Re: [KC-Midtown-FreeThinkers] Dear Religion - >>>>>>>>>>­>> I'm sorry, but I don't believe in Revolution.

From: Fred
Sent on: Friday, August 17, 2012 3:55 PM
Josh, 

I appreciate your integrity and consistency in being willing to question just about everything, including your own more cherished beliefs.  Christians are generally lacking in this regard, and I'm constantly working on it.

On the matter of choosing between planets orbiting because of physical forces or because of physical forces overseen by a god:  Occam's Razor is not the only consideration in science, or in rationality, for that matter.  In fact, some might argue that science is served even more fundamentally by a belief in causality.  That is, seeking simplicity is a good rule of thumb, but seeking causes for observed effects is even more fundamental to science.  Also true of rationality.  It's rational to ask what caused the physical forces.  Especially since they are, so far, unaccountably finely tuned for life.

LaPlace understood what was necessary to predict the orbits of the planets; he understood the mechanisms.  So he had satisfied the scientific quest on that matter.  However, and this is where the difference between science and faith comes in:  other scientists had theistic views that caused them to go a step further than being satisfied merely in understanding the mechanisms.  

When Newton discovered laws to explain how gravity worked, he satisfied his scientific quest.  But he didn't say, "That's fantastic, now I've finally figured out the mechanism, and so I have also figured out that there is no God!  I no longer need to suppose that there's an agent responsible for the mechanism."  

God is an explicator at the level of an agent, not at the level of a mechanism.  You can't argue away the existence of the agent by showing that there's a mechanism.

So now maybe I've come full circle, from my first post a few days ago, intending to make the simple point that science and faith each have their own place, or at least that to try to force people to choose between science and faith is committing an either-or fallacy.

I don't expect my atheist friends to agree with much of this, of course.  But hoping that I haven't overstayed my welcome on this list and that those of you who know me are still my friends (since I have almost no Christian friends anymore), I'll leave you all to continue the discussion without me.

Have a great weekend!

Fred


On Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 8:08 AM, Josh Hyde <[address removed]> wrote:
Getting a bit out of our field here on the Jericho thing, for both you and for me, but my experience tells me that people looking for inconsistencies will find them, and people looking for corroborations will find them.  Being a skeptic myself, I'm actually more impressed whenever I see an archeological or historical corroboration, and there are plenty of them.

I don't mean to imply that everything in the Bible has no factual basis, but to the point that there are inconsistencies with what's in the Bible and what current archaeological evidence that we have. These kinds of inconsistencies, to my mind, undermine the credibility of a book - any book, biblical or otherwise. I hope that, if someone that I admire, such as Dawkins, wrote a book with these kind of inconsistencies, I'd have the intellectual integrity to question and re-examine other claims in the book, if not in other books.

I've been a reader of Biblical Archeology Review (which usually tries to give both sides of archeological disagreements) since I was young , and here's a one-paragraph summary of how they dealt with this in an article titled:  "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?"

That's definitely not something I was aware of, and thanks for the information. There is apparently further research I need to do on this topic.

To say that deism is more credible than a revealed God because it asserts so little is almost a tautology: it's merely acknowledging that it's easier to believe something simple than to believe something complex - which has nothing to do with the truth of the matter. 

True, simplicity, by itself, does not imply truth (otherwise, we'd both be young Earth creationists). However, compare two explanations:
  • The planets of our solar system orbit the sun because of a set of physical forces
  • The planets of our solar system orbit the sun because of a set of physical forces overseen by a god
God, in this case, is an ultimately unnecessary variable - we're able to explain this without a need of an involved or supervisory god (I'm sure you're aware of the famous LaPlace quote, "Sir, I have no need of that hypothesis."). Deism fits this current model better because the explanation of why the planets orbit the sun remains the same - there is no supervisory being, and so there's no "unnecessary variable" in the explanation.

This exposes me as possibly constructing a straw man of your beliefs - in that, perhaps, you take a more "deistic" view of your god in that he doesn't take an active role in the laws of physics, though I think we can both agree that the Bible describes a god who intercedes and is described as having actively manipulated the laws of physics.

On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 10:13 PM, Fred <[address removed]> wrote:
Getting a bit out of our field here on the Jericho thing, for both you and for me, but my experience tells me that people looking for inconsistencies will find them, and people looking for corroborations will find them.  Being a skeptic myself, I'm actually more impressed whenever I see an archeological or historical corroboration, and there are plenty of them.

I've been a reader of Biblical Archeology Review (which usually tries to give both sides of archeological disagreements) since I was young , and here's a one-paragraph summary of how they dealt with this in an article titled:  "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?"

After the death of Kenyon in 1978, her notebooks and raw data were published in 1980-83. The archaeologist Bryant G Wood has examined her data and concluded that she was mistaken in her dating. He reports his conclusions in an article, "Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A new look at the archaeological evidence" in the March-April 1990 issue of the BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW, pages 44-59. It appears that Kenyon dated the fall of City IV at the beginning of the Late Bronze I period [masked] BC), because her diggings were completely lacking in pottery imported from Cyprus, commonly found in other sites of that period. But, as, Wood points out, the other sites were on established trade routes. Jericho was not. Moreover, the area that Kenyon excavated was in the low-rent quarter of Jericho, where luxuries like imported pottery were unlikely to be plentiful. So, Wood summarizes: "She based her dating on the fact that she failed to find expensive, imported pottery in a small excavation area [two 26-foot by 26-foot squares] in an impoverished part of a city located far from major trade routes!" (p 50) If we forget about imported pottery, and look at the local product, we find that there is an abundance of Late Bronze I pottery there. (Kenyon saw it, but apparently had already settled on the earlier date, and somehow the message did not get through.) The dates from local pottery are confirmed by funeral scarabs which bear the names of pharaohs and so can be explicitly dated. We also have a lump of charcoal from the fall of the city, dated by Carbon-14 tests as 1410 BC, give or take 40 years. Thus the fall of City IV seems fixed at about 1400 BC.

I'm not sure what to make of this myself (and the situation is actually more complex because many scholars use the Egyptian chronologies to date the Joshua conquest to 1290 BCE), but I think firm conclusions have not yet been reached on this one.

To say that deism is more credible than a revealed God because it asserts so little is almost a tautology: it's merely acknowledging that it's easier to believe something simple than to believe something complex - which has nothing to do with the truth of the matter. 

Many of us would find the notion of divine revelation equally incredible, compared with deistic indifference, whether or not divine revelation ever actually occurred.

And I for one do see God at work in the universe today - I see it in the nuclear fusion that controls the radiation of energy from our sun, I see it in the continuous evolution of the living world, I see it in the processes that create stars and the material for new worlds, I see it in the drama of human life.  I see all that deistic big bang initial conditions stuff as mere prelude.

Fred


On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM, Josh Hyde <[address removed]> wrote:
Figure I'll toss my hat into the ring.

While I can't speak for Iggy, the reason I don't believe in the Abrahamic god because the Bible has, as I'm sure you're aware, internal inconsistencies and factual inconsistencies (e.g., the Battle of Jericho[1]), and, so, as verifiable parts of the Bible have apparently been proven false, I can't accept its "un-falsifiable" portions (as defined by the principle of NOMA) such as the divinity of Jesus or the existence of God.

I think I agree with Iggy in that deism seems more credible to me than, say, Christianity because it asserts so little about a god figure. The explanation of why we don't see that god at work in our universe today is because that god left pretty much at the beginning of the universe.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jericho#Historicity


On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 3:39 PM, Fred <[address removed]> wrote:
Iggy,
What I thought.  No answer.  You're "pretending to know what you don't know" and can't apply the same standards to your view that you ask me to use to support mine.
Fred


On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 11:16 PM, Kansas City Skeptic <[address removed]> wrote:
Fred,

Your gnosticized new agey self made home brewed version of Xinaity reminds me of arguments like this.

When you click on this comic click "Zoom in"



So Iggy, how do you know that a "creator/cosmology designer" would do all this designing and then take no interest in the results?  And what kind of "variables" have you tested with "controls" to tell you that the Judeo-Christian god, in particular, is false?



On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 4:28 PM, Kansas City Skeptic <[address removed]> wrote:
Fred wrote>>>>>>>> So most of what you say is arguing with a straw man version of Christianity, not mine.


Fred, you need to stop pretending to know what you don't know. Or rather pretending to know that it's OK to create your own version of Christianity in light of complete and utter probabilistic world and uncertainties that reign the world.

At best, your "creator/cosmology designer" exists but what is the probability of him/her/it being a Judeo Christian god? You don't have a variable to test and have any controls.

Hence, you are arguing for why circles are not squares or rather in your case that cycles are ellipses with two foci in the same location - god and scientific understanding of the universe. 
 




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