Archive for the ‘Naturalism’ Category

September 6, 2011

In his novel The Age of Longing, Koestler describes the plight of Hydie, a lapsed Catholic:

Oh, if only she could go back to the infinite comfort of father confessors and mother superiors, of a well-ordered hierarchy which promised punishment and reward, and furnished the world with justice and meaning. If only she could go back! But she was under the curse of reason, which rejected whatever might quench her thirst, without abolishing the urge; which rejected the answer without abolishing the question. For the place of God had become vacant, and there was a draught blowing through the world as in an empty flat before the new tenants have arrived.

Precisely Koestler’s own predicament, and that of modern man.

Theodore Dalrymple

But ‘reason’ did not disprove God or miracles, only naturalistic presuppositions did.  Koestler didn’t need to give up reason to have the comfort of faith; he needed to doubt the assumptions of naturalism. He could have found Christ the source of living water and still rejected the superstitions of Roman Catholicism.

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John’s Gospel is hopelessly inaccurate (at least when judged by arbitrary naturalistic criteria)

April 23, 2011

John’s Gospel is hopelessly inaccurate and has virtually nothing to tell us about Jesus’ life – never mind his alleged resurrection from the dead.

Dr James Crossley, Head of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield in 2007 debate on resurrection with William Lane Craig.

(what evidence does he provide?)

John’s Gospel contains inventions such as Thomas’ confession of Jesus’ as ‘My Lord and God’.

This occurs only in John and no other gospel would have omitted something as staggeringly dramatic as this. John’s Gospel is the only gospel where there is the full equation of Jesus and God. And he’s (John is) making it up.

By the standards of conventional historical research then, these stories would be regarded as pieces of creative invention. And I think to argue otherwise would be to abandon a useful historical method and it gets very close to letting blind faith take over.’

Giving the abundant evidence for the resurrection offered by Craig, this last remark seems somewhat baseless.

The claim that John’s Gospel has too high a Christology and, allied to this, the claim that the only historically reliable gospels are the synoptics (and then only partially) must be proven not assumed by Crossley.

All the synoptics have language that makes Christ divine (ability to forgive sins – all the synoptics, the very first verse in Mark’s Gospel and the repeated statement from the demons He is the Son of God etc., Mt. 11.27b “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” – is very high Christology. To deny these ‘high’ statements are unreliable later inventions is to beg the question as well as to establish an arbitrary (naturalistic in Crossley’s case) criterion of reliable history – namely that Jesus couldn’t possibly have claimed divinity.

Further, He was crucified for blasphemy, not for being a typical Jewish peasant preacher – explicitly in Mt. and Mk – see Mk.14.62 etc..

Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost

January 10, 2010

Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F’s: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive…. . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism’s way of life and enhances the organism’s chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.

Patricia Churchland

Research has demonstrated that there is a distinction between the mind and the brain

January 6, 2010

Research has demonstrated that there is a distinction between the mind and the brain. One study had brain surgeons open up the skull of brain surgery patients to expose their gray matter. The researchers then electrically stimulated the area of the brain which lifts the right arm. They stimulated it and the arm lifted without the patient’s permission. Then the scientists instructed their patients to resist the lifting of the arm when they stimulated the same spot in the brain. They stimulated that area, and all the patients could resist the lifting of their arm.

Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, pp.98-99

Are you the person you were seven years ago?

January 3, 2010

Human beings lose one-sixtieth of an ounce of respiratory moisture and sweat every minute. There is a net loss every second. This means humans physically change every moment, hence under a physical-only worldview, I am not the same person I was a second ago. The skin replaces itself once a month. The stomach lining is replaced every five days. The cells in the liver are replaced every six weeks, and the skeleton about every three months…The cells of a human body are in a constant state of flux, and are always being modified. In one year, the average person has ninety-eight percent of his atoms exchanged for new ones. In seven years’ time, every atom in a person’s body has been replaced by new ones. Thus the person is a new and completely different being within the worldview of the materialist atheist.

Question for the atheist: Are you the person you were seven years ago?

Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, pp.58-9

Just because we can successfully survive and reproduce in no way ensures that our minds as a whole tell us the truth about anything

December 16, 2009

Though some cognitive scientists assume that because our brains and their functions have been ‘designed’ by natural selection we can trust them to tell us the truth, such an assumption is epistemologically dubious. Just because we can successfully survive and reproduce in no way ensures that our minds as a whole tell us the truth about anything-especially when it comes to sophisticated thinking…what a completely naturalistic view of the human mind may safely embrace is that our minds were good for survival in the past.

Justin Barrett, Why would anyone believe in God?

No thought is valid if it can be explained fully as the result of irrational causes

November 24, 2009

No thought is valid if it can be explained fully as the result of irrational causes…
A train of thought loses all rational credentials, as soon as it can be shown to be wholly the result of irrational causes.

C.S.Lewis, Miracles, p.27

Long, long ago, a frog lived at the bottom of a well. One day, the frog looked up and saw a turtle from the Eastern Sea silhouetted against the sky at the edge of the well

November 17, 2009

Long, long ago, a frog lived at the bottom of a well. One day, the frog looked up and saw a turtle from the Eastern Sea silhouetted against the sky at the edge of the well. He tried to convince the turtle to join him in his wonderful well, of which he was the master. The turtle started to descend into the well, but she realized it was too narrow and she would get stuck. So she withdrew and told the frog instead about how deep and wide the sea is. The frog was left dumfounded. He could not imagine the immensity and magnitude of the sea, as he has never seen it. The idiom “frog at the bottom of a well,” or “looking at the sky from the bottom of a well,” which grew out of this Daoist fable, has come to represent a state of limited vision and even ignorance — of not being able to see outside of one’s own immediate environment.

A story by Zhuangzi (c. 369-295 BC), one of the founders of Daoism, sheds light on the ancient Chinese concept of the World (Zhuangzi, Chapter 17: “The Floods of Autumn”).

The Naturalist, life the frog, cannot conceive of miracles because they do not fit his ‘vision’ of the world. They are ‘impossible’ because he knows, as the frog ‘knew’ that the sea cannot be vast, that miracles cannot occur.

Unless Nature always goes on in the same way, the fact that things had happened ten million times would not make it a whit more probable that it would happen again

November 11, 2009

Unless Nature always goes on in the same way, the fact that things had happened ten million times would not make it a whit more probable that it would happen again. And how could we know the Uniformity of Nature? A moment’s thought shows that we do not know it by experience. We observe many regularities in Nature. But of course all the observations that men have made or will make while the race lasts cover only a minute fraction of the events that actually go on. Our observations would therefore be of no use unless we felt sure that Nature when we are not watching her behaves in the same way as when we are: in other words, unless we believe in the Uniformity of Nature. Experience therefore cannot prove uniformity, because uniformity has to assume before experience proves anything. And mere length of experience does not help matters. It is no good saying, ‘Each fresh experience confirms our belief in the uniformity and therefore we reasonably expect that it will always be conformed;’ for that argument works only on the assumption that the future will resemble the past – which is simply the assumption of Uniformity under a new name.

C.S. Lewis, Miracles, 1959, p. 123