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
"...to 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 ...to 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, Britannica.com,
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
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.
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 | email@example.com | http://www.iinet.net.au/~sejones
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