Monday, April 08, 2013

Easter Triple Bill No. 3 - What About The Empty Tomb?


Well better late than never I now finish off the Easter Triple bill.  This one had to await the end of Easter as it concerns events post the crucifixion.  There are many issues raised by this tempestuous time. How could a demoralised leaderless group of peasants survive, let alone become a world movement? What was the nature of Jesus’ reappearance in the Galilee weeks after the crucifixion? There are so many issues.  I have chosen a big one – what do unbelievers say about the empty tomb?
The empty tomb, the Sunday after the crucifixion, is one of humanity’s great imponderables.  Was it empty because Jesus had resurrected from the dead. Who rolled back the rock?  Why is it that it was empty?
My explanation goes something like this.  There are 4 Gospel versions of the empty tomb story.  But the oldest and therefore more likely to be reliable is Mark.  His story is the least miraculous and the least remarkable.  In Mark, what happened was that Mary Magdalene and two of her mates, Salome and another Mary, arrived to the tomb to anoint the body – an odious task after a couple of days of decomposition.   There they encountered a man in white.  He was a human not an angel.  Just a man.  And he told them that Jesus “is not here”.  The man in white, was presumably of the priestly Levite caste.  As time meandered down the gospel path, the later authors added miraculous (or ridiculous) bells and whistles.  The man in white became first one angel in Mathew and two angels in Luke and John.  But I prefer the explanation of Mark for I don’t believe in angels.  I think that Mark got it right.  Three women saw a bloke that they didn’t expect to encounter and had a quick conversation with him that left them more distraught the tomb was empty.
What happened to the body?  Well it had been placed in a family grave borrowed from Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish parliament – the Sanhedrin.  Reportedly, Joseph grabbed the body which presumably after a criminal crucifixion should have been dumped anonymously in a mass grave.  This, with Sabbath inhibiting the actions of the players would have been a quick, desperate measure. It would not surprise that it had been moved to a more appropriate and hopefully permanent grave.  But who knows.  The body had been moved and we can never know why.  Jesus had been killed on the eve of Sabbath and because it is forbidden to touch the deceased on the Sabbath quick arrangements were made and probably had to be unmade once the time constraints of the Sabbatical period had abated.
If Mark gave an accurate depiction of the conversation, it is a conversation one would expect to hear in the context of a recent death.  Part of the taboo on recent death is to avoid discussing it other than to assure mourners that the newly departed has been raised unto heaven.  Thus I look at Mark’s description of the empty tomb and the conversations there and think that it was not a miraculous occurrence at all.  It was merely that the distressed women found a Levite priest who assured them that the exigencies of the time had emptied the tomb.  It does not need to have been a resurrection.  It might be that the body was to be taken from the Arimathea vault and maybe even transported back to the Galilee.  Given the bipartisan Middle East propensity to bury the cadaver within hours of death, I suspect it was quickly buried for or by the disciples who scurried back up north to the relative safety of the Galilee.
So a reading of Mark can explain the empty tomb.  This notion is of course fundamental to the idea of resurrection which is in turn fundamental to the whole miraculous Christian discourse. 
What is your view???
Do you agree with me that Mark is the Gospel book to focus on?
Were there angels and a resurrection at the tomb or just a conversation after the body had been moved?
What is your view?
Over to you ....

PS You can read a full account in my version of the Passion entitled, “Jesus, Judas and Mordy Ben Ruben: Three Good Jewish Boys in Jerusalem” available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node%3D4922&field-keywords=jesus+judas+and+mordy&rh=n%3A4922%2Ck%3Ajesus+judas+and+mordy


309 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Hi Dick,
    To come up with an informed opinion suggests you are knowledgeable about a topic and therefore are somewhat an authority.

    To be properly understood, the Bible must be read from within the Church, in the same way a book about surgery to be properly understood must be read from within the medical community. (or, legislation from with the legal community).

    Anyway, I hope you can agree with me that we can deduce from the Gospels the following facts:
    Among other things:
    • Jesus was actually dead
    • Jesus was taken from the Cross ONLY because the Jews didn’t want dead bodies (even of criminals who have been executed by the Romans) on Crosses on the Sabbath (Gospel of John) – this contradicts your Middle East suggestion.
    • The women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body.
    • They saw angels, who told them he wasn’t there. (The Bible does describe angels as appearing as 'men')
    • They went to tell the apostles, who initially didn’t believe them. (you know as well as I that any book back in those days that uses women as witnesses - let alone the shock of using women at the first witnesses - shouldn't/wouldn't/couldn't have been promoted, unless.....)
    • Peter and the beloved disciple rushed to see the tomb and found it empty.
    • Mary Magdalen, in particular, had an encounter with the risen Christ.
    • So did the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
    • So did Peter.
    • So did all the apostles except Thomas (who would have one later).
    • Jesus had risen from the dead!

    Not to mention that Jewish persecutor named Saul (Paul). He had nothing to gain by believing the empty tomb story.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not hide from the facts either and explains it thus:

    640 . . . The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ's body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.

    I also think you missed the fact that the Jewish authorities did their utmost to prevent “the empty tomb” within a three day time limit.
    The apostles didn’t scurry anywhere. Where did you get that idea from?

    Is not a tomb an appropriate and permanent grave, especially for someone held in very high regard?

    I would like to know of your informed opinion about the Shroud of Turin (which bears very close resemblance to the Shroud mentioned in the Gospels), given that the expert skeptics evidence/views has been shown to have little credibility.

    BTW, did you eat solid chocolate eggs over Easter, as the hollow eggs represent the empty tomb?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS10:56 PM

      Nice myth Anonymous!

      Any chance you can prove it?

      BTW Cadbury's milk and dark chocolate blocks are far better value than Easter eggs - better quality chocolate too.

      Delete
    2. So we should accept everything the gospels say as true? I guess with that standard of historical evidence we should also accept that mohammed is the final prophet of god based on what is said in the muslim holy books.

      Expert evidence on the Turin shroud lacks credibility? Is this the whole "they took it from an invisible tear that no-one could see until afterwards" story?

      Even if the experts' evidence that the shroud is from the middle ages is wrong that still leaves you with an undated shroud. Why should we think it was jesus' shroud as the default?

      Delete
    3. 8x
      To be properly understood, the Bible must be read from within the Church, in the same way a book about surgery to be properly understood must be read from within the medical community. (or, legislation from with the legal community).
      x8

      So true.
      For instance: I read this comment whilst in the lavatory.

      Love,
      Irony Man

      Delete
    4. My dear Zed - Irony Man
      I think I love you.:) Big 'iPad belly dance' moment.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous9:13 PM

      MalcolmS10:56 PM
      Nice myth Anonymous!

      Any chance you can prove it?

      ********
      What atheist myth do you believe?

      That dead matter springs to life - no proof

      How about the myth, that love is an evolutionary adaptation that helps the human species propagate. Proof = zero.
      Life had no trouble propagating for millions of years before that, and so the evolutionary need for love came out of what exactly?
      I know you don't have any proof (just myth to support your belief) but you believe that love just appeared by magic.
      When and where did love originate?

      Delete
    6. 8x
      dead matter springs to life
      x8

      You have it backwards. Live things die. "Dead" things don't come to "life"

      In fact; I thought everybody knew that in order for "matter" to even have the quality, "dead", it has to have had the quality "alive" first!

      MMMM .... Claaaazeee ;)

      Hey hang on... have you been compulsively rewinding your David Attenborough tapes again?

      Delete
    7. Anonymous9:54 PM

      Boof.
      "So we should accept everything the gospels say as true? I guess with that standard of historical evidence we should also accept that mohammed is the final prophet of god based on what is said in the muslim holy books."

      Bible v Quran and Mohammed - Offering such a question suggests to me that you are not willing to even investigate it – Go on test them, see what the different parties have to say about it and use your logic to guide your next step.

      If you go to atheist websites you will show your gullibility to believing what they say is true. I have shown that Dick doesn’t understand simple text from the Bible and purposely leaves out other important facts, so be wary where you go to research your problem about Bible v Quran and Mohammed.

      If you are not willing to solve this yourself, how genuine is your question?

      Shroud
      Is this the whole "they took it from an invisible tear that no-one could see until afterwards" Shroud of Turin story?

      That is what the most current, documented and thorough scientific evidence revealed.


      "Even if the experts' evidence that the shroud is from the middle ages is wrong that still leaves you with an undated shroud. Why should we think it was jesus' shroud as the default?"

      Was it Jesus shroud? Who knows for sure.

      But I present you with the fact that the most up to date science has no clue how it came about and failed dismally in trying to recreate it.

      People suggesting it was a middle age painting go silent when faced with the fact that
      * pollen from Jerusalem invisible to the human eye was found on the cloth,
      * limestone from that area was found in the areas of the knees and feet (on the image),
      * that the image has true 3D properties, and
      * that the blood stains tested positive for actual human albumin.

      Apart from the artist guy in the middle ages (showing a level of genuis that is not matched today) being able to include all of those features into his painting (just so someone 700 years into the future could notice), he also
      * sourced the cotton from the Middle East and
      * wove it into a herringbone weave that existed back in 1st century Jerusalem.

      Even the media savy scientist Dr Karl showed how set in his ways he is and was not willing to look at the scientific evidence, because one of his recent books investigated (I use that term loosely here) at the Shroud and it was appalling in the blatant one eyed research he presented, but not surprising.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous9:58 PM

      zedinhisbigflyinghead,

      so you believe life always existed, and didn't have a beginning?

      If everyone believes that it would very easy to provide me with a source please.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous10:07 PM

      Some more info that Dick overlooked.

      ** Opponents Agree **
      The Jewish authorities agreed that Jesus' tomb was empty.

      ** Implausible Stole the Body suggestion **

      Further to Dicks suggestion that the disciples stole the body, Roman guards with weapons guarded the tomb to prevent precisely this.

      ** Anti-Women **
      (following on a point I made earlier)

      Due to the prejudices of the day, women were often regarded as unreliable witnesses.

      Consequently, if you were making up a story that you wanted people to believe, you would not make women the first witnesses to the key fact.


      ** Get your head around this medical fact **

      A fact recorded in the Gospel of John says when Jesus died, a Roman centurion pierced his side with a lance and blood and water flowed out.


      In the ancient world, they wouldn't have known the medical explanations for this phenomenon we well as we do, but to produce this kind of effect both extreme prior trauma and a deep body cavity puncture wound by the spear (likely piercing the pericardium--the sac that surrounds the heart) are required.

      Delete
    10. 8x
      life always existed, and didn't have a beginning
      x8

      Now where on earth would I find a source for such a silly billy idea. Especially since EVERYONE totally agrees that the oonieverse is either 6000 or 13 billion years old

      No No No: Why even my cabbages are shaking their heads at that one

      Perhaps you can explain how you came to believe that this claaaaazeee idea was in anyway common?

      Delete
    11. "Bible v Quran and Mohammed - Offering such a question suggests to me that you are not willing to even investigate it – Go on test them, see what the different parties have to say about it and use your logic to guide your next step. "

      I have and I have found them less than unconvincing. Therefore, I am an atheist.

      "Was it Jesus shroud? Who knows for sure."

      Exactly. So why believe that it is jesus' shroud? Even the catholic church won't endorse it as genuine.

      "Further to Dicks suggestion that the disciples stole the body, Roman guards with weapons guarded the tomb to prevent precisely this."

      says who?

      "** Get your head around this medical fact **"

      Even if all of that is true, so what?

      Delete
    12. I have also found them less than convincing but I am a theist.

      Incidentally, in answer to "says who?| - the guards at the tomb is in the Matthew account of the empty tomb.

      Delete
    13. Robin,

      "Incidentally, in answer to "says who?| - the guards at the tomb is in the Matthew account of the empty tomb."

      Exactly my point. We only have one reference for this, written decades after the event from someone with a definite barrow to push. Should we just believe it without question?

      Moreover, while matthew 28:11-15 says that there was a cover-up to claim that the disciples took the body...maybe that is what actually happened and that is why the guards said so (assuming that they did, which again we only have the word of one anonymous account).

      Delete
    14. MalcolmS8:35 AM

      No Anonymous, I do not believe that "dead matter springs to life." You just made that up. That's your position in the Easter myth.

      Nor is that my position on "love." You made that one up too.

      Delete
    15. My apologies, boof, for misunderstanding.

      You will find that most Bible scholars will agree with you on the point, even the Christian ones given that there is only one source and it is not mentioned in other gospels.

      The minority who regard it as being true argue just the point that you are making in that the account meets the criterion of embarrassment in that Matthew is highlighting a possible alternative explanation for the empty tomb.

      Delete
    16. What is this "argumentum ad pendantry"?

      Clearly Anonymous means "non-living matter".

      Delete
    17. MalcolmS8:43 PM

      "Clearly Anonymous means "non-living matter""

      That's not at all obvious!

      His actual assertion refers to the resurrection myth.

      Delete
    18. "Clearly Anonymous means "non-living matter"."

      So when jesus was dead his body was not "non-living matter"? Does that mean that he was not really dead? how did he resurrect if he wasn't dead? or was he dead but his body wasn't?

      Delete
    19. MalcolmS11:02 PM

      "So when jesus was dead his body was not "non-living matter"?"

      His dead body *was* non-living matter. Period.

      As contrasted with the "dead matter spring[ing] to life" as Anonymous claimed and as implied in the Easter myth.

      Delete
    20. Anonymous11:16 PM

      zedinhisbigflyinghead

      Clazzee indeed.
      "You have it backwards. Live things die. "Dead" things don't come to "life"

      In fact; I thought everybody knew that in order for "matter" to even have the quality, "dead", it has to have had the quality "alive" first!"

      Do atheists believe the myth that the matter that came into being at the Big Bang was "living matter"?

      Delete
    21. MalcolmS11:42 PM

      "Do atheists believe the myth that the matter that came into being at the Big Bang was "living matter"?"

      If by "Big Bang" you mean some sort of ex nihilo creation, then, this atheist does not believe in the Big Bang.

      *Nothing* cannot go bang!! Existence cannot come from nonexistence. Existence is eternal.

      Delete
    22. Anonymous12:04 AM

      MalcolmS

      Please prove this athiest myth #2
      *** Existence is eternal. ***

      Delete
    23. 8x
      Do atheists believe the myth that the matter that came into being at the Big Bang was "living matter"?
      x8

      Buggered if I know. Though it sounds a bit wackydo to me.

      Perhaps you could run a poll to find out. ( Don't forget to have a "giggled at the question", category in the results since that's the one I'm picking will win the day)

      Delete
    24. Thanks for all of that well argued detail anon. I did get a lot out of it. My main issue with the EMpty Tomb is that I am not a believer and hence I scurry around trying to find a secular explanation for the events in my terms. Without that I must resort to "it is all made up" line which is unsatisfactory to me.
      Thanks for the stuff about the hollow eggs. Most apt.
      Dick

      Delete
    25. 8x
      Clearly Anonymous means "non-living matter"
      x8

      lol

      Clearly antonymous is conflating "dead" with "non living"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflation

      "Dead" and "non living" are not synonymous terms

      Even if (for the sake of brevity) I restrict myself to the hypersimplified point of view offered by Monotonous, its still very obvious that the qualities that define membership in the category "dead" indicate that "Dead" is a subcategory of "non living".

      Hopefully if Heironymous spends less time debating wiffle with his little sister and her cat, and gets a proper job with actual responsibilities this silly-serious syndrome of his might eventually be controllable without resorting to expensive medication.


      Additionally I suggest... OH NO!

      Boo Hooo!
      My pet rock just died. I must have forgotten to feed him...

      Delete
    26. Anonymous10:54 PM

      Zed,

      Can you answer
      * did life ever come into existence?
      * when did life come into existence?
      * how did life come into existence?

      Answer the questions as best you can.
      Don't be a politician.
      I am happy to continually rephrase/refine until I get an answer.

      I sense you will say 'buggered if I know' to Q2+3 above (Q1 should be a yes, unless you believe another atheist myth similar to what MalcolmS believes), but such a response is a cop out or an indication that you believe something without a shred of evidence to back up your belief.

      Delete
    27. Anonymous11:09 PM

      Hi Dick,
      No problem about your view, but like everything we should strive to be as informed as possible.

      I see from your bio that you are a smart man so I am surprised you wrote what you did, especially about it must be a man and not an angel argument.

      To me this is either sloppy research or outright dishonest.

      The other side’s case is out there.
      Be thorough.
      Put it ALL out there and then try to dismiss it.

      Delete
    28. "Can you answer
      * did life ever come into existence?"

      The general scientific view is that originally there was no life on earth. Now there is, so yes life did at some point begin (if that is what you are actually asking).


      “* when did life come into existence?”

      The general scientific view is that life began about 3.5 billion years ago.

      “* how did life come into existence?”

      There is no single generally agreed upon model of how life began but you can check out the Wikipedia page on abiogenesis for some of the competing theories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

      Presumably you think that life began because god did it. What is your evidence for this? Even if no-one could answer any of your questions above, how would that be evidence of god?

      Delete
    29. "Do atheists believe the myth that the matter that came into being at the Big Bang was "living matter"?"

      The terms 'alive' or 'dead' are not applicable to matter. That is simply a category error.

      No particle is alive or dead but an organism such as a bacterium constituted of such particles can be alive or dead. These are terms which apply to particular complex processes/bodies that are constituted of matter - the predicate "alive" describes the condition of these organisms. Life is an emergent processes. Death is the end of this emergent processes. The predicates do not apply to matter qua matter.

      A given particle in an organisms will retain the same basic properties whether that organism be 'dead' or 'alive'.

      To ask whether matter was 'alive' at some stage is a failure to understand the nature of matter. It is more than likely based on pre-scientific assumptions about matter that ignore what we know from physics and chemistry.

      Delete
    30. Anonymous8:12 AM

      Boof,

      ***
      "Bible v Quran and Mohammed"
      I have and I have found them less than unconvincing. Therefore, I am an atheist.
      ****
      RESPONSE
      I have found them convincing therefore I am a Christian

      ****
      "Was it Jesus shroud? Who knows for sure."
      Exactly. So why believe that it is jesus' shroud? Even the catholic church won't endorse it as genuine.
      ****
      RESPONSE
      But the Catholic Church does consider it valuable. Always has.
      Especially since science continues to be dumbfounded only adds to its mystery and value.


      ****
      "Further to Dicks suggestion that the disciples stole the body, Roman guards with weapons guarded the tomb to prevent precisely this."

      says who?
      ****
      RESPONSE
      Are you serious?


      ****
      "** Get your head around this medical fact **"

      Even if all of that is true, so what?

      ****
      RESPONSE
      Those who have given these facts worthy consideration have a choice to make.

      Just like the opening lines of Genesis written by simpletons got "lucky" when they wrote the first thing to occur was light, science caught up and said the same thing happened at the Big Bang.

      Then we see another simple Jew got "lucky" writing about some extraordinary (unbelievable event given the times they lived in) medical event only for later for science to give it an actual name.

      ***
      So what?

      ****
      RESPONSE
      Blaise Pascal - "In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadow for those who don't."



      ****
      "Can you answer
      * did life ever come into existence?"

      The general scientific view is that originally there was no life on earth. Now there is, so yes life did at some point begin (if that is what you are actually asking).
      ****
      RESPONSE
      It is what I am asking. Thank you.

      *****
      “* when did life come into existence?”

      The general scientific view is that life began about 3.5 billion years ago.

      ****
      RESPONSE
      No problem with that

      ****
      “* how did life come into existence?”

      There is no single generally agreed upon model of how life began but you can check out the Wikipedia page on abiogenesis for some of the competing theories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

      Presumably you think that life began because god did it. What is your evidence for this? Even if no-one could answer any of your questions above, how would that be evidence of god?

      ****
      RESPONSE
      I have quoted two examples how some simple Jews got lucky (according to atheists?), something no other belief (or non-belief) system ever did, in writing about something that was "way out there" only for science to prove them right.

      The atheist accepts a belief that life began at some point in time without any hard evidence to support that belief.

      Where have I heard that before - a belief without any scientific evidence?

      Isn't such a belief meant to be ridiculed?

      Delete
    31. Anonymous8:15 AM

      GLE,

      You need to take a leaf out of Boof's book.

      Does 'gist' mean anything to you?

      Delete

    32. "Anonymous 10:54 PM Blah de blah"

      Well androgynous, I'd like to help you out there, but step one of this process is for you to acknowledge that the conflation of "dead" with "non living" is at the very least an error of categorical definition.

      Baby steps, baby steps.

      While I'm waiting for that to happen, I'll just be playing with my (live/living) cat, Tiddles the -not- a Gila Monster

      Would oo like a sheep Tiddles? Good Boy!

      Delete
    33. Anon,

      If I get the 'gist' of it, you are trying to back people into absurd positions by misrepresentation and equivocation.

      For example, your statement: "The atheist accepts a belief that life began at some point in time without any hard evidence to support that belief."

      This is simply false. Studying the history of the earth reveals no evidence of life before a certain period. While absence of evidence doesn't negate the possibility that there was life, it does suggest that it was extremely unlikely. Especially in the light of what we know about the conditions that support life as we describe it and the conditions on the planet during its formation.

      So, if it is true that there was no life on the early planet the 'hard evidence' for it having arisen is the rather obvious fact that there is life now.

      HOW it arose is a different question, but not having an answer doesn't alter the scientific position that at some point life arose where previously there was none.

      "a belief without any scientific evidence?"

      It is actually a belief that is in complete accord with the evidence as it stands.

      Delete

    34. >>RESPONSE
      But the Catholic Church does consider it valuable. Always has.
      Especially since science continues to be dumbfounded only adds to its mystery and value.<<

      Which basically means that the Catholic church aren't going to deny it so long as it gets the rubes on the pews and their money in the plate. Even if science can't explain it that doesn't make it supernatural. It just means it is of unknown origin.

      >>RESPONSE
      Are you serious?<<

      I explained my point to Robin further up.

      >>RESPONSE
      Those who have given these facts worthy consideration have a choice to make.

      Just like the opening lines of Genesis written by simpletons got "lucky" when they wrote the first thing to occur was light, science caught up and said the same thing happened at the Big Bang. 

      Then we see another simple Jew got "lucky" writing about some extraordinary (unbelievable event given the times they lived in) medical event only for later for science to give it an actual name.<<

      Except that genesis gets the order of creation all wrong if you are taking it metaphorically. The guy reporting on the crucifixion might have seen it happen to other people who had been crucified. He didn't explain its origin just what happened which he could have seen elsewhere.

      >>RESPONSE
      I have quoted two examples how some simple Jews got lucky (according to atheists?), something no other belief (or non-belief) system ever did, in writing about something that was "way out there" only for science to prove them right.

      The atheist accepts a belief that life began at some point in time without any hard evidence to support that belief.<<

      Maybe it would surprise you to learn that there are muslims who claim that the Koran accurately predicts modern biology in the same way that you claim that the bible predicts modern science. In both cases you have to take a very metaphorical approach to the text and ignore the bits that point in the wrong direction and/or are just flat out wrong. Moreover, the conclusion you want us to come to is not something that could have been predicted before science demonstrated the truth independently of your holy text. Therefore it is very unimpressive. If what you are saying had weight we should expect christian theologians to be at the forefront of science...they aren't

      Delete
    35. Anonymous1:38 AM

      GLE,

      *****
      So, if it is true that there was no life on the early planet the 'hard evidence' for it having arisen is the rather obvious fact that there is life now.

      HOW it arose is a different question, but not having an answer doesn't alter the scientific position that at some point life arose where previously there was none.

      "a belief without any scientific evidence?"

      It is actually a belief that is in complete accord with the evidence as it stands.
      ******

      So to sum up,
      you agree that there was no life but now we have life.
      The hard evidence is 'there is now life we can observe'.

      And you think that is acceptable.

      OK,
      When I suggest that you can't get something from nothing and that everything material is contingent and had a cause, I then propose that that what brought the universe into being was 'God' you don't think it is acceptable.

      Weird, since I am appealing to more logic than you, based on the above two examples.

      Delete
    36. Anonymous9:50 PM

      Boof,

      ***
      We only have one reference for this, written decades after the event from someone with a definite barrow to push.
      ***

      Please elaborate on the 2 points you are making in the above sentence – “written decades after the event “and the “barrow to push”.


      ****
      The Shroud
      "Which basically means that the Catholic church aren't going to deny it so long as it gets the rubes on the pews and their money in the plate. Even if science can't explain it that doesn't make it supernatural. It just means it is of unknown origin."
      ****

      The Church has never used the Shroud in any attempt to get bums on seat or raise money.

      Please strike that atheist lie off your list.

      REQUEST
      Please provide another example of a man made object that science has declared as being of unknown origin.


      ***
      “genesis gets the order of creation all wrong”
      ***
      Is the order of creation for Days 1-3 wrong?
      1. light (and darkness)
      2. sky and sea
      3. the waters receded to give us land

      Delete
    37. >>Please elaborate on the 2 points you are making in the above sentence – “written decades after the event “and the “barrow to push”.<<


      The general view of biblical scholars is that the earliest that the gospels could have been written was mid-first century with many believing that they were written later than that, i.e. decades after the death of Jesus (+/- 33 AD). The writers of the gospels were pushing the barrow that jesus was divine. Therefore, they are not dispassionate recorders of events.

      >>The Church has never used the Shroud in any attempt to get bums on seat or raise money. <<

      I never said they did. What I meant was that if part of people’s reason for believing in the divinity of jesus is the shroud, and this gets them to church, the catholic church isn’t going to say anything to jeopardize that.

      >>REQUEST
      Please provide another example of a man made object that science has declared as being of unknown origin.<<

      What purpose would that serve? Do you genuinely believe that there are no man-made artifacts whose origin science can’t explain?

      If science can’t explain the process through which an artifact was created there are a number of possibilities:
      1. It is of natural origin that science could currently explain but science hasn’t devoted enough resources to the investigation because it is not considered worthwhile.
      2. It is of natural origin that science cannot currently explain but that science could in the future given sufficient advances in technology and/or knowledge.
      3. It is of natural origin that science will never be able to explain for various reasons such as loss of vital evidence/knowledge through time.
      4. It is of supernatural origin.

      Why should we assume that this particular artifact is from the fourth category rather than the first three?

      Moreover, again why should we think that this is jesus’ burial shroud? Even if I granted you the possibility that someone could be miraculously brought back to life after being dead for one and a half days, why should we think that the result of this would be that the person’s body would be imprinted on their burial shroud in just this way?

      >>Genesis and the beginning of the earth.<<
      Below is the order of events as determined by science. In brackets afterwards I have put the day on which genesis 1 says that they occurred. Even if we take a metaphorical interpretation of ‘day’ the order is wrong.

      Light (1)
      Stars (4)
      Sun (4)
      Land (3)
      Night/day (same time as land) (1)
      Moon (4)
      Sea life (5)
      Land life (6)
      Seed bearing plants (3)
      Birds (5)
      Fruit bearing plants (3)
      Grass (3)
      Man (6)

      Furthermore, genesis claims that tame animals were created before man. How could tame animals come about before the animals that tamed them?

      Delete
  2. I would have to disagree. It is certainly not what Mark intended by the ending (I will refer to the writer as Mark for convenience).

    That would be all out of context with the rest of the story.

    Mark begins with a ringing claim that this is an account of the Son of God, of the Messiah. He quotes the prophesy and the supposed fulfillment in John's heralding of Christ.

    The story is full of miracles and the crucifixion account - which is a masterful piece of literature - has his enemies mocking his messianic pretensions while all the time Mark is counterpointing these with prophetic references - the gambling for his clothes, the cry to God "why have you forsaken me". The mocking ironically becomes part of this rich scriptural reference.

    Why, then, would Mark choose to end with a downbeat denouement about a priest telling some women that a body has been moved?

    No, clearly the original ending, even though somewhat enigmatic and understated, is a claim that Christ had risen according to his word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Robin. Yes it is great literature and it's stories have tremendous power in our culture. The challenge for those who cannot believe is to find an explanation that makes sense. What we see here is the difference in cognitive approach of those who can believe and those who cannot. I hope that helps.
      Dick

      Delete
  3. Dick,

    Taking the empty tomb as proof of the resurrection is never going to convince anyone.

    First, though, I'm not sure why you are disregarding the other accounts, as they are all from different perspectives. John's is an eyewitness account, while Matthew's account seems to be from the perspective of the women who found it. There's no reason to discount them on the basis that Mark was written down before them.

    The greatest evidence for the resurrection is the appearance of the risen Jesus to over 500 people. Shared hallucinations like that simply don't happen. Those people saw the risen Jesus. And their lives changed remarkably. THAT is the strongest evidence for the resurrection!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble is that it is only hearsay that 500 people saw the risen Jesus.

      If 500 people say they saw something then that is good evidence.

      If you have one person saying that 500 people saw something, then that is not good evidence.

      And we don't even know if Paul was simply repeating a story he had heard from someone else.

      Delete
    2. Although, of course, there is the Acts account as well which I should have mentioned.

      Delete
    3. Except Paul was pretty clearly inviting the Corinthian christians to investigate for themselves - he tells them most of the 500 are still alive at time of writing. He's saying "go on guys, check it out for yourself!" There's no reason he wouldn't have mentioned this to many many other Christians as well.

      Heaps of 1st century people had the chance to check out the evidence themselves, and Christianity exploded.

      Delete
  4. Another point is that personal immortality was by no means a universal belief among Jews at the time. Probably a minority view in fact.

    And we see no delicacy about referring to dead bodies anywhere else in the gospels, in fact we hear the subject treated with bluntness.

    The women in question had already been involved in the arrangements for Jesus' body prior to the Sabbath and had come prepared to wash the dead corpse of their leader.

    So there is no reason at all if some other group had gotten up even earlier and moved the body elsewhere that the man in white could not simply have said so.

    And note that the man in white's words refer to Jesus earlier promise.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The explanation for the empty tomb is simple.

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa44/Woden87/zombie_jesus.jpg

    http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh263/GhostofBillHix/zombie_jesus_eyes.gif

    http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w197/oilgun/Miscellany/ZombieJC.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How very original LJS

      Delete
    2. I only claimed that it was simple. Originality tends to be more complex.

      Delete
    3. For some I guess.

      In the early seventies it was JC the vampire, then George Romero made zombies cool again so it was JC the zombie.

      I would have thought that, given current tastes, we would be back to JC the vampire.

      Delete
    4. I am up for a return to Vampire Jesus, just as long as he doesn't sparkle.

      VAMPIRES DON'T FREAKIN' SPARKLE.

      BTW Robin. Zombies are pretty massive again just now, so I am not sure that current tastes lead us to Vampire JC.

      Delete
    5. I thought jesus was a lich

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/jesus-was-not-a-zombie

      Delete
    6. Confusion abounds! However I believe I may be able to assist.

      If we simply add a dash of mutant to the mythological stew then:

      Taadaa!

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0970520/

      Mmmmm. Mytholicious

      Delete
    7. C. Thomas Howell!

      OMG. He Lives!

      This requires some pretty fundamental reshaping of my worldview.

      Delete
  6. I know you're trying to flog a book Dick, but lets be honest it's a all a crock of the proverbial. For a start lets throw pre-Christian Attis into the mix. The celebration of his resurrection was on the 25th of March, the Hilaria. Whose virgin mother, Nana became pregnant by eating the almond fruit, was killed, fixed to a tree and resurrects after three days. This is according to Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Hippolytus, Tatian and Tertullian and Augustine
    "the mystery cult of Attis, which spread to Rome from Turkey via Greece during the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54). Essentially,
    historical texts indicate that this cult was concerned with the life, death, and resurrection of the goddess, enacted in March: the burial of the effigy of Attis strapped to a stake; mourning, sacrifice, and bloodletting; and the resurrection of Attis."
    Merrony, M. "An Ivory Throne for Herculaneum"
    and this
    "Roman reports of the rituals of Cybele record that the son...was first tied to a tree and then buried. Three days later a light was said to appear in the burial tomb, whereupon Attis rose from the dead, bringing salvation with him in his rebirth."
    Stone, Merlin. "When God was a Woman."
    The lineage with Mithras, both depicted wearing phrygian cap, is interesting, also he is shown with a spiked headdress (crown of thorns?)
    https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSO5ZaELYvlzbyBNb59w1E0ZAuTcue61q7E0YwFco7K7ZDXv2Cn)
    I mean really! this whole pahlava is about as likely as me spending $485 on a book that doesn't have pictures ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What?!? No pictures?!?

      pffft.
      Good luck...

      Delete
    2. Oh Great and Powerful Og,
      What you say has has merit. I am happy to give you a book but there is only one picture - the cover. Email me on dickgross@bigpond.com and it will be yours. I haven't read it for some time and would be interested in some views on whether it deserves a re-write or whatever. It has a bit romance in.
      Dick

      Delete
    3. Must we throw in Attis.

      I suppose we must. What historical texts are you talking about?

      Diodorus? Ovid? Pausanius? Arnobius the Elder?

      All of these have Attis accounts but they are not even remotely like the Christ story. In some there is a request for a resurrection, but Jupiter fails to grant it. The closest we come is something like a virgin birth, but even that is to different to consider.

      What we know is that in 50 AD at the latest there was an established community of Christians who believed and practiced much as modern Christians do.

      And if you look at the gospel of Mark, it is clearly and explicitly referencing older stories - older Jewish stories. It quotes them and sometimes makes the reference explicit, sometimes leaving it to the reader.

      For example the suffering servant - the innocent who suffers and dies for the sins of mankind appears in Isaiah which dates from the 6th century BC at the latest.

      If there were any Attis beliefs and practices which were similar to Christian beliefs and practices they probably came much later and the copying was the other way round.

      Delete
    4. Having a little trouble turning up your Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria etc references - do you have a cite?

      I had never come across Augustine referring to Attis before.

      Here is where Roger Pearse give the references to the story and includes the texts

      http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2009/04/21/attis-and-jesus/

      Delete
    5. OK, I found the Augustine reference:

      http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2009/05/14/augustine-on-attis-and-the-galli/

      Nothing like what you describe.

      Brief mention of Attis in Tertullian: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0301.htm

      Again, not what you are describing. Again, some cites would be useful.

      Delete
    6. And I also see that the earliest reference to a resurrection component of the Cybeline festival is in mid 4th Century AD, 300 years after Christianity was established.

      As pointed out before any reference up to that time, from 1st century BC to early 4th century AD does not have this or indeed any resemblence to the story of Christ.

      Indeed some earlier references explicitly say that there was no resurrection.

      Delete
    7. Excuse me Robin, I'm not ignoring you or avoiding your questions, I'm a bit too busy at the moment to give you a decent response.

      Delete
    8. I did not think that you were ignoring or avoiding anything.

      Delete
  7. Dear Malcolm S,
    What you say about Cadbury's chocolate being cheaper is true but does not take into account the Aldi's bunny rabbit which is exceedingly cheap, appropriately kitsch and yummy. I condemn for you slipshod research.
    Dick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS7:47 AM

      Oh Great and Godless Guru

      I stand naked before your omniscient gaze. Please forgive my confectionery transgressions. I swear to go forth munching and sin no more.

      Delete
  8. Hey Long John Silver and others, if you want to have a pic as your moniker you'll have to sign up to google or maybe one of the other services offered in the "comment as:" drop box
    with google you may have to have a Gmail account (easy setup)
    and make sure your picture that you select is sized right. In most cases Microsoft Paint can do this. Any questions I'll be happy to answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Oh Great and Powerful One.

      Delete
    2. thanks, but I can't really be bothered signing up for google just so I can display a picture. I guess I'll just have to write a couple of lengthy comments on the basis that a thousand words is worth a picture.

      Shame that there aren't more believers here to argue with - Paddy Owen or Ralph could have probably inspired me to produce a thousand word comment. Maybe you'll all just have to imagine what my picture would look like. There are 500 witnesses who think that I'm incredibly handsome, but I'm not going to tell you their names (pretty credible evidence though, ain't they?)

      Delete
    3. I believe you Pirate - thousands mightn't though. Dick

      Delete
  9. MalcolmS8:42 AM

    Anonymous: "Please prove this athiest myth *** Existence is eternal. ***"

    1. It is not an atheist myth. It would be true even if God existed. It is a philosophical principle.

    2. Existence exists or we would not be having this discussion. Existence cannot come from nothing. Existence cannot become nothing. Existence has always existed and always will exist. Which means that existence is eternal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you mean by "Existence has always existed"? It sounds like you are talking about an infinite past.

      If so, then why do you think so?

      If not, then what do you mean by it?

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS10:05 AM

      Robin: "What do you mean by "Existence has always existed"? It sounds like you are talking about an infinite past"

      No, I'm not. That quoted expression means exactly what it says. Existence cannot come into, or go out of, existence. Which means existence is eternal. Existence simply is. Existence simply exists.

      I think your confusion is that you don't know the meaning of eternal. It literally means *out of time.* Existence exists out of time. Time exists within existence.

      Cosmologists usually express this in the following form: the universe exists out of time - time exists within the universe.

      You cannot refer to existence in temporal terms. That would be a contradiction. Referring to existence as having a "past" [infinite or otherwise] makes no sense. Temporal terms only apply *within* existence.

      Delete
    3. Does "non living" exist? ;)

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS9:22 PM

      Does your dead pet rock exist?

      Delete
    5. No, my confusion stems from your choice of words "always existed" which wording suggests an infinite past.

      Eternity does not "literally" mean "out of time", the etymology of the word refers to periods of time - the "out of time" definition was provided by theologians like Boethius and Aquinas.

      If there are cosmologists who use it in this sense then they got the idea from theologians.

      Also, I think that you will find that there are a number of theoretical physicists who conjecture that there was an infinite past and use the word "eternal" to refer to this idea.

      Delete
  10. Apropos

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/scientists-aim-to-bring-the-passenger-pigeon-back-from-extinction-a-893744.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apropos x 2

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/germany-sees-rising-interest-in-execution-site-archaeology-a-893747.html

      Delete
  11. MalcolmS10:17 PM

    Robin: "No, my confusion stems from your choice of words "always existed" which wording suggests an infinite past"

    From my first googling of eternity:

    e·ter·ni·ty /iˈtərnitē/ Noun

    1. Infinite or unending time.
    2. A state to which time has no application; timelessness.

    Synonyms: perpetuity, aeon, everlasting, eon, immortality

    It is in the second sense that I have used the concept. There is no such thing as an infinite entity[including time]. That includes existence as a whole[the universe] which is finite.

    ReplyDelete
  12. MalcolmS10:22 PM

    Robin: "Eternity does not "literally" mean "out of time", the etymology of the word refers to periods of time - the "out of time" definition was provided by theologians like Boethius and Aquinas"

    Eternity does literally mean out of time. That is the sense in which I have used it. This concept of eternity did not originate with theologians.

    It originated in the ancient world as early as Parmenides. All the Socratic philosophers[including even Plato] believed that the world was eternal, finite and uncreated. Aquinas[and subsequent Thomists] was familiar with this use as an Aristotelian and not as a theologian.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, read Timaeus - Plato describes the Cosmos as being created and that there was a beginning of time. It was the world of forms which he regarded as unchanging.

      Aristotle, on the other hand thought that the idea of a beginning of time was absurd - hence the long feud of ideas between Platonists and Aristotleans that lasted for centuries and is with us today in some form or another.

      Aristotle believed in an infinite past, he had no concept of something being "out of time".

      The word "eternity" comes from the Latin "aeternitas" referring to great periods of time. The first usage of this word in Latin to refer to something "out of time" was Augustine in "Confessions" in the section beginning "On the rashness of those who ask what God did before the Creation".

      Augustine develops this idea throughout the section and there is really no analog in Greek thought.

      Boethius writing about a century later touches on this idea in De Consol and Aquinas in Summa Theologica refers directly to De Consol and uses ideas developed by Augustine.

      There is nothing in Aristotle that equates to this idea and Aristotle would probably have disagreed with it.

      Delete
    2. I see an error here ... I said no analog in Greek thought, I meant no analog in Aristotlean thought. Augustine's passage is a development of ideas in Timaeus.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS8:19 AM

      That is a selective reading of Plato. He regarded the World of Forms as the only true reality. Thisworld, the Cosmos, is only an imperfect "reflection" of true reality and, as such, is not fully real. It was the World of Forms which eventually became *ideas in the mind of God* in the Christian worldview. Of course it took a degree of massaging by neo-Platonists such as Plotinus and Augustine and a few centuries before the WoF morphed into *ideas in the mind of God.*

      The relevant point here is that Plato regarded his WoF as immutable and eternal. So the theologians who followed were not the originators of eternity. The pagans were. The first advocate of the eternal nature of reality was the pre-Socratic Parmenides(early 5th century BCE)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parmenides

      Aristotle did not believe in an "infinite past." He grasped that the totality itself was eternal and that time exists *within the totality.* Aristotle did not believe in any *actual* infinity. [See the final para of my 10:32 post] Christians have some difficulty in dealing with a pagan[or modern secular] world which is both eternal and finite. I remember RalphH being outraged by the idea.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. It seems to me that there is little point in discussing what the philosophers thought if you are simply going to make unsupported blanket claims about what they thought without giving any citation or link to something they actually said.

      For example you claim that Aristotle did not believe in an infinite past yet I have shown where he says that a beginning to time was an impossibility.

      Simply to palm this off with a vague opinion what Aristotle "grasped" some vague point about time existing "within the totality" is meaningless.

      I don't think that you are any position to judge what Aristotle did and did not grasp if it does not relate to anything he actually said.

      Delete
    6. RalphH7:18 AM

      Hey, watch your language Malcolm. I wouldn't dream of being "outraged". The idea just doesn't make sense. What a conflation of concepts!

      I agree that the created universe is finite but how could it be "eternal" in it's fullest sense. Eternal means having no beginning and no ending i.e. self-existent. I believe there is an eternal entity but it is not the finite universe.

      Delete
  13. MalcolmS10:25 PM

    Robin: "If there are cosmologists who use it in this sense then they got the idea from theologians"

    No, they got it from the observation of reality and by a process of reason. Such methodology originated with the pagan Greeks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps you can illustrate this with an example of a cosmologist using the word in this sense.

      Delete
  14. MalcolmS10:32 PM

    Robin: "I think that you will find that there are a number of theoretical physicists who conjecture that there was an infinite past and use the word "eternal" to refer to this idea"

    Yes, there certainly are in this irrational era. Especially after Popper. They are wrong. You are correct that it's "conjecture."

    Nothing which exists is infinite. Everything which exists is what it is - no more and no less - which means everything which exists is finite. That includes existence as a whole[the universe].

    There is a use of [the concept] “infinity” which is valid, as Aristotle observed, and that is the mathematical use. It is valid only when used to indicate a potentiality, never an actuality. Take the number series as an example. You can say it is infinite in the sense that, no matter how many numbers you count, there is always another number. You can always keep on counting; there’s no end. In that sense it is infinite - as a potential. But notice that, actually, however many numbers you count, wherever you stop, you only reach that point, you only get so far. That’s Aristotle’s point that the actual is always finite. Infinity exists only in the form of the ability of certain series to be extended indefinitely; but however much they are extended, in actual fact, wherever you stop it is finite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aristotle was simply making a distinction between two usages of the term. Aristotle believed in actual as well as potential infinities, since he believed in an infinite past. He regarded the idea of there being a beginning of time as an absurdity.

      You can see this in Physics, Book 3 Part 6.

      I am glad that you are so confident in knowing that there can be no actual infinities, I doubt that any physicist would make so bold a claim.

      As for people like Neil Turok being irrational - will you tell him or should I?

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS9:47 AM

      I was referring only to Aristotle's mathematical example in which he is entirely correct. I do not claim that he was universally correct. In fact he made many errors.

      Why do you think an "infinite past" is valid. After all the past ends *now* so cannot be infinite. Furthermore, if the Big Bang is correct, there was no time at the singularity. There is no reason to believe that the past was infinite.

      The concept of the "infinite" means more than any specific entity or amount since any specific entity or amount is finite. Whether you are considering any entity within the universe, or existence as a whole, it is what it is - no more and no less.

      To exist means to exist as something. To exist as something means to be something specific. To be something specific means to be finite. To posit an existent which is more than the specific, more than the finite, is literally a contradiction in terms.

      So if you want to give me an example of something which is an *actual* infinite give it your best shot. Feel free to get some help from Turok. I'm betting you can't do it.

      Delete
    3. Why are you asking me to give an example? I am not making any claim - it is you who are making the claim.

      Can you show your reasoning for the claim "To be something specific means to be finite"?

      There is no contradiction in mathematics between something that is infinite and specific, so why should there be a contradiction in concrete reality?

      Also to clarify, do you believe that it is, at least in principle possible, that infinitely many events could have occurred before this moment now - for example that infinitely many universes could have been born and destroyed?

      If not, why not?

      Delete
    4. 8x
      There is no contradiction in mathematics between something that is infinite and specific, so why should there be a contradiction in concrete reality?
      x8

      Good question. Love to stop for a while and discuss it but I have this annoying greek tortoise to catch.

      Always just a bit out of reach - nearly got ya - AHA - oooooooh! dagnabit!

      Stop not moving ya pesky critter...



      Delete
    5. MalcolmS6:59 PM

      "I have this annoying greek tortoise to catch"

      Just walk around the front and pick him up! They make great soup. Can't imagine why Zeno couldn't figure that. He seemed such a sensible chap.

      Delete
    6. Is Zeno's Paradox the official answer? That could be a problem because this site does not appear to have the :rolleyes: icon.

      Delete
    7. 8x
      Just walk around the front and pick him up!
      x8

      Of course! The solution! Infinity + 1 ... and the job is done!

      Thank you Malthematics.

      Err..ahem ...
      Do you do tax returns?

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS12:10 AM

      Actually, infinity + 1 = infinity.

      An eloquent demonstration that infinity is non-specfic.

      Delete
    9. 8x
      Actually, infinity + 1 = infinity.
      x8

      Awwwwww dammit! now I'm back chasing that tortoise again

      My kingdom for a speargun...

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS12:41 AM

      "Is Zeno's Paradox the official answer?"

      It's certainly a related situation. The tortoise's path does not consist of an *actual* infinite number of divisions in reality. Distance, in reality, is not infinitely divisible or infinitely expandable. A *potential* infinite number only exists mentally. No *actual* infinite exists.

      Hence, in reality, Achilles wins the race.

      Delete
    11. You might just as meaningfully say that finity + 1 = finity and then say that finity is not specific.

      Let's look at a specific infinity + 1. The set of odd numbers is infinite and specific. The set consisting of the union of the set of odd numbers and the set of even prime numbers is a different infinite set (possessing one more member) and is also specific.

      There is no reaon why something infinite cannot be specific.

      Delete
    12. As for Zeno, even if it was an argument against reality being infinitely divisible, that would still not lead to the conclusion "No actual infinite exists"

      So you still have not provided any support for your assertion.

      Delete
    13. And my hint to Zardoz wrt his little problem with the turtle is that he should try being stop being so discrete.

      Delete
    14. I mean tortoise, but the technique would also work on turtles.

      Delete
    15. The point being that if reality were, in fact, continuous then the tortoise's path *would* consist of an uncountable infinity of divisions in reality, and so would Achilles, so - no problem.

      The intuition of the "paradox" stems from trying to map a countable set onto an uncountable set.

      Delete
    16. "There is no contradiction in mathematics between something that is infinite and specific, so why should there be a contradiction in concrete reality?"

      Robin there's no contradiction in maths with time flowing forward or backwards at any given moment. But in reality it only flows forward, because of entropy.

      Delete
    17. Long John Silver3:11 PM

      I'm not sure that you could use the same technique with turtles, Robin.
      You are forgetting that their ninja training would make their path less likely to be continuous due to their ability to leap ahead of Achilles. A few blows from Raphael's sai would slow Achilles down enough for the turtle to win the race.

      Delete
  15. MalcolmS9:03 AM

    Robin: "The set of odd numbers is infinite..."

    That is entirely false. You can talk about the set being *potentially* infinite but the set is never *actually* infinite.

    Now, if you really have observed an *actual* set of infinite odd numbers, then, I have a request for you.

    Please name the last odd number of the set before you get to infinity. I wait enthusiastically for your reply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might want to read up a little on the concept of infinity.

      Delete
    2. >>Robin: "The set of odd numbers is infinite..."

      That is entirely false. You can talk about the set being *potentially* infinite but the set is never *actually* infinite.<<

      You can say that the set of odd numbers is infinte and this can be demonstrated but to do so you have to accept the axioms of number theory and the validity of logical reasoning applied to those axioms.

      If you accept these then it can be proven that the set of odd numbers is infinite (just google it if you want the proof). If you reject these axioms then you cannot talk meaningfully about number theory and hence whether or not the set of odd numbers is infinite.

      Alternatively, you could invent your own number theory with your own set of axioms but whether or not this will be internally consistent and hence whether or not it is possible to talk about the infiniteness or otherwise of the set of odd numbers in this new number theory is another thing.

      Delete
    3. I am not quite sure what you are saying here. Let me reiterate my question to Malcome:

      "There is no contradiction in mathematics between something that is infinite and specific, so why should there be a contradiction in concrete reality?"

      So, clearly, I am not claiming that the set of odd numbers is a concrete reality and I am utterly confused as to why you would think I am.

      Also, it is a complete nonsense to say that the set of numbers is potentially infinite because that would imply that the number 3 existed in some way that a number that has never been stated does not.

      Mathematics is a language and the objects of mathematics are concepts expressed in that language.

      Now you say that if you reject the axioms upon which these concepts are based you cannot meaningfully talk about number theory.

      Fine - if you reject the axioms of mathematics then you cannot meaningfully talk about circles and squares and shape and volume, you cannot meaningfully talk about physics.

      True but trivial.

      Lets look at context. MalcomS was claiming that infinity was not specific because infinity + 1 = infinity.

      He was using the mathematical concept of infinity to make a point and therefore presumably accepted those axioms.

      I was simply giving a specific example of adding one more member to a specific set to get another specific set to demonstrate that this is not the case.

      Delete
    4. But I am interested, boof. If you say that the statement "the set of odd numbers is infinite" is entirely false, then would you say that my statement "the set of even primes is finite" is also entirely false?

      If not then what distinction would you be making?

      Delete
    5. Robin,

      Sorry my punctuation was rather ambiguous. The statement "That is entirely false" was actually a quote from MalcolmS. I was arguing against this statement rather than yours. I agree that the set of odd numbers is infinite.

      Delete
    6. My apologies,I should have read more carefully.

      Delete
  16. MalcolmS9:08 AM

    Robin: "... even if it was an argument against reality being infinitely divisible, that would still not lead to the conclusion "No actual infinite exists"

    I have not claimed that as an argument. I made that claim because of my observation of reality and the fact that, no matter how hard I look, I cannot find anything which is actually infinite. My statement "no actual infinite exists" is of the same form as "no actual centaurs exist" and is just as true.

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  17. So your argument now is that there are no actual infinite things because you have looked really hard and not found any, yes?

    ReplyDelete
  18. The fact of the matter is that no-one knows if there are actual infinites.

    People like Richard Feynman and Gregory Chaitin, who have expressed opinions on the matter, do not presume to actually know one way or the other.

    Those guys pursuing the possiblity at the Perimeter Institute have not simply overlooked some simple knock down refutation of their theories and neither do they claim to know that actual infinities are possible.

    We know from thought experiments like Hilbert's Hotel and from paradoxes like the Banach-Tarski sphere paradox that if there are actual infinites then they will behave in a very counter intuitive fashion.

    But we already know from everyday physics that counter intuitive does not equate to wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  19. MalcolmS7:41 PM

    Robin: "The fact of the matter is that no-one knows if there are actual infinites"

    Phew, at last! That statement includes you. Thank you very much. That was like extracting bloody teeth!

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      Delete
    2. How intellectually dishonest can you get.

      I have already pointed out that I am not making the claim.

      You are making the claim.

      Now that you have found you cannot support the assertion you have been making you try to save face by pretending that it was me who was making the claim, not you.

      Debating atheists is like punching jelly.

      Delete
    3. 8x
      Debating atheists is like punching jelly.
      x8

      Robin9:31 PM
      This comment has been removed by the author.

      Robin4:09 PM
      This comment has been removed by the author.

      Robin4:24 PM
      This comment has been removed by the author.


      Well you surely landed a few good jelly punches there

      Delete
  20. MalcolmS7:46 PM

    Robin: "Those guys pursuing the possiblity at the Perimeter Institute... "

    "Possibility"?

    Before you can assert that something is *possible* you have to at least have *some* evidence and they[and you] don't. Assertion in the absense of evidence is non-cognitive, arbitrary and can be rejected without argument.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again, you are not paying attention.

      Who exactly is asserting that something is possible?

      I am and have always been questioning your assertion that there are no actual infinites.

      Will you now concede that you do not know whether or not there are any actual infinites?

      Delete
  21. MalcomS,

    Just to remind you of your claim:

    "Nothing which exists is infinite. Everything which exists is what it is - no more and no less - which means everything which exists is finite. That includes existence as a whole[the universe]."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS10:24 PM

      Thank you! I had forgotten how clearly and succinctly I had stated my position.

      Delete
    2. Are we back to that being your claim again????

      You should really let people know what you have decided to believe today.

      Delete
  22. MalcolmS12:40 AM

    Robin: "The fact of the matter is that no-one knows if there are actual infinites"

    Then why do you claim: "The set of odd numbers is infinite and specific"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What exactly do you see as the contradiction there???

      Delete
  23. RalphH8:47 PM

    Hi Dick, Malcolm and others.

    Malcolm, would you care to explain the existence of potential. Seems to me that you limit existence to things that are physically real (only). I think that's a big mistake. What we call physically real exists FROM the realm of potential, not the other way round. The higher realm (of potential) is actually more real (because infinite and eternal) than the physical realm.

    Regarding 'living' and 'dead' (discussed in earlier posts) I don't believe life begins/began per se. Life is an eternal, animating principle that flows into and animates forms that have been designed to be so animated according to their form.

    God who is among other divine attributes, Life Itself, raises up these physical forms. When they have performed their function/purpose, they die - deteriorate or injure to the point where life can no longer flow into them on the physical level.

    In the case of the human (which is a form designed to receive life on higher levels than merely the physical) the inner form (the soul/inner level of the spirit) continues to receive life/exist at that higher level.

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    1. Dear Ralph,

      Great to see you here. I believe that this is the first blog you are on at this new site. Welcome.

      Dick

      Delete
    2. Hi RalphH,

      Once more for old times' sake, you wouldn't happen to have any evidence for these assertions? You know, reasons that we might actually think they carried any weight beyond making you feel good?

      And in asking for evidence and reasons, I am not saying "Can you please make a few more unsupported assertions in favour of your previous unsupported assertions"

      Delete
    3. boot said 'I am not saying "Can you please make a few more unsupported assertions in favour of your previous unsupported assertions"'

      Really? You want to hold him to a higher standard than the atheists here???

      Delete
    4. "What we call physically real exists FROM the realm of potential, not the other way round. The higher realm (of potential) is actually more real (because infinite and eternal) than the physical realm. "

      This place just didn't feel right w/o Ralph making shit up all teh time.

      Delete
    5. RalphH5:50 PM

      Hi Stranger, you don't like extending your mind and being challenged to think 'outside the square'?

      Isn't that what blogging is (in part) about?

      Do you always assume someone is "making s(tuff) up" when you can't understand or are ignorant of it?

      Delete
    6. "In the case of the human (which is a form designed to receive life on higher levels than merely the physical) the inner form (the soul/inner level of the spirit) continues to receive life/exist at that higher level."

      The only problem with this theory is, that if our primate ancestors didn't have souls, when exactly did humans turn into dual entities?

      Delete
    7. "i Stranger, you don't like extending your mind and being challenged to think 'outside the square'? "

      Not at all, I do it a lot. What you say is just something you've made up and have no evidence for.

      Delete
  24. RalphH5:39 PM

    What has "feel(ing) good" got to do with anything Boof? My opinions and beliefs are based on what is a reasonable explanation/what makes rational sense.

    WRT "evidence", is there any reason to dogmatically "assert" that sensual/scientific evidence is the only "evidence" that is applicable? The secular assertion that physical life and the life forms it inhabits just happen out of nothing makes no sense whatsoever.

    If higher realms do exist it makes no sense to assume that they could be discoverable in any way from a physical/material perspective and methodology alone.

    Just as Copernicus had (and we in following his example have) to think outside the box to realise that the earth is not the centre of the universe so too can we think outside the box of believing that the physical/sensual is all that there is and the source of everything.

    The key to understanding the inner reality of things is not scientific evidence/'believing is seeing' (what one sees depends so much on level of education in various fields and pre-existing expectations and attitudes i.e. prejudices).

    Human intellect alone in it's finiteness and fallibility is hardly 'the measure of all things' as has been claimed through the ages/the last word is what is real (or not). But it can be a guide to comprehending the wisdom behind it all and the love behind that which is the core of all existence.

    IMO believing/viewing life from the objective perspective of revelation understood rationally and lived accordingly is what makes one an integral part of the bigger picture and opens the spiritual sight to inner reality.

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    1. Ralph: If higher realms do exist it makes no sense to assume that they could be discoverable in any way from a physical/material perspective and methodology alone.

      Yet you claim to have discovered god. How did you make this discovery if not by physical means?

      Delete
    2. I didn’t mention sensual/scientific evidence at all. If you have some non-scientific evidence I am willing to listen to it. However, you will also have to explain why we should think that such non-scientific methodology leads us to the truth about external reality.

      If secularists set more store by scientific evidence it is because of its unparalleled track record of uncovering the truth about reality and the continual failures of other methods. Sitting and contemplating the universe has not brought us consistent success in understanding this universe (the one we have passing familiarity with). Why should we think sitting and contemplating should bring us any understanding of some other universe/world/plane of existence with which we have no experience?

      Solely sitting and contemplating the universe did not bring us (and I would say could not have brought us) to the theory of relativity or quantum mechanics. Copernicus did not come to the geocentric model of the universe by sitting and contemplating but instead by considering the physical (sensual/scientific) evidence extremely closely.

      You, yourself, claim that “Human intellect alone in it's (sic) finiteness and fallibility” cannot understand the truth of nature. But what else are you, RalphH, using if not your human intellect?

      So what evidence (scientific or otherwise) supports your claims? What reason do I (or, indeed, you) have for accepting your claims as true?

      Delete
    3. RalphH5:17 AM

      Boof, you might be surprised to learn that I completely agree with you. However, I was not talking about “external reality”/”the truth of nature” (these things are discoverable using the scientific method as you describe) but of “inner reality”/the inner, parallel world of the human mind or spirit (the realm of religion).

      It has been an ignorant mistake for scripture to be interpreted literally and applied to the realm of science. There is no disconnect or conflict between religion and science. Science deals with the outer/external world; religion deals with the inner/internal world of the human mind/spirit. I would add that science cannot be interpreted in complete isolation (as secularists do) because the inner and outer are linked as for example cause and effect are.

      Inner and outer are relative terms and can mean different things from different perspectives. From a physical perspective the inner is the mind/spirit and the outer the body of physical substance. From a spiritual perspective (knowable only from revelation) the mind itself has an inner and an outer. The inner is the soul (the being and purpose/the potential) and the outer the expression/activation/ the link to the physical.

      I could go on but that's probably enough to set the 'little grey cells' (I'm an Agatha Christie fan) racing.

      Delete
    4. RalphH

      When I talk about external reality I am talking about statements like "Australia is a country", and "this computer exists", that is, objective statements.

      Internal reality is the subjective, such as "Bach is beter than Mozart".

      Unless you are claiming that heaven is a state of mind or that god exists in the same way that unicorns exist, then you are talking about external (objective) reality and you need more than just your say-so to demonstrate that those staements are true.

      Delete
    5. "My opinions and beliefs are based on what is a reasonable explanation/what makes rational sense. "

      No,they are based on your abject ignorance of science and what you want to be true.

      "WRT "evidence", is there any reason to dogmatically "assert" that sensual/scientific evidence is the only "evidence" that is applicable?"

      Yes. They are called mirages.

      "The secular assertion that physical life and the life forms it inhabits just happen out of nothing makes no sense whatsoever."

      There is no such secular assertion, why do you keep lying?

      "If higher realms do exist it makes no sense to assume that they could be discoverable in any way from a physical/material perspective and methodology alone. "

      It also makes no sense to insist your particilar version of the 'higher realms' is thw correct one w/o any evidence.

      "Just as Copernicus..."

      Coppernicus had evidence and logic on his side, you do not.

      " (what one sees depends so much on level of education in various fields and pre-existing expectations and attitudes i.e. prejudices). "

      So do you see God because you are an ignorant fool?

      "from the objective perspective of revelation"

      It's subjective, not objective.

      Delete
  25. Robin: Debating atheists is like punching jelly.

    If you must generalise about a group of people based on an exchange with one member of the group then at least get the identity of the group right. Mal may be an atheist, but in this exchange it’s his objectivist leanings that got your goat. If you knew anything about objectivism it would have been clear that everything Mal has said about infinity was lifted (sometimes verbatim) from the writings of his idol, Leonard Peikoff, an elder in the objectivist church.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. However my remarks were not simply about MalcomS, but about debates with atheists in general.

      I am (happily it seems) unfamiliar with the works of Mr Peikoff.

      Delete
    2. Incidentally you may also have noticed that I am channelling AC Grayling who makes the same generalisation about theists.

      Also, it seemed to me that the claim that there are no actual infinites was lifted from the claims of William Lane Craig - strange bedfellows at least.

      Delete
    3. Setting aside your current interchange with MalcolmS (which as Terry poionts out has more to do with Malcolm's objectivism than atheism), what unsupported assertions do you find atheists in general making?

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS12:37 AM

      Robin: Dr Leonard Peikoff is an Objectivist philosopher who is the author of "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" an excellent work which a theist and sceptic such as yourself could benefit immensely from reading.

      I know nothing of the "objectivist church" which I am sure exists only in the fertile imagination of Terry's tiny little mind. He regularly demonstrates that you don't have to be a theist in order to be a fantasist or myth maker.

      Delete
    5. boof wrote: "what unsupported assertions do you find atheists in general making?"

      I could put pride of place to Pen of Hrba's theories about the Bible, all stated as though they were incontrovertible fact.

      Another theme that I find quite often is the "there are no necessarily existing things".

      If that were simply stated as an opinion with support then it would be fine.

      But it is generally stated as some sort of basic fact. I encountered it in Dick's previous blog at SMH - I can find the reference if you like, if the stuff is still there.

      I also read this a lot at the CARM forum and on the ABC's Religion and Ethics page. One person there even went further and said that there are no necessarily true statements (which would appear to be one of those self defeating claims like 'there is no truth').

      Anyway, those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

      Delete
    6. Robin,

      I should say that I wasn’t contending that no atheist makes unsupported assertions. Rather asking whether this was a common thing to atheists.

      As for Pen, there were various atheists who objected strongly to his reasoning (such as it was) on Dick’s previous blog. Personally, I had neither the time nor inclination to check anything Pen said so generally ignored it.

      With regard to necessary beings, I was going to say that I didn’t think that there necessarily was a necessary being, but then I realized that was rather a strange statement to make. I guess my position on that would be that if there is something that is necessary, that thing would be reality itself. If god existed he would have to exist within reality as the definition of existence is “being a part of reality”. If god was outside reality then he would not be real and hence would not exist. Therefore, reality is more fundamental than any god that might exist.

      “No necessarily true statements”? I am not sure what the person meant by that so can’t directly comment on it. Using the way people usually talk when they talk about necessary things it would mean that there are no statements that must be true in all possible worlds. I think that statement doesn’t fall into the “this statement is not true” contradiction because it is a meta-statement about worlds (that is a statement about statements in worlds). Whether it is true or not is another question.

      Delete
    7. 8x
      a meta-statement about worlds (that is a statement about statements in worlds)
      x8

      I've lost count of the number of times "Russells Teapot" has been mentioned on one of Dicks blogs, but I'm pretty sure this is one of the first comments that even attempts to approach the topic of "Russells Paradox"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naive_set_theory#Paradoxes

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_theory#Type_universes

      Very nice, thank you





      Delete
    8. no worries zed. I try my best.

      I am currently reading "Gödel, Escher, Bach" so that might be somewhat of an influence on my thinking at the moment.

      Delete
  26. Ralph: In the case of the human (which is a form designed to receive life on higher levels than merely the physical) …

    To show how silly this statement is I ask you to imagine a line of women holding hands. The first woman in the line is your mother and she is holding the hands of her mother, who is holding the hands of her mother, who is holding the hands of her mother, and so on. The line stretches on past the emergence of Homo sapiens to the hominids that preceded us.

    Now imagine yourself walking back along this line of maternal descendants until you get to the point where you feel the human line ends and the ape line begins. And after you’ve separated the hands of the human mother from her ape daughter you can explain why god chose to design the one to receive a higher form of life and the other to receive a lower form.

    My point is that life exists on a continuum. It only appears to exist in neat little packages called species because most of the continuum is extinct and has disappeared from view. In short, ‘human’ is an arbitrary distinction. It does not exist in reality.

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    1. I don't see how the continuum contradicts what Ralph is saying.

      Your argument follows a common form ie "if A then why B?, therefore not A".

      But that does not constitute an argument.

      If someone cannot explain B it does not falsify A unless there is some reason why B falsifies A.

      In which case the burden still rests with you.

      Why should that continuum mean that we were not designed to receive a higher form of life?

      Delete
    2. For my own part, I might follow that line to the point where I felt sure that it could not be true that the mother loved the child. Then somewhere that I have already passed (I could probably not pinpoint the exact place) would perhaps be the point in question.

      In that case I think that the question would be moot.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS1:07 AM

      Terry: "My point is that life exists on a continuum. It only appears to exist in neat little packages called species because most of the continuum is extinct and has disappeared from view. In short, ‘human’ is an arbitrary distinction. It does not exist in reality"

      'Human' is not an arbitrary distiction - it exists in reality. The fact is that if an evolutionary continuum actually occurred in reality then all its components are/or were real.

      The spectrum of light is a continuum. That there are invisible wavelengths of light does not mean that red fire engines and green grass do not exist in reality.

      Delete
  27. Robin: However my remarks were not simply about MalcomS, but about debates with atheists in general.

    Well, if you’d read Twain you’d know that all generalisations are false, including the one I’ve just made.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Robin: Why should that continuum mean that we were not designed to receive a higher form of life?

    The point I’m trying to make is that ‘human’ is an arbitrary designation. There is no place on the continuum of life to which you can point and say, there, that is the first human. And that’s because no such place on the continuum exists. Now, if ‘human’ is an arbitrary classification, then it makes no sense to say humans were ‘designed’ for any purpose.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. But why? Why do you think that it makes no sense to say that we were designed for a purpose if 'human' is an arbitrary classification?

      Delete
    2. Terry, let me put it this way.

      I have a program (that is just a bit of fun) which randomly generates 10,000 bit strings and then I run each bit string as s program in a particular bitcode language and test to see how well it performs a particular task - say drawing a rectangle.

      The program takes the best 100 and copies each 100 times adding random mutations to them and then starts the process again.

      So each time I get a successively better attempt at drawing the rectangle.

      I watch the process unfold on the screen and each time a generation produces a significantly better result I note down a version number for the change.

      I haven't the computer power or time to have gotten more than a couple of sides to the rectangle but supposing I got to something approaching my rectangle.

      I might have labelled this as, say, version 11301.11.

      Now would you say that the fact that 11901.11 is an arbitrary classification of a particular bit string would imply that 11901.11 was not something that was intended to draw a rectangle?

      Delete
  29. Robin: Incidentally you may also have noticed that I am channelling AC Grayling who makes the same generalisation about theists.

    Then Grayling, too, would benefit from reading Twain.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Just about anyone would benefit from reading Twain.

      Delete
  30. Robin: For my own part, I might follow that line to the point where I felt sure that it could not be true that the mother loved the child. Then somewhere that I have already passed (I could probably not pinpoint the exact place) would perhaps be the point in question.

    You’re joking, right? You don’t seriously believe that somewhere along the line of your ancestors there was a mother who didn’t love her child because the child belonged to Homo erectus while the mother belonged to Homo sapiens?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why should I be joking?

      Let's follow that line as far as we can. Are you saying that we will never reach a point at which the mother does not love the offspring?

      Perhaps it is you who are joking.

      Delete
    2. Robin: Are you saying that we will never reach a point at which the mother does not love the offspring?

      Yes, I am. But then I have a particular definition of the word ‘love’ in mind. And it has to do with the question of why love exists between a mother and her child in the first place. And given that I see things through the eyes of a biologist the answer to that ought to be obvious.

      Delete
    3. Again, I ask if you are joking.

      We are going to follow that line back as far as it extends

      And that line will never, you say, lead to an organism that does not love it's offspring?

      Delete
  31. MalcolmS1:24 AM

    RalphH: "Malcolm, would you care to explain the existence of potential"

    I refer to those actions[events] we observe which constitute change. For example: an acorn is *potential* for an oak tree, ideas are *potential* for a thesis, night is *potential* for day, a book is *potential* for the discovery of knowledge, a nebula is *potential* for a star, a star is *potential* for a solar system, etc.

    All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act. A thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.

    That, Ralph, is the explanation of potential. Observe that it is completely natural and causal and NOT supernatural or miraculous.

    ReplyDelete
  32. MalcolmS1:27 AM

    RalphH: "Seems to me that you limit existence to things that are physically real (only). I think that's a big mistake"

    The mistake is all yours. Consciousness, ideas, sensory perception, concepts, thinking, knowledge, etc all *exist* in a non-physical form as I have often claimed. Please stop misrepresenting me Ralph.

    ReplyDelete
  33. MalcolmS1:33 AM

    RalphH: "The higher realm (of potential) is actually more real (because infinite and eternal) than the physical realm"

    No part of reality is "higher" or "lower" than any other in the sense you describe. A pebble is just as real as a mountain. A tree is just as real as a forest. An atom is just as real as a solar system. Consciousness is just as real as the body. Anything which exists is real. When you claim otherwise is when you are making stuff up.

    Furthermore, no *actual* entity which exists is infinite. An existent can only be specific, bounded, limited, circumscribed, restricted, etc i.e., finite.

    The only thing which is eternal, out of time or timeless is existence as a whole [the universe]. Time can only exist as a relationship between entities in motion which exist *within* the universe. There are no entities outside the universe. In fact there is no *outside the universe.*

    The universe is both eternal and finite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Back to making the same unsupported assertions.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS7:15 AM

      Back to asserting nothing I see.

      Delete
    3. 8x
      Anything which exists is real.
      x8

      Do differences *exist*?

      8x
      The universe is both eternal and finite
      x8

      Is one atom different from another atom?
      If every atom is different from every other atom then how many differences are there in the universe?

      And if one difference is different from another difference then surely this difference is different again from the first two. Every two differences produce a new difference!

      Therefore difference is:
      1) Ubiquitous
      2) Infinite

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS8:19 AM

      "If every atom is different from every other atom then how many differences are there in the universe?"

      A very large finite number.

      Delete
    5. 8x
      A very large finite number.
      x8

      My dear chap, you are missing the subtle implications.

      Only to be expected though. Ideologues always do ;)

      Delete
  34. MalcolmS1:36 AM

    RalphH: "Life is an eternal, animating principle that flows into and animates forms that have been designed to be so animated according to their form"

    You must be aware of some pretty weird lifeforms! Living organisms come into existence/are born, live their lives and go out of existence/die. All living organisms are mortal. All living organisms are decidedly temporal. "Life" does not exist independent of living organisms. Get a grip Ralph!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. RalphH7:46 AM

      Malcolm, when living organisms "die" they do not immediately "go out of existence" (that may take some time especially if it's cold). They are still the same organisms but are no longer animated or alive/they no longer HAVE life.

      It only needs one living organism/entity for life to exist - one entity to be the source of life to all other living organisms.

      I think I have a good grip.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS8:33 AM

      RalphH: "Malcolm, when living organisms "die" they do not immediately "go out of existence" (that may take some time especially if it's cold)"

      You are quite wrong Ralph. They go out of existence immediately.

      A corpse is not a "living organism."

      Delete
    3. RalphH8:06 PM

      Technically I guess you're correct Malcolm. Are you a lawyer to be able to split hairs like that.

      A corpse is not a living organism but it's still an organism. It is the organism that dies (or is said to die) because it is no longer enlivened. So 'life' has not gone out of existence, nor has the physical organism - only the link between the two.

      Delete
    4. "They are still the same organisms but are no longer animated or alive/they no longer HAVE life."

      Life isn't a 'thing' to have.

      "I think I have a good grip."

      Insane people do that.

      Delete
    5. "*Man is the rational animal*"

      Looking at the stuff Ralph regurgitates we might not be.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS7:55 AM

      Ralph: "A corpse is not a living organism but it's still an organism"

      Stop beating around the bush. It's a corpse.

      "It is the organism that dies (or is said to die) because it is no longer enlivened. So 'life' has not gone out of existence, nor has the physical organism"

      The life of that corpse has most certainly gone out of existence. What's left is nothing more than a mass of chemicals. No Ralph, I am not a lawyer but I have seen numerous corpses. There is nothing more permanent than a corpse and death. Not that it matters - just make sure you enjoy your life.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS8:12 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: ""*Man is the rational animal*" Looking at the stuff Ralph regurgitates we might not be"

      Actually that statement means that human beings have the faculty/capacity for rationality. But reason is not automatic and must be exercised by choice. It can also err. So Ralph fits the definition as do you Andrew :)

      Delete
  35. Malcolm:

    I am not saying that the individuals that make up the continuum of life did not exist. I am saying our classification of them into this species and that is an arbitrary one. Just as is our classification of electromagnetic radiation, to take your analogy, into radio and microwaves is arbitrary.

    Ralph would have us believe that humans have been singled out by his god for special treatment. I’m asking how this can be so if the definition of ‘humans’ is fuzzy.

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    1. MalcolmS7:48 AM

      The classification of the various species is not "arbitrary" if those various species exist/existed. If so, then, the classification would be "true" - not arbitrary.

      Yes, you can reject Ralph's assertion that god has something to do with it but that does not make the definition of humans "fuzzy."

      *Man is the rational animal* is a perfectly valid definition. Animal is the genus to which man belongs. Rational differentiates him from other animals in the genus.

      Delete
    2. RalphH7:53 AM

      Who says "the definition of ‘humans’ is fuzzy"? Terry does! Is Terry's definition "THE definition"? No! it's his opinion.

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS8:20 AM

      I don't think Terry gave a definition Ralph. Sceptics rarely do. Not surprising really if he thinks its 'fuzzy.'

      Delete
    4. *Man is the rational animal*

      Sure 'bout that?
      I just did a hornpipe for no reason at all.

      *Man is the dancing ape*

      *Man is the animal with underpants*

      *Man is the featherless biped*

      All pretty solid definitions I reckon

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS9:43 PM

      zed: "*Man is the dancing ape* *Man is the animal with underpants* *Man is the featherless biped* All pretty solid definitions I reckon"

      No, every one is a hopeless definition. Man is an entity with numerous attributes. What must be specified in the differentia of a definition is the most *fundamental* attribute and yours fail miserably.

      Amusingly *man is the featherless biped* was originally offered as a definition by the sophists in the ancient world who were always trying to confound the advocates of reason. Legend has it that as they were chortling over the success of their latest prank an Aristotelian strolled past and tossed a plucked chicken into their midst :)

      Delete
    6. Beakless biped then.

      Sorted

      Delete
  36. Ralph: Who says "the definition of ‘humans’ is fuzzy"? Terry does! Is Terry's definition "THE definition"? No! its his opinion.

    No, it’s not my opinion. It’s the orthodox view in biology, and it’s referred to as the species problem. I refer you to the work of Ann Gibbons for a full account of it.

    There is no universally agreed upon definition in biology as to what constitutes a species. Most school textbooks use Ernst Mayr’s definition, which is that if the members of a group mate then that group should be called a species.

    But Mayr’s definition fails all over the place. And an appropriate example is the discovery by Svante Paabo two years ago that modern humans interbred with Neandertals and Denisovian hominids.

    I’m sorry, but people like you who think that humans are distinct from animals and reserved for special treatment from god just have to deal with the plain fact that there is no clear boundary between animals and apes.

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  37. RalphH7:03 PM

    Well Terry, I'd say that even the "orthodox (or majority) view" is still opinion. Reality/truth is not chosen by a democratic vote. A opinion may be true or false or anywhere in-between.

    I don't get the deal you (and others) are making about the interbreeding of Neandertals etc with more modern humans. Neandertals were primitive humans, not animals. Sub-groupings within a species are not separate species.

    Humans belong to the animal kingdom (rather than the vegetable and mineral kingdoms) because they have an animal body. However, as Malcolm has pointed out, they have much more than an animal body. They have a inner, rational faculty to the mind.

    I suggest this is something that cannot evolve - it's not the result of physical mutation - it's a quantum leap into an entirely distinctive aspect of mental activity.

    I don't think God has "reserved humans for special treatment". He has created them for a specific purpose - just as all other things (beings and entities) are created for specific purposes. I don't think there are animals wandering around thinking, "It's not fair that I don't get a chance at eternal life."
    'What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over'.

    Being adapted to a higher purpose does not give humans cart blanche to abuse their fellow creatures. In fact the opposite is true because the purpose of humans is to choose to become in the image and likeness of God – the font of all goodness, kindness and love.

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    1. Ralph

      Though you are right not to take their word for it, before you dismiss the collective view of biologists on the question of species definition you could at least make an effort to try to understand why they hold this view.

      I wouldn’t pay much heed to Malcolm on the subject of mind. His knowledge on the subject is limited to whatever the authors of objectivism have to say on the matter. He is ignorant of anything science has to say.

      The mind most definitely is something that can evolve, and all indications are that it has. And the mind is not nearly as rational as you suppose it is. Much of what we take for granted about our inner lives, from visual perception to memories, appears to be nothing more than an elaborate illusion.

      Don’t take my word for it, though. There’s a stream of papers coming out on the subject. Try reading some of them. Even if you disagree you'll at least find them interesting.

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    2. Ralph: [God] has created [us] for a specific purpose ...

      I know you think that god created us for a special purpose. You’ve said it almost as many times as Malcolm has said ‘rational mind’. But you haven’t addressed the problem of what god means by ‘us’. Who is ‘us’? Does it include the Neandertals with whom our ancestors had sex? Does it include the other hominids with whom the Neandertals had sex? Where’s the boundary that separates us from the beings who have not been singled out by god for some special purpose?

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    3. "Reality/truth is not chosen by a democratic vote."

      Quite, it's chosen buy the evidence, which most agree reflects what he said.

      "Neandertals were primitive humans, not animals."

      No they weren't, they were a completely different species. We only share a common ancestor with Neanderthals, we are not descended from them.

      "However, as Malcolm has pointed out, they have much more than an animal body. They have a inner, rational faculty to the mind."

      Many other animals have a rational faculty too, or they wouldn't be able to use tools, or in some cases language.

      "I suggest this is something that cannot evolve - it's not the result of physical mutation - it's a quantum leap into an entirely distinctive aspect of mental activity."

      I suggest your abject ignorance means you don't have a clue what you are talking about.

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    4. MalcolmS7:01 AM

      Stranger aka AndrewR: "Many other animals have a rational faculty too, or they wouldn't be able to use tools"

      That's handy to know. I must get the budgie to mow the lawn sometime.

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    5. RalphH3:57 PM

      I was thinking of revealing Andrew R (pretty obvious) Malcolm but you beat me to it. I think Andrew may have watched too many cartoons as a child and still has trouble differentiating fantasy from reality. Maybe a reading of 1 Corinthians 13:11 would help.

      I realise that it probably makes him 'feel good' to believe that animals are on the same level as humans. IMO animals (some of the more advanced species) have a semblance of rationality but it's not the same thing.

      True rationality involves much more than being/becoming technologically smart. It includes the ability to understand and choose between right and wrong, good and evil. Animals do not need to be schooled/educated. They are born/created with all the instincts necessary to live their lives. Not so humans.

      I'd like to borrow your budgie when he's done.

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    6. RalphH3:57 PM

      rofl
      Hello R-elf-ie.

      Re 1 Corinthians 13:11 ;

      Are you sure you didn't inadvertently put away your adult things instead?

      I believe its a fairly easy mistake to make when you've only ever been schooled/educated in esoteric wacky do.

      For instance Venusian wildebeest are renowned electric guitarists.

      That aint instinctive.


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  38. MalcolmS9:19 PM

    "The mind most definitely is something that can evolve, and all indications are that it has"

    Minds don't evolve - only the physical evolves. What has evolved is a different *brain.* A larger cerebral cortex is what evolved in man and that is how it differs from a monkey's brain. That is the reason that man and monkeys have vastly different mental capacities. It is the brain which evolved - a different consciousness is a *product* of what evolved.

    It is you who knows nothing of science - especially the science of epistemology.

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    1. The mind is what the brain does. Thus if the brain has evolved so has the mind.

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    2. By the way, there is no such thing as the science of epistemology.

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    3. MalcolmS8:46 AM

      Terry: "The mind is what the brain does"

      Surging electrical currents along neurons and chemical reactions at synapses is "what the brain does." All of which are physical activities.

      However the mind does none of those. Its activities are non-physical. Think again.

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    4. Are you going to tell me what the mind is if not the product of brain actvity? Or should I just look up what Peikoff has to say on the matter?

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  39. If he says that mind is not the product of brain activity then I might, for the first time, agree with him.

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