The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Ways and means of promoting skepticism
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:28 am

osks wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote:The constants of our universe which we use as benchmarks were all discovered through the application of human invention and imagination. I note that the value of Pi is discovered through calculation and proof, not any reference to scripture. In fact, if one looks to scripture for a value of Pi one discovers that the "Truth" is in fact quite false.

The value of Pi is foundational to mathematics, geometry, physics... and yet, it is not something that you are able to account for within the framework of a random chance universe!

Why not? What's wrong with "it just is"?
osks wrote:Also, how is information (Pi represents information) spawned by matter (the DVD does not produce the bits recorded on it, nor do the pages of a book produce the letters printed on it...)? The only rational basis for all universal constants, are:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. - Hebrews 13:8

How is that a rational basis for all universal constants? Aren't you merely claiming "Godidit!" without any real evidence to support said claim?

I note that in the bible Jesus is not constant.

In John 15:15 he tells his disciples "For all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." but then a few passages later in John 16:12 he admits that he's still withholding information; "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." That's not the same.

After Jesus is resurrected Matthew 28:16 says Jesus reappears to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee, but Mark 16:14, Luke 24:33-37, and John 20:19 all say he appeared to them in a room in Jerusalem. That's not the same.

In John 20:17 when Jesus appears to Mary Magdelene after the resurrection he tells her to back off and to not touch him but then in Matthew 28:9, Luke 24:39, and John 20:26-27 he's giving high-fives. That's not the same.

Luke 24:1-51 and Mark 16:9-19 say that Jesus ascended on the day of his resurrection. But John 20:26 says it was eight days later, Acts 13:31 says "many" days later, and Acts 1:2-3, 9 says it was 40 days later. That's not the same.

There are more examples directly from scripture that demonstrate Jesus' inconsistency. By what evidence can you claim that Jesus is constant?
osks wrote:You may not like the idea that this universe has an Author, but if you were being at all intellectually honest, you must admit that it is an explanation that does comport with reality (as we know it)!

How so? I see no evidence in our universe that suggests the need for any form of "author". Why would I admit to anything without supporting evidence?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:33 am

fromthehills wrote:
osks wrote:......it is demonstrably true..


Not so far. There is no evidence for this. You aren't providing any argument that even shows that it should be logically considered as possibly true. Demonstrably true is more than a stretch.

Yes, please provide examples of how the bible is demonstrably true. Perhaps a demonstration is in order?

While you're at it, please deal with all of the areas where the bible is demonstrably false such as its references to cockatrices and unicorns. Maybe also the demon/spirit nonsense as well. --Thanks.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:47 pm

osks wrote:... my argument is just this: unless Biblical theism is true, none of us are able to know anything - life and the world around us would be utterly unintelligible! In other words, Biblical theism is axiomatic to all knowledge ...

That is the silliest thing I've ever heard in my entire life. OK, maybe the second silliest thing.

I reject your axiom.

And my knowledge remains intact. Example: my knowledge, skill, and expertise in computer programming hasn't suddenly collapsed for lack of that axiom.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:12 pm

osks wrote:
Jeff D wrote:Skepticism is "Show me some evidence."

I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with the idea that we ought to adopt a skeptical stance towards all truth claims - after all, it is a Biblical imperative:
...test all things...
- 1Thessalonians 5:21

You'll also note that 1 Corinthians 13:7 contradicts the Thessalonians passage with...
Believeth all things.

So which is it and since both positions are available to be cited in the bible isn't any selection of one over the other mere application of opinion?
osks wrote:But here's the thing... when do we know when to stop being skeptical and accept something as authentic (or as true)?

It involves evidence, repeatability, and predictions of future outcomes that are shown to be correct.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Ang » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:58 pm

I am a new member but a long time skeptic. I come from a very religious family and have these same discussions with them. What I am confused about is that Skepticism is a method of questioning the world. It does not work when used on fictional and religious accounts. There is no point in arguing that dinosaurs do not exist or that evolution does not happen. We know that they do exist and that it does happen.

The bible cannot comment on anything scientific in a way that fairy tales also cannot tell us about our natural world. (If all I believed about wolves came from Little Red Riding Hood I would be in big trouble and would have probably killed my own grandmother.) And like these tales, the Bible changes from reading and publishing depending on the person and the year.

Arguing over the scientific merit of the Bible seems pointless. Most of our current knowledge is based on years and years of research by many scientists and if someone can look at a dinosaur fossil and say that it isn't real and that God put it here to test out faith then you cannot have a logical argument with said person.

If people decide to justify their lives and their moral and or ethical codes on the Bible then you cannot win that argument either. As a woman, I find the bible very sexist and scary. But many women who are Christan simply ignore those parts of the bible and pick what they want from it. If this works for them and it means that we will live in a more equal society than fine. But more often than not the Bible is used to discriminate as well.

I do not think that you need the Bible to have a moral and ethical code. Arguing with someone who picks and chooses passages that meets their means is pointless. They need to either accept the whole story or not, as is. Again you cannot have a logical discourse with someone who is not behaving rationally.

I look forward to any comments and bear with me I am new at this.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:42 am

Dear Ang - I detect a real sincerity in your comment which invites an equally sincere response...

Ang wrote:Skepticism is a method of questioning the world. It does not work when used on fictional and religious accounts.

Please allow me to help you here... whenever anyone makes a truth claim (as you do here and throughout the rest of your comment I'm afraid), the proper response is always... but sez who? If you (or anyone else for that matter, including me here) are advancing nothing more than mere opinion, then you really forfeit all epistemic authority! Because one opinion is just as valid as any other, it can never serve as a legitimate measure of truth! For that, we need an objective standard (ie a measure of truth that transcends human experience) that we can appeal to, and the Bible serves that purpose like no other!

As a Christian apologist/epistemologist, I am very willing to engage you one some of the charges that you level, but for that exchange to be at all meaningful, I'm afraid you'll have to formulate your position as a valid argument so that we can critically assess your various premises and your respective conclusions. I'm afraid, pontificating (ie arbitrarily advancing what is nothing more than private opinion), does not allow for any intelligible discourse on this (or any other) subject!

Ang wrote:The bible cannot comment on anything scientific

This is yet another good example of an assertion that has no argumentative substance whatsoever. But allow me simply to tell you that science (and here I mean proper science, or what amounts to the study of God's general revelation), is simply not possible without grounding all scientific endeavour in Scripture! For example, a fundamental problem that those who disavow the authority of the Scripture face, is the problem of induction - it is only when we appeal to Scripture that we are able to account rationally for the principle of the uniformity of nature (something that all of science necessarily assumes). Science is based on a number of presuppositions, ALL of which can only be rationalised by appealing to Scripture!

Ang wrote:I do not think that you need the Bible to have a moral and ethical code


Yet another example of pontificating I'm afraid... But take your point to its logical conclusion: if all value judgments (ie moral considerations) are what you propose, ie that we each get to decide for ourselves what is right/wrong, then what would make Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-Il, Osama Bin Laden... evil? And if you want to argue that all moral codes are cultural constructs, I'm afraid you're going to fare even worse, because then you have no rational basis to legitimately call Nazism, Apartheid, Sati... evil!

If you are being at all critically minded and intellectually honest, you will have to grant that all truth claims and all value judgments can only ever be authentic, provided that they are grounded in something that is objective, absolute, immanent, knowable, immutable, universal... (and these attributes all describe the very nature of God himself)!

I pray that you will carefully reflect on these things Ang...
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby KnaveOfHearts » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:03 pm

Ahh the classic troll. osks you claim that we claim things are true that are not because we do not base it on scripture. But you won't take any basis in the fact that we do not believe your scripture has an ounce of truth in it. There is no middle ground for us and thus a debate or even conversation can not ensue. On top of this you just use unnecessarily large words, which just makes you sound pompous.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:19 pm

osks wrote:Dear Ang - I detect a real sincerity in your comment which invites an equally sincere response...

Run.

Please allow me to help you here...

Run.

whenever anyone makes a truth claim (as you do here and throughout the rest of your comment I'm afraid), the proper response is always... but sez who? If you (or anyone else for that matter, including me here) are advancing nothing more than mere opinion, then you really forfeit all epistemic authority! Because one opinion is just as valid as any other, it can never serve as a legitimate measure of truth! For that, we need an objective standard (ie a measure of truth that transcends human experience) that we can appeal to, and the Bible serves that purpose like no other!

You are making the claim that the Bible is true. Sez you? Show the evidence that a silly book is true, and years of scientific evidence is false. It's your truth claim, not the skeptic's.

As a Christian apologist/epistemologist, I am very willing to engage you one some of the charges that you level, but for that exchange to be at all meaningful, I'm afraid you'll have to formulate your position as a valid argument so that we can critically assess your various premises and your respective conclusions. I'm afraid, pontificating (ie arbitrarily advancing what is nothing more than private opinion), does not allow for any intelligible discourse on this (or any other) subject!

Please formulate your own opinion into a valid argument. Please refrain from your own pontification. Then possibly we may have some intelligible discourse.

Ang wrote:The bible cannot comment on anything scientific

This is yet another good example of an assertion that has no argumentative substance whatsoever. But allow me simply to tell you that science (and here I mean proper science, or what amounts to the study of God's general revelation), is simply not possible without grounding all scientific endeavour in Scripture! For example, a fundamental problem that those who disavow the authority of the Scripture face, is the problem of induction - it is only when we appeal to Scripture that we are able to account rationally for the principle of the uniformity of nature (something that all of science necessarily assumes). Science is based on a number of presuppositions, ALL of which can only be rationalised by appealing to Scripture!

Show how this isn't merely your opinion. You've already rejected opinion as an argument. So this claim is invalid.

Ang wrote:I do not think that you need the Bible to have a moral and ethical code


Yet another example of pontificating I'm afraid... But take your point to its logical conclusion: if all value judgments (ie moral considerations) are what you propose, ie that we each get to decide for ourselves what is right/wrong, then what would make Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-Il, Osama Bin Laden... evil? And if you want to argue that all moral codes are cultural constructs, I'm afraid you're going to fare even worse, because then you have no rational basis to legitimately call Nazism, Apartheid, Sati... evil!

Another example of osk pontificating.

If you are being at all critically minded and intellectually honest, you will have to grant that all truth claims and all value judgments can only ever be authentic, provided that they are grounded in something that is objective, absolute, immanent, knowable, immutable, universal... (and these attributes all describe the very nature of God himself)!

More unsubstantiated claims.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:26 pm

KnaveOfHearts wrote:you claim that we claim things are true that are not because we do not base it on scripture

Please tell me... what is YOUR basis for truth? What do YOU appeal to? Please don't tell me it's your own intellect, or your own 'gut feel', or your own intuition...
The explanatory power of Scripture is simply unrivaled - it and it alone provides us (and that includes you by the way), with all the necessary preconditions of intelligibility! If you were in any way epistemically astute and intellectually honest, you will have to face the fact that your worldview (I assume you subscribe to a purely naturalistic explanation of reality), is utterly deficient to provide you with any degree of intelligibility!

KnaveOfHearts wrote:...just makes you sound pompous.

...and sadly... the inevitable ad hominem - the final refuge of an impoverished mind!
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:26 pm

osks wrote:
KnaveOfHearts wrote:you claim that we claim things are true that are not because we do not base it on scripture

Please tell me... what is YOUR basis for truth? What do YOU appeal to? Please don't tell me it's your own intellect, or your own 'gut feel', or your own intuition...
The explanatory power of Scripture is simply unrivaled - it and it alone provides us (and that includes you by the way), with all the necessary preconditions of intelligibility! If you were in any way epistemically astute and intellectually honest, you will have to face the fact that your worldview (I assume you subscribe to a purely naturalistic explanation of reality), is utterly deficient to provide you with any degree of intelligibility!

KnaveOfHearts wrote:...just makes you sound pompous.

...and sadly... the inevitable ad hominem - the final refuge of an impoverished mind!


Osks, you still haven't shown how your opinion that the Bible is the ultimate truth. It's your claim, now provide evidence. Bold font, and exclamation marks aren't valid evidence. Show how your claim that a naturalistic worldview, that observable evidence, is somehow deficient and unable to be explained by the intellect. Show how your particular interpretation of an altered bronze age text told by superstitious, primitive people, and later written by people in power in order to suppress the masses, and women in particular, provides you with any degree of intelligibility.

Being a critical thinker far out weighs being astute in epistemology, in my opinion.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby KnaveOfHearts » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:42 pm

KnaveOfHearts wrote:you claim that we claim things are true that are not because we do not base it on scripture

Please tell me... what is YOUR basis for truth? What do YOU appeal to? Please don't tell me it's your own intellect, or your own 'gut feel', or your own intuition...
The explanatory power of Scripture is simply unrivaled - it and it alone provides us (and that includes you by the way), with all the necessary preconditions of intelligibility! If you were in any way epistemically astute and intellectually honest, you will have to face the fact that your worldview (I assume you subscribe to a purely naturalistic explanation of reality), is utterly deficient to provide you with any degree of intelligibility![/quote]

Once again you claim that there is no source of knowledge but the bible. (Which by the way makes me wonder do you read ancient Arabic? Otherwise you're looking at a bastardized version anyway) If I do not hold the bible to be true while you claim it the only source of knowledge and I claim science to be my primary source of knowledge we can not even debate

osks wrote:
KnaveOfHearts wrote:...just makes you sound pompous.

...and sadly... the inevitable ad hominem - the final refuge of an impoverished mind!

No It's not actually it's a statement of opinion of how you sound when you use words the way you do that I believe others share. I did not say you yourself are pompous just that your words make you seem so.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:22 pm

osks wrote:The explanatory power of Scripture is simply unrivaled - it and it alone provides us (and that includes you by the way), with all the necessary preconditions of intelligibility! If you were in any way epistemically astute and intellectually honest, you will have to face the fact that your worldview (I assume you subscribe to a purely naturalistic explanation of reality), is utterly deficient to provide you with any degree of intelligibility!

Are you sure you mean to use the term "intelligibility"? If so, I'm not certain you're using it correctly.

Isn't intelligibility a quality that objects or concepts have that make them intelligible or capable of being conceived of by the human mind? If so, your phrasing is somewhat nonsensical. Right?

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:53 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:
osks wrote:The explanatory power of Scripture is simply unrivaled - it and it alone provides us (and that includes you by the way), with all the necessary preconditions of intelligibility! If you were in any way epistemically astute and intellectually honest, you will have to face the fact that your worldview (I assume you subscribe to a purely naturalistic explanation of reality), is utterly deficient to provide you with any degree of intelligibility!

Are you sure you mean to use the term "intelligibility"? If so, I'm not certain you're using it correctly.

Isn't intelligibility a quality that objects or concepts have that make them intelligible or capable of being conceived of by the human mind? If so, your phrasing is somewhat nonsensical. Right?


I think he's saying that observable evidence relies on the senses, and not the intellect.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Ang » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:10 pm

Unfortunately I do not see how the Bible can be true in any form as you can trace the writing and rewriting of the scripture like you can any other form of text. Does that not mean that other holy books are not equally true? What about oral histories of native peoples? Who decides which of these is true and not true?

If you pick what you want out of the Bible and discard the rest then how can you say it is the truth? Some is true but some is not true? Who tells me what is the true part and what is not the true part? Do you tell me? Does another religious leader? Does this leader tell me that I cannot explore my universe or ask questions because it may contradict what is written? Does this person (usually male) tell me how to live my life as a woman? I cannot accept that.

You can also trace the writing and rewriting of scientific fact based on new data. I am aware that what I might hold as true now may be challenged in the future and if such evidence is valid then I will change what I hold to be true. BUT I DECIDE and I am encouraged in science to think and discover on my own.

From the Skeptical Manifesto:

Scientific method is...
Hypothesis: A testable statement to account for a set of observations. Theory: A well-supported testable statement to account for a set of observations. Fact: Data or conclusions confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement.

and...

But insightful and intuitive ideas do not gain acceptance until they are externally validated, as Richard Hardison explained (1988, p. 259-260):
Mystical “truths,” by their nature, must be solely personal, and they can have no possible external validation. Each has equal claim to truth. Tea leaf reading and astrology and Buddhism; each is equally sound or unsound if we judge by the absence of related evidence. This is not intended to disparage any one of the faiths; merely to note the impossibility of verifying their correctness. The mystic is in a paradoxical position. When he seeks external support for his views he must turn to external arguments, and he denies mysticism in the process. External validation is, by definition, impossible for the mystic.

When I asked questions as a child about the Bible and religion I was always told to just believe and have faith. There was never any answers offered which made any sense. They were not answers that were testable or definable.

I do not think that religion and science can be equated as the same thing or serving the same function. The bible is not a scientific document and anyone should know this. Thus it cannot describe the world in a scientific way.

When the religious person can give me a testable answer than I will happily entertain it. When you say that god is the cause of everything and everything that we don't know and do know is god that is not testable. And it is not an explanation.

Child- Why is the sky blue? Adult- Because god made it that way. Child- Why do carrots grow in the ground? Adult- Because God made them do it. Child- Why is there war and hunger? Adult- Because god made it so.

If we stayed in this realm of thinking than nothing new would ever be discovered and nothing would ever get done. We would stagnate as a species. Thank goodness that someone had the idea to come up with the scientific method and develop blood transfusions for example, or I would not have been alive today.

Again, I reassert that you cannot have an argument about Skepticism when you cannot be skeptical about your own Bible or your views. The Bible has no place in a scientific discussion. If you use it to explain the truth of the world for yourself and to answer questions like what is my purpose in life than it can be full of truths and advice if you pick and choose. But so can Star Wars- one of my favorites is Do or Do not. There is no try- Yoda.

But this doesn't not mean that I see science in Star Wars or the bible. Hence there is nothing for the Skeptics here. Give me something I can test and then there will be discussion.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:08 pm

Ang wrote:... Again you cannot have a logical discourse with someone who is not behaving rationally.

Well said. And osks appears to fit that category.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:11 pm

osks wrote:
KnaveOfHearts wrote:you claim that we claim things are true that are not because we do not base it on scripture

Please tell me... what is YOUR basis for truth? What do YOU appeal to?

Empiricism. It's much more effective than biblical faith.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:35 pm

Some of these points have already been addressed, but I have some additional observations to make.

osks wrote:
Ang wrote:Skepticism is a method of questioning the world. It does not work when used on fictional and religious accounts.

Please allow me to help you here... whenever anyone makes a truth claim (as you do here and throughout the rest of your comment I'm afraid), the proper response is always... but sez who? If you (or anyone else for that matter, including me here) are advancing nothing more than mere opinion, then you really forfeit all epistemic authority!

Which is exactly what you do here offering nothing but mere opinion. It is merely your opinion that the Bible has any epistemological authority.

osks wrote:Because one opinion is just as valid as any other, it can never serve as a legitimate measure of truth! For that, we need an objective standard (ie a measure of truth that transcends human experience) that we can appeal to, and the Bible serves that purpose like no other!

Where in the Bible does it say one opinion is just as valid as any other? I asked that earlier in this thread and you have not yet answered it. Do you see the problem here? You are making a claim of fact that is not in the Bible.

osks wrote:... pontificating (ie arbitrarily advancing what is nothing more than private opinion), does not allow for any intelligible discourse on this (or any other) subject!

Then why do you keep doing it?

osks wrote:
Ang wrote:The bible cannot comment on anything scientific

This is yet another good example of an assertion that has no argumentative substance whatsoever.

The empirical evidence refutes your own assertion. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence to support Ang's assertion.

osks wrote:
Ang wrote:I do not think that you need the Bible to have a moral and ethical code

Yet another example of pontificating I'm afraid... But take your point to its logical conclusion: if all value judgments (ie moral considerations) are what you propose, ie that we each get to decide for ourselves what is right/wrong, ...

Your argument about morality has already been soundly refuted earlier in this thread and yet here you are again making the same flawed argument. You have not shown that the Bible is necessary to have a moral code. The proof is obvious: where do people get the idea that slavery is wrong? Not from the Bible.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby numan » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:45 pm

'
Q : How do we know that God exists? -- A : The Bible tells us so.

Q : How do we know that the Bible is true? -- A : It is the word of God.


Perfect logic! · · · :wgrin:
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:15 pm

I meant to address this point earlier, but forgot.

osks wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote:What about those things that it is clearly wrong about?... Pi rounded off to 3.

I honestly thought that this was a place where critically-minded people engaged, and so, for anyone to reject the truth of Biblical theism on basis of something as patently absurd as this, is really quite risible!

Biblical theism is a separate issue from the one being addressed here. The question being addressed here is whether the Bible is an objective standard for all knowledge, as you claim. Pi is an example of something the Bible gets wrong and thus is sufficient to refute your assertion that the Bible is the ultimate objective standard.

osks wrote:You ought to know that the value of Pi is an irrational number (ie Pi cannot be expressed as the exact ratio between two integers),

Where in the Bible does it say that? Answer: nowhere. Here again you are making a claim of fact that is not in the Bible.

It is true that Pi is a transcendental number, but only because mathematicians have proven it and they did so without resorting to any epistemological authority from the Bible, thus contradicting your claim that the Bible is the only objective standard for all knowledge.

osks wrote:So, you tell me what IS the value of Pi exactly please! Is it 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510..., or is it 3.141592653589..., or is it 3.141592..., or is it 3.141... or is it 3...? ... and so, the value of Pi has been calculated to more than 5x10^12 decimal places, without any ending or repetition in sight! So, if God gave the full value of Pi in 1Kings 7:23, it would've taken up every page in every book ever published (and yet to be published)!

As you observe, if one tries to write down all the digits of the decimal expansion of Pi, that is not possible. That means we should try something else if we are to have a meaningful dialog about measurements. By definition measurements are never irrational. One way is determine how much precision is appropriate for the task and then round it off to that level of precision.

The question then becomes how much precision should the Bible have used? I have seen it argued that rounding the value of Pi to one digit of precision was sufficient for the task at hand. However, the Bible actually uses two digits of precision in stating the dimensions of the bowl (diameter = 10 and circumference = 30) and gets one of the digits wrong. So this is not a rounding problem, it does in fact show a bad value for Pi.

Another argument I have seen in defense of the Bible is that the authors of "1 Kings" should not be held to the same standard of accuracy as the mathematicians of the day (who did in fact know that Pi = 3.14 = 22/7). This might be a reasonable point if no one claims that the Bible is authored by God who is never wrong.

osks wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote: ... if one looks to scripture for a value of Pi one discovers that the "Truth" is in fact quite false.

The value of Pi is foundational to mathematics, geometry, physics... and yet, it is not something that you are able to account for within the framework of a random chance universe!

There is no need to account for the value of Pi in relation to the universe. Pi is a mathematical abstraction and is not defined by anything physical. Blacksamwell is correct and nothing you have said refutes that.

Having said all that, it seems to me that this Pi issue is a minor quibble and that there are other far more significant scientific errors in the Bible.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Pyrrho » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:19 pm

The off-topic argument has been split to a new topic located here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=15596

Persons wishing to continue that topic may do so at their discretion. Please do not continue that argument in this thread.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby Gord » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:22 am

"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
#ANDAMOVIE

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:55 am

xouper wrote:I meant to address this point earlier, but forgot.

osks wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote:What about those things that it is clearly wrong about?... Pi rounded off to 3.

I honestly thought that this was a place where critically-minded people engaged, and so, for anyone to reject the truth of Biblical theism on basis of something as patently absurd as this, is really quite risible!

Biblical theism is a separate issue from the one being addressed here. The question being addressed here is whether the Bible is an objective standard for all knowledge, as you claim. Pi is an example of something the Bible gets wrong and thus is sufficient to refute your assertion that the Bible is the ultimate objective standard.

osks wrote:You ought to know that the value of Pi is an irrational number (ie Pi cannot be expressed as the exact ratio between two integers),

Where in the Bible does it say that? Answer: nowhere. Here again you are making a claim of fact that is not in the Bible.

It is true that Pi is a transcendental number, but only because mathematicians have proven it and they did so without resorting to any epistemological authority from the Bible, thus contradicting your claim that the Bible is the only objective standard for all knowledge.

osks wrote:So, you tell me what IS the value of Pi exactly please! Is it 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510..., or is it 3.141592653589..., or is it 3.141592..., or is it 3.141... or is it 3...? ... and so, the value of Pi has been calculated to more than 5x10^12 decimal places, without any ending or repetition in sight! So, if God gave the full value of Pi in 1Kings 7:23, it would've taken up every page in every book ever published (and yet to be published)!

As you observe, if one tries to write down all the digits of the decimal expansion of Pi, that is not possible. That means we should try something else if we are to have a meaningful dialog about measurements. By definition measurements are never irrational. One way is determine how much precision is appropriate for the task and then round it off to that level of precision.

The question then becomes how much precision should the Bible have used? I have seen it argued that rounding the value of Pi to one digit of precision was sufficient for the task at hand. However, the Bible actually uses two digits of precision in stating the dimensions of the bowl (diameter = 10 and circumference = 30) and gets one of the digits wrong. So this is not a rounding problem, it does in fact show a bad value for Pi.

Another argument I have seen in defense of the Bible is that the authors of "1 Kings" should not be held to the same standard of accuracy as the mathematicians of the day (who did in fact know that Pi = 3.14 = 22/7). This might be a reasonable point if no one claims that the Bible is authored by God who is never wrong.

osks wrote:
Blacksamwell wrote: ... if one looks to scripture for a value of Pi one discovers that the "Truth" is in fact quite false.

The value of Pi is foundational to mathematics, geometry, physics... and yet, it is not something that you are able to account for within the framework of a random chance universe!

There is no need to account for the value of Pi in relation to the universe. Pi is a mathematical abstraction and is not defined by anything physical. Blacksamwell is correct and nothing you have said refutes that.

Having said all that, it seems to me that this Pi issue is a minor quibble and that there are other far more significant scientific errors in the Bible.


Yea, that's just goofy. As a carpenter, and if I were to measure something at 1 1/16 inch, and just call it at 1 inch, because it's easier, maybe I'd be fine, but most likely I'd have a sixteenth inch gap in my work. If I were God, a sixteenth inch gap would be bad, if I were just me, it's unacceptable. Am I a better carpenter than God? Probably. I'm better than nothing, my wife says.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:36 am

fromthehills wrote:... Am I a better carpenter than God? Probably. I'm better than nothing, my wife says.

:D Syllogism:

Nothing is better than God.
You are better than nothing.
Therefore you are better than God.

Bonus points for the first person to name the fallacy in that syllogism.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:47 pm

I'm not sure about the fallacy, but I was thinking more:

God=nothing
I'm better than nothing
Therefore I'm better than God.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:50 pm

Wait, I haven't had coffee yet. I just saw the play on words, ....

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:34 pm

I'm sure it could be called a non-sequitur.

Reductio ad absurdum.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby numan » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:56 pm

'
xouper wrote: :D Syllogism:

Nothing is better than God.
You are better than nothing.
Therefore you are better than God.

Bonus points for the first person to name the fallacy in that syllogism.

Really, Xouper, too easy. It is the standard fallacia ex homonymia.

A famous example is :

Every light can be extinguished.
The intellect is a light.
Therefore it can be extinguished.


I would provide a link to a very amusing essay on eristic tricks, but I do not want to give Xouper encouragement in improving his faulty arguments.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:27 am

numan wrote:Really, Xouper, too easy. It is the standard fallacia ex homonymia.

Yes, I wanted to make easy enough that even you might get it. Also known as the fallacy of equivocation.

numan wrote:I would provide a link to a very amusing essay on eristic tricks, but I do not want to give Xouper encouragement in improving his faulty arguments.

Since the number of faulty arguments I post on this forum is minuscule, it's not likely anyone would notice any improvement in them.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby numan » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:03 am

'
xouper wrote:Yes, I wanted to make easy enough that even you might get it.

I am pleased to have made you happy, Xouper.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:15 am

Okay, I missed it. But I thought that it was a faulty premise, and for it to work as an argument we had to assume the major premise was true. Help me out here, Xoup.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby xouper » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:57 am

fromthehills wrote:Okay, I missed it.

Not a problem. Numan was just showing off. The answer is simple only if you already know the answer.

fromthehills wrote:But I thought that it was a faulty premise, and for it to work as an argument we had to assume the major premise was true. Help me out here, Xoup.

Looking at the syllogism again:

P1: Nothing is better than God.
P2: You are better than nothing.
C: Therefore you are better than God.

For the sake of analyzing this syllogism we can assume both premises (P1 and P2) are valid. They might not be valid, but that is not where the problem is.

You are correct that the conclusion does not follow from the two premises. It is a non sequitur as you observed. But we can be more specific than that and say exactly why it does not follow.

The problem is the definition of the word "nothing" in P1 is different from the definition of "nothing" in P2. That is the fallacy of equivocation, in that we attempted to treat both words as if they had the same definition. Since they do not have the same definition, it is not valid to make that conclusion.

More good examples here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:48 pm

I saw the play on words, I should have stuck to that, but I over-thought it.

From your link, I learned that Numan must have long ears. :P

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby salomed » Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:32 pm

osks wrote:Scepticism is the self-refuting idea that one should not accept anything on ‘blind faith’..

Andre L Immelman
Christian Apologist


Hello Andre,

I think that there is a problem with skepticism, but it is not the one you allude to.

There is no faith placed in science and reason, these are self supporting frameworks that rely on their internal and empirical consistency. These frameworks can collapse or change at any time, as they have done many times during the evolution of scientific thoughts.

Faith based ontological don't have this option, they are not in any significant sense reflexive or adaptable.

The area where science and and faith both intermingle into an impossible knot of speculation is in ponderances of the three great questions:

What is outside of this?
What is after this?
Is this it?

Nobody can answer these questions with anything but a hunch and a hope.

There is no certainty available there, to any of us:)
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby osks » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:49 am

salomed wrote:There is no certainty available there, to any of us:)

Are you certain about that?
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby fromthehills » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:02 am

osks wrote:
salomed wrote:There is no certainty available there, to any of us:)

Are you certain about that?


Sad. Obviously can't address the quandaries already presented. Too bad, really.

I'm certain about it, osks. Show evidence to the contrary. I'm certain that there is no certainty, that's a highly defensible certainty. :lol: Address what has already been shown to be the faulty thinking in your claim, please. You're like the maiden that runs, but not very far, so quit being coy and show us what you have.

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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby salomed » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:22 pm

osks wrote:
salomed wrote:There is no certainty available there, to any of us:)

Are you certain about that?


I seek clarity, not certainty:)

There are some things we can be certain of, such as self-verifying truths and empirical statements, but about the three great questions, no, there is no certainty for us.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby numan » Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:42 pm

'
osks wrote:
salomed wrote:There is no certainty available there, to any of us:)

Are you certain about that?

There is a real problem with certain forms of scepticism.

If scepticism is a doctrine which states that "no doctrine can be proven," then it is self-contradictory, since it itself is a doctrine.

The usual way to deal with this problem, which has been used by sceptics in several world cultures over the ages, is to regard scepticism as a methodology, not as a dogma.

Regarded in this way, no logical contradiction arises.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby salomed » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:14 am

numan wrote: If scepticism is a doctrine which states that "no doctrine can be proven," then it is self-contradictory, since it itself is a doctrine.


Yes, though there are other ways to state it with less problems.

The usual way to deal with this problem, which has been used by sceptics in several world cultures over the ages, is to regard skepticism as a methodology, not as a dogma.


Absolutely, though for the sake of clarity I would add that the method of true skepticism arose in response to the problem of knowledge rather than the problem of defining skeptics m (If there is one).

As an aside, I don't think most skeptics today exercise the same kind and extent of doubt as the ancients or Descartes discovered; there is a huge difference between doubting all things and doubting all things that don't cohere with a prior world view, like science or history.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby numan » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:59 pm

'
Although science and history (and politics!!) can be rife with dogmas, to a genuine sceptic that is not so, since both (or all three!) are filled with uncertainties.

An attitude of aporia is the true mark of a sceptic, though obviously some views are more useful than others as a guide to day-to-day activities.
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Re: The Irrationality Of Skepticism

Postby salomed » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:07 pm

numan wrote:'
Although science and history (and politics!!) can be rife with dogmas, to a genuine sceptic that is not so, since both (or all three!) are filled with uncertainties.

An attitude of aporia is the true mark of a sceptic, though obviously some views are more useful than others as a guide to day-to-day activities.


Hi

I am not sure what you mean by apoiria in this sense. I might have the term misunderstood:)

I think the true mark of a true skeptic is an attitude and ability to doubt even their own doubts... and especially their certainties. This is what is taught by Socrates, Sidhartha, Descartes and I think a fair few others.
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