is no afterlife for blue-eyed people, even though the atheist agrees that there is no afterlife for blue-eyed people. And a natural way to phrase the criticism would be to say that the heretical Christian is deranged for thinking blue-eyed people have no afterlife.

      I don't really understand why you say either of these things; both claims seem extraordinarily implausible. It is obviously unreasonable to criticize someone for having a position you agree with in domain A, just because they have a position you disagree with in domain B; and the only natural way of putting any reasonable objection about the distinction would be to criticize them for not treating domain B like domain A, not to criticize them for coming to the right conclusion in domain A. It's quite exactly analogous to a naturalist claiming a nonnaturalist is deranged for having a naturalistic account of rocks, merely because they are nonnaturalists about living things. It's an ignoratio elenchi, even setting aside that it's a rhetorical misfire to attack people as deranged for the views that are similar to your own rather than for the views that are different.

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    3. One can reasonably criticize people for logical inconsistency, as well as for other weaker forms of inconsistency.
      Of course, whether the criticism holds water depends on whether there really is an inconsistency. There is none in your naturalist example, as there are good principled reasons to have a naturalistic account of living things but not non-living ones. But imagine now someone who has a naturalistic account of men but a non-naturalistic account of women. It seems perfectly reasonable for the non-naturalist to say: "If you're going to be a non-naturalist about any humans, you should be a non-naturalist about them all."

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    4. Hi Alex,

      I don't think the analogy works, because the blue-eyed/non-blue-eyed distinction vis-a-vis incorporeality is arbitrary in a way the human/non-human animal distinction is not. There is nothing either in common sense or the history of philosophical argumentation to suggest a relevant difference between people with blue eyes and people with eyes of some other color, whereas there is a long-standing distinction drawn in both common sense and philosophy between human beings and other animals.

      Of course, some would argue that common sense and philosophy are wrong about this, but that's not relevant to the present point. The point is that the distinction is not arbitrary or unmotivated (even if one judges it ultimately mistaken) whereas your purportedly parallel distinction is arbitrary and unmotivated.

      Suppose a Quinean, who denies the analytic/synthetic distinction, were to mock the thesis that "'Emeralds are green' is not analytic." This would be very weird. We'd say "Why are you mocking that thesis? You don't think that statement is analytic either!" Nor would it make it less weird if the Quinean said "I mock it because the whole idea of an analytic/synthetic distinction is stupid." First, it's not stupid, even if one were to argue that it is mistaken. Second, even if it were stupid, mocking the thesis that "'Emeralds are green' is not analytic" is a very weird way to convey your rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction.

      Similarly, constantly mocking the thesis that "Dogs don't go to heaven" is a weird way for someone who also believes that dogs don't go to heaven to convey his view that human beings don't have immortal souls.

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    5. I agree, of course, with you that the distinction is not unmotivated.

      My point was just that the mere fact that the critic agrees that dogs don't have an afterlife does not *by itself* make his criticism a poor one, as your post seemed to imply. It is a pretty common, and legitimate, argumentative strategy to criticize someone for saying something true that one thinks they are not entitled to say on their grounds. (For instance, one might criticize a relativist for thinking that Hitler was a bad person, even though of course Hitler was a very bad person.)

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    6. But Coyne isn't raising that sort of criticism. He isn't saying that the view that dogs don't go to heaven is somehow incompatible with other things I hold. so again, I think this is not a genuine parallel example.

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    7. I was assuming that he thinks your view, while perhaps logically compatible with other things you hold, isn't *rationally* compatible -- i.e., that the kinds of reasons you have for believing the other things you believe are also good reasons to believe that dogs have an afterlife.

      Obviously, without his argument being spelled out, we can only speculate. But it seems better, when speculating about someone's argument, to impute to them the best argument one can that is compatible with their words. Perhaps he is thinking (maybe inchoately) something like this:
      1. Ed thinks God is perfectly good.
      2. Ed thinks God can raise human beings from the dead.
      3. But, clearly, a God who can raise human beings from the dead can also raise animals from the dead.
      4. And, clearly, a perfectly good being would want to raise animals from the dead.
      5. Since 3 and 4 should be clear to any reasonable person, then given his other commitments, Ed rationally should think that animals are raised from the dead.

      That's my best attempt at an argument that fits with your description of his words. Maybe it's overly charitable.

      I myself accept 3, but I am inclined to deny 4. Even if it is good for there to be non-human animals in the afterlife, it is not clear that it is good for there to be the *same* ones as there are now. It seems to me that a part of the glory of brute animals is that they achieve their eternity by reproduction rather than by living on and on and on. There is clearly no evil in there being a spatial boundary to an animal's life, and I don't see why there would be an evil in there being an upper temporal boundary to a brute animal's life (in addition to the lower temporal boundary at its conception). (In our case there probably would be, as our nature always calls out for more.)

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    8. Maybe a better analogy is someone who is pro-abortion and yet is clearly triggered by sex-selective abortion. It is strange that someone would criticize sex-selective abortion when abortion as a whole is thought permissible, but I think why sex-selective abortion is criticized is because it is perceived as sexist. In short, abortion is not wrong, sexism is. So Coyne is basically saying "dogs don't go to heaven" is speciest.

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    9. Alex,

      Yes, you are being overly charitable. Nor am I merely speculating, because I've read what Coyne has actually written on this. It's pretty clear that he just thinks it's silly for Hart and I to be debating this issue at all. It isn't that he's got some deep philosophical reason for thinking that God could resurrect a dog or whatever. It's that he thinks that talk about religion, the afterlife, souls, etc. is just stupid and not worth going on about. Standard sophomoric New Atheist dismissiveness. That's all it is.

      And yes, there is a presumption that if an argument can be given some plausible reading, then we should prefer that reading. But that is a presumption that can be overridden if we have independent reason to think that a person is really just being silly and not in fact giving some interesting argument in a clumsy way. And Coyne is about as clear a case as possible of someone who, where philosophy and theology are concerned, has a long track record of attacking straw men, mouthing off, and otherwise being childish. Sometimes a troll is just a troll.

      Kurt,

      I agree that that's a better analogy. However, it still doesn't really apply in this case. As I say, Coyne's beef is really just that he thinks it's dumb to debate the issue at all. As far as I can tell, it's not that he's got some sentimentality about animals that makes it especially offensive to him for a theist to say that they don't go to heaven. It's just "Ha ha look at these dummies actually discussing this!" That's all.

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    10. Given that it's Jerry Coyne that we are talking about, I would agree that the charity involved here is misplaced.

      In fact, I don't see why we should even waste further time discussing him. Never argue with (or about) fools.

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  26. Joe: I don't think it requires an eternalism, but it fits better with eternalism, and eternalism is true. :-) I don't think it requires temporal *parts*, though.

    Here is another way to think about it. Some saints have bilocated. It thus seems that God could create an entity that is in two separated places in space. But since God is outside time, it seems that God could also create an entity that is in two separated times. Again, maybe this presupposes eternalism.

    And if we're just talking about logical possibilities--I am not defending the actuality of brute animals being resurrected--one could suppose that God just snatches a chunk of the animal's brain at death and transports it elsewhere, and creates a copy in the corpse (van Inwagen has considered this option for humans). Crazy but possible.

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    1. @Alexander Pruss,


      Well, there are B-theories where change through time is a real aspect of reality, just described differently, and there are B-theories where change is an illusion and where reality is static completely.

      So there would be differences in terms of how one views the time-skip depending on whether or not one accepts the reality of change.


      And time-skips don't necessarily require eternalism; maybe one could subscribe to the existence of haecceities and thus one would be able to always re-create a given individual being because of the haecceity is always there in God's mind.


      As for bilocation and how it works in space; it came to my mind that maybe it's metaphysically possible for space to have different layers such that one could literally have a desert in the same location as a jungle - just located inside different dimensions of the same space.

      If something material could have two different locations, then maybe several material things could in fact share the same "location" in a sense, just in different frequencies or dimensions of the same spatial location.

      So if that may apply to space, then maybe it could apply to time such that different times could overlap, just in different dimensions of time, so we could have animals from the past being interacted with in the present.

      Whether or not this would make sense in B-theory or not I can't tell though.

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    2. I've always figured that eternalism necessarily entails a static block universe in which change is an illusion- that's at least how I've heard it from all of the eternalists I know of.

      I think that Pruss' defense of eternalism is sort of out there for a Catholic, I guess, but I'd be interested in hearing how he makes it work with a theory that believes in the reality of change (act/potency).

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    3. 1. The standard eternalist view is that change isn't an illusion: it's a succession of states.

      2. A view on which there is an objective present has to hold that the content of God's knowledge changes. For God knows everything that is objectively true. So, today, it has to be true that God knows that Tuesday is the objective present. Tomorrow, it has to be true that God knows that Wednesday is the objective present. It *is* possible to reconcile the content of God's knowledge changing with omniscience, but it is easier to just be a B-theorist.

      3. I don't make an act/potency distinction myself, or at least not in the way traditional Thomists do, but I don't see why it is any more problematic given eternalism. At t0, there may be a potency for something that is in act at t1.

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    4. @Alexander Pruss,


      2) But either way creation changes. Creation by nature is changeable, yet God is clearly distinct from creation and the changing of creation doesn't affect Him at all.

      Whether it's change in the present, or in successive states, the nature of creation doesn't affect God's knowledge such that He too changes.

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    5. A view on which there is an objective present has to hold that the content of God's knowledge changes.

      No, because God's knowledge of a thing is His act of causing that thing to exist. And the act of actualizing me-qua-infant is not temporally prior to actualizing me-qua-adult, for instance. It is not even clear if they are two really distinct acts, in fact.

      In this sense, God's knowledge is rather like Aristotle's articulation of the moment of change -- it unites the past and present states of an object, and might even be given a temporal location, but is not in itself in time, strictly speaking. Thus the flow of time is what emerges as God actualizes various incompatible potencies of various objects in a teleologixtele ordered fashion.

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    6. If there is an objective present (as anti-eternalists say), then yesterday the following statement was true:
      (1) God knows that it's not Wednesday.
      But today the following statement is true:
      (2) God knows that it's Wednesday.

      The eternalist B-theorist can say that this does not imply any change in the content of what God thinks, because tensed sentences are relative to a time, so that yesterday's "it's not Wednesday" meant something like "On March 19, it's not Wednesday" while today's "it's Wednesday" means something like "On March 20, it's Wednesday". And there is no contradiction between these two statements, so God can believe both eternally.

      However, the presentist thinks "It's Wednesday" is objectively true: it tells us a non-relational, non-indexical fact about reality itself. And he also thinks that "It's not Wednesday" is objectively false. So, the A-theorist can't just say that (1) and (2) are eternally and unchangingly true.

      So the presentist has to say that the content of God's knowledge changes. I don't like this. (But it's not as bad as it sounds. It does not actually imply the heresy that *God* changes, because the content of God's knowledge should be held to be partially constituted by reality extrinsic to God (otherwise one gets in trouble with divine simplicity and the contingency of divine creation).)

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    7. Dr. Pruss,

      I prefer to think using, well, concrete examples instead of conventions like "Wednesday", so kindly bear with me as I parse what you said.

      On the presentist construal of temporal facts,

      (1) I was an infant X years ago.

      (2) I am an adult now.

      Now if we were to speak of Divine knowledge as being a species of propositional knowledge, then what you have said would be true. However, God's knowledge of things is their cause (as Pseudo-Dionysius wrote), and He knows things before they exist (per St. John Damascene) and as Aquinas wrote, Divine knowledge is more like practical knowledge, i.e., knowledge-how. Thus, God's knowledge of me-qua-infant is His act of actualizing the same, and so also with His knowledge of me-qua-adult. Now, why should God's acts of actualizing me in either stage of my life be in time? Surely insofar as He is timeless, His acts too are timeless. There is no temporal succession between the Divine acts of actualizing me at various stages of my life, and one might even say that they're all the same act, and only the effect of the act varies with time.

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    8. God's knowledge is not *fundamentally* propositional knowledge. Nonetheless, for any true proposition, God knows that proposition. God knows that the sky is blue, that Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, that I will have dinner tonight (assuming I will), etc.

      In particular, when I was infant, it was correct to say:
      (1) God knows that I am an infant.
      And now it is correct to say:
      (2) God knows that I am not an infant.
      This is not a problem on the B-theory. But on presentism, it implies a difference as to the content of what God knows.

      Here's another way to put it. God's knowledge is eternal and timeless. God knows reality perfectly. Thus, reality is such that it can be known perfectly from an eternal and timeless point of view. If the B-theory is true, then reality can be known perfectly from an eternal and timeless point of view. But if presentism (or A-theory more generally) is true, there are additional objective facts ("the changing ones") beyond those that can be known from an eternal and timeless point of view.

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    9. @Alexander Pruss

      A Theory and B Theory are bogus & inadequate anyway.

      http://www.arcaneknowledge.org/philtheo/temporal/temporal2.htm#ch10

      So your argument is moot as is the false Theistic Personalist "deity" you imagine trying to know things timelessly and failing to do so in epic fashion.

      You are in effect trying to imagine how a "timeless" solitary being who is equivalent to us only more Uber & omni-Magical might timelessly know events and that is 100% the wrong way to do it.

      Take this analogy to heart. (since that is the proper way to talk of God and not this unequivocal horse poop).

      God cannot ride a bike but that does not mean God is not omnipotent. God cannot know what time it is now as a human being knows it or as it would be impossible for a timeless human being to know it . God is not a creature. God is not "a being" alongside other beings. God is Other.

      God cannot ride a bike because bike ridding involves "a being" who is a physical singular entity sitting on it and pushing the pedals. Sure God could supernaturally move the Bike from point a to point b but that would not be literally riding it. Sure Jesus could ride a bike but his Human Nature would be doing the Yomen's work not his divinity directly. So God cannot ride a bike. But Omnipotence means having all powers. There is no "power" to make the Ground of All Being into "a being" alongside other beings to perform some task only such beings can do. Just as there is no power to make 2+2=5 or "a rock so heavy..can't lift it..blah blah.." and so forth. Such a power doesn't describe anything.

      God is not in time like any other being is in time because God is not a being nor is God in anyway like a singular being who might be outside of time.

      Your argument can only be applied to a Theistic Personalist so called "deity". A Theistic Personalist deity who is outside of time cannot know what time it is now. But to say a Classic Theistic God (who is eternal and timeless by definition) doesn't know what time it is now is as meaningful as saying God cannot ride a bike. Which He can't.

      Classic Theism rules. Theistic Personalism blows chunks.

      On the Reality of Temporal Succession
      http://www.arcaneknowledge.org/philtheo/temporal/temporal.htm

      Sri Nahar has the right idea.

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    10. @Alexander Pruss

      BTW I hope I didn't come off as too aggressive & that I was trying to attack you. I just deeply hate Theistic Personalism and I get a bit carried away.

      Cheers.

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    11. Dr. Pruss,

      God's knowledge is eternal and timeless. God knows reality perfectly. Thus, reality is such that it can be known perfectly from an eternal and timeless point of view. If the B-theory is true, then reality can be known perfectly from an eternal and timeless point of view. But if presentism (or A-theory more generally) is true, there are additional objective facts ("the changing ones") beyond those that can be known from an eternal and timeless point of view.

      Thank you, this makes things clearer for me. Earlier you also wrote:

      God's knowledge is not *fundamentally* propositional knowledge. Nonetheless, for any true proposition, God knows that proposition.

      While I agree, I would also say that the fact that God knows all propositions doesn't mean He knows them distinctly. Likewise, the fact that God knows the "now-ness" of each successive moment doesn't entail that He knows each moment distinctly. In the example I used earlier, God doesn't need to know me-qua-infant as a separate act of knowledge from that of knowing me-qua-adult. Or in other words, God doesn't need to know successive states successively in order to have perfect knowledge of them.

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  27. In Revelation 21:1-3 it says God will create a new heaven and a new earth. Weren't animals a part of God's creation on this original earth? And wasn't everything that God made good? And wasn't it ALL made to serve man as a natural good? And wasn't it all corrupted by man's Fall from grace?

    Obviously God is going to create a New heaven and New Earth all over again. So why would He leave out His beautiful creatures He originally created to serve man in love? After all they were an integral part of His original Creation. And man naturally loved them.

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    1. @Lazarus,


      Quote:"Obviously God is going to create a New heaven and New Earth all over again."


      Well actually, God isn't going to create a New Earth from scratch; rather, He's going to glorify and raise up the already created cosmos , just as He took Jesus' actual and original body and raised it up and gloriied it.

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    2. All the more reason to believe He would ALSO resurrect His original creatures that He gave us to know Him and His love so dearly.

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    3. Oh really? My impression was that the current universe would be destroyed, and a new one created. The world being destroyed by fire, rather than the water of the flood.

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    4. “Oh really? My impression was that the current universe would be destroyed, and a new one created. The world being destroyed by fire, rather than the water of the flood.“

      None of which answers the reply of the OP. But could be regarded as adding detail to it.

      Whatever the mode of the renewal of the world or the universe, it seems a very odd idea to suggest that the renewed world will have no place for animals.

      Matters are not helped by looking at Genesis 1 but ignoring what the NT, with its more adequate, Christ-centred, vision, makes of the material in Genesis 1.

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    5. Well it's not so much the existence of animals in the new Earth, it's whether we get the pets we had in this life

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    6. This might sound harsh - and is seriously politically incorrect - but we should not be Islamicizing Heaven by thinking it consists of a bunch of nice things we enjoy here in this life - even people, let alone lower creatures with whom no real friendship can exist. I always notice that nobody's ever concerned to see his lunch risen again in Heaven, just animals (and plants?) we care about emotionally. God is not like that - He is not a respecter of persons, nor of animals, nor of plants... In any event, we must be ready to move far, far beyond the Islamic vision of Heaven. God is much more than a gift-giver - the Father is the inheritance which the Prodigal Son really longs for, not the gold, and not the fattened calf either.

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  28. @Walter

    >I would just insult you by calling you "straight" if Prof Feser would let me. Natrurally by '"straight" I don't mean in the intellectually fine way of Pierce Brosnan, I mean 'straight' in the sad creepy way of the President of United States.
    But I will refrain from doing that.

    I am proud of you Walter. This is at my level of satire.

    I salute you sir.

    @Duydmus

    ACR could be mentally ill or mabye is is just a jerk?

    Anyway I am spent....

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  29. additional.

    @Walter


    BTW I am straight and not only that....I like Fat Chicks. I would never leave my wife but if I did it would be for Rebel Wilson not Scarlet Johansan.

    But that is just me....

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    1. Could you please mind your language a bit? That would be fantastic. Thank you very much :)

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  30. Is there generally one form for every kind of thing? Like, is there the single form of water, which is instantiated into every specific body of water you come across? But then what of human souls? How are there multiple ones rather than a single form of humanity, seeing as humans are one species, differentiated by the different bodies of instantiated matter, while angels are each their own species, as they have no matter to instantiate & differentiate them? And, could, say, the concept of triangularity, be combined with an act of existence and be an angel? Am I getting things mixed up? I suppose an angel would have to be a form of rational being?

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    1. These are good questions, it shows you are taking the issues seriously and working them out. To my understanding (and I welcome correction from those who are better at this): The form of water is the "same in kind" in all instances of water, and the form of human is the same in all instances of humans. It is distinct "in number" in the different instances, in virtue of being instantiated in separate matter. But what is meant by "same in kind" is a little ambiguous here: the fact that there is a sameness about this human here and that human over there is that there is a universality of the form "human-ness" which is that in virtue of which both can be said to BE humans. Thus saying they are the "same in kind" and that they "have the same form" is really two ways of expressing the same truth. It is precisely insofar as they share in common the form "human-ness" that we can know them as same in some sense.

      In a different sense: the capacity of the human mind to recognize that sameness in the two instances of dog is due to the fact that the human intellect can receive the form "dog-ness" in a NON-material way (by knowing "dog" we do receive the form but we don't become dogs ourselves). Thus there is a non-material aspect to the human knowing that is critical to our understanding of universals as universals.

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  31. “But what do you call it when you bitterly criticize someone else for doing something you approve of and praise in yourself and others?“

    It sounds like a sort of mirror-image Bulverism - on Bulverism, see C. S. Lewis: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulverism

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  32. I hate Theistic Personalism so much........

    Classic Theism rulez!

    Carry on.

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  33. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a sociopath or a narcissist you would call such behavior narcissistic abuse or projection. There are plenty of famous (TV, journalists, MEPs or other celebrities) fake Catholics like that in Ireland.

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  35. I am confused Mr. Crane? Where have I used foul language on this thread? I don't see it?

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