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Checkpoints of a Rational Argument
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Posted 5/5/10
In this video I present the three checkpoints with which you test the validity of any rational argument. What are your thoughts, comments, critiques, ext?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8FiVRNTR4k&feature=player_embedded


Now, I am self-taught so I do not have the credentials I would like. However, my video has also been acknowledged and analyzed (quite positively, though with a couple constructive criticism) by Kevin deLaplante, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious studies at Iowa State University.

http://www.critical-thinking-tutorials.com/checkpoints-of-a-rational-argument/

I think that the content of my video as well as Kevin deLaplante's critique contain valuable information. I notice all the time that people here, and elsewhere, expect arguments to be rational and logical. Often we are faced with an irrational and illogical argument but lack the tools necessary to explain exactly –why- the argument is irrational, illogical, or invalid. My video will provide you with those tools.

Any thoughts, comments, questions, ext?
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Posted 5/5/10
All three seem pretty obvious, but it's really useful to have them clearly defined. Whenever I'm discussing theology these sorts of problems always come up. People always make arguments similar to "something must have been the original cause of the universe, everything's so complicated, there has a to be a meaning to life, therefore God exists." First we have to define "God" and then we find out it doesn't pass the last checkpoint.
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Yei wrote:

All three seem pretty obvious, but it's really useful to have them clearly defined. Whenever I'm discussing theology these sorts of problems always come up. People always make arguments similar to "something must have been the original cause of the universe, everything's so complicated, there has a to be a meaning to life, therefore God exists." First we have to define "God" and then we find out it doesn't pass the last checkpoint.


I completely agree. These three checkpoints are pretty obvious. It’s just that it never seems to occur to you during a debate or discussion until you’ve seen it presented in a structured format.


As far as the argument in favor of God, it fails all three checkpoints. It does not properly define its terms, the premise (that the universe is complex,) is only true in relation to our individual mental prowess (a child may think algebra is complex, but Steven Hawkins would find it quite simple. A human may find the universe complex, but perhaps an alien life-form would not) and the conclusion does not necessarily or even probably follow from the premise. The conclusion is not even related to the premise.

Now the Aut Deus Aut Homo Malus arguement that Jesus was divine is a valid arguement.
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Posted 5/8/10

SeraphAlford wrote:


Yei wrote:

All three seem pretty obvious, but it's really useful to have them clearly defined. Whenever I'm discussing theology these sorts of problems always come up. People always make arguments similar to "something must have been the original cause of the universe, everything's so complicated, there has a to be a meaning to life, therefore God exists." First we have to define "God" and then we find out it doesn't pass the last checkpoint.


I completely agree. These three checkpoints are pretty obvious. It’s just that it never seems to occur to you during a debate or discussion until you’ve seen it presented in a structured format.


As far as the argument in favor of God, it fails all three checkpoints. It does not properly define its terms, the premise (that the universe is complex,) is only true in relation to our individual mental prowess (a child may think algebra is complex, but Steven Hawkins would find it quite simple. A human may find the universe complex, but perhaps an alien life-form would not) and the conclusion does not necessarily or even probably follow from the premise. The conclusion is not even related to the premise.

Now the Aut Deus Aut Homo Malus arguement that Jesus was divine is a valid arguement.


The problem with historical proofs is it's hard to validate them, especially when it's related to religion. You can use that same argument for Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc. What evidence is there that the Bible is even accurate, and that Jesus actually said he was divine? People argue over whether Jesus even existed, I think the historical record provides enough evidence that he did, but what he did and said is not clear. The Bible also says a whole bunch of supernatural miracles occurred. So I guess if you're assuming the Bible's record of history is true, then you can simply say Moses split the sea with the help of God, therefore God exists and Moses was one of his prophets.
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Posted 5/8/10 , edited 5/8/10

Yei wrote:


SeraphAlford wrote:


Yei wrote:

All three seem pretty obvious, but it's really useful to have them clearly defined. Whenever I'm discussing theology these sorts of problems always come up. People always make arguments similar to "something must have been the original cause of the universe, everything's so complicated, there has a to be a meaning to life, therefore God exists." First we have to define "God" and then we find out it doesn't pass the last checkpoint.


I completely agree. These three checkpoints are pretty obvious. It’s just that it never seems to occur to you during a debate or discussion until you’ve seen it presented in a structured format.


As far as the argument in favor of God, it fails all three checkpoints. It does not properly define its terms, the premise (that the universe is complex,) is only true in relation to our individual mental prowess (a child may think algebra is complex, but Steven Hawkins would find it quite simple. A human may find the universe complex, but perhaps an alien life-form would not) and the conclusion does not necessarily or even probably follow from the premise. The conclusion is not even related to the premise.

Now the Aut Deus Aut Homo Malus arguement that Jesus was divine is a valid arguement.


The problem with historical proofs is it's hard to validate them, especially when it's related to religion. You can use that same argument for Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc. What evidence is there that the Bible is even accurate, and that Jesus actually said he was divine? People argue over whether Jesus even existed, I think the historical record provides enough evidence that he did, but what he did and said is not clear. The Bible also says a whole bunch of supernatural miracles occurred. So I guess if you're assuming the Bible's record of history is true, then you can simply say Moses split the sea with the help of God, therefore God exists and Moses was one of his prophets.


Yet you find no written testimony for any miracles from that time zone other than what the bible said he did.
I think their be others writing about it if it really happen.. Not like no one like to wright about shit like that hmmm.
Posted 5/8/10

SeraphAlford wrote:

In this video I present the three checkpoints with which you test the validity of any rational argument. What are your thoughts, comments, critiques, ext?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8FiVRNTR4k&feature=player_embedded


Now, I am self-taught so I do not have the credentials I would like. However, my video has also been acknowledged and analyzed (quite positively, though with a couple constructive criticism) by Kevin deLaplante, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious studies at Iowa State University.

http://www.critical-thinking-tutorials.com/checkpoints-of-a-rational-argument/

I think that the content of my video as well as Kevin deLaplante's critique contain valuable information. I notice all the time that people here, and elsewhere, expect arguments to be rational and logical. Often we are faced with an irrational and illogical argument but lack the tools necessary to explain exactly –why- the argument is irrational, illogical, or invalid. My video will provide you with those tools.

Any thoughts, comments, questions, ext?


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Darkphoenix3450 wrote:


Yet you find no written testimony for any miracles from that time zone other than what the bible said he did.
I think their be others writing about it if it really happen.. Not like no one like to wright about shit like that hmmm.


Actually, the culture of that time and place were primarily verbal. A dearth of written sources would not be out of the ordinary at all. As far as saying “only the bible,” that’s silly. It essentially amounts to “only these twenty seven sources that were later gathered and amalgamated.”

Whatever the case, it is not only the bible. The Pharisees wrote that Jesus did great deed using sorcery and that Jesus was evil because of this. The Gnostics affirmed the notion that the “miracles,” were witchcraft but argued that Jesus was still god’s messenger and therefore a great man.

That is three separate groups of people writing about Christ performing “miraculous” deeds. Nobody seems to agree on the details: some say it was white magic, some say black magic, and others say thaumaturgy. Whatever the case, these are three independent sources. One is friendly. One is aggressive, and one falls somewhere in between.

We also have a number of other accounts from across the world affirming details of the bible. These are inconclusive but worth noting. For example, there was supposedly and earthquake when Christ died. We have documents everywhere from the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain and Portugal) to Italy to Israel and Africa which account to an earthquake at this same time.

Now, this does not mean that the earthquake was divine or anything along those lines. It does tell us that there was legitimately and earthquake at the time that the bible claims there was. Whether or not Christ actually died at that moment cannot be discerned. Even if he did it may have been mere coincidence. So, again, inconclusive but still worth noting.

So, we have many sources affirming the great events of the new testament. Miracles and disasters alike.
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Yei wrote:


The problem with historical proofs is it's hard to validate them, especially when it's related to religion.


From a strictly historical perspective we have more evidence of Jesus and his outstanding claim than we do that Caesar invaded Gaul. Now, with history there is no such thing as proof. We can only use good inductive investigation. Inductive logic produces strong arguments that would be rational to believe and irrational to disbelieve but not necessarily valid.



You can use that same argument for Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc.


No you cannot. Those men were sages but they never claimed they were God.



What evidence is there that the Bible is even accurate, and that Jesus actually said he was divine?


There is more than enough evidence to conclude that Jesus claimed divinity. The Pharisees explained that Jesus "admitted" he was God during his trial. Now, their account is not 100% the same as that of the Ebionites. They claim they gave Jesus a fair trail and good treatment and then sent him to be hanged, not crucified. But, Roman law for that time was particularly brutal towards Jews and non-Romans like Jesus. The standard execution for Roman citizens was an easy decapitation. For non-citizens it was torture followed by a colorful execution for public spectacle. This usually meant crucifixion.

Well, if you want to have the textual debate I can have it with you.



People argue over whether Jesus even existed,


Again, there is more evidence of Jesus than of Caesar’s conquest in Gaul. No legitimate historian argues that Jesus did not exist anymore. It is like how people say scientists are not sure if we are contributing to global warming. This is not true. Scientists know we are. Historians know Jesus existed. Why then, are there so many documents and documentaries claiming that Jesus did not? The same exact reason there are documents and documentaries claiming we are not contributing to global warming. It’s a hot-topic that generates controversy. Controversy gets people’s attention. Attention brings income and advances careers.




I think the historical record provides enough evidence that he did, but what he did and said is not clear.


This is not true, we have great reason to believe…this is the textual debate. I’ll tell you what. Let’s not have this conversation here. When I get around to it I’ll make a thread about this very topic and we can discuss the textual debate there.



The Bible also says a whole bunch of supernatural miracles occurred. So I guess if you're assuming the Bible's record of history is true, then you can simply say Moses split the sea with the help of God, therefore God exists and Moses was one of his prophets.


The Old Testament of the bible is less reliable, historically, than the New Testament. We have great reason to trust the New Testament. I cannot say the same for the tanakh. However, if we can establish our belief in the OT on the authority of Jesus from the NT then we have the word of god and there can be no greater witness. So we do not really need to ague on the tanakh. We just need to discuss the NT.


So, really, if your only challenge to the argument is the truth of the premise then the only thing that need occur is the textual debate.
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Posted 5/9/10 , edited 5/9/10

Yei wrote:]

The problem with historical proofs is it's hard to validate them, especially when it's related to religion. You can use that same argument for Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc. What evidence is there that the Bible is even accurate, and that Jesus actually said he was divine? People argue over whether Jesus even existed, I think the historical record provides enough evidence that he did, but what he did and said is not clear. The Bible also says a whole bunch of supernatural miracles occurred. So I guess if you're assuming the Bible's record of history is true, then you can simply say Moses split the sea with the help of God, therefore God exists and Moses was one of his prophets.




Historical proofs do not have to be validated. They’re just like scientific proofs. The professor discusses this in his critique of my video. You see, science (like history) uses inductive investigation. Inductive logic attempts to produce “strong” arguments and not “valid” arguments. A valid argument is an argument of certainty, one in which the conclusion necessarily follows the premises. A good inductive argument, (that would include 90% of all scientific arguments,) is a strong argument. A strong argument is a thing of probability, an argument in which the conclusion probably follows the premise.

So just because you cannot validate a historical proof does not mean that you cannot logically prove Jesus. It just means that you must do so inductively, but a good inductive historical argument is just as reliable as a good inductive scientific argument.

So if my historical argument is good one, then it is just as reasonable to accept that as it is to accept science. So then we only need to see if my historical arguement is good. You challenge that premise by saying that people debate if Jesus even existed. (Which is actually a myth, no legitimate historians argue on that note.) But then that just leaves us with the textual debate which is too big to go here. So how about, when I get a chance, I actually make a thread about that topic? Then we can see the historical evidence and when we find how conclusive that is, when we find my arguement is established upon good inductive historical investigation, then we only have to test the deductive follow up in the aut deus aut homo malus arguement. Which is, by the way, 100% flawless.
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Posted 5/9/10

SeraphAlford wrote:

No you cannot. Those men were sages but they never claimed they were God.


I meant you can say they were either crazy liars or were genuine.


If there's evidence that says Jesus claimed to be God, then the point of this argument is that non-Christians would have to believe Jesus was lying and Muslims/Jews have the wrong view. So this argument is for people who don't believe in Christianity but would still agree with the teachings of Jesus?

I'm not Christian but I agree with a lot of the moral principles Jesus taught, and if he said he was God, then I guess he would have to be lying or delusional, but that doesn't change how I feel about his other teachings. I agree with a lot of Mohammed's teachings and the great things he said too, but I don't think he was a prophet sent from God.
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Yei wrote:

I meant you can say they were either crazy liars or were genuine.


Yes, you could say that and it would be valid. Which of those is true and which is false, however, is up for debate. I am willing to have that debate.


If there's evidence that says Jesus claimed to be God, then the point of this argument is that non-Christians would have to believe Jesus was lying and Muslims/Jews have the wrong view. So this argument is for people who don't believe in Christianity but would still agree with the teachings of Jesus


Muslims deny the historical premise that Jesus claimed divinity on the authority of Muhammad (peace be upon him.) Muhammad (PBUH) said that Jesus did not claim divinity and in Islam he is god’s prophet so the Muslims believe him. They are like you. They challenge the history and need to be educated on the textual evidence. The Jews say that Jesus was a heretic. They think he lied. The people who follow Christ's teachings say tend to say that he was a good man, but not that he was Christ. They, then, think he was confused. He was insane. Christians believe he was telling the truth. The arguement is for everyone.



I'm not Christian but I agree with a lot of the moral principles Jesus taught, and if he said he was God, then I guess he would have to be lying or delusional, but that doesn't change how I feel about his other teachings.


I am not talking about Christianity. I am talking about Christ. How do you feel about a person who tells people to drop everything, leave their family behind, and go be tortured to death by the Romans and convinces them to do so by lying? Who makes himself wealthy by lying to his loving followers. Who gets them to wash his feet by pretending to be something he is not? I would say this is a morally bad person. If he believed what he was saying was true then he was not necessarily morally bad, but he was intellectually bad. He was insane. Does that mean that his teachings are wrong? Nope.


[qupte]I agree with a lot of Mohammed's teachings and the great things he said too, but I don't think he was a prophet sent from God.

So then do you think he was insane or a con?
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Posted 5/9/10

SeraphAlford wrote:

So then do you think he was insane or a con?


There are lots of self-proclaimed prophets, many were good leaders and had great moral principles, I have no idea which were insane and which were liars.

God should of come up with a better way to communicate things with people than prophets or human versions of himself.
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Posted 5/9/10

Yei wrote:


SeraphAlford wrote:

So then do you think he was insane or a con?


There are lots of self-proclaimed prophets, many were good leaders and had great moral principles, I have no idea which were insane and which were liars.

God should of come up with a better way to communicate things with people than prophets or human versions of himself.



You mean…like parting oceans, healing the blind, and feeding thousands of people with an arm full of food? The fact remains that Jesus Christ was either mad, lying, or god. He wasn't lying, he wasn't mad, and so he was god.
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Posted 5/9/10 , edited 5/9/10

SeraphAlford wrote:


Yei wrote:


SeraphAlford wrote:

So then do you think he was insane or a con?


There are lots of self-proclaimed prophets, many were good leaders and had great moral principles, I have no idea which were insane and which were liars.

God should of come up with a better way to communicate things with people than prophets or human versions of himself.



You mean…like parting oceans, healing the blind, and feeding thousands of people with an arm full of food? The fact remains that Jesus Christ was either mad, lying, or god. He wasn't lying, he wasn't mad, and so he was god.


Well that's not communicating to the world, that's communicating to the few who witnessed those miracles. That's really unfair, everyone should have an equal chance to get saved, right? As a rational person, I would have to assume he was either mad or lying. The same goes with every other prophet.

btw, only Christians who accept Jesus get saved, and everyone else goes to hell? What happens to people who never hear of Christianity, like people living in the Amazon? Or people who are deeply indoctrinated into some other religion so they really have no choice?
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Posted 5/9/10 , edited 5/9/10

Yei wrote:

Well that's not communicating to the world, that's communicating to the few who witnessed those miracles. That's really unfair, everyone should have an equal chance to get saved, right? As a rational person, I would have to assume he was either mad or lying. The same goes with every other prophet.


I do not think it is unfair. Most of the people who saw Christ firsthand rejected him just like most of us who see him second hand do. God revealing himself directly to us does not seem to legitimately make us any more likely to accept him than the second hand revelation.


btw, only Christians who accept Jesus get saved, and everyone else goes to hell? What happens to people who never hear of Christianity, like people living in the Amazon? Or people who are deeply indoctrinated into some other religion so they really have no choice?


In the end I do not believe that anybody who dies before they accept Christ goes to hell. I believe, and can support biblically, that after we die God reveals himself to each of us (individually, and equally.) At that point it is simply a matter of choosing truth and goodness (heaven) or shunning it and leaving ourselves with nothing but denial and evil (hell.)

Peter Kreeft writes about this pretty extensively. Heaven and hell are not rewards and punishments to be allotted out at the end of our lives like grades on a paper. They are the culmination of our choices. I believe you, Yei, will be saved. I think you are a good person and you will choose goodness. I think you are honest and will prefer truth…

There are, however, people out there who would prefer the comfortable lie that they were right in their life over the inconvenient but apparent truth that they were wrong. These people will shun the truth of God, shun the truth of goodness, and will flee from it. When you run out of the light there is only damnation.
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