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Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Ex-Android" Speaks!

Here is another response from my email correspondent. I will try to remember to put all his remarks in bold:

Look, Ralph, as long as you insist on playing the game of keeping me on the defensive, then there is no way we can have a civil discussion.

Oh, and of course I'm not to be bothered at all when the first thing I read from you is that I subject you to "preaching" at the rate of two entries a day? Is there a rule for atheists that they are so superior they can just insult anybody and expect that person to say "Oh, I'm sorry! I apologize deeply for even having an opinion, much less actually believing I can prove my statements!"

That is aside from your confused, contradictory thinking, bluster, bravado, and childish language.

See? Not one word examining what I've said, just more ad hominem about what I said.

Here is the core of my argument, and no one yet has even thought to even mention it: there is no decision procedure whatever by which any person can get from "here" to "God".

A simple premise. A simple statement.

I'll admit that my present technical inability to make my posts isn't helping to advocate my case.

I agree. It would save me trouble of trying to actually get your discussion involved. But at least I've tried.

I suggest with all your learning you might pursue a course of how to communicate.

Probably true. But I generally don't like intimidation or bluster unless somebody decides he or she wants to insult me right out of the gate. I'm an ex-marine. I once defended myself in a Special Court Martial, which I not only won, but received an apology from the marines and a meritorious promotion out of a court martial. I don't know many people that have ever done that. Apparently they had no trouble understanding me.

Do all you True Believers take the same course on how to confuse, intimidate, and embarrass your opponent without half trying?

I must have, and I must have made a good grade on it, because I seem to be able to do it to you without trying at all! I do love your scientific evaluation of me as an individual as well, "Al you True believers". Nothing insulting about that, obviously. What right should I have to ever be offended at your statements?

Maybe it's a gift from one of your gods. Could be. I have no way of knowing. Do you?

I would also suggest you read a bit on what is atheism. It's clear you don't understand it any more now than the rest of the religions I've engaged over the years.

Let's see, I've read Christopher Hitchens' "God Is Not Great", and Dawkins' "The God Delusion", both of which I found very good. As I understand it, and correct me if I'm wrong, but atheists say there is no God. Correct? Have you ever heard me stating that there is a God? Have you ever heard me offering any kind of proof that there is a God?

But you see, there is the great flaw in your entire argument. The only way you can possibly begin to beat me is to conclude that I'm a "True Believer" and lump me into a general category that cannot possibly ever go beyond what you amazing atheists know. See? I've just lumped you into a group. That's ad hominem, and it proves nothing one way or another.

To fault the atheist because he is unable to prove there is no god shows your ignorance and confused thinking on the matter.

Are you saying you CAN prove there is no God? Then simply state your case, prove there is no God, and I will still win this argument! Let's look at the core of my argument from the point of view of William James. James pointed out that if God is all knowing, then we are not free,since God would already know in advance what choices we will make. If we are free, God is not all knowing, and if God is all knowing, we are not free.

You and I can argue until cows start roosting in trees whether there is or is not a God, bit the fact is, neither of us can ever offer conclusive proof. The only thing we can possibly agree on is what we can see as results from actual observation. Here is my observation:

If there is a God, it would be useless to believe in a God who is not all knowing, since a less than omniscient God would simply be greater by comparison, merely a smarter being, though never complete in knowledge.

Paul has argued from his understanding of God that God is indeed all knowing in regard to whom his "children" are, and that he has predestined them from the very beginning. This will logically lead to the result William James pointed out, above. If God is all knowing, then there is not one choice we can make in any sense that will alter our destiny in that regard.

Okay, let's substitute that with your statement there is no God. We can come up with this conclusion: There is not one choice we can make in any sense that will alter our destiny in that any possibly measurable context.

To me, those conclusions are exactly the same, except the atheist says there is no measurable way in which any decision we make can alter our destiny in any absolute sense. In fact, if God does exist, and IS all knowing, there is STILL no way to alter our destiny in any measurable way, in any absolute sense. Either way, based on what Paul said in Romans 8:29-30, there is no difference in the outcome, EXCEPT Paul says there is a God, and you say there's not a god. But the results in either case will be exactly the same.

This means, in the simplest language I'm able to convey, there exists no decision procedure, no algorithm, no human process of thought by which we can in any way, get from "here" to "God".
Are you saying there is some way we CAN get from here to god? That would seem to contradict your point of view, wouldn't it?

Paul stated in Romans 8:7 that the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God. As I've said in several different places, this will have two logical, verifiable results:
1.No one can claim any authority from God, since no human mind can be subject to God
2. Any attempt to do so will result in a splintering and speciation of religions tending toward infinity, AS WEE SEE AROUND US TODAY.

No one yet, least of all you, Mr. Ex-Android, has even begun to touch that statement. You know why? You have no argument against it. It's true because its observably true, and it conforms to the logic of Romans 8:7, showing the resulting logic of Romans 9:16-22.

What is confusing about that? If you cannot be subject to God, any choice you make regarding the knowledge of God will reflect the confusion apparent in your own thinking. Therefore, you will see over 38,000 versions of "god" as you see today. Since the natural mind cannot be subject to God, there can exist no decision procedure by which you can get to God, which is exactly what Paul said in Romans 9:16-22.

Why is that confusing? Maybe because you've been conditioned all your life to believe that IF we believe in God, we MUST follow some decision procedure to please God?

Besides, the matter of proof falls to the believer, and you've already clearly stated to your credit that you cannot do that.

Well, finally, you actually point to something I specifically said!

I would suggest you try reading an excellent primer, 'Atheism: The case Against God' by George Smith. That was a major aid in helping set me free from the gods. The book has clarity and absence from confusion.

P.S. If you want to quote me in the forum then do it completely and fairly and respond honestly. Sign me 'Ex-Android'.

In your responses so far, all I've seen is ad hominem, writing about what I said, but never in any disciplined, or even scientific way of pointing out any flaw in my logic. I've responded as honestly as I know how, and if I left anything out in previous posts, let me know, and I will respond to that as well.


Questeruk said...

You said….
“If we are free, God is not all knowing, and if God is all knowing, we are not free.”

Is it a problem, humanity being free, and God not being all knowing?

There are several places in the Bible which do indeed indicate that God is NOT all knowing about certain things.

Ralph said...

Qesteruk, a very good question. I am aware of certainpasages in the Old testament that says God was unable to deliver Israel for some reason, or something to the same effect, and even insinuated in the Garden of Eden story that God was unaware of the choice made by Adam and Eve.

However, I base my argument on simple logic. Assuming that God, of there is a God, is no all knowing, the "god" is merely a being who may simply be more advanced than ourselves, and therefore subject to the same limitations imposed by Godel's theorem. That is, "God" can be no more "complete" in "his" thinking than ourselves.

But the fundamental premise of Paul is that God not only knows all his children in advance, but has predestined, and knew them from the beginning(Ephesians 1:4).

This leads us to the exactl conclusions that if God is all knowing, then our 'salvation" cannot be dependent on free will choice, and if it is, then God cannot be all knowing, and Paul would be wrong.

How would we check that premise? We'd have to find a mistake in the judgement of God, which Paul doesnt really allow from his theology. Whatever happens is "God's will".

Does that mean we can't change our destiny in terms of human knowledge? Of ocurse not. We do it all the time. Scientists do it, mathematicians do it, chemists do it, even legal systems do it, but not always with the best rresults.

Paul's logic not only leads to certain cpnclusions, but those conclusions are explicitly stated. If the natural mind is enmity against God, it logically follows that there is no defined algorithm or decision procedure by which we may get from "here' to "God" any momnree than we get from here to truth(Godel's theorem).

The problem with finding a "mistake" in the concept of God is exactly the same as finding a flaw in the comncpet of absolute truth. In order to do so, we would have to develop a system of thought equally as powerful as "God" or 'truth", and that seems to be a mathematical impossibility.

We are forced to ocnlcude from all evidence that if ther is a God who is consistent with truth, there simply exists no decision procedure by which we can define either one.

Ex-Android said...

Happily, James made some tech changes that have allowed me to respond in the forum.

While waiting I have decided to bail out of our fruitless discussion. It reminds me of one I had awhile back on another forum. I was dealing with a similar personality as you represent.

After I finished our discussion I recalled a bit of advice from our friend, Ayn Rand:

"When men claim to possess supernatural means of knowledge. no persuasion, communication or understanding are possible."

I have that piece of wisdom framed on my desk. Unfortunately, it was not in line of sight. It is now.

I know, you haven't claimed supernatural knowledge on this forum yet. But you do believe in the supernatural.

You wrote in your bio:

"I do believe we are born to become God."

That was my cue to blow the dust off my Rand quote.

Ralph said...

What you're saying, Ex-Android, is that you think men have no right to belief. Have you forgotten the remarkable speech of Howard Roarke on trial?

"That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about his beginning".

Have you seen me submit to any concept of man? have you ever seen, in any context, that I accept any collectivist concept of any humans?

"The thinkers, ythe artists, the scientists, the inventors--stood alone against the men of their time. Every grweat new thought was opposed. Every great new invention denounced.
"No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers. for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives".

I challenge both atheists and christians, Ex. I point out the logical fallacies and flawas of collectivism from BOTH sides. I walk a path that, to my knowledge, no one has walked before.

"The creator's concern is the conquest of nature. the parasite's concern is the conquest of men".

I say, I DEMAND, that every human has the ability to seek that which is higher than the collective concepts of men, that there does exist that which cannot be contained within ANY collective concepts of human thought, and you cannot respond because you cannot reduce me to the collectivism of tradition or any human limitation of thought. It is "fruitless" to you BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO ANSWER.

Questeruk said...

“How would we check that premise? We'd have to find a mistake in the judgement of God, which Paul doesn’t really allow from his theology. Whatever happens is "God's will".”

You seem to be making an assumption that if God is not all knowing, that maybe he makes mistakes.

That doesn’t follow. If God has given man free will, then does He know for sure what choices a person will make, in all circumstances?

Logically that would not be the case - by giving man free will God is allowing things to happen in ways which He doesn’t necessarily know the outcome.

But that is not a weakness – if it’s something that God is allowing, then it’s a strength of God, not a weakness.

For example, it seems that God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac was something that God was not absolutely sure how Abraham would react.

Having taken things to the last possible moment, God then says ‘Now I KNOW that you fear God….”.

This surely implies that God was not completely certain until that moment.

In fact maybe Abraham didn’t even know himself what he was going to do until that last moment, which could be why God allowed it to go so far.

Ralph said...

Questeruk, you are assuming exactly the oppositre of Paul. If you wish to make such assumptions, theywould still be assumption, since first, you have no evidence of God, and therefore no authority for your choices from that standpoint.

You are free to assume anything you want about God and deduce logical conclusions from whatevere premise, and you will see exactly what you see today: over 38,000 estimatede versions of christianity.

If you can define what God does or does not know, you're very good. Define it, and you will be world famous.

If God is not all knowing, how could he know whether he makes mistakes or not? He, like us, wopuld exist within a reality over which he could not exercise control and therefore his decisons would be subject to Godel's theorem, leading to an infinity of undecidable propositions.

All of your statemet can be artgued any number of ways, leading to an infinity of possible conclusions. Do you accept that paul knew what he was talking about? if not, why not? How about jesus? If not, why not?

We can split hairs for eternity and in accordance with Godel's theotrem, arrive at an infinity of undecidable propositions, none of which will ever be reconciled in absolute trutrh.

Therefore, we are left with only onbe possible truthful conclsuion: do not follow the conclusions of men, because none of them know any better than you do.

That is precisely what jesus said in matthew 24:23.