Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Quote: Ronald Nash on Logic

"Even though most people who reject Christianity treat it as a refuge for enemies of reason, the truth is that there may be no worldview in the history of the human race that has a higher regard for the laws of logic."

- Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict, p. 74.

[HT: Ken Samples]

23 comments :

Lee said...

What about the Greeks? They were big on logic I hear.

Oh, and tell me... was it the Christians who burnt all the ancient Greek philosophy books and sent the world into the dark ages of reason?

I need to check my history books... no wait, it was the Christians.

Thank Goodness for the Muslims eh? Keeping all that knowledge safe from the matches of the Christians.

Lee

Ex N1hilo said...

Lee,

You should have followed your first inclination and checked the history books. Your memory is not what it should be.

Lee said...

Ex N1hilo,

Ok then... assuming I am wrong about the Christians for a second.

Who DID destroy the books and libraries of the ancient world?

No orders from any Christians to do this task are known to historians?

Are you really sure?

Lee

Sergio said...

Lee, don't bother with Ex N1hilo. I tried arguing with him in the past, based all my points on facts and evidence, and he just ignored them all and typed out some utter nonsense response like he just did with you. His arrogance and willful ignorance is truly unsurpassed.

Do not expect him to be educated whatsoever, to actually research anything that you're discussing, or to for one second look at evidence that points to the nonexistence of his magical sky daddy. Honestly, some people are not worth arguing with.

Ex N1hilo said...

Lee,

As you probably know, in 391, Emperor Theodosius ordered the destruction of pagan temples. One of those which was destroyed was The Serapeum in Alexandria, which may have housed a part of the collection of the Great Library of Alexandria.

This is a far cry from "the Christians who burnt all the ancient Greek philosophy books and sent the world into the dark ages of reason". What a silly assertion. You ought to know better.

This is how I would characterize the reign of Stalin if my name were Lee: "The Atheists starved out BILLIONS of small land-owning farmers and their families in Russia and America(!) in order to seize their property."

You claim that the Christians destroyed ALL the books of Greek philosophy. You mean none of them have survived till today?

Oh wait, you made that claim, then immediately contradicted it yourself, saying that the Muslims preserved them.

Rome fell in the 5th century. Islam appeared in the 7th. So who had the books in the mean time? You know--the books that were destroyed, yet somehow survived? Oh, wait. It was the Christians!

So, let me understand your point. The Christians destroyed these books and yet somehow preserved them so that the Muslims could then save them from the same Christians that they got them from?

History revised to serve an agenda. That's all you have offered.

Lee said...

Thanks for the heads up Sergio.

Nothing like hitting your head against the wall to test the strength of the bricks I find.

Lee

Lee said...

Hi Ex N1hilo,

As you probably know, in 391, Emperor Theodosius ordered the destruction of pagan temples. One of those which was destroyed was The Serapeum in Alexandria, which may have housed a part of the collection of the Great Library of Alexandria.

Yep... that’s the one I had in mind.

A Christian I understand - you forgot to mention that.

This is a far cry from "the Christians who burnt all the ancient Greek philosophy books and sent the world into the dark ages of reason". What a silly assertion. You ought to know better.

Indeed – I was careless with my ‘all’ since, of course – some books survived thanks to our Muslim friends. I contradicted myself in my opening statement.

Thank you for getting me back into line.

Now, about this Theo chap... what was his motivation?

Oh wait, you made that claim, then immediately contradicted it yourself, saying that the Muslims preserved them.

Yes, a simple common slip of the fingers made me type ‘all’ – a stupid mistake, I freely admit it and now wish to phrase my opening statement again.

Oh, and tell me... was it the Christians who burnt the ancient Greek philosophy books and sent the world into the dark ages of reason?”

Well done you for seeing the 'all' the first time around.

Now, did you disagree with the ‘dark ages of reason’ statement at all – or did you just attack the long hanging fruit?

Hope it made you feel good.

Rome fell in the 5th century. Islam appeared in the 7th.

... and the Eastern Roman Empire went on long after that - until the middle of the 15th Century if I remember my old school classes correctly?

Let me do the maths – yes, the 15th Century is AFTER the 7th...

So who had the books in the mean time?

Let me think... could they have been still in the (Eastern) Roman Empire?

Well it certainly wasn’t the Christians who had the books, since they did not re-discovered them in the around the 14th Century... I think they called it the Renaissance.

Oh, and this was at the time when the Eastern Roman Empire was coming to an end.... do you think there might be a pattern forming?

Of course, I am no historian of your critical expertise.

Tell me what you think.

You know--the books that were destroyed, yet somehow survived? Oh, wait. It was the Christians!

In western Europe the knowledge was lost until the middle ages – care to challenge that?

I am pretty loose on the actual years, but it is clear the Christians did not have access to the knowledge based on what was written in the Renaissance. Again, care to challenge that?

Where had this knowledge gone? Any ideas?

Were the Christians just careless with the books?

So, let me understand your point. The Christians destroyed these books and yet somehow preserved them so that the Muslims could then save them from the same Christians that they got them from?

The Christians did destroy them (as you noted yourself)... or at least tried their best.

Have you got any examples of Western European writers speaking of the Greek philosophers between, say 700AD to 1100AD?

Why might you have a gap in knowledge...?

Thankfully this silly Christian idea of destroying all knowledge did not reach the Eastern Europe and beyond.

History revised to serve an agenda. That's all you have offered.

At least I show evidence of some knowledge of history rather than denial and jumping up and down on one careless mistyped word.

The Christians in Western Europe tried their best to destroy all this ancient Greek philosophy. Thankfully (and clearly) it was not all lost.

However, it saddens me how many centuries of learning has been lost thanks to these Christians – for over a 1,000 years Christians held back advancement in knowledge, trusting an old and dated book.

Of course you wish to deny that... but the facts of history are there

Lee

Sergio said...

Just to quickly point out something and to get back to the quote that began this whole conversation...

"Even though most people who reject Christianity treat it as a refuge for enemies of reason, the truth is that there may be no worldview in the history of the human race that has a higher regard for the laws of logic."

This is one of the most ridiculous statements I've ever heard. Ex N1hilo, WITHOUT CHANGING THE SUBJECT and ignoring my question, care to tell me what "logic" accounts for a virgin birth? A talking snake? Woman made from man's rib? A man rising from the dead?

How about a guy walking on water? God sending bears to eat 42 children because they call a man bald? God murdering all the first-born sons of egypt? God drowning women, children, and everyone else because they were "immoral"? What about a man building an ark that houses carnivores and their prey in the same space? Do I really need to say any more?

Logic, huh...seems to be of short supply in that book you so vigorously defend. I'm sure you'll latch on to one of my claims and say "well he didn't have all the animals in the same space" or some other nonsense, without actually addressing the meat of my question. I wouldn't blame you, you don't have a leg to stand on.

Lee said...

Sergio

This is one of the most ridiculous statements I've ever heard.

Now come on... be fair - Being told you need God to be moral is also pretty ridiculous as well.

The Christians just keep them coming - I think they do it to being a smile to the atheist :-)

Lee

cubeus19 said...

Say Lee and other atheists here, I've been going to a few atheist websites and places and asking them for their favorite and or most convincing arguments and evidences. If it's ok, would you mind answering a few questions. I'm not wanting to debate, I just want your side of things, but anyway here are the questions...

1. What are your top and or most convinceing arguements and evidences for atheism? It can be any type or definition of atheism such as implicit, esplicit, strong, weak, positive, practical, theoretical atheism. Use whichever one you feel is your favorite and or most convinceing form of atheism.


2. What are your top and or most convinceing arguements and evidences for naturalism? It can be any type or definition of naturalism such as metaphysical naturalism, methodological naturalism, scientific naturalism, ontological naturalism, or philosophical naturalism. Any version of naturalism or philosophy that seeks to show that the natural realm is all there is (i.e. there is no supernatural)


3. What are your top and or most convinceing arguements and evidences for macro evolution or for evolution in general?

4. What are your most convinceing arguements and evidences against Christian theism?

5. What are your most convinceing arguements and evidences against generic theism and or deism?

6. What is your favorite and or most convincing arguments and evidences against substance dualism and or the existence of the human soul and or for mind/brain physicalism?

7. How do you think the universe began? Do you think it is eternal or do you think it had a beginning (if you think it had a beginning what do you think is the best naturalistic theory or explanation for it)?

8.What are your favorite and or most convinceing responses to common Christian theistic arguements? They are as follows...

Cosmological

Ontological

Transcendental

Moral

Design

Fine Tunning

Archeological evidence that verifies people,places etc from the Bible

(any other arguement that I haven't listed)

Resurrection of Christ

Question 9: What is your most convincing theory for the origin of life?

Question 10: What pro atheist books or materials would you recommend?

Question 11: What other arguments, evidences, responses, or comments would you like to add that may or may not applies to the above questions?

Brian said...

cubeus19 -

Although those are good questions - that is far too many to be answered in a comments section of a blog. I wonder how anyone could expect to even give a brief answer in one post! I recommend taking that (valuable) discussion to a venue more suitable to it.

To the others - I find the response to this quote to not prove much. The quote is about the teachings of Christ (the Christian worldview). You don't judge a philosophy by its abuses.

Lee said...

Hi cubeus19

I've been going to a few atheist websites and places and asking them for their favorite and or most convincing arguments and evidences.

For what? What claim am I making?

Just had a check look at your questions, it will take more than 5 mins to reply to them all.

I will try and find some time

I'm not wanting to debate, I just want your side of things

I am interested then why you would like to know my opinion then.

Lee

Lee

Lee said...

Although those are good questions - that is far too many to be answered in a comments section of a blog.

Fair enough...

Cubeus19, ask the same set of question at my blog.

Just copy them on my latest thread so I do not forget – if I have time, I will create a thread of its own for them.

The quote is about the teachings of Christ (the Christian worldview). You don't judge a philosophy by its abuses.

Were these ‘abusers’ real Christians or not? Did they do what they did because of their philosophy/belief in Christianity?

Why can I not judge a philosophy by the application of its followers who should know the teachings best?

Lee

Brian said...

Were these ‘abusers’ real Christians or not? Did they do what they did because of their philosophy/belief in Christianity?
I have no idea if they were or not.

Why can I not judge a philosophy by the application of its followers who should know the teachings best?
Christ.

Lee said...

Hi Brian,

Sorry, my poor English

I will try again

"Why can I not judge a philosophy by the application of its followers - those who should know the teachings best?"

Hope that is better now.

I have no idea if they were or not.

They claimed to be Christian - that is good enough for me :-)

Brian said...

"Why can I not judge a philosophy by the application of its followers - those who should know the teachings best?"
Because hypocrites abound.

They claimed to be Christian - that is good enough for me :-)
Yes, that works well when you want to denounce something. 1) Find someone who claims to be follower F of philosophy X; 2) find fault in follower F; 3) therefore, philosophy X is false.

This is like the "everyone's a Scotsman fallacy" : )

Lee said...

Hi cubeus19 ,

Just so you know - I wrote a post to address your questions.

I have addressed many of your points before, so I linked to further posts I wrote to save me time.

Enjoy, and I hope you ask further questions on my post.

Take care

Lee

Ex N1hil0 said...

Lee,

Yes, of course you can point out Christians who were anti-intellectual. That's not the question. You can find such people in any movement. And I could list Christians who were great intellectuals. Such lists are beside the point. A better question is, “When biblical teachings are implemented, what is the result, and why is it the result?”

History is instructive here. After ages of suppression of the Bible by the Roman Magisterium, a movement arose to make the Bible available to the masses. The men and women who translated, published, and distributed the Bible knew they were putting their lives on the line. Many were burned at the stake by monarchs in service to the Roman “church,” which deemed the Scriptures too dangerous to allow into the hands of the common people.

Through the sacrifices of these brave people, the wisdom of God has been unleashed and is transforming lives all over the world. Certainly the most notable effect it has had is the deliverance of lost souls from the damnation that their sin had brought on them, and thus from the fear of death. But it has had many other positive effects. The teaching of the Bible has brought literacy to the masses. It laid the groundwork for political reform, for human rights, for agricultural progress, and for the modern scientific revolution. Men like Bacon, Descartes, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Mendel, and many others of the founders of modern science started from the principle of creation. They took seriously the Bible's teaching that the creation itself is a revelation from God. As a result, they founded the scientific enterprise to elucidate the created order, with the goal of “thinking God's thoughts after Him.”

Philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi has a lecture series on mp3 entitled “The Heretics,” which goes into great detail on these matters. I recommend it highly.

Historically, the christian intellectual tradition is second to none.


Sergio,

How is the idea of a talking snake illogical? What law of logic would be violated if one existed?

Darwinists believe in a talking ape. I recognize that this belief is not illogical, although it does happen to be false.

Sergio said...

Hilarious. You say this: "Historically, the christian intellectual tradition is second to none."

Followed by this: "How is the idea of a talking snake illogical?"

You're wrong. About everything. Honestly, it doesn't even matter what you say from here on out. You have shown that you have absolutely no critical thinking skills, no form of analyzing data within the real world. If you honestly believe that a talking snake is logical, even though snakes have no vocal chords, no true larynx, no biological mechanism whatsoever with which to produce complex sounds, not to mention that it simply DOES NOT HAPPEN, then there really is nothing more I could say to you. You are blind, and no matter what reality says, you will close your eyes and attest that your silly book is true.

Oh, and as for darwinists believing in a talking ape...quote please? I can quote you directly from the source for the talking snake, straight from your bible, but can you actually find me a scientist saying that apes can talk, or is this just a strawman argument, since you know you can't possibly do any better? What was it that your god said about lying again?

Oh, and as a "darwinist" with a PhD in molecular biology, I would prefer that you do not talk about evolution as if you actually understood the subject, because it only took you one line to show your complete and utter ignorance.

Ex N1hil0 said...

Sergio,

Please just tell us which law of logic is violated by a talking snake. There are a number for you to choose from. If you cannot do so, the only honorable thing for you to do is to stop making the claim.

By the way, "Object X exists if and only if Sergio has observed it" is not a law of logic. It's not even good empirical science.

If men can alter a bacterium, so that it produces human insulin, then the Creator can make a reptile that talks. The Creator is much more intelligent and capable than we are, as evidenced by the creation itself.

As to the talking ape idea, Charles Darwin wrote a whole book about a talking ape--"The Descent of Man." Linguist Robbins Burling has even written a book with the title "The Talking Ape" about the evolution of this mythical creature.

Of course, no one has ever seen one. Yet such a being is not illogical. It has simply never been observed.

Sergio said...

You have clearly not read either of those books. Lucky for you, I've read the first one and actually done research on the second WITH Robbins Burling many years ago (I'm currently at the University of Michigan, where he works). This makes your ignorance even more hilarious. The "talking ape" they're referring to is us, humans, because that is what we are...talking primates. However, since you speak of those books as if you know them, feel free to go through them and tell me where they are referring to a talking primate that is NOT homo sapiens. Honestly, all you do is lie, it's pretty pathetic.

As far as your laws of logic...let's play your little game. How about the fourth law, the law of sufficient reason, which is the "principle that there must be a sufficient reason - causal or otherwise - for why whatever exists or occurs does so, and does so in the place, time and manner that it does." The only reason your creation myth contains a talking snake is that it mirrors the thousands of other creation myths that were popular when the bible was written, most of which contained talking animals of some sort. Let's also take into account what I already wrote, which you ignored, that snakes have no biological mechanisms to be able to talk, and would have to have their ENTIRE anatomy reworked to the point where they would no longer look like a snake to actually be able to produce sounds.

Having a bacterium produce insulin is a very simple manner of producing clonal cells which all express an inserted DNA plasmid. I know that may be difficult for you to understand, but we're not actually altering anything, just adding to the proteins that bacteria produces. Adding entire organs (which is what would be needed for a snake to be able to talk) is an entirely different manner, and as I said, would result in something that was no longer a snake by any means. I can't believe I'm actually having to argue with someone that talking snakes are illogical. What next, leprechauns are logical? Unicorns? Fairies? Oh no, THOSE things are dumb, because they aren't mentioned in a book.

Also, there is an enormous different between your false strawman "Object X exists if and only if Sergio has observed it", and what I've actually been saying. Requiring scientific evidence of things is FAR different than saying that I need to see it for myself. I've never seen evolution occurring in person, but the MOUNTAINS of evidence and hundreds of thousands of peer reviewed journal articles prove to me that it's true. I'm sure you know this...but lying is okay right? As long as it's for Jesus.

Ex N1hilo said...

Sergio,

The “talking ape” I refer to is, of course, man. It is man—as interpreted by Darwinian theory—as a descendant of Australopithecine apes, a descent that has never been observed. Indeed it cannot be observed. It is rightly classified as mythological. You say there are “mountains of evidence.” Sure, there is much that is PRESENTED as evidence for evolution. Fossils, body plans (Plans! What an IDistic ring that has.), DNA, etc. These can be presented just as well as evidence for creation. And creation has more. Creation has eye witness testimony. Evolution lacks this entirely.

As to the so-called Law of Sufficient Reason, this was formulated by Gottfried Leibniz about 300 years ago. Some would follow his lead and consider it as a 4th law of logic. I would tend to agree with those who classify it, not as a law of logic, but as a metaphysical axiom. Nonetheless, we can agree that it is a sensible idea. I think the way you summarized it is good. One could summarize it even more concisely as, “Every effect has a cause.”

The problem in your thinking comes when you dismiss a reported event as not having a sufficient cause, and you do so based solely on your ignorance of what the sufficient cause is. Because you don't know how God created this creature or any other, it is therefore impossible. That is poor reasoning. Indeed, it is irrational.

You would have to demonstrate that a reason sufficient to account for the existence of such a creature (the serpent of Genesis 3) cannot exist. You have not begun to do so. All you offer is your opinion about how much a snake would have to change. Maybe you forgot—snakes are evolved from single cell organisms (allegedly). That's a bit of a change. And they are cousins to rose bushes. Talk about an “entire anatomy reworked.” A land-dwelling cow-like animal is supposed to have given rise to whales. I suspect a bit of reworking would be needed there. Australopithecine apes are supposed to have given rise to speaking descendants—the very sort of change that you deny can have sufficient reason.

The fact is that the purposeful action of the all-wise, all-powerful Creator is plenty of reason for the existence of a talking snake. He created it. He told us about it. His word is truth. Your responsibility is to acknowledge the truth of His word and submit to it.

You know your Creator and Judge, because He has made Himself known to you through the things He has made. You cannot wish God away.

Sam

Sergio said...

Look, I'm going to try to make this short because I simply do not have the time to sit here every day and correct your walls of misinformation. The use of google is not a substitute for actual knowledge. I'm sure after seeing my post, you googled "law of sufficient reason", wrote some pointless facts about Leibniz to make it sound as if you actually understood anything you were saying, and then followed to ignore or misunderstand every single argument I made, as usual. That is why this is so tiring. I will keep this brief.

A snake which changed its anatomy enough to be able to talk would no longer be a snake, nor would it even slightly resemble one, just as mammals that changed into whales over millions of years (we have a significant amount of fossils of the whale transition, almost every step actually; you should go to a museum) were no longer the same species, they were now whales. It is not a difficult concept.

"The “talking ape” I refer to is, of course, man". This is a flat-out lie. You repeated, twice, that "no one has ever seen one". So, admitting that you were talking about man, and also saying that no one has ever seen one, you're pretty much proving that you're full of it. You are lying, copiously, to try and get your point across. You cannot change your story in every post just because you are being called out on your lies. Now you change it to "oh, I meant our DESCENDANT had never been seen, even though that isn't even remotely what I've been saying".

Evolution is irrefutable, scientific fact. Even if fossils did not exist, it would not affect the amount of evidence that we have in its favor. You clearly know nothing about any of this, so as I said before, don't waste your time talking about a subject that you have clearly never studied, just stay ignorant and keep believing in your magical talking snakes.

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