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August 16, 2013

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This is typical Christian apologist cop-out. [pun intended.] First we see apologists present evidence after evidence after evidence—i.e. minimal facts, non-Christian references to Jesus, arguments regarding authorship and dating—and when these evidences fail to persuade, the apologists retreat to either one of two excuses:

1) “The skeptic is too willfully hardened against the evidence” or
2) “It takes God’s hand to give the nudge to believe.”

So which is it—is the evidence sufficient to convince a skeptic that Christianity true, or is it not? If, as J. Warner Wallace intimates, it requires “God had to do something with my heart” and “no friend of mine could accomplish this with his or her evidential presentation” then the most rational response WOULD be, “I need more evidence; I am not convinced.” Because even J. Warner Wallace agrees the evidence alone is insufficient to persuade. It takes—dare I say—a miracle to believe!

This is typical Christian apologist cop-out.

I think you just made J's points...

I'm curious what Wallace would say about the miracle claims by adherents of non-Christian religions or about the claims of other kinds of Christians. For example, what about the claims that people have been cured through the power of the Virgin Mary at places like Lourdes and Medugorje? What about imams who claim to have healed people through the power of Allah? What about Hindu priests that claim their gods perform miracles? Those who dispute these miracle claims could also be accused of a similar circular-reasoning against belief in Catholic/Muslim/Hindu miracles.
I'm not claiming that miracles do not occur. But if a Christian is not convinced by Muslim/Hindu miracles, then why would a non-Christian be convinced by Christian miracle claims?

This circular graphic also fails because many non-Christians would not claim to "know" that no miracles ever occur. They would more modestly claim that the probability is low due to lack of experience with miracles, combined with the general credulity of many to believe spectacular claims. They would require extraordinary evidence to back up these extraordinary claims.

"Probability theorists came to understand you can’t simply weigh the improbability of the event against the reliability of the witnesses. Rather, they saw that you also need to consider the probability that if the reported event had not occurred that the witnesses’ testimony would still be just as it is. What is the probability that, if the event had not occurred, you would have the evidence that you do, in fact, have? This is what John Stuart Mill said:


‘. . . to know whether a coincidence does or does not require more evidence to render it credible than an ordinary event, we must refer, in every instance, to first principles, and estimate afresh what is the probability that the given testimony would have been delivered in that instance, supposing the fact which it asserts not to be true.'


You have to consider: what is the probability that you would have the evidence you do if the event had not taken place? So, to go back to the example of the winning pick in last night’s lottery: the probability that the morning news would announce the pick as 7492871 if some other number had been chosen instead is incredibly small. Given that the newscasters had no preference for that number, the probability that they would pick that number and announce it is just incredibly tiny. On the other hand, the announcement of that pick is much more probable if 7492871 were the actual number chosen. So the announcement of the pick is vastly, vastly more probable given that that was the number that was picked than if it were not the number that was picked. This comparative likelihood easily counterbalances the high prior improbability of the event reported. So again, what you have got to consider is: what is the probability that the evidence would be just as it is if the event had not occurred? If that is a very low probability then that can outbalance any intrinsic improbability in the event itself.


The realization that other factors had to be considered in estimating the probability of highly improbable events came to be codified in a theorem called Bayes Theorem which is the modern probability calculus. Let’s let R represent some miraculous event, say, the resurrection of Jesus. And we will let E equal the specific evidence for that event, such as the empty tomb, the postmortem appearances, the origin of the Christian faith and so forth. Then we will let B represent our general background information. This is our knowledge of the world at large without the specific evidence – you just subtract the specific evidence out of that and that gives you your general background knowledge. So R will be the resurrection, E will be the specific evidence for that event and B is your general background information without the specific evidence being included in it. What Bayes Theorem states is that we can compare the probability of R given the evidence and background information [Pr(R|E&B)] with the probability of not-R given the evidence and background information [Pr(not-R|E&B)]:


Pr(R|E&B)
-------------
Pr(not-R|E&B)


This is the so-called “Odds Form” of Bayes Theorem, where you compare the odds of the event given the evidence and background information with the denial of the event given the background information and the evidence. This is called the total probability of the event. It is total because it considers not only the background information but also the specific evidence. We want to compare the total probability of R with not-R. This will be computed as the product of two other factors that go to make up the total probability.


The first will be the probability of the miracle on the background information alone [Pr(R|B)] compared to the miracle not occurring given the background information alone [Pr(not-R|B)]. So you look at our general knowledge of the world and you ask how probable is the resurrection of Jesus on that background information compared to how probable is it that he did not rise given the background information?


Pr(R|B)
-----------
Pr(not-R|B)


This is called the intrinsic probability of the hypothesis. It is the probability of the hypothesis independent of any specific evidence for it.


So the total probability will be made up, or computed by, the intrinsic probability of the hypothesis. Then it is multiplied by another ratio and that will be the probability of the evidence given the resurrection and the background information [Pr(E|R&B)] compared to the probability of the evidence given that there is no resurrection – that it did not occur – and the background information [Pr(E|not-R&B)]:


Pr(E|R&B)
------------
Pr(E|not-R&B)


And you can see this is the factor that the probability theorist said we need to consider. What is the probability that we would have the evidence we do if the event had not occurred? This is the explanatory power of the hypothesis. It tells us how well the hypothesis explains the evidence. Is the evidence more probable given the hypothesis or is the evidence more probable given the negation of the hypothesis? How well does the hypothesis explain the evidence?


So the total probability, in this case, of Jesus’ resurrection will be computed by comparing the intrinsic probability times the explanatory power of R and not-R:


Pr(R|E&B)
--------------- =
Pr(not-R|E&B)


Pr(E|R&B) Pr(R|B)
-------------- X ------------
Pr(E|not-R&B) Pr(not-R|B)

Now Hume’s mistake, being unaware of the probability calculus, is that the only factor he considers is the intrinsic probability. He says because a miracle is enormously, utterly improbable given our background information that no amount of evidence can ever go to establish a miracle as probable. That is simply mathematically demonstrably fallacious. It is wrong. Imagine, say, the odds here [Dr. Craig is referring to the intrinsic probability factor] are something like 1-to-100 in favor of not-R. But suppose the odds here [Dr. Craig is now referring to the explanatory power factor] are 100-to-1 in favor of R. Then they just balance each other out and the odds are even. So Hume’s argument, by neglecting the probability of the evidence on the hypothesis or its negation, is simply fallacious. Hume never discusses this other ratio. He simply concludes that because the intrinsic probability of a miracle is so low therefore the total probability of the miracle is low. That is simply mathematically demonstrably fallacious.


There is a slogan which is beloved in the free thought culture: “extraordinary events require extraordinary evidence.” That sounds so common sensical, doesn’t it? Yet, what Bayes Theorem reveals to us is that is demonstrably mistaken. It is simply not true that in order to establish some highly, highly improbable event you need to have extraordinary evidence in any sort of acceptable sense. Think again of the illustration of the pick in last night’s lottery. So even if the event is intrinsically, highly improbable, that can be easily outbalanced by the hypothesis having greater explanatory power. What Bayes Theorem shows us is that believing in a highly improbable event on the basis of the evidence doesn’t always require an enormous amount of evidence. What is critical is that the evidence should be more probable, given the hypothesis, than it is if the hypothesis is false. So the bottom line is that establishing a miracle doesn’t always take a huge amount of evidence." (William Lane Craig)


A bit over my head, but sort of fun.....

If God wrote the words, ‘It's God,come to Me’ in purple smoke across the sky, for the world to see, some would still not believe.

God is in charge. Yes. We have a role also.

It’s no perfect example (far from it), but think those hungry around the world. What do I need to prove their existence? Prove their hunger is real? Is that not part of the endeavor to help them? Do you need to touch their bloated bellies?

Here’s what I know. Here’s what’s going on. Here are the stats. Here are the pictures. Here are the charities. Here is the evidence.

Are you convinced? No? Okay. No further action would be deemed necessary on your part.

Now - - let’s say you’re convinced of their existence from the evidence I’ve supplied you. What will lead you to do something about it? Why should you? As it relates to the case for Christianity, that’s the Holy Spirit part. That’s God pulling. The evidence alone doesn’t cause the meaningful shift.

Again, it’s not a perfect example (message to itchy fingers). But some people really don’t spend too much time knocking down the evidence for God – it may or may not make sense to them. But what they do know is that they’re not buying it because it messes up their flow. It would cause a glitch in their rhythm.

Rather, they saw that you also need to consider the probability that if the reported event had not occurred that the witnesses’ testimony would still be just as it is. What is the probability that, if the event had not occurred, you would have the evidence that you do, in fact, have?

Thank you, I hadn't seen this before. Really food for thought.

scbrownlhrm,

You are on the right track in looking at Bayes.

What is critical is that the evidence should be more probable, given the hypothesis, than it is if the hypothesis is false.

And there it is.

What kind of evidence does it take to convince a Bayesian of a 'highly improbable' hypothesis?

Let's say P(H) = 0.0001.

If the evidence, E, is going to convince us, how much more probable must E be given H than it is given not-H?

Let's say 'convince us' means P(H|E) = 0.5.

RonH

This post misunderstands Hume's argument. Hume was not arguing that miracles never occur. Rather, he was arguing that if a miracle occurs, we can never know that it did occur due to the anti-uniform nature of miracles.

Non-contingency.

P = 0

No data.

Perception? Mind too is but a Con, with yet its own precursor, and is thus a circle back to materialism's P of Zero.


scblhrm,

LOL. You just copied the whole thing. I'm pwnd.

I guess that means you won't be answering my puzzle.

Ben,

I think of Hume this way: We shouldn't believe a miracle has occurred based on testimony alone because testimony, however good it may be, is never reliable enough to overcome the low prior we have to assign to a miracle to justify calling it a miracle. (For someone who didn't have Bayes's theorem, he explained it pretty well.)

We shouldn't believe a miracle has occurred based on testimony alone because testimony, however good it may be, is never reliable enough to overcome the low prior we have to assign to a miracle to justify calling it a miracle.

This raises the bar too high I think. Consider this:

Suppose you have a trusted source who you consider to be very reliable and honest. Your justification for believing their story (miracle or not) is rooted in who they are, not necessarily in what they are saying. Yes, what they are saying matters - it has to be logical, coherent, etc - but it doesn't matter as as the character of the person saying it.

If that were not true then you wouldn't ever be justified in dismissing a story out of hand from a man you knew told lies often.

What you'd be saying is that the character of the person doesn't have any impact on your justification to believe what they are telling you.

You'd be saying that you always needed to confirm and verify everything that anyone told you before you could believe them - but nobody says or does that.

oops - "it doesn't matter as much as the character..."

SteveK,

I meant the phrase 'however good [the testimony] may be' to take everything relevant into account - including the character and track record of the witness.

You may want to shun the idea that a certain witness is failing you. But has the testimony of this witness has repeatedly overturned uniform experience?

RonH

By the way, Hume also recognizes that there are good witnesses (and bad ones).

Look the essay up and search for 'tenacious'.

But has the testimony of this witness has repeatedly overturned uniform experience?

I'm having trouble deciphering this. Has the testimony of this (reliable?) witness repeatedly overturned uniform experience? If that's the question I don't see the relevance.

RonH,

All your data is anti-uniform to materialism's regress to non-contingency.

Every bit of it.

P = 0

And worse: you're belief lies in the opposite direction...... Non-Contingency is nowhere in your material stuff, which is wholly anti-uniform in nature to every bit of it.

In other words, only by a miracle do we arrive at your material stuff, which is your inexplicable god.

Ben's pseudo-immaterialism too shouts but Precursor laying beneath, behind content of thought, and -tis but another face of materialism.

RonH,

The testimony of all your data points, every single one, repeatedly overturns their own uniformity of contingency in testimony of the Immutable and Everlasting Immaterial Non-Contingent.

I believe in this evidence which my eyes see and my fingers grasp.

What is the P of material stuff behaving in a uniformaly non-contingent manner given that all its trillions of data points don't ?

You speak of uniformity but don't believe your own miracle or your own witnesses.

Science and its physical data are reliable witnesses. You ought to believe the story they are telling you over and over and over and over and.......

SteveK,

I'm having trouble deciphering this. Has the testimony of this (reliable?) witness repeatedly overturned uniform experience? If that's the question I don't see the relevance.

Yes, I like your edit - the inertion of 'reliable'.

Suppose your witness is, in fact, VERY reliable - as witnesses go.

He's proven to be a good observer.

He seems to avoid going beyond the facts.

He's told the truth when he could have gained by lying.

Etc.

The best witness ever!

However, he's never said anything that conflicted uniform experience - let alone anything that overturned uniform experience..

Now, suppose he tells you that he saw a man levitate a car this morning.

He seems the same as ever.

His telling of the story is unremarkable, except for one thing: Our uniform experience is that men can't levitate cars.

Will you believe him?

You will not.

The reason?

His testimony has never overturned uniform experience.

RonH

"Will you believe him?

Even if the testimony is remarkable, counter uniform, yea, even unbelieveable, the only reason to not would believe him would lie with the hearers own skepticism. Most likely rooted in the fallibility of sense perception.

Lots of flyers have seen something unidentifiable, good witnesses as witnesses go claiming to see things that defy physics...as we know them.

Doesn't mean they didn't perceive them, in either of the above cases. Therefore belief is justified-in the testimony, not in that person's sense perception being perfectly interpreted.

To paraphrase RonH and Dr. Craig,

Material stuff has never overturned our uniform experience that material stuff is never Non-Contingent. Now, Dr. Craig’s use of this larger form of Bayes Theorem gives RonH hope that the miracle of his material Non-Contingent will one day appear, for it shows us that very improbable events (like a material non-contingent) do no not need extra-ordinary evidence in order for us to perceive the extra-ordinary event. Thus RonH realizes, with this larger version of Bayes, that perhaps the miracle of his material non-contingent need not have some extraordinary bit of evidence to prove his materialism true, to make the truth of it recognizable. He has hope! Unfortunately for RonH it also gives the Theist hope as well for the very same mathematical dance from which RonH derives his hope for his miracle also gives hope to the Theist for his miracle. The only difference is that, in the middle while both await their miracle, the Theist has science on his side, while RonH does not for all material stuff is, right now, telling us the Theist’s immaterialism is highly scientifically plausible given non-contingency and the behavior of all material stuff, and it is telling us that RonH’s materialism is quite anti-uniform to necessity’s denominator, which RonH seeks to avoid in his equations.


Perhaps RonH’s mistake, being unaware of the probability calculus, is that the only factor he considers is the intrinsic probability. He, RonH, says that because a miracle (like a material non-contingent) is enormously, utterly improbable given our background information, there is no amount of evidence that can ever establish this miracle of a material non-contingent as probable. Yet RonH just waves his hand at physics and inexplicably believes in his materialism’s material non-contingent. This is all simply mathematically demonstrably fallacious.

So RonH’s argument by neglecting the probability of the evidence on the hypothesis or its negation is simply fallacious. RonH never discusses this other ratio which we find given the evidence and given the plausibility of that evidence at hand given the testimony of all witnesses from both sides as to their respective hypotheses. This is the explanatory power of the theorem (when applied properly). It tells us how well these hypotheses explain the evidence. Is the evidence more probable given hypothesis A vs. B or is the evidence more probable given the negation of hypothesis A vs. B? How well does each hypothesis explain the evidence at hand? This is why the Theist is happy to use the entirety of Bayes Theorem while RonH does not do so. And when RonH does use the whole formula, well then all the Theist’s improbable ideas rise to the surface along with RonH’s own improbable ideas for extraordinary events become perceivable with ordinary evidence in both hypotheses. The only difference, of course, being that the science of physics is clearly choosing to be a witness for the Theist’s Immaterial Non-Contingent, given the anti-uniform stance it would need to assume should it wish to testify in behalf of Materialism’s material non-contingent.


The math is the same on all fronts and in both hypotheses. No one is immune from math and physics. Extraordinary events either need, or do not need, extraordinary evidence. We see then that as immaterialism becomes more difficult to perceive, materialism becomes more difficult to defend. And, we also see that as immaterialism become easier to perceive, materialism becomes easier to defend. For, in both directions within both hypotheses, extraordinary events either necessitate, or fail to necessitate, extraordinary evidence. Neither hypothesis is magically immune from mathematics. It is noteworthy that an incredible anthology of difference is, again, the pesky irritant of that fact that the science of physics chooses to be a witness for the Theist’s Immaterial Non-Contingent given the anti-uniform stance it would need to assume should it wish to testify in behalf of Materialism’s material non-contingent.

Brad B,


On perceptions, don't hold out for hope along that line, as Mind is but a Con in materialism and in Ben's pseudo-immaterialism. It, mind, is but pushed around, the slave of indifference. And they are happy to assume the Pan-Diagnosis of Pan-Psychosis rather than deal with what is right before their, well, eyes found within both love and logic.


From J. Warner:

"I am an evidentialist; I believe in the power of the evidence when presenting the case for God’s existence. But I know that God had to do something with my heart before I could see the evidence fairly, and no friend of mine could accomplish this with his or her evidential presentation."

So, it seems to me that you believe that the power of the Christian apologetic has power, but only after the Spirit of God has done something first.

What power then, does it[evidential apologetics] have? None.

Rom. 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

Until someone has been born again, you are evangelizing, making a case, defending and employing the gospel. After that you are using evidential apologetics to believers who need to be sanctified. I think it helps to know the difference, so that you dont get disappointed for a good defense being rejected or even take credit for a case well presented. The evidence by itself has no power to change or convince until after [spiritual]life begins.

Rom 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Until someone has been born again, you are evangelizing, making a case, defending and employing the gospel. After that you are using evidential apologetics to believers who need to be sanctified. I think it helps to know the difference, so that you dont get disappointed for a good defense being rejected or even take credit for a case well presented. The evidence by itself has no power to change or convince until after [spiritual]life begins.

And, I might add Eph. 2:1-5 as fitting:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Dead men don't have the capability to believe in evidence, no matter how copious or convincing it may be.

John MacArthur is also a Calvinist along these same lines. His Bible commentary of Romans 1 injects a real bit of granted evidence / genuine awareness / willful suppression in Man but I think there is a kind of continuum of this in various writings in that/other camps from the total absence of "granted evidence/ geniune awareness/ willful suppression" all the way to the hyperegocentric lines in other camps. I find myself somewhere in between I guess. Some would take MacArthur's commentary as a danger to Grace, but of course it never can be. If we have anything, we have it but by Gift. I know my own avoidance of either of the two far-ends of that continuum is annoying and I apologize if ever it is too far/too often.

On the diagnosis of Pan-Psychosis I mentioned earlier, some do (it seems to me) clearly see the alternative and choose mind's pathology over mind's coherence, lest God. (it seems to me)

Bible believers do not understand the difference between evidence and arguments. When we unbelievers ask for some evidence for the existence of God Christians respond with their usual arguments: The First Cause Argument, the Moral Argument, the Fine Tuning Argument, the Ontological Argument and a couple others. All of these arguments are riddled with logical fallacies. The First Cause Arguments relies of the fallacy of Special Pleading. The Moral Argument fails because Divine Command Morality is simply insane. Biblical morality can be used to justify just about any crime against humanity such as the murder of innocent women, children prisoners of war and even animals as the Bible clearly demonstrates. Humanist morality is based on the value of life itself: whatever protects and enhances human life is “good” and that which harms or destroys life is termed “evil.” This leads to a far more compassionate and rational system than that of a deity whose whims cannot be understood and who is not constrained in any manner by the commands he gives to others. Biblical morality is subjective to the extreme because it is established by a being whose motives and very nature are absolutely beyond human comprehension which makes it impossible to discern any moral law beyond, ”God wills it.” This is why religious people are so dangerous and Christianity has such a violent and bloodthirsty past. The Fine Tuning Argument obviously fails because no one has or can prove the universe is fine tuned for life. The earth, 75 percent of which is covered with water was supposedly created for humans who have no gills. Space is uninhabitable for humans. Fine tuned. Sure, tell me another one. The Ontological Argument fails because you cannot just define something into existence. Poof, there goes all of the Christian arguments, shot down in flames. And once again, arguments are NOT evidence. However these arguments are proof positive that the people making them really have no evidence at all for their ridiculous beliefs.

Boris

I see arguments for your naturalism, but no evidence. And you give us not very much explanatory power for reality as it is perceived.

When you are able to perceive reality then we can talk.

That is to say, Boris, in your naturalism you fail to exhibit explanatory power on much of anything at all.

What is it you would like me to explain exactly?

Existence.

The mass-energy that comprises the universe has always existed in one form or another. If God could have always existed so could have mass-energy. So the universe itself is the uncaused cause giving rise to all other cause and effect. That is the scientific concensus at this time. Of course in science, no finding is the final word and all findings are subject to future revision and even outright rebuttal. Rebut away if you so dare. Perhaps we could Email back and forth: bullwinklefred56@yahoo.com, and not bore the other readers.

Boris,

You blindly state your presupposition of naturalism, give no evidence, which Hawk. Etc fail to unearth as of yet, on our uncaused cause, and present this in contradiction to material stuff's pan-contingent behavior.

This isn't an "arguement", much less evidence , etc....

Perhaps Immaterial Law is a hint.....some physicists are moving in that direction.

Empirical observation tells us that mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed. So scientists must assume that it has always existed in one form or another. You obiously don't know what physical laws are. Physical laws are simply human observations of how things work in the universe. If we ask why large objects attract or things fall toiward the earth it does no good to say, "It's the law of gravity." We don't know why large objects attract ot things thrown skyward fall back to earth.

It inexplicably exists.

I know you believe that. But without evidence I see no reason to believe you. Nothing inexplicably exists in mass or in energy. A million contingents don't in combination magically grant a non-contingent, especially in mass or in energy.

I don't see any evidence here, only a presupposition.

But arguments are helpful for both of us. I think that is the overall process we all have to walk through. In my view the physical evidence doesn't lead me to believe your presupposition / premises Etc.

I know you won't like this, but prayer is another line of sight, mixed in with our observational & experiential reality, of course, for, as you say, corrective steps along the way.

I'll give you the last word here, Boris.


RonH

Our uniform experience is that men can't levitate cars.

Ahhh..your mistake is in calling different experiences the same when they are not.

Our trustworthy eyewitness would never say that the man, and the man alone, made the car levitate. Miracles involve other beings interacting with nature such that nature doesn't normally do what it would do if left to itself.

Cars normally don't levitate except when a being intercedes. Similarly, baseballs don't normally soar through the air except when humans intercede.

So he's not experiencing what you are calling "the uniform experience". This means he's not overturning uniform experience. He's been eyewitness to an experience few, if any, have ever experienced before.

RonH,
Let's look at driving to the grocery store as an experience.

Some of that experience is uniform for every person that drives to the grocery store: get into a car, start it up, drive down a street/road at speeds under 200mph, park the car, etc.

But there is a LOT that is not uniform to anyone. Most of that experience is unique to you and you alone: see a gray haired lady on the corner of 3rd and Elm walking her dog, pass 2 red trucks and 1 white prius, see one accident involving a motorcycle, rain showers, etc, etc.

If a miracle occurred along the way it would fall into the "not uniform" category of experiences. That unique experience would not be in the position to overturn any uniform experience.

"I know you believe that. But without evidence I see no reason to believe you. Nothing inexplicably exists in mass or in energy. A million contingents don't in combination magically grant a non-contingent, especially in mass or in energy."

Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark. Very well put scblhrm.

Our trustworthy eyewitness would never say that the man, and the man alone, made the car levitate.

But he does say so. That's given.

SteveK,

But there is a LOT that is not uniform to anyone.

Fine.

One thing that is uniform experience: Men don't levitate cars.

scblhrm,

What is all this about contingency?

You seem to think it's the answer to a lot of things but it seems to me off topic here and numerous other times.

WL,

Since you approve so strongly, perhaps you can help explain.

Why Some People Simply Will Not Be Convinced

Why am I suddenly thinking of Bulverism?

RonH,

The reason I didn't answer your specific question to me earlier on the new P value, etc, is that I really am a bit out of my league here with you, especially on stat. analysis. I know my limits. As for contingency in material stuff, well it seems both self evident AND it has (all of) physical data behind it. It may be possible to have strings and such, but as of now we have lots of data: Non-Contingent hasn't been observed at all, and so on along that line.....and it IS true that lots of contingents in one bag can't get us there.....sorry if I was too, well, "aggressive" in my paraphrase of you/Craig ~~~

RonH

One thing that is uniform experience: Men don't levitate cars.

Why do you repeat yourself? I agreed already.

Contingency:

Dark matter, matter, whatever, all observed stuff is but, at the end, an effect, the everlasting cause of which eludes known physics. Theory is reaching. As it should. Whatever it is, it won't be the contingent sort of oceans we now find ourselves sailing in, wind filling our sails, which we see not, though its sound is everywhere. IM-material is inevitable, and it need not be God, but it satisfies, perfectly, one of the definitions given eons ago by those most peculiar men of faith following a God named Love to they knew not where.

Once we arrive in immaterialism things move much faster. Abstract objects fail in causation. Other necessitated vectors break through. Suddenly we find the business of intent and other weighty Contexts filling up Definition. We move, there, in definition after definition, in necessity after necessity, into the lap of God.

Why do you repeat yourself?

Because you said

But there is a LOT that is not uniform to anyone.
Maybe I misunderstood.

I don't think it matters.

You won't believe the (previously) stellar witness when he tells you he saw a man levitate a car.

RonH

Ron-

I not only agree with scblhrm here, but also think he expressed himself very well in this instance. As such, I'm not sure what else needs to be explained.

The conjunction of several contingent facts is not less, but more, contingent than the individual facts are. The claim that there are five pounds of hydrogen in the universe depends on more contingent circumstances that the claim that there is one pound. (It is more contingent by four pounds.)

The challenge raised by the cosmological argument, that is answered by the existence of the Necessary Being that we call God, is why there should be any contingent facts at all.

To move in the opposite direction of that reliable Witness named Physics, and, to insist on a self-diagnosis, a Pan-Diagnosis of Pan-Psychosis of Mind as but a Con being played by indifference, well these illuminate some, not all by any means, but some of the reasons various folks shout "NoGod!" Immutable Mind dissolves these tensions quite easily. For others the will is there to leap, only pain, or the randomness of pain's fist, -tis too much, and so the fist is raised. For these Immutable Love becomes the very strength, the necessary buttres of that very fist and dissolves all incoherencies therein. Love's Mind, or, Mind's Love are found at the end of all our ad infinitums. Else the incoherence of madness.

After a long philosophical quest, I came to see the futility of rational certainty, Wittgenstein comes to mind, as does all of Analytic Philosophy. One after another, philosophers and mathematicians trying to prove too much reach an instability point in their argument and diverge off into the distance, never to be seen again in daily living. All assume that their rationality stands outside of their rationality, that they can be the Supreme Rational being, Spock in the Federation of Dunces. They never seem to be at ease with being a contingent rational being with reasonable rationality and not comprehensive rationality. They never are at peace with being a finite mind with looming finitude that erases all their much clamored for certainty. Death really is the only philosophical question really worth answering. It is certain.

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