Re: [asa] Empiricism, Faith and Science

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Wed Sep 20 2006 - 02:35:31 EDT

On 9/19/06, Paul <> wrote:
> As Don said,
> I realize it's foolish to step in, but let me repeat anyway what I said
> three years ago or so on this, and see if it makes a difference this time:
> I also said some years ago that the aleph tau (the 4th word) just before
> "the heavens and the earth" is a late addition to the text, and not a word
> as such but only a marker of the accusative. It is not part of the original.
> Even if you regard the later additions to the text as inspired, it is more
> like a colon, a mark of punctuation, than a regular word. If you had not
> built upon it, your numerology would at least have a solid basis for coming
> from the inspired original, but including it as you do tells me that your
> numerology is doubtful.

Sorry but this is not an impressive argument at all. It seems that you are
placing a requirement on God to only insert a pattern in the original text.
This reminds me of Richard Dawkins's equally weak argument "If I were God, I
wouldn't have done it by evolution", ie placing a requirement on God to
create a world different from the one we observe because in his view there
is too much misery in the world for a benevolent creator. I take it you
agree that this is a feeble argument, but I think your argument here is no

In fact it could be said that your argument strengthens Vernon's case for
claiming a miraculous event, because it effectively rules out the
possibility that the pattern was contrived by the human writer. It would be
difficult enough to construct a pattern from scratch given any meaningful
sentence that you wanted to write, but it must be even more unlikely that
the pattern wasn't there at all but appeared when a grammatical change came
into the language.

I'm also wondering if, for example we were speaking French that you would
insist on not counting the "pas" in the "ne ... pas" negation construct, on
the grounds that the "pas" has no regular translation into English, but
seems to be just a placeholder in the place of other words with more direct
meanings than the general negation ( like "ne ... jamais" and "ne ....


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Received on Wed Sep 20 02:36:03 2006

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