Re: Seely's Views 2

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Sat Sep 11 2004 - 04:58:59 EDT

GRM: ...All the communication noise is in the
physical realm and that means that Shannon's noisy channel communication
fully applies to it. It applies to any form of physical communication.
The only slim out to this issue that I see for the accommodationists is
that it is hard to see how to fit God into a physical system.
In my opinion, with this view, if you don't believe the noisy channel
theorem applies, you are doing exactly what the YECs are doing.

DFW: Yes, by your analogy there is noise in the system--so I've seen the light; but the noise originates not with the source (God) but in the receiver (inspired scribe). Further, I assert on subjective bases that some "receivers" generate far less noise than others. If the noise levels are low, lots of communication can be going on, even though it may not be possible to quantitatively prove it.

GRM: ...Given that we have no parity
bits to encode the communication in a way to error correct, we know
neither the error rate nor whether information is really being
communicated at all.

DFW: We don't know in detail how to differentiate signal from noise, but we judge that the communication was successful from the results: God was able to establish a relationship with his chosen people, and he was able to interact with them over an extended period--in fact, until this very day. Consider ordinary human interpersonal interactions: No parity bits and plenty of noise, but people still make their meanings relatively clear to one another, as we can see from results. God as Spirit has big barriers to overcome, but we know he's succeeded.

You've mentioned [as I recall, possibly inaccurately] that you were likely to reject Christianity and become an atheist if the Bible (especially Gen. 1-11) were not literally true in some sense. Only if it were true to your specifications could you regard it as a document that was transmitting truth from God. My take is largely opposite: If I had to consider Gen. 1-11 as literally true in any sense, I would be unable to derive any spiritual benefit from it at all and in fact would reject it. It's only because I see it as a product of its time and hence of limited application that I can value it. Kinda peculiar.

GRM: >>How do we know that Islam is not superior? Well, the Qur'an
>> contradicts important parts of the Bible, especially those
>> pertaining to the divinity of Christ; so if one accepts
>>Christ, he must accept that Islam is inferior.

This begs the question that the Bible is correct before answering that
the Qu'ran is wrong

DFW: In accepting Christ one acknowledges that key parts of the Bible are at least on the right track. Christ came in a context, and Scriptures provided a key part of that context.

GRM: ...The claims of each of these religions are so mutually exclusive that
if there is a significant fraction of truth in all of them, then there
must also be a significant fraction of untruth. And if that is the case,
then Shannon's theories condemn the idea that there is any communication
occurring. To ignore this is to ignore what science says.

DFW: It's easy for me to imagine that some Muslims may be no farther from the truth of God than many Israelites of the OT. I hope not all of them wound up damned.

At bottom there's a form of communication going on in Christianity that involves no words or physical system, and that is the communication of the Spirit with our spirit (Rom. 8:16). (Our spirit of course is connected to the physical system that is our body, but the body becomes spiritual in such interaction.) It is this form of error-free communication that underlies, supports and confirms the key verbal messages and ultimately gives Christianity its power.


Received on Sat Sep 11 05:17:38 2004

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