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Mark 3:7-12

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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Chris » Sat May 04, 2013 3:32 am

I'll echo Zilch's welcome. Welcome back Chap. You've been missed.

I'd also like to jump in here. You are correct that reality does not rely upon our belief. Reality is indifferent to our belief. A doubter only has to deny that cars exist and then stand in the middle of a highway to have that painfully proven.

Knowledge however does depend upon our belief. Knowledge may be defined as Justified True Belief. Thus any claim to knowledge must depend upon our belief [as well as such a belief being both true and justified].
If perchance I have offended, think but this, and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here, while a vision did appear. A Midsummer Night's Dream
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Milo » Sat May 04, 2013 12:03 pm

You have resurrected a really old thread. My point at the time was not to get into a ridiculous discussion of the meaning of reality. Mark is read as a history by Christians but contains events that are not observed in our daily life. Maybe yours, I don't know. The same argument you make could be used if you read a druid account where the trees all talk and you made the observation that the story doesn't conform to reality. Who's reality? How do you know trees don't talk? At every turn in Mark, demons were manifesting and yet no one was in the least surprised and no explanation is offered. It smacks of fiction to me.
Stop doubting and beleive Milo. Then everything will make sense.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby zilch » Sat May 04, 2013 1:30 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Chap. I'd agree with you- I would also hope that everyone would fall into your group 3, which I think is more or less the same as my "in-between" position.

That said- you didn't answer any of my questions. If you have time and energy, I'd really be curious to hear your answers. You could start with this issue: how do you know when claims for the supernatural are nonsense?

cheers from changeable Vienna, zilch
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Nohm » Tue May 07, 2013 2:49 am

Still one of my favorite quotes of all time:

If the supernatural exists, doesn't that make it natural? If the paranormal exists, doesn't that make it normal? There are many things that we, as humans, once thought were supernatural or paranormal, but we understand now, and we consider them natural and normal.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby E-lad » Tue May 07, 2013 3:24 am

Nohm wrote:Still one of my favorite quotes of all time:

If the supernatural exists, doesn't that make it natural? If the paranormal exists, doesn't that make it normal? There are many things that we, as humans, once thought were supernatural or paranormal, but we understand now, and we consider them natural and normal.


If the supernatural was shown to exist it would indeed, be natural. And likewise, if the paranormal was shown to exist, it would be normal, but since the supernatural has not been shown to exist, it is still referred to as the supernatural, and since paranormal has not been shown to exist it continues to be referred to as paranormal.

The moment the supernatural is shown to exist, it will, by default, be referred to as natural, and the moment that paranormal is shown to be normal, it will be referred to as normal.

None of that shit has happened. Just sayin.'
Life is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel.- Horace Walpole
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Nohm » Tue May 07, 2013 4:52 am

You and I are in full agreement on all the points you listed, Froggie.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Tue May 14, 2013 10:44 pm

From Baldy,
“I'm completely comfortable with saying Mark's story doesn't conform to reality, and see nothing arrogant about saying that unless some evidence can be presented to support such claims, we're entitled to explain them as myth or analogy or misdiagnosis or whatever credible alternatives there might be for the phenomenon under discussion rather than accepting them at face value.” (italics mine)

From Zilch
“Do you believe in the opposite of this statement, that is...

Anytime that I read or hear about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, I immediately accept it as truth (b/c everything supernatural is real)...”

Zilch (and others),
I feel I answered this with my #1,#2,#3 breakdown above. But, to put my feet to the fire, I will say answer it here:

Anytime that I read or hear about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, I seek to determine if it (what I read or heard) is truth or not (b/c I believe the supernatural is real).

[and, I would quickly add, an equally valid viewpoint would be: Anytime that ___ reads or hears about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, ____ seeks to determine if it (what ____ read or heard) is truth or not (b/c ____ does not believe the supernatural is real).]

These, to me, are #3 statements. We are evaluating something based upon our personally held beliefs, not based on a blanket universal judgment, (“everything/nothing supernatural is/is not real,”) which we are not in a position to judge/defend. No one is.

So, I believe the supernatural is real. Others do not believe the supernatural is real. But, as I said, belief does not equal reality. This was my point about Mark. Mark believes (based on his experience and education) that demons are real and writes his book as though they are. It is one thing to say, “I don’t believe Mark’s story is true.” Everyone is entitled to their belief. But to say, “Mark’s story does not conform to reality,” is to assume that the speaker’s personal beliefs ARE reality. Neither you, nor I, are in a position to do this.

So, I am no more authorized to say, “Because Mark’s story refers to demons it conforms with reality,” than anyone else is authorized to say, “Because Mark’s story refers to demons it does not conform to reality.”

- Chap
Last edited by Chaplain Entrekin on Wed May 15, 2013 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I find your lack of faith...disturbing. -Darth Vader
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Tue May 14, 2013 11:00 pm

(cont.)

So, why would I say that I believe in the supernatural? I have anecdotal stories of my own. I don't know that this is the place for them, nor do I imagine that for most, they would serve as suitable "evidence" to change anyone's mind. But I also find there is good philosophical support for believing in the supernatural.

Chris stated, “Knowledge may be defined as Justified True Belief. Thus any claim to knowledge must depend upon our belief [as well as such a belief being both true and justified].”

To help draw out his and Plato’s definition of knowledge:
Justified true belief says: in order to know that X is true, one must not only believe X, one must also have justifications for believing X.

So, a subject, Chap, knows that a proposition X is true IF AND ONLY IF:

1. X is true
2. Chap believes that X is true, and
3. Chap is justified in believing that X is true

<We are about to go pretty far down the rabbit hole here, so choose well if you want to keep reading.>

It is interesting that in the 1960s, people started finding flaws in the Just True Belief theory of knowledge, since there are situations where something can be true and believed, without there being knowledge involved. If interested, I would highly recommend researching some of those who have expressed issue. Notably, C.S. Pierce was a proponent of fallibilism, which can be summed up nicely in this quote:

“Any unqualified assertion is likely to be at least a little wrong or, if right, still right for not entirely the right reasons; so one is more veracious by being Socratic and including a recognition of one's own ignorance, though in practical matters one sometimes must act, if one is to act at all, with decision and complete confidence of supposed knowledge even though one may end up proven wrong.”

(Zilch, to me, this is where it sounds like you are coming from in regards to knowledge of the supernatural. But I could be wrong and don’t want to put words in your mouth).

I am a fan of Alvin Plantinga’s theory of “warranted belief.” It could be drawn out as:

1. X is true
2. Chap believes that X is true, and
3. Chap’s belief that X is true is warranted

Where we might get in a tangle is on comparing the terms, “justified” and “warranted.” Plantinga says that these words, though often interchanged, are different. Using good old Microsoft Word, I get the following quick definitions for both words:

Justified – with good reason, acceptable
Warranted – authorization, written authorization, document authorizing police to do something, serve as reason for something, guarantee something, authorize somebody, to serve as a justifiable reason to do, believe, or think something.

Note that Warranted seems to have a lot to do with authority as the grounds for the reason.

According to Platinga, a belief, B, is warranted if:
1. The cognitive faculties involved in the production of B are functioning properly
2. Your cognitive environment is sufficiently similar to the one for which your cognitive faculties are designed,
3. The design plan governing the production of the belief in question involves: as purpose of function, the production of true beliefs, and
4. The design plan is a good one, that is, there is a high statistical or objective probability that a belief produced in accordance with the relevant segment of the design plan in that sort of environment is true.

So,

1. Chap’s brain and senses, which process and produce beliefs, are working correctly. (No snide comments, please).
2. Chap’s environment is the one his brain and senses were designed (or if that’s uncomfortable to some, evolved) for. (e.g. I am not in a sensory deprivation chamber, I am not undergoing excruciating pain, I am not in a drug induced hallucinogenic state, etc.).
3. The design plan for Chap's brain and senses (i.e. the way they are supposed to work; their correct purpose) involves the production of true beliefs.
4. The design plan for Chap's brain and senses (i.e. the way they are supposed to work; their correct purpose) is a good one; meaning, the plan has a high probability of producing true beliefs in the above conditions.

This formula is best supported by some kind of supernaturalist metaphysics. Some greater power (supernatural) designed our brain and senses to discern and produce true beliefs.

In contrast, if one denies the supernatural and claims that everything is the result of purely natural process, evolution ends up serving as a defeater. If evolution and naturalism are BOTH true, than human brains and senses evolved to produce beliefs that have survival value (the 4 F’s), not necessarily to produce beliefs that are true. Thus, since human brains and senses are tuned to survival rather than truth in the naturalism-evolution model, there is reason to doubt the truthfulness of the results of those same brains and senses, including, the theories of naturalism and evolution themselves.

On the other hand, if a supernatural being created man “in his image” by way of an evolutionary process (or any other means), then our faculties would probably be reliable and trustworthy (as much as they met the conditions of 1-4 above).

Some might say there is a strong correlation between truth and survival – if our brains and senses evolved giving us a survival advantage, then they ought to yield truth, since true beliefs confer a survival advantage. (That rhino really will hurt us). But, while there may be overlap between true beliefs and beliefs that contribute to survival, the two kinds of beliefs are not the same.

E.g. I may want to hug that rhino, but my belief is that the best way to hug a rhino is to run away from it. I have survived (running away from the rhino) but not because of truth (running away from rhinos is the best way to hug one).

- Chap
I find your lack of faith...disturbing. -Darth Vader
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby Chaplain Entrekin » Tue May 14, 2013 11:16 pm

(cont.)

So, Zilch,
Back to the questions. Thanks for noting that I had not answered them. I'm sorry about that. I know that can be super frustrating when interacting with people. And thanks for your patience and giving me a chance to share my answers.

“How do I know when CLAIMS for the supernatural are nonsense?”

Well, I guess for me that comes back to, are the CLAIMS warranted? So, let’s take the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Do I believe that this “supernatural being” exists? No.

Why? Well, I do believe the supernatural exists. But remember that true beliefs need to be warranted and warrant is closely tied with authority. Since I know that FSM was recently invented as a spoof deity within the last 50 years by people who I do not recognize as good authorities on the supernatural, I don't belief faith in FSM as a real supernatural entity is warranted.

"... or do you take a position in between, and also reject at least some supernatural claims as nonsense?"

So yes, I reject some supernatural CLAIMS as nonsense and I think others should too. But one can reject CLAIMS without rejecting the supernatural.

"If you immediately, or even after some thought, dismiss at least some of these claims as nonsense, what are your criteria for doing so? Do you use logic and evidence, or the Bible, or both?"

Honestly, I personally try to use the Bible, logic, evidence, education and experience to evaluate the CLAIMS.

"Do you reexamine claims for the existence of, say, leprechauns, over and over, every time you hear them?"

No, I don’t. Because I have found those CLAIMS for their existence are unwarranted. So I don't believe those CLAIMS

"Don't you believe that people often just make up stuff about gods and demons and trolls and dragons? Might not the same be true of your gods and demons, at least theoretically? How is one to know?"

Zilch, I absolutely believe that people often just make up stuff about gods and demons and trolls and dragons? I admit that the same could be true of my God and demons, etc, at least theoretically. "How one is to know" is what our conversations on this forum are about. I think it's a super honest question to ask, because it's one that we all ask. I still ask it. I want to respect it by not just giving a trite answer or a Bible reference or some "turn off your brain and just believe" response like I know you guys get on other sites. My hope is that in my postings I will be able to display who I know more than how I know.

- Chap
Last edited by Chaplain Entrekin on Wed May 15, 2013 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mark 3:7-12

Postby BaldySlaphead » Wed May 15, 2013 7:37 am

Chaplain Entrekin wrote:From Baldy,
“I'm completely comfortable with saying Mark's story doesn't conform to reality, and see nothing arrogant about saying that unless some evidence can be presented to support such claims, we're entitled to explain them as myth or analogy or misdiagnosis or whatever credible alternatives there might be for the phenomenon under discussion rather than accepting them at face value.” (italics mine)

From Zilch
“Do you believe in the opposite of this statement, that is...

Anytime that I read or hear about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, I immediately accept it as truth (b/c everything supernatural is real)...”

Zilch (and others),
I feel I answered this with my #1,#2,#3 breakdown above. But, to put my feet to the fire, I will say answer it here:

Anytime that I read or hear about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, I seek to determine if it (what I read or heard) is truth or not (b/c I believe the supernatural is real).

[and, I would quickly add, an equally valid viewpoint would be: Anytime that ___ reads or hears about a personal transcendent God, or Satan, or demons or angels, ____ seeks to determine if it (what ____ read or heard) is truth or not (b/c ____ does not believe the supernatural is real).]

These, to me, are #3 statements. We are evaluating something based upon our personally held beliefs, not based on a blanket universal judgment, (“everything/nothing supernatural is/is not real,”) which we are not in a position to judge/defend. No one is.

So, I believe the supernatural is real. Others do not believe the supernatural is real. But, as I said, belief does not equal reality. This was my point about Mark. Mark believes (based on his experience and education) that demons are real and writes his book as though they are. It is one thing to say, “I don’t believe Mark’s story is true.” Everyone is entitled to their belief. But to say, “Mark’s story does not conform to reality,” is to assume that the speaker’s personal beliefs ARE reality. Neither you, nor I, are in a position to do this.

So, I am no more authorized to say, “Because Mark’s story refers to demons it conforms with reality,” than anyone else is authorized to say, “Because Mark’s story refers to demons it does not conform to reality.”

- Chap


Chap, thank you for your reply, which will take me a while to digest in full, and thank you for your willingness to engage in this way; it's sincerely appreciated.

I would just remark that if I were to italicise my statement quoted above, I would mark the following; "unless some evidence can be presented to support such claims".
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