Re: Jane Fonda has become a Christian!

From: Chris Cogan (
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 14:07:10 EST

  • Next message: Cliff Lundberg: "Re: Transitionals, Evidence, and Sleight-of-hand"

    > 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
    > 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"
    > 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
    > >anything other than that Ms. Fonda, for whatever reasons, possibly ones
    > >having nothing to do with cognition of facts, has changed her
    > >beliefs.
    > Chris has no basis for his insinuation that Jane Fonda's reasons for
    > converting to Christianity had "nothing to do with cognition of facts".

    Yes I do. Jane Fonda has never been exactly the most rational person. This
    is further confirmation of the the fact that she's not rational. Even if, by
    some incredible fluke of metaphysics, God happens to exist and happens to be
    something vaguely like one of the few described in the Bible, there is no
    evidence that Jane has any special access to this information, any more than
    you do. And, clearly, you don't, or you'd have offered *that* in your recent
    post in which you used the biblical story of the alleged resurrection of the
    alleged Jesus as a basis for your religious claims.
    > Indeed Chris would need to show that it is even *possible* to do
    > something, without "cognition of facts".

    Perhaps literally, she *did* have some cognition of facts. The question is
    whether she had cognition of crucially relevant facts, of facts that
    validate the conclusion reached and that she was able to cognitively grasp
    as such. *Of course* she might have had cognition of some facts, such as the
    facts of words written in the Bible, or the words spoken by some preacher,
    or her husband's words, etc. What I want to know is: Is there any reason to
    think that she reached her new conclusion by any more rational means than
    she has used in reaching conclusions in the past regarding philosophical
    issues? Neither the article nor you give any reason to think that she did.

    > 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
    > on Chris to show that Jane Fonda's decision to become a Christian had
    > "nothing to do with cognition of facts".

    No. The conclusion speaks for itself. She is intelligent but philosophically
    ignorant. She's a better actress than she is a philosopher.

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

    No. From my past knowledge of Jane Fonda, from my knowledge of general human
    psychology, from my knowledge of our culture, *and* from my knowledge that
    most ideas of God are logically incoherent or outright self-contradictory,
    and are defined in such a way that it would be logically impossible to
    validate the existence of such a being if it did exist. *And* from the fact
    that her conversion is described as being "born again," which is a phrase
    used almost exclusively with respect to the *most* irrational of the popular
    forms of Christianity, such as some form of fundamentalism. We don't here
    people being described as born again when they take up some form of more
    nearly rational belief in 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.

    No, this passage is an *epistemological* argument, not a metaphysical one.
    I'm pointing out that it simply does not make a difference what God is
    accepted in this way, it doesn't provide evidence for the existence of the
    God in question. It provides evidence of the mental state of the believer.

    > 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
    > 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,,
    > 1999.,5716,63825+1,00.html),
    > it is doubtful if any minister of Quetzalcoatlism *would* say that.

    Probably not. But my point still stands: It is *neither* a sign that Jane's
    belief is rational *nor* that God (*or* Quetzalcoatl) exists.

    > But in the case of Christianity, it *does* teach an all-powerful and
    > 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".

    *Given* the premise that *his* particular version of God exists, and that
    Jane was considered an extreme case, yes.

    > CC>One of the nice things about the epistemology of Stephen Jones is that
    > >can prove anything you want with it. Or, more accurately, anything
    > >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
    > true but found they weren't.

    No, but I've seen the *results*. They are *pitiful.* My claim above stands.
    All of your alleged "being sceptical" means nothing if, in the end, you
    *still* only believe what you *want* to believe (at least on critical
    issues), independently of or in spite of the evidence. Given what we've seen
    of your methods and your results, I'd say that my statement above of your
    epistemology is pretty close, allowing some room for hyperbole.

    > 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.

    Sorry. This won't wash here on this list. We have all *seen* both your
    methods and your results. You are one notch (or two, depending on how we
    establish the notches) above the average street preacher carrying a sign
    that screams "Repent! The End is Near! Believe and Be Saved!" Don't try to
    hide from several months of posts on this list (that I know of personally),
    unless you want to claim that most of the posts sent to it under your name
    were actually sent by someone else.

    > 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
    > could be said of Chris' atheistic faith: "If it seems intuitively true to
    > then it must be true"!

    If I remember correctly, you haven't even responded to the only post I made
    even attempting to *argue* that God (by mainstream conceptions) does not
    exist. I'll do some searching to see if you did. But, until someone provides
    an idea of a God that is coherent and logically possible, *and* for which
    there is some strong evidence, I will continue presuming that no such God
    *does* exist.

    > CC>But, since this is obviously not universalizable, we have to translate
    > >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
    > 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
    > seems to me *absolutely essential* that Christianity not be necessarily
    > (ie. "must be true"). Otherwise even atheists like Chris would *have* to
    > believe in it, even if they didn't want too.

    No. If it *must* be true, it would only mean that there is an incredibly
    strong inductive argument or a conclusive deductive argument. It would not
    mean that I would necessarily know of this argument, and, logically, if I
    were irrational, it would not even mean that I would have to accept it or
    its conclusion.
    > 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
    > >"Well that other person's knowledge doesn't seem true to me, so it must
    > >false."
    > See above.

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

    Yes. See above. No such evidence is given or even *mentioned*. With slight
    modifications, pretty much the same could be said of someone who converts to
    a belief in the Easter Bunny as can be said of Jane's conversion to some
    brand of Christianity. There may be important distinguishing facts that were
    not mentioned in the article or by Stephen, but, if so, we don't know what
    they are.

    > 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
    > God are to Chris equally "irrational"!

    No. Quetzalcoatl has a *much* higher chance of being real, or of being
    modified in relatively minor ways to describe something that could be real.
    The definitions/descriptions of the God(s) of Christianity would have to be
    modified in very *basic* was to make them *possibly* describe something that
    might be real.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Jan 22 2000 - 14:09:34 EST