• William Lane Craig Misrepresents and Strawmans CA on His Podcast, Denying Science

    William Lane Craig and his obsequious co-host recently slammed Counter-Apologist and his criticisms of Craig’s use of time and the Kalam, in his recent podcast. Craig takes chap potshots at CA and is pretty disingenuous. I have red a transcript of CA’s upcoming reply, and he is spot on.

    Check this video out as it will give you some background.

    A further summation can be found here:

    Basically, Craig asserts the A-Theory of time, largely because it fits with his  understanding of God. But then he uses this A-Theory to defend his use of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which in turn is used to argue for God. So he assumes a theory which assumes God to argue for… God. Hence the accusations of circularity.

    But it is more critical than that since Craig also cherry picks his science. When it works for him, he lauds it (certain cosmological theories) and when it doesn’t, he claims that such theories presuppose naturalism, or that metaphysics is being unfairly trumped, or some such double standard nonsense.

    Much of the argument revolves around the highly spurious notion that you can have an absolute time frame and thus simultaneous causality. In other words, if causality requires time, then if time was not existent, how could you have causality? How could an a-temporal god create space-time?

    What is ironic is that in his rebuttal to CA in the podcast, he shows this dodgy methodology in abundance. The problem is that not many of his followers would spot it. He makes MASSIVE claims to have debunked arguments against the A-Theory of time and attack the B-Theory in his books, as a precursor to the rebuttal to CA. This gives the impression that Craig has all of the arguments nailed and up his sleeve before the rebuttal even begins. But the fact is, he doesn’t. He holds a hugely minority view within philosophy and even more so within the philosophy of science and time and within physics itself.

    But his devoted followers would be more inclined to think that Craig having AN answer equates to Craig having THE answers. I look forward to CA producing his transcript as a video and wholly endorse his claims therein.

    Category: ApologeticsFeaturedNaturalismPhilosophyPhilosophy of ReligionScienceScience and religiontime

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    • Craig has written a lot on God’s relationship to time. I have read most of these, and as a Christian found them interesting; as an atheist even more interesting. But interesting as a spectacle, maybe in the same way you might find the video of the fat kid rage-quitting his computer game interesting.

      • It’s a pretty dry and tough subject, but it has massive ramifications.

        • I love the subject–just Craig’s views are unorthodox both scientifically and theologically. In fact, I’m surprised there is not a greater uproar from the Christian community over Craig’s doctrine of God.

          • Sarah Palin

            His views are probably due to his desire on making sense of god acting in time as detailed by the bible.

        • Luke Breuer

          Would you spell out some of those “massive ramifications”? The Thinker dogged me for quite a while about how God could think outside of time, and I found it massively boring, while he found it massively important. There seems to be something I’m missing, here. Perhaps massively. :-p

          • Sarah Palin

            If the universe is best described by the eternalist view then god never created the universe ex nihilo. Such doctrines would be necessarily false. The universe would exist tense less and eternal, and the temporal argument would fail because it is based on a false theory of time.

            • Luke Breuer

              I’m not sure I buy this; is there a longer version of this argument somewhere?

            • Sarah Palin

              The temporal argument (also known as the Kalam Argument) hinges on dynamic time. If the eternalist is right, and time is best understood as to be tenseless then dynamic time is wrong, and all points in time are ontologically equal. Therefore, the premise “everything that begins to exist has a cause” is false. This is the significance of whether time is tensed or tenseless. Under eternalism nothing comes into and out of being, but exists in a 4 dimensional block of space and time. Thus, even if god existed he would be companied from eternity by an eternal universe. For people who believe that god created everything ex nihilo it would have to be the case that the universe was non-existent, and then by god’s fiat, it came into existence.

            • Luke Breuer

              It strikes me that the question is whether an observation A demands a reason or whether we can just say, “There is no reason!” For example, one response to “What is the purpose of life?” is “That’s a stupid question!” I kinda wonder if that’s what’s going on, here. Is the question is where you stop asking questions—before or after God enters the picture? And the only way to really test which is better seems to be which offers a greater efficacy of the will (ability to make things you want to happen, happen). All other arguments seem derivative or dogmatic. Or so goes my current thinking.

          • Free will
            KCA
            God
            God’s personhood

            • Luke Breuer

              How about human identity?

    • Void L. Walker

      Jonathan, in your experiences with people of faith, why do you think they often fudge data and misinterpret facts? Do you think it is deliberate, or subconscious?

      • Belief is ALL about psychology. The more I do this sort of stuff, the more it appears that faith is supervenient on psychology to an extreme point. The point being that of all the sciences, psychologists have the lowest belief levels (I think).

        • Void L. Walker

          I agree, my older brother was a psychology major and his faith began to dwindle from that point in time onward. Do you know of any good books that delve into cognitive biases?

          • Luke Breuer
            • Void Walker

              Luke. I was asking for books that discuss cognitive biases, in general. Not just wrt religion.

            • Luke Breuer

              Oh the irony, of asking specifically about “people of faith” in the root comment, and widening it here…

              What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite is a fun read, although he does a lot of spinning of stories from data which can be a bit… underdetermining of his stories. But it’s really fun to just look up the papers he cites—most of them are freely available if you look on scholar.google.com. You could also check out Predictably Irrational, which I have not read, and The Upside of Irrationality by the same author, which I have read.

            • Void Walker

              You really struggle to understand me, it seems.

              I began the topic discussing religion. It was broadened to include cognitive biases that religious people often harbor. I then went from cognitive biases that religions harbor to cognitive biases *in general*. Note my original question. I generalized cognitive biases. I did not ask Jonathan for info regarding *religiously motivated* cognitive biases.

            • Luke Breuer

              I’d wager that most people would see so much “faith” around that request for books that they’d think it is fairly reasonable to suspect what I did. But no matter, it’s more important to agree at the end than have been right every step of the way. The latter is madness and stunts truth-seeking.

            • Void Walker

              My apologies, then. I need to work on clarification. Actually, many people have pointed this out to me. Perhaps it is time I listened, and corrected myself adequately.

            • Luke Breuer

              Remember all those times you accused me of being vague? I don’t want to say that I was never being vague, but perhaps there’s a little log & speck going on?

            • Void Walker

              Perhaps, Luke. If that is indeed the case, my apologies.

          • Eagleman’s Incognito is such an easy and enjoyable read.
            Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow.

            • Void Walker

              Thanks, Jonathan. Btw, just discovered your youtube channel. I love it!

          • It’s the soft sciences that kill religion actually. Not the hard sciences.

            • Void Walker

              Care to elaborate a bit?

            • If you look at data regarding the rates of atheism among academics in the soft sciences like psychology and sociology, it is much higher than in academics who are physicists and chemists AKA the hard sciences.

            • Void Walker

              Ah, I see what you’re saying now.

              By the way, I was recently at your blog. You and I have a common partying addiction, it would seem.

      • Luke Breuer

        Do you have any empirical evidence that indicates that “people of faith […] fudge data and misinterpret facts” more than people who lack faith? One shred?

        • Void Walker

          “Jonathan, in your experiences with people of faith, why do you think they often fudge data and misinterpret facts? Do you think it is deliberate, or subconscious?”

          Where in my original quote did I make the assertion you are making? I said *often*. Lord, man.

          • Luke Breuer

            Well, you might be different from most, but most atheists and skeptics would be implicitly implying that they are better than said “people of faith”. Suppose you weren’t implying this. Then why would the answer to your question be different between this:

            Jonathan, in your experiences with people of faith, why do you think they often fudge data and misinterpret facts? Do you think it is deliberate, or subconscious?

            And this:

            Jonathan, in your experiences with people of faith, why do you think they often fudge data and misinterpret facts? Do you think it is deliberate, or subconscious?

            ?

            • Void Walker

              Luke, you’re removing crucial context from this. Also, you butted in :-p So I guess we’re both guilty of that.

              I was *not* generalizing Christians, at all. I was having a discussion with Jonathan, a fellow atheist, about his *personal* experiences with people of faith. All people fudge data and are often governed by cognitive biases. I framed my question in a religious manner because Jonathan and I both have similar feelings regarding religion.

            • Luke wants empirical data for everything….. except his god and all the religious claims that back it up.

            • Luke Breuer

              Yep, I want to see how it is done, so I can learn to do it. Sadly, you’re about the most horrible teacher possible. People who praise science and yet don’t seem to care a whit about it. Hey, that sounds like religion!

            • Dante

              True dat!

            • I want to see how it is done, so I can learn to do it.

              Yet you believe miracles on faith with out a shred of evidence. Double standard. Hypocrisy. Christianity.

            • Luke Breuer

              Misdirection. You have no intention of setting a good example. All you want to do is criticize and accuse—kind of like Satan:

              Satan (Hebrew: שָּׂטָן satan, “adversary,”[1])

            • No. What happens is that when you comment here and elsewhere, I can’t help but disagree with much of what you write. And so I make my opinion known, just as you do. Is there anything wrong with that?

            • Luke Breuer

              Keep telling yourself that story.

            • If setting a good example means not criticizing your ludicrous beliefs, then no I will not be setting any good examples. Sorry.

            • Luke Breuer

              LOL. No, I want you to tell me and show me the good example. If I were to tell you what it would be, then it’d be me projecting onto you. No, I want you to set an example for me. Can you do that? Or are you constitutionally unable?

            • Luke Breuer

              Also, you butted in :-p

              Sigh. You butted in and assumed that my description of someone else applied to you. That is why I pointed out that you butted in.

              All people fudge data and are often governed by cognitive biases.

              Sure. My question remains: do religious people, on average, go about their “cognitive biases” in any clinically discernible different way than non-religious people? See, for example, from Peter Berger’s A Far Glory:

              Another exaggeration may have been the conventional view of the reach of scientific rationality. One does not have to look at religion only in order to find this thought plausible. It is amazing what people educated to the highest levels of scientific rationality are prepared to believe by way of irrational prejudices; one only has to look at the political and social beliefs of the most educated classes of Western societies to gain an appreciation of this. Just one case: What Western intellectuals over the last decades have managed to believe about the character of Communist societies is alone sufficient to cast serious doubt on the proposition that rationality is enhanced as a result of scientifically sophisticated education or of living in a modern technological society. (30)

              Furthermore, in his Facing Up to Modernity, Berger has the essay, The Socialist Myth:

              Furthermore, the affinity between intellectuals and socialism is clearly more than a matter of rational arguments. It is suffused with values, with moral passion, in many cases with profoundly religious hope—in sum, with precisely those characteristics which permit speaking of a socialist myth (in a descriptive, nonpejorative sense). (58)

              So not only can atheists be moral, they can have complex systems of values and myths, just like religions! So when one tries to differentiate religion from something else, the question needs to be asked: are you really separating the world into natural kinds, or are you just making an ad hoc distinction for ideological purposes?

            • Void Walker

              “Sigh. You butted in and assumed that my description of someone else applied to you. That is why I pointed out that you butted in.”

              Wrong. Where did you even get this? I was actually defending Nerd in that context, not myself.

              I called you out on butting in because you do it, *a lot*. I’m not the only person here who has seen this. Pot calling the kettle black, anyone?

              “Sure. My question remains: do religious people, on average, go about their “cognitive biases” in any clinically discernible different way than non-religious people?”

              Honestly, I don’t think that they do. Maybe, maybe not. I haven’t done the necessary research regarding that.

              Also, I never claimed that religious people do this *more* than anyone else. Where are you getting all of this from? You’re coming off as incredibly presumptuous.

              “So when one tries to differentiatereligion from something else, the question needs to be asked: are you really separating the world into natural kinds, or are you just making an ad hoc distinction for ideological purposes?”

              If you honestly mean to tell me that you detect no demarcation between people who believe in magic, miracles, divine causation and people who are *naturalists*, I’m at a loss.

              To answer your question (which I believe I already have) I was A: Having a conversation with a fellow atheist, so the manner in which I address the religious is akin to how you address atheists on Randal’s blog, and B: To an extent, yes, I am separating here. For all our numerous commonalities, human beings do display great diversity. Cutting them off into groups is hardly criminal.

            • Luke Breuer

              I was actually defending Nerd in that context, not myself.

              Then I didn’t and still don’t buy it.

              Honestly, I don’t think that they do.

              Ok, but then your question to Jonathan is a useless narrowing of the scope from ‘all people’ → ‘religious people’. That was my criticism: there was the distinct danger that any answer Jonathan might give to your question which did not re-widen the scope would give the mistaken idea that his answer applies only to ‘religious people’, instead of to ‘all people’.

              Also, I never claimed that religious people do this *more* than anyone else. Where are you getting all of this from? You’re coming off as incredibly presumptuous.

              My apologies. Most atheists would mean precisely what I guessed, in my extensive experience talking to them on the internet. That you are different is a wonderful reprieve from the standard. I shall expect a higher standard from you from now on, which means I will use less of my “standard atheist” model to model you. That’s a compliment. :-p

              If you honestly mean to tell me that you detect no demarcation between people who believe in magic, miracles divine causation and *naturalists*, I’m at a loss.

              But it’s not “no demarcation” that you were getting at; you very precisely targeted “fudge data and misinterpret facts”. So what I want to know is whether ‘all people’ “fudge data and misinterpret facts” any less than ‘religious people’. Obviously ‘all people’ are different from ‘religious people’; that’s just a law of logic, unless we can establish that ‘religious’ = ‘all’, which is tendentious. But suppose we defined ‘religious’ as “believes in at least one god”—even though we know from Eastern Mysticism that this is a terrible definition. There still remains the question, “Of what consequence is the belief in at least one god, in a person’s thoughts and actions?” And you know what? Some people seem to behave no differently, except for the mere assertion that “at least one god exists”. And yet, we have people like John Loftus who want to say:

              Religious diversity stands in the way of achieving a moral and political global consensus. (The Outsider Test for Faith, 162)

              Hopefully you think that’s completely unevidenced. So once again, I may have to revise my model of you, Void. If so, my apologies and I will do precisely that.

            • Void Walker

              “Ok, but then your question to Jonathan is a useless narrowing of the scope from ‘all people’ → ‘religious people’.”

              That’s your interpretation, so you can stick with it. It was never my intention to say what you believe I did.

              “My apologies. Most atheists would mean precisely what I guessed, in my extensive experience talking to them on the internet.”

              Apology accepted. But I would challenge you to broaden your interactions with atheists a bit more. You seem to be generalizing based upon a small sampling of atheists. Also, body language says much. If you were to discuss these issues with those very same atheists *face to face*, your conclusions may change a bit. Body language, it turns out, conveys just as much if not *more* than speech. Care for a link?

              “But it’s not “no demarcation” that you were getting at; you very preciselytargeted “fudge data and misinterpret facts”.”

              A quick visit to ICR or AIG kinda shows that Christians do this, a *lot*. But, as I said, I never meant to say *or even insinuate) that Christians do this more than non Christians. I’ve known atheists who do it, Buddhists who do it, even Pantheists who do it.

              “Hopefully you think that’s completely unevidenced. So once again, I may have to revise my model of you, Void. If so, my apologies and I will do precisely that.”

              I hate Loftus. He banned me from DC for NO REASON, he’s as bigoted as many Christians I’ve known, and he’s a mean spirited prick who is self absorbed and cocky. So yes, you may revise away.

            • Luke Breuer

              You seem to be generalizing based upon a small sampling of atheists.

              Void, I’ve spent over 10,000 hours talking to atheists online and in person; I’ve probably talked to more than 1000 different atheists online, and at least 50 in very extensively, over 100s of forum posts. Maybe that’s “a small sampling”, but compared to what?

              If you were to discuss these issues with those very same atheists *face to face*, your conclusions may change a bit. Body language, it turns out, conveys just as much if not *more* than speech.

              Agreed. And you know what? I’ve gotten treated like shit a good proportion of those 10,000 hours. The funny thing is, extremely smart IRL atheists have told me that I’m one of the few Christians with whom they can have decent conversations about Christianity and religion. So I suspect that getting treated like shit isn’t actually saying much about me. So please be careful about lecturing me about body language and such.

              A quick visit to ICR or AIG kinda shows that Christians do this, a *lot*.

              I have no idea what this means, because ICR and AIG do not constitute a representative sampling of Christians. I can point out The God Delusion, God Is Not Great, Letter to a Christian Nation, A Manual for Creating Atheists, etc. But those don’t constitute a representative sampling of atheists.

              I hate Loftus. He banned me from DC for NO REASON

              Heh, I’m banned as well. But I don’t hate him. Hate of a person, instead of some of their beliefs, often indicates you don’t know the person very well.

            • Void Walker

              “Void, I’ve spent over 10,000 hours talking to atheists online and in person; I’ve probably talked to more than 1000 different atheists online, and at least 50 in very extensively, over 100s of forum posts. Maybe that’s “a small sampling”, but compared to what?”

              Not that I don’t believe you, but where do you get the 10,000 hour figure? Do you keep a stop watch handy or something?

              Compared to what, you ask? I don’t know, the millions of atheists in our nation alone?

              “Agreed. And you know what? I’ve gotten treated like shit a good proportion of those 10,000 hours.”

              I’m sorry that you have. Atheists like *that* give atheism a shit name.

              Apologies for what I said wrt body language. I was not trying to lecture you, just stating the obvious.

              “I have no idea what this means, because ICR and AIG do not constitute a representative sampling of Christians. I can point out The God Delusion, God Is Not Great, Letter to a Christian Nation, A Manual for Creating Atheists, etc. But those don’t constitute a representative sampling of atheists”

              ICR and AIG represent, in many ways, the nearly 50% of our nation who still believe that A: the earth is under 10,000 years old, and B: that human beings were created in their present form, and have not changed much. I was merely giving you an idea of how the majority of Christians in the states have the same basic mind set regarding origins.

              As an aside, I have read all the atheist books you listed. Guess what? I didn’t like any of em!

              “Heh, I’m banned as well. But I don’t hate him. Hate of a person, instead of some of their beliefs, often indicates you don’t know the person very well.”

              On the contrary. Familiarity can breed contempt. Do you mean to tell me that you’ve never hated a person after properly gleaning who they are?

            • Luke Breuer

              Not that I don’t believe you, but where do you get the 10,000 hour figure?

              I’ve been posting/commenting online for 15 years, probably averaging 2hrs/day if not more. That’s 10,950 hours.

              Compared to what, you ask? I don’t know, the millions of atheists in our nation alone?

              Ok? So you’ve basically given me an impossible task, unless perhaps I were a sociologist. I’m really not sure what your point with this was, Void. Perhaps you would prefer that instead of saying this:

              Most atheists would mean precisely what I guessed, in my extensive experience talking to them on the internet.

              I said this:

              Most atheists who like to interact on the internet places I have visited would mean precisely what I guessed, in my extensive experience talking to them on the internet.

              ? But how often do atheists properly describe their sampling when they talk about “Christians”? You are holding me to an awfully high standard, Void. Do you really want to be held to the same standard?

              ICR and AIG represent, in many ways, the nearly 50% of our nation who still believe that A: the earth is under 10,000 years old, and B: that human beings were created in their present form, and have not changed much.

              How do you know this? Above, you criticized me for talking about more atheists than you thought I was justified in talking about, and then you go on generalizing. So, why are you generalizing this way? What empirical data are you using?

              As an aside, I have read all the atheist books you listed. Guess what? I didn’t like any of em!

              Good. :-)

              Familiarity can breed contempt. Do you mean to tell me that you’ve never hated a person after properly gleaning who they are?

              I’ve hated people, but I strive to do it less and less and I am becoming increasingly successful at it—despite growing familiarity! You know what? Much of that hatred is due to projection—hating stuff that you yourself actually do. At least in my experience. Less self-hatred ⇒ less hatred of others. Much of this has to do with understanding weakness and that one cannot just lift oneself by one’s bootstraps and get over it. I am surprised at what you say, Void, after all that attitude-tempering you say that the LFW → DW caused in you. Did that switch only affect your intellect and not your emotions, or something?

            • Void Walker

              “I’ve been posting/commenting online for 15 years, probably averaging 2hrs/day if not more. That’s 10,950 hours.”

              Good lord, man….that’s a lot of time spent hunched over a computer!

              “Ok? So you’ve basically given me an impossible task, unless perhaps I were a sociologist. I’m really not sure what your point with this was, Void.”

              Illustrating just how many atheists there are, and how many of them could potentially be the polar opposite of what you’ve experienced. That’s why I declared sampling bias. I don’t expect you to grab a walking stick and start trekking for atheists. I was just trying to convey how very many there are, so that you could bear in mind how your model of atheism could/should change. I admit that my model of Christians needs to change too, in some ways.

              “But how often do atheists properly describe their sampling when they talk about “Christians”? You are holding me to an awfully high standard, Void. Do you really want to be held to the same standard?”

              This is a very good point, Luke, and one that atheist intellectuals *seriously* need to take into consideration before saying such hurtful, cruel things to Christians. I am revising my model of Christians, in general, after having so many exchanges with you.

              That’s a compliment, by the way :-p

              “How do you know this? Above, you criticized me for talking about more atheists than you thought I was justified in talking about, and then you go on generalizing. So, why are you generalizing this way? Whatempirical data are you using?”

              Everybody know what time it is? Link time!

              http://www.pewforum.org/2013/12/30/publics-views-on-human-evolution/ Holy FUCK I was off!

              Wow.

              Hmm.

              Okay, I must now (shivers) retra….ret-t-t-t….retract my previous statement wherein I cited a near-specific percentage of “close to 50%”. Oops.

              I. Was. Wrong.

            • Luke Breuer

              Good lord, man….that’s a lot of time spent hunched over a computer!

              I wanted to seek the truth. I stumble and I fall and I get insulted everytime I do by a class of people—as if it gives them pleasure to know that they are right where someone else is wrong—but I eventually get up and continue. Once in a while I find oases, like the vast majority of our conversations. :-) But I’m in this for the learning. That is why I work so hard on my posts, fill them with hyperlinks, and even attempt to make them beautiful when I can. I want to learn.

              Illustrating just how many atheists there are, and how many of them could potentially be the polar opposite of what you’ve experienced.

              I know there are nice atheists. I’m not going to wager on a proportion of nice vs. mean atheists, although I’ll bet you it’s pretty similar to nice vs. mean humans. And perhaps I spent time in the places where all the mean atheists hung out. It’s not like I’m doing much with my generalizations, Void. I want to be surprised in this aspect. I want to find out that there are fewer asshat atheists than I estimate. We’ll see if reality bears this out… or perhaps we won’t. Maybe only sociologists will know.

              That’s a compliment, by the way :-p

              Thank you!

              Everybody know what time it is? Link time!

              That link only matters a tiny bit. How many of those 33% fully or mostly agree with ICR and AIG? Also, this:

              LB: At least one author of The Fundamentals knew the difference between science and philosophy:

              The burden of Wright’s contribution to the seventh volume of The Fundamentals was to discriminate between evolution as a scientific theory of species transmutation and evolutionism as a metaphysical worldview. The word evolution, he noted, “has come into much deserved disrepute by the injection into it of erroneous and harmful theological and philosophical implications. The widely current doctrine of evolution which we are now compelled to combat is one which practically eliminates God from the whole creative process and relegates mankind to the tender mercies of a mechanical universe the wheels of whose machines are left to move on without any immediate Divine direction.” Clearly Wright’s dissatisfaction with evolutionary theory centered less on exegetical questions about the early Genesis narratives than on the materialistic reductionism that had shorn natural history of any teleological element. (Darwin’s Forgotten Defenders, 148)

              The Fundamentals were written 1910-1915, BTW.

            • Void Walker

              “That link only matters a tiny bit. How many of those 33% fully or mostly agree with ICR and AIG?”

              Good question. What I got from the poll article was that two commonalities (immediately apparent ones, at least) are in place: denial of evolution, and a literal interpretation of the creation narrative in Genesis.

              Actually, that brings me to another question: why do you think the numbers are so high? Granted, we in the U.S are not nearly as bad as, say, Turkey, but the percentage is still substantial. Your thoughts?

            • Luke Breuer

              Good question. What I got from the poll article was that two commonalities (immediately apparent ones, at least) are in place: denial of evolution, and a literal interpretation of the creation narrative in Genesis.

              Yep, and ICR and AIG pile up more details, more premises, on top of the ones you’ve identified. This leads me to suspect that not all creationists would agree with ICR and AIG. In fact, I don’t know how many would. How many even think about issues deeply enough to strongly agree or disagree with ICR or AIG?

              Actually, that brings me to another question: why do you think the numbers are so high? Granted, we in the U.S are not nearly as bad as, say, Turkey, but the percentage is still substantial. Your thoughts?

              I believe the reason is the conflation of the science of evolution with philosophies of evolution, a conflation identified in The Fundamentals, per my quotation. I have no problem with the science of evolution. I have major issues with pretty much every philosophy which has been attached to it like a barnacle.

            • Void Walker

              “How many even think about issues deeply enough to strongly agree or disagree with ICR or AIG?”

              Good point. ICR and AIG seem to make an attempt at appealing to the “ignorant masses” (I.E, the lions share of scientifically illiterate americans); perhaps many YEC’s actually disagree with them. Maybe I, too, am guilty of sampling bias here. More time and research is needed.

              “I believe the reason is the conflation of the science of evolution withphilosophies of evolution, a conflation identified in The Fundamentals,per my quotation. I have no problem with the science of evolution. I have major issues with pretty much every philosophy which has been attached to it like a barnacle.”

              I agree with you here. Evo psychology is, in my opinion, mostly bunk. Also, many people take what they learn/perceive from a certain scientific field and run with it to better support their preconceived notions.

            • Luke Breuer

              Social Darwinism is just the tip of the iceberg. Psychological egoism is another, one that Mike D is defending over on Randal Rauser’s blog. There are many. And quite a few atheists and skeptics I run across online seem to think they’re science and not philosophy. Dangerous stuff!

            • Void Walker

              Indeed! I believe we are in our scientific infancy, in many ways. So much more time is needed before we can make these claims with sufficient evidence to back them.

            • Luke Breuer

              You might like the preface of Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences; see the Google Books version, where you should be able to read it.

            • Void Walker

              Thanks :-)

            • Void Walker

              See the difference with me? My god I need medication. I wish I was like this all the time.

            • Void Walker

              I’ve been enjoying Randal’s blog, btw. He’s a breath of fresh air….just like you. Fun times.

            • Luke Breuer

              He’s restricting his blog time (including comments) to 1hr/day during Lent, BTW.

            • Void Walker

              Thanks for the heads up…um….why is he doing this, exactly?

            • Luke Breuer

              Lent.

            • Void Walker

              Um…okay. Interesting.

            • Void Walker

              Ah, yes Mr. Breuer. Let us discuss prayer.

              We never have, after all.

              How would prayer not be a violation of free will? After all, many, *many* people pray for a direct intervention in the course of their lives.

              Your thoughts?

            • Luke Breuer

              I would use “A New Theory of Free Will” and the Peer-to-Peer Simulation Hypothesis to respond to your question. Care to tell me what you think of that article, first?

            • Void Walker

              I liked the article, if only for it’s sheer entertainment value. Very interesting theory.

              So…do you subscribe to this simulation theory? If not, do you feel it has merit?

              Ultimately, how would such a theory relate to prayer? You always speak of God not wanting to violate our free will, but prayer (most of the time) is an *appeal* to God to do just that. Prayer for the well being of a loved one, getting that super awesome job, overcoming disease, etc.

              Your thoughts?

            • Luke Breuer

              So…do you subscribe to this simulation theory? If not, do you feel it has merit?

              It think it well-matches the idea that every person has an inner world, and we all have a single outer world. People have all sorts of desires in their inner world; only some of them make it into the outer world.

              Ultimately, how would such a theory relate to prayer? You always speak of God not wanting to violate our free will, but prayer (most of the time) is an *appeal* to God to do just that.

              How is asking God for stuff different from asking other first-cause agents for stuff? And often, I think it should be asking for wisdom and virtue (like patience), not ‘stuff’. Prayer is just a way of interacting with God. So where’s the violation of free will you seem to think exists?

              Oh, the theory relates in that reality is sort of the most consistent form of everyone’s desires getting maximally satisfied, but in a way that is consistent with all other desires trying to be expressed. This is stated vaguely on purpose; I haven’t teased out the details. Anyhow, it strikes me that the theory could help understand how prayer isn’t a violation of free will. But perhaps not.

            • Void Walker

              “How is asking God for stuff different from asking other first-cause agents for stuff? And often, I think it should be asking for wisdom andvirtue (like patience), not ‘stuff’. Prayer is just a way of interacting with God. So where’s the violation of free will you seem to think exists?”

              So you’ve never known Christians who pray for intervention? I.E, ridding a loved one of sickness, giving a favorite sports team the winning edge, praying for fair weather, etc. Actually, the majority of prayers generally fall in line with intervention of some type. How is that *not* a violation of free will? Another common prayer (one that I dabbled in when I was a believer): asking God to change someones mind about you, or the way that they view the world. Praying for an atheist, for instance. You mean to tell me that none of these prayers would impose on our free will?

            • Andy_Schueler

              So you’ve never known Christians who pray for intervention?

              If one were to take the concept of prayer seriously, then there is one and only one meaningful prayer – “thy will be done”, and even that would merely be stating the obvious.

              http://youtu.be/6RT6rL2UroE?t=6m5s

            • Void Walker

              Good point, Andy. And yet there are so many Christians who pray for direct intervention. One classic example: “Dear God, please KILL my enemies.” Even today, this type of prayer is surprisingly common.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Yup, I had the “pleasure” of having a brief chat with one such specimen who prays for the death of Barack Obama. If he had an imaginary friend called Peter and asked Peter to murder someone, he would be institutionalized, but as long as his imaginary friend is called Yahweh, this behaviour is clearly sane.

            • Void Walker

              Exactly. What a crock of shit.

              If I began “praying” to a 4 headed demon lord that my enemies shall know death and suffering, I’d be locked up.

            • Luke Breuer

              When you say “intervention”, do you mean it in a sense where I couldn’t make an “intervention” request of my wife?

            • intercessory prayer is the most incoherent idea this side of… square circles?

            • Void Walker

              It just makes zero sense to me.

              One minute Christians champion the value of free will, and assert that God intervening in, say, the garden of eden, would be a direct violation of it. The very next, we get “God, please change my bosses mind. I need this job.” Sigh.

            • Luke Breuer

              Dude, it really seems like you’re not working very hard to make sense of these things. “It appears contradictory, thus it must be!” Or, “Some Christians do it, therefore ___!”

            • Void Walker

              What gives you the impression that I’m not working very hard? I believe I’ve laid out my case here.

            • Luke Breuer

              Lack of you admitting that not all prayers have the problem you point out. What I’d like from you is something like:

                   (A) these kinds of prayers break LFW
                   (B) these kinds of prayers do not

              And then we can start categorizing. And I can make a case that the stuff in (A) might be bad prayers, prayers against Jesus’ character and nature.

            • Void Walker

              I’ve already done this!

              Asking for God to intervene in someones thought processes (please change my girlfriends mind), asking God to change the weather, asking God to “harden” or “soften” someones heart.

              Appeals for intervention. I’ve already made my case here.

            • Luke Breuer

              What prayers of Jesus’ were (A)?

            • Void Walker

              We aren’t talking about Jesus, man. We’re talking about common folk who cannot spawn an all you can eat bread and fish buffet.

            • Luke Breuer

              Is any kind of prayer for anything acceptable to God? Do you believe this? You seem to be very close to that. What if a wide swath of prayers were against the spirit of Jesus?

            • Void Walker

              Luke, all that I’ve been saying here is that a prayer for intervention (be it good or bad) is a violation of free will, *if* it is answered. That’s it.

            • Luke Breuer

              Yeah we’re just having at terrible time communicating, here. I’m not sure that any LFW-violating prayers are actually good prayers. That is, prayers that God would (i) desire us to make; (ii) answer. Love does not compel, 1 Cor 13:5. Or perhaps more carefully, love only compels death and bringers of death—like demons and sickness.

            • Void Walker

              Oh…I see what you’re saying now.

              But still, what if God has answered interventional prayers? Would you agree that this would violate LFW?

            • Luke Breuer

              You’ve pretty much defined “intervention” to be LFW-violating, so your claim is analytically true.

            • Void Walker

              How would you define intervention in this context, then?

            • Luke Breuer

              No, no, that’s a word for you define; you’re the one pushing this conversation forward. :-p

            • Void Walker

              My sarcasm detector just buzzed 3 times in a row…

            • Luke Breuer

              I’m serious. I want you to make a case for a kind of prayer advocated in the Bible which violates LFW. And if you’re gonna pick OT, I’ll ask you to explain whether or not the NT rectifies that conception of God. Just like in science where we’re going ‘wrong’ → ‘less wrong’, I think in theology we’re doing the same.

              Make a fuller argument than you have before Void, tying together all that has been said on the matter so far. If you don’t want to do this, I’m afraid I don’t have patience to attack this issue bit by bit.

            • Void Walker

              The OT has plenty of examples of people praying for the death of their enemies, as an example. I’m sure you’re aware of this. As for how the NT rectifies this, I honestly do not know A: if it does, B: how it does, assuming the answer to A is “yes”.

              But really, I never mentioned the bible at all. I was talking about common prayers in *todays* day and age. Whether or not the Christians praying for these things subscribe to a literal interpretation of the OT or not was never my point, at all.

              What I’ve tried to convey here is that God intervening in the minds/hearts/actions of people is necessarily a violation of FW. Do you agree with this assertion?

            • Luke Breuer

              Let’s discuss this some other time, in a more comprehensive way. Perhaps I will bring it up when I start a blog.

            • Void Walker

              Are my answers not satisfactory, or do you wish to have more room/time for discussing them?

            • Luke Breuer

              It seems like it will take a lot of effort to spell out my position on the matter. I must establish (a) a “moral trajectory” in the Bible; (b) the idea of continuing research into who God is; (c) an analysis of Jesus’ prayers; (d) a brief overview of prayers after Jesus, in the NT and outside. You won’t seem to be happy with anything less than that level of work. That’s a lot of work! Perhaps you think that the answer should be simple, but I question whether you have some bad presumptions/premises. I’m not happy with my current strategy of rooting them out.

            • Void Walker

              Hey, take your time. I can wait. That you actually give a fuck about answering questions says much :-)

            • Void Walker

              I actually dislike short answers to complex questions, btw. So the more long and complex, the better.

              “but I question whether you have some bad presumptions/premises.”

              And why is that?

            • Luke Breuer

              And why is that?

              You seemed dead set on there being a form of prayer commanded/exemplified in the Bible which would violate LFW. Furthermore, it seems you believed it would stay in violation of free will despite any possibly legit interpretation of the Bible. It seemed like you had decided this, up-front. Maybe I was wrong, but my description here well-models my perception of our discussion on this matter. You were making no attempts, from what I could see, to try and see the “right” forms of prayer as not violating LFW. This irked me. I didn’t expect you to totally solve the problem yourself—otherwise you wouldn’t have asked in the first place. But you didn’t seem to want to help work toward a solution; you just wanted to poke at weak spots and argue about what was wrong. This is a very tedious way to build up arguments.

            • Void Walker

              You’re partially right, but not fully.

              “Furthermore, it seems you believed it would stay in violation of free will despite any possibly legit interpretation of the Bible.”

              I have to ask you, what is a legit interpretation of the bible? Everyone claims to have this, but not everyone can be right.

              “You were making no attempts, from what I could see, to try and see the “right” forms of prayer as not violating LFW.”

              I never said there weren’t “right” forms of prayer. I said that appealing to divine intervention through prayer is logically contradictory and at odds with LFW.

              I’m honestly curious about what you see as “right” forms of prayer. Can you give me an example?

              “But you didn’t seem to want to help work toward a solution; you just wanted to poke at weak spots and argue about what was wrong. This is a very tedious way to build up arguments.”

              You’re the one who is tasked with finding a solution to my contention, Luke. I’m really not sure why you’re framing things like this.

            • Luke Breuer

              I’ve bookmarked this thread and will pick up prayer at a later time.

              You’re the one who is tasked with finding a solution to my contention, Luke. I’m really not sure why you’re framing things like this.

              There is a difference between going about this process antagonistically and cooperatively. The former is a very tiring process.

            • Void Walker

              It was never my intention to antagonize you. Ever. I can see why you would think that, though. I am honestly just curious about your position on prayer. I meant no ill will.

            • Luke Breuer

              I’m sorry, in this case I meant a more technical version of “antagonize”. There are two ways you can evaluate an idea/claim:

                   (1) how is it wrong/in error?
                   (2) how is it right, and how might I “fix” it?

              To do (1), all you need is logic. To do (2), on the other hand, you have to do real, creative work. You’ve got to solve problems. All too often, when I am talking to atheists and skeptics about stuff in the Bible, they only ever do (1). Can you see how it might get old for me to have to do all the (2)-work?

            • Void Walker

              Then next time we discuss this, I’ll adjust my method a bit. Sound fair?

            • Luke Breuer

              I predict it might be even more enjoyable than our most enjoyable interactions so far. It is much easier to destroy than to create. But creating is by far the most fulfilling activity.

            • Void Walker

              I concur. But sometimes destroying can be pretty damn fun. That is, in an unrelated context.

              I like breaking things.

            • Luke Breuer

              Don’t get me wrong; much of my life I have operated in the environment where people would pretty much only attempt to destroy me—or my ideas. “That’s wrong, and here’s why.” And after a while, that ends up being, “You’re built wrong.” After all, we are at least some of the ideas/thoughts/feelings/whatever which we utter to others. Now, I can still operate in that environment, but it requires a lot of emotional resources, resources I’d rather spend in other ways. It’s much nicer when the other person prunes branches, but also fertilizes.

            • Void Walker

              The both of us have come face to face with forces that would seek to destroy us. In the end, we have both survived. I’d say we’re much stronger for that, as well. (although in my case, a little screwy)

            • Luke Breuer

              Yep. Remember that creation is harder, but more valuable, than destruction. When you destroy, you threaten to become like that which tried to destroy you. Sometimes getting the rot out is required, but it’s easy to do *more* than that.

            • Luke Breuer

              Just FYI, I do find this topic fascinating. I just feel like I’m doing a disproportionate amount of the work, and do not wish to spend my time that way, right now. I’d rather read the book I’m reading, or truly feel like I’m on a team, solving or researching a problem, not defending a position.

            • Void Walker

              Then we can kill the tangent, Luke. No worries.

            • Andy_Schueler

              One experiment that works with >90% of christians in my experience:
              1. Ask how it was possible that Adam & Eve sinned if Gods creation was allegedly “perfect” – the answer virtually always is “because God wants us to freely love him which is why he gave us free will”.
              2. Ask whether there will be sin in heaven – the answer will be “no”.
              3. Ask whether people in heaven will have free will – the answer will be “yes”.
              4. Point out the obvious contradiction and enjoy the ensuing rationalizations.

            • Void Walker

              You and Luke are so close right now. You know you want to ;-)

            • Andy_Schueler

              No, not even if you´d pay me for it ;-)

            • Void Walker

              Damn. I loved watching you two go back and forth. Honestly, Andy, you’re one of the most intelligent atheists I’ve ever encountered online. You should totally start a blog.

            • No he shouldn’t. It would take up far too much of his time, which is better spent here…

              ;)

            • In all honesty, it IS one of the most time consuming things you can imagine, which is why I can only reply to a small portion of what os posted here

            • Void Walker

              I can only imagine…between your teaching career and this blog you must be busty as hell.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Thanks! I´d love to start blogging, but it is such a huge time commitment… I wrote a few guest posts for Jonathan a while ago but I didn´t even find time for that recently, I guess it´s either commenting or blogging for me – If I´d do both I´d have to quit my job ;-).

            • Void Walker

              I meant to ask you, what does your work entail? Do you spend much time in a lab? I’ve never actually spoken with an evolutionary biologist, so I’m curious.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I don´t spend any time in the lab at all ;-). What I do is mostly comparative genomics stuff – using computers to study the evolution of DNA sequences. So most of my work is programming + data analysis and the rest is reading / writing / teaching.

            • Void Walker

              Oh, awesome. I have to be a nerd and ask you a question.

              How many mutations arise in the human genome from one generation to the next?

            • Andy_Schueler

              Short answer: Roughly a hundred.
              Slightly longer answer:
              Your (haploid) genome contains ~3,200,000,000 bases, your cells can replicate this with an error rate of 1 in 10,000,000,000 – so you (statistically) introduce ~0.3 new mutations every time your genome is replicated. To produce sperm and egg cells, roughly 430 cell divisions are needed (400 for sperm, 30 for eggs). 430 * 0.3 = 129.

            • Void Walker

              Wow, that’s more than I’d thought. I’m sure you’ve heard of Lenski’s experiment? In my mind, that is one of the most powerful evidences for evolution that we have. Really compelling stuff.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Wow, that’s more than I’d thought.

              It might be a little lower, the figure I just gave you is based on the chemistry of DNA replication as we understand it but we can´t completely rule out that there are additional factors involved. There is some experimental evidence that the actual human mutation rate might be as low as 50-60 per generation but this is controversial.
              But yes, it´s actually quite a lot in any case.

              I’m sure you’ve heard of Lenski’s experiment? In my mind, that is one of the most powerful evidences for evolution that we have.

              Yup. But even if we did not have all this “modern” stuff (everything that came after the molecular biology revolution), we could still prove common descent beyond any reasonable doubt. It was possible to reasonably doubt the reality of evolution in Darwin´s time, but by the time Ernst Mayr wrote his seminal “Systematics and the Origin of Species” (1942), there was no doubt left and the reality of evolution was undeniable.

            • Void Walker

              Dawkin’s Greatest Show on Earth showed just how many different lines of evidence we have for evolution. Great book.

              I honestly don’t understand how anyone can deny evolution. I know *why* they do, but how…that’s another story.

              Your thoughts?

            • Andy_Schueler

              I think that people who are genuinely convinced that evolution is false fall into two categories:

              1. People who understand what evolution means and understand at least some of the arguments and evidence for evolution, and who are convinced that evolution is false simply because they trust their interpretation of the Bible more.
              2. People who are convinced that evolution is false because they do not understand what evolution means and only know the creationist caricatures of it.

              One example for the first category is Todd Wood (a very smart Biologist who also happens to be a young earth creationist), who wrote this:

              I hope this doesn’t turn into a rant, but it might. You have been warned.
              Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has notfailed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It isnot just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There isno conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been nofailure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

              I say these things not because I’m crazy or because I’ve “converted” to evolution. I say these things because they are true. I’m motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure. People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)

              Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn’t make it ultimately true, and it doesn’t mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God’s creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don’t be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don’t idolize your own ability to reason. Faith is enough. If God said it, that should settle it. Maybe that’s not enough for your scoffing professor or your non-Christian friends, but it should be enough for you.

              Source

            • Void Walker

              I’m in agreement with you, nice link by the way.

              I must concede that, when I was an evolution denier, I fell into 2.

            • Void Walker

              Hey Andy, have you ever encountered RonH over at Rausers blog?

            • Andy_Schueler

              The name rings a bell, I think I had a brief exchange with him a few weeks ago. Why?

            • Void Walker

              http://randalrauser.com/2014/04/reciprocal-altruism-an-adequate-basis-for-moral-action/#comment-1338719391 We’re having an exchange. An…interesting one. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see it. I wonder: do you think I’m providing an adequate defense? Or is it lacking? Your insight would mean a lot to me.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I think your defense is completely adequate. RonH´s position seems to boil down to saying that your moral views are purely a matter of personal preference unless you make “metaphysical assumptions”, but if anything, it is those metaphysical assumptions that are a matter of preference and assuming that some moral view is objectively true doesn´t make it so and is in no way, shape or form “binding” for anyone else.
              Morality clearly has a biological basis – if you remove biological traits like our ability to experience pain and pleasure, or the ability to empathize with the experiences of your fellow humans, then morality has no basis. A moral proposition like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is literally meaningless to a sociopath but makes intuitive sense to everyone else.
              Now, people like RonH can make their “metaphysical assumptions” all day long, it won´t change anything about the facts that a) there is a biological basis to morality that is objectively real and b) moral propositions are incomprehensible and meaningless to humans that lack this biological basis.

            • Void Walker

              Brilliant. Thanks for taking the time, Andy :)

            • Andy_Schueler

              And regarding his claim that you need to make a metaphysical assumption to claim that human life is valuable – you clearly do not, the instinct of self-preservation + the sense of empathy necessarily results in the view that human life is valuable, this view is simply part of what it means to be human, no matter what your metaphysical views are.

            • Void Walker

              I’m so tempted to quote you when he responds to me. Actually, I’d rather watch you shred him into bits…

            • Andy_Schueler

              You are doing a fine job ;-).
              I´d recommend challenging him with pointing out that sociopaths and psychopaths objectively do exist – your view of what the basis of morality is makes perfect sense of this, a theistic view that claims that a moral sense is “god-given” does not, and can only be made compatible with the reality of sociopaths and psychopaths by inventing some ad hoc hypotheses.
              Now that I think about it, I have really never seen a good defense of any christian apologist when it comes to this issue…
              Given theism, it clearly would not be necessary that your moral instincts are a) material and b) fragile – a developmental defect or simply a frickin blow to your head that causes a frontal lobe injury can destroy your moral instincts. That, to me, looks like a huge problem for theism – why is the basis of morality located in this fragile squishy mess of neurons in your head instead of being located in the alleged immaterial and indestructible “soul”? ;-)

            • Luke Breuer

              About instead of being snarky, you respond to this comment, about whether “personal identity” gets added to your list? I’m getting very interested in personal identity stuff, especially after MacIntyre’s After Virtue, and some of the consequences of ¬LFW. You’ve mentioned not buying into the “continuous I”, which also piqued my interest.

            • Prayer:

              Given
              1) omniscience
              2) divine foreknowledge
              3) God’s moral perfection meaning he must do what is morally perfect etc

              Then asking God to change the state of affairs (given he will know what you will ask anyway) is bizarre at best.

            • Void Walker

              “Then asking God to change the state of affairs (given he will know what you will ask anyway) is bizarre at best.”

              That’s a great point, Jonathan.

            • @LukeBreuer:disqus – I was being far from snarky. I actually think intercessory prayer is the most bizarre idea in Christianity.

            • Andy_Schueler

              I actually think intercessory prayer is the most bizarre idea in Christianity.

              Really? I´d say that if we ranked christian ideas by “weirdness”, the trinity would be the clear winner, followed by the atonement and then intercessory prayer ;-)

            • Ha! So true! Dang. How would I rank them?

            • Luke Breuer

              Perhaps this reveals a bad model of 1) and/or 2).

            • Sure. But then you have to concede that many claims in the Bible are demonstrably false. And that means you have no way of knowing whether others are. Then the house of cards collapses.

            • Luke Breuer

              I don’t expect their conception of God to be perfect, and neither do I expect mine to be perfect. So your criticism is pretty weak as-is.

            • Eh?

              Classic theism denotes certain conceptions of God a la Ontological Argument, most of which is ‘evidenced’ in the Bible.

              Intercessory prayer would run against all of this.

              And then you accuse me of not having a perfect conception of God (odd, considering this is exactly what the OA sets out) and having a weak criticism!?

            • Luke Breuer

              I’m only interested in the God of the philosophers to the extent it well-meshes with the Bible. And I don’t expect the Bible to be the last word. I expect research on what God is like to proceed forward just like research in science.

            • That’s odd. To hold to Christianity and yet let it go whenever it doesn’t work means you are left with something that looks nothing like Christianity.

              Why not juts go with the philosopher’s god?

              What happens is you keep everything which is not destroyed by logic and philosophy; but then you cannot know that the stuff which remains is true, too? Just because it isn’t so logically incoherent as the stuff you are willing to drop, doesn’t mean it is any less untrue.

              You apply a hermeneutic approach, it should be consistent.

            • Luke Breuer

              Who says I’m letting go of Christianity? That’s quite the gloss, Jonathan.

            • What do you want me to answer that I didn’t do there?

            • Luke Breuer

              Sigh.

              LB: Would you spell out some of those “massive ramifications”? The Thinker dogged me for quite a while about how God could think outside of time, and I found it massively boring, while he found it massively important. There seems to be something I’m missing, here. Perhaps massively. :-p

              JP: Free will
              KCA
              God
              God’s personhood

              LB: How about human identity?

              ← your answer would go here

            • Sorry, but the comment you actually linked linked to a different question which I did answer.

              Human identity. Well, first, I need to know what you mean by that, If personhood, then without time, as in an eternal god, then you cannot have it.

              Dennett and WC have argued about this over the 6 things associated with personhood and I don’t buy Craig’s claims. I am with Dennett on this one.

              I think it is in The Blackwell Guide to Natural Theology.

            • Luke Breuer

              Have you fleshed out your ideas of personhood/identity/whatever, anywhere?

            • Good question. It’s always been on my to do list.

              Thing is, under nominalism, there is no such thing as an objective thing as personhood. It is itself an idea, a concept, conceiver by a person!

              But we could agree on certain properties, none of which I think make ay sense without at least some notion of time, whether A, B or whatever.

            • Luke Breuer

              Have you, perchance, read “Ideas Have Consequences”?

            • No. As much as I would like to, it would be years before I could get round to it. I have a list presently some 20 books long and little likelihood of denting it in the near future

              Dang.

            • Void Walker

              Kinda, yeah. Do you honestly think that His intervening would not violate free will? If not, then why?

            • Luke Breuer

              Honestly Void, it seems like you’re not really trying to participate in this conversation right now. I can ask my wife for things. Why can’t I ask for God for things in the same way? Where’s the violation of free will?

            • Void Walker

              Seriously, dude? I’m talking about direct intervention in the course of a persons life time. I’m talking about asking God to change someones mind, alter the weather, etc.

            • Luke Breuer

              Has it crossed your mind that not all prayers are good prayers?

            • Void Walker

              Meaning what, exactly?

            • Luke Breuer

              “God, kill my father for me please.”

            • Void Walker

              You sick bastard! He’s your father!

            • Void Walker

              If you can grant that Yahweh *could* intervene, and *has* done so when someone prayed, why could He have not done something akin to this in the Garden? So what, he only intervenes when we clasp our hands and whisper to ourselves?

            • Luke Breuer

              Yeah this conversation isn’t going anywhere.

            • Void Walker

              Hmm.

            • Void Walker

              Btw if you have any topic you’d like to discuss, let me know. I’m actually really enjoying our exchanges :) Especially when I’m not a drunk ass.

            • Luke Breuer

              I’m pretty busy, so I generally react instead of pro-act. At some point I’ll get a blog up and running with an awesome comment system that promotes truth-seeking a lot more than any current blog seems to.

            • Void Walker

              Do this, please. I’d be a regular commenter on said blog :)

            • Well I think the long lasting relationship between people of religious faith and young earth creationism is a good indicator that the faithful fudge data and misinterpret the facts. It has only been recently, after decades and decades of struggle, that many Christians in the West have finally embraced the truth of evolution. But still the YECs are at it again, trying to make their untenable case for a 6,000 year old universe. I don’t think there is any comparison on that scale to what atheists have done in fudging or misinterpreting data. If you think there is one Luke, I’d love to hear it.

            • Luke Breuer

              I don’t think there is any comparison on that scale to what atheists have done in fudging or misinterpreting data.

              Ahahahaha, my response to Void works to you, as well. Let’s compare thinking that USSR-style or China-style Communism was a good thing, to advocating YEC. Yeah, no comparison whatsoever. And yes, many of the people Peter Berger was describing were atheists. From Facing Up to Modernity:

              By contrast, there is a burgeoning “new class” of intellectuals deeply antagonistic to virtually all the old norms of respectability. It is consumption-oriented rather than production-oriebted. Its values got private life are ever more radically liberationist. It is pervasively secularized, often evincing a violent antipathy to all the traditional forms of Christian and Jewish religiosity. (66)

            • Let’s compare thinking that USSR-style or China-style Communism was a good thing, to advocating YEC.

              Why should I assume this? I don’t advocate that Stalinism was a good thing and never have, so your whole response void. I am merely talking about fudging data and misinterpreting facts, which you and I both agree creationists do to a fairly high degree, heck, many even make a living out of it. And since you also agree that a very large percentage of Christians have the wrong interpretation of the Bible, then that would further drive my point. Theists fudge data and misinterpret facts by a larger degree than atheists. That certainly seems to be the case.

            • Luke Breuer

              (1) TT: I don’t think there is any comparison on that scale to what atheists have done in fudging or misinterpreting data.

                                          ↓                                ↓

              (2) LB: Let’s compare thinking that USSR-style or China-style Communism was a good thing, to advocating YEC.

                                          ↓                                ↓

              (3) TT: I don’t advocate that Stalinism was a good thing and never have, so your whole response void.

              How exactly did you get from from (1) → (3)? I note:

                   (a) ‘atheists’ → ‘I’
                   (b) ‘have done’ → ‘[currently] advocate’
                   (c) ‘USSR-style or China-style Communism’ → ‘Stalinism’

              What the crap? Talk about an epic goalpost switch.

              I am merely talking about fudging data and misinterpreting facts

              Yes, and I cited a sociologist who noted “fudging data and misinterpreting facts” (FDMF) among many largely atheist intellectuals in the 20th century, in America and I think elsewhere as well. It was their FDMF that let them advocate ‘USSR-style or China-style Communism’ even after the death tolls and atrocities were well-known. Do you have any idea what the consequences of this version of FDMF were, compared to the consequences of YECs engaging in FDMF?

            • I’m not considering a death toll as my sole metric. Any FDMF is counted regardless of what the consequences are. You’re just obsessed with communism and are falsely conflating it with atheism. If that is so then I can conflate theism with radical Islamic terrorism and we’ll call it a night.

            • Luke Breuer

              LOL. Then “what atheists have done” is a meaningless term, and I can do the following transformation:

              (1) TT: I don’t think there is any comparison on that scale to what atheists have done in fudging or misinterpreting data.

                                          ↓                                ↓

              (2′) I don’t think there is any comparison on that scale to what glavcorbish have done in fudging or misinterpreting data.

            • Luke you really ought to hear yourself. I’m arguing that theists fudge data and misinterpret facts more than atheists. And you bring up Stalinism. Ok Stalin fudged data and facts. So did Mao. And your point is to say atheists did this more, when theists have 5000 years of getting things wrong, including the millions of deaths resulting from it. Certainly today its theists who are the primary culprit FDMF.

            • Luke Breuer

              Evidence, please. Surely some historian has published peer-review work which supports your claims, here? Otherwise, what you’re spouting is mythology, otherwise known as ‘dogma’.

            • Well by that logic, anything that isn’t peer reviewed is mythology. So you’ve just admitted your religion and Bible is mythology.

            • Luke Breuer

              You made an extremely bold claim. You don’t recognize it as such?

            • You make dozens of bold claims that lack peer review. Why the double standard?

            • Luke Breuer

              Because I’m not yet perfect and need the help of others to become less screwed up. You’ve admitted that you aren’t the person to help with this. I have no idea why you keep responding to me. Is it because you want to continually reassert that you’re better than me? This is my best model of you.

            • Well you comment the shit out of many of the same blogs that I like, so I keep running into you. Now I’m fine with your input, and sometimes it does lead to interesting dialogue but when you spew non-sense and try to pass it off as if it is logically sound, I have to object. Sorry.

            • Luke Breuer

              Note the edit of my comment, whereby I switched (2) to (3) and put in (2) LB.

            • Dante

              Young earth creationism was a pretty recent invention from Gish and some other fundmentalists in the modern area. Lots of Christians have accepted an old earth or never said anything about the age of the earth.

            • For the past 2 thousand years many Christians have believed in a young earth. The modern phenomenon of YEC is a recent wave that started in part, as a backlash against evolution and geology. But even if you’re right, my point still stands. It in no ways is dependent on YEC being believed for 2000 years or 200 years.

    • Luke Breuer

      Two fun articles on this are B-theory of time and Eternalism (philosophy of time), especially the discussion between Karl Popper and Albert Einstein, with Popper calling Einstein “Parmenides”.

      Jonathan, I believe I asked you before but I don’t recall an answer; do you have thoughts on the growing block universe?

      I currently have DH Mellor’s 2006 Real Time II checked out from the library, but I haven’t gotten into it yet. I think it’s pretty awesome that Heraclitus and Parmenides were hashing this stuff out over 2500 years ago. I wonder if there are any works on how differences between A- and B-theories of time affect common conceptions of reality and interpretation of life? That is, how does this stuff matter to the common person? :-)

      P.S. Evan Fales discusses the matter in his 2010 Divine Intervention: Metaphysical and Epistemological Puzzles, but I kinda glossed over the time section, finding it hard to process. Perhaps I need more A- and B-theory education, first. Alas, I had to return the book to the library and it’s $100.

      • Ypou bastard! I really want that Mellor book! Been trying to find it on the internet. Google books has some of it… It’s the section on simultaneous causation that interests me.

      • In answer to your question, I generally favour expert consensus in areas of which I am not an expert, so the block universe rather than the growing block universe. But I am not wedded to it. The BU makes the most sense of things to me.

      • Hey Luke, I wanted to apologize for never finishing (or bowing out of) our other conversation. I had to cut it off due to life/work getting more than a bit hectic.

        One thing to consider, that I think gets lost in all this, is that everyone breaks this into A-Theory vs. B-Theory as though that were the dichotomy. Other theories of time which entail the falsity of A-Theory such as time being based on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics or time being an emergent phenomenon from quantum entanglement would work just as well to undermine the Kalam.

        I really want to get a full copy of Mellor’s work to go through it in detail, but he was instrumental in refuting one of Craig’s main arguments on time (ie. that tensed facts can only be explained by appealing to a tensed nature of reality).

        If you’re looking for good books on the topic, I’d actually recommend Sean Carroll’s book on time (http://www.amazon.com/From-Eternity-Here-Ultimate-Theory/dp/0452296544 ). I’m going through it currently and it’s fantastic.

        Your comment on how this affects “real people” day to day is a good one. The short of it is that even on the B-Theory, things work out just fine from our experience. Our consciousness, whatever it is, moves through some kind of 4D Space-time. There are a number of ways we can slice up the B-Theory itself, the problem for Craig is that all of them (like any other theory of time besides the A-Theory) undermine the Kalam.

        As a theist, I think you might be interested in this point however. What I find most interesting is that on the B-Theory you don’t even really rule out creation ex-nihilo. What you rule out however is any imperative to argue that there must have been a creation ex-nihilo. There’s nothing problematic about a god existing eternally, where “time” is merely a change in some kind of mental state of god (even if it were just counting down), and then creating a 4D Spacetime (or whatever have you) that is self contained. This is problematic for Craig because his arguments against an infinitude of the past of normal time would work against this scenario, and there’s no way to block any question of “but why couldn’t nature just exist that way eternally?”.

        However the B-Theory is still a live option for theists and creation ex-nihilo, I think, you just have to be willing to give up the cosmological argument to get there.

        • Luke Breuer

          Hey Luke, I wanted to apologize for never finishing (or bowing out of) our other conversation. I had to cut it off due to life/work getting more than a bit hectic.

          No worries; you’ve demonstrated that you don’t just drop out of a conversation because the other person made a good point and you don’t have a good response. Too many discussions online do end that way, which is really frustrating. Talking to you, in contrast, made my day better. It’s like you actually want to figure out what is true, instead of just reinforce the idea that you’re right!

          One thing to consider, that I think gets lost in all this, is that everyone breaks this into A-Theory vs. B-Theory as though that were the dichotomy.

          Oh, I know that is the case; there is also a C-Theory. I know very little about the philosophy of time; I got Real Time II because Fales referenced it in Divine Intervention. I’ve been slowly moving in the direction of being interested in philosophy of time. I’m sure there’s a pun I could have made.

          If you’re looking for good books on the topic, I’d actually recommend Sean Carroll’s book on time (http://www.amazon.com/From-Eternity-Here-Ultimate-Theory/dp/0452296544 ). I’m going through it currently and it’s fantastic.

          Cool! The SF public library had over 6 copies, so it’ll be coming shortly. I watched a recent Veritas Forum debate with Sean Carroll and Hans Halvorson; it was great. The Carroll-WLC debate was meh—Carroll was fine, but WLC was pretty terrible. It’s hard to shine when your opponent doesn’t help you.

          As a theist, I think you might be interested in this point however. What I find most interesting is that on the B-Theory you don’t even really rule out creation ex-nihilo. What you rule out however is any imperative to argue that there must have been a creation ex-nihilo. There’s nothing problematic about a god existing eternally, where “time” is merely a change in some kind of mental state of god (even if it were just counting down), and then creating a 4D Spacetime (or whatever have you) that is self contained. This is problematic for Craig because his arguments against an infinitude of the past of normal time would work against this scenario, and there’s no way to block any question of “but why couldn’t nature just exist that way eternally?”.

          Yeah, I’ve never found Kalaam very convincing. On the other hand, I get pissed when WLC is misrepresented. I do not wish to be in the presence of WLC-bashing; I am happy to be in the presence of WLC-criticizing.

          A month or so ago, I read/skimmed an essay by William James on time and consciousness, but I forget where and how I got there. It was kind of trippy, but also cool. It stirred some thoughts in me along the lines of what you’ve said, above. Who’s the best theist you know of who has talked about consequences of ¬A-Theory?

          I’ve asked others and nobody seems to do much with it; do you know anything about the growing block universe idea?

          • Dante

            @LukeBreuer:disqus
            There’s a book called “god and time: 4 views”
            where theistic philosphers discuss gods relationship to time. Some of them argue based on B-theory

            • Luke Breuer

              Thanks! I’ve requested it from my library. :-)

    • Sarah Palin

      Pearce which theory of time do you adhere to? I tend to think that the tenseless theory of time best explains modern physics, but I know that there are even some atheists who believe in the A theory of time (i.e. Quentin Smith) so how is it for you?
      P.S. Why do most Christian philosophers find the B theory of time so abhorrent?

      • kraut2

        Is there any theory where there is just the present and the past, the future is just a human concept of expectation? The direction of time only extends backwards; photons are distributed in space away from an object and can never be accessed for information.

        • Sarah Palin

          Trolls get dumber every day…

          • kraut2

            I will refrain from further participation.

            • Sarah Palin

              Crap! Sorry, I sent the wrong message to you (it was suppose to go to a guy named Gus)
              :(
              Yes, its called the growing block theory of time.
              In it, the past and present are real, but not the future.

            • kraut2

              Thanks and apology accepted – I had run ins with Gus.

              The growing block theory makes most sense to me as the assumption of a future being real means that all events already have happened and our consciousness just moves along a time line.
              It would also mean? that there was no creation of anything, that the universe just came into existence as finished product, past present and future already established.

              A past and future infinite god could not create a past finite but likely future infinite universe – if I understand you correctly.
              But the question also is – how can any being – supernatural or not – that lives without time create anything? Timeless = space-less and any action happens in a time/space continuum, inseparable.
              This timeless god can only exist as a point beyond Planck time and dimension – similar to the state the Universe was supposed to be in before inflation, leading to the conclusion that the universe and a supposed god co evolved.

            • Sarah Palin

              Yeah, god creating time from a state in which nothing other than himself existed is so strange that I don’t know how anyone could answer that.
              I hope Pearce can answer this be/c it seems like this should be impossible.

            • Dante

              @kraut2:disqus
              This view falls prey to McTaggart’s paradox.

      • Dante

        Have you done a survey? I know there are theists like Leftow who advocate B-theory

    • Sarah Palin

      hello pearce, if indeterminacy is true, would that make the first premise false?
      Also, if Craig believes in LFW, then does that not mean that such contra-causal free will demands that premise 1 be false?
      I read Ray Bradley’s thoughts on the kalam just recently, but he did not write to much on it and so I gather that LFW would contradict the first premise. Thanks if you respond, I cant wait for your book
      :D

      • Dante

        @disqus_2O6vSA2dW4:disqus @Sarah Palin
        Craig is saying that things (ie substances with properties) cannot come into being without a cause. LFW/indeterminacy say certain events (eg radioactive decay/choosing to post comment) can happen without causes , but not that things come into being from nothing.

    • Dante

      “Hugely minority” I don’t think so
      According to a philpapers survey
      http://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl

      There seems to be no consensus and most either accept a hybrid theory of time or don’t know which is true

      “Basically, Craig asserts the A-Theory of time, largely because it fits with his understanding of God. But then he uses this A-Theory to defend his use of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which in turn is used to argue for God. So he assumes a theory which assumes God to argue for… God. Hence the accusations of circularity.”
      In his books he also gives a number of independent non-theological reasons to reject the tenseless view of time and adopt the tensed view

      But it is more critical than that since Craig also cherry picks his science. When it works for him, he lauds it (certain cosmological theories) and when it doesn’t, he claims that such theories presuppose naturalism, or that metaphysics is being unfairly trumped, or some such double standard nonsense.
      Craig has never said anything about scientific theories. He’s talking about the nature of time , which is a topic of metaphysics

      Much of the argument revolves around the highly spurious notion that you can have an absolute time frame and
      I don’t think so. We can just use cosmic time as our time frame.
      thus simultaneous causality.
      This does not rely on what time frame.

      In other words, if causality requires time, then if time was not existent, how could you have causality?
      Why wouldn’t we?
      How could an a-temporal god create space-time?
      By choosing to do so.

      What is ironic is that in his rebuttal to CA in the podcast, he shows this dodgy methodology in abundance. The problem is that not many of his followers would spot it. He makes MASSIVE claims to have debunked arguments against the A-Theory of time and attack the B-Theory in his books, as a precursor to the rebuttal to CA. This gives the impression that Craig has all of the arguments nailed and up his sleeve before the rebuttal even begins.
      Yes. He’s written a 2 volume piece on all the pro and con arguments where he addresses the.

      But the fact is, he doesn’t. He holds a hugely minority view within philosophy and even more so within the philosophy of science and time and within physics itself.
      No as I pointed above , it is not.

      But his devoted followers would be more inclined to think that Craig having AN answer equates to Craig having THE answers. I look forward to CA producing his transcript as a video and wholly endorse his claims therein.

      No I evaluate the answers and conclude Craig has produced better arguments.

      • I’ve been too busy to comment here after reading the post, despite my gratitude to Jon for making this post.

        But your comment gets things so wrong I feel compelled to write up a quick reply:

        There seems to be no consensus and most either accept a hybrid theory of time or don’t know which is true

        I’m sorry, 15% of the field of philosophers is a pretty small minority. I suspect it would be immensely smaller if we were able to survey physicists.

        However the important point, which I intend to bring up in my reply to Craig is that it doesn’t at all matter if you hold to the B-Theory, all we need is for the A-Theory to be false. Other emergent theories of time work just as well for undermining the basis for the Kalam.

        In his books he also gives a number of independent non-theological
        reasons to reject the tenseless view of time and adopt the tensed view

        First, his arguments are terrible, and have been addressed by those who follow him. I’ll also refer you to the Philpapers survey, taken in 2009 (well after Craig’s books) and you can sort by philosophers specializing in Metaphysics and you’ll see the B-Theory has significantly more acceptance there. That should show you how “conclusive” Craig’s work in the field has been.

        Second, his arguments get trumped by the fact, I believe, because in order to hold them he must engage in the same kind of science denial engaged in by the Young Earth Creationists he condemns: he must deny the Lorentz Invariance of space and time outside of his supposed undetectable privileged frame.

        Craig has never said anything about scientific theories. He’s talking about the nature of time , which is a topic of metaphysics

        This is demonstrably false, the main part of my criticism is where Craig works so diligently to avoid having his pet theory of time disproved by Science is where he absolutely endorses wildly more complicated interpretations of Special Relativity.

        I don’t think so. We can just use cosmic time as our time frame.

        Wrong. Craig requires the A-Theory of time for the Kalam and he admits as much. The A-Theory of time which does require the privliged reference frame.

        This does not rely on what time frame.

        It would only be simultaneous with respect to that reference frame, and the “cosmic time” isn’t based on a physical place, it’s derived from the Hubble constant. All this does is simply move the question back as to what “t=0 with respect to cosmic time” actually means, which puts us right back on the question the nature of time, which brings up Craig’s necessity to posit the existence of the privliged reference frame in the first place.

        Why wouldn’t we?

        Because our experience of causality requires time. Otherwise even if god was timeless before creation, the universe would exist as long as god does. But this leads to the next issue when you ask:

        By choosing to do so.

        By introducing the word “choose” into the concept of a supposedly timeless god, you’re necessarily introducing a temporal framework. This introduces a new kind of “metaphysical time” which then becomes just as susceptible to all of Craig’s arguments against an infinitude of the past, not to mention how one can have a “metaphysical time” without a “metaphysical space” and what that could even possibly mean. That’s borderline incoherent.

        Yes. He’s written a 2 volume piece on all the pro and con arguments where he addresses the.

        Correction, he’s written a 2 volume piece that has been amply addressed by philosophers on time, and it most certainly couldn’t have been very influential based on how few philosophers (especially ones who specialize in Metaphysics or philosophy of science) accept the A-Theory.

        No I evaluate the answers and conclude Craig has produced better arguments.

        He can produce arguments that only work if he assumes the one thing he needs, and also assumes it is empirically undetectable in principle, because otherwise he finds himself in a very uncomfortable reality that would disprove his theories. Much like Young Earth Creationists.

        • Dante

          A-Theory to be false. Other emergent theories of time work just as well for undermining the basis for the Kalam.

          No . They key premise of Kalam is “begins to exist”. Any theory which affirms temporal becoming fits the Kalam fine.
          And the flip side is you’re going to have to show all interpretations of special relativity besides the your one are false as well , to show A-theory is false.

          Do you concede your charge of circularity is false? many atheists such as Quentin Smith accept the A-theory based on similar arguments to those Craig presents. if one can have independent motivation to accept teh premis it can’t be circular.

          And your claim that he’s a “science denier” is a bald faced lie. He just disagreees with a certain physical interpretation of special relativity.

          Stephen Hawking is an antirealist about interpretations of scientific theories. Is he a science denier as well? Sean Carroll disagrees with the physical Copenhagen interpretation of QM and argues for the many worlds interpretation of QM. Is he a science denier as well?

          Because our experience of causality requires time.

          No it doesn’t. Why can’t a timeless entity cause another timeless entity

          By introducing the word “choose” into the concept of a supposedly timeless god, you’re necessarily introducing a temporal framework.

          Why can’t he choose to become temporal at the moment of creation?

          This introduces a new kind of “metaphysical time” which then becomes just as susceptible to all of Craig’s arguments against an infinitude of the past, not to mention how one can have a “metaphysical time” without a “metaphysical space”

          1) Do you accept these arguments?

          2)Why can’t metaphysical time be undiffrentiated and different from physical time

          3) I still don’t see how time without space is incoherent. Could you demonstrate this?

          And your argument from consensus is unconvincing , especially when the majority of philosophers choose ‘other’. You should try to refute Craig’s arguments .

          • You seem to have ignored much of what CA said. The point wasn’t an argumentum ad populum, but, as CA said, the huge minority (15%) is that – especially given that the other theories are irrelevant. You don’t seem to have got that. It is about whether A is false, not about the other theories.

            • Dante

              1) There is no consensus in favor of B theory either
              2) WLC showed that many B-theorists were operating off of flawed methodological principles , so we have reason to doubt their conclusions.

              The debate isn’t necessarily about A-theory. It is about whether things “begin to exist” ie whether temporal becoming is real. Any view of time that affirms temporal becoming is compatible with Kalam. CA tried to appeal to B-theory to escape the first premise of Kalam because in B-theory things don’t begin to exist.

            • Dante

              Have you read Craig’s latest defense of Kalam in the Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. I think he’s addressed every objection you bring up in there.
              (btw did you ever get that paper published?)

            • You can see it in a few libraries in Wales!

              It’s almost 3 times the length of most journal articles. I was considering shortening it to submit but I might as well expand it for a book.

              I was annoyed at his derisory piece in Come Let Us Reason. I do have the Blackwell -do you mean a latest edition?

            • Dante

              I meant Blackwell.
              Doesn’t he deal with your mereological nihislism bit in the “objections so bad ..” article?
              And I think you misstate your objection. Craig is a nominalist too. It has nothing to do with nominalism , but mereological nihilism.
              He deals with a similar objection given by Morriston to material causation too and the Grunbaum objections as well.
              IDK, when I read the piece it just seemed to be reiterating objections Craig had already addressed.

            • Craig is nominalist when it suits him for certain things. He is not A nominalist. Eg maths vs morality

              He deals VER?y badly with it, pulling out the whole Jurassic thing. Eek.

              Morriston and Grunbaum are right, and I don’t think Craig deals with them in any satisfactory way. AN answer ain’t THE answer.

            • Dante

              nominalism is just your position with respect to abstract objects. Nothing really to do with morality unless you think morality is an abstract object.

              I think Craigs criticisms were really good. The point of the jurassic thing was that a thing is not identical to the fundamental particles that make it up. I exist . The particles that make me up may have existed during the Jurassic Era , but I did not exist back then. Seems sound to me.

            • What else is morality if not an abstract applied to an action? It’ about as abstract as you can get.

              Think of a moral action. Now shave 2 seconds off it. Does it still have that moral value? Keep doing that with different times, and you have the same abstract labelling issue as with any abstract label application.

              Morality is the quintessential abstract!

              As for the I, it makes HUGE assumptions such that the continuous I exists or is even coherent. (I don’t, it isn’t).

            • Dante

              Are you saying you don’t exist?

            • I am saying that , strictly speaking, whatever “I” am is different to the I of 20 minutes ago, 2 days, 10 years, 30 years etc.

              Now, this is pretty similar to other time orientated Sorites Paradox style issues of demarcation (think the Species Problem).

              What connects the “I”s is memory and genetics, memory being notoriously unreliable.

              I have had several relatives who have had dementia and strokes etc and been hospitlised/cared for for decades.. They have no memory and utterly different personalities and no recollection of the people they knew. They are clearly not the same people, demonstrably.

              Ship of Theseus etc.

              Now our laws and pragmatic lives simply cannot have this state of affairs. It is much easier, pragmatically and in simple unerstanding, to live under the idea that we are all “I”s. I live by that day to day, like I live by having free will.

              Both are illusions as so described.

            • Things like contracts would be impossible. There is a GREAT thought experiment in Baggini’s “The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten which shows this.

            • Dante

              Huh? I didn’t ignore anything in his comments

          • You might want to read my criticism of Craig’s “refutation” of the B-theory of time here: A Short Look At William Lane Craig’s “Refutations” Of The B-Theory Of Time

    • Inquirer
    • Inquirer

      I have read some comments on how indeterminacy affects the 1 first premise.
      John since this your blog what do you thin of the a-causal objections of the Kalam argument?
      Also how can libertarian free will be true if premise 1 is an ontic truth?

    • Inquirer
    • Nontheist

      “This is Cambridge” was gold
      :D