Re: Comment on Siemens article (was Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics)

From: dfsiemensjr <>
Date: Wed Sep 23 2009 - 18:10:14 EDT

I can't explain the incarnation. Indeed I know that some philosophers
have declared it impossible. I don't have the faintest idea how deity may
be dumped (Philippians 2:7) in order to enter creation. I simply try to
draw the logical conclusions of what has been revealed. I can say that it
seems impossible to scientifically examine a soul if it is immaterial.
Your construction of a functional brain (I hope it's not in a vat)
assumes materiality.
Dave (ASA)

On Thu, 24 Sep 2009 06:26:13 +1000 Murray Hogg <>
> Hi Ted,
> Thanks for pointing us towards this article which is certainly
> thought provoking. I think that David is quite right in pointing out
> that traditional views of the incarnation are problematic given
> nonreductive physicalism - however I'd make two preliminary points:
> (1) when it comes to full description of the exact relation of the
> human-divine "admixture" in the person of Jesus Christ, the notion
> of the incarnation is in some sense problematic on whatever
> understanding of the human person; and (2) questions about the
> ultimate nature of any entity - whether God, humans, or matter -
> are, I think, intractable given our present level of knowledge.
> Indeed, it seems to me that the more we learn the more intractable
> the issues become. In consequence, I'm uncertain just how strongly
> we should assert anything about the nature, and subsequently the
> possibility, of the incarnation even given a particular view on
> reductionism/physicalism/etc.
> That said, I wonder if we might not push the analogy of the computer
> just a little;
> The nonreductive physicalist obviously thinks something like a
> computer to be a good analogy to humans - only humans are a vastly
> more complex computer than those sitting on our desks. But let's
> assume, for the moment, that some clever neurosurgeon could grow
> individual neurons in the laboratory and, by assembling them in the
> correct relation, build a fully functioning human brain - hence
> (according to the nonreductive physicalist) a fully functioning
> human mind and, hence, a fully functioning human person.
> I would then have two questions relevant to the current thread;
> 1) What, precisely, in all of this is problematic for a Christian
> view of the resurrection? Presumably, to "reconstruct" a person
> after death is, on the tenets of nonreductive physicalism, no
> different in principle than "reconstructing" a computer after (say)
> a hard-drive crash. If the ONLY thing to be concerned about is the
> correct arrangement of hardware running the correct version of
> software, then to argue the resurrection is impossible is - to put
> it quite bluntly - actually to argue that nonreductive physicalism
> is false. Or, to put it another way, if nonreductive physicalism
> were true, then resurrection of a person would, given an adequate
> level of technological development, actually prove to be trivially
> easy.
> 2) I'd suggest that if nonreductive physicalism is correct then the
> ambition of constructing fully human-like artificial intelligences
> is, at least in principle, realisable. Moreover, there is nothing
> which would in principle constrain the nature of these
> intelligences. They could, for instance, demonstrate absolute
> selflessness, compassion, honesty, etc. They could, in short, bear
> all the hallmarks of the divine character. And if such an
> achievement is possible for humans then why could Christ NOT
> likewise perfectly bear the image of God? This, of course, would
> seem quite a different understanding of the incarnation than that to
> which many dualists hold - but it would be interesting to hear what
> precise theological objection might be raised against the idea that
> such a "perfect" person is an incarnation of the eternal Logos.
> Such speculations aside, I return simply to my original point: the
> ultimate nature of God, of humans, and of matter seem to me such
> profound questions that it is reckless to make any strong
> pronouncement about what is, or is not, possible in regards of their
> interrelationships.
> Blessings,
> Murray
> Ted Davis wrote:
> > Bernie,
> >
> > I appreciate your willingness to engage these issues. My own view
> is not fully formed; I don't know exactly what I think, relative to
> "soul" and the Bible, let alone what I think of consciousness--many
> top philosophers don't have a good idea about the mind/brain issue,
> either, so I don't feel too badly about that. But, since I don't
> have a clear view on this myself, I am not committed to any one
> model for interpreting scripture, either.
> >
> > You call for some focused discussion, which I applaud. How about
> this. Suppose we discuss this article by David Siemens, who likes
> to participate here:
> >
> >
> > If David wants to expand on any of his points, I'd like that very
> much. But this could be a starting place. Would you agree?
> >
> > Ted
> >
> >
> >
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Received on Wed Sep 23 18:12:34 2009

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