Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon Feb 20 2006 - 20:13:44 EST

Glenn, this was interesting for a while, but it's getting tiresome. You
keep mischaracterizing my position -- I never said, for example, that a
tradition never changes. Then you throw around epithets like "silly" and
"nonsense," mention your studies in philosophy, logic, or whatever else it
was you studied, all the while sidestepping any substantive engagement with
anything I've said. Typical listserv / blog / web board nonsense

The bottom line is that though you want to distance yourself from
positivism, it seems to me that your arguments and the Sluggist hypo are
classicly positivist arguments of the sort that atheists who've read their
Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins make every day. If you define all your
questions and all the parameters of your questions to get certain answers,
don't be surprised at the answers you get. If I'm wrong about this, tell
me, how do you define truth and what criteria do you use to determine the
validity of a given truth claim? Are empirically verifiable / falsifiable
claims the only meaningful truth claims?

On 2/20/06, <> wrote:
> For David Opderbeck and Michael Roberts
> David wrote:
> *>>To say an individual can't come up with an interpretation is just plain
> silly.*
> >That's not what I said. Individuals come up with interpretations in the
> context of a historical community. Really, Glenn, >you don't think your
> interpretation is so novel that it bears no connection at all to anything
> that's gone before, do you? >You may have come up with a novel insight here
> or there, but the context, framework, methods, and supporting
> >interpretations you employ arise out of a tradition.
> Wait a minute. You were the one who said a sluggist could only be allowed
> to use the accommodationalist approach if there was a tradition. It seems
> that everything has a tradition, so why not give a straight answer rather
> than a lawyerly answer?
> *Ok, Mormons have a tradition of interpretation, so lets remove this issue
> once and for all. Thus, as I read you, it would be perfectly ok for them to
> use accommodation/metaphor/allegory to absolve their scripture of egregious
> errors of archaeological fact, thereby making the theology contained in the
> Book of Mormon true. *
> >Again, that's not what I said. I was very clear that as I see it there
> are two questions at play here: (1) is the >interpretation coherent within
> its tradition; and then (2) how does the tradition compare to other
> traditions as an >explanation of Reality.
> >If the Mormons have an interpretive tradition that permits accomodation
> to modern findings of archeology (I don't think >they do, BTW), then it
> would be "perfectly ok"
> What you are proposing is a system which can not change. If it doesn't
> have a tradition no one can think outside of the box. If it does have a
> tradition of it, then it is ok to use accommodation. That, is just not how
> the world works.
> *>>I am merely seeking evidence like one would of a scientific theory. If
> such and such happened, then here are >>the consequences.*
> **
> >Ok, but I think that's part of the problem. I don't think you can test
> worldviews like scientific theories.
> Of course you can if the world view has implications to observational
> data. You have a strange view of how evidence works. If you have a world
> view that there are tiny invisible leprechauns which move all the particles
> and you say they walk bare foot, well then, I could go look for tiny
> footprints.
> > Whether one is YEC, Progressive Creationist, or TE, I think we often
> give away the store by
> >accepting the premise of logical positivism that the only valid truth
> claims are those that can be shown to be valid
> >using the scientific method.
> THen one throws all constraint to the wind. The YECs do beleive this and
> they can't agree on a single thing.
> >The fundamental question you have to ask yourself, I think, is do I
> accept that logical positivist claim?
> This is not a logical positivist claim. This is the logical positivist
> claim:
> "A simple way to formulate it would be to say that a sentence
> had literal meaning if and only if the proposition it expressed
> was either analytic or empirically verifiable. To this,
> however, it might be objected that unless a sentence was
> literally meaningful it would not express a proposition; for it
> is commonly assumed that every proposition is either true or
> false, and to say that a sentence expressed what was either true
> or false would entail saying that it was literally meaningful."
> Alfred Jules Ayer, 1946 'Introduction" Language, Truth and
> Logic, (New York: Dover Publications, 1952), p. 5
> I am claiming merely that the truth or falsity of a statement which has
> implications to the observable world can be determined by seeing if those
> implications are real. That is all I am claiming, so please drop the
> positivist nonsense.
> > If you examine that claim carefully, I think you'll see that it
> collapses under its own weight, since it is not itself an >empirical claim
> that can be tested by the scientific method. It is itself an unprovable
> faith claim.
> Having done graduate work in philosophy, my friend, I am fully aware of
> why logical positivism collapsed. My claim is much weaker than that. Not
> every statement is capable of having its truth determined (Godel) but those
> which are capable of verification should be verified. Whether God created
> the trees before the sun is something that at least in principle, is
> verifiable (the mere demand for verification doesn't mean one holds to the
> entire program of logical positivism. You are making a gross generalization
> here)
> ****
> Michael Roberts wrote:
> >The Mormon example is a straight historical question open to DNA. As is
> the historicity of Jesus, David and Moses.
> Gee, you tell me I can check things out and David tells me not to. And
> Michael, while I agree with you that there are several lines of evidence
> which result in the story of the Book of Mormon being falsified, there are
> also several lines of evidence which falsify the YEC reading of Scripture.
> Yet, you don't seem to deny that the YEC reading of Genesis is what was
> meant, you say God accommodated his story to a false science. Why couldn't
> the mormon say the same thing? Others here answer the questions you seem to
> think are nonsense. Doesn't that have the slightest impact on your
> assessment of these questions?
> Doesn't it strike you that your approach is a wee bit ad hoc? (others
> haven't answered this question of the ad hoc'ness of the
> accommodationalist approach)
> >Early Genesis gives so few hard details that we cannot draw much info out
> them, beyond saying some kind of aqueous
> >event occurred. Even Gen 4 fits best about 10000years ago but we can say
> no more.. Gen 1-11 simply is not written in a
> >way that we can check it historically. At best we may find maybes but
> that is not much help, and we are best not forcing
> >the text only to be refuted later.
> Ah, then you are a concordist after all???? I thought you were an
> accommodationalist as you stated on theologyweb? Why beat me up for being
> what you already are?
> >I focus most on the historicity of the NT and the OT after Abraham, where
> the evidence is sparse before David.
> Well, when you do speak to Genesis you seem to not have thought through
> the consequenses of your statements.
Received on Mon Feb 20 20:14:19 2006

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