Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Jimmy Akin gets lots right, some wrong

Can Faith and Reason Coexist? w/ Jimmy Akin
Matt Fradd | 27.V.2020

With my comments, in chronological order and numbered as to themes:

Faith may involve continuing to believe contrary to what for the moment seems to be good evidence.

Not all come into that situation, and it should ideally get cleared up by getting the evidence straightened out, but the case exists and it is featured as a recurring one in "Miracles" at the very end. Especially for beginners. (C. S. Lewis was no Catholic, but I think a moral theologian would also argue for instance you need to believe the Catholic truth that wine is innocent even when an AA club is telling you otherwise - I'd add not to join any AA clubs, btw).

2:01 "what you want is the evidence" - even as one's pre-Christian habits or habits taken over from non-Christian friends would distort what it should look like and how it looks to you right now? See example of a Catholic joining AA:ers, which alas happens (St Eustache in Paris hosts AA meetings certain evenings).

2:48 Jimmy, there is hope for you! Tell me when you converted to literal belief in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah!

3:16 I believe in miasma, they are what pestilence masks blocked out so physicians visiting plague patients didn't get all bubonic themselves... I believe in earth element being influenced by Mars for iron and Venus for attraction qualities, that's how Marco Polo's compass imported from China worked ... "blague à part" : electricity is a proven phenomenon, but electrons are to my mind a bit too specific a cause to be proven by it. A bit like deducing from the five ways of St. Thomas that God would die on a Cross and be named Jesus.

3:25 I do enough about the experiments to know that electrons as particles are deduced from cloud chambers. I also know I find the reasoning between the cloud chamber experiment, which I used to know details of, and that electrons are particles when in electron shells around a nucleus is not convincing. The evidence of chemistry and valencies, and molecule structures can be seen by electronic microscopy, suggest very clearly that the charges classed as negative are real, and quantified in discrete quantities, and layered into shells with different charge numbers for completion, the best I could do is Thomas Bradwardine who argued that if one aspect of reality is quantum, or atomic as they would have said, so are all, so if charges are quantum, on that idea, presumably so are what carries these as a quality. Interestingly, he argued against quantum and for Aristotelic continuum. The mere fact that electricity exists is neither sufficient to disprove him on that nor to show one needs to trust the experts. There is no general moral obligation to have a stance on what electricity is, as there is on believing the Blessed Trinity, once one knows how God in the Flesh revealed it.

3:29 "who do understand these things" - sufficient to provide electricity does not imply sufficient to analyse it correctly as to essence - "and can prove them" - within their charmed circle, as long as scholastics extend to them the favour St. Thomas did to geometricians about sum of angles (but when he said it was stupid not to believe them, he had presumably already seen a proof).

Proving a thing oneself in detail may not be necessary to believe a thing, but having a good idea about how the details should go, by sketching out a general proof, is normally a requirement for having any opinion.

5:28 Excellent point about blind man holding up a number of fingers to prove sight exists in others ...

5:56 One point. It seems Karl May was born blind and gained sight by an eye operation - he actually did experience colour visions when people told him, especially the tales of his granny, before he could see. A bit like you can imagine a blue object that's not present if you close your eyes.

6:35 One moment, just for the fun of being a bit paranoid ... is there anyone pretending to test me if I am a prophet with supernatural awareness? I'm not, I'm a scholastic, but to some non-Catholics that looks at first like "prophet or fool" and then "fool" starts to edge out when I'm coherent. As a Catholic, you shouldn't believe those people. But obviously, such a test cannot be why you usually don't bother to answer my points, that would be ... "zu anmassend" as they say in German (forgot the English right now).

6:46 Above the sky would in fact be literally true, not of God's omnipresence, but of where He receives adoration from angels and from souls of saints and above all from the Blessed Virgin, who is there BODY AND soul. (You are aware bodies exist in space, right?)

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