apologetics: DEBATE LOGS - 3/22/96
apologetics: DEBATE LOGS - 3/22/96
[13:54] Junkyman (firstname.lastname@example.org) joined
[14:08] Boozer (email@example.com) joined #apologetics.
[14:08] nah, i'm doing other stuff too actually
[14:08] ah, I see.
[14:09] So are you a presuppositionalist or
[14:09] ether_ore (firstname.lastname@example.org) joined
[14:09] I have things to do also.
[14:09] ether_ore (email@example.com) left
[14:09] presuppositionalist who sees evidence
[14:10] Ok, well suppose you were trying to
convince someone that there is a god. Would you take
the presup or evidence approach?
[14:11] obviously evidence.
[14:11] Is it obvious?
[14:11] It's not obvious to me. What sort of
[14:12] probably not. :)
[14:13] well, the usual i suppose... the most
convincing start for me is that naturalism logically
must be false, and then go from there
[14:13] Yeah, I've heard the party line here
on why naturalism is supposedly false.
[14:14] you don't believe it?
[14:14] no, I do not.
[14:14] can you honestly believe that truely
rational beings could have appeared from matter??
[14:15] I can believe it because that is what
[14:15] what you observe??? but don't you
take YOUR presuppositions into your observations then?
[14:15] I take as few as possible.
[14:16] Alcuin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[14:16] Look, is your whole argument based on
your attack of naturalism and its alledged fallacy?
[14:16] hello alcuin.
[14:17] well, i don't have ONE argument all
laid out... i'm a bit more flexible than that. but
i like starting there sometimes.
[14:17] Can you do it independently of your
attack on naturalism?
[14:18] i could try, but I suppose that you've
probably heard most of them.
[14:18] You mean you'd give me the old first
[14:18] i'm just curious, how exactly do your
observations show you that rational humans appeared
out of matter? I didn't get that.
[14:19] Topic changed by ApoloBotemail@example.com:
Supernaturalism--the negation of naturalism!
[14:19] hey alcuin, i guess you're a Christian
[14:19] Since you're posing the question, tell
me what matter is.
[14:20] sorry, i shouldn't limit it to matter
exactly, that word just comes to mind. what i mean
is how could rational people have evolved from a natural,
self-contained chain of causes-effects?
[14:21] As opposed to irration people?
[14:22] as opposed to people whose actions
are decided merely by previous causes and not rational
[14:22] I don't care for that definition of
[14:23] That makes none of us rational.
[14:23] why not?
[14:23] Give me an example of a "rational decision".
[14:25] but if all of our supposedly rational
conclusions (eg. all men are mortal, i am a man, therefore
i am mortal) are only the results of natural causes,
then how can we have any trust in its validity???
[14:25] Is that your example? That men are
[14:26] that could be one example, yes
[14:26] And you arrive at that conclusion having
observed that men die.
[14:28] Action: Alcuin pours Lime Rickeys for one and
[14:28] having observed what seems to be a
rule that all men are mortal, and that you are a man,
you conclude that you are therefore mortal. that is
the example (assuming that the first two conclusions
[14:28] Right, it is a "rational decision" based
entirely on previous events.
[14:29] the first two statements are based
on previous events. the third statement is a RATIONAL
one only (you never observed your own death yet obviously).
[14:29] So I don't see your distinction between
actions decided by previous causes and rational decision.
[14:30] Well, it's an inference based on previous
events, anyhow. It's logically valid, too. However,
what is the basis for believing that all men are mortal,
when one hasn't empirically examined all men?
[14:31] what i was calling a rational decision
= logical. does that make more sense?
[14:31] I'd say that if a high percentage of
men (that is, all that have been observed) exhibit
a certain quality, you can assume that it applies to
all of them.
[14:31] If I'm eating chinese food, then Bill
Clinton is Elijah.
[14:31] I'm eating chinese food.
[14:31] Therefore, Bill Clinton is Elijah.
[14:31] Then you wait for an exception to rear
its ugly head.
[14:32] That's logical, too. However, it's
[14:32] okay, so assuming the first two statements,
you come to the third statement, a logical conclusion.
my point is that if all thoughts are the result of
natural causes, what makes that logical conclusion
trustworthy? how can you
know it is based on the real world?
[14:32] That's silly.
[14:33] Boozer: a high percentage of men exhibit
heterosexuality. Can you therefore assume that it
applies to all of them? That's not rational.
[14:33] I mean high percentage like more than
[14:34] Boozer: Likewise, a high percentage
of Americans support Bill Clinton. Does it therefore
follow that all Americans support Bill Clinton?
[14:34] why is it silly? the third statement
was not observed, but yet according to naturalism it
must have been the result of a natural cause. how
then can you know that it is true (it is not observable)???
[14:34] Action: Alcuin stirs his Lime Rickey
[14:34] rafzahn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[14:34] Considering he was elected with 43%
of the popular vote, I'd say no.
[14:34] rafzahn (email@example.com)
[14:34] knowing that logical conclusions are
trustworth is the basis of rational thought... naturalism
disallows rational thought and therefore renders itself
[14:35] rafzahn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[14:35] rafzahn (email@example.com)
[14:35] "trustworthy" :)
[14:35] Explain how naturalism does not allow
[14:35] Boozer: The point is that observation
of *some* members of a natural set does not provide
for rational inferences about *all* of the members
of that set.
[14:36] Alcuin, when all of the observed members
of a set exhibit some quality, we may reasonably infer
that others that have not been scrutinized will exhibit
those same qualities.
[14:37] Boozer: false.
[14:37] Alcuin, we know that all people are
not heterosexual because we have found many that are
[14:37] Alcuin, I don't see why you're having
such a problem with this.
[14:38] Action: Alcuin has a problem with broad claims
to the validity of induction, because he's familiar
with the philosophy of science subsequent to David
Hume's dismantling of induction in the late 18th c.
[14:38] boozer: how can you know that the
logical third-statement/conclusion as above is based
on truth if that thought itself is merely the result
of previous natural (and quite possibly unrelated)
[14:39] Junky, are you suggesting that I might
arrive at the conclusion that men are mortal independently
of the first two statements?
[14:39] Boozer: I guess I hesitate over your
claim because of my commitment to rationality. You
say: ""when all of the observed members of a set exhibit
some quality, we may reasonably infer that other
s that have not been scrutinized will exhibit those
[14:39] according to naturalism, yes, as thoughts
are ONLY the result of other natural causes.
[14:40] Junkyman, so the first two statements
lead to the third? what's the problem?
[14:40] Yet that's patently false. If in your
own experience, you have only ever had exposure to
people with fair skin, are you rationally justified
in concluding that no other pigmentations occur?
[14:41] for logical conclusions to be true,
they must act completely distinct from natural causes
(eg. not just caused by some atoms in the brain smacking
around), therefore rational minds are supernatural,
therefore naturalism is wrong
[14:41] As far as you're concened there would
be no other colors.
[14:41] alcuin: yes you are, with some uncertainty.
that's not my point, anyway.
[14:42] And when you discover these other people
with different pigmentations you say "Wow. Learn something
new every day."
[14:42] And if you have read only X books (where
X is some number), then you're rationally justified
in inferring that books are only about the subject
matters which you have seen in the books you've read?
[14:42] Junkyman, why must logical conclusions
operate independently of natural causes?
[14:42] Boozer, that's not rational; that's
[14:43] Boozer: Junkyman is right. Logic is
impossible in a naturalistic worldview.
[14:43] Ah, the anthem of #apologetics.
[14:44] boozer: if supposedly rational thoughts
are the effect of a previous chain of causes, how can
you know that they are true? that chain of causes
could result in any thought, not necessarily a true
[14:44] madcow (firstname.lastname@example.org) joined
[14:44] You know truth though the consistency
of these thoughts over time.
[14:45] hiya madcom! you a Christian or atheist
or in between?? :)
[14:45] heh, madcow. :)
[14:45] Boozer: Are there laws of logic in a
[14:45] Action: Alcuin offers a milkshake to madcow
[14:46] Action: Boozer wonders if madcow is in Britain
[14:46] but what makes any of those thoughts
[14:46] if the thought is consistent with nature
then it is true.
[14:46] you are then using inferences to prove
inferences true. that is a circular argument, sorry.
[14:46] but truth is independent of what individuals
[14:47] I have a question...thanks, I needed
[14:47] Boozer: How do you tell whether thought
T is or is not consistent with nature?
[14:47] No....in Kansas City
[14:47] boozer: i know that. but how do you
know that your supposed logic is true to that truth???
that's the question here!
[14:47] Alcuin, the same way you do I'm sure.
[14:48] Sample thought T: "There exists a duck
such that the duck is naturally purple."
[14:48] i can't see any way out of the problem
unless you accept that rational minds operate apart
from the natural order.
[14:49] JUnkyman, because there is no other
order than natural order.
[14:49] Boozer: How do you verify whether T
is consistent with nature? If you've never seen a
purple duck, then according to you you're already rationally
justified in claiming that all ducks are non-purple.
So why bother checking, sinc
e you've already figured it out "rationally" in advance?
[14:49] but THAT IS A PRESUPPOSITION!!!!!!!!!
there is no evidence for that!!!
[14:49] Junkyman, please don't shout.
[14:50] Alcuin, tell me something. Are you
being silly just for fun or are you serious.
[14:50] sorry, but i needed to for effect.
[14:50] anyone want to take a shot at my question?
[14:51] What is your question?
[14:51] Action: Alcuin is being quite serious. If people
want to throw around the claim that they're rational,
they had better be able to back it up with a cogent
account of rationality.
[14:51] Shoot, madcow. What's on your mind?
[14:52] How about accepting that naturalism
includes rationality and logic within it's nice neat
package? I have no difficulty with that.
[14:52] Boozer: So you have no difficulty with
the claim that laws of logic are material things?
[14:53] wow...18 secs for a ping! Anyway..my
question arises from an encounter the other night when
a person I was chatting with made the assertion that
Jesus didn't really suffer since He knew ahead of time
that He would be resurrected.
I was wondering just what you would say to such a
[14:53] Action: Alcuin wonders whether Boozer will
point to a law of logic, so we can all see it.
[14:53] you know, we seem to be distracted
from my argument here... boozer did you have an actual
refutation of it or just another illogical presupposition??
[14:53] Here they are treated as add-ons to
some stripped down model.
[14:53] Alcuin, not material things. Governing
equations. You know like thermodynamics.
[14:53] madcow: He knew he'd be resurrected
but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt!!!
[14:53] madcow: I went to the dentist once.
I knew that novacaine wouldn't affect me for this
particular procedure. I alse knew that it'd be over
after a few hours. Still, I suffered.
[14:54] that's what I said
[14:54] Boozer: So the world you're positing
isn't naturalism after all, is it.
[14:54] I agree...but this person was very persistent
that it was not
[14:54] "real" suffering
[14:54] Madcow: has this person ever been crucified?
[14:54] You don't have to convince me...
[14:54] Naturalism encompasses logic and rationality.
[14:55] madcow: just remember, it was Jesus'
perfectness up until death that allowed for our salvation,
not the degree of "suffering".
[14:55] I would assume not...but I doubt that
that was his point
[14:55] Boozer: In naturalism, all that exists
is extended in space [i.e., material]. If logic exists
in naturalism, then logic is extended in space [material].
So you should be able to point to it.
[14:56] Action: Alcuin points out to Boozer that just
saying so doesn't make it so. "Naturalism includes logic
because it does"
[14:56] Alcuin, you have abridged what naturalism
[14:56] boozer: what exactly was your refutation
to my above argument?? we seem to be a bit forgetful
[14:57] Of course pointing it out doesn't make
it so. I was merely summarizing my earlier point.
[14:57] Good point, Junkyman. Madcow: What
pays for sin in the atonement of Christ is that Christ
takes on the punishment for the sins of others. God
dictates what counts as punishment, and death is the
key, not suffering up to the poin
t of death.
[14:57] those are good points, I thank you...any
more thoughts? I think his problem was more a desire
to reject Jesus' atonement more than a hard disbelief
in the suffering
[14:57] Boozer: If you think I have abridged
naturalism, suggest an alternative.
[14:57] Junkyman, when your question scrolled
off the screen in the midst of the "suffering" discussion
it was lost.
[14:58] Alcuin, allow naturalism to include
laws of physics and logic.
[14:58] Boozer: Are you suggesting that in naturalism,
everything that exists is material, except for one
class of things, namely laws [of logic, nature, etc]
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[14:58] I made the point that it is much the
same as a transaction (i.e. what makes something "yours"
when you buy it?") God said, "this justice I will require...thi
s atonement I will accept" in effect.
[14:58] Alcuin, for in naturalism our thoughts
are controlled by chemical processes, therefore they
must be a part of naturalism.
[14:58] could you do me a big favor and scroll
it up a sec and find where we left off?? you had made
a statement that you seemed to think was a refutation
when it was bringing in an illogical presupposition.
[14:59] Boozer: Fascinating! What is the *rational*
basis for allowing *some* abstract [non-material] things
into one's worldview, but not allowing *other* abstract
things into it?
[14:59] Junkyman, you're probably thinking that
my inclusion of these natural laws is a presupposition.
[14:59] boozer: if thoughts are based on chemicals
then how can you trust them to be accurate pictures
[15:00] the rational basis is that it works
and is cohesive and doesn't introduce unnecessary entities.
[15:00] madcow: It is not only much the same
as a transaction. It is a transaction. God made a
contract with his people, of which one of the stipulations
was that sin would entail punishment.
[15:00] Juny, we've been throgh this. They
are consistent over time.
[15:01] the rational basis is that it works?!?
like i said above, inferences to prove inferences
is a circular argument.
[15:01] agreed...I didn't mean to discount the
fact of it being in actuality a transaction...it just
sounds so businesslike...kinda wooden in those terms
[15:01] Boozer: That's an *arbitrary* basis,
not a rational basis. After all, for any proposed
abstract thing T that someone might say you should
add to your collection of admissible abstract things,
**how** do you judge whether T is "cohesive", whether
T "works" and whether it is "unnecessary"?
[15:01] Junkyman, I don't think you know what
a circular argument is.
[15:02] Boozer: Thoughts are wildly inconsistent
over time. Look around!
[15:02] madcow: Yup. Sounds like your answer
to your friend was fine.
[15:02] inferences as seen in naturalism are
under question here, and you are trying to use inferences
to prove them true. that is circular.
[15:03] Boozer: IF you use logic to judge among
other abstractions, then you're begging the question.
If you don't use logic to judge among them, then you're
abrogating logic. Those are the choices on the basis
[15:03] Alcuin, it's not arbitrary. Each proposed
law must work in all situations.
[15:04] Thanks..I needed the reassurance. He
was so adamant that I wondered if there was a much
better answer than I was offering.
[15:04] Boozer: But you can't *check* *all*
[15:04] I have been waiting for a chance to
meet some of you folks in here and have checked the
last week several times but no one has been home.
[15:04] all being those situations which you
[15:04] or can be checked by others.
[15:05] madcow: The issue can be explained much
more thoroughly, of course. And it *can* be established
that Christ really suffered. However, you're friend
doesn't sound open to discussion on the issue.
[15:05] that's what I figured
[15:05] Boozer: So then, logic only applies
to the situations you've personally looked into! Rationality
[15:05] Got any suggestions for reading material
on the subject?
[15:06] Alcuin, are you a lawyer?
[15:06] other than the Bible, of course
[15:06] Elysium (clayton@RED.SEAS.UPENN.EDU) joined
[15:06] hi elysium!
[15:06] hello Elysium
[15:07] _The Death of Christ_ by John Owen.
[15:07] Boozer: No, I'm not a lawyer.
[15:07] Hi, Elysium
[15:07] Ok, now let's hit what's wrong with
[15:07] Alcuin, the reason I ask is that your
questions are very demanding in tone.
[15:08] Alcuin, as a presuppositionalist, can
you answer a few questions for m?
[15:08] well, whatever... anyway, i don't
see how one can see that order out of nothing makes
any sense at all when that's the opposite of pretty
much all observations
[15:08] me even.
[15:08] Yes, maybe Elysium can set you straight
on allowing logic into naturalism.
[15:08] Boozer: I'm just laying the questions
out directly, for the sake of clarity and rationality.
No cross examination intended [though pun intended]
[15:08] that's untrue. Crystal formation,
spontaneous particle generation in a vaccuum, fractals
[15:08] Elysium: I disavow the label "presuppositionalist".
[15:08] However, I'd be pleased to discuss the
issue with you.
[15:09] sorry elysium, MOST observations.
[15:09] Alcuin: Ok. Do you believe that the
laws of identity and non-contradiction are necessary
pre-requisites for definition?
[15:10] For definition? No. For clear, stable,
or cogent definition? Yes.
[15:10] Alcuin: You mentioned this earlier
and I'm not clear how this works. If identity and
non-contradiction are not accepted as true, how would
one define something?
[15:11] The American heritage dictionary defines
definition as, "1. The act of stating a precise meaning
[15:11] Elysium: Arbitrarily, and with no claims
to consistency, objective denotation, and intelligibility.
[15:12] Elysium: Dictionaries are useful summaries
of usage. They rarely include the precise definitions
used in specialized fields, such as philosophy or ballet.
[15:12] Alcuin: That understanding of definition
is non-standard. I'm not asking if letters from the
alphabet can be concatenated in the absence of logic,
but if *definition* is possible.
[15:12] Elysium: I'll work with whichever notion
of definition pleases you.
[15:13] Alcuin: So I think from the beginning
you should probably alter your notion of definition.
Even polymorphic definition requires identity as they
are intelligible and precise in more than one context.
[15:13] Let's say arguendo that the only definition
worth talking about is definition that requires identity
[15:13] Alcuin: That wont do. A definition
which does not assume identty and non-contradiction
ceases to be a definition.
[15:13] Elysium: I'm not talking polymorphic.
I'm talking whistling in the dark. But, as I said,
let's work with something less difficult.
[15:14] Alcuin: Whistling in the dark may be
just that, but it certainly isn't definition.
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[15:14] Alcuin: Like I said, in asking whether
definition ispredicated upon identity and non-contradiction
I do not mean to imply that any concatenation of letters
is a definition.
[15:14] Action: Alcuin notes that **mere** quibbles
over whether "definition" means x or y are hardly worth
anyone's time. Let's decide which definition we mean
to discuss, and move ahead, shall we?
[15:15] Elysium: As I said, if that definition
of "definition" suits you, I have no objection.
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[15:15] Alcuin: So, we can proceed allowing
definition to have meaning. I believe we have dismissed
your first objection to my rebuttal to the transcendental
argument. Definition is contingent upon the laws of
identity and non-contradi
ction. An attempt at formi
[15:16] Alcuin: ng a "trivial case" of definition
fails in that it does not satisfy the meaning as it
is either used in everyday practice or in philosophy.
[15:17] Alcuin: Now, in regards to the claim
that god's nature provides the only "possible" ground
[15:17] Elysium: [a] you have not offered a
rebuttal to the transcendental argument, as far as
I know; [b] the everyday practice of using some denotations
and not others cannot in the nature of the case prove
a thing. However, [c] if you
think you have a rebuttal, let's see it.
[15:17] Alcuin: How do you verify the claim
that "god's nature" is the only suitable ground for logic?
What do you mean by that?
[15:18] Alcuin: Now remember, since we are
talking about what you consider the basis for logic,
you are not permitted to use "logic" in your answer.
[15:18] Elysium: For the sake of clarity in
our discussion, note: you have identified two issues:
identity and god's nature. Shall we take them one
at a time? Are you under the impression that you've
made a point about identity that som
ehow damages the transcendental argument?
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[15:19] hiya seven
[15:19] seeya seven
[15:19] Alcuin: Let's split the question up
again. How do you verify the claim that god's nature
is the only suitable ground for logic?
[15:19] By retorsion
[15:19] seeya, i'm not academic enough for
this one (yet!)
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[15:20] Alcun: I'm unfamiliar with that term.
What does it mean?
[15:20] It means a kind of indirect argument,
from the impossibility of consistently denying the
premise being asserted.
[15:20] Alcuin: But that presupposes identity
and non-contradiction, which you are attempting to
[15:21] Elysium: Epistemic circularity [which
is distinct from logical circularity, btw] is not a
problem with respect to establishing transcendental
premises. Didn't you know that?
[15:21] Alcuin: An argument to absurdity if
you will, makes no sense unless we accept identity
and non-contradiction. But if you are using these
to establish god's nature as the only suitable ground
for identity and non-contradiction, I
believe we are approaching
[15:21] the fallacy of question begging.
[15:22] Elysium: Then you, unfortunately, believe
[15:22] Alcuin: does this mean you have no
satisfactory method of verifying the claim that god's
nature is the only suitable ground for logic?
[15:22] Question begging is when premises in
an argument are assumed for the sake of providing a
direct demonstration of those same premises.
[15:22] Alcuin: You find yourself int he same
quandry you accuse atheists of. You posit a nature
of god as the only suitable ground for logic, and in
doing so presuppose logic (i.e., that god's nature
[15:23] No, Elysium, this means that I have
a satisfactory method of verifying the claim that god's
nature is the only suitable ground for logic, and that
the method is ipso facto indirect, since the discussion
deals with transcendentals.
[15:24] Elysium: You are correct that both atheists
and theists presuppose certain things in order to even
have a worldview. Why you consider this *problematic*
rather than *structurally descriptive* is somewhat
mysterious. It's a commo
nplace of 20th c. epistemology, that you can get nowhere
without starting somewhere.
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[15:25] The fact that a starting place is always
necessary does not at all tell against the notion that
one can rationally discriminate among competing starting
[15:26] Alcuin: Which is pretty much why theism
must be rejected if one is to be consistent.
[15:26] Are you confusing logical circularity
with epistemic circularity?
[15:26] Alcuin: No, not at all; axioms must
be had. I accept as axiomatic, logic. you do not
argue against logic, but posit a unevidenced being
as necessarily existent to provide justification for
[15:27] On the contrary, Elysium. If one wants
to be consistent, and there are several possible starting
places for one's worldview-formation, then one must
ask the transcendental question: which of these starting
places provides for eve
n the possibility of consistency?!
[15:27] Alcuin: A starting place which posits
a mythical entity is questionable at best.
[15:28] Elysium: You accept logic as axiomatic,
yet you reject the other constituents of a worldview
in which logic makes sense. Thus, you are left with
an inconsistent starting place. You want the wheels,
and the wind in your hair, but
you don't believe in internal combustion!
[15:28] Action: Alcuin notes for the record that on
Elysium's basis, "logic" is as "mythical" as God.
[15:29] Alcuin: Not really; the theistic hypothesis
doesn't satisfy an actually existent need. Logic is
[15:29] Action: Boozer scribbles out the fallacy Alcuin
noted in the record.
[15:29] Alcuin: But in either case, it certainly
doesn't require the *christian* deity's existence.
[15:29] Oh, you don't think that logic is transcendental?
Or do you really mean not transcendent? The two words
are different you know.
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[15:29] Alcuin: There are no transcendental
concepts in the reified sense you are thinking of them.
[15:30] Elysium: Oh, you know what I'm thinking?
:) Explain, please...especially the "reification" claim.
[15:30] Alcuin: In either case, logic as it
stands is a good deal more intelligible, even as axiomatic
than "god's nature" a tripartite unity.
[15:31] Action: Alcuin notes for the record that "transcendental"
means "pertaining to the preconditions of intelligibility"
means "outside of temporal experience".
[15:31] Alcuin: Logic is a human abstraction
of properties of this universe. There is no *logic*
in an actual sense; just as there is no *actually*
existent logic; were even being capable of abstracting
to die, logic would cease to exis
t (though what it refers to
[15:31] would continue).
[15:32] Elysium: Trinity is no less logical
than anything else. God is three in sense(a) and one
in sense(b). As long as sense(a) and sense(b) are
not the same sense, there's no logical problem.
[15:32] Alcuin: The trinity argues that god
is both three and one in regard to his person; the
[15:32] Alcuin: Jesus is both mortal (human)
and immortal; 2 exclusive states of being.