Creating or 'setting conditions for'?

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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Kuznetzova
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Creating or 'setting conditions for'?

Post by Kuznetzova »

Say I go into a functioning kitchen and I bake a cherry pie from scratch. I start from fresh cherries, water, flour, and sugar. I then bake the pie in the electric oven. Did I "bake" that pie, or rather did I merely "set the conditions for the emergence" of the pie?

Why does that distinction matter, and why should you care? Well because the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible says the following:
Gen. 1:16 wrote: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the
stars also.
In other words, God made the sun, God made the moon, and the stars were also made by Him. Unambiguously, the sun was the result of an act of creation. God created the sun. So says Genesis.

Unfortunately for the Bible, stars are known to form naturally. This is confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt. Astronomy measures the rate of star formation in distant galaxies. Astronomers can characterize the young stars from the old ones. Modern science even has theories as to why new stars emerge in particular regions of a galaxy.

Mystical philosophers at all levels of academia , and Catholic apologists, are often concerned with creating a space in the public discourse for the Bible to still stand as an inerrant book of truths. They could adopt the position that the sun in its currently-existing form is the direct result of an abrupt, divine act on the physical substance of the universe. A true, honest-to-God creative act of magic. However, the professors, priests, and apologists are now equally aware that adopting that position would put them squarely at odds with physical evidence.

In response to this conundrum, the mystics perform a semantic trick. This is a clever switcheroo, wherein the verb "to create" is replaced instead by the phrase "...to set the conditions for the emergence of...". They can then continue on adopting the position that Genesis 1:16 is factually true, after having made this clever replacement on all contingent verbs. "God made the sun", they claim, "..and by `made`, I mean to say, `set the conditions for the later emergence of` the sun."

Some readers may still be wondering why this matters, or who would be compelled to play such transparent wordgames on the topic of creationism and divinity. In the next posts I will show two examples, both from youtube, one of a grad student in philosophy from California, and another of a post-doctoral professor of semantics from Michigan. Both are guilty of utilizing the create-versus-set-conditions parlor trick.

Again, did I "bake" this cherry pie? Or did I "set the specific conditions for the later emergence" of the pie?
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Kuznetzova
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Re: Creating or 'setting conditions for'?

Post by Kuznetzova »

Corey Anton is a professor of Communication Studies at Grand Valley State University. A post-doc, chairman of the Institute of General Semantics, and author of (at least) two books. Rest assured this video's topic is in regards to atheism and theism, and the professor placed that conspicuously in the name of the video. He appears to be talking about something else for several minutes, but don't be fooled.

Watch closely as Mr. Anton refers to the , quote. "..necessary preconditions for organic life in the inorganic..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FkSGVXhdVM
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Kuznetzova
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Re: Creating or 'setting conditions for'?

Post by Kuznetzova »

Mathew Segall is a doctoral student in philosophy and religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA.

I was unable to find a direct quote of "conditions giving rise to the emergence of life", but he has used it in the past, in a video which I could not find. Segall's video material is hours and hours of film. (I do remember he said this while filming in the woods.) See if you can find it yourself. I apologize for not having my material ready. :?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yAaRcrn-eI
Wyman
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Re: Creating or 'setting conditions for'?

Post by Wyman »

Explanations stop at some point. It is at that point that the mystics and metaphysicians step in, since within that realm, you can say anything and it can not be proven true or false, so they say 'It is thus and you can't prove otherwise.'

So, aside from speculations about quantum fluctuations in space (see Krauss, A Universe from Nothing), the physical explanations break down at the big bang. Scientific explanations have to stop somewhere. So, wherever the explanation ends, the mystics shift their positions to fill that void. They say that God, or whatever posit they have adopted, created the conditions for the big bang.

My advice is, don't get involved in trying to engage in combat with these people, you'll never win, because you will become bored well before they do and quit. They are people who enjoy having the last word and winning an argument by wearing you down.

So, the answer to your question is 'You baked a pie.'
Skip
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Re: Creating or 'setting conditions for'?

Post by Skip »

Say I go into a functioning kitchen and I bake a cherry pie from scratch. I start from fresh cherries, water, flour, and sugar. I then bake the pie in the electric oven. Did I "bake" that pie, or rather did I merely "set the conditions for the emergence" of the pie?
Neither. You left out the shortening, so what you've got there is a cherry tortilla.
And you didn't plant the cherry tree, harvest the wheat, render the sugar-beets or set the conditions for electricity to flow into the oven; you merely combined ingredients and turned a knob made by someone else. A whole lot of things had to pre-exist your decision to make this new thing.

Seriously, that sequence of actions is what "bake a pie" means. However the pre-conditions are set, whatever the ingredients, containers and heat source, putting those things together into a finished food is the definition of baking.

The definition of "creating" is a whole different problem. Myths vary widely in their use of the term, as do art critics and philosophers.
For people of faith, it really doesn't matter what happens "naturally" - they simply attribute all phenomena to their deity. Whenever science advances our understanding of the world, their god gets another promotion, to even bigger, more remote creator.
Wyman
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Re: Creating or 'setting conditions for'?

Post by Wyman »

Neither. You left out the shortening, so what you've got there is a cherry tortilla.
Ha!
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