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Time and Truth

The man. The myth.

Re: Time and Truth

Postby postodave » 16 Apr 2010, 17:57

Hi nerd
Infinity is not so much a number as a property of several numbers who existence can be inferred from the numbers we do know. So if we say the numbers we do know are real objects and the law of excluded middle is valid we can infer the existence of a vast number of infinite numbers, so many in fact that there are more infinite numbers than finite numbers. I'm not a mathematician but I'm reliably assured this is the case. So if you are going to reject the excluded middle for infinite numbers then I would think you have to reject it for finite numbers as well since it is by its application to finite numbers that we infer by reductio absurdam that infinite numbers exist. Of course you can keep the excluded middle but then you are going to have to keep the infinite numbers as well. But ask a mathematician, I could be mistaken. Just to remind you my point was that the laws of logic are not so fixed we can assume in advance that they must apply to everything.
I don't really get the idea of things being both real and true. Lewis says somewhere that truth is always about something and reality is what it is about. So normally something that is true, usually a statement of some kind, would not be true about itself but about something else.Whether we think infinite numbers are real will depend on our philosophy of number but if you say they are not real why would you say some other numbers are real? And what does real mean here?
The Lewis Anscombe debate has been discussed several times in these forums. For a case study on it seehttp://www.lewisiana.nl/anscombe/ For Russell and Copleston try http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p20.htm
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby Nerd42 » 18 Apr 2010, 22:14

postodave wrote:I don't really get the idea of things being both real and true. Lewis says somewhere that truth is always about something and reality is what it is about. So normally something that is true, usually a statement of some kind, would not be true about itself but about something else.Whether we think infinite numbers are real will depend on our philosophy of number but if you say they are not real why would you say some other numbers are real? And what does real mean here?
The Lewis Anscombe debate has been discussed several times in these forums. For a case study on it seehttp://www.lewisiana.nl/anscombe/ For Russell and Copleston try http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p20.htm
Well, if I tell you that Aslan said, "And, whatever happens, never forget to wipe your sword." I would be telling you something true which is not real. It is true that Aslan, a fictional character, made that statement within a fiction as it would not be true to quote Aslan as having said, "I taught a monkey how to type." But Aslan is not real. But it is true Aslan said some things and not others. This "realness" quality relates to whether we're talking about a thing that's true in the literal sense or true in a symbolic or figurative sense. We can only discuss these kinds of numbers figuratively or in a symbolic or figurative sense.

I have no idea whether you might be more studied in mathematics than I am. It is quite possible. But I was under the impression that there are only two infinite values - positive infinity and negative infinity.

My point is that the fundamental laws of thought aren't mere conveniences we've made up or invented for ourselves which can just go away if we will it. They are the only clear way we can think. And they must certainly apply when it comes to God if the God of Christianity is a God of order and truth and justice and so forth. If we are going to discuss theology at all, daring to say that God is a particular thing at all, the fundamental laws of thought must certainly apply.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby postodave » 19 Apr 2010, 21:47

Nerd said:
Well, if I tell you that Aslan said, "And, whatever happens, never forget to wipe your sword." I would be telling you something true which is not real. It is true that Aslan, a fictional character, made that statement within a fiction as it would not be true to quote Aslan as having said, "I taught a monkey how to type." But Aslan is not real. But it is true Aslan said some things and not others. This "realness" quality relates to whether we're talking about a thing that's true in the literal sense or true in a symbolic or figurative sense. We can only discuss these kinds of numbers figuratively or in a symbolic or figurative sense.

I don't think maths has a kind of fictional reality. If we take any piece of arithmetic then normally it has definite and necessary answer even if that sum has never been done before by anyone. The question of whether sums involving infinite numbers are real is a philosophical one. Brouwer would say because we cannot find those numbers they are not knowable and therefore in a sense not real. But in order to say they are not real you have to abandon the law of excluded middle. So for example suppose you can prove as you can that there is no highest prime number; does that mean there are an infinite number of primes. Brouwer says we cannot answer that question. Numbers are not objects and we cannot use excluded middle to infer numbers we can never find such as the number of members in the set of all primes. A mathematical platonist such as Godel will say numbers are real and have their own distinct existence hence we can use the laws of logic to infer the existence of infinite numbers.
Nerd said:
I have no idea whether you might be more studied in mathematics than I am. It is quite possible. But I was under the impression that there are only two infinite values - positive infinity and negative infinity.


Oh no, I'm just a bumbling amateur. I'm sure a real mathematical philosopher would laugh his head off at my efforts here. You need to look up Georg Cantor on transfinite numbers. I gather he was just as alarmed by the theological implications of his discoveries as you will be! I tell you what though if you have two infinite numbers positive infinity and negative infinity surely you can immediately create a third infinite set just by adding the number of members in each of these two sets together!
My point is that the fundamental laws of thought aren't mere conveniences we've made up or invented for ourselves which can just go away if we will it.

Agreed.
They are the only clear way we can think.
If the excluded middle is a fundamental law of thought then Brouwer has demonstrated that in some spheres we can think clearly without it.
And they must certainly apply when it comes to God if the God of Christianity is a God of order and truth and justice and so forth. If we are going to discuss theology at all, daring to say that God is a particular thing at all, the fundamental laws of thought must certainly apply

One way to understand this is to say that in order to communicate with his creation God expresses himself as a logical object but this does not necessarily imply that God is a logical object in himself. Theology then would concern God's relations with creation not the ineffable nature of God which must ever remain unknown to us. Hence God manifests as a particular thing but his essence remains unknown to us.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby Nerd42 » 20 Apr 2010, 15:51

postodave wrote:Nerd said:
Well, if I tell you that Aslan said, "And, whatever happens, never forget to wipe your sword." I would be telling you something true which is not real. It is true that Aslan, a fictional character, made that statement within a fiction as it would not be true to quote Aslan as having said, "I taught a monkey how to type." But Aslan is not real. But it is true Aslan said some things and not others. This "realness" quality relates to whether we're talking about a thing that's true in the literal sense or true in a symbolic or figurative sense. We can only discuss these kinds of numbers figuratively or in a symbolic or figurative sense.
I don't think maths has a kind of fictional reality. If we take any piece of arithmetic then normally it has definite and necessary answer even if that sum has never been done before by anyone. The question of whether sums involving infinite numbers are real is a philosophical one. Brouwer would say because we cannot find those numbers they are not knowable and therefore in a sense not real. But in order to say they are not real you have to abandon the law of excluded middle. So for example suppose you can prove as you can that there is no highest prime number; does that mean there are an infinite number of primes. Brouwer says we cannot answer that question. Numbers are not objects and we cannot use excluded middle to infer numbers we can never find such as the number of members in the set of all primes. A mathematical platonist such as Godel will say numbers are real and have their own distinct existence hence we can use the laws of logic to infer the existence of infinite numbers.
OK, well look, I'm really talking about these more generally and the difficulty you bring up is I think more about how we express and apply them. I mean, the law of excluded middle could be restated more simply as "Ultimately, any proposition is either true or false." That has to hold even over these numbers. Aslan isn't entirely fictional either, as he's a representation of Christ who is real. What I'm saying is what we say about these numbers isn't real in the way that Aslan isn't real but is true in the way that Aslan represents a truth.

postodave wrote:Nerd said:
I have no idea whether you might be more studied in mathematics than I am. It is quite possible. But I was under the impression that there are only two infinite values - positive infinity and negative infinity.
Oh no, I'm just a bumbling amateur. I'm sure a real mathematical philosopher would laugh his head off at my efforts here. You need to look up Georg Cantor on transfinite numbers. I gather he was just as alarmed by the theological implications of his discoveries as you will be! I tell you what though if you have two infinite numbers positive infinity and negative infinity surely you can immediately create a third infinite set just by adding the number of members in each of these two sets together!
But you can't add to or subtract from or multiply or divide infinite numbers. That's nonsensical. It's like Douglas Adams's "Two to the power of infinity-minus-one" from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Or so I am told. But I am not any great mathematician so I could be wrong about this.

postodave wrote:
Nerd42 wrote:My point is that the fundamental laws of thought aren't mere conveniences we've made up or invented for ourselves which can just go away if we will it.
Agreed.
They are the only clear way we can think.
If the excluded middle is a fundamental law of thought then Brouwer has demonstrated that in some spheres we can think clearly without it.
But to "demonstrate" anything depends on these fundamentals. You can't construct a proof that there are no proofs.

I think what you might be meaning to say is that Brouwer might have shown that some part of how we've stated the law of the excluded middle isn't really fundamental. In that case, we'd need to revise how we state it.

postodave wrote:
And they must certainly apply when it comes to God if the God of Christianity is a God of order and truth and justice and so forth. If we are going to discuss theology at all, daring to say that God is a particular thing at all, the fundamental laws of thought must certainly apply
One way to understand this is to say that in order to communicate with his creation God expresses himself as a logical object but this does not necessarily imply that God is a logical object in himself. Theology then would concern God's relations with creation not the ineffable nature of God which must ever remain unknown to us. Hence God manifests as a particular thing but his essence remains unknown to us.
If God is really ineffable then we can't study him. I'm not claiming that everything about God has to be understandable to us. It isn't. But if we're really talking about a God of truth then this means he really is subject to those laws of thought that really are fundamental.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby postodave » 24 Apr 2010, 10:51

Nerd said:
OK, well look, I'm really talking about these more generally and the difficulty you bring up is I think more about how we express and apply them. I mean, the law of excluded middle could be restated more simply as "Ultimately, any proposition is either true or false." That has to hold even over these numbers.

I know what the classical laws of thought are. Strictly speaking the rule that any proposition must be either true or false would be called the law of bivalence and yes it's near enough equivalent to the law of excluded middle and no if Brouwer is correct it would not necessarily hold over infinite numbers. The proposition there are an infinite number of prime numbers would not have to be either true or false.
Aslan isn't entirely fictional either, as he's a representation of Christ who is real. What I'm saying is what we say about these numbers isn't real in the way that Aslan isn't real but is true in the way that Aslan represents a truth.

Aslan is a representation of C.S. Lewis's understanding of Christ. I really don't see the issue of truth in fiction and truth in maths as having any real correlation.
But you can't add to or subtract from or multiply or divide infinite numbers.

Then you agree that there are numbers to which the laws of arithmetic do not apply. Even though you believe the laws of arithmetic are absolute. Therefore you agree with Brouwer that in arithmetic at least an established law cannot be assumed to hold over all domains irrespective of the nature of the thing to which it is applied. Can you extend this idea from the laws of math to the laws of logic?
But to "demonstrate" anything depends on these fundamentals. You can't construct a proof that there are no proofs.

But you can construct a proof that a particular thing cannot be proved. That's what Gödel did with his incompleteness theorem. It ought to be possible at least in principle to use logic to show that there are things that lie outside it's domain. Pascal seems to have thought he had done this. Indeed there is a very important sense in which all existent things lie partly outside the domain of logic in that they have properties in addition to purely logical ones. Even logic itself cannot be isolated from all none logical properties.
I think what you might be meaning to say is that Brouwer might have shown that some part of how we've stated the law of the excluded middle isn't really fundamental. In that case, we'd need to revise how we state it.

No. Brouwer really was saying that in maths not all propositions are true or false.
If God is really ineffable then we can't study him.

If you are talking about God's essence then we absolutely cannot study it and as St Basil says anyone who says they can is deluded.
I thought the full quote from Basil might help here:
Letter 234

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To the same, in answer to another question.

Do you worship what you know or what you do not know? If I answer, I worship what I know, they immediately reply, What is the essence of the object of worship? Then, if I confess that I am ignorant of the essence, they turn on me again and say, So you worship you know not what. I answer that the word to know has many meanings. We say that we know the greatness of God, His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His providence over us, and the justness of His judgment; but not His very essence. The question is, therefore, only put for the sake of dispute. For he who denies that he knows the essence does not confess himself to be ignorant of God, because our idea of God is gathered from all the attributes which I have enumerated. But God, he says, is simple, and whatever attribute of Him you have reckoned as knowable is of His essence. But the absurdities involved in this sophism are innumerable. When all these high attributes have been enumerated, are they all names of one essence? And is there the same mutual force in His awfulness and His loving-kindness, His justice and His creative power, His providence and His foreknowledge, and His bestowal of rewards and punishments, His majesty and His providence? In mentioning any one of these do we declare His essence? If they say, yes, let them not ask if we know the essence of God, but let them enquire of us whether we know God to be awful, or just, or merciful. These we confess that we know. If they say that essence is something distinct, let them not put us in the wrong on the score of simplicity. For they confess themselves that there is a distinction between the essence and each one of the attributes enumerated. The operations are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His operations, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence. His operations come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reach.

2. But, it is replied, if you are ignorant of the essence, you are ignorant of Himself. Retort, If you say that you know His essence, you are ignorant of Himself. A man who has been bitten by a mad dog, and sees a dog in a dish, does not really see any more than is seen by people in good health; he is to be pitied because he thinks he sees what he does not see. Do not then admire him for his announcement, but pity him for his insanity.Recognise that the voice is the voice of mockers, when they say, if you are ignorant of the essence of God, you worship what you do not know. I do know that He exists; what His essence is, I look at as beyond intelligence. How then am I saved? Through faith. It is faith sufficient to know that God exists, without knowing what He is; and "He is a rewarder of them that seek Him." Hebrews 11:6 So knowledge of the divine essence involves perception of His incomprehensibility, and the object of our worship is not that of which we comprehend the essence, but of which we comprehend that the essence exists.

It's controversial of course. Basil is asserting the oneness of the essence but from his comments elsewhere he makes it clear he does not see the divine oneness as numerical oneness but as simplicity - not being composed of parts. Similarly he does not seem to think that the doctrine of the trinity implies that God is in any sense numerically three. He seems to think that mathematical qualities apply to God if at all in a very different sense to the way they apply to things in creation and he says somewhere that God is not subject to reason. He may only mean we cannot make inferences about the divine essence which he says is entirely lacking in qualities.
I'm not claiming that everything about God has to be understandable to us. It isn't. But if we're really talking about a God of truth then this means he really is subject to those laws of thought that really are fundamental.

And I am suggesting that he need only be subject to those laws in relation to us and not in his own essence.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby Nerd42 » 26 Apr 2010, 18:43

Now look here. You seem to be saying that God can behave in one way in relation to us, being good and just and merciful, but can behave completely differently in his secret closet somewhere, actually being mean and nasty and evil. Either that or you're giving a meaning to the word "essence" that is strange to me.

What does it mean to you for God to have an essence? We know God is a person. Do the persons we are familiar with who were created in His image have essences?

The "laws of arithmetic" as I understand them, only apply to finite numbers. I don't see how the fact that the laws of arithmetic have a limited scope causes a problem for the law of the excluded middle.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby postodave » 26 Apr 2010, 19:48

Nerd said:
Now look here. You seem to be saying that God can behave in one way in relation to us, being good and just and merciful, but can behave completely differently in his secret closet somewhere, actually being mean and nasty and evil. Either that or you're giving a meaning to the word "essence" that is strange to me.

Being without qualities is not the same thing as being mean, nasty and evil. If God in his essence does not have the quality of goodness that does not imply that he must have the quality of evil. This is not quite a matter of not applying the excluded middle but it is similar.
What does it mean to you for God to have an essence? We know God is a person. Do the persons we are familiar with who were created in His image have essences?

I don't know that god is a person though I agree that he relates to us as a person. The essence of a thing is what it is in itself. We can know this to some extent about human beings.
The "laws of arithmetic" as I understand them, only apply to finite numbers. I don't see how the fact that the laws of arithmetic have a limited scope causes a problem for the law of the excluded middle

Some time ago you said:
Logic (and mathematics) is something we discover, which could not have been different whether the logicians (and mathematicians) like it or not.
and I did not disagree. But now you have conceded that although the laws of arithmetic are not made up but discovered there can be numbers to which they do not apply. So the objectivity of a law does not imply its universality. All your arguments so far have been based on the premise that in order for the laws of logic to be valid they must apply to everything including God as he is in himself. Now you have agreed that a law in order to be valid does not need to be universal in its scope. Therefore your repeated claim that the laws of logic cannot be valid if they do not apply to everything is on your own admission not valid. If there can be numbers to which the laws of arithmetic do not apply can there be entities to which the laws of logic do not apply? At the very least you would now need to explain why the laws of logic which you originally put on the same footing as the laws of mathematics have universal scope when the laws of arithmetic do not.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby Nerd42 » 27 Apr 2010, 20:09

The thing I'm mainly concerned about is the law of non-contradiction.

But it seems to me that anything we could show the law of excluded middle to not apply to wouldn't really be a proposition.

postodave wrote:
What does it mean to you for God to have an essence? We know God is a person. Do the persons we are familiar with who were created in His image have essences?
I don't know that god is a person though I agree that he relates to us as a person.
As I understand it, the belief that God is personal is one of the orthodox Christian doctrines. I'm not sure off the top of my head where it ranks as far as how essential it is but it is certainly the common understanding.

postodave wrote:The essence of a thing is what it is in itself.
You seem to be saying that you know that this "essence" exists when it comes to God without knowing what this "essence" is. That seems impossible. If you can identify that it exists, you must know something about it. Otherwise, what do you really mean by saying that it exists? What are you saying exists?

I cannot see how we could admit a distinction between God's actual qualities and statements from God's "essence" or nature, because to admit this is to admit that God can change from being how he is in relation to us to being how he is in himself and this is impossible because God is unchanging.

If we are to speak of any Christian theology at all, we must assume that God tells the truth. Otherwise we can have no theological knowledge. And if we can have no theological knowledge, we can mean nothing by calling ourselves "Christians."

postodave wrote:But now you have conceded that although the laws of arithmetic are not made up but discovered there can be numbers to which they do not apply. So the objectivity of a law does not imply its universality.
The laws of arithmetic apply universally to all numbers in their scope. There is nowhere in the universe that they do not apply. All laws have scope. The fundamental laws of thought do not apply to nonsense. Their scope is everything that is true.

postodave wrote:All your arguments so far have been based on the premise that in order for the laws of logic to be valid they must apply to everything including God as he is in himself.
No, the universality of the fundamental laws of thought are the premise. You're invoking them in your sentence when you said "in order for" "valid" and "must." That is an inference, and inferences have no meaning apart from the fundamental laws.

postodave wrote:At the very least you would now need to explain why the laws of logic which you originally put on the same footing as the laws of mathematics have universal scope when the laws of arithmetic do not.
I have not really admitted that the laws of arithmetic don't apply universally. If we're going to think of the concepts as "laws" then of course they must say what they govern and what they don't and their scope is part of what holds true universally.

I think there is some confusion here about what is really meant by a "law." Mr. Lewis wrote the following passage on the subject of the laws of nature:
"The necessary truth of the laws, far from making it impossible that miracles should occur, makes it certain that if the Supernatural is operating they must occur. For if the natural situation by itself, and the natural situation plus something else, yielded only the same result, it would be then that we should be faced with a lawless and unsystematic universe. The better you know that two and two make four, the better you know that two and three don't.

This perhaps helps to make a little clearer what the laws of Nature really are. We are in the habit of talking as if they caused events to happen; but they have never caused any event at all. The laws of motion do not set billiard balls moving: they analyze the motion after something else (say, a man with a cue, or a lurch of the the liner, or, perhaps, supernatural power) has provided it. They produce no events: they state the pattern to which every event -- if only it can be induced to happen -- must conform, just as the use of arithmetic state the pattern to which all transactions with money must conform -- if only it can get hold of any money. Thus in one sense the laws of Nature cover the whole field of space and time; in another, what they leave out is precisely the whole real universe -- the incessant torrent of actual events which makes up true history. That must come from somewhere else. To think the laws can produce it is like thinking that you can create real money by simply doing sums. For every law, in the last resort, says 'If you have A, then you will get B'. But first catch your A: the laws won't do it for you." Miracles (1974) pp.93-94
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby cyranorox » 28 Apr 2010, 21:53

responding to Nerd's prev. post: yes, we have essences. No essences are knowable; the knowable, which is acts [btw the OC does not accept the RC formula that 'God is pure act'], deeds, relationship, and narrative, is under the rubric of 'energies'.

@Postodave: not to know that God is a person is not to accept a very basic part of Christian understanding. Am i misunderstanding you here?

The rules of logic are a secondary matter; the biography is primary. The data are the moments of encounter. We can build and elaborate on these, especially what Christ said - and we have - but any time the syllogistic constructs occlude or contradict the *story*, they are amiss.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby postodave » 28 Apr 2010, 22:32

Cyranorox said:
@Postodave: not to know that God is a person is not to accept a very basic part of Christian understanding. Am i misunderstanding you here?

but also said:
deeds, relationship, and narrative, is under the rubric of 'energies'

I am simply saying the personal is about relationships and therefore as you say under the rubric of energies. I can relate to God as a person but do not take this to imply that outside his relationship to creation God is personal and I am not thereby implying that outside that relationship God could be impersonal. Eckhart is very interesting on this. He distinguished between God and Godhead and Godhead is the categorically transcendent essence; he then talks of his relationship to this essence and finds that when he is in relationship with God he (Eckhart) is no longer a person. So I think God's being a person is very important since it preserves our human personhood. I have been delighting in Buber recently who sees personal relations as vital.
Cyranorox said:
The rules of logic are a secondary matter; the biography is primary. The data are the moments of encounter. We can build and elaborate on these, especially what Christ said - and we have - but any time the syllogistic constructs occlude or contradict the *story*, they are amiss.

I like that. It's why I think nerd is reading too much into the metaphysical concept of an unchanging God.
Nerd said
You seem to be saying that you know that this "essence" exists when it comes to God without knowing what this "essence" is. That seems impossible. If you can identify that it exists, you must know something about it. Otherwise, what do you really mean by saying that it exists? What are you saying exists?

I don't think we know nothing about God's essence. Calvin says it is eternal and self existent - i.e, it has the status of divinity. Basil says it is simple and I can see no reason for denying that and thinking it is made of parts though if someone wanted to say it is not simple according to any concept of simplicity we can have I would not deny that. I think Cyranorox would want to say a lot more about it including that it is a person - or rather he is three persons.
I am glad you have introduced this idea of scope nerd because it simplifies things. I am simple saying the scope of all creational laws is within creation and they apply to God only in so far as he reveals himself in and to his creation.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby Nerd42 » 29 Apr 2010, 01:26

I think that in general over the centuries, theologians have spent way too much time talking absolute nonsense about nothing.

postodave wrote:I don't think we know nothing about God's essence. Calvin says
I'm not convinced that Calvin's viewpoint was rational - though I have to admit I haven't read him for myself yet and am basing this opinion on having listened to lectures by RC Sproul and a few others here and there. (Hey at least I'm honest) I'm not a seminary student but that doesn't mean I'm not entitled to an opinion. I agree with Lewis's arguments in The Problem of Pain when it comes to what some people call Calvinism and some of it's consequences.

I don't believe the fundamental laws of thought are creational laws like the others. There could conceivably be a universe without gravity or entropy or most of the other things we call laws. But nothing can be real without reality and nothing can be true without truth. The fundamental laws of thought aren't just peculiar to our universe or local spacetime. They are simply part of what being "true" means - absolute necessity for anything that is real to be real whether it is physical or spiritual or both.

You can't disagree with what I just said without making an appeal to the laws you are denying. Read Lewis's "The Abolition of Man" if you don't know what I'm talking about here.
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby postodave » 29 Apr 2010, 21:20

I think that in general over the centuries, theologians have spent way too much time talking absolute nonsense about nothing.
I can't see that this makes any useful contribution to the discussion.
I'm not convinced that Calvin's viewpoint was rational - though I have to admit I haven't read him for myself yet and am basing this opinion on having listened to lectures by RC Sproul and a few others here and there. (Hey at least I'm honest) I'm not a seminary student but that doesn't mean I'm not entitled to an opinion. I agree with Lewis's arguments in The Problem of Pain when it comes to what some people call Calvinism and some of it's consequences.

This uses the ad hominem fallacy
I don't believe the fundamental laws of thought are creational laws like the others

Then are they really laws given that there is no lawmaker.
There could conceivably be a universe without gravity or entropy or most of the other things we call laws. But nothing can be real without reality and nothing can be true without truth. The fundamental laws of thought aren't just peculiar to our universe or local spacetime. They are simply part of what being "true" means - absolute necessity for anything that is real to be real whether it is physical or spiritual or both.

This is an assertion not an argument. You seem to be equating conceivable with possible. Yes there are other logically possible universes. There is a set of all logically possible universes. This would seem to be a subset of all mathematically possible universes. (you would probably want to put that the other way round but there are good reasons for not doing it that way - namely that although it is impossible to reduce maths to logic it is at least possible that logic can be reduced to maths) However we can have no knowledge of what can or cannot be the case outside what we can conceive given that our ability to conceive is shaped by the noetic structure of this creation. Logic is not solely concerned with what is true and the soundness of an argument does not depend on its truth - for eample all glongs have 27 dooples. Bing is a glong. Bing has 27 dooples. Anyone can see that is a sound argument but it can hardly be said to have anything to do with truth. As I understand the laws of thought they are imperative. They say to think soundly think like this. We learn of them through our intuition of the noetic structure of the cosmos. Therefore they cannot tell us about what lies beyond that structure. Are there reasons for believing God lies beyond that structure? Yes. If God created everything then that logical structure is created by God. Scripture asserts that God is creator of all. So there is a prima facie case for saying he created the laws of thought.
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby Nerd42 » 30 Apr 2010, 00:24

I'm not sure how you're saying I have fallen into an ad hominem fallacy. What do you mean? Where have I attacked the man rather than the issue or viewpoint?

postodave wrote:This is an assertion not an argument.
You're right, because the very possibility that any argument could be valid would depend on the assertion that there is a "valid" for the argument to be. That's why I said back in this post that unless we can agree to a basic value set there is no common ground to base any debate on.

postodave wrote:If God created everything then that logical structure is created by God.
Does the structure lie?
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby postodave » 01 May 2010, 12:31

Nerd wrote:
I'm not sure how you're saying I have fallen into an ad hominem fallacy. What do you mean? Where have I attacked the man rather than the issue or viewpoint?

The ad hominem fallacy takes the form:
A believes B
A believes C
C is false
Therefore B is false.
You seem to have argued
Calvin (or possibly some Calvinists) asserted B (I'm not sure what B is that was all rather vague)
Lewis refuted B and I agree with Lewis
Calvin also asserts C (where C is the claim that all we can know about God in himself is that he is eternal and self existent)
Therefore C must be false
In fact Lewis is rather more friendly towards Calvin and Calvinism that you may realise. He asserts firmly that he is not a Calvinist and rather clumsily refutes a version of the doctrine of total depravity that no one ever believed anyway. But he was certainly no Arminian. Tom Wright tells a story that when Lewis was interviewed by the Billy Graham organization (which is strongly Arminian) they asked him when he made his decision for Christ. 'I didn't decide,' said Lewis, 'I was decided on.' That sounds far more Calvinist than Arminian. But in so far as he had a position I would guess Lewis Came closer to the Orthodox doctrine of synergism, where man and God co-operate in some mysterious way, than either of the two main Protestant options (I would say the same about Wesley who calls himself an Arminian). Full blown Arminianism tends to fragment this co-operation so man and God take turns in doing their bit.
Nerd said:
the very possibility that any argument could be valid would depend on the assertion that there is a "valid" for the argument to be. That's why I said back in this post that unless we can agree to a basic value set there is no common ground to base any debate on.

People with very different values can engage in fruitful debate. Indeed what the debate tends to do is uncover the presuppositions. What you did in that post was to treat a claim about the limits to the scope of reason as a claim that there is no validity to reason at all. You keep doing that.
Nerd said:
Does the structure lie?
referring to the logical structure of creation.
Not sure what you mean. It doesn't speak therefore it cannot literally lie. If you mean can it ever mislead us then yes, or rather we can be mislead about it just as we can be mislead about the physical nature of the world. Augustine gives the example of a stick in water which appears to bend and argues that the illusion demonstrates not that nature 'lies' but that it is consistent; the same thing happens every time. As Einstein says the Lord is subtle but not malicious.
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Re: Time and Truth

Postby Nerd42 » 02 May 2010, 00:48

I didn't merely say Calvinism was wrong, I said irrational, which is just another way of saying Calvinism doesn't adhere to the fundamental laws. There can be no common ground and no arguments outside the laws, for all rational values and arguments depend on them. Denying them is like saying, "This sentence is not true." It's not something you can hold a debate about. See the beginning of Mere Christianity for the difference between arguing and quarreling. In an enlightened debate there must always be a third thing that both parties acknowledge and without the fundamental laws there's no third common standard, no Bible, no God, no nothing.
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