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Empirical Evidence From God?


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On 10/12/2020 at 11:38 AM, Kevin Christensen said:

Fundamentalism, like Empiricism, has an history.  For Fundamentalism, see the wikipedia essay on the publication of "90 essays between 1911 and 1915".  "According to its foreword, the publication was designed to be "a new statement of the fundamentals of Christianity."[1] However, its contents reflect a concern with certain theological innovations related to liberal Christianity, especially biblical higher criticism. It is widely considered to be the foundation of modern Christian fundamentalism."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fundamentals

Notice that one of the Fundamental essays attacks Mormonism.

Empiricism/Positivism share several basic assumptions to processing information, and Fundamentalism does as well.  Basically, the controlling assumption is, if you simply apply pure reason and logic to the evidence (whether data or scripture), everyone will be forced to the same conclusions.  That kind of thinking is post Enlightenment Rationalism.  It peaks in Positivism and Empiricism in the early 20th century. For the Fundamentalists, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it."  For the Empiricists, "They defended the objectivity of science through three claims. (1) Science starts from publicly observable data which can be described in a pure observation-language independent of any theoretical assumptions. (2) Theories can then be verified or falsified by comparison with this fixed experimental data. (3) The choice between rival theories is thus rational, objective, and in accordance with specifiable criteria."

Joseph Smith, on the other hand, begins by noting that "the different teachers of religion understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."   He realized, as N. R. Hanson demonstrated in The Logic of Scientific Discovery, that "All data is theory-laden."  And of course, in Godel, Escher and Bach, Hofstatder observes that "The important thing to keep in mind is that proofs are demonstrations within fixed systems of propositions," (p 18), and that "Godel showed that provability is a weaker notion than truth, no matter what axiomatic system is involved." (p 19). 

Does that help?

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Correct and it is that history that confuses me.

I guess it starts with the conflation between “empirical” and “empiricism” which are two different parts of speech; the former is an adjective that can have connotations of the modern scientific method and the later is a term used to designate a broad epistemological view. That epistemological view is simply that human experience constitutes the majority of human knowledge.

Really though the distinction between “empiricism vs rationalism” was drawn by Immanuel Kant who used it to capture the views of philosophers like Francis Bacon and John Locke (empiricists) and contrast them with the views of the Gottfried Leibniz and Alexander Baumgarten (rationalists). All of these men (including Kant) identified as Christian and all of them predate American Fundamentalism by quite a spell of time. In fact, Leibniz was trying to create a purely logical language that could be used to solve all metaphysical problems and bring about unanimous agreement; he did this because he wanted to unite the Christian world by ending the theological differences between Roman Catholics and Protestant churches. Your post seems to indicate that kind of thinking was “Post-Enlightenment” but it clearly is not.

There have easily been more Christian philosophers who held to some kind of empiricism than Non-Christian philosophers who do; the entire Scottish Enlightenment with its “Common Sense” school were advocates of empiricism who wanted to disprove Hume wrong on just about everything and they were single handedly the most influential school of philosophy in America in the 18th century and continued to be so in the 19th century when it came to Christian schools and higher education. Again, in contradiction to the notion that empiricism and fundamentalism "come out of the same historical period”.

From the content of your first post it seemed like you were using “empiricism” to mean “logical empiricism” because you keep talking about “observational language” and “theoretical language” that comes out of the middle of 20th century analytic science of philosophy when the likes of Carnap and Hempel were teaching here in the U.S. I mean that is certainly an example of what empiricism can look like in a specific instance, but it is nowhere near the definition nor does it capture the history of the term.

Also, I didn’t say anything before because I thought it was a typo but, Joseph Smith didn’t “realize” the The Logic of Scientific Discovery because Karl Popper published that in 1934, the Hanson book you are thinking of is  Patterns of Discovery which hit the presses in ‘58.

But yeah all this helps.
 

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15 hours ago, MosiahFree said:

Correct and it is that history that confuses me.

I guess it starts with the conflation between “empirical” and “empiricism” which are two different parts of speech; the former is an adjective that can have connotations of the modern scientific method and the later is a term used to designate a broad epistemological view. That epistemological view is simply that human experience constitutes the majority of human knowledge.

Really though the distinction between “empiricism vs rationalism” was drawn by Immanuel Kant who used it to capture the views of philosophers like Francis Bacon and John Locke (empiricists) and contrast them with the views of the Gottfried Leibniz and Alexander Baumgarten (rationalists). All of these men (including Kant) identified as Christian and all of them predate American Fundamentalism by quite a spell of time. In fact, Leibniz was trying to create a purely logical language that could be used to solve all metaphysical problems and bring about unanimous agreement; he did this because he wanted to unite the Christian world by ending the theological differences between Roman Catholics and Protestant churches. Your post seems to indicate that kind of thinking was “Post-Enlightenment” but it clearly is not.

There have easily been more Christian philosophers who held to some kind of empiricism than Non-Christian philosophers who do; the entire Scottish Enlightenment with its “Common Sense” school were advocates of empiricism who wanted to disprove Hume wrong on just about everything and they were single handedly the most influential school of philosophy in America in the 18th century and continued to be so in the 19th century when it came to Christian schools and higher education. Again, in contradiction to the notion that empiricism and fundamentalism "come out of the same historical period”.

From the content of your first post it seemed like you were using “empiricism” to mean “logical empiricism” because you keep talking about “observational language” and “theoretical language” that comes out of the middle of 20th century analytic science of philosophy when the likes of Carnap and Hempel were teaching here in the U.S. I mean that is certainly an example of what empiricism can look like in a specific instance, but it is nowhere near the definition nor does it capture the history of the term.

Also, I didn’t say anything before because I thought it was a typo but, Joseph Smith didn’t “realize” the The Logic of Scientific Discovery because Karl Popper published that in 1934, the Hanson book you are thinking of is  Patterns of Discovery which hit the presses in ‘58.

But yeah all this helps.
 

Well as any good ordinary language analytical philosopher will tell you, the meaning of words are contextual.  I am not sure that you have read much of Kevin's writings, from this comment.  But he certainly doesn't need me to defend him.

Every epistemology derives its basis from its implied metaphysics, and even Christian philosophers can be seen as "empiricists" when they are discussing spiritual experience and its validity.  Insofar as they are/were critics of Hume, it was his metaphysics they were attacking, not his empiricism.

 

 

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On 10/9/2020 at 1:23 AM, gav said:

Correct, it is my claim so I am the one that needs to put up or shut up, which I am willing to do, just wondering if there are any other sets of evidence or ways of looking at this question that I have not encountered yet.

For evidence to be truly empirical you or others would need to be able to verify the claims independently once provided the method. This may require some "work" on the part of the person attempting the verification, to learn the skills required to perform the method.

Would you be willing to potentially expand your skill set to perform the method?

Would I be willing to expand my skillset? I am working on that in a few directions, I think. To perform the method? What specifically do you mean? Do you mean to perform the method of proving your claim? 

 

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On 10/13/2020 at 12:29 PM, mfbukowski said:

So in a court of law, interpreting a statute should we be "nit picky"?   After all it's only a life that may be at stake.

In a discussion like this where one may convince a philosophically minded investigator (and that would include all the participants in this discussion, since they are spending a portion of their lives to establish their individual views as "true" so that they can live with the life decisions they have made)  you want to show they are wrong because they are being "nit-picky"?   After all, it's only re-joining the church or not.

And in both cases it hangs on understanding nuanced language.

But no, we cannot go there because the issue is "nit-picky"?  

"Sorry, not sorry"

   I will continue being nit-picky, thank you!

No, you missed my point regarding what I said about being nit-picky when I was talking about how many of us if not all of us have the very same spiritual experiences, on the whole, even though circumstances and people are different in a nit-picky sense.

Let's try to think back to what got this ball rolling, for example.  We were talking about subjective and objective experiences while giving some examples to show how everything can be viewed in both subjective and objective perspectives.

So for example when some people called "scientists" talk about what it takes for water to boil they, those scientists, are sharing their subjective perspective for what they say is an objective fact because they believe everyone can boil water the way they did and the way they say it needs to be done to be able to boil water.

And we can say the same thing about anything we have observed and experienced based on the way we experienced it which we believe can be repeated by anyone else who does it the way we did while calling what we did and experienced an objective fact even though we also experienced what we experienced on a subjective level, which is the only level on which we can experience anything.

Try to understand my point now, again, rather than being so nit-picky about the particular words I used as I tried to get my point across to you, again.

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Some more thoughts I have received on this topic which I now feel like sharing with everybody: 

Truth is obvious.  It simply is whatever it is.  It doesn't hide or cover itself to try to prevent people from finding or seeing it.

For example God lives and anyone who knows the truth about God knows that God is whatever God is to the extent they can see and experience God.

So what we have here on this planet are people who know the truth, or at least some truth, and those who do not know some truth even though all truth is obvious and can be easily known and experienced by those who are able to see and experience it.

We also have other things on this planet, such as things called words, and while words themselves are obvious they are not always the best tools for helping others or even ones self to see the truth that is obvious and easily seen by those who see it.

Anyway, just felt like sharing that, for whatever its worth.  All truth is empirical evidence.  It is simply the truth that not all people see the truth that is obvious even when the truth is right in front of their face.

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4 hours ago, Ahab said:

I was talking about how many of us if not all of us have the very same spiritual experiences, on the whole, even though circumstances and people are different

Sorry but as Mr Spock would say, we have to be extremely "logical" (I hate that word because it has no meaning- but it is popularly used) because these are important issues and what depends on them is what we can justify as "truth". 

"Many if not all..." means "some"

"Very same experiences on the whole" means different experiences for many people

The whole point is that YES "even though people and circumstances are different" means that many people have totally different experiences for which we have no basis whatsoever for calling them the "same"

If a German wrote a detailed description of his experience, and then it was translated into English, the English would have different meanings than the German

It could not be said that the nuances of the description were the "same"

And the mere fact that these experiences have to be put into language- ANY language- to communicate them, instantly distorts them.

We are talking about logic here - symbolic logic if you want to get technical and actually analyze it- where the words "nit picky" are totally outside the realm of possibility.   If you write a paper talking about "the same experience" and try to submit it to a philosophical journal - best wishes

Three is the same as 4 if you don't want to be nit picky. I mean that would round off to zero probably on a tax return if it was less than a dollar.

But if you are talking about $ 3 vs 4 billion I will be happy to keep the nit picky difference.   There's not much difference between 3 cents and 4 cents - but change the context into millions and there is quite a difference between 3 and 4

Experiences cannot ever be shown to be "logically identical" nit picky or not.

I guess Joseph and Mohammad had the same experience because an angel appeared to both and both received a book of scripture, unless you want to be nit picky.  Therefore we should all be Muslim.

Try to understand my point now, again, rather than being so nit-picky about the particular words I used as I tried to get my point across to you, again.

Gosh that was longer than I wanted it to be.

Edited by mfbukowski
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4 hours ago, Ahab said:

Some more thoughts I have received on this topic which I now feel like sharing with everybody: 

Truth is obvious.  It simply is whatever it is.  It doesn't hide or cover itself to try to prevent people from finding or seeing it.

For example God lives and anyone who knows the truth about God knows that God is whatever God is to the extent they can see and experience God.

So what we have here on this planet are people who know the truth, or at least some truth, and those who do not know some truth even though all truth is obvious and can be easily known and experienced by those who are able to see and experience it.

We also have other things on this planet, such as things called words, and while words themselves are obvious they are not always the best tools for helping others or even ones self to see the truth that is obvious and easily seen by those who see it.

Anyway, just felt like sharing that, for whatever its worth.  All truth is empirical evidence.  It is simply the truth that not all people see the truth that is obvious even when the truth is right in front of their face.

Yep.  That's it!

Words can never capture the truth and reality of raw experience!

Glad you stopped trying to be so nit- picky!

The problem arises when you jump from the truth of direct experience to words.

Then we start arguments.

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And this is why Ahab is right!  :

Ahab actually re-invented Wittgenstein's later views, and I have not really seen a better and simpler statement of it.

Wikipedia on ordinary language analysis.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinary_language_philosophy

 

 

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Central ideas[edit]

The later Wittgenstein held that the meanings of words reside in their ordinary uses and that this is why philosophers trip over words taken in abstraction. From this came the idea that philosophy had gotten into trouble by trying to use words outside of the context of their use in ordinary language. For example, "understanding" is what you mean when you say "I understand". "Knowledge" is what you mean when you say "I know". The point is that you already know what "understanding" or "knowledge" are, at least implicitly. Philosophers are ill-advised to construct new definitions of these terms, because this is necessarily a redefinition, and the argument may unravel into self-referential nonsense. Rather, philosophers must explore the definitions these terms already have, without forcing convenient redefinitions onto them.

The controversy really begins when ordinary language philosophers apply the same leveling tendency to questions such as What is Truth? or What is Consciousness? Philosophers in this school would insist that we cannot assume that (for example) truth 'is' a 'thing' (in the same sense that tables and chairs are 'things') that the word 'truth' represents. Instead, we must look at the differing ways in which the words 'truth' and 'conscious' actually function in ordinary language. We may well discover, after investigation, that there is no single entity to which the word 'truth' corresponds, something Wittgenstein attempts to get across via his concept of a 'family resemblance' (cf. Philosophical Investigations). Therefore, ordinary language philosophers tend to be anti-essentialist.

 

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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15 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Sorry but as Mr Spock would say, we have to be extremely "logical" (I hate that word because it has no meaning- but it is popularly used) because these are important issues and what depends on them is what we can justify as "truth". 

"Many if not all..." means "some"

"Very same experiences on the whole" means different experiences for many people

The whole point is that YES "even though people and circumstances are different" means that many people have totally different experiences for which we have no basis whatsoever for calling them the "same"

If a German wrote a detailed description of his experience, and then it was translated into English, the English would have different meanings than the German

It could not be said that the nuances of the description were the "same"

And the mere fact that these experiences have to be put into language- ANY language- to communicate them, instantly distorts them.

We are talking about logic here - symbolic logic if you want to get technical and actually analyze it- where the words "nit picky" are totally outside the realm of possibility.   If you write a paper talking about "the same experience" and try to submit it to a philosophical journal - best wishes

Three is the same as 4 if you don't want to be nit picky. I mean that would round off to zero probably on a tax return if it was less than a dollar.

But if you are talking about $ 3 vs 4 billion I will be happy to keep the nit picky difference.   There's not much difference between 3 cents and 4 cents - but change the context into millions and there is quite a difference between 3 and 4

Experiences cannot ever be shown to be "logically identical" nit picky or not.

I guess Joseph and Mohammad had the same experience because an angel appeared to both and both received a book of scripture, unless you want to be nit picky.  Therefore we should all be Muslim.

Try to understand my point now, again, rather than being so nit-picky about the particular words I used as I tried to get my point across to you, again.

Gosh that was longer than I wanted it to be.

Good grief!  You're still being nit-picky and not in a good way!

When I said we all have the "very same experiences on the whole" I meant we all experience all of the emotions our kind of being can experience and we also receive communication from God as well as Satan.

And we are all the same in the sense that we are all different and there is no other person who is identical to our own self.  We are all the same in that way and nobody is "more different" than somebody else.

Are you confused or do you now see the truth that is obvious here?

So what were we talking about that led to this point in our discussion?  Oh yes, what it is like to receive empirical evidence.  And what it is like to experience the objective perspective subjectively.

Just let me know when you will eventually agree with me by seeing things the way I see them while you remember thinking you thought nobody else would ever be able to do that but you.

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

Yep.  That's it!

Words can never capture the truth and reality of raw experience!

Not true.  There is a word which refers to experiencing each and every kind of experience.

Quote

Glad you stopped trying to be so nit- picky!

Me?  I stopped doing that many years ago.

Quote

The problem arises when you jump from the truth of direct experience to words.

Then we start arguments.

Only when there is a misunderstanding, but it is possible to correctly understand someone by knowing what they are talking about and remembering experiencing the same kind of thing.

Edited by Ahab
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Nevermind

Edited by mfbukowski
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16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Yep.  That's it!

 

16 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

And this is why Ahab is right!  :

Just when you think you understand Ahab and recognize him for the valuable thing he said...

15 hours ago, Ahab said:

Not true. 

...he makes us swallow our tongue.

He does keep us on our toes, doesn’t he? 

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5 hours ago, pogi said:

 

Just when you think you understand Ahab and recognize him for the valuable thing he said...

...he makes us swallow our tongue.

He does keep us on our toes, doesn’t he? 

Yeah but I'm getting tired of wearing these ballet slippers- they are starting to hurt.  ;)

I am trying to help folks, not play games.

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On 10/16/2020 at 3:14 AM, mfbukowski said:

Nevermind

When I see a 'Nevermind" from you, Mark, I am always extremely curious as to what you were never minding.

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On 10/15/2020 at 11:30 PM, Ahab said:
On 10/15/2020 at 10:54 PM, mfbukowski said:

Yep.  That's it!

Words can never capture the truth and reality of raw experience!

Not true.  There is a word which refers to experiencing each and every kind of experience.

On the contrary. 

My brain starts fogging up when Mark and certain others here start discussing deep philosophical points, and their words are sometimes meaningless, or nearly so, to me.  I emphasize to me because maybe you and @mfbukowski understand a given word in a given context, but that doesn't necessarily apply to others who witness the conversation.

You say that "[t]here is a word which refers to experiencing each and every kind of experience" and maybe there is, but whether that word exists or not, it is a useless word to those who don't understand it in the context in which it is being used

I have had several deep personal spiritual experiences, and I'm thinking of one in particular, that if I were to explain in words the entire experience, you would absolutely not be able to understand my experience, unless you had experienced something very much like it yourself. My words would not "capture the truth and the reality" of that experience. My words would be a very weak sauce in referencing the experience itself, and could only serve as a placemarker for you, until you had experienced it yourself.  

This is why Alma 32 and the concept behind it is so important. If say the words "I know the Book of Mormon is true" to someone who has never read it and who has not "exercise[d] a particle of faith" to discover its truth for him- or herself, those words have only a prosaic meaning to that someone. But if I say those words to you, who has done the exercise and received a testimony of that book, those words mean far, far more.  In short, words convey full understanding only when both the speaker and the listener share the same context.

Words alone cannot capture the truth and reality of raw experience. They can convey some information, of course, but lacking the actual experience, they convey only a shadow of meaning.

Edited by Stargazer
grammar!
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On 10/15/2020 at 10:36 AM, Meadowchik said:

Would I be willing to expand my skillset? I am working on that in a few directions, I think. To perform the method? What specifically do you mean? Do you mean to perform the method of proving your claim? 

 

The skillset expansion would require learning and using a new piece of software like that downloadable from http://stellarium.org/ or use the web version.

"Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope."

With it you can place yourself anywhere in the world and look at what the sky would have looked like at any time in the past or into the future.

With this you can follow the method by looking up for yourself the celestial events described(signs) and confirming their veracity.

With it you will be able to see for yourself things like the "star of Bethlehem", eclipses, star occultations(nothing bad there) and other celestial signs and wonders that amazed peoples of the ancient world.

With these unique astronomical occurrences you can then verify the timing of events and timeframes that appear in the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

There are many proposed dates for the birth of Christ, his crucifixion, resurrection and how these all fit into the timing of events of the restoration. By performing the astronomical observations one can establish firm dates and discern that the major events in world history are perfectly timed to a celestial clock.

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6 hours ago, Stargazer said:

When I see a 'Nevermind" from you, Mark, I am always extremely curious as to what you were never minding.

Usually, no you don't.  😠

It's usually frustration with someone, and not complimentary  :)

 

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6 hours ago, Stargazer said:

My brain starts fogging up when Mark and certain others here start discussing deep philosophical points, and their words are sometimes meaningless, or nearly so, to me.

Thanks for the post- I think it was perfect for the discussion or lack thereof -- that we are in the midst of.

But I am always trying to clarify what I mean.   Let me ask you- do you understand the Rorty quote I include in my siggy?   I picked that because to me it is the most lucid and clear and short statement of what I believe philosophically and I was totally shocked when I first read it, because THERE IT WAS!  To me, in a few words he captured the latest interpretation of "reality" summarizing 2000 years of philosophy right there in a few words.   I thought it was almost miraculous.

On the other hand, if you have not much or any experience in reading philosophy, even that can be jibberish.  But it would help me immensely to compare what I say to the way Rorty says it to see which communicates to intelligent folks with no background in philosophy

But certain devices / browsers do not show siggies so I will quote it below yet once again.   I would appreciate your feedback.

Quote

 

" To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states.  To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences, there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations.

     Truth cannot be out there- cannot exist independently of the human mind- because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there.  The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not.  Only descriptions of the world can be true or false.  The world on its own- unaided by the describing activities of human beings- cannot."   Richard Rorty- Contingency Irony and Solidarity, P 5.

 

 

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On 10/12/2020 at 9:38 AM, Kevin Christensen said:

Fundamentalism, like Empiricism, has an history.  For Fundamentalism, see the wikipedia essay on the publication of "90 essays between 1911 and 1915".  "According to its foreword, the publication was designed to be "a new statement of the fundamentals of Christianity."[1] However, its contents reflect a concern with certain theological innovations related to liberal Christianity, especially biblical higher criticism. It is widely considered to be the foundation of modern Christian fundamentalism."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fundamentals

Notice that one of the Fundamental essays attacks Mormonism.

Empiricism/Positivism share several basic assumptions to processing information, and Fundamentalism does as well.  Basically, the controlling assumption is, if you simply apply pure reason and logic to the evidence (whether data or scripture), everyone will be forced to the same conclusions.  That kind of thinking is post Enlightenment Rationalism.  It peaks in Positivism and Empiricism in the early 20th century. For the Fundamentalists, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it."  For the Empiricists, "They defended the objectivity of science through three claims. (1) Science starts from publicly observable data which can be described in a pure observation-language independent of any theoretical assumptions. (2) Theories can then be verified or falsified by comparison with this fixed experimental data. (3) The choice between rival theories is thus rational, objective, and in accordance with specifiable criteria."

Joseph Smith, on the other hand, begins by noting that "the different teachers of religion understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."   He realized, as N. R. Hanson demonstrated in The Logic of Scientific Discovery, that "All data is theory-laden."  And of course, in Godel, Escher and Bach, Hofstatder observes that "The important thing to keep in mind is that proofs are demonstrations within fixed systems of propositions," (p 18), and that "Godel showed that provability is a weaker notion than truth, no matter what axiomatic system is involved." (p 19). 

Does that help?

Best,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Of course!

I think the common ancestor between fundamentalism and empiricism is another philosophical "ism" called "Essentialism".  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essentialism

BOTH of these trends can be seem as similar in that both presume a solid and sure "essence" of things to be discovered and truth to be a perfect description of "thngs as they are" independent of human perception, or "empiricism"  In the scientific realm, this leads to the belief that the true nature of reality can become known through observation. and communicated in the language of the experts in these things. The experts would be the scientists in any given field.  This would be called "empiricism" and in its most radical form was found in "logical positivism" which held,  before this belief was virtually completely discredited, even by its founders, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayer/ that any sentence which could not be verified by evidence, was literally "nonsense".

So everything that is knowable or "true" is in the mirror of nature revealed by the experts, called "scientists"

Scientific facts become a kind of "religion"

In the religious realm it is the belief that by studying the Word of God, one can know his true nature and the truth of all religious beliefs with certainty simply by a literal reading and understanding of the scriptures, and as communicated in the language of scripture through the "experts" which in this realm consist of prophets, theologians , scholars, and religious leaders.  In a religious context this is called "fundamentalism".   

All that is knowable about God is found by a literal reading of the scriptures as interpreted by experts.  

Religion becomes almost a "science" or at least can be verified by empirical observations of history and literature, archaeology etc., but primarily by study of inerrant scriptures.

Again, BOTH of these trends can be seem as similar in that they presume a solid and sure "essence" of things to be discovered and truth to be a perfect description of "thngs as they are" independent of human perception, in a kind of "mirror" of reality

Two sides of the same coin: the essence of reality can be known and communicated through language.

This is also known "essentially" ;) as "Cartesian Dualism"

But the battle between truth and meaning could not be resolved.  AJ Ayer, one of the founders of positivism, fought on against Alonzo Church and others trying to find a way to logically link "truth" with "meaning".  The link I provided early in this post about Ayer will help for those wanting to follow the events leading to the death of positivism.al

Ludwig Wittgenstein was at first also one of the fathers of logical positivism.   Over the years he changed his position- along with many many other philosophers, like Ayer himself to another way of seeing, closely linked to the Pragmatism of William James and John Dewey.

The kernal argument was that there could be NO MIRROR of nature that was itself verifiable!

Think about it.   Suppose you had a mirror- or today perhaps a video clip might be a better example, that purported to show the "truth" of what happened in reality.

But suppose the video clip itself could not be verified!??   How could you know that what it showed was "real"?   It could have been altered, it could have been taken from a strange angle etc

Today we have many examples of this kind of thing happening all over.   We see a video of a crime scene which is blurry, perhaps taken at night etc, purporting to show one thing and yet doubts are raised about what it "really" shows

We have the same problem with PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY and "reality itself".   We cannot turn back the clock to see what was really happening during the video- NOR can we get outside of human perception - which might be illusory - to find out what reality "really is"!

The best we can do is form a theory- or "paradigm" and keep trying to verify it by further experience to see how well it "works"

THIS is the view of the Pragmatists, including Kuhn, who popularized their world view.   We can never know anything about what is "real" - just what we perceive, to the best theory we can come up with- about what is "real"

This is far different than the "essentialism" with which we started this post!   It does NOT presume that there is a reality which is hard and fast and knowable by observation entirely- BECAUSE the OBSERVATIONS, like our blurry video may not show what is REAL and we cannot OBTAIN better evidence that what we already have!

So both with God AND with science we have no contact with "reality as it is" but simply with the best theory/paradigm we have.

It's Alma 32, perfectly.  We live with the theory /paradigm and put it to work and see if it "bears fruit"

It is a practical answer to the mystery of how to get to the "essence" of things- the essence is unknowable and at some point becomes irrelevant BECAUSE we can never fully get a perfect knowledge of science NOR of God until and if we get to see "reality" face to face.

We know there is a world "out there" but all we can experience is our perceptions of it, and do the best we can with what we have as we find out what works for us individually and collectively in science AND religion

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essentialism

 

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17 hours ago, gav said:

The skillset expansion would require learning and using a new piece of software like that downloadable from http://stellarium.org/ or use the web version.

"Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope."

With it you can place yourself anywhere in the world and look at what the sky would have looked like at any time in the past or into the future.

With this you can follow the method by looking up for yourself the celestial events described(signs) and confirming their veracity.

With it you will be able to see for yourself things like the "star of Bethlehem", eclipses, star occultations(nothing bad there) and other celestial signs and wonders that amazed peoples of the ancient world.

With these unique astronomical occurrences you can then verify the timing of events and timeframes that appear in the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

There are many proposed dates for the birth of Christ, his crucifixion, resurrection and how these all fit into the timing of events of the restoration. By performing the astronomical observations one can establish firm dates and discern that the major events in world history are perfectly timed to a celestial clock.

Oh. So, you are saying that you have a theory that astronomical history verifies scriptural history, and that I can verify the existence of God by downloading this software and comparing the information to religious events?

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5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Oh. So, you are saying that you have a theory that astronomical history verifies scriptural history, and that I can verify the existence of God by downloading this software and comparing the information to religious events?

Yes, put slightly differently, the word of God is not only written in the scriptures but also in the skies. The skies back up what is described in the scriptures, especially when combined with modern revelation. There is plenty of debate about the scriptures but the skies, not so much. The skies are, for the most part,  completely deterministic and operate on an empirical basis. There is very little room for debate there.

You would be able to verify the scriptures, by what is written in the stars, and they both testify of Jesus Christ and the Restoration. The skies are in effect still another testament of Christ.

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On 10/18/2020 at 5:56 AM, Stargazer said:

On the contrary. 

My brain starts fogging up when Mark and certain others here start discussing deep philosophical points, and their words are sometimes meaningless, or nearly so, to me.  I emphasize to me because maybe you and @mfbukowski understand a given word in a given context, but that doesn't necessarily apply to others who witness the conversation.

You say that "[t]here is a word which refers to experiencing each and every kind of experience" and maybe there is, but whether that word exists or not, it is a useless word to those who don't understand it in the context in which it is being used

I have had several deep personal spiritual experiences, and I'm thinking of one in particular, that if I were to explain in words the entire experience, you would absolutely not be able to understand my experience, unless you had experienced something very much like it yourself. My words would not "capture the truth and the reality" of that experience. My words would be a very weak sauce in referencing the experience itself, and could only serve as a placemarker for you, until you had experienced it yourself.  

This is why Alma 32 and the concept behind it is so important. If say the words "I know the Book of Mormon is true" to someone who has never read it and who has not "exercise[d] a particle of faith" to discover its truth for him- or herself, those words have only a prosaic meaning to that someone. But if I say those words to you, who has done the exercise and received a testimony of that book, those words mean far, far more.  In short, words convey full understanding only when both the speaker and the listener share the same context.

Words alone cannot capture the truth and reality of raw experience. They can convey some information, of course, but lacking the actual experience, they convey only a shadow of meaning.

What I said was "not true" was the comment "Words can never capture the truth and reality of raw experience!"

Words can actually sometimes capture the truth and reality of raw experience, so it is not true to say words never can do that. 

Watch out for hyperbole and words like never and always and realize that words are tools for conveying particular ideas and sometimes people don't use the correct words to convey their ideas.

Also notice what I said to this comment from Mark:

 

On 10/15/2020 at 2:54 PM, mfbukowski said:

The problem arises when you jump from the truth of direct experience to words.

Then we start arguments.

Only when there is a misunderstanding, but it is possible to correctly understand someone by knowing what they are talking about and remembering experiencing the same kind of thing.

In other words, it is only when people don't correctly understand each other that we see problems when using words to communicate.  Sometimes the person sending a message doesn't use the correct words, according to dictionary definitions, and sometimes the receiver of that message doesn't know which definition that person is using when using that word.  A understandable situation given the fact that words have multiple definitions, and sometimes a word is totally unknown to either a sender or receiver, but the problem is not arising due to a "jump from the truth of direct experience to words" as Mark claimed.  Words are very useful tools to describe and refer to "the truth of direct experience" as long as the correct words are used and understood by both the sender and receiver of a message.

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5 minutes ago, Ahab said:

What I said was "not true" was the comment "Words can never capture the truth and reality of raw experience!"

Words can actually sometimes capture the truth and reality of raw experience, so it is not true to say words never can do that. 

Watch out for hyperbole and words like never and always and realize that words are tools for conveying particular ideas and sometimes people don't use the correct words to convey their ideas.

Also notice what I said to this comment from Mark:

 

Only when there is a misunderstanding, but it is possible to correctly understand someone by knowing what they are talking about and remembering experiencing the same kind of thing.

In other words, it is only when people don't correctly understand each other that we see problems when using words to communicate.  Sometimes the person sending a message doesn't use the correct words, according to dictionary definitions, and sometimes the receiver of that message doesn't know which definition that person is using when using that word.  A understandable situation given the fact that words have multiple definitions, and sometimes a word is totally unknown to either a sender or receiver, but the problem is not arising due to a "jump from the truth of direct experience to words" as Mark claimed.  Words are very useful tools to describe and refer to "the truth of direct experience" as long as the correct words are used and understood by both the sender and receiver of a message.

You can let dictionary writers to determine your theology if you like, but that's not for me.  Read the story of the Tower of Babel and see how close to God the tower built by language and man's wisdom can get you.

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3 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

You can let dictionary writers to determine your theology if you like, but that's not for me.  Read the story of the Tower of Babel and see how close to God the tower built by language and man's wisdom can get you.

Not at all relevant to the point I was making.  What is it called, a strawman, or a red herring?  I'm not  totally sure which one. 

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