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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-26-2010, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
Free will isn't a solution.

If God is omniscient then (via LaPlace's Demon) he must be aware of all events that will occur at every moment in the future. All such events are conditioned, as a result of particle collisions and other conditions. The strong reading of free will (that we have the power to make decisions independent of our circumstances) violates causality.
The whole "particle collisions negates free will" argument is trivial, because it get's stuck in the philosophical chicken or egg conundrum ... is our free will influencing/controlling the particle collisions that compose us or are they influencing/controlling us? Philosophically, there can never be a testable proof of either.

Either way, as far as all particle mechanics being completely predictable and predetermined, this has also been proven wrong or unreliable at the very least through some of the modern developments in randomness of quantum mechanics and chaos theory.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post

Anecdotal evidence is, actually, (despite the name) not evidence in this argument.
Sounding smug and technical doesn't invalidate anecdotal and emotional content as completely irrelevant. Concrete scientific evidence it will never be and I never claimed it as such, but an argument it definitely is.

Because argument will always be most effective when it appeals on all three levels - Logos - logic, such as the free will philosophy, Pathos - emotional and anecdotal evidence such as my own and other christians in this case, and Ethos - reputation of speaker, in this case a 4 year member of this forum with some, i hope, decent posts to his name. And since this is an MMA forum, just about every top fighter like GSP, Andy, Fedor, Franklin, Page, Wandy, Shogun, Couture, Belfort, Lesnar, Carwin, Bones etc. that is a devoted Christian and a great role model. I'm just using all the tools at my disposal.

There's some Aristotle right back at you .

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
You don't want to take this line of argument. Trust me, it's a very bad one. Virtue ethics (which are, again, derived from Aristotle, and not from the doctrines of the early church) asserts that we ought to do what is virtuous because the practice of virtue improves virtue and this leads to a good life.

The reason I tell you to avoid that argument is because its foundations run totally contrary to the Bible, which relies almost entirely on Divine Command theory, which has a totally different grounding in ethics.

So just because you say it's a bad argument means I have to "trust you" that it is? Talk about smug.

Firstly, in a philosophical perspective it is irrelevant to allot an "owner" to the theory of virtue, predating the church, such as Aristotle, since by philosophical definition God and virtue exist since creation and the knowledge of right/wrong is built into human conscience to some degree. I imagine there were some dudes running around in bearskins long before Aristotle who felt bad about stealing from their neighbor etc.

There are innumerable scrolls and hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt, Babylonia etc. that also point to morality and virtue, far predating Aristotle. The point is that the vague knowledge of virtue and it's rewards is built into man's soul but clouded by selfishness/evil and what have you... and Jesus would be the one who sort of came down to clarify it all to the confused humans. Jesus and the Church didn't create virtue, they help clarify it .. as you yourself admit by expanding on charity, love etc.

As far as the divine command morality contradicting Jesus' ethics, that is exactly the kind of thing Jesus says he came to get rid of. I would concentrate on the Gospels more than Old Testament in that regard, since a lot of the OT stuff would be what I would consider unreliable rituals evolving over time that ignored the original message, the kind that Jesus abhorred.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
And, just so that we're clear, as far as MMA fighters go, there are arrogant and humble guys at all levels of competition in the sport. The difference is that we don't treat the ones who say they're good as delusional when they actually are good. Look at Tito Ortiz. He was absolved of his smack talk when he was the lightheavyweight champion because, as far as anyone was concerned, he was the greatest lightheavyweight in the world. Arrogance is treated differently when we regard the arrogant individual as somewhat justified. That's where the illusion (albeit easily broken) that the top guys are humbled comes from.
Tito is a pretty bad example for you to use, I mean he pretty much proves my point. One could use him as a prime example of a talented guy who's nothing now and wasted most of his career because of his arrogance, whereas humble, focused guys maintained long and relatively unblemished careers of dominance like GSP, Fedor, Anderson (well he tries to be humble ) etc. Maybe they will fade someday from age too, but not as comically as Tito who gets trashed by C levels in his early 30s and makes excuses about cracked skulls.

Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
The problem is that there's no delineation of what those virtues are. Moderation? Sure, but in what respects. Moderation is always a paradox when we talk about categorical practice. How can you practice moderation all the time? Do you have to moderate your practice of moderation? All moderation says is that you should do things to a proper degree, and what is that proper degree? Why, it's the degree to which you should do them. I smell circularity.

Then you have virtues like charity, humility and compassion, which are introduced largely by the Christian tradition by observing the person of Christ as portrayed in particular passages, mostly in Matthew and Luke. Those are fine, but you have to except the specious foundation for virtue ethics.
As far as Moderation goes, I'm assuming you're referring to the virtue of Temperance? Because most Christian virtues are pretty black and white ... humility, love etc. for instance, they don't espouse "moderate" lust, arrogance and so on.

The virtue of Temperance in Christian morality deals basically with excess food and drink, and the rough guidelines for "what is the right level" is built into your own body. If you're getting fat, weak, getting lifestyle health problems etc. you're going too far with food. If you're drinking to the point of doing stupid things you wouldn't otherwise or compromising your other values/virtues, you're going too far with drink. I'll give you it's one of the more abstract ones, but it still has intuitive guidelines based on our own bodies and nature, and not just circular logic.
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