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Change of focus June 21, 2010

Posted by Ian in Skepticism.
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Up until now I have focused this blog almost exclusively on atheism related topics despite holding a broader skeptical viewpoint of the world.  However in recent times I have found my priorities shifting towards skepticism in general and away from religious issues.  I have decided that in order keep the blog going I would be better off expanding the topic base and to talk about other skeptical topics in addition to those relating to religion.

This also reflects my changing view on where skepticism and atheism fit into my world view.  For a long time they were essentially at the same level in my thinking which is to say that i saw myself as equally atheist and skeptic.  However it is becoming more and more apparent to me that atheism is just a subset of skepticism, analogous to not believing in homeopathy or psychics (or any of a plethora of other pseudo-scientific claims) rather than belonging on the same level as skepticism on the whole.  Indeed I now consider my world view as that of a skeptic rather than that of an atheist.  I’ve been experimenting with making animated gifs in photoshop so here is my change of view in visual form lol:

Photobucket

It occurs to me as I write this that I put anti-homeopathy and anti-psychics in the image but in hindsight that gives the wrong impression.  In a sense I am against proponents of such beliefs, but in the context of this diagram it should really say something to the effect that I believe their claims are not accurate or overstated rather than being anti them per se.  This is largely semantics but I figured I should point it out lol.

It is also interesting that a lot of the reasons that psychics and homeopaths (etc) are still prominent are very similar to what is seen in many religious believers, including confirmation bias, belief for the sake of belief, over-reliance on anecdote and so forth. 

More importantly however, in my view religion shouldn’t hold a special place in the world of beliefs and identifying myself specifically as an atheist is really giving a special place to it that it doesn’t deserve although historically has always demanded and has largely been successful doing so.  Belief in a deity is not any different from belief in an afterlife or belief that manipulating magical energies can heal the sick or change ones luck.  It is either true or it isn’t.  Sure some pseudosciences make far more outlandish claims than most religions do but the principles hold.

Anyway hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more posts from me in the coming months compared with the last year or so!  Observant people may have also noted I have changed the header image on the blog.  There will be a post coming soon to explain who those people are and why they are there 🙂

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Comments»

1. Dale Campbell - June 22, 2010

I await the day when I see a gif where ‘atheism’ changes to ‘agnostic’, which (I dare say) is the best and most non-controversially understood term to reflect a truly ‘sceptical’ perspective? 😉

2. Ian - June 22, 2010

My position on the three terms is slightly different to most people, and has evolved from many discussions about the topic. I define them as:

Atheist: someone who acts as if there is no god, i.e. me.
Agnostic: someone who acts as if they don’t know if a god exists or not, i.e. not me.
Theist: someone who acts as if there is a god, i.e. you (well that’s a pressumption but one I think you’ll forgive lol).

No-one has, or can have, absolute certainty about anything so in that sense we are all “agnostic” about everything. Such a general term is largely meaningless so I prefer to use the definitions above as a more meaningful social/ideological identification.

3. Dale Campbell - June 22, 2010

however, in both common and technical discourse, these terms do not (you’ll hopefully admit?) refer to behavioural stances, but rather belief statements?

4. Ian - June 22, 2010

I don’t mind describing this particular post as neither common nor technical 🙂

More seriously though, what point is there in holding beliefs if you don’t act on them? I mean an atheist that prays doesn’t really believe in the atheist idea. The theist that pays only lip service to their religion doesn’t really believe in the theist idea. The agnostic that shows certainty in areas of belief doesn’t really believe in the agnostic idea.

By far the surest sign that you are a theist is not what you say but how you act. For example if you genuinely pray as if god is real and that prayer is being heard (i.e. not just going through a ritual for the sake of the ritual) then that shows you take the theist belief statement as true. If you don’t then how can you really call yourself a theist?

5. Dale Campbell - June 22, 2010

Yes, there is the issue of action that reflects belief, but those three terms still commonly and technically refer specifically to belief. Is there a part of you that prefers calling yourself an atheist as opposed to agnostic? If not, why not use the language that is more fitting to how others discuss the topic? Just curious…

6. Ian - June 22, 2010

I don’t think the terms are well defined in common discourse (if they were I wouldn’t need to define them myself lol).

Lets take more standard definitions:

Atheist: Someone who lacks belief in god
Agnostic: Someone who is uncertain about god
Theist: Someone who believes in god

Here agnostic and atheist/theist are not mutually exclusive. In fact I would argue you and I are both agnostics. It ceases to be meaningful at that point.

Further, if I am not an atheist then I don’t really think anyone is. At that point atheism ceases to be a meaningful term as well.

7. Dale Campbell - June 22, 2010

Yes, I think when people identify with one of the three (or others), they are saying this is where I will ‘stand’ so to speak. My point in my original comment was that the atheist ‘stand’ and the theist ‘stand’ are both positive ‘stands’ (even if you can never ‘prove’ either), and the agnostic ‘stand’ seems to best fit with a view that says “I’m not ‘standing’ anywhere, coz I’m going to stay objective and be sceptical of all ‘stands’… not just some…” That’s what I meant by agnosticism being more consistent with a sceptical outlook?

8. Ian - June 22, 2010

I disagree – atheism is surely the default. It is not necessary that a world would have the concept of a god (even if one existed) which rules out the necessity of theism and agnosticism. In this sense you cannot equate theism and atheism as equally positive stands. The positiveness of atheism only exists relative to the positiveness of theism, not by itself. The same cannot be said of theism.

Finally don’t confuse skepticism with cynicism or negation. Skeptics certainly do take stands – both counter to pseudoscience and in favour of reason and science, and the stands supported by them. It is not pure negation: skeptics are open minded, not empty minded.

9. Cameron - June 23, 2010

“The positiveness of atheism only exists relative to the positiveness of theism, not by itself. The same cannot be said of theism.”

No, naturalistic atheism is positive in and of itself by virtue of believing that “nature” (which = ?, only shows us “what is” not what “ought to be”, and is impersonal) can sufficiently account for the human pre-commitment to rationality and morality. Saying that “nature” can account for rationality and morality is a positive claim.

I find it interesting that you are now skeptical of even atheism. It even makes me happy. But now looking at skepticism I’m curious. Are you skeptical of your skepticism? You say that we can’t know anything for certain. Are you skeptical of that statement, thus perhaps can know things for certain?

10. Ian - June 23, 2010

No, naturalistic atheism is positive in and of itself by virtue of believing that “nature” (which = ?, only shows us “what is” not what “ought to be”, and is impersonal) can sufficiently account for the human pre-commitment to rationality and morality. Saying that “nature” can account for rationality and morality is a positive claim.

I don’t think that saying everything that actually exists can account for everything that actually exists is a positive statement. This reminds me of our systems discussion. Also saying that nature can account for rationality and morality is only a positive claim relative to an alternative.

I find it interesting that you are now skeptical of even atheism. It even makes me happy.

I am not skeptical of atheism, I see atheism as a natural subset of skepticism. In other words I am really skeptical of theistic claims as opposed to specifically atheist. This essentially makes zero difference to my views on god, but rather has an impact in terms of how I prioritise my time.

But now looking at skepticism I’m curious. Are you skeptical of your skepticism?

I am always keen to find better ways of doing things, but skepticism is fairly general – it just says accept only that which is supported by observable evidence.

You say that we can’t know anything for certain. Are you skeptical of that statement, thus perhaps can know things for certain?

I would love to be shown something that is absolutely for certain, but I can’t even in principle imagine how one could get there. Again though, skepticism is not negation, and is not about doubting everything. I see it as more an exercise in brutal honesty. What do we actually know versus what we want to know or think we know?

11. Dale Campbell - June 23, 2010

(this is the point where I bow out and let you guys carry on 🙂 )

12. Cameron - June 24, 2010

This reminds me of our systems discussion.

I already responded to that and I’m still waiting for a reply. Simply, I believe that God is everything that exists and upholds all which is finite within his own being. If you want to say that everything that exists is impersonal and accounts for the personal, ie. rationality and morality (which are prescriptive) then be my guest. I’m skeptical of that (so I’m a skeptic just like you in some ways!)

Also saying that nature can account for rationality and morality is only a positive claim relative to an alternative.

Then Christianity making those claims is only relative to an alternative (ie. “naturalism”)

I am not skeptical of atheism, I see atheism as a natural subset of skepticism.

So you’re still bias against theism and don’t question atheism. How has that changed your priorities necessarily?

[skepticism] just says accept only that which is supported by observable evidence.

Not entirely. YOU even made that statement that we can’t know anything with complete certainty. Reply 2: No-one has, or can have, absolute certainty about anything so in that sense we are all “agnostic” about everything. If you’re a consistent skeptic then you must be skeptical of even your skepticism and that you can trust what you perceive to be reality is in fact reality.

I would love to be shown something that is absolutely for certain

Is it absolutely certain that you would love to be shown something that is absolutely for certain? It seems that certainty is evidencing itself with you.

What do we actually know versus what we want to know or think we know

That’s the problem, which even you admitted. We can’t know anything for certain. When you allude to “what we actually know” it’s only the assumption that you actually know it, thus is shorthand for “what we think we know”.

We live our lives, talk, think, and communicate as though there are absolutes, yet what is the bases by which we can trust all this? What is your bases? Mine is Christ.

Ian - June 24, 2010

I already responded to that and I’m still waiting for a reply.

Apologies, I entirely missed that comment by you. I shall reply in due course over there.

Then Christianity making those claims is only relative to an alternative (ie. “naturalism”)

Not quite. Naturalism is the simplest explanation – it depends on nothing other than that which is simply observed. In fact if god was simply observed then god would not be denied by naturalism.

So you’re still bias against theism and don’t question atheism. How has that changed your priorities necessarily?

I hold no bias against theism, I just think the concepts are indefensible.

I question all my positions but some are, in my view, more tenuous than others.

And my shift of view basically puts religion on an equal footing to CAM or psychics rather than sitting separate to those topics.

Not entirely. YOU even made that statement that we can’t know anything with complete certainty. Reply 2: No-one has, or can have, absolute certainty about anything so in that sense we are all “agnostic” about everything. If you’re a consistent skeptic then you must be skeptical of even your skepticism and that you can trust what you perceive to be reality is in fact reality.

Firstly skepticism is not ambivalence. Secondly there are varying levels of doubt. Recognising the relative certainty of various topics is crucial. As for doubt over perception, that is precisely why skepticism is needed.

Is it absolutely certain that you would love to be shown something that is absolutely for certain? It seems that certainty is evidencing itself with you.

All I can say is that I observe myself exhibiting that trait and that, lacking an alternative, I trust that observation.

That’s the problem, which even you admitted. We can’t know anything for certain. When you allude to “what we actually know” it’s only the assumption that you actually know it, thus is shorthand for “what we think we know”.

There are things we observe and there are things we infer. Given how little credibility you seem to give observations, inferences are necessarily less certain. That is the main issue here.

We live our lives, talk, think, and communicate as though there are absolutes,

Linguistic convenience.

yet what is the bases by which we can trust all this?What is your bases? Mine is Christ.

I can only make the rather bold assumption that what I literally observe is in some meaningful sense accurate. You have to do that as well, theist or not.

As an aside, I literally have no idea what you mean when you say Christ is your basis by which you trust your senses.

13. TaiChi - June 24, 2010

RE: Atheism vs. Agnosticism

This is something I’ve changed my mind on recently. I’ve always thought that, as a technical matter, atheism and theism were contradictory rather than merely contrary, as the prefix “a-” means “not”. On the other hand, I see the point of those who say that the words mean whatever they are commonly used to mean, and so we should take agnosticism to be the half-way house between atheism and theism which everyone in practice assumes. I’ve come to the following compromise:

Theism: the belief that “God exists”.
Atheism: the lack of belief that “God exists”.
Agnosticism: the lack of knowledge about one’s beliefs, in the context of religion, not knowing whether one has the belief “God exists” or not.

Apart from accommodating the both intuitions above, there are other advantages. Agnosticism actually becomes an honest position, not merely an evasion: one can genuinely not know what they think about a matter, due to not having thought about it enough, or lacking the capacity to weigh various arguments against each other and arrive at a verdict, for example. Ian’s insight about action can be accommodated by realizing that we can learn of our own beliefs from how we act, even if that information is not available to introspection (lots of self-knowledge is gained in this way). Hence, many professed agnostics will actually be atheists, since their behavior indicates their lack of belief in God. (However, since they both lack a belief in God and lack knowledge of this fact, their claiming of agnosticism instead of atheism is understandable and non-culpable, at least until their behavior is pointed out to them as evidence of atheism).

14. TaiChi - June 24, 2010

RE: Skepticism

Skepticism admits of many varieties: moral skepticism, global skepticism, global warming skepticism, etc. I think what Ian’s variety amounts to is skepticism of the evidentially unsupported. Some things fall into this category (homeopathy, religion) whereas others are evidentially supported, and so Ian is not skeptical of these (evolution, the truth-conducivity of evidence).

(Nice to see you back blogging, Ian.)

15. Ian - June 24, 2010

A couple of very good comments there TaiChi, welcome back.

Re definitions: I could happily work with your definitions of the three positions. In fact I suspect my three definitions are the manifestation of holding your three positions.

Re skepticism: I think there are two levels of skepticism, the general push back against unsubstantiated claims, and the social position of a group of people who dislike the more prevalent examples such as homeopathy or psychics.

16. Cameron - June 25, 2010

Not quite. Naturalism is the simplest explanation – it depends on nothing other than that which is simply observed. In fact if god was simply observed then god would not be denied by naturalism.

1. Just because it’s simpler to you doesn’t preclude it from still making positive claims. 2. Again, I’ve already refuted “naturalism” because it only shows us “what is” not “what ought to be”. Only humans have a pre-commitment to rationality and morality, thus evidence that they live according to a standard of “what ought to be” (something beyond “nature” or “what is”). Also, meanings can’t be observed, and are required to use logic (classical logic). We have never observed a physical manifestation of “infinity” or “future”, nor could we derive these meanings from anything we can distinguish within “nature”.

And my shift of view basically puts religion on an equal footing to CAM or psychics rather than sitting separate to those topics.

What do you mean here and what is CAM?

Recognising the relative certainty of various topics is crucial. As for doubt over perception, that is precisely why skepticism is needed.

According to what you originally said in that we’re all agnostic of everything, you’re still agnostic of even what you assume to be “relatively certain”.

All I can say is that I observe myself exhibiting that trait and that, lacking an alternative, I trust that observation.

Are you certain that you trust what you observe while lacking an alternative? Certainty is still evidencing itself with you.

There are things we observe and there are things we infer. Given how little credibility you seem to give observations, inferences are necessarily less certain. That is the main issue here.

I give credibility to observation, but I trust my observation because I believe Christ is ultimate reality and I can trust him, thus have a bases to trust my observations. You trust your observation because of “?”. You’re the one who said we can’t know anything for certain and are agnostic about everything, so I can say you give little credibility to observation. All observations are inferences, since you can’t know anything for certain to you. I agree, but I have more reason to believe I can trust what I infer with my observations because Christ has enabled me to, rather then the alternative of “?”.

Further, you don’t know what you’re observing within the worldview of “naturalism” b/c you don’t ultimately know what nature is. Nature = “?”, b/c you don’t know what it ultimately is, where it starts or stops, what it always will do, what it can’t do, etc.

Linguistic convenience.

Is it absolutely true that these are linguistic conveniences? Again, you’re evidencing absolutes. And language isn’t only convenient but assumes that we ought use logic in order to be rational. “Nature” doesn’t give us “what ought to be”, only “what is for now”.

I can only make the rather bold assumption that what I literally observe is in some meaningful sense accurate. You have to do that as well, theist or not.

Ok, and we ought to make this bold assumption why? I make it because I assume Christ as my ultimate presupposition. Again, what’s yours?

I say Christ, or Yahweh, because going back to the systems thread, he’s ultimate reality. He is eternal, all-good, personal, and triune, thus accounts for rationality and morality which humans are pre-committed to. That’s better then “?” to account for all of reality which we assume, act like we trust, and evidences absolutes.

17. Ian - June 28, 2010

1. Just because it’s simpler to you doesn’t preclude it from still making positive claims.

Correct, but a philosophy that essentially says that the only things that exist are those that exist is hardly equivalent to a philosophy that says “god exists”. One is general, the other is positive.

2. Again, I’ve already refuted “naturalism” because it only shows us “what is” not “what ought to be”. Only humans have a pre-commitment to rationality and morality, thus evidence that they live according to a standard of “what ought to be” (something beyond “nature” or “what is”).

There are several extensive discussions on this topic both here and on Dale’s blog. Feel free to read through those for my responses.

Also, meanings can’t be observed, and are required to use logic (classical logic). We have never observed a physical manifestation of “infinity” or “future”, nor could we derive these meanings from anything we can distinguish within “nature”.

Logic and by extention mathematics is a language for describing the world around us. The results of its use have been quite remarkably useful so it holds a practicality that is real even if its elements are not.

What do you mean here and what is CAM?

Basically I used to think of myself as an atheist and a skeptic. My skepticism related to psychics and CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine, or sometimes sCAM). Now I realise that my atheism is really just skepticism about god/religion. Its actually nothing more than reorganising the pigeon holes in my head. But then this post wasn’t about refuting anything, it was an FYI expect more posts, and posts not atheism related, in the future, and here is why.

According to what you originally said in that we’re all agnostic of everything, you’re still agnostic of even what you assume to be “relatively certain”.

Given my meaning of atheism differs from the standard “doesn’t believe 100% without any doubt” (since that applies to absolutely everything everyone believes about anything) the use of agnostic in this sense isn’t really useful. That said, I will act as if some things are certain for practical reasons.

Are you certain that you trust what you observe while lacking an alternative? Certainty is still evidencing itself with you.

One has to act as if things hold certainty, and in particular one has to speak as if one holds certainty in order to actually get to the end of a sentence.

I give credibility to observation, but I trust my observation because I believe Christ is ultimate reality and I can trust him, thus have a bases to trust my observations.

You’d think me crazy if I said I trust my observation because I believe Socrates is the ultimate reality. Why shouldn’t I think the same thing about your statement? (that’s a genuine question, not a barb by the way)

You trust your observation because of “?”. You’re the one who said we can’t know anything for certain and are agnostic about everything, so I can say you give little credibility to observation.

Or rather I say observation is all there is.

All observations are inferences, since you can’t know anything for certain to you. I agree, but I have more reason to believe I can trust what I infer with my observations because Christ has enabled me to, rather then the alternative of “?”.

Lack of certainty is more reason to have certainty?

Further, you don’t know what you’re observing within the worldview of “naturalism” b/c you don’t ultimately know what nature is. Nature = “?”, b/c you don’t know what it ultimately is, where it starts or stops, what it always will do, what it can’t do, etc.

I don’t need to know that. I work from me out in an exploratory nature because that is my only option. I don’t start with everything and work back.

Is it absolutely true that these are linguistic conveniences? Again, you’re evidencing absolutes. And language isn’t only convenient but assumes that we ought use logic in order to be rational. “Nature” doesn’t give us “what ought to be”, only “what is for now”.

You missed my point – it is a linguistic convenience not to say “but I’m not 100% certain of that” after every single fact that is mentioned.

Ok, and we ought to make this bold assumption why? I make it because I assume Christ as my ultimate presupposition. Again, what’s yours?

Your reason makes absolutely no sense to me. Not in a “I get what you mean but disagree” kind of way but in a “I don’t understand those words in that arrangement” kind of way.

I say Christ, or Yahweh, because going back to the systems thread, he’s ultimate reality. He is eternal, all-good, personal, and triune, thus accounts for rationality and morality which humans are pre-committed to. That’s better then “?” to account for all of reality which we assume, act like we trust, and evidences absolutes.

We don’t need to account for reality. Reality exists and we are experiencing it. How accurately we are doing so, and precisely what reality contains may not even be meaningful questions.

18. Cameron - June 30, 2010

Sorry this is so long. I just want to give meaningful answers and not jip you. 🙂

Correct, but a philosophy that essentially says that the only things that exist are those that exist is hardly equivalent to a philosophy that says “god exists”. One is general, the other is positive.

You haven’t made an argument here. You’ve only asserted that one is general and one is positive. “Naturalism” says that the only things that exist are those that exist. So does Christianity! None of this is the point, however! I’m looking at what exists, namely, rationality and morality, and accounting for it. “Naturalistic” assumptions don’t account for morality and rationality (which we know exists in the world of “what exists” – hence us having this conversations). You can’t just say “what is” = “naturalism”, because then I’ll show you how Christian assumptions better account for “what is”, thus what make Christianity = “naturalism” in the sense that Yahweh is more natural then what we commonly refer to as “natural”. I’m fine with that.

Logic and by extention mathematics is a language for describing the world around us. The results of its use have been quite remarkably useful so it holds a practicality that is real even if its elements are not.

I agree their useful. Even Scripture would demonstrate that! But just because something is useful, doesn’t mean that that’s how it came about! Computer code is useful, but that doesn’t explain how it came about.

And logic can’t be derived purely from the elements, as you even admit here! Thus, you even refute your own argument above that something must be observed for it to be accepted! But if you were only speaking for “naturalists” then you’ve refuted them for me.

Skepticism of God and religion is essentially atheism right? So doesn’t that mean there will still be more atheistic posts?

That said, I will act as if some things are certain for practical reasons.

I know what you’re saying. Just to be nit picky, this still assumes that there is such an absolute thing as a “practical reason”, which still begs the question about why you act as though some things are certain.

One has to act as if things hold certainty, and in particular one has to speak as if one holds certainty in order to actually get to the end of a sentence.

This evidences Christianity, not “naturalism”. Only humans have a pre-commitment to use logic in order to be rational as opposed to non-rational since we’re created in the likeness of an eternally rational being. Also, from all we’ve ever observed empirically, a pre-commitment to logic only comes from a prior pre-commitment to logic. “Nature” only gives us “what is”, not what “ought to be”, hence we “ought to be rational”. I would love to get more into this on your other threads you mentioned. Can I have the link please?

You’d think me crazy if I said I trust my observation because I believe Socrates is the ultimate reality. Why shouldn’t I think the same thing about your statement? (that’s a genuine question, not a barb by the way)

I can answer this so simple it hurts and feels good. Socrates isn’t reveled to be eternal, all-good, omniscient, all-present, and immutable to say the least. Yahweh is said to be all these things, thus again why if Yahweh is ultimate reality I have more reason to trust induction, as opposed to “?” running the universe.

Or rather I say observation is all there is.

You’ve already shown that you don’t consistently hold to this. You said, “The results of its use [logic] have been quite remarkably useful so it holds a practicality that is real even if its elements are not.” And again, just because something is practical (like logic), doesn’t mean that’s how the thing is accounted for. We know it’s actually the other way around. Logic accounts us to to be able to even KNOW that something is practical.

Lack of certainty is more reason to have certainty?

No, the only thing conceivable that can account for certainty in the first place (especially our pre-commitment to assuming the certainty of logic), is greater reason to have certainty, as opposed to starting with “impersonal nature” (= “?”).

I don’t need to know that. I work from me out in an exploratory nature because that is my only option. I don’t start with everything and work back.

Again, you’re being inconsistent that empiricism is only how you know things because of what you’ve also stated on here. Since you’re inconsistent you must be bias toward that which you allow observation to show you and that which you don’t. God is the one that enables one to believe in Him. So even with him it’s not a matter of physically seeing him to believe in him. He’s all powerful. He can cause anyone at anytime to believe in him without physically manifesting himself. Somewhat like other realities you already accept that you don’t have physical observation of. Further, you working from you out in an exploratory nature as your only option, is not something you have observed. You haven’t observed that it is your only option, so your faulted twice in this line of reasoning.

We don’t need to account for reality. Reality exists and we are experiencing it. How accurately we are doing so, and precisely what reality contains may not even be meaningful questions.

First you say we don’t need to account for reality. Then you say it may not even be important what reality is. But if it’s really true that we don’t need to account for reality then that reality may not really be important. Thus, according to you’re own logic, it may be important to account for reality. So you don’t need to account for reality, hence why we’re moral and rational? Then why do you even have threads on it? Again, not consistent on your part.

19. Ian - June 30, 2010

As with the other thread, I am being selective about what I respond to in order to keep the discussion a little focused. Again feel free to press on points I omit.

“Naturalistic” assumptions don’t account for morality and rationality (which we know exists in the world of “what exists” – hence us having this conversations).

Sure they can. That only falls over when you ascribe morality and rationality some mystical properties that make them entities unto themselves. Morality in my opinion a description of tendencies, and rationality is a description of an effective mode of thought. Nothing magic here.

You can’t just say “what is” = “naturalism”, because then I’ll show you how Christian assumptions better account for “what is”, thus what make Christianity = “naturalism” in the sense that Yahweh is more natural then what we commonly refer to as “natural”. I’m fine with that.

How about you make a post doing just that, drop me a link, and we can continue that there?

But just because something is useful, doesn’t mean that that’s how it came about! Computer code is useful, but that doesn’t explain how it came about.

Actually that’s evolution in a nutshell 🙂

And logic can’t be derived purely from the elements,

No, logic is a symbolic representation of a descriptive model of discourse. It isn’t something magic, nor is it even necessary – just very useful.

Skepticism of God and religion is essentially atheism right? So doesn’t that mean there will still be more atheistic posts?

Of course there will be, I never said otherwise?

This evidences Christianity, not “naturalism”. Only humans have a pre-commitment to use logic in order to be rational as opposed to non-rational since we’re created in the likeness of an eternally rational being.

There’s a circular argument hiding in there somewhere…

Also, from all we’ve ever observed empirically, a pre-commitment to logic only comes from a prior pre-commitment to logic.

I don’t follow.

“Nature” only gives us “what is”, not what “ought to be”, hence we “ought to be rational”.

That doesn’t follow either.

I would love to get more into this on your other threads you mentioned. Can I have the link please?

Click on Dale’s name in the earlier comments to get to his blog, and then read the comments in the recent thread with “Oughts” in the title.

Again, you’re being inconsistent that empiricism is only how you know things because of what you’ve also stated on here.

How else do I know things other than by observation (direct, indirect or by proxy?) More to the point, how do you?

Since you’re inconsistent you must be bias toward that which you allow observation to show you and that which you don’t. God is the one that enables one to believe in Him. So even with him it’s not a matter of physically seeing him to believe in him. He’s all powerful. He can cause anyone at anytime to believe in him without physically manifesting himself.

In that case it seems its “god’s” fault that I don’t believe… some bind.

Somewhat like other realities you already accept that you don’t have physical observation of.

Example?

Further, you working from you out in an exploratory nature as your only option, is not something you have observed. You haven’t observed that it is your only option, so your faulted twice in this line of reasoning.

Again I don’t follow?

First you say we don’t need to account for reality. Then you say it may not even be important what reality is. But if it’s really true that we don’t need to account for reality then that reality may not really be important.

We don’t need to do anything lol.

Thus, according to you’re own logic, it may be important to account for reality.

That doesn’t follow?

So you don’t need to account for reality, hence why we’re moral and rational?

And neither does that.

Then why do you even have threads on it? Again, not consistent on your part.

I personally put value on trying to understand the world around us. This is a descriptive act and one I think has tangible benefits in many ways. We don’t need to, and many people don’t really care about doing so, but I choose to make blog posts because it interests me. I fail to see the inconsistency.


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