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ShrimpMaster
07-31-2015, 09:09 AM
Hello all,

The time of the champions of atheism is slowly passing away. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Samuel Harris, Laurence Krauss, etc, etc... These names are the popularizers of atheism for the previous 10+ years. A common theme among these individuals is an objection of this sort; I may not know whether Christianity (or another religion) is true, but I do know that it is irrational, or stupid, or silly, or just plain 'wrong-headed' to believe. This was put forth best by Freud and Marx. Freud would equate Christian belief as "wishful thinking" and Marx thought Christianity was a result of the deprivations of Capitalism. Is there any weight in this type of argument? Some see it as a more modest claim, because it does not deal with the de facto (truth) objections regarding Christianity, but it is a de jure objection to Christian belief. My question and the question Alvin Plantinga raises in his book Warranted Christian Belief (2000) is whether this type of objection holds water.

Here are some notes before you start pounding on your keyboard: 1) A majority of my reference material will come from Alvin Plantinga's book Warranted Christian Belief (2000) 2) I would say Alvin Plantinga is the leading epistemologist that is alive today among secular and non-secular epistemologists. I would just ask to have some respect as you critique his thoughts or at least my representation of his thoughts. 3) I am most interested in Christianity, so any remarks regarding other religions I probably won't respond to unless relevant to the discussion

Onto the good stuff. My claim (and the claim of Alvin Plantinga's book) is that there is no de jure objection to Christianity a part from a de facto objection. That is to say that you cannot say Christianity is stupid, or silly, or irrational to believe, without also objecting to the truth of Christianity. No longer can an educated individual say they do not know whether Christianity is true, but they do know it is irrational, without also objecting to the truth of Christianity.

How do we arrive at this conclusion? Well, Alvin Plantinga puts forth a model through which humanity can come to have knowledge regarding Christianity that defeats defeaters (yes I meant that twice) put forth by modern atheism (a defeater-defeater). Take the following example, an individual living under the Atheist/Communist party of China or North Korea that does not have Christian material available to him. If he is a Christian, but has no material to support his conclusion (like the Kalam Cosmological Argument, or Teleological Argument, etc...) is he rationally obliged to forgo his belief in Christianity because he cannot rebut his opponents view? The model provided by Plantinga supports such a case.

Plantinga calls it the Aquinas/Calvin model (A/C model). Aquinas and Calvin both made reference to a sensus divinitatus in their work or a 'sense of the divine'. This is a sense much like the way in which your nose can tell the difference between food and vomit. How exactly does it function? Imagine you are walking through the woods and come upon a beautiful vista of the Cascade Mountains. The sensus divinitatus would then occasion the belief that God made these mountains. Clarification: this is not an inference from another belief like, the mountains are super beautiful, therefore, God exists. The sensus divinitatus specifically occasions the belief "these mountains were made by God". Why is this significant? In short, this provides a furnishing for the proper basicality of the belief in God. In the school of thought called classical foundationalism there is a set of beliefs considered 'properly basic'. This would include beliefs like 'the external world exists', 'my friend has a mind and is not a robot', 'I ate a pancake for breakfast', etc... Why is this important? Because beliefs concerning the past or the external world are axiomatic. In Plantinga's reformed epistemology he goes to include the belief in God as a properly basic belief.

Skip some details regarding the book...

Alright, so how do we get from the belief in God as properly basic to full-blooded Christian belief? We have the instigation of the Holy Spirit. In Plantinga's book the Holy Spirit provides the knowledge concerning Christian belief (i.e. Jesus is divine, Jesus died for my sins, Jesus is the second member of the Trinity, etc..). How does the Holy Spirit do this? Through faith. According to Plantinga the Holy Spirit provides the faith by which a believer comes to not only have the appropriate knowledge concerning Christianity, but they also (and importantly) obtain the appropriate affections toward God (i.e. God loves me, God cares for my life, God desires to know me, etc...). [Off topic remark: faith has actually always been considered a type of knowledge throughout the ages. It is only recently that it has taken on the poor rhetoric of modern atheism by reference of "blind faith", "leap of faith", etc...]

We now have the material to answer our first question. On Plantinga's model there is no de jure objection a part from a de facto objection regarding Christianity because the Holy Spirit furnishes the believer with the faith (or knowledge) to defeat the defeaters of the objectors. Thanks for your time and I look forward to your questions.

shunyadragon
07-31-2015, 09:45 AM
How do we arrive at this conclusion? Well, Alvin Plantinga puts forth a model through which humanity can come to have knowledge regarding Christianity that defeats defeaters (yes I meant that twice) put forth by modern atheism (a defeater-defeater). Take the following example, an individual living under the Atheist/Communist party of China or North Korea that does not have Christian material available to him. If he is a Christian, but has no material to support his conclusion (like the Kalam Cosmological Argument, or Teleological Argument, etc...) is he rationally obliged to forgo his belief in Christianity because he cannot rebut his opponents view? The model provided by Plantinga supports such a case.

Plantinga calls it the Aquinas/Calvin model (A/C model). Aquinas and Calvin both made reference to a sensus divinitatus in their work or a 'sense of the divine'. This is a sense much like the way in which your nose can tell the difference between food and vomit. How exactly does it function? Imagine you are walking through the woods and come upon a beautiful vista of the Cascade Mountains. The sensus divinitatus would then occasion the belief that God made these mountains. Clarification: this is not an inference from another belief like, the mountains are super beautiful, therefore, God exists. The sensus divinitatus specifically occasions the belief "these mountains were made by God". Why is this significant? In short, this provides a furnishing for the proper basicality of the belief in God. In the school of thought called classical foundationalism there is a set of beliefs considered 'properly basic'. This would include beliefs like 'the external world exists', 'my friend has a mind and is not a robot', 'I ate a pancake for breakfast', etc... Why is this important? Because beliefs concerning the past or the external world are axiomatic. In Plantinga's reformed epistemology he goes to include the belief in God as a properly basic belief.

Skip some details regarding the book...

Alright, so how do we get from the belief in God as properly basic to full-blooded Christian belief? We have the instigation of the Holy Spirit. In Plantinga's book the Holy Spirit provides the knowledge concerning Christian belief (i.e. Jesus is divine, Jesus died for my sins, Jesus is the second member of the Trinity, etc..). How does the Holy Spirit do this? Through faith. According to Plantinga the Holy Spirit provides the faith by which a believer comes to not only have the appropriate knowledge concerning Christianity, but they also (and importantly) obtain the appropriate affections toward God (i.e. God loves me, God cares for my life, God desires to know me, etc...). [Off topic remark: faith has actually always been considered a type of knowledge throughout the ages. It is only recently that it has taken on the poor rhetoric of modern atheism by reference of "blind faith", "leap of faith", etc...]

We now have the material to answer our first question. On Plantinga's model there is no de jure objection a part from a de facto objection regarding Christianity because the Holy Spirit furnishes the believer with the faith (or knowledge) to defeat the defeaters of the objectors. Thanks for your time and I look forward to your questions.

I will comment further, but for now I do not believe that Plantinga's arguments defeat any other belief system particularly atheism. Virtually any one of the many varied religions may be argued that they are properly basic.

Most atheist today believe there is no reason to believe in God, and no evidence for God other than anecdotal claims of belief. They are right, and Plantinga's argument do not counter these arguments.

seer
07-31-2015, 10:22 AM
Hello all

Welcome ShrimpMaster...

seer
07-31-2015, 10:29 AM
I will comment further, but for now I do not believe that Plantinga's arguments defeat any other belief system particularly atheism. Virtually any one of the many varied religions may be argued that they are properly basic.

Most atheist today believe there is no reason to believe in God, and no evidence for God other than anecdotal claims of belief. They are right, and Plantinga's argument do not counter these arguments.

I don't think you understand what Plantinga is saying at all. He is not claiming that his argument defeats atheism or other beliefs.

shunyadragon
07-31-2015, 12:26 PM
I don't think you understand what Plantinga is saying at all. He is not claiming that his argument defeats atheism or other beliefs.

Then why bother. Is all he doing is making believers comfortable with their Christian belief because it is 'properly basic.'

seer
07-31-2015, 12:41 PM
The why bother. Is all he doing is making believers comfortable with their Christian belief because it is 'properly basic.'

Really? That is that what you got out of it?

shunyadragon
07-31-2015, 12:44 PM
Really? That is that what you got out of it?

You said . . . "He is not claiming that his argument defeats atheism or other beliefs."

What is he claiming in your view?

shunyadragon
07-31-2015, 12:52 PM
Plantinga did argue . . .



In Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism, he argues that the truth of evolution is an epistemic defeater for naturalism (i.e. if evolution is true, it undermines naturalism). His basic argument is that if evolution and naturalism are both true, human cognitive faculties evolved to produce beliefs that have survival value (maximizing one's success at the four F's: "feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing"), not necessarily to produce beliefs that are true. Thus, since human cognitive faculties are tuned to survival rather than truth in the naturalism-evolution model, there is reason to doubt the veracity of the products of those same faculties, including naturalism and evolution themselves. On the other hand, if God created man "in his image" by way of an evolutionary process (or any other means), then Plantinga argues our faculties would probably be reliable.

The argument does not assume any necessary correlation (or uncorrelation) between true beliefs and survival. Making the contrary assumption—that there is in fact a relatively strong correlation between truth and survival—if human belief-forming apparatus evolved giving a survival advantage, then it ought to yield truth since true beliefs confer a survival advantage. Plantinga counters that, while there may be overlap between true beliefs and beliefs that contribute to survival, the two kinds of beliefs are not the same, and he gives the following example with a man named Paul:

“ Perhaps Paul very much likes the idea of being eaten, but when he sees a tiger, always runs off looking for a better prospect, because he thinks it unlikely the tiger he sees will eat him. This will get his body parts in the right place so far as survival is concerned, without involving much by way of true belief... Or perhaps he thinks the tiger is a large, friendly, cuddly pussycat and wants to pet it; but he also believes that the best way to pet it is to run away from it... Clearly there are any number of belief-desire systems that equally fit a given bit of behavior.

I really do not believe Plantinga's arguments are effective nor useful for anything.

seer
07-31-2015, 01:19 PM
What is he claiming in your view?

That it not irrational to take belief in God as properly basic. So when atheists dismiss theism as an irrational or stupid they are not on solid logical ground. Hence the theist need not be intimidated by that groundless objection, and is well with in his rational rights.

Jichard
07-31-2015, 02:06 PM
Hello all,

The time of the champions of atheism is slowly passing away. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Samuel Harris, Laurence Krauss, etc, etc... These names are the popularizers of atheism for the previous 10+ years. A common theme among these individuals is an objection of this sort; I may not know whether Christianity (or another religion) is true, but I do know that it is irrational, or stupid, or silly, or just plain 'wrong-headed' to believe.

Are you sure that this is the type of objection they offer? Because I think you might be strawmanning them. After all, one doesn't need to be completely sure that a religion is false in order to know it's false, anymore than I need to be 100% certain that the Earth is round to know that the Earth is round. Knowledge doesn't require epistemic certainty. I bring this up because I think you might be confusing some atheists saying that they are not 100% sure whether Christianity (or another religion) is false with those atheists saying that they do not know whether Christianity (or another religion) is false. And that might explain why you attributed the above claims to them.


This was put forth best by Freud and Marx. Freud would equate Christian belief as "wishful thinking" and Marx thought Christianity was a result of the deprivations of Capitalism. Is there any weight in this type of argument? Some see it as a more modest claim, because it does not deal with the de facto (truth) objections regarding Christianity, but it is a de jure objection to Christian belief. My question and the question Alvin Plantinga raises in his book Warranted Christian Belief (2000) is whether this type of objection holds water.

Here are some notes before you start pounding on your keyboard: 1) A majority of my reference material will come from Alvin Plantinga's book Warranted Christian Belief (2000)

Which I own and am familiar with.


2) I would say Alvin Plantinga is the leading epistemologist that is alive today among secular and non-secular epistemologists. I would just ask to have some respect as you critique his thoughts or at least my representation of his thoughts.

Plantinga is one of my favorite philosophers and is a large figure in the field. However, I disagree with the claim that he "is the leading epistemologist that is alive today among secular and non-secular epistemologists". He's retired, after all. And in any event, people like Alvin Goldman, Laurence Bonjour, and Ernest Sosa are arguably bigger.


Onto the good stuff. My claim (and the claim of Alvin Plantinga's book) is that there is no de jure objection to Christianity a part from a de facto objection. That is to say that you cannot say Christianity is stupid, or silly, or irrational to believe, without also objecting to the truth of Christianity. No longer can an educated individual say they do not know whether Christianity is true, but they do know it is irrational, without also objecting to the truth of Christianity.

How do we arrive at this conclusion? Well, Alvin Plantinga puts forth a model through which humanity can come to have knowledge regarding Christianity that defeats defeaters (yes I meant that twice) put forth by modern atheism (a defeater-defeater). Take the following example, an individual living under the Atheist/Communist party of China or North Korea that does not have Christian material available to him. If he is a Christian, but has no material to support his conclusion (like the Kalam Cosmological Argument, or Teleological Argument, etc...) is he rationally obliged to forgo his belief in Christianity because he cannot rebut his opponents view? The model provided by Plantinga supports such a case.

Plantinga calls it the Aquinas/Calvin model (A/C model). Aquinas and Calvin both made reference to a sensus divinitatus in their work or a 'sense of the divine'. This is a sense much like the way in which your nose can tell the difference between food and vomit. How exactly does it function? Imagine you are walking through the woods and come upon a beautiful vista of the Cascade Mountains. The sensus divinitatus would then occasion the belief that God made these mountains. Clarification: this is not an inference from another belief like, the mountains are super beautiful, therefore, God exists. The sensus divinitatus specifically occasions the belief "these mountains were made by God". Why is this significant? In short, this provides a furnishing for the proper basicality of the belief in God. In the school of thought called classical foundationalism there is a set of beliefs considered 'properly basic'. This would include beliefs like 'the external world exists', 'my friend has a mind and is not a robot', 'I ate a pancake for breakfast', etc... Why is this important? Because beliefs concerning the past or the external world are axiomatic. In Plantinga's reformed epistemology he goes to include the belief in God as a properly basic belief.

I'm familiar with Plantinga's reasoning here. It doesn't work for a number of reasons. Here are a few:



First, one can offer a more plausible criterion of "proper basicality", on which belief that God exists would not be properly basic. And one can do that without resorting to classical foundantialism. One could, for example, do so while advocating foundherentism or modest foundatioalism. Tyler Wunder defends such a criterion in the form of universal sanction.

Second, the Great Pumpkin objection nammers Plantinga's position, and leads him to resort to a form of epistemic relativism that makes no sense. Really, using Plantinga's methodology, you could argue that any number of absurd beliefs count as properly basic.

Third, even if a belief is properly basic, that does not necessarily imply that one is rational in holding that belief. For example, one may be aware of large amounts of evidence that weigh against the belief and one might choose to evade addressing that countervailing evidence. Or one may inetionally avoid trying to see if belief in God best explains other information in the world. To put the point another way: one's belief that God exists may be irrational, if one fails to display various epistemic virtuessuch as avoiding wishful thinking, giving due consideration to available evidence, etc. epistemic virtues and being rational].

Fourth, one can offer a naturalistic account of a properly functionaing cognitive system, and then present evidence that theistic belief isn't really the output of such a properly functioning system. Instead, it results from dysfunction in the system. This undermines Plantinga's argument, since Plantinga's argument depends theistic belief being the output of a properly functioning cognitive system. So how might one go about developing this objection? Well, "function" is already naturalized in biology in terms of natural selection. One can then use that to argue that the function of the human cognitive system (in large part) is to produce true beliefs and reason about them in truth-conducive ways. One then argues that theistic belief isn't the output of such a functioning system. For example, theistic belief results more from intuitive thinking and rationalizations of intuitive thinking, as opposed to more truth-conducive, analytic reasoning.


Skip some details regarding the book...

Alright, so how do we get from the belief in God as properly basic to full-blooded Christian belief? We have the instigation of the Holy Spirit. In Plantinga's book the Holy Spirit provides the knowledge concerning Christian belief (i.e. Jesus is divine, Jesus died for my sins, Jesus is the second member of the Trinity, etc..). How does the Holy Spirit do this? Through faith. According to Plantinga the Holy Spirit provides the faith by which a believer comes to not only have the appropriate knowledge concerning Christianity, but they also (and importantly) obtain the appropriate affections toward God (i.e. God loves me, God cares for my life, God desires to know me, etc...). [Off topic remark: faith has actually always been considered a type of knowledge throughout the ages. It is only recently that it has taken on the poor rhetoric of modern atheism by reference of "blind faith", "leap of faith", etc...]

This largely stems from Plantinga's slightly incorrect views on what qualifies as "knowledge". He thinks knowledge is "true belief + warrant", and thinks he's correctly analyzed "warrant" to be something like being produced by properly functioning cognitive system working in the environment it was designed for. But faith need not qualify as warrant, given some of the reasons I went over above. For example, faith doesn't qualify if faith involves failing with respect to the epistemic virtues, by doing things such as ignoring evidence against one's position, engaging in wishful thinking, and so on. Nor does faith qualify if it's the result of unreliable cognitive processes.

Now, Plantinga might claim that what I wrote above represents a de facto objection to Christianity. After all, he might claim that if the Christian God made us, then the Christian God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. So to deny that we have such a system is to deny that Christianity is true, which is a de facto objection to Christianity. However, this reply from Plantinga would fail. After all, Christianity doesn't actually commit one to the claim that God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. For example, there are instances in the Bible where God seems to befuddle peope's cognitive systems for its own purposes. Furthermore, the question of whether the Christians God exists is different from the question of what particular Christians claim that the Christian God did with respect human cognitive systems. One can offer a de facto objection to the latter, without giving a de facto objection to the former. And that would allow one to offer a de jure objection to Christianity, without offering a de facto objection the belief that the Christian God exists.


We now have the material to answer our first question. On Plantinga's model there is no de jure objection a part from a de facto objection regarding Christianity because the Holy Spirit furnishes the believer with the faith (or knowledge) to defeat the defeaters of the objectors. Thanks for your time and I look forward to your questions.

And I disagree: there can be a de jure objection apart from a de facto objection, for the reasons I went over above. For example, one can claim that theistic belief results from unreliable cognitive processes / unreliable reasoning, without claiming that theistic belief is false.

Doug Shaver
08-01-2015, 04:28 AM
On Plantinga's model there is no de jure objection a part from a de facto objection regarding Christianity.
Let me stipulate that for the sake of discussion. Am I therefore unjustified in doubting that Christianity is true?

The Pixie
08-01-2015, 04:59 AM
The time of the champions of atheism is slowly passing away. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Samuel Harris, Laurence Krauss, etc, etc... These names are the popularizers of atheism for the previous 10+ years.
What makes you think their names are passing away?

Marx thought Christianity was a result of the deprivations of Capitalism.
Unlikely, I am pretty sure Marx realised Christianity pre-dated Capitalism.

That is to say that you cannot say Christianity is stupid, or silly, or irrational to believe, without also objecting to the truth of Christianity.
You think?

A quick heads-up for you: atheists do object to the truth of Christianity.

The sensus divinitatus specifically occasions the belief "these mountains were made by God". Why is this significant? In short, this provides a furnishing for the proper basicality of the belief in God.
Why should we suppose this belief is true? It seems to me that this belief is informed by religion. You already think God exists and is responsible for the mountains, therefore when you see the beauty of the mountains, you get a sensus divinitatus. If you do not start from the assumption that God exists, you do not get this sensus divinitatus.

The argument, then is based on the assumption that God exists, and is therefore circular.

In Plantinga's reformed epistemology he goes to include the belief in God as a properly basic belief.
Can we really have confidence in such a belief in the same we can about what we had for breakfast?

How does the Holy Spirit do this? Through faith.
Again, this seems ciircular. If you have faith Christianity is right, then the Holy Spirit will provide you with the knowledge that Christianity is right.

Any argument that starts from faith is really saying you have to assume the conclusion. Which brings us back to why some might suppose Christisanity is irrational.

MaxVel
08-01-2015, 05:50 AM
I really do not believe Plantinga's arguments are effective nor useful for anything.

That would be why he is a professional, well-qualified and widely published philosopher, and you're just some goofball on TWeb.

shunyadragon
08-01-2015, 01:18 PM
That would be why he is a professional, well-qualified and widely published philosopher, and you're just some goofball on TWeb.

:troll:

I need something of substance if you expect a response.

shunyadragon
08-01-2015, 01:24 PM
That it not irrational to take belief in God as properly basic. So when atheists dismiss theism as an irrational or stupid they are not on solid logical ground. Hence the theist need not be intimidated by that groundless objection, and is well with in his rational rights.

Some atheists may say this, but this is not the argument for atheism. This does not say anything different than what I previously said. "Is all he doing is making believers comfortable with their Christian belief because it is 'properly basic?"

The previous post I posted indicated that Plantinga actually proposed an argument that philosophical naturalism is false. I believe he attempted more positive arguments than you are indicated that philosophical naturalism is indeed defeated by his arguments.

MaxVel
08-02-2015, 05:59 AM
:troll:

I need something of substance if you expect a response.



Physician, heal thyself.

shunyadragon
08-02-2015, 09:21 AM
Physician, heal thyself.

I need something of substance if you expect a response.

shunyadragon
08-02-2015, 09:27 AM
That would be why he is a professional, well-qualified and widely published philosopher, and you're just some goofball on TWeb.

Appealing to authority without a coherent argument. Dawkins is professional and widely published, and hundreds of atheist philosophers are well known professionals and philosophers like Jaakko Hintikka, John Earman, Robert Kane, and widely published, that does not mean I would follow their line hook line and sinker. I do not believe in their arguments nor am I an atheist, because of their impressive credentials.

Jichard
08-02-2015, 09:52 AM
Additionally, your OP's general point is pretty trivial. Basically, it involves making an epistemic point apart of your position, so that when people object to that epistemic point, they've made a de facto objection to your position. That's pretty trivial to do, and one can do that for any old position. For example, one could re-define positive atheism such that it includes the claim that positive atheism is rational. That way, if someone tried to object de jure (and not de facto) to positive atheism by saying that positive atheism was irrational, one could just turn around and claim that that is really a de facto objection.

Of course, that trivial strategy has the problems I noted elsewhere (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=225109#post225109). For example, if you do it for Christianity, it's a strawman and ad hoc definition of Christianity. Furthermore, it doesn't change the fact that one can make a de jure objection to a belief that the Christian God exists, without making de facto objection to it:


"Now, Plantinga might claim that what I wrote above represents a de facto objection to Christianity. After all, he might claim that if the Christian God made us, then the Christian God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. So to deny that we have such a system is to deny that Christianity is true, which is a de facto objection to Christianity. However, this reply from Plantinga would fail. After all, Christianity doesn't actually commit one to the claim that God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. For example, there are instances in the Bible where God seems to befuddle peope's cognitive systems for its own purposes. Furthermore, the question of whether the Christians God exists is different from the question of what particular Christians claim that the Christian God did with respect human cognitive systems. One can offer a de facto objection to the latter, without giving a de facto objection to the former. And that would allow one to offer a de jure objection to Christianity, without offering a de facto objection the belief that the Christian God exists."

ShrimpMaster
08-03-2015, 08:36 AM
Are you sure that this is the type of objection they offer? Because I think you might be strawmanning them. After all, one doesn't need to be completely sure that a religion is false in order to know it's false, anymore than I need to be 100% certain that the Earth is round to know that the Earth is round. Knowledge doesn't require epistemic certainty. I bring this up because I think you might be confusing some atheists saying that they are not 100% sure whether Christianity (or another religion) is false with those atheists saying that they do not know whether Christianity (or another religion) is false. And that might explain why you attributed the above claims to them.
They offer many objections. This is one of them. Strawmanning or not I was using them as an example. I don't really care to harp on whether they do or not. I just was poking fun... Further, you actually do need 100% certainty that a religion is false to know that it is false. Otherwise, what are you talking about when you claim Christianity is false? That it might be false, therefore, it is??? Sounds ludicrous... If I know a fact that contradicts a truth-claim and that fact has epistemic warrant, then I know that truth-claim is false.



First, one can offer a more plausible criterion of "proper basicality", on which belief that God exists would not be properly basic. And one can do that without resorting to classical foundantialism. One could, for example, do so while advocating foundherentism or modest foundatioalism. Tyler Wunder defends such a criterion in the form of universal sanction.
And what is the criterion you are suggesting??? Foundherentism is circular. Even though it tries to avoid the circularity of coherentism. Universal sanction is also a weak grounding for properly basic beliefs. Apart from the fact that the belief in God enjoys proper basicality under universal sanction (after-all a majority [>95%] of the world believes in some form of theism); universal sanction is not a truth criterion. Who defines 'normal' beliefs or 'normal' living conditions? Further, we can think of counterfactuals that would be obviously false. For instance, humans that hold beliefs that are not produced by cognitive faculties aimed at truth. If these were the only people left on earth, then universal sanction would not properly identify whether a belief is true or false.


Second, the Great Pumpkin objection nammers Plantinga's position, and leads him to resort to a form of epistemic relativism that makes no sense. Really, using Plantinga's methodology, you could argue that any number of absurd beliefs count as properly basic. This is where you are confused. Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model. He is saying that if Christianity is true, then something like his model (or close to it) is true. Further, what absurd beliefs are you talking about? Plantinga handles the Great Pumpkin objection in his book. I would need more details on your objection to clarify...


Third, even if a belief is properly basic, that does not necessarily imply that one is rational in holding that belief. For example, one may be aware of large amounts of evidence that weigh against the belief and one might choose to evade addressing that countervailing evidence. Or one may inetionally avoid trying to see if belief in God best explains other information in the world. To put the point another way: one's belief that God exists may be irrational, if one fails to display various epistemic virtuessuch as avoiding wishful thinking, giving due consideration to available evidence, etc. epistemic virtues and being rational]. Wrong, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief. If the belief in God is produced in this way, then it would satisfy epistemic warrant.


Fourth, one can offer a naturalistic account of a properly functionaing cognitive system, and then present evidence that theistic belief isn't really the output of such a properly functioning system. Instead, it results from dysfunction in the system. This undermines Plantinga's argument, since Plantinga's argument depends theistic belief being the output of a properly functioning cognitive system. So how might one go about developing this objection? Well, "function" is already naturalized in biology in terms of natural selection. One can then use that to argue that the function of the human cognitive system (in large part) is to produce true beliefs and reason about them in truth-conducive ways. One then argues that theistic belief isn't the output of such a functioning system. For example, theistic belief results more from intuitive thinking and rationalizations of intuitive thinking, as opposed to more truth-conducive, analytic reasoning.[/INDENT]
You think biological evolution is aimed at the production of true beliefs? Evolution is defined by random mutation and natural selection. Belief producing faculties would be aimed at producing beliefs that are conducive to the survival of the species. Whether they are true or not is not relevant to evolution.


This largely stems from Plantinga's slightly incorrect views on what qualifies as "knowledge". He thinks knowledge is "true belief + warrant", and thinks he's correctly analyzed "warrant" to be something like being produced by properly functioning cognitive system working in the environment it was designed for. But faith need not qualify as warrant, given some of the reasons I went over above. For example, faith doesn't qualify if faith involves failing with respect to the epistemic virtues, by doing things such as ignoring evidence against one's position, engaging in wishful thinking, and so on. Nor does faith qualify if it's the result of unreliable cognitive processes.I already answered this above, but Plantinga handles this clearly in his book. Again, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief.


Now, Plantinga might claim that what I wrote above represents a de facto objection to Christianity. After all, he might claim that if the Christian God made us, then the Christian God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. So to deny that we have such a system is to deny that Christianity is true, which is a de facto objection to Christianity. However, this reply from Plantinga would fail. After all, Christianity doesn't actually commit one to the claim that God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. For example, there are instances in the Bible where God seems to befuddle peope's cognitive systems for its own purposes. Furthermore, the question of whether the Christians God exists is different from the question of what particular Christians claim that the Christian God did with respect human cognitive systems. One can offer a de facto objection to the latter, without giving a de facto objection to the former. And that would allow one to offer a de jure objection to Christianity, without offering a de facto objection the belief that the Christian God exists.

And I disagree: there can be a de jure objection apart from a de facto objection, for the reasons I went over above. For example, one can claim that theistic belief results from unreliable cognitive processes / unreliable reasoning, without claiming that theistic belief is false.
A few objections in here... 1) We must be clear that Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model. He is saying that if Christianity is true, then his model (or something like his model) is true. An objection to the sensus divinitatus would be a de facto objection in the case of a person who accepts Plantinga's model. I don't really see how the bible commits you to a belief in the sensus divinitatus is relevant or not. If you accept Plantinga's model, then an objection to the sensus divinitatus is a de facto objection. 2) First, I have no idea what passages you are talking about. Second, I don't see how God 'befuddling' peoples cognitive processes is relevant. That would not remove the epistemic warrant of the sensus divinitatus. 3) Pretty similar to #1 - because an objection to what God does with peoples cognitive processes is not objectionable without objecting to Christian truth claims. I think this is a result of the misunderstandings I corrected in the other objections. Remember, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief. Thanks

ShrimpMaster
08-03-2015, 08:46 AM
Let me stipulate that for the sake of discussion. Am I therefore unjustified in doubting that Christianity is true?

You are unjustified if you do not have a truth objection to Christianity.

ShrimpMaster
08-03-2015, 08:50 AM
What makes you think their names are passing away?
I haven't heard from them recently and any attack on religion is usually directed toward radical Muslims, which seems kind of desperate.


Unlikely, I am pretty sure Marx realised Christianity pre-dated Capitalism.Read the communist manifesto...


Why should we suppose this belief is true? It seems to me that this belief is informed by religion. You already think God exists and is responsible for the mountains, therefore when you see the beauty of the mountains, you get a sensus divinitatus. If you do not start from the assumption that God exists, you do not get this sensus divinitatus. It isn't a belief. It is a model through which believers can come to have knowledge of God.


The argument, then is based on the assumption that God exists, and is therefore circular. It isn't based on the assumption that God exists...


Can we really have confidence in such a belief in the same we can about what we had for breakfast?What kind of confidence do you have about what you had for breakfast?


Any argument that starts from faith is really saying you have to assume the conclusion. Which brings us back to why some might suppose Christisanity is irrational. It is a model not an argument...

ShrimpMaster
08-03-2015, 08:55 AM
Additionally, your OP's general point is pretty trivial. Basically, it involves making an epistemic point apart of your position, so that when people object to that epistemic point, they've made a de facto objection to your position. That's pretty trivial to do, and one can do that for any old position. For example, one could re-define positive atheism such that it includes the claim that positive atheism is rational. That way, if someone tried to object de jure (and not de facto) to positive atheism by saying that positive atheism was irrational, one could just turn around and claim that that is really a de facto objection.

Of course, that trivial strategy has the problems I noted elsewhere (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=225109#post225109). For example, if you do it for Christianity, it's a strawman and ad hoc definition of Christianity. Furthermore, it doesn't change the fact that one can make a de jure objection to a belief that the Christian God exists, without making de facto objection to it:


"Now, Plantinga might claim that what I wrote above represents a de facto objection to Christianity. After all, he might claim that if the Christian God made us, then the Christian God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. So to deny that we have such a system is to deny that Christianity is true, which is a de facto objection to Christianity. However, this reply from Plantinga would fail. After all, Christianity doesn't actually commit one to the claim that God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. For example, there are instances in the Bible where God seems to befuddle peope's cognitive systems for its own purposes. Furthermore, the question of whether the Christians God exists is different from the question of what particular Christians claim that the Christian God did with respect human cognitive systems. One can offer a de facto objection to the latter, without giving a de facto objection to the former. And that would allow one to offer a de jure objection to Christianity, without offering a de facto objection the belief that the Christian God exists." The point of Plantinga's project with WCD is to make Christianity "intellectually acceptable". If it does that, then he has done his job.

firstfloor
08-03-2015, 10:47 AM
Christianity and Islam are both ‘book’ religions. They get traction by claiming that the books contain revelation from a hidden super-being. There is nothing else to them. Believers need wishful thinking to do something useful with that basic construct because the claim itself is exceedingly dubious, if not provably false.

ShrimpMaster
08-03-2015, 11:10 AM
Christianity and Islam are both ‘book’ religions. They get traction by claiming that the books contain revelation from a hidden super-being. There is nothing else to them. Believers need wishful thinking to do something useful with that basic construct because the claim itself is exceedingly dubious, if not provably false.
Thanks for the great example, firstfloor. An objection like this is exactly what Plantinga shows is not viable. There is no objection to the truth of Christianity in firstfloor's post. It is a de jure objection.

shunyadragon
08-03-2015, 12:22 PM
They offer many objections. This is one of them. Strawmanning or not I was using them as an example. I don't really care to harp on whether they do or not. I just was poking fun... Further, you actually do need 100% certainty that a religion is false to know that it is false. Otherwise, what are you talking about when you claim Christianity is false? That it might be false, therefore, it is??? Sounds ludicrous... If I know a fact that contradicts a truth-claim and that fact has epistemic warrant, then I know that truth-claim is false.

First and foremost fallacy in the above is nothing in philosophy nor theology of the nature of belief can possibly be 100% either way. The same is true that the existence of a source some call God(s) can neither be proven to exist nor not exist. Truth-claims follow in the same vein. You cannot know 100% that a philosophical nor theological truth-claim is true nor false.


And what is the criterion you are suggesting??? Foundherentism is circular. Even though it tries to avoid the circularity of coherentism. Universal sanction is also a weak grounding for properly basic beliefs. Apart from the fact that the belief in God enjoys proper basicality under universal sanction (after-all a majority [>95%] of the world believes in some form of theism); universal sanction is not a truth criterion. Who defines 'normal' beliefs or 'normal' living conditions? Further, we can think of counterfactuals that would be obviously false. For instance, humans that hold beliefs that are not produced by cognitive faculties aimed at truth. If these were the only people left on earth, then universal sanction would not properly identify whether a belief is true or false.


This is where you are confused. Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model. He is saying that if Christianity is true, then something like his model (or close to it) is true. Further, what absurd beliefs are you talking about? Plantinga handles the Great Pumpkin objection in his book. I would need more details on your objection to clarify...

Plantinga addresses the Great Pumpkin objection, but I do not believe his argument is convincing. The problem with the IF X is true than . . . is that this argument is just as likely true for many varied beliefs including atheism, which negates the value of the argument itself.


Wrong, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief. If the belief in God is produced in this way, then it would satisfy epistemic warrant.

The problem is such beliefs are so highly anecdotal that, again, they can be used to justify any belief system. The highlighted above assumes the existence of a 'design plan,' which makes the arguments circular. The existence of a 'design plan' assumes the existence of designer, therefore a God or God(s) or maybe an alien.


You think biological evolution is aimed at the production of true beliefs? Evolution is defined by random mutation and natural selection. Belief producing faculties would be aimed at producing beliefs that are conducive to the survival of the species. Whether they are true or not is not relevant to evolution.

First, Randomness is not a part of the definition of evolution. In fact randomness has no causal relationship to evolution. True, true beliefs are not necessarily, and not likely relevant to the natural selection in evolution.

[quote] I already answered this above, but Plantinga handles this clearly in his book. Again, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief.

Again, this is assumption of the argument that a 'divine plan' would explain true belief, and this assumes the 'Designer' exist, which may not be true.


A few objections in here... 1) We must be clear that Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model. He is saying that if Christianity is true, then his model (or something like his model) is true. An objection to the sensus divinitatus would be a de facto objection in the case of a person who accepts Plantinga's model. I don't really see how the bible commits you to a belief in the sensus divinitatus is relevant or not. If you accept Plantinga's model, then an objection to the sensus divinitatus is a de facto objection. 2) First, I have no idea what passages you are talking about. Second, I don't see how God 'befuddling' peoples cognitive processes is relevant. That would not remove the epistemic warrant of the sensus divinitatus. 3) Pretty similar to #1 - because an objection to what God does with peoples cognitive processes is not objectionable without objecting to Christian truth claims. I think this is a result of the misunderstandings I corrected in the other objections. Remember, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief. Thanks

The problem is that IF 'Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model.' than his argument is of no more of value than any other argument of any other belief system including atheism using basically the same argument.

firstfloor
08-03-2015, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the great example, firstfloor. An objection like this is exactly what Plantinga shows is not viable. There is no objection to the truth of Christianity in firstfloor's post. It is a de jure objection.The objection is that the recipe is capable of producing any number of ‘true’ religions none of which are guaranteed to be actually true. In other words the results are uninteresting except that they attract human beings like a moth to a flame. The truth of a religion is completely unnecessary for its function and there may even be an advantage in having absurd truth claims of the sort we see in Christianity; the man-god, the resurrection and so on.

Jichard
08-03-2015, 08:23 PM
The point of Plantinga's project with WCD is to make Christianity "intellectually acceptable". If it does that, then he has done his job.

That doesn't address the objections in my post, though. In that post, I'm not commenting on the project on making Christianity "intellectually respectable", instead I'm pointing out how you're incorrect in claiming that Plantinga has shown that one cannot offer a de jure objection to Christianity, without offering a de facto objection. Here's a summary of some of the objections I made in that post:


First, Plantinga's defense is trivial, and can be employed in defense of almost any position.

Second, Plantinga's defense doesn't actually convert de jure objections to de facto objections, since it involves and ad hoc re-definition and strawmanof what Christianity is committed to. Someone can have a de jure objection (without a de facoto objection) to what Christianity is actually committed to, evne if they have a de facto objection to the strawman Plantinga erects.

Jichard
08-03-2015, 09:13 PM
They offer many objections. This is one of them. Strawmanning or not I was using them as an example. I don't really care to harp on whether they do or not. I just was poking fun... Further, you actually do need 100% certainty that a religion is false to know that it is false. Otherwise, what are you talking about when you claim Christianity is false? That it might be false, therefore, it is??? Sounds ludicrous... If I know a fact that contradicts a truth-claim and that fact has epistemic warrant, then I know that truth-claim is false.

You don't need 100% certainty that a religion is false to know that it is false, since knowledge does not require certainty. For example, I know that HIV causes AIDS, even though I'm not 100% certain that it does. And there are plenty of other examples of knowledge, where 100% certainty is not required. Also, you're contradicting Plantinga himself, since on his account of knowledge, knowledge (that is "true belief + warrant") does not require certainty. If you doubt that, then feel free to checj his account of "warrant"; it makes no mention of a requirement of "certainty". And as an externalist, Plantinga would be the last person to claim that knowledge requires an internalistic notion like 100% certainty.


And what is the criterion you are suggesting???

Universal sanction, though other criteria are available


Foundherentism is circular. Even though it tries to avoid the circularity of coherentism.

You haven't shown that.


Universal sanction is also a weak grounding for properly basic beliefs. Apart from the fact that the belief in God enjoys proper basicality under universal sanction (after-all a majority [>95%] of the world believes in some form of theism);

First, it's false to claim that >95 of the world believes in some sort of theism. After all, there are at least half a billion atheists globally.

Second, universal sanction is not a poll of how many people accept a claim. See here for further discussion of what universal sanction is:
Wunder, Tyler. "Warrant and Religious Epistemology: A Critique of Alvin Plantinga's Warrant Phase." (http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Wunder-Warrant-and-Religious-Epistemology.pdf)

Third, theistic belief doesn't meet the criterion of universal sanction, since skepticism about theistic belief (tout court) is pragmatically conceivable. After all, there are plenty of psychologically healthy people (who are skeptical about theistic) belief, and manage to get along just fine.


universal sanction is not a truth criterion.

Irrelevant. It doesn't need to be a truth criterion, since it isn't being offered as a truth criterion and the issue here isn't whether a claim is true or false. The issue is instead whether a belief is properly basic. So it's not a matter of a truth criterion, but a proper basicality criterion.


Who defines 'normal' beliefs or 'normal' living conditions?

People define it, as do people define all their terms. Anyway, what you just said isn't a meaningful objection; it'd be akin to objecting to evolutionary biology by saying who defines "evolution" or objecting to Christianity by saying who defined the "Christian God". It's not a meaningful objection, since asking who defines terms does nothing to undermine the support for a claim nor show it's false. And it's quite trivially easy to answer the sorts of questions, as I explained: people define terms. Furthermore, your point likely conflates terms with to what the terms refer. Yes, humans can define terms like "normal", "evolution", etc. That doesn't change the fact that the particulars/processes/properties/etc. to which those terms refer, exist or don't exist regardless of human's definitions of their terms. To say otherwise is to commit a use/mention mistake.


Further, we can think of counterfactuals that would be obviously false. For instance, humans that hold beliefs that are not produced by cognitive faculties aimed at truth. If these were the only people left on earth, then universal sanction would not properly identify whether a belief is true or false.

Again, universal sanction is not being offered as a criterion of truth, but as a criterion of proper basicality. So one can attach universal sanction to any number of other views on truth, such as correspondence views, coherentist views, or minimalist/deflationary views.


This is where you are confused. Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model.

The Great Pumpkin objection (which you were responding to) is not about whether Plantinga's model is false. It's instead meant to show Plantinga's defense of his model fails since the defense would work for positions we know are absurd, and thus something is wrong with his defense.


He is saying that if Christianity is true, then something like his model (or close to it) is true.

I explained the problem with that. For example, Christianity does not entail that his model is true:


"After all, he might claim that if the Christian God made us, then the Christian God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. So to deny that we have such a system is to deny that Christianity is true, which is a de facto objection to Christianity. However, this reply from Plantinga would fail. After all, Christianity doesn't actually commit one to the claim that God would have made us such that faith results from a reliable cognitive system that's in line with the epistemic virtues. For example, there are instances in the Bible where God seems to befuddle peope's cognitive systems for its own purposes. Furthermore, the question of whether the Christians God exists is different from the question of what particular Christians claim that the Christian God did with respect human cognitive systems. One can offer a de facto objection to the latter, without giving a de facto objection to the former. And that would allow one to offer a de jure objection to Christianity, without offering a de facto objection the belief that the Christian God exists."


Further, what absurd beliefs are you talking about?

Belief in the Great Pumpkin from Charlie Brown, for example.


Plantinga handles the Great Pumpkin objection in his book.

And as I said, his defense leads him to a form of epistemic relativism, where a community of adherents who were committed to belief in the Great Pumpkin (or any other absurd belief) could use Plantinga's defense to claim that their absurd belief is properly basic.


Wrong, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief. If the belief in God is produced in this way, then it would satisfy epistemic warrant.

That doesn't actually address what I wrote in that section of my post. What you wrote above deals with the implications of a belief having warrant, while that section of my post was dealing with the implications of a belief having proper basicality.


You think biological evolution is aimed at the production of true beliefs?

No. Biological evolution can proceed even if no beliefs are produced, let alone true beliefs. The point isn't about what evolution "is aimed at", but instead which features are selected for/against once they are present and why they are selected for/against.


Evolution is defined by random mutation and natural selection.

No, it isn't. For example, it includes processes such as genetic drift and the various processes that result in speciation.


Belief producing faculties would be aimed at producing beliefs that are conducive to the survival of the species. Whether they are true or not is not relevant to evolution.

False. This is an issue dealt with by philosophers of biology like Paul Griffiths (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRA06xlzOq0) (though one need not accept Griffith's account of "truth" to accept the other aspects of his reply). To discuss it further, what you wrote makes as little sense as saying:

"Genetic/developmental processes would be aimed at producing wings that are conducive to the survival of the species. Whether those wings fly is not relevant to evolution."
The mistakes with such a claim are apparent. For example, it overlooks the fact that wings help the organism's survival, in large part, due to the wings being capable of flight. Parallel point for beliefs and cognitive processes: they tend to help the organisms survival, in large part, due to the beliefs being true and the cognitive processes resulting in largely true beliefs. To put the point another way: you're basically overlooking the features (such as being true) that help a trait realize the role of aiding in an organism's survival. Roles have realizers.

Now, of course, you can construct some logically possible scenario where false beliefs promote survival. But that doesn't undermine the point, anymore than does pointing out some logically possible scenario in which wings aid an organism's survival without that aid being due to flight. Logical possibility does not imply plausibility or being likely.


I already answered this above, but Plantinga handles this clearly in his book. Again, the beliefs produced by the sensus divinitatis would be attributable to a cognitive faculty functionally properly in a congenial epistemic environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true belief.

How does that address the fact that Plantinga has an incorrect account what "warrant" was, and that I explained some ways in which can false short of what providing warrant? The sensus divinitatis might provide what Plantinga thinks "warrant" is, but that does not matter very much if Plantinga is wrong on what "warrant" is. And as I said, he's slightly incorrect on what knowledge (or more precisely: "warrant") is.


A few objections in here... 1) We must be clear that Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model. He is saying that if Christianity is true, then his model (or something like his model) is true. An objection to the sensus divinitatus would be a de facto objection in the case of a person who accepts Plantinga's model. I don't really see how the bible commits you to a belief in the sensus divinitatus is relevant or not. If you accept Plantinga's model, then an objection to the sensus divinitatus is a de facto objection.

What the Bible says is relevant since the Bible is the central doctrinal document of Christianity, and your defense hinges on the idea that Christianity implies a commitment to something like the A/C model. You even said:

"He is saying that if Christianity is true, then something like his model (or close to it) is true. (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=225109#post225109)"
But if accepting the Bible does not imply accepting something like A/C, that provides evidence that one can accept the central tenets of Christianity without accepting something like A/C. And that undermines your claim.

Furthermore, as I explained in my post, since Christianity does not entail something like the A/C model, then giving a de facto objection to A/C does not entail giving a de facto objection to Christianity itself. Thus, one could offer a de jure objection to Christianity (without offering a de fato objection to Christianity), even if some theists decide to define their own personal form of Christianity in a way that incorporates A/C, such that one cannot offer a de jure objection to their position without offering a de facto one.


2) First, I have no idea what passages you are talking about.

You don't know about the passages where God hardens people's hearts? Or claims to have sent confusion amongst people (for example: by blocking their ability to communicate)?


Second, I don't see how God 'befuddling' peoples cognitive processes is relevant. That would not remove the epistemic warrant of the sensus divinitatus.

It's relevant since it shows that it's possible for one to accept that the Christian God exists, without accepting that the Christian God designed human beings in a way that accords with something like the A/C model. Instead, for example, God could have designed humans such that they are quite prone to being befuddled and confused by God, befuddled/confused by aspects of a fallen world, etc. And that further undermines the claim that Christianity entails something like the A/C model.


3) Pretty similar to #1 - because an objection to what God does with peoples cognitive processes is not objectionable without objecting to Christian truth claims.

Once again, it wouldn't since Christianity does not entail something like the A/C model, for some of the reasons I went over.

The Pixie
08-04-2015, 08:03 AM
I haven't heard from them recently and any attack on religion is usually directed toward radical Muslims, which seems kind of desperate.
Oh, well, if you have not heard from them recently, then that proves it.

Read the communist manifesto...
I found only two references to Christianity in it:

When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.

Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian Socialism is but the holy water with which the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat.

Neither of these suggest "Marx thought Christianity was a result of the deprivations of Capitalism". I am wondering where you got this idea from.



The sensus divinitatus specifically occasions the belief "these mountains were made by God". Why is this significant? In short, this provides a furnishing for the proper basicality of the belief in God.
Why should we suppose this belief is true? It seems to me that this belief is informed by religion. You already think God exists and is responsible for the mountains, therefore when you see the beauty of the mountains, you get a sensus divinitatus. If you do not start from the assumption that God exists, you do not get this sensus divinitatus.
It isn't a belief. It is a model through which believers can come to have knowledge of God.
So the belief "these mountains were made by God" is not a belief?

Interesting position to take, but not very convincing.

Are you saying that the belief that is not a belief that "these mountains were made by God" affords knowledge of God? Can you give an example of something you came to know about God after you got this sensus divinitatus? Something that you did not know before hand.

It isn't based on the assumption that God exists...
Sure, it is based on a belief that is not a belief.


Can we really have confidence in such a belief in the same we can about what we had for breakfast?
What kind of confidence do you have about what you had for breakfast?
High. I have the memory of the direct experience from only a few hours ago.

Comparing to a belief god exists based on a belief that is not a belief that some mountains were made by God, if we assume in advance that God made the mountains, I would say that is several orders of magnitude better.

It is a model not an argument...
We can certainly agreed that it is no argument!

MaxVel
08-05-2015, 08:19 AM
First and foremost fallacy in the above is nothing in philosophy nor theology of the nature of belief can possibly be 100% either way. The same is true that the existence of a source some call God(s) can neither be proven to exist nor not exist. Truth-claims follow in the same vein. You cannot know 100% that a philosophical nor theological truth-claim is true nor false.

Then you cannot know that that philosophical truth-claim you just made is 100% true. Which means that it is possible that there are philosophical or theological truth-claims that can be known to be 100% true or 100% false, and the only way we can know what they are is by actually examining them.

So your statement is practically useless, and you can't use it as a universal shield to hide behind and avoid the logical consequences of a philosophical or theological claim.

shunyadragon
08-05-2015, 11:28 AM
Then you cannot know that that philosophical truth-claim you just made is 100% true. Which means that it is possible that there are philosophical or theological truth-claims that can be known to be 100% true or 100% false, and the only way we can know what they are is by actually examining them.

So your statement is practically useless, and you can't use it as a universal shield to hide behind and avoid the logical consequences of a philosophical or theological claim.

False, I never claimed anything to be 100% true or false. In fact reasonable certainty is the best we can do. I am reasonably certain that all philosophical nor theological claims cannot be 100% true nor false. It is also reasonably certain that my statements cannot be 100% true nor false, but to end the discussion here is foolishness.

shunyadragon
08-05-2015, 04:52 PM
Then you cannot know that that philosophical truth-claim you just made is 100% true. Which means that it is possible that there are philosophical or theological truth-claims that can be known to be 100% true or 100% false, and the only way we can know what they are is by actually examining them.

So your statement is practically useless, and you can't use it as a universal shield to hide behind and avoid the logical consequences of a philosophical or theological claim.

Your the one engaging in useless 'fallacy of absolutism' to divert the discussion from the topic. Discussions of absolute values (100%) of truth values do not contribute to the discussion. I originally objected to its use in another post, and I do not resort to this foolishness.

Jichard
08-08-2015, 12:00 AM
For the curious: there's a blogpost that rebuts the OP's point and places the OP in the context of Plantinga's broader epistemology. The post is here: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551

In my posts in reply to the OP, I've made some criticism similar to that in the above blogpost.

shunyadragon
08-08-2015, 03:56 AM
For the curious: there's a blogpost that rebuts the OP's point and places the OP in the context of Plantinga's broader epistemology. The post is here: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551

In my posts in reply to the OP, I've made some criticism similar to that in the above blogpost.

Tyler Wunder does an excellent job, and basically follows the same line of reasoning that I have used in the old Tweb in threads concerning Plantinga's arguments for the existence of God, and against Philosophical Naturalism. A new ploy in recent apologists posting here is that Plantinga does not actually argue against Naturalism to prove God exists.


The point of Plantinga's project with WCD is to make Christianity "intellectually acceptable". If it does that, then he has done his job.


I don't think you understand what Plantinga is saying at all. He is not claiming that his argument defeats atheism or other beliefs.

In reality Plantinga tries to argue both that, Christianity is "intellectually acceptable," and his arguments defeat Philosophical Naturalism.

seer
08-08-2015, 07:00 AM
In reality Plantinga tries to argue both that, Christianity is "intellectually acceptable," and his arguments defeat Philosophical Naturalism.

Nonsense Shuny, ShrimpMaster did not post his argument against naturalism. That was not even mentioned in the OP and is a COMPLETELY different argument.

Cornell
08-08-2015, 03:19 PM
Appealing to authority without a coherent argument. Dawkins is professional and widely published, and hundreds of atheist philosophers are well known professionals and philosophers like Jaakko Hintikka, John Earman, Robert Kane, and widely published, that does not mean I would follow their line hook line and sinker. I do not believe in their arguments nor am I an atheist, because of their impressive credentials.

When did Robert Kane become an atheist?

I see nothing of the sort

shunyadragon
08-08-2015, 04:28 PM
Nonsense Shuny, ShrimpMaster did not post his argument against naturalism. That was not even mentioned in the OP and is a COMPLETELY different argument.

Let ShrimpMaster respond to his quote if he objects, and you respond to yours.

shunyadragon
08-08-2015, 04:30 PM
When did Robert Kane become an atheist?

I see nothing of the sort

My bad I misread the list.

http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1294

seer
08-08-2015, 05:07 PM
Let ShrimpMaster respond to his quote if he objects, and you respond to yours.


Are you having one of your episodes again Shuny? ShrimpMaster never brought up Plantinga's argument against naturalism - so why are you?

Doug Shaver
08-08-2015, 06:43 PM
You are unjustified if you do not have a truth objection to Christianity.
What exactly is a truth objection?

ShrimpMaster
08-11-2015, 07:48 AM
Sorry for the delayed response. I have not had the time to respond.

I would like to put a more in-depth response, but I think the last few posts have been slightly misleading. I think we can understand better if we are able to understand the objection that Plantinga is responding to. The objection is that there is something "inconsistent" with the intellectual life of a Christian that would make it inconsistent with reality of some sort. Realize that Plantinga does not need to provide a proof of the model he is supplying. In order for Plantinga's model to be successful he just needs it to be possible. That is really all the objection calls for. If Plantinga's model is even possible, then it furnishes an answer to the objection.

JRichard: your responses are mostly around the basicality of beliefs, but I don't see that as a strong objection to Plantinga's model. It is mostly because all the criteria you supply is arbitrary. Futher, even if you do provide a grounding for PBB without God does that actually handle Plantinga's model? I don't think so. As long as Plantinga's model is even possible, then he has answered the objection. Plantinga's model does not even need to be the strongest model possible. It just needs to be possible.

shunyadragon
08-11-2015, 05:00 PM
Are you having one of your episodes again Shuny? ShrimpMaster never brought up Plantinga's argument against naturalism - so why are you?

It is part of Plantinga's over all argument for the existence of God.

shunyadragon
08-11-2015, 05:03 PM
Sorry for the delayed response. I have not had the time to respond.

I would like to put a more in-depth response, but I think the last few posts have been slightly misleading. I think we can understand better if we are able to understand the objection that Plantinga is responding to. The objection is that there is something "inconsistent" with the intellectual life of a Christian that would make it inconsistent with reality of some sort. Realize that Plantinga does not need to provide a proof of the model he is supplying. In order for Plantinga's model to be successful he just needs it to be possible. That is really all the objection calls for. If Plantinga's model is even possible, then it furnishes an answer to the objection.

JRichard: your responses are mostly around the basicality of beliefs, but I don't see that as a strong objection to Plantinga's model. It is mostly because all the criteria you supply is arbitrary. Futher, even if you do provide a grounding for PBB without God does that actually handle Plantinga's model? I don't think so. As long as Plantinga's model is even possible, then he has answered the objection. Plantinga's model does not even need to be the strongest model possible. It just needs to be possible.

Unfortunately this is the weakest possible argument, which is the reason a said that his argument could be applied to many possible beliefs including atheism.

psstein
08-11-2015, 05:40 PM
Hello all,

The time of the champions of atheism is slowly passing away. Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Samuel Harris, Laurence Krauss, etc, etc... These names are the popularizers of atheism for the previous 10+ years. A common theme among these individuals is an objection of this sort; I may not know whether Christianity (or another religion) is true, but I do know that it is irrational, or stupid, or silly, or just plain 'wrong-headed' to believe. This was put forth best by Freud and Marx. Freud would equate Christian belief as "wishful thinking" and Marx thought Christianity was a result of the deprivations of Capitalism. Is there any weight in this type of argument? Some see it as a more modest claim, because it does not deal with the de facto (truth) objections regarding Christianity, but it is a de jure objection to Christian belief. My question and the question Alvin Plantinga raises in his book Warranted Christian Belief (2000) is whether this type of objection holds water.

Here are some notes before you start pounding on your keyboard: 1) A majority of my reference material will come from Alvin Plantinga's book Warranted Christian Belief (2000) 2) I would say Alvin Plantinga is the leading epistemologist that is alive today among secular and non-secular epistemologists. I would just ask to have some respect as you critique his thoughts or at least my representation of his thoughts. 3) I am most interested in Christianity, so any remarks regarding other religions I probably won't respond to unless relevant to the discussion

Onto the good stuff. My claim (and the claim of Alvin Plantinga's book) is that there is no de jure objection to Christianity a part from a de facto objection. That is to say that you cannot say Christianity is stupid, or silly, or irrational to believe, without also objecting to the truth of Christianity. No longer can an educated individual say they do not know whether Christianity is true, but they do know it is irrational, without also objecting to the truth of Christianity.

How do we arrive at this conclusion? Well, Alvin Plantinga puts forth a model through which humanity can come to have knowledge regarding Christianity that defeats defeaters (yes I meant that twice) put forth by modern atheism (a defeater-defeater). Take the following example, an individual living under the Atheist/Communist party of China or North Korea that does not have Christian material available to him. If he is a Christian, but has no material to support his conclusion (like the Kalam Cosmological Argument, or Teleological Argument, etc...) is he rationally obliged to forgo his belief in Christianity because he cannot rebut his opponents view? The model provided by Plantinga supports such a case.

Plantinga calls it the Aquinas/Calvin model (A/C model). Aquinas and Calvin both made reference to a sensus divinitatus in their work or a 'sense of the divine'. This is a sense much like the way in which your nose can tell the difference between food and vomit. How exactly does it function? Imagine you are walking through the woods and come upon a beautiful vista of the Cascade Mountains. The sensus divinitatus would then occasion the belief that God made these mountains. Clarification: this is not an inference from another belief like, the mountains are super beautiful, therefore, God exists. The sensus divinitatus specifically occasions the belief "these mountains were made by God". Why is this significant? In short, this provides a furnishing for the proper basicality of the belief in God. In the school of thought called classical foundationalism there is a set of beliefs considered 'properly basic'. This would include beliefs like 'the external world exists', 'my friend has a mind and is not a robot', 'I ate a pancake for breakfast', etc... Why is this important? Because beliefs concerning the past or the external world are axiomatic. In Plantinga's reformed epistemology he goes to include the belief in God as a properly basic belief.

Skip some details regarding the book...

Alright, so how do we get from the belief in God as properly basic to full-blooded Christian belief? We have the instigation of the Holy Spirit. In Plantinga's book the Holy Spirit provides the knowledge concerning Christian belief (i.e. Jesus is divine, Jesus died for my sins, Jesus is the second member of the Trinity, etc..). How does the Holy Spirit do this? Through faith. According to Plantinga the Holy Spirit provides the faith by which a believer comes to not only have the appropriate knowledge concerning Christianity, but they also (and importantly) obtain the appropriate affections toward God (i.e. God loves me, God cares for my life, God desires to know me, etc...). [Off topic remark: faith has actually always been considered a type of knowledge throughout the ages. It is only recently that it has taken on the poor rhetoric of modern atheism by reference of "blind faith", "leap of faith", etc...]

We now have the material to answer our first question. On Plantinga's model there is no de jure objection a part from a de facto objection regarding Christianity because the Holy Spirit furnishes the believer with the faith (or knowledge) to defeat the defeaters of the objectors. Thanks for your time and I look forward to your questions.

Plantinga is miles ahead of me when it comes to philosophy/theology/etc. I'm a college student who studies NT after only recently becoming a Christian, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

However, Plantinga's reformed epistemology seems, to me at least, like a disaster. On just a very surface level, I think it's open to the (unfair) caricature of "Christianity is true because I feel it's true," which is a statement I think anyone who's read any of the pop atheist screeds happens to have heard. On a deeper level, I'm an evidentialist. I think we ought to believe in things we have good evidence for. Now what actually constitutes evidence is a different question, but the simple dodge of "there's no evidence for x" seems to a) not define what evidence is and b) fails to explain how the evidence presented is not representative of the point. Therefore, as an evidentialist, I don't really see how "the internal witness of the Holy Spirit" is not a circular argument. Well, how do you know the internal witness of the Holy Spirit? By having the internal witness of the Holy Spirit?

I might be a little bit overly harsh, but as someone who's not particularly blessed with a sensus divinatus, I don't see how such a claim can be justified. But, perhaps that's why I'm a Christian. I see Christianity as being eminently refutable, simply produce Jesus' body.

Chrawnus
08-11-2015, 06:52 PM
I might be a little bit overly harsh, but as someone who's not particularly blessed with a sensus divinatus, I don't see how such a claim can be justified. But, perhaps that's why I'm a Christian. I see Christianity as being eminently refutable, simply produce Jesus' body.

How would you know it's His body? :huh:

Also, if you are to believe the Catholics and Orthodox you can go and see Jesus' Body every time communion is held somewhere near you.

:outtie:

psstein
08-11-2015, 07:08 PM
How would you know it's His body? :huh:

Also, if you are to believe the Catholics and Orthodox you can go and see Jesus' Body every time communion is held somewhere near you.

:outtie:

Crucifixion generally left pretty distinctive marks. A number of years ago, the body of a crucified man was discovered near Jerusalem. The damage to the bones (as well as the fact the guy still had a nail and a chunk of wood with him) indicated a crucifixion. If the authorities produced the body of a crucified man from Joseph's tomb, it's a reasonable inference it was Jesus of Nazareth.

I believe in the true presence, yes. I'm talking about the full, Earthly body of Jesus, which ascended into heaven.

ShrimpMaster
08-11-2015, 08:28 PM
Unfortunately this is the weakest possible argument, which is the reason a said that his argument could be applied to many possible beliefs including atheism.

But it doesn't apply to atheism...

ShrimpMaster
08-11-2015, 08:39 PM
Plantinga is miles ahead of me when it comes to philosophy/theology/etc. I'm a college student who studies NT after only recently becoming a Christian, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

However, Plantinga's reformed epistemology seems, to me at least, like a disaster. On just a very surface level, I think it's open to the (unfair) caricature of "Christianity is true because I feel it's true," which is a statement I think anyone who's read any of the pop atheist screeds happens to have heard. On a deeper level, I'm an evidentialist. I think we ought to believe in things we have good evidence for. Now what actually constitutes evidence is a different question, but the simple dodge of "there's no evidence for x" seems to a) not define what evidence is and b) fails to explain how the evidence presented is not representative of the point. Therefore, as an evidentialist, I don't really see how "the internal witness of the Holy Spirit" is not a circular argument. Well, how do you know the internal witness of the Holy Spirit? By having the internal witness of the Holy Spirit?

I might be a little bit overly harsh, but as someone who's not particularly blessed with a sensus divinatus, I don't see how such a claim can be justified. But, perhaps that's why I'm a Christian. I see Christianity as being eminently refutable, simply produce Jesus' body. Hi psstein, first, i dont think the instigation of the Holy Spirit should be equated to feelings. I dont think that is a part of plantingas model. Second, the model is not circular. The sensus divinitatus produces the belief in God in a properly basic way and the Holy Spirit furnishes the believer with Christian beliefs. How a Christian comes to know the Holy Spirit has done this is an entirely different question.

shunyadragon
08-12-2015, 04:11 AM
But it doesn't apply to atheism...

Why not? If the atheists believe their belief is consistent with the intellectual life of an atheist that would make it consistent with reality of some sort. If it is Realized that the atheist does not need to provide a proof of the model he is supplying. In order for the atheist's model to be successful he just needs it to be possible. That is really all the objection calls for. If the atheist's model is even possible, then it furnishes an answer to the objection.

I could substitute virtually any belief in the argument and it would work. This line of reasoning is too egocentric to be an effective argument.

IF "X" believes that their belief is consistent with reality of some sort therefore . . .

ShrimpMaster
08-12-2015, 07:06 AM
Why not? If the atheists believe their belief is consistent with the intellectual life of an atheist that would make it consistent with reality of some sort. If it is Realized that the atheist does not need to provide a proof of the model he is supplying. In order for the atheist's model to be successful he just needs it to be possible. That is really all the objection calls for. If the atheist's model is even possible, then it furnishes an answer to the objection.

I could substitute virtually any belief in the argument and it would work. This line of reasoning is too egocentric to be an effective argument.

IF "X" believes that their belief is consistent with reality of some sort therefore . . .
First, it is a model - not an argument. This model does not apply to atheism or naturalism. Any kind of model from naturalism that adopts something like the instigation of the Holy Spirit would be entirely contradictory. How can you have a supernatural entity within naturalism?

firstfloor
08-12-2015, 02:39 PM
How can you have a supernatural entity within naturalism?A supernatural entity must be able to act on natural substances in a way that can be perceived naturally for it to be said to exist.

shunyadragon
08-12-2015, 07:30 PM
First, it is a model - not an argument. This model does not apply to atheism or naturalism. Any kind of model from naturalism that adopts something like the instigation of the Holy Spirit would be entirely contradictory. How can you have a supernatural entity within naturalism?

The problem is not whether is an argument or model. The model as worded doe not make the assumption as to whether there is a supernatural being or not, nor does it 'adopt something like the instigation of the Holy Spirit.'

To fit atheism, and many many variations, beliefs and religions you simply have to plug in the alternate beliefs including the possibility of atheism.

It simply argues weakly for the possibility of the belief being true.

shunyadragon
08-12-2015, 07:38 PM
Crucifixion generally left pretty distinctive marks. A number of years ago, the body of a crucified man was discovered near Jerusalem. The damage to the bones (as well as the fact the guy still had a nail and a chunk of wood with him) indicated a crucifixion. If the authorities produced the body of a crucified man from Joseph's tomb, it's a reasonable inference it was Jesus of Nazareth.

I believe in the true presence, yes. I'm talking about the full, Earthly body of Jesus, which ascended into heaven.

Problem there are records of many if not thousands crucifixions during the time Jesus lived. They have found a had impaled by nail. Could that be Jesus's hand? Yes it could, but not likely. They sarcophagus with the names of Joseph, Jesus, and Mary on it from the time of Jesus. There were remains in it, could this be Jesus family? No way of knowing.

Jichard
08-12-2015, 10:15 PM
JRichard: your responses are mostly around the basicality of beliefs, but I don't see that as a strong objection to Plantinga's model. It is mostly because all the criteria you supply is arbitrary.

You haven't shown that the criterion is universal sanction is arbitrary. If anything, Plantinga's position is the arbitrary one, since it provides no good reason for choosing one belief as properly basic over another. Instead, it's stuck in a form of epistemic relativism, where each community gets to define the beliefs they want as "properly basic" by fiat. So, for example, one could define belief in the Great Pumpkin's existence as properly basic.


Futher, even if you do provide a grounding for PBB without God does that actually handle Plantinga's model? I don't think so. As long as Plantinga's model is even possible, then he has answered the objection. Plantinga's model does not even need to be the strongest model possible. It just needs to be possible.

I made at least two objections to your OP's main point, none of which were addressed by what you wrote above.


First, Plantinga's defense is trivial, and can be employed in defense of almost any position. All one has to do is include an epistemic claim as apart of one's position. For example, an atheist could employ Plantinga's defense by doing the following:

1) define your atheist as including epistemic statements like the following: I came to my atheist position in a rational way, such that I can justifiably lack belief that God exists
2) then note that if anyone makes a de jure objection to your position, then they are also making a de facto objection as well, since they would be denying your epistemic statement
One could even do the same for belief in the Great Pumpkin's existence; just include epistemic claims like the following: I came to my belief in the Great Pumpkin in a rational way, such that I can justifiably belief in the Great Pumpkin. Then note that if anyone makes a de jure objection to your position, then they are also making a de facto objection as well.

Second, Plantinga's defense doesn't actually convert de jure objections to de facto objections, since it involves and ad hoc re-definition and strawman of what Christianity is committed to. After all, Christianity is not necessarily committed to anything like the extended A/C. So someone can have a de jure objection (without a de facoto objection) to what Christianity is actually committed to, even if they have a de facto objection to the strawman of Christianity that Plantinga erects.
To put this another way:

Call minimal Christianity or M-Christianity, the form or Christianity that includes the jointly necessary and sufficient conditions for being Christian. I'm denying that M-Christianity includes something like the extended A/C model.
Now, of course, a Christian could accept something like the extended A/C model and include this model in their form of Christianity. Call this form of Christianity (which includes something like the extended A/C model) AC-Christianity. I'm denying that AC-Christianity is entailed by M-Christianity.
I'm also saying that even if de jure objections to AC-Christianity commit one to de facto objections to AC-Christianity, that fails to rebut the fact that de jure objections to M-Christianity do not commit one to de facto objections to M-Christianity.

ShrimpMaster
08-13-2015, 07:48 AM
You haven't shown that the criterion is universal sanction is arbitrary. If anything, Plantinga's position is the arbitrary one, since it provides no good reason for choosing one belief as properly basic over another. Instead, it's stuck in a form of epistemic relativism, where each community gets to define the beliefs they want as "properly basic" by fiat. So, for example, one could define belief in the Great Pumpkin's existence as properly basic.
The objections Plantinga has in his book also apply to universal sanction (1) There are many beliefs which we accept in a properly basic way which aren’t universally sanctioned. For example, my belief that I had pancakes for breakfast is not pragmatically indispensable. Even if it were for me (which it’s not), it certainly isn’t for someone else who isn’t I and didn’t eat pancakes for breakfast. Most of our properly basic beliefs are highly individualized and therefore not universally sanctioned. (If you relativize your criterion to individual persons, then you’ll have to allow that for some people belief in God might be pragmatically indispensable!). (2) The belief that only universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic is not itself universally sanctioned. But neither is there any evidence that only universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic. So this objection doesn’t exclude the proper basicality of belief in God. Universal sanction is not superior to Plantinga's criterion, first, because Plantinga doesn’t have a criterion, and second, because universal sanction falls prey to the above objections. (Not to mention the fact that on your view, while our beliefs may be properly basic, they don’t seem to be really warranted, leaving us in almost utter skepticism!).


First, Plantinga's defense is trivial, and can be employed in defense of almost any position. All one has to do is include an epistemic claim as apart of one's position. For example, an atheist could employ Plantinga's defense by doing the following:
1) define your atheist as including epistemic statements like the following: I came to my atheist position in a rational way, such that I can justifiably lack belief that God exists
2) then note that if anyone makes a de jure objection to your position, then they are also making a de facto objection as well, since they would be denying your epistemic statement
Reformed epistemology cannot be supplied to bring a defense to any position. Atheism does not have the instigation of the Holy Spirit. Further, naturalism does not provide a foundation for the rational certainty of the human beliefs. Sure, by chance, evolution could produce a true belief (by accident), but there would be no way for humans to verify the truth value, since evolution is not a belief producing mechanism aimed at the production of true beliefs.


Second, Plantinga's defense doesn't actually convert de jure objections to de facto objections, since it involves and ad hoc re-definition and strawman of what Christianity is committed to. After all, Christianity is not necessarily committed to anything like the extended A/C. So someone can have a de jure objection (without a de facoto objection) to what Christianity is actually committed to, even if they have a de facto objection to the strawman of Christianity that Plantinga erects.
To put this another way:
Call minimal Christianity or M-Christianity, the form or Christianity that includes the jointly necessary and sufficient conditions for being Christian. I'm denying that M-Christianity includes something like the extended A/C model.
Now, of course, a Christian could accept something like the extended A/C model and include this model in their form of Christianity. Call this form of Christianity (which includes something like the extended A/C model) AC-Christianity. I'm denying that AC-Christianity is entailed by M-Christianity.
I'm also saying that even if de jure objections to AC-Christianity commit one to de facto objections to AC-Christianity, that fails to rebut the fact that de jure objections to M-Christianity do not commit one to de facto objections to M-Christianity.
The Christian scriptures include numerous passages that show the Holy Spirit instigates true beliefs in believers (John 16:13)... It also includes passages about faith and true belief. It even includes passages about the belief in God as properly basic (Romans 1:19). Further, this model is actually apart of minimal Christianity because the beliefs produced by the Holy Spirit would include things like "the Holy Spirit has produced these true beliefs in me", etc... Whether a lay-Christian actually understands this or not or does the work to figure it out is another question. Unless you plan on busting your objections out on your hopeless roommate or something?

shunyadragon
08-13-2015, 10:02 AM
Reformed epistemology cannot be supplied to bring a defense to any position. Atheism does not have the instigation of the Holy Spirit. Further, naturalism does not provide a foundation for the rational certainty of the human beliefs. Sure, by chance, evolution could produce a true belief (by accident), but there would be no way for humans to verify the truth value, since evolution is not a belief producing mechanism aimed at the production of true beliefs.

Again, the nature and structure of the 'model' does not make any theological presuppositions. It only assumes that a belief is 'properly basic' and 'consistent with reality of some sort.'
You have not answered the problem of why not? Falling back on Theistic assumptions for the argument does resolve the problems that the basic assumptions and structure of the 'model' applies to any belief system

If the atheists believe their belief is consistent with the intellectual life of an atheist that would make it consistent with reality of some sort. If it is Realized that the atheist does not need to provide a proof of the model he is supplying. In order for the atheist's model to be successful he just needs it to be possible. That is really all the objection calls for. If the atheist's model is even possible, then it furnishes an answer to the objection.

I could substitute virtually any belief in the 'model' and it would work. This line of reasoning is too egocentric to be an effective argument.

IF "X" believes that their belief is consistent with reality of some sort therefore . . .

This discussion of the definition may help:

Categories of beliefs:

Foundationalism holds that all beliefs must be justified in order to be believed. Beliefs therefore fall into two categories:
Beliefs that are properly basic, in that they do not depend upon justification of other beliefs, but on something outside the realm of belief (a "non-doxastic justification")
Beliefs that derive from one or more basic beliefs, and therefore depend on the basic beliefs for their validity

Description of basic beliefs:

Within this basic framework of foundationalism exist a number of views regarding which types of beliefs qualify as properly basic; that is, what sorts of beliefs can be justifiably held without the justification of other beliefs.

In classical foundationalism, beliefs are held to be properly basic if they are either self-evident axioms, or evident to the senses (empiricism). However Anthony Kenny and others have argued that this is a self-refuting idea.

In modern foundationalism, beliefs are held to be properly basic if they were either self-evident axiom or incorrigible.[3] One such axiom is René Descartes's axiom, Cogito ergo sum ("I think, therefore I am"). Incorrigible (lit. uncorrectable) beliefs are those one can believe without possibly being proven wrong. Notably, the evidence of the senses is not seen as properly basic because, Descartes argued, all our sensory experience could be an illusion.

In what Keith Lehrer has called "fallible foundationalism",[4] also known as "moderate foundationalism", the division between inferential and non-inferential belief is retained, but the requirement of incorrigibility is dropped. This, it is claimed, allows the senses to resume their traditional role as the basis of non-inferential belief despite their fallibility.
In reformed epistemology, beliefs are held to be properly basic if they are reasonable and consistent with a sensible world view.

Anti-foundationalism rejects foundationalism and denies there is some fundamental belief or principle which is the basic ground or foundation of inquiry and knowledge.

The highlighted above is a weak assumption that any one model only justifies one belief.

ShrimpMaster
08-13-2015, 01:09 PM
shunyadragon: your objection is akin to the Great Pumpkin objection in Plantinga's book. The objection goes as such; Reformed epistemology is so liberal that it allows belief in any sort of far-fetched entity to be justified as simply foundational or basic. For example, someone might take as basic the belief that The Great Pumpkin is all-powerful, just as the Reformed epistemologist takes a similar belief in God as basic. Perhaps the belief is grounded in an experiential belief, such as Plantinga describes. Thus, the objection intends to show that there must be something wrong with Reformed epistemology if it allows belief in the Great Pumpkin to be warranted as basic.

The objectors position is that the only grounding for PBB is based on the criteria of classical foundationalism (self-evidence, incorrigibility, and sense-perception). The objector thinks that if beliefs are not arrived at in this manner, then any belief can be properly basic. Plantinga's response is that it simply doesn't follow from the rejection of Classical Foundationalism, that all the possible criteria has been exhausted yet, this is exactly what the Great Pumpkin objection assumes.

Plantinga even goes further by saying that the position of the classical foundationalist is self-refuting, because how do they know that classical foundationalist criteria is the only criteria? It is certainly not self-evident, incorrigibile, or apparent to the senses.

Let's take this a step further... Properly basic beliefs are not groundless. They are brought about in the appropriate way by being in the correct circumstances by properly functioning cognitive faculties. When you are in the circumstances of being appeared to “treely,” you form a belief like “I see a tree.” True, if the circumstances you’re in are such that the Great Pumpkin really exists and has created us in such a way that we function properly by believing in him, then when we form the belief that the great Pumpkin exists, that belief is warranted and it can indeed be said to be properly basic. But how is this a problem for theism being construed as properly basic if true?

The Great Pumpkin Objection is an attempt to show that Plantinga’s understanding of theism as a properly basic belief can be reduced to absurdity, but the objection does no such thing. Plantinga’s explanation of properly basic beliefs was never intended to show that theism is true. All it shows is that if the God that he believes in does exist, then there’s a defensible account of how belief in this God can be properly basic. But likewise, if it were true that the great pumpkin did exist and the way that he interacts with creation likewise provides an account of how pumpkinism can be properly basic, fine. What this tells us – and this was really Plantinga’s point, is that you can’t dismiss the rationality of belief in God (or the great Pumpkin, if he is said to do these things), without first dismissing the truth of the belief, by declaring that in fact God does not do these things, or has not made the world this way, so that really belief in him cannot be properly basic after all. Excerpts taken from rightreason.org

Jichard
08-14-2015, 12:10 AM
The objections Plantinga has in his book also apply to universal sanction (1) There are many beliefs which we accept in a properly basic way which aren’t universally sanctioned. For example, my belief that I had pancakes for breakfast is not pragmatically indispensable. Even if it were for me (which it’s not), it certainly isn’t for someone else who isn’t I and didn’t eat pancakes for breakfast. Most of our properly basic beliefs are highly individualized and therefore not universally sanctioned.

I think you're again misunderstanding the criterion of universal sanction. If you want to review the criterion further, I suggest reading Tyler Wunder's discussion of the subject, or the blogpost I linked to.

Universal sanction is not about whether a particular belief is pragmatically indispensable. It's about whether the class of beliefs of which that belief is apart is universal sanctioned. And with that point in mind, it becomes clear that a memory belief is universally sanctioned, since the class of memory beliefs is universally sanctioned. Wunder makes this very point. For example:


"According to this criterion, a belief kind is universally sanctioned if a thorough-going, sincere skepticism towards those kinds of beliefs, as an entirety, is pragmatically inconceivable. To give you an example, consider memorial beliefs.
I’ve got a number of memories of various things. I’m constantly consulting my memory to tell me where this is, where that is. Presumably, even a little bit of what I should say next, because I have to keep in mind things that I’ve already said and just been saying.
I take these sorts of beliefs for granted, that memory beliefs are, each and every single one of them, guaranteed to be true, or that they’re believed in a dogmatic sort of way. I question individual memory beliefs all the time, both those of others, and those of myself.
This is something we all do, but what we don’t do, at least if we want to engage in a normal, sane, human life, is doubt, seriously doubt, all of our memories in total, all at once. To do so would completely undermine a normal human life, is the way that Sennett puts it.
So memory beliefs are universally sanctioned. Other minds beliefs, self-evident beliefs, incorrigible beliefs, perceptual beliefs, all of these seem to pass the universal sanction criterion quite well. Theistic belief, on the other hand, does not. Theistic belief is not universally sanctioned. (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551)"


(If you relativize your criterion to individual persons, then you’ll have to allow that for some people belief in God might be pragmatically indispensable!).

Theistic belief is not universally sanctioned since the class of theistic beliefs are pragmatically dispensable. We know that this class of belief is pragmatically dispensable since there are hundreds of millions of atheists who lack the class of theistic beliefs, and get on just fine.


(2) The belief that only universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic is not itself universally sanctioned.

False. That belief is actually universally sanctioned. For example, if you don't accept that universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic (i.e. you don't accept that members of the class of pragmatically indispensable beliefs are appropriate starting points for reasoning, in the absence of strong defeators for those beliefs), then you're going to have massive trouble getting starting points for reasoning in your everyday life.


But neither is there any evidence that only universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic.

There's evidence that universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic. For example, one piece of particularist evidence is that universal sanction explains cases of belief that seem (primae facie) to be properly basic, such as memory beliefs.


So this objection doesn’t exclude the proper basicality of belief in God.

It shifts the burden of proof over to you, to actually show that theistic belief is properly basic. That's importance because beliefs don't get to be properly basic by fiat; otherwise, one could label any old absurd belief as properly basic and use that to dodge criticism of the belief (as per the Great Pumpkin objection and the charge of epistemic relativism). One instead needs to provide some reason for treating a belief as properly basic. Universal sanction provides such a reason. But neither you nor Plantinga provide a reason for treating theistic belief as properly basic. So that means we have no reason to treat theistic belief as properly basic.


Universal sanction is not superior to Plantinga's criterion, first, because Plantinga doesn’t have a criterion, and second, because universal sanction falls prey to the above objections.

Universal sanction is superior to Plantinga's position, since it doesn't fall prey to the epistemic relativism that plagues Plantinga's position, especially in the form of the Great Pumpkin objection. And I just addressed your aformentioned objections.


(Not to mention the fact that on your view, while our beliefs may be properly basic, they don’t seem to be really warranted, leaving us in almost utter skepticism!).

I do not know where you got that idea from; I'm not a global skeptic. And nowhere did I imply that universally sanctioned beliefs [or more precisely: a belief that is in a universally sanctioned class of beliefs] are not warranted.

I think you're again conflating a discussion of proper basicality with a discussion of warrant. I'm discussing proper basicality, not warrant, since universal sanction is being offered as a criterion of proper basicality, not warrant. If you want to discuss warrant and a criterion of warrant, that's another matter.


Reformed epistemology cannot be supplied to bring a defense to any position. Atheism does not have the instigation of the Holy Spirit.

One doesn't need to employ Reformed epistemology in order to employ a defense akin to Plantinga's. Instead, as I noted in my previous post, one just needs to define one's position as including certain epistemic claims, such as claiming that one's position is rational and warranted. Reformed epistemology is simply one way of doing that; there are other's ways available.


Further, naturalism does not provide a foundation for the rational certainty of the human beliefs.

Which is irrelevant, since certainty is not required for knowledge nor warrant nor proper basicality.


Sure, by chance, evolution could produce a true belief (by accident), but there would be no way for humans to verify the truth value, since evolution is not a belief producing mechanism aimed at the production of true beliefs.

I already addressed that:



False. This is an issue dealt with by philosophers of biology like Paul Griffiths (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRA06xlzOq0) (though one need not accept Griffith's account of "truth" to accept the other aspects of his reply). To discuss it further, what you wrote makes as little sense as saying:

"Genetic/developmental processes would be aimed at producing wings that are conducive to the survival of the species. Whether those wings fly is not relevant to evolution."
The mistakes with such a claim are apparent. For example, it overlooks the fact that wings help the organism's survival, in large part, due to the wings being capable of flight. Parallel point for beliefs and cognitive processes: they tend to help the organisms survival, in large part, due to the beliefs being true and the cognitive processes resulting in largely true beliefs. To put the point another way: you're basically overlooking the features (such as being true) that help a trait realize the role of aiding in an organism's survival. Roles have realizers.

Now, of course, you can construct some logically possible scenario where false beliefs promote survival. But that doesn't undermine the point, anymore than does pointing out some logically possible scenario in which wings aid an organism's survival without that aid being due to flight. Logical possibility does not imply plausibility or being likely.


The Christian scriptures include numerous passages that show the Holy Spirit instigates true beliefs in believers (John 16:13)... It also includes passages about faith and true belief.

The Bible also includes passages where God seems to befuddle people's cognitive systems for God's own purposes. For example: by hardening people's hearts, by sowing confusion amongst people (for instance: by blocking their ability to communicate), etc. Similarly, God could have designed humans such that they are quite prone to being befuddled and confused by God, befuddled/confused by aspects of a fallen world, etc. This might be particularly amenable to something like Calvinism, where God saves whom God chooses to save, and will either leave the rest to their own confusions or actively participate in confusing them.


It even includes passages about the belief in God as properly basic (Romans 1:19).

Unless you're calling hundreds of millions of atheists liars, then God's existence has not been made plain to everyone nor does everyone know of a God who exists (with a divine nature and eternal power).

By the way, how did you get "the belief in God as properly basic" from that verse? Because I don't see it. I can see Paul claiming that God's existence is made plain to some people. If you take that to imply proper basicality, then quite a few absurd beliefs would be properly basic, as per the Great Pumpkin objection. For example, it could be plain to some people that the Great Pumpkin exists, and thus, on your criterion, belief in the Great Pumpkin's existence is properly basic.


Further, this model is actually apart of minimal Christianity because the beliefs produced by the Holy Spirit would include things like "the Holy Spirit has produced these true beliefs in me", etc... Whether a lay-Christian actually understands this or not or does the work to figure it out is another question.

I dot think you recognize how strong a claim you're making. Remember, minimal Christianity includes the claims jointly necessary and sufficient for being a Christian. So what you said above entails that if someone does not accept that:

"the beliefs produced by the Holy Spirit would include things like "the Holy Spirit has produced these true beliefs in me", etc."
then they aren't Christian. And if being Christian is a pre-requisite for salvation, then that means they aren't saved unless they accept the above quoted claim.

Those are some incredible strong claims you're making. And I reject them. I don't see where in the Bible it's said that, in order to be Christian, one needs to accept something like the A/C model or think that the Holy Spirit has produced true beliefs in ones. It suffices to believe that Jesus Christ is God, to have faith in him, to think he's the sole means to one's salvation, etc. without knowing what produced these beliefs in oneself (for example: not knowing if they result from the Holy Spirit).

ShrimpMaster
08-14-2015, 06:53 AM
JRichard: I won't respond to your entire post. We are mostly talking past each other at this point and I don't have the time to complete a thorough response.

Universal sanction is not about whether a particular belief is pragmatically indispensable. It's about whether the class of beliefs of which that belief is apart is universal sanctioned.
First, by relativizing beliefs to classes you do yourself no favor. First, I would say that theistic beliefs are universally sanctioned, because theistic beliefs would even include beliefs like "God does not exist", etc... In which case you end up with a class of beliefs that include contradictory results per the individual. Classes do no justice. Further, this type of universal sanction is now arbitrary. Who decides the classes? I know your response already and you will tell me that atheism is not a belief or negative beliefs don't qualify or something. Arbitrary.

Second, your response concerning evolution and natural selection is just sad. Do you even understand the Origin of Species? My point is that evolution is concerned with survival. Truth value and survival are not synonymous. Let's take the example of a frog. A frog is sitting on a lilly pad and sees a black dot (bug) flying about in front of him. He then shoots out his tongue and eats it. Let's see here, we now have a frog who is performing his duties according to natural selection that are condusive for his survival, but what about the beliefs that frog maintains concerning the fly? Does he actually consider it food? What if he thinks it something completely different from a food source? My point is that these beliefs are irrelevant to whether or not the frog shoots his tongue out of his mouth and eats the fly.

The rest of your post I don't think is response worthy.

shunyadragon
08-14-2015, 01:16 PM
JRichard: I won't respond to your entire post. We are mostly talking past each other at this point and I don't have the time to complete a thorough response.

First, by relativizing beliefs to classes you do yourself no favor. First, I would say that theistic beliefs are universally sanctioned, because theistic beliefs would even include beliefs like "God does not exist", etc... In which case you end up with a class of beliefs that include contradictory results per the individual. Classes do no justice. Further, this type of universal sanction is now arbitrary. Who decides the classes? I know your response already and you will tell me that atheism is not a belief or negative beliefs don't qualify or something. Arbitrary.

Second, your response concerning evolution and natural selection is just sad. Do you even understand the Origin of Species? My point is that evolution is concerned with survival. Truth value and survival are not synonymous. Let's take the example of a frog. A frog is sitting on a lilly pad and sees a black dot (bug) flying about in front of him. He then shoots out his tongue and eats it. Let's see here, we now have a frog who is performing his duties according to natural selection that are condusive for his survival, but what about the beliefs that frog maintains concerning the fly? Does he actually consider it food? What if he thinks it something completely different from a food source? My point is that these beliefs are irrelevant to whether or not the frog shoots his tongue out of his mouth and eats the fly.

The rest of your post I don't think is response worthy.

I will qualify this post as a failure to respond to an excellent well thought out short essay, and digging your own hole deeper. IF your going to include atheists into the rather broad universal concept of Theism, therefore any version of 'Theism' can use Plantinga's generic argument that the only specific criteria is 'Properly basic beliefs' and it is possible. In your own definition it would be arbitrary to exclude any variation of Theism from applying Plantinga's model to justify any one particular belief.

Bill the Cat
08-14-2015, 03:00 PM
I will qualify this post ....

No one asked you Frank :glare:

Jichard
08-15-2015, 04:59 PM
This is the post of mine that you're responding to: http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230722#post230722


JRichard: I won't respond to your entire post. We are mostly talking past each other at this point and I don't have the time to complete a thorough response.

First, by relativizing beliefs to classes you do yourself no favor. First, I would say that theistic beliefs are universally sanctioned, because theistic beliefs would even include beliefs like "God does not exist", etc... In which case you end up with a class of beliefs that include contradictory results per the individual.

First, that makes no sense. If you read what I or Wunder was saying in context, then you would know that "theistic beliefs" refers to beliefs one would have as apart of being a theist; that is: as apart of being someone who believes that a deity exists. Given that, "God does not exist" could not be a theistic belief.

Second, your point is irrelevant since I'm not trying to argue that "God does not exist" is a universally sanctioned belief; that is: T'm not trying to argue that "God does not exist" is a properly basic belief.


Classes do no justice.

Yes they do. As Wunder notes, it's fairly uncontroversial that beliefs can be divined into classes/kinds/types of belief:


"Basically, the gist of universal sanction, well, to start off, I have to stipulate that beliefs can be somewhat meaningfully divided up into categories or kinds and in the context of the present discussion, this is not a terribly controversial assumption.
We’ve already been talking about, ‘self-evident beliefs,’ versus ‘incorrigible beliefs,’ versus ‘perceptual and other minds and memory beliefs,’ and theistic beliefs. So this is not a controversial assumption, but universal sanction works with this idea of kinds of beliefs. (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551)"


Further, this type of universal sanction is now arbitrary. Who decides the classes? I know your response already and you will tell me that atheism is not a belief or negative beliefs don't qualify or something. Arbitrary.

We've had this discussion before: asking who decides that X? is not a relevant point, since whether or not X is the case does not depend on people's decisions.


"People define it, as do people define all their terms. Anyway, what you just said isn't a meaningful objection; it'd be akin to objecting to evolutionary biology by saying who defines "evolution" or objecting to Christianity by saying who defined the "Christian God". It's not a meaningful objection, since asking who defines terms does nothing to undermine the support for a claim nor show it's false. And it's quite trivially easy to answer the sorts of questions, as I explained: people define terms. Furthermore, your point likely conflates terms with to what the terms refer. Yes, humans can define terms like "normal", "evolution", etc. That doesn't change the fact that the particulars/processes/properties/etc. to which those terms refer, exist or don't exist regardless of human's definitions of their terms. To say otherwise is to commit a use/mention mistake. (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=226806#post226806)"

Nor is it arbitrary, since one can have reasons for noting similarities and differences between beliefs, and grouping beliefs into classes based on those similarities/differences, just as one can group other particulars together (ex: organisms, building, etc.) into classes based on similarities and differences between particulars. After all, that's one of the main ways humans identify the properties of particulars. Even you do that. After all, that is what you use to identify "God" as being different from the class of "non-God" particulars.


Second, your response concerning evolution and natural selection is just sad. Do you even understand the Origin of Species?

Please don't get snarky; I've been more than respectful to you. My background is in biology and philosophy. I understand evolutionary biology quite well; same with philosophy of biology as it relates it evolution and epistemology. That's how I can recognize some of the mistakes in what you were saying.

By the way, evolutionary biology and philosophy of biology have progressed since Darwin was wrote Origin. I gave you one such recent source in that progression: the philosopher of biology Paul Griffiths. I suggest reading people like him, Michael Ruse, Richard Joyce, Kim Sterelny, etc. to help familiarize yourself with the field. Because the arguments you're making won't past muster in contemporary philosophy of biology.

Anyway, here are some further sources on this topic, if you're genuinely interested:


Stephens, Christopher L. "When Is It Selectively Advantageous to Have True Beliefs? Sandwiching the Better Safe than Sorry Argument." (http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/cstephens/Chris_Stephens_Website/Research_files/C.%20Stephens%20Selectively%20Advantageous%20to%20 be.pdf)

Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby. "Consider the Source: The Evolution of Adaptations for Decoupling and Metarepresentation." (http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/metarep.html)


My point is that evolution is concerned with survival.

Evolution is not literally "concerned" with anything. And as I previously told you (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=226806#post226806), there are evolutionary processes other than natural selection and random mutation. That's biology 101. Furthermore, natural selection can favor a trait that harms an individual's survival. For example, this happens in the context of kin selection in eusocial insects. I'm surprised you're not aware of this, since it's pretty introductory stuff and you thought you knew enough to say to me, "your response concerning evolution and natural selection is just sad. Do you even understand the Origin of Species?".


Truth value and survival are not synonymous.

They don't need to be synonymous in order for true beliefs to be helpful in an organism's survival, anymore that "being a wing that is useful for flight" and "survival" need to be synonymous in order for wings (that are useful in flight) to be useful in an organism's survival.

Synonymy between X and Y, is not necessary for their to be a causal link between X and Y. In fact, as Hume noted, causal links preclude synonymy.


Let's take the example of a frog. A frog is sitting on a lilly pad and sees a black dot (bug) flying about in front of him. He then shoots out his tongue and eats it. Let's see here, we now have a frog who is performing his duties according to natural selection that are condusive for his survival, but what about the beliefs that frog maintains concerning the fly? Does he actually consider it food? What if he thinks it something completely different from a food source? My point is that these beliefs are irrelevant to whether or not the frog shoots his tongue out of his mouth and eats the fly.

First, your phrase "performing his duties according to natural selection" makes no sense.

Second, your analogy is irrelevant if frogs behaviors are not causally influenced by beliefs with propositional content. After all, natural selection cannot select for cognitive processes that produce true beliefs if there aren't any beliefs there to begin with, nor would your frog analogy be relevant to humans since humans do have beliefs that causally-influence our behavior. And it's not clear that frogs do have such beliefs. The frog's behavior may be regulated without beliefs. After all, different organisms regulate their behavior in different ways. So just as a frog might regulate it's behavior using a nervous system that lacks beliefs, a bacteria might regulate it's behavior without a nervous system and a human might regulate it's behavior using a nervous system that has causally-efficacious beliefs.

Third, but let's suppose that the frogs behavior are causally influenced by beliefs that the frog has. It is possible for natural selection to pick up on the causal effects of those beliefs. One reason you miss this point, is because you have only one round of selection. More precisely, in your above frog case, you have one round of selection based on the frog catching one fly. But natural selection does not proceed based on just one round of selection. Instead natural selection is iterative, insofar as their are multiple rounds of selection in different contexts. So, for instance, it just won't be a matter of the frog catching a fly on one occasion. It might be the frog catching a fly in a different environment, or the frog communicating information about the fly to its descendants / group members so that those members can help the frog catch flies, or the frog making plans to get the fly later on (even though the frog is not currently present), or... Notice that in each of these scenarios, it helps for the frog to believe that flies are a food source. This belief will causally regulate what the frog does in each scenario. Hence natural selection being to help pick up on the frog having this true belief. Also notice that in my discussion, I've made the frog more human-like (or really, more social-mammal-like) in its cognition. And that's because that's what you need to do when explaining how natural selection operates on human cognition / human beliefs. Humans are cognitively complex organisms that plan, communicate, etc., as are many other social mammals. And human beliefs causally influence how humans operate when planning, communicating, etc. Thus, these multiple instances of planning, communicating, etc. provide further rounds of selections for the causal effects of a particular beliefs, including true beliefs who's causal effects differ from those of false beliefs.


The rest of your post I don't think is response worthy.

Didn't you start your post by claiming that you didn't have enough time to respond?

"I don't have the time to complete a thorough response."
Now you're claiming that the rest of my post is not response-worthy. So which is: do you not have enough time to respond to my post, or is my post not worthy of a response from you.

In either event, I don't really mind. I think you're just coming up with rationalizations for not responding, since you can address the rest of what I wrote.

JimL
08-16-2015, 04:02 PM
That it not irrational to take belief in God as properly basic. So when atheists dismiss theism as an irrational or stupid they are not on solid logical ground. Hence the theist need not be intimidated by that groundless objection, and is well with in his rational rights.
Plantingas argument itsef is irrational. He bases his notion of a properly basic belief on a supposed cognitive faculty "sensus divinitatis" which itself there is no evidence for. The only thing that Plantinga actually proves is that belief in god is properly basic, if the existence of god is true, which doesn't get him anywhere.

psstein
08-16-2015, 04:27 PM
Plantingas argument itsef is irrational. He bases his notion of a properly basic belief on a supposed cognitive faculty "sensus divinitatis" which itself there is no evidence for. The only thing that Plantinga actually proves is that belief in god is properly basic, if the existence of god is true, which doesn't get him anywhere.

Yeah, I'm pretty much in the same boat. I don't really see how Plantinga's Reformed Epistemology isn't circular. I think Kai Nielson's (haven't read it in a long time, going off memory) essay in Debating Christian Theism is a pretty strong indictment.

seer
08-16-2015, 04:54 PM
Plantingas argument itsef is irrational. He bases his notion of a properly basic belief on a supposed cognitive faculty "sensus divinitatis" which itself there is no evidence for. The only thing that Plantinga actually proves is that belief in god is properly basic, if the existence of god is true, which doesn't get him anywhere.

I'm not saying that I agree or disagree Plantinga, I'm only trying to explain the upshot of his argument. As a matter of fact I don't agree with the whole property basic argument, whether religious or not.

ShrimpMaster
08-17-2015, 11:56 AM
...Yes they do. As Wunder notes, it's fairly uncontroversial that beliefs can be divined into classes/kinds/types of belief:


"Basically, the gist of universal sanction, well, to start off, I have to stipulate that beliefs can be somewhat meaningfully divided up into categories or kinds and in the context of the present discussion, this is not a terribly controversial assumption.
We’ve already been talking about, ‘self-evident beliefs,’ versus ‘incorrigible beliefs,’ versus ‘perceptual and other minds and memory beliefs,’ and theistic beliefs. So this is not a controversial assumption, but universal sanction works with this idea of kinds of beliefs. (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551)"

We've had this discussion before: asking who decides that X? is not a relevant point, since whether or not X is the case does not depend on people's decisions.

Nor is it arbitrary, since one can have reasons for noting similarities and differences between beliefs, and grouping beliefs into classes based on those similarities/differences, just as one can group other particulars together (ex: organisms, building, etc.) into classes based on similarities and differences between particulars. After all, that's one of the main ways humans identify the properties of particulars. Even you do that. After all, that is what you use to identify "God" as being different from the class of "non-God" particulars.

I have given a number of reasons to reject universal sanction in relation to pragmatic indispensability. You replied with Tyler Wunder's spin on universal sanction that groups beliefs into classes. I considered this arbitrary and you are saying that it is not because the class of the belief is not based on humans decisions. This is not a good response. Why? Because I can classify my belief in God under any number of umbrellas. I could even create a class called "beliefs in relation to the purpose of human life". This would include theistic beliefs like "God exists" and even secular beliefs like "make lots of money", "get straight A's", "impress other people", etc... Why is this important? Because it shows that the classification of beliefs is actually based on human decisions, which is arbitrary. Further, you stated that Tyler Wunder's criteria does not include pragmatic indispensability as a criteria. Then how are classes determined to be properly basic under Tyler Wunder's epistemology?

Finally, your rejection of reformed epistemology in favor of Tyler Wunder's universal sanction is useless. Why? Because Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model. He is saying that "if Christianity is true, then his model or something like it is true". Why is this important? Because universal sanction does nothing to object to the truth of Christianity, therefore, if Chrisitanity is true, then Plantinga's model would be true under universal sanction, because the sensus divinitatus would be a universally sanctioned belief producing process.

All in all I reject Tyler Wunder's universal sanction because it is arbitrary, and because Plantinga's model is superior. Further, it does nothing to object to the outcome of Plantinga's project, so it is useless in this discussion. Not only that, but (like I said previously) universal sanction would leave us all in utter skepticism.


By the way, evolutionary biology and philosophy of biology have progressed since Darwin was wrote Origin. I gave you one such recent source in that progression: the philosopher of biology Paul Griffiths. I suggest reading people like him, Michael Ruse, Richard Joyce, Kim Sterelny, etc. to help familiarize yourself with the field. Because the arguments you're making won't past muster in contemporary philosophy of biology.
It actually hasn't, but I digress...


Evolution is not literally "concerned" with anything. And as I previously told you (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=226806#post226806), there are evolutionary processes other than natural selection and random mutation. That's biology 101. Furthermore, natural selection can favor a trait that harms an individual's survival. For example, this happens in the context of kin selection in eusocial insects. I'm surprised you're not aware of this, since it's pretty introductory stuff and you thought you knew enough to say to me, "your response concerning evolution and natural selection is just sad. Do you even understand the Origin of Species?".

They don't need to be synonymous in order for true beliefs to be helpful in an organism's survival, anymore that "being a wing that is useful for flight" and "survival" need to be synonymous in order for wings (that are useful in flight) to be useful in an organism's survival.

Synonymy between X and Y, is not necessary for their to be a causal link between X and Y. In fact, as Hume noted, causal links preclude synonymy.

You miss the point. I am not arguing that evolution cannot produce true beliefs. By chance it can, but there is no way to know what beliefs are true and what are not. Since evolution is not a belief producing process successfully aimed at the production of true beliefs, then we have a defeater for all beliefs that we hold including naturalism. I am sure you understand Plantinga's argument. You said it yourself at the beginning... "Evolution is not literally "concerned" with anything" - time for you to eat your words.


Second, your analogy is irrelevant if frogs behaviors are not causally influenced by beliefs with propositional content. After all, natural selection cannot select for cognitive processes that produce true beliefs if there aren't any beliefs there to begin with, nor would your frog analogy be relevant to humans since humans do have beliefs that causally-influence our behavior. And it's not clear that frogs do have such beliefs. The frog's behavior may be regulated without beliefs. After all, different organisms regulate their behavior in different ways. So just as a frog might regulate it's behavior using a nervous system that lacks beliefs, a bacteria might regulate it's behavior without a nervous system and a human might regulate it's behavior using a nervous system that has causally-efficacious beliefs.

I am not really interested in arguing about whether a frog's behaviors are regulated by beliefs or not.


Third, but let's suppose that the frogs behavior are causally influenced by beliefs that the frog has. It is possible for natural selection to pick up on the causal effects of those beliefs. One reason you miss this point, is because you have only one round of selection. More precisely, in your above frog case, you have one round of selection based on the frog catching one fly. But natural selection does not proceed based on just one round of selection. Instead natural selection is iterative, insofar as their are multiple rounds of selection in different contexts. So, for instance, it just won't be a matter of the frog catching a fly on one occasion. It might be the frog catching a fly in a different environment, or the frog communicating information about the fly to its descendants / group members so that those members can help the frog catch flies, or the frog making plans to get the fly later on (even though the frog is not currently present), or... Notice that in each of these scenarios, it helps for the frog to believe that flies are a food source. This belief will causally regulate what the frog does in each scenario. Hence natural selection being to help pick up on the frog having this true belief. Also notice that in my discussion, I've made the frog more human-like (or really, more social-mammal-like) in its cognition. And that's because that's what you need to do when explaining how natural selection operates on human cognition / human beliefs. Humans are cognitively complex organisms that plan, communicate, etc., as are many other social mammals. And human beliefs causally influence how humans operate when planning, communicating, etc. Thus, these multiple instances of planning, communicating, etc. provide further rounds of selections for the causal effects of a particular beliefs, including true beliefs who's causal effects differ from those of false beliefs.

Certainly, it would help if the frogs believe that the flies are a food source - this does not mean that they do. Like I stated previously, evolution can produce true beliefs, but why would they be necessarily true? I am certain you would be a lunatic to argue that evolution can produce necessarily true beliefs. This is all the theist needs to show in order to have a defeater for the acceptance of naturalism. Further, this is just one frog who holds the wrong belief. What if you are that frog? Well you might die because you don't have the right belief, but what if it was a less important belief? Would evolution select for that? I don't see any reason it would. Further, there are any number of beliefs I could imagine that the frog could replace his belief that "the fly is a food source" with that would enable him to continue to search for and catch the fly. This means that the frog doesn't need to have a true belief for it to be selected in future generations and to enable the survival of the frog...


Didn't you start your post by claiming that you didn't have enough time to respond? Now you're claiming that the rest of my post is not response-worthy. So which is: do you not have enough time to respond to my post, or is my post not worthy of a response from you. Yes, I was saying that based on the time I have the rest is not worthy of a response. It was not meant as an insult.

ShrimpMaster
08-17-2015, 12:30 PM
Plantingas argument itsef is irrational. He bases his notion of a properly basic belief on a supposed cognitive faculty "sensus divinitatis" which itself there is no evidence for. The only thing that Plantinga actually proves is that belief in god is properly basic, if the existence of god is true, which doesn't get him anywhere.

JimL, Plantinga addresses this in his book. It isn't circular, because Plantinga is not supposing his model is true. His argument is that "if Christianity is true, then his model or something like it is true". There is a lot more to it than this, but if you want to research further I would suggest reading the book. Thanks

shunyadragon
08-17-2015, 03:12 PM
Finally, your rejection of reformed epistemology in favor of Tyler Wunder's universal sanction is useless. Why? Because Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model. He is saying that "if Christianity is true, then his model or something like it is true". Why is this important? Because universal sanction does nothing to object to the truth of Christianity, therefore, if Chrisitanity is true, then Plantinga's model would be true under universal sanction, because the sensus divinitatus would be a universally sanctioned belief producing process.

It is acknowledged that Plantinga's argument is not a proof, nor arguing for the truth of his model. My argument is that in the highlighted above is where any "X" belief or non-belief may be substituted to justify that IF "X" is true, than "X" would be true under universal sanction.

You may place this is a criteria for your argument, but I do not see any place in Plantinga's argument that 'sensus divinitatus is essential to the argument that a belief is properly basic, and possibly true. I consider any claim of the experience 'sensus divinitatus' to be too anecdotal and not even experienced by all Christians to justify it as universally sanctioned.


All in all I reject Tyler Wunder's universal sanction because it is arbitrary, and because Plantinga's model is superior. Further, it does nothing to object to the outcome of Plantinga's project, so it is useless in this discussion. Not only that, but (like I said previously) universal sanction would leave us all in utter skepticism.


Utter skepticism is not a bad choice over Plantinga's argument.

ShrimpMaster
08-18-2015, 07:06 AM
Plantingas argument itsef is irrational. He bases his notion of a properly basic belief on a supposed cognitive faculty "sensus divinitatis" which itself there is no evidence for. The only thing that Plantinga actually proves is that belief in god is properly basic, if the existence of god is true, which doesn't get him anywhere.
I didn't respond to the latter of your post. You're objection is that Plantinga's project doesn't do a whole lot. Remember that Plantinga is attempting to create an intellectually defensible account of Christianity. He isn't trying to prove the existence of God or even his model. All he is doing is creating a model that is possibly true given Christianity is true. This is enough to sustain his project.

ShrimpMaster
08-18-2015, 07:36 AM
It is acknowledged that Plantinga's argument is not a proof, nor arguing for the truth of his model. My argument is that in the highlighted above is where any "X" belief or non-belief may be substituted to justify that IF "X" is true, than "X" would be true under universal sanction.
Well, that would be a good argument against universal sanction if anything, but that is not necessarily true. A belief being true is not all that is required for it to be warranted. Plantinga gives the example of a person (say Mike) who believes a really bad baseball team is going to win the World Series. Imagine the season starts and they trade away all of their good players and Mike is still convinced that they are going to win the world series. It turns out the baseball team actually does end up winning the world series despite the poor circumstances. Plantinga's question is that does Mike's belief constitute warrant? No, says Plantinga. In Mike's case it would have been more like a really lucky guess. Plantinga's project is really about what distinguishes a belief from knowledge. Plantinga calls this "warrant", so there is a large criteria around what makes a belief warranted.

Let's consider naturalism for a second. JRichard and I have been talking about evolution with respect to naturalism. Is the belief in naturalism warranted, if true? Like Christianity? Plantinga says it is not. Why is that? Because the model for naturalism includes a belief producing process (evolution) that is not aimed at the production of true beliefs. Like I said before, evolution may produce true beliefs, but it does not mean that evolution necessarily produces true beliefs. Therefore, even if naturalism is true it is not warranted, because we now have a defeater for all of our beliefs including naturalism.


You may place this is a criteria for your argument, but I do not see any place in Plantinga's argument that 'sensus divinitatus is essential to the argument that a belief is properly basic, and possibly true. I consider any claim of the experience 'sensus divinitatus' to be too anecdotal and not even experienced by all Christians to justify it as universally sanctioned.

The sensus divinitatus is essential to Plantinga's model in that it describes how the belief in God can be properly basic. Realize that you hold a lot of beliefs in the same manner Plantinga describes the sensus divinitatus. Memory beliefs, beliefs in the reality of the past, the belief that your friend has a mind and is not a robot, apriori beliefs, etc...


Utter skepticism is not a bad choice over Plantinga's argument.
It is a good book if you have the time and mind for it.

seer
08-18-2015, 08:03 AM
It is a good book if you have the time and mind for it.

And if you have the time SM, you may want to jump in on this discussion about the Euthyphro dilemma and objective moral values. "The Thinker" is quoting Mr. Koons - claiming that God's goodness would be unintelligible.


http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7255-Another-Christian-Being-Offered-On-The-PC-Alter/page90

shunyadragon
08-18-2015, 03:20 PM
Well, that would be a good argument against universal sanction if anything, but that is not necessarily true. A belief being true is not all that is required for it to be warranted. Plantinga gives the example of a person (say Mike) who believes a really bad baseball team is going to win the World Series. Imagine the season starts and they trade away all of their good players and Mike is still convinced that they are going to win the world series. It turns out the baseball team actually does end up winning the world series despite the poor circumstances. Plantinga's question is that does Mike's belief constitute warrant? No, says Plantinga. In Mike's case it would have been more like a really lucky guess. Plantinga's project is really about what distinguishes a belief from knowledge. Plantinga calls this "warrant", so there is a large criteria around what makes a belief warranted.

Your adding another Plantinga argument to the model, which Plantinga argues against Naturalism. This would be going beyond the intent of the model. I was criticized by other Twebers for bringing up the problems with the other arguments by Plantinga, because they considered them not relevant to this model. Also, Plantinga's argument against Naturalism using evolution has been widely criticized, because of his misuse of the science of evolution to justify an unsound argument. Plantinga argues for the necessity of Design in his belief in evolution for it to result in 'true beliefs', which is not a falsifiable in science and has failed in all attempts by the Discovery Institutes efforts to establish a scientific basis for it. every argument

Plantinga asserting that this belief does not constitute warrant amounts to an unfounded assertion, and falls like a House of Cards..


Let's consider naturalism for a second. JRichard and I have been talking about evolution with respect to naturalism. Is the belief in naturalism warranted, if true? Like Christianity? Plantinga says it is not. Why is that? Because the model for naturalism includes a belief producing process (evolution) that is not aimed at the production of true beliefs. Like I said before, evolution may produce true beliefs, but it does not mean that evolution necessarily produces true beliefs. Therefore, even if naturalism is true it is not warranted, because we now have a defeater for all of our beliefs including naturalism.

The fact that evolution does not necessarily produce true beliefs is a problem for Plantinga, because of the failure of 'Design arguments,' not Naturalists, unless Plantinga is prepared to reject the science of evolution. Plantinga considers certain beliefs warranted and others not based on arbitrary assumptions concerning the misuse of the science of evolution, and the necessity of assuming 'Design,' therefore a circular argument, because one must assume design and the necessity of a designer (God) for his argument to be valid.



The sensus divinitatus is essential to Plantinga's model in that it describes how the belief in God can be properly basic. Realize that you hold a lot of beliefs in the same manner Plantinga describes the sensus divinitatus. Memory beliefs, beliefs in the reality of the past, the belief that your friend has a mind and is not a robot, apriori beliefs, etc...

Problem Plantinga does not use sensus divinitatus as an assumption in his argument.



It is a good book if you have the time and mind for it.

JimL
08-18-2015, 08:20 PM
I didn't respond to the latter of your post. You're objection is that Plantinga's project doesn't do a whole lot. Remember that Plantinga is attempting to create an intellectually defensible account of Christianity. He isn't trying to prove the existence of God or even his model. All he is doing is creating a model that is possibly true given Christianity is true. This is enough to sustain his project.
Well, Plantinga could do the same for the flying spaghetti monster as well. Whats the point, that belief in the flying spaghetti monster is properly basic, if the flying spaghetti monster is true?

Jichard
08-18-2015, 10:23 PM
I have given a number of reasons to reject universal sanction in relation to pragmatic indispensability. You replied with Tyler Wunder's spin on universal sanction that groups beliefs into classes.

That's just not "Tyler Wunder's spin". That's what universal sanction was discussed as from the beginning, back when Sennett introduced it.


I considered this arbitrary and you are saying that it is not because the class of the belief is not based on humans decisions. This is not a good response. Why? Because I can classify my belief in God under any number of umbrellas. I could even create a class called "beliefs in relation to the purpose of human life". This would include theistic beliefs like "God exists" and even secular beliefs like "make lots of money", "get straight A's", "impress other people", etc... Why is this important? Because it shows that the classification of beliefs is actually based on human decisions, which is arbitrary.

Same mistake: you're conflating that fact that humans can make classifications/terms with humans determine the things to which those classifications/terms. Your mistake is as bad as saying that since humans define the term "cat", the existence of cats is arbitrary. This is ridiculous, since whether humans define how a certain term is used, has no bearing on whether the referents of the term exist. To say otherwise is to commit a use-mention mistake (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use%E2%80%93mention_distinction), where you're confusing people's defining a term (thus the mention of the term) with the people defining the referents of the term (thus using the term). Anyway, the similarities/differences between various beliefs are real, regardless of whether or not human beings develop classifications/terms to pick up on those similarities/differences. Their existence is not arbitrary, anymore than the existence of cats is arbitrary.

Now, given the existence of these differences between beliefs (differences we refer to using different classification systems/terms), Wunder's point follows. You seem to think you can undermine this point by pointing out that you can make other classification systems/terms. But how is that relevant? All that shows is that you can make new terms/classifications to refer to different stuff. That has no bearing on the existence of the properties pointed out by Wunder's classification, nor does it undermine the claims regarding universal sanction.


Further, you stated that Tyler Wunder's criteria does not include pragmatic indispensability as a criteria. Then how are classes determined to be properly basic under Tyler Wunder's epistemology?

Where did I claim that? I claimed that a particular belief is not the target of pragmatic indispensability, but instead it's skepticism about the class of beliefs that is the target of universal sanction.


Finally, your rejection of reformed epistemology in favor of Tyler Wunder's universal sanction is useless. Why? Because Plantinga is not arguing for the truth of his model.

You're still missing the point: Plantinga's defense depends on their being no plausible criterion of proper basicality, such that that criterion excludes theistic belief. He needs that in order to get his conclusion that theistic belief can be properly basic.


He is saying that "if Christianity is true, then his model or something like it is true".

And I've repeatedly explained the problem with that. Once again (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230341#post230341):



First, Plantinga's defense is trivial, and can be employed in defense of almost any position. All one has to do is include an epistemic claim as apart of one's position. For example, an atheist could employ Plantinga's defense by doing the following:

1) define your atheist as including epistemic statements like the following: I came to my atheist position in a rational way, such that I can justifiably lack belief that God exists
2) then note that if anyone makes a de jure objection to your position, then they are also making a de facto objection as well, since they would be denying your epistemic statement
One could even do the same for belief in the Great Pumpkin's existence; just include epistemic claims like the following: I came to my belief in the Great Pumpkin in a rational way, such that I can justifiably belief in the Great Pumpkin. Then note that if anyone makes a de jure objection to your position, then they are also making a de facto objection as well.

Second, Plantinga's defense doesn't actually convert de jure objections to de facto objections, since it involves and ad hoc re-definition and strawman of what Christianity is committed to. After all, Christianity is not necessarily committed to anything like the extended A/C. So someone can have a de jure objection (without a de facoto objection) to what Christianity is actually committed to, even if they have a de facto objection to the strawman of Christianity that Plantinga erects.
To put this another way:

Call minimal Christianity or M-Christianity, the form or Christianity that includes the jointly necessary and sufficient conditions for being Christian. I'm denying that M-Christianity includes something like the extended A/C model.
Now, of course, a Christian could accept something like the extended A/C model and include this model in their form of Christianity. Call this form of Christianity (which includes something like the extended A/C model) AC-Christianity. I'm denying that AC-Christianity is entailed by M-Christianity.
I'm also saying that even if de jure objections to AC-Christianity commit one to de facto objections to AC-Christianity, that fails to rebut the fact that de jure objections to M-Christianity do not commit one to de facto objections to M-Christianity.


Why is this important? Because universal sanction does nothing to object to the truth of Christianity, therefore, if Chrisitanity is true, then Plantinga's model would be true under universal sanction, because the sensus divinitatus would be a universally sanctioned belief producing process.

It's incorrect to claim that " the sensus divinitatus would be a universally sanctioned belief producing process". That is because even if something like the A/C model were true, that does not mean that the class of beliefs produced by the sensus diviniatus would be pragmatically indispensable. In fact, we already know such theistic beliefs are not pragmatically indispensable since atheists get on just fine without that class of beliefs.


All in all I reject Tyler Wunder's universal sanction because it is arbitrary,

It isn't. You haven't shown that it is. All you've done is make the trivial point that people come up with definitions for terms. That doesn't show arbitrariness with respect to the referents of those terms, anymore than I can shown that all of theology is arbitrary just because some people define the term "God" differently.


and because Plantinga's model is superior.

Plantinga's account is worse for reasons I've already gone over before. Once again (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230722#post230722):


"Universal sanction is superior to Plantinga's position, since it doesn't fall prey to the epistemic relativism that plagues Plantinga's position, especially in the form of the Great Pumpkin objection."


Further, it does nothing to object to the outcome of Plantinga's project, so it is useless in this discussion.

Addressed above.


Not only that, but (like I said previously) universal sanction would leave us all in utter skepticism.

You never showed that.


It actually hasn't, but I digress...

Are you seriously denying that evolutionary biology and philosophy of biology have progressed since Darwin wrote Origin?

I hope you're not saying that, since that would be a mind-numbingly stupid statement to make. So I really don't think you'd make a statement like that.


You miss the point. I am not arguing that evolution cannot produce true beliefs. By chance it can,

Natural selection is not chance.


but there is no way to know what beliefs are true and what are not.

Humans figure out which beliefs are true or false, fairly regularly. Evolution does not entail global skepticism.


Since evolution is not a belief producing process successfully aimed at the production of true beliefs, then we have a defeater for all beliefs that we hold including naturalism.

You've yet to show that.


I am sure you understand Plantinga's argument.

I do. I also explained why it fails.


You said it yourself at the beginning... "Evolution is not literally "concerned" with anything" - time for you to eat your words.

I don't have to eat any words. My statement was correct: ""Evolution is not literally "concerned" with anything" since evolution is not a mind. That was what I was pointing out. Evolution no more has concerns than gravity has concerns. However, that doesn't change the fact that evolution (in the form of natural selection) can select for true beliefs due to the causal effects of those beliefs. Evolution does not have to be "concerned" about anything in order to do that, anymore than gravity has to be concerned about a falling plane in order for gravity to cause planes to fall.


I am not really interested in arguing about whether a frog's behaviors are regulated by beliefs or not.

Then why did you bring up the example of a frog's behavior when discussing evolution selecting for beliefs? How does it make sense for you to do that, if the frog's behaviors are not causally regulated by beliefs?


Certainly, it would help if the frogs believe that the flies are a food source - this does not mean that they do. Like I stated previously, evolution can produce true beliefs, but why would they be necessarily true?

They don't need to be necessarily true. That is a strawman you're running, if you think that's Plantinga's argument. Plantinga is not claiming that the following is a necessary truth:

1: if a belief is selected for, then the belief is true
Instead, it suffices for the belief to be more likely to be true, the more rounds of selection that the belief makes it through.

Please read Plantinga's presentation of his argument and some of the literature that sprung in response the argument. No one peer-reviewed commentator I've seen (including Plantinga) says that his argument involves claim 1 being a necessary truth. No one. Instead Plantinga's argument is read in at least one of two ways: that evolutionary processes are unreliable when when it comes to producing true beliefs (this is often called the process interpretation of Plantinga's argument) or that evolutionary processes are no more likely to produce true beliefs than beliefs (this is often called the probabilistic interpretation). These two interpretations are equivalent to one another, if "reliable process" just means "a process that produces more true beliefs than false ones"). In any event, neither interpretation involves claim 1 being a necessary truth.


I am certain you would be a lunatic to argue that evolution can produce necessarily true beliefs.

You're playing loose with language here. Do you mean that evolutionary processes cannot result in organisms with necessarily true beliefs? If so, then you're wrong. For example, evolutionary processes can result in organisms that belief that "1 + 1 = 2". Or maybe you instead mean that I would be lunatic to claim 1 above is necessarily true? If so, your claim suffers from the problem I noted above; namely: you're strawmanning Plantinga's argument and claim 1 does not need to be necessarily true in order for an evolutionary naturalist to defend their position.


This is all the theist needs to show in order to have a defeater for the acceptance of naturalism.

False. Your claim makes no sense. Do you really think that all theists need to do is show that it's possible for an evolutionary naturalist to be wrong? Do you think that suffices for a defeater? If so, then I have a defeator for theism right here... it's possible that theism is false.

Yes, it's possible for natural select to select for a false belief, just like it's possible that a deity is deceiving theists into having a whole bunch of false beliefs. The mere possibility of that is not a defeater for theism nor evolutionary naturalism, anymore than the fact that it's possible that the universe began 5 minutes ago serves as a defeator for Big Bang cosmology. Showing that "X is possible" is only a defeator for positions that claim that "X is necessary". And evolutionary naturalism has never been committed to the claim that 1 is a necessary truth. To say otherwise is to strawman evolutionary naturalism.


Further, this is just one frog who holds the wrong belief. What if you are that frog? Well you might die because you don't have the right belief, but what if it was a less important belief? Would evolution select for that? I don't see any reason it would.

Evolution is more likely to pick up on the belief, the more rounds of selection that belief goes through. Furthermore, evolution can select for reliable cognition that results in more than true beliefs than false beliefs, even if evolution didn't select for a particular belief that results from such cognition. Thus a particular "less important belief" (as you call it) might be more likely to be true in virtue of being produced by a reliable cognitive system that was selected for by evolution, even if that particular "less important belief" was not itself selected for.


Further, there are any number of beliefs I could imagine that the frog could replace his belief that "the fly is a food source" with that would enable him to continue to search for and catch the fly. This means that the frog doesn't need to have a true belief for it to be selected in future generations and to enable the survival of the frog...

And in different circumstances, those beliefs would have causal effects that differed from those of the true beliefs. Those different causal effects would give natural selection further chances to select the true belief over those other beliefs.

Anyway, of course it's the case that it's logically possible to have another belief. But again, that's irelevant here since the standard is not necessity. Instead, it's likelihood.

It also might be in your interest to read the following paper I previously linked you to (you seemed to have ignored it in your response to my post):


Stephens, Christopher L. "When Is It Selectively Advantageous to Have True Beliefs? Sandwiching the Better Safe than Sorry Argument." (http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/cstephens/Chris_Stephens_Website/Research_files/C.%20Stephens%20Selectively%20Advantageous%20to%20 be.pdf)


Yes, I was saying that based on the time I have the rest is not worthy of a response. It was not meant as an insult.

Whatever.

ShrimpMaster
08-19-2015, 08:44 AM
JRichard, I will expand on my objections a little more so we have clarity...

Universal Sanction is not an adequate criterion for properly basicality because:
1) if for instance, there was a belief held in a specific region by 100% of the population and this belief was not universally sanctioned. Then the rest of the worlds population was destroyed - this would render this new belief as universally sanctioned. This is absurd to consider that some beliefs should be properly basic because they 'happen to be'.
2) Sennet does not conclude that rational intuition, introspection, perception and memory beliefs exhaust all of the types of beliefs that can be properly basic.
3) This relates to #1 and #2.... When we talk about whether or not a belief satisfies the pragmatic skepticism condition of universal sanction we actually don't have any idea what this means. When you say 'theism does not satisfy the pragmatic skepticism condition because atheists get along fine with theistic beliefs'... Well, you get along fine according to who? You don't have a relationship with God. Why do you think you get along fine? This criteria is not conclusive and it really depends on 'fine according to who?'. You might be able to survive, but fish survive without memory beliefs. Are you about to say that this is only essential to humans? Once again, an ad-hoc explanation. Further, if you make it based on some cognitive standard, then we certainly don't have any agreement, because a conclusion of Plantinga's model is that atheists are cognitively handicapped.

FYI, these three points should be taken together. Please do not reply to them individually...

Here we see the relativism of universal sanction. Theism can be said to be universally sanctioned because if theism is true, then atheists are cognitively handicapped. In the case of the above counterexample we have a group of individuals that after 'culling' the population end up as the majority. The only thing that stops a segment of the population from declaring their belief as universally sanctioned is majority opinion, which is an arbitrary criteria...

Regarding your objection that Plantinga's defense is trivial... The problem is that atheism cannot be said to be arrived at rationally. This is Plantinga's argument against naturalism. You also brought up the Great Pumpkin objection again. Here was the response I gave to shunydragon:


Properly basic beliefs are not groundless. They are brought about in the appropriate way by being in the correct circumstances by properly functioning cognitive faculties. When you are in the circumstances of being appeared to “treely,” you form a belief like “I see a tree.” True, if the circumstances you’re in are such that the Great Pumpkin really exists and has created us in such a way that we function properly by believing in him, then when we form the belief that the great Pumpkin exists, that belief is warranted and it can indeed be said to be properly basic. But how is this a problem for theism being construed as properly basic if true?

The Great Pumpkin Objection is an attempt to show that Plantinga’s understanding of theism as a properly basic belief can be reduced to absurdity, but the objection does no such thing. Plantinga’s explanation of properly basic beliefs was never intended to show that theism is true. All it shows is that if the God that he believes in does exist, then there’s a defensible account of how belief in this God can be properly basic. But likewise, if it were true that the great pumpkin did exist and the way that he interacts with creation likewise provides an account of how pumpkinism can be properly basic, fine. What this tells us – and this was really Plantinga’s point, is that you can’t dismiss the rationality of belief in God (or the great Pumpkin, if he is said to do these things), without first dismissing the truth of the belief, by declaring that in fact God does not do these things, or has not made the world this way, so that really belief in him cannot be properly basic after all. Excerpts taken from rightreason.org

In reply to your objection that "Plantinga's defense doesn't actually convert de jure objections to de facto objections, since it involves and ad hoc re-definition and strawman of what Christianity is committed to". Plantinga is meant to provide an intellectually defensible model of how Christian belief is warranted if true. This point is worthless, because he was not meaning to imply that knowledge of his model is required for salvation.

I never said that evolution cannot select for true beliefs. In fact, I clearly stated the opposite numerous times... I was saying that evolution does not select for necessarily true beliefs. For instance, the belief that 'my cognitive faculties are reliable'... P.S. I am using necessary in relation to pragmatic indispensability. This may be an interesting side discussion, so if you know how evolution selects for that, then please do tell.

I also did not intend to say Plantingas argument concludes evolution does not produce necessary truths. You are just distracting from the main discussion. Slightly tiring, because it is not a huge deal. The rest of what I said was still valid and on point with Plantinga's argument...


False. Your claim makes no sense. Do you really think that all theists need to do is show that it's possible for an evolutionary naturalist to be wrong? Do you think that suffices for a defeater? If so, then I have a defeator for theism right here... it's possible that theism is false.
No, you are confused again... I was showing that there is no intellectually defensible account of naturalism. I actually explicitly stated that naturalism can be true, yet the belief in naturalism would not be warranted given Plantinga's criteria.


Yes, it's possible for natural select to select for a false belief, just like it's possible that a deity is deceiving theists into having a whole bunch of false beliefs. The mere possibility of that is not a defeater for theism nor evolutionary naturalism, anymore than the fact that it's possible that the universe began 5 minutes ago serves as a defeator for Big Bang cosmology. Showing that "X is possible" is only a defeator for positions that claim that "X is necessary". And evolutionary naturalism has never been committed to the claim that 1 is a necessary truth. To say otherwise is to strawman evolutionary naturalism.
Now you are just harping on one mistake I made. Plantinga's argument is still cogent...


Evolution is more likely to pick up on the belief, the more rounds of selection that belief goes through. Furthermore, evolution can select for reliable cognition that results in more than true beliefs than false beliefs, even if evolution didn't select for a particular belief that results from such cognition. Thus a particular "less important belief" (as you call it) might be more likely to be true in virtue of being produced by a reliable cognitive system that was selected for by evolution, even if that particular "less important belief" was not itself selected for.
Right, evolution is a process that is taking place right now. What is the probability your beliefs are true at the current stage in evolution?

shunyadragon
08-20-2015, 10:37 AM
I never said that evolution cannot select for true beliefs. In fact, I clearly stated the opposite numerous times... I was saying that evolution does not select for necessarily true beliefs. For instance, the belief that 'my cognitive faculties are reliable'... P.S. I am using necessary in relation to pragmatic indispensability. This may be an interesting side discussion, so if you know how evolution selects for that, then please do tell.

I also did not intend to say Plantingas argument concludes evolution does not produce necessary truths. You are just distracting from the main discussion. Slightly tiring, because it is not a huge deal. The rest of what I said was still valid and on point with Plantinga's argument...

Your argument for a model now includes an argument against Naturalism, using a failed argument against Naturalism misusing the science of Evolution, and by de facto an argument for the existence of God. Therefore you are no longer just arguing for an 'IF true' model for the possibility that Christianity is a true belief.

There is a distinct problem here concerning the use of Evolution in Plantinga's arguments. There is no conceivable way Evolution can select for true beliefs, nor necessarily select for true beliefs in terms of religious beliefs, nor demonstrate whether God exists or not, nor whether Naturalism is true or not. Your foolish example of 1+1=2 is not in any way a 'belief' in the context of Plantinga's argument against Naturalism. To propose Evolution selects for true beliefs in Plantinga's argument, Design and the necessity of a Designer must be true or demonstrated by a falsifiable hypothesis, and this argument has failed miserably. The Discovery Institute has failed to demonstrate any falsifiable hypothesis concerning Design being remotely possible.

Jichard
08-20-2015, 12:00 PM
JRichard, I will expand on my objections a little more so we have clarity...

Universal Sanction is not an adequate criterion for properly basicality because:
1) if for instance, there was a belief held in a specific region by 100% of the population and this belief was not universally sanctioned. Then the rest of the worlds population was destroyed - this would render this new belief as universally sanctioned. This is absurd to consider that some beliefs should be properly basic because they 'happen to be'.

Once again, universal sanction is not about the number of people who hold a belief. You've been told this before (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=226806#post226806), yet you still keep asking as if it is about the number of people who accept a claim:


"Second, universal sanction is not a poll of how many people accept a claim. See here for further discussion of what universal sanction is:
Wunder, Tyler. "Warrant and Religious Epistemology: A Critique of Alvin Plantinga's Warrant Phase." (http://commonsenseatheism.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Wunder-Warrant-and-Religious-Epistemology.pdf)"


2) Sennet does not conclude that rational intuition, introspection, perception and memory beliefs exhaust all of the types of beliefs that can be properly basic.

Already addressed this (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230722#post230722):


"It shifts the burden of proof over to you, to actually show that theistic belief is properly basic. That's importance because beliefs don't get to be properly basic by fiat; otherwise, one could label any old absurd belief as properly basic and use that to dodge criticism of the belief (as per the Great Pumpkin objection and the charge of epistemic relativism). One instead needs to provide some reason for treating a belief as properly basic. Universal sanction provides such a reason. But neither you nor Plantinga provide a reason for treating theistic belief as properly basic. So that means we have no reason to treat theistic belief as properly basic."

So once again, universal sanction provides a justification for treating various types of beliefs as properly basic. Until you provide such a justification for taking the class of theistic beliefs as properly basic, there is no reason to treat theistic belief is properly basic.


3) This relates to #1 and #2.... When we talk about whether or not a belief satisfies the pragmatic skepticism condition of universal sanction we actually don't have any idea what this means.

Once again, the issue is not whether a particular belief is pragmatically indispensable. It's whether the class of beliefs is pragmatically indispensable. And it's pretty clear what it means for a class of beliefs to be pragmatically indispensable. I pointed this out to you before (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230722#post230722):


"Universal sanction is not about whether a particular belief is pragmatically indispensable. It's about whether the class of beliefs of which that belief is apart is universal sanctioned. And with that point in mind, it becomes clear that a memory belief is universally sanctioned, since the class of memory beliefs is universally sanctioned. Wunder makes this very point. For example:


"According to this criterion, a belief kind is universally sanctioned if a thorough-going, sincere skepticism towards those kinds of beliefs, as an entirety, is pragmatically inconceivable. To give you an example, consider memorial beliefs.
I’ve got a number of memories of various things. I’m constantly consulting my memory to tell me where this is, where that is. Presumably, even a little bit of what I should say next, because I have to keep in mind things that I’ve already said and just been saying.
I take these sorts of beliefs for granted, that memory beliefs are, each and every single one of them, guaranteed to be true, or that they’re believed in a dogmatic sort of way. I question individual memory beliefs all the time, both those of others, and those of myself.
This is something we all do, but what we don’t do, at least if we want to engage in a normal, sane, human life, is doubt, seriously doubt, all of our memories in total, all at once. To do so would completely undermine a normal human life, is the way that Sennett puts it.
So memory beliefs are universally sanctioned. Other minds beliefs, self-evident beliefs, incorrigible beliefs, perceptual beliefs, all of these seem to pass the universal sanction criterion quite well. Theistic belief, on the other hand, does not. Theistic belief is not universally sanctioned. (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551)""


When you say 'theism does not satisfy the pragmatic skepticism condition because atheists get along fine with theistic beliefs'... Well, you get along fine according to who?

According to, for example, modern psychology.

Anyway, you're again using you "according to who" question, even though that's irrelevant. The issue here isn't who makes the claim; the issue here is whether the claim is true/false, unjustified/justified, etc.. And given that, my claim is pretty well justified: atheists can get on pretty fine in their lives. That's one reason, for example why atheism is not classified as a mental disorder. That's in contrast to, for example, someone who thinks they are dead or someone who thinks that they cannot die no matter what they do (Cotard Delusion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotard_delusion)). A person with that delusion is going to have massive problems getting on in life.


You don't have a relationship with God. Why do you think you get along fine?

Because I'm able to get along in life just fine. I have productive relationships, can perform normal tasks like feeding myself and attending classes, I can interact with the outside world to perform my goals, I can reason about stuff using the evidence available to me, etc.


This criteria is not conclusive and it really depends on 'fine according to who?'.

Again, no it doesn't. Your "according to who" point is irrelevant, as I went over above.


You might be able to survive, but fish survive without memory beliefs.

We've been over this with your comparison of frogs and humans (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=231327#post231327): if you're going to talk about an organisms who's behavior is causally influenced by beliefs (ex: a human), than you shouldn't be making analogies to organisms that lack beliefs or who's beliefs don't causally influence their behavior. So I don't know why you're comparing fish to humans, if you don't think fish have beliefs.


Are you about to say that this is only essential to humans? Once again, an ad-hoc explanation.

It's not ad hoc, since universal sanction cannot apply to organisms that don't have beliefs. What you're doing is ridiculous as saying that your account of "functional wings" is ad hoc, since your account does not apply to humans. That statement is ridiculous since humans don't have wings, so it makes no sense to apply the account to them. Similarly so here: you've given no reason to think that fish have beliefs. So it makes no sense to apply universal sanction to fish; since universal sanction applies to classes of beliefs. It therefore makes no sense for you to object to universal sanction by saying that universal sanction does not apply to fish.


Further, if you make it based on some cognitive standard, then we certainly don't have any agreement, because a conclusion of Plantinga's model is that atheists are cognitively handicapped.

Plantinga wouldn't dare say that atheists are cognitively-handicapped. Please don't place your own personal prejudice against atheists into Plantinga's mouth. He's much too good of a philosopher for that, and I have too much respect for him to let you get away with that without comment.


FYI, these three points should be taken together. Please do not reply to them individually...

I'll respond to them in any way I please. Anyway, It makes sense for me to respond to your points individually, since each point makes individual mistakes, where these mistakes are not fixed by appeal to the other points.


Here we see the relativism of universal sanction. Theism can be said to be universally sanctioned because if theism is true, then atheists are cognitively handicapped.

First, theism does not imply that atheists are cognitively handicapped, anymore than naturalism implies that theists are cognitively handicapped. Having a false belief (or lacking a true belief) does not entail being cognitively handicapped.

Second, the extended A/C does not entail that the class of theistic beliefs is universally sanctioned since (as explained above) atheists can get along in life just fine even though atheists lack this class of beliefs.


In the case of the above counterexample we have a group of individuals that after 'culling' the population end up as the majority. The only thing that stops a segment of the population from declaring their belief as universally sanctioned is majority opinion, which is an arbitrary criteria...

Once again, universal sanction is not about the number of people of who accept a belief.


Regarding your objection that Plantinga's defense is trivial... The problem is that atheism cannot be said to be arrived at rationally. This is Plantinga's argument against naturalism.

First, Plantinga's argument does not imply that "atheism cannot be said to be arrived at rationally". Instead, the argument is meant to show that that it's not rational to accept both naturalism and that one's cognitive processes result, in part, from naturalistic evolution together. So that argument has no effect on atheists who are non-naturalists, or atheists who don't accept naturalistic evolution.

Second, Plantinga does not aim to show that atheism is irrational. After all, he's fully aware of some of the arguments one can use to arrive rationally at atheism. And Plantinga thinks the bar for rationality is rather low, such that quite a number of ridiculous positions can be counted as rational. So it'd be no surprise for Plantinga if atheism could be arrived at rationally. Wunder notes as much:


"I think another part of the reason is that he [Plantinga] came to be dissatisfied with the focus of debates in religious epistemology on justification and rationality. I think he came to be convinced that these sorts of epistemic statuses were such that they were very easy to achieve on behalf of just about anything. (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551)"

Third, I already pointed out some of the flaws in Plantinga's argument against evolutionary naturalism.


You also brought up the Great Pumpkin objection again. Here was the response I gave to shunydragon:

Already addressed that multiple times. For example:
http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230341#post230341
http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=226788#post226788


In reply to your objection that "Plantinga's defense doesn't actually convert de jure objections to de facto objections, since it involves and ad hoc re-definition and strawman of what Christianity is committed to". Plantinga is meant to provide an intellectually defensible model of how Christian belief is warranted if true. This point is worthless, because he was not meaning to imply that knowledge of his model is required for salvation.

You missed my point there. You're claiming that Plantinga's position shows that one cannot make a de jure objection to Christianity without making a de facto objection to Christianity. My point was that your claim was false, since Christianity is not committed to something like the extended A/C model and thus Plantinga would not be able to claim that one is committed to a de facto objection to Christianity when one rejects the extended A/C model.

You also misunderstood my point about "salvation". I brought that point up, in response to you claiming that Christianity is committed to something like the extended A/C model. I pointed out that if you were right on this, then one would need to accept something like the extended A/C model in order to be Christian. And since being a Christian is a pre-condition for being saved on Christian theology (assuming that one lived after Jesus' time, as opposed to being someone like Moses), than that means accepting something like the extended A/C model is required for salvation. But that's absurd; that's not a requirement for being a saved Christian. So you were wrong when you claimed that Christianity entails something like the extended A/C model.


I never said that evolution cannot select for true beliefs. In fact, I clearly stated the opposite numerous times... I was saying that evolution does not select for necessarily true beliefs. For instance, the belief that 'my cognitive faculties are reliable'... P.S. I am using necessary in relation to pragmatic indispensability. This may be an interesting side discussion, so if you know how evolution selects for that, then please do tell.

I already addressed this in my previous posts. You haven't supported your above claims. For example, you haven't shown that evolution can't produce pragmatically indispensable beliefs. In fact, that statement of your's makes no sense. Why wouldn't evolution select for beliefs that enable an organism to get along well in the organism's interactions with the environment?


I also did not intend to say Plantingas argument concludes evolution does not produce necessary truths.

You said that evolution could not produce necessarily true beliefs:


"Like I stated previously, evolution can produce true beliefs, but why would they be necessarily true? I am certain you would be a lunatic to argue that evolution can produce necessarily true beliefs. (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=231804#post231804)"

I showed that was wrong, using a counterexample:


"For example, evolutionary processes can result in organisms that belie[ve] that "1 + 1 = 2". (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=232265#post232265)"


You are just distracting from the main discussion. Slightly tiring, because it is not a huge deal. The rest of what I said was still valid and on point with Plantinga's argument...

No, it actually wasn't, for the reasons I explained in my previous post.



False. Your claim makes no sense. Do you really think that all theists need to do is show that it's possible for an evolutionary naturalist to be wrong? Do you think that suffices for a defeater? If so, then I have a defeator for theism right here... it's possible that theism is false.

No, you are confused again... I was showing that there is no intellectually defensible account of naturalism. I actually explicitly stated that naturalism can be true, yet the belief in naturalism would not be warranted given Plantinga's criteria.

No, what you actually wrote was this:


"Like I stated previously, evolution can produce true beliefs, but why would they be necessarily true? I am certain you would be a lunatic to argue that evolution can produce necessarily true beliefs. This is all the theist needs to show in order to have a defeater for the acceptance of naturalism. (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=231804#post231804)"

So your claim was that all theists needed to show was that it was that the beliefs produced by evolution were not necessarily; that is: it was possible that the beliefs produced by evolution are false. And that's ridiculous, as I pointed out.


Now you are just harping on one mistake I made. Plantinga's argument is still cogent...

You've yet to show Plantinga's argument is cogent. In fact, you haven't even fairly represented his argument yet. You've instead conflated his argument with false claims you've made.


Right, evolution is a process that is taking place right now. What is the probability your beliefs are true at the current stage in evolution?

Depends on the beliefs. Some of my beliefs are more likely to be true than are others, for reasons I'll now explain (these reasons also explain why your question is misguided).

When you calculate the probability of "X", you almost always do go given some background information Y. For example, if I say:

the probability that my coin flip comes up heads; given that this is a fair coin with two sides, where one side is heads and the other is tails, and...
then "my coin flip comes up heads" is X, and "given that that this is..." is the Y on which that X is calculated.

Given this, if you wanted to determine the probability that a belief of mine is true, then you'll need to specify the background information relevant for that probability; that is: you'll need to tell me Y. Of course, Y will need to include the evidence for my belief, if there is any, since that evidence is relevant to how likely it is that my belief is true. For example, if my belief is that "monkeys exist", then Y will include my evidence for the existence of monkeys. Given this, Y will be different for different beliefs, since different beliefs often have different evidence in support of them. Yet you seem to be overlooking this point. You instead, seem to think that you can do determine the probability that my beliefs are true, simply by looking at evolution, without bothering to include the evidence in support of my beliefs; that is: you act as if Y only includes evolution. And that makes no sense.

ShrimpMaster
08-20-2015, 12:31 PM
Your argument for a model now includes an argument against Naturalism, using a failed argument against Naturalism misusing the science of Evolution, and by de facto an argument for the existence of God. Therefore you are no longer just arguing for an 'IF true' model for the possibility that Christianity is a true belief.
Plantinga’s model’s conclusion is that naturalism is not intellectually defensible. The origin of the discussion around naturalism arose by JRichard and yourself claiming that Plantinga’s model can be used as a defense for the belief in naturalism. I showed that as false. You have yet to respond with an intellectually defensible model for the belief in naturalism. The arguments proposed so far do not conclude that Christianity is a true belief. You are just confused.


There is a distinct problem here concerning the use of Evolution in Plantinga's arguments. There is no conceivable way Evolution can select for true beliefs, nor necessarily select for true beliefs in terms of religious beliefs, nor demonstrate whether God exists or not, nor whether Naturalism is true or not. Your foolish example of 1+1=2 is not in any way a 'belief' in the context of Plantinga's argument against Naturalism. To propose Evolution selects for true beliefs in Plantinga's argument, Design and the necessity of a Designer must be true or demonstrated by a falsifiable hypothesis, and this argument has failed miserably. The Discovery Institute has failed to demonstrate any falsifiable hypothesis concerning Design being remotely possible.
Once again, I never said that evolution cannot select for a true belief. I said that there is no way to know whether evolution has selected for a true belief, given that evolution is not a belief producing process successfully aimed at the production of true beliefs. This has been demonstrated pretty clearly given the examples I have concerning the frog and catching a fly, etc… The burden of proof is actually on you, because science has not conclusively demonstrated how beliefs are produced. Your objections are off-topic, but I am a metaphysical dualist, so I don’t consider science as being capable of explaining the origin of beliefs.

seer
08-20-2015, 12:42 PM
You are just confused.

You are also the master of the understatement... :wink:

Adrift
08-20-2015, 12:48 PM
You are also the master of the understatement... :wink:

Its gotten to the point where I can't hardly be bothered to reply to shunya anymore. I seriously think he either has reading or cognitive issues. I'd love to ignore him completely, but he has a tendency to take threads off topic with his barely coherent posts.

seer
08-20-2015, 12:50 PM
Its gotten to the point where I can't hardly be bothered to reply to shunya anymore. I seriously think he either has reading or cognitive issues. I'd love to ignore him completely, but he has a tendency to take threads off topic with his barely coherent posts.

I suspect it is an age thing - early signs of dementia?

Adrift
08-20-2015, 01:02 PM
I suspect it is an age thing - early signs of dementia?

Sadly, I think that's very plausible. Totally off topic, my grandfather (in his 80s) has been suffering mental issues from old age for a number of years, and was practically comatose, but has made an amazing recovery from the introduction of two new things in life, an ipod with a set of headphones with his favorite music, and just a little bit of exercise. My mother and I got the idea about the ipod from this amazing documentary:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HLEr-zP3fc

It's simply fascinating how powerful music is. He's not the same man he was even just a few months ago. He's now a lot more like the man I remember many years ago.

Sorry, totally off topic.

seer
08-20-2015, 01:08 PM
It's simply fascinating how powerful music is. He's not the same man he was even just a few months ago. He's now a lot more like the man I remember many years ago.

Sorry, totally off topic.

My mom and all her sisters suffered from Alzheimer's, I wished I knew about this - I have heard that the music thing can work wonders.

shunyadragon
08-20-2015, 01:44 PM
Plantinga’s model’s conclusion is that naturalism is not intellectually defensible. The origin of the discussion around naturalism arose by JRichard and yourself claiming that Plantinga’s model can be used as a defense for the belief in naturalism. I showed that as false. You have yet to respond with an intellectually defensible model for the belief in naturalism. The arguments proposed so far do not conclude that Christianity is a true belief. You are just confused.


Once again, I never said that evolution cannot select for a true belief. I said that there is no way to know whether evolution has selected for a true belief, given that evolution is not a belief producing process successfully aimed at the production of true beliefs. This has been demonstrated pretty clearly given the examples I have concerning the frog and catching a fly, etc… The burden of proof is actually on you, because science has not conclusively demonstrated how beliefs are produced. Your objections are off-topic, but I am a metaphysical dualist, so I don’t consider science as being capable of explaining the origin of beliefs.

I am not confused at all.

The point is you addressed the issue of Plantinga's argument against Naturalism in justifying that Naturalism cannot be a properly basic belief. Claiming JRichard and I brought it up does not change the issue. Simply based on Plantinga's model Naturalism cannot be excluded as a properly basic belief. You are the one that has further tried to exclude Naturalism from consideration using the argument.

Plantinga's model also did not include the necessity of sensus divinitatus as a premise of his model.

Based simply on the model, how would you propose excluding Naturalism as a proper 'basic belief' without bringing in these outside arguments and issues?

Jichard
08-20-2015, 03:56 PM
The origin of the discussion around naturalism arose by JRichard and yourself claiming that Plantinga’s model can be used as a defense for the belief in naturalism. I showed that as false. You have yet to respond with an intellectually defensible model for the belief in naturalism.

You didn't actually show that what I said was false. And I already showed how trivially easy it is to apply Plantinga's defense to atheism, naturalism, and a myriad of other positions. Here it is again (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230341#post230341):



"First, Plantinga's defense is trivial, and can be employed in defense of almost any position. All one has to do is include an epistemic claim as apart of one's position. For example, an atheist could employ Plantinga's defense by doing the following:

1) define your atheis[m] as including epistemic statements like the following: I came to my atheist position in a rational way, such that I can justifiably lack belief that God exists
2) then note that if anyone makes a de jure objection to your position, then they are also making a de facto objection as well, since they would be denying your epistemic statement [from point 1]
One could even do the same for belief in the Great Pumpkin's existence; just include epistemic claims like the following: I came to my belief in the Great Pumpkin in a rational way, such that I can justifiably belief in the Great Pumpkin. Then note that if anyone makes a de jure objection to your position, then they are also making a de facto objection as well."

Jichard
08-20-2015, 03:59 PM
I suspect it is an age thing - early signs of dementia?

Sadly, I think that's very plausible.

It's despicable of both of you to talk about shunyadragon like this, especially if you're not going to give him the courtesy of responding to what shunyadragon wrote.

I've come to expect this type of behavior from seer, since seer's been habitually dishonest in his responses to both me and other people. But I hadn't expected to see that from you Adrift, given what little I'd seen of your posts.

Ah well. At this, I should no longer be surprised to see some Christians failing to live up to the standards of the religion they claim to follow. I should know better by now.

Adrift
08-20-2015, 04:04 PM
I think it's fairly despicable of both of you to talk about shunyadragon like this.

I've come to expect that from seer, since I've seen him be habitually dishonest in his responses to both me and other people. But I hadn't expected to see that from you Adrift, given what little I'd seen of your posts.

Ah well. At this, I should no longer be surprised to see some Christians failing to live up to the standards of the religion they claim to follow.

I . . . honestly don't care what you think of me, or what you think of Christians in general for that matter (I imagine like many of the antitheists on this forum, you didn't have a glowing view of Christians to begin with). I don't even know who you are. Don't think I've even ever replied to you before. I do know who shunyadragon is though, and I know that he's been very confused for a very long time. seer and I are far from the only two people on this forum to notice his general lack of comprehension and coherency. I think it's sad, and frustrating. :shrug:

Jichard
08-20-2015, 04:25 PM
Certainly, it would help if the frogs believe that the flies are a food source - this does not mean that they do. Like I stated previously, evolution can produce true beliefs, but why would they be necessarily true?

They don't need to be necessarily true. That is a strawman you're running, if you think that's Plantinga's argument. Plantinga is not claiming that the following is a necessary truth:

1: if a belief is selected for, then the belief is true
Instead, it suffices for the belief to be more likely to be true, the more rounds of selection that the belief makes it through.

Please read Plantinga's presentation of his argument and some of the literature that sprung in response the argument. No one peer-reviewed commentator I've seen (including Plantinga) says that his argument involves claim 1 being a necessary truth. No one. Instead Plantinga's argument is read in at least one of two ways: that evolutionary processes are unreliable when when it comes to producing true beliefs (this is often called the process interpretation of Plantinga's argument) or that evolutionary processes are no more likely to produce true beliefs than beliefs (this is often called the probabilistic interpretation). These two interpretations are equivalent to one another, if "reliable process" just means "a process that produces more true beliefs than false ones"). In any event, neither interpretation involves claim 1 being a necessary truth.


I am certain you would be a lunatic to argue that evolution can produce necessarily true beliefs.

You're playing loose with language here. Do you mean that evolutionary processes cannot result in organisms with necessarily true beliefs? If so, then you're wrong. For example, evolutionary processes can result in organisms that belief that "1 + 1 = 2". Or maybe you instead mean that I would be lunatic to claim 1 above is necessarily true? If so, your claim suffers from the problem I noted above; namely: you're strawmanning Plantinga's argument and claim 1 does not need to be necessarily true in order for an evolutionary naturalist to defend their position.

Ah, this takes me back to undergrad, when I got that from reading papers like this:



"A User's Guide to the Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism"
http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27734322.pdf?acceptTC=true


"Alvin Plantinga has famously argued that metaphysical naturalism is self-defeating, and cannot be rationally accepted. I distinguish between two different ways of understanding this argument, which I call the "probabilistic inference conception", and the "process characteristic conception". I argue that the former is what critics of the argument usually presuppose, whereas most critical responses fail when one assumes the latter conception. To illustrate this, I examine three standard objections to Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism: the Perspiration Objection, the Tu Quoque Objection, and the "Why Can't the Naturalist Just Add a Little Something?" Objection. I show that Plantinga's own responses to these objections fail, and propose counterexamples to his first two principles of defeat. I then go on to construct more adequate responses to these objections, using the distinctions I develop in the first part of the paper."


I highly suggest reading that paper, ShrimpMaster. It's very informative, and should help in fairly characterizing Plantinga's argument against evolutionary naturalism (as opposed to your mischaracterizations of Plantinga's argument). It should also help in getting clear on the "probabilistic interpretation" and "process interpretation" I mentioned in my above post.

If you can't get a copy of the paper, then the following blogpost is a useful substitute:


http://prosblogion.ektopos.com/2008/06/14/mirza_eaan_and/

JimL
08-20-2015, 07:33 PM
I . . . honestly don't care what you think of me, or what you think of Christians in general for that matter (I imagine like many of the antitheists on this forum, you didn't have a glowing view of Christians to begin with). I don't even know who you are. Don't think I've even ever replied to you before. I do know who shunyadragon is though, and I know that he's been very confused for a very long time. seer and I are far from the only two people on this forum to notice his general lack of comprehension and coherency. I think it's sad, and frustrating. :shrug:
Adrift, thats a lot of malarky and you know it. It is very obvious that shunya is just as informed on the issues being discussed here as are you. The problem, if you want to call it a problem, is that just like everyone else here on tweb, on ocassion he doesn't articulate his point with perfect clarity as if he were writing an essay. But anyone with a modicum of intelligence can comprehend what he is saying. What you and seer do is to take advantage of those occasions and demean him for it in order to make yourself feel better about not being able to refute his arguments.

Jichard
08-20-2015, 08:13 PM
I . . . honestly don't care what you think of me, or what you think of Christians in general for that matter (I imagine like many of the antitheists on this forum, you didn't have a glowing view of Christians to begin with). I don't even know who you are. Don't think I've even ever replied to you before. I do know who shunyadragon is though, and I know that he's been very confused for a very long time. seer and I are far from the only two people on this forum to notice his general lack of comprehension and coherency. I think it's sad, and frustrating. :shrug:

First, I'm not an anti-theist. So I don't know where you pulled that nonsense from

Second, I don't expect you to be be repentant. Like I said, I'm no longer surprised to see some Christians failing to live up to their own religion. If you think your God is OK with you insinuating that someone you don't know has dementia (simply because of their posting style), then that's on your conscience, not mine. I, for one, don't find shuny to be demented. But I do fine seer to be willfully dishonest (which makes it no surprise that he would call shuny demented). Feel free to continue enabling his dishonesty.

In any event, let me know when you and seer are able to join the rest of us in dealing with the substance of this thread, as oppose to discussing with each other how demented you find shuny.

Chrawnus
08-21-2015, 02:15 AM
First, I'm not an anti-theist. So I don't know where you pulled that nonsense from

Second, I don't expect you to be be repentant. Like I said, I'm no longer surprised to see some Christians failing to live up to their own religion. If you think your God is OK with you insinuating that someone you don't know has dementia (simply because of their posting style), then that's on your conscience, not mine. I, for one, don't find shuny to be demented. But I do fine seer to be willfully dishonest (which makes it no surprise that he would call shuny demented). Feel free to continue enabling his dishonesty.

In any event, let me know when you and seer are able to join the rest of us in dealing with the substance of this thread, as oppose to discussing with each other how demented you find shuny.

"posting style" :lmbo:

Being incoherent isn't a posting style. :rofl:

Tassman
08-21-2015, 03:03 AM
Its gotten to the point where I can't hardly be bothered to reply to shunya anymore. I seriously think he either has reading or cognitive issues. I'd love to ignore him completely, but he has a tendency to take threads off topic with his barely coherent posts.

Clearly Shunya has been effective in countering your arguments to draw such ire upon himself from the purveyors of woo woo.


I suspect it is an age thing - early signs of dementia?

Shameful response.


"posting style" :lmbo:

Being incoherent isn't a posting style. :rofl:

On topic as always <sacrcasm>

Adrift
08-21-2015, 05:23 AM
Adrift, thats a lot of malarky and you know it. It is very obvious that shunya is just as informed on the issues being discussed here as are you.

I've been reading him for near a decade now, and that is far from obvious.


Clearly Shunya has been effective in countering your arguments to draw such ire upon himself from the purveyors of woo woo.

:lol: Yeah, that's probably what it is.

MaxVel
08-21-2015, 07:39 AM
Adrift, thats a lot of malarky and you know it. It is very obvious that shunya is just as informed on the issues being discussed here as are you. The problem, if you want to call it a problem, is that just like everyone else here on tweb, on ocassion he doesn't articulate his point with perfect clarity as if he were writing an essay. But anyone with a modicum of intelligence can comprehend what he is saying. What you and seer do is to take advantage of those occasions and demean him for it in order to make yourself feel better about not being able to refute his arguments.

JimL, your response, while admirable in the spirit of it's defense of Shunya, does impugn the intelligence and the intellectual honesty of everyone who finds Shunya hard to understand at times, and sees his arguments as less than convincing. That's not exactly showing people how to respond in a better fashion.

shunyadragon
08-21-2015, 08:06 AM
JimL, your response, while admirable in the spirit of it's defense of Shunya, does impugn the intelligence and the intellectual honesty of everyone who finds Shunya hard to understand at times, and sees his arguments as less than convincing. That's not exactly showing people how to respond in a better fashion.

MaxVel, those that object to me basically come from a Christian perspective that rejects or only selectively accepts science to suit their world view. They also support old out dated arguments, which are highly circular, for God. Criticism of my posts usually amounts to Trollish ridicule. mindless smilly faces, and ridicule.

Back to the B-Theory of time. This theory was developed to be more compatible with modern Physics, Cosmology, Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. The Newtonian A-Theory fails in this scientific view, beyond everyday mechanical measuring time from moment to moment. The problem with the limited arguments that apply 'actual infinities' or any other concepts of ancient views infinites or finites is they fail in modern science. In particular the concept of 'actual infinites' only can exist within a time/space frame world of our universe, and in the world of Modern science where the B-Theory was developed and a timeless Quantum World exists beyond our universe. The B-Theory of time cannot stand alone, but must be considered in the context of modern Physics, Cosmology, and Quantum Mechanics. That is why arguments like Metcalf's fail and cannot apply to the B-Theory of time.

Adrift
08-21-2015, 08:09 AM
Back to the B-Theory of time. This theory was developed to be more compatible with modern Physics, Cosmology, Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. The Newtonian A-Theory fails in this scientific view. The problem with the limited arguments that apply 'actual infinities' or any other concepts of an infinites or finites is they fail in modern science. In particular the concept of 'actual infinites' only can exist within a time/space frame world of our universe, and in the world of Modern science where the B-Theory was developed and a timeless Quantum World exists beyond our universe. The B-Theory of time cannot stand alone, but must be considered in the context of modern Physics, Cosmology, and Quantum Mechanics. That is why arguments like Metcalf's fail and cannot apply to the B-Theory of time.

. . . Wrong thread.

shunyadragon
08-21-2015, 08:13 AM
. . . Wrong thread.

Right thread!!!

I will post in the other thread too, but it most definitely applies to this thread too, because of the mindless ranting criticism based on a religious agenda. This post was to cite examples of problems of the criticism of my posts, and yes applies to the posts in this thread also.

The B-Theory of time is very relevant and an intimate part of modern science as discussed in this thread.

MaxVel
08-21-2015, 08:19 AM
MaxVel, those that object to me basically come from a Christian perspective

Yeah, because you always argue against Christianity, and very often against theism


that rejects or only selectively accepts science to suit their world view. They also support old out dated arguments, which are highly circular, for God.

Again with the 'circular' stuff, which I've asked you to support and you can't, twice now. 'old out dated' sounds very like a fallacious appeal to age. See why people are tempted to question your coherence and competence?



Criticism of my posts usually amounts to Trollish ridicule. mindless smilly faces, and ridicule.

Rubbish. You get that, but you also get your share of thoughtful, measured responses too. And you indulge freely in your own forms of ridicule - 'the three Stooges, Bob Weave and Duck' and 'Airball' are your catchphrases.

shunyadragon
08-21-2015, 08:27 AM
Yeah, because you always argue against Christianity, and very often against theism. None of my arguments have been against Theism. I argue agains bad archaic bad arguments for theism, and the fact that many theists like you and seer either do not accept science or selectively accept only that science that justifies you worldview.


Again with the 'circular' stuff, which I've asked you to support and you can't, twice now. 'old out dated' sounds very like a fallacious appeal to age. See why people are tempted to question your coherence and competence?

Ancient and archaic arguments only fail, because they do not take into consideration modern science and philosophy, and not because they are simply old.

The circular arguments for the existence of God have been responded to you by myself and others. You and other theists are the ones that have not been able to support these ancient circular arguments that need various assumptions in the beginning that support the existence of God that are equivalent to the conclusions,

MaxVel
08-21-2015, 08:57 AM
Ancient and archaic arguments only fail, because they do not take into consideration modern science and philosophy, and not because they are simply old.

The circular arguments for the existence of God have been responded to you by myself and others. You and other theists are the ones that have not been able to support these ancient circular arguments that need various assumptions in the beginning that support the existence of God that are equivalent to the conclusions,

You've twice now claimed that Aquinas' arguments are circular, and have yet to show that they are. See the Philosophy forum. Your last post there doesn't show any circular arguments by Aquinas. It's just a list of common objections to Aquinas' arguments, many of which have been responded to by current Thomistic philosophers - see for example, the work of Edward Feser. I could find no mention there of the arguments being circular. Please cite that post and specifically underline or bold where it shows your claim to be correct.

seer
08-21-2015, 09:04 AM
Ancient and archaic arguments only fail, because they do not take into consideration modern science and philosophy, and not because they are simply old.


Really, here is an argument from contingency from your Religion, you agree of course:

"Because a characteristic of contingent beings is dependency, and this dependency is an essential necessity, therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential.” – Abdu’l-Baha

Or the argument from Design


Now, when you behold in existence such organizations, arrangements and laws, can you say that all these are the effect of Nature, though Nature has neither intelligence nor perception? If not, it becomes evident that this Nature, which has neither perception nor intelligence, is in the grasp of Almighty God, Who is the Ruler of the world of Nature; whatever He wishes, He causes Nature to manifest. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha

ShrimpMaster
08-21-2015, 09:57 AM
JRichard, here are four reasons to reject universal sanction that we still do not have clarity on:
1) Universal sanction is self-referentially incoherent, because the belief in universal sanction is not itself universally sanctioned
2) I have shown that the criteria for the pragmatic skepticism condition is arbitrary and we really have no clue what we are talking about when we try to satisfy this idea of a ‘normal life’. For instance, you cited modern psychology as the resource for the pragmatic skepticism condition. Not a good criteria if we are evaluating universal sanction as superior to reformed epistemology.
3) Christian beliefs are universally sanctioned because non-believers do not have the appropriate affections toward God and do not have a meaningful or fulfilling life – more specifically they don’t have a relationship with God that gives them a meaningful or fulfilling life. Further, sin has negative noetic consequences until non-believers are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
4) The final nail in the coffin – this isn’t the de jure question Plantinga was seeking. Justification is easy to obtain (I just did it in point #3). Plantinga is concerned with warrant and proper function. I would suggest re-reading the chapter titled “What is the question?” and the preceding chapter as it relates to classical foundationalism and you will see the error in Tyler Wunder’s objection to Plantinga.

Thanks for the debate. Here are a few other points I would like to address before I go.


It's not ad hoc, since universal sanction cannot apply to organisms that don't have beliefs. What you're doing is ridiculous as saying that your account of "functional wings" is ad hoc, since your account does not apply to humans. That statement is ridiculous since humans don't have wings, so it makes no sense to apply the account to them. Similarly so here: you've given no reason to think that fish have beliefs. So it makes no sense to apply universal sanction to fish; since universal sanction applies to classes of beliefs. It therefore makes no sense for you to object to universal sanction by saying that universal sanction does not apply to fish.
This objection is misguided. I am not comparing humans to say an animal with functional wings. I am comparing two animals that have behaviors. In one instance you are saying beliefs are necessary to sustain ‘normal’ living conditions and in another case we have a species that you claim does not regulate behaviors through beliefs with propositional content. This isn’t really an objection I am concerned with – I just thought it would be interesting to discuss with someone who maintains universal sanction + naturalism + evolution. Evolution would be the process that has produced both humans and frogs and yet you claim beliefs are necessary to regulate normal living conditions under universal sanction while for frogs it is not. Why not be skeptic about all of our beliefs? Why have beliefs at all? Again, this isn’t an important objection to me, but should be taken seriously if you actually maintain universal sanction + naturalism + evolution. It seems to me if you maintain that set of beliefs then you have another incoherence in your noetic system.

Plantinga wouldn't dare say that atheists are cognitively-handicapped. Please don't place your own personal prejudice against atheists into Plantinga's mouth. He's much too good of a philosopher for that, and I have too much respect for him to let you get away with that without comment.
He doesn't use the same vocabulary, but he does. Please read the chapter on sin and its noetic consequences. While he does not use the same vocabulary (cognitively handicapped, hehe) he does say that sin has negative noetic consequences. This applies to all of humanity though. I was having fun at the expense of atheism. My apologies.


Second, Plantinga does not aim to show that atheism is irrational. After all, he's fully aware of some of the arguments one can use to arrive rationally at atheism. And Plantinga thinks the bar for rationality is rather low, such that quite a number of ridiculous positions can be counted as rational. So it'd be no surprise for Plantinga if atheism could be arrived at rationally. Wunder notes as much:
Right, I meant to say warranted.


You missed my point there. You're claiming that Plantinga's position shows that one cannot make a de jure objection to Christianity without making a de facto objection to Christianity. My point was that your claim was false, since Christianity is not committed to something like the extended A/C model and thus Plantinga would not be able to claim that one is committed to a de facto objection to Christianity when one rejects the extended A/C model.
M-Christianity does entail AC-Christianity. I would not suggest that knowledge of AC-Christianity is required for salvation. I think that is you not understanding the doctrine of salvation. I don’t really want to debate doctrine with an atheist.


When you calculate the probability of "X", you almost always do go given some background information Y. For example, if I say:
the probability that my coin flip comes up heads; given that this is a fair coin with two sides, where one side is heads and the other is tails, and...
then "my coin flip comes up heads" is X, and "given that that this is..." is the Y on which that X is calculated.

Given this, if you wanted to determine the probability that a belief of mine is true, then you'll need to specify the background information relevant for that probability; that is: you'll need to tell me Y. Of course, Y will need to include the evidence for my belief, if there is any, since that evidence is relevant to how likely it is that my belief is true. For example, if my belief is that "monkeys exist", then Y will include my evidence for the existence of monkeys. Given this, Y will be different for different beliefs, since different beliefs often have different evidence in support of them. Yet you seem to be overlooking this point. You instead, seem to think that you can do determine the probability that my beliefs are true, simply by looking at evolution, without bothering to include the evidence in support of my beliefs; that is: you act as if Y only includes evolution. And that makes no sense.
This is false. You are accepting your beliefs as true prima facie and then smuggling evolution + naturalism in as the explanation. This is circular reasoning. The evaluation should be: what is the probability my beliefs are true given naturalism and evolution are true? FYI, this calculation would be based on the probability of evolution producing true beliefs given naturalism. Plantinga demonstrates that this probability is very low.

Once again, thanks for your time and I really enjoyed talking about Plantinga's epistemology with you. I will be sure to read and discuss the articles you posted when I have some time. Thanks.

Jichard
08-21-2015, 06:20 PM
JRichard, here are four reasons to reject universal sanction that we still do not have clarity on:
1) Universal sanction is self-referentially incoherent, because the belief in universal sanction is not itself universally sanctioned

Addressed this already (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230722#post230722):



"For example, if you don't accept that universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic (i.e. you don't accept that members of the class of pragmatically indispensable beliefs are appropriate starting points for reasoning, in the absence of strong defeators for those beliefs), then you're going to have massive trouble getting starting points for reasoning in your everyday life.

[...]

There's evidence that universally sanctioned beliefs are properly basic. For example, one piece of particularist evidence is that universal sanction explains cases of belief that seem (primae facie) to be properly basic, such as memory beliefs."


And belief in universal sanction does not need to be properly basic, in order for one to avoid the charge of self-referential incoherennc. It suffices for belief in universal sanction to be inferable from properly basic beliefs. And it clearly is. It's inferable from (primae facie) examples of properly basic beliefs, combined with a methodology where one infers a sufficient condition for proper basicality by examining what these examples of properly basic belief have in common. This methodology is itself apart of a universally sanctioned class of beliefs, since this sort of methodology is pragmatically indispensable for us in terms of figuring out sufficient for the instantiation of properties, the likelihood of a given occurrence, and other such things for which we need conditions.


2) I have shown that the criteria for the pragmatic skepticism condition is arbitrary

You didn't show that. What you did was make the trivial point that people define words. That doesn't shows any arbitrariness, unless you do what you are currently doing: make a use/mention mistake by confusing people defining a term with people defining the existence of the term's referent


and we really have no clue what we are talking about when we try to satisfy this idea of a ‘normal life’.

No, we actually know what it is pretty clearly. I told you what it was (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=232809#post232809):



"According to, for example, modern psychology.

Anyway, you're again using you "according to who" question, even though that's irrelevant. The issue here isn't who makes the claim; the issue here is whether the claim is true/false, unjustified/justified, etc.. And given that, my claim is pretty well justified: atheists can get on pretty fine in their lives. That's one reason, for example why atheism is not classified as a mental disorder. That's in contrast to, for example, someone who thinks they are dead or someone who thinks that they cannot die no matter what they do (Cotard Delusion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotard_delusion)). A person with that delusion is going to have massive problems getting on in life.

[...]

Because I'm able to get along in life just fine. I have productive relationships, can perform normal tasks like feeding myself and attending classes, I can interact with the outside world to perform my goals, I can reason about stuff using the evidence available to me, etc."

I'll explain it even more in a bit.


For instance, you cited modern psychology as the resource for the pragmatic skepticism condition. Not a good criteria if we are evaluating universal sanction as superior to reformed epistemology.

As I said above, the source of the criteria (that is: where it comes from) is irrelevant. Instead, what is relevant is whether the criteria is accurate, justified, etc. in reference to a distinction/property/similarity/difference that actually exists. And I clearly showed you that was the case.

The problem is that you're not distinguishing between the source of a claim and the accuracy of the claim. Hence you mistakenly thinking that a claim cannot be relevant to epistemology, simply because the claim comes from the science of psychology.


3) Christian beliefs are universally sanctioned because non-believers do not have the appropriate affections toward God and do not have a meaningful or fulfilling life – more specifically they don’t have a relationship with God that gives them a meaningful or fulfilling life. Further, sin has negative noetic consequences until non-believers are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

First, you just claimed that "non-believers [...] do not have a meaningful or fulfilling life". This is a ridiculous claim. There are plenty of things in my life (and the life of other believers) that make our lives meaningful and fulfilling. It's not my fault if you find none of the following meaningful and fulfilling, even though they are apart of the lives of many atheists:

relationships with other people
benefiting the welfare of sentient life
pursuing scientific research
contributing to the body of human knowledge
raising a human child or a sentient pet (ex: a dog)
learning about oneself
accomplishing one's goals
making a loved one happy
and so on.

Second, you made a false claim when you said that Christians beliefs are universally sanctioned, since as I explained above, atheists can get along just fine without religious belief. You seem to think that you can rebut that point by claiming that atheists don't live meaningful or fulfilling lives. But your response there shows that you still have an incorrect idea of what universal sanction is. Universal sanction is not about how fulfilling one's life is. It's about pragmatic indispensability. If one has thorough-going skepticism about such a pragmatically indispensable class/type/kind of beliefs, then one wouldn't even be able to function in daily life. Tyler Wunder made that pretty clear:


"According to this criterion, a belief kind is universally sanctioned if a thorough-going, sincere skepticism towards those kinds of beliefs, as an entirety, is pragmatically inconceivable. To give you an example, consider memorial beliefs.
I’ve got a number of memories of various things. I’m constantly consulting my memory to tell me where this is, where that is. Presumably, even a little bit of what I should say next, because I have to keep in mind things that I’ve already said and just been saying.
I take these sorts of beliefs for granted, that memory beliefs are, each and every single one of them, guaranteed to be true, or that they’re believed in a dogmatic sort of way. I question individual memory beliefs all the time, both those of others, and those of myself.
This is something we all do, but what we don’t do, at least if we want to engage in a normal, sane, human life, is doubt, seriously doubt, all of our memories in total, all at once. To do so would completely undermine a normal human life, is the way that Sennett puts it.
So memory beliefs are universally sanctioned. Other minds beliefs, self-evident beliefs, incorrigible beliefs, perceptual beliefs, all of these seem to pass the universal sanction criterion quite well. Theistic belief, on the other hand, does not. Theistic belief is not universally sanctioned. (http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10551)"

I gave you some other examples (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=232809#post232809):


"atheists can get on pretty fine in their lives. That's one reason, for example why atheism is not classified as a mental disorder. That's in contrast to, for example, someone who thinks they are dead or someone who thinks that they cannot die no matter what they do (Cotard Delusion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotard_delusion)). A person with that delusion is going to have massive problems getting on in life."

Here's another example: the class of perceptual beliefs. For example, one's perceptual belief that one is perceiving a tree that's there. If you had a thorough-going, serious doubt about the entire class of perceptual beliefs, then you wouldn't even be able to move around, since you would not trust the perceptual beliefs you needed in order to know where, and how, to move. Your deficit would be so great that you'd likely be diagnosed with some sort of psychological problem. Atheism is not anything like that. Atheism is not some psychological disorder where one literally isn't able to function in daily-life. So lacking the class of theistic beliefs (i.e. atheism), is not like seriously doubting the class of perceptual beliefs, or seriously doubting the class of memory beliefs, or... You're therefore incorrect when you claim that Christians beliefs are pragmatically indispensable.


4) The final nail in the coffin – this isn’t the de jure question Plantinga was seeking.

I already explained to you the problem with you OP's de jure point: http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=230341#post230341


Justification is easy to obtain (I just did it in point #3). Plantinga is concerned with warrant and proper function. I would suggest re-reading the chapter titled “What is the question?” and the preceding chapter as it relates to classical foundationalism and you will see the error in Tyler Wunder’s objection to Plantinga.

Universal sanction is not a criterion of justification. It's a criterion of proper basicality. And I already explained how this relates to Plantinga's position (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=232265#post232265):


"You're still missing the point: Plantinga's defense depends on their being no plausible criterion of proper basicality, such that that criterion excludes theistic belief. He needs that in order to get his conclusion that theistic belief can be properly basic."


Thanks for the debate. Here are a few other points I would like to address before I go.


This objection is misguided. I am not comparing humans to say an animal with functional wings. I am comparing two animals that have behaviors. In one instance you are saying beliefs are necessary to sustain ‘normal’ living conditions and in another case we have a species that you claim does not regulate behaviors through beliefs with propositional content. This isn’t really an objection I am concerned with – I just thought it would be interesting to discuss with someone who maintains universal sanction + naturalism + evolution. Evolution would be the process that has produced both humans and frogs and yet you claim beliefs are necessary to regulate normal living conditions under universal sanction while for frogs it is not.Why not be skeptic about all of our beliefs?

You've yet to show that evolution gives me any reason to be skeptical about my beliefs. The fact that I have beliefs influenced by evolution and frogs don't have beliefs, gives me no more reason to be skeptical of my beliefs, than the fact that birds have wings influence by evolution and I don't have wings, gives me reason to think a bird's wings don't work.


Why have beliefs at all?

Because the beliefs help causally regulate behavior, amongst other things. Human beliefs can causally regulate human behavior, even if frogs lack beliefs that causally regulate frog behavior. I explained this before I discussed this before:


"The frog's behavior may be regulated without beliefs. After all, different organisms regulate their behavior in different ways. So just as a frog might regulate it's behavior using a nervous system that lacks beliefs, a bacteria might regulate it's behavior without a nervous system and a human might regulate it's behavior using a nervous system that has causally-efficacious beliefs. (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=231327#post231327)"


Again, this isn’t an important objection to me, but should be taken seriously if you actually maintain universal sanction + naturalism + evolution. It seems to me if you maintain that set of beliefs then you have another incoherence in your noetic system.

I see no incoherence.


He doesn't use the same vocabulary, but he does. Please read the chapter on sin and its noetic consequences. While he does not use the same vocabulary (cognitively handicapped, hehe) he does say that sin has negative noetic consequences. This applies to all of humanity though. I was having fun at the expense of atheism. My apologies.

This doesn't get you to the conclusion that you wanted: that the extended A/C implies that Christian beliefs are universally sanctioned. I explained why above.


M-Christianity does entail AC-Christianity. I would not suggest that knowledge of AC-Christianity is required for salvation. I think that is you not understanding the doctrine of salvation.

You didn't address my argument against that.


I don’t really want to debate doctrine with an atheist.

And I really don't want to debate evolution with a Christian who thinks that evolution and philosophy of biology have not progressed since Darwin wrote Origin (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=231804&highlight=origin#post231804). Yet here am I doing that. So I don't sympathize much with your above complaint.


This is false. You are accepting your beliefs as true prima facie and then smuggling evolution + naturalism in as the explanation. This is circular reasoning.

No, I'm explaining to you why different beliefs of mine have a different probabilities of being true: because they depend on different relevant background information.


The evaluation should be: what is the probability my beliefs are true given naturalism and evolution are true? FYI, this calculation would be based on the probability of evolution producing true beliefs given naturalism. Plantinga demonstrates that this probability is very low.

First, Plantinga never demonstrated that that probability was low.

Second, I already explained how evolution selects for true beliefs, how true beliefs are more likely to make it through iterative rounds of selection, and how evolution can select for reliable cognition that produces a particular belief B (even if evolution does not directly select for B). I even gave you a paper on that. So there's no need to think this hasn't been explained:
http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=231327#post231327
http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?7861-Faith-Without-Reason-(A-Response-to-Richard-Dawkins-et-al)&p=232265#post232265


Once again, thanks for your time and I really enjoyed talking about Plantinga's epistemology with you. I will be sure to read and discuss the articles you posted when I have some time. Thanks.

You're welcome. And thanks.

shunyadragon
08-22-2015, 05:59 AM
Really, here is an argument from contingency from your Religion, you agree of course:

"Because a characteristic of contingent beings is dependency, and this dependency is an essential necessity, therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential.” – Abdu’l-Baha

As below I consider this a statement of belief and not a complete logical proof that God exists.





Or the argument from Design


Now, when you behold in existence such organizations, arrangements and laws, can you say that all these are the effect of Nature, though Nature has neither intelligence nor perception? If not, it becomes evident that this Nature, which has neither perception nor intelligence, is in the grasp of Almighty God, Who is the Ruler of the world of Nature; whatever He wishes, He causes Nature to manifest. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha

I believe this is a statement of belief and not an argument for the existence of God. Abdul'baha's belief statement is 'it becomes evident,' I also believe it so but there is not no logical proof that this is so I also believe Nature has neither perception nor intelligence, but I do not consider this a logical proof that God exists. The belief that nature has perception and intelligence would be the Gaia belief, which also has no logical proof that the Gaia model is true.

seer
08-22-2015, 06:22 AM
As below I consider this a statement of belief and not a complete logical proof that God exists.


I believe this is a statement of belief and not an argument for the existence of God. Abdul'baha's belief statement is 'it becomes evident,' I also believe it so but there is not no logical proof that this is so I also believe Nature has neither perception nor intelligence, but I do not consider this a logical proof that God exists. The belief that nature has perception and intelligence would be the Gaia belief, which also has no logical proof that the Gaia model is true.


Sorry Shuny, you can believe what you like but your own religion makes the argument from contingency and from intelligence governing nature. But as we have sadly seen in the past you only give lip service to to your religion.

shunyadragon
08-22-2015, 12:31 PM
Sorry Shuny, you can believe what you like but your own religion makes the argument from contingency and from intelligence governing nature. But as we have sadly seen in the past you only give lip service to to your religion.

Seer, you do not believe in my religion nor since, therefore your selective dishonest post posts are extremely hypocritical.

seer
08-22-2015, 01:00 PM
Seer, you do not believe in my religion nor since, therefore your selective dishonest post posts are extremely hypocritical.

How are your teachings dishonest?

PROOFS AND EVIDENCES OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD


One of the proofs and demonstrations of the existence of God is the fact that man did not create himself: nay, his creator and designer is another than himself.

It is certain and indisputable that the creator of man is not like man because a powerless creature cannot create another being. The maker, the creator, has to possess all perfections in order that he may create.

Can the creation be perfect and the creator imperfect? Can a picture be a masterpiece and the painter imperfect in his art? For it is his art and his creation. Moreover, the picture cannot be like the painter; otherwise, the painting would have created itself. However perfect the picture may be, in comparison with the painter it is in the utmost degree of imperfection.

The contingent world is the source of imperfections: God is the origin of perfections. The imperfections of the contingent world are in themselves a proof of the perfections of God.

For example, when you look at man, you see that he is weak. This very weakness of the creature is a proof of the power of the Eternal Almighty One, because, if there were no power, weakness could not be imagined. Then the weakness of the creature is a proof of the power of God; for if there were no power, there could be no weakness; so from this weakness it becomes evident that there is power in the world. Again, in the contingent world there is poverty; then necessarily wealth exists, since poverty is 6 apparent in the world. In the contingent world there is ignorance; necessarily knowledge exists, because ignorance is found; for if there were no knowledge, neither would there be ignorance. Ignorance is the nonexistence of knowledge, and if there were no existence, nonexistence could not be realized.

It is certain that the whole contingent world is subjected to a law and rule which it can never disobey; even man is forced to submit to death, to sleep and to other conditions -- that is to say, man in certain particulars is governed, and necessarily this state of being governed implies the existence of a governor. Because a characteristic of contingent beings is dependency, and this dependency is an essential necessity, therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential.

In the same way it is understood from the man who is sick that there must be one who is in health; for if there were no health, his sickness could not be proved.

Therefore, it becomes evident that there is an Eternal Almighty One, Who is the possessor of all perfections, because unless He possessed all perfections He would be like His creation.

Throughout the world of existence it is the same; the smallest created thing proves that there is a creator. For instance, this piece of bread proves that it has a maker.

Praise be to God! the least change produced in the form of the smallest thing proves the existence of a creator: then can this great universe, which is endless, be self-created and come into existence from the action of matter and the elements? How self-evidently wrong is such a supposition!

These obvious arguments are adduced for weak souls; but if the inner perception be open, a hundred thousand clear proofs become visible. Thus, when man feels the indwelling spirit, he is in no need of arguments for its existence; but for those who are deprived of the bounty of the spirit, it is necessary to establish external arguments. 7

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 4)


http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/TAB/index.html

shunyadragon
08-22-2015, 02:35 PM
You've twice now claimed that Aquinas' arguments are circular, and have yet to show that they are. See the Philosophy forum. Your last post there doesn't show any circular arguments by Aquinas. It's just a list of common objections to Aquinas' arguments, many of which have been responded to by current Thomistic philosophers - see for example, the work of Edward Feser. I could find no mention there of the arguments being circular. Please cite that post and specifically underline or bold where it shows your claim to be correct.

See the new thread on Aquinas's arguments.

Jichard
08-22-2015, 04:12 PM
"posting style" :lmbo:

Being incoherent isn't a posting style. :rofl:

When you have something of value to contribute to this thread's topic, then please let me know. [Mocking shunydragon does not count]

And I don't find shunydragon's post to be incoherent. If anything, I find them more coherent than the implausible posts you make on meta-ethics.

Chrawnus
08-22-2015, 05:51 PM
When you have something of value to contribute to this thread's topic, then please let me know. [Mocking shunydragon does not count]

I don't see your name on the OP, so I don't know why I should be obligated to let you know anything.



And I don't find shunydragon's post to be incoherent.

That tells me everything I need to know.

Jichard
08-22-2015, 07:44 PM
I don't see your name on the OP, so I don't know why I should be obligated to let you know anything.



That tells me everything I need to know.

That's nice. Let me know when you have something of substance to say.

whag
08-22-2015, 08:53 PM
Plantinga calls it the Aquinas/Calvin model (A/C model). Aquinas and Calvin both made reference to a sensus divinitatus in their work or a 'sense of the divine’[…….]The sensus divinitatus would then occasion the belief that God made these mountains. Clarification: this is not an inference from another belief like, the mountains are super beautiful, therefore, God exists. The sensus divinitatus specifically occasions the belief "these mountains were made by God".

Hi ShrimpMaster. One must consider that neither believer knew the geological processes that made those mountains. They operated on the belief that something so big and majestic must require a creator because of that. The sensus divinitus also begs the question why we don’t see divinity in tsunamis and the gory stuff.


Why is this significant? In short, this provides a furnishing for the proper basicality of the belief in God.

Not everyone experiences sensus divinitus. It’s thus not nearly as universal a sense as your nose distinguishing puke from pea soup.

JimL
08-23-2015, 04:47 AM
Really, here is an argument from contingency from your Religion, you agree of course:

"Because a characteristic of contingent beings is dependency, and this dependency is an essential necessity, therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential.” – Abdu’l-Baha

Or the argument from Design


Now, when you behold in existence such organizations, arrangements and laws, can you say that all these are the effect of Nature, though Nature has neither intelligence nor perception? If not, it becomes evident that this Nature, which has neither perception nor intelligence, is in the grasp of Almighty God, Who is the Ruler of the world of Nature; whatever He wishes, He causes Nature to manifest. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha
As shunya has admitted, these are not proofs, they are beliefs. That which is a contingent existence is dependent upon something else for its existence, Religion makes the assumption that there is something else, but if you consider that the so called contingent existences within the universe to be a part of the universe itself, rather than things in themselves, then their existence is not contingent upon anything but the laws of their own nature, which are not causal, but discriptive.

seer
08-23-2015, 05:15 AM
As shunya has admitted, these are not proofs, they are beliefs. That which is a contingent existence is dependent upon something else for its existence, Religion makes the assumption that there is something else, but if you consider that the so called contingent existences within the universe to be a part of the universe itself, rather than things in themselves, then their existence is not contingent upon anything but the laws of their own nature, which are not causal, but discriptive.

But Shuny is wrong: therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential. I quoted and linked the longer version of this and it is clear that his religion teaches that there are proofs for God. Whether you or I agree that these are good proofs is immaterial, Shuny's religion teaches that there is evidence for God's existence. As a matter of fact that was the title of the work. "Evidence for the existence of God." The fact is Shuny will deny his religion when it suits him.

JimL
08-23-2015, 06:00 AM
But Shuny is wrong: therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential. I quoted and linked the longer version of this and it is clear that his religion teaches that there are proofs for God. Whether you or I agree that these are good proofs is immaterial, Shuny's religion teaches that there is evidence for God's existence. As a matter of fact that was the title of the work. "Evidence for the existence of God." The fact is Shuny will deny his religion when it suits him.
So, shunya believes it, he is just disagreeing with the assertion of the philosophical musings as being proofs. All religions are based on belief even though they all claim their beliefs to be evidentially proven. At least that is how i understand him.

shunyadragon
08-23-2015, 07:01 AM
But Shuny is wrong: therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential. I quoted and linked the longer version of this and it is clear that his religion teaches that there are proofs for God. Whether you or I agree that these are good proofs is immaterial, Shuny's religion teaches that there is evidence for God's existence. As a matter of fact that was the title of the work. "Evidence for the existence of God." The fact is Shuny will deny his religion when it suits him.

Not wrong I disagree that these philosophical arguments amount to adequate proofs.

seer
08-23-2015, 08:46 AM
Not wrong I disagree that these philosophical arguments amount to adequate proofs.

Then you disagree with Abdu'l-Baha who clearly says that these are "Proofs and Evidences for the Existence of God." Not philosophical arguments! Of course this is not the first time you threw your religion under the bus for the accolades of the world.

Adrift
08-23-2015, 09:25 AM
But Shuny is wrong: therefore, there must be an independent being whose independence is essential. I quoted and linked the longer version of this and it is clear that his religion teaches that there are proofs for God. Whether you or I agree that these are good proofs is immaterial, Shuny's religion teaches that there is evidence for God's existence. As a matter of fact that was the title of the work. "Evidence for the existence of God." The fact is Shuny will deny his religion when it suits him.

From everything I've read of him on Baha'i over the years including his interactions with other Bahaists (Sen McGlinn for instance), I sincerely doubt he knows much about Baha'i at all. He seems to be constantly putting his foot into his mouth concerning that religion, routinely misstating what Bahaists actually believe. As far as I can figure, at most he's a nominal Bahaist, or someone who has a passing interest in the religion.

seer
08-23-2015, 11:26 AM
From everything I've read of him on Baha'i over the years including his interactions with other Bahaists (Sen McGlinn for instance), I sincerely doubt he knows much about Baha'i at all. He seems to be constantly putting his foot into his mouth concerning that religion, routinely misstating what Bahaists actually believe. As far as I can figure, at most he's a nominal Bahaist, or someone who has a passing interest in the religion.

I suspect you are correct.

shunyadragon
08-23-2015, 01:33 PM
Then you disagree with Abdu'l-Baha who clearly says that these are "Proofs and Evidences for the Existence of God." Not philosophical arguments! Of course this is not the first time you threw your religion under the bus for the accolades of the world.

I disagree that they are sufficient proofs that would be adequate to convince non-believers that God exists. The importance of any logical argument form the human perspective is to be convincing of others who do not believe, and not to make on comfortable with ones on belief as Plantinga tries to do. They are descriptions of reasons to belief in God, which I believe. Your hypocrisy is you do not believe any of it, and are constantly looking for rabbit bones in Cambrian rocks.

ShrimpMaster
08-24-2015, 10:05 AM
Hey Seer and other Christians, if you are interested in the topic of belief in God as properly basic Dr. William Lane Craig is going over it in his current defenders class. He gives a rough and ready idea of the topic. Here are the links:

Lecture 1: http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4243425
Lecture 2: http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4281912
Lecture 3: will happen next Sunday 8/30

seer
08-24-2015, 10:16 AM
Hey Seer and other Christians, if you are interested in the topic of belief in God as properly basic Dr. William Lane Craig is going over it in his current defenders class. He gives a rough and ready idea of the topic. Here are the links:

Lecture 1: http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4243425
Lecture 2: http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4281912
Lecture 3: will happen next Sunday 8/30

Thanks SM...

whag
08-24-2015, 04:34 PM
Hey Seer and other Christians, if you are interested in the topic of belief in God as properly basic Dr. William Lane Craig is going over it in his current defenders class. He gives a rough and ready idea of the topic. Here are the links:

Lecture 1: http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4243425
Lecture 2: http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4281912
Lecture 3: will happen next Sunday 8/30

I find his detailing of Holy Spirit epistemology in lecture 2 puzzling. The first difficulty is that not all Christians as far as I know experience the HS as a feeling or personal interaction. Some say that don't experience it at all. Second, he calls that experience unmistakable when felt, meaning that the Christian knows it can't be anything other than God, and, thus, is proof of God (just as an innocent man being accused of murder KNOWS he didn't do it. In other words, he has that kind of surety). Third, he calls this unmistakable proof of God resistible. I don't believe that if you have internal reliable proof of God that you could resist it by becoming an atheist. That makes no sense to me.

whag
08-24-2015, 05:00 PM
Raised in a non-evangelical home, I became a Christian my third year of high school, not through any careful consideration of the evidence, but because those Christian students who shared the gospel with me seemed to be living on a different plane of reality than I was. Their faith in Christ imparted meaning to their lives along with a joyous peace, which I craved.

…As a young believer full of enthusiasm and faith, I went off in 1967 to study at Wheaton College. During the sixties Wheaton had become a seedbed of skepticism and cynicism, and I was dismayed to see students whose intellectual abilities I admired lose their faith and renounce Christianity in the name of reason… Among the students, doubt was touted as a virtue of the mature Christian life, and one was supposed to follow unflinchingly the demands of reason wherever it might lead. I will remember well one of my theology professors commenting that if he were persuaded that Christianity were unreasonable, then he would renounce Christianity.

Now that frightened and troubled me. For me, Christ was so real and had invested my life with such significance that I could not make the confession of my professor – if somehow through my studies my reason were to turn against my faith, then so much the worse for reason! Thus, I confided to one of my philosophy teachers, “I guess I’m not a true intellectual. If my reason turned against Christ, I’d still believe. My faith is too real.

Craig said that but also says that potent divine proof is resistible. Howso?

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/faith-and-doubt

ShrimpMaster
08-25-2015, 09:02 AM
I find his detailing of Holy Spirit epistemology in lecture 2 puzzling. The first difficulty is that not all Christians as far as I know experience the HS as a feeling or personal interaction. Some say that don't experience it at all. Second, he calls that experience unmistakable when felt, meaning that the Christian knows it can't be anything other than God, and, thus, is proof of God (just as an innocent man being accused of murder KNOWS he didn't do it. In other words, he has that kind of surety). Third, he calls this unmistakable proof of God resistible. I don't believe that if you have internal reliable proof of God that you could resist it by becoming an atheist. That makes no sense to me.

I guess my first question would be how do the Christians you know experience the Holy Spirit if not by feeling or personal interaction? And a second question would be; is an experience of the Holy Spirit necessary to be a Christian? I would think so, but I also think it can take place in many different ways.

Also, what if we consider Dr. Craig as including faith in his commentary on the experience of the Holy Spirit. I think we can all agree a Christian must have faith (which comes through the Holy Spirit).

A good proof verse might be Hebrews 11:1 (Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV)

Your final question regarding the unmistakable proof of God and it's resistability has more to do with soteriology, so I don't think it is entirely appropriate for this topic. I think your objection comes from the assumption that humans cannot freely resist God's grace, which hasn't been supported by your post and is also an assumption of Calvinism(see: efficacious grace). That is something for you to think about and we could discuss it if you wish to make a topic... Thanks

whag
08-25-2015, 09:49 PM
I guess my first question would be how do the Christians you know experience the Holy Spirit if not by feeling or personal interaction? And a second question would be; is an experience of the Holy Spirit necessary to be a Christian? I would think so, but I also think it can take place in many different ways.

Craig emphasized three times in that video that Holy Spirit epistemology doesn't have anything to do with feelings. I think your question is for him, not me.


Also, what if we consider Dr. Craig as including faith in his commentary on the experience of the Holy Spirit. I think we can all agree a Christian must have faith (which comes through the Holy Spirit).

A good proof verse might be Hebrews 11:1 (Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV)

You have to make up your mind whether Holy Spirit epistemology actually is about strong unmistakable interaction amounting to personal proof that the Christian God exists. Faith is exercised independently of numinous feeling and interaction with the divine.



Your final question regarding the unmistakable proof of God and it's resistability has more to do with soteriology, so I don't think it is entirely appropriate for this topic. I think your objection comes from the assumption that humans cannot freely resist God's grace, which hasn't been supported by your post and is also an assumption of Calvinism(see: efficacious grace). That is something for you to think about and we could discuss it if you wish to make a topic... Thanks

If you don't think this is on topic, you must not have watched the videos. Craig clearly references the resistibility of this powerful unmistakable proof of God's existence.

This is at odds with Plantinga's description of Holy Spirit epistemology being akin to being falsely accused of murder but knowing one is innocent. A person who knows he's innocent of a crime would never resist that knowledge. It's equally nonsensical that a person given unmistakable proof of God's existence would become an atheist.

ShrimpMaster
08-26-2015, 08:24 AM
Craig emphasized three times in that video that Holy Spirit epistemology doesn't have anything to do with feelings. I think your question is for him, not me.
I think the issue is the way you phrased it. You said "The first difficulty is that not all Christians as far as I know experience the HS as a feeling or personal interaction". Well when you say experience we could mean any number of things. Your question wasn't that clear. You are right Craig's lecture is clear that the belief in God as properly basic is not an argument from religious experience, but he doesn't say that we can't have feelings about our convictions or anything. I think we just need clarity on what you are actually asking...


You have to make up your mind whether Holy Spirit epistemology actually is about strong unmistakable interaction amounting to personal proof that the Christian God exists. Faith is exercised independently of numinous feeling and interaction with the divine.
I have and it is unmistakable. That would not make it irresistible...


If you don't think this is on topic, you must not have watched the videos. Craig clearly references the resistibility of this powerful unmistakable proof of God's existence.

This is at odds with Plantinga's description of Holy Spirit epistemology being akin to being falsely accused of murder but knowing one is innocent. A person who knows he's innocent of a crime would never resist that knowledge. It's equally nonsensical that a person given unmistakable proof of God's existence would become an atheist.
Right, the unmistakable proof of God is resistible. This would also furnish the grounds for the Christian doctrine of divine judgement, where humanity will be judged on their free choice to accept or reject Jesus Christ. Your next question will probably be about presuppositionalism (term used loosely here), which is natural consequence of this model. The only thing I would say is that atheists genuinely believe there is no God (so they are genuinely atheists), but that the sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit [Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. (Matthew 12:31 ESV)] would be a type of meta-level sin, so that atheists noetic faculties are damaged in such a way that although they "know" there is a God they do not recognize him and still maintain their genuine atheist values. This is a pandoras box that would probably take a good chunk of time to fully talk about. I don't know of any official material Craig has put forth on this topic, or if he even agrees with me, but I think it would be something like what I just said...

Also, Craig is using the analogy to say that the conviction a person experiences when they are accused of something they didn't do is the same as the conviction a person experiences when they are accused of operating their cognitive faculties irrationally because they accept the Christian faith. It isn't entirely correct. I could also point out that a person who is accused of murder could also question their memory whereas Plantinga's model would conclude that the Holy Spirit furnishes the believer with defeater-defeaters. The analogy isn't perfect and isn't meant to be.

If you want to inquire about the model I would speak about the model directly and not poke holes in Craig's analogy.

whag
08-29-2015, 08:16 AM
I think the issue is the way you phrased it. You said "The first difficulty is that not all Christians as far as I know experience the HS as a feeling or personal interaction". Well when you say experience we could mean any number of things.

Things or feelings? If you mean something other than feelings, you'll have to be clearer. Experience is sensational, and if the sensations are felt inwardly, I can only assume you're talking about the very thing Craig says it's not. For example, when you feel the unmistakable sensation of being condemned, you felt the feeling of fear, I'm assuming.


I have and it is unmistakable. That would not make it irresistible...

I'm understanding now what you mean by that. You believe the resistability of these unmistakable proofs must be caused by damage to noetic facilities. Brain damage, IOW.

My, that is a Pandora's box, isn't it? =)


Right, the unmistakable proof of God is resistible. This would also furnish the grounds for the Christian doctrine of divine judgement, where humanity will be judged on their free choice to accept or reject Jesus Christ. Your next question will probably be presuppositionalism (term used loosely here), which is natural consequence of this model. The only thing I would say is that atheists genuinely believe there is no God (so they are genuinely atheists), but that the sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit [Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. (Matthew 12:31 ESV)] would be a type of meta-level sin, so that atheists noetic faculties are damaged in such a way that although they "know" there is a God they do not recognize him and still maintain their genuine atheist values. This is a pandoras box that would probably take a good chunk of time to fully talk about. I don't know of any official material Craig has put forth on this topic, or if he even agrees with me, but I think it would be something like what I just said...

I'm sure you can synthesize your brain damage hypothesis concisely. Please go on, as it's key to this discussion.


Also, Craig is using the analogy to say that the conviction a person experiences when they are accused of something they didn't do is the same as the conviction a person experiences when they are accused of operating their cognitive faculties irrationally because they accept the Christian faith. It isn't entirely correct. I could also point out that a person who is accused of murder could also question their memory whereas Plantinga's model would conclude that the Holy Spirit furnishes the believer with defeater-defeaters. The analogy isn't perfect and isn't meant to be.

If you're arguing that resisting proof of God can only be attributed to mental degradation, the analogy is more spot on than you say. If I murder someone and but don't remember it, my memory must have been physically compromised in a serious way. A man tends to remember if he strangled someone to death.


If you want to inquire about the model I would speak about the model directly and not poke holes in Craig's analogy.

The analogy isn't so flawed now that you've argued that atheism's cause is due to a type of brain damage.

ShrimpMaster
08-31-2015, 09:26 AM
I'm understanding now what you mean by that. You believe the resistability of these unmistakable proofs must be caused by damage to noetic facilities. Brain damage, IOW.
This goes back to warrant and proper function. Let me clarify two things. First, brain damage is a poor choice of words, because it is usually taken the physical sense. For most people, the idea of 'brain damage' is a result of physical damage, for instance, falling on your head, or having a stroke. Second, this shouldn't be taken as an insult, because according to Plantinga's model the noetic consequences of sin effect all humans until they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

Last, in WCB (pg. 208), Plantinga distinguishes between sinning (making a moral choice that you are culpable for) and being in sin (the state humanity finds themselves in from birth and is non-culpable for). This effects every human being from birth. What is the damage done? Sin compromises the knowledge of fact (it prevents non-believers from coming to a true knowledge of Jesus Christ and his person) and it compromises the knowledge of value (non-believers do not know what is worth loving and what is worth hating). Plantinga goes on to say that sin is also an affective disorder that skews our affections and directs them toward the wrong objects; we love and hate the wrong things. The example Plantinga gives is that humanity is bent on their own self-aggrandizement and personal glorification rather than seeking first the Kingdom of God. What about 'Christians' who are bent on their own self-aggrandizement and glorification? The logical conclusion of the model is that they are not regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are not Christians.

An important note Plantinga makes is that the disorder is cognitive and affective but not intellectual. I may have muddied that water a bit, so I apologize. He says there is a failure of proper function - a sort of madness of the will - where a non-believer cannot make the appropriate affective choices.

ShrimpMaster
08-31-2015, 09:31 AM
The most recent lecture is up and does a bit better job than myself explaining it

http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4296895

seer
08-31-2015, 09:38 AM
The most recent lecture is up and does a bit better job than myself explaining it

http://livestream.com/reasonablefaith/events/4296895

Thanks SM.

whag
08-31-2015, 08:21 PM
This goes back to warrant and proper function. Let me clarify two things. First, brain damage is a poor choice of words, because it is usually taken the physical sense. For most people, the idea of 'brain damage' is a result of physical damage, for instance, falling on your head, or having a stroke. Second, this shouldn't be taken as an insult, because according to Plantinga's model the noetic consequences of sin effect all humans until they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

I don't take offense to that, although I do find "regeneration of the Holy Spirit" to be an empirically vague and convenient concept. Regeneration is a powerful noun, implying much has taken place that, in most cases, is barely evident except in the believer's vocal expression of faith. If it merely means moving one to accept a religious fact (e.g., Mohammed was Allah's messenger, Joseph Smith was a prophet, Christ was The Lamb), then all religious believers empirically qualify as "regenerated."


Last, in WCB (pg. 208), Plantinga distinguishes between sinning (making a moral choice that you are culpable for) and being in sin (the state humanity finds themselves in from birth and is non-culpable for). This effects every human being from birth. What is the damage done? Sin compromises the knowledge of fact (it prevents non-believers from coming to a true knowledge of Jesus Christ and his person) and it compromises the knowledge of value (non-believers do not know what is worth loving and what is worth hating).

This I do take as an insult (though not a personal one you meant to direct toward me). I can provide voluminous examples of "regenerated" Christians who hated the wrong things (e.g., Hypatia's wisdom, Jews, homosexuals). The belief that human beings are born damaged in such a way that only the acceptance of a specific dogma can remediate is a major stretch.


Plantinga goes on to say that sin is also an affective disorder that skews our affections and directs them toward the wrong objects; we love and hate the wrong things. The example Plantinga gives is that humanity is bent on their own self-aggrandizement and personal glorification rather than seeking first the Kingdom of God. What about 'Christians' who are bent on their own self-aggrandizement and glorification? The logical conclusion of the model is that they are not regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are not Christians.

I always found the "regenerated" disciples bickering about who would be counted the greatest in the group as odd. Most people don't have the instinct to argue about who'll be the most famous. In the context of being in the presence of the living God, such a conversation is almost unbelievable.

The majority of people simply don't have this instinct of self glorification and self aggrandizement. It actually ostracizes people, gets people fired, and makes one the butt of jokes. Your assumption that's it's the default human state is specious.


An important note Plantinga makes is that the disorder is cognitive and affective but not intellectual.

You can't divorce the adjective from intellect. It directly pertains to intellectual processes.

no·et·ic

\nō-ˈe-tik\adjective

:of, relating to, or based on the intellect


I may have muddied that water a bit, so I apologize. He says there is a failure of proper function - a sort of madness of the will - where a non-believer cannot make the appropriate affective choices.

No need to apologize. I like this discussion. That being said, madness must be rooted in cognition. It is an incoherent concept to attribute madness to will since will directly correlates to cognition.

Adrift
09-01-2015, 05:32 AM
Hypatia wasn't hated because of her wisdom, but likely because of her association with the Christian prefect Orestes. Tim O'Neil wrote a couple fantastic articles on the subject here (http://armariummagnus.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/agora-and-hypatia-hollywood-strikes.html) and here (http://armariummagnus.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/hypatia-and-agora-redux.html).

whag
09-01-2015, 06:58 AM
Hypatia wasn't hated because of her wisdom, but likely because of her association with the Christian prefect Orestes. Tim O'Neil wrote a couple fantastic articles on the subject here (http://armariummagnus.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/agora-and-hypatia-hollywood-strikes.html) and here (http://armariummagnus.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/hypatia-and-agora-redux.html).

"Hypatia's associations" doesn't sound quite as sexy.

shunyadragon
09-01-2015, 09:16 AM
Hypatia wasn't hated because of her wisdom, but likely because of her association with the Christian prefect Orestes. Tim O'Neil wrote a couple fantastic articles on the subject here (http://armariummagnus.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/agora-and-hypatia-hollywood-strikes.html) and here (http://armariummagnus.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/hypatia-and-agora-redux.html).

Nonetheless, she was hated.

whag
09-01-2015, 12:09 PM
Nonetheless, she was hated.

And flayed alive. By Christians regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

Adrift
09-01-2015, 12:17 PM
And flayed alive. By Christians regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

What makes you think they were regenerated by the Holy Spirit?

whag
09-01-2015, 12:53 PM
What makes you think they were regenerated by the Holy Spirit?

What makes you think Calvin, who killed Servetus, was?

One of topics of this thread will be what regeneration specifically entails.

Adrift
09-01-2015, 12:59 PM
What makes you think Calvin, who killed Servetus, was?

:huh: I don't remember making any claim about Calvin one way or the other. I'll take that as an omission that you don't know.


One of topics of this thread will be what regeneration specifically entails.

I can't wait.

whag
09-01-2015, 01:08 PM
:huh: I don't remember making any claim about Calvin one way or the other. I'll take that as an omission that you don't know.

There's a general consensus among Christians that the reformer--who burned someone alive--is a Christian. You're delving into No True Scotsman territory. It's best not to not open this can of worms.

Adrift
09-01-2015, 01:16 PM
There's a general consensus among Christians that the reformer--who burned someone alive--is a Christian.

So?


You're delving into No True Scotsman territory. It's best not to not open this can of worms.

I believe The No True Scotsman fallacy is fallacious.

whag
09-01-2015, 01:46 PM
So?


So millions of people might be wrong that one of the great reformers was regenerated. That's interesting. Perhaps your friends aren't and a good portion of the 2 billion Christian demographic isn't. That's interesting.

Adrift
09-01-2015, 01:51 PM
So millions of people might be wrong that one of the great reformers was regenerated. That's interesting. Perhaps your friends aren't and a good portion of the 2 billion Christian demographic isn't. That's interesting.

Matthew 7:13, 21 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. . . . 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

whag
09-01-2015, 02:00 PM
Matthew 7:13, 21 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. . . . 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Exactly. So the demographic is quite small. Perhaps it's a million.

David Hayward
09-03-2015, 03:24 AM
I'll throw in for reflection two posts on aRemonstrant's blog:

The first reflects on faith, and how it arguably isn't what New Atheists such as Boghossian, Coyne, Messerly etc etc claim. (https://aremonstrantsramblings.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/a-manual-for-creating-atheists-part-3-2/)

The second reflects on reason, criticising Boghossian's claim that the Hebrews usage was a departure from traditional usage. (https://aremonstrantsramblings.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/is-boghossian-still-precontemplative/)

ShrimpMaster
09-04-2015, 07:11 AM
I don't take offense to that, although I do find "regeneration of the Holy Spirit" to be an empirically vague and convenient concept. Regeneration is a powerful noun, implying much has taken place that, in most cases, is barely evident except in the believer's vocal expression of faith. If it merely means moving one to accept a religious fact (e.g., Mohammed was Allah's messenger, Joseph Smith was a prophet, Christ was The Lamb), then all religious believers empirically qualify as "regenerated." Regeneration is pretty strong vocabulary indeed, but objecting to your observance of individuals who claim they are regenerated and saying therefore, nobody is regenerated is fallacious. Regeneration as described by Plantinga is not moving toward any religious fact - it is religious facts concerning Christianity, but that is not all that is entailed by regeneration. Like I stated previously, it is both affective and cognitive. Affective in that it regenerates our hearts from the deep and radical evil that it harbors and cognitive in that it regenerates our knowledge of God and his marvelous beauty, glory, and loveliness. The sensus divinitatus is damaged in that we no longer know God in the same natural and unproblematic way in which we know each other and the world around us. Futher, sin induces in us a resistance to the deliverances of the sensus divinitatus, muted as they are by the first factor; we don't want to pay attention to its deliverances (WCB p.205). The process of regeneration as described by Plantinga begins in the present life and reaches fruition in the next. This restores the repair of the image of God in us.

Further, your objection that any religious believer (Mormon, Muslim, etc...) can claim regeneration is a misunderstanding. The model is based on the internal instigation of the Holy Spirit (IIHS), who furnishes the believer with the faith or knowledge of specific religious facts (i.e. Jesus is the divine Son of God, Jesus died for my sins, Jesus loves me, etc...). Therefore, the IIHS is a source of belief, or a cognitive process that produces specific beliefs in us that are specific to Christianity.


This I do take as an insult (though not a personal one you meant to direct toward me). I can provide voluminous examples of "regenerated" Christians who hated the wrong things (e.g., Hypatia's wisdom, Jews, homosexuals). The belief that human beings are born damaged in such a way that only the acceptance of a specific dogma can remediate is a major stretch. We both can agree that a Christian hating a homosexual is wrong, but Christian's hating sin is not wrong, so a Christian hating homosexuality would be appropriate. Also, citing an example from history and then saying 'they aren't regenerated because they hated such and such' is a terrible argument, because a lot of the historical things you cite are controversial to say the least. Also, regeneration takes place over the course of a persons life and reaches fruition at the next life. Therefore, the conclusion of the model is not that Christians will be perfect once they become a Christian. I think more should be said about how regeneration takes place if not immediate. I am still trying to find the part in Plantinga's book where he goes over this, but I have had no luck yet. More on this later...


I always found the "regenerated" disciples bickering about who would be counted the greatest in the group as odd. Most people don't have the instinct to argue about who'll be the most famous. In the context of being in the presence of the living God, such a conversation is almost unbelievable. That passage is prior to Jesus' death and glorification and Pentecost (the arrival of the Holy Spirit), so this model would not apply at this moment.


The majority of people simply don't have this instinct of self glorification and self aggrandizement. It actually ostracizes people, gets people fired, and makes one the butt of jokes. Your assumption that's it's the default human state is specious. I think you are losing me here. The doctrine of original sin is probably the most empirically verifiable doctrine Christianity has when we evaluate the condition of humanity, wars, social structures, etc... Further, to say that people don't have the instinct of self-glorification and self-aggrandizement because 'it might get you fired' is not how we should think of it at all. People can withhold their opinions regarding themselves for their own benefits - this would still be self glorification. I withhold my opinion that all of my co-workers are idiots, because I don't want to get fired, but how does that stop me from committing the sin of pride?


You can't divorce the adjective from intellect. It directly pertains to intellectual processes.

no·et·ic

\nō-ˈe-tik\adjective

:of, relating to, or based on the intellect

No need to apologize. I like this discussion. That being said, madness must be rooted in cognition. It is an incoherent concept to attribute madness to will since will directly correlates to cognition. This was a misunderstanding on my part. Plantinga actually goes further to distinguish which comes first will or intellect. I don't have the time to include it now, but just a note if you decide to read the book. Thanks

whag
09-05-2015, 06:02 AM
Regeneration is pretty strong vocabulary indeed, but objecting to your observance of individuals who claim they are regenerated and saying therefore, nobody is regenerated is fallacious. Regeneration as described by Plantinga is not moving toward any religious fact - it is religious facts concerning Christianity, but that is not all that is entailed by regeneration. Like I stated previously, it is both affective and cognitive. Affective in that it regenerates our hearts from the deep and radical evil that it harbors and cognitive in that it regenerates our knowledge of God and his marvelous beauty, glory, and loveliness. The sensus divinitatus is damaged in that we no longer know God in the same natural and unproblematic way in which we know each other and the world around us.
I’m still not clear how Mormons don’t have the same perceptions of God. How do they perceive God’s “marvelous beauty, glory, and loveliness” less than you?


Futher, sin induces in us a resistance to the deliverances of the sensus divinitatus, muted as they are by the first factor; we don't want to pay attention to its deliverances (WCB p.205). The process of regeneration as described by Plantinga begins in the present life and reaches fruition in the next. This restores the repair of the image of God in us.

OK


Further, your objection that any religious believer (Mormon, Muslim, etc...) can claim regeneration is a misunderstanding. The model is based on the internal instigation of the Holy Spirit (IIHS), who furnishes the believer with the faith or knowledge of specific religious facts (i.e. Jesus is the divine Son of God, Jesus died for my sins, Jesus loves me, etc...). Therefore, the IIHS is a source of belief, or a cognitive process that produces specific beliefs in us that are specific to Christianity.
The concept is common in all religions. You’re making regeneration sound like beliefs are branded onto the cognition in a way, when they’re really just believed according to the believer’s ability to maintain them. It’s like saying there’s a magic glue that adheres forever except in the case when the magic glue doesn’t adhere. Many Christians and religious believers of all religions have deconverted. How does cognitive regeneration distinguish itself from merely strongly held beliefs? BTW, cognitive is mainly known as physical and rarely as metaphysical (thought it relates to metaphysics).

We both can agree that a Christian hating a homosexual is wrong, but Christian's hating sin is not wrong, so a Christian hating homosexuality would be appropriate.
I said “homosexuals,” not homosexuality, so I don’t know what you’re talking about here.



Also, citing an example from history and then saying 'they aren't regenerated because they hated such and such' is a terrible argument, because a lot of the historical things you cite are controversial to say the least.
What controversy? Hypatia was flayed by alive Christians and John Calvin had a man burned at the stake for heresy. My question is obviously asking if regeneration prevents these violent expressions in Christians. If it does, can we assume those people aren't Christians?

Also, regeneration takes place over the course of a persons life and reaches fruition at the next life. Therefore, the conclusion of the model is not that Christians will be perfect once they become a Christian. I think more should be said about how regeneration takes place if not immediate. I am still trying to find the part in Plantinga's book where he goes over this, but I have had no luck yet. More on this later...

That passage is prior to Jesus' death and glorification and Pentecost (the arrival of the Holy Spirit), so this model would not apply at this moment.
OK

I think you are losing me here. The doctrine of original sin is probably the most empirically verifiable doctrine Christianity has when we evaluate the condition of humanity, wars, social structures, etc...
Such would only be interesting if Christianity came before its observation of anthropic imperfection. Don’t make it sound like a prediction that was fulfilled. Moreover, the condition of humanity is easily explained by the fact that we’re primates with higher cognition but still possessing ancient equipment that prevents perfect expression of morality. The teen pregnancy rate of Christians is a perfect example of an inevitable problem stemming from our ancient drive to reproduce.

Further, to say that people don't have the instinct of self-glorification and self-aggrandizement because 'it might get you fired' is not how we should think of it at all. People can withhold their opinions regarding themselves for their own benefits - this would still be self glorification. I withhold my opinion that all of my co-workers are idiots, because I don't want to get fired, but how does that stop me from committing the sin of pride?
You’re confused. If I without a negative opinion about you, I’m not glorifying myself. You don’t want to label a thought in which you ultimately hold your tongue a sin, do you? Moreover, maybe it’s true the guy is an idiot.

The world is mostly populated by those who don’t self-glorify and aggrandize. The ones who do (non-humble politicians, actors, politicians, coworkers) are largely laughed at. It’s a taboo in society and most people regard it as tasteless.

This was a misunderstanding on my part. Plantinga actually goes further to distinguish which comes first will or intellect. I don't have the time to include it now, but just a note if you decide to read the book. Thanks

OK

whag
09-05-2015, 07:36 AM
I made a mistake above. To clarify: If a had negative opinion about you or anyone, I’m not necessarily glorifying myself.

ShrimpMaster
09-08-2015, 09:28 AM
I’m still not clear how Mormons don’t have the same perceptions of God. How do they perceive God’s “marvelous beauty, glory, and loveliness” less than you?
The immediate experience of the Holy Spirit would be a self-authenticating experience. To say that a Christian's experience and a Mormon's experience is the same is a misunderstanding of the model. The claim would not be that I can prove the Mormon's experience as false. The claim is that citing other religions that claim a false experience does not invalidate the existence of a genuine experience of God.


The concept is common in all religions. You’re making regeneration sound like beliefs are branded onto the cognition in a way, when they’re really just believed according to the believer’s ability to maintain them. It’s like saying there’s a magic glue that adheres forever except in the case when the magic glue doesn’t adhere. Many Christians and religious believers of all religions have deconverted. How does cognitive regeneration distinguish itself from merely strongly held beliefs? BTW, cognitive is mainly known as physical and rarely as metaphysical (thought it relates to metaphysics).The concept may be familiar to many religions (not all), but regeneration would only occur to individuals who have a genuine experience of the Holy Spirit. Also, deconversion would do nothing to say that individuals cannot come to eventually reject the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but these individuals could not have had a genuine experience to begin with.


I said “homosexuals,” not homosexuality, so I don’t know what you’re talking about here.My response would be to deal with those that reject homosexuality and if you are construing that as a hatred of homosexuals, then your claim would be false. If a Christian sincerely hates a homosexual, then they would be in error.


Such would only be interesting if Christianity came before its observation of anthropic imperfection. Don’t make it sound like a prediction that was fulfilled. Moreover, the condition of humanity is easily explained by the fact that we’re primates with higher cognition but still possessing ancient equipment that prevents perfect expression of morality. The teen pregnancy rate of Christians is a perfect example of an inevitable problem stemming from our ancient drive to reproduce.

You’re confused. If I without a negative opinion about you, I’m not glorifying myself. You don’t want to label a thought in which you ultimately hold your tongue a sin, do you? Moreover, maybe it’s true the guy is an idiot.

The world is mostly populated by those who don’t self-glorify and aggrandize. The ones who do (non-humble politicians, actors, politicians, coworkers) are largely laughed at. It’s a taboo in society and most people regard it as tasteless. No, the comment is made towards a person who holds their tongue for their own personal benefit. You cited that it is 'taboo to self-glorify yourself openly', which I would agree with. That does not mean that people cannot self-glorify themselves secretly. You take self-glorify and self-aggrandizement to mean that it can only occur in an open and obvious way, but that is false. If you day dream about becoming the coolest kid in town and making other people look bad for your own benefit - you are still committing the sin of pride. In other words, the claim that it is taboo is irrelevant to that fact that humans are pre-disposed to self-glorification and self-aggrandizement.

shunyadragon
09-08-2015, 12:33 PM
The immediate experience of the Holy Spirit would be a self-authenticating experience. To say that a Christian's experience and a Mormon's experience is the same is a misunderstanding of the model. The claim would not be that I can prove the Mormon's experience as false. The claim is that citing other religions that claim a false experience does not invalidate the existence of a genuine experience of God.

Your correct, neither experience would invalidate the other, but both would 'self authenticating' experiences for their belief, and highly anecdotal in nature, and not verifiably as valid nor any different from an outside observer.


The concept may be familiar to many religions (not all), but regeneration would only occur to individuals who have a genuine experience of the Holy Spirit. Also, deconversion would do nothing to say that individuals cannot come to eventually reject the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but these individuals could not have had a genuine experience to begin with.

This represents a long standing problem of the judgment as to whose experience is genuine and whose is not. regeneration remains to anecdotal to make any judgment as to its validity across many different beliefs.

ShrimpMaster
09-08-2015, 03:45 PM
Shunyadragon, I think you are correct in your assessment, but remember that Plantinga's project is to make a defensible account of belief in God as properly basic. It isn't meant to be a proof for Christian theism. I think if I wanted to show defeaters for Mormonism, Islam, etc... I could do that, but it would be on other grounds than the basicality of the belief in God. Properly basic beliefs are not indefeasible. The point is that you cannot dismiss a properly basic belief without also showing it to be false (i.e. attacking the truth of the belief). Thanks

shunyadragon
09-09-2015, 09:55 AM
Shunyadragon, I think you are correct in your assessment, but remember that Plantinga's project is to make a defensible account of belief in God as properly basic. It isn't meant to be a proof for Christian theism. I think if I wanted to show defeaters for Mormonism, Islam, etc... I could do that, but it would be on other grounds than the basicality of the belief in God. Properly basic beliefs are not indefeasible. The point is that you cannot dismiss a properly basic belief without also showing it to be false (i.e. attacking the truth of the belief). Thanks

The disagreement is whether specific religious experiences such as you describe are proposed by Plantinga as necessary for a belief being 'properly basic.'

ShrimpMaster
09-09-2015, 10:18 AM
The disagreement is whether specific religious experiences such as you describe are proposed by Plantinga as necessary for a belief being 'properly basic.'
I don't think so. Religious experience is not be the basis for the belief in God as properly basic. The discussion whag and I were having was around whether someone is regenerated and what constitutes regeneration. Hard questions to answer. Thanks

shunyadragon
09-09-2015, 12:31 PM
I don't think so. Religious experience is not be the basis for the belief in God as properly basic. The discussion whag and I were having was around whether someone is regenerated and what constitutes regeneration. Hard questions to answer. Thanks

These are hard questions.

I believe if you debate the issue of 'regeneration' and what it constitutes you will both be butting your heads against either side of a wall, where one does not believe in such experience as genuine, and the other does. I on the other hand look at 'regeneration' from different perspectives. as I am a Theist and view 'regeneration' from the perspective of a spiritual change or transformation in the individual. This does not mean it is a witness of a true spiritual reality, but it in reality is a change within the individual.

In Buddhism it is a satori or enlightenment. There may be 'little satori, or the 'big satori.' It is often described as "seeing into one's true nature."

The Baha'i Faith views 'regeneration' from two perspectives. The first is the 'regeneration' of the world through the power of the Revelation from God. This is the regeneration that results in a change and transformation of the world that most people may not be aware of as a spiritual transformation. The second is the spiritual awakening or transformation of the individual.

Actual there are probably views of 'regeneration' in any belief system including atheism and agnosticism as the realization of the truth and meaningful realization of that belief that results in the 'regeneration.' This is where arguments for the validity of 'regeneration' breaks down between people who believe radically different.

ShrimpMaster
09-11-2015, 08:20 AM
Regeneration implies that something is a way that it is not supposed to be. The Baha'i faith has no doctrine concerning original sin or the fallen state of humanity, therefore, regeneration is not a word that applies to the Baha'i faith.

shunyadragon
09-12-2015, 06:40 AM
Regeneration implies that something is a way that it is not supposed to be. The Baha'i faith has no doctrine concerning original sin or the fallen state of humanity, therefore, regeneration is not a word that applies to the Baha'i faith.

I believe this an anecdotal assertion based on a sense of exclusiveness, and not by the definition of 'regeneration.' I do not believe that Plantinga makes this distinction when defining what is properly basic.

As I said before, your in trouble with a dialog with anyone who does not believe specifically as you do concerning the meaning of regeneration. It will be a fruitless frustrating exercise if you assume this exclusiveness of your view.

ShrimpMaster
09-14-2015, 06:53 AM
I believe this an anecdotal assertion based on a sense of exclusiveness, and not by the definition of 'regeneration.' I do not believe that Plantinga makes this distinction when defining what is properly basic.

As I said before, your in trouble with a dialog with anyone who does not believe specifically as you do concerning the meaning of regeneration. It will be a fruitless frustrating exercise if you assume this exclusiveness of your view.
I don't think I need to argue over the meaning of regeneration with you. If you are having trouble with me, then go find a dictionary.

shunyadragon
09-14-2015, 09:05 AM
I don't think I need to argue over the meaning of regeneration with you. If you are having trouble with me, then go find a dictionary.

No problem . . .



re•gen•er•a•tion
(rɪˌdʒɛn əˈreɪ ʃən)

n.
1. the act of regenerating or the state of being regenerated.

2. the regrowth of a lost or injured part of the body.

3. spiritual rebirth; religious revival.

Each religion or belief system may define may define regeneration in terms of their own belief, but this is not effectively meaningful outside that particular belief system.

Adam
09-26-2015, 09:39 AM
Plantinga is one of my favorite philosophers and is a large figure in the field. However, I disagree with the claim that he "is the leading epistemologist that is alive today among secular and non-secular epistemologists". He's retired, after all. And in any event, people like Alvin Goldman, Laurence Bonjour, and Ernest Sosa are
[arguably bigger].

And I've never heard of any of the three. Which may prove only my ignorance, but it does argue against your denigration of Plantinga.
For the record, I have never liked Plantinga, but again that may only exhibit my ignorance of and bias against Presuppositionalism.

Adam
09-26-2015, 10:07 AM
Please note:
I find myself affixing "Amen" to a lot of posts. This signifies neither assent nor approval in many cases, consider it equivalent to "Popcorn" = "Yes, I'm listening, tell me more!" (Probably incomprehensible to most humans in regards to deep philosophic discussion of epistemology, but I never said I'm not crazy.)
The absence of an "Amen" on Shuny's posts does not betoken disagreement or dislike. I am simply studiously avoiding reading anything he wrote.

Adam
09-26-2015, 12:04 PM
I suspect it is an age thing - early signs of dementia?
I could not reason with him in 2007. He's just obstinate and wrong-headed.

Adam
09-26-2015, 01:04 PM
Amend my #161 above now that I have studiously read all Shuny's posts through #85 where he affirmed his mental competency.
No change needed for my #162. I am right and Seer and Adrift are wrong. Shuny is no worse than he ever was. He's just contrary, a skeptic who won't admit being a skeptic.