Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How the Grinch could steal the election

Stalin once said that it is not those who vote that decide the election, but those who count the votes. This statement is a testimony to the power of vote fraud to overthrow the will of the people in a corrupt system. Tactics like "stuffing the ballot box," spurious counting by biased poll workers, and dead people casting their vote has been going on for a long time. I would not be surprised if my dead dad (1924-1981) cast "his" vote for Obama in Illinois in the last Presidential election.

The introduction of advanced technology into the electoral process, however, may prove to be a major game changer. It is now possible for the hacker to steal the election. Elections are nowadays settled in battleground state where the margin of victory is 1-2%. This low margin of victory makes good cover for electronic hacks. There is evidence that such hacks are indeed taking place. There are reports that in Illinois that voting machines were switching Republican votes to Democrat.  There are other reports that in North Carolina that voting machines were switching Democrat votes to Republican.

I have written a demo program that steals an election and show the results in the iframe below and the source code with explanatory notes below the iframe. These results change every time the page is reloaded. This program is strictly  demo that does not run on any actual machine that counts votes in any elections; this is NOT intended to be used in that way either, This program is for educational purposes only!!! There is good reason to believe, however, that similar code may live on these machines.

// The following function switches about 5% of all non-Democrat votes
function castVote($party)
   if ($party != "Democrat")
      // the following insure that 5% of all non-Democrat votes at random
      // are switched to Democrat. The rest are left alone. All Democrat
      // votes are left alone
      $b = mt_rand(0,100); // The random function generates a number such that the following line will switch 5% of the non-Democrat
      //                      vote to democrat
      if ($b <= 5) $party = "Democrat"; // This line of code steals the election!!!!
  return $party; // Democrat votes are passed untouched

$i = 1; //counter
// simulates an election with a million votes
While ($i <= 1000000)
 // in real election, this would be receiving input, but
 // for the purpose of this demo a random function will simulate
 // an election where 51.75% select the Republican candidate in the voting
 // booth
 $a = mt_rand(0,10000);

 if ($a <= 5175)
    $selectedVote = "Republican";
    $Republican  = $Republican + 1; //tracks how many Republicans were actually selected
if ($a > 5175)
    $selectedVote = "Democrat";
    $Democrat = $Democrat + 1; //tracks how many Democrats were actually selected
 $v = castVote($selectedVote); // passes vote to function that switches 5% of all non-Democrat votes

 // The following lines count the adjusted vote
 if ($v == "Republican") $pseudoRepublican = $pseudoRepublican + 1;
 if ($v == "Democrat") $pseudoDemocrat = $pseudoDemocrat + 1;
$i = $i + 1; // adds one vote to the overall counter

//Publishes result that are in the iframe
echo 'The results are in!!!
echo 'Republican votes selected by voters: ' . $Republican.'
echo 'Democrat votes selected by voters: ' . $Democrat.'
echo 'This program switched ';
echo  $Republican - $pseudoRepublican;
echo ' Republican votes to Democrat
if ($pseudoRepublican < $pseudoDemocrat && $Republican > $Democrat) echo 'A hacker just stole the election!!! Democrats win!!!
if ($pseudoRepublican < $pseudoDemocrat && $Republican < $Democrat) echo 'Democrats won any way!!!
if ($pseudoRepublican > $pseudoDemocrat && $Republican > $Democrat) echo 'The Republicans survived the cheat!!!
echo 'Republicans: ' . $pseudoRepublican . '
' . "Democrats: " . $pseudoDemocrat;

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is religion and religious extremism a threat to world peace, or is it totalitarianism?

In this day and age, it is vogue to demonize religion. This is fueled by the fact that religion is being increasingly used to justify violent and extreme actions on a global scale. There are two common but false answers that have been given: Religion is the root of all war and religious extremism is the root of all war.

 New Atheists like Richard Dawkins like to paint religion as the root of all evil and the cause of all wars. This, however, is demonstrably false. Many religions are, in fact, pacifist in their teaching and practice. Groups like the Amish, Quakers, and Mennonites reject all violence - even self-defense.

The subject of the relationship between religion and violence has made its way into conversations among the globalist elites. The emerging consensus there is a little bit different. The United Nations, as I point out in Mystery Babylon Rising, has a religious agenda, so they do not condemn all religion. Their demon is "religious extremism." The means through which they address this issue is through an initiative called the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. The emerging answer to to create an entity - a one-world church - to marginalize extremists. This entity would exercise authority over all religion and persecute those who refuse to submit to their agenda.

However, This post is not about the coming one-world church. I simply bring this up show that it is being proposed by some as a response to a false answer concerning the relationship of religion to war. And it is a false answer that doesn't work too well either. Amish Quakers, Shakers and Mennonites would be considered extreme by the standards of most people. These groups have extreme views against violence; they won't even defend themselves or their families with violence if some one came out to kill them.

Totalitarianism Cause of Violence
If religiosity and extremism are not sufficient to explain religiously oriented violence, what is the explanation? The root of violence is the tethering of an ideology to the use of force. Only those ideologies that advocate the use of force to compel others to submit can be a threat. This is why Fundamentalist Baptists, while extremely religious and extreme in their religion, are not a threat. They are isolationists who simply want to be left to practice their religion without interference. This tethering of ideology to the use of force is not limited to ideologies that are traditionally considered religious. Marxism is officially atheist, but has murdered over 100 million people in a scheme to force Communism down their throats.

Any ideology that is totalitarian and requires or encourages its adherents to use physical force can be a threat. The threat is the same whether the force is carried out through terrorism or by state-sanctioned force. The state-sanctioned variety is a lot more dangerous than rogue terrorists. There are, in fact,  two elements that make totalitarian ideologies dangerous: they all have an eschatology and they all conscript their adherents to use or support the use of force to compel obedience by others to the eschatological vision.

All totalitarian ideologies have an eschatology - this includes secular ideologies. While secular ideologies lack elements in their eschatologies that are present in traditionally religious eschatologies; both have the commonality of having a vision of what constitutes the best possible world, and both have faith that history is headed - or should be headed - towards this best possible world. There are four basic totalitarian and holistic eschatologies in the world today. Three of these pose a danger because they conscript their adherents to use or support the use of force by human means. This is also connected to the central idea of humanism - it is up to man makes his own paradise.  Comparing various eschatologies:

 Humanistic Eschatologies that threaten world peace
Secular Fundamentalism ( man defines and make his own paradise)
  1. Man creates heaven on earth by using science and technology to create a New World Order
  2. With science and technology, man can fake being god - transhumanism
"Pantheistic Fundamentalism" (god in nature defines paradise; man must enable god to actualize himself and make the paradise happen.
  1. God works as a naturalistic cosmic principle in evolution and history, leading to a naturally emergent New World Order.
  2. The divine principle works through "world-historical" individuals(Hegel) to bring forth a New World Order.
Islamic Fundamentalism (god commands paradise to be brought forth, but it is up to man to produce it)
  1. Allah commands Muslims to "slay the infidel."
  2. Muslims have the burden to bring forth Islamic paradise, as their theology is almost entirely "works-based."
Contrast this with Christian eschatology, which is God-centered:
Christian eschatology does not depend on human works. God produces the paradise, often using the powerless and operating counter-culturally. The people of God are not a threat to world-peace. Some might consider God to be a threat. Keep in mind that this is His world to run. He has been gracious to mankind and given us abundant freedom - freedom to enter into a love relationship with Him. This is why He has tolerated sin for so long; however, justice demands an end to all evil at some point - the process of annihilating all evil is going to be messy. Here are the features of God's action to bring about his New World Order
  1. God's New World Order is produced by God's action via supernatural intervention in the form of judgments against the evil systems of man.
  2. The people of God are largely stripped of any political, economic, and social power, being pushed to the brink of becoming victims of a genocide perpetrated by a global consensus.
  3. The involvement of the people of God in the final conflict involves spiritual weapons rather than physical. As God's people pray to Him, praise Him, and proclaim His Word; judgments fall upon the earth.
  4. The conflict is ended by Christ personally returning to the earth, wiping out the armies of His enemies, and setting up His Throne in Jerusalem- from which everlasting peace will flow.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Equipping the Saints Week 51/ Hermeneutics Week 09: Informal Fallacies

Informal fallacies are fallacies that relate to the meaning, rather than the form of, words and propositions in an argument. Fallacies can arise over misinterpretations due to ambiguity or vagueness in language, the presence in an argument of propositions irrelevant to the meaning, or unreasonable inductive inferences.

Below is brief description of the major informal fallacies.1 This list is not a comprehensive list, but includes a few of the most common fallacies that have manifested as hermeneutical mistakes in commentaries of various interpreters.

Begging the question occurs when a conclusion is simply assumed in the premises. Usually begging the question assuming a conclusion without attempting to support it through arguments, but sometimes it can be used as circular reasoning.

Cherry picking occurs when an interpreter selectively picks only data that is useful as evidence for a particular point of view. This is a frequent problem in Biblical hermeneutics. People will cherry-pick proof-texts and string them together to form doctrine without considering the broader context or other passages to get a more complete view of Scriptural teaching.

Example 1: One sect teaches that 1 John 3:9 teaches that Christians cannot sin because they have cherry-picked the text that says "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Other sects insist that we will always have sin in our lives while we are on the earth because of 1 John 1:8 that says " If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. " different sect draw contradictory conclusions by cherry-picking two clauses that are not only in the same book, but also in the same context. 1 John, when seen in context, asserts that the born experience transforms human nature by planting the Word of God as spiritual DNA. The action of the Word of God in the life of the believer will progressively transform that believer from one who  sins to one who does righteousness.

Cherry-picking is also common in anti-Christian polemics. Anti-Christians will pull verse out of context to create a picture far removed from the picture that was intended by God and the human authors of the Bible. These haters would cherry-pick difficult passages from  have you believe that Moses is a genocide-loving, pro-slavery fascist. They avoid the many other Scriptures that extol the sanctity of human life, particularly the fact that the unequivocal condemnation  of child sacrifice in the Mosaic law  was unprecedented for any ancient near eastern nation of that era. The pagan world in which God revealed Himself was quite inhumane and particularly hostile to women and children, and that it was the influence of Judeo-Christian morality that enlightened the world to the heinous nature of practices like slavery and genocide that are today universally condemned.

A complex question is a question that has two or more  components that present a concealed dilemma. Complex questions are worded such that any yes or no answer involves implying something that is false or scandalous.  For example, any yes or no answer to  the question "have you stopped beating your spouse" implies that the person interrogated has beaten their spouse. If the implication has already been established, then the complex question is valid as a follow up question; otherwise, it is a fallacy. Unless spouse abuse has already been factually established, this question would be fallacious.

A loaded question is a complex question that contains emotionally loaded language The question "Do you support marriage equality or the continuation of bigotry" is a loaded question. It assumes that the only possibilities are support for same-sex marriage or bigotry - that there is no possibility of reasonable disagreement. Here I Blog shows a real world example of this:
" Fallacy of Complex Question – is loaded with assumption so the opponent is guilty no matter the answer.

"Again, from the Anderson – Morgan debate. At about 2:40 Morgan begins asking Anderson about prisoners’ rights to marry asking, “You would rather defend a prisoner’s right to get married than you would Suze Orman’s right to get married to her partner?”

"If Anderson simply answers “no” then it appears he is not in favor of prisoners marrying. If he simply says “yes” then Morgan has not only been allowed to re-define the topic again, but it seems as though Anderson wants greater rights for convicted criminals than for Orman and all homosexuals."

Fallacies of distribution (composition -  division) are fallacies that wrongly interpret the relationship between the whole or collective of a class and the particular members that make up that class. Such fallacies can be fallacies of composition or division. Fallacies of composition are fallacies that make wrong inferences about the whole of something based upon known facts concerning some or every part of the whole. Fallacies of division are fallacies that make wrong inferences about some or every part of the whole based upon known facts concerning the whole of something.

Atheists commit the fallacy of composition when they argue that religion is the source of all wars, violence, and repressive behaviors. They cite the behavior of certain extreme groups, but commit the fallacy of composition by arguing that the attribute that lead these group to violence are attributes of religion in general. What applies to certain sects does not apply to every sect - or to the whole.

Rationalization, in both psychology and logic, involves making excuses. The informal fallacy of rationalization occurs when people resort to making an excessive number of ad hoc hypothesis to salvage a view that has many difficulties. An ad hoc hypothesis is an alternate explanation that is invoked and applied exclusively to plug up a hole in  a theory. Ad hoc hypotheses are not always fallacious; sometimes they can provide important modifications to a theory that make it workable. When done excessively, however, it can destroy the possibility of as coherent understanding of a topic - bringing instead an incoherent patchwork of ideas that just don't fit together.

Rationalization  occurs in Biblical hermeneutics when a doctrine is asserted is found to  run contrary to the plain meaning, and the interpreter re-interprets the passages that contradict the doctrine in way different from the plain sense. An occasional rationalization can be justified, because sometimes literary and textual considerations indicate that a passages is best interpreted in a fashion different than the plain sense. If one's doctrine requires them to constantly or excessively rationalize a large number of Scripture to make the Scripture fit the doctrine, then there is a big problem. Interpreting the plain sense is the default - and most of the time - best way to read the Scripture.

Rationalization is often employed alongside cherry-picking, particularly in defense of denominational "sacred cows." The sect will cherry-pick verses that support their sacred cow doctrinal point, and then explain away large number of Scriptures that contradict the doctrine. They employ any fallacy, whether it is a hermeneutical mistake or logical fallacy, to evade the plain application of the passage in refuting the pet doctrine. They may argue that the passage is allegorical, and interpret the allegory to fit the pet doctrine. They may deconstruct either the passage or a key word, interpreting in way that fits their pet doctrine rather than the context in which the passage is actually found.

Relative privation is a fallacy that argues that a point is unimportant because another may be perceived as  more important. It is often used in an attempt to dismiss the condemnation of one sin because another is not being adequately  addressed, being often tethered to accusations of hypocrisy. Those who would advocate that the Bible fails to condemn homosexuality will argue that those who condemn it fail to condemn adultery, charging them with hypocrisy. Their intent is to stop people from condemning homosexuality. This is fallacious, as the Biblical condemnation of hypocrisy was never intended to become a license to sin but a call to be consistently sin-free. When we find ourselves having inconsistent attitudes towards sin, we should continue to pursue a more consistent righteousness rather than justify sin. Since the Bible calls both homosexuality and adultery sinful, our moral teaching should be consistent with the Bible.

Correlative-based fallacies occur when errors are made in representing the number of logical possibilities in a given context. There are three type of correlative or correlation-based fallacies: Denying the correlative, Suppressing correlative, False dilemma.

Denying the correlative is attempting to insert a possibility that does not really exist. Suppressing the correlative involves defining the possibilities such that one or more are eliminated. The most common correlative fallacy is the false dilemma.

A false dilemma exist when it is asserted that there are only two logical possibilities when in fact there are other possibilities. The Jewish religious leaders sought to trap Jesus with a false dilemma in Matthew 22:15-22.  They asked him " Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? "  The dilemma they were trying to set up allowed only two possibilities: Be a traitor to the Law of God and give tribute to Caesar, or be a traitor to Caesar and reject tribute to Caesar. They thought they had Him trapped.

"Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.   16  And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.   17  Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?   18  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?   19  Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.   20  And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?   21  They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.   22  When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way." - Mat 22:15-22 
Jesus, however, saw through their scheme. He demonstrated that it was a false dilemma and grab the dilemma by the horns. In vs 19-20, He asks whose image is on the money. They answered it was Caesar. Jesus replied " Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. " Jesus pointed out that the Jewish leadership had, by their actions had entered into a social contract with Caesar. They used Caesar's money, Caesar's roads, and in less than a week they would use Caesar's police power and courts to crucify Christ, claiming that their only king was Caesar. They had entered into a social contract, or in Hebrew thought, taken a vow or promise of allegiance to Caesar. Jesus answer, then was one that was legal under both God's and Caesar's law.

Inductive fallacies include sampling bias, false analogy, slothful induction, hasty generalization, and "correlation proves causation."

False analogy is where an analogy is drawn on irrelevant grounds. For example, it is a false analogy to conclude that bizarre facial hair causes people to become ruthless dictators because there is no connection between attribute of one's facial hair to their political philosophy or moral character.
 Sampling bias occurs when the data observed in a sample is not representative of the whole population or class of objects. Sampling bias often occur in comparing statistics. For example, comparisons between the United States and many other developed countries on standardized test are faulty due to sampling bias; in the United states any high school student is eligible to take the SAT test, whereas in many other countries only the top students are allowed to sit for an SAT-comparable test. The test sample in these countries are not representative to the total student populations, but only the elite students, so it is unable to provide a valid comparison between the overall student populations between the United States and other developed countries

Hasty generalization occurs when a conclusion is drawn based on  insufficient  observations. Hasty generalizations fail because there is not enough information to know whether the observed sample is representative of the whole class. Hasty generalization occurs in the promotion of many ideas in the evolutionist movement, as we do not have an adequate basis of observation to know whether the observation sample is representative of extreme of space and time.

Slothful induction occurs where there is sufficient information to justify a conclusion, but no conclusion is drawn. Atheistic scientists commit slothful induction occurs in relation to the fine-tuning argument, which present strong evidence against a random universe but presents implications that are difficult for an atheistic or materialistic philosophy. Many scientists who are philosophic materialists have conjectured that the current universe is just one of an infinite number of universes in a multiverse. This theory, by its very nature, is untestable; it is a rationalization - the creation of an ad hoc hypothesis without any testability in order to salvage their viewpoint and avoid the strong inference that is suggested by the fine-tuning argument.

It is a fallacy to assert that mere correlation proves causation. Merely because things are similar or coincide does not imply a causal connection. For example, there is a strong correlation between the consumption of ice-cream and  the rise in juvenile crime rates. It would however be a fallacy to conclude that consumption of ice cream causes crime. Such an explanation is fallacious because  it provides no explanation of any mechanism adequate to account for causation. There is no mechanism to that connects causally ice-cream consumption to juvenile delinquency. There is, however, a mechanism that connects summer vacation via boredom to juvenile delinquency; and there is also  a mechanism that connects heat to ice cream consumption - both of which occur in the summer months.

Fallacies of correlation occur in evolutionary theory when similarities amongst fossils and genomes of various types of organisms. Mere similarity does not prove common descent, and scientists have not observed any mechanism adequate to account for the diversity of life. Evolutionary biologists have proposed  such mechanisms, but have not, and due to the nature of evolution likely never will, confirm the existence of these mechanisms.

Fallacies of Amphibology and Equivocation  are fallacies related to ambiguity in language. Amphiboly involves ambiguity in sentence structure and equivocation involves people shifting the meanings of words in the middle of a discourse.

This ambiguity of amphibology allows people to parse words in a very misleading way by exploiting the range of meanings possible in a given word or sentence structure. The greater the amphibology, the more wiggle room careless or dishonest interpreters have to focus on the range of meaning that is most convenient for their purposes.  It is even entirely possible to have war of definitions. The Bible calls this striving over words.

" If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;   4  He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,   5  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." - 1 Timothy  6:3-5 

The Bible strongly condemns this parsing of words, characterizing this  practice as "perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth (verse5)." God wants us to pursue truth in interpretation. We should specifically avoid informal fallacies in both Biblical interpretation and our broader thinking.

1 List of Fallacies, sect Informal Fallacies, Wikipedia

1What are Informal Fallacies?
2 What are three types of informal fallacies?
3 Which two-fallacy combination is the most common in Biblical hermeneutics?
4 Fill in the blank the fallacy
a (                            ) occurs when an interpreter selectively picks only data that is useful as evidence for a particular point of view.

b (                            ) occurs when a conclusion is simply assumed in the premises.

c A (                            ) is a question that has two or more  components that present a concealed dilemma. Complex questions are worded such that any yes or no answer involves implying something else  that is false or scandalous without actually establishing the implication. 

d A (                            ) is a complex question that contains emotionally loaded language.

e (                            ) are fallacies that wrongly interpret the relationship between the whole or collective of a class and the particular members that make up that class. Such fallacies can be fallacies of composition or division.

f  (                            ) are fallacies that make wrong inferences about the whole of something based upon known facts concerning some or every part of the whole.

g (                            ) are fallacies that make wrong inferences about some or every part of the whole based upon known facts concerning the whole of something.

h (                            )  occurs in Biblical hermeneutics when a doctrine is asserted is found to  run contrary to the plain meaning, and the interpreter re-interprets the passages that contradict the doctrine in way different from the plain sense in  order to salvage the doctrine.

i (                            ) is a fallacy that argues that a point is unimportant because another may be perceived as more important. It is often used in an attempt to dismiss the condemnation of one sin because another is not being adequately addressed.

j A (                            ) exists when it is asserted that there are only two logical possibilities when in fact there are other possibilities.

k (                            ) is where an analogy is drawn on irrelevant grounds.
 l (                            ) occurs when the data observed in a sample is not representative of the whole population or class of objects.

m  (                            ) occurs when a conclusion is drawn based on  insufficient  observations.

n (                            ) occurs where there is sufficient information to justify a conclusion, but no conclusion is drawn.

o The fallacy of (                            ) is the assumption that events or phenomena that are similar or coincide  imply a causal connection.

p (                            )  involves ambiguity in sentence structure

q (                            )  involves shifting the meanings of words in the middle of a discourse.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Equipping the Saints Week 52/ Hermeneutics Week 10: Formal Fallacies

Formal fallacies1 are fallacies that relate to the form of the argument or arrangement of the terms rather than their meaning. They are fallacies of the  form of the  arguments as represented in logical form. Logical form is a special way of representing an argument using precise language or mathematical symbolism. When argument from everyday language are rearranged into logical form, these can be represented mathematically by variables. a mathematical type logical argument can be made using these variables in place of everyday words. Error in the arrangement of these variables or their relationships to each other are called formal fallacies. Formal arguments include conditional and unconditional (categorical) arguments.

Hypothetical syllogisms - Conditional arguments
 A hypothetical syllogism is a conditional argument with two premises and a conclusion. The first premise is an if...then statement. The 'If' part is the antecedent, and the 'then' part is the consequent. The second premise is a confirmation or denial of either the antecedent or the consequent. There are four possible forms of this type of argument. The argument are structured like this:

If A, Then B
Either A or Not A or B or Not B depending on argument form
Either A or Not A or B or Not B

This argument form is common in the Scriptures. Of the four possible forms of this argument, two of the forms are valid and the other two are invalid.

Valid forms
The two valid forms are modus pollens - confirming the antecedent and modus tollens - denying the consequent.

Modus ponens or confirming the antecedent2 takes the form:
1.  If A, Then B
2.  A
Therefore B

In Scripture we see the modus pollens form in 1 John 1:9 " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. " It can be expressed this way.

1.  IF we confess our sins, THEN our sins are forgiven.
2.  We have confessed our sins
Therefore, our sins are forgiven. (paraphrase)

Modus Tollens or denying the consequent is an argument form where the second premise denies the 'then' part of the if..then statement. It  takes the form.

1.  If A, Then B
2.  Not B
Therefore Not A

In Scripture, we see the modus tollens form in 1 Corinthian 15
1.  If Christ is not raised, THEN Preaching and faith worthless, Christians still in sins, and apostles false witness.
2.  However, Preaching and faith with power (not worthless) & Christian freed from sin (not still in sins) & apostles true witnesses (not false witnesses )
Therefore Jesus is risen from the dead.

Invalid forms
There are two invalid forms. They are denying the antecedent and confirming the consequent. These involve that do not follow from the premises because there are other possible conditions.

Denying the antecedent occurs when you draw conclusions about the consequent (the then part) based on a denial of the antecedent. Denying the consequent takes this form.

1.  If A, Then B
2.  Not A
Therefore Not B

This fails because there are other conditions that may account for B besides A. Consider this example.

1.  If a student makes straight A's, THEN he will get a scholarship
2.  The student did not make straight A's
The student did not get a scholarship.

This conclusion fails because there may be other ways that a student might get a scholarship. Students get scholarships for financial need, musical and athletic ability, and a host of other reasons.

When some interpreters read 1 John 1:9, they draw the wrong inference. When they read that "IF we confess our sins, THEN  He will forgive our sins" this way.

1.  IF we confess our sins, THEN  He will forgive our sins.
2.  We have not confessed our sins
He has not forgiven our sins.

This fails because we are justified by faith. Instead of seeing confession as a promise of affirmative action by Our Lord and Savior, people turn it into a legalistic requirement by committing the fallacy of denying the antecedent. Instead of being a legalistic requirement, confession is a tool to exercise faith and release power from God.

The fallacy of affirming the consequent occurs when people draw conclusions about the antecedent (the if part) by affirming the consequent. Affirming the consequent takes the form.

1.  If A, Then B
2.  B
Therefore A

Because the consequent might be true for reasons other than the antecedent, this fork fails. A real world example of this form may look something like this.

1.  If a student makes straight A's, THEN he will get a scholarship
2.  The student got a scholarship
Therefore student made straight A's

Again, this fails because a student could have got the scholarship through other causes.

Disjunctive argument.
Disjunctive arguments are exclusive OR argument that show a contradictory relationship between two ideas. These two ideas are called disjuncts. This type of argument is extremely common in the Scripture.  It takes the following form


This argument form is used by Jesus  in  Matthew 6:24. It can be expressed this way.
Since " No man can serve two masters ; Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

he will serve God  OR he will serve mammon (money)
He serves God
Therefore he does not serve money.

This argument form has three invalid forms. He cannot deny both disjuncts, he cannot affirm both disjuncts, and he cannot deny and affirm the same disjunct.

Categorical Syllogisms
A categorical syllogism is an argument type that, when expressed in logical form, has exactly two premises followed by a conclusion. When expressed in logical form, these arguments have three terms. The validity of this type argument depends solely on the form of the argument; it is agnostic concerning the content of the argument. This argument form is not as common in the Scripture.2

There are four types of premises in a categorical syllogism. These types of statement are labeled A, E, I, and O type statements as defined in the square of opposition:
A type:  All A are B
E type:  No A are B
I type:   Some A are B
O type: Some A are not B

Categorical syllogisms can be evaluated by using three rules of inference. The first two rules relate to  whether a term is distributed to all members of the class designated by that term, and the third relates to whether a conclusion affirm or denies a truth.

Distribution refers to universal application. For example, in the statement 'All men are mortal,' 'men' is distributed because it applies to each and every man. 'Mortal' is not distributed as the statement does not apply to every mortal. There may be mortals who are not men. There are three ways to determine if a term id distributed.
1.  Every term preceded by the word 'All' is distributed
2.  Every term preceded by the word 'Not' is distributed.
3.  In very sentence in which the subject is preceded by the word 'No,' both the subject and predicate are distributed

Here are the two rules on distribution:

The middle term must be distributed. It is impossible to deduce any link between the other two terms if the statement that contain the middle term do not absolutely apply to every member of the class referenced by the middle term.

If a term is distributed in the conclusion, it must be distributed in one of the premises. If there are no statements that absolutely apply to all members of a class in the premises, then it is impossible to deduce an absolutely applicable statement in the conclusion.

The third rule relates to how statement affirm or negate. Affirmation occurs in statements  containing 'all' and 'some.' Negation occurs in statements containing 'no' and 'not.'

In order to draw any conclusions at least one statement must be affirmative, and the sign value of the conclusion must be a valid  product of the multiplied sign values of the premises. Two affirmative statement in the premises must produce an affirmative conclusion (think +1 * +1 = +1). An affirmative and a negative statement (think -1 * +1 = -1) produce a negative conclusion. Two negative statements produce no conclusion, as it denies a link between the statements in the premises.


1 "Formal Fallacy", The Fallacy Files
2 The categorical syllogism, at least in its formal application, is extremely uncommon in the Scripture. As a formal application, it is primarily connected to Aristotelian logic. It is included for completeness, but I will not be asking questions on this section. Of the 64 possible forms, only a few appear in Scripture. This one is so obviously valid that little formal training in logic is needed to understand its validity

Week 52 Questions
1 What are formal fallacies?
2 What is logical form?
3 What are two main types of arguments?
4 What is a conditional argument?
5 What are the two valid conditional argument forms?
6 What are the two invalid conditional argument forms?
7 What is a disjunctive syllogism?
8 What are the two valid disjunctive syllogisms.
9 What are three  invalid disjunctive syllogisms.

Equipping the Saints Week 53/ Hermeneutics Week 11: Using Lexical and reference tools

Sometimes in the course of Biblical study, it is necessary for contemporary people to consult various reference works. This is because the modern audience is far removed culturally and linguistically (language orientation) from the original audiences. Various types of reference works have been produced to help bridge this gap.

Because these works do not carry canonical authority that is found in the Scripture, the use of these poses a challenge to interpretation. I shall list various types of reference work, starting from the least authoritative to the most authoritative.

Secular Knowledge Base
The least authoritative references are works from secular academic disciplines. While these works carry great authority in the respective secular disciplines; they are not authoritative for Bible interpretation, neither do they carry as high an authority as the Bible as the arbiter of truth.

Sometimes knowledge from secular disciplines can be helpful in interpretation. When the debate started over the relationship between predestination and freewill amongst the early Calvinists and Arminians, the prevailing cosmology or meta-narrative understood eternity as an infinite distance on a timeline and inside a single timeline. In this view, the foreknowledge of God is often described as God “looking down the corridor of time.” If God lives within time and He can only look down the corridor of time to know a singular future, then foreknowledge certainly means fore-ordination – and no possibility of free will. Arminians found the moral implications of no free will unacceptable and rejected this conclusion. The Medieval cosmology left Calvinists and Arminians stuck in their divide.

Modern developments in cosmology in both philosophy and science, however, do not view time as not a single line, but as having an almost infinite number of branches. Each branch represents a possible choice. Eternity is understood as being both outside of time and enveloping time. This cosmology allows for free choices. The time-stream is like an open book or Web page hypertext to God. God can click anywhere He wants on the time-stream. In this cosmology, predestination is simply a matter of God drawing a time line through whatever combination of choices suits His purposes.

While such works can be helpful in Bible interpretation, the interpreter must be careful not to impose secular perspectives that are alien to both the Christian worldview and the text upon the text. This frequently happen in interpreting Genesis 1-2. Many interpreters feel pressure to make their interpretation fit the prevailing evolutionary narrative and read secular so-called science into the narrative.

Commentaries can be extremely useful in gaining the perspective of others. Seeing how others view the Scriptures can help us avoid skewing interpretation to fit selfish biases; this helps to avoid the fallacy of confirmation bias where the interpreter cherry picks facts that confirm his own biases.

Commentaries, however, carry low authority precisely they are largely perspective and opinion oriented. They tend to be heavy on opinion. While many commentaries use good hermeneutics and good exegesis, they are the [usually?] informed opinions of human beings.  The authority of these commentaries is far less than that of Scripture.

Historical narrative
History narrative can be a good source of information about historical persons, trends, and events contemporary to persons and events found in the Biblical narrative. Reading such history can fill in gaps in our knowledge of historical events portrayed in the Biblical narrative.

However, history book suffers in they usually presented as a narrative. As such both the facts chosen and how they are used to construct the story can be a reflection of the biases of the historian presenting the narrative. History books also suffer from the limitations of the methods of historical inquiry. History does not present itself as a well constructed narrative. Historians must piece together numerous artifacts and manuscripts. This includes making judgments about the authenticity of evidence discovered. Not every artifacts and manuscript is what it purports to be. While some highly intelligent minds have constructed for us some very good histories, professional historians are by no means infallible; their authority is inferior to that of Scripture.

Historical references
Historical references generally have somewhat more authority than historical narrative because the narrative, with its biases, has been filtered out. Historical references are focused more concisely on factual information and less on how it is woven into narrative. Such references are good sources for researching the cultural context of a given historical situation.

Historical references also suffer from the limitations on the historical method. As such, while historical references carry greater authority than historical narrative, their authority is less than that of Scripture.

Lexicons, concordances, and Bible dictionaries
These are the most authoritative extra-Biblical resources. These tools allow the interpreter to dig deeper into the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic words that are in the original texts. The resources will list standard definitions of words, sometimes  including with them definitions examples of usage.

1 Why is it sometimes necessary to use reference works?
2  What are some reference works?
3 Why are works in the secular knowledge base particularly risky?
4 What is the risk of using works from secular knowledge base, commentaries, and  historical narrative?
5 What is the most reliable  extra-Biblical reference source?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Equipping the Saints Week 54/ Hermeneutics Week 12: Preservation of the Message

Last week/chapter, I wrote that Lexicographical - dictionary resources are the most authoritative extra-Biblical resources. While these resources are very reliable, they are not inspired. This raises the question of how God preserved his Message.

Can God preserve His message using human language even if our knowledge of that language is less than infallible? The answer is absolutely yes. To understand why the limitations of human language do not limit God, we should understand how God address these epistemological limits to human knowledge. This issue is addressed in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12, which describes current limits of human epistemology.

"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.   10  But when that which is perfect [complete]is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.   11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.   12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
- 1 Corinthians  13:9-12 

This passage says that we have partial knowledge of the things of God. This makes sense, as God is infinite and humans are finite. Humanity, in the current mortal flesh, cannot grasp exhaustively the knowledge of God in both its breadth and depth. Communication between an infinite person and finite persons created in the image of the infinite person is possible because the finite person has the same categories as the Infinite Person. The finite person, however, has neither the storage capacity and bandwidth to store all information, nor the infallibility to guarantee integrity of the data; The Infinite Person is not only able to do those things, but is able to compensate for the weaknesses of the finite person in the communication process. Communication between the Infinite Person and the finite person involves a tradeoff: Completeness comes at the price of expressiveness and precision. Precise expressiveness comes at the price of completeness.

God chose completeness over precision at the cost of some ambiguity.  1 Corinthians 13:12 says that "we see through a glass, darkly." This dark glass Paul is referring to was a description of ancient mirrors. They lack the perfect and precise reflectivity of modern mirrors. Ancient mirrors were basically polished brass. These mirrors would do a good job of presenting a complete or whole image, but the image would be fuzzy, lacking precise expression of details. Images produced by these mirrors provided good knowledge of the big picture but were weak on some of the details. 

God compensates for ambiguity at the level of microscopic or nano-scopic detail NY weaving the fullness of His Message into the Big Picture. Throughout these Bible studies, both narrative and points of doctrine have been supported NY multiple passages in context and multiple contexts that are woven together in one meta-narrative. God has embedded abundant redundancy into his word to insure that his message gets through.  Uncertainties at a microscopic level concerning the integrity  of a particular text or its meaning do not create uncertainty in the larger narrative anymore than a microscopic mole can defile a portrait. 

Further proof that uncertainties in small scales do not create uncertainty in larger scales can be found in physics and mathematics. In physics, this principle is called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle; and in mathematics, it is called Godel's Completeness and his two Incompleteness Theorems.  These principles prove the epistemology that Paul laid out in 1 Corinthians 13:12 under inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
The Heisenberg Principle states that it is impossible to measure with high precision both the position and momentum of particles. It is generally regarded by physicist as, not merely an uncertainty of measurements, but an actual uncertainty in the physical universe. Hyper Lab's description assert that " Even with perfect instruments and technique, the uncertainty is inherent in the nature of things. "  Below is the following definition from HyperPhysics Lab at Georgia State University. 1

"The position and momentum of a particle cannot be simultaneously measured with arbitrarily high precision. There is a minimum for the product of the uncertainties of these two measurements. There is likewise a minimum for the product of the uncertainties of the energy and time.
Δx Δp  >  h/2
ΔE ΔT > h/2

"This is not a statement about the inaccuracy of measurement instruments, nor a reflection on the quality of experimental methods; it arises from the wave properties inherent in the quantum mechanical description of nature. Even with perfect instruments and technique, the uncertainty is inherent in the nature of things."

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle  does not destroy certainty on the larger level. It is only at the subatomic level that uncertainty exists. We can be certain of the big picture view of things, but when we pursue precision at the subatomic level we lose some certainty. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle suggests that the universe is porous, allowing for some wiggle room at the smallest levels.  If this be the nature of reality, then it follows that good interpretation of the Bible allow for wiggle-room at the smallest levels. What is gained by precision is lost in certainty

Godel's Completeness and Incompleteness Theorems
Godel's Completeness and Incompleteness Theorems describe the same scope of epistemology as 1 Corinthians 13:12. Godel's Completeness Theorem says that in a natural language or propositional logic, every valid argument can be constructed as a formal proof using the language of mathematics or mathematical logic. Godel's First Incompleteness Theorem states that every  logically consistent formal system, meaning a system that describes proof using mathematical language or meta-language*, has statements that are true but unprovable from within the system. Godel's Second Incompleteness Theorem states that no consistent formal system can prove its own validity from statements within the system. Ambiguous, natural language has contained within  it completeness, but the more precise, formal system are necessarily incomplete.

What formal systems gain by precision, they lose in completion.  Even if gaps in one formal system are filled by appeal to another formal system, the second formal system would have gaps of its own. No finite number of formal systems can have complete knowledge. Only an infinite number of formal systems can attain formal completion, and only the mind of God can contain knowledge of an infinite "number" of formal systems.

Three things follow from these three theorems: A finite mind  can find complete, but not exhaustive knowledge expressed in terms of somewhat ambiguous natural language. This knowledge includes certainty about the big picture, but fuzzy on the details - just what Paul claimed in 1 Corinthians 13:12 (Godel's completeness Theorem).  The second is that no formal system can account for all of reality (Both of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems). The third is that no uncertainty caused by incompleteness or inconsistency can destroy the certainty that exists in natural language and logic. Godel's Incompleteness Theorems do not contradict the Completeness Theorem. 

No formal or formalized system can be both consistent and complete. Attempts to do result in discrepancies. These discrepancies, however, do not destroy our knowledge of the whole. These three theorems confirm the Pauline epistemology of 1 Corinthians 13:12. Uncertainties at the microscopic level do not destroy our knowledge of the message of God.

God has chosen to communicate His message in natural language. Natural language is complete and sufficient to convey His intended message. Because no formal system can be both consistent and complete, discrepancies from these systems or formalized  systems    (i. e. modern science) at the microscopic level are not valid objections to the main narrative. Reality exists in such a way that no finite mind can judge with certainty in both a complete and consistent way the smallest scales. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle establishes these limits as a matter of empirical or experiential observation, and Godel's Theorems establish these limits as necessary truths. In the midst of microscopic uncertainty is certainty and completeness concerning the big picture.

The Bible is  consistent concerning the big picture or meta-narrative, and it uniquely and completely provides answer to some fundamental questions that are found nowhere else. God has built in massive redundancy into the Scripture, insuring that important doctrines are confirmed in context and in multiple places.  Weakness in human knowledge at the microscopic level, whether it be matters of textual criticism or that of  the most precise shade of meaning of a word in its original language, do not hinder the ability of the Holy Spirit to deliver God's intended message to man using human language.

The role of the Holy Spirit in Hermeneutics
While this study in hermeneutics emphasizes  valid methodologies of interpretation, God has not left us with just methods. He has given us his Holy Spirit that we may understand his ways (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).  We should seek God, asking him for the  wisdom He generously gives when we study his word (James 1:5-8). While I have said only a little about seeking God's wisdom, this is the most important thing in hermeneutics.

Scripture References
1 Corinthians 2:9-16; James 1:5-8

Other References
1 HyperPhysics Lab at Georgia State University

2  Godel's Completeness Theorem

3  Godel's First Incompleteness Theorem

4  Godel's Second Incompleteness Theorem

1 Can God preserve His message using human language even if our knowledge of that language is less than infallible?
2 What does the Bible say about human epistemology?
3 What is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle?
4 How does the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle confirm Biblical epistemology?
5 What does Godel's Completeness Theorem say?
6 What does Godel's Incompleteness Theorems say?
7 What do Godel's Three Theorems, when taken together, mean for epistemology?
8 Why is  God  redundant in his revelation?
9 What is the most important thing in Hermeneutics?