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CliveStaples
October 18th, 2007, 01:53 PM
I am currently embroiled in a debate with Zhavric about the resurrection. In order to avoid further dispute, I'll try to accurately characterize what's happened so far:


Zhavric: The resurrection didn't happen because it's impossible.

Me: Please support your argument.

Zhavric: You're a Christian, so you believe the resurrection did happen. Stop evading the question and support it.

Me: You've made the claim in this thread, it's your obligation to support it.

Zhavric: Either you believe the rez happened, or you don't. You do, so support it.

Now, I find his claim that I'm somehow evading the question faulty. He started the thread off with a claim, and it seems to me that the OP's argument should be addressed before positions that I hold to but have not argued for thus far.

Can I get some moderation on the topic? Or at least a second opinion?

Mr. Hyde
October 18th, 2007, 02:12 PM
The stated claim has to be supported.

If the OP says it didn't happen, the onus is on Zhav to prove it.

It doesn't matter what a member's theological beliefs are. What's SAID in the thread is what's up for debate.

Apokalupsis
October 18th, 2007, 02:14 PM
If it is true that if he has made the initial claim, that it requires support. It can be something as simple as "There is no observable evidence for miracles, let alone the specific historical miracle of Christ's resurrection".

Regardless, if a claim is made and not supported, then the opposition is within rights to challenge the unsubstantiated claim. It is 100% irrelevant what one believes or does not believe (which Zhav appears to be using as a "tactic")...what matters is what is argued and/or claimed...nothing more.

Clive, have Zhav read this thread.

Zenstone
October 18th, 2007, 05:46 PM
If Zhav's position is truly represented above, then his claim is that it's impossible.

Logically, is there any way to prove something is impossible, without showing it to be possible?

In this case, simply bartering "support your claim" seems to be circular. Only the opposition can be explored in an meaningful way. I would suggest that if you are interested in debating the topic, you go ahead and get to the meat of it. Otherwise, Zhav's claim is supported. In a trivial way, but still supported based on the lack of a counter-claim. Zhav actually has a careful position here, but its so careful as to be uninteresting until someone else makes the first move.

CliveStaples
October 18th, 2007, 05:52 PM
Logically, is there any way to prove something is impossible, without showing it to be possible?

How else would we know that square circles are impossible?
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Otherwise, Zhav's claim is supported.

Lack of proof that x is possible =/= proof that x is possible.

Trendem
October 19th, 2007, 06:05 AM
Having reviewed the thread, here's the exchange as I see it:

Zhav: The Resurrection is impossible because a person's brain turns to mush after he dies.

Clive: Yes, that does happen. But where's your proof that resuscitation of dead brain tissue is impossible?
On appearance, it seems like Zhav does bear the burden of proof there. But really, do you seriously need Zhav to provide evidence that dead and decomposed cells cannot come back to life? This is an uncontroversial claim IMO, and can be easily supported by citing basic facts of biology and chemistry about the structure and function of human cells.

If we had to support even such basic, self-evident claims, we would have conversations like this:

Tom: It is impossible for Elvis to visit you last night. Elvis is dead!

Jerry: Please prove that it is impossible for Elvis to come back to life and come visit me.

Tom: Well, for starters, decomposition sets in immediately after death, and the bacteria inside the human body start consuming its cell tissue...

Jerry: Prove that it is impossible for decomposed cell tissue to reconstitute themselves.
As you can see, such frivolous demands for opponents to prove the most basic of claims tend to drag down the standard of debate, and appear nothing more than a stall tactic. That dead cells do not come back to life on their own is an uncontroversial claim that has the full support of biology and forensic science, and the onus should lie on those who claim the opposite to prove it.

Thus, while Zhav is wrong when he says that Clive needs to prove the claims of his religion (Clive doesn't; he only needs to prove claims he explicitly makes, not justify his personal beliefs to everyone who asks), it is also the case that Clive bears the burden of proof to show that dead cells can come back to life.

Zhavric
October 19th, 2007, 06:49 AM
Having reviewed the thread, here's the exchange as I see it:

Zhav: The Resurrection is impossible because a person's brain turns to mush after he dies.

Clive: Yes, that does happen. But where's your proof that resuscitation of dead brain tissue is impossible?
On appearance, it seems like Zhav does bear the burden of proof there. But really, do you seriously need Zhav to provide evidence that dead and decomposed cells cannot come back to life? This is an uncontroversial claim IMO, and can be easily supported by citing basic facts of biology and chemistry about the structure and function of human cells.

If we had to support even such basic, self-evident claims, we would have conversations like this:

Tom: It is impossible for Elvis to visit you last night. Elvis is dead!

Jerry: Please prove that it is impossible for Elvis to come back to life and come visit me.

Tom: Well, for starters, decomposition sets in immediately after death, and the bacteria inside the human body start consuming its cell tissue...

Jerry: Prove that it is impossible for decomposed cell tissue to reconstitute themselves.
As you can see, such frivolous demands for opponents to prove the most basic of claims tend to drag down the standard of debate, and appear nothing more than a stall tactic. That dead cells do not come back to life on their own is an uncontroversial claim that has the full support of biology and forensic science, and the onus should lie on those who claim the opposite to prove it.

Thus, while Zhav is wrong when he says that Clive needs to prove the claims of his religion (Clive doesn't; he only needs to prove claims he explicitly makes, not justify his personal beliefs to everyone who asks), it is also the case that Clive bears the burden of proof to show that dead cells can come back to life.

You left out the re-occuring burden shifting.
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If it is true that if he has made the initial claim, that it requires support. It can be something as simple as "There is no observable evidence for miracles, let alone the specific historical miracle of Christ's resurrection".

Regardless, if a claim is made and not supported, then the opposition is within rights to challenge the unsubstantiated claim. It is 100% irrelevant what one believes or does not believe (which Zhav appears to be using as a "tactic")...what matters is what is argued and/or claimed...nothing more.

Clive, have Zhav read this thread.

The op is based around this statement: "Jesus Christ rose from the dead as described in the gospels" is a false statement because we do not have sufficient evidence to conclude it happened and strong evidence suggesting it never happened.

Clive and I went back and forth on several points, but it ultimately came down to this summary:

1) "Jesus Christ rose from the dead as described in the gospels" is a scientific hypothesis (lacking support).
2) "Jesus' brain was functional after suffering death." is another hypothesis necessary to the first point. Upon this, Clive and I both agreed.
3) "The brain liquifies shortly after death and no longer functions." is a scientific fact. It's supported and was agreed upon by Clive in another thread.

At this point, the resurrection is false. A necessary part of the res was proven to be false. To continue the argument, Clive needed to offer an explanation of how Jesus brain became functional after death. He offered no such explanation even after several requests.

Thus, he lost the debate. I have demonstrated where the resurrection is impossible and Clive has offered no counter to this demonstration.

CliveStaples
October 19th, 2007, 09:11 AM
I disagree with Trendem and Zhavric, and I'm a bit disappointed to see it break down by viewpoint.

Here's why I disagree:

Resurrection is allegedly a process that occurs after death. Proving that death causes organs to stop functioning is a long way off from proving that death is irreversible.

To make an analogy--which I hate to do--proving that running out of gas makes your car stop running doesn't prove that refilling the tank is impossible. I use this analogy not to argue that the resurrection must have happened, but rather that proving "X causes Y" doesn't prove Z cannot undo Y. There must be further support--either that death is somehow irreversible (which Zhavric claimed but never supported), or that the resurrection method in the Bible is illogical.



You left out the re-occuring burden shifting.

Zhavric, you offered an argument. I wanted to critique your argument before offering a counter-argument. You never provided any support for your claim that resurrection is impossible--other than proving that death occurs--so I really didn't have anything to counter. I never had the burden of proof, because you never supported your argument.

Thus, while Zhav is wrong when he says that Clive needs to prove the claims of his religion (Clive doesn't; he only needs to prove claims he explicitly makes, not justify his personal beliefs to everyone who asks), it is also the case that Clive bears the burden of proof to show that dead cells can come back to life.So Zhavric can make the claim "Dead cells cannot return to life", and not have to offer support...but I cannot make the claim "Dead cells can return to life" without doing so?

Your "uncontroversial" test is lacking--simply because a claim is not controversial does not mean it can go unsupported when challenged. And if the claim is so easily proven by biology and chemistry, I invite Zhavric to offer that simple, easy support. But he refused to.


As you can see, such frivolous demands for opponents to prove the most basic of claims tend to drag down the standard of debate, and appear nothing more than a stall tactic. That dead cells do not come back to life on their own is an uncontroversial claim that has the full support of biology and forensic science, and the onus should lie on those who claim the opposite to prove it.And if Zhavric had said "dead cells don't come back to life on their own", I wouldn't have challenged him. He didn't. He said "resurrection is impossible". Simply because cells cannot resurrect themselves doesn't mean that any kind of resurrection is impossible.

Characterizing this as a stall tactic is inaccurate. I simply want to see my opponents actually back up their unsupported, far-reaching scientific claims.

Imagine if I started a thread claiming that resurrection is possible. You challenge me to support it; I say "It's an uncontroversial claim backed up by biology and chemistry. You need to support your truth-claims!"


If we had to support even such basic, self-evident claims, we would have conversations like this:How does death imply the impossibility of resurrection? Resurrection requires death to occur--resurrection could not happen under any other circumstance. Proving that death occurs is therefore insufficient to show that resurrection is impossible.

But, hey, as long as Trendem and Zhavric say "Science is on our side", I guess it'll have to do =/

Trendem
October 19th, 2007, 09:39 AM
Here's why I disagree:

Resurrection is allegedly a process that occurs after death. Proving that death causes organs to stop functioning is a long way off from proving that death is irreversible.

To make an analogy--which I hate to do--proving that running out of gas makes your car stop running doesn't prove that refilling the tank is impossible. I use this analogy not to argue that the resurrection must have happened, but rather that proving "X causes Y" doesn't prove Z cannot undo Y. There must be further support--either that death is somehow irreversible (which Zhavric claimed but never supported), or that the resurrection method in the Bible is illogical.
I agreed with you, actually, that Zhav didn't support his claim sufficiently. I may even agree that you have the right to ask for support for his claim. What I disagree with - because I think it bogs down the debate, rather than because of any logical rule - is asking for support for even the most basic of claims - that decomposed cells cannot reconstitute themselves.

Yes, I suppose Zhav could have posted links to sites demonstrating how cells require oxygen to function, how brain cells can last only for a few minutes without, how dead cells irrevocably disintegrate under the voracious gnawing of millions of microbes, etc. But is that really necessary? IMO, it only bogs down the debate if people have to prove such self-evident, well-established facts.


Your "uncontroversial" test is lacking--simply because a claim is not controversial does not mean it can go unsupported when challenged. And if the claim is so easily proven by biology and chemistry, I invite Zhavric to offer that simple, easy support. But he refused to.
So, would you have moved on if Zhav provided the abovementioned support?

If so, then perhaps Zhav can do so, and the debate can continue.


And if Zhavric had said "dead cells don't come back to life on their own", I wouldn't have challenged him. He didn't. He said "resurrection is impossible". Simply because cells cannot resurrect themselves doesn't mean that any kind of resurrection is impossible.
The record of the debate disagrees with what you said here. You agreed with Zhav that brain cells turn to mush after death. You further agreed that for the resurrection to be possible, brain activity has to be present. So, unless you are arguing that brain activity can occur in a dead brain, you are, in fact, conceding that if cells cannot resurrect themselves, the resurrection is impossible.

CliveStaples
October 19th, 2007, 09:44 AM
I agreed with you, actually, that Zhav didn't support his claim sufficiently. I may even agree that you have the right to ask for support for his claim. What I disagree with - because I think it bogs down the debate, rather than because of any logical rule - is asking for support for even the most basic of claims - that decomposed cells cannot reconstitute themselves.

Except that wasn't the claim, Trendem. The claim is that decomposed cells cannot be reconstituted, not simply that they must be the cause of the reconstitution.


Yes, I suppose Zhav could have posted links to sites demonstrating how cells require oxygen to function, how brain cells can last only for a few minutes without, how dead cells irrevocably disintegrate under the voracious gnawing of millions of microbes, etc. But is that really necessary? IMO, it only bogs down the debate if people have to prove such self-evident, well-established facts

Which prove one thing: Death occurs, and organs cease functioning. Which doesn't prove that those organs cannot be made to function again--which was Zhavric's claim.


So, would you have moved on if Zhav provided the abovementioned support?

Only if his argument was "Death occurs" rather than "Resurrection is impossible".


The record of the debate disagrees with what you said here. You agreed with Zhav that brain cells turn to mush after death. You further agreed that for the resurrection to be possible, brain activity has to be present. So, unless you are arguing that brain activity can occur in a dead brain, you are, in fact, conceding that if cells cannot resurrect themselves, the resurrection is impossible.


No, I am conceding that if cells cannot be resurrected, the resurrection is impossible.

I am arguing nothing, so far. Zhavric's argument has a huge hole in it: He hasn't proved that resurrection is impossible. He's proven that death occurs--which I of course never challenged--but as I said, that's a long way off from proving that resurrection cannot occur.

Zhavric
October 19th, 2007, 11:55 AM
Which prove one thing: Death occurs, and organs cease functioning. Which doesn't prove that those organs cannot be made to function again--which was Zhavric's claim.

Please answer the following question honestly:

Do you deny that, in another thread, you admitted that the brain liquifies after death? Yes or no?

Trendem
October 19th, 2007, 07:44 PM
Except that wasn't the claim, Trendem. The claim is that decomposed cells cannot be reconstituted, not simply that they must be the cause of the reconstitution.
Fine, so you also want Zhav to provide support that during Jesus' time, no technology existed that enabled the revival of dead brain cells after three days, and even if it did, that Jesus was in a sealed tomb and did not receive any external medical intervention.

It should be basic knowledge - a shared premise, if you will - that even in 2007 AD, brain cells dead for three days and decomposed by bacteria cannot be reconstituted, let alone in 30 AD. Furthermore, it should also be a shared premise that Jesus was sealed in his tomb and did not receive outside medical intervention - thus any "reconstituting" could only be done by the cells themselves.

The fact that you want meticulous support for all these facts strikes me as stalling for time. You have the right to ask for support, of course, but it seems to be better debate form to attack his arguments head on and suggest reasons why it may be possible for Jesus' cells to be reconstituted, thus demonstrating that it is by no means impossible.


Which prove one thing: Death occurs, and organs cease functioning. Which doesn't prove that those organs cannot be made to function again--which was Zhavric's claim.
I wrote "...dead cells irrevocably disintegrate under the voracious gnawing of millions of microbes". Does irrevocably not suggest the impossibility of regaining function?


I am arguing nothing, so far. Zhavric's argument has a huge hole in it: He hasn't proved that resurrection is impossible. He's proven that death occurs--which I of course never challenged--but as I said, that's a long way off from proving that resurrection cannot occur.
It's not that long a way off if you consider what happens to the body after death and how the decomposition process - especially after three days in a dank tomb - makes it impossible for the body to come back to life.

starcreator
October 19th, 2007, 08:00 PM
The entire debate stems from the way in which we define the word "impossible". If the word is used to refer to ideas which contradict logic, it results in a paradigm of knowledge by which we cannot really call anything impossible. Only statements contradicting known logical truths can be defined as such - which results in our use of the word lacking any substantive meaning. Nothing is impossible. Everything is possible. If this is the definition in use, Clive would be correct.

However, if the word is used in its more common way, to refer to the scientifically impossible, then the word regains a great deal of its meaning. Flying monkeys are impossible. Creating matter is impossible. If this is the definition in use, Clive would still be correct (in that Zhav should substantiate it), but it would be a far less onerous request.

Either way, Zhav must substantiate his claim, but the distinction is important with regards to the amount of proof that he must provide. If it is the former definition - and only the logically contradictory is impossible - then Zhav has an incredible, incredible burden of proof upon him. How can he prove that something like resurrection contravenes logical tenets like A=A? However, if we are using the second, Zhav does not have much of a burden of proof at all. By using inductive reasoning and scientific observations, he can easily conclude that the dead do not come back to life - with the same certainty that when we drop something it will fall to the ground. We have never seen a decomposed brain come back to life, and we have never seen a dropped apple shoot up to the sky - based on our experimental observations, we've drawn scientific conclusions that guide our views on what is impossible and what is not. Zhav could provide the required evidence and the debate, as Trendem said, could continue.

Neither definition can be called ultimately "correct", per s&#233;, for definitions are subjective - but the outcomes of each are important to consider. I would obviously favour the latter. After all, I am perfectly willing to call a flying monkey "impossible". Do we really want to use a definition of the word by which virtually nothing is impossible?

CliveStaples
October 19th, 2007, 11:48 PM
Fine, so you also want Zhav to provide support that during Jesus' time, no technology existed that enabled the revival of dead brain cells after three days, and even if it did, that Jesus was in a sealed tomb and did not receive any external medical intervention.

According to the rules (and pragmatically), Zhavric should only support claims that others challenge him to support.


It should be basic knowledge - a shared premise, if you will - that even in 2007 AD, brain cells dead for three days and decomposed by bacteria cannot be reconstituted, let alone in 30 AD. Furthermore, it should also be a shared premise that Jesus was sealed in his tomb and did not receive outside medical intervention - thus any "reconstituting" could only be done by the cells themselves.

Ah, so by claiming that my arguments are "common knowledge", I no longer have the burden of proof?


The fact that you want meticulous support for all these facts strikes me as stalling for time. You have the right to ask for support, of course, but it seems to be better debate form to attack his arguments head on and suggest reasons why it may be possible for Jesus' cells to be reconstituted, thus demonstrating that it is by no means impossible.

I am attacking his argument--I'm saying it's unsupported and can therefore be rejected as so much speculation.


I wrote "...dead cells irrevocably disintegrate under the voracious gnawing of millions of microbes". Does irrevocably not suggest the impossibility of regaining function?

Ah, I hadn't seen that you'd stipulated the correctness of your argument.


It's not that long a way off if you consider what happens to the body after death and how the decomposition process - especially after three days in a dank tomb - makes it impossible for the body to come back to life.


How does decomposition prevent recomposition? It's an illogical step, in my view--proving "decomposition of tissue ends function" doesn't prove "reconstitution of decomposed tissue is impossible."

Of course, your position is "common knowledge", so it must be assumed to be true, instead of actually having to provide support...
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Do you deny that, in another thread, you admitted that the brain liquifies after death? Yes or no?

No, I do not deny that, in another thread, I admitted that the brain liquifies after death.
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Only statements contradicting known logical truths can be defined as such - which results in our use of the word lacking any substantive meaning.

Ah, so "impossible" no longer means "not possible", but perhaps "extremely unlikely"?

Something is "scientifically impossible" if it contradicts known scientific truth, and not otherwise.

Additionally, the notion that defining "impossible" as phenomena that cannot possibly occur is hardly relegates the term to meaninglessness. Or are we to refer to possible events as "impossible" because Starcreator prefers it that way?

Trendem
October 20th, 2007, 12:14 AM
Clive, I've already stated my stand and foresee that replying to your post would just mean a rehash of my previous points, so I'll pass. Here's a summary though:

1) Strictly speaking, Zhav does bear the burden of proof to support his claims. You do not need to support your religion's claims unless you explicitly made those claims.

2) However, I feel that the claims you want Zhav to support are well-established ones that shouldn't be made the bone of contention. IMO, it just bogs down the debate - and it clearly has, judging from what the debate has become - and if you want a productive debate, you should instead actively engage with and refute Zhav's claims with reason and arguments of your own instead of sitting back and saying "support please" for every minute claim he makes (which appears to be what you mostly have been doing in that thread).

3) You are, however, entitled to making whatever you want out of the debate, and I would suggest to Zhav that he post scientific evidence demonstrating the impossibility of Jesus' brain cells being reconstituted three days after death.

CliveStaples
October 20th, 2007, 12:31 AM
To summarize the summary:

Zhavric should have supported his arguments when called upon to do so.


The rest was you taking potshots at me--"I wouldn't take that approach," "you're just stalling for time," etc.



So that's 4/4 Mods in favor of Zhavric supporting his arguments. Batting 1.000 today.

starcreator
October 20th, 2007, 01:09 AM
Ah, so "impossible" no longer means "not possible", but perhaps "extremely unlikely"?

Precisely. It refers to a contradiction with scientific law of our time. A machine that creates matter, for instance, is impossible.


Additionally, the notion that defining "impossible" as phenomena that cannot possibly occur is hardly relegates the term to meaninglessness. Or are we to refer to possible events as "impossible" because Starcreator prefers it that way?Heh - it's as if you picture me sitting upon some sort of throne, mounted on the foundations of my own ego, reading my opinions off as if they were divine commandments. Either that, or you have a tendency to take my conflicting opinions as a personal slight. What part of my post conveyed to you that I thought my definition was supreme, Clive? Was it the part when I stated that all definitions were subjective? Or was it the part when I said that no definition was ultimately correct? I presented the dilemma, I expressed my opinion and I posted it. But obviously that must mean I think I'm God, 'cause it isn't as if this is a debate site or anything.

If you define the term "impossible" as only phenomena that contradict logic, then nothing is impossible other than definitional conflicts like square circles. Other than indicating to people that nothing is impossible, I have trouble thinking of another context where one would actually use the word. The definition is watered down such that one cannot identify proposed phenomena like a person breathing solid gold or dogs passing through walls as impossible. Such a definition is useless in my opinion, but believe what you will.


The rest was you taking potshots at me--"I wouldn't take that approach," "you're just stalling for time," etc.

Identifying as fact the claim that cells aren't able to come back to life after three days - in the same sense that the law of gravity is fact - is hardly a potshot. Everyone thought - when their opinions were solicited, by the way - that such a claim didn't really require a lot of supplementary evidence.

CliveStaples
October 20th, 2007, 01:27 AM
Precisely. It refers to a contradiction with scientific law of our time. A machine that creates matter, for instance, is impossible.

According to this definition, it would be impossible for the Earth to revolve around the sun before heliocentrism became the scientific law of the time.

I can understand qualified impossibility--given technology [x], [y] is impossible, etc. But in order to say [y] is impossible, you have to not only prove that [x] could not cause it, but that it could not be caused by anything.


Heh - it's as if you picture me sitting upon some sort of throne, mounted on the foundations of my own ego, reading my opinions off as if they were divine commandments. Either that, or you have a tendency to take my conflicting opinions as a personal slight. What part of my post conveyed to you that I thought my definition was supreme, Clive? Was it the part when I stated that all definitions were subjective? Or was it the part when I said that no definition was ultimately correct? I presented the dilemma, I expressed my opinion and I posted it. But obviously that must mean I think I'm God, 'cause it isn't as if this is a debate site or anything.Perhaps the part where you said that my definition makes "impossible" a meaningless word?


If you define the term "impossible" as only phenomena that contradict logic, then nothing is impossible other than definitional conflicts like square circles. Other than indicating to people that nothing is impossible, I have trouble thinking of another context where one would actually use the word. The definition is watered down such that one cannot identify proposed phenomena like a person breathing solid gold or dogs passing through walls as impossible. Such a definition is useless in my opinion, but believe what you will.Allow me to explain a concept that has apparently eluded you about my position:

It is illogical to say "dogs can go through walls", because they cannot slip between the atoms. It contradicts known fact. It is an impossible event.

To imagine that category mistakes (such as square circles) are relegated to simply mathematical constructs is ludicrous; "dogs can walk through walls" is a category mistake as well.


Identifying as fact the claim that cells aren't able to come back to life after three days - in the same sense that the law of gravity is fact - is hardly a potshot. Everyone thought - when their opinions were solicited, by the way - that such a claim didn't really require a lot of supplementary evidence.Who solicited it? I wanted to know who had the burden of proof. I could care less what you think about my tack.

It is a potshot because this thread isn't about debating the resurrection. It's about the debate itself. Inserting arguments regarding my points in the thread under discussion is an irrelevant red-herring.


EDIT: Additionally, you would expect more proof to be offered for gravity, heliocentrism, or magnetism in a thread devoted to those topics, would you not?

Zorak
October 20th, 2007, 02:04 AM
The resurrection would be like watching hundreds of broken pottery shards spontaneously rise from the ground and reassemble themselves flawlessly into a vase. Such a miracle would eliminate any need for Faith, like God hitting us on the head and saying, "Hey, dummy, worship me".

In my opinion, a literal interpretation of the Bible (and specifically the resurrection) lessens the meaning and significance of Jesus. It's the "kid's version", like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Instead of dying on the cross, Jesus just took a "time-out" for us? And then after going up to Heaven, he has the poor judgment to come back here for the rest of his days? WTF? God would have to be retarded to do that.

However, if you interpret the bible metaphorically, you can actually get something out of it that is inspiring and makes sense:

"Jesus transcended death because the way Jesus died was exactly like the way he lived. He gave his life to others and for others. He loved wastefully and selflessly. In that living and dying, the disciples concluded that Jesus revealed the meaning of God....God is the meaning that is present in the face of fate, tragedy, and undeserved pain. God cannot be seen in Jesus' escape from death at Easter until God is first seen in the crucified one who gives life as he dies, who offers forgiveness as he is victimized, who shows love as he is hated"

(Quoted from Derek Miller's review of: "Resurrection, Myth or Reality? A Bishops Search for the Origins of Christianity" by Bishop John Shelby Spong)

starcreator
October 21st, 2007, 01:47 AM
According to this definition, it would be impossible for the Earth to revolve around the sun before heliocentrism became the scientific law of the time.

I can understand qualified impossibility--given technology [x], [y] is impossible, etc. But in order to say [y] is impossible, you have to not only prove that [x] could not cause it, but that it could not be caused by anything.

Believe it or not, Trend and I have had semantic debates about the meaning of the word impossible before (in a similar context, regarding the question of whether God is impossible). Consequently, I can relate to the sentiment that teleportation is not impossible, but merely contradictory with our current scientific law. I've come around to the latter definition, if only for the reason that most people would describe phenomena contradicting science as impossible - things like, as I mentioned earlier and you referenced below, dogs passing through walls.


Perhaps the part where you said that my definition makes "impossible" a meaningless word?

Well, really, what did you expect me to say? That I believed my definition was right, but that I really didn't have any reason to do so and that the other definition was equally a solid choice? That was my reasoning, Clive - that under the definition of impossible that holds only logic as a standard of possibility, the word doesn't serve much of a function anymore.


Allow me to explain a concept that has apparently eluded you about my position:

It is illogical to say "dogs can go through walls", because they cannot slip between the atoms. It contradicts known fact. It is an impossible event.

To imagine that category mistakes (such as square circles) are relegated to simply mathematical constructs is ludicrous; "dogs can walk through walls" is a category mistake as well.

It is impossible only on the basis of scientific law, for it is science that tells you that whole dogs cannot pass in between the atoms. This isn't a category mistake or logical contradiction unless you incorporate scientific conclusions into your definitions. What tenet of logic does it violate? How do dogs passing through walls entail a logical contradiction?

If you do not accept scientific law as a standard of possibility - as you do not - then it is just as possible as any other logically consistent phenomenon.

Zhavric
October 21st, 2007, 06:41 AM
This isn't nearly as complicated as all of you are making it.

Many times, all we need to do in order to support an argument is prove the opposite true or prove a necessary part of an argument impossible.

For the resurrection to be possible, Clive has to account for how Jesus' brain worked after it liquified. He doesn't want to because we both know there is no accounting for this. It's nonsense.

The whole debate just illustrates the unhealthy relationship Christians have with science. We know enough now to know the first chapter of Genesis (for example) isn't literally true. Science trumped religion there and Christians (most of them) are fine with this because the Genesis account isn't critical to their beliefs. Most Christians therefor see it as "metaphor" or simply ignore it.

However, Christians can't ignore the res or take it as metaphor. For their religion to make any sense, they have have to treat it as a literal truth as described in the gospels. The problem is we have the medical science to prove the resurrection is as impossible as the first chapter of genesis. Christians don't want to address this.

Hence Clive's asinine set of fallacies and gnashing of teeth.

That's all this is about. The desperate need for Christians to re-write the rules of logic & debate to allow for the resurrection to stay intellectually valid. Suddenly, when it's the res being discussed, simple things aren't proven and the word "impossible" is rendered meaningless as anything Christian-related becomes possible no matter how obviously impossible.

Clive and I would both laugh at a scientologist who claimed L. Ron Hubbard came back to life three days after he was dead. We'd both point out the Scientologist needs to provide evidence of how Hubbard's brain un-liquified. But when it's Christianity, Clive invokes a whole new set of standards and rules. It's why he lost the debate.

Honestly, Clive, you're out of your depth here. Stick to economics and law. Your first clue you were out of your depth was when I corrected you on how many people Jesus brought back to life. I really am in awe of that incident. Can you imagine? I mean, this is supposed to be what you've devoted your life to. I still can't believe you missed that. I hope you'll have more attention to detail as an attorney than you have as an apologist. I'd hate to see your non-attorney clients correcting your legal arguments.

CliveStaples
October 21st, 2007, 10:04 AM
For the resurrection to be possible, Clive has to account for how Jesus' brain worked after it liquified. He doesn't want to because we both know there is no accounting for this. It's nonsense.

Yes, but the thread wasn't about you challenging me to prove the resurrection is possible. You started out by claiming the resurrection was impossible, and I challenged that claim as being unsupported.


But when it's Christianity, Clive invokes a whole new set of standards and rules. It's why he lost the debate.

And if all you had done was say "I don't believe the resurrection occurred because there isn't enough evidence", I wouldn't have accused you of lacking support. Instead of that, you made a claim that required quite a bit more support--that the resurrection is in fact impossible.

Rejecting [x] due to lack of support =/= accepting [x] as false (which requires support).

ROFL @ you impugning my faith because I didn't immediately recall to mind the guy who was lowered through the roof. I'm not a seminarian; my entire life isn't devoted to explicating every verse in Scripture. Additionally, the number of people beyond one that Jesus resurrected in the Bible is completely irrelevant--unless iteration is somehow a central topic in Christology, Trinitarian doctrine, Eschatology, or Christian epistemology. That's like if I said "The murderer had a car, he could easily have gotten to the crime scene," and you pop up with "Actually, he had two cars. Obviously you haven't paid enough attention to this case!"
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Believe it or not, Trend and I have had semantic debates about the meaning of the word impossible before (in a similar context, regarding the question of whether God is impossible). Consequently, I can relate to the sentiment that teleportation is not impossible, but merely contradictory with our current scientific law. I've come around to the latter definition, if only for the reason that most people would describe phenomena contradicting science as impossible - things like, as I mentioned earlier and you referenced below, dogs passing through walls.

Some people might say it's "impossible" to win the lottery. In reasoned, logical discourse, however, we must use rigidly defined terms to avoid ambiguity. It seems to me that the base definition and connotation of "impossible" is that the event or phenomenon described as such cannot occur. If a dog may indeed walk through a wall, and it is simply our understanding of science that is insufficient, then it would be inaccurate to describe the event as "impossible", don't you agree?


Well, really, what did you expect me to say? That I believed my definition was right, but that I really didn't have any reason to do so and that the other definition was equally a solid choice? That was my reasoning, Clive - that under the definition of impossible that holds only logic as a standard of possibility, the word doesn't serve much of a function anymore.

Sure it does. You use "if, then" logic statements. Such as "if [x] scientific law is true, [x] is impossible." The debate may then appropriately center around [x] scientific law. It doesn't always have to explicitly use "if" and "then", either; the point is 'given [x], not-[y].' In fact, one might even assume that all declarations of impossibility imply such a statement; to say "dogs walking through walls is impossible" would then suggest "If our current understanding of science is correct".


It is impossible only on the basis of scientific law, for it is science that tells you that whole dogs cannot pass in between the atoms. This isn't a category mistake or logical contradiction unless you incorporate scientific conclusions into your definitions. What tenet of logic does it violate? How do dogs passing through walls entail a logical contradiction?

The question is whether "given characteristic [x], [y] is impossible" is true. That depends entirely on whether characteristic [x] is really the case. To claim that it is impossible without sufficiently proving [x] is unacceptable, don't you agree? If the scientific principle that we base our description of [y] as impossible is insufficiently proven, isn't the subsequent 'impossibility' of [y] also insufficiently proven?

That is, if it is really the case that dogs cannot walk through walls, then it is a logical impossibility for dogs to walk through walls. The question is "what does 'dog' necessitate"? If 'dog' necessitates 'cannot walk through walls', then it is illogical to say "Dogs can walk through walls", because what you're really saying is "An entity that cannot walk through walls can walk through walls".


If you do not accept scientific law as a standard of possibility - as you do not - then it is just as possible as any other logically consistent phenomenon.

Of course I accept known truth as a standard of possibility. I am simply questioning the basis upon which "resurrection is impossible" is declared.

But it seems that there has been some confusion: even if "resurrection is impossible" is found to have insufficient support to accept as scientific law, it does not mean that we must accept "resurrection is possible". We must ever remain the skeptic when it comes to science.
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At this point, the resurrection is false. A necessary part of the res was proven to be false. To continue the argument, Clive needed to offer an explanation of how Jesus brain became functional after death. He offered no such explanation even after several requests.

Thus, he lost the debate. I have demonstrated where the resurrection is impossible and Clive has offered no counter to this demonstration.

Zhavric, proving "death causes brain function to cease" doesn't prove "death is irreversible". Death is a necessary precondition for resurrection; proving that it occurs proves nothing about the resurrection. You did not "demonstrate where the resurrection is impossible", so I have no need to counter.

starcreator
October 21st, 2007, 01:08 PM
Can't believe you two share a birthday.


Zhavric disagrees: I have ever loathed your misunderstanding & stubborness of this very simple issue.

"Your" being the key word, Zhavric. You didn't seem to take issue with Trendem when he expressed the exact same opinion two posts below. For goodness' sakes, I all but agreed with you - did you not actually read the post? You have become such a shameful representation of atheism of late.


Some people might say it's "impossible" to win the lottery. In reasoned, logical discourse, however, we must use rigidly defined terms to avoid ambiguity. It seems to me that the base definition and connotation of "impossible" is that the event or phenomenon described as such cannot occur. If a dog may indeed walk through a wall, and it is simply our understanding of science that is insufficient, then it would be inaccurate to describe the event as "impossible", don't you agree?

I agree regarding the importance of rigidly defined terms, but the word could be clearly defined under either definition. Neither definition is inherently stronger than the other for the purposes of debate.

Nonetheless, I think that under the reasoning of your "if-then" argument, I'm forced to return to my original conception of the word impossible as "unable to happen". Our colloquial method of omitting the premise "If scientific law is true..." does not justify a redefinition of the word.


Sure it does. You use "if, then" logic statements. Such as "if [x] scientific law is true, [x] is impossible." The debate may then appropriately center around [x] scientific law. It doesn't always have to explicitly use "if" and "then", either; the point is 'given [x], not-[y].' In fact, one might even assume that all declarations of impossibility imply such a statement; to say "dogs walking through walls is impossible" would then suggest "If our current understanding of science is correct".

Conceded.


That is, if it is really the case that dogs cannot walk through walls, then it is a logical impossibility for dogs to walk through walls. The question is "what does 'dog' necessitate"? If 'dog' necessitates 'cannot walk through walls', then it is illogical to say "Dogs can walk through walls", because what you're really saying is "An entity that cannot walk through walls can walk through walls".

If we define dogs and walls without implicitly incorporating scientific conclusions, however - by simply describing the entities - then it is surely not a logical impossibility for them to pass through walls. It is a scientific possibility, which means that the caveat "If scientific law is true" must be the caveat to the declaration that it is impossible.


Of course I accept known truth as a standard of possibility. I am simply questioning the basis upon which "resurrection is impossible" is declared.

This is what I don't understand. Do you consider science "known truth"? If so, then you would be using Zhavric's definition of possibility - the scientifically impossible = impossible. If, however, you do not - as it seems from your prior statements - then merely the logically impossible is impossible.


But it seems that there has been some confusion: even if "resurrection is impossible" is found to have insufficient support to accept as scientific law, it does not mean that we must accept "resurrection is possible". We must ever remain the skeptic when it comes to science.

That's correct. Skepticism isn't a truth claim in and of itself, after all.

CliveStaples
October 21st, 2007, 02:31 PM
Nonetheless, I think that under the reasoning of your "if-then" argument, I'm forced to return to my original conception of the word impossible as "unable to happen". Our colloquial method of omitting the premise "If scientific law is true..." does not justify a redefinition of the word.

That is exactly my definition--[x] is impossible if it is unable to happen.


If we define dogs and walls without implicitly incorporating scientific conclusions, however - by simply describing the entities - then it is surely not a logical impossibility for them to pass through walls. It is a scientific possibility, which means that the caveat "If scientific law is true" must be the caveat to the declaration that it is impossible.

I agree. The truth of the claim "Dogs cannot walk through walls" rests on the truth of the underlying scientific law. Questioning that possibility cannot be rebutted by merely stating "Science says I'm right"--you must provide why or how science does so.


This is what I don't understand. Do you consider science "known truth"? If so, then you would be using Zhavric's definition of possibility - the scientifically impossible = impossible. If, however, you do not - as it seems from your prior statements - then merely the logically impossible is impossible.

They're one and the same. Consider:

If P, then not Q.
P, therefore not Q.

"Scientifically impossible" merely means "If scientific law [x] correctly describes reality, [y] is impossible". To say that something can be logically possible but scientifically impossible is a contradiction of logic. Let us consider the claims "A dog can walk through walls" and "It is scientifically impossible for a dog to walk through walls". In order for your objection to stand, you must believe that the following is logically sound:

A dog, which cannot walk through walls, can walk through walls.

Surely you see the contradiction in logic! The question is what "dog" implies (logically speaking).

P implies Q.
If Q, then R.
P, therefore R.

Get it?

chadn737
October 21st, 2007, 09:43 PM
2) However, I feel that the claims you want Zhav to support are well-established ones that shouldn't be made the bone of contention.

I disagree,

Even if what zhavric claims appears to be obvious, when asked for support he should be able to provide that support. If he doesnt then he is at fault, regardless if it is common knowledge. In fact, if it is so well known and supported then he should have absolutely no problem supporting the claim, all you need is a quick google search.

The devil is in the details, and even if something seems obviously true and is true, the detail may make all the difference.

For instance, it is true that the brain liquifies after death, but wouldnt it matter whether this process occured immediately, 3 days later, or a week later?

So it is important that when challenged that they provide support, regardless of whether or not it is obvious.

Who here can tell me exactly when the brain liquifies and support it with a reliable and scientific source? I for one have great resources at hand and I cant find the exact answer to that question.

So once again, zhavric should have to provide support if it is asked of him because it does matter and it may be that the facts are not as well-established as assumed.

Apokalupsis
October 22nd, 2007, 08:05 AM
I don't see the same summary of the argument as you guys do.

What seems to be missing is the key element of divine intervention. Obviously, in the natural world resurrection is impossible.

But that isn't Clive's position. Instead it's that through divine intervention it is possible.

Zhav first set up his argument by positing through inference, that [summarizing now] "the resurrection is impossible through even divine intervention". To me, that is what Clive is objecting to and challenging support.

Perhaps I've missed something.

starcreator
October 22nd, 2007, 09:03 AM
"Scientifically impossible" merely means "If scientific law [x] correctly describes reality, [y] is impossible". To say that something can be logically possible but scientifically impossible is a contradiction of logic. Let us consider the claims "A dog can walk through walls" and "It is scientifically impossible for a dog to walk through walls". In order for your objection to stand, you must believe that the following is logically sound:

A dog, which cannot walk through walls, can walk through walls.

I apologize, I still don't quite grasp your definitions. Consider:

If scientific law is true, dogs cannot walk through walls.
It is not logically impossible that dogs cannot walk through walls.

The latter does not imply that dogs can walk through walls, it merely states that we do not have the logical evidence to determine that they cannot walk through walls. Thus, the phenomenon is logically possible (in that it does not contradict logic), but scientifically impossible (in that it does contradict science).

Many things are logically impossible - square circles, married bachelors, etc - and these things we can describe as truly impossible with no caveat. But things which are scientifically impossible - which contradict science - are still possible as long as it is possible that science is wrong. As long as they violate no tenets of logic, they are possible, yet scientifically impossible.

CliveStaples
October 22nd, 2007, 08:32 PM
The latter does not imply that dogs can walk through walls, it merely states that we do not have the logical evidence to determine that they cannot walk through walls. Thus, the phenomenon is logically possible (in that it does not contradict logic), but scientifically impossible (in that it does contradict science).

Many things are logically impossible - square circles, married bachelors, etc - and these things we can describe as truly impossible with no caveat. But things which are scientifically impossible - which contradict science - are still possible as long as it is possible that science is wrong. As long as they violate no tenets of logic, they are possible, yet scientifically impossible.

Let me explain it another way, then:

A square circle is only impossible given the mathematical definition of "square" and "circle". Without the definition of "married" and "bachelor", we could not say that a married bachelor is illogical. The scientific definition of "dog", therefore, informs the preposition "Dogs cannot walk through walls."

If dogs by their very nature cannot walk through walls, then "Dogs can walk through walls" is an illogical statement, since it is in essence saying "An entity that cannot walk through walls can walk through walls."

The question is whether "dog" implies the characteristic "cannot walk through walls". If it does--if indeed dogs walking through walls is scientifically impossible--then it is illogical to say that they can. That is, to say "dog" is to say "an entity that cannot walk through walls".

It's like saying that you could "logically" say Socrates is immortal, given the famous syllogism:

P1: Man is mortal.
P2: Socrates is a man.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

That is, "Socrates" implies mortal.

Slipnish
October 23rd, 2007, 04:47 AM
Two pages this has gone on...

1. Brains rot. We all know that. How much support does this require? I mean, honestly.

2. Clive is dancing around the use of the term 'miracle' methinks, much as Apok has suggested.

3. The real meat of the matter is, "To date, there is no evidence to suggest that anyone can return from the dead after 3 days." And for Clive's benefit someone should add, "Unless a miracle occurs." Okay? All better now?

4. Dogs CAN walk through walls. They use doors just like we do....

starcreator
October 23rd, 2007, 09:06 PM
Let me explain it another way, then:

A square circle is only impossible given the mathematical definition of "square" and "circle". Without the definition of "married" and "bachelor", we could not say that a married bachelor is illogical. The scientific definition of "dog", therefore, informs the preposition "Dogs cannot walk through walls."

If dogs by their very nature cannot walk through walls, then "Dogs can walk through walls" is an illogical statement, since it is in essence saying "An entity that cannot walk through walls can walk through walls."

Ah, thanks - understood. You pose a logical problem to which I have no answer other than a challenge of the definitions used. I am not sure how to resolve the conflict other than by using definitions that do not predetermine the conclusion, to the exclusion of science.


4. Dogs CAN walk through walls. They use doors just like we do....

Brilliant ;).

Trendem
October 24th, 2007, 07:21 AM
I disagree,

Even if what zhavric claims appears to be obvious, when asked for support he should be able to provide that support. If he doesnt then he is at fault, regardless if it is common knowledge. In fact, if it is so well known and supported then he should have absolutely no problem supporting the claim, all you need is a quick google search.

The devil is in the details, and even if something seems obviously true and is true, the detail may make all the difference.

For instance, it is true that the brain liquifies after death, but wouldnt it matter whether this process occured immediately, 3 days later, or a week later?

So it is important that when challenged that they provide support, regardless of whether or not it is obvious.

Who here can tell me exactly when the brain liquifies and support it with a reliable and scientific source? I for one have great resources at hand and I cant find the exact answer to that question.

So once again, zhavric should have to provide support if it is asked of him because it does matter and it may be that the facts are not as well-established as assumed.
Actually, it is very easy to find evidence on what happens to the body after three days, and it is indeed well-established that the body as a whole rots after three days, not just the brain. If Jesus was truly dead when he was buried, there is no way he could be resurrected, as bacteria would eaten through his organs. This demand for proof is a disingenuous, time-wasting exercise since everyone knows what corpses become after three days.

Re: what happens to the human body after we die? (http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2005-04/1114460899.Gb.r.html)


I don't see the same summary of the argument as you guys do.

What seems to be missing is the key element of divine intervention. Obviously, in the natural world resurrection is impossible.

But that isn't Clive's position. Instead it's that through divine intervention it is possible.

Zhav first set up his argument by positing through inference, that [summarizing now] "the resurrection is impossible through even divine intervention". To me, that is what Clive is objecting to and challenging support.

Perhaps I've missed something.
Your assumption of how Zhav set up the argument is clearly erroneous. As an atheist, Zhav does not believe in the existence of the divine. He needs only to show that resurrection from death is physically impossible. If Clive wishes to pull the "divine intervention" card, the onus is on Clive to support it.

And let's be frank here, Apok. You well know that "divine intervention" is an unfalsifiable claim. There is no way to disprove the possibility of divine intervention since it is by definition out of the province of science, nor is it a logically impossible claim. Thus, as I have always maintained, the burden of proof always lies on the theist to prove the existence of the supernatural. Otherwise, there is no reason why anyone even should accept it as a valid concept in the first place.

starcreator
October 24th, 2007, 10:07 PM
And let's be frank here, Apok. You well know that "divine intervention" is an unfalsifiable claim. There is no way to disprove the possibility of divine intervention since it is by definition out of the province of science, nor is it a logically impossible claim. Thus, as I have always maintained, the burden of proof always lies on the theist to prove the existence of the supernatural. Otherwise, there is no reason why anyone even should accept it as a valid concept in the first place.

Absolutely correct. Nonetheless, we need not disbelieve in it merely because we cannot substantiate it either, correct?

FruitandNut
October 25th, 2007, 12:03 PM
It all comes down to the 'God' argument. If 'God' created/made the universe and is 'Master' of the rules/laws, then a simple matter of resurrection would be no great deal to 'Him'. If 'God' is just a 'Spaghetti Monster' by another name, then clearly it would be impossible for it to have happened.

CliveStaples
October 25th, 2007, 06:08 PM
Actually, it is very easy to find evidence on what happens to the body after three days, and it is indeed well-established that the body as a whole rots after three days, not just the brain. If Jesus was truly dead when he was buried, there is no way he could be resurrected, as bacteria would eaten through his organs. This demand for proof is a disingenuous, time-wasting exercise since everyone knows what corpses become after three days.

The question is not "do corpses decay", but "can corpses be reanimated". Proving decay =/= proving impossibility of resuscitation.

Trendem
October 25th, 2007, 08:31 PM
The question is not "do corpses decay", but "can corpses be reanimated". Proving decay =/= proving impossibility of resuscitation.
For resuscitation to be possible, the process of decay must be reversible. Since decomposition involves the eating up of cells and cell connections by bacteria and other enzymes and the transformation of this cell tissue into energy, most assuredly you won't get your cell tissue back, let alone have it reconstituted into the way it was exactly.

Perhaps the reason why you and Zhav have this problem right now is because Zhav takes it for granted that decay is irreversible - an implicit premise if you like - while you do not. Personally, I sympathise with Zhav. I don't think it is unfair to assume that everyone knows decay is irreversible, at least not without futuristic medical intervention which Jesus did not receive.

CliveStaples
October 25th, 2007, 08:55 PM
Since decomposition involves the eating up of cells and cell connections by bacteria and other enzymes and the transformation of this cell tissue into energy, most assuredly you won't get your cell tissue back, let alone have it reconstituted into the way it was exactly.

Ah, so all zhav had to do was slap in a "most assuredly". Debate settled, the Bible is a lie.

Mr. Hyde
October 26th, 2007, 05:56 AM
The issue of the resurrection from what I can see isn't (or shouldn't) be, "Can someone come back from the dead". Of course people can die and come back. It happens every day (or every so often) in hospitals where someone is legally dead for a few minutes and gets revived (by doctors with Phoenix Downs).

The question is really, "Can someone be brought back after 72 hrs." In which case we have a unanimous agreement, "No." For that to happen you would NEED divine intervention, which is exactly the ONLY point where CHristians and Atheists SHOULD be disagreeing on this question.

As far as that question goes, proving divine intervention just isn't going to happen. Even God showed up and said, "Yeah it's me. Now here's a unicorn that vomits next gen electric goodies and a butt beaming robot that shows you everything you want to see" there's people who would still go, "Wow...that's a really advanced alien."

Xanadu Moo
November 8th, 2007, 12:40 PM
For that to happen you would NEED divine intervention, which is exactly the ONLY point where CHristians and Atheists SHOULD be disagreeing on this question.
I think you've captured the essence quite well, and Apok had alluded to this as well. Zhav has effectively demonstrated that some miracles don't occur simply through currently understood naturalistic means. Not sure what this proves. It would be like my saying 1+9 =/= 10, because 1+2 = 10 in base 3. And my grandmother would be a wagon if she had wheels.