[split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
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03-01-2014, 11:46 AM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 10:55 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Whatever your scientific background and training, you are obviously a beginner when it comes to linguistics and semantics.

(03-01-2014 11:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  Whatever your academic credentials, you have obviously fallen off a post-modern cliff into a meaningless abyss.

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03-01-2014, 01:19 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 05:57 AM)maklelan Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 11:07 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Scientific illiteracy qualifies as a gap.

You misunderstand what the god of the gaps fallacy is. It isn't an accusation one makes about another, it's a theological proposition one makes for their own position. It's when the religionists themselves retreat from their theology as science progresses and insist their deity is not undermined by science because of all the gaps in scientific knowledge where he could still be dwelling. One must be aware of what gaps are and are not there to insist their deity is hiding in them.
You misunderstand the GOTGs argument.
It is when a person has a gap in knowledge and fills it with their own god.
e.g. I don't know how the universe came to be thus it must have been god that created it, it surely couldn't have been anything else.

I don't know how life came to be thus it must have been god.

I don't know why people don't go around killing each other it must have been morality. I don't know who authored morality, it must have been god.

According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions
Quote:As of the early twenty-first century, it was estimated that 54% of the world's population (3.8 billion people) considered themselves adherents of the Abrahamic religions
Followers of these religions believe that their god created the universe. This is an example of GOTGs. Thus the majority of today's religious believe in COTGs.
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03-01-2014, 01:20 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 11:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  If a text has no intrinsic meaning, then it doesn't matter whether I am reading a fifth-grader's book report or a scholarly dissertation.

That's only true if you do not understand the difference between the concepts produced by those authors. I don't believe you're that ignorant, so this is just a silly rhetorical bark.

(03-01-2014 11:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  We read the words as written and discern their meaning. While we will bring some understanding, ideas, and meanings with us, we cannot be the sole source of meaning.

The only way a text can have intrinsic meaning is if writing a text magically imbues it with actual ontological "meaning" that actively emanates from it like radiation until it comes into contact with a reader who has the proper hardware to digest the "meaning" rays coming from it. I doubt that's what you're arguing. The word "dog" never meant anything at all until two people pointed to a dog and decided that the word would refer to that. Take away those two people and the word goes back to being utterly and completely meaningless. Pass the agreed-upon symbolic relationship to others, and the meaning is carried on. Is anything intrinsic to the word itself? Of course not. The meaning exists solely in the agreement. A text is an arbitrary configuration of shapes that is absolutely nothing more until someone comes along and can see that the shapes correspond to an agreed-upon system of relationships between arbitrarily defined symbols and semantic values of which she has knowledge and experience. A text does not physically or conceptually contain actual "meaning," it simply refers the reader to the system so they can negotiate between the potential meanings and the broader context to produce their own meaning that they believe is most likely the one intended by the author. You do not extract meaning from a text, you conjure it up in your mind and decide whether or not it is likely to match what the author's intended meaning was. You produce it and then decide if your production is close to the meaning the author produced in her mind. The text simply directs you to potential semantic values. You make them make sense. This is why misunderstandings occur. If you simply extracted meaning there would be no misunderstandings, since there would be no choices and no potentiality. You wouldn't be producing ideas, you would just be receiving them. Have you ever misunderstood a text message or an email because you had no non-verbal cues? This is because you conjured up a meaning without the appropriate context and picked the wrong one. The text can be exactly the same as a verbal utterance, but without the non-verbal cues, the risk of choosing the wrong potential meaning is higher.

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03-01-2014, 01:44 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  You misunderstand the GOTGs argument.

No, I do not, and you've confused a very technical and specific term with the broad psychological process of assuming agency and intention in non-natural and unknown phenomena. The two are not the same thing at all, and I suggest you do some research outside of your own imagination. While it's true that sometimes arguments for God rely on the scientifically unknown, this requires an understanding of the state of scientific knowledge and is a conscious restriction of God's activity in the interest of debate, not an appeal to God to explain the unknown, a completely separate phenomenon (see here or here for more on that).

The "god of the gaps" is theological reasoning that uses the divine to explain gaps in contemporary scientific understandings in order to assert the possibility of the divine in a scientifically cognizant culture that doesn't otherwise have room or need for it. As I pointed out previously, the concept was first introduced by the 19th century theologian Henry Drummond in a pejorative reference to weak theology that points to gaps in scientific knowledge that they "fill up with God." Dietrich Bonhoeffer expressed similar disapproval:

Quote:how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know.

Charles A. Coulson coined the actual phrase in a 1955 book:

Quote:There is no 'God of the gaps' to take over at those strategic places where science fails; and the reason is that gaps of this sort have the unpreventable habit of shrinking.

The point these men are making is that the gaps are incidental and tend to be closed up as science progresses, creating an ever-shrinking arena in which people can assert God could still be hiding without being rendered unneeded by scientific inquiry.

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03-01-2014, 01:45 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 08:06 AM)maklelan Wrote:  those inferences and assumptions are vastly varied, making it rather silly to pretend it can all be reduced to completely objective and definitive statements. Again, this is not to argue for Book of Mormon historicity, but just to show that it's much more complex than you appear to be aware.

Sorry, this is a little out of left field. I read this and noticed how you defended it. When talking about the DNA evidence, which has little going for it (if anything at all) you defend it with the argument that "it's much more complex than you appear to be aware", as if that deems it worthy of something.

Yet when the jesus myth conversation was happening the scholars who claim it is myth (and provide pretty clear, compelling evidence for why they think so) are easily dismissed by you by saying they are just fringe scholars and not supported by the mainstream instead of giving their points the acknowledgment they deserve.

You are very good at manipulating the argument to suit your viewpoint, I'll give you that.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

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03-01-2014, 01:48 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 11:10 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  Can you elaborate as I honestly find this point rather confusing. Without any intrinsic meaning, what do the Bible, Book of Mormon, or any other religious texts bring to the table of any value.

You would have to also ask this of any other text in existence. This is not a property of only religious texts. All texts everywhere require a reader to have meaning. The meaning produced has value insofar as the reader finds value in what they produce.

(03-01-2014 11:10 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  Texts of fiction require interpretation.

So do texts of non-fiction, and the difference between the two is a continuum, not a dichotomy.

(03-01-2014 11:10 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  So if it has no intrinsic meaning and needs a filter of individual reader interpretation, why pay attention and follow the writings? Furthermore, unless you belive the literal record of events concerning the gold plates and talking to angels, then again why follow to any degree?

Why read poetry or philosophical literature?

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03-01-2014, 01:55 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 01:45 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Sorry, this is a little out of left field. I read this and noticed how you defended it. When talking about the DNA evidence, which has little going for it (if anything at all) you defend it with the argument that "it's much more complex than you appear to be aware", as if that deems it worthy of something.

Yes, worthy of being evaluated and represented accurately and not just indiscriminately chucked at the wall for rhetorical purposes.

(03-01-2014 01:45 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  Yet when the jesus myth conversation was happening the scholars who claim it is myth (and provide pretty clear, compelling evidence for why they think so) are easily dismissed by you by saying they are just fringe scholars and not supported by the mainstream instead of giving their points the acknowledgment they deserve.

That's not an accurate representation of my points. First, I was not presented with any specific arguments, but just broad fields of study. Next, I provided a few general problem areas and didn't say a word about them being fringe scholars until someone directly asserted that they were well-respected. I'm not going to publish a book-length refutation of mythicism on the website just so I can't be accused of "easily dismissing" stuff. If you want to hear some concerns with specific claims, raise a few specific claims. I raised specific concerns with the way the DNA evidence was misrepresented, and that turned into a lengthier discussion. If you'd like to raises specific concerns with my disapproval of mythicism, I'd be happy to respond.

(03-01-2014 01:45 PM)evenheathen Wrote:  You are very good at manipulating the argument to suit your viewpoint, I'll give you that.

I disagree, but you're welcome to prove me wrong.

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03-01-2014, 01:57 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 01:20 PM)maklelan Wrote:  
(03-01-2014 11:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  If a text has no intrinsic meaning, then it doesn't matter whether I am reading a fifth-grader's book report or a scholarly dissertation.

That's only true if you do not understand the difference between the concepts produced by those authors. I don't believe you're that ignorant, so this is just a silly rhetorical bark.

(03-01-2014 11:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  We read the words as written and discern their meaning. While we will bring some understanding, ideas, and meanings with us, we cannot be the sole source of meaning.

The only way a text can have intrinsic meaning is if writing a text magically imbues it with actual ontological "meaning" that actively emanates from it like radiation until it comes into contact with a reader who has the proper hardware to digest the "meaning" rays coming from it. I doubt that's what you're arguing. The word "dog" never meant anything at all until two people pointed to a dog and decided that the word would refer to that. Take away those two people and the word goes back to being utterly and completely meaningless. Pass the agreed-upon symbolic relationship to others, and the meaning is carried on. Is anything intrinsic to the word itself? Of course not. The meaning exists solely in the agreement. A text is an arbitrary configuration of shapes that is absolutely nothing more until someone comes along and can see that the shapes correspond to an agreed-upon system of relationships between arbitrarily defined symbols and semantic values of which she has knowledge and experience. A text does not physically or conceptually contain actual "meaning," it simply refers the reader to the system so they can negotiate between the potential meanings and the broader context to produce their own meaning that they believe is most likely the one intended by the author. You do not extract meaning from a text, you conjure it up in your mind and decide whether or not it is likely to match what the author's intended meaning was. You produce it and then decide if your production is close to the meaning the author produced in her mind. The text simply directs you to potential semantic values. You make them make sense. This is why misunderstandings occur. If you simply extracted meaning there would be no misunderstandings, since there would be no choices and no potentiality. You wouldn't be producing ideas, you would just be receiving them. Have you ever misunderstood a text message or an email because you had no non-verbal cues? This is because you conjured up a meaning without the appropriate context and picked the wrong one. The text can be exactly the same as a verbal utterance, but without the non-verbal cues, the risk of choosing the wrong potential meaning is higher.

Actually, the silly rhetoric is emanating from you.
As you point out, the word 'dog' has an agreed upon meaning.

I didn't say the only meaning was in the text, but there is meaning inherent in the text. We have all agreed on the meanings of words and grammatical rules. Our understandings of a text may differ, but that in no way implies that there isn't meaning in it.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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03-01-2014, 01:59 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 01:48 PM)maklelan Wrote:  
(03-01-2014 11:10 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  Can you elaborate as I honestly find this point rather confusing. Without any intrinsic meaning, what do the Bible, Book of Mormon, or any other religious texts bring to the table of any value.

You would have to also ask this of any other text in existence. This is not a property of only religious texts. All texts everywhere require a reader to have meaning. The meaning produced has value insofar as the reader finds value in what they produce.

(03-01-2014 11:10 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  Texts of fiction require interpretation.

So do texts of non-fiction, and the difference between the two is a continuum, not a dichotomy.

(03-01-2014 11:10 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  So if it has no intrinsic meaning and needs a filter of individual reader interpretation, why pay attention and follow the writings? Furthermore, unless you belive the literal record of events concerning the gold plates and talking to angels, then again why follow to any degree?

Why read poetry or philosophical literature?

To adopt this viewpoint you need to dismiss language. Words have consistent and static meanings (not unchangeable but for the era in which they are used they tend to be stable) your argument acts as if this is not the case and we must agree that Dog means a small domesticated mammal descended from wolves everytime we reference them. Yes it is true that you must read ancient text with a mind to when they were written but what the works actually say is important to deny that is just silly.

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03-01-2014, 02:03 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(03-01-2014 01:55 PM)maklelan Wrote:  I disagree, but you're welcome to prove me wrong.

Just a passing observation. I do quite enjoy your knowledge and appreciate your contributions here, to be honest. I'd be in way over my head to try to challenge you on any of these subjects, I was just noting a discrepancy (in my eyes at least) as to how you make your points. Given your position, it's easy to see how and why you would do that (I'm sure it wasn't deliberate), I'm just trying to keep the field level.

But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~ Umberto Eco
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