Why I don’t Care What the Bible Says, and Why You Shouldn’t Either (Skeptic’s View)

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Enjoy the podcast:

https://anchor.fm/skeptics-and-seekers/episodes/Episode-26-Why-I-dont-Care-What-the-Bible-Says–and-Why-You-Shouldnt-Either-e2rklo

 

I think I could make this into a 10 part series easily. In fact, I am working on a book about the subject. So for this series, it is really a matter of choosing a handful of things that are representative of the whole. From there, it is a matter of choosing where to start.

I cannot rank these in terms of the most important or least important. This is not a cumulative case. Any one point will make the case. But when it comes to reasons why I jettisoned the bible from my life, there is an embarrassment of riches. We will start with the one I think will be most shocking:

God’s opinion is meaningless to me

Let’s give the Christian everything they claim about god and the bible. God is real and he gave us a book. In fact, let’s go even further. The bible is perfect in all its words, ideas, and implications. It is exactly preserved as god intended. We have both the words and the meanings behind the words. I grant all of that for the sake of this argument.

So what?

None of that gets me to the point where I hand over my free will and judgement to a being of questionable morals and limited concern for my temporal happiness. I also have the exact words of the United States Constitution. It doesn’t mean I revere it or agree with all its dictates.

For the record, I don’t. I am happy when the Constitution is challenged, amended, updated, and otherwise improved. I don’t really care what the founders had in mind. They don’t live my life here and now. I do.

I have the exact words of my parents. There was a time in my life when I was forced to obey them. But that time is long past. I consider their words and advice today only if I feel like it, and I follow it only if it makes sense to me to do so. They are as close to my creator as any human gets. But that does not make their opinion better than mine for how I live my life.

Let us further suppose that the god of the bible is a good and wise god who knows everything from the past to all possible futures, and he wants the best for me for the present, and all possible futures to come. So what?

I am human. I am not a machine made only for taking input and following instructions. The best thing about being human is the journey. We get to try things that don’t always work, think things that aren’t always right, and learn things from our inevitable mistakes.

I don’t want some oracle telling me how to avoid all possible mistakes. I want to make some of those mistakes and live the glorious life that is uniquely mine. Life is not on rails. It is on open roads and grassy fields. And I want to explore them all, not just the ones that lead to the theoretical best outcome.

Were I to follow the dictates of such an oracle, I would no longer be human, at least, not the kind of human I would want to be.

My happiness matters to me

As I mentioned before, the god of the bible is not concerned with my temporal happiness. I am told time and again by evangelists that the gospel is not about my happiness, fulfillment, emotional support, self-esteem, health, or any other type of personal gratification. God is only interested in saving my soul.

This sounds absurd to me. Humans are beings of limited years with high sensitivity to joy, sadness, pleasure, and pain. Our happiness definitely matters. I might even argue that it is the only thing that matters.

Consider: You say that helping people is more important than happiness. But give it a moment and that idea stops making sense in a hurry. After all, what is it you are trying to help people accomplish? You are trying to bring people in a miserable state to a happier state. Why? Because happiness and human flourishing are the goals for all humans, even you.

You long for a life partner to make you happy. You want a good job that makes you happy, with decent pay that supports your happiness. Moreover, you want these things for everyone. Why? Because happiness matters.

Any god that doesn’t value my happiness as much as I do has little to say to me that I care about. The god of the bible seems obsessed with his own happiness. Humanity is merely a project for his own good purposes. That part of the project that does not make him happy will burn in his personal torture chamber, which presumably, will make him happy.

Biblical writers believed that the entirety of mankind was to fear this god and keep his commandments. We are to spend our lives on our knees giving him glory. He likes it when we are weak and submissive because in our weakness, he is strong. To hell with that god!

Conclusion

I will return to this argument at the end of the series when I talk about this god’s morality. But for now, granting that god is real and we have his words, his self-absorption, lack of concern for my autonomy or temporal happiness is enough for me to stop caring about what he has to say.

Next time, I will rescind the grant I have given and take a look at some of the features of the bible that are reasons to ignore it. We have not established that a god exists that could even author such a book. Everything about the book required the hands and minds of men. Nothing about it is perfect as one might expect if a god had anything to do with it.

I will mostly skip the issue of transmission which is covered in a study of textual criticism, and go straight to hermeneutics: the art of interpreting documents. Continue to assume that the words are reliably transmitted, we are no further along in establishing what they mean. And if you can’t establish what the words mean, you should not use them as a way of ordering your life.

And that’s the view from the skeptic.

David Johnson

Why Care about the Bible? (Part 1)- The Pursuit of Truth vs. Happiness (Christian View)

Originally, I had intended to write my own initiating blog on the Pursuit of Truth and whether the Atheist has any such epistemic duty in the first place given the truth of Atheism (in answer to an interesting request I received a few months back from one of our listeners- Richard Morgan).  With the Skeptic’s case being made here that the truth of Christianity is not worth pursuing in the first place, I feel it is appropriate to construct my counter-reply in the light of some of the things I had intended to say in the blog I had in mind on the pursuit of truth.

Much has been made of my take on the epistemic duty of Atheists to be “real seekers” regarding Christianity, the notion has even come to be seen as somewhat offensive amoung some of our skeptical listeners.  First, let me just say that on Atheism, I don’t think that anyone has any objectively necessary duties/responsibilities at all (whether those be epistemic, moral or otherwise)- one can truly do whatever one wants!  So, if I’m 100% certain that Atheism is true and I want to lie to myself about the existence of God or whether Jesus rose from the dead, well then so be it.

The Pursuit of Truth- Our Epistemic Duty

In responding to the Skeptic’s case that Christianity in particular is not worth knowing the truth about, it is essential that we first establish what responsibility and/or motivation we have in general to pursue the truth about religious questions.  “Religions” pertain to having knowledge/wisdom about the nature of ultimate reality and our own ultimate purpose within that ultimate reality (i.e. what our ultimate purpose is and how we can obtain it); Keith Ward has termed this notion as embodying what he calls the “iconic vision” which entails having an appropriate level of response to that vision (see his Concepts of God book, p.vii in the Preface).  Thus, this understanding of what “religion” is would include sets of beliefs/doctrines in Christianity, Islam and Buddhism but exclude ones found in Marxism and Confucianism (though I’m aware some consider this a religion, I don’t under this definition).

The Skeptic has made much of the common notion that ultimately what matters to us is our “happiness” and this is the only motivator that would interest him in pursing any given religion- thus, any religion that does not deliver on this front is said to be not worthy of pursuit.  Now, I actually agree with the Skeptic here, I do think there has to be something in it for us so to speak for us to feel motivated to attempt to discover/follow the true religious path.  But what exactly do we mean by “happiness”?

A serial rapist is “happy” when he rapes an innocent woman or I’m sure it made Hitler “happy” to see all the Jews he had slaughtered; clearly mere “happiness” on an individual level is not the sole arbiter of whether a course of action is worthy or not.  Instead, I think what the Skeptic means to say is that there is deep ingrained longing within us to achieve a deep well-being which provides a lasting (perhaps everlasting) and worthwhile happiness- some have called this notion “bliss” or others “beatitudo” (Richard Swinburne book Faith and Reason, p.184).  Such a notion not only implies that we are happy in such a state, but that we attain a “true happiness”, one that stems from our activities having some kind of ultimate value or virtue and it is this aspect that should compel people to want to discover the truth about religion and strive to follow its precepts.

However, there are other reasons/goals for which one should try to discover and follow the true religion as well; philosopher Richard Swinburne, in his book Faith and Reason, outlines three main goals for following a religion (see Faith and Reason book, p.168-190).  The first reason he gives is the one we have just outlined, which in a Christian context would refer to attaining one’s own salvation and/or state of “blissfulness” (the motivation for one’s own betterment).  A second related motivation would be to help others attain salvation as well (motivation for the betterment of other humans).  Its all fine and dandy if someone out of sheer selfishness doesn’t care to achieve their own ultimate purpose in creation, but then one needs to consider that perhaps they have the intelligence, resources or skill set necessary to help others in this regard and your participation in trying to discover the truth could be essential to helping them achieve their goals which would be unattainable otherwise; thus, one should at least ask the question do I care enough about helping others get what they want or do I only care about myself and what I want.  The final reason is to render proper worship and gratefulness to any divine beings (like the Christian God) who may be entitled to such (again God is a person entitled to our consideration just as much as any human).

The “Virtue Ethics” Factor

The above discussion leads us into the “Virtue Ethics” factor.  Virtue ethics (aka. Aretaic Ethics) works in conjunction with deontological ethics (i.e. “rule-based ethics”) to provide the teleological (or goal) aspect of traditional Christian ethical theory.  This aspect focuses away from the “rules” that one has to follow and instead concentrates on the effects that result from following such rules in the first place.

Traditional virtue ethics (the type I and many other Christians subscribe to) relies on what is called “essentialism” which is the belief that humans (and other substances) have an essential nature (the list of essential properties that define someone as human).  For Christians, it is God who has created and designed human beings and their nature and hence he provides certain rules for us to follow in accordance with what He knows will properly coincide with that nature and therefore contribute to our overall well-being and “eudaimonia” (i.e. happiness).  This ranges from everything to normal mundane happiness in this life to the more fulfilling and worthwhile type of happiness called “bliss” in the afterlife (post Judgment Day).

There are two major components of this notion which enable us to understand why it is not only good for us to discover which religion is true, but to subsequently “follow the rules” as it were after that discovery.  The first is related to “character” (the sum total of an individual’s habits)- to paraphrase Plato, “how does one come to have a brave character, well by doing brave things of course”.  Likewise, one develops a “heaven-fit character” by doing “heaven or salvation-fit things” such as obeying the moral rules and spiritual disciplines of God as described in His inspired Word to the point where it becomes “habit” for us (i.e. a trait so ingrained within us that it becomes an inherent part of our inner character).  Hence, we come to the second crucial component “virtue”; virtues refer to any “habits of excellence, beneficial tendencies or skilled dispositions that enable a person to realize…. proper human flourishing according to the ideal human nature” (see Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, p.455-456).  These concepts are useful when assessing the “worthiness” of pursuing Christianity in particular.

Is the Christian God Worthy of Pursuit?

So here, the Skeptic concedes the truth of Christianity to me, including the Bible as His inerrant Word and guide on how to live a good life and achieve salvation.  On the face of it, one might wonder what type of cleaning product the Skeptic has been guzzling down here- OF COURSE one should follow Christianity if it’s true, right?

Well, I will admit that the Skeptic is not necessarily as crazy as it might first appear, coming to a knowledge of the truth is not the end of the story and one still needs to decide whether one believes the truth is worthy of following.  Certainly, I have no desire to achieve my ultimate purpose if Buddhism is true, annihilation of my individuality into a state of nirvana holds no appeal to me whatsoever and so I’m glad to ignore its precepts even if true- therefore I don’t have a duty to be a “real seeker” in terms of Buddhism’s truth (I’m happy to save that for my next life perhaps).  Now, is the same true of Christianity- is the goal that Christianity offers, namely salvation, not even worthy of pursuit in the first place?

Obviously, this depends on one gaining a proper understanding of what “iconic vision” is being presented exactly, if I dismiss Buddhism based on a half-baked understanding of what enlightenment entails, then I could regret my decision to ignore my “real seeker” duties in its regard.  The same applies to Christianity as well- and here I find the skeptic has mischaracterized what the offer of salvation is all about and hence, comes to a false conclusion about its worthiness to be pursued.

At face value, how could one possibly think a “heaven-like” state of salvation (a place of eternal bliss completely devoid of any pain, suffering or evil) is unworthy of pursuit, especially when the non-achievement of such a goal entails going to Hell (a place of unimaginable suffering and the weeping and gnashing of teeth)- the Skeptic clearly must have been into that Draino again I suppose lol 😛  Well, not so fast there, he does provide some reasons for his position and I think they are worthy of serious consideration, even if I ultimately think he is completely “off-the-mark” in his assessment.

The Skeptic’s Reasons for Thinking Christianity Is Unworthy of Pursuit

  1. Reason #1- Human Nature is Incompatible with Christian Salvation;

Here the Skeptic grants that Molonism is true and God is omnibenevolent and thus would issue commands that would be for our own good; salvation would obviously presumably be designed for our own good/well-being.  Yet, the Skeptic assumes all salvation entails is sitting around singing all day and this would deny his fundamental human nature as it would prevent him from having fun and learning and growing about God’s creation- I assure you this is total nonsense!

The Bible gives us precious little on specifics as to what heaven/salvation will be like, it does mention some things that we will be doing but the text never says the limited descriptions of it are exhaustive on the whole salvation experience.  The spiritual disciplines serve a purpose in this life, namely to develop our characters in ways that make us “fit for salvation”; thus an appreciation and zealousness for learning new things or discovering new aspects about God and His creation is very probably a part of what we can expect to be doing in the new creation- whoever said this stops after the day of Judgment?  Indeed, the new heavens and the new earth implies that we will have many splendid things to discover based solely on the amazing nature of creation as it exists presently.  The Islamic scholar Al-Ghazali compares paradise as having an eternity to remove veils from God’s presence and getting ever closer to His infinitude of splendor.  We do know that there will be no more sin, evil or suffering in this world and that is great, humans are not designed for that; Sin is the cause of all our problems and imagine how much exploring, learning and growing one can do when one is no longer inhibited by a “sin disease” which is not conducive to human nature/well-being.

Regardless of what heaven/salvation entails specifically, the Bible is God’s Word and since the Skeptic grants God is all-good and all-knowing and wants what’s best for us; we can know that whatever salvation means, it is something we will enjoy and should want to pursue- this much should be undeniable.

  1. Reason #2- God doesn’t Care About Temporal Happiness;

Once again this is totally false!  The Christian God is world-affirming, he created various temporal pleasures and delights for us to enjoy while here on Earth during our mortal lives.  Now, its true that God expects us to avoid perversions of those temporal joys (food is great but consuming too much of it is bad for us) and keep them in their proper context, which may on occasion entail that we may need to prioritize and sacrifice on temporal pleasures in order to achieve a bigger and better joy.

Salvation is the top priority, this is us achieving our ultimate purpose in creation which entails a profound and worthwhile happiness that lasts forever not just for a season- we call this “bliss”; do I mind forfeiting a small amount of temporal happiness from time to time to achieve this end and/or allow others to achieve the same- no I do not and anyone that does is a fool.

Now, obviously David has in mind what I call the “perversions” of temporal joys such as pre-marital sex or lying or degenerate gambling or something along those lines- harmless fun that God arbitrarily prevents us from experiencing for no reason.  However, the Christian God that David accepts as real in this blog, never makes arbitrary commands, his rules are always offered for our own good and are conducive to human nature (He is the designer after all) and so I think this attitude really results from the Skeptic’s own sinful desires rather than a knowledge that God is depriving him of experiences that are essential to developing his character into a well-developed or ideal human being.  I trust that God knows better than we do as to what is best for us.

  1. Reason #3- God is Selfish;

Here the Skeptic basically says that God’s main goal in saving humanity is just to have a bunch of glorified “yes-men” to serve and worship him as mindless robots for an eternity.  Firstly, such a charge is obviously false since God could have easily created us without freewill and have us programmed to say “I love you God” over and over again if He so wanted, why waste His time with the whole Fall, becoming human and being crucified and then letting some people choose to go to Hell rather than giving God what He always wanted which according to the Skeptic is to have every human be a mindless singing robot who glorify God for all eternity?

Well, perhaps the answer is that God prefers freewill creatures freely choosing to be mindless glorifying robots in contradistinction to what is good for their own designed natures (designed by this same God mind you).  This would clearly make God and evil God and hence not worthy of worship.

Fortunately, this alleged Christian God is nothing of the sort but instead only a figment of the Skeptic’s overactive imagination.  Quite obviously, the Bible does speak of God’s jealousy over humans worshipping other gods, he demands our fidelity in worshipping Him alone and speaks of God’s concern for His divine glory and the need for humans to exemplify and exalt His glory- this much cannot be denied biblically speaking.

However, the Skeptic misses the mark in not understanding that God’s reasons for this are not selfish but selfless; that’s right, it is for the benefit of the human that God demands this!  The Bible is clear in saying that God has no need of us, He is entirely self-sufficient on His own without creation and thus there is no need on God’s part to have people tell him how great He is.  Humans and created persons are designed to need a relationship to the glorious perfection of the Christian God, worship is a natural expression or response to such glory and is good for us.  Unfortunately, we usually become what we worship and thus it is good for us to always have the absolute perfection that is God as the standard by which we worship.  God doesn’t need our praise in anyway, but it is gain good for human nature to want to be grateful and praise those who have done something good for us; I see no issue with thanking someone who opens a door and waits for me to go through it (indeed I feel somewhat a miss if I just walk through it without any acknowledgement of the kindness they showed me), how much more would it be downright rude and arrogant not to thank God after all He has done for us- it instills in me a gratitude for the worthwhile things and keeps me from becoming unappreciative of good things; we NEED to worship, praise and glorify God else we will destroy ourselves, it is a part of our very nature to do these things.

Conclusion

In closing, I don’t think it is a one-way street, God does actually get something out of the arrangement, I’m not talking about vain selfish praise and acknowledgement, I mean He gets to experience the “bliss” of having worthwhile and meaningful relationships with us (His creatures).  Again, I want to emphasize that we are in no way necessary for God, He was completely “blissful” without creation but there are some beneficial aspects that logically only come about once God has created, consider it a sort of lateral change in circumstance from God’s perspective and given He has chosen to create us, having as many humans as possible freely choose to be saved, now that is something that humans and God can both mutually benefit from.

And that’s the view of the Seeker/Christian,

Dale

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129 thoughts on “Why I don’t Care What the Bible Says, and Why You Shouldn’t Either (Skeptic’s View)

  1. “So, if I’m 100% certain that Atheism is true and I want to lie to myself about the existence of God or whether Jesus rose from the dead, well then so be it.”

    Luckily atheists don’t have to lie to themselves about the existence of god or whether Jeus rose from the dead since god doesn’t exist and jesus did not rise from the dead.

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  2. “At face value, how could one possibly think a “heaven-like” state of salvation (a place of eternal bliss completely devoid of any pain, suffering or evil) is unworthy of pursuit, especially when the non-achievement of such a goal entails going to Hell (a place of unimaginable suffering and the weeping and gnashing of teeth)-….”

    And here is the christian doctrine that demonstrates how truly repugnant the christian religion is, and which proved David’s point.

    It also goes to demonstrate that the “loving” god that Christians claim exists can’t logically exist. Loving and hell are mutually exclusive concepts, much like a married bachelor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darren,
      I agree with James Arlandson when he says, “Lack of wrath against wickedness is a lack of caring which is a lack of love.” Therefore, I disagree with your statement the loving and hell (i.e. judgement and wrath) are mutually exclusive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joyce,

        “Therefore, I disagree with your statement the loving and hell (i.e. judgement and wrath) are mutually exclusive.”

        I think if you actually tried to imagine sending your own children (or someone you love if you don’t like your children) to suffer for all eternity, then you would change your mind.

        You would realize that you can’t both love and torture them at the same time.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Darren,

          Re: God punishing mankind in hell for eternity, I have a few comments. Firstly, we typically focus on the consequences to those persons who choose to reject God and then spend eternity in hell. Many think, “How dreadful for those people! And how unloving of God.”

          But I would posit the question, ‘What about God and *his* feelings wrt those persons who choose to reject him?’

          To be clear, it should be understood that God doesn’t need us to have relationship. As a triune being, God has always had a perfect relationship with the three distinct personalities — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This means that he created mankind not so he could have relationship, but so that we can.

          Also important to understand is that relationships can only happen when at least two persons exercise their wills to make the relationship happen. Because we are imperfect creatures, we will always express our wills imperfectly which includes the risk that some of us will reject God.

          Rejection of God is not one-sided, though. It’s not just we who suffer for our rejection; our rejection affects God, as well. We are immeasurably valuable to God whether we reject him or accept him as per the following verses:

          Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

          Ezekiel 33:11, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.”

          Because we are imperfect, we are always vulnerable to being wounded in our relationships (i.e. marriage or friendships). We try to protect ourselves from being wounded and/or rejected by choosing whom we let into our lives.

          But God doesn’t pick whom he loves which means that for him, the pain of rejection is not just probable; it’s inevitable. Most often, we object to the way God made the world because of the pain we *might* feel (for all eternity). But we neglect to think of the pain God *will* feel. To explain……if we go to heaven, the Bible says that the pain of our lives will be wiped away, but God’s pain will never be wiped away. His pain from rejection of those who choose not to spend eternity with him will stay with him for all eternity. He will grieve eternally.

          Finally, you’ve used the word ‘torture’ in your post. My question is, ‘Does God torture those in hell?’

          My answer is, ‘No.’ If we’re thinking of God inflicting physical torture, like a prison camp warden, the answer is “no.” The torment that those in hell feel is the absence of a relationship with God. Since all humans were made for this relationship, then those without it will certainly suffer. This torment will be terrible, and nothing that anyone wants to experience, but those in hell desire something that is impossible for God to give – happiness without Him.

          In conclusion, it’s been said that if God were to *not* punish sin and wickedness, it wouldn’t make him more acceptable. It would only make him indifferent to evil.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Joyce:

            “But I would posit the question, ‘What about God and *his* feelings wrt those persons who choose to reject him?’”

            Yes, poor god. People reject him and he has no choice but to torture them for all eternity. God is the real victim here, not the people he is torturing.

            I guess i missed that one because I’m not a psychopathy.

            “Rejection of God is not one-sided, though. It’s not just we who suffer for our rejection; our rejection affects God, as well. We are immeasurably valuable to God whether we reject him or accept him as per the following verses:…”

            Well sure, and the sane and loving thing to do to those people you view as immeasurably valuable to you is to torture them for all eternity.

            “Finally, you’ve used the word ‘torture’ in your post. My question is, ‘Does God torture those in hell?’”

            If you are following the bible, then it is a resounding yes.

            “The torment that those in hell feel is the absence of a relationship with God.”

            Torture means inflicting intentional torment. So you are still describing torture here.

            “In conclusion, it’s been said that if God were to *not* punish sin and wickedness, it wouldn’t make him more acceptable. It would only make him indifferent to evil.””

            Yeah that is one of the stupidest things said by christians. He loves us so much that he has no choice but to torture us. If he didn’t torture us then he would be ignoring evil.

            You have to be a psychopath to think that makes torture ok. Or to even think that eternal torment is a good thing.

            This line of thinking really goes to show how truly repugnant and damaging to people the christian religion is.

            In every other part of your life, I bet you are a good and decent person. But your religion has warped your morals so much that you are defending a being that tortures people for all eternity.

            I can’t tell you how repugnant I find that.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Well said Joyce,

            I agree with you entirely and I was interested to know your view on Hell as well and seems you are right in line with what I and Marvin believe about Hell punishment being a result of the relational absence of God rather than some outdated medieval torture chamber where God pokes us with pitch forks or burns us in fire for eternity- such a view is more along the lines of the Islamic notion of Hell rather than a Biblical Christian one 🙂

            Also thanks to you and Jay for interacting with Darren, its really refreshing and there’s also a good convo going on between Tara and Ken about the nature of consciousness (I never thought I would be agreeing with Tara over Ken though lol).

            Anyways point is, thank you for taking the time to interact on here and give your take 🙂

            Dale

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            1. Dale:

              “I agree with you entirely and I was interested to know your view on Hell as well and seems you are right in line with what I and Marvin believe about Hell punishment being a result of the relational absence of God…..”

              Two more moral compasses that Christianity has corrupted.

              “…rather than some outdated medieval torture chamber where God pokes us with pitch forks or burns us in fire for eternity- such a view is more along the lines of the Islamic notion of Hell rather than a Biblical Christian one 🙂.”

              You say that as if it makes a difference. The form or the torture chamber doesn’t matter. All that is needed to make it a torture chamber is that it entails “going to Hell (a place of unimaginable suffering and the weeping and gnashing of teeth)”

              You can pretend your version of hell is better than the Islamic one if you like. But they are both morally repugnant and demonstrate that your god is a psychopath, evil and morally repugnant.

              And the fact that you are defending it just goes to show how much your religion has damaged you.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Darren,

                OK, yeah I get that is your opinion (no matter how flawed it is). I would just say its no more morally repugnant than it is for a person to break up with his/her significant other because they realize their partner isn’t happy with them- its like saying, “go and do what you want, I won’t hold you back by forcing you to do what you don’t want to do, be happy on doing your own thing”. Unfortunately, God is omniscient and so He knows and warns us in advance how stupid it is for non-Christians to reject Him as it will only lead them to cause self-inflicted pain and suffering on themselves.

                What a morally glorious God we have! I would think twice about rejecting him if I were you given that you don’t seem to like the end of where you will end up- seek Him with all your heart, body/mind and soul and be willing to submit to what is best for us- an eternal loving relationship with our Creator.

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                1. “OK, yeah I get that is your opinion (no matter how flawed it is). I would just say its no more morally repugnant than it is for a person to break up with his/her significant other because they realize their partner isn’t happy with them- ”

                  No it is no more morally repugnant that a person to break up with his/her significant other because they realize their partner isn’t happy with them and then torturing them for all eternity.

                  I have no clue why you don’t think the torture for all eternity is part of the equation. Your religion has so broken you you can’t even make a real comparison.

                  “God is omniscient and so He knows and warns us in advance how stupid it is for non-Christians to reject Him as it will only lead them to cause self-inflicted pain and suffering on themselves.”

                  It isn’t self inflicted. It is god inflicting it. Again, thinking that it is self inflicted is one of the stupidest things that christians say. No one but god created hell. He is the one that decided what it would be and how it would affect people.

                  “What a morally glorious God we have! I would think twice about rejecting him if I were you given that you don’t seem to like the end of where you will end up-”

                  Yes he is so morally glorious that you now have to threaten me with eternal torment because he is so morally glorious.

                  The truly tragic thing is that you are threatening me with hell (because you recognize what a truly disgusting thing it is) at the same time as you are saying your god is glorious and loving. And you feel that is moral to do.

                  How truly f****d up is that?

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. I’ve been over this so many times but to my mind I’m not sure if I have with you yet. So yes Hell is a place that God creates, it wouldn’t exist without Him for sure- so what? People choose to go into it and they suffer because of themselves not God- I provided the source on Hell and the different understandings so that is how I get a “Quarantine understanding of Hell”- from the Bible itself. I think at some point David wants to do a show on this topic and so perhaps then I will have a chance to discuss the biblical data.

                    Anyways, it is not immoral but moral to do this- if you don’t want to go to Heaven then you have to go somewhere, God can’t let you infect the saved with your sin disease when you refuse to accept the cure. Thus, he says OK, you want to be sin-cursed creature for all eternity then I will let you have your way but I will need quarantine you to protect the spiritually healthy people in heaven. Then He is such a good, moral “doctor” that He warns you of the consequences that will happen if you choose not to take the free cure He offers- how messed up is it to deny how great such a God is????

                    I can understand a skeptic saying that he doesn’t believe in such things but the whole show is predicated upon Christianity being true as an assumption so its baffling how anyone can find the Hell scenario I’ve outlined as being immoral. If you don’t think doctors putting people in Quarantine zones to protect the healthy is immoral than you have no business criticizing God here.

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                    1. “So yes Hell is a place that God creates, it wouldn’t exist without Him for sure- so what?”

                      So he created it. That alone makes him a moral monster. The fact that it exists demonstrates conclusively that god is a moral monster. That is ‘so what’.

                      “People choose to go into it and they suffer because of themselves not God-….”

                      There is no logically coherent way you can hold this view.

                      “I provided the source on Hell and the different understandings so that is how I get a “Quarantine understanding of Hell”-…”

                      Yes, and your understanding is just as immoral and as repugnant as any other.

                      “I think at some point David wants to do a show on this topic and so perhaps then I will have a chance to discuss the biblical data.”

                      Thats fine. But as long as it includes eternal suffering, it doesn’t make it any better. There is no way you can spin it that makes it moral.

                      “Anyways, it is not immoral but moral to do this-…”

                      Only someone with a warped seance of morality can hold this view.

                      “….if you don’t want to go to Heaven then you have to go somewhere, God can’t let you infect the saved with your sin disease when you refuse to accept the cure.”

                      Do you even hear yourself when you say things like this? I guess not, but from anyone with even the slightest bit of empathy, this is a truly repugnant view to hold.

                      Can’t go to heaven, so the only think my omniscient god was able to think of was to torture you for all eternity. But you are choosing to be tortured because you think any being that would create such a place is a moral monster.

                      “Then He is such a good, moral “doctor” that He warns you of the consequences that will happen if you choose not to take the free cure He offers- how messed up is it to deny how great such a God is????”

                      He inflicts eternal torment on people.

                      I think I like the original christians better. They recognized that god was a moral monster. That is why they said that the first thing you have to do is fear god. Because they knew that if you crossed him in any way he would f+++k you up on a whim, like he did with Jobe. They recognize that Isaiah 45:7 was being literal. It doesn’t mean that god allows evil to exist, just like it doesn’t mean that god allows good to exist. They understood that it meant that god created evil just like he created good.

                      They didn’t have to morally break themselves trying to justify morally repugnant views as good. They recognize that they were evil, but because god owned them he could do whatever he wanted.

                      “I can understand a skeptic saying that he doesn’t believe in such things but the whole show is predicated upon Christianity being true as an assumption so its baffling how anyone can find the Hell scenario I’ve outlined as being immoral.”

                      Eternal suffering.

                      That is what makes it immoral and morally repugnant. The fact that you can’t see that just goes to show how much you religion broke you.

                      You can claim a doctor quarantining the “sin” disease if you like, and if that was all it was, just another heaven without god. Then it would be fine. But that isn’t what it is. Its a torture chamber that god created.

                      “If you don’t think doctors putting people in Quarantine zones to protect the healthy is immoral than you have no business criticizing God here.”

                      If they built those quarantine zones to cause eternal suffering then I would have a problem with it. But since they don’t, I don’t have a problem with it.

                      Are you so deprived of empathy that you can’t see the problem with creating a place where people go to suffer for eternity? Has your religion truly broken you that much?

                      Liked by 1 person

  3. “We do know that there will be no more sin, evil or suffering in this world and that is great, humans are not designed for that;….”

    Well, one of the major ideas in christian apologetic is that sin has to exist in order for us to have free will. So I guess this means we will no longer have free will in heaven?

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  4. “Now, its true that God expects us to avoid perversions of those temporal joys (food is great but consuming too much of it is bad for us)….”

    Shellfish is an abomination according to the bible. So you know, not all food is great.

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  5. “….why waste His time with the whole Fall, becoming human and being crucified and then letting some people choose to go to Hell…”

    Yes, why did he waste his time doing all this? Because it really was a waste of time for him. The reason humans fell is because god set up the universe for us to fall. Had he chosen not to set up the universe the way he did, we wouldn’t have fallen.

    Why did he become human to be crucified when all he had to do was not create hell and not send anyone there?

    And the fact that christians think people “choose” to go to hell is just asinine. I know you will probably feel attacked by that, but it seriously is an asinine statement that christians need to stop making. There is no stupider statement that christians make about their religion; Their god is all-loving and all-benevolent and has our best interest in mind and if you don’t love him back or don’t believe he exists in the first place, you are choosing for him to throw you into a lake of fire and torture you for all eternity.

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    1. Lol, as David pointed out in the podcast.

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    2. Darren:

      And the fact that christians think people “choose” to go to hell is just asinine.

      This statement sounds quite reasonable until you read David’s portion of the post. He appears to be saying that even if he knew God exists he would choose the hellbound life.

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      1. “He appears to be saying that even if he knew God exists he would choose the hellbound life.”

        Can you quote the part where you think he is saying that? I re-read what he wrote, and listened to the podcast where he said he would never choose to be tortured for all eternity, and i’m not seeing that he said that he would choose to go to hell.

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        1. Darren, I did not listen to the podcast. In the post David says he would not follow the dictates of God and this implies he would live a hellbound life. He even writes, “To hell with that god!” If he wants to be so separated from God then hell would be a logical place for him to dwell. David says he would not care what God has to say which implies he would not care to listen to the offer of salvation and accept it.

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          1. “In the post David says he would not follow the dictates of God and this implies he would live a hellbound life. ”

            But that doesn’t mean he is choosing to go to hell, that just means he finds the christian got to be repugnant and morally corrupt, which if the god is going to send him to hell for not worshiping him, then the god is both repugnant and morally corrupt,

            If a mugger points a gun at you and says give me your money or I will shoot you in the face. Are you really choosing to be shot in the face by saying that the mugger is morally repugnant or if you tell him you aren’t giving him your money? Its still the muggers choice on whether to shoot you in the face, just as it is gods choice every time when he sends someone to hell to be tortured for all eternity.

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            1. Darren:

              But that doesn’t mean he is choosing to go to hell, that just means he finds the christian got to be repugnant and morally corrupt, which if the god is going to send him to hell for not worshiping him, then the god is both repugnant and morally corrupt,

              If Christianity is true then God is neither morally repugnant nor morally corrupt. David is quite simply wrong. If you’re going to grant Christianity is true for the sake of argument then you need to fully appreciate what that means. Disagreeing with an omniscient being is not a rational choice.

              Are you really choosing to be shot in the face by saying that the mugger is morally repugnant or if you tell him you aren’t giving him your money?

              To some degree I believe you are choosing to be shot in the face. Note this does not mean the mugger is not also making a choice. I’m saying both you and the mugger are making choices.

              it is gods choice every time when he sends someone to hell to be tortured for all eternity.

              Which in no way prevents you from making choices of your own. I will also note that hell as a torture chamber is your description, not mine.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. “If Christianity is true then God is neither morally repugnant nor morally corrupt.”

                By any meaningful definition of the words, yes he is.

                You are free to define the words as whatever god says, but then you have made the words completely meaningless. You don’t actually know what god says. Its easy enough to demonstrate since thousands of denominations of Christians all disagree on what god views as moral behavior, and the moral behavior that was written down (like stoning your kids to death for talking back to you) no one actually thinks is moral.

                “David is quite simply wrong.”

                He is correct on any meaningful definition of the word.

                “If you’re going to grant Christianity is true for the sake of argument then you need to fully appreciate what that means. Disagreeing with an omniscient being is not a rational choice.”

                This omniscient being rewarded Abraham for following his command to kill his child. I would say you would have to be completely irrational to think that being is moral.

                “To some degree I believe you are choosing to be shot in the face. Note this does not mean the mugger is not also making a choice. I’m saying both you and the mugger are making choices.”

                And god’s choice was to make a torture chamber for people so that people can be tortured for all eternity. You would have to have a completely meaningless definition of moral to think that was moral or even ok to begin with. You would also have to have a completely meaningless definition of loving to claim a loving being created a hell for people to be in for all eternity.

                “… I will also note that hell as a torture chamber is your description, not mine.”

                Its also the one Dale gave in his article above, as quoted here: “….going to Hell (a place of unimaginable suffering and the weeping and gnashing of teeth)…”

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Jay and Darren,

                  Not trying to butt in to your good convo here- but just to correct the record- I do believe Hell entails suffering (perhaps not unimaginable) and gnashing of teeth but I emphatically denied in the podcast that Hell is a “torture-chamber model”- that isn’t what I said or believe in so I’m with Jay on that front.

                  I think of Hell as more of a “Quarantine Model” and rather than explaining what that means again I can provide a good take on it that I agree with here = http://christianthinktank.com/gr5part2.html .

                  Enjoy and good convo both of you, its great to see another Christian interacting with the skeptics on here for a change, as I think Jay has his own good points to contribute rather than just interacting with what I think all the time 🙂

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                  1. ” I do believe Hell entails suffering”

                    So in your world god inflicted suffering is not torture? What do you feel is the difference?

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                    1. I would say God isn’t inflicting the suffering, its more a natural consequence of choosing to be devoid of his relational presence, to continue on in with our sin affected natures and then multiple sinful creatures choosing to act out on their increasingly more and more sinful desires. So God Himself doesn’t do anything directly to cause people to suffer.

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                    2. “I would say God isn’t inflicting the suffering, its more a natural consequence of choosing to be devoid of his relational presence,….”

                      So god didn’t create the natural consequences of “choosing” to be devoid of his relational presence?

                      I thought you believed that there was the philosophers nothing before god created everything. Wouldn’t that mean there was no such thing as “devoid of his relational presence” before he created it? Or are you claiming that god is not the most powerful being but there is something else more powerful that dictates how he can create?

                      If you are saying that he created the “devoid of his relational presence” then he absolutely is causing the suffering. Directly.

                      “…to continue on in with our sin affected natures and then multiple sinful creatures choosing to act out on their increasingly more and more sinful desires.”

                      And what about our sinful natures? Did he not create those? Or is he again not the creator of reality and instead being forced in how he can create by something more fundamental and more powerful than he is?

                      Also, if they are acting out on their sinful desires. You know like having sex with consenting adults, not persecuting gay people. Not subjugating women or keeping slaves; you know all those things that the god of the bible is against. How exactly will there be suffering and gnashing of teeth?

                      “So God Himself doesn’t do anything directly to cause people to suffer.”

                      If not god then who?

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                    3. OK, just curious are these sincere questions or more just rhetorical?

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                    4. “OK, just curious are these sincere questions or more just rhetorical?”

                      I’m just curious how you can claim your god is all-powerful, all-knowing, created everything, and yet somehow not responsible for the creation he made. Or somehow didn’t actually create a part of the reality he supposedly made.

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                    5. OK, but this is something I’ve answered before though- God is all those things and he does create the potential for sin in giving us freewill- the potential for us to do evil is a good thing to create; it is entirely our fault if we take advantage of it- so that is how I answer that type of thing.

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                    6. “OK, but this is something I’ve answered before though-…”

                      Except it doesn’t actually answer any of the questions I put forward. You are saying two contradictory things. That he didn’t create sin and evil, and doesn’t send us to hell and that he created everything made all the rules for how reality works.

                      Both can’t be true at the same time.

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                2. Darren, since the Bible says God is good and David is granting the Bible is true for the sake of argument then he is contradicting himself in saying God is evil. He is essentially saying God is both good and evil. If the Bible is truly God’s word then there are good reasons for the difficult passages in the Bible even if we do not know what those good reasons are.

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                  1. “…since the Bible says God is good….”

                    The problem is that the bible is using a meaningless definition for good. As I stated above, under any meaningful definition of good, god is not only not good, but evil and morally repugnant. If you want to use the bibles meaningless definition of good, you are more than welcome to do that. Just don’t expect anyone else to take you seriously when you say god is good because the bible says that god is good.

                    “…and David is granting the Bible is true for the sake of argument then he is contradicting himself in saying God is evil.”

                    Dave can grant that the bible is true, and still call god evil since the bible’s definition of good is meaningless. And all of the actions god actually takes in the bible are evil by any meaningful definition of the word.

                    “He is essentially saying God is both good and evil.”

                    No he isn’t. He is just saying that the bible is using a meaningless definition of the word good.

                    “If the Bible is truly God’s word then there are good reasons for the difficult passages in the Bible even if we do not know what those good reasons are.”

                    Or god is just lying. After all I could write a book claiming that I was good. Anyone could. Why not god?

                    Liked by 1 person

                  2. First, I acknowledge that my granting things for this particular argument lands me in a bit of hot water. But part of the problem with granting all Christian claims is that there are contradictory claims. It looses coherence. So my grant is for all Christian claims to the extent possible under the laws of reason and non-contradiction. Some things simply can’t be granted in a meaningful way even when I try.

                    Second, Darren is exactly right about ow the bible defines “good.” It is utterly meaningless. Dale and I had a very long conversation on this very topic before we hit the record button. I explained to him that we can call god good because the bible does. But that idea of good includes some pretty awful things. So the word is kind of useless.

                    In the blog, Dale challenged me on my notion of happiness. he says that it depends on what you mean by happy. In the same manner, I challenged his notion of god’s goodness. It depends on what you mean by good. Even Christians have contradictory ideas about what is and isn’t good.

                    Now, I will take it beyond the arguments made in the blog and on the podcast. God’s idea of good is so dissonant to my idea of good, that even though he is god, I cannot bring myself to live in his idea of good because it goes against everything I feel to be good. To live his version of good, I would have to deny my own conscience, and indeed, my very existence every moment of my life. I would sooner kill myself than do that.

                    It would be as if you were captured by a terrorist group and forced to do atrocities all day in the name of their idea of good. I would hope you would kill yourself before living like that. So if god wanted me to be aligned with his idea of good, he could have made me in such a way that I didn’t find it as repulsive as olives.

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. Sorry to intrude in the convo here- but just wanted to say David is correct that I had the same understanding as Jay about what David was granting when he claims he can admit God is all-good and still not worship or trust Him.

                      My understanding after speaking with David before the show however is that he relativizes the word “good” in order to reconcile what would otherwise just be illogical- for David God is not the objective/necessary standard of goodness as Christians claim (which is why I was sure to mention that this is what I mean by the term) but instead God is “good” relative to what He thinks is good but that isn’t necessarily what David thinks of as being “good”. Hence, one can never really make progress on that front unless God explains his reasons fully to David and persuades him personally of why he should or shouldn’t do something- the smoking example provided in the Podcast is a case in point.

                      However, there is one thing I find curious though- because you claimed during the show that this topic is in marked contrast to your final show on proving God is “evil”- obviously under your relative goodness notion, what you really mean to say here is that relative to you God is not good but “evil”- so I’m wondering in your final show are you actually going to claim that God is objectively/necessary evil or once again just that he is “evil” relative to you?

                      If the former- it appears you contradict yourself by not allowing the Christian to claim God is the necessary standard of goodness but if the latter what is the difference between that topic and this one?

                      Thanks and hope you don’t mind the gentle prodding- I am actually interested in the answer for the purposes of our upcoming show and plus as I had the same confusion as Jay, I think Christian lurkers might appreciate having a better understanding of your arguments here 🙂

                      Dale

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                    2. Dale, this is a fair observation and good question. Yes, god is evil relative to me. But I will also argue that our relative understanding of goodness is the only one that matters. Even if there was an objective good or evil, it wouldn’t matter if following that objective good went against our conscience. We would feel like we were doing evil all the time.

                      My last case will be why the bible is a morally depraved book to me, and why I think it should be the case for everyone. But that is not the same as saying it is objectively evil. I think it is evil in a way that we can agree on.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Cool, thanks for the clarification 🙂

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                    4. “But I will also argue that our relative understanding of goodness is the only one that matters.”

                      It’s also the one that is “hard coded” into our biology.

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                    5. David:

                      But I will also argue that our relative understanding of goodness is the only one that matters. Even if there was an objective good or evil, it wouldn’t matter if following that objective good went against our conscience. We would feel like we were doing evil all the time.

                      Aren’t you going to have to grant that the rapist’s relative understanding of goodness is the only one that matters to him too? On the other hand, if we align our beliefs and conscience (not feelings) with the objectively good then we will not think (as opposed to feel) we are doing evil.

                      I think it [the Bible] is evil in a way that we can agree on.

                      If the Bible is not objectively evil then this appears no better (objectively speaking) than a group of child pornographers agreeing child pornography is good.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Jay:

                      “On the other hand, if we align our beliefs and conscience (not feelings) with the objectively good then we will not think (as opposed to feel) we are doing evil.”

                      If you can demonstrate that we should care about your objective good, then I would have no problem following it. The problem is that the objective good you are pointing too is repugnant and evil. Objectively so, when using human well-being as the measuring stick.

                      The reality is I don’t car about the subjective opinions of your god as to what should and should not be considered good and moral. I care about human well-being. Or human happiness, as David puts it.

                      “If the Bible is not objectively evil then this appears no better (objectively speaking) than a group of child pornographers agreeing child pornography is good.”

                      Except it is your god, as described by the bible, that is the moral equivalent of the child pornographers saying that child pornography is good.

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                    7. “…. what you really mean to say here is that relative to you God is not good but “evil”-….”

                      I don’t want to talk for David here, but i would say that if we are talking relative to human well-being, which I could make a strong argument is what people actually mean when they say moral or good, God is not good but evil.

                      And human well-being, is an objective standard.

                      I know the next question is why should we care about human well-being, and I would respond with; when you can tell me why should we care about god’s opinion about what is good and moral, then I will tell you why we should care about human well-being. If you have no reason to justify your claims about god being good, then I have no reason to justify why we should value human well-being.

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                    8. David:

                      If Christian claims are truly contradictory then you shouldn’t have granted that they are true for the sake of argument.

                      Neither you nor Darren have demonstrated that the biblical definition of good is meaningless. That takes a lot more work than the average blog post or comment allows. Furthermore, the atheist will be hard-pressed to come up with any objective definition of the good without bringing teleology, and thus probably God, into the discussion.

                      You write, “God’s idea of good is so dissonant to my idea of good, that even though he is god, I cannot bring myself to live in his idea of good because it goes against everything I feel to be good.” Why are your feelings taking priority over your reason? If your idea of the good conflicts with that of an omniscient being then you hold false beliefs. Dale hints at a broadly Aristotelian way out of the quagmire. To be a good human is to actualize the final causes given to you by your human nature. Follow the final causes, not your emotions.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    9. Jay:

                      “Neither you nor Darren have demonstrated that the biblical definition of good is meaningless.”

                      Thats ok, you have done that for us. By recognizing that there are “troubling passages” in the bible, you are recognizing that your instincts about what is good and evil is screaming at you that your god is evil, but because you start with the idea that god can’t be evil, you are put in this state of cognizant dissonance that you are trying to rationalize away.

                      The problem is that you believe that god has written good morals on your heart, and your heart is telling you that god is evil.

                      “Furthermore, the atheist will be hard-pressed to come up with any objective definition of the good without bringing teleology, and thus probably God, into the discussion.”

                      That’s actually not true. Our morals come from a mix of our biology and our society. There is no teleology there, just causes. And well-being is driven by our biology and also an objective standard as it is backed up by facts of reality.

                      “Why are your feelings taking priority over your reason?”

                      Because morals come from feelings. That is just a fact of our biology. Reason can temper and modify those feelings, but the reality is that feelings (like empathy) are our morality.

                      “If your idea of the good conflicts with that of an omniscient being then you hold false beliefs.”

                      Can you demonstrate this is true? When did you demonstrate that the definition of good this omniscient being is using, is one we should care about?

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                    10. Darren:

                      I do not believe God has written perfectly good morals on my heart. My heart is not an infallible discoverer of moral truths.

                      That I find some passages in the Bible troubling does not entail that the Bible’s definition of good is meaningless or that my instincts are screaming “God is evil.” I recognize that good can come out of what appears evil on the surface. Instead of accusing God of evil without knowing all the facts I would ask him what is/was going on in this or that passage.

                      A few weeks ago I was in the doctor’s office and could hear an infant screaming while he was getting shots (?). Based on instincts alone I should have rushed into the room, punched the doctor in the face, and taken the infant from the obviously sadistic parents. Of course, I allowed reason to overpower my instincts since I knew good was coming out of evil.

                      You assert that there is no teleology, just causes. Presumably by “causes” you mean efficient causes. But how can A regularly efficiently cause B if B is not a final cause of A? And if B is a final cause of A then you subscribe to Aristotelian teleology.

                      You assert that well-being is driven by biology. How? Can you define well-being without resorting to other value-laden terms?

                      Atheists like to claim they are on the side of reason in the debate over God’s existence. Ironically, you, the atheist, assert our morals come from feelings while I, the theist, say we can reason about morality. You claim well-being is based on an objective standard. How can feelings be an objective standard? Suppose the rapist is experiencing positive feelings during a rape and his victim is experiencing negative feelings during the rape. How are you getting an objective standard out of these feelings?

                      I recommend looking to the likes of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas for moral philosophy. I wrote, “To be a good human is to actualize the final causes given to you by your human nature.” As an example, knowing the truth is a final cause of human beings. Acquiring more knowledge makes you a better human being (in that respect at least). If Christianity is true, then it’s good to believe it. Communion with God is another final cause of human beings. It is for this reason that knowing and loving God is good. Finally, as a bodily example, we can consider that the final cause of the eye is sight. It is for this reason that blindness is a disability. In blind people the eye is not actualizing its final cause (sight). This is how well-being can be given an objective standard. The problem, for the atheist, is that these beliefs (formal and final causes) fit better with theism than atheism.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    11. Jay:

                      “That I find some passages in the Bible troubling does not entail that the Bible’s definition of good is meaningless or that my instincts are screaming “God is evil.””

                      Ok, lets test out that claim.

                      Do you feel it is moral to kill people for working on the sabbath? If so, why aren’t you doing that? If it is moral to do so, then shouldn’t you be doing that? God tells his followers to kill someone for picking up sticks on the sabbath, you think that was a morally good thing? After all the full context of that law and why god said to do it are completely understood.

                      Or do you feel that morals are relative and it was moral for them to do it but not you? And if you don’t think it is moral for you to do it, then why was it moral for them to do it?

                      Same question for the following.

                      Killing 42 children via bears for calling someone bald.

                      Killing the first born of every family except a few that slaughtered lambs and spread their blood on the doorway because the leaders heart was hardened by god.

                      How about committing genocide on an entire world by drowning?

                      Or destroying a building and confusing everyone’s languages because the people were working together and god knew if they worked together there would be nothing they couldn’t achieve.

                      Commanding someone to kill their child and rewarding them for obeying you.

                      Requiring a horrific blood sacrifice just so you can forgive some of the people you created, and yet send the rest to suffer for all eternity.

                      etc. etc. etc.

                      “I recognize that good can come out of what appears evil on the surface. Instead of accusing God of evil without knowing all the facts I would ask him what is/was going on in this or that passage.”

                      If you can’t tell if god is evil by his actions, then how can you claim that you know he is good? Or that god is even telling the truth about himself when he calls himself good?

                      “A few weeks ago I was in the doctor’s office and could hear an infant screaming while he was getting shots (?).”

                      And if the doctor was feeding that baby to bears? would you still let your reason overtake your instincts? Maybe he had reasons to do it that you weren’t aware of.

                      Also of note, god never introduced life saving vaccines to the world, but he did kill kids with bears. Oh, and he created the diseases we have to vaccinate against.

                      “You assert that there is no teleology, just causes. Presumably by “causes” you mean efficient causes.”

                      Sure, efficient causes and we can also talk about the material causes if you like. They are effectively much the same thing in this case anyway.

                      “But how can A regularly efficiently cause B if B is not a final cause of A? And if B is a final cause of A then you subscribe to Aristotelian teleology.”

                      Umm. No. This idea of final causes for natural processes is just silly. Its one of the many things wrong with aristotelian philosophy.

                      “You assert that well-being is driven by biology. How?”

                      Well, chemistry actually. That is how the whole body works. Chemicals form specific structures in the brain that create a pattern for the neurons to follow when they are formed. Some of the structures allow us to feel happiness and pain others allow us to reason. And what we call morals are pathways that have formed that allow us to feel the pain others are suffering from, and have us feel happy when we help others out. And because some of the structures in our brain allow us to see patterns and recognize intent in others, we can extend our reasoning to others. Which leads to moral philosophy.

                      There is an entire science on morality. How it evolved, the brain structures involved. I suggest you look into it if you are going to continue arguing morality with atheists.

                      You may especially want to look into the experiments of morality and magnets. We can change a persons morality, without them realizing it, just by applying magnet fields to a specific part of the brain.

                      “Can you define well-being without resorting to other value-laden terms?”

                      The normal dictionary definition is fine in most cases I would imagine. “The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” None of those terms are value laden, other than the fact that people value the states of being those terms describe.

                      “Atheists like to claim they are on the side of reason in the debate over God’s existence. Ironically, you, the atheist, assert our morals come from feelings while I, the theist, say we can reason about morality.”

                      When did I state that morals can’t be reasoned about? The fact that our morals originate from our feelings, which are a direct byproduct of our biology, is just recognizing the physical facts of reality. It does nothing to say we can’t reason about morals.

                      “You claim well-being is based on an objective standard.”

                      This is incorrect. I said that well-being IS our objective standard.

                      “How can feelings be an objective standard?”

                      Again, I didn’t say that feelings are the objective standard. I said that feelings are what our morals are based on. And we can compare our feelings/morals to the objective standard of well-being.

                      “I recommend looking to the likes of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas for moral philosophy.”

                      Why would I want to do that? Aquinas is one of the poorest thinkers I have ever read. I have absolutely no clue why anyone takes him seriously.

                      Aristotle is a fine enough thinker, but he had a very limited idea of how reality actually worked, so most of his conclusions are pretty much useless. But he does have some good things that he came up with.

                      “If Christianity is true, then it’s good to believe it.”

                      Ok. How does Christianity being true make gods definition of good meaningful?

                      “Communion with God is another final cause of human beings. It is for this reason that knowing and loving God is good.”

                      That is like saying that knowing and loving your abusive parent is good. Can you demonstrate that your statement is true? At all?

                      “The problem, for the atheist, is that these beliefs (formal and final causes) fit better with theism than atheism.”

                      That’s fine. You can keep them. Now all you have to do is demonstrate that formal and final causes are a real thing, and you can include theism on that list while you are at it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    12. Darren:

                      A universal moral code will lead to different choices in different circumstances. It can be moral to kill Sabbath breakers in some circumstances but not others. I don’t kill Sabbath breakers because I don’t live in ancient Israel’s theocracy (among other reasons, like the Mosaic Law’s role in Christianity, that I will not go into here).

                      And I disagree with you that we know the full context of the law and God’s reasoning concerning Numbers 15:32-36. I think our understanding of ancient Israel’s law and how it was applied in practice are only partially understood.

                      Even in what you say are evil actions by God there is usually an obvious good coming out of it. For instance, the plagues on Egypt and the Flood are (at least partially) punishment for evil. One may also point to the good and faithful deeds of God as reasons to call him good. And his faithfulness is a sign of his honesty.

                      You assert, “This idea of final causes for natural processes is just silly. Its one of the many things wrong with aristotelian philosophy.” It’s telling that you don’t provide a non-Aristotelian answer to the question. If the “silly” Aristotelian explanation is the only explanation then you’re out of luck. The “silly” Aristotelian has the advantage of being able to explain the regularity observed by scientists and layman alike.

                      I asked, how is well-being driven by biology? You answered that some brain structures allow us to feel happiness and pain. Does this mean well-being is determined solely by the individual’s state of mind? Does this commit you to believing the rapist is doing well while raping and his victim is doing unwell at the same time? It would be helpful if you provide some kind of hypothetical example.

                      I don’t find the standard definition of well-being avoids value-laden terms. Comfort and happiness refer to subjective mental states that are valued by the individual. “Healthy” is showing physical, mental, or emotional well-being. We’re dealing with such basic concepts that “well-being” and “health” are used in each other’s definitions. Without formal and final causes I see no way out of this conundrum except embracing subjective definitions of well-being. This would entail a blind person is doing well if he is happy with his blindness.

                      It is interesting that you think Aquinas is one the “poorest thinkers” but Aristotle is a “fine thinker” considering Aquinas is in agreement on many issues with Aristotle. Even if “most” of Aristotle’s views are “pretty much useless” that doesn’t tell us whether his moral philosophy is useless. If you can understand (you don’t have to agree) that “to be a good human is to actualize the final causes given to you by your human nature” then you should be able to accept that the meaning of good I am putting forth is not meaningless. It might be wrong, but it’s not meaningless.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    13. Jay:

                      “A universal moral code will lead to different choices in different circumstances. It can be moral to kill Sabbath breakers in some circumstances…..”

                      And this type of mentality is why your religion is so very repugnant and morally corrupt. There is absolutely no possible reason, ever, to kill people for working on the sabbath,

                      That you seem to think there could ever be a reason to do that, just tells me, that you have a truly repugnant moral code.

                      “If the “silly” Aristotelian explanation is the only explanation then you’re out of luck.”

                      It isn’t an explanation. There are explanations that exist (like the one I provided), but the Aristotelian explanation isn’t one of them.

                      “The “silly” Aristotelian has the advantage of being able to explain the regularity observed by scientists and layman alike.”

                      Actually it doesn’t.

                      An explanation gives us greater understanding of what is happening. It provides the hows and the why’s. Adding “final cause” to a sentence does none of that.

                      “I asked, how is well-being driven by biology? You answered that some brain structures allow us to feel happiness and pain. Does this mean well-being is determined solely by the individual’s state of mind?”

                      No.

                      “Does this commit you to believing the rapist is doing well while raping and his victim is doing unwell at the same time?”

                      Not even a little bit.

                      If you decide that the final cause of a woman is to have sex without complaining to anyone that forces her to, does that make raping a woman moral?

                      “Without formal and final causes I see no way out of this conundrum except embracing subjective definitions of well-being. This would entail a blind person is doing well if he is happy with his blindness.”

                      Then it sounds like you will have a pretty hard time of it, since you have yet to demonstrate that formal or final causes are even real things.

                      “It is interesting that you think Aquinas is one the “poorest thinkers” but Aristotle is a “fine thinker” considering Aquinas is in agreement on many issues with Aristotle.”

                      Well, Aristotle was born 384 B.C. and Aquinas wasn’t born until 1225. It isn’t surprising that Aquinas used a lot of Aristotle’s ideas. Neither one lived in a time to really understand how the world works.

                      “Even if “most” of Aristotle’s views are “pretty much useless” that doesn’t tell us whether his moral philosophy is useless.”

                      Most philosopher’s ideas of morality are useless. I don’t blame them for it, not thee ancient philosophers anyway, since they just didn’t understand how the biology worked.

                      If you want to get a useful idea of how the human mind constructs our moral frameworks, and the reasons for why we hold such ideas, you have to turn to the science, not the philosophy. Philosophers make things up that seem logical to them. Scientists look at the world and figure out how it is actually working.

                      “If you can understand (you don’t have to agree) that “to be a good human is to actualize the final causes given to you by your human nature” then you should be able to accept that the meaning of good I am putting forth is not meaningless. It might be wrong, but it’s not meaningless.”

                      If your idea of morality entails that it is ok to murder someone for the crime of picking up sticks on the sabbath, then there is something truly broken in your ideas of morality.

                      Since your morality can accommodate any atrocity like that, then it is truly is meaningless.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    14. Darren:

                      Since we have finite minds that cannot conceive of all possibilities we aren’t in a position to say that there is no possible circumstance in which killing a Sabbath breaker is morally permissible.

                      Final causality does tell us why we observe regularity. It tells us that some being X has final causes A, B, and C. This explains why X brings about A, B, and C but never D, E, and F.

                      None of your appeals to science allow you to bridge the is/ought gap because science can’t discover oughts.

                      Finally, you can continue to call definitions different from yours “meaningless” but then I think you’re misusing the term.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    15. “Since we have finite minds that cannot conceive of all possibilities we aren’t in a position to say that there is no possible circumstance in which killing a Sabbath breaker is morally permissible.”

                      That is just patently absurd. You don’t have to have ultimate knowledge to know that some things are just not morally permissible. There is NO morally permissible reason for a anyone, including a god, to command murdering someone for picking up sticks.

                      And this is exactly why your moral definitions are meaningless. You have absolutely no way to distinguish between what is and is not moral. You can basically justify any action, no matter how repugnant, as being moral.

                      “Final causality does tell us why we observe regularity. It tells us that some being X has final causes A, B, and C. This explains why X brings about A, B, and C but never D, E, and F.”

                      No it actually doesn’t. The final cause of “Sight” didn’t case the eye to come about. Final causes are not real things. It is just a misunderstanding of cause and effect.

                      “None of your appeals to science allow you to bridge the is/ought gap because science can’t discover oughts.”

                      First off, the is/aught problem is not a problem. I know philosophers think it is a problem, but it is mosely because they don’t understand how the world actually works. However, if we were to assume it is an actual problem, a god doesn’t solve the problem either. Proposing a god doesn’t tell you why you aught to care about that god or what they say.

                      “Finally, you can continue to call definitions different from yours “meaningless” but then I think you’re misusing the term.”

                      If you think it is just because the definition is different from mine, then you haven’t been trying to understand my position.

                      If all you have to do to make something moral in your framework is to say “…we have finite minds that cannot conceive of all possibilities we aren’t in a position to say that there is no possible circumstance in which killing a Sabbath breaker is morally permissible., then you have no framework to distinguish moral actions from immoral ones.

                      If can’t tell the difference between a moral action and an immoral action using your system, then your system is meaningless.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    16. Darren, I’ll probably let you have the last word after this if you’d like.

                      The Sabbath breaker of Numbers 15:32-36 was not executed for simply picking up sticks. He was executed for breaking the command of God. He had witnessed the plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the miraculous provisions of food and water. He had entered into a covenant with God that included keeping the Sabbath or facing execution (Exodus 31:12-17; 35:2-3; Deuteronomy 5:13-15). Many commentators see in this man an example of a man sinning defiantly (Numbers 15:30-31).

                      You misunderstand final causality. It does not mean sight causes the eye to exist. The efficient causes of the eye are what cause the eye to exist. The ability of the eye to see is what makes it possible for you to have visual perception. A good eye is simply one that actualizes its final causes (sight). This is the proper foundation, I believe, for understanding terms like “well-being” and “health” in an objective way.

                      Regarding the is/ought problem, I agree it is not a problem for everyone. But I think it is a problem for those who deny teleology, such as yourself. Note: I did not appeal to God to solve the is/ought problem, I appealed to formal and final causes.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    17. “The Sabbath breaker of Numbers 15:32-36 was not executed for simply picking up sticks. He was executed for breaking the command of God.”

                      Yeah. That doesn’t make it better. It is still a repugnant reason to murder someone.

                      “A good eye is simply one that actualizes its final causes (sight).”

                      Except the concept of final cause, as articulated by Aristotle don’t exist with the eye. Sight is not a final cause for the eye. Aristotle imbued the phrase with the idea of purpose and goal setting. None of that exists for the eye.

                      Also, there are dozens of animal species that have eyes that don’t work. And there is nothing wrong with there well-being. So much for sight being the final cause of eyes.

                      “Regarding the is/ought problem, I agree it is not a problem for everyone. But I think it is a problem for those who deny teleology, such as yourself.”

                      As someone who “denies teleology”, I can tell you first hand that it isn’t a problem. You can feel it is a problem if you like, but you are just factually and demonstrably wrong.

                      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hey Darren,

      No, I don’t feel attacked actually, I’ve made a resolution to follow Matthew 7:3-5 and not try to correct any biases or hypocrisy of others (whether real or imagined) until I’ve corrected myself first. I don’t agree with much of what you say, but I understand you are just giving your opinion on the show and its the same thing I did in the debate with Alan on the Shroud, so I can hardly scold or try to correct your behaviour if I’m doing the same thing. That said, I can see what your doing here and you probably mean it in a good way in the same way I did when I was critiquing Shroud skeptical arguments from people like Alan and thus I take no offense- thanks for your feedback 🙂

      That said, your comments are mostly assertions with one exception where you ask me a question- I don’t claim that evil is necessary for us to have free will- though its possibility is necessary (its called “dual ability” under the ability criterion of freewill in technical academic philosophy). So yes in Heaven I think we do still have freewill but we just will never again choose to do evil/sin, that said some Christians do think we undergo a fundamental change whereby we no longer possess the ability to sin (we freely choose to divest ourselves of that ability) but to get there one has to freely choose that state, they can’t just be created in it without being a mere puppet- so on either view I’m good.

      Thanks and Happy New Year,

      Dale

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      1. “…, I’ve made a resolution to follow Matthew 7:3-5…”

        As long as you aren’t following Luke 19:27, I should be good. 🙂

        “…they can’t just be created in it without being a mere puppet-….”

        So your defense is that they freely choose to be a puppet in heaven? They aren’t a mere puppet, but a freely chosen puppet?

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        1. Lol, OK.

          As to your question- yeah that is a possible answer that Catholics take for example- they say our characters/natures fully blossom into being Christ-like and then it becomes “crystallized” upon reaching the point of no return in that state.

          I don’t take this view personally but recognize it as valid- I’m more partial saying that we can sin but just won’t choose to do so given our Christ-like natures.

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          1. “I don’t take this view personally but recognize it as valid- I’m more partial saying that we can sin but just won’t choose to do so given our Christ-like natures.”

            Does god have free will (able to choose to sin), or is he just a puppet?

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  6. David:

    None of that gets me to the point where I hand over my free will and judgement to a being of questionable morals and limited concern for my temporal happiness.

    Once you’ve granted Christianity is true for the sake of argument then it is simply false that God has questionable morals. The analogies to the Constitution and your parents break down because the founding fathers and your parents are not omniscient. But, if they were omniscient, then you disagreeing with them would indicate your prefer falsehood to truth.

    We get to try things that don’t always work, think things that aren’t always right, and learn things from our inevitable mistakes.

    Do you think the problem of evil is a real problem for theists? If so, how does that square with the quoted statement?

    I am told time and again by evangelists that the gospel is not about my happiness, fulfillment, emotional support, self-esteem, health, or any other type of personal gratification. God is only interested in saving my soul.

    You ignore that the communion of your soul with God dwarfs any personal gratification you can achieve in this age.

    But for now, granting that god is real and we have his words, his self-absorption, lack of concern for my autonomy or temporal happiness is enough for me to stop caring about what he has to say.

    How is God showing a lack of concern for your autonomy? If he exists, he’s allowing you to complain about him and break his commandments.

    Dale:

    Instead, I think what the Skeptic means to say is that there is deep ingrained longing within us to achieve a deep well-being which provides a lasting (perhaps everlasting) and worthwhile happiness- some have called this notion “bliss” or others “beatitudo” (Richard Swinburne book Faith and Reason, p.184).

    You appear to have re-used the term “happiness” in trying to determine what the skeptic really means by “happiness”. It is not evident that the skeptic has beliefs that can support a belief in objective goodness. On the skeptic’s worldview there may be no way to distinguish the happiness of the rapist when raping a woman to the happiness of a soup kitchen worker serving people food. I believe there needs to be some teleology in nature that exists independently of the human will to underpin objective goodness but many skeptics deny the existence of teleology. Does the skeptic believe in the essentialism required to underpin virtue?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jayman,

      Good feedback, I appreciated you giving an even-handed assessment of both of views and asking probing questions for both of us 🙂

      In answer to your question- fair enough, I would agree with you that ultimately on Atheism there is no objective standard of value or goodness and thus “happiness” would ultimately be the same for both the rapist or soup kitchen worker (though I know David would probably try to distinguish happiness derived from activities conducive to human flourishing and well-being from other forms of happiness inducing activities- via Sam Harris type answer); I myself am unconvinced of any validity to this distinction though and hence why you are correct here.

      So no the skeptic probably doesn’t believe in the classical essentialism that I advance in the blog/Podcast however this blog assumes that Christianity is true and thus I could use it in that sense or even say well its possibly true given Christianity’s truth and thus this is a reason why one should want to discover/pursue the truth of the matter.

      Not sure if that answer is satisfactory or not?

      Thanks,

      Dale

      P.S. – For anyone else reading these comments, I took a quick scan of Jay’s site here- seems like some good material and articles to read there = https://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com/ (I liked your one on the Provence of John’s Gospel based on what I scanned through) 🙂

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      1. Dale:

        though I know David would probably try to distinguish happiness derived from activities conducive to human flourishing and well-being from other forms of happiness inducing activities- via Sam Harris type answer

        Which is just kicking the can down the road. Terms like “flourishing” and “well-being” are just as value-laden as the term “happiness”. You might like my review of Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jay:

          Yeah, I’m with you 100% on this front against Harris’ notion of ethics- I actually said much the same thing in a blog I did with David over on Reason Press called “Defining Good” but it seems there is an error and so its no longer viewable for some reason.

          But yeah, thanks for the link to your blog on it, I think you probably would have been more succinct and convincing than I am so hopefully others will check out what you wrote there as well 🙂

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  7. Jay and Darren;

    I just wanted to say how great it is to see a Christian and skeptic engaging with each other on here without requiring me or David to be the countering interlocutors- its refreshing to see others contributing in this way and providing some fresh conversation for people to consider.

    Keep up the good work you two and Happy New Year everyone 🙂

    Dale

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pretty good show but overall I was disappointed. I found myself agreeing with David quite a bit but agree with Dale and Jayman that his criticisms were blunted by agreeing to stipulate “Christianity” as true at the outset. I think doing so is a bad idea for a few reasons: it’s way too broad, it’s unclear what actual propositions it entails, it would differ from Christian interlocuter to interlocuter, and it stifles the most important part of these debates-defending your assumptions and bases from which you argue. Dale never had to attack any of David’s specific arguments because he had won the argument before it started.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your take there Bryan and Happy New Year, just wanted to ask a sincere question though to somewhat defend David, I do understand the method of trying to concede things in order to see if one’s conclusion still holds, I think it can focus the conversation down to where the actual disagreement lies. I do agree with you in this specific circumstance that it wasn’t the best move as David had to equivocate on what he meant by God being “all good” but if he is granting the Christian God then he should let Christians define Christianity as he urged everyone to let Jews define Judaism in our series on Messianic Prophecy.

      The Christian God is claimed to be morally perfect (in the sense that His character defines necessary moral goodness) and omniscient, so granting these two traits God can’t be evil and give us commands/goals that are bad for us and neither can he be incompetent and try to give us good advice that is actually bad. To my mind given these concessions it is obvious that God is worthy of our trusting him (He’s earned by definition at this point) and since He says salvation is good, I think we should believe/trust Him over our own “gut feelings”- would you agree with this much or not (bear in mind David’s disagreement stems from the fact that he relativizes “all good or moral perfection” to mean something other than I do?

      Thanks,

      Dale

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy New Year to you to. I agree conceding things for argument sake is in general a good practice but here I found it usage more equivalent to me conceding the Dodgers are the best team then trying to argue for the Astros.

        Tautologically speaking, yes if I conceded everything you say above I would have to agree. But just because you define things the way you do doesn’t erase conceptually the issues at hand. For instance, if you define “moral” as what God says or does then I’d have to logically concede that God murdering an innocent then denying him heaven is “moral”. But I would still find it unjust, cruel and scary among other adjectives.

        And this is a big problem I have with Christian apologetics. God’s traits are asserted, not demonstrated. They are the beginning of the argument, not the result of careful analysis of evidence. Imagine I told you I was a perfect free throw shooter. If you accepted that claim unequivocally how would you react to me missing the first attempt you saw me took? Probably something like “well, he probably meant to miss that one”. That’s how it looks to me when Christians argue God is “good” etc. If I were to assert I was a perfect free throw shooter, I would expect you to be skeptical and say “show me”. And when I hit my first shot, I wouldn’t expect you to acquiesce. Even if you saw me hit 10 in a row, you’d still have reason to be skeptical of my claim.

        I’m looking forward to the coherence of Christian theism series as I think some real hay can be made debating the topic.

        Cheers. -Bryan

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well said Bryan and David did say that he agrees with you and I that perhaps he was unintentionally conceding too much in the last episode where it did cause some confusion.

          Thanks for answering my question as I was interested to know the answer there 🙂

          As to the Coherence of Theism, yeah that is my intent of course firstly, I’m just trying to show they are coherent but then that will (hopefully) culminate in an argument that shows God does actually exist as opposed to just being some made up definition with no correlation to reality but just be aware, I won’t be doing that in the next few parts at least until I’ve established the coherency of God at a conceptual level first- so just be patient, I will get there eventually as I build up to that 🙂

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  9. The new podcast is available.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. For Darren,

    I provided you with the Christian think tank source on Hell as not being a torture chamber but I thought a couple more popular level and short sources would also help = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q5vGcpx1sY (8 min video) & http://www.tektonics.org/film/hellislike.html (short article).

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    1. Dale:

      “I provided you with the Christian think tank source on Hell as not being a torture chamber….”

      “Hell (a place of unimaginable suffering and the weeping and gnashing of teeth)”

      If it includes eternal suffering, it is a torture chamber. You can pretend it isn’t all you want. But the crucial element is still there.

      I have no clue why you are trying to pretend that eternal suffering is ok.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fair enough Darren, I just thought you would appreciate having a source that didn’t require too much effort on your end as this an be watched in less than 10 mins- I know you wouldn’t agree as it basically says the same thing that the Christian Think Tank, Joyce, Jayman and I have all argued and as you found arguments unpersuasive, I didn’t expect JP Holding’s to be different but at least it could help you understand better perhaps as the more perspectives you get the better in my books 🙂

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        1. If they include eternal suffering, then it doesn’t make it better.

          It doesn’t make it ok.

          It doesn’t make it any less repugnant, or your god any less a moral monster.

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          1. This is the point I have been making in my mind during this entire debate. I believe Dale would agree that hell is eternal. Hell is conscious. Hell is torment. That means that hell is eternal, conscious torment. The nature of the torment seems irrelevant to me. Since it is eternal, then mental anguish is no less a punishment than physical anguish. We need not pursue fire to rightly call Dale’s hell a torture chamber, since eternal, conscious torment is torture by any other name.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. David & Darren,

              Hmm OK yeah I’m comfortable saying that Hell involves eternal torment just not torture- so to me the nature of the torment is entirely relevant and that is what makes the difference in making it a moral vs. immoral concept. So interesting that you and Darren think its irrelevant about the nature of torment- no wonder my answers are totally ineffective on you guys as I have been denying the nature of the eternal torment not the fact of eternal torment.

              Thanks for this comment as it helped me better understand where our differences lie. Call it torment, torture, etc- don’t care all that matters is whether its moral or immoral for God to allow and on my understanding of what Hell torment/torture entails, it is perfectly moral in my book 🙂

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              1. “…..don’t care all that matters is whether its moral or immoral for God to allow and on my understanding of what Hell torment/torture entails, it is perfectly moral in my book ”

                I can’t express how truly repugnant this idea is. Or how repugnant christianity is for making you think this is ok.

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              2. Dale, there is simply no crime a human can commit that would justify a punishment that lasted for eternity. It hardly matters what the punishment is. It hardly matters what the punishment is.

                The other thing you and yours like to equivocate over is punishment versus consequences. You think it gets got off the hook by claiming that god is not actually punishing anyone. He is just leaving them to their natural consequences.

                First, the Bible taels us that hell is a place of punishment for the devil and his angels. God did not bother to make a place for naughty humans. He lumps them all in with the demigods. Even humans are humane enough to separate men from women in prison. Your god does not. I would also suggest we separate the obviously strong from the obviously week. One would hope god was more just than humans in this matter. But he is apparently no better.

                Fine, we are dumped some climate (not so) controlled environment with the worst offenders of the realms forever as a natural consequence. Sure, say whatever it takes to help you sleep better. It is still not better or more moral in any way. You will never be able to spin eternal, conscious torment as a fair punishment for anything we are capable of doing.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Did you consider that the punishments for particular sins are not eternal but because you guys keep sinning over and over again for eternity that you always heap more and more punishments on yourselves for eternity?

                  Others like Gary Habermas and JP Moreland claim the rejection of Jesus constitutes an infinite crime which warrants eternal punishment- personally I’m not sure of this one myself but its possible.

                  As to segregation- the Bible mentions there are degrees of punishment/rewards and so perhaps Hell will be compartmentalized in some respects based on how sinful one was in this life and one can pass through to worsening levels based on what sins they commit while in Hell- who knows. So could very well be humans and demons won’t interact and perhaps the more sinful will be separated from the less sinful thereby “protecting” them as best God can without directly intervening in their affairs. Perhaps, you might not want any separations in Hell, I can picture someone like you or Tara joking about wanting to party it up with Lucifer or something- maybe some people will actually feel this way and God won’t stop them.

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                  1. Did you consider that the punishments for particular sins are not eternal but because you guys keep sinning over and over again for eternity that you always heap more and more punishments on yourselves for eternity?

                    This assumes facts not in evidence. Plus, by definition, one cannot sin eternally in a finite human life. So if what you are describing is that one can be put in hell and earn his way out by not sinning there, it would be a “little” better. But as my somehow maintained body is being tormented over and over it’s going to be hard not to curse god and thus, keep sinning.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I’m not sure what you mean by assumes facts not in evidence, were talking about our speculations as to what Hell is like beyond what the biblical data gives us and I’m not making a claim here, I’m just presenting a defeater to a skeptical claim that Hell is immoral because of (insert skeptical argument here).

                      One can’t sin eternally on Earth but they can in Hell as you rightly went on to notice, so yeah that’s what I mean- this is why its no picnic to theoretically get out of Hell once there- you just keep eternally sinning in the afterlife. But theoretically, some could perhaps refrain, pay for their sins and be accepted into Heaven I suppose- its just I don’t think this will actually happen anymore than I think its realistic for any human other than God incarnate to live a sinless life here on Earth.

                      The other thing though is that perhaps one sin could be so bad that it deserves an eternal punishment- certainly one can see that some sins are worse than others and thus deserving of more punishment so I could see one making the argument that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (rejection of the Gospel message of salvation) is crime of infinite significance deserving an eternal/infinite punishment in Hell. While I’m open to this option, its not what I believe at the moment as I more go with one keeps sinning in Hell thereby incurring worse and worse punishment.

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                    2. “….I could see one making the argument that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (rejection of the Gospel message of salvation) is crime of infinite significance deserving an eternal/infinite punishment in Hell…”

                      Sorry can’t go there with you. I’m afraid I’m not a psychopath and not evil.

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                    3. Yes you are, not sure about being a psychopath but you are evil- we all are as we have been corrupted by sin. But anyways, I get that we are just talking past each other at this point but I think there has been some progress in what you guys are critiquing at least.

                      P.S.- I’ve been working on organizing my research for my bonus series on substance dualism- its going to be very detailed as you like, so would be interested if anything in it hits home with you or not when it starts getting posted up.

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                    4. “…Yes you are, not sure about being a psychopath but you are evil- we all are as we have been corrupted by sin….”

                      No. Sin is just a made up concept so that otherwise good people like you can be controlled and made to believe truly horrific things and call them good.

                      And I’m not the one trying to justify eternal torture, you are.

                      “…so would be interested if anything in it hits home with you or not when it starts getting posted up.”

                      You know me. I’m not afraid to say something.

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                    5. Unsurprisingly, I’m with Darren. I am not a sinner. And it borders on hate speech to call a person such. Sin is a violation of the will of your made up god. By your definition of sin, it is impossible for an atheist to believe she is a sinner.

                      But let’s take it one step further. Let’s just say that a person has actually made up a god for the purpose of giving their own prejudice authentication, would you not agree that person would be bordering on hate speech to accuse people of being sinners deserving of eternal punishment on that basis?

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                    6. Well as you know my definition of hate speech is very specific- I (shockingly) define hate speech as speech actually motivated by hatred towards a person or group. If that internal motivation is not present then its not hate speech even if one might object to it on other grounds such as it being prejudice or immoral in some other way.

                      The mark of Cain being said to mean having black skin based on their inherent sinfulness could be a case in point (Mormons say this)- such a belief is clearly based on racist prejudice and it may have even originated based on actual hatred of African Americans by Joseph Smith and his immediate followers- but that doesn’t mean its hate speech in every instance when a Mormon adherent says it- not if they honestly believe its true and say it without any internal malice/hatred towards blacks- then at worst you can call them racist or willfully ignorant in such a way that they might be morally culpable but they are not haters unless they have actual hate.

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                    7. “I am not a sinner. And it borders on hate speech to call a person such.”

                      I had to look up the definition of hate speech, but I don’t think it qualifies, at least not in the general conversation of sin. It definitely fulfills the abusive part of the definition, but it doesn’t fit the ‘particular group of people’ part of the definition. I think you would be better off just calling it abusive or belittling speech.

                      Now if you were talking about the sin speech as they use it to persecute the LGBTQ community, then yes, I think it meets the definition of hate speech there. And as Dale pointed out, the Mormon’s use of sin speech to persecute people of color.

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                    8. I think the only reason it doesn’t sound like hate speech to you is that you are so used to hearing it. As a black man in the US South, I heard a lot of things that people at the time wouldn’t have called hate speech because it was just how they talked.

                      But break down sin speech, and I think you will start to see it differently in time. To the Christian, sin is not a minor infraction. It is on par with the worst of Hitler’s crimes. Dale aside, most of the Christian’s I grew up with believed that a person who stole bread to eat was as hideous as a pedophile. When a Christian calls you a sinner, they are thinking of something far more terrible than you might first imagine.

                      Second, they are definitely placing you in a category like race. Except the category is more on the lines of ethics. You are a sinner (one of THOSE people). You are an enemy of god. About the lowest and most marginalized categories of people for a Christian is an unbeliever. Because of what Paul said in Romans 1, Many Christians are comfortable labeling you a liar for claiming not to believe in god. You only say that so you can do even more sinning without conscience.

                      Some Christians will try to disingenuously soften the blow by claiming that everyone is a sinner including them. But they don’t actually mean it. In their minds, they are saved sinners, which is a very different category of being than the hell spawn you happen to be.

                      Finally, you are an enemy of god. You are not one who just makes a mistake here or there, You hate god. And you deserve everything you are going to get in the afterlife. While Dale and Joyce are in heaven enjoying the best drinks from the heavenly bartender, they will not be shedding a single tear over your torment. Enemies of god get what they deserve.

                      If you think your god is the most important thing possible, and you think someone is your god’s enemy, you are not exactly filled with love when regarding them, whatever you might choose to say out loud. If you call someone scum for disrespecting your wife, imagine what Christians really mean when they call you a sinner for scorning their god. It is hate speech.

                      But let’s go beyond the hate speech conversation. Dale calls me a sinner. I see that as a pejorative. It is also a damn lie. I call upon him to prove I am a sinner. He can’t do it because he would first have to prove his fever-dream of a god, then prove why sin should be defined as contravening his will as opposed to, say, mine.

                      The Christian definition of sin is not technical, nor based in the real world. It is emotional. And I don’t give a tinker’s damn what they consider sin, or offensive to their invisible friend. When they use the word, they are casting the worst aspersions on your character they can think of.

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                    9. “I think the only reason it doesn’t sound like hate speech to you is that you are so used to hearing it.”

                      No, it is because I don’t think it meets the definition. Mine is a purely semantic disagreement.

                      Now, let me be 100% clear. I agree 100% with everything you said in this post. I don’t disagree with your assessment at all.

                      Given some of the stories I heard I would also add that sin speech is abusive to the Christians themselves, making some of them feel worthless and broken, making them feel they deserve to be in abusive relationships. There is a reason why the teen rate of suicide is higher in religious households than any other.

                      What I am disagreeing with is semantics. Hate speech is a technical term and has a specific definition.

                      Now, if you wanted to call it hateful speech. I would be 100% with you. Abusive, absolutely. Repugnant, yes. Promoting the most vile forms of tribalism and us vs them mentality, I’m right there.

                      I just can’t follow you calling it hate speech in general. Though as mentioned above, there are times when sin speech turns into hate speech.

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                    10. This is the second time I am writing this comment. It seems to have gotten lost.

                      Since your disagreement is semantic, I will point out that I said it borderlined on hate speech, as in similar, in the same neighborhood, not entirely dissimilar.

                      But I have little interest in such technical minutiae. The Christian is routinely allowed to get away with saying some of the most hateful things one human can say to another yet hide behind the idea that it isn’t technically hate speech. When they argue that way, they have already lost.

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                    11. “But I have little interest in such technical minutiae. The Christian is routinely allowed to get away with saying some of the most hateful things one human can say to another yet hide behind the idea that it isn’t technically hate speech. When they argue that way, they have already lost.”

                      I agree. But they don’t see it that way.

                      I guess it depends on if your goal is to be persuasive or not. I obviously have no interest in being persuasive on these boards. I have a website I am making that will have the goal of being persuasive. So I have no problems being blunt.

                      My concern is that people are going to be dismissive of your legitimate concerns because of the vocabulary used.

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  11. Dale:

    “P.S.- I’ve been working on organizing my research for my bonus series on substance dualism- its going to be very detailed as you like, so would be interested if anything in it hits home with you or not when it starts getting posted up.”

    You should include all these concerns in your bonus series. https://youtu.be/RS4PW35-Y00

    It is 2 parts so you will want to watch both parts, and it was made 7 years ago before things like Siri, which really drives home his point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darren, I will I think Bryan already linked to them and I’ve already seen them well before now anyways the Negative evidence against substance dualism will be covered in Part 4 probably as I first have to lay out the Positive case as the one making a positive claim.

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      1. Dale:

        “Darren, I will I think Bryan already linked to them…”

        Ah well there you go. 🙂

        “….as I first have to lay out the Positive case as the one making a positive claim.”

        Cool. So I’m assumign that this will include the positive description of what the non-material stuff is and how it works and how you determined that it can do the things that you are claiming that physical stuff can’t do?

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        1. Darren, actually Part 1 will address different types of substance dualism including Haskerian Dualism which uses the Split-brain experiment as evidence to support his view- obviously I will be disagreeing with it.

          As to the other stuff those concerns will be addressed at some point.

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          1. “As to the other stuff those concerns will be addressed at some point.”

            And by “those concerns” do you mean that you are going to provide an objective and reliable methodology to verify that your claims are correct? Ways to measure and test this other stuff that supposedly exists?

            Or is this going to be another one of those ‘burning in the bosom’ things, combined with claims you can’t demonstrate are accurate (like it is impossible for matter to do X, therefore magic) that is mostly meaningless?

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            1. Darren,

              I will be utilizing logic and basic beliefs in my arguments of course just as you do but don’t realize it.

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              1. “I will be utilizing logic and basic beliefs in my arguments of course just as you do but don’t realize it.”

                So no evidence? No demonstrations that you are actually making accurate claims?

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                1. Darren,

                  Probably not that you would recognize or acknowledge but I think if you were actually consistent you would claim there was no evidence on the other side of this issue either then but because its a skeptical position you just blindly accept the claims on the flimsiest of evidence. With something like the split-brain experiment (in your video), you probably never considered there could be multiple explanations that can account for the same data- you just assume the skeptical one is correct even though that one makes no sense. I would also suggest that you become familiar with the notion of empirical equivalents as well.

                  Do you know the answer to the split-brain experiment or did you just assume the world’s experts in substance dualism had never heard of it?

                  Apart from that what other evidence do you say supports your skeptical notion of “nothing buttery” about us being a brain- don’t just provide the evidence, provide the most up to date counter from the substance dualists as well as your own refutation of their counters because that’s the quality of analysis I intend to provide in my Podcasts but if you just make up your mind before listening to it and mindlessly dismiss anything supporting my position as “non-evidence” and accept anything on your side as “evidence/proof” then of course there is no point in having you listen or comment.

                  For example, I’ve watched the short 2-part video you and Bryan provided and I said I thanked you guys for your skeptical sources for people to check out, but I noticed no one has bothered to click on any of my sources providing the pro-substance dualist case- my sources were much more detailed then the two 10-min videos from you guys- you once mentioned you did 10 years of research, I’m honestly curious have you ever seriously considered the substance dualist case from the actual experts themselves or have you always just assumed they have nothing to offer and agreed with whatever the skeptical experts tell you to believe?

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                  1. Dale:

                    “Probably not that you would recognize or acknowledge….”

                    If it is objectively verifiable as being a real thing about reality, then I will accept it as evidence. If you are just making something up, or repeating something that someone else just made up, then you are correct that I will not recognize or acknowledge it as evidence.

                    “….but I think if you were actually consistent you would claim there was no evidence on the other side of this issue either….”

                    Why is that? There are objectively verifiable facts of reality that support the idea of there being nothing but the brain. That the mind is what the brain does.

                    “….then but because its a skeptical position you just blindly accept the claims on the flimsiest of evidence.”

                    Lol, I always love it when theists project there own failing onto others, without actually understanding what is going on.

                    “With something like the split-brain experiment (in your video), you probably never considered there could be multiple explanations that can account for the same data-…..”

                    An explanation is something that has predictive power. That allows us to create tests to see if that explanation is accurate, and when tested provides new information about what is going on.

                    So what other explanations are there, what did they predict, what new information did they provide?

                    If all you have is a story that doesn’t really give us any new information or provide any mechanism by which things are occurring, then you don’t actually have an explanation. All you have is a story that someone made up.

                    “…you just assume the skeptical one is correct even though that one makes no sense.”

                    It makes sense to the thousands of people that actually study the subject in depth and who know the most about the subject. You know, the neuroscientists.

                    What do you think is more probable? All those thousands of people don’t understand what they are talking about, don’t understand how there experiments work? Or that you just don’t have enough information to make an informed decision on the subject?

                    “I would also suggest that you become familiar with the notion of empirical equivalents as well.”

                    I am familiar with it. The problem is that to make the term meaningful, it can’t include claims that are just made up and have no evidence (objectively verifiable facts of reality) to suggest they are true.

                    If you can just make something up and call it empirically equivalent, then you have turned the concept into something meaningless.

                    “Do you know the answer to the split-brain experiment or did you just assume the world’s experts in substance dualism had never heard of it?”

                    In my experience they tend to ignore it. After all, how exactly do you get around the fact that with split brain patients you can have one half of the brain that is a theist and one half that is an atheist?

                    There is nothing in substance dualism that can support that fact, because substance dualism doesn’t have any mechanisms for how it works. It has no explanatory power. There are no experiments that can show how it works, or that this spirit stuff is even a real thing in the first place.

                    “Apart from that what other evidence do you say supports your skeptical notion of “nothing buttery” about us being a brain-,…”

                    The whole of the neurosciences.

                    We can measure thoughts, well enough to predict what an ape will do before it does it and well enough to connect physical devices to people that they can then control with their thoughts.

                    We have a pretty good understanding of the physical structures in the brain that control morality. In fact we can change a persons morality with a magnetic field placed in the right spot of the brain.

                    We can control a persons feelings with chemicals, which is why anti-depressants work and why illegal drugs are so popular.

                    We know what chemical combinations produce emotions like love, hate, etc.

                    We can control memories with electrical stimulus. As demonstrated by the use on mice.

                    Now that we can map the brain we have figured out what brain structures produce creativity, empathy, etc

                    Etc. Etc. Etc

                    “….don’t just provide the evidence provide the most up to date counter from the substance dualists as well…”

                    Are you referring to the “nuh-uh”, the burning in the bosom, or the claims that they can’t demonstrate are true, like pure matter can’t do X, therefore magic. Or are you referring to the incredulity? I can’t imagine how matter can do X, therefore magic.

                    “…mindlessly dismiss anything supporting my position as “non-evidence”….”

                    No….. remember? That is what you do. You mindlessly dismiss evidence because of your burning bosom.

                    If you provide objectively verifiable facts of how reality works that support your position, I will take them seriously.

                    “…. you once mentioned you did 10 years of research, I’m honestly curious have you ever seriously considered the substance dualist case from the actual experts themselves or have you always just assumed they have nothing to offer and agreed with whatever the skeptical experts tell you to believe?”

                    I have not seriously considered the substance dualist case because I have yet to be presented with objectively verifiable facts of reality (evidence) that supports the case. In fact I haven’t been able to come across anyone who can even tell me what this spirit stuff is even supposed to be, how it is supposed to work, how it is supposed to interact with the physical, etc.

                    If you can provide me with evidence and mechanisms for how it is supposed to work, I will take you seriously. If you can’t provide objectively verifiable facts or a mechanism for how the spirit stuff is supposed to work, then your argument isn’t ready to be taking seriously. You still have all your work in front of you before you can expect people to take it seriously.

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                    1. Darren,

                      There is a lot of good stuff to respond to in here and but time doesn’t permit me- basically it all boils down to a position of scientism on your part, that is your problem right there and it will be something I address in my series (along with some other objections you alluded to as well). You define explanation very oddly compared to the actual definition- logical positivism is a self-refuting absurd position that no knowledgeable person adheres to anymore yet you provide it with your unreasonable demands as to what counts as an explanation or evidence.

                      Anyways, OK prove to me that I have a sensation of “brownness” when I imagine an office desk- remember you can’t reply on internal testimony where I tell you via introspection that I am having such a sensation- you can only use objective verifiable 3rd-person perspective facts but alas from a purely physical perspective there is no physical brown desk in front of me to produce the sensation of “brownness” nor if you open up my brain is there anything “brown” in there either. The property of “brownness” or any other colour for that matter doesn’t exist under physicalism because it is a mental/non-physical state- you’ll learn perhaps in time. Do you deny that scientifically speaking there is no such thing as “colour”, I assume you know what colour is from a technical physical definition of it and yet we all see “colours” everyday. I will be taking you physicalist skeptics to task for this in Part 2 of my series on the nature of mental properties and states.

                      As to the split brain experiment, maybe you should look into the “switch model” hypothesis and come to understand the difference between phenomenal consciousness (which remains united throughout) vs. access consciousness (which accounts for the disunity of results)- perfectly explains the data in fact they are not just empirical equivalents the substance dualist explanation has superior explanatory power regarding this data.

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                    2. “…..basically it all boils down to a position of scientism on your part, that is your problem right there and it will be something I address in my series (along with some other objections you alluded to as well). You define explanation very oddly compared to the actual definition- logical positivism is a self-refuting absurd position that no knowledgeable person adheres to anymore yet you provide it with your unreasonable demands as to what counts as an explanation or evidence.”

                      Ah. The ‘I don’t have any verifiable objective facts to back up my claims so I’m going to make a baseless claim that says you are stupid for requiring them as evidence’ defense.

                      Shall we check the scorecard?

                      People that have discovered new things using science? Billions. Its the reason we can go to the moon and beyond, why you can chat with people all over the world on you computer, why we can examine the brain and figure out what it is doing.

                      People that have discovered new things using your method? Zero.

                      “Anyways, OK prove to me that I have a sensation of “brownness” when I imagine an office desk-…”

                      Define “sensation of “brownness”. If you are asking why you can distinguish a brown wavelength of light from a blue one, it is because of the cones and receptors in your eye. Brown and blue send different chemical signals to your brain and your brain has associated those chemical signals with the color being received.

                      “…..remember you can’t reply on internal testimony where I tell you via introspection that I am having such a sensation- you can only use objective verifiable 3rd-person perspective facts but alas from a purely physical perspective there is no physical brown desk in front of me to produce the sensation of “brownness” nor if you open up my brain is there anything “brown” in there either.”

                      So when a camera takes a picture of a brown desk, does that mean we can open up the camera and find something “brown” in there? After all there is no “introspection” in a camera.

                      “The property of “brownness” or any other colour for that matter doesn’t exist under physicalism because it is a mental/non-physical state-….”

                      If that is what you actually believe then you have really no clue what physicalism is or what it says.

                      Making up things for physicalism to assert isn’t going to get you anywhere in a real conversation.

                      “…you’ll learn perhaps in time.”

                      Ah, how condescending and rude. How cute.

                      “Do you deny that scientifically speaking there is no such thing as “colour”, I assume you know what colour is from a technical physical definition of it and yet we all see “colours” everyday.”

                      Sure, because of the chemical interactions between the light, our eyes and our brains.

                      “I will be taking you physicalist skeptics to task for this in Part 2 of my series on the nature of mental properties and states.”

                      I seriously doubt that. You haven’t shown enough understanding of how reality works to be able to “take us to task”.

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                    3. Well Darren,

                      I will let you have the last word at this point as I don’t want our good convo to degrade into something condescending and rude but you have to understand that your comments likewise come off sometimes as being arrogant and in a sense that you know better than everyone who disagrees with you- now from speaking to you in private, I know that is not your intent anymore than that was my intent with Alan when I was critiquing his performance on the Shroud Wars part 2 but it appears you have made up your mind even before I have presented anything. You have an unsubstantiated bias against any evidence supportive of Christianity but then don’t recognize your own hypocrisy in that science is derived using the same type of logical reasoning and uses properly basic beliefs to justify their conclusions as well.

                      Just to finish off the convo, will say thanks again for your take but to understand what its like for Christians to speak with you, picture trying to convince me of the merits of the split-brain experiments if I simply dismissed it as made-up garbage and you can’t prove to me that the experiments happened because neither of us saw with our own eyes and I don’t believe the reports because all the scientists are biased and lie about it, plus reality is a illusion so I don’t believe their reports even if they were being truthful. Thus, I can just ignore your “evidence” as made up nonsense- I win! That’s the equivalent of how you respond to my reasoning, you expect me to be rational and accept scientific evidence using the scientific method which is founded on the very same logical principles and use of basic beliefs that my philosophical arguments for the existence of the soul are.

                      The Logical Law of Identity is a philosophical first-principle that cannot be proven scientifically as the scientific method is derivative upon the truth of this principle and I will be utilizing it quite a lot in my series- is that made-up stuff to you Darren? If so , then you are totally irrational and hypocritical- surely you can see this much at least.

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                    4. “……but it appears you have made up your mind even before I have presented anything.”

                      Like I said above. If you can present something that is an objective, verifiable fact about how reality works (evidence), then I will take a look at it.

                      Also keep in mind, you aren’t saying anything new. You aren’t the first person that I’ve heard this stuff from. It doesn’t make it magically coherent or true just because you are saying it.

                      The only reason I can think that you think I will dismiss whatever you will say is because you realize you can’t demonstrate it is accurate. If that is the case, then why should I take it seriously?

                      If you can demonstrate it is accurate, then you shouldn’t be concerned about me dismissing anything.

                      If you can demonstrate your claims are accurate, are objectively verifiable as being facts of reality, then I will take it seriously.

                      “You have an unsubstantiated bias against any evidence supportive of Christianity…”

                      So wanting you to demonstrate the claims are accurate is an unsubstantiated bias?

                      “…but then don’t recognize your own hypocrisy in that science is derived using the same type of logical reasoning and uses properly basic beliefs to justify their conclusions as well.”

                      You are just factually and demonstrably incorrect with this claim. That is not how science justifies their conclusions. They justify their conclusions by making a prediction using those conclusions and test to see if the prediction is accurate or not.

                      If you are going to make claims about what science does and does not do, you might first want to actually understand what science does.

                      “…..picture trying to convince me of the merits of the split-brain experiments if I simply dismissed it as made-up garbage and you can’t prove to me that the experiments happened because neither of us saw with our own eyes and I don’t believe the reports because all the scientists are biased and lie about it, plus reality is a illusion so I don’t believe their reports even if they were being truthful.”

                      So you equate wanting objective verifiable facts about reality, to demonstrate your claims as accurate, as a blind denial of anything and everything?

                      ok…..

                      I think you would feel differently if you had real evidence that you could demonstrate was accurate.

                      “Thus, I can just ignore your “evidence” as made up nonsense- I win!”

                      Yes, if I were making up claims that I could not demonstrate was accurate; could not demonstrate was an objectively verifiable fact, then yes you would be fully justified in ignoring it.

                      “That’s the equivalent of how you respond to my reasoning, you expect me to be rational and accept scientific evidence using the scientific method which is founded on the very same logical principles and use of basic beliefs that my philosophical arguments for the existence of the soul are.”

                      And this is just demonstrably false. Science is based on what we can show to be accurate about the world and how it works.

                      You are not making claims that you can demonstrate are accurate.

                      That is the difference.

                      “The Logical Law of Identity is a philosophical first-principle that cannot be proven scientifically as the scientific method is derivative upon the truth of this principle and I will be utilizing it quite a lot in my series-…”

                      That’s fine. How does the recognition that each thing is identical with itself, make the claim that “it is impossible for matter to do X” true?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. Ok thank you I said you could have the last word and I will honour that, but I was glad to see you accept the Logical Law of Identity, so long as you grant logic then I can have some measure of hope you will “see the light” once I present my series (though I’m 99.99% certain you will not be persuaded no matter what is said).

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                    6. “….(though I’m 99.99% certain you will not be persuaded no matter what is said).”

                      If you already know that what you are saying can’t be shown to be accurate. Then I would imagine you are correct.

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  12. Dale,

    I’m not sure what you mean by assumes facts not in evidence, were talking about our speculations as to what Hell is like beyond what the biblical data gives us and I’m not making a claim here, I’m just presenting a defeater to a skeptical claim that Hell is immoral because of (insert skeptical argument here).

    Since you’re talking defeaters, you’re just trying to hold onto an existing belief you have, not present a convincing case to someone who doesn’t share the myriad of Christian assumptions it takes to onboard that defeater. And interesting strategy since I see you talking to Darren, David and now me.

    On heaven and hell in general, I find it curious that here on earth, I receive, from human beings, far superior information when deciding on things like: a new house, a college, a vacation venue etc. But when it comes to an omniscient being and the two eternal destinations I have to choose from, they are pitched as “Trust me, it’s great!” or “Trust me, it’s terrible with an ancient book with questionable providence.

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    1. Bryan;

      On the defeaters, look ascribing false motivations to me is entirely irrelevant to the truth/success of my defeater. Let’s pretend you are right about me and all I care about is holding onto my belief in Christianity, this is about you not me here. If YOU think you can make a claim that Hell is immoral for some reason and I present a defeater for that reason to you- you have to prove that defeater is improbable in some way or else you can’t establish your claim. Forget about me, this is about you- if you have two explanations that equally explain the same data and you have no way to break the tie by showing one of those options is improbable then if you were truly seeking the truth you would be agnostic on that front and withdraw your claim until new evidence or arguments are presented which can preference one of those explanations over another.

      God does communicate perfectly actually via the most certain means of communication- properly basic beliefs via the witness of the H.S.- nothing could be clearer for those willing to listen.

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      1. Everything you write above is inside baseball to Christianity. But you get mad at me when I describe your writing as preaching. I wasn’t “questioning your motives” I was describing your argument strategy. Your defeater is unproven, possibly false, and requires a litany of other assumptions I and other non-believers don’t hold. How would you recommend we proceed in a productive discussion?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bryan,

          Here is what I’m looking for- can you prove that my “inside defeater” is improbable or not?

          If not, then you could say, fine I retract my claim that the Christian Hell is immoral- that would leave us in an agnostic state in terms of discussion where no one is making any claims and we can bring the convo to a natural conclusion on this specific argument.

          That said, you can then choose to make another claim and try to prove that disproves Christianity in some way if you wish.

          Another idea that I might be interested in having a short discussion for a little bit is the nature of defeaters b/c I don’t think you understand them given your comments about my not proving it.

          If interested in that epsitemic convo I can start it this way;

          My convo with David about the soul last week- David provided a defeater to the notion that “I” am a soul by saying actually we are badly cloned memories and that’s what constitutes the “I”- David provided absolutely zero evidence to back this claim up but just asserted it, does this mean his defeater wasn’t successful in your opinion, do you now believe I was right and we have a soul?

          I would say no, b/ I have the burden of proof and I have to show this badly cloned memory info defeater is improbable to establish my claim, David doesn’t have to prove that his notion of bad memory cloning as being identical to our notion of self or “I” is actually true so long as they are equal possibilities to explain the data.

          Do you agree with this or did David fail miserably and you think I proved the soul exists because David couldn’t prove his defeater explanation of “I”?

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          1. Here is what I’m looking for- can you prove that my “inside defeater” is improbable or not?
            If not, then you could say, fine I retract my claim that the Christian Hell is immoral- that would leave us in an agnostic state in terms of discussion where no one is making any claims and we can bring the convo to a natural conclusion on this specific argument.

            I will happily go here with you. One cannot say definitely that Hell is immoral because it’s actual characteristics are known. But you must accept the flipside of this argument, you cannot say Hell is definitely moral….for the same reason.

            Now that we’re here, can we debate the description of Hell in the bible and discuss whether it “appears” moral or not? I thought that was what’s on the table.

            On the “soul etc debate, I think you both need to take a step back and execute some epistemic humility. Saying anything definitely about an area of inquiry that’s early stage isn’t a good idea. But the existing state of neuroscience study is pointing more toward David views. So, if you’re positing a “soul” using something other than science..show your work.

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            1. because it’s actual characteristics are UNknown

              whoops..fixed

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            2. Bryan,

              As to the soul- I would just say that the neuroscience evidence actually can’t be used to preference one view over another but I will cover my reasons for that statement in one of my upcoming Podcasts but certainly it can be used to falsify certain outdated notions of substance dualism that no one holds to anymore. As to the humility on both sides, well that would be fine if I didn’t have the conclusive proof from my properly basic belief that I have an enduring “I” or self/soul. That said, for those of you without your own such knowledge then my saying I have it shouldn’t beconvicing to any of you guys and thus, I will admit that to skeptics like you, David and Darren I completely failed in the episode to prove my claim about substance dualism but by the same token for those that do share my properly basic belief about themselves they will have been convinced conclusively that I’m right and David is wrong.

              As to Hell, OK but that is what we were already talking about where I said you are making a claim. I’m not so much interested in mere appearances as that can often be deceiving- I’m interested if you think you can make a claim and/or vice-versa and then how you or I can prove that. But I would be happy if you are saying here that you don’t think you can prove even on a balance of probabilities that Hell is in fact immoral.

              If you are prepared to retract any claim to knowledge (50.01% or more certainty) that Hell is in fact immoral, then I would b happy to hear your opinions on why you think Hell “appears” to be immoral to you and then I can do the same on pro-Hell case.

              If you want me to make a positive claim that Hell is moral, then obviously I would need to start on the basis that Christianity is true (though I can subtract the notion that God is by definition morally perfect for the sake of convo) and the Bible is true in all the relevant texts surrounding Hell (such as all men are sinners, the Fall, all men will be judged, Jesus died for our sins, etc.). Otherwise, I won’t be able to prove those epistemic foundations in a comment thread, you saw how much work went into my Shroud series on that front and I wasn’t even close to being finished making my case there.

              Like

              1. well that would be fine if I didn’t have the conclusive proof from my properly basic belief that I have an enduring “I” or self/soul. That said, for those of you without your own such knowledgeThis is an interesting juxtaposition. According to Plantigsa, a properly basic belief noly counts as logic if you can establish they were produced “produced by a sound mind, in an environment supportive of proper thought in accord with a design plan successfully aimed at truth.” Have you previously justified these criteria for this properly basic belief?

                That said, for those of you without your own such knowledge then my saying I have it shouldn’t beconvicing to any of you guys and thus, I will admit that to skeptics like you, David and Darren I completely failed in the episode to prove my claim about substance dualism

                I appreciate you making this admission.

                But I would be happy if you are saying here that you don’t think you can prove even on a balance of probabilities that Hell is in fact immoral. If we stipulate certain things about Hell, I’d be happy to call it immoral. But you said we don’t know things about hell so we can’t claim things about it. Lay out that known characteristics of hell and I’ll be happy to comment on it’s moral status.

                Otherwise, I won’t be able to prove those epistemic foundations in a comment thread, you saw how much work went into my Shroud series on that front and I wasn’t even close to being finished making my case there. Fair enough but I’m curious what you think of God making this so difficult. I thought he wanted to Christians to win souls? If he’s hiding behind a Labyrinth of complex epistemology and difficult to prove bases, how can you blame people for not having belief?

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Bryan,

                  I don’t blame people for their lack of belief per se, I blame them for not being “real seekers” at the “point of no return”, that is the only thing that warrants you going to Hell. So, right now I don’t believe you or Darren or David are “real seekers” but that ould change some day in the future and so long as you become one at the point of no-return then you will be saved.

                  You do everything in your power to be a real seeker and maintain that status and then God will make the truth plain to you in time for you to be saved.

                  Like

                  1. So, right now I don’t believe you or Darren or David are “real seekers”

                    Based on what?

                    Like

                    1. Based on various responses or interactions I’ve seen- its not an insult but an appraisal. You have said much the same about me based on some of my replies as well.

                      Like

  13. a properly basic belief only counts as knowledge

    My typing is garbage today..apologies.

    Like

  14. Dale, I didn’t take it as an insult, and wrote nothing to indicate that. I just asked how you arrived at that assessment. You really have a way of jumping to emotional conclusions about comments made here.

    To me, a “real seeker” is someone who values truth and uses good methods to try and ascertain it. It does not guarantee reaching the truth so I would never use someone’s conclusions alone to determine if they were a real seeker. One can reach the truth by a bad process and have the truth elude them even if using a good one.

    Like

    1. Hey Bryan,

      I didn’t jump to any conclusions here actually, I was just clarifying what I was saying to avoid any potential for confusion that might have come up when giving assessments of people.

      I don’t think I can argue with your definition as given here, but I’m not sure about what you mean by “good methods” as that usually entails some kind of scientism as Darren advocates for and if that is the case then you’re unnecessarily restricting the multiplicity of avenues that can lead to the discovery of truth.

      That is why I wanted to focus on the nature of defeaters with you as at times it seems some skeptics lay the burden of proof on the Christian for everything even when they are the ones making the original claim. So, I think a good method is to clarify who is making a claim (has the burden of proof) vs. offering a defeater for that claim (which does not entail a burden of proof).

      As to the nature of the evidence- would you say you open to other methods outside of the scientific method to adjudicate on the existence of a soul for example? Another issue I have with Darren (though perhaps not you) is that it doesn’t seem to me that he really considers alternate views of the data, so for example he points to good scientific data in neuroscience which no one can deny but then he seems to just take whatever any non-dualist explanation is offered to account for it while dismissing without any serious consideration the interpretations of the same data given by substance dualists.

      If interested in truth we can’t use a method that gives a default preference to any natural explanation for mental states and properties, etc. instead we need to be agnostic unless the evidence points us one way or the other and the none of the scientific way can point us one way or the other- thus its philosophy or logic that will play the determining factor in preferring one explanation over another. Will you be open to deductive arguments (assuming they are valid and sound ones) that prove dualism true or will you claim that’s not “real” objective evidence and just dismiss them as unscientific nonsense like what I think Darren is saying he will do.

      Like

      1. Dale:

        I’m sure Bryan will respond himself, but since you seem to like to make things up and misrepresent what I am saying, lets just clear up the confusion.

        “….as that usually entails some kind of scientism as Darren advocates for and if that is the case then you’re unnecessarily restricting the multiplicity of avenues that can lead to the discovery of truth.”

        I don’t advocate for scientism, but I have already demonstrated that your methodology for “discovering the truth” is flawed and unreliable. Science has been demonstrated to be reliable means to distinguish fact from fiction.

        If you are actually trying to discover the truth, and not just try to justify you burning bosom, then you need a reliable means to distinguish fact from fiction.

        “So, I think a good method is to clarify who is making a claim (has the burden of proof) vs. offering a defeater for that claim (which does not entail a burden of proof).”

        The defeater still has to be shown to be accurate. If it isn’t accurate then it isn’t a defeater. But then you may disagree with me since you seem to think that there is some value to just making things up.

        “…while dismissing without any serious consideration the interpretations of the same data given by substance dualists.”

        When substance dualist can demonstrate they aren’t just making things up, then we can pay attention to their “interpretation”. And since the “interpretation” of the substance dualist goes directly against the evidence, they still have a long way to go.

        “If interested in truth we can’t use a method that gives a default preference to any natural explanation for mental states and properties, etc. instead we need to be agnostic unless the evidence points us one way or the other and the none of the scientific way can point us one way or the other-…..”

        Again, if you are going to be making claims about what science is and what it does, you should probably understand what science does.

        The only reason you don’t like the scientific conclusions is because you have an idea that you can’t demonstrate is true. And you don’t have a reliable method to support your claims so instead you have to try to make claims about science that are wholly unsupported.

        Science doesn’t make any default pronouncements, it is all about what can be demonstrated to be true. And whether you like it or not, dualism is just not supported in any way by the science because the science has found out that the brain is what is doing everything.

        Can you even tell us what this other stuff is without using “not”? Can you tell us how it is supposed to work?

        No? Then you don’t have an alternate “interpretation” of the science, you just have a story that you can’t demonstrate is even a real thing.

        “….thus its philosophy or logic that will play the determining factor in preferring one explanation over another.”

        No, it will be reality that is the determining factor in preferring one explanation over another. That is why science tests its explanations against reality to see if it is correct.

        Would you like to look at the scorecard again?

        “Will you be open to deductive arguments (assuming they are valid and sound ones) that prove dualism true or will you claim that’s not “real” objective evidence and just dismiss them as unscientific nonsense like what I think Darren is saying he will do.”

        In order to show that an argument is sound you have to demonstrate that the premises are true. In order to demonstrate they are true you have to do more than just make things up. You have to actually objectively verify that what you are claiming is in fact reality.

        The fact that you already know you aren’t going to be doing that, and disparaging me because I insist that you do, just goes to show how dishonest you are being.

        Like

        1. Why don’t you show me how its done then Darren; what is the evidence that my “self” and/or my mental properties and states are “identical” to my physical brain (its not enough to show they are “causally related” to them, but you have to prove they are identical to each other)? Provide me with 1-2 pieces of evidence/arguments that you find to be the most persuasive to you personally in this regard and I will make a note to include them in my substance dualism series for you (Part 4 probably).

          Give me your argument/s in deductive form so I can see all your premises based on the “scientific evidence” and evaluate all your hidden assumptions.

          Time to put your money where your mouth is Darren, I’m calling you out just as you have called me out and I will be answering the call in my series (I will be putting my arguments in deductive format in my series as well).

          Like

          1. “Why don’t you show me how its done then Darren; what is the evidence that my “self” and/or my mental properties and states are “identical” to my physical brain (its not enough to show they are “causally related” to them, but you have to prove they are identical to each other)?”

            Can you give me an example of something that isn’t identical but is causally related? We are after all talking about a process in the brain that are the mental properties. And they do have causes that allow those mental properties to function.

            But if you give me an example of what you are referring to, then I can see if it is a reasonable request or if you are just not understanding what mental properties are.

            “Provide me with 1-2 pieces of evidence/arguments that you find to be the most persuasive to you personally in this regard and I will make a note to include them in my substance dualism series for you (Part 4 probably).”

            Sure. Though if you have evidence you don’t need arguments.

            “Give me your argument/s in deductive form so I can see all your premises based on the “scientific evidence” and evaluate all your hidden assumptions.”

            I don’t have deductive arguments. I have evidence. So they won’t be in deductive form, they will be in an evidentiary form.

            “Time to put your money where your mouth is Darren, I’m calling you out just as you have called me out and I will be answering the call in my series (I will be putting my arguments in deductive format in my series as well).”

            Sure, Once I get the requested feedback from you that I requested above, I’ll start a new thread so as to not clutter up Bryan’s thread.

            Like

            1. Hey Darren,

              OK fair questions (although I’m a little surprised you don’t know the difference).

              1. Identity vs. Cause-Effect:

              So when we talk about identity, we are trying to determine if two things are “identical” to each other or not (the philosophical first principle known as the Law of Identity that you have already said you accept as true). So everything true of x will be true of y if they are in fact “identical” to each other- for example Dale (x) is identical to David J’s current co-host on S&S (y). So the identity relation is a relation that everything has to itself and to nothing else.

              Now, cause and effect relations on the other hand, are concerned with whether a thing (A) causes another thing (B) to come about or actualize- so if A causes B, then by definition they are not identical since otherwise you would be saying that A self-caused A to come into being.

              So, for a simple example illustrating the difference, a fire causes smoke as its effect but the smoke is not identical to the fire. This analogy is actually relevant to the Mind-Body Problem as well as one can agree with you that certain the brain states can cause certain mental states as their effect but disagree with you that those mental properties/states are identical to those brain states. To do that, it would require some argumentation on your side to prove the identity relation vs. a cause-effect relationship. In Part 2 of my series, my first task will be to prove that brain states and properties are not identical to mental states and properties because there are provable differences between them (hence, x is not y in this case). I want you to provide arguments proving that x is y in the sense they are actually identical.

              2. Evidence vs. Arguments:

              Well depends what you mean, to my mind evidence provides warrant for certain premises in an argument and hence logic is what justifies our conclusions. The evidence that a pricking my hand with a pin causes a certain brain state to occur in me does not say anything on its own merits about whether that the mental state which comes about is identical to that brain state or not, for that you need to rely on philosophical argumentation (hidden premises or assumptions) in that regard. For example, if I say no that pin caused a brain state which caused mental state in my soul, you might try to argue using Ockham’s Razor to eliminate my explanation as being ad hoc or something- this is using philosophical reasoning and logical deduction/inference to make your conclusion over mine not just the evidence on its own.

              Or another way- the principle of falsification in science depends on logical deduction from a form of reasoning called “Denying the Consequent” but just giving the evidence that it has been falsified that balls don’t float in the air doesn’t warrant any conclusion in itself. You need to provide a premise whereby Hypothesis A predicts/necessarily implies effect B will come about, but B has been falsified (the consequent or effect is denied), therefore you can conclude hypothesis A is likewise false. You see logical deduction/induction and not just evidence on its own is what warrants a conclusion.

              Like

              1. “OK fair questions (although I’m a little surprised you don’t know the difference).”

                I do know the difference, but that doesn’t mean you do.

                For example, your distinction of identity vs cause an effect is fine, but your statement you made of “what is the evidence that my “self” and/or my mental properties and states are “identical” to my physical brain (its not enough to show they are “causally related” to them, but you have to prove they are identical to each other)” indicates that you don’t actually understand how the brain works, and that means I will have to go into more detail of how it works. Which is fine, but I had to clarify so that I am actually addressing your requests.

                “In Part 2 of my series, my first task will be to prove that brain states and properties are not identical to mental states and properties because there are provable differences between them (hence, x is not y in this case).”

                Good luck with that since ALL of the science, everything we are learning about the brain and what it does, disagrees with you.

                “I want you to provide arguments proving that x is y in the sense they are actually identical.”

                I will do better than arguments, I will provide evidence (objectively verifiable facts of reality)

                “The evidence that a pricking my hand with a pin causes a certain brain state to occur in me does not say anything on its own merits about whether that the mental state which comes about is identical to that brain state or not,…”

                This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. How can a brain state caused by a pin prick not identical to the brain state of a pin prick?

                “For example, if I say no that pin caused a brain state which caused mental state in my soul, you might try to argue using Ockham’s Razor to eliminate my explanation as being ad hoc or something-…”

                No I would just point out that you are making garbage up at that point since you have no clue what you are talking about when you say “soul”. You can’t say what it is, you can’t give any mechanisms for how it works, and you can’t demonstrate it is even a real thing to begin with.

                “…this is using philosophical reasoning and logical deduction/inference to make your conclusion over mine not just the evidence on its own.”

                No, it is just pointing out that you can’t demonstrate that your conclusion is accurate or even a real thing.

                The logical reasoning isn’t required until you can demonstrate that your claims have some sort of basis in reality. Making up a story about a soul doesn’t get you to that point.

                Now that I know where you are coming from, I will create a new post that covers your concerns.

                Like

                1. You still don’t seem to understand basic logic but anyways that’s fine. At this point, just give me your best shot.

                  I say a “pain induced” brain state is not identical to a “pain-induced” mental/soul state, so for me the brain-state is like the fire and the mental state is like the smoke. You claim there is only the brain state and that’s it (only the fire). OK, if you make that claim, then prove it- I don’t have to prove jack to you because I’m not making any claims in this case.

                  In my series I will be making the claim there is the smoke and so I will bear the burden there, but here I’m asking you take the burden of proof to show me there is no smoke but only fire- let’s see what you can do- GO!

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                  1. “You still don’t seem to understand basic logic but anyways that’s fine. At this point, just give me your best shot.”

                    Sure, sure. But then again you seem to think that burning bosom and arguments from ignorance are good logic, so I hope you are ok that I don’t agree with your assessment.

                    “I say a “pain induced” brain state is not identical to a “pain-induced” mind state, so for me the brains state is like the fire and the mental state is like the smoke.”

                    Now all you have to do is demonstrate that this distinction is accurate, as the science performed by people that actually study the brain in detail disagree with you.

                    “You claim there is only the brain state and that’s it (only the fire). OK, if you make that claim, then prove it- I don’t have to prove jack to you because I’m not making any claims in this case.”

                    You just did above. You do understand what a claim is right?

                    “In my series I will be making the claim there is the smoke and so I will bear the burden there, but here I’m asking you take the burden of proof to show me there is no smoke but only fire- GO!”

                    I will in the new thread.

                    Like

                    1. Very good Darren, you know what I meant- I am a blank slate right now and I have two explanatory options presented to me regarding my pain sensation when I get pricked in my arm with a pin.

                      Option #1- the pin causes a brain state (fire)

                      &

                      Option #2- the pin causes a brain state (fire) which in turn causes a mental state in my soul (fire + smoke).

                      You make a claim that Option #1 is true- great, now prove to me there is no smoke, period!

                      Like

      2. I didn’t jump to any conclusions here actually, I was just clarifying what I was saying to avoid any potential for confusion that might have come up when giving assessments of people.

        I’m sincerely happy to read this 🙂

        That is why I wanted to focus on the nature of defeaters with you as at times it seems some skeptics lay the burden of proof on the Christian for everything even when they are the ones making the original claim.

        Talk of defeaters seems misplaced in discussing real seeking of truth. Defeaters are hypotheticals that may or may not be true. They are just logical possibilities that can defeat claims that may reach to far eg Its impossible that…it’s always the case…etc If we’re taking evidential arguments not logical arguments, defeaters aren’t really applicable. For example, if I see the same bully in the schoolyard picking on kids all week and make the claim that he’s a bully, providing a defeater that he maybe had justifiable reasons in all these cases to do what he did seems misplaced.

        would you say you open to other methods outside of the scientific method to adjudicate on the existence of a soul for example? I am “open” to almost anything. But you have to define the soul in a way it can be examined and searched for. And these “other methods of knowing” need to be laid out and defended as useful for the task at hand.

        Will you be open to deductive arguments (assuming they are valid and sound ones) that prove dualism true or will you claim that’s not “real” objective evidence and just dismiss them as unscientific nonsense like what I think Darren is saying he will do

        As Darren says rightly elsewhere in the thread, if you produce a argument with a valid structure and true premises I will be compelled to accept it. If you start going into “you haven’t proved me wrong so I’m right” territory, you will have lost me.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. OK, well I think the way you have said it is fine and hopefully in my series starting in Part 2 you will begin to see my way of doing so. Bear in mind the defeaters is helpful in discovering truth in that it can help to eliminate false claims or provide various plausible options of which people should focus to try and prove. Otherwise skeptics like Darren will just think they’ve proven physicalism b/c they can point to the fact that a pin causes a certain brain state and then assume that proves there is no soul- the defeater proves this is non-sense and that the Skeptic has more work to do to prove his claim.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. will just think they’ve proven physicalism b/c they can point to the fact that a pin causes a certain brain state and then assume that proves there is no soul- the defeater proves this is non-sense and that the Skeptic has more work to do to prove his claim.

            Any skeptic worth his salt wouldn’t have to be in this position. If you posit a soul exists, the burden is yours to prove it. Until then, us skeptics will continue to lack a belief in a soul and get on with our lives.

            Looking forward to future parts of the series..

            Like

            1. OK Bryan good come-back and fair enough, I’m happy to let it go until I present my series, I promise in Parts 2 and 3 I will be adopting the burden of proof so in effect I will be trying to prove that there is the smoke (soul) and not just the fire (the brain). In Part 4 , the shoe will be on the other foot though and I will be addressing the claim of skeptics that there is no smoke (soul). Part 1 is more sort of an intro or statement of the claim- although towards the end I do provide some level of analysis on the different types of substance dualism for you guys which you might find interesting to learn its not one size fits all with the soul.

              But if you are truly coming into as an agnostic (blank slate) and give serious consideration to both sides then as I told Darren, I will back you as having an “intellectual opinion” even if you don’t agree with me in the end 🙂

              Also, I do want to thank you for reciprocating my effort to start new this year in convo, I appreciated the effort you’ve made so far to respond in kind 🙂 I will do everything I can to keep it up 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Also, I do want to thank you for reciprocating my effort to start new this year in convo, I appreciated the effort you’ve made so far to respond in kind I will do everything I can to keep it up

                I’m glad this has been apparent to you. I’ve noted it in you. Kudos.

                Liked by 1 person

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