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24-05-2019, 13:38   #1
Mark Hamill
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Justifying Your WorldView to an Impartial Onlooker.

This thread is from an off-topic discussion that spun from the "Have we reached peak LGBT nonsense" thread.

The basic premise is I asked antiskeptic (a theist) how they would convince an impartial onlooker (a hypotethical blank slate, religious-and-empricism-wise) that their worldview (Christianity) is true.
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Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
I'm asking some questions about this impartial onlooker. Your magic wand version, about which you have said nowt, has problems.
I said "hypothetical" so that would get away from whether or not an impartial onlooker is actually possible and just get to your method of justification to them. Responding with other examples of totally irrelevant hypothetical questions is just a diversion tactic, they have nothing to do with you answering my question.
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You've this irritating habit of jumping out of the boat you are sailing along with me in. You have the same problem as me - you are one of those "other" people. How can you tell. Well, our supposed impartial onlooker is going to decide that
And you have this irritating habit of just asking my question back to me. Answer my question first (seeing as I asked it first and all) and I will answer yours.
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Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
I'm not sure what that means.
It means that you can say that all religions are about fundamentally different Gods or they are all just fundamentally different interpretations of the same God doesn't change my hypothetical. You still need to answer the question - How can you whose conviction is actually correctly placed?
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Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
Or that..

Perhaps you meant to install an "other" before "being"?

No one is sure of themselves other than being sure of themselves. If you accept, for example, the finding of a scientific experiment, you (and I emphasis you) are stating something about your being sure of yourself that scientific experiments lead to solid knowledge or whatever.

You are the judge of all that you are sure of. Even if you farm out your confidence to others it is you who is deciding you are assured that they will correctly inform you. Suredness, for you, rests with no one but you. It's like sticky toffee paper - there's no way to prevent it ending up sticking to your own fingers
Apologies, I did mean to say "Is there anything, other than just being sure of yourself, that makes you so sure of yourself? "

My basis of using science and empiricism is not just based on me just being sure of myself. I will point to other aspects of these methods that go beyond just me being sure of myself. You may disagree about them being reliable or even existing, but they are part of what makes me sure. I am happy to discuss these aspects after you answer the question: What do you have beyond just being sure of yourself?
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Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
The set up is that an impartial onlooker was going to decide. There's no point in me talking to you when my view holds that your view is blind to what I say.
The setup is me asking you how you are going to convince the onlooker. What would you say to them to convince them, I would like to know. Maybe I am "blind" to what you say and will never be able to agree with, but how is that potentiality any different to anything you post in this forum? Just answer the question.
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Because that would let you off the hook about the problem you face creating this impartial onlooker of yours. Which would return us immediately to the problem identified in your mere suggestion of the idea. That without an impartial onlooker, I'm left with you, a partial onlooker.
I will explain how I would do it and you can dispute my methods too, once you answer the question first. There is no hook, no need to be so defensive. You answer my question, I will answer it, and we can discuss about the effectiveness and implications of our respective methods.
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Justification implies defence. I prefer your impartial onlooker who isn't looking for a justification but is assessing impartially.
In general, when a claim is made, supporting arguments are made to explain them. A justification is just another word for a supporting argument.
If you could be a little less defensive and answer the question, then maybe we could actually start this discussion?
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28-05-2019, 07:54   #2
antiskeptic
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Hi Mark.

Busy off late but will attend in due course.

I haven't read the OP but will raise (or re-raise) a core issue. The impossibility (from my perspective) of your hypothetical and what it does to your proposition.

Since my view holds that all are born sinners and in rebellion with God, it is not possible to find anyone with a neutral world view.

For them to be neutral they woud have to lack a sinful nature.

Adam would fit the bill. But he knew God so you might consider him biased?

If I were to say this impartial onlooker is a Christian (thus has relevamt ezperience of the spiritual) would you say he was impartial

In other words, the mere saying "hypothetical" isnt sufficient if the hypothetical is actually a nonsense.

Hypothetically, down can't be up and up up at the same time. Hypothetical can't do that kind of magic
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28-05-2019, 08:52   #3
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Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
Since my view holds that all are born sinners and in rebellion with God, it is not possible to find anyone with a neutral world view.

For them to be neutral they woud have to lack a sinful nature.

Adam would fit the bill. But he knew God so you might consider him biased?
You've a bigger issue using Adam, the fictional nature undermines you far more.

You might as well say you plan to use Gandalf but because he carried the one ring you consider him bias also.

This would be as true and as believable to any impartial onlooker, ie: it wouldn't be.

Last edited by Cabaal; 28-05-2019 at 10:29.
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28-05-2019, 09:46   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
Hi Mark.

Busy off late but will attend in due course.

I haven't read the OP but will raise (or re-raise) a core issue. The impossibility (from my perspective) of your hypothetical and what it does to your proposition.

Since my view holds that all are born sinners and in rebellion with God, it is not possible to find anyone with a neutral world view.

For them to be neutral they woud have to lack a sinful nature.

Adam would fit the bill. But he knew God so you might consider him biased?

If I were to say this impartial onlooker is a Christian (thus has relevamt ezperience of the spiritual) would you say he was impartial

In other words, the mere saying "hypothetical" isnt sufficient if the hypothetical is actually a nonsense.

Hypothetically, down can't be up and up up at the same time. Hypothetical can't do that kind of magic
Right how about this scenario then.

A couple have chosen to raise their child in isolation, away from the rest of the world.

They never once mention anything about any religion, good or bad to the child.

The child is normal in every way (including being born with a sinful nature if you insist!), average intelligence, and has been educated to a normal standard.

At the age of 18 that child asks their parents to see some on the world and at that time they encounter you.

You mention God and they ask you to explain God to them and you do.

They then ask you why you believe what you do.

What do you say?
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28-05-2019, 10:26   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
Hypothetically, down can't be up and up up at the same time. Hypothetical can't do that kind of magic
Hypothetically, one most certainly can - say, for example, one were to assume that up were the same as down. In such a hypothetical, down could be up and up could be down - crucially - at the same time.

How would you suggest to work through the logical consequence(s) of that?
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28-05-2019, 10:41   #6
 
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Since my view holds that all are born sinners and in rebellion with God, it is not possible to find anyone with a neutral world view.
Even if you believe a child is born a sinner and in rebellion with your god, if the child has no knowledge of your god or any god then they will have a neutral worldview regardless of your belief system.

It is entirely possible to imagine a person who has never heard of any gods. This isnt saying that up is down.

It is the state of ALL children until they are told about gods. We are not born with an innate belief system.

Instead of arguing that you dont like the hypothetical, why not just answer the question and tell us how you would convince an impartial person that Christianty is true?
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28-05-2019, 10:45   #7
Mark Hamill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
Hi Mark.

Busy off late but will attend in due course.

I haven't read the OP but will raise (or re-raise) a core issue. The impossibility (from my perspective) of your hypothetical and what it does to your proposition.

Since my view holds that all are born sinners and in rebellion with God, it is not possible to find anyone with a neutral world view.

For them to be neutral they woud have to lack a sinful nature.

Adam would fit the bill. But he knew God so you might consider him biased?

If I were to say this impartial onlooker is a Christian (thus has relevamt ezperience of the spiritual) would you say he was impartial

In other words, the mere saying "hypothetical" isnt sufficient if the hypothetical is actually a nonsense.

Hypothetically, down can't be up and up up at the same time. Hypothetical can't do that kind of magic
A hypothetical doesn't actually have to be possible to work. Magic or nonsense doesn't come into it, it's just using a conceit. If you don't know and can't make a guess as to some onlooker's worldview, how would you argue your worldview to them? What are the first principles you would start from, knowing that there are other people also arguing their religious and non-religious world views? How would you stand out?
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28-05-2019, 20:32   #8
antiskeptic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmTheReign View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
Hi Mark.

Busy off late but will attend in due course.

I haven't read the OP but will raise (or re-raise) a core issue. The impossibility (from my perspective) of your hypothetical and what it does to your proposition.

Since my view holds that all are born sinners and in rebellion with God, it is not possible to find anyone with a neutral world view.

For them to be neutral they woud have to lack a sinful nature.

Adam would fit the bill. But he knew God so you might consider him biased?

If I were to say this impartial onlooker is a Christian (thus has relevamt ezperience of the spiritual) would you say he was impartial

In other words, the mere saying "hypothetical" isnt sufficient if the hypothetical is actually a nonsense.

Hypothetically, down can't be up and up up at the same time. Hypothetical can't do that kind of magic
Right how about this scenario then.

A couple have chosen to raise their child in isolation, away from the rest of the world.

They never once mention anything about any religion, good or bad to the child.

The child is normal in every way (including being born with a sinful nature if you insist!), average intelligence, and has been educated to a normal standard.

At the age of 18 that child asks their parents to see some on the world and at that time they encounter you.

You mention God and they ask you to explain God to them and you do.

They then ask you why you believe what you do.

What do you say?
Mark has posited an impartial onlooker. He or she is the person doing the deciding.

Your hypothetical involves a person isolated from the rest of the world and educated to a normal standard. Some questions:

a) educated by whom and what worldview does this person have?

b) the person is assumed to have a sinful nature and is spiritual rebellion (everyone is spiritual in other words, but rebellion means an intrinsic antagonism to God). Hardly impartial

c) Another consequence of the sinful nature is that a person is blind. They literally lack one of their senses. Sure, they can listen to the argument I might make but they will utilise rationalist and empiricist tools in their attempt to assess and evaluate only, since they are the tools they have at their disposal. They don't have to be empiricists or rationalists, but their life experience to that point (assuming a normal education and exposure to the world, even if isolated from other than their educators). They aren't impartial because their equipping is weighted to one side: the tools they have.
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28-05-2019, 21:09   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
Hypothetically, down can't be up and up up at the same time. Hypothetical can't do that kind of magic
Hypothetically, one most certainly can - say, for example, one were to assume that up were the same as down. In such a hypothetical, down could be up and up could be down - crucially - at the same time.

How would you suggest to work through the logical consequence(s) of that?
Work through what? That

Anything can be hypothetical? Or the logical consequences of up being down at the same time?

On the latter I have mo interest. On the former it doesn't strike me as possible to say you can hypothetically have an impartial onlooker who is at the same time biased.
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28-05-2019, 21:53   #10
antiskeptic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hamill
A hypothetical doesn't actually have to be possible to work.
I understand that.

I'm asking you to flesh out your currently biased impartial onlooker.

Quote:
If you don't know and can't make a guess as to some onlooker's worldview, how would you argue your worldview to them?
You can forget commoner garden man. His worldview (my worldview holds) is already a known quantity. He is either lost, seeking* or found. If talking to someone I didn't know (and if assuming the topic was God territory (or one of its subsets) I could tell fairly quickly whether they were lost, seeking or found (even if they didn't identify as Christian).

*seeking is a state were a person is simmering, as it were (where the point of salvation is reaching boiling point). They occupy a space where they can be both antagonistic but find themselves engaging, opening up. Salvation probably follows (it did for me and others. C.S Lewis' gives a personal account of it in Surprised by Joy)

The lost might very well approach like you do. They might hold to empirical and rational tools (for that is all they have).

The seeking would be tangibly different. They would be as a blind man but one seeking in the dark. They would be open, not so fazed by the kinds of 'obstacles' the firmly lost come hard up against. They would have something of another 'language' or appreciation with which to approach things

[Don't suppose this necessitates someone being 'spiritual'. I've known spiritual people who are as lost as they come)

The found would be fully engaged. They (assuming they hadn't heard of Christianity) would drink it like a thirsty man - it would all make sense to them. The haziness they had, the 'seeing, but as if through a glass darkly' would turn to fuller vision - like cleaning vaseline from their spectacles.

The person you require is this hypothetical impartial - who can't be biased like you outline below




Quote:
What are the first principles you would start from, knowing that there are other people also arguing their religious and non-religious world views? How would you stand out?
The first thing to note is that you cannot reason a person to sight. Nor empiricise them there. Failing Christ arriving from the heavens, they will find a reason not to believe. Because they are constitutionally geared that way.

An apologetic, if aimed thus, is doomed. It has value in a secondary sense: to perhaps help stir waters being stirred spiritually. It is not, on itself going to alter anything.

I think you are looking at this as a rationalist/empiricist. You suppose all things can be understood by these means and (almost unconsciously) presume those the evaluation tools that must be deployed and are the best way to evaluate things. In so far as they go you are dead right - I use them all the time myself.

Hence the set up of this experiment: all sorts come to the rational/empirical table and operate according to those methods. The format is words, evidence, logic, reason, etc - thats how we often deal with matters


The problem is blindness to the form this particular information arrives in. Logic and reason have their place. But they need eyes opened. They need God to show up to reset the framework.

I wouldn't expect or aim to stand out. I don't suppose conviction (for that is what would occur were someone to plump for 'my presentation' ) would be the product of my presentation. They would be convinced because their eyes were opened by Him. My presentation might (what an honour) be a final piece in the jigsaw but thats all. Tops.

Last edited by antiskeptic; 29-05-2019 at 07:30.
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28-05-2019, 23:47   #11
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Work through what? That Anything can be hypothetical? Or the logical consequences of up being down at the same time?
On the latter I have mo interest. On the former it doesn't strike me as possible to say you can hypothetically have an impartial onlooker who is at the same time biased.
I mean that we should work through the logical consequences of assuming the hypothetical antithetical, in the specific case where the assumption is that we're working with a contingent truth (and therefore, a potentially false one), rather than a logical or necessary truth, which must be true under all circumstances (and which cannot be false, by definition).

In the case you've suggested, what would happen when we assume the antithetical - that the "upness" and "downness" of the logical direction were in fact the same? As they would indeed be, were we to be discussing a two-dimensional space where the ideas of "upness" and "downess" evaporate in the absence of a third-dimension which, for the sake of argument, we might declare "height" and measured in terms of "up" (positive) and "down" (negative).

How would the independent observer observe that which (s)he is not, with due respect to the contingency of the dimensionality, capable of assessing or indeed, plausibly asserting.

I think this might suggest that your argument has some holes which you should plug.
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29-05-2019, 08:25   #12
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probably taking the debate a little off-path, but how would someone religious convince a fence sitter that christianity was the right path, as opposed to buddhism, islam, judaism, etc.?
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29-05-2019, 09:06   #13
Mark Hamill
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Originally Posted by antiskeptic View Post
I understand that.

I'm asking you to flesh out your currently biased impartial onlooker.
It doesn't need to be fleshed out beyond the explanation of the conceit. To spend time doing so would be a waste of time.
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The lost might very well approach like you do. They might hold to empirical and rational tools (for that is all they have).

The seeking would be tangibly different. They would be as a blind man but one seeking in the dark. They would be open, not so fazed by the kinds of 'obstacles' the firmly lost come hard up against. They would have something of another 'language' or appreciation with which to approach things

[Don't suppose this necessitates someone being 'spiritual'. I've known spiritual people who are as lost as they come)

The found would be fully engaged. They (assuming they hadn't heard of Christianity) would drink it like a thirsty man - it would all make sense to them. The haziness they had, the 'seeing, but as if through a glass darkly' would turn to fuller vision - like cleaning vaseline from their spectacles




The first thing to note is that you cannot reason a person to sight. Nor empiricise them there. Failing Christ arriving from the heavens, they will find a reason not to believe. Because they are constitutionally geared that way.

An apologetic, if aimed thus, is doomed. It has value in a secondary sense: to perhaps help stir waters being stirred spiritually. It is not, on itself going to alter anything.

I think you are looking at this as a rationalist/empiricist. You suppose all things can be understood by these means and (almost unconsciously) presume those the evaluation tools that must be deployed and are the best way to evaluate things. In so far as they go you are dead right - I use them all the time myself.

Hence the set up of this experiment: all sorts come to the rational/empirical table and operate according to those methods. The format is words, evidence, logic, reason, etc - thats how we often deal with matters


The problem is blindness to the form this particular information arrives in. Logic and reason have their place. But they need eyes opened. They need God to show up to reset the framework.

I wouldn't expect or aim to stand out. I don't suppose conviction (for that is what would occur were someone to plump for 'my presentation' ) would be the product of my presentation. They would be convinced because their eyes were opened by Him. My presentation might (what an honour) be a final piece in the jigsaw but thats all. Tops.
So your entire argument, the reason you have avoided my question for so long (and still avoid it as you still haven't said what you would actually say the onlooker) is that you can't convince someone of your worldview unless they are significantly on their way to believing it?

I kind of expected something like this, which is why I asked the second question, of how can you be so sure of your world view, given there are others of irreconcilably contradictory world views that also believe the same way about theirs?
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29-05-2019, 09:09   #14
Mark Hamill
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probably taking the debate a little off-path, but how would someone religious convince a fence sitter that christianity was the right path, as opposed to buddhism, islam, judaism, etc.?
That is actually the basis of my hypothetical, I just made it a bit more abstract so that I couldn't be accused of giving science or empiricism special treatment (by implying they are above the question or have to be used to measure the response).
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29-05-2019, 09:32   #15
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Mark has posited an impartial onlooker. He or she is the person doing the deciding.

Your hypothetical involves a person isolated from the rest of the world and educated to a normal standard. Some questions:

a) educated by whom and what worldview does this person have?

b) the person is assumed to have a sinful nature and is spiritual rebellion (everyone is spiritual in other words, but rebellion means an intrinsic antagonism to God). Hardly impartial

c) Another consequence of the sinful nature is that a person is blind. They literally lack one of their senses. Sure, they can listen to the argument I might make but they will utilise rationalist and empiricist tools in their attempt to assess and evaluate only, since they are the tools they have at their disposal. They don't have to be empiricists or rationalists, but their life experience to that point (assuming a normal education and exposure to the world, even if isolated from other than their educators). They aren't impartial because their equipping is weighted to one side: the tools they have.
Sorry but you're just avoiding answering the question. Who did the educating is irrelevant to the topic.

You were the one who insisted everyone has a sinful nature, not me.

Quote:
Since my view holds that all are born sinners and in rebellion with God, it is not possible to find anyone with a neutral world view.

For them to be neutral they woud have to lack a sinful nature.
If everyone is born sinful that would include you. Why then are you not also blind to God? Since we can assume that you are not whatever was convincing enough to convince you of his existence should also be enough to convince this hypothetical person.

You claim that since they will only use 'rationalist and empiricist tools' to assess your position. What other tools do you feel they lack and why can you not teach them these tools? If not is your position then that a rational person by definition cannot believe in God?

If God truly wants everyone to join his flock, why would the child not be born with the innate ability to understand the argument for God? You're effectively saying that this person through no fault of their own can never understand or believe in God and as such is condemned to an eternity in hell.
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