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OrdinaryClay
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Well no. We have no idea why the universe exists if you limit yourself to a materialistic process. Nor do we understnad why the nature of the universe is what it is. This is why the KCA and Teleological arguments for God are so strong.

What you fail to see is this:

 

If all things were completely different. If the technology had been Stirling engines instead, or something else, and different cultures, and different looking species, and sexual reproduction different, etc. Then you would have still been arguing: we are so special, so it must be a proof of God.

 

But it isn't, since at the moment, right now, only one outcome is the outcome which is. We are at the point where this moment is this moment. All things that are at this moment are those things this moment contains. So it's special, regardless of which moment or outcome it would have been. But to say that a moment is special, because it will always be special regardless of outcome, doesn't prove that the outcome was planned.

 

Put it this way, I roll a die, it shows a six. It's a very special case. Only one in six. It means it was meant to be. Why? Because it didn't show one or two, did it? So it must be special, and since it's special, it must have been the plan from start.

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Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.

William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 36.

 

So much for honesty in the face of facts.

 

I think most apologists forget that the mind can play tricks with you, and a person who thinks he hears from the Holy Spirit could be deceived by his own mind. In other words, Craig rather believe his internal voice, even if he had MPD, than hard facts in reality. Talk about a setup for self-deception and delusion.

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However Centauri, what we saw with Clay was a classic Retreat-to-High-Ground Maneuver.

His unassailable high ground, in this case, was his subjective experience of the Holy Spirit. As you say, it's airtight and impervious, which explains why it's used with such mind-numbing regularity.

From what I've seen in over 10 years of observing evangelicals, I'd say it's retreat to high ground, wait a short while, and then repeat the same assertions all over again.

 

B-u-u-u-t there may be a way to undermine this impregnable-looking fortification. If Clay's personal experience of the Holy Spirit was just that, an intensely singular, individual and personal "inner' experience that (by definition) cannot be shared with anyone else, how the hell does he know that it's exactly the same experience that St. Bill or any other of members of Team WLC have had? Sorry, but it cuts both ways. If you say, 'No. This is personal - so nobody else can know it as I experience it', your only option is to say that you believe and have faith that their inner experience is the same as yours. You can never know that with the same certainty as any shared, objective, externally verified experience. By relying on inner 'knowing' you end up not 'knowing' if your fellow Xians 'know' what you 'know'. :huh:

I've found that dilemma is usually solved by claiming that any Christian that doesn't agree with them (on anything other than very minor points) isn't a true Christian.

There have been numerous examples of that on these forums over the years.

 

In the other forum, where I first encountered Clay, we covered a range of topics, including Prophecy. We only discussed OT prophecies about Jesus, not prophecies in general, such as those pertaining to Egypt, to Babylon, to other nations and cities, etc. However, Clay did mention that those about Jesus are true. On that point he was most insistent.

Ok then...

 

If the NT Epistles attributed to Paul don't even have to written by that person (because Clay just KNOWS they are God's Word), but the OT prophecies about Jesus have to be true, where does that leave us?

Perhaps the Books of Joel, Amos, Ezekiel, etc. don't have to be written by those people either? Just so long as the prophecies about Jesus are true - no matter who wrote them.

What if Clay extends the 'Doesn't-Matter-Who-Wrote-It' rule from Paul's Epistles to the whole Bible?

Or if he insists that the OT Prophets did write the books attributed to them?

Or if he says that it does matter about the authorship of the OT and the Gospels, but not certain other parts of the NT?

 

In any of these scenarios he's got to justify how and why he can pick and choose which Books of the Bible, which Prophets and which Epistles are authentic and which don't have to be.

This is how it was explained to me (no joke):

It doesn't matter who wrote any of them because Christian tradition confirms that they are true, regardless of who the author was.

 

Right from the start, there were scores of Christian fact checkers, scholars, and the Apostles themselves that carefully sifted through all the documents (also the oral stories) and made sure that only those that lined up with "facts" were passed on to eventually become the canon of the Bible.

Naturally, they were guided by God in this process right from the day Jesus ascended.

The quality control process was pristine because God saw to it.

The Bible wasn't really voted into being by councils of clerical men long after Jesus died, it was all magically codified in the 1st century by true believers, who rooted out all falsehoods and errors before the councils ever met many years later.

 

As an aside,

I've always enjoyed reading this story about the messianic rooster that fulfilled 42 OT prophecies. Glory!

http://messiahtruth.com/discovery.html

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Homo sapiens sapiens has been around less than 1 million years while the earth has had life for about 3.5 billion years. Many primate species have come and gone in the past 10 million years, and there will likely be more to come.

This is pretty much how I see it. We're just one point on a continuum, using (or abusing) whatever resources are near at hand. The ultimate fate of humanity is to be superseded by something else... And that's just fine. I do not scorn our ancestors nor envy our descendants, because the life that I experience is here, not there.

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Homo sapiens sapiens has been around less than 1 million years while the earth has had life for about 3.5 billion years. Many primate species have come and gone in the past 10 million years, and there will likely be more to come.

This is pretty much how I see it. We're just one point on a continuum, using (or abusing) whatever resources are near at hand. The ultimate fate of humanity is to be superseded by something else... And that's just fine. I do not scorn our ancestors nor envy our descendants, because the life that I experience is here, not there.

This may seem to be a really weird thing to say, but...

 

When plants started releasing oxygen into the atmosphere, there was probably a mass extinction because oxygen is largely toxic in its effects on living tissue, particularly anaerobic tissues. All life to that point had been using the available chemicals, and suddenly here comes oxygen. Bad for the species at that time, but actually made for more efficient "living machines." If plants hadn't developed chlorophyll, we wouldn't be here.

 

By the same token, humanity is changing the environment, and it may seem really bad. It might cause us and much of life to become extinct. But living things that adapt and grow out of the sludge we leave behind will think that sludge is the greatest thing on earth, because without it, those species wouldn't exist.

 

Life will go on.

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By the same token, humanity is changing the environment, and it may seem really bad. It might cause us and much of life to become extinct. But living things that adapt and grow out of the sludge we leave behind will think that sludge is the greatest thing on earth, because without it, those species wouldn't exist.

 

Life will go on.

Yes, the earth is 4.5 billion years old and we're only about 600 million years away from the first multicellular life (the Ediacaran fauna, whatever those things were). Mammals have only been major players in the past 65 million years. The earth has another few billion years left before it becomes inhabitable. If we were to go extinct, it's quite possible that some other life form as intelligent as ours (or more) would evolve after us, possibly rather rapidly. I sometimes wonder what evidence of humanity might be preserved for them to find. It seems amazing that our cities and roads would not be preserved, but what would remain in another 60 million years? It may be the most enduring traces of human life would be the isotopic signatures of our use of fossil fuels spread across the earth's crust and embedded in the ice caps (assuming they stick around) and our cemeteries and landfills.

 

One of the things that appealed to me about God was that he was a sort of omnipresent observer, a repository of the history of the universe. Whenever I used to wonder what had happened in the past or have some question I didn't know the answer to, I would tell myself I'd have to ask God some day. Well, it looks like there is no observer but ourselves. The details of the ultimate origin of life and the mystery of those Ediacaran creatures are irrevocably lost to us--there are some things that we will never know. If we do go extinct and there's a long time lapse before the next intelligent life form evolves, they will never know much about humans either. And it looks like the ultimate fate of the universe is heat death--an eternal, unwatched darkness.

 

So what is the upshot? I'll refer to Ecclesiastes, that rather existential and agnostic book:

 

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

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The details of the ultimate origin of life and the mystery of those Ediacaran creatures are irrevocably lost to us--there are some things that we will never know.

 

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

I love Ecclesiastes.

 

I think that the origin of cells may not be an "eternal mystery." While it's true that we can't go back to that time, we have managed to do quite well with deducing evolution from fossils.

 

Cellular architecture and biochemistry are the fossil remains of our ancient ancestors - right back to the beginning. Genetics is working out the details of gene transcription, protien synthesis and enzyme 3 dimensional forms, and many other things.

 

With a few principles, and a lot of elbow grease, I think we can deduce the origin of cells.

 

Assume that:

 

1. There was only one way for cells to form (since all life has the same cellular biochemistry)

2. The original mechanism was dependant on the environment in one locality - that may have been unique but possibly deducible.

3. The original metabolic reaction is still in play - whatever it was.

4. Our genes contain not only functioning working genes, but the entire genetic history of the planet for our specific line of descent.

 

And bunches more. A few more successful deductions, a few more discoveries, and we may well be able to see the origin of the first cell as an inevitable occurrence as logical and forthright as self assembling Leggos.

 

It's "lost" to fossil hunters, but geneticists have only just found the spade. Don't count them out.

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1. There was only one way for cells to form (since all life has the same cellular biochemistry)

I'm not sure what this means? It's possible a cell could have formed using very different biomolecules, and what we have is a frozen accident.

 

2. The original mechanism was dependent on the environment in one locality - that may have been unique but possibly deducible.

True.

3. The original metabolic reaction is still in play - whatever it was.

The chemistry still exists, but the exact mixture of reagents is currently unknown.

 

4. Our genes contain not only functioning working genes, but the entire genetic history of the planet for our specific line of descent.

I don't think this is the case. We have a lot of information, and can determine a lot about the first eukaryote, the first eubacterium, and the first achaean. But the details on their common ancestor are more hazy. For the precellular world we know very little. RNA viruses are probably a remnant of the RNA world, but because they evolve so rapidly and have been around for so long, the roots of their phylogenetic trees have been eroded.

 

And bunches more. A few more successful deductions, a few more discoveries, and we may well be able to see the origin of the first cell as an inevitable occurrence as logical and forthright as self assembling Leggos.

I'm sure it was. I just wish I had a video. :grin:

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Yes, exploit and dominate and overpopulate the earth instead of living in harmony with nature. I'm sure that's exactly what God had in mind...

If we assume any level of technology beyond stone tools then we must exploit resources. There is no way around it. Also, given our current population levels we have no choice but to exploit resources. We can not feed the people alive today with out doing so. Using our environment is the humane thing to do. I do agree we should do it wisely and with strong consideration of the environment.

 

Okay, so you realize this. You seem to realize that this universe is continually winding down to an inexorable end.

 

So why would the Christian version of God create such a universe? A universe based on chaos and death? A self-destructive universe? The very concept completely opposes Western Christian doctrine.

 

I'm asking mostly to figure out what you are trying to argue exactly. God's existence? It would have to be your own version of God then since he/she/it couldn't possibly fit the Western Christian mold (assuming you're a Western Christian)...

 

If it is your own version of God, then why argue? To make yourself feel better about your own version of faith?

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1. There was only one way for cells to form (since all life has the same cellular biochemistry)

I'm not sure what this means? It's possible a cell could have formed using very different biomolecules, and what we have is a frozen accident.

 

3. The original metabolic reaction is still in play - whatever it was.

The chemistry still exists, but the exact mixture of reagents is currently unknown.

 

Yes and yes, but don't you see that we are fast approaching the metabolic origins!

 

Look that the chemistry of DNA and RNA, temperature dependence, I mean, there really aren't that many chemicals to play with.

 

What single metabolic reaction is necessary for a cell to reproduce? Or what 2 reactions?

 

This is really really basic stuff. Find out the key, and the lock will open.

 

I understand that self-replicating RNA were produced in a lab. Some day, one theory will be so clearly superior that the sequence of cell formation will be a non-issue. But what theory? Has it been envisioned yet?

 

Cell walls first? RNA first? DNA first? Metatolism prior to cells? Which of these puzzle parts makes sense in which order?

 

I feel like a 4 year old with a picture puzzle of something I've never seen before. But sometimes even 4 year olds can match shapes and colors one piece at a time.

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However Centauri, what we saw with Clay was a classic Retreat-to-High-Ground Maneuver.

His unassailable high ground, in this case, was his subjective experience of the Holy Spirit. As you say, it's airtight and impervious, which explains why it's used with such mind-numbing regularity.

From what I've seen in over 10 years of observing evangelicals, I'd say it's retreat to high ground, wait a short while, and then repeat the same assertions all over again.

 

Yep. That seems to be Clay's modus operandi here and in some of the other forums I seen him in. He starts up a thread, finds that other folks can refute his points and/or that he cannot produce the evidence needed, continues for a while and then just drops it.

 

B-u-u-u-t there may be a way to undermine this impregnable-looking fortification. If Clay's personal experience of the Holy Spirit was just that, an intensely singular, individual and personal "inner' experience that (by definition) cannot be shared with anyone else, how the hell does he know that it's exactly the same experience that St. Bill or any other of members of Team WLC have had? Sorry, but it cuts both ways. If you say, 'No. This is personal - so nobody else can know it as I experience it', your only option is to say that you believe and have faith that their inner experience is the same as yours. You can never know that with the same certainty as any shared, objective, externally verified experience. By relying on inner 'knowing' you end up not 'knowing' if your fellow Xians 'know' what you 'know'. :huh:

I've found that dilemma is usually solved by claiming that any Christian that doesn't agree with them (on anything other than very minor points) isn't a true Christian.

There have been numerous examples of that on these forums over the years.

 

Ain't that the truth!

 

In the other forum, where I first encountered Clay, we covered a range of topics, including Prophecy. We only discussed OT prophecies about Jesus, not prophecies in general, such as those pertaining to Egypt, to Babylon, to other nations and cities, etc. However, Clay did mention that those about Jesus are true. On that point he was most insistent.

Ok then...

 

If the NT Epistles attributed to Paul don't even have to written by that person (because Clay just KNOWS they are God's Word), but the OT prophecies about Jesus have to be true, where does that leave us?

Perhaps the Books of Joel, Amos, Ezekiel, etc. don't have to be written by those people either? Just so long as the prophecies about Jesus are true - no matter who wrote them.

What if Clay extends the 'Doesn't-Matter-Who-Wrote-It' rule from Paul's Epistles to the whole Bible?

Or if he insists that the OT Prophets did write the books attributed to them?

Or if he says that it does matter about the authorship of the OT and the Gospels, but not certain other parts of the NT?

 

In any of these scenarios he's got to justify how and why he can pick and choose which Books of the Bible, which Prophets and which Epistles are authentic and which don't have to be.

This is how it was explained to me (no joke):

It doesn't matter who wrote any of them because Christian tradition confirms that they are true, regardless of who the author was.

 

Right from the start, there were scores of Christian fact checkers, scholars, and the Apostles themselves that carefully sifted through all the documents (also the oral stories) and made sure that only those that lined up with "facts" were passed on to eventually become the canon of the Bible.

Naturally, they were guided by God in this process right from the day Jesus ascended.

The quality control process was pristine because God saw to it.

The Bible wasn't really voted into being by councils of clerical men long after Jesus died, it was all magically codified in the 1st century by true believers, who rooted out all falsehoods and errors before the councils ever met many years later.

 

Yes! Absolutely correct! There's also NO historical evidence for this codification - just like Clay's subjective experience of the Holy Spit raining down on him from the mouth of God.

As an aside,

I've always enjoyed reading this story about the messianic rooster that fulfilled 42 OT prophecies. Glory!

http://messiahtruth.com/discovery.html

 

Luv it!

 

Thanks.

 

BAA.

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1. There was only one way for cells to form (since all life has the same cellular biochemistry)

I'm not sure what this means? It's possible a cell could have formed using very different biomolecules, and what we have is a frozen accident.

 

3. The original metabolic reaction is still in play - whatever it was.

The chemistry still exists, but the exact mixture of reagents is currently unknown.

 

Yes and yes, but don't you see that we are fast approaching the metabolic origins!

 

Look that the chemistry of DNA and RNA, temperature dependence, I mean, there really aren't that many chemicals to play with.

 

What single metabolic reaction is necessary for a cell to reproduce? Or what 2 reactions?

 

This is really really basic stuff. Find out the key, and the lock will open.

 

I understand that self-replicating RNA were produced in a lab. Some day, one theory will be so clearly superior that the sequence of cell formation will be a non-issue. But what theory? Has it been envisioned yet?

 

Cell walls first? RNA first? DNA first? Metatolism prior to cells? Which of these puzzle parts makes sense in which order?

 

I feel like a 4 year old with a picture puzzle of something I've never seen before. But sometimes even 4 year olds can match shapes and colors one piece at a time.

 

Those are interesting questions. But I think there are other questions. Why DNA? Why RNA? Why not some other sugar? Why ATGC? Why three base-pair codons and not four base-pair codons? It's quite likely RNA was competing with other molecules in the RNA world. Did it win because it was the best or because it got lucky? How did coding emerge in the first place?

 

A lot of these questions are probably going to be answered by chemists and mathematicians that go through the exhausting work of calculating free energies and probabilities. But some details we may never know.

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Those are interesting questions. But I think there are other questions. Why DNA? Why RNA? Why not some other sugar? Why ATGC? Why three base-pair codons and not four base-pair codons? It's quite likely RNA was competing with other molecules in the RNA world. Did it win because it was the best or because it got lucky? How did coding emerge in the first place?

 

A lot of these questions are probably going to be answered by chemists and mathematicians that go through the exhausting work of calculating free energies and probabilities. But some details we may never know.

That's where the fun is! And the Challenge!

 

What does the use of DNA and RNA suggest? I think availability. Did RNA or DNA "win"? I think that mitochondria were ancestral type cells that invaded DNA cells and became symbiotic. RNA didn't "lose" it is part of the whole.

 

Why does DNA contain only ATGC? Biocompatibility? Bonding that was consistent and a better fit for the particular circumstances?

 

A random chain seems like a good start for "coding." Just as codes are mutated, random chains mutated and at some point the garbage that was being "transcripted" finally made something useful. And there you go!

 

What was the first useful code? Do we still have it? Is it something common to all DNA based life? Do we carry some of the random code immediately adjacent to the first useful code?

 

Wow, it could all still be in there, waiting for us to find it.

 

Maybe I'm just imagining a scenario, and maybe it's not "provable", but I suspect that some small bit of junk DNA may be that random code that was present in the first chemical reactions that eventually led to the efficiently reproducing cells we have today.

 

Is there any organism that doesn't have junk DNA? How do viruses relate to cells? Predecessor or opportunist?

 

The answers surely won't happen fast enough for me, but I think that the mystery lies in the code. I feel like a Bible Code conspiracy theorist, but with a real code that does things and has been doing things since the first cell was formed.

 

Maybe that's the purpose of humanity; to circle back to the beginning after the billions of years that life has been mindlessly improving upon a random chemical reaction. Scientists will have manna to eat for centuries if not eons.

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