Re: Seely's Views 2

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Fri Sep 03 2004 - 14:43:41 EDT

On Thu, 2 Sep 2004 21:00:34 -0500 "Glenn Morton"
<> writes:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. []
> > Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 3:19 PM
> > To:
> > Glenn,
> > In response to your first question, we don't know. We're
> > finite.
> But God isn't finite. Why can't he simply tell a true history. Why
> does
> he have to tell something that we can't count on as being true?
> How
> little power a god like that has.
> Even with the kind of proof in math and logic,
> > "truth" is at best conditional.
> I understand Godel's theorem.
> We recognize truth as an
> > absolute standard which we hope to approach. But truth is a
> > requirement for knowledge. So knowledge can only be to the
> > best of our ability (and hope). The only way out of this that
> > I have found is the declaration, "I'm right [which implies
> > holding only the truth]! And if you don't believe I'm right,
> > ask me, and I'll tell you how right I am." Of course, most
> > people holding such a view do not state it
> > publicly: it's a tacit commitment.
> That isn't truth in my opinion. What you have described is
> subjectivism.
> Truth is when you and I look at the grass and agree that it is
> green.
> And then other people come and look at the grass and agree with us.
> Truth is when the vast majority of historians agree that there was
> a
> Roman empire. But God can't seem to tell a true story about
> history
> that all would agree with. I am always amazed at how little that
> difference bothers some people.
> >
> > As to what part of revelation is imperfect, all of it with
> > the exception of Jesus Christ,
> Seems highly ad hoc to me. There simple is no cogent and coherent
> view
> that explains why that part is perfect but all the rest isn't.
God is perfect, so he fully understands the history of creation and the
nature of the universe. Therefore, according to you, he not only can but
must communicate that exact knowledge to man. In what language will that
be? How will the limited mind of a human being take that all in and
remain human? Even our Lord had to empty himself to become human.

On the other hand, why cannot the Almighty use what his creatures think
they know at a given time to communicate his message that he is the
creator and that the deities of the nations are bogus? I don't know
enough about Babylonian math to know how large a number they comprehended
2.6 or more millennia ago, but they probably would have found it
impossible to understand 13.7x10^9 years, let alone the physics of
nuclear synthesis during the first period after the Big Bang and its need
to be supplemented by later synthesis of heavier nuclei in stars.

Next point, I was not talking about Goedel's Theorem, which proved that
one cannot prove the consistency of the logic needed to prove number
theory, or its extension by Church to the lower functional calculus. I'm
talking about such things as the Pythagorean Theorem or 4+4=8, the simple
levels of geometry and number theory. The lowest level is conditional,
not absolute.

Finally, as to grass, some of our brethren, especially, are colorblind.
Others have more subtly modified visual pigments. Additionally, the use
of reflectance spectrometers has shown that very different combinations
of spectra can produce indistinguishable sensations. Vision is inherently
subjective. How do you know that what you have learned to label 'green'
is the same sensation that I have learned to label by the same noise? The
best we can do it measure visual pigments and determine that they are the
same or different among persons. Then we assume that the sensations
produced are identical if the pigments are indistinguishable. This is
part of the faith underlying all claims to knowledge, as you note.

By the way, how is your standard of agreement different than that of
Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks who agreed that the sun is a chariot
driven across the sky by the deity they name? They might differ on the
name of the deity, but within each group they were certain. Across groups
they probably held that it was just that they called the god by a
different name. Does the fact that Jahweh did not straighten out the
pagans along with Israel prove him incompetent, "of little power"?
Received on Fri Sep 3 15:02:31 2004

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