Arguments people should stop making


(RiderOnTheClouds) #82

And, ‘the bible says the earth is square’.


#83

Where does the Bible say the earth is square?


(RiderOnTheClouds) #84

Precisely my point


(Mark D.) #86

You had me intrigued since it was you, I think, who recommended The Sparrow and its sequel. But then I tried to reserve it at my local library and nothing came up for either title. Then I googled them and read that it was some1800’s treatise (novel?) on theology of the time. I guess I’ll pass this time, unless you tell me it was as good a page-turner as those other two books.

We were walking on a San Francisco beach with the dogs. Occasionally I’d get reception so I could read this interesting exchange between yourself and @Randy while waiting for my wife to catch up. Sounded good.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #87

You are probably confusing two different authors here. “The Sparrow” is a contemporary novel (1996) by Mary Doria Russell. (Sequel book: “The Children of God”) that I do recommend and we had extensive discussion about it in this thread about a year ago.

My more recent literary excitements here were regarding novels by George MacDonald (there’s your 19th century theology author). Especially his novel: “The Curate’s Awakening”. Don’t write off that one too quick because of its age. You might like it too.


(Randy) #88

@MarkD, it sounds like you were having a great afternoon! Here in Michigan, the dogwoods are out and it was warm enough for my kids to play in the sprinkler on the trampoline for the first time this year (67 degrees). it’s 9 pm, and the kids are in bed after reading “The Sand Fairy,” by E. Nesbit, together, and making up our favorite fantasy entry about “Mr Lapin,” the imaginary rabbit who lives by the creek out back.

Just a bit of background–no urgency to read him, but George Macdonald https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_MacDonald#Theology
honestly is my favorite author, even above C S Lewis, Enns and others. He was a mentor and friend of Lewis Carroll (who read “Alice” to his children as test cases before publishing them), a friend of Mark Twain, and influenced Lewis to the point that Lewis said he used something of his writing (ranging from fairy tales to novels like the one above, to sermons) in every one of his own works. He studied to be a preacher, but was kicked out because he believed that not only Christians would go to Heaven (he was a universalist). Queen Victoria gave him a stipend, I believe.

Apparently, his upbringing was strict Calvinist, and Macdonald’s grandma, a very strict disciplinarian, burnt his violin because she thought it was influencing him to evil. However, some think that his close relationship with his father (as I think mine did) made him look for a God who was good and just rather than just powerful, as he thought of his grandma’s image. He “turned with loathing from the god of Jonathan Edwards,” (who preached “Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God,”) as he wrote. Many have said his writings are full of “goodness,” which reflect his desire to find God like Christ, rather than the fearsome one he had. That’s probably why he wrote fairly tales and fantasy like “The Light Princess,” “The Princess and the Goblin,” and “Phantastes” and “Lilith,” but his “Unspoken Sermons” included “Justice,” which has been pivotal in my understanding of divine punishment. In it, he argued that all punishment is made to correct and reconcile, as with a father and child; not to vindicate or defend honor. Thus, he believed that Hell was not a place of eternal torment, but actually where we are closest to God–that He lovingly teaches us what we need to be more like Him.

In “The Curate’s Awakening,” that @Mervin_Bitikofer referenced above, a curate realizes that his faith is very shallow and fear based. He becomes so doubtful that he admits to his congregation that he doesn’t know if he believes in God, but sets out to find what kind of God might be shown in Jesus, if there is such a one. Macdonald’s the perennial apologist for the doubter and atheist, saying it’s more righteous to doubt and seek truth than to adhere to a false image that might just as well be the Devil.

Enjoy your evening–I think you are several hours behind us and have more sunlight left!

I’d better start a Macdonald and fantasy thread before I write any more.
PS–if you do read Macdonald, you probably would like the Michael Phillips translation as he does wander a lot in his novels. The fairy stories are easier.


(Mark D.) #89

Sold. But I don’t use an e reader so I’ll have to scare up a copy in print. I’ll start by seeing if my library has a reciprocal relationship with one that has the books. Maybe I can find one for sale online. I can see why you admire the guy, now I just hope he is a good writer too.

No, I was trying to say you established your credentials for recommending a good read with the Sparrow books, therefore inclining me to give it shot.


(RiderOnTheClouds) #90

What does this have to do with my point?


(Randy) #91

Frankly, he wanders a lot, so I think that the novels aren’t the easiest ones to read, though the Michael Phillips versions are easier. I’m not sure he’s a great writer–it’s the unique content that attracts me. @Mervin_Bitikofer, which would you like best? “Justice” is probably the shortest, and this is an interesting overview, but the actual sermon is not for the faint of heart. https://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2010/06/george-macdonald-justice-hell-and.html

They’re not for everyone, so I won’t feel bad if you dip your feet in and stop after the first paragraph :slight_smile:. “The Princess and the Goblin” was probably my first introduction as a child. Here’s a quote:
“We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be. But there is one thing much more necessary.’
What is that, grandmother?’
To understand other people.’
Yes, grandmother. I must be fair - for if I’m not fair to other people, I’m not worth being understood myself. I see.” "

From his other writings: “Philosophy is really homesickness.”


(Shawn T Murphy) #92

The rest of the world would take Christianity more seriously if stop all illogical claims that it makes and just demonstrate the main message of Jesus: Love your enemies, your neighbor and God above all .

  • Stop arguing who and who not will go to Heaven (or Hell).
  • Stop arguing whether Jesus is God or not
  • Stop claiming the Bible is the unerring word of God.

(Shawn T Murphy) #93

Sorry, Reggie, I did not mean to reply to your post specifically. I have fixed my mistake.
Best Wishes, Shawn


(Mervin Bitikofer) #94

Yes, @MarkD, absolutely ditto to Randy’s observations. Especially about Michael Phillips. Reading some of MacDonald’s novels straight up can seem almost like reading another language at some points - his Scottish can be challenging, though even that didn’t stop me from figuring out just enough that even those held me. But given the choice, I will choose to read Phillips’ edited (smoothed out) versions of Macdonald - he cuts through most of the difficult language and makes it much more readable for the rest of us English readers today And he does so very respectfully of the story and for Macdonald himself - my respect for Phillips in his intermediary editing role has grown much for reasons I won’t go into here. For your first foray into Macdonald, I highly recommend a Michael Phillips edited book.


(Mark D.) #95

Well I did manage to find the Princess and the Goblin at my library so looks like I’ll be starting there. Not sure if Michael Phillips had any hand in the version though.


(Randy) #96

That would be a good one…children’s level, but good fantasy. It was easier to read and geared to children, so Phillips didn’t have to translate it.


(Dominik Kowalski) #97

Sorry I completely forgot your post, but I think you still deserve an answer.

The fine-tuning argument generally argues for the laws of physics having very specific values in order to permit complex life to evolve. This implies a designer.

Now, this is a bit simplistic and I ask you to correct me if you see a fatal flaw, in order for me to adress those points. I´m also not hostile to the argument in any way. But I think it needs certain scenarios in order to be truly strong, none of which I see as permitted at the moment:

  1. The laws are transcedental. If the life-permitting laws are given across every possible universe, you have a great argument.
  2. The multiverse is dismissed. I´m playing devil´s advocate here, since I myself don´t really know what to think about it really. My belief that it exists is entirely based on religious grounds, so not really useful in a scientific debate. So although one could (and I would) argue that an appeal to a chaotic multiverse is a cop-out, it prevents the argument from being in its strongest possible form.
  3. Further laws of nature are discovered, so that the possible multiverse is deemed to be life-friendly and the appearance of the latter not just a mere accident. Multiverse exists and our laws of physics also aren´t transcedental? Well who cares if life is something like a ground force in a universe´s existence.

If any one of those scenarios were given, I´d agree that fine-tuning is a great, if not almost conclusive, argument. Until then I say “maybe” to it.

Of course I wasn´t targeting the financial middle class. I´d insult myself with it. My point is that I don´t see the argument as something top-apologetics should use. Or rather, don´t use it as your strongest argument, if it only provides weak probabilistic results.

Wrong application of a fallacy-accusement. I´d pointed out in this post, but also already at the start of this thread why I think it is a weak argument. What I tried to show was that even among Christianities most important contemporary defenders known to the popular audience, this argument is rarely, if ever, used, which indicates that the argument establishes the desired outcome, God´s existence, not successfully. Fine-tuning is something we should be curious about and maybe even use to indicate something like design, but for the latter to be really successfull, we´d need certain circumtances which aren´t given at the moment.

I did and still do. However my opposition to the fine-tuning argument roots in its current inability to establish the conclusion beyond reasonable doubt, because it is construed in a way that it is dependend on the development of modern science and not on the philosophy of nature.

I think this is answered at the top of this comment in response to Simons.


(Gordon Simons) #98

Thanks, Dominik, for your reply concerning “fine tuning.” You raise three concerns, and I agree that, if met, the “fine-tuning” would be “truly strong.” All three relate to other universes.

Granted, there might be other universes than our own, but there is no data supporting this. And there is an abundance of fine-tuning data in our own universe; this is acknowledged by atheists and non-atheist, including those who see evidence of design, and those who wish they couldn’t.

Finally, imagine we were discussing general relativity rather than fine-tuning. Would you call general relativity “simplistic” because we have not a shred of evidence of its applicability in other possible universes? Of course, not. Or, at least, I hope not. All of what we think we know about science has no valid claim to transcend our universe – for the very same reason: “no data.” So why single out fine tuning with this unrealistic standard?


(Ronald Myers) #99

The premier fine tuning argument has been the tight limits on the strong and weak force constants to get nucleosysthesis of biophilic elements . Since year 2000 there have been at least 4 articles primarily in Phys Rev D outlining how to get these elements with the weak force varied from 0 to 2x observed value and strong force up to 4x observed value. While not every choice of force constants will give biophilic elements , the window is larger than previously thought.


(system) closed #100

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