Tim said: "Prior to Newton's testing to figure out what gravity was did he doubt it's existence?"
RR replied: "Are you claiming that god is a natural force? A force of nature with clearly understandable and measurable impacts on natural events? Sorry, but the comparison is invalid. God is only self-evident to believers. You and an atheist can agree about the existence of gravity."
I am saying that God is the preeminent principle behind all of nature, including all forces of nature and their measurability. God is the First Cause... the uncaused Cause, so that the world around us is intelligible and we are intelligent is possible because of God as it's surpanatural cause. I am certainly not saying God is a natural force as this would be pantheism. Nature's existence (all that exists in the universe of being) cannot explain itself as it is not sufficient within itself to be it's own cause. In nature we find one being comes from another and again, if one follows this chain back they either suppose an infinite regress (the universe and all nature within it always existed) or end at a beginning. What begins has a cause and is therefore contingent being. It is reliant upon something else for it's powers of being, for it very existence. Again you impose the scientific method as if it is the only source of knowledge which it is not. Both common sense and the first principles of metaphysics preceed empirical enquiry. Without these intellectual insights we can gather all the data we want for our science but never arrive at any conclusion because it takes an act of our mind to make judgments about what we MUST ALREADY KNOW. We must reason to what we know FROM WHAT WE KNOW where it concerns scientific knowledge. We start some where in our thoughts in order to go somewhere else. I should lay out here that the Scholastics gave us an understanding of the three acts of mind:
1) Simple Apprehension - An act by which the mind beocmes congnizant of an essence without affirming or dening anything about it.
2) Judgment - An operation of the intellect composing and dividing by affirming and denying.
3) Inference (ratiocination or reasoning) - An act of the mind by which from truths already known the mind comes to know other truths.
The first act preceeds any other act of intelligence we make and without it there is nothing to think about. There is nothing to reason about if we don't first apprehend the being that presents itself to us in one instantaneous act. At this point we know something exists. We are attracted to the good we see in it, or in other words this is our intellect's appetite for the good found in being (termed the will or love). We are curious as good physicists AND as good metaphysicists. We see self-evident truths (such as a thing cannot be and not be at the same time; the principle of noncontradiction). In the second act we make judgments about that which has presented itself to our senses. Is this true or false... real or imaginary... good or evil... and so forth. In the last act we take two or more things that we know are true and deduce new things about our subject. This third act of inference is what the scientific enterprise is built upon and it is discursive by nature requiring that we make judgments in a linear fashion. We think from one existent thing to another to come up with a new truth about those existent things so-to-speak. It is reasoning par excellence and as such is syllogistic (the kind of logic a scientist is taught in their empirical school of nature).
All this is taught in a good course on minor logic and is vitally important in understanding why philosophical knowledge both preceeds and accompanies the scientific kind. It is my whole point above that we cannot make inferences (again special judgments called reasoning) about what we do not first know. In other words we cannot reason through our science datum without first recognizing something exists.
Tim said: "distinguish between moral and physical evil in the world."
RR replied: "Simple-minded. The motivations for evil are not just the absence of love, but may a psychotic condition. People with psychotic conditions hurt those they love. Alternatively, they may be primitive let's say in the case of the Inquisition thought they were doing their victims an act of love or human sacrifice in other ancient cultures."
I don't fully agree with your first two sentences and certainly not necessarily your example of the Inquisition. These latter historic incidents are much more nuanced than you imply. Authentic love being our attraction to the good we find in being, as I defined above, is not a hatred of an unjust taking of life as human sacrifice is. The Inquistion is a poor example because it was not primarily about the evil of arbitrarily killing human beings but about bringing out truth also. That the State took judgments of the Church as a liscense to kill in no way can detract from the good it did by exposing false doctrine. In fact more falsely accused "heretics" were set free by Catholic tribunerals than during the Prostestant Inquisition where so-called witch hunts were conducted. You fail to make this important distinction. The problem is your example blurs what actually happened in history by over generalizing the whole affair. Nevertheless my distinction between moral and physical evil still stands and is important in judging God's handling of our world... the one He created and conserves in existence. Evil in no way can be attributable to God because as I've said, and as you continue to ignore, it is not an entity. Evil is the lack of what should exist on the material or intellectual planes. As such a person who is psychotic "possesses" evil because he/she lacks love. Note here the way I've said this is cumbersome because I'm referring to evil as if it is an entity. Yet you still get my point that it is the lack of some necessary good that should be found in the person it refers to and so it is fundamentally a lack of love. Maybe we'd be better to say it's a lack of motivation, a lack of proper motivation which can only be directed toward the good of persons. Oh, and those who killed because of actual heresy were not doing anyone a good... they too lacked love. Call it a bad means for a good end (the moral definition for a act to be good is that it must have a good means, end and intent).
Tim said: "Such a system precludes common natures and relationships."
RR replied: "No it doesn't. Look up the doctrine of Karma. Tsong Kapa would be a good starting place for you."
So what is your point... that either all religious doctrine must be true or none at all? I think not! Nor would I even attribute such a bad principle to the scientific enterprise, as you must, if you hold it as a principle enough to convict all of religion because of it's heretics. I reject much of Hindu and Buddhist doctrine (not all) because it conflicts with the Christian doctrine that I hold to. And yes I am saying that all of Christian doctrine is true precisely because it is revealed by a divine Person who is not capable of lying or erring. I also limit such doctrine to "faith and morals" only knowing that these parimeters do touch on other areas of life because life is unitary in relation to truth.
Tim said: "Hell, like heaven is a state (and place) where those who reject God's goodness will suffer for their actions."
RR replied: "God as thug theology. No thanks. If he created everything, he created hell. So, what's that about?????"
Yes, you got that correct! Hell was created by God as a consequence for the willfull disobedience of creatures He gave freedom to (implied here intelligence too). This in no way makes God evil or the creator of evil. It simply means God is just and gives persons the reward they are due. If you sin, that is disobey, you become guilty, and deserve to be judged fairly AND properly. If you earn heaven by your acts then so be it. If you earn hell by your acts then so be it. But let me say here I am not a Calvinist who stops there implying the damned are damned from the moment of their creation onward. NO! ...I except the fact that God is not only just but merciful and offers a way out of conviction by having paid the price Himself (IE. the Incarnation... life, death, Resurrection and Ascension of God's only Son into heaven). In short the whole gospel of life as Pope John Paul II has phrased it! Thus grace is available to those who turn back to God (IE. religion... from the Latin: re-, back + ligare, to turn... that is "to turn back" to our Source). Grace as I said before is what Adam and Eve lost at the Fall and is given back by our act of faith in God through the action of the sacraments in the Church He instituted. That's the gospel truth in a nutshell! ...which you seem to lack in your understanding (more accurately misunderstanding). Let me also add the very reason you have this sense of justice in you, which is NOT measurable by the empirical method so would be unknown if that were our only means to knowledge, is because God put it in you. God is it's preeminent principle as I stated before.
Tim said: "On the contrary it makes a lot of sense if you understand that God does not hold us accountable for what we don't know."
RR replied: "If ignorance is bliss, tis follow to be wise.... Helps explain the craziness of social conservatives."
...for what we aren't WILLFULLY IGNORANT of... sorry! Correction noted. God loves human intelligence and expects us to use it and holds us accountable if we, in catching a glimpse of the truth, then back away from it... well... it is your CHOICE !!! (something social liberals love to preach that conserv's take away by their "false" authoritarian doctrines)
Tim said: "Our primary purpose in this world is to love, ..."
RR replied: "One of many purposes...."
True... primary means first which implies among others... other secondary purposes that is.
Tim said: "Love supports life... not the scientific method!.."
RR replied: "New take on 1 Corinthians: Love is not puffed up.......love is not scientific method. Got it. And "it" is a non-sequitur"
You forgot love is for the good of... NEVER the evil. My point par excellance! Your point here is one of extremes... either the scientific method or not. It's all or nothing when it comes to knowledge as so acquired and therefore don't try to confuse the issue with the truth that scientific knowledge only scratches at the surface of reality... despite it's amazing technological innovations (nuclear energy, space travel, computers and cell phones, CAT scans, laser surgery, weapons with pinpoint accuracy, etc...) We be dazzled by our scientific progress so much so we think we are progressing as a species, not seeing we are giving up our deepest human powers of intelligence and freedom to machines. To act like machines that do not think or possess freedom! To desire this so much so that some want to become one with machines and hope to some day divest themselves of their body so as to become pure thought... a fantasy if I ever heard one. A secular fantasy taken to it's logical conclusion that is. Stripped of it's form leaving only what is visible... and dehumaninzing to be sure. 111512 Ratjaws@aol.com
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