Matthew 5: 1 – 2

And this is definitely the shortest section so far, so here it is:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

Again, almost nothing to say. The lack of a name for the mountain is a minor oversight by the author, but that’s just being pedantic.

46 thoughts on “Matthew 5: 1 – 2

  1. winstoninabox Post author

    All irritate me in their false or unproven claims are presented as fact, and then passed off by adherents as facts. I don’t find belief particularly interesting; we all have a blind spot for something that we give a pass to.
    Christianity is the one I have some knowledge of and is plenty representative of the above complaints. Also it is the one natonoel follows and I wanted a space to debate with him his claims.

    Reply
  2. Marco

    At the moment “science” irritates me the same way. There is such blind spots all over the place, and I see little hope for the basic problem to be discovered barring revolution. Sure there is hope that discovery of facts become so compelling that some “wrong science” will be overturned, but I just see that as trimming the edges of what is otherwise dogma.

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  3. Marco

    I’m not talking about its fringes. I’m talking about all science that is inconsequential for engineering. Taking the example of the science of the Rosetta mission to a comet. The science of gravity, mass, acceleration, chemistry, radiation etc., I have no problem with. It is the stuff like origins of the comet and the whole relationship between what it’s finding with evolution, abiogenesis – even to explaining the comet’s behaviour and features. It is only that tiny overlap, where the dogma, as is becomes untenable due to unexpected data. The reaction from scientists is to say that the data is not wholly unexpected, and just morph the bits of the dogma associated with it, claim they have no particular investment in the dogma being “correct” (which, granted, is true to a point). The dogma is useless to society other than making the scientists look like they “know” about stuff which they don’t have much of a clue on, and that is inconsequential for day to day life. This aspect of “science” for all intents and purposes is similar to religious dogma, but more flexible in that it needs to make no particularly verifiable claims, has complete permission to be adjusted based on consensus of a peer group, and it’s primary purpose appears to be to crowd out religious dogma rather than be a force for righteousness and improvement of society.

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    1. winstoninabox Post author

      But none of that is dogma. The truths aren’t revealed, the science can be questioned by anyone, when better data is found it is incorporated, the science isn’t applied in a moral way, the ‘high priests’ don’t proclaim it to be the applicable to all people…

      “nd it’s primary purpose appears to be to crowd out religious dogma rather than be a force for righteousness and improvement of society.”

      By who?

      You could call the science speculative and its adherents cliquish.. But dogma, No.

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    2. Marco

      Ok. It is my considered opinion that it is Dogma, just as it is your considered opinion that it is not. There is probably only one item that I know of along this line that calls itself a dogma and that is the central dogma of evolution. In no way does it manifest itself in the hierarchical way it does in Religion, but it certainly takes up the same volume in idea space of religions that talk about origins of life, humanity, morality and the universe in general. Entrenched ideas in science “go down swinging” and I am seeing this clear as day with regards to comets. If there is not likely to be incontrovertible evidence that can change an entrenched idea, it has free reign for virtually the rest of time, just like with religions.

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  4. Marco

    In my example with comets the following site : https://scute1133site.wordpress.com/
    Is challenging the recent ideas on how comet features are formed, including its bilobed nature. Mission scientists are roundly dismissing the evidence because it doesn’t fit into their preconceived ideas (dogma) about how comets form.

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    1. winstoninabox Post author

      But it is still an argument about evidence, albeit a dismissive one. No scientist is saying that these truths were revealed to them by a higher authority, and to question the dogma is to question this higher authority. What you have here is dogma in the general sense which is to say, to enforce some truths or tenets that an individual or group believes is correct to the exclusion of other ideas. Boards of Education and CEOs also enforce a particular culture of ideas that they prefer on their subordinates, but that is hardly like religious dogma.I realize that I didn’t preface dogma with ‘religious’, but at this site I’d think that that wouldn’t be required.

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      1. Marco

        I do count it as “counter religious” or religious by proxy by a definition which I believe is reasonable in this context. That is it is somewhat required by Naturalism to be counter to religious ideas. For instance, evolution’s virtual requirement that “random mutations are sufficient” to explain the diversity of life on Earth, has the flimsiest of evidence associated with it, and is inconsequential to science either way, and the only reason to suppose it is that anything other than completely random mutations is a stalking horse for directed evolution. That is the stupidest reason to have a science keep a hold of an idea : for the sole purpose that it “disproves” directed evolution whether by natural or supernatural reasons. Any theory that involves natural mutations directed by non random agents is caught in the crossfire of the battle between evolution and religion.

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  5. winstoninabox Post author

    Do theists still care about evolution or have they moved past it and are happy to elegantly proclaim that we we live in a universe governed by naturalism yet designed and created by the Creator? Nevertheless, the problem with calling random mutations a stalking-horse is that the horse has to be distracting us from something, but theists can’t provide any theory that can *ever* be verifiable, and it’s the same theory that lead to the rise of naturalism in every field – God did it. Abiogenesis may not be right, but at least it’s on the same track as every other advancement in science.

    Reply
    1. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

      Gotta say it again, Marco me old comet crusader: “random mutations are sufficient” is robust and defensible science.

      Theists are happy to elegantly proclaim that we live in a universe governed by naturalism yet designed and created by the Creator.

      And, winston, winston, me old kettle of fish, I’ve got to say this again too. There are some areas of idea space where no theory *can* be verifiable, and the atheist theories that occupy this space are… not very good.

      Reply
      1. winstoninabox Post author

        “And, winston, winston, me old kettle of fish, I’ve got to say this again too. There are some areas of idea space where no theory *can* be verifiable, and the atheist theories that occupy this space are… not very good.”

        Just because the theories can’t be verified doesn’t stop one from having a conversation about them in a scientific way. There are billions of things we will never know – Where did my faded red t-shirt come from? Who made it? Why is it red? – but theories can be made and backed up by evidence. The final answer will never be found, but that doesn’t mean that some of those theories will be better defended than others.

        Sure naturalist theories about those conversations may not be very good, but we’re in the infancy of those conversations. And yes, we can’t get there from here, but we can look down the various paths that disappear in the right direction and see which of them at least have a shot of taking us where we want to go. To do so may seem as ridiculous an undertaking as attempting answers to my my red t-shirt questions because the the final answer will never be know, but that doesn’t make the conversations any less worthwhile. Who knows what else will be found along the way.

        But to say the answer is God is to finish those conversations. And if we’d accepted that same answer to the many other questions to which God was previously the answer, then our knowledge of the universe wouldn’t be what it is today.

        I’m not sure what that has to do with dogma, but there you go.

        Reply
      2. Marco

        Hi Chris,
        This “Robust and defensible science” is a distinctive sleight of hand which has fooled you as well as most scientists that just want to believe that it has a basis in provable truth. The causality requirement to demonstrate the role of random mutations in real life evolution has never been seriously considered as something that can be experimentally verified – “too complicated to simulate real life evolution situations” no alternative is seriously offered than a straw man “God of the Gaps”. Possibilities such as the mechanism of evolution being embedded in the biogenome are not even considered worthy of serious consideration – except as things that *require proof* where as I have stated the causality requirement of proving the central dogma is roundly ignored in favour of what I regard as “concensus” views of biologists. It’s like as if they had a vote on it somewhere soon after Darwin’s time, and now any theory which deviates from it requires proof, while the incumbent theory gets a free ride even though it could be plausibly impossible, although perhaps never provably so. Education is what drills us not to question it, not scientific observation per se.

        Reply
      3. Marco

        Hi Chris,
        The detail *Lacks Causality*. It doesn’t deserve a detailed point by point response. Each point would fail dismally in a court of law. Replace “random mutations” with any particular point of law where forensics is trying to demonstrate A causes B – you would get my drift. It is at best a “fuzzy logic” argument based on completely circumstantial evidence. On top of all that, it relies somewhat on Ockham’s Razor, which goes against a defining principle of Marconomics. Anything that relies on a principle that relies on Ockham’s razor – even a little bit, is poisoned fruit. We have not been able to trace the causality of beneficial mutations, so until we do, we need to keep the multiplicity of disposable razors in mind as there are myriad explanations of the same phenomena possible.

        Reply
      4. Marco

        That should be Myriad Naturalistic explanations possible. We still do not want to resort to Magic or invented science.

        Reply
      5. Marco

        Hi again Chris,
        The point being – I *know* there is not enough evidence to demonstrate the viability of an alternative disposable razor that may or may not be my pet theory. We should leave the question about which razor to choose as a much more open question, and “science” should not commit its resources on the premise of just one or another. Not seeing the alternative razors is just a failure of the imagination. We cannot imagine why random mutations could not be sufficient to explain evolution.

        Reply
  6. Marco

    Lets start with where your faded red t-shirt comes from. If a consensus of scientists decide that it comes from China (because that is where Tshirts generally come from) and the label is long gone, and there is no realistic opportunity to *prove* where it came from. Now you may specifically remember that the label did not say Made in China. You may have remembered incorrectly. If those scientists demand proof before they will say anything other than “probably made in China”, I think you would be quite offended and think that is not in the spirit of science to favour one theory over another just because of initial consensus and lack of proof of an alternative.
    Basically, I get the feeling that you think it is science, and I think it is dogma, even if they persist in the use of the word probably.

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      I meant where it specifically came from; the country of origin is not good enough. And who, by name, specifically made it. The point being that the unknowable is all around us, even in the everyday.

      In the above example we’re talking about circumstantial evidence vs. personal recollection. I think those would be perfectly debatable.

      The problem with dogma is it’s not me saying that the t-shirt came from China, but some other guy who says that God told him it was made in China AND everyone should also wear red t-shirts because one was mentioned once in this message that God gave him. Then when I try to tell him that a red t-shirt is just a red t-shirt, he calls me a heretic, chucks me out of the group/puts me in an iron maiden/lops off my head.

      Reply
      1. Marco

        My point is. Why can’t scientists say that we don’t know where the shirt came from, and any probability calculations depend on how much weight we put on various bits of circumstantial evidence. It’s possible that one person can know exactly where it came from. He will never get a fair hearing to overturn the consensus unless he has proof, especially if there is a thought he might profit from the possibility.

        Reply
  7. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    …we can’t get there from here, but we can look down the various paths that disappear in the right direction and see which of them at least have a shot of taking us where we want to go.

    We can’t get there from here means we can’t get there from here. No matter how far we go along any path disappearing in any direction, none of them have any chance of taking us where we want to go. We can’t get there. That’s what I mean by ‘we can’t get there from here’. We *can’t* get there from here.

    But to say the answer is God is to finish those conversations.

    And it may start a much more interesting set of conversations. 😉

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      “We can’t get there from here means we can’t get there from here. No matter how far we go along any path disappearing in any direction, none of them have any chance of taking us where we want to go. We can’t get there. That’s what I mean by ‘we can’t get there from here’. We *can’t* get there from here.”

      And I *agreed* with you.

      “And it may start a much more interesting set of conversations. ;)”

      Not about the point in question though. Why did God do it? We can never know His mind. When did he do it? God is beyond time, so who knows. Where did he do it…etc…? As above.
      As I said, it’s a good thing some people decided not to settle for those answers.

      Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      Pardon my quibble about understanding your meaning but, “We can’t get there from here” implies that the destination is unreachable, not that the fruitless journey can’t be begun. So I would say it’s more like:

      “There is no unicorn in this box of cornflakes.”

      “I agree, but let’s open the box anyway and see what is in there. It may contain a map to another box of unicorn-less cereal that we’ve never heard of. Or it may not. Who knows.”

      Reply
      1. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

        These pesky unicorns are getting in the way, I think.

        Do you agree that the ultimate nature of whatever thing that exists because it does, and for no other reason, *cannot* be determined by us? That’s what I mean by ‘we can’t get there from here’.

        Reply
  8. winstoninabox Post author

    “My point is. Why can’t scientists say that we don’t know where the shirt came from, and any probability calculations depend on how much weight we put on various bits of circumstantial evidence. It’s possible that one person can know exactly where it came from. He will never get a fair hearing to overturn the consensus unless he has proof, especially if there is a thought he might profit from the possibility.”

    This sounds like an extremely unusual occurrence in science… After all, how did this person reach their conclusion without any evidence to base it on? There’s no chain of reasoning that could be supplied? It sounds like a personal opinion to me. And even those can be debated.

    Reply
    1. Marco

      I guess I am seeing it right now in the debate about the origin of comets. Specifically about the origin of the shape. It just so happens that me and Andrew C Cooper have noticed incontrovertible evidence that the comet has stretched due to high rotation, rather than the formation theories that are going around. We are astounded about how long it is taking for the scientists of the Rosetta mission to even consider the theory as an option.

      Reply
      1. Marco

        I am just imagining if the evidence wasn’t quite incontrovertible, we would persist in theories that are wholly inadequate to describe comet origins.

        Reply
      2. winstoninabox Post author

        I’m sorry, but I know nothing of comet origins, so it is way beyond my scope to even try to discuss them in any detail. But I do wonder why incontrovertible evidence is controvertible. It’s not like there’s the typical glittering lures of money, power or prestige at stake in the high-flying world of comet scientists which would make them shun powerful evidence.

        Reply
      3. Marco

        Yes. I really do wonder why cometary scientists aren’t bustling to test new evidence against different theories.
        Don’t feel bad about not knowing anything about cometary origins, cometary experts don’t know anything about cometary origins. This is why they shun powerful evidence- it is hiding in plain sight. It doesn’t fit into preconceived ideas of what can and can’t happen.
        Essentially the evidence is matches in the “head” of the comet indicating that parts of it were pressed against the “body” , and that it has stretched apart into its shape due to rotational accelerations. Like with fingerprint matching or car tyre matching, the number of matching points is important, and coincidental match needs to be ruled out statistically. We have worked out that no matter how you arrange the statistical premises, the match is certain not to be coincidental. We are not in a position to demonstrate this any more clearly than is set out in the scute1133.wordpress blog, but any mission scientist that checks it is likely to get the lions share of the kudos. The amazing thing is that once we were clear about the mechanism, the same mechanism easily explains many other morphological mysteries that has sofar stumped the mission scientists.

        Reply
  9. winstoninabox Post author

    “Do you agree that the ultimate nature of whatever thing that exists because it does, and for no other reason, *cannot* be determined by us? That’s what I mean by ‘we can’t get there from here’.”

    Didn’t we do this some time ago, and I said “sure” if you agreed to something I said which was something like signing over 10% of profits from your first book… And then Marco said I’d never hear the end of it now that I’d given an inch?

    Or could be I’m having hallucinations ’cause I ate a bad unicorn.

    Reply
    1. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

      Yeah, I think you’re right. My people will get in touch with your people and draw up the contract.

      The next question is (see, Marco was right), given that we can’t determine the nature of ultimate self-existent reality, how should we decide between competing non-falsifiable hypotheses about the nature of that self-existent reality?

      Time to fry up some Einhornwurst for breakfast…

      Reply
      1. winstoninabox Post author

        “The next question is (see, Marco was right), given that we can’t determine the nature of ultimate self-existent reality, how should we decide between competing non-falsifiable hypotheses about the nature of that self-existent reality?”

        I think it’s important not to put the cart before the horse. It doesn’t matter that here and now we ultimately don’t know that one way is the correct way. We choose the way the has the best evidence and keep going with that. Yes, we may be wrong, but otherwise we’re just sitting in the corner with out thumbs in our mouths worrying about what we can’t change.

        So for me a naturalistic viewpoint is the only way to go at the moment, and a moment may turn out to be until the end of time. For any other viewpoint to supplant that it would have to come up with reasons why it is better, and not just reasons why naturalism might be found wrong.

        Reply
  10. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    I would define ‘naturalistic’ to mean, ‘dependent on factors within the univerise’, the very things we have just agreed (I think) cannot lead us to an understanding of the ultimate nature of self-existent reality. So what, exactly, makes you want to duck this clear agnostic conclusion and make the dogmatic pronouncement ‘there is no God’?

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      As you already agree, there’s no way to get there from here. So however you come to your conclusion it’s not gonna guarantee you of the right answer. There is a God requires one to abandon the very system that is used for every other decision; weighing the evidence.
      Being agnostic is certainly possible, but for me if the noun ‘God’ is replaced in the question ‘Is there a ~?’ with something less divine like ‘fairies’ then few would answer in the affirmative. Rather than make a special case I prefer to be consistent, but I can certainly understand that that may not be palatable for most.

      Reply
  11. winstoninabox Post author

    “‘God’ is not an arbitrary noun that can be replaced with ‘fariries’.”

    If you’re saying that our stupid and blunt human language cannot hope to encapsulate “God”, or that mere words are rendered meaningless in even beginning to talk about “God” in such a descriptive way, then I’ve no hesitation to say that I understand that that is your opinion and leave it at that.

    “What in it is so logically indefensible that it merits being rejected dogmatically without evidence?”

    What is so logically defensible about God the it merits dogmatically accepting it without evidence?

    If we’re continuing beyond here then we need to agree that language is capable of having this discussion. You’re speaking so warmly because you’re confusing the belief with the reasons for the belief. If you believe God is real, then that is your own personal decision and I’m not going to argue about that. But if you are telling me that God is real, then that is a discussion which is the same as whether zebras, yetis and faeries are real, and just as you would base any other claim for reality, it is one of evidence. No evidence, no thing.

    Every piece of evidence I’ve ever seen for God also supports a naturalistic explanation. As everything we’ve ever learned also has a naturalistic explanation then I’m confident that the things which are yet unknown will also have naturalistic explanations. I may be proven wrong, but with here-and-now me, that’s okay. Yes, it’s a belief. But it’s a belief born out by the totality of scientific knowledge. As I said, it’s also a belief which I understand is not palatable to most.

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  12. Chris Fellows (@cfellows65536)

    I really wish you would answer the question. What, in the hypothesis I outline in the link, is so logically indefensible that you can dogmatically assert it is not true?

    The universe does not have a naturalistic explanation. I thought we had agreed on that.

    Now, I’ll set a good example by answering your question- What is so logically defensible about God the it merits dogmatically accepting it without evidence? Where there is no evidence on way or another for a proposition, we should select whatever proposition has the most utility: the most useful one, for ourselves and/or for society as a whole. I am strongly attached to the concept of absolute morality. Without this concept, I would go insane. I feel, furthermore, that without this concept, societies go collectively insane, with results like we saw in much of the 20th century. While I am attached much more strongly to the concept of absolute morality than to the concept of God (as defined in that link), I find it easier to imagine absolute morality in the presence than in the absence of God. Thus I feel that the God hypothesis is a useful one, both for myself and for society as a whole. I am not concerned with convincing you that it is true, only that it is perfectly reasonable for other people to act as if it were true, and I would really like to know your reasons for rejecting it dogmatically, instead of doing the rational thing when confronted by an absence of evidence and no extra-evidential motivations, which would be to identify as an agnostic.

    Reply
    1. winstoninabox Post author

      “The universe does not have a naturalistic explanation. I thought we had agreed on that.”

      No, we agreed on ‘ultimate nature of’. I believe that doesn’t stop us going with naturalistic explanations for as far as we can go, knowing that ultimately we won’t know it all. If you want to fill in the gap that remains with God, be my guest.

      God, being both beyond our observation himself, and anything being unprovable as to being done by him, make him not a candidate for an explanation.

      Reply
    1. Marco

      Regarding where you said”You answered my specific and detailed response to your assertion that natural selection on random variations was insufficient with the bald statement that you knew you were right. You can do better than that.”

      I am not asserting that natural selection on random variations is not sufficient. I am stating that there is no causal link that can demonstrate this, and that also, it hasn’t been ruled out as an impossibility. I am asserting that the dogma is not appropriately “science” at all, but a statement of faith (by a consensus of scientists at a certain point in time) which is masquerading as something approaching virtual scientific fact proven past 99.9% certainty.

      Reply
    2. Marco

      I’m still not clear why it is the responsibility of “alternatives” to standard evolutionary thought to “make a case” about a *specific* alternative. I do not have a case to answer. Standard evolutionary thought is nowhere near proven, and it cannot even be proved “not impossible”. This place in the idea space of evolution should be an unwritten book screaming for new ideas to be played with every time we get unexpected data or imaginative ideas. Not a closed book since Darwin’s time.

      Reply

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