One of the reasons I am a bibliophile and love to follow references given in one book with the purchase of the referenced book is many of the same quotes used by multiple authors on a subject do not give the full weight and gravity of the larger quote. I will give you an example. In J.P. Moreland’s work from 1987, “Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity,” he quotes Huw Parri Owen’s work, Christian Theism. In a more voluminous work, he and William Lane Craig use the same quote:
Determinism is self-stultifying. If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism. But if the sole reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding that my judgment is true or false.
J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2003) 241.
A great quote for sure.
I was finally able to get a good bound copy for a VERY reasonable price (previously when I looked for a copy, they were very expensive). While this book will enter my hopper to be read in full, I read the chapter the quote came from, and loved this larger quote from the section… and it deals with the self-stultifying aspect of Marx and Freud. I will add another quote by an excellent authot=r that does much the same, but first here is H.P. Owen’s larger reference:
If determinism were true how could the illusion of free will arise? If we are wholly determined why are we not conscious of being so? These questions gain additional force from the fact that we feel ourselves able to resist those very forces by which according to determinism our actions are invariably caused. The sense of free will cannot be plausibly attributed to “wish-fulfilment”. Admittedly it may seem desirable in so far as it raises us above physical nature. Yet is also imposes on us an existential burden together with a burden of guilt on those occasions when we have misused our freedom of choice.
Determinism is incompatible with a great deal of our moral language. In particular it is incompatible with the concepts of obligation and moral responsibility. I cannot be obliged to do X unless I am free to do it simply because it is my duty and not because I am determined by other factors. Of course obligation is itself a determining factor in so far as it is a form of constraint. However the constraint is a unique one; and a sign of its uniqueness is that it leaves a person free either to accept or to reject it. Equally I cannot be morally responsible for an action that I was compelled to perform even if the compulsion proceeds from my own nature and so is an act of self-determination. And if I am not responsible for an action I cannot be blamed for it.
Chiefly, however, determinism is self-stultifying. If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism. But if the sole reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding that my judgment is true or false. J. R. Lucas has put the point cogently with reference to Marxist and Freudian forms of determinism thus. ‘The Marxist who says that all ideologies have no independent validity and merely reflect the class interests of those who hold them can be told that in that case his Marxist views merely express the economic interests of his class, and have no more claim to be judged true or valid than any other view. So too the Freudian, if he makes out that everybody else’s philosophy is merely the consequence of childhood experiences, is, by parity of reasoning, revealing merely his delayed response to what happened to him when he was a child.’ Lucas then makes the same point with regard to a person who maintains, more generally, that our behaviour is totally determined by heredity and environment. “If what he says is true, he says it merely as the result of his heredity and environment, and of nothing else. He does not hold his determinist views because they are true, but because he has such-and-such a genetic make-up, and has received such-and-such stimuli; that is, not because the structure of the universe is such-and-such but only because the configuration of only one part of the universe, together with the structure of the determinist’s brain, is such as to produce that result.”
The exact force of this criticism is sometimes missed. Certainly on deterministic premisses determinism may be true. But we should not have any grounds for affirming that it is true or therefore for knowing that it is so. In order to obtain these grounds we must be free from all determining factors in order to assess the evidence according to its own worth. This principle applies to the assessment of all truth-claims (including those of Christianity). Freedom from determining factors is therefore required in the cognitive as much as in the moral sphere.
Huw Parri Owen, Christian Theism: A Study in its Basic Principles (Edinburgh, London: T & T Clark, 1984), 118-119.
Here is a smaller section from Dr. Roy Clouser critiquing Freudian determinism as well as throwing a stone in Taoism’s shoe:
…As an example of the strong sense of this incoherency, take the claim sometimes made by Taoists that “Nothing can be said of the Tao.” Taken without qualification (which is not the way it is intended), this is self-referentially incoherent since to say “Nothing can be said of the Tao” is to say something of the Tao. Thus, when taken in reference to itself, the statement cancels its own truth. As an example of the weak version of self-referential incoherency, take the claim once made by Freud that every belief is a product of the believer’s unconscious emotional needs. If this claim were true, it would have to be true of itself since it is a belief of Freud’s. It therefore requires itself to be nothing more than the product of Freud’s unconscious emotional needs. This would not necessarily make the claim false, but it would mean that even if it were true neither Freud nor anyone else could ever know that it is. The most it would allow anyone to say is that he or she couldn’t help but believe it. The next criterion says that a theory must not be incompatible with any belief we have to assume for the theory to be true. I will call a theory that violates this rule “self-assumptively incoherent.” As an example of this incoherence, consider the claim made by some philosophers that all things are exclusively physical [atheistic-naturalism]. This has been explained by its advocates to mean that nothing has any property or is governed by any law that is not a physical property or a physical law. But the very sentence expressing this claim, the sentence “All things are exclusively physical,” must be assumed to possess a linguistic meaning. This is not a physical property, but unless the sentence had it, it would not be a sentence; it would be nothing but physical sounds or marks that would not) linguistically signify any meaning whatever and thus could not express any claim — just as a group of pebbles, or clouds, or leaves, fails to signify any meaning or express any claim. Moreover, to assert this exclusivist materialism is the same as claiming it is true, which is another nonphysical property; and the claim that it is true further assumes that its denial would have to be false, which is a relation guaranteed by logical, not physical, laws. (Indeed, any theory which denies the existence of logical laws is instantly and irredeemably self-assumptively incoherent since that very denial is proposed as true in a way that logically excludes its being false.) What this shows is that the claim “All things are exclusively physical” must itself be assumed to have nonphysical properties and be governed by nonphysical laws or it could neither be understood nor be true. Thus, no matter how clever the supporting arguments for this claim may seem, the claim itself is incompatible with assumptions that are required for it to be true. It is therefore self-assumptively incoherent in the strong sense…
Roy A. Clouser, The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame Press, 2005), 84-85.
See many more critiques against “Physicalism” here.
In the fourth podcast critique of the Sam Harris interview of Jerry Coyne… free-will is ejected as merely an illusion. Dr. William Lane Craig notes that ALLL the previous talk of morals, one position [like atheism] being true/correct in contradistinction to another [like theism], justice, Islam being “bad,” and the like… are all negated by this last segment regarding free-will.
Even my previous upload, where Jerry Coyne was talking about “how science” should operate ends up having no meaning in his viewpoint.
Included in this upload ~ after Dr. Craig quickly points out the self-referential negating going on between these two ~ is a “Check-Mate” of sorts of Sam Harris’ premise in his book, The Moral Landscape. This took place between Dr. Craig and Dr. Harris, and can be found in full, here.
I am re-posting this because Vincent Bugliosi just passed away. He was a legend in his field who wrote many good books. But even smart people say DUMB things.
(Originally posted in Oct. of 2011) I was surprised in listening to Vincent Bugliosi in an interview about his book, Divinity of Doubt: The God Question. Surprised because considering his book on debunking pretty much every JFK conspiracy known to man, I would expect him to realize his fundamental mistake that taints his whole view.
So when I heard him say the following (below right), I immediately knew he was a second rate skeptic churning every old cliche over again for a new generation. So here we should define for the layman what an agnostic is and why some say that there are two kinds… one being indistinguishable from an atheist.
✓ Atheism: The belief that there is no God. This is typically the conviction that there is no personal Creator of the universe, and no powerful, incorporeal, perfect being in heaven or anywhere else.
✓ Agnosticism: The state of not-knowing whether there is a God or not. The humble agnostic says that he doesn’t know whether there is a God. The less humble agnostic says that you don’t, either. The least humble agnostic thinks that we can’t ever really know.
Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies (Foster City, CA: IDG Books, 1999), 238.
Okay, most philosophy texts and dictionaries will at times make this distinction. Again, that there are two types of agnostics. A soft agnostic says: “I do not know. You may. Therefore I may want to dialogue because you may have information I do not.” A hard agnostic says: “I do not know, and neither can you.”
But what about what Vincent Bugliosi said about the impossibility of knowing? Does he know this possibility? Let me show how his position is self refuting, incoherent, and illogical. This comes from my chapter from my book on Reincarnation vs. the Laws of Logic:
….To begin, pantheists claim that God is unknowable because it [God] is above and beyond human logic. In other words, we are told that we cannot intellectually comprehend God because he is beyond all understanding. However, this is nonsensical and self-defeating statement. Why? “Because the very act of claiming that God is beyond logic is a logical statement about God.” Also, to say that we cannot know or comprehend God, as do the agnostics, is to say that we know God. How? I will answer this with a response to agnostic claims by the associate professor of philosophy and government at the University of Texas at Austin:
To say that we cannot know anything about God is to say something about God; it is to say that if there is a God, he is unknowable. But in that case, he is not entirely unknowable, for the agnostic certainly thinks that we can know one thing about him: That nothing else can be known about him. Unfortunately, the position that we can know exactly one thing about God – his unknowability in all respects except this – is equally unsupportable, for why should this one thing be an exception? How could we know that any possible God would be of such a nature that nothing else could be known about him? On what basis could we rule out his knowability in all other respects but this one? The very attempt to justify the claim confutes it, for the agnostic would have to know a great many things about God in order to know he that couldn’t know anything else about him.
Although not the time nor place to explain the law of non-contradiction, for those who do not know, a brief perusal may be warranted. The law of non-contradiction is simply this: “‘A’ cannot be both ‘non-A’ and ‘A’ at the same time.” In the words of Professor J. P. Moreland:
When a statement fails to satisfy itself (i.e., to conform to its own criteria of validity or acceptability), it is self-refuting…. Consider some examples. “I cannot say a word in English” is self-refuting when uttered in English. “I do not exist” is self-refuting, for one must exist to utter it. The claim “there are no truths” is self-refuting. If it is false, then it is false. But is it is true, then it is false as well, for in that case there would be no truths, including the statement itself.
You can see in an example of a conversation how this woks out in many college classrooms:
Teacher: “Welcome, students. This is the first day of class, and so I want to lay down some ground rules. First, since no one person has the truth, you should be open-minded to the opinions of your fellow students. Second… Elizabeth, do you have a question?”
Elizabeth: “Yes I do. If nobody has the truth, isn’t that a good reason for me not to listen to my fellow students? After all, if nobody has the truth, why should I waste my time listening to other people and their opinions? What’s the point? Only if somebody has the truth does it make sense to be open-minded. Don’t you agree?”
Teacher: “No, I don’t. Are you claiming to know the truth? Isn’t that a bit arrogant and dogmatic?”
Elizabeth: “Not at all. Rather I think it’s dogmatic, as well as arrogant, to assert that no single person on earth knows the truth. After all, have you met every single person in the world and quizzed them exhaustively? If not, how can you make such a claim? Also, I believe it is actually the opposite of arrogance to say that I will alter my opinions to fit the truth whenever and wherever I find it. And if I happen to think that I have good reason to believe I do know truth and would like to share it with you, why wouldn’t you listen to me? Why would you automatically discredit my opinion before it is even uttered? I thought we were supposed to listen to everyone’s opinion.”
Teacher: “This should prove to be an interesting semester.”
Another Student: “(blurts out) Ain’t that the truth.” (Students laugh)
Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Baker Book House; 1998), p. 74.
Do you see? After listening to Bugliosi himself do you understand where he went wrong? If you are a person who thinks like Bugliosi, may I posit that you are just as dogmatic as the most dogmatic atheist.
Janet Mefferd interviews Norman L. Geisler on his new book The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw: Exposing Conflicting Beliefs. In his book, Geisler deals with New Atheist’s members Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion), Sam Harris (author of Letter to a Christian Nation), Dan Barker (author of Godless), Christopher Hitchens (author of God Is Not Great), Michel Onfray (author of Atheist Manifesto), etc.
Larry Elder talks about Democratic state Senator Evie Hudak’s elitist lecture to a rape survivor, Amanda Collins. “The ‘Sage’ of South-Central” shows how on one-hand Democrats say women are completely equal to men and should be allowed in all aspects of police departments and the military. On the opposite-hand they say women would be put in more danger if they are allowed to carry a weapon in order to protect themselves against criminals and rapists. Which is it?
This is very connected to this Serious Saturday, and it is by an apologist I enjoy, Dr. Ken Samples, so, enjoy:
From video description:
How Darwinian evolution refutes naturalism and atheism. Titled: “Darwin’s Doubt: Can Naturalistically Evolved Human Minds Be Trusted to Yield True Beliefs About Reality?” Presented to CNS on November 15, 2010 by: Dr. Ken Samples, Reasons to Believe
A reflective person by nature, Charles Darwin initially had doubts about his proposed theory of evolution. Darwin worried about the philosophical implications of his biological theory. One of the areas in particular that bothered Darwin was whether an evolved human mind could be trusted to produce reliable truth about reality. This lecture by professor Kenneth Samples proposes that atheistic, evolutionary naturalism faces three potential defeaters in its attempt to explain humankind’s rational faculties in general and truth about reality in particular.
This is a PowerPoint video of the lecture. The PowerPoint slides begin to change 3 minutes into the lecture.
• You can’t know anything for sure. Are you sure of that? • You should never judge. Is that your judgment? • There is no certainty. Are you certain of that? • All things are relative. Then that statement is relative, so it is not true, thus all things are not relative. If a statement is relative then it is not binding, so all things cannot be relative. • You can’t know anything. Do you know that? • No one can know anything about God. Do you know that about God? To assert that God is unknowable, is to say a lot about God. • What is true for you is not true for me. Well, what is true for me is that you are wrong. • Logic is just sophistry and isn’t always true. That’s self-refuting because the claimant used logic to attempt to disprove logic. To declare that the law of non-contradiction isn’t true, is to prove that law is true. It has to be true for the assertion to be made. • There are no laws of logic. The attempt to refute the laws of logic requires the employment of the laws of logic. These Laws of Reason are invariant and universal truths. The laws of logic are nonmaterial, invariant, transcendent, atemporal, universal, and necessary. They require God because He is nonmaterial, immutable, transcendent, atemporal, universal in knowledge, and necessary. • The only true knowledge of reality is discovered through the positive sciences. That statement is not true because it is not found in the positive sciences. • We can’t be married to any idea. Are you married to that idea? • Philosophy can add nothing to science. Is that your philosophy for your science? • How to Believe in Nothing and Set Yourself Free (a title of a book). Is that what you believe? • Language is not useful for a definition. Is that your definition in which you employ language? • I can’t believe in anything that I can’t see or feel. Can you see or feel the point of that statement? • There are no wrong needs. I need that to be wrong. • All knowledge begins with experience. Did you experience that? • God is indescribable. Is that your description of God? • All speculations of the reality of absolutes are an illusion. Is that statement an absolute? If it is, it is an illusion, thus it is false. • Everything is just an illusion. Then that statement is an illusion, so it is false, thus all things are not illusions. If people really believed this, they wouldn’t look both ways when crossing the street, but they do, proving they can’t consistently hold this view. They must depend on the Christian worldview. • “Pundits all make over $50,000.00, so they can’t understand anything” (Chris Matthews, wealthy pundit). Chris, do you understand that? • “All knowledge is confined to the realm of experience” (Immanuel Kant). Have you experienced all knowledge? • The whole notion of truth must be scrapped and replaced by the ongoing process of refutation. Then that statement is not true. • Every assertion is false. Then that assertion is false. • No truth is immutable. Then that statement is mutable, so it is not true. • Truth can never be rationally attained but remains an elusive myth and an erroneous pre-commitment. Then that is an elusive myth and is not true. • True knowledge is only that knowledge that can be empirically verified. Can you empirically verify that statement? • “That intelligence, when froze in dogmatic social philosophy generates a vicious cycle of blind oscillation” (John Dewey). Is that statement frozen in dogmatic philosophy? If yes, its blind oscillation, therefore it is false. • Truth is not a boxy, dogmatic thing with hard corners attached by dogmatists. Are you dogmatic about that? • Truth does not consist of words, propositions or assertions that can be communicated by language. Are those words or assertions communicated by language? • Here, we have no rules. Is that your rule? • Lies, lies, everywhere you turn are lies. Is that a lie? • Apart from mathematics, we can know nothing for sure. Is that proposition a mathematical equation? No. Then you are providing in what you say, the very basis to reject what you say. • Commit to the flames any propositions or assertions that do not contain mathematics or facts obtained from observable experiments. Did you test that statement with experiments or does that statement contain mathematics? No. Then commit it to the flames on the basis of its own statement. • We can know nothing about reality. Do you know that about reality? • “The line of demarcation between knowledge and mere opinion is determined by one criterion: falsebility by empirical evidence, by observed phenomena” (Popper). Did you observe that? If not, then that is just mere opinion. • The only thing that is predictable is unpredictability. Do you think that prediction is unpredictable? • Only things that are blue are true. Is that statement blue? • I doubt everything. If you tried to doubt everything, you would be clipping off the rope you’re holding onto, because the notion of doubting, itself, presupposes certainty. • There are no good reasons for holding to the belief in objective knowledge. Is that objective knowledge? • We cannot achieve certainty because it is based on postulates. Are you certain about that postulate? • Nobody’s right. Are you right about that? • Every attempt to fashion an absolute philosophy of truth and right is a delusion. Is that true and right? • All I believe in are the laws of logic. Is that statement one of the laws of logic? • All English sentences consist of four words. This sentence comments on all English sentences, including itself. It fails to meet its own demands, hence it is false. • Seen on display in a store: “I Love You Only” Valentine cards: Now available in multipacks.
Some of the players rights offended are spoken of over at Wide Rights:
…The case, if you have not heard about it yet, arises from an incident at the 2008 Gay Softball World Series. At the tournament, D2, a team in the A Division (the highest division you of NAGAAA), was challenged for having too many non-gay players.
The interrogation process was the most offensive part of the story. Three players from D2 were brought into a room individually and questioned in front of 25 random people about their sexual histories, whether they were predominantly attracted to men or women, etc.
(You can read a thorough description of the facts of the case in the plaintiff’s complaint, available here, starting on page 7.)
(Although the judge ruled to allow NAGAAA to keep its policy to limit the number of “non-gays,” the case is proceeding to determine if the players have any remedy for the intrusion and subsequent emotional damage from the interrogation.)…
A gay softball league is being sued for discrimination for disallowing men who weren’t gay enough from participating. According to the Seattle Times, one of the teams attempted to gain a competitive advantage by sneaking in more not gay enough men than are allowed by the rules. In addition to two declared non-gay men, the team fielded three men who claimed to be bisexual, which, according to officials of the organization, is not gay enough.
But, as to whether there even is such a thing as not being gay enough, the sponsoring organization say, on its website, “Created in 1977, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) is a 501c(3) organization that promotes amateur sports competition, particularly softball, for all persons regardless of age, sexual orientation or preference, with special emphasis on the participation of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community.” So, it would seem that “sexual orientation or preference” shouldn’t count at all.
The three men who are suing the league are being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. So, the lesbians are hooking up with the bi’s to go after the gays. Only in America!