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Creation and Dinosaurs - Page 12

post #221 of 269
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Religion has typically taken two approaches to reason, both philisophical and scientific - as a way to find truth. One is that reason is the means given us be God to understand his creation. In this understanding, the universe itself is a kind of revelation of God - it is created by him and reflects his nature. THe diving logos runs through it. Our reason can observe this, learn from it, come to conclusions about it, and about God. Special revelation, like religious scriptures, also tells us things about God, often things that reason could not tell us. But true reasoning and revelation could never be in actual contradiction, if both were understood properly, because both are created by God, and God is perfect and unified. THis was the position of the Christian church up until the end of the middle ages, and is also found in other religions. It is probably best explained by Thomas Aquinas.
There are still Christian churches today that follow this line of thinking, including several I have attended. The teacher that I have linked to a couple of times specifically teaches this concept as general revelation and special revelation. If you are interested in hearing his thoughts on it I can try to find an mp3 of this particular class he gave.
post #222 of 269
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Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post
There are still Christian churches today that follow this line of thinking, including several I have attended. The teacher that I have linked to a couple of times specifically teaches this concept as general revelation and special revelation. If you are interested in hearing his thoughts on it I can try to find an mp3 of this particular class he gave.
Yes, I know this is still the main POV in many churches. All of the non-Protestant ones (Orthodox and RC) as well as Lutherans and Anglicans, and others as well.

The other POV seems most common among Anabaptists, though I also see it among some Calvinist churches. Some seems to be a strange mixture.
post #223 of 269
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Our reason can observe this, learn from it, come to conclusions about it, and about God. Special revelation, like religious scriptures, also tells us things about God, often things that reason could not tell us. But true reasoning and revelation could never be in actual contradiction, if both were understood properly, because both are created by God, and God is perfect and unified.
What exactly is "special revelation"? Going off of what I believe it to be yes I agree with this wholeheartedly.
post #224 of 269
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Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
What exactly is "special revelation"? Going off of what I believe it to be yes I agree with this wholeheartedly.
It generally refers to the idea that God gave us some additional information than what can be discovered through reason or observation of nature. So for Christians, the Bible is the major source of special revelation. (A work "inspired by God" wouldn't count as special revelation in the sense the term is usually used.) But if God actually spoke to a particular individual, that would be special revelation too, and miracles would also qualify if they were actually initiated by God.
post #225 of 269
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Originally Posted by smokering
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What is the fallacious reasoning behind science, and why should rejecting evidence that disagrees with your presuppositions not be derided as bias.
I've touched on the former already upthread, so I'll concentrate on the latter part of your statement. Bias? Certainly. I don't know any creationist who denies he is biased. But why should bias be derided? Secular science and creationism are both biased in favour of their presuppositions (some of which they share, such as the presupposition that the physical world exists); and they are both willing to change their models in the light of new evidence (for example, IIRC creationism used to deny speciation and no longer does).
But you buried it in seven paragraphs of religious musings. Can you summarise, succinctly?

The scientific method strives to remove all bias, and where it can be inferred, it needs to be corrected for. Removing bias is one of the main aims of the scientific method, and its main strength over any other worldview.

The physical world is not presupposed to exist, but that is a hypothesis which cannot be tested, so it's outside the realm of science.
post #226 of 269
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Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
But you buried it in seven paragraphs of religious musings. Can you summarise, succinctly?

The scientific method strives to remove all bias, and where it can be inferred, it needs to be corrected for. Removing bias is one of the main aims of the scientific method, and its main strength over any other worldview.

The physical world is not presupposed to exist, but that is a hypothesis which cannot be tested, so it's outside the realm of science.
I wonder if bias is perhaps not the best word. Better say, perhaps, that some foolish people claim that science starts with no assumptions and accepts only those which can be tested, and religion (or often, philosophy) starts with untestable assumptions, and is therefore inferior.

When this view is expounded, those on the "side" of science are truly blind, because it means that they don't really understand their own position, which also rests on untestable assumptions. It causes them to misunderstand the quality and surety of their own method, and to wrongly assume other positions are necessarily weaker.
post #227 of 269
With regard to the point about causes and boiling water ... does the ability to formulate an argument that what is realistically inarguably true might not be true strike anyone as more a failing of the discipline than just the creator of an interesting conundrum?
post #228 of 269
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Yes, I know this is still the main POV in many churches. All of the non-Protestant ones (Orthodox and RC) as well as Lutherans and Anglicans, and others as well.
Ok, I just wondered from the way you worded it that maybe you thought that was only the thinking up through the Middle Ages. Thanks.
post #229 of 269
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Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
With regard to the point about causes and boiling water ... does the ability to formulate an argument that what is realistically inarguably true might not be true strike anyone as more a failing of the discipline than just the creator of an interesting conundrum?
I don't actually think the discipline would accept such an argument, but if it did, I would tend to agree. That being said, we have always struggled to create a formalized system of logic that really works in every way. And of course, lack of all of the facts can always make logic less reliable.
post #230 of 269
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With regard to the point about causes and boiling water ... does the ability to formulate an argument that what is realistically inarguably true might not be true strike anyone as more a failing of the discipline than just the creator of an interesting conundrum?
"The discipline" being logic, you mean? I'm not sure I get what you mean. "Realistically inarguably true" is a truth-claim, and as such requires philosophical justification. From my perspective (in which the causative appearance of heat -> boiling is justified by occasionalism) the causation is true no matter who believes it; but if they don't believe it based on my philosophical position they have to justify it using another one. Otherwise their belief is simply belief from their perspective and true belief from mine, neither of which constitutes knowledge (justified or warranted true belief).

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Inductive reasoning is not fallicious, it is simply what it is.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy. It is an informal fallacy, not a formal one, otherwise it would be impossible for any inductive results of science to be true; as it is it is possible they are true, but those truth-claims need to be justified by something more than post hoc ergo propter hoc. Appealing to previous post hoc ergo propter hoc claims only compounds the problem.
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The physical world is not presupposed to exist, but that is a hypothesis which cannot be tested, so it's outside the realm of science.
Er, the physical world is very much presupposed to exist in science. It's necessary logical precondition for interacting with said physical world! And yes, it's outside the realm of science, which is sort of my point - science rests on this and a number of other empirically unverifiable (which is not the same thing as untestable - another misconception often held by scientists) presuppositions which are not themselves scientific. Which is fine - necessary even - as long as scientists recognise this, and the fact that it puts them on a footing closer to creationists than they might like to think.
post #231 of 269
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Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
When this view is expounded, those on the "side" of science are truly blind, because it means that they don't really understand their own position, which also rests on untestable assumptions. It causes them to misunderstand the quality and surety of their own method, and to wrongly assume other positions are necessarily weaker.
The wise might say that recognising the limitiations of one's methods and perceptions is the first, most important step towards distinguishing true facts from myth and fallacy
post #232 of 269
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post


Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy. It is an informal fallacy, not a formal one, otherwise it would be impossible for any inductive results of science to be true; as it is it is possible they are true, but those truth-claims need to be justified by something more than post hoc ergo propter hoc. Appealing to previous post hoc ergo propter hoc claims only compounds the problem.
Yes, it is a fallacy, but it is certianly not identical with inductive reasoning, which is certianly what you implied, or seemed to imply. And if you spend much time reading scientific literature, you'd see it's probably one of the most basic mistakes a scientist could make in interpreting data - you might see it in an undergraduate student, but it wouldn't be expected from a working scientist unless he was very sloppy indeed. And it certianly would be pointed out in peer review.

I'll give an example - Scientists looking into biological causes of homosexuality have noticed, in dissections of the brain, that there are differences in the brains of male homosexuals - they are more like those of women. THat does not mean that they have concluded that those changes cause homosexuality, though that is one possibility. It might be possible that homosexuality causes the changes, for example, or that there is another factor altogether. There are ways to try to narrow it down - perhaps brain imaging of a test population over a lifetime could show that the differences exist before there are differences in behavior, for example. So where is the fallacious reasoning ? I just don't see it.

But in any case, any scientific hypothesis, even with a lot of good data attached, is always provisional. Accepting it as a working hypothesis or best explanation does not make it a fallacy - that is why we don't talk about proving a scientific theory - that would be wrong.

My question when people want to totally discount this method of gaining knowledge is why aren't they afraid to fly, or go over bridges, or take medications? Surely if science can be relied upon to guard our life, it can be used to gain other types of knowledge. Anyone who depends on deductive knowledge only is going to live a very restricted life indeed.


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Er, the physical world is very much presupposed to exist in science. It's necessary logical precondition for interacting with said physical world! And yes, it's outside the realm of science, which is sort of my point - science rests on this and a number of other empirically unverifiable (which is not the same thing as untestable - another misconception often held by scientists) presuppositions which are not themselves scientific. Which is fine - necessary even - as long as scientists recognize this, and the fact that it puts them on a footing closer to creationists than they might like to think.
I don't think she said it didn't - rather the opposite. She said it wasn't a question science could address, which is perfectly true. It is not a scientific question. I wouldn't say it puts them that close to creationists though - perhaps far away from Buddhists?
post #233 of 269
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Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I don't think she said it didn't - rather the opposite. She said it wasn't a question science could address, which is perfectly true. It is not a scientific question. I wouldn't say it puts them that close to creationists though - perhaps far away from Buddhists?
Yes, exactly! It's like recognising that you're not going to try and build a road with a miter saw and router. But you could make some really gorgeous furniture. And leave the roadbuilding to road building tools.
post #234 of 269
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My question when people want to totally discount this method of gaining knowledge is why aren't they afraid to fly, or go over bridges, or take medications? Surely if science can be relied upon to guard our life, it can be used to gain other types of knowledge. Anyone who depends on deductive knowledge only is going to live a very restricted life indeed.
Anticipating Smokering's response, I imagine she will say it is because God is behind all of those cause-and-effect relationships, God consistently acts in certain ways and can be depended on to continue acting in the same way. Or if He doesn't and instead suddenly decides to allow the airplane to fall out of the air, well, that is His will so who are we to argue?

To me, this is simply continuing the venerable human tradition of filling up the gaps of things we don't understand with a supernatural being that we don't understand. It doesn't actually solve the problem, but rather simply transfers the problem onto a Entity that has been carefully defined in a way that appears to solve the problem. The ancient Norse didn't understand how thunder happened, so imagined Thor up in the clouds hurling down thunderbolts. Philosophers can't logically support cause and effect, so some postulate a supernatural Being that can be present in all places at all times to see to it that the water boils when we turn on the stove. It works philosophically because they have defined this supernatural Being as omnipotent and omniscient, but I can't see how it is different than the ancients defining a thunderbolt-hurling superman to explain thunder. A little more sophisticated, maybe, but in essence it is the same approach.

It makes much more sense to me to simply admit there are things we don't understand and may never be able to prove. Science may be based on a philosophical conundrum and scientific theories may never be able to be proven true 100% -- Bluegoat is spot-on about that -- but they work.

Bluegoat, I didn't get your reference to Buddhism. Were you referring to the idea that the physical world is "illusion"?
post #235 of 269
Wow, I'm following the referrals from this thread to my blog, I'm not surprised this thread is 12 pages long already! I hope to find time this week and read through all your responses. I find the evolution vs creationism/ID topic fascinating! I've spent hundreds just on books and videos about the topic to learn more. I know my stance, but love a respectful debate. I think this thread will teach me a lot as well.
post #236 of 269
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Originally Posted by Thao View Post
Anticipating Smokering's response, I imagine she will say it is because God is behind all of those cause-and-effect relationships, God consistently acts in certain ways and can be depended on to continue acting in the same way. Or if He doesn't and instead suddenly decides to allow the airplane to fall out of the air, well, that is His will so who are we to argue?
this sort of boggles my mind. so if an airplane fell out of the sky and we were unable to pin point why the plan fell, or why the event that caused the plan to fall took place then it happened b/c got let it happen?

the first thing that stands out to me is that by this reasoning god is involved in every airplane trip around the world. the next thing that i notice is that god did not cause it to happen, he allowed to happen.

here are my questions.

1) is the assumption that every airplane that safely reaches it's destination does so b/c god allowed it to happen and every plane that crashes does so because god allowed them to crash by not allowing them to reach their destination safely?

2) is the assumption that most airplanes reach their destination safely without any interference but some of those airplanes would have crashed if god had not stepped in and prevented it from happening? thus the only planes that crash are the ones that he allowed to crash by his lack of interference?

3) does god stay out of the situation entirely by not interfering in any airplane flight including those that end in a crash?

4) the only one of these options that does not sound like god is picking and choosing who arrives safely and who crashes is option 3. and if option 3 is the assumption then what does god have to do with it at all?
post #237 of 269
I can't presume to answer your question, 1littlebit, since I don't know much about occasionalism nor do I believe in it, but I'm sure Smokering will. In the meantime, you can check out the wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occasionalism
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Occasionalism is a philosophical theory about causation which says that created substances cannot be efficient causes of events. Instead, all events are taken to be caused directly by God Himself. The theory states that the illusion of efficient causation between mundane events arises out of God's habitual causing of one event after another. However, there is no necessary connection between the two: it is not that the first event causes God to cause the second event: rather, God first causes one and then causes the other.
Smokering, does that accurately summarize what you believe?
post #238 of 269
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My question when people want to totally discount this method of gaining knowledge is why aren't they afraid to fly, or go over bridges, or take medications? Surely if science can be relied upon to guard our life, it can be used to gain other types of knowledge. Anyone who depends on deductive knowledge only is going to live a very restricted life indeed.
Errr, I've never met anyone who wanted to totally discount it. That's certainly not my position. I'm just saying that it needs to be philosophically justified. As I can philosophically justify it, I have no problem walking over bridges. And I suspect few people are consistent or paranoid enough not to just because they can't. Most just dismiss the argument as irrelevant.

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And if you spend much time reading scientific literature, you'd see it's probably one of the most basic mistakes a scientist could make in interpreting data - you might see it in an undergraduate student, but it wouldn't be expected from a working scientist unless he was very sloppy indeed. And it certianly would be pointed out in peer review.
So if a working scientist hypothesised that any action caused any result, the peer reviewer would ask him to philosophically justify his position?

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But in any case, any scientific hypothesis, even with a lot of good data attached, is always provisional. Accepting it as a working hypothesis or best explanation does not make it a fallacy - that is why we don't talk about proving a scientific theory - that would be wrong.
Yes, but this has nothing to do with my argument...

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Yes, exactly! It's like recognising that you're not going to try and build a road with a miter saw and router. But you could make some really gorgeous furniture. And leave the roadbuilding to road building tools.
No, no, no! Bad analogy. The philosophy of science comes logically prior to science itself. How science is conducted, and whether or not its truth claims can be justified, depend on the philosophy of science. You can't abdicate intellectual responsibility for justifying your beliefs because it's "not your field"!

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It doesn't actually solve the problem
Explain to me how occasionalism doesn't solve the problem of post hoc ergo propter hoc - leaving aside for the moment the fact that you on't believe it.

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this sort of boggles my mind. so if an airplane fell out of the sky and we were unable to pin point why the plan fell, or why the event that caused the plan to fall took place then it happened b/c got let it happen?
Heh. Not exactly. God is continually and completely upholding the laws of nature, with only very occasional interference (miracles, which some believe no longer occur). So whether the plane crashed or not, God caused (not let) it to crash or not-crash. And as even Christian science is largely methodologically naturalistic, no Christian scientist would abandon the inquiry into a plane crash by saying "God did it" - although like a secular scientist, he might be forced to admit he could not find the cause of the crash.

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the next thing that i notice is that god did not cause it to happen, he allowed to happen.
No; caused.

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1) is the assumption that every airplane that safely reaches it's destination does so b/c god allowed it to happen and every plane that crashes does so because god allowed them to crash by not allowing them to reach their destination safely?
Caused. But yes.
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2) is the assumption that most airplanes reach their destination safely without any interference but some of those airplanes would have crashed if god had not stepped in and prevented it from happening? thus the only planes that crash are the ones that he allowed to crash by his lack of interference?
Er, that gets into an interesting philosophical tangle of counterfactuals and possible worlds, on which I'm not qualified to comment. "Would haves" and predestination are a tricky topic. All planes that crash, God caused to crash; all planes that don't, He caused to land safely (whether by a normal flight or by causing the pilot to do something daringly brave, or by causing the engineer to notice a fault prior to takeoff, or whatever).
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3) does god stay out of the situation entirely by not interfering in any airplane flight including those that end in a crash?
No, He causes everything.

ETA: Yes, Thao, that's about right, although what that quote doesn't stress is that God operates within/continually causes and upholds the laws of nature, making cause and effect functionally though not philosophically identical to cause and effect under a secular worldview. So we don't turn on the heater thinking "Ooh, I wonder if God will make it warm up today!"; we expect He will.
post #239 of 269
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Originally Posted by jennica View Post
I think you are being too literal here. This verse was written in a poetic style. It's kind of like the in the song of solomon when it says her breasts were like tours. So his tail sways like cedar. Her breasts weren't literally something as strong, solid, and high as towers. The tail wasn't literally like a cedar tree. This is metaphor. It is drawing a comparison in a poetic way so that you get a feel for the creature being described. Saying his tail sways like cedar would conjure up the image of the cedar tree. What do you see swaying in the wing? The branches with the leaves on them, not the trunk. Also, perhaps the writer of this verse had never caught an elephant or seen one caught. Perhaps it was just poetry to help us visualize the sheer power of this animal.
Great explanation. This thread took off from last time I had a chance to pop in.

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Originally Posted by jennica View Post
Well can we keep it nice for all us non-Christians? I'd like my heathen children and grandchildren to have a place to live.
Yes, please.

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Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post

And if you are saying that Christianity is based on Judaism, well of course of it is. For Christians, Jesus was the Messiah that was promised to the Jews.
I was raised Jewish. Christians were basically an offshoot of Judaism. But I don't see many Christians following a lot of Orthodox Jewish beliefs, yes? And I think we can agree to disagree with the origins of myths in the New Testament.
post #240 of 269
are there Jewish Creationist and if so is this a common jewish belief and i just missed it? all the creationists i know personally are christians and most of the ones that are referred to in the media and legal issues are christians.
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