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  #1  
Old Feb 7, '12, 7:55 am
Perplexity Perplexity is offline
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Default Reflection on Skeptical Theism

I take Skeptical Theism [from now on, ST] to be the hypothesis that theism is true, and we should be skeptical that we can be privy to God’s moral justifications, for any number of reasons, perhaps our cognitive limitations for instance.

Now, on theism, God not only permits or prohibits every single event; but, has sufficient moral justifications for doing so. ST tells us that we shouldn’t think we’re privy to these moral justifications for some reason or other.

Since on theism, whether any event (E) occurs depends on whether God permits it, and ST informs us that we can’t be sure of whether God would or wouldn’t permit it, it follows that on ST, we can’t be sure of whether any given E will occur.

To drive home the absurdity, make E the death of George Washington. Did he die? Well, on ST, this depends on whether God had sufficient moral reasons for permitting his death and we’re not privy to those reasons. So, we can’t say. And so forth for any other event.

Now, from this, using Bayes’ theorem, we could prove that ST’s probability is near 0.0 (i.e., irrational); but, I don’t want to kill dialogue with technicalities.

So, let’s just suppose that the absurdities described above are enough to make you dubious of ST. So what? What does this imply? Well, it means that we can be reasonable in expecting to know what moral justifications God would have for permitting or prohibiting events. As you can imagine, this is quite a weighty implication, especially if we can't think of anything.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old Feb 7, '12, 9:23 am
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prodigalson2011 prodigalson2011 is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perplexity View Post
I take Skeptical Theism [from now on, ST] to be the hypothesis that theism is true, and we should be skeptical that we can be privy to God’s moral justifications, for any number of reasons, perhaps our cognitive limitations for instance.

Now, on theism, God not only permits or prohibits every single event; but, has sufficient moral justifications for doing so. ST tells us that we shouldn’t think we’re privy to these moral justifications for some reason or other.

Since on theism, whether any event (E) occurs depends on whether God permits it, and ST informs us that we can’t be sure of whether God would or wouldn’t permit it, it follows that on ST, we can’t be sure of whether any given E will occur.

To drive home the absurdity, make E the death of George Washington. Did he die? Well, on ST, this depends on whether God had sufficient moral reasons for permitting his death and we’re not privy to those reasons. So, we can’t say. And so forth for any other event.

Now, from this, using Bayes’ theorem, we could prove that ST’s probability is near 0.0 (i.e., irrational); but, I don’t want to kill dialogue with technicalities.

So, let’s just suppose that the absurdities described above are enough to make you dubious of ST. So what? What does this imply? Well, it means that we can be reasonable in expecting to know what moral justifications God would have for permitting or prohibiting events. As you can imagine, this is quite a weighty implication, especially if we can't think of anything.

Thoughts?
Your logic here seems extremely suspect.
I don't see where ST necessitates that we must understand the moral justification of E to assert that E actually happened. It seems more reasonable to say that based on material observation, E has occurred, but on ST, we cannot say why.
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  #3  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:07 am
Perplexity Perplexity is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by prodigalson2011 View Post
Your logic here seems extremely suspect.
I don't see where ST necessitates that we must understand the moral justification of E to assert that E actually happened. It seems more reasonable to say that based on material observation, E has occurred, but on ST, we cannot say why.
ST doesn't necessitate that we must understand the moral justification of E to assert that E actually happened.

What we're doing is discerning P(E|skeptical theism & k). That is, we're seeing whether and if so to what degree skeptical theism & k (background knowledge) lead us to expect E. Whatever E is, we remove it from k when we do this.

So, it doesn't matter whether E actually happened since it's removed from k.

Problem is, no matter what we put into E, skeptical theism & k don't lead us to expect it.
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  #4  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:09 am
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empther empther is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

Let's see how far we can get in Perplexity's first post before we get to an error:

Quote:

I take Skeptical Theism [from now on, ST] to be the hypothesis that theism is true, and we should be skeptical that we can be privy to God’s moral justifications, for any number of reasons, perhaps our cognitive limitations for instance.

Now, on theism, God not only permits or prohibits every single event;...............
STOP RIGHT THERE !

God does not prohibit any event.

The rest of his post is worthless and his theory is nonsense.
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  #5  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:11 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perplexity View Post
Quote:
I take Skeptical Theism [from now on, ST] to be the hypothesis that theism is true, and we should be skeptical that we can be privy to God’s moral justifications, for any number of reasons, perhaps our cognitive limitations for instance.
Now, on theism, God not only permits or prohibits every single event; but, has sufficient moral justifications for doing so. ST tells us that we shouldn’t think we’re privy to these moral justifications for some reason or other.
It is a false premise that God permits or prohibits every single event. Many events are amoral.

Quote:
Since on theism, whether any event (E) occurs depends on whether God permits it, and ST informs us that we can’t be sure of whether God would or wouldn’t permit it, it follows that on ST, we can’t be sure of whether any given E will occur.
It is a false assumption that we can’t be sure of whether God would or wouldn’t permit any event.The very fact that events occur is evidence that we can be sure that God permits them!
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  #6  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:13 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by empther View Post
God does not prohibit any event.
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  #7  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:17 am
Perplexity Perplexity is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
It is a false premise that God permits or prohibits every single event. Many events are amoral.

It is a false assumption that we can’t be sure of whether God would or wouldn’t permit any event.The very fact that events occur is evidence that we can be sure that God permits them!
I agree! :P

But, theism entails the former and skeptical theism entails the latter.
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  #8  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:20 am
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prodigalson2011 prodigalson2011 is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perplexity View Post
ST doesn't necessitate that we must understand the moral justification of E to assert that E actually happened.

What we're doing is discerning P(E|skeptical theism & k). That is, we're seeing whether and if so to what degree skeptical theism & k (background knowledge) lead us to expect E. Whatever E is, we remove it from k when we do this.

So, it doesn't matter whether E actually happened since it's removed from k.

Problem is, no matter what we put into E, skeptical theism & k don't lead us to expect it.
This is because ST, in your equation, would already have a value of zero. Skepticism only leads to doubt. Skepticism could never lead to expectation. As Tom Waits said, "You can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter."
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  #9  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:22 am
Perplexity Perplexity is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by prodigalson2011 View Post
This is because ST, in your equation, would already have a value of zero. Skepticism only leads to doubt. Skepticism could never lead to expectation. As Tom Waits said, "You can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter."
I wouldn't necessarily disagree, so much the worse for skeptical theism.
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  #10  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:25 am
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prodigalson2011 prodigalson2011 is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by Perplexity View Post
I wouldn't necessarily disagree, so much the worse for skeptical theism.
I don't think skeptical theism suffers. My point was that you're using skeptical theism for a purpose it was never meant to serve (hence the Tom Waits quote.) Skeptical theism holds up fine for positing that man cannot understand why God does what he does. It is a direct contradiction of the very tenets of ST to then try to use it to predict the probability of God's action.
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  #11  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:26 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by Perplexity View Post
I agree! :P

But, theism entails the former and skeptical theism entails the latter.
Therefore sceptical theism is not worth entertaining.
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  #12  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:27 am
awolbob awolbob is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by prodigal son 2011 View Post
Your logic here seems extremely suspect.
I don't see where ST necessitates that we must understand the moral justification of E to assert that E actually happened. It seems more reasonable to say that based on material observation, E has occurred, but on ST, we cannot say why.
His logic is just like any other atheist he first does not believe in God then sets up an argument that has no logic in the first place. He assumed man has no free will,God is or was the cause of E's death assuming ,God .
Bob
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  #13  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:35 am
Perplexity Perplexity is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by prodigalson2011 View Post
I don't think skeptical theism suffers. My point was that you're using skeptical theism for a purpose it was never meant to serve (hence the Tom Waits quote.) Skeptical theism holds up fine for positing that man cannot understand why God does what he does. It is a direct contradiction of the very tenets of ST to then try to use it to predict the probability of God's action.
Hmm, I'm not sure you can avoid the absurdities ST implies by saying it wasn't meant to predict the probability of God's action. Granting that, we can still derive absurdities from it, and in any other case we'd take this as reason to reject the position.

Technically, we can discern the probability of E given any hypothesis whatsoever, it doesn't matter what the hypothesis was intended for. That's not to say you can derive similar absurdities, that's something peculiar to ST.
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  #14  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:44 am
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prodigalson2011 prodigalson2011 is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by Perplexity View Post
Hmm, I'm not sure you can avoid the absurdities ST implies by saying it wasn't meant to predict the probability of God's action. Granting that, we can still derive absurdities from it, and in any other case we'd take this as reason to reject the position.

Technically, we can discern the probability of E given any hypothesis whatsoever, it doesn't matter what the hypothesis was intended for. That's not to say you can derive similar absurdities, that's something peculiar to ST.
You derive absurdity from ST in this case for precisely the reason that you're using it in an absurd manner, much as one immediately derives absurdity from the act of trying to "find your waitress with a Geiger counter," or make a phone call with a shoe (unless you're Maxwell Smart.) Simple case of having the wrong tool for the job.
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  #15  
Old Feb 7, '12, 10:51 am
Perplexity Perplexity is offline
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Default Re: Reflection on Skeptical Theism

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Originally Posted by prodigalson2011 View Post
You derive absurdity from it for precisely the reason that you're using it in an absurd manner, much as one immediately derives absurdity from the act trying to "find your waitress with a Geiger counter," or making a phone call with a shoe (unless you're Maxwell Smart.) Simple case of having the wrong tool for the job.
Like I said, we can't derive absurdities by using this method of discernment on just any skeptical hypothesis. This is something peculiar to skeptical theism, so it isn't that this is the wrong method (it works fine for skeptical hypotheses, including cartesian skepticism which it's been used on), it's just that skeptical theism is false.
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