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#1 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:51 AM

This is a thread for us to use as a resource guide. What I mean by that is; this will be a place for theists (or anyone else) to find topical information conserning apolegicts information that can be used to learned from.

It is a locked topic that can only be accessed by admin and moderators. SO if you have questions or comments, please adderss them in the forum below.



#2 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:51 AM

Logical Fallacies

What is a logical fallacy?
A "fallacy" is a mistake, and a "logical" fallacy is a mistake in reasoning. There are, of course, other types of mistake than mistakes in reasoning. For instance, factual mistakes are sometimes referred to as "fallacies". However, the Fallacy Files is specifically concerned, not with factual errors, but with logical ones.

In logic, the term "fallacy" is used in two related, but distinct ways. For example:

1. "Argumentum ad Hominem is a fallacy."
2. "Your argument is a fallacy."

In 1, what is called a "fallacy" is a type of argument, so that a "fallacy" in this sense is a type of mistaken reasoning. In 2, it is a specific argument that is said to be a "fallacy", so that in this sense a "fallacy" is an argument which uses bad reasoning.

Clearly, these two senses are related: in 2, the argument may be called a "fallacy" because it is an instance of Argumentum ad Hominem, or some other type of fallacy. In order to keep these two senses distinct, I restrict the term "fallacy" to the first sense. For me, a fallacy is always a kind of argument. http://www.fallacyfi...g/introtof.html

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Argumentum ad Hominem (abusive and circumstantial): the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument. Often the argument is characterized simply as a personal attack. http://philosophy.la...gic/person.html

Assertum Non Est Demonstratum--“To assert is not to demonstrate”. This fallacy is to confuse the category of things that are true with the category of things that one states or claims are true. “Assertum non est demonstratum” is to believe that to state a belief, or to state it repeatedly, vigorously, or sincerely is somehow to demonstrate or to substantiate the veracity of that belief.
http://www.flipsides...FallacyList.htm

Argumentum Reductio Ad Absurdum: reductio ad absurdum argument argument form that begins with an assumption that the opponent's position is true and then proceeds to show that that position logically implies an absurd conclusion, a conclusion that contradicts itself, or a conclusion that contradicts other conclusions held by the opponent, or a conclusion that is obviously false.

Example: Socrates' philosophical opponents, the Sophists, believed that all truth was subjective and relative. Protagoras, one of the most famous Sophists, argued that one opinion is just as true as another opinion. The following is a summary of the argument that Socrates used to refute this position.

1. One opinion is just as true as another opinion. (Socrates assumes the truth of Protagoras's position.)

2. Protagoras's critics have the following opinion: "Protagoras's opinion is false and that of his critics is true."

3. Since Protagoras believes premise 1, he believes that the opinion of his critics in premise 2 is true.

4. Hence, Protagoras also believes it is true that: "Protagoras's opinion is false and that of his critics is true."

5. Since individual opinion determines what is true and everyone (both Protagoras and his critics) believe the statement "Protagoras's opinion is false," it follows that

6. Protagoras's opinion is false.

Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance) the fallacy that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or that it is false simply because it has not been proved true. This error in reasoning is often expressed with influential rhetoric. http://philosophy.la.../ignorance.html

Argumentum ad Verecundiam: (appeal to authority) the fallacy of appealing to the testimony of an authority outside his special field. Anyone can give opinions or advice; the fallacy only occurs when the reason for assenting to the conclusion is based on following the improper authority. http://philosophy.la.../authority.html

Ambiguity: Any fallacy that turns on ambiguity. See the fallacies of Amphiboly, Accent, and Equivocation.

This is an error due to taking a grammatically ambiguous phrase in two different ways during the reasoning.

Example:

In a cartoon, two elephants are driving their car down the road in India. They say, “We’d better not get out here,” as they pass a sign saying:

ELEPHANTS

PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR

Upon one interpretation of the grammar, the pronoun “YOUR” refers to the elephants in the car, but on another it refers to those humans who are driving cars in the vicinity. Unlike equivocation, which is due to multiple meanings of a phrase, amphiboly is due to syntactic ambiguity, ambiguity caused by alternative ways of taking the grammar.


Argumentum ad Populum (popular appeal or appeal to the majority): The fallacy of attempting to win popular assent to a conclusion by arousing the feeling and enthusiasms of the multitude. http://philosophy.la...ic/popular.html

Argumentum ad Misericordiam (argument from pity or misery) the fallacy committed when pity or a related emotion such as sympathy or compassion is appealed to for the sake of getting a conclusion accepted. http://philosophy.la...gic/misery.html

Argumentum ad Baculum (fear of force): the fallacy committed when one appeals to force or the threat of force to bring about the acceptance of a conclusion. http://philosophy.la...ogic/force.html

Argumentum ad Ignoratio Elenchi (irrelevant conclusion or "Red Herring"): the fallacy of proving a conclusion not pertinent and quite different from that which was intended or required. The argument may in itself be valid, but actually proves or supports a different proposition than the one it is purporting to prove or support. "Ignoratio elenchi" can be roughly translated by ignoring the issue; "elenchi" is from the Greek ελεγχος, meaning an argument of disproof or refutation.

Aristotle believed that an ignoratio elenchi is a mistake made by a questioner while attempting to refute a respondent's argument. He called it an ignorance of what makes for a refutation.
http://www.wordiq.co...rring_(fallacy)
http://philosophy.la.../ignoratio.html



Petitio Principii: (circular reasoning, circular argument, begging the question) in general, the fallacy of assuming as a premiss a statement which has the same meaning as the conclusion. http://philosophy.la...c/circular.html http://www.fallacyfi...g/resource.html

The appeal to probability: often used in conjunction with other fallacies. It assumes that because something could happen, it is inevitable that it will happen, irrespective of how unlikely it is. The fallacy is often used to exploit paranoia.
http://www.wordiq.co..._to_probability

The relativist fallacy (aka the subjectivist fallacy): committed, roughly speaking, when one person claims that something may be true for one person but not true for someone else. The fallacy is supposed to rest on the law of non-contradiction. The fallacy, it is said, applies only to objective facts, or what are alleged to be objective facts, rather than to facts about personal tastes or subjective experiences, and only to facts regarded in the same sense and at the same time. On this formulation, the very name "relativist fallacy" begs the question against anyone who earnestly (however mistakenly or not) holds that there are no "objective facts." So some more work has to be done, in a non-question-begging way, to make it clear wherein, exactly, the fallacy lies. http://www.wordiq.co...ativist_fallacy

The appeal to belief is committed when an argument infers the truth (or plausibility) of a proposition merely from the fact that it is widely believed.
http://www.wordiq.co...ppeal_to_belief



False Cause: the fallacy committed when an argument mistakenly attempt to establish a causal connection. http://philosophy.la...ogic/cause.html

False Dilemma: A limited number of options (usually two) is given, while in reality there are more options. A false dilemma is an illegitimate use of the "or" operator.

Examples:
* (i) Either you're for me or against me.
* (ii) America: love it or leave it.
* (iii) Either support gun confiscation or have the government provide everyone with his own private nuclear warhead, you decide which one.

Proof: Identify the options given and show (with an example) that there is an additional option.

argumentum ex silentio: The fallacy of supposing that someone's silence is necessarily proof of ignorance.

argumentum ad nauseam is a Latin term used to describe something that has been continuing "to the point of nausea." For example "This topic has been discussed ad nauseam": it has been discussed extensively and everyone is sick of it. This logical fallacy is commonly used as a form of rhetoric by politicians, and it is one of the mechanisms of reinforcing urban legends. In its extreme form, it can also be a form of brainwashing. This logical fallacy tends to be convincing to people because, as Joseph Goebbels discovered, if something is repeated as true often enough, people will eventually come to accept it.

argumentum ad numerum (or argument from numbers, or majority rules) is a logical fallacy that consists of the assertion that the more people who accept or believe an assertion, the more likely that assertion is to be true. For instance, it may be asserted that as millions of people read horoscopes every day, astrology must be a good guide to the future.

argumentum plurium interrogationum (of many questions"), is a logical fallacy. It is committed when someone asks a question that presupposes something that has not been proven or accepted upon by the people involved. So that the question limits direct replies to something that serves the questioner's agenda.
The standard example of this is the question Have you stopped beating your wife? Whether the person asked answers yes or no, he will admit to having beaten his wife at some time in the past. Thus, that fact is presupposed by the question, and if it has not been agreed upon by the speakers before, the question is improper, and the fallacy of many questions has been committed.

Converse Accident-- (hasty generalization) the fallacy of considering certain exceptional cases and generalizing to a rule that fits them alone. Note that the fallacy of converse accident is the opposite of accident. This hasty generalization is the habit of arriving at a bold conclusion based on a limited sample of evidence. This often occurs with statistics.


circular reasoning -- Sometimes known as circulus in demonstrando, or begging the question. H.W. Fowler, in Modern English Usage, puts it this way: "The basing of two conclusions each upon the other. That the world is good follows from the known goodness of God; that God is good is known from the excellence of the world he has made."

begging the question -- Circular reasoning in which a claim is assumed to be true and is then tucked in the conclusion. e.g. "Government by the people is ideal because democracy is the least inadequate form of government." ("Government by the people" is the working definition of democracy; the first part of the statement needs to be proven, not reasserted in the predicate.)

red herring -- An attempt to divert attention from the crux of an argument by introduction of anecdote, irrelevant detail, subsidiary facts, tangential references, and the like. A "Red Herring" is basically just diverting of the issue. It is simply a device for changing the subject without being very sneaky; it just does it! Just like actually pulling a red herring across the platform will divert peoples attention. So will telling an irrelevant joke. A red herring argument says, “Accept this because this other subject is interesting (funny, witty, etc.).” Rather than proving the point, this fallacy simply evades the question by changing the subject, then proceeding as if the point had been made. Often the other topic bears a superficial resemblance to the one being discussed. Don’t let that fool you! If no proof is given, there is no reason to accept the argument. One common red herring is to tell a joke to get off the hot seat.

1. “He must be a genius; he certainly is no fool.”

2. Reporter: “Senator, will you continue your campaign now that the polls show you far behind?”

Candidate: “I don’t believe in polls.”

3. Response to gospel: “I am doing what God says: ‘Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.’”

straw man -- A fallacy that occurs when someone attacks a less defensible position than the one actually being put forth. This occurs very often in politics, when one seeks to derive maximum approval for himself/herself or for a cause. Basically: You commit the straw man fallacy whenever you attribute an easily refuted position to your opponent, one that the opponent wouldn’t endorse, and then proceed to attack the easily refuted position (the straw man) believing you have undermined the opponent’s actual position. If the misrepresentation is on purpose, then the straw man fallacy is caused by lying. http://www.iep.utm.e...lacy/#Straw Man


tu quoque ("you too") fallacy -- The fallacy of assuming an argument is specious because it is either inconsistent with the person's actions or inconsistent with previous claims/arguments. A person may "preach" about something and act in a very different manner, but this fact has no bearing on the specific argument he is advancing at any time. Inconsistency, moreover, may raise issues of hypocrisy or double standards, but it does not bear upon the argument at hand.

genetic fallacy-- A fallacy that occurs when someone attacks the cause or origin of a belief rather than its substance. Why a person believes something is not relevant to the belief's legitimacy/soundness/validity.

argumentum ad misericordiam -- Occurs when an appeal is made to pity or to one's sympathetic nature. Example: "Augusto Pinochet is an old, dying man. It is wrong to make him stand trial for alleged offenses."


Non sequitur ("it does not follow.") An argument is called non sequitur if the conclusion does not follow from the premises. It should be stressed that in a non sequitur, the conclusion can be either true or false, but the argument is a fallacy because the conclusion does not follow from the premises. All logical fallacies are actually just specific types of non sequiturs.

Argumentum ex Silentio (see also, Argument from Ignorance). The fallacy that if sources remain silent or say nothing about a given subject or question this in itself proves something about the truth of the matter. E.g., "Science can tell us nothing about God, which proves God doesn't exist." Or "Science can tell us nothing about God, so that proves He does exist!"

Equivocation: The fallacy of deliberately failing to define one's terms, or deliberately using words in a different sense than the one the audience will understand. (E.g., Bill Clinton stating "I did not have s@x with that woman," meaning no S@xual penetration, knowing full well that the audience will understand the statement as "I had no S@xual contact of any sort with that woman.") This is a corruption of the argument from logos, a tactic frequently followed in American jurisprudence.



Argumentum ad Futuris (argument to the future). Here is the perfect argument for the eternal optimist: “Accept this because future evidence will support it.” It appeals to the authority of Progress with a capital P! Face it; this is hope, not proof. It is argument by anticipation, not demonstration. No poker player would dare to pick up the pot because he felt sure he would win the next hand before he got his cards. No logician can do it either.

“Missing links may yet be found to support evolution.”
“Scientists may soon find a natural cause for the origin of life.”
“Archeology will one day disprove the Bible.”
If wishes were fishes, arguments like these could supply a sardine factory. But rational decisions must be based on real evidence, not speculations.


Four Term Fallacy The Four Term Fallacy or Fallacy of Equivocation is explained. Strictly speaking, an argument which commits this fallacy cannot be a syllogism by definition because the argument contains more than three terms.

"A poor lesson is better than a good lesson because a poor lesson is better than nothing, and nothing is better than a good lesson."
http://philosophy.la.../four_fall.html

Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle Term http://philosophy.la...iddle_fall.html

Exclusive Premisses (or the Fallacy of Two Negative Premisses or Exclusive Premisses) http://philosophy.la...usive_fall.html

Affirmative Conclusions from a Negative Premiss http://philosophy.la...usion_fall.html

Existential Fallacy[b/] http://philosophy.la...ntial_fall.html

Dicto Simpliciter (fallacy of the general rule). This fallacy applies a general rule to a particular case that has significant differences from the general cases to which the rule properly applies. The logic used here says, “Accept this in this case (with special circumstances) because it is true in general.” The problem, of course, is that the special circumstances might be just the ones that nullify the rule. One logic text calls this the fallacy of accident, because accidental circumstances render the rule inapplicable. A common example of this is to take the general rules about life given in the Bible and use them as commands that apply to all situations. “A wise son [accepts his] father’s discipline” (Prov. 13:1) does not apply to the son whose father comes home drunk and beats him. But one of the best examples is the second temptation of Christ (Matt. 4:6). Satan said:
“If you are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, lest You strike Your foot against a stone.’”


Hasty Generalization. “Accept this general conclusion because these (unusual or atypical) cases support it.” This is like the general rule fallacy in reverse. It makes general or absolute rules out of common but not unvarying occurrences. It confuses typical and atypical evidence, or ignores atypical evidence entirely, then jumps to a conclusion. It concludes too much from too little, choosing only the evidence it wants (like special pleading). In short, it tries to make the abnormal seem normal, or the merely normal absolute.
“If Paul recommended wine for Timothy, then it is good for Christians today.”
That wine was recommended for medicinal use and does not necessarily mean that it was approved for social use. There are some serious differences that are wiped out by generalization. Example: “Since all religions offer the same kind of miracles to show that they are true, no claim of miracles really provides proof for any religion.

The "Cliche". Like general rules, cliches may fit perfectly sometimes, but they tend to overgeneralize. Accordingly, they suffer from the same type of abuse in logic. Cliche reasoning says, “Accept this because it accords with a popular maxim.” Is that what cliches are for—to provide supporting evidence in a logical argument? This fallacy has been called “maxim mongering.”
Not only do cliches suffer from oversimplification, but sometimes they also contradict each other. “Nothing ventured; nothing gained” and “Better safe than sorry” convey two opposite messages. While these sayings make good descriptions of established truth, they provide no evidence to support a conclusion.
“The Bible must err, because ‘to err is human’ and the Bible was written by humans.”
Does this cliche really describe the situation that gave us the Bible? It seems to ignore the divine role in the production of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21) and the fact that humans don’t necessarily err all the time. If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.

Ockham’s Razor This is the popular name for a principle laid down by William of Ockham (1285–1349). It is also called the Principle of Parsimony. In its popular form it states that the simplest explanation is the best explanation. This is often taken to mean “the fewer, the truer,” and by logical extension “the fewest, the truest.” However, this is not what Ockham had in mind. In the original form given by Ockham the principle merely affirms that “causes should not be multiplied without necessity.” That is, one should not posit more causes or reasons than are necessary to explain the data. The true explanation could involve many causes, and having fewer would be incorrect. But unnecessarily complicating the problem also makes reasoning incorrect.

Tautology: The concept of tautology has two definitions, one philosophical, one rhetorical.

Rhetorical tautology [1]is defined as "needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word". An example of a rhetorical tautology would be, for instance, a "godless atheist", "secular science" or a "three-sided triangle" (as opposed to "all triangles have three sides", which is a definition).

A philosophical tautology is [2]"a compound propositional form all of whose instances are true", such as “A or not A.” For example, "This candidate will win or will not win.” Another example is "If it rains, it will rain."

In formal logic, the philosophical definition takes on a technical precision. Within a logical system such as propositional calculus or intuitionistic logic, a formula φ is a tautology if it is its own proof (written symbolically as \phi \vdash \phi). This is equivalent to saying that φ is true under all truth assignments, or, by Gödel's completeness theorem, that every collection of formulas containing φ is sound.

http://www.conservapedia.com/Tautology

Stolen Concept: One or more concepts on which an argument logically depends are denied in the argument.

Examples:

(i) There are absolutely no absolutely true statements.
(ii) It is impossible for people to communicate with one another.
(iii) I do not exist.
(iv) Physics has proven science is incapable of telling us anything true.

Proof: In putting forth his argument the author both accepts and denies the same proposition, (though usually not explicitly) thus accepts contradictory positions. This is essentially the same as Aristotle's "reaffirmation through denial".

Slothful Induction: The proper conclusion of an inductive argument is denied despite the evidence to the contrary.

Examples:

1- Hugo has had twelve car accidents in the last six months, yet he insists that it is just a coincidence and not his fault. (Inductively, the evidence is overwhelming that it is his fault. This example borrowed from Barker, p. 189)

2- Poll after poll shows that the N.D.P will win fewer than ten seats in Parliament. Yet the party leader insists that the party is doing much better than the polls suggest. (The N.D.P. in fact got nine seats.)

3- Sure that drug has been fatal in 100 previous tests, but how do you know some unknown factor wasn't present causing the deaths? Maybe the drug is perfectly safe. (This involves refusing to draw an inductive conclusion on the basis that some arbitrary assertion has not been disproven. This is the typical argument of a skeptic. They don't think they need any evidence to justify their rejection of any generalization no matter how much evidence points to the other conclusion.

Proof:

Make the relevant standard of proof clear, point out that the evidence offered does not meet it, and point out the contrary evidence not taken into account in the induction. Typically this will lead to either an agreement, a dispute over the applicability of the specified standard of proof, or the applicability of the contrary evidence. In each case the argument needs to be shown to be a rational one rather than some arbitrary choice.

I find that this kind of skepticism of any and all inductive generalization (except perhaps the ones the author is prejudiced in favor of) is the last refuge of most sloppy (and dishonest) thinkers since they can assert just about any possibility (yes, including that an omnipotant god is hiding the truth from us or that we are just brains in vats manipulated by mad scientists) to deny the validity of the inductive basis of the positions of their opponents.

Complex Question: Two otherwise unrelated points are treated as a single proposition. The reader is expected to accept or reject both together, when in reality one may be acceptable while the other is not. A complex question is an illegitimate use of the "and" operator.

Examples:

1- You should support home schooling and the God-given right of parents to raise their children according to their own beliefs. (Whether parents have a right to choose how to raise their children and whether that right includes home schooling is an entirely different issue. There is an additional complex question here since one might believe that a certain right exists but not believe it comes from God.)
2- Do you support freedom and the right to bear arms? (What if I think people ought to be free to bear arms but that it isn't a right? What if I think it is a right, but I don't think it matters what rights people have?)

3- Have you stopped beating your wife? (This implicitly asks two questions: did you beat your wife, and did you stop?)

Proof: Identify the two propositions illegitimately conjoined and show that one doesn't imply the other.



*** NOTE: [b]This listing is NOT all inclusive (nor was it meant to be). It is a general guideline. And is to be used for knowledge gaining purposes, on how to deal with arguments. Generally, links will be provided for further research, and as they are available.
***


P.S. These are other good links to use:

http://www.wordiq.co...Logical_fallacy

http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#H4

http://www.fallacyfi...g/howtouff.html
http://theautonomist...t/fallacies.php

#3 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:52 AM

A list of creation scientists who are/have contributed to science
(I would suggest doing a internet search on anyone here you want to know more about. Don't just rely on the limited information given in this listing)


1) Dr. Raymond Damadian - inventor of MRI device

2) Dr. Raymond Jones - CSIRO Gold Medal, detoxified Leucaena for livestock
consumption

3) Dr. Keith Wanser - 48 published papers, seven U.S. patents
(Professor of Physics, Cal State Fullerton)

4) Dr. Russell Humphreys - successful planetary magnetic predictions
(nuclear physicist, Sandia National Laboratories )

5) Dr. Kurt Wise - Ph.D. in paleontology under Stephen J. Gould at Harvard

6) Jules H. Poirier - designer of radar FM altimeter on Apollo Lunar
Landing Module

7) Dr. Sinaseli Tshibwabwa - discovered 7 new species of fish in the Congo

8) Dr. Saami Shaibani - "International Expert" by the US Depts of Labor and
Justice. 100 published articles (B.A. (Hons), M.A., M.Sc., D.Phil, a
physics professor and researcher)

1) (ID) Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III - five-time Nobel nominee
(professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia)

2) (ID) Dr. William S. Harris - $3.5 million in research grants, over 70
scientific papers, Director of the Lipoprotein Research Laboratory at Saint
Luke’s Hospital. Chair in Metabolism and Vascular Biology and is a
Professor of Medicine at the University of Missouri.

Others:

Dr. Emmett L. Williams, Ph.D. Materials Engineering
Dr. David A. Kaufmann, Ph.D. Anatomy
Dr. Glen W. Wolfrom, Ph.D. Ruminant Nutrition
Dr. Theodore P. Aufdemberge, Ph.D. Physical Geography,
Dr. Eugene F. Chaffin, Ph.D. Physics
Dr. George F. Howe, Ph.D. Botany
Dr. Wayne F. Frair, Ph.D. Serology
Dr. John R. Meyer, Ph.D. Zoology
Dr. Robert Goette, Ph.D. Chemistry
Dr. Lane Lester -- Ph.D. in genetics from Purdue University
Dr. Andrew Snelling -- Ph.D. in geology, U. of Sydney
Dr. Don Batten, consultant plant physiologist
Dr. Gary Parker, Ed.D. in Biology/Geology, Ball State University
Dr. John Baumgardner, Los Alamos Laboratories
Dr. Donald B. DeYoung, Ph.D., Physics, Grace College, Winona Lake, Indiana
Dr. Eric Norman, Ph.D, Biochemistry, Texas A&M University
Dr. Clifford A. Wilson - Archaeologist, Author of "Crash go the Chariots"
Michael Oard, MS, Atmospheric Science, U. of Washington, meteorologist
Keyoshi Takahashi, Ph.D., Botany - has had research published in Nature.
Dr. Andy McIntosh, Reader in Combustion Theory at Leeds U., U.K.

Dr. George Marshall, Ph.D., Ophthalmic Science, U of Glasgow, Scotland
chartered biologist, member of the Institute of Biology
Dr. Danny Faulkner -- Ph.D. Astronomy, Indiana University, Associate
Professor, U. of South Carolina, Lancaster
Dr. David Menton, Associate Professor of Anatomy, Washington University
School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri
Prof. Maciej Giertych, Ph.D.(Toronto), D.Sc.(Poznan), head of the Genetics
Dept. of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Dendrology, Kornik,
Poland.
Dr. James Allan, M.Sc.Agric., PhD., retired senior lecturer in the Dept. of
Genetics, Univ. of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Dr. Andre Eggen, Ph.D. in animal genetics from the Federal Institute of
Technology in Switzerland, research scientist for the French government
Dr. Brian Stone, Ph.D., Head of the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering,
U. of Western Australia
Dr. Donald Chittick, Ph.D. in physical chemistry, Oregon State U.,
Associate Professor of Chemistry , U. of Puget Sound
Dr. Giuseppe Sermonti, Ph.D., geneticist and microbiologist, has served as
Professor of Genetics at U. of Palermo & U. of Perugia
Dr. Andre Eggen, Institute Nationale de la Agrinomique of France, working
on genetic defect in cows known as the Bulldog gene defect.
Dave Phillips, M.S., physical anthropology, California State U., working on
Ph.D. in paleontology
Jonathan D. Sarfati, Ph.D., F.M. -- Ph.D. in Chemistry from Victoria
univeristy of Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand chess champion.

Dr. Jack Cuozzo, orthodontist (DDS, University of Pennsylvania and MS in
Oral Biology, Loyola University of Chicago) and an original researcher of
Neanderthals, is the author of Buried Alive. This book sets forth the
thesis that human craniofacial structures continue to change with aging and
that Neanderthals were humans who lived to be hundreds of years old
(post-flood). If anything, humans are devolving.

Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo, physiologist for the human engine of the Gossamer
Condor and Gossamer Albatross man-powered flight projects (reported in the
National Geographic), received his doctorate from the University of Iowa.
Dr. Mastropaolo does not believe evolution qualifies as science.

Dr. Robert A. Herrmann -- Professor of Mathematics, U. S. Naval Academy
http://mathweb.maths...lty/herrmannra/
http://www.serve.com...rmann/main.html

Dr. Ian Macreadie -- molecular biology and microbiology researcher,
Principal Research Scientist at the Biomolecular Research Institute of
Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
(CSIRO)

Dr. Felix Konotey-Ahulu, M.D., FRCP, DTMH, world authority on sickle-cell
disease, 25 years' experience as physician, clinical geneticist and
consultant in Ghana and subsequently in London. Visiting professor at
Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, and honorary
consultant to its Centre for Sickle Cell Disease. Author of 643-page
monograph "The Sickle Cell Disease Patient", Macmillan, 1991.

Dr. AwSwee-Eng, Ph.D., former Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Univ. of
Singapore, head of Dept. of Nuclear Medicine & Director of Clinical
Research , Singapore General Hospital, Author of about 30 technical papers
in biochemistry and nuclear medicine.

John K. Reed ¨ Principal Engineer, Westinghouse Savannah River Company,
(1999-present) ¨ degrees - B.S. geology (Furman Univ.), M.S. geology (Univ.
of Georgia), Ph.D. geology (Univ. of South Carolina) ¨ other qualifications
- Senior Production Geologist (Sun Exploration and Production Co., Houston,
1982-1988); Research Asst. Prof. (Earth Sciences and Resources Institute,
Univ. of South Carolina, 1988-1991); Exploration Manager (PetraTex, Dallas,
1991-1992) Partner (Strata Consulting Services, Dallas, 1992); Sr.
Scientist (Westinghouse Savannah River Company, 1992-1999); ten articles in
CRS Quarterly; 14 articles in secular scientific journals, Associate Editor
for Geology for CRS Quarterly.


From the past:

Kepler -- Laws of planetary motion.
Francis Bacon -- contributed to formalization of scientific method
Linnaeus -- classification
John Ray -- Founder of biological science
Robert Boyle -- Founder of modern chemistry
Sir Isaac Newton -- gravity, optics, calculus
Blaise Pascal -- mathematics, calculating machine, air pressure
Charles Babbage -- invented "difference engine," designed computer
Gregor Mendel -- first studies of heredity
James Joule -- physics, inc. beginning of thermodynamics
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin -- Physics
Michael Faraday -- Physics
John Dalton -- chemistry
Louis Pasteur -- immunization, disproof of spontaneous generation
Sir John Herschel -- mathematician and astronomer, called the theory "the
law of higgledy-pigglety"
James Clerk Maxwell -- physicist, developed theory of electromagnetism
Adam Sedgwick -- geologist
Andrew Murray -- entomologist
Richard Owen -- coined the term "dinosaur"
Louis Agassiz, founder of modern glacial geology
Werner von Braun -- Leader of early US space program (Creation 16(2))
James Irwin -- astronaut, walked on the moon
A.E. Wilder-Smith (deceased)- 3 earned doctorates, master of seven
languages, UN advisor


More on Humphreys (taken from "Starlight and Time" p4 'About the Author'):
2 US patents;
Co-inventor of laser-triggered "Rimfire" high-voltage switches;
Winner of one of Industrial Research Magazine's IR-100 award;s
Winner of 2 awards from Sandia, including an Award for Excellence for
contributions to light ion-fusion target theory.

More on Raymond Jones:
Urrbrae Award in recognition of practical significance of his work for the
grazing industry. Described by CSIRO chief as "one of the top few CSIRO
scientists in Australia". Source: Creation Mag 21#1 p20ff

John Baumgardner's 3-D supercomputer model of plate tectonic model, reported
in New Scientist 16/1/93 p19.

Len Cram Ph.D. discovered way to 'grow' opals in a matter of months
(Creation Mag. 17#1 pp14-17). CSIRO scientists "can't distinguish Len's opal
from natural opal even under an electron microscope - they look identical!".
The motivation for his research was "to find out how opals form so as to
discredit uniformitarian (slow and gradual) geological theories."

Dr David Pennington, plastic surgeon. The first to have successfully
reattached a human ear. Creation Mag. 22#3 pp17-19.

Eric Norman, Ph.D. Biochemistry, Director of Norman Clinical Laboratory,
Inc. Pioneer researcher in Vit B12. (Creation Mag. 17#3 p28)

Forrest Mims, inventor of atmospheric haze sensor (Scientific American May97
p80)

Angela Meyer, Ph.D., Horticultural Science. Awarded New Zealand Science &
Technology bronze medal for excellence in Kiwi fruit research & service to
science, 1994. Source: "In Six Days" p130

John Mann, awarded M.B.E. for scientific work on controlling the spread of
the prickly pear cactus in Australia. State representative on the Australian
Weeds Committee, chairman of the Noxious Weeds Committe, member of the
Interdepartmental Committee for Woody Plant Control. Source: AiG

Ian Macreadie, Ph.D. Molecular biologist. Winner of Australian Society for
Microbiology's top award for outstanding contributions to research, 1995.
(Creation Mag. 21#2 p17)

Lammerts, Walter, 1904-1996. Ph.D. genetics. Winner of 12 All-American rose
selection awards. (CRSQ33#2 p79)

John K G. Kramer, Ph.D., biochemistry, has identified, characterised and
synthesised the structure of numerous food, bacterial and biological
components. He was one of the core scientists who evaluated the
toxicological, nutritional and biochemical properties of canola oil and
demonstrated its safety. Associate Editor of the journal LIPIDS. Source:
"In Six Days" p34.

Dr. Koop, C. Everett. Surgeon General of the United States. Awarded the Ladd
Medal by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Dennis Brown Gold Medal
by the British Association of Pediatric Surgeons. Source: "Scientists Who
Believe", ed. by Barrett & Fisher, Moody Press, 1984. pp153, 158.
[The following quote is taken from a CRSnet posting 28/12/99 by Paul Humber:
"C. Everett Koop, while Surgeon General of the United States, said (in a
private letter to me) that he thought evolution was impossible on the basis
of mathematics alone."]

Konotey-Ahulu, Felix. M.D. FRCP, DTMH. Clinical geneticist & consultant
physician. World authority on sickle-cell anaemia. Author of "The Sickle
Cell Disease Patient" Macmillan, 1991, 643pp. (Creation Mag. 16:2 p40)

Terry Hamblin, MB, ChB, DM, FRCP, FRCPath. Professor at Southampton
University. Described in Radio Times as "one of Britain's leading leukaemia
specialists". (Radio Times entry 8 April 98 about programme 'Counterblast')

John Grebe, 1900-1984. D.Sc. Case Inst. of Technology. "In 1943 he was the
youngest man ever to receive the Chemical Industry Medal for his outstanding
contributions." (CRSQ 21#4 p199)

Charles W. Harrison, Jr. Ph.D. Former Faculty member at Harvard & Princeton,
followed by 16 years research in electromagnetics at Sandia National
Laboratories. Co-author of 'Antennas and Waves: A Modern Approach.' MIT
Press, 1969. Source: "Creation: Acts, Facts, Impacts". Edited by Morris,
Gish & Hillestad. Creation-Life Publishers, 1974. p178.

Fliermans, Carl B. PhD Microbial Ecologist, Dupont Company. "In the mid 80'
s, Dr. Fliermans led a research team of scientists in a U.S. Department of
Energy program called 'The Microbiology of the Deep Subsurface', where
microbiologists looked for microbial life hundreds and thousands of feet
below the earth's surface. Thousands of microorganisms previously unknown to
the scientific world were discovered. Dr. Fliermans cochaired and coedited
the First International Symposium on Subsurface Microbiology and received an
'Outstanding Leadership in Science' award (only four in the nation had been
given) from the U.S. Department of Energy for his work." Sources:
Acts&Facts 10#1 p3 and A&F ICR Faculty Profile.

Malcolm Cutchins, Ph.D. Prof of Aerospace Engineering, Auburn. Twice winner
of Auburn's Outstanding Faculty Award. Recognized by the journal 'Industrial
Research' for "developing one of the 100 most significant new technical
products of 1973." Source: Impact86.

Stuart Burgess, Ph.D. Lecturer in Engineering Design at Bristol U.
Recipient of Worshipful Company of Turners Engineering Design Gold Medal.
Source: 'Hallmarks of Design' by Stuart Burgess, DayOne publications, 2000.

Ker C. Thomson, D.Sc., Geophysics. Former Director of Terrestrial Sciences
Division, Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, in charge of Air Force research
programs in seismology, geodesy, gravity and geology. Sources: Act&Facts.

W R. Thompson (deceased), FRS. Professor, Director, Commonwealth Inst. of
Biological Control, Ottawa. Listed in Who's Who.

Dr. Ben Aaron, Prof & Chief of cardio-thoracic surgery at George Washington
U. Medical Centre, Washington D.C. Operated on President Reagan after he was
shot by assisin. Sources: Impact86; 'Operation Raw Hide' by Paul Thomsen,
ICR.

Note: Listing from - http://www.creationinfo.com/list.htm

You can also see a listing at: http://www.answersin...home/area/bios/

And: http://creationwiki....tion_scientists

#4 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:53 AM

What is Atheism?

Below are common definitions of Atheism, with links to the sites that provide said definitions (and more in formation). This is reference material for assisting the understanding that atheism is a philosophy and a belief system.

Atheism
Main Entry: athe•ism
Pronunciation: \ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French athéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos god
Date: 1546
1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

http://www.merriam-w...tionary/atheism

Atheism
(from Greek: a + theos "not god") refers in its broadest sense to a denial of theism (the belief in the existence of a single deity or deities). Atheism has many shades and types. Some atheists strongly deny the existence of God (or any form of deity) and attack theistic claims. Yet certainty as to the non-existence of God is as much a belief as is religion and rests on equally unprovable claims. Just as religious believers range from the ecumenical to the narrow-minded, atheists range from those for whom it is a matter of personal philosophy to those who are militantly hostile to religion.
Atheism often buttresses its case on science, yet many modern scientists, far from being atheists, have argued that science is not incompatible with theism.
Some traditional religious belief systems are said to be "atheist" or "non-theist," but this can be misleading. While Jainism technically can be described as philosophically materialist (and even this is subtle vis-à-vis the divine), the claim about Buddhism being atheistic is more difficult to make. Metaphysical questions put to the Buddha about whether or not God exists received from him one of his famous "silences." It is inaccurate to deduce from this that the Buddha denied the existence of God. His silence had far more to do with the distracting nature of speculation and dogma than it had to do with the existence or non-existence of God.
Many people living in the West have the impression that atheism is on the rise around the world, and that the belief in God is being replaced with a more secular-oriented worldview. However, this view is not confirmed. Studies have consistently shown that contrary to popular assumptions, religious membership is actually increasing globally.

http://www.newworlde...g/entry/Atheism

a•the•ism
Show Spelled[ey-thee-iz-uh m]
–noun
1.
the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2.
disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Use atheism in a Sentence
See images of atheism
Search atheism on the Web

Origin:
1580–90; < Gk áthe(os) godless + -ism

—Related forms an•ti•a•the•ism, adjective, noun pro•a•the•ism, noun

http://dictionary.re.../browse/atheism

Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1][2][3] The atheistic worldview has a variety of effects on individuals and society at large which will be elaborated on shortly. In regards to individuals adopting an atheistic worldview, atheism has a number of causal factors that influence its origination in individuals which will be addressed. In addition, critiques of atheism will be offered and some of the historical events relating to atheism will also be covered (for example, since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the theory of evolution which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists)

http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism

Atheism is the state of disbelief or non-belief[1] in the existence of a deity or deities.[2] It is commonly defined as the positive denial of theism (i.e., the assertion that deities do not exist),[3] or the deliberate rejection of theism (i.e., the refusal to believe in the existence of deities).[4] However, others—including most atheistic philosophers and groups—define atheism as the simple absence of belief in deities[5][6][7] (cf. nontheism), thereby designating many agnostics, and people who have never heard of gods, such as the unchurched or newborn children, as atheists as well.[8][9] In recent years, some atheists have adopted the terms strong and weak atheism to clarify whether they consider their stance one of positive belief that no gods exist (strong atheism), or of mere absense of belief that gods exist (weak atheism).[10]
Many self-described atheists share common skeptical concerns regarding empirical evidence for supernatural claims. They cite a lack of evidence for the existence of deities. Other rationales for atheism range from the personal to the philosophical to the social to the historical. Additionally, while atheists tend to accept secular philosophies such as humanism, naturalism and materialism, they do not necessarily adhere to any one particular ideology, nor does atheism have any institutionalized rituals or behaviors.[11]
Atheism is very often equated with irreligion or non-spirituality in Western culture,[12] but they are not the same. Some religious and spiritual beliefs, such as several forms of Buddhism, have been described by outside observers as conforming to the broader, negative definition of atheism due to their lack of any participating deities.[13] Atheism is also sometimes equated with antitheism (opposition to theism) or antireligion (opposition to religion). Some philosophers and academics, such as philosopher Jurgen Habermas call themselves "methodological atheists" (also known as or methodological naturalism)[14] to denote that whatever their personal beliefs, they do not include theistic presuppositions in their method.

http://psychology.wi...om/wiki/Atheism

Definition of Atheism
Atheism is a complex term to define, and many definitions fail to capture the range of positions an atheist can hold. Perhaps the most obvious meaning to many people now is the absence or rejection of a belief in a God, or gods. However, it has been used through much of history to denote certain beliefs seen as heretical, particularly the belief that God does not intervene in the world. More recently, atheists have argued that atheism only denotes a lack of theistic belief, rather than the active denial or claims of certainty it is often associated with. This is held to follow from its etymology: it stems from the Greek adjective atheos, deriving from the alpha privative a -,'without, not', and 'theos', 'God'. It is not clear, however, that this could not equally mean 'godless' in the earlier sense as meaning a heretical or immoral person.
The exact meaning of 'atheist' varies between thinkers, and caution must always be shown to make sure that discussions of atheism are not working at cross purposes. Michael Martin, a leading atheist philosopher, defines atheism entirely in terms of belief. For him, negative atheism is simply the lack of theistic belief, positive atheism is the asserted disbelief in God, and agnosticism is the lack of either belief or disbelief in God. This suggests that negative atheism, the minimal position that all atheists share, divides neatly into agnosticism and positive atheism. It is worth noting that the 'positive atheist' need not have certainty that God doesn't exist: it is a matter of belief, not knowledge.

http://www.investiga...definition.html

Subject: Definition of Atheism
Dr. William L. Craig

Question: In my discussions with atheists, they are using the term that they "lack belief in God". They claim that this is different from not believing in God or from saying that God does not exist. I'm not sure how to respond to this. It seems to me that its a silly word-play and is logically the same as saying that you do not believe in God.
What would be a good response to this?

Thank you for your time,

Steven

Dr. Craig responds:
Your atheist friends are right that there is an important logical difference between believing that there is no God and not believing that there is a God. Compare my saying , “I believe that there is no gold on Mars” with my saying “I do not believe that there is gold on Mars.” If I have no opinion on the matter, then I do not believe that there is gold on Mars, and I do not believe that there is no gold on Mars. There’s a difference between saying, “I do not believe (p)” and “I believe (not-p).” Logically where you place the negation makes a world of difference.

But where your atheist friends err is in claiming that atheism involves only not believing that there is a God rather than believing that there is no God.
There’s a history behind this. Certain atheists in the mid-twentieth century were promoting the so-called “presumption of atheism.” At face value, this would appear to be the claim that in the absence of evidence for the existence of God, we should presume that God does not exist. Atheism is a sort of default position, and the theist bears a special burden of proof with regard to his belief that God exists.

So understood, such an alleged presumption is clearly mistaken. For the assertion that “There is no God” is just as much a claim to knowledge as is the assertion that “There is a God.” Therefore, the former assertion requires justification just as the latter does. It is the agnostic who makes no knowledge claim at all with respect to God’s existence. He confesses that he doesn’t know whether there is a God or whether there is no God.

But when you look more closely at how protagonists of the presumption of atheism used the term “atheist,” you discover that they were defining the word in a non-standard way, synonymous with “non-theist." So understood the term would encompass agnostics and traditional atheists, along with those who think the question meaningless (verificationists). As Antony Flew confesses,
the word ‘atheist’ has in the present context to be construed in an unusual way. Nowadays it is normally taken to mean someone who explicitly denies the existence . . . of God . . . But here it has to be understood not positively but negatively, with the originally Greek prefix ‘a-’ being read in this same way in ‘atheist’ as it customarily is in . . . words as ‘amoral’ . . . . In this interpretation an atheist becomes not someone who positively asserts the non-existence of God, but someone who is simply not a theist. (A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip Quinn and Charles Taliaferro [Oxford: Blackwell, 1997], s.v. “The Presumption of Atheism,” by Antony Flew)

Such a re-definition of the word “atheist” trivializes the claim of the presumption of atheism, for on this definition, atheism ceases to be a view. It is merely a psychological state which is shared by people who hold various views or no view at all. On this re-definition, even babies, who hold no opinion at all on the matter, count as atheists! In fact, our cat Muff counts as an atheist on this definition, since she has (to my knowledge) no belief in God.

One would still require justification in order to know either that God exists or that He does not exist, which is the question we’re really interested in.

So why, you might wonder, would atheists be anxious to so trivialize their position? Here I agree with you that a deceptive game is being played by many atheists. If atheism is taken to be a view, namely the view that there is no God, then atheists must shoulder their share of the burden of proof to support this view. But many atheists admit freely that they cannot sustain such a burden of proof. So they try to shirk their epistemic responsibility by re-defining atheism so that it is no longer a view but just a psychological condition which as such makes no assertions. They are really closet agnostics who want to claim the mantle of atheism without shouldering its responsibilities.

This is disingenuous and still leaves us asking, “So is there a God or not?”

Arguments for Atheism:

The arguments for atheism are largely negative, although some can be cast in positive terms.

Negative arguments fall into two categories:
(1) arguments against proofs for God’s existence
(2) arguments against God’s existence.

On the first set of arguments most atheists draw heavily on the skepticism of Hume and the agnosticism of Kant.

Atheists offer what they consider to be good and sufficient reasons for believing no God exists.
Four such arguments are often used by atheists:
(1) the fact of evil
(2) The apparent purposelessness of life
(3) Random occurrence in the universe
(4) The First Law of Thermodynamics—that “energy can neither be created or destroyed” as evidence that the universe is eternal and, hence, needs no Creator.

Tenets of Atheism:

Atheists do not have identical beliefs, any more than do all theists. However, there is a core of beliefs common to most atheists. So while not all atheists believe all of the following, all of the following are believed by some atheists. And most atheists believe most of the following:

About God. True atheists believe that only the cosmos exists. God did not create man; people created God.

About the World. The universe is eternal. If it is not eternal, then it came into existence “out of nothing and by nothing.” It is self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. As astronomer Carl Sagan put it, “The Cosmos is all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be” (Sagan, Cosmos). If asked “what caused the world?” most atheists would reply with Bertrand Russell that it was not caused; it is just there (this is the “It just is” defence). Only the parts of the universe need a cause. They all depend on the whole, but the whole needs no cause. If we ask for a cause for the universe, then we must ask for a cause for God. And if we do not need a cause for God, then neither do we need one for the universe.

If one insists that everything needs a cause, the atheist simply suggests an infinite regress of causes that never arrives at a first cause (i.e., God). For if everything must have a cause, then so does this “first cause.” In that case it really isn’t first at all, nor is anything.

About Evil. Unlike the pantheists (who deny the reality of evil) atheists strongly affirm it. In fact, while pantheists affirm the reality of God and deny the reality of evil, atheists, on the other hand, affirm the reality of evil and deny the reality of God. They believe theists are inconsistent in trying to hold to both realities.

About Human Beings. A human being is matter in motion with no immortal soul. There is no mind apart from brain. Nor is there a soul independent of body. While not all atheists are strict materialists who identify soul and body, most do believe that the soul is dependent on the body. The soul in fact dies when the body dies. The soul (and mind) may be more than the body, the way a thought is more than words or symbols. But as the shadow of a tree ceases to exist when the tree does, so the soul does not survive the body’s death.

About Ethics. No moral absolutes exist, certainly no divinely authorized absolutes. There may be some widely accepted and long enduring values. But absolutely binding laws would seem to imply an absolute Law Giver, which is not an option.

Since values are not discovered from some revelation of God, they must be created. Many atheists believe values emerge by trial and error the way traffic laws developed. Often the right action is described in terms of what will bring the greatest good in the long run. Some frankly acknowledge that relative and changing situations determine what is right or wrong. Others speak about the expedient behavior (what “works”), and some work out their whole ethic in terms of self-interest. But virtually all atheists recognize that each person must determine personal values, since there is no God to reveal what is right and wrong. As the Humanist Manifesto put it, “Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values” (P. Kurtz, Humanist Manifestos I and II).

About Human Destiny. Most atheists see no eternal destiny for individual persons, though some speak of a kind of collective immortality of the race. But the denial of individual immortality notwithstanding, many atheists are utopians. They believe in an earthly paradise to come. Skinner proposed a behaviorally controlled utopia in Walden Two. Marx believed an economic dialectic of history would inevitably produce a communist paradise. Others, such as Rand, believe that pure capitalism can produce a more perfect society. Still others believe human reason and science can produce a social utopia. Virtually all, however, recognize the ultimate mortality of the human race but console themselves in the belief that its destruction is millions of years away.

As a Critique of Atheism:

Still, the position that God does not exist lacks adequate rational support. The atheist’s arguments against God are insufficient. Further, there are good arguments for the existence of God. For many things, atheism provides no satisfactory answer.

Why is there something rather than nothing? Atheism does not provide an adequate answer as to why anything exists when it is not necessary for anything at all to exist. Nonexistence of everything in the world is possible, yet the world does exist. Why? If there is no cause for its existence, there is no reason why the world exists.

What is the basis for morality? Atheists can believe in morality, but they cannot justify this belief. Why should anyone be good unless there is a Definer of goodness who holds people accountable? It is one thing to say that hate, racism, genocide, and rape are wrong. But if there is no ultimate standard of morality (i.e., God), then how can these things be wrong? A moral prescription implies a Moral Prescriber.


What is the basis for meaning? Most atheists believe life is meaningful and worth living. But how can it be if there is no purpose for life, nor destiny after this life? Purpose implies a Purposer. But if there is no God, there is no objective or ultimate meaning. Yet most atheists live as if there were.

What is the basis for truth? Most atheists believe that atheism is true and theism is false. But to state that atheism is true implies that there is such a thing as objective truth. Most atheists do not believe that atheism is true only for them. But if atheism is true, there must be a basis for objective truth. Truth is a characteristic of a mind, and objective truth implies an objective Mind beyond our finite minds.

What is the basis for reason? Most atheists pride themselves on being rational. But why be rational if the universe is the result of irrational chance? There is no reason to be reasonable in a random universe. Hence, the very thing in which atheists most pride themselves is not possible apart from God.

What is the basis for beauty? Atheists also marvel at a beautiful sunset and are awestruck by the starry heavens. They enjoy the beauty of nature as though it were meaningful. Yet if atheism is true, it is all accidental, not purposeful. Atheists enjoy natural beauty as though it were meant for them, and yet they believe no Designer exists to mean it for them.

Narrow Absolutes. Of course truth is narrow. There is only one answer for what is 4 + 4. It is not 1. It is not 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 or any other number. It is 8 and only 8. That’s narrow, but it is correct.

Non-Christians often claim that Christians are narrow-minded, because they claim that Christianity is true and all non-Christian systems are false. However, the same thing is true of non-Christians who claim that what they view as truth is true, and all opposing beliefs are false. That is equally narrow. The fact of the matter is that if C (Christianity) is true, then it follows that all non-C is false. Likewise, if H (say, Humanism) is true, then all non-H is false. Or more specifically if A (Atheism) is true, then all non-A is false.

All these views are EQUALLY narrow. That’s the way truth is. Each truth claim excludes contradictory truth claims. Christianity is no more narrow than is any other set of beliefs, whether atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, or pantheism. Therefore, the claim “No God exists beyond or in the universe” is a narrow world view. And Atheists claim that the physical universe is all there is, and no God exists anywhere, either in the universe or beyond it. Further; the universe or cosmos is all there is and all there will be, that “all is matter” and that it (the universe) is self-sustaining. All of these statements dogmatically refute the opposite, and are therefore as “narrow minded” as the Theistic claims they oppose.

No Cogent Arguments on behalf of Atheism

Presumption of Atheism. Theists have complained that the usual arguments against God's existence do not pass philosophical muster. One of the most commonly proffered justifications of atheism has been the so-called presumption of atheism. At face value, this is the claim that in the absence of evidence for the existence of God, we should presume that God does not exist. So understood, such an alleged presumption seems to conflate atheism with agnosticism. When one looks more closely at how protagonists of the presumption of atheism use the term "atheist," however, one discovers that they are sometimes re-defining the word to indicate merely the absence of belief in God. Such a re-definition trivializes the claim of the presumption of atheism, for on this definition atheism ceases to be a view, and even infants count as atheists. One would still require justification in order to know either that God exists or that He does not exist.

Other advocates of the presumption of atheism use the word in the standard way but insist that it is precisely the absence of evidence for theism that justifies their claim that God does not exist. The problem with such a position is captured neatly by the aphorism, beloved of forensic scientists, that "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." The absence of evidence is evidence of absence only in cases in which, were the postulated entity to exist, we should expect to have more evidence of its existence than we do. With respect to God's existence, it is incumbent on the atheist to prove that if God existed, He would provide more evidence of His existence than what we have. This is an enormously heavy burden of proof for the atheist to bear, for two reasons: (1) On at least Christian theism the primary way in which we come to know God is not through evidence but through the inner work of His Holy Spirit, which is effectual in bringing persons into relation with God wholly apart from evidence. 1 (2) On Christian theism God has provided the stupendous miracles of the creation of the universe from nothing and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, for which events there is good scientific and historical evidence—not to mention all the other arguments of natural theology. 2 In this light, the presumption of atheism seems presumptuous, indeed!

The debate among contemporary philosophers has therefore moved beyond the facile presumption of atheism to a discussion of the so-called "Hiddenness of God" —in effect, a discussion of the probability or expectation that God, if He existed, would leave more evidence of His existence than what we have. Unsatisfied with the evidence we have, some atheists have argued that God, if He existed, would have prevented the world's unbelief by making His existence starkly apparent. But why should God want to do such a thing? On the Christian view it is actually a matter of relative indifference to God whether people believe that He exists or not. For what God is interested in is building a love relationship with us, not just getting us to believe that He exists. There is no reason at all to think that if God were to make His existence more manifest, more people would come into a saving relationship with Him. In fact, we have no way of knowing that in a world of free persons in which God's existence is as obvious as the nose on one's face that more people would come to love Him and know His salvation than in the actual world. But then the claim that if God existed, He would make His existence more evident than it is has little or no warrant, thereby undermining the claim that the absence of such evidence is itself positive evidence that God does not exist. Worse, if God is endowed with middle knowledge, so that He knows how any free person would act under any circumstances in which God might place him, then God can have so providentially ordered the actual world as to provide just those evidences and gifts of the Holy Spirit which He knew would be adequate for bringing those with an open heart and mind to saving faith. Thus, the evidence is as adequate as needs be.

1 One of the most significant developments in contemporary Religious Epistemology has been so-called Reformed Epistemology, spearheaded and developed by Alvin Plantinga, which directly assaults the evidentialist construal of rationality. With respect to the belief that God exists, Plantinga holds that God has so constituted us that we naturally form this belief under certain circumstances; since the belief is thus formed by properly functioning cognitive faculties in an appropriate environment, it is warranted for us, and, insofar as our faculties are not disrupted by the noetic effects of sin, we shall believe this proposition deeply and firmly, so that we can be said, in virtue of the great warrant accruing to this belief for us, to know that God exists.

2 On Jesus' resurrection see N. T. Wright, Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 3: The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003).

#5 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:53 AM

What is an Agnostic?

Below are common definitions of Agnosticism, with links to the sites that provide said definitions (and more in formation). This is reference material for assisting the understanding that Agnosticism is a philosophy and a belief system:

agnostic

Pronunciation:/agˈnɒstɪk/

noun

A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.

adjective

Relating to agnostics or agnosticism.

(in a non-religious context) Having a doubtful or non-committal attitude towards something:until now I've been fairly agnostic about electoral reform

Origin:
mid 19th century: from a- ‘not’ + gnostic
http://www.oxforddic...nition/agnostic

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ag•nos•tic ( g-n s t k) n.
1.
a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
2. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
adj.
1. Relating to or being an agnostic.
2. Doubtful or noncommittal: "Though I am agnostic on what terms to use, I have no doubt that human infants come with an enormous 'acquisitiveness' for discovering patterns" (William H. Calvin).
ag•nos ti•cal•ly adv.

Word History: An agnostic does not deny the existence of God and heaven but holds that one cannot know for certain whether or not they exist. The term agnostic was fittingly coined by the 19th-century British scientist Thomas H. Huxley, who believed that only material phenomena were objects of exact knowledge. He made up the word from the prefix a-, meaning "without, not," as in amoral, and the noun Gnostic. Gnostic is related to the Greek word gn sis, "knowledge," which was used by early Christian writers to mean "higher, esoteric knowledge of spiritual things"; hence, Gnostic referred to those with such knowledge. In coining the term agnostic, Huxley was considering as "Gnostics" a group of his fellow intellectuals "ists," as he called them who had eagerly embraced various doctrines or theories that explained the world to their satisfaction. Because he was a "man without a rag of a label to cover himself with," Huxley coined the term agnostic for himself, its first published use being in 1870.
agnostic [ægˈnɒstɪk]
n
1. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) a person who holds that knowledge of a Supreme Being, ultimate cause, etc., is impossible Compare atheist, theist
2. a person who claims, with respect to any particular question, that the answer cannot be known with certainty
adj
of or relating to agnostics
[coined 1869 by T. H. Huxley from A-1 + GNOSTIC]
agnosticism n

http://www.thefreedi...ry.com/agnostic


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Main Entry: 1ag•nos•tic
Pronunciation: \ag-ˈnäs-tik, əg-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek agnōstos unknown, unknowable, from a- + gnōstos known, from gignōskein to know — more at know
Date: 1869
1 : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2 : a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>
— ag•nos•ti•cism \-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun

http://www.merriam-w...ionary/agnostic


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ag·nos·tic [ ag nóstik ] (plural ag·nos·tics)


noun
Definition:

1. somebody denying God's existence is provable: somebody who believes that it is impossible to know whether or not God exists

2. somebody denying something is knowable: somebody who doubts that a question has one correct answer or that something can be completely understood

http://encarta.msn.c...7/agnostic.html


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Agnosticism is the philosophical and theological view that the existence of God, gods or deities is either unknown or inherently unknowable. The term and the related agnostic were coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1869 and are also used to describe those who are unconvinced or noncommittal about the existence of deities as well and other matters of religions. The word agnostic comes from the Greek a (no) and gnosis (knowledge). Agnosticism is not to be confused with a view specifically opposing the doctrine of gnosis and Gnosticism—these are religious concepts that are not generally related to agnosticism.

http://www.wordiq.co...nition/Agnostic


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Agnostic - Agnostos
The English term "agnostic" is derived from the Greek "agnostos," which means, "to not know." An agnostic is one who admits, "I don't know." The term is applied specifically to those who don't know for certain whether or not God exists. An agnostic is one who believes that the existence of God is unknown and most likely beyond human ability to discover.
http://www.allaboutp...rg/agnostic.htm


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Conclusion

The word agnosticism literally means “Ignorance-ism”. This so-called “skeptical position” commonly held by agnostics, comes in two distinctive forms (much like Atheists ): soft and hard.

First - Soft or flexible agnostics claim to hold the “absence of knowledge” doctrine, when it comes to whether or not God exists (conveniently reserving judgment).

Second – the “Hard” agnostic makes a stronger (Dogmatic) claim asserting that “no one” can know whether God exists.

The “Hard” agnostic, in fact, suffers from the same self-defeating problems that plague atheism. They make factual assertions, but they fail to apply the evidences to back up their claims. Further, in order for the “Hard” agnostic to embrace their form of agnosticism, they would either have to: (1) know that “ANY” knowledge of God is impossible, or (2) be “knowledgeable” on “every perceivable” way one could come to know about God, in order to “totally” deny knowledge of God.

Although both of these stances are self-defeating, because “BOTH” require “knowledge” concerning God; (“A” – Gnostic literally means “NO KNOWLEDGE”!) “Hard agnosticism” makes the dogmatic and self-defeating assertion that “one knows enough about God in order to affirm that nothing can be known about God.”(1)1 And find themselves in the poor position to actually have to explain their knowledge of their lack of knowledge!


Reference:

(1) Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics (pages 13-27).

#6 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:54 AM

The Argument from Design
(Or The Teleological Argument)


The argument starts with the major premise that where there is design, there must be a designer. The minor premise is the existence of design throughout the universe. The conclusion is that there must be a universal designer.

Why must we believe the major premise, that all design implies a designer? Because everyone admits this principle in practice. For instance, suppose you came upon a deserted island and found "S.O.S." written in the sand on the beach. You would not think the wind or the waves had written it by mere chance but that someone had been there, someone intelligent enough to design and write the message. If you found a stone hut on the island with windows, doors, and a fireplace, you would not think a hurricane had piled up the stones that way by chance. You immediately infer a designer when you see design.

http://www.peterkree...pics/design.htm

William Paley, "The Teleological Argument"

Abstract: William Paley's teleological or watch argument is sketched together with some objections to his reasoning.


The Analogical Teleological Argument of Paley: If I stumbled on a stone and asked how it came to be there, it would be difficult to show that the answer, it has lain there forever is absurd. Yet this is not true if the stone were to be a watch.

According to Paley, the inference from the observation of the intricate design of the universe to the conclusion of a universe-maker who constructed and designed its use would be inevitable.

The inference is as follows …

watch : watch maker :: universe : universe maker

Just as the function and complexity of a watch implies a watch-maker, so likewise the function and complexity of the universe implies the existence of a universe-maker.

Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Whereas Hume's argument is an argument from design, we shall see that Paley's argument is more of an argument todesign.

Paley thinks the following excuses (i.e., possible objections) are inadequate to disprove the argument.

Objection: We never knew the artist capable of making a watch (a universe) or we do not know how the work was accomplished.

Paley's response: Just because we don't know who the artist might be, it doesn't follow that we cannot know that there is one.

Counter-objection: The disanalogy between an artist and a universe-maker is substantial. Not only is the last term of the analogy, "the universe-maker," beyond the bounds of possible experience, but also the many persons involved in the construction of a watch—from the miners of the metals and gems, to the draftsmen, craftsmen, workers, and distributors— would seem to suggest many gods are involved in universe-making. The disanalogy that watchmaker has parents but the universe-maker does not have parents is often noted.

Objection: The parts of the watch (universe) do not work perfectly; the designer is not evident.

Paley's response: It is not necessary to show that something is perfect in order to show that there is a design.

Counter-objection: Given natural disasters and nonmoral evil in the world, imperfect design would seem to indicate that the designer is not all good or not all-powerful. The problem of evil would then become an important consideration in any inference to the characteristics of the universe-maker. Moreover, although initially the complexity of a watch is contrasted to the simplicity of a stone, there is nothing to which the complexity of the universe can be contrasted.

http://philosophy.la...tro/paley.shtml

http://creationsafar...om/br_paley.htm

Part V. Thomas Aquinas, "The Argument from Design"
Abstract: Thomas Aquinas' Argument from Design and objections to that argument are outlined and discussed. Thomas argues the intricate complexity and order in the universe can only be explained through the existence of a Great Designer.
1. Aquinas' Argument from Design begins with the empirical observation of the design and order of the universe. Hence, this argument is an à posteriori argument, and the conclusion is not claimed to follow with absolute certainty. This argument is also termed, "The Teleological Argument." Teleology is the study of purpose, ends, and goals in natural processes. A teleological explanation accounts for natural processes in accordance with purposive or directive principles.
1. Thus, if Thomas' argument is correct, the degree of the truth of the conclusion should be comparable to the conclusions of the findings of modern science. It is important to see that since no claim is made as to the certainty of the conclusion but only as to its probability, the argument cannot be criticized on the grounds that the conclusion does not follow with absolute necessity.
2. Also, note that the concept of design involves the ability of human beings either to grasp intellectually the order of things or to impose intellectually order on what is being observed.
3. Summary of the Argument from Design:
1. All things have an order or arrangement, and work for an end. (Again, note that the argument proceeds from empirical evidence of adaptation of ends to means of such natural processes as sensory organs, the food chain, the nitrogen cycle, the Krebs cycle, and so forth; hence, Thomas' argument is à posteriori or inductive.)
2. The order of the universe cannot be explained by chance, but only by design and purpose.
3. Design and purpose is a product of intelligence.
4. Therefore nature is directed by a Divine Intelligence or Great Designer.

http://philosophy.la...overnance.shtml


Teleological argument
(the "unmoved mover")
Probably the most popular argument for God's existence is the teleological argument. Derived from the Greek word telos, which refers to purpose or end, this argument hinges on the idea that the world gives evidence of being designed, and concludes that a divine designer must be posited to account for the orderly world we encounter. Although the teleological argument dates at least as far back as Plato, it is perhaps most memorable today from the work of William Paley (1743-1805), in his Natural Theology (1802). Recently, the teleological argument has gained renewed interest as a core element of the theory of Intelligent Design and the related efforts to reconcile science and faith.
Although there are variations, the basic argument goes something like this:
1. X is too complex to have occurred randomly or naturally.
2. Therefore, X must have been created by an intelligent being, Y.
3. God is that intelligent being.
4. Therefore, God exists.
Comments on the teleological argument
The first and second premises assume that one can infer the existence of intelligent design merely by examining an object. This is the same principle that archaeology uses to determine if, for example, a piece of stone is a stone tool.
The teleological argument assumes that because life is complex, it must have been designed. This is based on observations that complexity is not the outcome of random processes. Some object that life or objects are described as, “orderly” or “ordered”, and that this implies that an intelligent designer has ordered them. These objector claim that a system can be non-random or ordered simply because it is following impersonal physical processes, for example diamonds or snowflakes. However, such "ordered" systems do not have complexity, which life has.
The third premise is rejected by some even if the first and second premises are accepted, as the implied designer (Y) might be an unknown force or mere demiurge, not God as God is commonly understood. It is argued in defense that the outside force through which Y came into being might then be explained as a more powerful being resulting in either an omnipotent being or infinite regression.
Critics often argue that the teleological argument would apply to the designer, arguing any designer must be at least as complex and purposeful as the designed object. This, they say, would create the absurdity of an infinite series of designers. However, the counter-argument of an "undesigned designer," akin to Aristotle's uncaused causer, is common. Furthermore, it has been argued that God is not complex, that is, He is not composed of many interrelated parts, so the complexity argument does not apply.

http://www.conservap...ogical_argument


DOES GOD EXIST?
by Dr. Norman Geisler (Excerpted from "When Skeptics Ask")

Argument from design

This argument, like others that we will mention briefly, reason from some specific aspect of creation to a Creator who put it there. It argues from design to an intelligent Designer.

1. All designs imply a designer.

2. There is great design in this universe.

3. Therefore, there must be a Great Designer of the universe.

The first premise we know from experience. Anytime we see a complex design, we know by previous experience that it came from the mind of the designer. Watches imply watchmakers; buildings imply architects; paintings imply artists; and coded messages imply an intelligent sender. It is always our expectation because we see it happening over and over. It is another way of stating the principle of causality.

Also, the greater the design, the greater the designer. Beavers make log dams, but they have never constructed anything like the Hoover Dam. Likewise, a thousand monkeys sitting at typewriters would never write Hamlet. But Shakespeare did it on the first try. The more complex the design, the greater the intelligence required to produce it.

We ought to mention here that there is a difference between simple patterns and complex design. Snowflakes or quartz crystals have simple patterns repeated over and over, but have completely natural causes. On the other hand, we don’t find sentences written in stone unless some intelligent being wrote them. That doesn’t happen naturally. The difference is that snowflakes and crystals have a simple repeated pattern. But language communicates complex information, not just the same thing over and over. Complex information occurs when the natural elements are given boundary conditions. So when a rock hound sees small round rocks in a stream, it doesn’t surprise him because natural erosion rounds them that way. But when he finds an arrowhead he realizes that some intelligent being has deliberately altered the natural form of the rock. He sees complexity here that cannot be explained by natural forces. Now the design that we are talking about in this argument is complex design, not simple patterns; the more complex that design is, the greater the intelligence required to produce it.

http://www.ankerburg...ry/TD0899W2.htm

#7 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:55 AM

The Ontological Argument

The ontological argument was devised by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), who wanted to produce a single, simple demonstration which would show that God is and what God is. Single it may be, but far from simple. It is, perhaps, the most controversial proof for the existence of God. Most people who first hear it are tempted to dismiss it immediately as an interesting riddle, but distinguished thinkers of every age, including our own, have risen to defend it. For this very reason it is the most intensely philosophical proof for God's existence; its place of honor is not within popular piety, but rather textbooks and professional journals. We include it, with a minimum of discussion, not because we think it conclusive or irrefutable, but for the sake of completeness.

Anselm's Version
1. It is greater for a thing to exist in the mind and in reality than in the mind alone.
2. "God" means "that than which a greater cannot be thought."
3. Suppose that God exists in the mind but not in reality.
4. Then a greater than God could be thought (namely, a being that has all the qualities our thought of God has plus real existence).
5. But this is impossible, for God is "that than which a greater cannot be thought."
6. Therefore God exists in the mind and in reality.

http://www.peterkree...xistence.htm#13

The ontological argument for God's existence is an attempt to prove God's existence solely from the idea or concept of God.1 It is an attempt to prove God's existence from reason alone. No appeal to the facts of experience is considered. In this way the ontological argument differs from other arguments for God's existence.
All other arguments for God's existence argue from something in existence to the existence of God. The teleological argument argues from the design in the universe to the existence of an intelligent Designer.2 The moral argument argues from the existence of moral values to the existence of the absolute moral Lawgiver.3 The cosmological argument reasons from the existence of dependent beings to the existence of a totally independent Being.4 Only the ontological argument argues from the concept of God to His existence. The ontological argument alone does not begin with the facts of experience.

http://instituteofbi...gical-argument/



The gist of the second argument (The Ontological argument), as Malcolm formulates it, is as follows: God is by definition a being who does not merely happen to exist. God can neither come into existence nor pass out of existence, since a being who could do either simply would not be God. It follows from this that if God exists at all, then his existence is necessary. If he does not exist, then his existence is impossible. But either God exists or he does not exist, so God's existence is either necessary or impossible. Since it does not seem plausible to say that God's existence is impossible, then it follows that his existence is necessary. So if God's existence is possible, then it is necessary. More formally the argument can be put like this:

1. If God exists, his existence is necessary.
2. If God does not exist, his existence is impossible.
3. Either God exists or he does not exist.
4. God's existence is either necessary or impossible.
5. God's existence is possible (it is not impossible).
6. Therefore God's existence is necessary.

http://apologetics31...t-malcolms.html


According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world e.g., from reason alone."[1] Anselm of Canterbury's ontological argument uses the definition of God to prove His existence. Anselm's ontological argument remained influential for centuries, and was later used by Descartes. Anselm's proof is as follows:
God is that for which no greater being is conceivable.
That which exists is greater than that which does not exist.
That which does not exist fails to satisfy the definition of God.
Therefore God exists.

In a sense this proof of the existence of God is similar to the mathematical proofs based on deriving a contradiction of something is not true. Accepting the definition of God, as most would, while then denying that God exists leads to a contradiction as existence is a necessary element of perfection in this context.

http://www.conservap...ogical_argument

Ontological arguments are arguments, for the conclusion that God exists, from premises which are supposed to derive from some source other than observation of the world e.g., from reason alone. In other words, ontological arguments are arguments from nothing but analytic, a priori and necessary premises to the conclusion that God exists.

The first, and best-known, ontological argument was proposed by St. Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th. century A.D. In his Proslogion, St. Anselm claims to derive the existence of God from the concept of a being than which no greater can be conceived. St. Anselm reasoned that, if such a being fails to exist, then a greater being namely, a being than which no greater can be conceived, and which exists can be conceived. But this would be absurd: nothing can be greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived. So a being than which no greater can be conceived i.e., God exists.

http://plato.stanfor...ical-arguments/

"Of all the arguments for the existence of God, the one which Anselm first formulated is the most refined and the least capable of a finally satisfactory statement. It draws its strength from an ambiguity, which appears to be an ambiguity in language, but is more deeply an ambiguity in human experience. If God exists, there must be a level of experience at which it is impossible to think of God as not existing. But at what level can this impossibility be made to appear? Must the demonstration await the experience of the Beatific Vision? Or can it, at the very opposite extreme, be made out at the level of linguistic-logical analysis? Whether valid or not, the first three chapters of the Proslogion were the first piece of writing in which this problem was raised and a solution proposed which will probably never be finally buried. It may be agreed that Descartes put it better, because more simply and with fewer philosophical presuppositions. He had the advantage, which Anselm lacked, of inheriting, if only to reject, a long philosophical tradition. The Augustinian and grammatical background of Anselm's thought, which made it possible for him to formulate the argument, also burdened it with limitations. But these pages of Anselm must be placed among the most deeply interesting pieces of reasoning ever written The early chapters of the Proslogion, in which the argument was first expressed, will never be read without excitement, nor thought about without appearing to be more cogent than they are. For the most extraordinary thing about the argument is that it loses nothing of its power, its freshness, or even in a curious way its persuasiveness, by being refuted. The Proslogion may not set forth a valid argument for belief in God, and even if it were valid it is doubtful whether it would ever persuade an unbeliever; but in its subtlety, and in a certain unsubstantial, ethereal quality which antagonizes men of robust common sense, it perfectly reflects the quality and mystery of Anselm's personality."

http://www.formalont...gical-proof.htm



#8 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:58 AM

The Cosmological Argument
(or "First Cause" argument)

Kalam cosmological argument
The aim of this argument is to show that the universe had a beginning in the finite past. The argument battles against the existence of an infinite regression of past events which implies a universe that has infinitely existed. This argument implies the existence of a First Cause.

The form of the argument is:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
Note that the key phrase here is "begins to exist". The question is not "whatever exists".

The atheistic counter argument has traditionally been to point 2, taking the position that the universe has always existed. With the advent of the Big Bang theory pointing towards a starting point, this line of defense has become rather shaky. It should also be noted that the Kalam argument removes one of the knee jerk reactions to any discussion on creation involving God which is "Then who created God?" Since God has no beginning, the question becomes meaningless. The Bible makes clear that God exists outside of our construct of time in many locations, including 1 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:9, and Titus 1:2.

Thomistic cosmological argument

1. What we observe in this universe is contingent (i.e. dependent, or conditional)
2. A sequence of causally related contingent things cannot be infinite
3. The sequence of causally dependent contingent things must be finite
Conclusion: There must be a first cause in the sequence of contingent causes

Leibnizian cosmological argument

The argument comes from a German polymath, Gottfriend Wilhelm Leibniz. Leibniz wrote, "The first question which should rightly be asked is this: why is there something rather than nothing?"
The argument runs as follows:

1. Every existing thing has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.
2. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God.
3. The universe is an existing thing.
4. Therefore the explanation of the universe is God.

Some atheists object to premise 2 in that God does not have to be the explanation, but that the universe can be what is called a necessary being (one which exists of its own nature and have no external cause). This was a suggestion of David Hume who demanded, "Why may not the material universe be the necessarily existent being?" (Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, part 9). The Kalam Cosmological Argument is helpful. If Hume (and other atheists) is right in saying that the universe is a necessary being/thing, then this implies that the universe is eternal. This is exactly what the Kalam argument seeks to disprove. Thus, the Kalam is a valuable supplement to the Leibnizian argument.

http://www.conservap...gical_arguments


The cosmological argument is less a particular argument than an argument type. It uses a general pattern of argumentation (logos) that makes an inference from certain alleged facts about the world (cosmos) to the existence of a unique being, generally identified with or referred to as God. Among these initial facts are that the world came into being, that the world is contingent in that it could have been other than it is, or that certain beings or events in the world are causally dependent or contingent. From these facts philosophers infer either deductively or inductively that a first cause, a necessary being, an unmoved mover, or a personal being (God) exists. The cosmological argument is part of classical natural theology, whose goal has been to provide some evidence for the claim that God exists.

On the one hand, the argument arises from human curiosity as to why there is something rather than nothing. It invokes a concern for some complete, ultimate, or best explanation of what exists contingently. On the other hand, it raises intrinsically important philosophical questions about contingency and necessity, causation and explanation, part/whole relationships (mereology), infinity, sets, and the nature and origin of the universe. In what follows we will first sketch out a very brief history of the argument, note the two fundamental types of deductive cosmological arguments, and then provide a careful analysis of each, first the argument from contingency, then the argument from the impossibility of an infinite temporal regress of causes. In the end we will consider an inductive version of the cosmological argument.

http://plato.stanfor...gical-argument/


"The first question which should rightly be asked," wrote G.W.F. Leibniz, is "Why is there something rather than nothing?"[1] This question does seem to possess a profound existential force, which has been felt by some of mankind's greatest thinkers. According to Aristotle, philosophy begins with a sense of wonder about the world, and the most profound question a man can ask concerns the origin of the universe.[2] In his biography of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Norman Malcolm reports that Wittgenstein said that he sometimes had a certain experience which could best be described by saying that "when I have it, I wonder at the existence of the world. I am then inclined to use such phrases as 'How extraordinary that anything should exist!'"[3] Similarly, one contemporary philosopher remarks, ". . . My mind often seems to reel under the immense significance this question has for me. That anything exists at all does seem to me a matter for the deepest awe."

http://www.leaderu.c...h/3truth11.html



Some additional thoughts on The Cosmological argument:

By Definition:
1. A contingent being (a being that if it exists can not-exist) exists.
2. This contingent being has a cause of or explanation for its existence.
3. The cause of or explanation for its existence is something other than the contingent being itself.
4. What causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must either be solely other contingent beings or include a non-contingent (necessary) being.
5. Contingent beings alone cannot provide an adequate causal account or explanation for the existence of a contingent being.
6. Therefore, what causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must include a non-contingent (necessary) being.
7. Therefore, a necessary being (a being that if it exists cannot not-exist) exists.

Atheist's Objections:

Objection 1: The Universe Just Is
Objection 2: Explaining the Individual Constituents Is Sufficient
Objection 3: The Causal Principle is Suspect
Objection 4: The Conclusion is Contradictory


The second type of cosmological argument:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
4. Since no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe, the cause must be personal (explanation is given in terms of a personal agent)

The debatable objections in general are:
1. Impossibility of an Actual Infinite?
2. The Big Bang Theory of Cosmic Origins?
3. The Big Bang Is Not An Event?
4. The Causal Principle and Quantum Physics?
5. An actual infinite cannot exist.
6. A beginning less temporal series of events is an actual infinite.
7. Therefore, a beginning less temporal series of events cannot exist.
8. If something has a finite past, its existence has a cause.
9. The universe has a finite past.
10. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
11. Since space-time originated with the universe and therefore similarly has a finite past, the cause of the universe's existence must transcend space-time (must have existed a-spatially and, when there was no universe, a temporally).
12. If the cause of the universe's existence transcends space-time, no scientific explanation (in terms of physical laws) can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe.
13. If no scientific explanation can provide a causal account of the origin of the universe, the cause must be personal (explanation is given in terms of a personal agent).


Hume's general objections are:
1. Either all necessary truths are analytic or some are not.
2. If all necessary truths are analytic, the cosmological arguments does not establish that God exists.
3. If some necessary truths are not analytic, then the universe is either a contingent entity or a necessary entity.
4. If the universe is a contingent entity, then the cosmological argument does not establish that God exists.
5. If the universe is a necessary entity, then the cosmological argument does not establish that God exists.
6. Therefore, the cosmological argument does not establish that God exists.

Source(s):
http://plato.stanfor...…
http://www.jstor.org/pss/40026984


Think on the above information, then formulate your thoughts in logical, cohesive and cogent dialogue.

#9 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:00 PM

First Principles


First principles are the foundation of knowledge (or FOUNDATIONALISM).. Without them nothing could be known Even coherentism uses the first principle of non-contradiction to test the coherence of its system. Realism affirms that first principles apply to the real world. First principles undeniably apply to reality. The very denial that first principles apply to reality uses first principles in that very denial.

Principles of Reality. Without basic first principles of reality, nothing can be known. Everything we know about reality is known by them.

Therefore: First principles are undeniable or reducible to the undeniable. They are either self-evident or reducible to the self-evident. And self-evident principles are either true by their nature or undeniable because the predicate is reducible to the subject. Because the predicate is reducible to the subject, this means we cannot deny the principle without using it. For example, the principle of noncontradiction cannot be denied without using that very principle in the very denial.
The statement: “Opposites cannot be true” assumes that the opposite of that statement cannot be true.

Not all skeptics or agnostics are willing to grant that the principle of causality, which is crucial in all cosmological arguments for God, is an undeniable first principle. Indeed, not every skeptic is willing to admit that something exists (see the principle of existence). Thus, it is necessary to comment on their undeniability.

Twelve basic first principles can be set forth.

1. Being Is (B is) = The Principle of Existence. http://www.newworlde...ropic_principle

Something exists ( Example: I exist!). This is undeniable, for I would have to exist in order to deny my existence. In the very attempt to explicitly deny my existence I implicitly affirm it.

2. Being Is Being (B is B ) = The Principle of Identity. http://plato.stanfor...tries/identity/
http://www.britannic...ple-of-identity

A thing must be identical to itself. If it were not, then it would not be itself.

3. Being Is Not Nonbeing (B is Not Non-B ) = The Principle of Non-contradiction.
http://plato.stanfor...ncontradiction/

Being cannot be nonbeing, for they are direct opposites. And opposites cannot be the same. For the one who affirms that “opposites can both be true” does not hold that the opposite of this statement is true.

4. Either Being or Nonbeing (Either B or Non-B ) = The Principle of the Excluded Middle.
http://www.stanford....ded.middle.html

Being and nonbeing are complete opposites (i.e., contradictory), and opposites cannot be the same. Therefore the only choices are being and nonbeing.

5. Nonbeing Cannot Cause Being (Non-B > B ) = The Principle of Causality.
http://psychology.wi.../wiki/Causality

Only being can cause being. Nothing does not exist, and only what exists can cause existence, since the very concept of “cause” implies an existing thing that has the power to effect another thing. From absolutely nothing comes absolutely nothing! The statement “Nonbeing cannot produce being” is undeniable. The very concept of “produce” or “cause” implies something exists to cause or produce the being produced. To deny that relationship of cause to effect is to say, “Nothing is something” and “Nonbeing is being,” which is nonsense.


6. Contingent Being Cannot Cause Contingent Being (Bc > Bc) = The Principle of Contingency (or Dependency).
http://www.scandalon...cal_aquinas.htm
http://www.mnstate.e...entAnalysis.htm
http://en.wikipedia....ogical_argument

If something cannot be caused by nothing, neither can anything be caused by what could be nothing, namely, a contingent being. For that which could be nothing does not account for its own existence! And that which cannot account for even its own existence cannot account for the existence of another. Since it is contingent or dependent for its own being, it cannot be that on which something else depends for its being. Therefore, one contingent being cannot be the unlimate cause for other contingent beings.


7. Only Necessary Being Can Cause a Contingent Being (Bn → Bc ) = The Positive Principle of Modality.
http://protestantism...necessary_being
http://www.newadvent...then/04331a.htm

Absolutely nothing cannot cause something. Neither can one contingent kind (mode) of being cause another contingent being. So, if anything comes to be, it must be caused by a Necessary Being.


8. Necessary Being Cannot Cause a Necessary Being (Bn > Bn ) = The Negative Principle of Modality.
http://www.reformed....n3_thomism.html
http://plato.stanfor...ecessary-being/
http://en.wikipedia....cient_condition

A Necessary Being is by definition a mode (kind) of being that cannot not be. That is, by its very mode (modality), it must be. It cannot come to be or cease to be. But to be caused means to come to be. Therefore, a Necessary Being cannot be caused. For what comes to be is not necessary.

9. Every Contingent Being Is Caused by a Necessary Being (Bn → Bc ) = The Principle of Existential Causality.
http://radicalacadem...rbriefing18.htm
http://rdtwot.wordpr...heists-logical/

All contingent beings need (MUST HAVE) a cause. For a contingent being is something that is but could NOT be. But since it has the possibility not to exist, then it does not account for its own existence. That is, in itself there is no basis explaining why it exists rather than does not exist. It literally has nothing (nonbeing) to ground it. But nonbeing cannot ground or cause anything. Only something can cause or produce something.


10. Necessary Being exists = The Principle of Existential Necessity (Bn exists).
http://maritain.nd.e.../etext/cp36.htm
http://mscourses.hom...etaphysics3.htm

The Principle of Existential Necessity follows from two other Principles: the Principle of Existence (no. 1) and the Principle of Causality (no. 5).Since something undeniably exists (no. 1), either it is -
a. all contingent or
b. all necessary or
c. some is necessary and some is contingent.

But both "b." and "c." acknowledge a Necessary Being, and "a." is logically impossible, being contrary to the self-evident principle no. 5. For if all being(s) is (are) contingent, then it is possible for all being(s) not to exist. That is, a state of total nothingness is possible. But something now undeniably exists (e.g., I do), as was demonstrated in premise no. 1. And nothing cannot cause something (no. 5). Therefore, it is not possible (i.e., it is impossible) for there to have been a state of total nothingness. But if it is impossible for nothing to exist (since something does exist), then something necessarily exists (i.e., a Necessary Being does exist).


To put it another way, if something exists and if nothing cannot cause something, then it follows that something must exist necessarily. For if something did not necessarily exist, then nothing would have caused the something that does exist. Since it is impossible for nothing to cause something, then it is necessary for something to always have been.



11. Contingent being exists = The Principle of Existential Contingency (Bc exists).
http://www.bu.edu/wc...li/ReliMayd.htm

Not everything that exists is necessary. For change is real, that is, at least some being(s) really change. And a Necessary Being cannot change in its being. (This does not mean there can be no change in external relations with another being. It simply means there can be no internal change in its being. When a person changes in relation to a pillar, the pillar does not change.) For its being is necessary, and what is necessary in its being cannot be other than it is in its being. And all change in being involves becoming something else in its being.

But it is evident that I change in my being. I change from not being to being. By “I” is meant the self-conscious individual being I call myself. (This is not to claim that all the parts or elements of my being are not eternal. There are good reasons to believe they are not because usable energy is running down and cannot be eternal [see Thermodynamics, Laws of], but this is not the point here.) This “I” or unifying center of consciousness around which these elemental parts of matter come and go, is not eternal. This is clear for many reasons.
First, my consciousness changes. Even those who claim they are eternal and necessary (namely, that they are a Necessary Being, God) were not always conscious of being God. Somewhere along the line they change from not being conscious they were God to being conscious they were God. But a Necessary Being cannot change. Hence, I am not a Necessary Being. Rather, I am a contingent being. Therefore, at least one contingent being exists. Everything is not necessary.

Further, there are other ways to know one is contingent. The fact that we reason to conclusions reveals that our knowledge is not eternal and necessary. We come to know (i.e., change from a state of not knowing to a state of knowing). But no necessary being can come to know anything. It either eternally and necessarily knows everything it knows, or else it knows nothing. If it is a knowing kind of being, then it necessarily knows, since it is a necessary kind of being. And a being can only know in accordance with the kind of being it is. A contingent or finite being must know contingently, and a Necessary Being must know necessarily. But I do not know all that I can know eternally and necessarily. Therefore, I am a contingent kind of being.


12. Necessary Being is similar to similar contingent being(s) it causes = The Principle of Analogy (Bn — similar → Bc).
http://www.seop.leed...gical-argument/
http://www.hcs.harva...=feature_porter
http://spot.colorado...ddie/cosmo.html

Since nonbeing cannot produce being (5), only being can produce being. But a contingent being cannot produce another contingent being (6). And a necessary being cannot produce another necessary being (8). So only Necessary Being can cause or produce only a contingent being. For to “cause” or “produce” being means to bring something into being. Something that comes into being, has being. A cause cannot bring nonbeing into being, since being is not nonbeing (4). The fact that Being produces being implies that there is an analogy (similarity) between the cause of being and the being it causes (8). But a contingent being is both similar and different from a Necessary Being. It is similar in that both have being. It is different in that one is necessary and the other is contingent. But whatever is both similar and different is analogous. Hence, there is an analogy between Necessary Being and the being it produces.

Two things, then, are entailed in the principle that Necessary Being causes being:

First, the effect must resemble the cause, since both are being. The cause of being cannot produce what it does not possess.

Second, while the effect must resemble its cause in its being (i.e., its actuality), it must also be different from it in its potentiality.

For the cause (a Necessary Being), by its very nature, has no potential not to be. But the effect (a contingent being) by its very nature has the potential not to be. Hence, a contingent being must be different from its Cause. Since, the Cause of contingent beings must be both like and different from its effect, it is only similar. Therefore, there is an analogical likeness between the Cause of a contingent being and the contingent being it causes to exist.





NOTE: Much of the above leans heavily upon on the writings in:

The Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics - Geisler, N. L(1999).. Baker reference library.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanfor...l/#PraReaFirPri)

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanfor...ries/aristotle/)

Encyclopedia Britannica Online (http://www.britannic...le of Existence)

Psychology Wiki ( http://psychology.wi...wiki/Causality)

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://www.iep.utm.edu/prop-log/)

Jacques Maritain Center: The First Principles of Knowledge (http://maritain.nd.e...etext/first.htm)

Jacques Maritain Center: The Primary Facts and Principles of the Logician. (http://maritain.nd.e...ext/first10.htm)





More will be added on each of these "First principles" as time permits. This post was for reference and general information only.

Another good site! http://www.apuritans...tPrinciples.htm

#10 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:00 PM

Principle of Causality (or Cause and Effect)

First, we must debunk a common misunderstanding of this principle. And, as you'll notice, many atheists make this claim, and many theists fall into the trap! This is intended to keep you from falling into that trap! The Principle of Causality does not claim that “Everything has a cause.” The famous agnostic Bertrand Russell made this error in his book “Why I am not a Christian”. He argued as follows:
1- If everything needs a cause, then so does God.
2- If everything does not need a cause, then neither does the world.
But in either case, we need not conclude there is a First Cause of the world.

Bertrand Russell's mistake is in the statement of the principle of causality.

1- Wrong statement: “Everything has a cause.”
2- Correct statement: “Everything that begins has a cause.”

Of course, if everything has a cause, then so does God. However, if only things that begin need a cause, and God has no beginning, then God needs no cause. Even Bertrand Russell, and many nontheists, believe the universe (cosmos) always was. As Carl Sagan put it, “The COSMOS is everything that was, everything that is and everything that will be.” So, we can reply:
If the universe does not need a cause, then neither does God.
And if the universe needs a cause, then there is a God.
But in either case, God is not eliminated.

The law of causality states simply that every event has a cause. Nothing can happen without being made to happen by something else. There may be events for which we don’t know the cause, but we can be sure that there was a cause. The Sound of Music put it, “Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could.” Any event that occurs must have a cause.

When the law of causality is applied to the origin of the universe, something interesting happens. It leads to a First Cause, which is generally called God. Consider the following:

1- Whatever has a beginning is caused.
2- The universe had a beginning.
3- Therefore, the universe is caused.

According to modern science, there is plenty of evidence pointing to a beginning of the universe. For example, the Second Law (not the hypothesis) of Thermodynamics declares that in a closed, isolated system (such as the physical universe), the amount of usable2 energy is decreasing. But if the universe is running down, then it cannot be eternal. It must have had a beginning. So the first principle of origin science, the principle of causality, leads to a First Cause (Creator). By Creator we mean a powerful First Cause of the universe.

Below, we will go into more detail, with references:

The principle of causality is a first principle. All first principles are self-evident or reducible to the self-evident. But not everything self-evident in itself appears to be self-evident to everyone. The principle of causality fits that category and so must be unpacked.

Statement of the Principle of Causality. The principle of causality may be stated in various ways, some more easily accepted than others. For example, it may be stated:

1. Every effect has a cause; This form is clearly self-evident, and it is analytic, in that the predicate is reducible to its subject. Other ways to state the principle are not analytic, nor so self-evident:

2. Every contingent being is caused by another.

3. Every limited being is caused by another.

4. Every thing that comes to be is caused by another.

5. Non-being cannot cause being.

Sometimes the principle is stated in other ways than these, but each form is reducible to one or more of these statements. For example, “Every thing that begins has a cause” is the same as “Everything that comes to be is caused by another.” Also, “Every dependent being is caused by another” is the same as “Every contingent being is caused by another.”

(Geisler, Norman L.: Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 1999 (Baker Reference Library), S. 120)



SCIENCE AND THE LAW OF CAUSALITY:

While the law of causality crosses strictly scientific boundaries and impacts all other disciplines as well, and while the principle of cause and effect has serious theological and/or metaphysical implications in its own right, the scientific implications it presents are among the most serious ever discovered. Obviously, if every material effect has an adequate antecedent cause, and if the Universe is a material effect, then the Universe had a cause. This particular point has not been overlooked by scholars. For example, Robert Jastrow, founder and former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, wrote:

The Universe, and everything that has happened in it since the beginning of time, are a grand effect without a known cause. An effect without a cause? That is not the world of science; it is a world of witchcraft, of wild events and the whims of demons, a medieval world that science has tried to banish. As scientists, what are we to make of this picture? I do not know. I would only like to present the evidence for the statement that the Universe, and man himself, originated in a moment when time began (1977, p. 21).

Effects are unknown without adequate causes. Yet the Universe, says Jastrow, is a tremendous effect—without any known cause. Centuries of in-depth research have taught us much about causes, however. We know, for example, that causes never occur subsequent to the effect. As Taylor observed: “Contemporary philosophers...have nevertheless, for the most part, agreed that causes cannot occur after their effects....it is generally thought to be simply part of the usual meaning of ‘cause’ that a cause is something temporally prior to, or at least not subsequent to, its effect” (1967, p. 59). It is meaningless to speak of a cause following an effect, or of an effect preceding a cause. Such is unknown.

http://www.apologeti...g/articles/2005


The philosophical concept of causality:

The principles of causes, or causation, the working of causes, refers to the set of all particular "causal" or "cause-and-effect" relations. A neutral definition is notoriously hard to provide since every aspect of causation has received substantial debate. Most generally, causation is a relationship that holds between events, objects, variables, or states of affairs. It is usually presumed that the cause chronologically precedes the effect. Finally, the existence of a causal relationship generally suggests that - all other things being equal - if the cause occurs the effect will as well (or at least the probability of the effect occurring will increase).

In natural languages, causal relationships can be expressed by the following causative expressions: i) a set of causative verbs [cause, make, create, do, effect, produce, occasion, perform, determine, influence; construct, compose, constitute; provoke, motivate, force, facilitate, induce, get, stimulate; begin, commence, initiate, institute, originate, start; prevent, keep, restrain, preclude, forbid, stop, cease]; ii) a set of causative names [actor, agent, author, creator, designer, former, originator; antecedent, causality, causation, condition, fountain, occasion, origin, power, precedent, reason, source, spring; reason, grounds, motive, need, impulse]; iii) a set of effective names [consequence, creation, development, effect, end, event, fruit, impact, influence, issue, outcome, outgrowth, product, result, upshot]. Causality is the centerpiece of the universe and so the main subject of ontology; for comprehending the nature, meaning, kinds, varieties, and ordering of cause and effect amounts to knowing the beginnings and endings of things, to uncovering the implicit mechanisms of world dynamics, or to having the fundamental scientific knowledge.

http://psychology.wi.../wiki/Causality


Cause and effect (or simply causation):

Refers to a specific relationship between events in time. If you fail to look both ways before crossing a street and get hit by a car, the cause is failing to look and the effect is getting hit. If a doctor tells you that you have a broken leg from the accident, the broken leg is the effect of getting hit by the car, which is the cause. An event (in this case, the accident) can be both a cause and an effect of other events.
As a strategy of development, causation answers the question "Why did it happen?" You will find causation useful not only by itself but also combined with other strategies. It is often used with process because how something happened (process) is often related to why something happened (causation).

For many subjects--particularly those related to social and political matters--causes and effects are ambiguous or indistinct, leaving you unsure about the truth of the situation. Therefore, you must be very careful when you discuss causes and effects. For many subjects you also have the reactions of your reader to worry about because your analysis of a cause-and-effect relationship might be controversial, and your reader may not agree with you. For example, in discussions about causes and effects in certain social issues--such as crime or government spending--some readers may object to your analysis. Therefore, stance is very important in this strategy.

http://www.eng.fju.e...iting/cause.htm




Examples of Usage:

Recent discussions have raised the issue of the metaphysical implications of standard Big Bang cosmology. Grünbaum's argument that the causal principle cannot be applied to the origin of the universe rests on a pseudo-dilemma, since the cause could act neither before nor after t=0, but at t=0. Lévy-Leblond's advocacy of a remetrication of cosmic time to push the singularity to - involves various conceptual difficulties and is in any case unavailing, since the universe's beginning is not eliminated. Maddox's aversion to the possible metaphysical implications of the standard model evinces a narrow scientism. Standard Big Bang cosmogeny does therefore seem to have those metaphysical implications which some have found so discomfiting.

Read more here: http://www.leaderu.c...s/creation.html


The big bang model and the second law of thermodynamics reveal that space, time, matter, and energy had a beginning. Therefore, the universe had a beginning. Dr. Martin has agreed with me concerning this premise. Still, he entertains the absurd idea that the universe popped into existence without a cause. Cosmologists who accept this idea redefine “nothing” so that it becomes a whole lot of something. But if we acknowledge that the universe had an absolute beginning (as shown by the big bang model), then it is more reasonable to conclude that the beginning of the universe was caused than to assume that it popped into existence out of nothing.

Read more here: http://instituteofbi...phil-fernandes/

CAUSE AND EFFECT—THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT

Throughout human history, one of the most effective arguments for the existence of God has been the cosmological argument, which addresses the fact that the Universe (Cosmos) is here and therefore must be explained in some fashion. In his book, Not A Chance, R.C. Sproul observed:

Traditional philosophy argued for the existence of God on the foundation of the law of causality. The cosmological argument went from the presence of a cosmos back to a creator of the cosmos. It sought a rational answer to the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” It sought a sufficient reason for a real world (1994, p. 169, emp. in orig.).

The Universe exists and is real. Atheists and agnostics not only acknowledge its existence, but admit that it is a grand effect (e.g., see Jastrow, 1977, pp. 19-21). If an entity cannot account for its own being (i.e., it is not sufficient to have caused itself), then it is said to be “contingent” because it is dependent upon something outside of itself to explain its existence. The Universe is a contingent entity, since it is inadequate to cause, or explain, its own existence. Sproul has noted: “Logic requires that if something exists contingently, it must have a cause. That is merely to say, if it is an effect it must have an antecedent cause” (1994, p. 172). Thus, since the Universe is a contingent effect, the obvious question becomes, “What caused the Universe?”

It is here that the law of cause and effect (also known as the law of causality) is strongly tied to the cosmological argument. Simply put, the law of causality states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause. Just as the law of the excluded middle is analytically true, so the law of cause and effect is analytically true as well. Sproul addressed this when he wrote:

The statement “Every effect has an antecedent cause” is analytically true. To say that it is analytically or formally true is to say that it is true by definition or analysis. There is nothing in the predicate that is not already contained by resistless logic in the subject. It is like the statement, “A bachelor is an unmarried man” or “A triangle has three sides” or “Two plus two are four....” Cause and effect, though distinct ideas, are inseparably bound together in rational discourse. It is meaningless to say that something is a cause if it yields no effect. It is likewise meaningless to say that something is an effect if it has no cause. A cause, by definition, must have an effect, or it is not a cause. An effect, by definition, must have a cause, or it is not an effect (1994, pp. 172,171 emp. in orig.).

http://www.apologeti...rg/articles/269

#11 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:01 PM

The Principle of Non-contradiction

In order for something to be contradictory, it must violate the law of non-contradiction. This law states that A cannot be both A (what it is) and non-A (what it is not) at the same time and in the same relationship. In other words, you have contradicted yourself if you affirm and deny the same statement. For example, if I say that the moon is made entirely of cheese but then also say that the moon is not made entirely of cheese, I have contradicted myself.

Other statements may at first seem contradictory but are really not. Theologian R.C. Sproul cites as an example Dickens' famous line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Obviously this is a contradiction if Dickens means that it was the best of times in the same way that it was the worst of times. But he avoids contradiction with this statement because he means that in one sense it was the best of times, but in another sense it was the worst of times.

http://www.theopedia...oncontradiction

Aristotle on Non-contradiction
According to Aristotle, first philosophy, or metaphysics, deals with ontology and first principles, of which the principle (or law) of non-contradiction is the firmest. Aristotle says that without the principle of non-contradiction we could not know anything that we do know. Presumably, we could not demarcate the subject matter of any of the special sciences, for example, biology or mathematics, and we would not be able to distinguish between what something is, for example a human being or a rabbit, and what it is like, for example pale or white. Aristotle's own distinction between essence and accident would be impossible to draw, and the inability to draw distinctions in general would make rational discussion impossible. According to Aristotle, the principle of non-contradiction is a principle of scientific inquiry, reasoning and communication that we cannot do without.

Aristotle's main and most famous discussion of the principle of non-contradiction occurs in Metaphysics IV (Gamma) 3–6, especially 4. There are also snippets of discussion about the principle of non-contradiction early in the corpus, for example in De Interpretatione, and there is the obscure chapter 11 of Posterior Analytics I, but none of these rival Aristotle's treatment of the principle of non-contradiction in Metaphysics IV. Below is a summary of the main interpretative and philosophical issues that arise from reading Metaphysics IV 3–6.

Aristotle's discussion of the principle of non-contradiction also raises thorny issues in many areas of modern philosophy, for example, questions about what we are committed to by our beliefs, the relationship between language, thought and the world, and the status of transcendental arguments. Arguments from conflicting appearances have proved remarkably long-lived, and debates about skepticism, realism and anti-realism continue to this day.

http://plato.stanfor...ncontradiction/


Metaphysically, this law asserts:: "Nothing can be both A and not-A." For propositions: "A proposition, P, can not be both true and false."

The Law of Noncontradiction is defended through retortion: any attempt to contradict the concept must rely on the acceptance that contradictions are false.
It can be proven using Propositional Logic:
Proof (by reductio):
1) (A & ~A) [Proposition]
2) A [Conjunction elimination from 1]
3) ~A [Conjunction elimination from 1]
4) ~(A & ~A) [Reductio, 1 - 3]
QED

The Law of Noncontradiction, while appearing prima facie and necessarily true, is questioned by modern logicians. See Paraconsistent Logic and Dialetheism.
The Principle of contradiction (principium contradictionis in Latin) is the second of the so-called three classic laws of thought. The oldest statement of the law is that contradictory statements cannot both at the same time be true, e.g. the two propositions A is B and A is not B are mutually exclusive. A may be B at one time, and not at another; A may be partly B and partly not B at the same time; but it is impossible to predicate of the same thing, at the same time, and in the same sense, the absence and the presence of the same quality. This is the statement of the law given by Aristotle. It takes no account of the truth of either proposition; if one is true, the other is not; one of the two must be true.

http://editthis.info...oncontradiction

#12 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:02 PM

Alleged Biblical inconsistencies refuted or explained:

** Note: As usual, you need to be a Berean and double check all sources for validity. Don’t take anyone’s words as fact, facts will speak for themselves.**


Refuting Bible skeptics

Skeptics have been trying to discredit the Bible for many years, to no avail. The Skeptic's Annotated Bible can be refuted in their very first analysis of Genesis 1. Their biggest problem seems to be making narrow, blind assumptions (i.e. blind faith):
1. "The Two Creations"
A non-biased (i.e. non-blind faith) reading of Genesis 1 & 2 usually results in the understanding that Genesis 2 is just Genesis 1 expressed in a different way, not a contradiction.
2. "Who created heaven and earth [Jesus or God]?"
Obviously Jesus, the son of God, is God like a human child is human like their father or mother. Not a contradiction.

http://www.bibleintegrity.org/

Bible Difficulties and Contradictions - some suggested solutions

These are some of the bible difficulties that interest me. Most of the answers are short but I try to refer you to others larger sites that give much more detailed answers (e.g. J P Holding's Tekton, and Glenn Miller's Christian Thinktank). If you have a particular bible verse difficulty then I suggest trying the Tekton Encyclopedia run by my friend J P Holding that covers a much larger number than I can.

http://www.apocalips...g/difficulties/

Recommended Procedures in Dealing With Bible Difficulties:

In dealing with Bible problems of any kind, whether in factual or in doctrinal matters, it is well to follow appropriate guidelines in determining the solution. This is most easily done by those who have carefully and prayerfully studied the Bible over a number of years and have consistently and faithfully memorized Scripture.

http://www.bible.ca/...ons-refuted.htm


Richard Packham's "Bible Problems": Answer Key

This is a response, mainly in links, to notes made by Richard Packham for "discussions with believers and for distribution to friends."
As he admits that his notes "are not intended as a discussion of any problems, but simply a quick reference to where problems exist," we assume it will be sufficient to reply in kind as we use his own copy as a template for a reply.
Explanations will be added if needed, but in most cases, links will suffice.

http://www.tektonics.../packham02.html


Is there evidence that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, rather than mere stories and opinions of uninspired men?

http://www.answersin...ers/topic/bible

(Also see) Contradictions in the Bible Refuted

http://www.answersin...dictions-series


Errors and Contradictions in the Bible?

Many Muslims say: The Bible is full of errors and contradictions.
My first question would be: Could you please give me an example that really troubles you? What is the passage and what is the problem? Should you not be able to point to one, then please do not attack what you don't know, as to not be found to blaspheme against the Word of God. Taking one from the answer list below doesn't count. The question is what is your motivation when you come to this allegation.
But should you indeed have something that looks like a contradiction or an error there are resources out there you can consult if you want to have answers.

http://www.answering...ntra/index.html


Contemporary Problems in Biblical Interpretation — Part I: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?

The Bible has always occupied the central place in the Christian faith. From the time of the writing of the first books of the Old Testament in the days of Moses until modern times the Holy Scriptures have been regarded by all Christian theologians as the unique and incomparable Word of God. According to Murray: “Christians of varied and diverse theological standpoints aver that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it occupies a unique place as the norm of Christian faith and life.”1 More books have been written and more has been said about the Bible than any other book in all the world. Though sometimes neglected and the object of constant attack, the Scriptures today continue to be read and believed more than any other writing coming from the pens of men.

http://bible.org/ser...spired-word-god



Contemporary Problems in Biblical Interpretation
— Part II: How Can Man Know God?
From ancient times thinking men have searched for some explanation of the world in which they live and some key to the purpose and meaning of life. The Bible records that God revealed Himself to Adam and to some of his immediate posterity, but as the human race enlarged much of what had been revealed was forgotten. The great mass of mankind became increasingly ignorant of God and His way, though it is possible that much more was known about God in the early history of the race than has been preserved in any written form. The Book of Job, recording the thoughts of Job and his friends living centuries before Scripture was written, shows a remarkable knowledge of God, but this seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

http://bible.org/ser...an-man-know-god


Alleged Errors in the Bible (Part 1)
by Dr. Norman Geisler

Critics claim the Bible is filled with errors. Some even speak of thousands of mistakes. However, orthodox Christians through the ages have claimed that the Bible is without error in the original text ("autographs"; see my book, Decide for Yourself). "If we are perplexed by any apparent contradiction in Scripture," Augustine wisely noted, "it is not allowable to say, ‘The author of this book is mistaken’; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood" (Augustine, 11.5). Not one error that extends to the original text of the Bible has ever been demonstrated.
Why the Bible Cannot Err.
The argument for an errorless (inerrant) Bible can be put in this logical form:
God cannot err.
The Bible is the Word of God.
Therefore, the Bible cannot err.
God Cannot Err.

http://www.ankerburg...ry/TD0800W2.htm

Alleged Errors in the Bible (Part 2)

by Dr. Norman Geisler

Approaching Bible Difficulties.
As Augustine said above, mistakes come not in the revelation of God, but in the misinterpretations of man. Except where scribal errors and extraneous changes crept into textual families over the centuries, all the critics’ allegations of error in the Bible are based on errors of their own. Most problems fall into one of the following categories.

http://www.ankerburg...ry/TD0800W3.htm

Alleged Errors in the Bible (Part 3)

by Dr. Norman Geisler

Assuming a Partial Report Is a False Report. Critics often jump to the conclusion that a partial report is false. However, this is not so. If it were, most of what has ever been said would be false, since seldom does time or space permit an absolutely complete report. Occasionally biblical writers express the same thing in different ways, or at least from different viewpoints, at different times, stressing different things. Hence, inspiration does not exclude a diversity of expression. The four Gospels relate the same story—often the same incidents—in different ways to different groups of people and sometimes even quotes the same saying with different words. Compare, for example, Peter’s famous confession in the Gospels:
Matthew: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (16:16).
Mark: "You are the Christ" (8:29).
Luke: "The Christ of God" (9:20).

http://www.ankerburg...ry/TD0800W4.htm

Alleged Errors in the Bible (Part 4)

by Dr. Norman Geisler

Assuming Round Numbers Are False. Like ordinary speech, the Bible uses round numbers (see Josh. 3:4; cf. 4:13). It refers to the diameter as being about one-third of the circumference of something (1 Chron. 19:18; 21:5). While this technically is only an approximation (see Lindsell, 165-66); it may be imprecise from the standpoint of a technological society to speak of 3.14159265 as "3," but it is not incorrect. It is sufficient for a "cast metal sea" (2 Chron. 4:2) in an ancient Hebrew temple, even though it would not suffice for a computer in a modern rocket. One should not expect to see actors referring to a wrist watch in a Shakespearean play, nor people in a prescientific age to use precise numbers.

http://www.ankerburg...ry/TD0900W1.htm


Apologetics Press :: Alleged Discrepancies

Of all the challenges to a Christian’s faith, surely one of the most troubling in this day and age is skepticism's charge that the Bible is filled with various discrepancies and contradictions. If true, such a charge (which is occurring with increasing frequency) certainly would serve to negate the inerrancy and inspiration of God's Word. It is a simple matter for an unbeliever to hurl a barrage of alleged discrepancies and/or contradictions at a believer, but it is not always a simple task for the believer to respond quickly and effectively. This is the case because many of the so-called discrepancies and contradictions cannot be answered adequately via a “quick wave of the hand,” but instead require in-depth, painstaking research in order to craft a reply that can dismantle each one on a case-by-case basis.

http://www.apologeti...ddiscrepancies/

Jim Meritt's List of Bible Contradictions: Answer Key

The following replies are to alleged Biblical contradictions cited by Jim Meritt (not a Bible scholar, but an oceanographer) on the web page, "A List of Biblical Contradictions" at http://www.infidels....radictions.html. I've covered most of his entries on this page; now as I have developed this website as an encyclopedia, we turned this into a matter of brief comments on individual points made uniquely by Meritt, followed by links to solutions to contradictions.

Meritt begins with explanations of various methods I've seen to "explain" alleged contradictions and errors. These require a reply first.

1. "That is to be taken metaphorically" In other words, what is written is not what is meant. I find this entertaining, especially for those who decide what ISN'T to be taken as other than the absolute WORD OF GOD - which just happens to agree with the particular thing they happen to want...

Meritt is correct to chastise those who manipulate the Bible to support doctrines of their own invention. However, this does not mean that the Bible - which is, after all, a composition of literature - cannot make use of literary techniques such as metaphor. This objection cannot be offered to replace critical evaluation, and merely begs the question of whether something is or is not being taken as "the absolute Word of God" (note that saying that something is metaphorical is not necessarily somehow saying it is not absolute; that's another issue) without reference to genre considerations.

http://www.tektonics...p/merrit01.html

#13 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:02 PM

The Euthyphro Dilemma

One objection frequently raised by nonbelievers in response to the moral argument is called the Euthyphro Dilemma It is named after a character in one of Plato’s dialogues. It basically goes like this:

Is something good because God wills it? Or does God will something because it is good? If you say that something is good because God wills it, then what is good becomes arbitrary. God could have willed that hatred is good, and then we would have been morally obligated to hate one another. That seems crazy. Some moral values, at least, seem to be necessary. But if you say that God wills something because it is good, then what is good or bad is independent of God. In that case, moral values and duties exist independently of God, which contradicts premise 1.

The weakness of the Euthyphro Dilemma is that the dilemma it presents is a false one because there’s a third alternative: namely, God wills something because He is good. God’s own nature is the standard of goodness, and his commandments to us are expressions of his nature. In short, our moral duties are determined by the commands of a just and loving God.

Therefore: moral values are not independent of God, because God’s own character defines what is good. God is essentially compassionate, fair, kind, impartial, and so on. His nature is the moral standard determining good and bad. His commands necessarily reflect in turn his moral nature. Therefore, they are not arbitrary. The morally good/bad is determined by God’s nature, and the morally right/wrong is determined by his will. God wills something because he is good, and something is right because God wills it.


This view of morality has been eloquently defended in our day by such well-known philosophers as Robert Adams, William Lane Craig, William Alston, and Philip Quinn. Yet atheists continue to attack the straw men erected by the Euthyphro Dilemma. In the recent Cambridge Companion to Atheism (2007), for example, the article on God and morality, written by a prominent ethicist, presents and criticizes only the view that God arbitrarily made up moral values—a straw man that virtually nobody defends. Atheists have to do better than that if they’re to defeat contemporary moral arguments for God’s existence.

For more information see:

http://www.str.org/s...Article&id=5236

http://religion.wiki...thyphro_dilemma

http://www.reasonabl...Article&id=6063

#14 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:03 PM

The historical-grammatical method (or '''Grammatico-Historical method''') of Bible Study


The historical-grammatical method (or '''Grammatico-Historical method''') of Bible Study is a type of Biblical Hermeneutics , or method of approaching and interpreting the Bible , which relies as much as possible on the supportive ''' Context ''' of Biblical texts, especially in relation to the original Audience and Biblical Genre . The Grammatico-Historical approach uses all the available Linguistic , Grammatical , Literary , Historical , Socio-political , Archaeological , Economic and Religious information available in relation to a specific text in order to understand the original author's intended meaning. In this sense it stands in direct contrast to Postmodern and Liberal forms of literary

Deconstructionism where each person's own interpretation is valid at the expense of the original author's intent. The grammatical-historical method of Biblical interpretation used especially in the Covenantal and Lutheran traditions.

One original interpretation

A fundamental belief in hermeneutics is that there is one original interpretation. When the author of a book recorded history, or wrote their letter(s) or gospel, they had a single intended meaning attached to what they wrote. For example, when a person writes a letter, they are not thinking of how they can write it so that the receiving person either cannot understand it or ends up with many different interpretations. Instead, there is a particular meaning in what was written. The interpretation is restricted by the writers intentions. Thus, when doing hermeneutics, one should always be aware of what the authors intended meaning was. This should guide and direct one's studies, and should also safeguard against interpretations that do not fit the thought or flow of the book one is studying.

Regard for literal meaning

A text should be interpreted with the degree of precision intended by the author. It should be interpreted "according to its literal, or normal, sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text (http://www.bible-res...m/chicago2.html )


http://www.spiritand...icles/25/25.htm

http://www.theopedia...on_of_the_Bible

http://www.gfcto.com...t_the_bible.php

http://www.informati...cal-grammatical

http://en.wikipedia....mmatical_method

#15 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:05 PM

Atheists and Skeptics attempt to use Occam’s Razor to their own benefit, but can they really? Or are the simply twisting it to their own advantage?


William of Ockham

First published Fri Aug 16, 2002; substantive revision Sun Jul 9, 2006
William of Ockham (c. 1287-1347) is, along with Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus, among the most prominent figures in the history of philosophy during the High Middle Ages. He is probably best known today for his espousal of metaphysical nominalism; indeed, the methodological principle known as “Ockham's Razor” is named after him. But Ockham held important, often influential views not only in metaphysics but also in all other major areas of medieval philosophy—logic, physics or natural philosophy, theory of knowledge, ethics, and political philosophy—as well as in theology.

http://plato.stanfor...entries/ockham/



Oc•cam's razor (äk′əmz)

a philosophical or scientific principle according to which the best explanation of an event is the one that is the simplest, using the fewest assumptions or hypotheses
Origin: after William of Ockham, who used it often in analyzing problems.

http://www.yourdicti...m/occam-s-razor

Occam's razor or Ockham's razor (ŏkˈəmz)

A rule in science and philosophy stating that entities should not be multiplied needlessly. This rule is interpreted to mean that the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable and that an explanation for unknown phenomena should first be attempted in terms of what is already known. Occam's razor is named after the deviser of the rule, English philosopher and theologian William of Ockham (1285?-1349?).

http://science.yourd...m/occam-s-razor

Main Entry: Oc•cam's razor
Variant(s): also Ock•ham's razor \ˈä-kəmz-\
Function: noun
Etymology: William of Occam
Date: circa 1837
: a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities

http://www.merriam-w...y/occam's razor

Occam’s Razor and creation/evolution
by Russell Grigg

Insert Wikipedia.org

Ockham to London

Occam’s (or Ockham’s) Razor, also known as the Law of Parsimony or the Law of Succinctness, is the name given to a philosophical principle. It was used so frequently and so cuttingly by the English theologian and philosopher, William of Occam (Ockham), in the fourteenth century, that it became known as Occam’s Razor.
Today Ockham is a village in Surrey, England, about 40 km (25 miles) south-west of London.1 William was born there c. 1285 and died at a convent in Munich, c. 1349, apparently of the Black Death.2
Application to origins

Let us apply Occam’s Razor to the two theories of origins, namely evolution and creation, and in particular to the respective answers to several fundamental problems which either theory must be able to explain in order to be viable. We will consider the evolutionists’ dilemma first.

1. Where did matter and/or energy come from?
If one says matter/energy is eternal, then as a logical consequence, the universe must be eternal. But the universe is running down in accordance with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and sooner or later will reach heat death—when everything will be at the same temperature, a few degrees above absolute zero. If the universe was eternal, heat death would have happened a long, long time ago, but it hasn’t. Therefore the universe is not eternal; it had to have a beginning.
If one says that matter/energy is the result of the alleged big bang, where did the energy for the big bang come from? If one says it came from the ‘cosmic egg’, there is unleashed a flood of assumptions, or questions for which evolutionists do not have answers.

For example, where did the energy of the ‘cosmic egg’ come from? What caused it to be compressed into a single dimensionless point (a ‘singularity’, which is another way of saying nothing7)? What triggered the expansion of nothing? If gravity was near infinite, i.e. the ‘single point’ was a black hole, how come anything expanded? How come this explosive expansion produced all the order in the universe? And so on.

http://creation.com/...ation-evolution

Occam's razor

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" which is translated: "plurality should not be posited without necessity."

The principle
This principle was named after William of Ockham (or Occam), a fourteenth century Franciscan and philosopher, who frequently used it, though he was not its originator. In modern English, it can be restated as: a simpler explanation is to be preferred to a more complicated one.

Proper Use

An example of the proper application of this principle is the choice of Kepler's laws of planetary motion, in preference to the Ptolemaic cycle and epicycles, as an explanation of the movement of the heavenly bodies. The Ptolemaic hypothesis required constant adjustment with further epicycles in order to explain new observations while preserving the philosophical assumption that all movements in the heavens were perfect circles. Kepler's laws provided a far simpler theory, which was both supported by observation and could be described by a single mathematical formula. Kepler's was therefore to be preferred.

Atheistic Use

The principle is frequently misused by atheists, who claim that the entire spiritual realm is an unnecessary hypothesis. In doing so, they ignore all human spiritual experience, as well as having to violate basic scientific laws, such as thermodynamics. Their mistake is so to simplify their hypotheses that they no longer explain anything!

https://creationwiki...g/Occam's_razor


What Is Occam's (Ockham's) Razor?

William of Occam (1285–1347), was a Christian theologian, who stated 'Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate'; “Plurality should not be posited without necessity.” The principle gives precedence to simplicity; of two competing theories, the simplest explanation of an entity is to be preferred. The principle is also expressed “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.”
This principal has been snatched and abused by 'atheistic' minds, most of whom aren't aware of the irony of the reason behind Occam's razor. Vox Day "The Irrational Atheist"

http://www.thewhyman...hats_new_1.html

Introduction: a quick history of Occam's Razor

The beginnings of the scientific principle now known as “Occam's Razor” or “The Principle of Simplicity” can be traced back to Aristotle's maxim that “the more perfect a nature is the fewer means it requires for its operation." Occam, who was imprisoned and excommunicated for his belief in extreme poverty in 1323, famously favored simplicity, in theological matters. However his name may only have been applied to the scientific Principle of Simplicity in Victorian times by Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865). [http://en.wikipedia....i/Occams_Razor] The word “razor” probably refers to the medieval use of razors to scrape excess ink off parchment in order to correct errors while writing. [http://www.royalinst...cle.php?num=18] So a more modern translation might be called “Occam's Theory Eraser”.

http://logictutorial....html#gonewrong

#16 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:06 PM

Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design (Annotated)

By: Staff
Discovery Institute
August 26, 2010

Editors' Note: Critics of intelligent design often claim that design advocates don't publish their work in appropriate scientific literature. For example, Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, was quoted in USA Today (March 25, 2005) that design theorists "aren't published because they don't have scientific data."

Other critics have made the more specific claim that design advocates do not publish their works in peer-reviewed scientific journals -- as if such journals represented the only avenue of legitimate scientific publication. In fact, scientists routinely publish their work in peer-reviewed scientific journals, in peer-reviewed scientific books, in scientific anthologies and conference proceedings (edited by their scientific peers), and in trade presses. Some of the most important and groundbreaking work in the history of science was first published not in scientific journal articles but in scientific books -- including Copernicus' De Revolutionibus, Newton's Principia, and Darwin's Origin of Species (the latter of which was published in a prominent British trade press and was not peer-reviewed in the modern sense of the term). In any case, the scientists who advocate the theory of intelligent design have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some in mainstream university presses), trade presses, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books.

We provide below an annotated bibliography of technical publications of various kinds that support, develop or apply the theory of intelligent design. The articles are grouped according to the type of publication. The first section lists featured articles of various types which are of higher interest to readers, which is then followed by a complete list of the articles. The featured articles are therefore listed twice on this page (once in the featured articles section and again below in the complete list).


http://www.discovery.org/a/2640


Talk:Intelligent design/Yqbd's peer-review arguments

http://en.wikipedia....eview_arguments


Focus on Intelligent Design:

Some Advice on Avoiding Journalistic Embarrassment

http://www.arn.org/d...w_focusonid.htm

Peter S. Williams (MPhil)
Intelligent Design theory (ID) is attracting a growing amount of media interest. Unfortunately, ID is rarely allowed to speak for itself, and rarely taken at its word when given the opportunity. The claims of ID are repeatedly misrepresented, as journalists and science-writers fall back on stock assertions about ‘science vs religion’ and draw inaccurate associations with ‘creationism’.
A Case in Point

Focus magazine is a popular ‘science & technology monthly’ published by the BBC. The January 2006 issue (No 159) carried a two-page cover story, by Dr David Whitehouse (science editor for BBC News Online) on ‘the intelligent design furore’. The article was highlighted as ‘Darwin vs God’ on the front cover and entitled ‘Teacher vs Preacher’ (pp. 20-21). These titles should be enough to forewarn informed readers of the kind of treatment ID received. Whitehouse trod down the well-worn path of inaccurately portraying Darwinian evolution as a fundamental scientific truth on a par with the Earth being spherical, on the one hand, and ID as a non-scientific religious ‘belief’ - young-earth creationism by another name - on the other. (In point of fact, microevolution can be directly observed, whereas macroevolution is an inference, not an observation. It is therefore absurd to place it in the same epistemological category as the Earth’s not being flat.)
The Misrepresentation of ID

Whitehouse labels the furore over ID as a debate ‘pitching science against religion’
and he defines ID as:

the idea that all the living things we see around us, from humans down to bacteria, are too complicated to have been produced by natural processes. Instead, the theory maintains that some designer – most say it was God – produced the blueprint for all the cells and organisms on Earth.

However, ID does not theorize that ‘all the living things we see around us, from humans down to bacteria, are too complicated to have been produced by natural processes’, or that ‘some designer… produced the blueprint for all the cells and organisms on Earth’. ID does not suggest that no living things were produced by natural processes. Indeed, ID holds that evolution by natural selection is an adequate explanation of much that we see around us in the natural world. ID does theorize that natural processes did not produce some of the things we see around us.

Furthermore, the criteria proposed to justify this hypothesis is not that (some) living things ‘are too complicated to have been produced by natural processes.’ The criteria is that some of the things we see around us exhibit a particular type of complexity, called specified complexity, and that the best explanation for anything exhibiting this particular type of complexity is intelligent design.[1] The inaccurate claim that ID is based upon the observation of mere complexity, rather than specified complexity, is one of the most frequent misrepresentations of ID in the media.

#17 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:06 PM

Featured Articles From the above posting

Meyer, S. C. DNA and the origin of life: Information, specification and explanation, in Darwinism, Design, & Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003), Pp. 223-285. (PDF, 1.13MB)

Meyer contends that intelligent design provides a better explanation than competing chemical evolutionary models for the origin of the information present in large bio-macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. Meyer shows that the term information as applied to DNA connotes not only improbability or complexity but also specificity of function. He then argues that neither chance nor necessity, nor the combination of the two, can explain the origin of information starting from purely physical-chemical antecedents. Instead, he argues that our knowledge of the causal powers of both natural entities and intelligent agency suggests intelligent design as the best explanation for the origin of the information necessary to build a cell in the first place.

William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, "Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success," IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans, Vol. 39 (5):1051-1061 (September, 2009). (PDF, 359KB)

Darwinian evolution is, at its heart, a search algorithm that uses a trial and error process of random mutation and unguided natural selection to find genotypes (i.e. DNA sequences) that lead to phenotypes (i.e. biomolecules and body plans) that have high fitness (i.e. foster survival and reproduction). This peer-reviewed scientific article in the journal IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans by William Dembski and Robert Marks explains that unless a search starts off with some information about where peaks in a fitness landscape may lie, any search -- including Darwinian search algorithms-- are on average no better than a random search. After assessing various examples of evolutionary searches, Dembski and Marks show that attempts to model Darwinian evolution via computer simulations, such Richard Dawkins famous "METHINKSITISLIKEAWEASEL" example, start off with, as Dembski and Marks put it, "problem-specific information about the search target or the search-space structure." According to the paper, such simulations only reach their evolutionary targets because there is pre-specified "accurate information to guide them," or what they call "active information." The implication, of course, is that some intelligent programmer is required to front-load a search with active information if the search is to successfully find rare functional genetic sequences. They conclude that "Active information is clearly required in even modestly sized searches."

Stephen Meyer, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories" Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 117 (2004): 213-239.

Meyer argues that competing materialistic models (Neo-Darwinism, Self Organization Models, Punctuated Equilibrium and Structuralism) are not sufficient to account for origin of the information necessary to build novel animal forms present in the Cambrian Explosion. He proposes intelligent design as an alternative explanation for the origin of biological information and the higher taxa.

Lönnig, W.-E. Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis and the origin of irreducible complexity, Dynamical Genetics, Pp. 101-119. (PDF, 2.95MB; HTML)

Biology exhibits numerous invariants -- aspects of the biological world that do not change over time. These include basic genetic processes that have persisted unchanged for more than three-and-a-half billion years and molecular mechanisms of animal ontogenesis that have been constant for more than one billion years. Such invariants, however, are difficult to square with dynamic genomes in light of conventional evolutionary theory. Indeed, Ernst Mayr regarded this as one of the great unsolved problems of biology. In this paper Dr.Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, Senior Scientist in the Department of Molecular Plant Genetics at the Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research, employs the design-theoretic concepts of irreducible complexity (as developed by Michael Behe) and specified complexity (as developed by William Dembski) to elucidate these invariants, accounting for them in terms of an intelligent design (ID) hypothesis. Lönnig also describes a series of scientific questions that the theory of intelligent design could help elucidate, thus showing the fruitfulness of intelligent design as a guide to further scientific research.

Jonathan Wells, "Do Centrioles Generate a Polar Ejection Force?," Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 37-62.

Most animal cells contain a pair of centrioles, tiny turbine-like organelles oriented at right angles to each other that replicate at every cell division. Yet the function and behavior of centrioles remain mysterious. Since all centrioles appear to be equally complex, there are no plausible evolutionary intermediates with which to construct phylogenies; and since centrioles contain no DNA, they have attracted relatively little attention from neo Darwinian biologists who think that DNA is the secret of life. From an intelligent design (ID) perspective, centrioles may have no evolutionary intermediates because they are irreducibly complex. And they may need no DNA because they carry another form of biological information that is independent of the genetic mutations relied upon by neo-Darwinists. In this paper, Wells assumes that centrioles are designed to function as the tiny turbines they appear to be, rather than being accidental by-products of Darwinian evolution. He then formulates a testable hypothesis about centriole function and behavior that, if corroborated by experiment, could have important implications for our understanding of cell division and cancer. Wells thus makes a case for ID by showing its strong heuristic value in biology. That is, he uses the theory of intelligent design to make new discoveries in biology.

Scott Minnich and Stephen C. Meyer, "Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits," Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes Greece, edited by M.W. Collins and C.A. Brebbia (WIT Press, 2004). (PDF, 620KB)

This article underwent conference peer review in order to be included in this peer-edited proceedings. Minnich and Meyer do three important things in this paper. First, they refute a popular objection to Michael Behe's argument for the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum. Second, they suggest that the Type III Secretory System present in some bacteria, rather than being an evolutionary intermediate to the bacterial flagellum, is probably represents a degenerate form of the bacterial flagellum. Finally, they argue explicitly that intelligent design is a better than the Neo-Darwinian mechanism for explaining the origin of the bacterial flagellum.

COMPLETE LIST: Peer-Reviewed Scientific Books Supportive of Intelligent Design Published by Trade Presses or University Presses

W.A. Dembski, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

This book was published by Cambridge University Press and peer-reviewed as part of a distinguished monograph series, Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction, and Decision Theory. The editorial board of that series includes members of the National Academy of Sciences as well as one Nobel laureate, John Harsanyi, who shared the prize in 1994 with John Nash, the protagonist in the film A Beautiful Mind. Commenting on the ideas in The Design Inference, well-known physicist and science writer Paul Davies remarks: "Dembski's attempt to quantify design, or provide mathematical criteria for design, is extremely useful. I'm concerned that the suspicion of a hidden agenda is going to prevent that sort of work from receiving the recognition it deserves." Quoted in L. Witham, By Design (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2003), p. 149.

Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (The Free Press, 1996).

In this book Behe develops a critique of the mechanism of natural selection and a positive case for the theory of intelligent design based upon the presence of "irreducibly complex molecular machines" and circuits inside cells. Though this book was published by The Free Press, a trade press, the publisher subjected the book to standard scientific peer-review by several prominent biochemists and biological scientists.

Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories (Philosophical Library, 1984, Lewis & Stanley, 4th ed., 1992).

In this book Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen develop a seminal critique of origin of life studies and develop a case for the theory of intelligent design based upon the information content and "low-configurational entropy" of living systems.

John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, Darwinism, Design, & Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003)

This is a collection of interdisciplinary essays that addresses the scientific and educational controversy concerning the theory of intelligent design. Accordingly, it was peer-reviewed by a philosopher of science, a rhetorician of science, and a professor in the biological sciences from an Ivy League university. The book contains five scientific articles advancing the case for the theory of intelligent design, the contents of which are summarized below.

Scientific Books Supportive of Intelligent Design Published by Prominent Trade Presses

Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery (Regnery Publishing, 2004).

Gonzalez and Richards develop a novel case for the theory of intelligent design based on developments in astronomy and planetary science. They show that the conditions necessary to produce a habitable planet are extremely rare and improbable. In addition, they show that the one planet we are aware of that possesses these characteristics is also a planet that has characteristics uniquely adapted to scientific exploration, thus suggesting not simply that the earth is the recipient of the fortunate conditions necessary for life, but that it appears to be uniquely designed for scientific discovery.

William Dembski, No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot be Purchased without Intelligence (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002).

Dembski refines his scientific method of design detection, responds to critics of his previous book (The Design Inference) and shows how his method of design detection applies to the kind of molecular machines analyzed by Michael Behe in Darwin's Black Box.

Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Adler & Adler, 1985).

Denton, an Australian molecular biologist, provides a comprehensive critique of neo- Darwinian evolutionary theory. In a penultimate chapter, entitled "The Molecular Labyrinth," he also develops a strong positive case for the design hypothesis based on the integrated complexity of molecular biological systems. As a religiously agnostic scientist, Denton emphasizes that this case for design is based upon scientific evidence and the application of standard forms of scientific reasoning. As Denton explains, while the case for design may have religious implications, "it does not depend upon religious premises."

Peer-Reviewed Philosophical Books Supportive of Intelligent Design Published by Academic University Presses

Del Ratzsch, Nature, Design, and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science (State University of New York Press, 2001).

Michael C. Rea, World without Design : The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Articles Supportive of Intelligent Design Published in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journals

William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, "Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success," IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans, Vol. 39 (5):1051-1061 (September, 2009). (PDF, 359KB)

Darwinian evolution is, at its heart, a search algorithm that uses a trial and error process of random mutation and unguided natural selection to find genotypes (i.e. DNA sequences) that lead to phenotypes (i.e. biomolecules and body plans) that have high fitness (i.e. foster survival and reproduction). This peer-reviewed scientific article in the journal IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans by William Dembski and Robert Marks explains that unless a search starts off with some information about where peaks in a fitness landscape may lie, any search -- including Darwinian search algorithms-- are on average no better than a random search. After assessing various examples of evolutionary searches, Dembski and Marks show that attempts to model Darwinian evolution via computer simulations, such Richard Dawkins famous "METHINKSITISLIKEAWEASEL" example, start off with, as Dembski and Marks put it, "problem-specific information about the search target or the search-space structure." According to the paper, such simulations only reach their evolutionary targets because there is pre-specified "accurate information to guide them," or what they call "active information." The implication, of course, is that some intelligent programmer is required to front-load a search with active information if the search is to successfully find rare functional genetic sequences. They conclude that "Active information is clearly required in even modestly sized searches."

Ø. A. Voie, "Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent," Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, Vol 28(4) (2006): 1000-1004.

In this article, Norwegian scientist Øyvind Albert Voie examines an implication of Gödel's incompleteness theorem for theories about the origin of life. Gödel's first incompleteness theorem states that certain true statements within a formal system are unprovable from the axioms of the formal system. Voie then argues that the information processing system in the cell constitutes a kind of formal system because it "expresses both function and sign systems." As such, by Gödel's theorem it possesses many properties that are not deducible from the axioms which underlie the formal system, in this case, the laws of nature. He cites Michael Polanyi's seminal essay, Life's Irreducible Structure, in support of this claim. As Polanyi put it, "the structure of life is a set of boundary conditions that harness the laws of physics and chemistry their (the boundary condition's) structure cannot be defined in terms of the laws that they harness." As he further explained, "As the arrangement of a printed page is extraneous to the chemistry of the printed page, so is the base sequence in a DNA molecule extraneous to the chemical forces at work in the DNA molecule." Like Polanyi, Voie argues that the information and function of DNA and the cellular replication machinery must originate from a source that transcends physics and chemistry. In particular, since as Voie argues, "chance and necessity cannot explain sign systems, meaning, purpose, and goals," and since "mind possesses other properties that do not have these limitations," it is "therefore very natural that many scientists believe that life is rather a subsystem of some Mind greater than humans."

David L. Abel & Jack T. Trevors, “Self-organization vs. self-ordering events in life-origin models," Physics of Life Reviews, Vol. 3:211–228 (2006).

This article, co-authored by a theoretical biologist and an environmental biologist, explicitly challenges the ability of Darwinian mechanisms or self-organizational models to account for the origin of the language-based chemical code underlying life. They explain that "evolutionary algorithms, neural nets, and cellular automata have not been shown to self-organize spontaneously into nontrivial functions." However, the organization found that life, "typically contains large quantities of prescriptive information." According to the authors, "[p]rescription requires choice contingency rather than chance contingency or necessity," entailing an appeal to an intelligent cause. Throughout the paper, the articles use positive arguments explaining the creative power of "agents" as they cite to the work of Discovery Institute fellows and ID-theorists William Dembski, Charles Thaxton, and Walter Bradley. Critiquing models of self-organization, they conclude that "[t]he only self that can organize its own activities is a living cognitive agent."

John A. Davison, "A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis," Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 155-166.

Otto Schindewolf once wrote that evolution postulates "a unique, historical course of events that took place in the past, is not repeatable experimentally and cannot be investigated in that way." In this peer-reviewed article from a prestigious Italian biology journal, John A. Davison agrees with Schindewolf. Since "[o]ne can hardly expect to demonstrate a mechanism that simply does not and did not exist," Davison attempts to find new explanations for the origin of convergence among biological forms. Davison contends that "[t]he so-called phenomenon of convergent evolution may not be that at all, but simply the expression of the same preformed 'blueprints' by unrelated organisms." While discussing many remarkable examples of "convergent evolution," particularly the marsupial and placental saber-toothed cats, Davison's meaning is unmistakable: This evidence "bears, not only on the questions raised here, but also, on the whole issue of Intelligent Design." Davison clearly implies that this evidence is expected under an intelligent design model, but not under a Neo-Darwinian one.

S.C. Meyer, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories," Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2) (2004): 213-239.

This article argues for intelligent design as an explanation for the origin of the Cambrian fauna. Not surprisingly, it created an international firestorm within the scientific community when it was published. (See Klinghoffer, The Branding of a Heretic, WALL STREET JOURNAL, Jan. 28, 2005, as well as the following website by the editor who oversaw the article's peer-review process: http://www.rsternberg.net.) The treatment of the editor who sent Meyer's article out for peer-review is a striking illustration of the sociological obstacles that proponents of intelligent design encounter in publishing articles that explicitly defend the theory of intelligent design.

M.J. Behe and D.W. Snoke, "Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues," Protein Science, 13 (2004): 2651-2664.

In this article, Behe and Snoke show how difficult it is for unguided evolutionary processes to take existing protein structures and add novel proteins whose interface compatibility is such that they could combine functionally with the original proteins. By demonstrating inherent limitations to unguided evolutionary processes, this work gives indirect scientific support to intelligent design and bolsters Behe's case for intelligent design in answer to some of his critics.

D. A. Axe, "Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds," Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 341 (2004): 1295-1315.

This experimental study found that functional protein folds are extremely rare, finding that, "roughly one in 1064 signature-consistent sequences forms a working domain" and that the "overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 1077." Axe concludes that "functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences." Since Darwinian evolution only preserves biological structures which confer a functional advantage, this indicates it would be very difficult for such a blind mechanism to produce functional protein folds. This research also shows that there are high levels of specified complexity in enzymes, a hallmark indicator of intelligent design. Axe himself has confirmed that this study adds to the evidence for intelligent design: "In the 2004 paper I reported experimental data used to put a number on the rarity of sequences expected to form working enzymes. The reported figure is less than one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. Again, yes, this finding does seem to call into question the adequacy of chance, and that certainly adds to the case for intelligent design." See Scientist Says His Peer-Reviewed Research in the Journal of Molecular Biology "Adds to the Case for Intelligent Design".

W.-E. Lönnig & H. Saedler, "Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements," Annual Review of Genetics, 36 (2002): 389-410.

This article examines the role of transposons in the abrupt origin of new species and the possibility of a partly predetermined generation of biodiversity and new species. The authors' approach is non-Darwinian, and they cite favorably the work of design theorists Michael Behe and William Dembski.

D.K.Y. Chiu & T.H. Lui, "Integrated Use of Multiple Interdependent Patterns for Biomolecular Sequence Analysis," International Journal of Fuzzy Systems, 4(3) (September 2002): 766-775.

The opening paragraph of this article reads: Detection of complex specified information is introduced to infer unknown underlying causes for observed patterns. By complex information, it refers to information obtained from observed pattern or patterns that are highly improbable by random chance alone. We evaluate here the complex pattern corresponding to multiple observations of statistical interdependency such that they all deviate significantly from the prior or null hypothesis. Such multiple interdependent patterns when consistently observed can be a powerful indication of common underlying causes. That is, detection of significant multiple interdependent patterns in a consistent way can lead to the discovery of possible new or hidden knowledge.

M.J. Denton, J.C. Marshall & M. Legge, (2002) "The Protein Folds as Platonic Forms: New Support for the pre-Darwinian Conception of Evolution by Natural Law," Journal of Theoretical Biology 219 (2002): 325-342.

This research is thoroughly non-Darwinian and teleological. It looks to laws of form embedded in nature to bring about biological structures. The intelligent design research program is broad, and design like this that's programmed into nature falls within its ambit.

D. A. Axe, "Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors," Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 301 (2000): 585-595.

This study published by molecular biologist Douglas Axe, now at the Biologic Institute, challenges the widespread idea that high species-to-species variation in the amino-acid sequence of an enzyme implies modest functional constraints. Darwinists commonly assume that such variation indicates low selection pressure at the variable amino acid sites, allowing many mutations with little effect. Axe's research shows that even when mutations are restricted to these sites, they are severely disruptive, implying that proteins are highly specified even at variable sites. According to this work, sequences diverge not because substantial regions are free from functional constraints, but because selection filters most mutations, leaving only the harmless minority. By showing functional constraints to be the rule rather than the exception, it raises the question of whether chance can ever produce sequences that meet these constraints in the first place. Axe himself has confirmed that this study adds to the evidence for intelligent design: "I concluded in the 2000 JMB paper that enzymatic catalysis entails 'severe sequence constraints'. The more severe these constraints are, the less likely it is that they can be met by chance. So, yes, that finding is very relevant to the question of the adequacy of chance, which is very relevant to the case for design." See Scientist Says His Peer-Reviewed Research in the Journal of Molecular Biology "Adds to the Case for Intelligent Design".

Articles Supportive of Intelligent Design Published in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Anthologies

Lönnig, W.-E. Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis and the origin of irreducible complexity, Dynamical Genetics, Pp. 101-119. In Dynamical Genetics by V. Parisi, V. de Fonzo & F. Aluffi-Pentini, eds.,(Research Signpost, 2004)

Biology exhibits numerous invariants -- aspects of the biological world that do not change over time. These include basic genetic processes that have persisted unchanged for more than three-and-a-half billion years and molecular mechanisms of animal ontogenesis that have been constant for more than one billion years. Such invariants, however, are difficult to square with dynamic genomes in light of conventional evolutionary theory. Indeed, Ernst Mayr regarded this as one of the great unsolved problems of biology. In this paper Dr.Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig Senior Scientist in the Department of Molecular Plant Genetics at the Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research employs the design-theoretic concepts of irreducible complexity (as developed by Michael Behe) and specified complexity (as developed by William Dembski) to elucidate these invariants, accounting for them in terms of an intelligent design (ID) hypothesis.

Granville Sewell, Postscript, in Analysis of a Finite Element Method: PDE/PROTRAN (Springer Verlag, 1985). (HTML)

In this article appearing in a 1985 technical reference book, mathematician Granville Sewell compares the complexity found in the genetic code of life to that of a computer program. He recognizes that the fundamental problem for evolution is the "problem of novelties" which raises the question "How can natural selection cause new organs to arise and guide their development through the initial stages during which they present no selective advantage"? Sewell then explains how a Darwinist will try to bridge both functional and fossil gaps between biological structures through "a long chain of tiny improvements in his imagination," but notes that "the analogy with software puts his ideas into perspective." Major changes to a species require the intelligent foresight of a programmer. Natural selection, a process which is "unable to plan beyond the next tiny mutation" could never produce the complexity of life.

Five science articles from Darwinism, Design, & Public Education, edited by John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer (Michigan State University Press, 2003) (hereinafter DDPE):

Meyer, S. C. DNA and the origin of life: Information, specification and explanation, DDPE Pp. 223-285. (PDF, 1.13MB)

Meyer contends that intelligent design provides a better explanation than competing chemical evolutionary models for the origin of the information present in large bio-macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. Meyer shows that the term information as applied to DNA connotes not only improbability or complexity but also specificity of function. He then argues that neither chance nor necessity, nor the combination of the two, can explain the origin of information starting from purely physical-chemical antecedents. Instead, he argues that our knowledge of the causal powers of both natural entities and intelligent agency suggests intelligent design as the best explanation for the origin of the information necessary to build a cell in the first place.

Behe, M. J., Design in the details: The origin of biomolecular machines. DDPE Pp. 287-302

Behe sets forth a central concept of the contemporary design argument, the notion of "irreducible complexity." Behe argues that the phenomena of his field include systems and mechanisms that display complex, interdependent, and coordinated functions. Such intricacy, Behe argues, defies the causal power of natural selection acting on random variation, the "no end in view" mechanism of neo-Darwinism. Yet he notes that irreducible complexity is a feature of systems that are known to be designed by intelligent agents. He thus concludes that intelligent design provides a better explanation for the presence of irreducible complexity in the molecular machines of the cell.

Nelson, P. & J. Wells, Homology in biology: Problem for naturalistic science and prospect for intelligent design, DDPE, Pp. 303-322.

Paul Nelson and Jonathan Wells reexamine the phenomenon of homology, the structural identity of parts in distinct species such as the pentadactyl plan of the human hand, the wing of a bird, and the flipper of a seal, on which Darwin was willing to rest his entire argument. Nelson and Wells contend that natural selection explains some of the facts of homology but leaves important anomalies (including many so-called molecular sequence homologies) unexplained. They argue that intelligent design explains the origin of homology better than the mechanisms cited by advocates of neo-Darwinism.

Meyer, S. C., Ross, M., Nelson, P. & P. Chien, The Cambrian explosion: biology's big bang, DDPE, Pp. 323-402. (PDF, 2.33MB)

Meyer, Ross, Nelson, and Chien show that the pattern of fossil appearance in the Cambrian period contradicts the predictions or empirical expectations of neo-Darwinian (and punctuationalist) evolutionary theory. They argue that the fossil record displays several features--a hierarchical top-down pattern of appearance, the morphological isolation of disparate body plans, and a discontinuous increase in information content--that are strongly reminiscent of the pattern of evidence found in the history of human technology. Thus, they conclude that intelligent design provides a better, more causally adequate, explanation of the origin of the novel animal forms present in the Cambrian explosion.

Dembski, W.A., Reinstating design within science, DDPE, Pp. 403-418.

Dembski argues that advances in the information sciences have provided a theoretical basis for detecting the prior action of an intelligent agent. Starting from the commonsense observation that we make design inferences all the time, Dembski shows that we do so on the basis of clear criteria. He then shows how those criteria, complexity and specification, reliably indicate intelligent causation. He gives a rational reconstruction of a method by which rational agents decide between competing types of explanation, those based on chance, physical-chemical necessity, or intelligent design. Since he asserts we can detect design by reference to objective criteria, Dembski also argues for the scientific legitimacy of inferences to intelligent design.

Peer-Edited or Editor-Reviewed Articles Supportive of Intelligent Design Published in Scientific Journals, Scientific Anthologies and Conference Proceedings

Jonathan Wells, "Do Centrioles Generate a Polar Ejection Force?," Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum 98 (2005): 37-62.

Most animal cells contain a pair of centrioles, tiny turbine-like organelles oriented at right angles to each other that replicate at every cell division. Yet the function and behavior of centrioles remain mysterious. Since all centrioles appear to be equally complex, there are no plausible evolutionary intermediates with which to construct phylogenies; and since centrioles contain no DNA, they have attracted relatively little attention from neo Darwinian biologists who think that DNA is the secret of life. From an intelligent design (ID) perspective, centrioles may have no evolutionary intermediates because they are irreducibly complex. And they may need no DNA because they carry another form of biological information that is independent of the genetic mutations relied upon by neo-Darwinists. In this paper, Wells assumes that centrioles are designed to function as the tiny turbines they appear to be, rather than being accidental by-products of Darwinian evolution. He then formulates a testable hypothesis about centriole function and behavior that, if corroborated by experiment, could have important implications for our understanding of cell division and cancer. Wells thus makes a case for ID by showing its strong heuristic value in biology. That is, he uses the theory of intelligent design to make new discoveries in biology.

Granville Sewell, "A Mathematician's View of Evolution," The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol 22 (4) (2000). (HTML)

Mathematician Granville Sewell explains that Michael Behe's arguments against neo-Darwinism from irreducible complexity are supported by mathematics and the quantitative sciences, especially when applied to the problem of the origin of new genetic information. Sewell notes that there are "a good many mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists who ...are appalled that Darwin's explanation for the development of life is so widely accepted in the life sciences." Sewell compares the genetic code of life to a computer program--a comparison also made by computer gurus such as Bill Gates and evolutionary biologists such as Richard Dawkins. He notes that experience teaches that software depends on many separate functionally-coordinated elements. For this reason "[m]ajor improvements to a computer program often require the addition or modification of hundreds of interdependent lines, no one of which makes any sense, or results in any improvement, when added by itself." Since individual changes to part of a genetic program typically confer no functional advantage (in isolation from many other necessary changes to other portions of the genetic code), Sewell argues, that improvements to a genetic program require the intelligent foresight of a programmer. Undirected mutation and selection will not suffice to produce the necessary information.

Four science articles from W. A. Dembski & M. Ruse, eds., DEBATING DESIGN: FROM DARWIN TO DNA (Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2004) (hereinafter DEBATING DESIGN)

Dembksi, W.A., The logical underpinnings of intelligent design, DEBATING DESIGN, Pp.
311-330.

In this article, Dembski outlines his method of design detection. In it he proposes a rigorous way of identifying the effects of intelligent causation and distinguishing them from the effects of undirected natural causes and material mechanisms. Dembski shows how the presence of specified complexity or "complex specified information" provides a reliable marker or indicator of prior intelligent activity. He also responds to a common criticism made against his method of design detection, namely that design inferences constitute "an argument from ignorance."

Bradley, W. L., Information, Entropy, and the Origin of Life, DEBATING DESIGN, Pp. 331-351.

Walter Bradley is a mechanical engineer and polymer scientist. In the mid-1980's he co-authored what supporters consider a seminal critique of origin of life studies in the book The Mystery of Life's Origins. Bradley and his co-authors also developed a case for the theory of intelligent design based upon the information content and "low-configurational entropy" of living systems. In this chapter he updates that work. He clarifies the distinction between configurational and thermal entropy, and shows why materialistic theories of chemical evolution have not explained the configurational entropy present in living systems, a feature of living systems that Bradley takes to be strong evidence of intelligent design.

Behe, M., Irreducible complexity: obstacle to Darwinian evolution, DEBATING DESIGN, Pp. 352-370.

In this essay Behe briefly explains the concept of irreducible complexity and reviews why he thinks it poses a severe problem for the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection. In addition, he responds to several criticisms of his argument for intelligent design from irreducible complexity and several misconceptions about how the theory of intelligent design applies to biochemistry. In particular he discusses several putative counterexamples that some scientists have advanced against his claim that irreducibly complex biochemical systems demonstrate intelligent design. Behe turns the table on these counterexamples, arguing that these examples actually underscore the barrier that irreducible complexity poses to Darwinian explanations, and, if anything, show the need for intelligent design.

Meyer, S. C., The Cambrian information explosion: evidence for intelligent design, DEBATING DESIGN, Pp. 371-391.

Meyer argues for design on the basis of the Cambrian explosion, the geologically sudden appearance of new animal body plans during the Cambrian period. Meyer notes that this episode in the history of life represents a dramatic and discontinuous increase in the complex specified information of the biological world. He argues that neither the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations nor alternative self-organizational mechanisms are sufficient to produce such an increase in information in the time allowed by the fossil evidence. Instead, he suggests that such increases in specified complex information are invariably associated with conscious and rational activity, that is, with intelligent design.

Scott Minnich and Stephen C. Meyer, "Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits," Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes Greece, edited by M.W. Collins and C.A. Brebbia (WIT Press, 2004).

This article underwent conference peer review in order to be included in this peer-edited proceedings. Minnich and Meyer do three important things in this paper. First, they refute a popular objection to Michael Behe's argument for the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum. Second, they suggest that the Type III Secretory System present in some bacteria, rather than being an evolutionary intermediate to the bacterial flagellum, is probably represents a degenerate form of the bacterial flagellum. Finally, they argue explicitly that intelligent design is a better than the Neo-Darwinian mechanism for explaining the origin of the bacterial flagellum.

MERE CREATION: SCIENCE, FAITH & INTELLIGENT DESIGN (William A. Dembski ed., 1998).

This book contains fifteen scientific and philosophical essays supportive of the theory of intelligent design written by Ph.D.-level scientists and philosophers. The book was edited by William Dembski, who holds two Ph.D.s, one in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and one in philosophy from the University of Illinois.


Articles Supportive of Intelligent Design Published in Peer-Reviewed Philosophy Journals

Behe, M.J., Self-Organization and Irreducibly Complex Systems: A Reply to Shanks and Joplin, PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 67:155-162 (March 2000)

Craig, W.L., "God, Creation, and Mr. Davies." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (1986): 168-175

Craig, W.L., "Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (1988): 389-395.

Craig, W.L., "The Anthropic Principle." In The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: an Encyclopedia, pp. 366-368. Ed. G. B. Ferngren.

Craig, W.L., "Design and the Anthropic Fine-Tuning of the Universe." In GOD AND DESIGN: THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT AND MODERN SCIENCE, pp. 155-177. (ed. Neil Manson. London: Routledge, 2003).

#18 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:07 PM

15 ways to refute materialistic bigotry:
A point by point response to Scientific American

by Jonathan Sarfati

Response to ‘15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense’ by John Rennie (Editor), Scientific American 287 (1):78–85, July 2002; Feature article on Scientific American Web site, 17 June 2002.

Introduction
Scientific American’s foundation

Scientific American is a semi-popular journal which publishes attractively illustrated and fairly detailed, but not overly technical, articles, mostly on science. It is not a peer-reviewed journal like Nature or Journal of Creation, but many of its articles are very useful. Scientific American was founded by the artist and inventor Rufus Porter (1792–1884), who thought that science glorified the creator God. In the very first issue, his editorial stated:

‘We shall advocate the pure Christian religion, without favouring any particular sect …’

And he wrote an article ‘ Rational Religion’, where he wrote:

‘First, then, let us, as rational creatures, be ever ready to acknowledge God as our Creator and daily Preserver; and that we are each of us individually dependant on his special care and good will towards us, in supporting the wonderful action of nature which constitutes our existence; and in preserving us from the casualties, to which our complicated and delicate structure is liable. Let us also, knowing our entire dependence on Divine Benevolence, as rational creatures, do ourselves the honor to express personally and frequently, our thanks to him for his goodness; and to present our petitions to Him for the favours which we constantly require. This course is rational, even without the aid of revelation: but being specially invited to this course, by the divine word, and assured of the readiness of our Creator to answer our prayers and recognize our thanks, it is truly surprising that any rational being, who has ever read the inspired writings should willingly forego this privilege, or should be ashamed to be seen engaged in this rational employment, or to have it known that he practices it.’

Since Porter, Scientific American has had only six editors in chief, and the most recent two have diametrically opposed their founder’s original vision. Now, as will be explained further in this article, Scientific American works to push an atheistic world view in the guise of ‘science’, and a number of corollaries such as a radical pro-abortion, 1 human cloning 2 and population control agenda. 3 The previous editor, Jonathan Piel, refused to hire Forrest Mims III when Mims admitted he was a creationist, and when Piel asked Mims whether he was pro-life, Mims replied, ‘Of course—aren’t you glad your mother was?’ Piel admitted that Mims’ work was ‘fabulous’, ‘great’ and ‘first rate’, and ‘should be published somewhere’. 4 Scientific American subsequently published an article about his revolutionary atmospheric haze detector (see Revolutionary Atmospheric Invention by Victim of Anti-creationist Discrimination).

See the rest of the article at: http://creation.com/...alistic-bigotry for further reading and enlightening information.

#19 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:08 PM

The fallacy of confusing differing types of "Causes"

There are really six (6) different kinds of causes for any event. Not just one:

Efficient Cause. This is what you would normally think of when we say “cause.” It produces the effect. Think of it as how we get the job done. For a fire, it is the one who started it. For the world, it is God. For sin, it is the moral agent. These are the ones who efficiently cause the thing to happen when otherwise it would not. Efficient causality may take two forms: primary and secondary.

A primary cause is the first efficient cause of the effect.

A secondary cause is a subsidiary efficient cause used by the primary cause to produce the effect. There is a primary cause for every event, but there may not be a secondary cause.

If you want a job done, you can either do it yourself, or you can tell someone else to do it. If you do it yourself, then you are the primary cause and there is no secondary cause. If you tell someone else to do it, then you are still the primary cause, but you are acting through a secondary cause—The person you told to do it.

God is the primary cause for all that exists, but He uses secondary causes (such as people, the laws of nature, and angels) to do many things in the world (like making chairs from trees, making new trees, and making axe-heads float when prophets lose them while cutting trees). For example, God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, and they were written with the finger of God according to Exodus 31:18; however, the New Testament tells us that God used a secondary cause to do this, for it says that the law came through angels (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2). The “finger” that God used was his angels. He used a secondary cause to accomplish what he wanted done.


Final Cause. This speaks of the purpose of an event or thing. It tells us why something happened, not that by which it happened. A chair is made to sit in. God made the world for his glory. A person is made to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. The final cause is the end for which the efficient cause acts.

Formal Cause. This tells us what form the effect takes. It tells us what the nature of the thing is—its essence; not why or by which it came to be. The nature of a human being is a physical/spiritual rational creature. The nature of the cosmos is limited, changing matter (energy). The nature of a chair is its particular form or shape. Hence, we call these the formal cause.

Material Cause. What is it made of? Not all effects have material substance, but most do have a material cause because they are made of something. A chair is made of wood. Persons are made of blood, flesh, and bones. The cosmos is the one exception to this, because it was created out of nothing (Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16). Everything made since the creation has been made from something, that is, by re-forming material that already existed.

Exemplar Cause. Everything follows some kind of pattern. As Solomon says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It may only be an idea, or it might be a real thing that is being duplicated in detail. Everything follows an example, and this is called the exemplar cause. It is the pattern after which something is done. This does not refer to being after in time, but to being patterned according to. We need to be sure that we don’t get this confused with the formal cause. A chair is made according to the design of its chairmaker. The cosmos was made according to a pattern in the mind of God. Ultimately, the pattern for creation is the ideas in the mind of God. Man, for example, was made in “God’s image” (Gen. 1:27).

Instrumental Cause. The instruments used to produce the effect are the instrumental cause. These are the means through which the efficient cause acted. For the carpenter, it is the hammer and saw. For the cosmos, it is God’s power and will. The instrumental cause God used in creating us was our parents.
It should be obvious by now that any confusion about what kind of cause we are talking about will change everything. Wood does not cause the chair in the efficient sense (unless “Wood” happens to be the carpenter’s name). TV is not the efficient cause of crime, even when it is the exemplar cause. However, if you smash it on your kids’ heads, it will be the instrumental cause of your crime of assault and battery.

Confusing Causes. Neo-orthodox theology says that the Bible is not the Word of God in itself, but that the Word of God comes to us through the Bible. They claim that the Holy Spirit may speak to us in a special way while we are reading the Bible, but that the revelation is directly from him and not in the words of the Scriptures. This makes the Bible the tool that God uses to communicate with us. However, the Bible claims to be the Word of God itself. In its words we are to find the revelation of God, not in a mystical experience apart from the text. The neo-orthodox confuse the instrumental cause with the formal cause. The Bible is not merely God’s instrument. The very nature of inspired Scripture is that it is the Word of God. Revelation does not happen around or through the text, but in the text. The text is not the means of revelation; it is revelation itself. God is its efficient cause, using the human authors as a secondary cause. Its final cause is the purpose (why) for which that message (what) was written. Its material cause is paper and ink, and it is patterned after the ideas in the mind of the author. Its instrumental cause is the pen that wrote it and the words that were written (1 Cor. 2:13). To reduce what the Bible is to the status of an instrument of revelation is a great theological error.

Some Bible expositors claim that the purpose for which the Bible was written should be the guiding principle in our understanding of what the text means and how we should apply it. But this method seriously confuses the final cause (purpose) with the formal cause (meaning). For example, some say that it is invalid to apply 1 Corinthians 5:5 to church discipline in cases of wife swapping or adultery because Paul’s purpose was to correct a case of incest. But does it really matter what Paul’s specific purpose was? Why not carry that a little farther and say that Paul was addressing a specific situation and we can’t apply the passage at all? What Paul says (his meaning) was originally formulated in accordance with his purpose, but it does not follow that we have to know his specific purpose to know his meaning, or that we can apply his meaning only to situations identical to the one he addressed. We don’t need to know specific purpose (why) in order to determine meaning. We discover meaning by putting together all the little meanings of words, phrases, sentences, ideas, context, etc., to make a big meaning. We see how all the little ‘whats’ fit together to form the big ‘what’. When we apply it, we don’t demand that every circumstance of the first-century context be repeated. We relate it by analogy to what is happening today. Today’s wife swapping and adultery is very much like the case of immorality in Corinth, and Paul’s meaning can apply, even if his specific purpose does not.
One of the arguments often urged against the Christian God is that since God has determined all events, he must be responsible for all the evil in the world. After all, if he has ordained all things in advance and evil things have happened, then he must have ordained evil. The problem with this thinking is that it confuses primary and secondary causality. God is the primary cause of all things and, as sovereign, he is the primary cause of all events by knowing them from eternity and willing that they be so. However, many events are done through secondary causes. Among these are some evil events. God does not directly cause these things; he only allows them to happen without intervening. Being in control, he knows that they will happen and gives his consent to them, but the direct and immediate causes of them are the secondary causes that are employed.
At first, that may sound like a game of semantics, but this is a real and important distinction. Take the case of Job, where we know the dynamics of it. God allowed Satan to afflict Job twice, but each time with limits as to what could be done (1:12; 2:6). He permitted the affliction and set controls over it, but he did not do it himself. The evil was Satan’s action and his own free choice. When God created beings with free will, he knew that there was a possibility for evil, but it was necessary to allow that in order to have creatures that were truly free. Even when God allows someone to do evil, she is still morally responsible for the evil that she does. A secondary cause acts on its own, not simply as a mechanism of the primary cause. Responsibility for evil must be given to the secondary cause that chooses to act in an evil way, not to the primary cause that allows the freedom of the creation.


These are the main causal fallacies. They are confusions about kinds of causes and causal relationships. Some are the result of not thinking through the problem well enough, and some come from not checking the results of tests. As long as these errors are avoided, induction is a good tool for finding probable conclusions.

#20 Ron

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:09 PM

The "Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God" Or "TAG"

The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) is the argument that demonstrates God's existence because logic, morals, and science ultimately “Presuppose” a deistic worldview, and that God's absolute nature is the source of logic and morals. In other words, its goal is to prove the existence of God using “Logical Absolutes” (Laws of Logic etcetera). The “Transcendental Argument” goes as follows:

We all know logical absolutes exist.

These logical absolutes are abstract/immaterial in construct, and are not reliant in any way upon space, time, physical properties, or human nature.

Man did not invent these absolutes, he discovered them.

They are not the consequence of the physical universe (space, time, matter), because if the physical universe were to disappear, logical absolutes would still be true.

In other words, these “Logical Absolutes” are not beholden to any physical nature; they are actually the RULES for everything we know within the nature of physicality.

As I said, these “Logical Absolutes” are not the product of human minds, because human minds are not absolute. Further, if man were to disappear (i.e. become extinct etc…) logical absolutes would still be true. So, since these logical absolutes are always true everywhere, at all times, and not dependent upon human minds, there MUST must be an “Absolute Transcendent Mind” that authored them. This mind is what Christians call “God”.

Therefore TAG proves that the Christian God is the precondition of all human knowledge and experience, by demonstrating the impossibility of the contrary... In other words; logic, reason, or morality cannot exist without God.

Transcendental arguments should not be confused with transcendent arguments, or arguments for the existence of something transcendent. T

They are distinct from both:

1- Arguments that appeal to a transcendent intuition or sense as evidence (Fideism).

2- Arguments that move from direct evidence to the existence of a transcendent thing (Classical Apologetics).








Resources:

http://carm.org/tran...dental-argument

http://www.butler-harris.org/tag/

http://wiki.ironchar...dental_argument




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