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Elgin’s Books


  • Christianity and Secularism

  • Evidence for the Bible
  • Hebrews 11:9-16

    Thursday, February 26th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

    A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
        A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
            1    A definition of Faith (11:1-3)
            2    Faith to Abraham (11:4-19)
            3    Faith to Moses (11:20-28)
            4    Faith of the Exodus (11:29-31)
            5    Faith – Ongoing (11:32-38)
            6    Link (11:39-40)
        B   The Method – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

    Hebrews 11:4-8

    Thursday, February 26th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

    A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
        A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
            1    A definition of Faith (11:1-3)
            2    Faith to Abraham (11:4-19)
            3    Faith to Moses (11:20-28)
            4    Faith of the Exodus (11:29-31)
            5    Faith – Ongoing (11:32-38)
            6    Link (11:39-40)
        B   The Method – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

    Hebrews 11:2-4

    Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

    A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
       A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
            1    A definition of Faith (11:1-3)
            2    Faith to Abraham (11:4-19)

            3    Faith to Moses (11:20-28)
            4    Faith of the Exodus (11:29-31)
            5    Faith – Ongoing (11:32-38)
            6    Link (11:39-40)
        B   The Meathod – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

     

    Hebrews 10:35-11:1

    Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

    A verse by verse study of Hebrews
        E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
            1    Our new status (10:19-21)
            2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
            3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
            4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
            5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
            6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
            7    Link (10:38-9)
    V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)

        A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
        B   The Meathod – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

    Hebrews 10:32-34

    Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

    A verse by verse study of Hebrews
        E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
            1    Our new status (10:19-21)
            2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
            3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
            4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
            5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
            6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
            7    Link (10:38-9)
    V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
        A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
        B   The Meathod – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

    Hebrews 10:26-31

    Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

    A verse by verse study of Hebrews
        E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
            1    Our new status (10:19-21)
            2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
            3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
            4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)

            5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
            6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
            7    Link (10:38-9)
    V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
        A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
        B   The Meathod – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

    Hebrews 10:21-26

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by Elgin Hushbeck

    A verse by verse study of Hebrews
        D    A Better Result (10:1-18)
            1    The Old Covenant could not save (10:1-4)
            2    Christ established a New Covenant (10:5-10)
            3    An eternal Result (10:11-14)
            4    Confirmed by the Holy Spirit (10:15-18)
        E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
            1    Our new status (10:19-21)
            2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
            3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)

            4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
            5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
            6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
            7    Link (10:38-9)

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

    http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

    Science, Religion, and Naturalism, continued

    Monday, March 26th, 2012 by Elgin Hushbeck

    Paul L. LaClair’s post is here. His comments are in blue

    “Elgin, it’s not default thinking. It’s empirical thinking. It’s responding to what works.”

    Yet the vast majority of your reply only further demonstrates the contrary. Since you are leaving the discussion I will simply respond to a few points. If you think I skipped something important just let me know and I will address it.

    “That’s right but the difference is that science can take the next step into application.”

    There are several key problems here with the word “application.” For one thing there are significant areas of science that have no application, at least not currently. In addition much, if not most of scientific knowledge precedes any application. Thus making application a prerequisite for any knowledge would invalidate at least parts of science.

    In addition it is unclear what are the limits this application. What kind of application must there be for knowledge to be consider legitimate? Then there are the areas of knowledge, such as history, which are commonly accepted as legitimate, but for which the concept of application is, at best, unclear. Can we legitimately say that Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States? What would be the application of such knowledge?

    The key difference between naturalism and my view is that I focus more on the method of knowledge. Thus applications confirm the usefulness of the method, not just the results. This is an important distinction for it allows me to talk about knowledge in areas such as history, where there is little or no application, but where the methods can still be applied.

    “It isn’t just that “God” is unproven, it’s unprovable according to all we know.”

    This goes back to my comments at the beginning of our discussion concerning the concept of proof. But in any event, the real point is that “to all we know” really means, “to all the naturalist believes” and is again a classic example of default thinking.

    ME: “Yet, I provided evidence, in the form of a rational argument,”

    YOU:” Because that’s not evidence. Read your statement again. Where’s the evidence?”

    This basically demonstrates my point. That which does not support you, you simply ignore. Whether you choose to accept it or not a rational argument is evidence. Reject this and you reject the core of the scientific method upon which your view depends. Your selective acceptance of reason, i.e., you accept it when it reaches the conclusion you like, is hardly a rational position, but instead just more evidence of the flaws within naturalism.

    Concerning your answer to the argument that you requested.

    “1. Knowing that cause and effect as we understand them lead to a seemingly inescapable paradox, you posit an answer based on a series of assumptions.”

    It is only a paradox for naturalism. There is no paradox at all for my view, and in fact this argument is quite consistent with my view. While they are clearly assumptions, they are the assumptions of naturalism, which is the point of the argument. The only real problem with this argument for the naturalist is that it points to a conclusion that naturalism refuses to accept.

    “Maybe there is something about the nature of space-time, and therefore causation that we don’t yet know,”

    I already pointed this out in an early note. While true, it is irrelevant to the point of the argument. The point of the argument is that the evidence we currently have points to something naturalism says cannot exist. Your refusal to accept what, in any other context would be an obvious conclusion, clearly demonstrates that naturalism is inconsistent. Naturalism claims to be empirical relying only on the evidence, but then rejects the current evidence in favor of some hypothetical future possibility. At this point the naturalist abandons the scientific evidence in favor of faith and hope. Faith that naturalism is true, and hope that some evidence that avoids this may be found in the future. Again this is fine. Naturalists would certainly not be the first people in history to hold on to their beliefs in spite of the evidence to the contrary, but it does show that your claims to be open to evidence to the contrary are clearly false, and so perhaps you will not be so quick to ridicule those who disagree with you in the future.

    “That’s a more likely explanation, since that has been the course of scientific discovery to date.”

    Actually the course has been the opposite. For 200 years, naturalist based science has consistently attempted to avoid any concept of a start to the universe, probably because of the implications. From early theories of a steady state universe, to more recent theories that postulated various form of a cycling universe, every attempt so far has had to be discarded as more evidence came in. The course has been opposite of the one you describe. In fact if we just go by the “course of scientific discovery to date” that would be a much better reason to call into question any new theory that the universe did not have a beginning. All previous attempts to make this claim were subsequently overthrown by the evidence, so why shouldn’t any new theory suffer the same fate?

    “2. Out of all the possibilities one could imagine, you settle arbitrarily on a conscious creator.”

    Once again you show that you cannot squarely face the argument as presented, but must instead change it into something you are more comfortable with. In this case so you can divert the argument onto your beliefs on the origins of religion, beliefs which, btw, cannot be verified. Again the argument says nothing about consciousness one way or the other, and so this attempt at refutation is no more valid than the last time you raised it. In short, you cannot refute an argument that does not mention consciousness, by talking about consciousness. You need to deal with the argument, not some straw man of your own creation.

    “We naturalists aren’t in a quandary, as you claim. We merely observe that there are questions we can’t answer yet”

    This is not only a statement of hope, it is a statement of denial, as the only way to not be in a “quandary,” or at least think that you are not, is simply to ignore the argument. Yet this is inconsistent with the principles of naturalism as you have stated them. You can ignore the problem the argument reveals, but that does not make it go away, it just demonstrates your claim to simply follow the evidence is false.

    “if you do, we naturalists will listen and alter our views based on the new evidence – if that ever happens. Y’all refuse to do the same, which is intellectually dishonest.”

    Except that when I demonstrated that the assumptions of naturalism are inconsistent with the best scientific evidence we have, you ignore the evidence and hope things will change in the future. You talk about evidence and reason, but have repeatedly show that you will quickly discard them when they do not support your belief in naturalism. So who is being intellectually dishonest?

    “I don’t mean to be rude but what you’re doing is not interesting or productive.”

    That is fine, as there really is no place left for the discussion to go. I and others have pointed out a number of fallacies and errors in your claims, which for the most part you have just ignored. To move forward, you would need to actually address these fallacies and errors, providing either explanations for why they are not fallacious or in error, which for many would not be possible; or attempt to restate the arguments so as to remove the fallacies and errors. However, instead of refuting or correcting them, you have basically denied that naturalism can be rationally evaluation. This not only conflicts with your claim on the importance of verification, but make further discussion difficult at best, unless you resort to repetition of previously refuted argument, which you have done.

    The only other way to more forward would be for you to face the implications of the argument based on origin I cited, but to do this would be to acknowledge the fatal flaw in naturalism, which you clearly cannot do, for to do this would be to abandon naturalism. Instead you have appealed to hope. This is fine, but it against precludes further discussion because I cannot know what may or may not be discovered in the future, and you have again precluded naturalism from being evaluated. But realize that this is a hope that runs contrary to you claims, and is in fact exactly what you are so critical of others for doing.

    But, in any event, I do what to thank you for an interesting discussion.

    Science, Religion, and Naturalism, continued

    Saturday, January 14th, 2012 by Elgin Hushbeck

    Paul L. LaClair’s post is here. His comments are in blue

    Paul,

    “Elgin, you’re a bright fellow, so if you will select what you think is your best and most devastating argument against my position, I’ll give you a response along the same lines. Feel free to reference your argument by date and time of your post.”

    Well the refutation of naturalism rests on several points.  One line of argument is it’s many internal inconsistencies that I and others have pointed out.   Another is the very practical one centered on the numerous errors and fallacies of its defenders, not only here but elsewhere.  At my blog (www.consider.org/blog), for example, I did extensive reviews detailing the errors and fallacies of the Neo-atheist books of Hitchens (www.consider.org/blog/?p=152), Dawkins (www.consider.org/blog/?p=45) and Harris (www.consider.org/News/2007/2.htm).  If the supporters of a position cannot put forth a rational defense of  that position, why should it be accepted?

    Still if I had to pick just one I guess it would be the argument based on origins that I laid out early.  This is because; it depends on the framework of naturalism.  For convenience, I will repeat it here and expand a bit.

    The current evidence supports that the natural universe as we know it had a beginning and could not have existed forever. If our current evidence is correct, then either, the natural universe came from something, or came from nothing. If it came from something, then this something would be non-natural, and this is evidence of a non-natural explanation that naturalism denies.

    Granted the first premise is provisional given the advancement of science, but for some time this has been the scientific position and seems pretty sound. The point here is that for the naturalist to question the validity of this premise would be to question the validity of science; something they cannot do and remain consistent.

    As for the two options this is simply an expression of the law of the excluded middle. To question this would be to call the entire foundation of science and thus naturalism into question.

    Now the naturalist could just accept that the universe came from nothing, and some do. But this explanation would conflict with the scientific method. It is basically magic.  If “it came from nothing” were to be seen as a legitimate explanation for events, it could explain anything, and there would be no need for science. Naturalists could argue that this was a special case, but that would only be an admission that the rules they use elsewhere do not apply here, i.e., that naturalism does not explain everything.

    So that leaves the claim that it came from something.  But if this is true, this would only demonstrate that there was something else beyond the natural world, and that naturalism is not the complete description that naturalists claim.

    Again this is a deductive argument, which means that if the premises are true, and naturalism would have to say that they are, and the structure is valid, which it is, then the conclusion must be sound, or in other words, the conclusion is obvious, and it no matter how you go about it, it refutes naturalism.

    Thus for me, it is no wonder naturalists refuse to face squarely this argument. They can’t and remain naturalists, at least not in any universal sense.

    Science, Religion, and Naturalism, continued

    Saturday, January 14th, 2012 by Elgin Hushbeck

    Paul L. LaClair’s post is here. His comments are in blue

    Paul,

    “Your emperor has no clothes. You keep insisting that I should debate with you about the intricacies of his magnificent garments.”

    What I have done is ask that you respond to the irrationalities of your argument. You want to talk about reason, yet you refuse to acknowledge that reason has anything to say about your position. It would appear that you have fallen into what I call default thinking.  This is where someone assumes that their world view is by definition correct and then demands that anyone who disagrees prove them wrong within their framework.

    For example, a theist who had fallen into default thinking, might take as their starting point, or default, the belief that God exists and is the foundation of everything, and then demand that critics point to something that was beyond the realm of God. I know that you would disagree with such a view, but I hope that you can also see the rational errors in this view.  It is ultimately a tautology.

    “To be more specific, a debate over whether and how a Great Unicorn might relate to a God would be comically and exclusively academic, since neither entity is known to exist.”

    Even scientifically this is incorrect.  For example, if science restricted itself only to entities known to exist, it would vastly limit its reach.  For example, the sub -atomic particle charm was ultimately postulated because someone did not like the idea of only 3 particles and figured 4 was better number. They were wrong on the ultimate number but this only demonstrates that even errors can be useful at times. In any event, they postulated what a fourth particle might be like. Once they had an idea of what it might be like, they set out to look for it and eventually found it.

    Still, none of this affects, the two fallacies I pointed out with your argument, and as such your earlier argument remains irrational.  Your questions in this note are irrelevant, given this underlying irrationality, except that you have simply added additional errors to the previous fallacies.  None of it actually addressed the linguistic point that I was making and the fallacy of equivocation that I pointed out.

    “Notice how this takes us back to a naturalistic framework, where we insist that fact claims be verified.”

    A nice example of your default thinking.  I have no doubt that viewed from within your framework, your framework looks fine and theism doesn’t.  However, you claim that in your framework facts must be verified, but what I, and others have been pointing out is that you simple ignore all attempts to apply the same standards to your framework itself, and to the arguments you use.

    “We’re saying there’s nothing else beyond what we can verify but we’re only saying it provisionally, just as we say everything in science provisionally”

    The core problem is, that this is a statement that you cannot verify. It is a statement that must just be accepted.  You make your assumptions, others make theirs and come to different conclusions. The real problem is that you then attempt to ridicule those who do not share you assumption, demanding that their assumptions be verified.  Thus in short you are holding those you disagree with to a different standard than that to which you hold yourself. You demand that their assumptions be verified, when yours cannot.  So just who is the emperor with no clothes?

    “if you provide us with more evidence, then we’ll expand our conception of the universe”

    Yet, I provided evidence, in the form of a rational argument, that reality consisted of more than the natural world, and thus, that the claims of naturalism were false.  Yet you basically ignored it.

    “It’s a practical philosophy, in other words, a philosophy that guides us toward living more productive and useful lives.”

    Again you assume that only your worldview does this. Yet all the productivity and usefulness that you claim as the benefits of naturalism fits equally as well in my world view. In short I see “naturalism” as a subset of my views, and that naturalism ultimately only artificially limits and restricts for no rational basis. I would add to this the numerous studies that show that practicing theists tend to lead longer, happier and more fulfilled lives. Given the evidence, why would I ever want to restrict my concept of reality?

    “Notice also that I didn’t say that God does not exist, only that God is not known to exist. Therefore, any fact claim about “God” lacks the necessary framework for reliability” and “every fact claim about God is a fact claim about something no one knows anything about.”

    These are arguments rooted within the framework of naturalism. The structure and logic of the arguments are ok. It is the underlying premises of naturalism that I would reject.   Thus from my point of view, I not only believe in God. I believe there is considerable evidence that He does exist, and that we can in fact know something about him. I understand that you disagree with these statements.  The big difference between us from my point of view, is that you artificially, and irrationally, restrict reality to the natural world, and given your presuppositions, are thus incapable of acknowledging any of the evidence for God as long as you stay within your framework.

    Before you revert back to your arguments grounded in culture to explain my views, I would point out that again not only are they irrational, they are very unlikely to be persuasive in my case because I grew up as an atheist and opponent of my current views.  My journey to my current views certainly has a spiritual component, but it also has a significant intellectual component, where I found the argument I used to defend my beliefs simply did not stand up to the same sorts of critical analysis I was using on those with whom I disagreed. In short culture had very little to do with my current views.

    “The point of the Great Unicorn example is not to get into the internal logic of your enterprise but to illustrate its absurdity”

    This is really turning things on their head.  The principles of logic are not tied to any particular framework, but instead rest on 3 fundamental laws: the laws of Identity, the Excluded Middle, and Contradiction which is also sometimes called the Law of Non-Contradiction.  Granted, not all world views accept these laws, but they are accepted by most theists, and are key to the scientific method and thus to naturalism.

    While these must operate within a framework such as theism or naturalism to reach a sound conclusion, errors that result in fallacies or invalid arguments are often independent of the framework. Thus the errors I have pointed out in your argument are not based on my framework, but ultimately go back to violations of these fundamental laws of thought. This is why I, and others, have pointed out that naturalism is self-refuting, for these laws form one of the foundations of naturalism, yet naturalism violated these laws.  Thus it is internally inconsistent and thus self-refuting.

    I will handle you specific argument to me in a separate post.