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Everything posted by chilehed

  1. Sure... but that is different from willfully believing in something. I might be willfully ignorant about where meat comes from, or rather how it gets from there to my plate... but I do not willfully believe that meat grows from a tree. If disbelieving in a truth is a choice, then believing in that same truth must necessarily also be a choice. One can choose to believe, or to not believe. q.e.d. It happens all the time. Everyone does it, it's part of the human condition.
  2. Have you ever heard of people being willfully ignorant of something? Of not knowing something because they don't want to know?
  3. Being anti-God is an attitude of the heart, which may or may not be present when you do anything else. That being said, rosary beads are not to be worn as if they were jewelry. Certainly you are free to do so, but it merely shows that you don't really understand the rosary.
  4. My question was directed at the OP, but because of its uncharitable nature I've just reported myself. I do find the OP's link to be quite incoherent. New York is the Whore of Babylon? That's some pretty far out stuff...
  5. They certainly are evidence of what they contain, by definition. The issue at hand, the topic of this thread, is "how do we know that we've accurately translated the document", and to answer that the first thing we need to do is make sure we know what the document actually is. The question "do the documents accurately record historical events" is an entirely different topic. You guys crack me up. Not only have you never studied the record of the Council, you apparently haven't even the slightest idea why it convened and what the issues were. The link you provided doesn't support your characterization, and the idea that wikipedia should be taken as a reliable source is itself laughable. And again, this is utterly irrelevant to the topic of the thread. Is there a reason people have such a hard time staying on subject? *rolleyes* This is a bunch of nonsense, in part because you're making the mistake of applying standards appropriate to evaluating evidence of a recent event to an event of the ancient world. You take for granted the historicity of many ancient events for which there is vastly less record than those described in the New Testament, and for which the ancient records were written more distant in time from the events. You're making a special pleading. And yet again, this is completely unrelated to the topic. If someone wants to talk about the actual topic, then I'm still in, but I don't have time to waste endlessly commenting on manifestly absurd claims that aren't remotely related to the topic.
  6. Very common ideas that have no relationship with actual facts. Indeed, the first claim is easily disproven merely by studying the texts themselves. But once again, not at all relevant to the question at hand. Back on topic: Think what you like; it doesn't change the fact that what you said is a misrepresentation of what actually happened. Prior to the 4th Century not all local communities of Christians had access to all of the documents, so it's to be expected that each of them would have different lists of documents which they used in the Liturgy. But with the creation in the 3rd and 4th Century of spurious Gnostic "gospels", it became necessary to come to agreement on what had been handed down originally. So the Bishops got together at a number of local councils, the first at Hippo, and sorted it all out. The Gnostic works were rejected because none of them had been handed down from the past, no one recognised them as authentic and it was known that they were of recent origin. After that time, there was no significant disagreement on the Canon of Scripture until the Reformation. The Reformers rejected seven of the books accepted by Hippo (and by the all of Christendom up to that time), in response to which the Catholic Church, at the ecumenical Council of Trent, dogmatized the Canon of Hippo. And that's the way it's been ever since. It's not at all the way you make it sound, because in fact all of the available legitimate documents were included in the canon. But again, this is not relevant to the topic of the OP, which concerns the best way to ensure accurate translations of the original documents themselves. Having reread the OP, it still appears to me that translation is actually what the OP is about. If you want to translate someone's work, the first thing you have to do is make sure that you know what the work actually was. Until that's done, you can go no further.
  7. That's not really true, at best it's a seriously distorted oversimplification of what really happened. But this is not relevant to anything I said. And for each document, the question is "how do we determine what the autograph actually said?" And that's done by the method which I briefly described. There's very little doubt as to the contents of the original NT documents.
  8. Part of determining the reliability of ancient manuscripts is an evaluation of how many fragments exist, how far removed they are from the autograph, and how widely scattered they are across the world. As the number of copies and fragments increases, as the geographic range over which they are found becomes wider, and as they are closer in age to the autograph, it can be more reliably concluded that we can know what the autograph actually contained. This information is from about 1980, there may be some revisions since then but it's not likely to be significantly different today: We have only 35 of the historical works of Livy (59 B.C - A.D 17), known from only 20 manuscripts, only one of which is as old as the 4th Century, and that only having fragments of Books III and IV. Only 4 of the Histories of Tacitus (ca A.D. 100) survive, and 10 of his Annals (with another two partials). These all depend on two manuscripts from the 9th and 11th Centuries. The extant MSS of his minor works all come from a codex that dates from the 10th Century. The History of Thucydides (ca 460-400 B.C.) is known from eight MSS, the oldest dating to ca 900 AD, and a few papyrus scraps dating to the 1st Century. The earliest extant MSS for the plays of Sophocles date from 1400 years after he died. There are a handful of MSS of Caesar's Gallic Wars, the oldest from the about the 10th Century. Homer wrote the Iliad ca 900 B.C, 643 copies extant, the first dating from ca 400 BC. Herodotus wrote his History ca 425 B.C., 8 copies extant, the earliest from A.D. 900. Aristotle from ca 384-322 B.C., the greatest number of copies we have of any one of his works is 49, earliest copy from 1100 AD. There are more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the earliest from the 3rd Century, and they're scattered all over the place. There are over 10,000 of the Latin Vulgate, 2,000 of the Ethiopic, 4,000 of the Slavic, and 2,500 of the Armenian. In addition, the Early Fathers of the Catholic Church quote extensively from the New Testament. For example, the Letter of St. Polycarp (A.D. 70-156) to the Philippians quotes the NT so much that people have mocked him or not having anything original to say. Ignatius of Antioch's (AD 70-110) seven letters contain quotes from 15 books of the NT. Clement of Alexandria (AD 150-212) quotes the NT what, over 2,000 times, from all but three of the books. So it's not like we have to worry about making translations of translations of translations. The extant manuscript evidence for the texts of the New Testament is vastly superior to any other ancient work. And the textual variations are really very trivial. It's a serious mistake to think that the oldest MSS is the most reliable. If you have one MSS 100 years removed that has a variation, and you have dozens 150 or 200 years removed that are scattered from Gaul to Persia that don't have it, it might be a good indication that the single example is a miscopy. And there aren't any variations on the most important part: that Jesus was dead and then he wasn't.
  9. I can imagine few things more horrible than that. Very, very few.
  10. Compatibility with all of the other materials in the system.
  11. By that reasoning every non-noble atom or molecule is a code; it stretches the definition so far that it makes the term meaningless. A warm front in the Canary Islands is code for a hurricane in the Americas, Reynolds' number is code for the wavelength of the sand ripples in shallow water, a pile of chicken crap is code for green grass... You seem to be confusing "information" with "meaning". They aren't the same. What you actually said was "But, if DNA is just a molecule, then words are just vibrating air molecules", which is manifestly false for at least two reasons. The reason that's relevant to this conversation being that, to the extent spoken words are vibrations in the air, they're not just vibrations in the air, they're vibrations that convey the abstract thought that someone wishes to communicate. Words are code because they signify something else, and that's the common link between all of those definitions (including mine). But DNA has no such significance. It was because you said that words were just vibrations in the air, which they are not. You seem to be missing the point that because the question is "was DNA created by a mind", to use "DNA wasn't created by a mind" as a premise begs the question, and is thus a fallacy. As for my objection that you were committing an error of definition, I was confounding my point about meaning being a key property of a code (with which you disagree, and which by definition means that all code are created by a mind) with what you said about DNA being both a code and not created.
  12. My understanding is that that is the definition of coding, at least in part. If you know of another, I'd be interested in hearing what it is. So then white noise is words? I think it's implicit on what you said, but right now it's too late and I'm too tired to express myself clearly. Maybe I can do a better job tomorrow, or else realize that I was wrong. I'm not sure I see that, but again I'm a bit tired. Have a blessed evening.
  13. No, it's not a good argument, but not for the reason ecoli gave. The reason it's not a good argument is that premise #1 is false: DNA is not a code. A code is a symbol or group of symbols that signifies an abstract idea or thought. Written language is visual code for spoken, and spoken language is aural code for ideas such as "I love you" or "please pass the salt". But the DNA molecule doesn't mean anything, any more than does the H2SO4 molecule, the CN− anion, or a boulder perched on top of a cliff. None of those things have any abstract meaning; they are physical objects that have a certain structure and energy potential and that behave in certain ways given particular environmental conditions. This is related to the confusion between information and meaning. Contrary to popular opinion, information is inversely proportional to meaning. ecoli's answer is flawed on at least two counts. First, it commits an error of definition in that it equates being created with having meaning. Not all created things have meaning. For example, the small black dots on a printed page do not have meaning, but their arrangement into letters and words does: both are created, but only the latter has meaning. Second, it begs the question in that it says that not all code are created by a mind because we know that DNA wasn't created by a mind, but "was DNA created by a mind?" was the proposition to be proven. But none of this should be taken to indicate that I don't believe in God. It's just that that argument is not a good one.
  14. Not on an internet forum. In person I can do it in about an hour, if you pay close attention and understand everything the first time.
  15. False premise. I don't know where you heard those two phrases, but it certainly wasn't in a good translation of Genesis. There's really no legitimate reason to twist "able to be swayed" into "vulnerable to being easily swayed", and even less for twisting "seeing that it was desirable for gaining wisdom" into "desiring to eat it". The differences in connotation are subtle, but significant. Non sequitur. The ability to fall does not imply the inclination to fall. Certainly I do, given that very few people commit only evil acts and wish to do nothing else. This is an error related to the one you made above: the inclination to sin doesn't imply the inability to do anything else. It's not human nature to do evil. To sin is to be less than human. Non sequitur, and an error in definition: myths are not necessarily untrue.
  16. If I were to become you, I'd immediately do all of the things that you'll do next. If I did anything else, I wouldn't really be you: I'd be a lot like you, perhaps, but still not you. Certainly what God does cannot be improved upon, but that's because of his impeccability, not his omnipotence. Non sequitur. Not that I agree that it was a profound answer (I don't).
  17. There is, indeed, nothing new under the sun.
  18. Sounds like you're asking why heat must be rejected at the end of the cycle, which will be explained when you get to the Second Law. It's not possible to use all of the available heat to do work, and what you can't use you have to reject to a colder body. I still have my copy of Cengel and Boyle's thermo text.
  19. In Christian thought the word "soul" generally indicates the ultimate internal principle by which we think, feel, and will, and by which our bodies are animated. In prior Jewish thought distinctions were made between nephesh (the animal or vegetative), nuah (the ethical), and the neshamah (the purely spiritual intelligence). That's similar to distinctions between vegetative soul (which is what non-intelligent life has), sensitive soul (animals other than Man), and the rational soul (Man). The Catechism of the Catholic says "In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man. http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm?p=14-chapter4.xhtml%23para363
  20. The link was to Chapter 14, which seemed most immediately relevant along with Chapter 15. Given that the first line is "We have shown that...", perhaps it would be good to go back and see how that was done.
  21. If you had bothered to follow the link you'd have seen that it takes you directly to the relevant sections. Remember: deep questions have simple, easily digested wrong answers. One who insists on an answer brief enough to be adequately presented in an online forum merely shows that he's not really interested in understanding the topic. So study or remain ignorant.
  22. You really think that maintaining a nitrogen working fluid is as cheap as air?? You need bottles to store it, plumbing to connect it, a control system to operate it, more space to package it, higher maintenance costs to keep it operating, it adds a lot of mass.... The added costs are significant. It's a deal breaker.
  23. You're being obtuse. There's no contradiction between "our ability to define God is limited" and "by definition God is uncreated", and for understanding to be limited does not imply that it's inconsistent. The fact that you can't know everything about a being, doesn't mean that you can't know anything about it. If you're really interested in learning, go study. If not, don't.
  24. Part of the problem is that our ability to define God is limited; it's a lot easier to say what he isn't than it is to say what he is. But there are things that we can know about him with certainty. "That being which is uncreated" has been recognized as an attribute of God at least since St. Thomas Acquinas in the 1200's, but all he did was put orderly expression to what had already existed in Greek philosophy and Jewish theology for at least 1500 years before he came along. It's absolutely standard Christian theology. St. Thomas is thick reading, but he's worth the effort. He gives me a headache worse than the one that I used to get when thinking about entropy. I've heard he's a lot easier to follow in the original Latin, but I can't read Latin. http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles1.htm#14 Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown, has an excellent set of lectures available on iTunes. He discusses the nature and existence of God in a number of them, and he's easier to listen to than St. Thomas is to read. But don't bother with either unless you really want to engage your brain. I know more than one person who quickly stopped for a reason that showed that they weren't really engaged... I guess they weren't as open minded as they claimed.
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