What is Faith?

Whatsisface

Well-known member
The interesting thing is that someone put that book in your hands and you have to trust it by the nature of what it is.

If that is the word of God, and He exists to say it, then He can be held to the promises made in it in the way you received it. That the way to truth and life being handed down to you as God intended.
To me, the key to Christianity is the Gospels. The problem here being that they were not written by eye witnesses, and decades after the events. If information can be changed by just one person to the next, then how can we know that the Gospels are accurate when the amount of people between the events and the writers will be far greater?
It's all up to you. Nobody can force your hand nor argue you into it.
Well, confirming evidence would do it, but the above tacitly admits there isn't any.
As you know it would need to be God proving something to you because Lord knows you haven't found it elsewhere.
He's welcome to do that as He would know what would convince me. But what's not in it's favour is that when I've heard stories of Him doing that to others, a more prosaic, down to earth reason for the story is just as likely if not more so than God actually revealing Himself is.
 

Furion

Well-known member
To me, the key to Christianity is the Gospels.
Well sure, but drop the ianity and it's true, the key is the living Christ.

The scriptures may be many things, but they are not a personal encounter with the living God. As Christ made clear, you must be born again.
The problem here being that they were not written by eye witnesses, and decades after the events. If information can be changed by just one person to the next, then how can we know that the Gospels are accurate when the amount of people between the events and the writers will be far greater?

Well, confirming evidence would do it, but the above tacitly admits there isn't any.

He's welcome to do that as He would know what would convince me. But what's not in it's favour is that when I've heard stories of Him doing that to others, a more prosaic, down to earth reason for the story is just as likely if not more so than God actually revealing Himself is.
I don't even think you realize the evidence you would get. I find atheists think quite small in this regard, no offense. Think big, think God going over the top blowing you away when you realize God is. But hey, everyone has their journey, just pray yours is fruitful.
 

Whatsisface

Well-known member
Well sure, but drop the ianity and it's true, the key is the living Christ.
Please, learn how to spell. The educational standards in America are shocking.
The scriptures may be many things, but they are not a personal encounter with the living God. As Christ made clear, you must be born again.
So, they don't count then. So how do you know that there is life after death, if the stories of the resurrection don't count?
I don't even think you realize the evidence you would get. I find atheists think quite small in this regard, no offense. Think big, think God going over the top blowing you away when you realize God is. But hey, everyone has their journey, just pray yours is fruitful.
Quite the excuse for there not being said evidence.
 

El Cid

Active member
@El Cid
Just to note, this entire conversation about evidence of the resurrection started with you statement in post #254 that:

The gospels were not anonymous when they were originally circulating, they just didnt have a written name on them, but everyone knew who wrote them because they were still alive. They only added a name because the authors and their fellow disciples had died so they wrote their name on them to keep record as they passed away. But we also have sources for the resurrection that were never without a name on them. And we have sources for the resurrection written by skeptics and independent of the NT.

Then when I asked which were those sources "that were never without a name on them," you said it was "the ancient creed recorded by Paul (who was a skeptic) written within five years of the resurrection and recording that 500 people saw the resurrected Christ all at one time." But that creed was entirely anonymous; neither Paul nor any other early Christian tells us who composed it. How can you possibly say that this is a source which was "never without a name"?
I was referring to Paul's letters that refer to his encounter with the resurrected Christ were never without a name on them. But now I have also presented evidence that the four gospels were never without a name on them.
 

El Cid

Active member
I'm still not sure what you are claiming logical laws cause, and how.

Physical causality: a force, when applied to a mass, causes the mass to accelerate in the given direction.
Logical causality: the law of syllogistic validity, when applied to a thought, causes the thought to correct itself.

Something like that? If so, it seems you are treating an abstraction as something concrete, something which actually exists in the mental world the way forces actually exist in the physical world. Are there universal laws for how this works, like f=ma is a universal law in the physical world?
The laws of logic do objectively exist, but they are not physical. There are no universal laws for how the mind works. We dont fully understand how the mind works other than a good functioning mind generally operates according to logic.
 

Komodo

Well-known member
I was referring to Paul's letters that refer to his encounter with the resurrected Christ were never without a name on them. But now I have also presented evidence that the four gospels were never without a name on them.
But when I asked (#254) what the sources were that had never been anonymous, you said (#300) "the ancient creed recorded by Paul." Paul's statement about Christ appearing to him had his name on it, but the ancient creed did not. Maybe just a misunderstanding about what I was asking.
 
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Komodo

Well-known member
The laws of logic do objectively exist, but they are not physical.
You say they are causal, though. What I'm trying to understand is what they cause, in your theory.

There are no universal laws for how the mind works. We dont fully understand how the mind works other than a good functioning mind generally operates according to logic.
Naturalistic philosophers wouldn't say they fully understand how the mind works, but they are able to say, in general terms, that the firing of neurons in certain sectors of the brain cause logical thought. I know you say that isn't true, but I'm not saying it is true, I'm only saying it is an account of what causes what. I'm asking for something resembling that kind of account, in your (broad, general) understanding of how the mind works, and the role played in it by "laws of logic." Saying "the mind operates according to logic" isn't an account of cause and effect.
 
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Furion

Well-known member
Please, learn how to spell. The educational standards in America are shocking.
Ah ok, back to snippy and whiny.
So, they don't count then. So how do you know that there is life after death, if the stories of the resurrection don't count?

Quite the excuse for there not being said evidence.
You were doing so well and then you bailed for skeptical inanity.

If you drop ianity from Christ you are just left with Christ.

You're welcome.
 

5wize

Well-known member
How can a natural phenomenon be non-physical?
In the same way water can be wet. A molecule of H2O has no property called wetness. That is an emergent property. Properties such as wetness, or happiness, and other sensory or emotive properties do not exist in and of themselves. Just like thoughts, these emergent properties are anchored to an original physical reality, an original physical necessity.
 
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stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
In the same way water can be wet. A molecule of H2O has no property called wetness. That is an emergent property. Properties such as wetness, or happiness, and other sensory or emotive properties do not exist in and of themselves. Just like thoughts, these emergent properties are anchored to an original physical reality, an original physical necessity.

I think I disagree if I understand you correctly. Happiness seems no more "anchored" to physical reality than the movement of an automobile is anchored in the movement of pistons through cylinders. It is anchored in the free will movement of a foot an a gas pedal.

The "physical reality" of neural impulses firing through synapses which in turn produce happy emotions are anchored to something much higher than the physical mechanisms which merely convey, but do not create.
 

5wize

Well-known member
I think I disagree if I understand you correctly. Happiness seems no more "anchored" to physical reality than the movement of an automobile is anchored in the movement of pistons through cylinders. It is anchored in the free will movement of a foot an a gas pedal.

The "physical reality" of neural impulses firing through synapses which in turn produce happy emotions are anchored to something much higher than the physical mechanisms which merely convey, but do not create.
Happiness makes no sense outside the scope of that which is made happy. Your example of neural impulses firing through synapses which in turn produce happy emotions .... is a perfect example of scoped emergence. It rolls through the physical and then crashes like a wave against our sentience.... and it dies right there having fulfilled its reason. It doesn't float onto, or come from, something higher than us or outside ourselves where these things exist like some Platonic form.
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
Happiness makes no sense outside the scope of that which is made happy. Your example of neural impulses firing through synapses which in turn produce happy emotions .... is a perfect example of scoped emergence. It rolls through the physical and then crashes like a wave against our sentience.... and it dies right there having fulfilled its reason. It doesn't float onto, or come from, something higher than us or outside ourselves where these things exist like some Platonic form.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. You are quite correct that our Vine Dresser, from Whom this "scoped emergence," whatever that means, originates is indeed not a "Platonic form."
 

El Cid

Active member
1) "Chemical actions cannot cause mental events like weighing evidence"
2) "If chemical actions did produce mental events like weighing evidence, then such weighing would be unreliable"

I asked you if you acknowledged that these were two different claims. You don't answer this explicitly, but since you say:
El Cid said:
I believe the evidence points to both claims being most likely valid and true.
...it seems you are implicitly agreeing that they are two different claims (or else you wouldn't have said "both").

So, again, it is the second claim I am objecting to, as below.

El Cid said:
Logic is a process that can produce conclusions and inferences. Logic is how our minds work, though due to our minds being abnormal and distorted away from logic, we often fail to use logic or fail to understand it well. Some of this can be remedied by education, but it will never return to our minds original normal state.
You had said that logic didn't "cause" things but did "produce" them. I said I didn't understand the distinction, and I still don't. What is the difference between saying "logic produces conclusions" and saying "logic causes conclusions"?

I think that when we say things like "logic tells us..." or "logic forces us to acknowledge..." we are just using figures of speech; there isn't really a logic angel which speaks to us or pushes us. Are you saying there is? If not, what is the process which you are alluding to? What is the beginning, middle and end of this process?

The next point is based on the following exchange we've had:

YOU: Natural laws are what causes physical events. If naturalism is true then even those mental activities are just chemical reactions and so are those desires to know those "right" answers. How can chemical reactions know whether something is right or not? Chemical reactions cannot really know anything.
ME: The naturalist claim is not that chemical reactions in the brain know things, but that chemical reactions in the brain cause mental states, and that mental states include knowing or wanting to know things. They say mental states are emergent properties, and that emergent properties have capacities (like judging truth and falsehood) which are not present in the causes they emerged from.
YOU [just now]: Not if mental states are totally tied to the physical brain.

By "totally tied to" do you mean "entirely caused by"? Yes, that is the naturalist claim: that mental states and mental capacities are entirely caused by processes in the physical brain. So how does your "not if" work here? Naturalists claim that the brain is the cause of the thoughts and capacities, but they are not making that claim, if the brain is the cause of the thoughts and capacities? That obviously makes no sense.
Mental states and thoughts are non-physical. How can something physical cause non-phyiscal entities?
If what you mean is, "yes, naturalists claim that these thoughts and capacities are caused by the brain, but that is not true, if it is an absolute claim," then that is simply not an argument in favor of the claim of yours which I am addressing: that if naturalism is true, then our judgments are unreliable. It is just an argument in favor of the claim that naturalism is not true. Again, these are two distinct claims.

If your argument is, "If X is true, then Y follows," then you have to let X be true, for the sake of the argument. If you're given an argument for why Y would not follow, if X were true, you don't get to refute that by saying "but X isn't true!" And that's what you would be doing here, if your "not if" means "naturalist claims are not true."

If you mean something else by your "not if," can you please clarify what you do mean?
If naturalism is true, then judgements are impossible because they are non-physical entities. If naturalism is true then non-physical entities do not exist.
El Cid said:
Not if mental states are totally tied to the physical brain. For example, if transgenderism is real, then that is evidence the mind is not very closely tied to the body and brain. Every cell in the body and brain is one gender, while the transgender person claims that their mind is the opposite gender. That shows very little influence of the body and brain on the mind regarding sex and gender.
This is not evidence against mental events being entirely caused by physical events in the brain. Nobody is saying that in a person with XY cells, neuron interactions have a male gender, and that in a person with XX cells they have a female gender. The interactions, even if caused by cells which carry chromosomes of one gender, do not themselves have a gender. Heartbeats in people with XY cells do not have a male gender, and immune responses in people with XX cells do not have a female gender.
No, there is strong evidence that men and women even think differently. So plainly the chromosomes code for different neural proteins depending on the sex of the cells. So if transgenderism is real it is going against every cell in the brain. This is evidence that the mind is separate from the biology of the brain.
El Cid said:
And there are many other evidences that the mind and the brain are not tied closely. There are also NDEs.
Again, even if this is the case, it would be evidence that naturalism was false, not evidence that if naturalism were true, judgments would be unreliable. I am addressing the latter argument.
See above.
El Cid said:
I acknowledge that naturalists make this claim but it is very problematic.
That doesn't matter at all for the purpose of argument here. Again, if your claim is, "if naturalism is true, then our conclusions are unreliable," you do not get to support that claim by saying "naturalist claims are likely to be false," or even "naturalist claims are demonstrably false." Again, an argument which starts with the premise that naturalism is true has to treat naturalism as if it is true, for the sake of the argument. You're not disputing this, are you?
No, I am not disputing this, but see above.
El Cid said:
Because if naturalism is true then our conclusions would be based on the ratio of chemicals in your brain, not on the weighing of evidence.
You've said this repeatedly, and I've repeatedly replied: no, because the naturalist claim is that chemical activity causes the mental state of considering evidence, so you can't just say that "the naturalist claim implies that the mental state of considering evidence does not exist or has no effect." You can't say that if a chain of causes leads to some effect, the last cause in the chain can be dismissed or ignored. Again:

Naturalist claim: chemical actions in the brain cause mental states and mental capacities.
Naturalist claim: among humans, mental states include the desire to know correct answers.
Naturalist claim: among humans, mental capacities include the ability to weigh evidence.
Naturalist claim: a capacity to weigh evidence well is an adaptive advantage.
Naturalist claim: natural selection will favor brains which provide adaptive advantages.
Naturalist conclusion: as a result of chemical actions in the brain, as honed by natural selection, human beings have a mental capacity to weigh evidence well.

For the purpose of your argument -- that "if naturalism is true, then our conclusions are unreliable" -- it simply does not matter at all if you can provide geometric proof that every one of the naturalist's claims is false. It only matters if you can show that the naturalist account of how we have the ability to weigh evidence well is self-contradictory. You aren't doing this.
Again mental states are non-physical, the naturalist view is that only physical entities exist, so therefore if naturalism is true then mental states do not exist.
El Cid said:
See above.

See above about how no weighing of evidence could occur.
I see nothing above which addresses my objections.
Fraid so, see above.
El Cid said:
The cause of thinking is your mind. . . . As Christians, we believe that the mind is made of spirit.
Does my mind have a cause?
Yes, God created your mind.
El Cid said:
Philosopher of the mind John Searle, says that 'Mental states are not the same as brain states."
I agree with Searle. (Though of course the fact that Searle said it, and that I believe it, does not settle it.) But it does not follow that brain states could not be the cause of mental states.
See above.
 

Komodo

Well-known member
Mental states and thoughts are non-physical. How can something physical cause non-physical entities?
Your implicit argument here is, "If naturalism is true, physical events cause non-physical entities; but physical events cannot cause non-physical entities; therefore naturalism is false." Which means that -- again -- you are not defending your claim that if naturalism is true, we can't rely on our judgments, and that is the claim I am challenging. Instead you are making the claim that naturalism is not true. You seem to be refusing to acknowledge this distinction.

If naturalism is true, then judgements are impossible because they are non-physical entities.
No. The naturalist case is either:
1. Mental states (including judgments, etc.) are actually an unusual form of physical states, or
2. Mental states are not physical states, but physical states, operating under natural law, can create mental states (and therefore mental states, including judgments, are also natural).

And again, it wouldn't matter if you could present a good argument for why neither 1) nor 2) could be true. You are operating under the supposition that naturalism is true, that is, that one of these claims is true.

If naturalism is true then non-physical entities do not exist.
Your premise is wrong, so your conclusion is unsupported.

No, there is strong evidence that men and women even think differently.
"There are ways in which the average man's thinking about some matters -- e.g., about how to find somebody's house, or about what are the most important goals in life -- is different from the average woman's thinking about those matters," which is all that any survey can possibly show, does not at all imply that "no woman thinks like the average man," let alone that "no woman thinks like any man."

So plainly the chromosomes code for different neural proteins depending on the sex of the cells. So if transgenderism is real it is going against every cell in the brain.
The chromosomes which control brain development may code for different patterns in neurons, depending on sex, but that does not at all mean that the chromosomes which control brain development write a code which makes every male neuron blue and every female neuron pink, or however you're conceiving it.

Here's an alternate explanation for transgenderism: the chromosomes which control brain and body development sometimes carry coding errors, so that the sections which are supposed to supply a male self-image along with a male body instead cause a female self-image to develop in a male body. No need at all to assume that the mental state is fighting against its neurons; it would be obeying its neurons, it's just that the neurons didn't develop the way they normally do.

And again, even if you were right here, all it would mean would be that naturalism does not account for transgenderism, which would suggest that naturalism is false. But -- again -- that is not the claim I am challenging.

(Skipping some points which would only be repetitive.)

Again mental states are non-physical, the naturalist view is that only physical entities exist, so therefore if naturalism is true then mental states do not exist.
Let me try to get the point across this way.

P1 It is possible that naturalism is true. (You have said this yourself in previous posts.)
P2 If naturalism is true, then mental states do not exist. (You said this just now.)
C It is possible that mental states do not exist.

Do you agree with the conclusion?
If not, on what grounds do you reject it? You would have to take back either premise 1 or premise 2. Which one goes?
If you do agree with the conclusion... what in the world does it mean? It is possible that nobody thinks or feels? That's self-evidently false, isn't it? And please don't say "but that's naturalism's conclusion": it isn't. It's the conclusion you must come to, unless -- again -- you take back either of the two premises.

The simplest and most obvious way to get out of this dilemma would be to take back premise 2, on the grounds that naturalism does not in fact imply that mental states do not exist. But then you would have no argument, at least as of now, for your claim that if naturalism is true, judgments are intrinsically unreliable.

Yes, God created your mind.
I'm still trying to understand your account of how we come to correct conclusions. You did not, for example, address the following questions I asked:

You had said that logic didn't "cause" things but did "produce" them. I said I didn't understand the distinction, and I still don't. What is the difference between saying "logic produces conclusions" and saying "logic causes conclusions"?

I think that when we say things like "logic tells us..." or "logic forces us to acknowledge..." we are just using figures of speech; there isn't really a logic angel which speaks to us or pushes us. Are you saying there is? If not, what is the process which you are alluding to? What is the beginning, middle and end of this process?

So to ask that last question once more: let's say "God created my mind" is the beginning. God doesn't causes the mind to come into existence all at once, obviously, because my mind isn't the same today as it was when I was 3, or even 13. How do you conceive of this happening? God creates something like a seed which grows over time? Grows according to natural, physical law? Some spiritual law? Both?

So, that's the beginning. What's the middle and end? The developed mind then... Can you pick it up from there?
 

El Cid

Active member
You said that a determinist "would be wasting your time debating with people when you know that everything is predetermined no matter what you say." The part in bold is not what determinism implies; determinists do not believe that the future would be the same no matter what you said or did; that's fatalism, not determinism. Determinists do not dispute the fact that what you say or do does cause things to happen, which would not have happened if you hadn't said or done them; they just claim that those statements and deeds are themselves determined by previous events.

To take an extreme example, a determinist sees somebody about to step in front of a speeding truck; of course he yells "stop!" because, by yelling "stop" he may cause the person to stop and avoid being killed. This isn't self-contradictory behavior, because determinism does not say "if he is destined to be killed, he will be killed no matter what you say or do, so yelling 'stop' is futile." Maybe a fatalist would say that, but a determinist would not.
Yes, but if determinism is true, then the content is irrelevant as long as you get the right stimulated response. He could have yelled POTS! and maybe he would have stopped. If there is no free will it doesnt matter the content of language, it can just be sounds as long as you get the right response from the hearer. That is why you would be wasting your time developing a complex argument.
 
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