Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is science?

New atheists invoke 'science' as the pinnacle of methods to find truth.

In fact, atheists of a positivist inclination assert that science is the only way to know truth. By science, they explicitly mean methodological naturalism. Implicitly, they presume philosophical naturalism.

But what is 'science'?

Traditionally, as understood by philosophers from the ancient Greeks to the scholastics, scientia was Latin for "knowing" and "understanding". Scientia was an organized body of knowledge. It did not refer only to knowledge of nature. Theology was scientia. Ethics was scientia. Knowledge of nature was referred to as natural philosophy.

From the early modern period, science came to refer to scientia of the natural world. It has generally been distinguished by the scientific method-- a system of testing hypotheses about the natural world. Science came to mean primarily the acquisition of knowledge about nature that permits the manipulation of nature.

Understanding nature is, of course, still philosophy. It is still a kind of knowing. Scientia of nature, understood classically.

Science is stipulated to be the study of nature. So, of course, it cannot adjudicate the existence of the supernatural. It is a way of knowing tailored to knowing nature. And science understood as metaphysical naturalism does not presuppose natural causes. It presupposes natural effects. Supernatural causes are very much in the purview of natural science, as long as they have natural effects. An obvious example of a natural effect with a supernatural cause (by definition!) is the Big Bang. Nature itself cannot be caused by nature.

The question as to whether nature is all that exists is a question beyond science. It is a philosophical question broadly. It is a metaphysical question specifically.

From metaphysics, the argument that nature is all that exists is extraordinarily weak. Only two metaphysical arguments of any substance at all have been advanced to defend the assertion that nature is all that exists.

Hume proposed that perhaps nature, not God, is the ground of Being. If one must stop in causal regress, why not stop at nature, instead of God?

The reply to Hume preceded Hume. Scholastics had pointed out centuries earlier that the ground of existence must itself contain the principle of its own existence. It must not be contingent. But nature is contingent. It changes constantly, and its components begin and cease to exist continuously. In fact, we now know that nature (the universe) had a moment of beginning. It could not be its own cause of existence because nothing can cause itself to exist. Existence must be caused by Something outside of nature. That Something must Itself have an essence (what It is) that is existence (that It is). The Cause of nature must be outside of nature. Supernatural.

Kant understood the power of this argument, but he denied that we can extend logic to the supernatural. He asserted that all that we can know is the reality presented by our senses- the phenomenal. Reality-in-itself-- the noumenal-- was unknowable to us. he did believe in God, but he believed that God could only be known through the moral law in each of us-- the Categorical Imperative, but not through logic.

There are two problems with Kant's reasoning. The first is that the inference to the Prime Mover/First Cause/Necessary Existence is a deductive argument that extends only through the phenomenal-- through the world as known to the senses. The Ground for Existence is the conclusion of arguments restricted to phenomenal premises. We can validly infer that a Ground for Existence must exist based solely on phenomenal arguments. The nature of the Ground for Existence may be noumenal, but its necessary existence is demonstrable. The argument is phenomenal, and valid.

The other problem with Kant's critique is that if we understand the Ground for Existence as entirely beyond human understanding, including the conclusion that such a Ground exists, then we violate the Principle of Sufficient Reason (the PSR). The PSR asserts that everything has a reason for its existence. It of course does not assert that we currently know the reason for everything (we obviously don't), but it asserts that a reason for everything does exist.

If the Ground for Existence is Kantian noumenal, and intrinsically unknowable and beyond confirmation of its existence, then the PSR is violated. But is the PSR is violated for the universe, then it is violated for each component of the universe. If nothing in the universe needs a reason for its existence, then science and logic are without foundation. 'It just happened' becomes an acceptable explanation for anything and everything.

If Kant is right, then the reasoning Kant used to arrive at his conclusion is without ground. Kant's argument is ultimately self-refuting.

The atheist may reply that the need for a Ground for Existence must apply to God Himself, and therefore recourse to the supernatural doesn't spare us infinite regression.

The atheist would be wrong. God is supernatural, and therefore not a "thing" in need of explanation. If fact, only a supernatural Ground can stop infinite regress. God's essence is His existence.

Science is the study of nature using the scientific method. It has no traction on supernatural questions.

Metaphysics, which does have traction on questions of ultimate reality, provides a powerful and thus far unrefuted argument for His necessary existence.

48 comments:

  1. What's the difference between "supernatural" and "imaginary"?

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  2. @Mike.
    Excellent post! Very impressive. Do you mind if I cross post this on the Faustian (with links)?

    @Godbot
    Truth.

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  3. Dawkins worshipperOctober 4, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    @crusadeREX
    I lol'd.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. @GodBot and Dawkins worshipper said...

    You should have a more open mind!

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  6. @Dawkins worshipper said...

    Your moniker sucks! Do you blow Dawkins?

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  7. Michael,

    Sorry, the Big Bang by definition isn't supernatural. All the theories of the Big Bang have hypotheses concerning what came before the Big Bang, before the start of what we call the Visible Universe, involving the Multiverse.

    You've just taken your tiny concept of God, someone who's intensely interested in humans, listen to prayers, gets angry when they try to control their fertility, and applied it to the start of the part of the Multiverse we call the Visible Universe 13.7 billion years ago.

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  8. @crus:

    Cross-post is fine. Thank you!

    @Godbot:

    Supernatural is what exists without undergoing change. Nature is what changes. This is the traditional Thomistic formulation.

    Imaginary is an image in the mind, derived form sense perceptions. It can correspond to something real, or not.

    @bach:

    There is no 'before' the Big Bang, in terms of time. Time began at the Bid Bang. There can be 'before' in terms of causal priority.

    Nature is the universe, and what ever is prior to the universe is 'super-natur(e)-al.'

    Do you think the universe caused itself? Did the multiverse cause itself?

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  9. @Bach,
    "before the Big Bang"
    EH? 'BEFORE'?
    Must be pre-coffee time down under.

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  10. Michael and CrusadeRex,

    Well, no. Time in our Visible Universe started at the Big Bang. There's no reason for asserting that time doesn't exist in the preexisting Multiverse.

    There has to be something before the Big Bang.

    Also you need to define what you actually mean by 'supernatural'. If you define the Visible Universe as 'nature', and anything outside the Visible Universe as 'supernatural', then OK. But it doesn't advance your case that there's a personal God, who listens to prayers, performs miracles in the far distant past (but not anymore) and takes an unhealthy interest in the reproductive strategies of humans.

    No, I don't think that the Visible Universe caused itself. I don't have the faintest idea whether the Multiverse caused itself. That's a question that's far beyond my capacity to understand, I suspect far beyond any human for all time, but I could be wrong.

    But you're absolutely certain that you've got the answer, based on little knowledge and the writings of philosophers dead for centuries if not millennia.

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  11. Michael,

    'Imaginary' is an image in the mind, derived from sense perceptions. It can correspond to something real, or not'.

    You did claim to be a neurosurgeon who should have some basic understanding of neuroscience?

    Sense perceptions always correspond to something real happening outside the brain. The sense perceptions may be wrong, wholly or in part, giving sensory illusions. The memory of events may equally be wrong as memories are processed in the brain.

    But imaginary events did not happen, or at least there's no sense perception indicating that they happened.

    Also, what evidence do you have that there's something (the supernatural) that exists without changing? That definition would also exclude your definition of God or free will. If God doesn't change, then nothing we do will affect Him, assuming that we have free will, and have the freedom to make decisions, good and bad. So God would be unable to get angry if we make bad decisions or pleased if we make good decisions. If God knows in advance what decisions we are going to make, His level of anger or pleasure already predialed, then we don't have free will.

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  12. @bach:

    See my post tomorrow about the first sentence of your comment.

    "Imagination" means to form a mental image. The image is derived from sense perception (visual, auditory, tactile, etc).

    The image can be of something that exists (a horse), or of something that doesn't (a unicorn). The image of something that doesn't exist is first constructed by our intellect, and is an amalgam of things that do exist.

    Your use of "imaginary" is a peculiar modern variant of the traditional use, which says nothing about reality or non-reality.

    [Also, what evidence do you have that there's something (the supernatural) that exists without changing?]

    The precise term is that the supernatural is that which is Pure Act, and nature is that which is act mixed with potency.

    Pure Act does not change, because it has no potency to elevate to act.

    The manner in which God, Who is Pure Act, can interact with that which can change has been the topic of discussion for at least a millennium. None of the approaches to understanding seem to me to be decisive. The best explanation I have read is that Pure Act is not passive, but maximally active.

    There are things about God's acts that we don't understand. Big surprise.

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  13. [Kant] asserted that all that we can know is the reality presented by our senses- the phenomenal. Reality-in-itself-- the noumenal-- was unknowable to us.

    And in so doing, Kant asserted the unassertable.

    For the only way to assert that we cannot know reality, but only reality as presented by our senses, is to know reality and compare it to what our senses tell us and find a difference. The assertability of not being able to know reality depends on knowing reality.

    So much for Kant.

    An excellent blog post, Dr. Egnor.

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  14. Probably the best and most accessible book on all of this is Edward Feser's The Last Superstition. Those who haven't read it and wish to attack these concepts/arguments really need to read it if they hope to influence those who have.

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  15. Michael,

    Nope. You don't have the correct definition of 'imagination'. Imagination occurs in the absence of sense perception. What you're describing is 'imaging'.

    Claiming that you're using the 'traditional' not the modern use of the word doesn't cut it. Traditionally, the mind was regarded as seeing a high fidelity absolutely accurate video recording of what is actually occurring in the real world. The legal system is slowly coming to realize that eye witness accounts may not be true or accurate, and not just because the witnesses are lying. Eye witness accounts are often inaccurate.

    The meaning of words changes as our understanding of the world changes. 'Evolution' originally meant the unrolling of scrolls to reveal new printed text. That definition is obsolete because scrolls are also obsolete.

    I'm curious to see how far back in time you're forced to go to find a definition that matches yours.

    Also changing supernatural to Pure Act is just replacing one form of gibberish with another.

    'Pure Act doesn't change, because it has no potency to elevate to act .... Pure Act is not passive, but maximally active'.

    Eh? ... Have you been smoking something illegal?

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  16. @bach:

    [Have you been smoking something illegal?]

    Just classical philosophy and theology. Why do I get the sense that you'd like to make it illegal?

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  17. Michael,

    No, I don't want to make classical philosophy and theology illegal.

    I would like them to have health warnings on them (like the health warnings on cigarette packs).

    They do appear to have a potential of turning brains to mush. I'm amazed that you can write such unsupported contradictions and actually think that they are rational. Religion does that to people, I suppose ...

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  18. Bachfiend,

    Read and give a detailed critique of Feser's book for us.

    Otherwise, shush about classical philosophy and theology turning brains into mush. It isn't going to wash with anyone who's actually delved into the topic.

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  19. *sigh*

    Again with the "Big Bang was supernatural" nonsense.

    You cannot tell the difference between what cannot be explained by natural causes, and what hasn't yet been explained by natural causes. You just can't. Perhaps in 2000 years the nature of whatever came before the Big Bang will be as familiar as us as galaxies are today. After all, galaxies were inconceivable 2000 years ago.

    And it 2000 years we've learned precisely NOTHING about the nature of "God" or the "supernatural" except what methodological naturalism has taught us. Thanks to evidence-based science, we know that God isn't at the top of a mountain or above the clouds. We know that Hell is not some cave under the Earth. We know that God didn't create the Earth a few thousand years ago. We've learned a LOT about what God isn't and about where God isn't. All thanks to naturalistic investigation of our universe.

    But in that 2000 years our knowledge of what God IS has not advanced one iota. You can say exactly the same thing about our knowledge of demons, fairies, unicorns or oni.

    So basically, there is no discernible difference between God, the supernatural, and non-existent myth.

    As for classical theology - there is no more meaning in Christian theology than there is in Hindu, Ancient Roman, Raelian or Navajo theology. They are all based on exactly the same factual footing and carry the same level of "truth". You could completely change the belief systems, toss in some basic stuff like "do unto others" (an evolutionary rule long before God) and life after death (a comfort against evolutionary fear of death), and so long as enough people believe and participate, you fulfill that basic human needs that religion satisfies. The particular mythology (the supernatural bit) matters not at all.

    "Supernatural is what exists without undergoing change. "

    You keep quoting history, but then ignoring it. People once thought the Earth didn't change. Then they learned more. Then they thought the stars didn't change. Then they learned more. If you look at history honestly, then you know this: what you say today is "unchanging" is almost certainly wrong. What you declare to be supernatural is wrong. Those declarations have been consistently wrong throughout time, so you're wrong too.

    What's right is that methodological naturalism advances human knowledge, and theology doesn't. Theology is like fashion - arguments, fads, but nothing resembling progress.

    Finally, I don't hear scientists saying that methodological naturalism is the only way to find truth. It is merely the most productive way that we've found so far - by a wide margin.

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  20. Matteo,

    I'll read Feser's book when it's released in Kindle form. I don't read carbon based data retrieval units anymore.

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  21. Fetus-eatin' atheistOctober 5, 2011 at 4:11 AM

    @mregnor
    "Just classical philosophy and theology. Why do I get the sense that you'd like to make it illegal?"

    Because you're paranoid.

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  22. @Bach
    There is not a 'before' the big bang, Bach. There just is NOT. No time - no BEFORE. 'Before' is a Z co-ordinate on the 4 dimensional graph. No graph, no Z.
    What you refer to is M-Theory.
    The theoretical universes predicted in M-theory are OUTSIDE time - just like God. Whether or not there are 'many houses' does not alter the fact that TIME is a measurement within our own. Unless you are suggesting there is MORE than one time stream? That there is a PURPOSE and teleological aspects to the universe? Didn't think so...
    So, we are left where we started - IN time.
    All M-theory does it attempt to push the line back by extending the definition of nature to deal with obvious need for a Prime Mover.
    The regression issue still remains.
    In plain but rather colloquial English: This is a snow job.
    Just another ABG theory.

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  23. CrusadeRex,

    M-theory is just one hypothesis as to what happened before the Big Bang, not one that I actually accept though.

    You're right that time in our Universe started at the Big Bang, but where is your evidence that time didn't already exist in the preexisting Multiverse?

    As an analogy, all young children go through a period when they think that their parents, and the world they can perceive, exist entirely for their benefit, and that nothing existed before they did. But most children grow out of those infantile ideas and learn that their parents had lives before they (the children) were born and that the world doesn't exist for their benefit.

    Most humans have a childish view of the Universe, that it exists entirely for our benefit, that it came into existence with our eventual presence preordained.

    Sorry, you just have to grow up. Humans occupy a tiny speck orbiting a star in a galaxy containing around 200 billion other stars in a Universe which contains at least 100 billion other galaxies that we can see.

    I'm not particularly keen on the 'many worlds' hypothesis of the Multiverse as it's not particularly parsimonious. I can't quite get my head around the idea that the Universe splits into two whenever I decide to retie my shoelaces or not. That's the only way I'd imagine that you could get two time streams, but anyway, that doesn't mean purpose and teleology.

    And abiogenesis is a rich field of study. I'm partial to the hydrothermal vent theory as to the origin of life on Earth.

    Inserting the Prime Mover whenever you can't think of an answer means that you will never look for an answer. It's an enquiry stopper and not a solution.

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  24. Bachfiend, why do you hate God?

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  25. Jesus is my lord,

    I don't hate god. I just don't think that he exists.

    You can't hate fictional characters. Not for long. I hated Professor Snape for almost 7 very thick novels, but when I finished, I stopped hating.

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  26. @bach...
    ...I just don't think that he (God) exists...

    Ah, a self-made man!

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  27. Pepe,

    No, I'm not self made. My parents made me. Do you want a tutorial on the 'birds and the bees'? I'm surprised that someone who is able to use the Internet hasn't come across sex education, particularly since it's been said that the main reason for the Internet is Internet pornography (I've been looking for years and I still haven't found it, when I first got Internet, a girl at work told me the best way to find porn on the Internet was to type 'breasts' into whatever search engine I was using, she was 'right', I've never seen so many recipes for chicken breasts in my life).

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  28. @bach...

    By self-made man I was referring to the atheist paradigm that everything that exists pop out of nothing by chance and that the human race got here by pulling on its own bootstrap.

    As for sex on the Internet, try typing the Latin word "fellatio" in the search engine of your choice!

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  29. Pepe, we hate God as much as you hate Isis or Thor or Xenu. They are all the same. The only difference is you believe in one, and we don't believe in any of them.

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  30. RickK,

    We despise failed scientific theories like Darwinism as much as you despise phlogiston, the luminiferous ether, Ptolemaic epicycles, phrenology, and alchemy. The only difference is you believe in one of those, and we don't believe in any of them.

    Also please do explain how the following brings to mind in any sane person Isis, Thor, or Xenu:

    "In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.
    He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    ...

    He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.


    I'm not asking you to agree with it. All I'm asking is how any sane, educated person could possibly think that the Logos spoken of here is equivalent to Isis, Thor, or Xenu.

    An honest reaction to the quote might be that it is too good to be true.

    But yammering on about Isis, Thor or Xenu in response to it is a sign only of a very small mind and a cramped, barren soul.

    The bottom line is that if you lack a thirst for God, it says far more about you than it does about those who don't.

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  31. Pepe,

    Nope, you don't understand the atheist paradigm, assuming that there is one of course. Atheism just states that there is no evidence for the existence of a god or gods.

    Matteo,

    Evolutionary biology isn't a failed science. It's actually extremely successful. We don't despise failed theories because they're often on the path to better theories. Michelson and Morley's experiment on the nature of the aether led directly to Einstein's theories of relativity, despite their experiment being a complete failure considering what they set out to do and didn't realize its significance. Michelson even gave a speech in the 1880s stating that everything in physics had already been discovered and that all that was left for future physicists was to add numbers after the decimal place in physical constants.

    Nothing sensible has come up to replace evolutionary biology, as much as you want your version of warmed up Paleyism.

    And the evidence for God is just as good as that for Isis, Thor, Xenu, or whatever other fictional deity you care to mention.

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  32. Pepe,

    'As for sex on the internet, try typing the latin word 'fellatio' in the search engine of your choice!'

    Well i accept your expertise in finding internet pornography. I haven't tried for at least 15 years, haven't felt the need.

    Although, why typing the name of a certain Italian film director would lead to porn is beyond my comprehension ...

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  33. Bachfiend,

    You are also, quite evidently, sadly lacking in a thirst for God. It's no wonder you haven't found Him.

    Here's the problem I have with atheists: they have no balls. They seek ultimacy in that which is far below them: atoms and the void. They run from the very idea of seeking ultimacy in that which is far above them: The Logos, Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Wisdom, Love, the Alpha and the Omega, that through whom and for whom all things were made. For some bizarre reason they've delegated their conception of God to the Christians, so that instead of seeking something better than what they think the allegedly stupid Christians are talking about, they seek nothing whatsoever instead.

    They pound their chests even as they choose the one philosophy that by logical necessity offers zero prospect of eternal vindication for their views. They choose the one philosophy that by definition can only be held temporarily.

    In short, they have no thirst for true, lasting glory and for true, lasting victory. Spiritually speaking, they are castrati.

    I don't know about you, Bachfiend, but I intend to dance in eternity on the graves of all the failed philosophies that refused to recognize the source of being. I thirst to do so. If the atheists are right and I am wrong (per impossibile) I will never experience my thirst unquenched. If the atheists are wrong and I am right, I will experience eternal vindication, and witness the permanent annihilation of their absurd philosophy. If the atheists are right, what do they get, exactly? Nada, zip, null set, nothing.

    Am I supposed to be impressed by those whose souls are so shriveled that they lack any thirst for eternal victory? Am I to regard as sane anyone who throws up the sort of sophistic nonsense you guys specialize in while refusing to give any benefit of the doubt whatsoever to the position which offers an eternal vindication?

    Am I to pay much heed to those whose intellects are so darkened that they can't even discern which side they ought to be rooting for? Especially when it is the case that if one gets one's will straight, then the intellect follows? I've lived both sides of that divide, Bachfiend, and I can say with certainty that atheists have not the slightest idea what true intellectual illumination is. They imagine that the sophistic hall of mirrors they insist on walking in is filled with light and truth, when actually they are chained up in Plato's Cave.

    You atheists play for the lowest stakes imaginable. And I am supposed to be impressed by this?

    I'm trying to get through to you, Bachfiend. God is trying to get through to you.

    It takes balls as well as basic sanity to go for the Gold instead of chasing after...Nothing.

    Which do you choose, Bachfiend? You do realize that it is a choice from which all else follows, don't you?

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  34. they choose the one philosophy that by logical necessity offers zero prospect of eternal vindication for their views. They choose the one philosophy that by definition can only be held temporarily.

    A philosophy that has the advantage of being the one most likely to be true. The fact that you seem to have chosen your philosophy based upon what might provide you with "vindication for your views" tells me much about you.

    For example, you don't seem to care very much whether what you believe is true or not. Just whether you might be able to waggle your finger at other people at some point in the future.

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  35. For example, you don't seem to care very much whether what you believe is true or not. Just whether you might be able to waggle your finger at other people at some point in the future.

    Another atheist misses the point entirely. Of course I care whether what I believe is true or not. If I didn't think what I believed was true, I wouldn't believe it. My point, which seems to be lost on atheist literalists--who insist at staring at your finger when you point at the sun--is that both intellect and will are required. The atheist has no will to know God. As such he spends no time studying classical philosophy or theology in order to train his intellect in thinking truthfully about God (queue the "Courtier's Reply" canard which only goes to prove the point).

    If you don't want to know God, that's fine. But let's not pretend that there is no will involved in all of the typical atheist intellectual contortions brought to bear to avoid Him.

    The fact that you seem to have chosen your philosophy based upon what might provide you with "vindication for your views" tells me much about you.

    Damned right.

    The fact that you refuse to even consider such a motivation tells me much about you.

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  36. Matteo,

    Your god is imaginary.

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  37. Anonymous,

    'Your god is imaginary'.

    Agreed, provided you're using the standard definition of 'imaginary' and not Michael's bizarre schizoid definition of mental images produced by sense perceptions which may or may not be true, which means that anything is possible.

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  38. @bach...
    ...internet pornography. I haven't tried for at least 15 years, haven't felt the need...

    Since you were the first to comment about Internet porn (BTW that was completely off topic) I wanted to oblige.

    ...why typing the name of a certain Italian film director...

    Oh! Trying to be funny again as you tried before with your chickens... I think not!

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  39. As such he spends no time studying classical philosophy or theology in order to train his intellect in thinking truthfully about God (queue the "Courtier's Reply" canard which only goes to prove the point).

    And your basis for claiming that atheists spend no time studying philosophy and theology is based on what? The fact that they don't agree with you? In my experience, atheists are, in general, much better versed in philosophy and theology than believers. Certainly most are better versed than you appear to be, stuck in your time warp of Thomism.

    The fact that you refuse to even consider such a motivation tells me much about you.

    So your motivation boils down to an opportunity for finger waggling. As usual with theists, you are a small, petty person.

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  40. So your motivation boils down to an opportunity for finger waggling. As usual with theists, you are a small, petty person.

    Said anonymous, furiously wagging his finger at the evil demented theist, thus showing that anonymous, like most atheists, has absolutely no ear for self-refuting irony.

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  41. I'm not waggling my finger. I'm pointing out that your basis for decrying the position of atheists amounts to little more than "you won't know that you are right after you die". And that's an argument that has no bearing on whether your position is true or not. Which makes your argument pathetic.

    And then you follow that up by saying that you chose your philosophy because it offers you the possibility that you can waggle your finger in the afterlife and crow. On that I have three points:

    (1) That's an awfully petty position to take. It reveals you as a very small person.
    (2) It is also a very uncharitable, and one might say, unChristian attitude to take. it seems you can't really walk the walk of your faith. Actually, at this point you don't even seem to be able to talk the talk. You are, in short, nothing more than a hypocrite.
    (3) The difference between your wanting to waggle your finger in your imagined afterlife and my waggling my finger now is that I waggle my finger based upon your clear hypocrisy and pettiness, while you hope to waggle your finger based upon a fictional future.

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  42. @RickK
    we hate God as much as you hate Isis or Thor or Xenu. They are all the same.

    If I "was" you, I would not show my ignorance by commenting on a subject foreign to me....

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  43. Pepe,

    Go back and reread the comments. You'd claimed that I was a 'self-made man', I noted that actually my parents made me and suggested that your knowledge of reproduction wasn't very good, strange since it's said that the Internet mainly exists for 'net porn. Not particularly funny, I admit, but you walked right into it by suggesting a method for finding it (many thanks, by the way, when I have the time and if I remember, I'll try it out).

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  44. Again Anonymous, having no thirst for God, you will never find Him. Those who seek, find. Those who don't seek don't find. Curiously, those who don't seek and hence don't find are satisfied with the "reward" of mocking and belittling those who do. I'm quite content to leave them to it.

    When did I claim that my statements (they were never claimed or presented as arguments) led to the truth of God existing? My only claim is that will plays a role in whether one is able to assess the arguments for God in any clearheaded way. If you've really delved into them (say by reading Feser's "The Last Superstition" or any number of other works), my question would be this: what was your purpose, was it to find reasons to mock them, or was it the hope of finding God via them?

    Obviously you already believe that one can be blinded by one's motivations. After all, this is exactly the assessment you have of me. All I'm trying to do is warn those like yourself, whom I consider to be in grave danger of losing something of infinite value, that it may, in fact, be them who are blinded by motivations and that, absent a decision for God on some level, they are simply going to be lost.

    You insist that what I'm saying is that "I have no good reasons to believe, it's all an act of will motivated by seeing the failure of others."

    Wrong.

    I have myriad reasons to believe; reasons, experiences, arguments that are perfectly accessible to anyone who wants God.

    The last thing I want to see is the failure of anyone to find God.

    The first thing I see when dealing over the years with atheists on the internet is a willful and ruinous refusal on their part to even get into the game of seeking God (as understood by Christians or otherwise), and a reckless blindness to the fact that their misotheism dooms them from ever finding Him.

    If you offer atheists a reasonable calm appeal, you get back mockery. If you testify how God is a living reality for you, one that cannot be doubted, you get back mockery. If you exhort them to at least "go for the gold", you get back mockery.

    You and your atheist friends are missing out on the best thing in the universe. People of all stripes do what they can to try to get through to you, in any number of ways, and you mock, mock, mock, and mock, never considering that their motivations are to share something excellent, rather than to work out some darker, twisted, deranged psychological motive.

    Fine.

    You know whether you love or hate the idea of God. Don't be surprised when you find out that it all flows from there. If you perceive what I'm saying as bellicose, hateful, and irrational, the problem is with you, not me.

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  45. Matteo,

    "The first thing I see when dealing over the years with atheists on the internet is a willful and ruinous refusal on their part to even get into the game of seeking God (as understood by Christians or otherwise), and a reckless blindness to the fact that their misotheism dooms them from ever finding Him".

    So, it's a game is it? There are some games that I refuse to get into, because they are a waste of time. Soccer for one. Rugby for another. I'll add 'seeking a non-existent deity' to my list of time wasting activities.

    Misotheism? Nope, I don't hate non-existent entities.

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  46. Matteo,
    WOW!
    Absolutely brilliant response.
    Game, set, and match!
    *salutes*

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  47. CrusadeRex,

    Matteo,
    WOW!
    Absolutely brilliant response.
    Game, set, and match!
    *salutes*


    Nope, disagree, it's not a game in which biased umpires can give a score.

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