Tuesday, April 15, 2008

An incredibly rude response to me

Here's a classic case of internet rudeness. The odd thing is this guy actually thinks I was endorsing these arguments against ethical objectivity, as opposed to just presenting the best arguments I knew about against a position that I believe firmly in and have defended on numerous other posts. The arguments, of course, are based on the works of people like J. L. Mackie and Bertrand Russell. I find it amusing that someone can make fun of my doctorate who needs a course in reading comprehension.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well put DR. Reppert (as always).

It is important to note how often the author of the blog post you cite uses the word "prove." Especially since they do not give Plato credit for the Euthyphro dilemma, which they use to "prove" God is not "required" for morality.

On a side note, after purchasing and reading your book, it doesn't seem that the author actually read your book (perhaps thats what you meant by reading comprehension). Or is it just me?

Cheers!

Samuel said...

My reading comprehension is just fine, thanks. Nowhere in your blog entry do you state that you are presenting arguments that you disagree with. I apologize for not reading all of your blog entries, I could barely stomach the one I referenced. I only used it to show how pathetic the arguments for moral subjectivity are.

You attempt to save face by agreeing with me that these attempts at logic are wholly flawed. I have to wonder, if you can see how easily dismissed these absurd arguments can be, why post them?

(I) is based on the horrid anthropology practiced in the vein of Meade, who was a hack.
(II) admits to weakness, and is based on an irrational premise.
(III) also admits weakness, and was waved away by myself (though Plato seems to have hit on the same idea, according to your fan club)
and (IV) is guilty of begging the question in the very second step.

I helped support my wife's efforts to earn her doctorate, so I do not take the level of stamina required, nor the sacrifices, lightly. I just enjoyed trashing your arguments (and mocking your degree) because it seemed like the Objectively Right thing to do at the time.

Me Phi Me said...

Why take anything Sam says seriously?
He is motivated by something much deeper than intellectual commitment, he is motivated by his emotions on the field in general.

Grade school children practice more restraint than he shows.

He plays in the extremes: "wholly flawed", "pathetic arguments" supported by insults.

He supported his wife? Sure, by brow beating.
I doubt his actions to and attitudes toward 'random' people on the web are any different to his 'loved' ones.

He's emotionally a child with a big vocabulary, a chip on his shoulder and a mouth ready to spew whatever insult that bubbles up from his throat.

Johnny-Dee said...

There is a certain irony when one person rails against another under the supposition that they disagree. There is clearly a problem with reading comprehension. Your blog post merely lists various arguments against moral objectivism; there is no endorsement or defense of anything written on that post.

Perhaps what is even more interesting is that this means that he agrees with you and C. S. Lewis on the premise of the moral argument for God's existence that objective moral values exist. Of course, that doesn't mean he would buy the moral argument for God's existence, but it does limit his options in responding to it.

Whenever there is rhetoric of this sort, it is typically used to conceal one's weak arguments or personal insecurities. You'll almost never find someone like Sobel, Mackie, or Flew trying to persuade people with venomous rhetoric. If your argument is strong enough, you don't need to say anything more. This kind of rhetoric also shows that this guy has no intellectual humility. I always try to be aware of the possibility that I have made a mistake in my arguments or in understanding the other person's writings. If geniuses like Frege and Ayer can make mistakes, then I too can make mistakes. One can see why pride is extremely deplorable and unjustified by having a good well-rounded education.

I guess there is a reason this sort of thing is more likely to occur in an internet discussion board rather than in an academic source or even in a conversation in a typical philosophy department. I have learned that it is a waste of time to get involved in the discussion boards, etc. since there is so much ignorance and venomous rhetoric. I'll restrict my discussions to those who are capable and willing to reason about the difficult and complex topics that philosophers study.

Victor Reppert said...

Being behind you computer is a little like being behind the wheel. Sometimes people engage in aggressive behavior in internet debate that they would not engage in if they were talking face to face with that person. ter

Robert said...

John wrote:

“Whenever there is rhetoric of this sort, it is typically used to conceal one's weak arguments or personal insecurities. You'll almost never find someone like Sobel, Mackie, or Flew trying to persuade people with venomous rhetoric. If your argument is strong enough, you don't need to say anything more. This kind of rhetoric also shows that this guy has no intellectual humility.”

Completely agree with you here. I have some friends who are extremely smart and can articulate their ideas very clearly and simply. What is noticeably absent from them is sarcasm and personal put downs of those they disagree with.

Regarding the “venomous rhetoric” there are some strongly committed Christians who also engage in this kind of thing. In particular a group that posts at a blog named Triablogue is sadly a perfect example of this kind of speech behavior.

“I always try to be aware of the possibility that I have made a mistake in my arguments or in understanding the other person's writings.”

A great attitude to have. Richard Feynman the famous physicist gave a commencement address (if you have not read it, check it out) called “Cargo Cult Science” in which he describes the proper attitude of humility that we ought to have. Though he writes specifically to science students I believe his principles apply to all who are involved in academics or rational discussions whatsoever.

“If geniuses like Frege and Ayer can make mistakes, then I too can make mistakes. One can see why pride is extremely deplorable and unjustified by having a good well-rounded education.”

God says very clearly in the bible that he hates pride. A prideful and arrogant Christian is a sad testimony to the Christian faith.

“I guess there is a reason this sort of thing is more likely to occur in an internet discussion board rather than in an academic source or even in a conversation in a typical philosophy department. I have learned that it is a waste of time to get involved in the discussion boards, etc. since there is so much ignorance and venomous rhetoric.”

You may be right on this, unfortunately.

“I'll restrict my discussions to those who are capable and willing to reason about the difficult and complex topics that philosophers study.”
Sounds like a plan we may all have to seriously consider.

Robert

me phi me said...

Regarding the “venomous rhetoric” there are some strongly committed Christians who also engage in this kind of thing.

It happens, but it's not to the extent of the atheists in my opinion. Just go on youtube and not applaud one of the polemic videos in the comment section - you'll get barked out of the discussion forum. Or go to AtBC, I can't think of many forums that compare to the hostility in that forum.
Stop by ERV's blog to get called a 'tard' for not agreeing with them (along with other insults).


God says very clearly in the bible that he hates pride. A prideful and arrogant Christian is a sad testimony to the Christian faith.

Why would it be a sad testimony to the Christian faith? A sad testimony to humans that are full of pride and arrogant; but if those humans aren't living up to Christian standards then why fault the standard they aren't living up to?

If I was in high school and had an informal group called "The Upstanding Student" and anyone could be a 'TUS' if they maintained a B+ average in their course work, were involved with at least 1 extracurricular activity, and committed no crimes against society.
If some students claimed to be a 'TUS' and met all of those criteria, but they repeatedly mugged people would you blame The Upstanding Student group?