1. Joined
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    17 Oct '07 18:531 edit
    KJ, in another thread you stated the following:

    "I without hesitation say I don’t know what the age of the
    earth or universe is, I have a belief about it, yet that isn’t a fact, I
    acknowledge I can be wrong"


    Several things about this confuse me greatly.

    First, you hold a belief about the age of the universe, but you maintain that your own belief does not constitute knowledge. I don't understand this. If we say that knowledge is true, justified belief; then either you don't think your belief is true or you don't think your belief is justified, or both. But, presumably, if you didn't think the belief were likely true or if you didn't think the belief were justified, then you wouldn't hold it. So under this formulation of knowledge, your statement makes precious little sense to me. You must have some other idea of what constitutes knowledge. What is it?

    Second, you say your belief isn't a fact. Of course, I fully agree we wouldn't want to notionally confuse beliefs and facts: I think beliefs are mental representations that, if true, correspond to facts about the world. So we wouldn't want to just conflate the two. But what's disturbing to me here is that I think what you're actually trying to say is that the propositional content of your belief doesn't correspond to fact. Based on my own concept of what constitutes truth (which is to first order a correspondence relation between propositional content and fact), this means to me that you think your own belief is not true. Again, that makes no sense. So I'm guessing you have some other idea of what constitutes truth. What is it? Or maybe we differ on what constitutes a fact. What do you think a fact is?

    Third, and probably most disturbing to me, is that you seem to imply that your belief does not constitute knowledge merely because you acknowledge you may be mistaken, or "can be wrong". The idea that epistemic certainty is requisite for knowledge is ridiculous. And if you're going to claim as much, I am going to insist that you do so consistently. Example: you simply cannot be certain that you possess hands because the totality of your experience is broadly compatible with your being, in fact, handless -- you cannot rule out this mere possibility. You could be a handless brain in a vat, for instance. So, if you're going to claim that beliefs that are possibly mistaken cannot constitute knowledge, then you are committed to the claim that you don't know you have hands. Is that satisfactory for you? Are you consistent on this issue, or not?
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    17 Oct '07 20:421 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    KJ, in another thread you stated the following:

    "I without hesitation say I don’t know what the age of the
    earth or universe is, I have a belief about it, yet that isn’t a fact, I
    acknowledge I can be wrong"


    Several things about this confuse me greatly.

    First, you hold a belief about the age of the universe, but you maintain that you s. Is that satisfactory for you? Are you consistent on this issue, or not?
    I hope this blossoms into a full-fledged discussion of epistemic justification—for my own edification.

    With regard to your third option, I was actually reading into KJ a kind of quasi Pyrrhonic skepticism, in which—absent certainty—all justificatory arguments could be considered to be equipollent. I say quasi because the Pyrrhonist (1) believes that he can actually demonstrate such equipollence logically, and (2) concludes that in such cases one must simply withhold all judgment. (I say “reading into” because that may well be what I was doing.)

    KJ, however takes a belief position, which implies that one position has sufficiently better epistemic justification than the other to allow a decision. I don’t think Kelly’s a philosophical skeptic, but simply skeptical with regard to certain scientific claims. On the other hand, he sometimes seems to be saying that a belief is a belief, and that one is epistemically as good as another.

    Of course, the most straightforward YEC position is simply that divine revelation trumps whatever the scientists think they have discovered; that divine revelation being—well, divine—provides the ultimate epistemic justification for holding certain beliefs.

    Kelly: Apologies in advance for writing as if you’re not “in the room”. Rajk would say that I didn’t have good “broughtupsy”! 😳

    ________________________________

    * The raison d’etre for Pyrrhonic skepticism, according to Sextus Empiricus, is that it is supposed to lead to ataraxia; I’ve never quite seen it though.

    EDIT:

    LJ: In On Certainty, Wittgenstein argued that there are certain things that we simply have to be able to say that we know, or else all of epistemology goes by the boards such that we really can’t say much of anything. I just thought of this, because he springboarded from Moore’s statement about knowing he had hands. If I can’t simply know that I have hands, why should I trust, say, my eyesight to tell me I have hands; why should one sense be more trustworthy than another?
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    17 Oct '07 21:48
    well chaps; I'm curious how this will turn out. KJ for sure has a unique or close to unique take on things.
    faith is his watchword, but somehow his faith has more clout than anyones, because it does. but he hasn't been able to explain it fully even to himself, methinks. The way you can tell is the reaction to difficult questions... watch, my friends, and learn.....
  4. Joined
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    17 Oct '07 23:01
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    KJ, in another thread you stated the following:

    "I without hesitation say I don’t know what the age of the
    earth or universe is, I have a belief about it, yet that isn’t a fact, I
    acknowledge I can be wrong"


    Several things about this confuse me greatly.

    First, you hold a belief about the age of the universe, but you maintain that you ...[text shortened]... s. Is that satisfactory for you? Are you consistent on this issue, or not?
    Which brings me to my own contention on the subject of theistic epistemic frameworks, in that 'belief' is not the same as 'faith'; the former being reliant upon objective justifications of one sort or other, the latter upon no necessary justification whatsoever. Often theists will posit that some thing or other which they call 'belief' (as we all tend to with everyday, general terms) is held in regards to a propositional claim, but whereas the non-theist will (I want to say always, but let's just say the majority do) offer justification for his position, the theist need not. This is because the theist is really talking about what I term 'faith', namely a belief held with no necessary justificatory means. This leads to a sloppy epistemic framework, but a strangely robust opinion of the truth of future propositional claims which rest upon this previous claim.

    If we replace the term 'belief' for 'faith' KJ's statement makes a lot more sense. He can claim without hesitation because there's nothing to hesitate about, there is no risk of inconsistency, or contradiction and it gives Kelly no burden of proof since no objective basis needs verifying.

    It's so brilliant it's almost formally invalid!
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    17 Oct '07 23:501 edit
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Which brings me to my own contention on the subject of theistic epistemic frameworks, in that 'belief' is not the same as 'faith'; the former being reliant upon objective justifications of one sort or other, the latter upon no necessary justification whatsoever. Often theists will posit that some thing or other which they call 'belief' (as we all tend to w ive basis needs verifying.

    It's so brilliant it's almost formally invalid!
    The problem, with regard to Biblical theism, is that the Greek word pistis (meaning faith, confidence, trust) was also translated into English as “belief” when that word had a different meaning than is the case in common usage today. And that adds to the confusion.

    I, too, try to keep the terms separate. But can one reasonably decide to trust something about which one has no justifiable beliefs?

    On the other hand, I (personally and subjectively) use the word faith to mean an existential attitude that includes both openness and confidence in the face of existential uncertainty; as such an attitude, or stance, it does not require any particular beliefs or expectations about ultimate outcomes. Under this definition, the opposite of faith is neither doubt nor disbelief, but anxiety—ye olde “existential angst”.
  6. Standard memberKellyJay
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    18 Oct '07 02:55
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    KJ, in another thread you stated the following:

    "I without hesitation say I don’t know what the age of the
    earth or universe is, I have a belief about it, yet that isn’t a fact, I
    acknowledge I can be wrong"


    Several things about this confuse me greatly.

    First, you hold a belief about the age of the universe, but you maintain that you ...[text shortened]... s. Is that satisfactory for you? Are you consistent on this issue, or not?
    I'll have more time tomorrow and I'll attempt to answer these for you.
    Kelly
  7. Joined
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    18 Oct '07 08:31
    Originally posted by vistesd
    But can one reasonably decide to trust something about which one has no justifiable beliefs?

    On the other hand, I (personally and subjectively) use the word faith to mean an existential attitude that includes both openness and confidence in the face of existential uncertainty; as such an attitude, or stance, it does not require any particular beliefs or ...[text shortened]... , the opposite of faith is neither doubt nor disbelief, but anxiety—ye olde “existential angst”.
    Unfortunately people do all the time, although we might have a lengthy discussion about wjat we should term as acceptable for justification on the back of this.

    Can you expand on your use of faith a little more? I have an idea what you mean, but I'm trying to see what it would entail.
  8. Standard memberKellyJay
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    18 Oct '07 14:201 edit
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    KJ, in another thread you stated the following:

    "I without hesitation say I don’t know what the age of the
    earth or universe is, I have a belief about it, yet that isn’t a fact, I
    acknowledge I can be wrong"


    Several things about this confuse me greatly.

    First, you hold a belief about the age of the universe, but you maintain that you s. Is that satisfactory for you? Are you consistent on this issue, or not?
    1. I hold a belief about the age of the universe; it isn’t something I
    can prove I also feel no one else can prove their beliefs about it as
    well. With regard to the age of it, I was actually taught early in my
    Christian walk by gap theorist who believe the earth and universe is
    millions or billions of years old, that there were multiple floods that
    destroyed the earth with the one before Noah’s flood actually having
    the dinosaurs as part of it, and they had some strange beliefs about
    other inhabitants too which I no longer recall well enough to give them
    justice. That actually caused me to be a little skeptical about it since
    their rational it seemed to me was justified by attempting to make
    certain verses of scripture mean certain things that I felt were a
    stretch. After that I started questioning everyone’s take on the age
    and seeing if they were doing the same thing. I believe it is possible
    that they can be right and I’m wrong, but as of now I just don’t see
    anything yet that convinces.

    2. I agree our beliefs are mental representations that if true reflect
    the reality of the universe, yet due to inability to be able to show
    them as factual (as in I’m currently holding X in my hand) they
    remain beliefs. I am not trying to say what I believe does not reflect
    reality as I believe it to be; I’m saying that though I believe it I have
    no means to make you see it as a fact beyond reproach. As I looked
    at how others here that have taken what they believe about the age,
    than attempt to tell me what they believe about the age of the
    universe is not a belief but fact; I am attempting to say they are
    wrong about calling their beliefs a fact. I cannot show them the true
    age which would clinch the debate one way or another, because my
    with my beliefs I’m just as limited I cannot show I’m right either. I’ve
    been left with attempting to debate that if something they are not
    currently aware drastically alters things they are building their beliefs
    upon they could be grossly wrong. A fact is something I don’t have to
    prove, for example I am holding X in my hand and a like, a belief
    would be the results of the this test means that you have a month to
    live, could be true, but not necessarily.

    3. As far as my beliefs not constitute knowledge, I by faith walk out
    my beliefs because I believe them to be true, I put my trust in them
    and act accordingly as if they were proved to me and I have to say
    that even there all of us have some level of skepticism about even
    our own beliefs too, but our confidence levels may vary on the topics
    we have beliefs about. We can as you seem to want to do try to find
    the absurd level of examples to make a point, I do that as well. At
    some level we have to stop and take things as they are because
    almost with all things we can do that dance. If I ask you if a particular
    rock has moved in a hundred years and we have photos that show it
    in the same place not moving, and we know the size and the shape
    making only huge earth moving equipment or a bomb could do it,
    and all the eye witnesses for generations all tell the same story that
    they have never seen the rock move, did it? If may we say no it
    hasn’t, but if we acknowledge it has both could be true depending on
    how far you wanted to look at it! The rock may not have moved from
    that spot, but that spot on the earth has been moving with the earth
    for as long as it has been there, so we can still argue the point,
    adnausem (sp).
    Kelly
  9. Joined
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    18 Oct '07 17:01
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    1. I hold a belief about the age of the universe; it isn’t something I
    can prove I also feel no one else can prove their beliefs about it as
    well. With regard to the age of it, I was actually taught early in my
    Christian walk by gap theorist who believe the earth and universe is
    millions or billions of years old, that there were multiple floods that
    de ...[text shortened]... earth
    for as long as it has been there, so we can still argue the point,
    adnausem (sp).
    Kelly
    HOW MANY times do we have to tell you our theories ARE NOT a belief!!
    No one says "it happened like this". It's only a theory, the most plausible one. We say "with the data we currently have, things look like happened this way". No pretensions or absolute truths.
    And it checks up quite well.... except with some millenarian obsolete beliefs. These data exists and is a FACT!
    So, we have the facts, but you believe (with no reason) that our data can be wrong. We already argued statistics sorted it out, but you didn't understand the arguments. So, we have FACTS through the available data that earth is a LOT older then 6k yrs.
    But again I say THIS IS NOT A BELIEF!! We only look at the most logical and plausible arguments.
  10. Hmmm . . .
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    18 Oct '07 17:01
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Unfortunately people do all the time, although we might have a lengthy discussion about wjat we should term as acceptable for justification on the back of this.

    Can you expand on your use of faith a little more? I have an idea what you mean, but I'm trying to see what it would entail.
    I’m not wedded to the word if someone can provide a better one; however that’s the word that came to mind when I first had an experience of that attitude, and it seems to be one that others use as well.

    One analogy that I use is a an athlete making the last-ditch, against-all-odds, near-impossible play in the final seconds of a tied game. The more confidence with which he makes the play, the more likely it just might succeed. (At least the sports psychologists seem to hold that view universally, as do athletes themselves.)

    Going beyond that, however, I once watched an athlete (whom I knew, and so I’m not just reading into his behavior) who played as if he could win / was going to win, even it actually was impossible—and he knew it—right down to the last. He just found it more rewarding to play it that way.

    I also liken the “spiritual” game to an athlete being “in the zone”. I suspect that most of us, whether athletes or not, have some experience of what that means—though it’s damnably difficult to explain, or even to describe except metaphorically. The challenge, and the discipline, is to live everyday life in that zone.*

    * There is actually a book by Michael Murphy and Rhea White called In the Zone” Transcendent Experience in Sports, that examines that connection, and provides a lot of testimony by athletes on what it is like for them to be in the zone, how they attempt to evoke that psychological state, etc.
  11. Cape Town
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    19 Oct '07 06:52
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    2. I agree our beliefs are mental representations that if true reflect
    the reality of the universe, yet due to inability to be able to show
    them as factual (as in I’m currently holding X in my hand) they
    remain beliefs.
    And here is the heart of my problem with your arguments. You take it as a given that holding something in you hand is a fact but have totally failed to explain why that is or what the reasoning or conditions behind it are. When I questioned it previously you tried to ridicule me rather than explain your self. That the age of the earth is over 10k years is as factual as holding something in your hand. Possibly more factual as more experiments have been done to confirm it than have been done on your hand.
  12. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    19 Oct '07 09:482 edits
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    1. I hold a belief about the age of the universe; it isn’t something I
    can prove I also feel no one else can prove their beliefs about it as
    well. With regard to the age of it, I was actually taught early in my
    Christian walk by gap theorist who believe the earth and universe is
    millions or billions of years old, that there were multiple floods that
    de ...[text shortened]... earth
    for as long as it has been there, so we can still argue the point,
    adnausem (sp).
    Kelly
    What makes your whole epistemological approach to the issue disingenuous is that you start from a dubious article of faith--that the Bible should be trusted as a source of knowledge about the age of the Earth. In the absence of this prior commitment, there is little reason to dispute that the Earth is indeed a few billion years old.

    Isn't it just an amazing coincidence that those few who dispute the age of the Earth also have strong Christian commitments? Do you think that their reason will necessarily remain immune to such strong commitments?

    Are you actually claiming instead that anti-Christian bias is so strong among the majority of Earth scientists that they are willfully misinterpreting the evidence as supporting an old Earth (unlike you, who sagely suspends judgment)?
  13. Standard memberKellyJay
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    19 Oct '07 11:54
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    And here is the heart of my problem with your arguments. You take it as a given that holding something in you hand is a fact but have totally failed to explain why that is or what the reasoning or conditions behind it are. When I questioned it previously you tried to ridicule me rather than explain your self. That the age of the earth is over 10k years is ...[text shortened]... more factual as more experiments have been done to confirm it than have been done on your hand.
    You know the age of the earth is (insert age) as sure you know when
    you are holding something in your hand, you are a true believer! No
    reason to talk to me, I would not discuss if I'm holding keys in my
    hand with someone who denies it when I am showing them to him. If
    you deny you could be wrong, there is nothing I can say to you as
    when I show the keys to the person who refuses to see them, it ends
    there. We can agree to disagree on this point.
    Kelly
  14. Standard memberKellyJay
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    19 Oct '07 11:55
    Originally posted by serigado
    HOW MANY times do we have to tell you our theories ARE NOT a belief!!
    No one says "it happened like this". It's only a theory, the most plausible one. We say "with the data we currently have, things look like happened this way". No pretensions or absolute truths.
    And it checks up quite well.... except with some millenarian obsolete beliefs. These data exi ...[text shortened]... ain I say THIS IS NOT A BELIEF!! We only look at the most logical and plausible arguments.
    You do not believe some of these theories are true?
    Kelly
  15. Standard memberKellyJay
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    19 Oct '07 12:095 edits
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    What makes your whole epistemological approach to the issue disingenuous is that you start from a dubious article of faith--that the Bible should be trusted as a source of knowledge about the age of the Earth. In the absence of this prior commitment, there is little reason to dispute that the Earth is indeed a few billion years old.

    Isn't it just an ...[text shortened]... nterpreting the evidence as supporting an old Earth (unlike you, who sagely suspends judgment)?
    I'm pointing out that the 'reasons' for claims about knowledge can
    be varied from many sources. People will try to make what they think
    is true and force the reality around them to fit their notions on various
    subjects. It is a human trait not a Christian trait, or an evolutionist
    trait, we have people who if a man is accused of rape automatically
    assume the man did it; others automatically assume the woman is
    lying, some try to with hold judgment till they know more about the
    event and try to get it right depending on their abilities to avoid
    preconceived notions on a subject the level they require to make that
    judgment will vary with how they lean one way or another. People in
    politics can make huge leaps of judgments on their party and the
    other party, it is rare you see someone in politics keep a level head
    about both parties, the more partisan they are the more likely they
    can demonize someone else, as exampled by some nut job
    congressman in California who actually said Bush enjoyed it when US
    troops got their heads blown off.

    The fact that my skepticism started with what people were telling me
    was in scripture has nothing to do with the subject; I just told you
    where I started doubting people beliefs about the age of the earth.
    Kelly
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