The current issue of ICR's Acts and Facts included an article by Dr. Jason Lisle titled Evolutionary Math? While I agree with his intent showing that mathematics doesn't and can't follow the so-called rules of biologic evolution, his argument suggests that mathematical "truths" are absolute and eternal, and cannot be co-opted by mere human thought and reasoning. This idea that a divine truth can even be recognized outside of Scripture is very troubling. Many math teachers even go so far to say that math is the "language of God". Really?

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lol Sure! Or some people do. They've drawn pictures from abductions, been on their space ships, been poked and proded and all sorts of stuff. It's knowledge whether it's truth or not.
 
Michael Buxton said:

"We have knowledge of alien civilizations"???

Are you familiar with Kant's nomena/phenomena? Aparently we can never know what corresponds to reality, only what our perceptions are. You sitting in front of your computer could have been a dream... of course, so could my reply.

 

So knowledge is justified true belief? Is anything ever really justified? I've asked for justification for objectivity. I've looked for it for a long time but I've never found it. As you know, I can't even justify a material creation. I'm not a materialist but an idealist. I believe God's creation is idealized phenomena. What is your standard for justified true belief?

 
Justin Mooney said:

We are having semantical differences here. I am using "truth" to refer to that which is true, i.e. that which corresponds to reality. So even trivial things like I am sitting in front of a computer right now are "truth." I use knowledge as it is standardly defined in philosophy: justified true belief (with perhaps some fourth condition). A proposition p is known by a person x if x believes p, p is true (corresponds to reality), and x has justification for believing that p is true (and, again, a fourth condition may be necessary too. This definition is a useful starting point, but it sometimes proves inadequate).
 

Amen!

Colin Newton said:

I could never discover that Jesus died for me apart from the Bible, or someone preaching from the Bible.  But the Bible itself says that there are things about God that can be deduced from creation (Romans 1v18-20).  If that were not so, people would have an excuse for not knowing about God, but the Bible says that we are without excuse if we suppress that knowledge.

Saying that truth only comes from the Bible sounds like a Christian version of the view which I believe is common among Muslims, that all truth comes form the Koran.  This has stifled science, whereas creationists generally argue that a correct view of Christianity encourages science.

Maybe I misunderstood the word objective. What I meant was that Christians and unbelievers can have knowledge of things that are true, however only Christians have a true justification for knowledge in the Bible.

Alexander Martin said:

How about this, Caleb: Is the color blue that you see when you look up at the sky the same objective blue color as when you dream that you are looking up at the sky? If the color blue is not objective when you are dreaming then how can you ever be certain that you are being objective? Can you truly ever be objective and if you could, what is your justification for knowing that you are being objective?

What would you constitute as knowledge of things that are true? Are you talking about things outside of the Bible like gravity? Are you saying that Christians and unbelievers can know that gravity is true outside the Bible? This is kind of a trick question because knowledge of gravity can also be extended to knowledge of evolution but I want you to attempt an answer of the question anyway. It might help us flesh out what exactly is knowledge of things that are true.
 
Caleb Lewis said:

Maybe I misunderstood the word objective. What I meant was that Christians and unbelievers can have knowledge of things that are true, however only Christians have a true justification for knowledge in the Bible.

We've had this conversation before (see the link). I think at present I would label myself a particularist.

http://www.creationconversations.com/forum/topics/last-thursdayism

Alexander Martin said:

Are you familiar with Kant's nomena/phenomena? Aparently we can never know what corresponds to reality, only what our perceptions are. You sitting in front of your computer could have been a dream... of course, so could my reply.

 

So knowledge is justified true belief? Is anything ever really justified? I've asked for justification for objectivity. I've looked for it for a long time but I've never found it. As you know, I can't even justify a material creation. I'm not a materialist but an idealist. I believe God's creation is idealized phenomena. What is your standard for justified true belief?

 
Justin Mooney said:

We are having semantical differences here. I am using "truth" to refer to that which is true, i.e. that which corresponds to reality. So even trivial things like I am sitting in front of a computer right now are "truth." I use knowledge as it is standardly defined in philosophy: justified true belief (with perhaps some fourth condition). A proposition p is known by a person x if x believes p, p is true (corresponds to reality), and x has justification for believing that p is true (and, again, a fourth condition may be necessary too. This definition is a useful starting point, but it sometimes proves inadequate).
 

You're right. We did. I consider myself a minimal particularist and not a pure skeptic. But that doesn't actually get to the answer of justification. I believe existence itself is the only thing justifiable and God is the I AM of existence. After that justifications seems to fall flat.

 

Would you agree with me that all we can know is phenomena and we can never get to that which coresponds to reality? Do you have another perspective on justification?
 

Someone's fantasy is not knowledge, it's fantasy. You might think you were attacked by a 30 foot long pink spider yesterday, but you can't know you were, because you weren't

Alexander Martin said:

lol Sure! Or some people do. They've drawn pictures from abductions, been on their space ships, been poked and proded and all sorts of stuff. It's knowledge whether it's truth or not.
 
Michael Buxton said:

"We have knowledge of alien civilizations"???

Okay, so what is your demarkation between knowledge and fantasy?

Michael Buxton said:

Someone's fantasy is not knowledge, it's fantasy. You might think you were attacked by a 30 foot long pink spider yesterday, but you can't know you were, because you weren't

I suspect your understanding of justification is more demanding than mine. I don't think (for example) that to know x it must be impossible that I am mistaken about x.

Using my definitions of truth and knowledge, I would say that I know a lot of things (as do most people), and that all of them are things which correspond to reality (because truth, which I define as correspondence to reality, is a necessary condition of knowledge). Using my definitions, one cannot know something if it fails to correspond to reality, because one cannot know something that isn't true. One can believe something that isn't true, but not know it.

But I think you have been using the term knowledge in a much different way than I have been.

Alexander Martin said:

You're right. We did. I consider myself a minimal particularist and not a pure skeptic. But that doesn't actually get to the answer of justification. I believe existence itself is the only thing justifiable and God is the I AM of existence. After that justifications seems to fall flat.

 

Would you agree with me that all we can know is phenomena and we can never get to that which coresponds to reality? Do you have another perspective on justification?
 

I’m not sure I use certainty as my standard for justification. I just refuse to assume materialism as the basis for justification. Using your standard of justification, can you justify a material reality or do you assume it the way most empiricists do?

 

Let’s discuss this idea of correspondence to reality. I think you’re being too loose with your justification if you automatically assume the possibility of a natural ability to determine correspondence to reality. You’ve probably read this before but I’d like your justification for determining correspondence to reality in light of the following from Kant and Feyerabend:

 
Empiricists viewed the mind as passive when confronting the world and that it simply records the impressions provided by the senses. This view holds knowledge as conforming to objects outside the mind. Kant had an insight about epistemology upon reflecting on the vast changes in society's perception of the universe after the Newtonian and Copernican revolution overthrew the geocentric and Aristotelian physics of the Middle Ages. His insight was that objects conform to our knowledge and not the other way around. In order to make sense out of the innumerable fluctuating and fragmented assortment of data provided to our mind by our senses, the mind has to impose a rational structure on it which we experience as objects. The world that science studies is a world that has been actively filtered, digested, shaped, and organized according to the minds' own structure. The objects of the world are therefore constructed by the mind out of the raw data provided by the senses.

 
To Kant, the only world we can know is the world of our experience which is constructed and given meaning by the mind. This world consists of things as they appear to us which he referred to as phenomena. Kant held that we simply can’t get around phenomena, because our ways of knowing are dependent upon them. We cannot get a view of the world that is from nowhere, as every view is from somewhere and that “somewhere” determines how the world is seen. Outside of our experience are the things in themselves which he termed the noumena. Because we can't jump outside our experience to see reality as it actually is, we cannot assign any positive content to the noumena.

 
Logical positivists argued that, in order to show that something is correct, I must be able to show ways in which that statement corresponds to external reality. In his books, "Against Method" and "Science in a Free Society," Paul Feyerabend argued that this is, in principle, impossible, since the evidence I produce is again part of my interpretation of the world. I cannot get outside that interpretation. One cannot “fit” one’s statements and interpretations to the world itself. One cannot say that they are either true or false in an objective way, so there is no “truth” in science. Different people have different ways of interpreting experience. Each has an overall Weltanschauung (world-view) or paradigm. The problem is that there is no way of judging between different world-views, there is no way of getting beyond them and comparing them with some objective (uninterpreted) reality.



Justin Mooney said:

I suspect your understanding of justification is more demanding than mine. I don't think (for example) that to know x it must be impossible that I am mistaken about x.

Using my definitions of truth and knowledge, I would say that I know a lot of things (as do most people), and that all of them are things which correspond to reality (because truth, which I define as correspondence to reality, is a necessary condition of knowledge). Using my definitions, one cannot know something if it fails to correspond to reality, because one cannot know something that isn't true. One can believe something that isn't true, but not know it.

But I think you have been using the term knowledge in a much different way than I have been.

I’m not sure I use certainty as my standard for justification. I just refuse to assume materialism as the basis for justification. Using your standard of justification, can you justify a material reality or do you assume it the way most empiricists do?

Closer to the latter, but probably not exactly either one. I regard belief in the external material world as a properly basic belief, in the way that a particularist would understand proper basicality.

And so I do think that sensory perception and several other human knowledge sources are genuine sources of knowledge. They allow us to gain knowledge of the real world, warranted belief in propositions that correspond to reality.

Now you point out that our "view" (if I can use that word) of reality necessarily has a subjective element to it. Certainly it does. I see things from a certain point of view. But that doesn't mean that I don't have any way of knowing anything about reality as it actually is. I may see a red ball outside. My contention is that this can allow me to know that there is a red ball outside. Now I know that someone else looking at the ball won't see it from the same perspective as me. Maybe he'll see it from the other direction, if he's standing on the other side. But we can readily distinguish in our experience between the objective and subjective elements of what we perceive. I can even go so far as to imagine what the ball looks like from that other person's perspective.

Our minds certainly do a lot of work interpreting the world for us, but whereas you take this to imply that we have no way of knowing what the world is actually like, I ask, why think that our minds weren't designed to construct our experience in a way that reflects reality? It isn't hard to believe that God designed our minds to do that. Why should I adopt your perspective on this matter over mine?

Your final paragraph is where the biggest trouble with your view emerges:

[[[Logical positivists argued that, in order to show that something is correct, I must be able to show ways in which that statement corresponds to external reality. In his books Against Method and Science in a Free Society Paul Feyerabend argued that this is, in principle, impossible, since the evidence I produce is again part of my interpretation of the world. I cannot get outside that interpretation. One cannot “fit” one’s statements and interpretations to the world itself. One cannot say that they are either true or false in an objective way, so there is no “truth” in science. Different people have different ways of interpreting experience. Each has an overall Weltanschauung (world-view) or paradigm. The problem is that there is no way of judging between different world-views, there is no way of getting beyond them and comparing them with some objective (uninterpreted) reality.]]]

It takes a couple generations for the shifts in academia to filter down to the popular level. While the way of thinking adopted by the logical positivists is still prevalent in popular culture (at least in subconscious ways), it has sort of died in academia. Logical positivist views ran into problems because they tended to be self-defeating, among other things. For example, almost every sentence in that last paragraph is self-defeating. You cannot get outside your own subjective interpretation of the world to know what in fact corresponds to reality, yet you make that claim as if you have escaped your own subjective interpretation of the world to discover that that claim in fact corresponds to reality. You say that there is no way to judge between worldviews because there is no way to get beyond them to an objective standard for judging between them. Yet in saying that you seem to be arguing against worldviews which reject that very sentiment (like my own). And so on.

Alexander Martin said:

 

 

Let’s discuss this idea of correspondence to reality. I think you’re being too loose with your justification if you automatically assume the possibility of a natural ability to determine correspondence to reality. You’ve probably read this before but I’d like your justification for determining correspondence to reality in light of the following from Kant and Feyerabend:

 
Empiricists viewed the mind as passive when confronting the world and that it simply records the impressions provided by the senses. This view holds knowledge as conforming to objects outside the mind. Kant had an insight about epistemology upon reflecting on the vast changes in society's perception of the universe after the Newtonian and Copernican revolution overthrew the geocentric and Aristotelian physics of the Middle Ages. His insight was that objects conform to our knowledge and not the other way around. In order to make sense out of the innumerable fluctuating and fragmented assortment of data provided to our mind by our senses, the mind has to impose a rational structure on it which we experience as objects. Facts are the product of a thinking mind encountering external evidence, and they therefore contain both that evidence and the mental framework by means of which it has been apprehended, and through which it is articulated. The world that science studies is a world that has been actively filtered, digested, shaped, and organized according to the minds' own structure. The objects of the world are therefore constructed by the mind out of the raw data provided by the senses.

 
To Kant, the only world we can know is the world of our experience which is constructed and given meaning by the mind. This world consists of things as they appear to us which he referred to as phenomena. Kant held that we simply can’t get around phenomena, because our ways of knowing are dependent upon them. We cannot get a view of the world that is from nowhere, as every view is from somewhere and that “somewhere” determines how the world is seen. Outside of our experience are the things in themselves which he termed the noumena. Because we can't jump outside our experience to see reality as it actually is, we cannot assign any positive content to the noumena.

 
Logical positivists argued that, in order to show that something is correct, I must be able to show ways in which that statement corresponds to external reality. In his books Against Method and Science in a Free Society Paul Feyerabend argued that this is, in principle, impossible, since the evidence I produce is again part of my interpretation of the world. I cannot get outside that interpretation. One cannot “fit” one’s statements and interpretations to the world itself. One cannot say that they are either true or false in an objective way, so there is no “truth” in science. Different people have different ways of interpreting experience. Each has an overall Weltanschauung (world-view) or paradigm. The problem is that there is no way of judging between different world-views, there is no way of getting beyond them and comparing them with some objective (uninterpreted) reality.

Justin Mooney said:

I suspect your understanding of justification is more demanding than mine. I don't think (for example) that to know x it must be impossible that I am mistaken about x.

Using my definitions of truth and knowledge, I would say that I know a lot of things (as do most people), and that all of them are things which correspond to reality (because truth, which I define as correspondence to reality, is a necessary condition of knowledge). Using my definitions, one cannot know something if it fails to correspond to reality, because one cannot know something that isn't true. One can believe something that isn't true, but not know it.

But I think you have been using the term knowledge in a much different way than I have been.

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