Re: Jane Fonda has become a Christian!

From: Stephen E. Jones (
Date: Fri Jan 21 2000 - 21:38:04 EST

  • Next message: Stephen E. Jones: "Re: What is the evidence that atheism is *true*?"


    On Wed, 19 Jan 2000 17:57:17 -0600, Chris Cogan wrote:


    SJ>It proves once again that beauty, brains, and money is not enough.
    >It also proves once again what the article's last paragraph says:
    >"Nobody is beyond the grace of God," says Mr. Baehr. "That's why Jesus
    >died for the sinners, not for the righteous....Nobody is beyond God's
    >grace whom God decides to call into His kingdom."

    CC>How does it prove this?

    I was using the word "proves" in a popular, non-technical sense, as for
    example in the following definitions of "prove" included in the Webster's
    online dictionary:

    " learn or find out by experience"; "to test the truth, validity, or
    genuineness of"; "to test the worth or quality of; "to demonstrate as
    having a particular quality or worth; "to show be worthy or capable".

    I am not claiming that Jane Fonda's conversion to Christianity "proves" in
    an *absolute* sense that "beauty, brains, and money is not enough" or that
    "Nobody is beyond the grace of God".

    Perhaps I should have said that her conversion it is further *evidence" that
    beauty, brains, and money is not enough" and that "Nobody is beyond the
    grace of God".

    CC>I'm wondering what reasoning could possibly make this seem like a proof of
    >anything other than that Ms. Fonda, for whatever reasons, possibly ones
    >having nothing to do with cognition of facts, has changed her

    Chris has no basis for his insinuation that Jane Fonda's reasons for
    converting to Christianity had "nothing to do with cognition of facts".

    Indeed Chris would need to show that it is even *possible* to do
    something, without "cognition of facts". Maybe it would be possible for
    someone to do something trivial, or on the spur of the moment, without
    "cognition of facts". But I doubt even that.

    However in the case of Jane Fonda, she is a highly intelligent, mature
    woman of nearly 60, who made a socially very costly decision and who
    before she made it, discussed it with her chauffeur. The burden of proof is
    on Chris to show that Jane Fonda's decision to become a Christian had
    "nothing to do with cognition of facts".

    But then Chris doesn't need any evidence. He can deduce all these things
    from his fundamental dogmatic position that there is no God!

    CC>If she took up a belief in Quetzalcoatl, would Mr. Baehr be saying:
    >"Nobody isbeyond the grace of Quetzalcoatl"?
    >I suppose so.

    First, Chris's argument only works if he knows that *both* "Quetzalcoatl"
    and the Christian God are equally false.

    Second, if the religion of "Quetzalcoatl" taught that He was all-powerful,
    and gracious, and Jane Fonda had converted to Quetzalcoatlism, then it
    would be reasonable and consistent for a minister of Quetzalcoatlism to say
    that "Nobody is beyond the grace of Quetzalcoatl"? But since, according to
    the online Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Quetzalcoatl" which literally means,
    "the Feathered Serpent", was "conceived as a vegetation god--an earth and
    water deity" ("Quetzalcoatl", Encyclopaedia Britannica,,
    it is doubtful if any minister of Quetzalcoatlism *would* say that.

    But in the case of Christianity, it *does* teach an all-powerful and gracious
    God, so we know it is reasonable and consistent for Jane Fonda's Christian
    minister to see her conversion to Christianity as evidence that "Nobody is
    beyond God's grace".

    CC>One of the nice things about the epistemology of Stephen Jones is that you
    >can prove anything you want with it. Or, more accurately, anything *Stephen*
    >wants, because his epistemology is apparently little more than the rule:
    > If it seems intuitively true to me, then it must be true.

    Chris has *no conception* of how much time and effort I have spent being
    sceptical about and confirming by hard thinking what I believe is true, or
    how many times I have rejected or modified things that I had believed to be
    true but found they weren't.

    What really Chris is doing is the old `village atheist' trick of stereotyping all
    Christians as being at the same by level of "epistemology" as the more
    simple-minded Christians he might have met.

    And of course that something might "seems intuitively true to" someone is
    no reason why it must therefore *not* "be true"!

    Chris has failed dismally to prove his atheism to be true, so maybe the same
    could be said of Chris' atheistic faith: "If it seems intuitively true to me,
    then it must be true"!

    CC>But, since this is obviously not universalizable, we have to translate it
    >into the form:
    > If it seems intuitively true to a person, then it must be true.

    See above about Chris working from his `village atheist' stereotype of what
    he thinks all Christians *must* believe.

    I don't even claim that Christianity "*must* be true" (my emphasis). I
    *believe* that Christianity is true, not that it "must be true" . Indeed it
    seems to me *absolutely essential* that Christianity not be necessarily true
    (ie. "must be true"). Otherwise even atheists like Chris would *have* to
    believe in it, even if they didn't want too.

    CC>We need not worry that this leads to contradictions in knowledge (often
    >within one person's own "knowledge," but most obviously between his
    >"knowledge" and the "knowlege" of others), because, we can all simply say,
    >"Well that other person's knowledge doesn't seem true to me, so it must be

    See above.

    CC>Or, does Stephen perhaps have some truly essential and rationally
    >significant (in this context) difference between God and Quetzalcoatl that
    >makes Ms. Fonda's belief in the one rational and belief in the other
    >irrational? I doubt it.

    See above.

    That Chris with his dogmatic atheistic mindset cannot even distinguish
    between the *Christian* "God and Quetzalcoatl", shows that Chris
    wouldn't even accept there *was* a "rational...belief" in *any* God. On
    Chris' basic metaphysical assumption that `there is no God', *all* beliefs in
    God are to Chris equally "irrational"!


    "In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable
    progressions. In general. these have not been found-yet the optimism has
    died hard and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks. This is illustrated
    by other statements in the Root-Bernstein letter, such as: "Evolution
    postdicts certain immutable trends of progressive change that can be
    falsified." This is simply not the case! In the fossil record, we are faced with
    many sequences of change: modifications over time from A to B to C to D
    can be documented and a plausible Darwinian interpretation can often be
    made after seeing the sequence. But the predictive (or postdictive) power
    of theory in these cases is almost nil." (Raup D.M., "Evolution and the
    Fossil Record", Science, Vol. 213, No. 4505, 17 July 1981, p289).
    Stephen E. Jones | |

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