What to do when contradiction happens?

The sun rises in the East and sets in the West, no?

Many times what is written in the Scriptures is what the culture saw and understood at the time. They were merely reporting what they saw and tried to explain it. They were not stupid, they just didn’t know. Sometimes, what they understood is not what the reality is. However, one cannot condemn them for not being correct.

By the way, the sun does NOT rise in the East and set in the West. The earth rotates in its axis and the sun APPEARS to rise and set. However, we do not call out someone who says this.


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How do you find out what reality “in itself” might be, except by observation, and the mathematical models we build? Remember the problem of the Matrix.

The revealed truth, which may be expressed through literal meaning, metaphor, or analogy.

I agree that’s how we learn about reality. In fact a principle stated by Aristotle and affirmed by Thomas Aquinas is that whatever is in knowledge must first have been in the senses (I probably stated that poorly). But our knowledge of reality isn’t immediate or even reality in itself.

That’s not to say I don’t think we get real knowledge about reality (I am not an “idealist”, I think our knowledge does conform to things, at least formally). We do. But reality as it is in itself isn’t absolutely identical to reality as it is in the mind. What’s in the mind is worked on, composed and divided.

Though I do think I am getting a little away from the main point. As far as our knowledge of reality, how we relate to it or speak of it, etc… there are different contexts.

Would you please give us some specific examples of these contradictions, by quoting the biblical verse?

Literature has many. :wink:

What’s that – that Keanu isn’t a good actor? :thinking: :rofl:

And specifically, where the Bible is attempting to assert a scientific proposition, please!

This is where the term poetic license comes in.

The Bible has allegory, it has poetry, it has historical narration, what it doesn’t have is a scientific treatise. It never claimed to be a scientific book.

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In terms of what?

The scientific context? I suggest you take a course in Philosophy 101.

There are many methods of inquiry besides the scientific method.

Sorry, the value determining the circumference of a circle from the value of the radius is NOT poetic.

Sure. There is the deductive method which deals with axiomatic systems. There is the inductive method which deals with the objective, external reality (this is the scientific method). And there are subjective propositions, which have no objective truth value associated with them.

Should the Bible describe an event that “could not happen naturally” - say, the immediate curing of leprosy, one may conclude a miracle was performed. Are miracles in contradiction with science? Yes, by definition. Is that a problem? I guess it is for atheists.

Leaving aside the ‘supernatural’ then, what is an example of a part of reality that cannot be subjected to the scientific method?

Miracles are not a problem for us atheists. If you can demonstrate a ‘miracle’, that is something that could not possibly have a natural cause, in a controlled environment that excludes the possibility of fraud or error, then we atheists will happily say something 'super’natural has occurred. It’s just that this never happens. And of course the existence of 'super’natural phenomena does not demonstrate the existence of a god(s). Just something supernatural.

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can you please provide an example

Qualitative aspects, purpose ethics, values.

Now, you can of course have people self-report and collect thag data, and you can measure for certain pre-determined criteria, and you can make rational judgments and interpretations based on the data, but these things are not directly measurable or quantifiable in themselves.

Furthermore you can’t apply the scientific method to it’s own presuppositions regarding causality without making a circular argument.

Physics and physical models are also in themselves mathematical abstractions of reality, not reality itself. Same with chemistry, etc… Things are boiled down to values which can be plugged into formulas, and it is instrumentally useful, and I would say even structurally real about reality, but they are no more capturing the full reality being modeled than does the blueprint of a building capture all there is about the building itself. And this paragraph isn’t just a matter of me being an Aristotlean with an axe to grind. Philisophers like Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead have made the same point.

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I was referring to the Bible.

What’s with the geometry lesson?

I am not sure why you say these cannot be subjected to the scientific method. One can for a hypothesis about any real human activity associated with these things (such as reported belief), observe the phenomenon, test the hypothesis and develop a theory whch can then be tested against later observations.

Science is not philosophy. Science deals in the first instance with observations.

Yup. Of course. But this does not demonstrate that there are things that cannot be subjected to the scientific method. It just says what abstraction is.

Can you give me an actual example of a thing you can observe (i.e. is not ‘supernatural’) that cannot be subject to the scientific method?

So was I. Kings 7:23. “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.”

Even in those times people knew that the circumference of a circle is NOT three times of the diameter. (In other words, the value of “pi” is NOT 3.) The Chinese even had an incredibly precise approximation for the value of “pi”, they used 355/113. And this is just one example.

In other words, the text in the bible is contradicted by reality. And that is the question: what does one do in tat case?

Kings 7:23

The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father…” — Ezekiel 18:20

“I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation…” — Exodus 20:5

he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. ” — Job 7:9

“…the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth….” — John 5:28-29

Here are two to start with…

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The very next paragraph you cut out might enlighten you on what I meant. Maybe respond to that portion so I can see what you don’t understand about it.

See, I don’t get your confusion you express later, because right here you concede there are aspects of reality that the scientific method can’t be applied to. Again, the scientific method uses causality as an axiom. Is it a real feature of reality? If it is not and has no bearing on reality than why is the scientific method so powerful? If it is, then it’s something the scientific method cannot test or falsify in itself since the method presupposes it.

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