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Surface Level Bible Contradictions (People Still Hate The Bible Even When You Clarify)

October 29, 2010

The genealogies of Jesus

Atheist:

“Why are the number of generations explained in the gospels of Matthew and Luke tracing the lineage between King David and Jesus not the same? Or even the same # of generations? How would Jesus be a descendant anyway if he was born of a virgin? Its hilarious”

Me:

“Mathew traces it through Joseph’s line by 3 groups of 14, which numerically = the name of David in Hebrew. Luke does so thru Mary, or Mary’s father Heli, who may not have had sons – which defaults it to Mary. Jesus is both an earthly descendant and a heavenly one. Lineages are abridged even in the OT (1 Chro 6, Ezra 7).”

Atheist:

“This is just how you or your preacher would interpret it. Others come to other conclusions. The Bible makes history’s most far-fetched claims with no irrefutable physical evidence, and you prescribe your entire existence to its teachings? Scripture that has been translated many times, that makes outrageous and outdated claims, is “proof” in your mind? You see no problem with this? We must move on from this ancient way of thinking. It is of great detriment to society’s progress.”

Me:

“If the interpretation is possible there’s no contradiction. Only a seemingly contradiction due to a surface level reading of the Bible, which atheists are good at. Which interpretation is the best is a whole other matter b/c that takes into account many things. Lol, you don’t even know what you’re talking about. A translation only happens once, but there are many transmissions. There are more for the NT then any work from antiquity! Ancient or modern, who cares. What is truth?”

The Bible says Pi = 3, and says bats are birds

Atheist2:

“God says pi = 3 (1 Kings 7:23)

God says bats are birds (Leviticus 11:13-19)

Dust and missing ribs (Do I need a verse for this? Haven’t you heard the creation story?)”

Me:

“The context wasn’t to give the exact number of pi but to give a description of what the objects in the temple looked like. Modern science is more specific w/ its classes, the ancients weren’t. It depends on HOW we/they classify “bird”. If something flies (ancient), or more specific criterion (modern). God (prior life) makes dust life. Naturalism makes star dust (non living) life, ~ Discovery channel

Atheist2:

“The context wasn’t to give the exact number of pi… It depends on HOW we/they classify “bird”

Typical. Tap-dancing around the falsehoods in your precious 2000 year old tome. It says what it says, don’t try to deny it. Pi is not 3. Bats are not birds. We are not made of dirt and ribs. The Bible is stupid. Get over it.

“Naturalism makes star dust (non living) life,”

Naturalism is the position that the natural world is all that exists. It has nothing to say about stardust.”

Me:

“So if you write a book we get to ignore context thus read it at a surface level. If not, that’s a double standard. But looking at what it says v.26 says the rim was like a lilly thus would have stuck out further thus the rims circum would’ve been about 31.4, while the base could still be 30. The Heb word “owph” can mean “winged animal”. It’s translators who use the word “bird”. Again, surface level contradictions which all the more make me believe it, a fulfillment of Rom 1:18-20.”

(I was actually incorrect here. I mean to rather say from rim to rim (which stuck out beyond the base) it was 10 in diameter. The circumference of the base (below the rim) was 30. The diameter of the base (not the rim) being less then 10 would have been closer to Pi, but the text itself isn’t trying to achieve Pi anyways.)

Atheist2:

“v.26 says the rim was like a lilly thus would have stuck out further”

No, it says it was like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lillies.

“The Heb word “owph” can mean “winged animal”.”

Actually, no. It means “fowl,” which is the word that’s used in the book.

“Either way, both world views include dust of some sort.”

You have absolutely no understanding of what star dust is. Please don’t straw man science just because you can’t actually refute it.

Me:

“lol, ur a KJV onlyist?! The proper meaning of the Heb word is “winged animal” and can include a fowl. Get a lexicon and put down your King Jimmy, which when written we may not have had the classification of “mammal” yet. The modern texts and more word for word translations say “like a lilly” not “with lillies”. Science depends on refutation to advance. YOU don’t have the true scientist spirit. You’re fallacy is also that science = “naturalism”. I refuted the latter with your same logic”

Atheist2:

“Heb word is “winged animal” and can include a fowl”

Okay. Let’s assume you’re right. If that’s what it means, how come EVERY SINGLE OTHER CREATURE named in those few verses is an actual bird? I could see where you were coming from if it mentioned some insects too, but bats are the only non-birds it mentions. The person who wrote that verse genuinely believed that bats are birds.

“Science depends on refutation to advance”

When did I say anything to the contrary?

Me:

“It doesn’t matter how many animals which we modernly classify as birds or not is in the list. The original proper meaning of “owph” is winged animal. Classifications can change thus discredit something which never consulted such classifications! You’re Biblical fallacy is with the English interpretation, not he original Hebrew, which makes it a surface level contradiction which you can’t throw around carelessly now! Sorry.”

Atheist2:

“Yes, it does. It differentiates between insects and birds, why shouldn’t it differentiate between bats and birds? You’re so convinced that your book is infallible that you do these mental gymnastics to convince yourself you’re right.

Oh well, I suppose I shouldn’t have expected someone who believes in a talking snake to be rational.”

Me:

“Looking at the original Hebrew is NOT mental gymnastics! lol, it’s bible study 101, which you’re bias against because it strips you of your silly surface level contradictions which you can no longer throw around, and must now search hard for better ones. This is a fulfillment of Rom 1:18-20, which makes be believe Scripture more, and shows you’re not interested in truth, just anti-Christ polemics. And with “naturalism” there’s no reason there could not be a talking snake! It could evolve too”

Atheist2:

“You really think your bible is infallible? Go to skepticsannotatedbible(dot)com and see your precious book for what it is: a 2000 year old tome written by a roving band of brinze age thugs. It contains such an extraordinary amount of scientific and historical inaccuracies as well as bad morality it’s hard to believe it was even written by sane people.

Oh, so a book says that people will doubt its veracity, and that’s proof of its veracity? You are the paragon of intelligence.

“The modern texts and more word for word translations say “like a lilly” not “with lillies”.”

Let’s assume the translation you’re using is somehow more valid. The book still says the “molten sea” is circular, ten cubits wide, and thirty cubits around. It doesn’t have any qualifying verses where the diameter is measured to the outsides of the rim and the circumference is measured on the inside. The bible says Pi is 3.

Me:

“Even if the Bible says it’s 3 that still doesn’t assume it means it’s ONLY 3. Even if it said it was 3.14 that would still be wrong by your standard b/c it’s not just 3.14 but more accurately 3.1415926, etc. From rim to rim it was 10 cubits, and it (the sea) was 30 cubits. That’s what it says. And Erasmus only had a few late Byzantine texts when translating the KJV. What we have now is far more critical and accurate. Nice try again. Sorry you’ll have to get better arguments :(“

Atheist2:

“From rim to rim it was 10 cubits, and it (the sea) was 30 cubits. That’s what it says.”

Exactly. You just proved yourself wrong. You’re a moron.

“If you mean “natural” in the sense of “what is” n not “what should be”, then it can’t account for logic.”

What the fuck are you even talking about? What does this have to do with ANYTHING?

You know what? I’m done. I’ve heard enough of your nonsensical, illogical, asinine “arguments.” You’re obviously wrong and can’t even admit it.

Me:

“My clarification was that the SEA is 30 cubits (perhaps roughly) in circum, NOT that the sea’s rim’s circum is, there’s a difference between those two. You prove God’s existence when you act like I “should” be logical! In your confusion, you all the more prove my point b/c you act like I “should be rational”, where nothing in “nature” accounts for “what should be the case”, only “what is”. If we’re created from star dust, how does it account for what “should be”?”

(Allow me to clarify this point again: Imagine a container that has a rim that sticks out further then the rest of the body of the container. Let’s say the circumference of the body is 30. If the diameter of the body is 10, then yes pi = 3 which would be inaccurate, unless there was rounding taking place and we were speaking in general terms, which according to those who !!HATE!! the Bible, the Bible isn’t allowed to do. If we needed to get Pi, then the diameter would have to be about 9.55. Yet in 1 Kings 7:26, it’s possible that the rim sticks out beyond the body, thus having a diameter of 10, which then would probably make the bodies diameter less than 10. Again, just looking strictly at the text this could absolutely be the case! It simply says in verse 23, “From rim to rim it was 10 cubits, and it (the sea) was 30 cubits”.)

Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar nor ever king

Atheist3:

“The book of Daniel describes events that supposedly happened during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. The fifth chapter states that Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, was succeeded on the throne by his son Belshazzar. But historians tell us Belshazzar was not the son of Nebuchadnezzar and was never king.”

Me:

“with Belshazzar, in Hebrew thought a “father” can refer to someone you’re descended from. Hence how Abraham is a father to all the Jews, really the remnant (both Gentiles and Jews who have true faith in Christ, Rom 2,9). And the Hebrew word for “king” can refer to governing and Bel is historically referred to as a crown prince. All your other “issues” are that “but history doesn’t show us this”. You could discredit most of history from antiquity with that standard. Another bias.”

Atheist3:

“there is no historical evidence other than the bible for jesus as well..

there is nothing.. you keep talking about science and proof.. but you cant have proof without history or science.. all of which you have none.. and you defy your god saying you can prove god exists.. if u have proof u dont need faith.. simple logic you dont have and never said i beleived in the big bang”

Me:

“The Bible is better evidence for Jesus, hence the NT is contemporaneous, then anything for anyone from antiquity. Thus, there’s far more evidence Jesus existed then Alexander the great who has no contemporaneous writings of him. Even the most liberal scholars like Bart Ehrman believe Jesus historically existed, and do so based on the Bible. Take it up with them! Proof = inference, which always requires faith. YOU r proof of God b/c you’re using what only he can supply, logic

Acts 9:7 says the men heard a noise, Acts 22:9 says they didn’t

Acts 9:7
*It says the men heard a sound, NOT that they comprehended what was said.
*Greek – “akountes” (heard) has a participle mood. Usually when “akou” has this mood something is only physically heard, not necessarily understood.

Acts 22:9
*Greek – “ouk akousan” (not heard) has an indicative mood. When “akou” has this mood it usually isn’t understood or comprehended.

Hence, Mat 13:13 “upon hearing (akouantes – participle mood) they do not hear (ouk akouousin – indicative mood).

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43 comments

  1. Cameron,

    Nice work here.

    Atheists have two primary tenets:
    1. There is no God.
    2. I hate Him.

    They also seem to lack a sense of humor when engaging in discussion with Christians. Every atheist to whom I’ve mentioned these tenets gets sort of angry and starts arguing against them(!) instead of laughing and throwing back a joke about theists. My conversations with atheists have only reinforced my belief that the two tenets are true, and they can’t take it as a joke because it hits too close to home. Oh yeah, and Romans 1 says the same thing. BTW, I don’t recommend trying this, your method seems more successful.

    Blessings,
    Derek


  2. Yeah, I encounter all kinds of atheists just like I’m sure atheists encounter all kinds of Christians. Just like some Christians, some atheists will have a respectful conversation and some are only interested in trashing the other’s beliefs.

    For about a year now, I’ve been asking atheists the same question over and over, and have still had no atheist answer it. Why do you have a pre-commitment to rationality as opposed to irrationality? Is it because we’re created in the image of an eternal, personal, being (God – who is eternally rational), or star dust (a finite mindless thing)? Having a pre-commitment to be rational is required to even do science, hence why “proof of God is that without him you can’t prove anything”.

    The atheist will say:
    1. because it’s useful for our survival.
    Rebuttal – what came first, our survival or the pre-commitment to rationality? Either answer they lose their argument.
    2. We decided we need to be rational in order to know things.
    Rebuttal – Rationality is a “pre-commitment”, NOT a mere commitment! You’re assuming a pre-commitment by saying we decided to be rational. It’s begging the question.

    To this day, I’ve still never heard an atheist offer anything. The nice atheists will hold to their absurd and great faith that non-logic accounts for logic. The outright Christ-hostile atheists wont even let you ask them the question!


    • Hi there, Cameron. Your question reminds me of Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism. As it stands, however, I’m not sure exactly what you mean. Are you asking why humans aspire to rationality? If so, then the hypothesis that [the development of] human logic came about because we were created in the image of a deity seems to be a poor one. Do we have any reason to think that we are somehow similar to a given deity? Do we have any reason to think that said deity exists? Good hypotheses require evidence, testability, simplicity etc.

      Is it necessary for me to explain where logic came from? As a naturalist, so long as I can eliminate all supernatural options (ie. Athena is the source of wisdom, since wisdom evidently cannot come from wisdom-less stardust) I am justified in lacking belief in supernaturalism.

      There are a great variety of non-theistic beliefs and naturalisms. Most people would agree that nature exists. Some people go beyond that to posit supernature. In the absence of good evidence for supernature, I think one is justified in holding to some sort of tentative naturalism.

      With regard to biblical contradictions, I have always been interested in the Tyre prophecy in Ezekiel, as well as the later prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt and raze her to the ground. It would appear that neither came true. Your thoughts?

      Derek, for your consideration:
      1. Fictional characters do not exist.
      2. I hate them all.


      • “Derek, for your consideration:
        1. Fictional characters do not exist.
        2. I hate them all.”

        In case I give a false impression here, I actually do not argue that Yahweh does not exist.


  3. Adamoriens,

    Hello. How did you find this blog? I never said we “aspire” to logic. I refuted that already. Logic is a pre-commitment, not a commitment for the reason I said above. Yes, we have more reason to believe we are similar to a being who eternally is rational, as opposed to being brought about by finite, mindless, star dust. This is so simple because the former accounts for the laws of logic, while the latter doesn’t, hence why it’s really the poor choice. Meanings are abstract and absolute. I would argue only the eternal can account for something absolute, and why we ought to not contradict it. Further, they’re abstract, thus not “material”, nor entirely derived from what is observable, i.e. the meaning of “infinity” or “future”.

    Good hypotheses require evidence? Lol. Evidence first requires the laws of logic. That’s why proof of God is that without God you can’t prove anything.

    Also, you can’t eliminate the “supernatural” until you first exhaust what the “natural” is, where is starts, where is stops, what it can’t do, what it can only do, etc. This is why “naturalism” really just means “a world without God”. Which is silly, because one must assume an eternal, personal being (which I would call God) to even rationalize there is no God.

    I’ve never heard of that specific supposed contradiction about Tyre, but it took me 2 seconds to find a defense to it on google. If you want it I’ll give you the link.

    Lastly, since you hate all fictional characters, let me ask you, do you hate them all the same? So that means you must hate Santa Clause just as much as Yahweh. While nevertheless, one is said to be an eternal prime cause which is the pre-condition to everything, while the other is finite. I’d love to see how consistent you are on this.


  4. Hello Cameron. I`m pretty sure I found this blog through a comment you made on another one, but I cannot remember which it was.

    I confess I remain confused about what you mean by “pre-commitment to rationality.” You seem to be making some sort of argument from transcendentals ala Matt Slick, but you haven`t actually stated it as a syllogism. Are you referring to the existence of the laws of logic? If so, an absolute such as A=A would be true if a personal, eternal being existed or not.

    The so-called three laws of logic are derived from our experience of the universe, and they appear to be brute properties that a personal eternal deity would be subject to.

    In summary, then, I`d ask you to elaborate. All I see above is unsubstantiated statements (“That’s why proof of God is that without God you can’t prove anything”) built on unstated arguments (“Yes, we have more reason to believe we are similar to a being who eternally is rational, as opposed to being brought about by finite, mindless, star dust”).

    Sure, post the link about Tyre. I have spent in excess of two seconds on the problem, so chances are good I`ve read it and found it wanting.

    My point about fictional characters was simply that it is meaningless to tell someone who does not believe in the existence of a god that they hate Him or Her. I really do coexist well with fictional characters. Wait a minute…


  5. How’s it going. When I say a pre-commitment to rationality this ties into the 3rd law of logic, in that we shouldn’t contradict. My argument is why shouldn’t we? I believe only because we’re created in the likeness of God. He is eternally rational, we are created in his likeness, thus we ought to be rational as opposed to irrational. Should we be rational? If you answer yes or no, you prove you should be. If you answer “jkfdsl nine can smell poop” then you might convince me you don’t have a pre-commitment to it. But you’d be 1 out of 6 billion. And if we shouldn’t be rational, then we can be irrational and not even care about proof. So you think we should be rational? If so, why? How does star dust account for why we ought to be rational? Saying we “ought” to do something is a meta-physical statement, and if it’s absolutely true, then I believe it must derive from the eternal since an absolute can’t be invented.

    I don’t have a syllogism for this. I’ve never heard a non-Christian provide a syllogism for why we ought to be rational as opposed to non-rational on the bases of star dust either. Yet, every time they reply to me they evidence their pre-commitment to be rational.

    Saying we know what (A) is because we experience it can’t account for all identities, concepts, meanings (whatever you want to call them). I already stated above that “infinity” and “future” aren’t things we experience, but are real and absolute concepts we know and use. Also, I believe all possible identities only correlate to minds, and since they’re absolute must correlate to an eternal mind. Also, I believe absolute identities are only able to be identities by virtue of having a context and a function. Since God is eternally 3 in 1, he exhausts all possible contexts and functions of what could be identifiable. There’s a relational aspect to all identities, and God is eternal relationship. So God eternally knows himself, and the laws of logic are a reflection of this, not separate.

    Atheists evidence themselves that they hate Jesus Christ (Yahweh) over and above all other gods and characters. They have double standards towards the historicity of Jesus’ existence, and harp on him way more then Santa Clause. This forces Christians to see that Rom 1:18-20 and 8:6-8 are being fulfilled with this behavior, and makes us believe Scripture even more. Also, you should see some of the atheist blogs I’ve been to. They could never have a civil and respectful conversation like we are now. I clarify a contradiction and God and me get cussed out and mocked still.

    http://www.tektonics.org/uz/zeketyre.html

    If this doesn’t work, I’ll take another 2 seconds to see if someone has a better explanation. I haven’t actually looked into it too much. I’ve dealt sufficiently with many other surface level “contradictions” however. When I have time I’ll check this particular one out more.


  6. Is it:
    1. Humans ought to be rational and intelligible.
    2. No natural cause can explain why humans ought to be rational and intelligible.
    3. Therefore the cause is supernatural.
    4. The cause is God.

    If this is what you’re getting at, then I can formulate a possible response:

    1a. Unsupported. There appears to be no intrinsic reason why humans ought to be rational and intelligible. However, since rationality and intelligibility contribute (and are often necessary) for our survival and prosperity, we desire to be rational and intelligible. We adopt the word “ought” to describe this impetus.

    There is a problem with positing Yahweh as the source of our desire to be rational. Isaiah 55:8-9:

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    On the basis of this verse, there is no reason to suppose God’s intellect and desires are somehow similar to ours, and reason to think the very opposite.

    I’ll leave it at that, since any further response is superfluous until premise 1 is supported.

    I don’t understand your response that God is not subject to the laws of logic, so I’ll clarify in the hope of reciprocation. I think I’m correct in saying the three so-called laws of logic are human formulations that describe brute realities of our existence.

    If God is God at this time, then he cannot at this time be not-God. Evidently, then, he is subject to the principle of contradiction, and cannot be its originator. Certainly we could say that God can violate this principle (ie. Jesus is God and not-God), but then we have disregarded the truth that the principle embodied. I realize I’ve been inundating you with objections, so, if nothing else, please support premise 1.

    Do double standards evince hatred? At most they would reveal hypocrisy. As a tentative agnostic atheist, I have no problem conceding the historicity of Jesus (it sounds like you were at RichardDawkins.net or something), but I remain unconvinced that he was something other than a first-century preacher in Palestine. I am sorry your experience has been poor with non-believers in general; fortunately I have no obligation to apologize directly for their behavior.

    If you are interested in civil discourse with non-believers (and believers), repair to http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/index.php. It is Christian-owned and generally has a higher standard of discourse. But while the debaters may be somewhat more polite, they are ruthless and many are much better educated than the opponents you quote above.

    With regard to the Tyre prophecy, I have read Holding’s response and found it too contrived. If you haven’t examined the passage in detail (and I encourage you to) then I’ll say nothing more on it.


  7. Like I’ve already said above, survival can’t account for why we ought to survive. We’d have to ask, which came first. Either answer refutes the claim.

    This also assumes we ought to survive as opposed to not survive which is also a meta-physical claim. “Nature” has us dead way longer then live so it actually prefers death, not life.

    Isaiah 55 may be referring to the “what” behind God’s thoughts and ways. Hence, no human would invent the Trinity or a gospel where God kills himself out of love and does so for his own glory. It doesn’t necessarily refer to “how” he thinks. God also cannot lie, hence why we shouldn’t contradict (Num 23:19).

    Lol, until premise 1 is supported? You support it every time you reply rationally on my blog. I will only and always point to sentient human behavior to support premise 1.

    No, the laws of logic aren’t merely descriptive. They’re also prescriptive in that we shouldn’t contradict. We didn’t invent these laws, but recognized them because of our pre-commitment to them. Saying God must use the LoL is the same as saying God must think how he thinks. The LoL would be a reflection of how his own eternal mind works (from the Christian standpoint).

    Again, they’re not brute realities of all observable existence, since we have identities which don’t derive from the observable, hence “infinity”, or “future”.

    If God is God at this time, then he cannot at this time be not-God. Evidently, then, he is subject to the principle of contradiction, and cannot be its originator.

    I would argue the opposite. Since God is eternally and immutably God, then the law of non-contradiction is a possibility, if/since God is eternally the bases for all possible identities within himself. And naturally, since God accounts for the identity of God, he also ought to not contradict it.

    I believe many double standards of atheists reveal their unfounded biases against God and evidences a suppression of the truth like Rom 1:18-20 says. I believe this is rebellion against God, thus in a way is hostility towards him. Sometimes it’s outright, and sometimes subtle. Call me narrow-minded but I am a Christian so I do believe Scripture’s anthropology over man’s.

    I’ll have to check out that blog. I currently am involved with a handful of blogs and forums. Each are have their own differences. I’m also on a Catholic one which is a chore. 🙂

    With the Tyre contradiction, in a nutshell, what are your major arguments for it contradicting?


  8. I don’t accept that being rational or intelligible has any intrinsic value. Neither does human survival or prosperity. You are demanding me to explain something I don’t believe exists.

    I desire to be rational and intelligible because I desire to survive and thrive. Hence I subjectively “ought” to be rational etc. In this case there are no metaphysical claims about “oughtness” that I need to support. If you disagree or think I am being inconsistent, show me explicitly.

    The three laws of logic are indeed descriptive. I am not compelled to consider them when formulating ideas, concepts etc. There is no transcendent rule that I must not speak gibberish. However, because I want to be rational (because it’s necessary for survival and prosperity), I do not say things like, “God can be something other than himself simultaneously.”

    Likewise, when a philosopher writes that one must never construct statements that violate the laws of non-contradiction, he is not making a metaphysical claim but a contingent one. We prefer to be rational because it is beneficial. Even if you can find a philosopher who argues that being rational is a metaphysical “must,” I do not have the burden to defend it.

    Hostility toward non-believers seem to be characteristic of pre-suppositional apologists and many apologists at large. I confess I don’t really understand the sense of someone psychoanalyzing an anonymous internet user on the basis of ancient Hebrew texts, but there you go. I am glad I do not live in a theocracy.

    The prophecy in Ezekiel claims first that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Tyre (although Holding creates an interesting schema that avoids this). After this fails, Ezekiel acknowledges it and proceeds to predict that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt. That likewise failed.


  9. I would say we have extrinsic value, just like the Declaration of Independence says. But now we’re getting into the issue of morality, which I would argue is another proof of God. We ought to not murder each other since we’re created in God’s image. It doesn’t matter if we kill other animals, or if they kill themselves.

    I desire to be rational and intelligible because I desire to survive and thrive.

    Again, which came first, your ability to survive or your pre-commitment to rationality? Either answer you give, you lose the argument.

    The LoL are only descriptive in that they describe the prescription, but ultimately they’re prescriptive since we act every second like we ought to not contradict, even if survival wasn’t a necessity we would still have this pre-commitment.

    There is no transcendent rule that I must not speak gibberish. However, because I want to be rational (because it’s necessary for survival and prosperity), I do not say things like, “God can be something other than himself simultaneously.”

    and later you said,

    We prefer to be rational because it is beneficial.

    I’ve gone over this already too. You being rational is not a mere commitment but a pre-commitment. You deciding to be rational only begs the question, because you need to be rational in order to decide you need to be rational.

    Likewise, when a philosopher writes that one must never construct statements that violate the laws of non-contradiction, he is not making a metaphysical claim but a contingent one.

    Logical syllogisms are only possible because of the foundation of the laws of logic (classical logic). So you’re just begging the question as to why we use the LoL.

    But you can understand that Christians believe that Scripture is God’s inspired word and we accept it as truth, especially its anthropology. And I’ve already gone over how atheists own behavior fulfills Scripture’s anthropology. It’s Hebrew and Greek texts. And Heb 8 says the old covenant is obsolete so the Jewish theocracy has been obsolete for 2000 years now.

    Holding explains how the two events are separate (chapter 29 being a separate event), and Tyre was attacked by the Babylonians shortly after and Alexander the Great later on, who’s army comprised of different nations. This all the more makes me believe Scripture.

    I asked you to provide your major arguments for there being a contradiction and you only gave me your opinion of Holding, and gave a brief description of what the supposed contradiction is. I guess I’m still waiting for you to offer something more.


  10. I return again to the first premise:

    1. Humans ought to be rational and intelligible.

    Naturalist: There is no evidence that rationality and intelligibility have intrinsic value. It is well-evidenced, however, that humans value rationality and intelligibility instrumentally, ie. because they are necessary for survival and prosperity.

    Theist: But deciding to be rational in order to survive presupposes rationality. After all, one has to rationally choose to be rational.

    Naturalist:No more than Pavlov’s dog had a pre-commitment to rationality. When the bell rang, the dog expected food. There was no rational consideration of the effect of the bell (namely, the arrival of food), merely conditioning. In a similar manner, humans could have become increasingly rational because of an unconscious impetus to fulfill certain desires. This did not have to occur as a rational decision, but as a long process of trial-and-error. Indeed this resembles closely the history of philosophy (and pretty much all human endeavors at progress).

    Theist: The Laws of Logic prescribe that we follow them. The Naturalist has no explanation for why we should follow them.

    Naturalist: In other words, we ought not to contradict the Laws of Logic. This has the same problem as the first premise: there is no evidence that LoL compliance is intrinsically valuable.

    “I asked you to provide your major arguments for there being a contradiction and you only gave me your opinion of Holding, and gave a brief description of what the supposed contradiction is. I guess I’m still waiting for you to offer something more.”

    A bit revisionist for my taste. Actually you asked:

    “With the Tyre contradiction, in a nutshell, what are your major arguments for it contradicting?”

    I’m not sure how big nutshells are where you live, but in North America we tend to take that metaphor to mean,”a brief description.”

    “Holding explains how the two events are separate (chapter 29 being a separate event), and Tyre was attacked by the Babylonians shortly after and Alexander the Great later on, who’s army comprised of different nations. This all the more makes me believe Scripture.”

    A few problems with this. Firstly, only Nebuchadnezzar is described as attacking Tyre. Alexander is never mentioned by name or even implied, so it seems completely ad-hoc to consider him. But, Holding says, Alexander’s army would’ve consisted of the many nations described earlier! And Alexander did indeed break down the towers and throw the stones, timber and rubble into the sea (well, actually he did that before he broke down the towers, but never mind)! Unfortunately for this explanation, Nebuchadnezzar’s army also consisted of many ethnic groups, drawn from the conquered peoples of the Chaldean empire.

    Thus we are left without any reason to consider Alexander the Great as fulfilling this prophecy, since Nebuchadnezzar is explicitly shown trampling through the streets of a defeated Tyre (with an army consisting of many nations). This never happened. Nebuchadnezzar engaged in an unsuccessful siege on Tyre, true, but failing to take it he entered a truce.

    Now, Ezekiel 29: the sheepish prophet admits that Nebuchadnezzar failed in his siege (and by implication that the prophecy was unfulfilled) and promises that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt. This also never happened.

    Hopefully that is sufficient detail.


  11. There is no evidence that rationality and intelligibility have intrinsic value.

    Again, I’ve never said logic or people have intrinsic value but that only God has intrinsic value, we have extrinsic value by being created in his image.

    A dog identifying food or having instincts to survive isn’t the same as saying it ought to not contradict. A dog can distinguish between things, but that’s not the same as saying it ought to not contradict. I’d argue dogs don’t know what a contradiction is, or that they shouldn’t do it, yet they still survive. It’s the instincts which drive the survival, not the ability to not contradict. Again, we could potentially contradict all the time and still survive. Even people who don’t want to survive and kill themselves have a pre-commitment to not contradict. Also, you haven’t answered my question, which came first, the pre-commitment to not contradict or the ability to survive?

    humans could have become increasingly rational because of an unconscious impetus to fulfill certain desires.

    And I’m saying humans could have been created in the image of God.

    I’m not sure how big nutshells are where you live, but in North America we tend to take that metaphor to mean,”a brief description.”

    I know! Can you believe it!

    A few problems with this. Firstly, only Nebuchadnezzar is described as attacking Tyre. Alexander is never mentioned by name or even implied, so it seems completely ad-hoc to consider him. But, Holding says, Alexander’s army would’ve consisted of the many nations described earlier! And Alexander did indeed break down the towers and throw the stones, timber and rubble into the sea (well, actually he did that before he broke down the towers, but never mind)! Unfortunately for this explanation, Nebuchadnezzar’s army also consisted of many ethnic groups, drawn from the conquered peoples of the Chaldean empire.

    I’ve only looked into this a little and already have great disagreements with the arguments you’ve presented.
    1. Alexander’s armies (and the nations therein) don’t have to be specifically named. Even when Jesus prophecies in Mat 24 that the temple will soon be destroyed (in 70 ad) he doesn’t name the specific armies. And I have no problem with Alexander’s armies consisting within the first mention of nations, given the pronoun changes.
    2. Even if you want to rule out Alexander, you already agree that Nebuchadnezzar’s armies consisted of multiple nations.
    3. The order of things the armies break don’t necessarily have to be in chronological order, unless it specifically said so. That doesn’t qualify a contradiction in the true meaning of the word, but nay-sayers being pedantic.
    4. Does Ezekiel 26 says Neb will “take” Tyre? I thought God was simply bringing judgment upon it.
    5. In chapter 29, he acknowledges that Neb didn’t fully take it, but again, if the “nations” referred to in chap 26 include Alexander’s or others, then the prophecy is fulfilled way beyond its description.

    This is the only thing I can find so far about Ezekiel 29 and Egypt:

    http://radaractive.blogspot.com/2006/12/ezekiel-29-bible-prophecy.html

    Sources for this are scarce, but I probably wont lose sleep over it.


  12. If cognitive compliance with the LoL has no intrinsic value, then I have no need to explain why I ought not to contradict. It is simply sufficient to say that thinking in a coherent way fulfills more of my desires than it would otherwise. This is not necessarily a rational decision on my part, merely trial-and-error or, more often, intellectual inheritance. Is this a sufficient naturalistic explanation? If not, why?

    Survival may indeed depend on me making rational inferences. Since I am not suicidal, survival is a basic, uncontrollable urge. If I find survival more likely given rational inferences (through trial and error etc.), then I will involuntarily act in a way that makes my survival more likely. My desire to survive is not based on any metaphysical claim; it is merely a biological trait. No pre-commitment necessary.


  13. Adamoriens, I’ll reply to this later, but would you want to come onto my campus Christian radio show? I’d like to debate an atheist over the air. It’s an hour long show every Thursday from 9-10pm CST. You can check it out at snakecrushingradio.wordpress.com

    If you’re interested then email me your phone number at humisacoolband@yahoo.com and I’ll give you more info. Pray about it and let me know. J/k


  14. Hi Cameron. As it happens you’ve caught me between phones- it’s going to be a couple weeks before I get my new number. I’d certainly be interested in a radio debate, provided it was civil and somewhat structured, with some pre-determined topics so we could both prepare adequately. I’ll email you at some point in the near future.

    On a different note, I’ve recalled that I found you through a post at http://evaluatingchristianity.wordpress.com/, which I check out every so often.


  15. I thought you meant do the LoL assumes we have intrinsic value. I’m confused what you mean by “do the LoL have intrinsic value?” And how does that tie into explaining whether or not you ought to be rational?

    Anytime you assume you “ought” to do something or “ought” to behave a certain way assumes God to me, or at least refutes “naturalism”, as there is nothing in mindless, finite “nature” which can prescribe what we ought to do – we can only detect what we have done and we do for the momment. And so it is with survival and rational inferences.

    And even if survival did depend on you being rational, that still doesn’t mean you ought to be rational, because it’s not the case that you ought to survive (in a “naturalistic” world).


  16. I think we’re treading about in circles here. I see no evidence for an ontological “ought” to be rational.

    Apparently you agree:

    “Again, I’ve never said logic or people have intrinsic value…”

    I do see evidence for a contingent “ought,” whereby my desire to survive and thrive leads me to be rational. I’ve offered a naturalistic explanation for how humans may have become more rational through non-rational means or processes. This kills your argument from the outset.

    I never claimed that survival or rationality have intrinsic value; in fact, I’ve argued the complete opposite. What exactly is inconsistent with my position?


  17. It depends on what you mean by intrinsic value. I believe only God ultimately is/has intrinsic value, we have extrinsic value (value which comes from him), thus only in this sense do we have intrinsic value. But I think I see what you’re saying now when you compare ontological oughtness to contingent oughtness. I’m saying there can be no true contingent oughtness apart from ontological oughtness.

    Your contingent ought is derived from your biological or physiological makeup. It’s subject to change. Thus, your attempting to produce an “ought” out of “what is for now”. You desire to survive and thrive and you use this as a reason, but if the reason is not also an ought then it ceases to be a reason why one ought. Just because an effect is dependent on a cause doesn’t also mean we can say the effect ought to be what it is. That’s why I believe what ought to be can only derive from (or reflect) the eternal and personal. If we try to say something is prescriptive, then it can’t really be so if it’s only derived from the impersonal finite, because the finite can change, and hasn’t always prescribed what we now try to.


  18. Exactly. I’ve been forced to equivocate on the meaning of “ought” or prefix it with other words to communicate my meaning. I’m not attempting to get from “is” to “ought” or anything like that. I’m not attempting to show that we ought to be rational for its own sake, and I think that it is a huge misunderstanding to say that the LoL actually prescribe such a thing, or that by being rational we presuppose it.

    It appears your argument is ineffective. Do you disagree?


  19. You said, “my desire to survive and thrive leads me to be rational.”

    So you claim you’re rational because it’s your biological instinct? So it’s not that you “ought” to be rational, it’s that you just are?

    If that’s your argument then I’d ask, if nature were to ever evolve people with the capacity to be rational (and survive longer without it), but also with the desire not to be, then should they go against the desire and be rational anyways? If one answered “no” or “yes” in this instance, they’d prove their pre-commitment to it apart from their desire. So it comes down to not only a desire to be rational, but also our capacity to be rational.

    (However, if we go against nature, it’s part of nature too! Just like the the song ‘no new tale to tell’ by Love and Rockets.)

    How can mindless and finite nature evolve the human sentient capacity whereby we have abstract, absolute, universal concepts such as “infinity”, which is a concept not based upon anything observable? How does this non-marble exist in a world of only marbles?


  20. You were the one who made the argument from transcendence, not I. It is sufficient for me to undermine a premise or locate a logical fallacy to render the argument ineffective. You volunteered to take the burden that no naturalistic explanation exists to explain “pre-committment to rationality.” If I offer one, it is up to you to utterly refute it, and not my burden to support it. In fact, according to the rules of engagement, I’ve gone above and beyond my duty in offering naturalistic scenarios: it would suffice to point out that you haven’t investigated all possible naturalistic explanations and refuted them, and your argument would be undermined.

    “How can mindless and finite nature evolve the human sentient capacity whereby we have abstract, absolute, universal concepts such as “infinity”, which is a concept not based upon anything observable? How does this non-marble exist in a world of only marbles?”

    This is the fallacy of composition. What is true of a part (rational humans) need not be true of the whole (non-rational universe).

    I believe I have already requested you to present your argument in syllogistic form, but you’ve not done that favour. You’ve not objected directly to the one I presented, and yet have agreed that the first premise is not self-evident (1. Humans ought to be rational and intelligible). At this point I have no idea what your argument really is.


  21. You suggest that nature makes us rational. This assumes you don’t have to be rational, but just happen to be. This is the only naturalistic scenario I’ve seen you give and the necessary conclusion that you don’t have to be rational is absurd to me. You’ll never live like this, and if nature gave you the desire to contradict, you’d contend with it because you’d know it’s false.

    1. My argument wouldn’t be undermined because we’ve only inferred that intelligence only comes from intelligene, never non-intelligene. Thus, your position would be undermined. Just assuming “nature” will explain it someday is what I call the promissory note fallacy.

    2. I don’t care that you’ve requested a syllogism. I’m more interested in arguing from inference, not a deductive syllogism. I’d rather compare worldviews and see what best accounts for our sentient behavior.

    3. A mere biological desire to be rational doesn’t suffice because once we get to the point of knowing what a contradiction is, we know we ought to not contradict. We don’t just desire to not contradict, but we know what a contradiction is, thus know we shouldn’t do it. We know it’s lying. We know it’s false, and wrong. And you can’t say nature has us know what a contradiction is because it can’t account for all concepts.


  22. >>You suggest that nature makes us rational. This assumes you don’t have to be rational, but just happen to be. This is the only naturalistic scenario I’ve seen you give and the necessary conclusion that you don’t have to be rational is absurd to me. You’ll never live like this, and if nature gave you the desire to contradict, you’d contend with it because you’d know it’s false.<>My argument wouldn’t be undermined because we’ve only inferred that intelligence only comes from intelligene, never non-intelligene. Thus, your position would be undermined. Just assuming “nature” will explain it someday is what I call the promissory note fallacy.<>I don’t care that you’ve requested a syllogism. I’m more interested in arguing from inference, not a deductive syllogism. I’d rather compare worldviews and see what best accounts for our sentient behavior.<>A mere biological desire to be rational doesn’t suffice because once we get to the point of knowing what a contradiction is, we know we ought to not contradict. We don’t just desire to not contradict, but we know what a contradiction is, thus know we shouldn’t do it. We know it’s lying. We know it’s false, and wrong. And you can’t say nature has us know what a contradiction is because it can’t account for all concepts.<<

    Saying "we know" repeatedly is not very convincing.


    • Sorry about this garbled post. See below for a coherent one.


  23. “You suggest that nature makes us rational. This assumes you don’t have to be rational, but just happen to be. This is the only naturalistic scenario I’ve seen you give and the necessary conclusion that you don’t have to be rational is absurd to me. You’ll never live like this, and if nature gave you the desire to contradict, you’d contend with it because you’d know it’s false.”

    Whatever. So long as you only find this aesthetically displeasing I don’t really care.

    “My argument wouldn’t be undermined because we’ve only inferred that intelligence only comes from intelligene, never non-intelligene. Thus, your position would be undermined. Just assuming “nature” will explain it someday is what I call the promissory note fallacy.”

    You argued that naturalism was insufficient. I made no counter-claim, but merely pointed out where you had failed to substantiate your argument. Thus, you have a burden of proof and I’ve assumed none.

    ” I don’t care that you’ve requested a syllogism. I’m more interested in arguing from inference, not a deductive syllogism. I’d rather compare worldviews and see what best accounts for our sentient behavior.”

    Then create an inductive syllogism. Your refusal lay your argument bare to critical scrutiny looks cowardly and/or arrogant. You can’t accuse of me of not trying to engage your argument- I simply wish I knew what it was.

    “A mere biological desire to be rational doesn’t suffice because once we get to the point of knowing what a contradiction is, we know we ought to not contradict. We don’t just desire to not contradict, but we know what a contradiction is, thus know we shouldn’t do it. We know it’s lying. We know it’s false, and wrong. And you can’t say nature has us know what a contradiction is because it can’t account for all concepts.”

    Saying “we know” repeatedly is not very convincing.

    Is there such a thing as a theistic promissory-note fallacy?


  24. 1. The worldview of Christianity comports the most with reality as we know and experience it.
    2. Other worldviews comport less.
    3. Christianity is probably true.

    There’s my syllogism.

    “Whatever. So long as you only find this aesthetically displeasing I don’t really care.”

    Well, I think I showed how your assumption doesn’t comport with reality so that’s why I see it as problematic. I like to look at what worldview comports with reality and is most consistent because I think consistency is a tell tale sign of truth. You can ask “what if” until you’re blue in the face. That’s not getting after the truth, and if we’re not after that, then at least go to Disney Land before you die.

    “Your refusal lay your argument bare to critical scrutiny looks cowardly and/or arrogant.”

    My argument is that Christianity comports the most with ourselves and the world we live in. I have no problem with this being scrutinized. You look cowardly when you offer no alternative worldview, but are only interested in showing that it can’t be the Lord Jesus Christ. That behavior is actually a fulfillment of Scripture.

    Saying “we know” repeatedly is not very convincing.

    Really? Then point me to someone who knows what a contradiction is but chooses to contradict non-stop anyways. Then I’ll believe you that it’s “not very convincing”.

    Is there such a thing as a theistic promissory-note fallacy?

    I call the naturalistic promissory-note a fallacy because it limits what can be reasonable possible causes. I believe “nature” can explain things, but I don’t rule God out. I see him as more natural then the “natural”.


  25. “1. The worldview of Christianity comports the most with reality as we know and experience it.
    2. Other worldviews comport less.
    3. Christianity is probably true.

    There’s my syllogism.”

    Fair enough. P2 seems to be redundant since it is implied in P1, but in any case, you have the burden of showing that both P1 and P2 are true. In other words, you must show that Christianity is superior to all (again: all) possible alternatives.

    “Well, I think I showed how your assumption doesn’t comport with reality so that’s why I see it as problematic. I like to look at what worldview comports with reality and is most consistent because I think consistency is a tell tale sign of truth. You can ask “what if” until you’re blue in the face.”

    You said this earlier:

    “This is the only naturalistic scenario I’ve seen you give and the necessary conclusion that you don’t have to be rational is absurd to me.”

    I couldn’t find a non-contingent reason to be rational. I didn’t see any intrinsic value in such a thing. Therefore it seems to me that there is no reason to think rationality has anything instrumental value. So long as we value and desire certain things, we will be rational. So I don’t see any inherent absurdity in the notion that we aren’t obligated to be rational in the strictest, ontological sense.

    “My argument is that Christianity comports the most with ourselves and the world we live in. I have no problem with this being scrutinized. You look cowardly when you offer no alternative worldview, but are only interested in showing that it can’t be the Lord Jesus Christ. That behavior is actually a fulfillment of Scripture.”

    Your first post of this discussion:

    “For about a year now, I’ve been asking atheists the same question over and over, and have still had no atheist answer it. Why do you have a pre-commitment to rationality as opposed to irrationality? Is it because we’re created in the image of an eternal, personal, being (God – who is eternally rational), or star dust (a finite mindless thing)? Having a pre-commitment to be rational is required to even do science, hence why “proof of God is that without him you can’t prove anything”.”

    At the beginning of this discussion, you can see that you merely requested a coherent naturalistic explanation for what you called “a pre-commitment to rationality.” You did not request an alternative worldview, so I did not feel I had to offer one. If you would like to learn more about naturalism, I could offer some suggestions.

    “That behavior is actually a fulfillment of Scripture.”

    You are on the defensive now, so it would seem as if I’m simply attacking you out of some anti-Christian prejudice. But please remember it was you who threw down the gauntlet first and challenged someone to come forth with a naturalistic explanation. While my implication that you were a coward was out of line (I apologize for that), I have attempted to maintain a spirit of courtesy and cordiality. I hope this discussion continues in that spirit.

    “Really? Then point me to someone who knows what a contradiction is but chooses to contradict non-stop anyways. Then I’ll believe you that it’s “not very convincing”.”

    I was quite flippant when I responded to your earlier comment, so I’ll try again. Earlier you said:

    ” A mere biological desire to be rational doesn’t suffice because once we get to the point of knowing what a contradiction is, we know we ought to not contradict.”

    It’s not that we have a biological desire to be rational. In my naturalistic scenario, we suppose that rationality is an emergent property of beings who struggle to better survive and thrive. Indeed we find that there was a struggle to discern what is rational, and that we seemed to come about it by trial-and-error.

    “I call the naturalistic promissory-note a fallacy because it limits what can be reasonable possible causes. I believe “nature” can explain things, but I don’t rule God out. I see him as more natural then the “natural”.”

    I think we could probably call skeptical theistic explanations as an exercise in the theistic promissory-note fallacy. For example: “we don’t know why God has allowed evil, but he must have a good reason.”


  26. I think we could probably call skeptical theistic explanations as an exercise in the theistic promissory-note fallacy. For example: “we don’t know why God has allowed evil, but he must have a good reason.”

    That wouldn’t really be a theistic promissory note in the same sense I was refering to a naturalistic promissory note. You’re example would be more like an attribute-of-God promissory note. With a naturalistic prommisory note, it’s assumed that God can’t be allowed into his own universe, while even with a theistic promissory note the “natural” realm is already considered, just not considered to be ultimate reality.

    And if Scripture is God’s word and revelation, then the answer as to why Yahweh allows evil is simple. It’s for his glory. Also, I would argue that without Yahweh “evil” cannot even be a possibility. But that’s a whole other discussion.

    I’ll reply to the rest of your statements later.


  27. Adamoriens,

    Fair enough. P2 seems to be redundant since it is implied in P1, but in any case, you have the burden of showing that both P1 and P2 are true. In other words, you must show that Christianity is superior to all (again: all) possible alternatives.

    Everyone has the burden of showing that their worldview (or view of the world) comports the most with reality. And “everyone” includes you.

    You said this earlier:

    “This is the only naturalistic scenario I’ve seen you give and the necessary conclusion that you don’t have to be rational is absurd to me.”

    I couldn’t find a non-contingent reason to be rational. I didn’t see any intrinsic value in such a thing. Therefore it seems to me that there is no reason to think rationality has anything instrumental value. So long as we value and desire certain things, we will be rational. So I don’t see any inherent absurdity in the notion that we aren’t obligated to be rational in the strictest, ontological sense.

    You say we don’t contradict because we value and desire things. But people could value and desire contradicting. So you admit that people could and/or should contradict non-stop if they desired to?

    At the beginning of this discussion, you can see that you merely requested a coherent naturalistic explanation for what you called “a pre-commitment to rationality.” You did not request an alternative worldview, so I did not feel I had to offer one. If you would like to learn more about naturalism, I could offer some suggestions.

    And in all the other discussions that I was referring to that I’ve had with atheists, I always ask them, “Is it God, stardust, or something else?” Just because I didn’t say “or something else” at the top of this particular thread doesn’t mean I am breaking some kind of blog law which prevents me from asking you now, “how do you account for it?” Are you trying to get into your own car or are you just trying to get into mine and crash it into a tree? Scripture says you’ll do the latter. That’s not being defensive, but is pointing out 1. the consistency of Scripture’s anthropology, and 2. showing that you only want to throw bombs and run when they’re thrown back.

    I suggest you refer naturalists to me. Invite them to this blog so their high-priestly naturalistic assumptions can be challenged. I’ve debated many naturalists on this blog, as well as on their blogs, and they’ve never offered anything remotely consistent, which all the more proves premise 1 and 2.

    It’s not that we have a biological desire to be rational. In my naturalistic scenario, we suppose that rationality is an emergent property of beings who struggle to better survive and thrive. Indeed we find that there was a struggle to discern what is rational, and that we seemed to come about it by trial-and-error.

    How is that not a biological desire? I’m using “biological” as an umbrella term of all the atoms that comprise us. How is it “emergent” as opposed to “contingent”? In your hypothetical, which came first, the desire or the rationality? How do we come about knowing that 1 cannot be non-1 by trial and error? Can you give an example of this?


  28. “Everyone has the burden of showing that their worldview (or view of the world) comports the most with reality. And “everyone” includes you.”

    I`m alright with that.

    “You say we don’t contradict because we value and desire things. But people could value and desire contradicting. So you admit that people could and/or should contradict non-stop if they desired to?”

    I`m sure they could. People actually do love contradictions and paradoxes, and a great many think they are somehow significant.

    “And in all the other discussions that I was referring to that I’ve had with atheists, I always ask them, “Is it God, stardust, or something else?” Just because I didn’t say “or something else” at the top of this particular thread doesn’t mean I am breaking some kind of blog law which prevents me from asking you now, “how do you account for it?” Are you trying to get into your own car or are you just trying to get into mine and crash it into a tree? Scripture says you’ll do the latter. That’s not being defensive, but is pointing out 1. the consistency of Scripture’s anthropology, and 2. showing that you only want to throw bombs and run when they’re thrown back.”

    I have offered a naturalistic account which undermined your argument. I`ve also pointed out that your hypothesis (God did it) has some deep problems. I`ve stayed here to defend my hypothesis and continue critiquing your argument. I would not characterize my conduct as somehow running away.

    “I suggest you refer naturalists to me. Invite them to this blog so their high-priestly naturalistic assumptions can be challenged. I’ve debated many naturalists on this blog, as well as on their blogs, and they’ve never offered anything remotely consistent, which all the more proves premise 1 and 2.”

    I`m not sure what to make of this. Your focus seems to be on combat over all else, to the expense of refining or discarding an unpersuasive argument. I find this confirmed in many of your posts, in which you recount in wearisome detail your various debates with suitably clueless opponents. Debate is fun, exciting, visceral even, but it is not the end (or perhaps even the proper beginning) of the search for truth.

    “How is that not a biological desire? I’m using “biological” as an umbrella term of all the atoms that comprise us. How is it “emergent” as opposed to “contingent”? In your hypothetical, which came first, the desire or the rationality?”

    We seem to have certain biological desires, which include the desire to survive, procreate, and flourish. Now, it seems to me that the best way to secure these ends would be to act in a largely rational manner; making inferences and coming to conclusions and predictions etc. We would describe this sort of thought as reasoning, and assign it the quality of rationality. In a sense, then, rationality is a property that has emerged as man has sought to survive, thrive, and ultimately understand himself and organize his thoughts.

    “How do we come about knowing that 1 cannot be non-1 by trial and error? Can you give an example of this?

    Sure. If I assign 1 to oranges, and non-1 to things that are not oranges, I find out in short order that non-1 things do not taste like oranges. Ergo, I know that oranges are not non-oranges.

    Before you object that I assume rationality before the law of non-contradiction, let me point out that many animals can tell the difference between oranges and non-oranges, and so would appear to have the rudiments of reason. Is this simply instinctual on the part of man and beast, that we can make instantaneous (and successful) inferences? If adherence to the law of non-contradiction is adequate to define rationality, then it seems to me we could describe many animals as being rational. Certainly no no non-human we know of has articulated a rational statement, but they instinctively operate as if 1 is not non-1 (oranges are not non-oranges) on a regular basis. I think, but correct me if I am wrong, that this is problematic for your hypothesis. Are animals, too, made in the image of God?


  29. Oh, by the way, I was wondering if you got the email I sent a while back?


  30. Adamoriens,

    Thanks for the email. I get a lot of spam there so sorry I didn’t see it and reply to you. I actually stopped doing my campus radio show last month and am now getting ready to leave the country. I do know Gene Cook is always looking for atheists for his worldwide podcast at the narrow mind: http://thenarrowmind.com/

    But back to your comment, you said,

    I have offered a naturalistic account which undermined your argument. I`ve also pointed out that your hypothesis (God did it) has some deep problems.

    I’m still critiqing your argument to see if it holds up. And I’ve pointed out the hypothesis “nature” did it has deeper problems. Apart from that, you haven’t offered a worldview of your own, which is why I say you’re running.

    We seem to have certain biological desires, which include the desire to survive, procreate, and flourish. Now, it seems to me that the best way to secure these ends would be to act in a largely rational manner; making inferences and coming to conclusions and predictions etc. We would describe this sort of thought as reasoning, and assign it the quality of rationality. In a sense, then, rationality is a property that has emerged as man has sought to survive, thrive, and ultimately understand himself and organize his thoughts.

    Earlier you already said rationality isn’t contingent, but is emergent. Then I asked you to tell me which came first, the desire or the rationality. Please answer my question instead of re-state your position.

    Sure. If I assign 1 to oranges, and non-1 to things that are not oranges, I find out in short order that non-1 things do not taste like oranges. Ergo, I know that oranges are not non-oranges.

    I asked how you can know that 1 cannot be non-1 by trial and error. I meant “1” as in base-10 math. You’re changing the catagory of 1 and non-1 in your example. That’s begging the question of how we know that 1 cannot be non-1 in base-10 math. We can’t find this out by trial and error. It’s a-priori.

    I think, but correct me if I am wrong, that this is problematic for your hypothesis. Are animals, too, made in the image of God?

    1. Like I’ve already said, humans acknowledge identities which aren’t based upon anything observable, i.e. “infinity”, or “future”.

    2. The human understanding of a contradiction is more rich. We realize that it’s not enough to just say A cannot also be non-A, which even animals somewhat evidence by fact of identifying things, yet we also realize that to truly not contradict we must say that A cannot also be non-A in every way. I don’t believe an animals could comprehend this truth, unless they were sentient, thus created in God’s image. They identify things, yet don’t theorize how something cannot be another thing in every way.

    3. The fact that we realize that A cannot also be non-A in every way also ties into morality, because then we’d be lying if we said it could, and we know it’s false and wrong to lie by being created in God’s image. But morality is a whole other argument.


  31. “I’m still critiqing your argument to see if it holds up. And I’ve pointed out the hypothesis “nature” did it has deeper problems. Apart from that, you haven’t offered a worldview of your own, which is why I say you’re running.”

    You’ve criticized me for not offering my own worldview. This I find curious. Am I obliged to offer up a philosophical manifesto when I critique a simple argument elsewhere? No. No one would reasonably expect that. Imagine if you were critiquing some argument that I made; I would never respond by declaring that you had to offer up some massive alternative intellectual infrastructure for your criticism to be valid.

    “The human understanding of a contradiction is more rich. We realize that it’s not enough to just say A cannot also be non-A, which even animals somewhat evidence by fact of identifying things, yet we also realize that to truly not contradict we must say that A cannot also be non-A in every way. I don’t believe an animals could comprehend this truth, unless they were sentient, thus created in God’s image. They identify things, yet don’t theorize how something cannot be another thing in every way.”

    I agree that our [human] understanding is richer than animals. However, I don’t see how this is strictly relevant. It would seem that animals are capable of what you could call simple reasoning, presumably without what you would call the “pre-commitment to rationality.”

    Whatever the case, I find your argument unsatisfactory overall. There are probably some good arguments similar to yours, and I’ve been hearing about Lewis’ Argument from Reason and some evolutionary argument from Plantinga. Best of luck on your travels.


  32. Adamoriens,

    I’m not criticizing you, but am questioning your motives. Why are you critiquing any of my arguments if it’s not for the intention of searching for truth? Do you believe consistency is a sign of truth? If not, you’re absurd. If so, then you should naturally desire a worldview which is consistent with any of your critiques. Yet you only want to account for a puzzle piece, yet not the puzzle you’re stealing the piece from. Otherwise, you might find yourself leaning towards the Christian worldview, so I can understand your avoidance of offering a worldview, and your convenient justification of why you don’t want to offer anything.

    Animals don’t reason. If you call the first law of logic “reason” then fine. That’s your opinion. That’s not what philosophers for centuries have referred to it as. I’m talking about reason in the sense of knowing what a contradiction is, and knowing that it’s unreasonable to do it. Again, an animal doesn’t even know what a contradiction is, let alone that A cannot be non-A in every way, or that something is either A or non-A, nor that they shouldn’t contradict and should seek to make sense.

    I asked you twice now which came first, the desire or the rationality, in your argument. You still haven’t answered and if you gave an answer then 1. you’d prove that it’s not “emergent” (like you said), but IS “contingent”, and 2. would show that we’ve come full circle in that I already answered this in my original post. If the desire came first, then the animal was able to survive without rationality. If rationality came first, then there is a pre-commitment before the desire. Either way you answer, your critique proves false. So this is probably why you haven’t answered yet. Sorry.

    Even when you critique my original post, you’re forced to make positive statements yourself, which then I can critique. So far your positive claims against my argument don’t hold water.

    Enough about the intellectual stuff. Let’s get to the heart of the matter. What do you think about my friend Jesus? He can save you from the penalty of your sins and also give you the most consistent worldview.


  33. WOW! I love that! I’ll have to add your blog to my favorites!

    God Bless you Cameron!


  34. It’s always like that… Atheists present ”Arguments/contradictions”… We explain, they come back, we clarify further, it’s like that until their only answer is: ”Well, if you believe that, you’re stupid!”
    I wrote some thoughts on Athesim, 8 posts, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
    And yes… I am still a Christian! lol

    God bless you!


  35. Thanks Matt 🙂


  36. Have I been banned?


  37. Ok, I guess not. I posted two responses, but neither appeared. Let me try again.

    “I’m not criticizing you, but am questioning your motives. Why are you critiquing any of my arguments if it’s not for the intention of searching for truth? Do you believe consistency is a sign of truth? If not, you’re absurd. If so, then you should naturally desire a worldview which is consistent with any of your critiques. Yet you only want to account for a puzzle piece, yet not the puzzle you’re stealing the piece from. Otherwise, you might find yourself leaning towards the Christian worldview, so I can understand your avoidance of offering a worldview, and your convenient justification of why you don’t want to offer anything.”

    I would agree that consistency is a sign of truth. After all, the law of non-contradiction states that “contradictory statements cannot both at the same time be true.” Since your comments are beginning to include folk psychoanalysis, I thought I might have a go.

    To be honest, I’m still not sure what your argument is. You haven’t defined it in such a way that it is amenable to criticism, and if you had, this discussion would have been either shorter or far more fruitful. It is telling that, as my criticisms become more and more specific, your argument becomes more and more general. This is helpful to explain why you asserted that your argument became, “Christianity is more coherent than all other worldviews” when before it was, “only Christianity can explain why humans have a pre-commitment to rationality.” I entered this conversation to discuss exactly what you meant by “pre-commitment to rationality,” and whether it could be explained by naturalism, and I am not so dense that I cannot tell when a debate is being deliberately derailed for rhetorical purposes.

    What exactly do you want from me? A manifesto in your comments section? A link to some articles? These are, of course, superfluous to my criticisms of your argument.


  38. I’m not sure why your other 2 replies weren’t posted. Sorry about that though. I wouldn’t ban you.

    I brought up a second issue in that I wanted you to offer a worldview by which you can consistently account for all of reality, and I don’t mind saying that you’re scared to do so because then you might be forced towards Christianity, which Scripture says you’ll avoid because in Rom 1:18-20 and Rom 8:6-8.

    All of that was a side point. My first point still stands. I believe Scripture is the only consistent special revelation as to why we ought to be rational. You’ve offered an argument against mine, and now I’m challenging your positive claims. I’ll repeat it again for the 4th time:

    “Animals don’t reason. If you call the first law of logic “reason” then fine. That’s your opinion. That’s not what philosophers for centuries have referred to it as. I’m talking about reason in the sense of knowing what a contradiction is, and knowing that it’s unreasonable to do it. Again, an animal doesn’t even know what a contradiction is, let alone that A cannot be non-A in every way, or that something is either A or non-A, nor that they shouldn’t contradict and should seek to make sense.

    I asked you twice now which came first, the desire or the rationality, in your argument. You still haven’t answered and if you gave an answer then 1. you’d prove that it’s not “emergent” (like you said), but IS “contingent”, and 2. would show that we’ve come full circle in that I already answered this in my original post. If the desire came first, then the animal was able to survive without rationality. If rationality came first, then there is a pre-commitment before the desire.”

    If you feel like you’re done talking about this and are confused as to where it’s going, then we can switch topics to the gospel. What do you think about my friend Jesus? Do you believe he is the Truth like he claimed, or not?


  39. “Animals don’t reason. If you call the first law of logic “reason” then fine. That’s your opinion. That’s not what philosophers for centuries have referred to it as. I’m talking about reason in the sense of knowing what a contradiction is, and knowing that it’s unreasonable to do it. Again, an animal doesn’t even know what a contradiction is, let alone that A cannot be non-A in every way, or that something is either A or non-A, nor that they shouldn’t contradict and should seek to make sense.”

    I can’t speak on the ability of animals to reflect on their moral duties toward rationality, but it would be ignorant to maintain that animals do not have at least some of the cognitive abilities that humans do:

    http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0097-7403.16.2.162

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070222-chimps-spears.html

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17171360

    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/276/1655/247

    http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.0060202

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4660924.ece

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/psychology/primatecognitionlab/References/BrannonTerrace2000.pdf

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12993-chimps-outperform-humans-at-memory-task.html

    http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/a0017703

    “I asked you twice now which came first, the desire or the rationality, in your argument. You still haven’t answered and if you gave an answer then 1. you’d prove that it’s not “emergent” (like you said), but IS “contingent”, and 2. would show that we’ve come full circle in that I already answered this in my original post. If the desire came first, then the animal was able to survive without rationality. If rationality came first, then there is a pre-commitment before the desire. Either way you answer, your critique proves false. So this is probably why you haven’t answered yet. Sorry.”

    You offer the dilemma: which came first, the desire for (and subsequent choice to acquire) rationality, or rationality? As stated, it is a false dilemma, or at least it is predicated on the assumption that we have come (and can only come) to rationality by conscious means. But this is unwarranted. I have proposed that it is possible for us to become more rational by unconscious means, ie. by process of natural selection. We are called homo sapiens (“man who thinks”). We also dominate this planet. This, I think, is not coincidental.

    I have not argued that the fact that humans have a desire to be rational explains why they are rational. I have attempted to explain that the primary biological desires have led to a desire to be rational; that is to say, the desire to be rational is an emergent one, borne by the discovery (and/or unthinking natural selection)that rationality confers an advantage.
    If rationality confers an advantage (and surely it does) to humans, and those humans with this advantage will propagate more than those without this advantage, than more and more humans will be rational. If we take modern biology to be correct in its findings that humans evolved from earlier primates, than we should expect our ancestors and co-descendants to have similar cognitive faculties to ours. And, indeed, this is precisely what we find.

    So I see no necessity for a “pre-commitment” to rationality, and no need to posit a particular Semitic deity to explain it.

    “Even when you critique my original post, you’re forced to make positive statements yourself, which then I can critique. So far your positive claims against my argument don’t hold water.”

    I’m sorry to hear it.

    “Enough about the intellectual stuff. Let’s get to the heart of the matter. What do you think about my friend Jesus? He can save you from the penalty of your sins and also give you the most consistent worldview.”

    On your view, I have a moral commitment to sort out the “intellectual stuff.” Nevertheless, I find Jesus to be an amicable fellow depending on who you talk to.

    I think I’ll exit this conversation now. It has consumed more of my time than it warrants, but if you’d really like to continue you can find me at http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/index.php.


  40. To you rationality “emerges” by non-rational matter behaving to be somewhat rational in that it “wants” to select that which will make a ball of matter eat, poop, murder others, debate its existence, and reproduce for a short while.

    But a mindless physical process can’t select for non-physical abstractions in the first place, let alone select for abstract prescriptive laws in that A cannot also be non-A in every way.

    This is your great faith. You believe the mindless physical world can pretend to not be mindless and additionally select for non-physical laws of logic for the arbitrary reason of temporal survival.

    And even if rationality does confer more survival, this does not account for its origin nor our pre-commitment to it. You could just as well argue that “natural selection” wanted us to be rational and also not survive very long, since we don’t. It’s interesting how you say it’s emergent yet keep bringing up this particular cause and effect example, which begs the question.

    You say you see no necessity for a pre-commitment to rationality yet live every second like you have a pre-commitment to it, even when it’s NOT conducive to your survival, such as arguing with me on here.

    Of course it’s not coincidental that we think and dominate the planet. God created us in his image and created us to dominate the planet.

    Jesus isn’t a particular Semitic deity. He’s the only specially revealed God who is said to be eternal. What are Jesus’ claims? Not just that he’s the Messiah to ethnic Jews, but is the Messiah and Savior for the whole world! Nice try in trying to make Yahweh into a mere tribal god. This behavior happens so often when people want to bring God down, and bring themselves up. Scripture calls it blaspheme and is breaking the 3rd commandment. I’m not saying you’re doing this but might be, since many do.

    Apart from that criterion there can be no logic and no real morality. As an alternative you’ve posited “nature” I think, which is mindless, finite, stardust to account for our reality so far. You haven’t offered much else yet.

    We can end the conversation, that’s fine. And since you act like logic and morality are realities then I ask you to have Jesus Christ save you from your immorality and give you the most consistent worldview. You say that Jesus was only amicable, thus according to Scripture you’re anti-Christ and reject who he said he was, namely, Lord. Take care. Grace to you in Jesus Christ.



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