Study: Analytic thinking causes religious belief to diminish

posted at 10:35 pm on April 27, 2012 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “Hey, who’s up for an angry, thousand-comment thread on Friday night?”

First, students were randomly assigned to look at images of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker,” or of the ancient Greek statue of a discus thrower, “Discobolus.” Those who viewed “The Thinker” were prompted to think more analytically and expressed less belief in God — they scored an average of 41.42 on a 100-point scale, compared with an average of 61.55 for the group that viewed the discus thrower, according to the study.

Two additional experiments used word games rather than images. In one case, participants were asked to arrange a series of words into a sentence. Some were given neutral words and others were presented with trigger words such as “think,” “reason” and “analyze” to prime them to think more analytically. And indeed, those who got the “thinking” words expressed less religiosity on a 10-to-70 scale: They ranked themselves at 34.39, on average, while those in the control group averaged 40.16.

In the final experiment, students in the control group read text in a clear, legible font, while those in the other group were forced to squint at a font that was hard to read, a chore that has been shown to trigger analytic thinking. Sure enough, those who read the less legible font rated their belief in supernatural agents at 10.40 on a 3-to-21 scale, compared with 12.16 for those who read the clear font.

Lots of news stories about this on the wires today, as you might expect, but I think people are overinterpreting the results. As I understand it, the researchers aren’t claiming that analytic thinking will turn you atheist or that nonbelievers are sharper critical thinkers than the faithful. They’re claiming that intuition is a component of religious belief and that intuition tends to dim when the mind is preoccupied with reasoning, which means religious belief dims with it. Note: Dims, but not disappears. Per the study, you’re talking about small, if statistically significant, differences in belief between the test subjects and the control group. Says one psychologist of the results:

“In some ways this confirms what many people, both religious and nonreligious, have said about religious belief for a long time, that it’s more of a feeling than a thought,” says Nicholas Epley, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. But he predicts the findings won’t change anyone’s mind about whether God exists or whether religious belief is rational. “If you think that reasoning analytically is the way to go about understanding the world accurately, you might see this as evidence that being religious doesn’t make much sense,” he says. “If you’re a religious person, I think you take this evidence as showing that God has given you a system for belief that just reveals itself to you as common sense.”

Yeah, I’m not sure why these results are controversial; they can be interpreted in different ways. For instance, religious friends tell me that their faith isn’t merely something they’ve reasoned through but something they “feel” or “experience.” For God to enter your heart, you must be “open” to him. In other words, faith isn’t strictly analytic; there’s more to it, or so I’m told. It may be that, as your mind adjusts to perform analytic tasks by applying certain known criteria, its capacity to analyze something that doesn’t operate according to known criteria momentarily decreases. You become less “open” to supernatural possibilities. If that’s true, then it’s not that “intuitive” understandings are necessarily false (although maybe they are), it’s that it’s hard for the brain to switch quickly from one paradigm to the other. Or maybe there’s another explanation? I’m all for the “atheists are inherently awesome” theory, if anyone wants to offer it!


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A more correct analogy, as it relates here, would be “Socrates-Philosophy dichotomy”.
whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 1:20 AM

No, the point is that it’s not silly. Socrates was unjustly tried and executed by the Greeks and Jesus was unjustly tried and executed by the Jews.

Why do you have a problem with that?

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 1:27 AM

Fixed it for you. You don’t have to agree that their words were all true, but to lie (even out of ignorance) about the circumstances as you did is pretty vile: The work of a bigot.

CanofSand on April 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Were there other eyewitnesses or receivers of the “golden plates” from which Mormon scriptures are taken? I heard it directly from LDS friends that Joe Smith was the one and only recipient of these scriptures. Yes, I understand that the scriptures he passed on include sections attributed to multiple authors, but there’s still one guy who is the “bottleneck”. Has anyone else seen the golden plates? Did anyone take rubbings or make sketches?

Mormonism all hinges on the credibility of one man who doesn’t seem to have done the normal things you’d do to establish credibility (such as, invite others to examine the golden plates and take rubbings, or whatever).

My purpose in what I wrote was not to say that Mormonism is necessarily false, only to show that there are different kinds of proofs for different religions. (I was countering one of our atheist friends who absurdly claimed that “the same arguments” are made in favor of every religious text.) Surely any honest Mormon would agree that the evidence for the New Testament is of a different nature than the evidence for the book of Mormon.

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 1:28 AM

The Christian doctrine that Christ is God was not “hobbled together as a result of political power struggles centuries after Christ.”
Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Actually, it was. Though, I don’t begrudge you the revision which lends credence to the religious tradition of your choosing. It’s a common part of just about every religious tradition to string together evidence, such as it is, to support whatever tradition in question. e.g. you mentioned the incorporation of extra-biblical texts rejected both by non-Catholic Christians and Jews – 2nd Maccabees is included in Catholic bibles to support the later conceived doctrine of Purgatory.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 1:01 AM

Catholics didn’t add books to the canon in order to invent Purgatory. Luther removed books from the canon in order to support his invention that there was no Purgatory.

The idea that Christianity was re-engineered for political reasons is wishful thinking by atheists. There is no way to explain the existence of the Christian religion in 200 or 300 or 400 AD if the Gospel isn’t true. Christianity isn’t “The Celestine Prophecy” or some Roman mystery cult. It didn’t spread throughout the world because it had sexier temple prostitutes than other cults. It spread throughout the world primarily by gruesome torture and horrible martyrdom. The only reason it lasted long enough to be politicized is because it was true and the lives of its messengers left no doubt.

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Jesus was unjustly tried and executed by the Jews.
Why do you have a problem with that?
Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 1:27 AM

Because it not biblical? That’s even aside from not agreeing with the most basic, central teaching of Christianity.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 1:58 AM

Catholics didn’t add books to the canon in order to invent Purgatory.

You got some inside info?

Luther removed books from the canon in order to support his invention that there was no Purgatory.
joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Since it was not seen fit for the Tanakh, the Jewish body of Holy Scripture, were they also in on this fiendish anti-Purgatory plot? The original conspirators, perhaps?

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:04 AM

I don’t begrudge you the revision which lends credence to the religious tradition of your choosing

Well that is very nice of you! Thanks. lol

The Christian doctrine that Christ is God was not “hobbled together as a result of political power struggles centuries after Christ.”
Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Actually, it was. Though, I don’t begrudge you the revision which lends credence to the religious tradition of your choosing. It’s a common part of just about every religious tradition to string together evidence, such as it is, to support whatever tradition in question. e.g. you mentioned the incorporation of extra-biblical texts rejected both by non-Catholic Christians and Jews – 2nd Maccabees is included in Catholic bibles to support the later conceived doctrine of Purgatory.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 1:01 AM

That article you linked had some truth in it and some spin and ridiculous statements. “working out the kinks?” “Muddled and inconsistent?” Seriously? Come on. You don’t take that as scholarship, do you? I’ve read other posts of yours on other threads. You must know some of those statements are simplistic and silly. Where are the early Church quotes to back up that article?

What I stated is not a “revision.” Like I said in my last post, you will not find any early Christian writings by Bishops or apologists who were in good standing with the universal Christian Church during their own lifetime (the first 3 centuries of Christianity), saying that Jesus was not God. I posted just one quote from 110AD by a Bishop taught by St. Peter that showed the early Church taught Jesus was God.

Arianism was a huge heresy that came about during the 3rd century and was never officially taught by the Church or took hold of the Church. Almost, but not quite. It was held in high esteem by some Emperors after the Council of Nicea, but they were secular and did not speak for the Church. You rightly mentioned politics. St. Athenasius of Alexandria who fought Arianism was persecuted by the State, which tried to control the Church. But I think only a couple out of 300 or so Bishops voted in favor of Arianism at the Council of Nicea at the beginning of the 4th century. That doesn’t sound “muddled and inconsistent” to me.

The various heresies like Gnosticism or Arianism or Modalism or other heresies about the Trinity NEVER took hold of the Church. There were many heresies from the beginning of the Church, but the Church never formally taught them. Some bishops did and they were eventually rejected as heretics. The Church rejected heresy and a “different gospel” and warned the faithful.

The most widespread heresy was Arianism. But even that one never took hold of the entire Church. The presbyter Arius and those Bishops who joined the heresy had the power of the state on their side. It was not accepted by most of the faithful. It was accepted by only half of the bishops, East and West; it was NOT universally taught. And of those Bishops who did say they believed it, the vast majority did so because the Emperor wanted formal adherence to the heresy or they would be put to death. So out of fear many said they believed, but in their hearts they didn’t. They later recanted. (This included one Pope, but he NEVER declared the heresy doctrine formally as truth for the faithful to believe.)

The Church understood this and after the coercion ceased and the majority of the Bishops spoke what they really believed, the Church took them back.

Just an interesting side note. Many have heard of how the Bishop St. Athanasius fought this heresy valiantly. But the real St. Nicholas (not the Santa Claus version) was also a Bishop who fought this heresy. At one of the Church councils at the time, he actually hit a fellow Bishop while arguing his point. (not the best method – lol- but he felt it strongly in his heart.)

As far as what you said about “extra-biblical texts” and Maccabees and purgatory, it was the other way around. Read my last post again about the Christian canon of Scripture. Catholics didn’t put Maccabbees in to support their beliefs. Jews and Protestants rejected those 7 books out to support theirs.

Again, at the time of Christ, the Septuagint was one of the most popular canons of Scripture and it is the most quoted in the New Testament and used in many early Church writings. The 7 books were not added later by Catholics.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:05 AM

Catholics didn’t add books to the canon in order to invent Purgatory.

You got some inside info?

Luther removed books from the canon in order to support his invention that there was no Purgatory.
joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Since it was not seen fit for the Tanakh, the Jewish body of Holy Scripture, were they also in on this fiendish anti-Purgatory plot? The original conspirators, perhaps?

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:04 AM

Did you not read my post at all that gave a brief actual history of the Jewish, Catholic and Protestant canons?

Good night. I think you are better than this, whatcat. Maybe you are the one that doesn’t want inconvenient historical facts getting in the way? You don’t have to agree on what is Scriptural, but you can’t keep pretending that the Jews had a canon or any consensus at all around the time of Christ that rejected those 7 books or keep pretending that Catholics added those 7 books centuries later.

Facts are facts. Even secular sources that are not inclined to defend Catholicism will tell you what I said.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:10 AM

The idea that Christianity was re-engineered for political reasons is wishful thinking by atheists. There is no way to explain the existence of the Christian religion in 200 or 300 or 400 AD if the Gospel isn’t true. Christianity isn’t “The Celestine Prophecy” or some Roman mystery cult. It didn’t spread throughout the world because it had sexier temple prostitutes than other cults. It spread throughout the world primarily by gruesome torture and horrible martyrdom. The only reason it lasted long enough to be politicized is because it was true and the lives of its messengers left no doubt.

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Well said!

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:12 AM

Jesus was unjustly tried and executed by the Jews.
Why do you have a problem with that?

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 1:27 AM

Primarily because Jesus was unjustly tried and executed by the Romans.

Nowhere in Jewish tradition nor law will you find Crucifixion as a form of punishment.

Crucifixion was strictly a Roman Method.
Pilate was a Roman Official.
Roman Guards ‘escourted’ Jesus to the Site on Calvry and Roman Soldiers were dicing for his posessions.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 2:16 AM

Here it is again, whatcat.

Please read it, because it took me time to write it. lol

You will not find anything I wrote to be factually incorrect.

whatcat on April 28, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Just a few things.

The Christian Old Testament books were not arranged in any order that pointed to the Messiah. There are 7 books that Jerusalem and European Jews did not include in their canon when they finally came up with an official canon a few centuries after Christ. (Even that canon is not universal to this day, because Ethiopian Jews still use the Septuagint.) But the order the books are arranged in and the grouping of books together have nothing at all to do with pointing to Christ. That would be in the translations and interpretations.

And the current order of the Jewish Tanahk was not the “original.

The Masoretic text, which is what the modern Jewish Tanahk is, was also translated and assembled centuries after Christ. It was, however, based on pre-Masoretic Hebrew texts.

The Jews around the time of Christ did not have only one canon of Scripture. They had several. The pre-Masoretic Hebrew texts I mentioned and the Septuagint were 2 of them. That is because the Jewish faith at the time of Christ relied more on the Sacred Oral Jewish Tradition that the Old Testament Sacred Scriptures sprang from. The belief that the Holy Spirit spoke orally through the Church, as well as in writing, came from the Jews.

So an official canon of books or order of books or translation of books was not important to Jews at the time of Christ and they didn’t have one.

Since the language used by most Jews in the Middle East at the time was Greek, the Septuagint was one of the most popular canons used by Jews during the time of Jesus. The Septuagint included those 7 books that the Jerusalem and European Jews later did not include in their final canon.

The Septuagint became the canon of Christian Scriptures. To this day, it is the official translation and canon of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as Ethiopian Jew.

The reason we know this is that 2/3rds of all the Old Testament quotes found in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. And many of the early Christian writers during the first few centuries of the Church also used the Septuagint.

In the 4th century, the Bishops of the Christian Church, after a few decades of debate, came up with the official Christian canon of both Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures. No other books were allowed to be read at Christian Masses.

That list of Scriptures did not change for the universal Christian Church until Martin Luther in the 16th century said that the 7 Old Testament books that modern Jews did not include and 4 New Testament books (James, Revelation, Hebrews and Jude) were not Scriptural to him and did not include them in his official canon. Within a century, Lutherans put back the 4 New Testament books, but left out the 7 Old Testament books. Even though the 1st edition of the King James Bible included these 7 books, all Protestants ceased to include them from that time on.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:17 AM

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:05 AM

The problem, and where we’ll never agree, lies in the nature of “proof-texting”, as I noted before. You’re going about the Catholic version of it, which includes non-biblical sources. But the thing is, with any flavor of proof-texting, it only works within it’s own confines. I once sat down with a Moonie and let her explain her beliefs, asking questions along the way. Her reasoning and logic were perfect – limited to the confines of her belief system. Every group has it’s treasured orthodoxies and damned heresies. It’s just the nature of religious belief systems. Every club has it’s secret handshake.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:18 AM

Catholics didn’t add books to the canon in order to invent Purgatory.

You got some inside info?

Luther removed books from the canon in order to support his invention that there was no Purgatory.
joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 1:41 AM

Since it was not seen fit for the Tanakh, the Jewish body of Holy Scripture, were they also in on this fiendish anti-Purgatory plot? The original conspirators, perhaps?

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:04 AM

Frickin website ate my long answer. Bullet points:
1. The early Christians were using the Greek-language Septuagint. Jesus himself quotes from it in the gospels. I don’t know about the Tanakh.
2. It’s common knowledge that Luther and his followers removed books from the canon. The Catholics decided on what was canonical a thousand years earlier.
3. This blogger who knows a lot more than I do made up a nice info graphic the other day, showing which books were used by a number of church fathers before the canon was officially decided. It shows that the sort of common denominator was the current Catholic canon (which is why it was made canonical, of course).

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 2:21 AM

Primarily because Jesus was unjustly tried and executed by the Romans.
Nowhere in Jewish tradition nor law will you find Crucifixion as a form of punishment.
Crucifixion was strictly a Roman Method.
Pilate was a Roman Official.
Roman Guards ‘escourted’ Jesus to the Site on Calvry and Roman Soldiers were dicing for his posessions.
jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 2:16 AM

Yup – that’s all noted in the New Testament.And as I pointed out, to a Christian, all of this has no bearing at all. The central belief of Christians is that it’s their sin that caused Jesus’ death.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:24 AM

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:18 AM

You are missing my point. I am not trying to prove my religious beliefs to you or anyone else. I trying to show you FROM HISTORY by including early Christian quotes and New Testament quotes what the early Christians believed. Because that was the initial point I was posting about. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity was not a later development or an invention of St. Paul.

It was throughout the whole New Testament and taught by other Apostles who knew Jesus and was throughout all the early Church writings by those taught by the Apostles. Beliefs they died for. People don’t die for lies made up by someone else, when they knew Jesus personally.

And there are such things as heresies. 2 things that contradict cannot both be true. One is false. Now the objective truth as to which one is false is up to debate by our subjective beliefs. But historically, the Christian Church believed in the Trinity, right or wrong. And they declared universally from the beginning contrary views to be heresies against the Christian faith.

Christians are allowed to decide for themselves what is a heresy and not let others start to change what they believe to be true. The others can start their own other religion to teach the contrary. The Church from the beginning (as seen in the New Testament) took truth and false teachings and “heresies” seriously.

Nothing wrong with that.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 2:21 AM

The website you linked to illustrates the problem I noted to Elisa. Though I realize the blog-site’s title “Shameless Popery” is tongue in cheek snark, it’s stuck in the “Catholic Box”. Just as stauch Baptist persons/sites are stuck in the “Baptist Box”. All such things should be viewed with a full saltshaker near at hand as they operate only within their respective paradigms.
Pretty much the same as with politics/parties.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Night all and may God bless each of you.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

I trying to show you FROM HISTORY by including early Christian quotes and New Testament quotes what the early Christians believed.

Leaving out all the early Christian quotes that don’t support your argument and snatching some out of context NT verses.

Because that was the initial point I was posting about. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity was not a later development or an invention of St. Paul.
Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Since Paul had nothing to say about a “Trinity doctrine” (nor any other NT writers) I agree he couldn’t have invented it. It was forged after the political battles and made doctrine centuries after Paul.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:41 AM

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 2:21 AM

The website you linked to illustrates the problem I noted to Elisa. Though I realize the blog-site’s title “Shameless Popery” is tongue in cheek snark, it’s stuck in the “Catholic Box”. Just as stauch Baptist persons/sites are stuck in the “Baptist Box”. All such things should be viewed with a full saltshaker near at hand as they operate only within their respective paradigms.
Pretty much the same as with politics/parties.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Again, you can make all the blanket statements you want, but it would be much more convincing if you could offer some early Church writers who said that Jesus was not God. Actual facts and actual history are what we are giving you and you are not refuting any of these statements with facts. You are just saying we are wrong and assume anything we bring up is not true because we are Catholic and adhere to our Tradition.

I never confuse my religious beliefs that are based on Sacred Tradition (something I have no problem with) with actual historical facts.

Show me from history where any of my statements about the canon of Scripture or about the early Church believing Jesus is God are not true. Give me historical quotes from the first or second centuries.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:41 AM

Night all and may God bless each of you.
Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Back atcha. We may disagree on this & that, but it’s all neither here nor there.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:43 AM

Leaving out all the early Christian quotes that don’t support your argument and snatching some out of context NT verses.

Show me those quotes. I’ve asked several times. I have never read any and I have looked.

Up until the Arian heresy in the 3rd century, you won’t find them and those who later sincerely believed the heresy in that century and the next were not in good standing with the universal Church.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:44 AM

Night all and may God bless each of you.
Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

Back atcha. We may disagree on this & that, but it’s all neither here nor there.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:43 AM

Thanks and God bless.

Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:45 AM

Thanks and God bless.
Elisa on April 29, 2012 at 2:45 AM

You too. Perhaps on the morrow I’ll have at your last challenge. Sleep well!

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:46 AM

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 1:27 AM

jesus was NOT tried/executed by the Jews. He was a political insurgent who was executed by the Romans. That happened a lot in those days-and at the time-even now-false messiahs were so common place that the Jews wouldn’t have even looks twice at him.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2012 at 7:12 AM

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 1:58 AM

The Biblical record is a compilation of approximately 4000 years of Jewish history in which the Romans occupy less than 1/10th of 1% and you want to make them the central characters in the narrative?

That’s not even weak reading comprehension; it’s Biblical revisionism driven by some misguided Modernist emotionalism and distorts the place Israel plays in God’s ultimate plan of salvation for the human race.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:19 AM

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2012 at 7:12 AM

See above.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:20 AM

jesus was NOT tried/executed by the Jews. He was a political insurgent who was executed by the Romans.
annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2012 at 7:12 AM

“Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no crime on Him” – Pontius Pilate, Roman procurator of the province of Judea under Emporer Augustus .

The Biical record doesn’t bear out your thesis.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Study: Analytic thinking causes religious belief to diminish

So where does that leave us whose religious beliefs have inspired analytic thinking?

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM

The Christian testament to be intentionally anti-Jewish with a gentile readership in mind.
The NT isn’t ‘biblical record’-it’s Jew-hating fiction.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Not to mention that X =/= X + 1 from the git-go.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 6:52 PM

I know! My goal was to make the point absurdly, hoping to make it even more easily understood than it is on its face…I don’t believe I succeeded, however! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 8:29 AM

What? Are you suggesting that infinite quantities don’t exist because when you try to do ordinary arithmetic with it, it causes you to deduce incorrect things?

Is $X$ supposed to represent the number of times the sun has risen? You can’t do arithmetic using infinity and expect to get anything other than a nonsensical conclusion, unless you abide by some fairly cumbersome rules.

The fact that arithmetic doesn’t work well with infinity doesn’t mean nothing can be infinite. Obviously there are many infinite things, like integers, real numbers, etcetera. Why would you think time would have to be otherwise?

Your reasoning here is similar to the many “proofs” that 1=0, which almost always involve dividing by 0, adding infinity to both sides of an equation, or some other mathematical fallacy.

” Obviously, X=X+1 and X=X-1 cannot be simultaneously true, logically speaking, yet you don’t seem capable of understanding this,

Either you treat infinity as a number or you don’t.

If you do, then yes, infinity + 1 = infinity = infinity – 1, and there is no logical problem, though you will quickly run into trouble if you try to do anything other than the simplest of arithmetic. In mathematical terms you would have to work with what are called the extended real numbers.

If you don’t treat infinity as a number, then you can’t use X to represent the “number” of times the sun has risen in the first place!

at least partially because you refuse to balk at the patently ridiculous assertion that an infinite regression of time is not a type of infinite regression.

I’m guess I’m sorry to have to say this, but this is a hopeless discussion that can’t go anywhere from here because we don’t have a common understanding of what logic is!

Bizarro No. 1 on April 28, 2012 at 6:42 PM

I don’t see this as a fruitless discussion. If we really don’t have a common foundation for what logic is, then one of us is in for some serious trouble and it would be good if we could get to the nub of where the confusion is now, safely on the internet.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 7:14 PM

The problem you “see” with my behavior about “infinity” is what I see with yours!

In physical reality, which is where I am attempting to operate in this discussion, infinity is only a concept, it’s not a number. In order to discuss the concept of infinity meaningfully, I have to symbolize it somehow. That is why saying the following in is no way negated by my position: the next time the sun rises in a supposedly infinite series of risings, +1 must be added to the propostion, because in truth that would be proper and accurate thing to do is

You are not wrapping your head around what I am saying here because, if you were, you’d realize there could be no other proper and accurate course of action than to add +1 to the # of times the event has already occurred, when that event next occurs.

You said,

I got your point just fine – I have no problem subtracting the number of times something has happened, provided it has happened a finite number of times. My point is that if something happens infinitely often, then there is no “number of times” it happened in the first place.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM

You are showing agreement with me, whether you realize it or not, when you say that events in the physical world which happen infinitely have happened “no” number of times i.e. they’ve happened 0 times i.e. they’ve never happened. To treat events which have never happened as though they actually have happened, which is what you are doing when you posit ‘infinite events’ as real events, violates the basis of logic – by definition, such behavior is insane!

From my pov, you are making an uncomplicated situation complicated because you are trying to bring an imaginary concept, which is that infinity cannot be added to or subtracted from, into the real world where such a conception is absolutely impossible. At this point in time, I am not seeing how I can get this point across to you any better.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 9:26 AM

The Christian testament to be intentionally anti-Jewish with a gentile readership in mind.
The NT isn’t ‘biblical record’-it’s Jew-hating fiction.
annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2012 at 8:11 AM

I love ya’, twerp, but that’s just an emotional reaction.

The Gospel of John is an historical eye-witness account written by someone intimately familiar with the inner workings of the Jewish jurisprudence system of the time.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 9:41 AM

There may be an infinite number of integers. But no one has counted them.

There are an infin ite number of points between Sero and One, but thatn is because they do not have dimension.

Time has dimension.

In our time zone, it is one-dimensional.

I suspect in the spirit realm it is (at least) two-dimensional. That is all hypothetical.

davidk on April 28, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Nah, time is one-dimensional in the realm of spirit, too – God cannot actually unring a bell no matter how much He might wish to (not that He does wish to – He’s too wise to wish for that! :) )

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 9:50 AM

The Christian testament to be intentionally anti-Jewish with a gentile readership in mind.
The NT isn’t ‘biblical record’-it’s Jew-hating fiction.
annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Well, then someone’s doing a poor job of informing the modern American Evangelical ’cause for some strange reason they seem to be one of the few friends the Jews and Israel seem to have left these days.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Beleif is the end of inquiry.

…Christor Murty.

Kind of redundant, what.

jaydee_007 on April 28, 2012 at 10:29 PM

That’s silly, and it’s an self-indictment of Christor Murty!

Beliefs are hypotheses, and not every scientist is a rigid dogmatist (heck, not every believer in AGW is a rigid dogmatist!) – there are plenty of people in the world who understand that their beliefs are mere tools, and who yield those tools wisely.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Well, then someone’s doing a poor job of informing the modern American Evangelical ’cause for some strange reason they seem to be one of the few friends the Jews and Israel seem to have left these days.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 9:58 AM

I’m going to jump on board with Cleombrotus – how exactly are both Jews and gentiles who revere Abraham’s God, and who love Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Paul, Peter, the other Apostles, John the Baptist, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel, Elijah, etc., all of whom are Jews, haters of Jews?

Your priorities are screwed up, as you are conflating a different understanding of Jehovah/YHWH, and some anti-Jewish racists, with Jewish hatred – you should do some introspection to figure out why you are so resentful of Christians who have a religious disagreement with you…

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Oops, my post was meant in response to,

The Christian testament to be intentionally anti-Jewish with a gentile readership in mind.
The NT isn’t ‘biblical record’-it’s Jew-hating fiction.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM

lol geez that didn’t come out very well, did it?

I actually meant in my post at 10:39, “Your priorities are screwed up, as you are conflating a different understanding of Jehovah/YHWH, and with some anti-Jewish racistsm, with Jewish hatred

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 10:48 AM

“Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no crime on Him” – Pontius Pilate, Roman procurator of the province of Judea under Emporer Augustus .

The Biical record doesn’t bear out your thesis.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Oh yes it does!

*Matthew 27:27 Then the Soldiers of the Governer took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him 28 And they (pronoun refers to the soldiers of the governer) stripped Him and put a Scarlet robe on Him 29 When they had twisted a crown of torns, they put it on His head and a reed in His right hand… 31 And when they (we’re still talking soldiers of the governer – Like Roman Soldiers) had mocked Him they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified… 35 Then they (the soldiers of the governer still, there has been no other group mentioned to alter who the pronoun they represent) crucified Him, and divided his garments casting lots… 54 So when the Centurion (A Roman soldier) and those with him who were guarding Jesus…

Mark 15:16 The the soldiers (Palestine, or Israel, was an occupied country by Rome, there is No record anywhere of Rome allow an occupied people to have their own army so one must deduce that by soldiers the text is referring to Romans) led him away into the hall called Praetorium and they called together the whole garrison… 20 And when they had mockked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.

John 19:23 Then the Soldiers when they had crucified Jesus took His garments… 32 then the Soldiers came and broke the legs of the first of of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the Soldiers pierced His side with a spear…

Jesus crucifixion was a ROMAN Execution.
The Roman Governer ordered Jesus to be Executed.
Roman Soldiers Led Him to the cross.
Roman Soldiers guraded Him and the other two executed with Him.
Roman Soldiers cast lots for his clothing.
Roman Soldiers went to break his legs (prevents the crucified person from pushing up so they can breath)
A Roman Soldier pierced his side with a spear.

This was a Roman Production from start to finish!

Scribes, pharasies, and lawyers from the jewish community whipped up the crowd, however that crowd was not exclusively Jewish. And therein lies your falicy. The petty politicians of the occupied state, and the masses which were not exclusively a homogenous crowd do not translate into the group that you are expressing them to be.

*NKJV

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM

That’s silly, and it’s an self-indictment of Christor Murty!

Beliefs are hypotheses, and not every scientist is a rigid dogmatist (heck, not every believer in AGW is a rigid dogmatist!) – there are plenty of people in the world who understand that their beliefs are mere tools, and who yield those tools wisely.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Excuse me?

Last time I checked a Hypothesis was a Proposition (or group of propositions) set forth in order to explain a phenomena (or phenomenon) that could be tested by scientific method to prove of disprove its validity.

It has never been a Beleif.

Follow on – AGW is specifically Human Caused Global Warming (Anthropogenic meaning human caused) not the possibility of Global Warming from Natural Causes. I defy you to find ONE AGW believer who is not a Rigid Dogmatist.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Excuse me?

Last time I checked a Hypothesis was a Proposition (or group of propositions) set forth in order to explain a phenomena (or phenomenon) that could be tested by scientific method to prove of disprove its validity.

It has never been a Beleif.

Follow on – AGW is specifically Human Caused Global Warming (Anthropogenic meaning human caused) not the possibility of Global Warming from Natural Causes. I defy you to find ONE AGW believer who is not a Rigid Dogmatist.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Courtesy of Dr. Evil:

be·lief   [bih-leef]
noun
1.
something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2.
confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3.
confidence; faith; trust: a child’s belief in his parents.
4.
a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

Dr Evil on April 28, 2012 at 8:38 PM

If all AGW believers were truly rigid dogmatists, none of them would ever change their minds on the issue, would they?

Hypotheses are proposed explanations for phenomenona. They are like beliefs in that they are not presumed to be the truth – they are assumptions of what the truth is. People who are concerned with precision appreciate the difference! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM

If all AGW believers were truly rigid dogmatists, none of them would ever change their minds on the issue, would they?

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM

That is not a valid conclusion.

Rigid Dogmatists can be disillusioned at some point and forced to examine their position. That does not make them any less rigid at the time, nor do they ever seek out the answers on thier own, it is something that must be foisted upon them. In other words, they do not have inquiring minds – inquiry was not in the mix.

Hypotheses are proposed explanations for phenomenona. They are like beliefs in that they are not presumed to be the truth

Okay, that’s silly!
Even from the borrowed definition you see that beleif is “confidence in the truth or existence of something”

they are assumptions of what the truth is.

Therein violating the Scientific Method. If you assume truth in your hypothesis then you have crossed over from the realm of scientific inquiry into Faith and this is why Global Warming Models always provide the answer that the so called scientists were looking for. Fancy That.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM

RE: Jews’ role in the crucifixtion of Jesus –

The Jewish people didn’t want Jesus dead. They worshipped him as the son of God upon his entry into Jerusalem on the donkey. It was the Jewish leaders who saw Jesus as a threat because of Jesus’ criticisms of them. The Romans had already put down several violent insurrections, particularly those fomented by the “zealots,” and Pilate could not risk falling out of favor with Caesar (If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar!), so he in effect allowed Jesus to be executed by the Roman garrison, which no doubt did please the high priest and the Sanhedrin — but the Jews had no crime that Jesus could be put to death for with the exception of blasphemy, and the Jewish witnesses to that supposed crime contradicted each other.

To say that the Jew(ish leader)s were complicit in Jesus’ death is arguably true, but from a strictly historical standpoint, it never would have happened without the Roman occupation at the time. As often tends to be the case, the truth is far more nuanced…

gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Gee, I thought this was about something, until I read the first excerpt and discovered that the QED was established by showing people the Rodin “Thinker.”

Personally, my most analytical thinking usually comes after seeing photos of Emmitt Smith.

J.E. Dyer on April 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

The website you linked to illustrates the problem I noted to Elisa. Though I realize the blog-site’s title “Shameless Popery” is tongue in cheek snark, it’s stuck in the “Catholic Box”. Just as stauch Baptist persons/sites are stuck in the “Baptist Box”. All such things should be viewed with a full saltshaker near at hand as they operate only within their respective paradigms.
Pretty much the same as with politics/parties.

whatcat on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

I don’t see what you’re trying to persuade me of. It can’t be that you actually believe the Catholic Church deviated from Lutheranism a thousand years before Luther. That’s just silly. The canon was decided based on what texts were being used by the majority of bishops and priests. The site I linked makes a handy reference chart of texts being used by several church fathers, which supports this historical argument. It’s a historical fact that there were no Lutherans at that time.

Whether or not you think Purgatory exists, the history is clear. We were all in the “Catholic bubble” for 1000 years, then the eastern orthodox split off. 500 years later Luther came along and started Protestantism.

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

RE: Jews’ role in the crucifixtion of Jesus –

To say that the Jew(ish leader)s were complicit in Jesus’ death is arguably true, but from a strictly historical standpoint, it never would have happened without the Roman occupation at the time. As often tends to be the case, the truth is far more nuanced…

gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM

One role that the Jews play in the Bible is as stand-ins for us, the readers. We learn from their examples and their mistakes all throughout the Old Testament. One interpretation of the history you’re talking about is that the Jews welcomed Jesus as a king when they thought the messiah was going to be an eartly conqueror, like David… but when he started telling everybody he was going to be crucified, they concluded he was a false messiah and turned against him. This would explain the mob calling for his crucifixion, and it also tells us something about ourselves, about how the Gospel is hard to make sense of if we are limited to the wisdom of this world.

joe_doufu on April 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM

It should be pointed out at some point that when the Gospel writers use the term “the Jews” they are, more often than not, referring specifically, not to the ethnic group to which they themselves belonged, (with the exception of Luke who was, nonetheless a convert to Judaism) but to the religio-political power structure and those who held power.

This was, after all, a Theocratic society we’re speaking of here.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on April 28, 2012 at 7:24 PM
Did you know that Jesus said the problem with the Jews wasn’t that you don’t believe in Him; the problem with the Jews is that you don’t even believe in Moses?
Cleombrotus on April 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Lest we get too far afield with this whole argument of who killed Jesus, let’s recall what point originally initiated the discussion.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Did you know that Jesus said the problem with the Jews wasn’t that you don’t believe in Him; the problem with the Jews is that you don’t even believe in Moses?
Cleombrotus on April 28, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Jesus was a law-abiding Jew. That can not be repeated often enough. The negation of the law started with Paul.

gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Jesus was a law-abiding Jew. That can not be repeated often enough. The negation of the law started with Paul.
gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM

What you call negation, Jesus called fulfillment.

[Matt 5:17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.”

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM

That is not a valid conclusion.

Rigid Dogmatists can be disillusioned at some point and forced to examine their position. That does not make them any less rigid at the time, nor do they ever seek out the answers on thier own, it is something that must be foisted upon them. In other words, they do not have inquiring minds – inquiry was not in the mix.

Hypotheses are proposed explanations for phenomenona. They are like beliefs in that they are not presumed to be the truth

Okay, that’s silly!
Even from the borrowed definition you see that beleif is “confidence in the truth or existence of something”

they are assumptions of what the truth is.

Therein violating the Scientific Method. If you assume truth in your hypothesis then you have crossed over from the realm of scientific inquiry into Faith and this is why Global Warming Models always provide the answer that the so called scientists were looking for. Fancy That.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM

As I originally pointed out to you about Christor Murty, what he said was a self-indicting statement, one which applies to you as well. Why do I say this? Let me explain…

1) you ludicrously misrepresented what I meant about rigid dogmatism – saying that all AGW believers are rigid in that belief should be taken as seriously as saying that all Leftists are at least as committed to their Leftism as Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Fidel Castro, and Harry Belafonte are, or that all Christians are blindly dogmatic about their faith.

Do you honestly believe that everyone carries their beliefs around with the same degree of imperviousness to the truth? If you say “yes” to that, I say, “Gimme a break!” :)

2) how many Americans are you aware of who can’t acknowledge that there’s a significant difference between the statements, “I know this to be true”, and “I believe this to be true”? None, or some?

You know as well as I do that you don’t believe it to be the case that the answer to that question is “none”!

3) what do you contend is more likely to be the case: that scientists have no confidence whatsoever in the truth of any hypotheses they choose to test, or that scientists typically choose to test hypotheses they have more confidence in the truth of than in those they don’t?

You don’t honestly expect me to believe that you find the latter less likely, and not the former, do you? LOL

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Jesus was a law-abiding Jew. That can not be repeated often enough. The negation of the law started with Paul.

gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Have you read Acts 15, where not just Paul, but the rest of the other Apostles and Church leaders there repudiated the Judaizers for saying that new Christians should be circumsized? Do you give Paul full credit (or blame, if you will) for their concurrence?

Also, do you believe their unified stance about the antiquity of circumcision was what God wanted, or do you believe they all got that wrong?

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 3:52 PM

This was a Roman Production from start to finish!

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Actually, to be more accurate, it was a God Production from start to finish.

Jesus crucifixion was a ROMAN Execution.
The Roman Governer ordered Jesus to be Executed.
Roman Soldiers Led Him to the cross.
Roman Soldiers guraded Him and the other two executed with Him.
Roman Soldiers cast lots for his clothing.
Roman Soldiers went to break his legs (prevents the crucified person from pushing up so they can breath)
A Roman Soldier pierced his side with a spear.
This was a Roman Production from start to finish!

Ps.22: 16

[16] Yea, dogs are round about me;
a company of evildoers encircle me;
they have pierced my hands and feet –

Ps.34: 20

[20] He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.

Ps.22: 18

[18] they divide my garments among them,
and for my raiment they cast lots.

And the FINISH which is yet to be fulfilled.
Zech.12: 10

[10] “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 4:40 PM

All of this is not new. Paul faced the same type of people on Mars hill in Acts the 16th chapter only then they were Epicureans and Stoics among others. It all comes down to faith, what you believe in, which by the way, much of science is based on.

sanjuro on April 29, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Zech.12: 10
[10] “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.

One can imagine the perplexity that one must have caused Biblical students of eschatology right up until May 14 th, 1948.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

You’re a liberal at heart, aren’t you.

Your deflection is nice, but I’m not going to play any more semantics with you as Logic isn’t a strong suit for you.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Actually, to be more accurate, it was a God Production from start to finish.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Okay, you win!

The Jews didn’t kill Jesus!
The Romans didn’t kill Jesus!
God Killed Jesus!

Enough Said.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 6:08 PM

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Maybe that’s the problem. No one’s trying to “win”, just to have a dialog.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Jesus was a law-abiding Jew. That can not be repeated often enough. The negation of the law started with Paul.
gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 2:24 PM

What you call negation, Jesus called fulfillment.

[Matt 5:17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.”

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM

So the law was fulfilled by negating it? The truth is just a series of one contradiction after another that we shouldn’t question? Paul the human finished the work that the Son of God started? Really?

gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 6:28 PM

You’re a liberal at heart, aren’t you.

Your deflection is nice, but I’m not going to play any more semantics with you as Logic isn’t a strong suit for you.

jaydee_007 on April 29, 2012 at 6:07 PM

LOL game, set, match, ME!!! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Maybe that’s the problem. No one’s trying to “win”, just to have a dialog.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 6:15 PM

When you say “no one’s trying to ‘win’”, you are speaking for yourself, me, gryphon, et al., but you are not speaking for jaydee, ok? :)

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 7:09 PM

My point is that if something happens infinitely often, then there is no “number of times” it happened in the first place.

RINO in Name Only on April 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM

You are showing agreement with me, whether you realize it or not, when you say that events in the physical world which happen infinitely have happened “no” number of times i.e. they’ve happened 0 times i.e. they’ve never happened.

No, I really wasn’t showing agreement with you. I had hoped that by saying “There is no ‘number of times’”, it would be clear that I meant that One cannot describe the rising and setting of the sun with a number. I said nothing about the number 0. Saying something is not described meaningfully with a number has nothing to do with the number 0.

If I said, “that girl has blonde hair” and you said “No she doesn’t, what number is her hair?” and I said “there is no “number” for her hair”, would you then say “Ahah! You’re saying that she has no hair! But I can see plainly that she does have hair! You are therefore insane, because only an insane man would say that someone who has hair doesn’t have any.”?

To treat events which have never happened as though they actually have happened, which is what you are doing when you posit ‘infinite events’ as real events, violates the basis of logic – by definition, such behavior is insane!

As I just pointed out, I am not suggesting they never happened. I cannot fathom where you got the idea that I was suggesting, implying, or hinting in any way at such a concept. Perhaps it would be best if, when you do not follow someone else’s argument, you did not jump to conclusions about their sanity.

From my pov, you are making an uncomplicated situation complicated because you are trying to bring an imaginary concept, which is that infinity cannot be added to or subtracted from, into the real world where such a conception is absolutely impossible.

It is hardly an imaginary concept, that infinity cannot be added or subtracted from. If you are unwilling to treat something as a number, or at least give it some other precise mathematical meaning, then you most certainly cannot add or subtract from it. This is not an “imaginary concept”. This is not something I made up or thought up for the purposes of this discussion. This is a simple restatement of the fact that if you are unwilling to give something a precise mathematical meaning, you can’t do math with it.

Now, if you want to claim that infinity itself is an imaginary concept, then you would be on more sturdy ground – in fact, many people would argue that all of mathematics is in some sense imaginary. You wouldn’t exactly be right or wrong, you’d just be getting into very deep philosophical debates over the meaning of the word “real,” and so forth.

And of course, we have never verified and could never verify that anything in the universe is infinite. But there are no theoretical or logical obstructions to things being infinite, which is why these things like infinite time, etc, are unresolved questions.

This is why I pointed out that you can either treat infinity as a number, or not – I should have also pointed out that you can treat it as some other kind of mathematical object, e.g., a member of the extended reals, or a cardinal number, or something like that.

At this point in time, I am not seeing how I can get this point across to you any better.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 9:26 AM

The things that honestly confuse me most about your arguments are

1. Are you or are you not trying to dispute the very use of infinity as having any meaning whatsoever? If you truly don’t think infinity has any meaning, either as a number, or a concept, then that’s fine, but you are in a very small group of people – if you really think it’s insane to disagree, then more or less the entire mathematical community, including thousands of people who have studied mathematical logic for decades of their lives, are all insane.

2. If you are going to discuss infinity as a real concept, then you better lay out some ground rules for what you mean when you say “infinity”. In particular, can you or can you not add and subtract from inifinity? Are you or are you not allowed to do arithmetic with it? You brought mathematics into the discussion by using an argument involving subtraction in order to prove a point. If you’re going to do that, and you’re going to treat infinity as a number, then you better have some rules that tell you what infinity – 1 is. Is it infinity? Is it some other number? Or is it meaningless because you aren’t allowed to subtract from infinity? There are many different meanings to the word “infinite”, and it doesn’t matter which one you use, provided you use it in a well-defined and consistent manner

Wow, OK, that was a mouthful. I’m going to push submit, even though I’m sure I’ll find a million typos right away

RINO in Name Only on April 29, 2012 at 7:15 PM

So the law was fulfilled by negating it? The truth is just a series of one contradiction after another that we shouldn’t question? Paul the human finished the work that the Son of God started? Really?
gryphon202 on April 29, 2012 at 6:28 PM

No, not at all. I’m not the one using the description “negating”.

Look, even the “law” itself states that it was never intended to be final but that there would be another “law”, if you will superseding it.

Jeremiah 33: 31 – 34

[31] “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
[32] not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.
[33] But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
[34] And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 7:09 PM

Heh. OK, yes, actually I was only speaking for myself. I should have clarified that.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Have you read Acts 15, where not just Paul, but the rest of the other Apostles and Church leaders there repudiated the Judaizers for saying that new Christians should be circumsized? Do you give Paul full credit (or blame, if you will) for their concurrence?

Also, do you believe their unified stance about the antiquity of circumcision was what God wanted, or do you believe they all got that wrong?

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 3:52 PM

As I read it, the question was whether gentile believers had to become Jews (i.e. be circumcized and give up bacon cheeseburgers) before they could become Christians. The decision was that they did not have to. The question of whether Jewish believers could become not-Jews was not discussed. Nothing in the affair of the Judaizers indicates that the Law was negated to me. If a descendant of Jacob becomes a Christian even today, I would think he still ought to circumcize his sons.

joe_doufu on April 30, 2012 at 12:10 AM

No, I really wasn’t showing agreement with you. I had hoped that by saying “There is no ‘number of times’”, it would be clear that I meant that One cannot describe the rising and setting of the sun with a number. I said nothing about the number 0. Saying something is not described meaningfully with a number has nothing to do with the number 0.

If I said, “that girl has blonde hair” and you said “No she doesn’t, what number is her hair?” and I said “there is no “number” for her hair”, would you then say “Ahah! You’re saying that she has no hair! But I can see plainly that she does have hair! You are therefore insane, because only an insane man would say that someone who has hair doesn’t have any.”?

To treat events which have never happened as though they actually have happened, which is what you are doing when you posit ‘infinite events’ as real events, violates the basis of logic – by definition, such behavior is insane!

As I just pointed out, I am not suggesting they never happened. I cannot fathom where you got the idea that I was suggesting, implying, or hinting in any way at such a concept. Perhaps it would be best if, when you do not follow someone else’s argument, you did not jump to conclusions about their sanity.

From my pov, you are making an uncomplicated situation complicated because you are trying to bring an imaginary concept, which is that infinity cannot be added to or subtracted from, into the real world where such a conception is absolutely impossible.

It is hardly an imaginary concept, that infinity cannot be added or subtracted from. If you are unwilling to treat something as a number, or at least give it some other precise mathematical meaning, then you most certainly cannot add or subtract from it. This is not an “imaginary concept”. This is not something I made up or thought up for the purposes of this discussion. This is a simple restatement of the fact that if you are unwilling to give something a precise mathematical meaning, you can’t do math with it.

Now, if you want to claim that infinity itself is an imaginary concept, then you would be on more sturdy ground – in fact, many people would argue that all of mathematics is in some sense imaginary. You wouldn’t exactly be right or wrong, you’d just be getting into very deep philosophical debates over the meaning of the word “real,” and so forth.

And of course, we have never verified and could never verify that anything in the universe is infinite. But there are no theoretical or logical obstructions to things being infinite, which is why these things like infinite time, etc, are unresolved questions.

This is why I pointed out that you can either treat infinity as a number, or not – I should have also pointed out that you can treat it as some other kind of mathematical object, e.g., a member of the extended reals, or a cardinal number, or something like that.

At this point in time, I am not seeing how I can get this point across to you any better.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 29, 2012 at 9:26 AM

The things that honestly confuse me most about your arguments are

1. Are you or are you not trying to dispute the very use of infinity as having any meaning whatsoever? If you truly don’t think infinity has any meaning, either as a number, or a concept, then that’s fine, but you are in a very small group of people – if you really think it’s insane to disagree, then more or less the entire mathematical community, including thousands of people who have studied mathematical logic for decades of their lives, are all insane.

2. If you are going to discuss infinity as a real concept, then you better lay out some ground rules for what you mean when you say “infinity”. In particular, can you or can you not add and subtract from inifinity? Are you or are you not allowed to do arithmetic with it? You brought mathematics into the discussion by using an argument involving subtraction in order to prove a point. If you’re going to do that, and you’re going to treat infinity as a number, then you better have some rules that tell you what infinity – 1 is. Is it infinity? Is it some other number? Or is it meaningless because you aren’t allowed to subtract from infinity? There are many different meanings to the word “infinite”, and it doesn’t matter which one you use, provided you use it in a well-defined and consistent manner

Wow, OK, that was a mouthful. I’m going to push submit, even though I’m sure I’ll find a million typos right away

RINO in Name Only on April 29, 2012 at 7:15 PM

To be honest, in my mind this conversation has been far too complex and complicated to be considered productive, at least so far, because to me it’s not a complex or complicated topic – I see us going around in a circle which shouldn’t even exist. I will address the last 2 points you asked me, however.

Infinity does have a meaning – to me, it means “unending”. Infinity can go forward eternally because +1 can be continuously and meaningfully added to whatever number(s) you choose. You cannot do the same in reverse, though i.e. subtracting -1 continuously and meaningfully to whatever number(s) you choose, which is why “infinite regressions” are considered logical fallacies – if the universe has not oscillated yet, saying it’s oscillated 0 times is a meaningful statement, but saying it’s oscillated -7 times is not.

Bizarro No. 1 on April 30, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Oops I meant, to me infinity=”unending sequence”, not simply “unending”

Bizarro No. 1 on April 30, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Heh. OK, yes, actually I was only speaking for myself. I should have clarified that.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

I am glad you understood I was having some fun – I expected that you would! :)

You have a good attitude about debate, which is that debates ideally are supposed to be learning exercises, not ego battles. Unfortunately, not everyone is so aware. :(

Bizarro No. 1 on April 30, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Sorry I missed this party. I was going to comment a few minutes ago, but I saw the comment count was at 666 (Bizarro No. 1 on April 30, 2012 at 10:25 AM) and I didn’t want to be the one to ruin that.

dentarthurdent on April 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM

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