Monday, May 04, 2009

An Atheist Echo Chamber

Somebody tried to start a serious discussion on the AFR on this site. They should have saved their energy. The people think they can win the God debate by ridicule.

22 comments:

philip m said...

I'm not sure because I didn't watch the panel, but I'm pretty sure Wilson made that argument, not Craig. Craig doesn't really use the AfR, and the fizzing popcans thing is something that Wilson said in his debate on ChristianityToday's website with Hitchens.

Eric said...

I was, alas, among those who wasted their energy on that thread -- and it was indeed a waste. I referred those who were ridiculing the AFR to your work in post #448, but no one responded. However, as you said, they're not (well, most are not) interested in a serious discussion about God's existence.

pshdsa said...

When it is comfortable, atheism is an affordable luxury. In these times, there is no argument against the atheist. He is wise in his own eyes. The truth is that we all carry a load of guilt around, that we hardly notice, but let's take a look at it. If our entire lives were put on a movie screen, every private action, every nook and cranny of our lives, we would be filled with exceeding shame.


A thousand rationalizations cannot erase the screen of our lives. We can bury it from our minds; we can forget it in other pursuits, but the screen is a permanent record of our lives. This is the guilt we carry around. Jesus stands ready to forgive, if we acknowledge the truth about ourselves and come to Him for His forgiveness. Once I saw my heinous guilt before God, I couldn't see how Jesus could forgive me. Amazingly He did. He died for me. God's love is well proven. I gladly walk the narrow path to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The mind wants to find God; wants God to prove Himself, but there is only one way. A broken and a contrite heart is the only entrance to the Living God. Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Jesus bids you come, just as you are.

ChristianJR4 said...

PZ Myers said:

"William Lane Craig was interesting, but stupid..."

This isn't saying much. I mean PZ Myers calling a professional philosopher of Religion stupid? When Myers makes any comment on religious matters there's a higher probability that the opposite is true than his actual comment.

Does anyone find it ironic that for all the talk we here from Atheists about how religion is so morally reprehensible that it is strangely enough the Atheists that tend to resort to insults, mockery, and ridicule? Atheists are not as open-minded and rational as they would like to believe they are.

I read many of the comments in the blog and was actually somewhat surprised. Many of them are just mockery but I at least noticed some attempt at discussion about Craig's comments/arguments then just pure ridicule. I remember reading awhile a long time ago some posts on Dinesh D'Souza. Virtually all of the comments were insults (pretty strong ones too). For Craig, I don't see too much of that, which is quite refreshing. Perhaps there's a change in tone at Pharyngula. Then again, maybe that just attests to Craig's reasonableness (or D'Souza's lack of it). Not sure, but the comments were an improvement from the last time I visited.

unkle e said...

I can't help feeling that in most circles, the atheist-theist debate is a bit like two football teams playing each other, but on different fields, so they never actually engage. (Well hardly ever.)

It would be interesting to see if one could look at the comments of both sides when among their own, and see how much they are similar. They are so certain they're absolutely right and their opponents have no idea and no intellectual integrity -whichever side "they" is.

I wonder if there is any way to overcome this, or is it in the interests of one side or the other to keep it like this?

I wonder too if one could review a number of representative websites, blogs and forums and establish by counting who is the most gratuitously insulting of the other.

Ilíon said...

Here's another example of the echo chamber -- in this case, Mr Lazarus is himself an atheist and he proposed merely to reconsider whether some common atheistic claims or arguments stand up to rational examination: Internet Infidels: Reconsidering Some Atheistic Arguments

If one reads the entire thread, one will see that eventually I joined that board precisely to offer Mr Lazarus some encouragement in the face of the response from his fellows. But, for various reasons, I never did post my full critique (I had it mostly written up) of his OP.

mortalquestions said...

Actually I think that Myer's blog proves materialism when it comes to the philosophy of mind. I mean a soda can has more ability to deal with arguments than Myers and his band of merry men (and women?). Pop........Fizz

Blue Devil Knight said...

Sort of ironic that in your previous post you link to Uncommon Descent, then you would deride an echo chamber in the next post. :)

OTOH, two wrongs don't make a right, and I agree that PZ Myers and his followers are in the "knee jerk skeptic" crowd that I like to stay away from. They are probalby more annoying to me, as a skeptic, than the knee jerk Christians. At least the latter have no chance of giving me a bad name by association.

Note I say this not having looked at the whole thread over at Pharyngula. It does sound like William Lane Craig used rhetoric to perpetuate a mistake common to people at your blog. That is, they treat all configurations of matter as metaphysically equivalent, as if there is no ontologial difference between a kidney and a piece of aluminum. Just because two things don't differ in one way (i.e., one material, one immaterial), that doesn't mean they are identical. I know it is too obvious to need stating, but many commenters here make that mistake. (If the mind is just matter then it is no different than a turd...soda doesn't debate, it just fizzes).

When confronted with such a silly argument, would you expect atheist skeptic types to not become a bit caustic and full of derision? It's not like PZ was engaging with a thoughtful and intelligent argument, so I'm not surprised he was dismissive.

Of course I'm sure he overlooked other more subtle arguments, but the etiology of the discussion helps explain why it's fairly juvenile. Like attracts like.

Sorry disconnected thoughts here but must get to work now!!!

T'sinadree said...

Myers:
"Hitchens, though…wow. That takes guts to charge into such a biased audience and a panel stacked and loaded against him, and maul them all."

Hitchens "maul" them? That's why he conceded his closing statement in his debate with Craig. I needed that laugh today.

Hallq said...

Vic: Just because you're a nice guy doesn't mean we have to take what you say seriously, on pain of being considered mean and nasty bigots. I thought your book on the Argument from Reason was an OK critique of materialism, but your attempt to link the materialism debate to the God debate was hasty and flimsy, only a slight improvement over people who fail to realize there's a distinction at all.

As for Wilson, if the fizzing argument was presented the same way he presented the argument here:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/douglas_wilson/drange-wilson/wilson1.html

then it was a truly idiotic argument, for the reasons Blue Devil Knight said, and deserving of ridicule.

Matthew said...

I have never seen so many people who said that Hitchens did better than Craig. Definitely made my day.

Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton said...

You can ignore Hallq.
Find any of his rants on his blogs or on other blogs and you'll see why.

Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton said...

Too bad Oshkosh trash can't stay in Oshkosh.
Some of the things that crawled out of Oshkosh North.... YIKES!!

Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton said...

I have never seen so many people who said that Hitchens did better than Craig. Definitely made my day.Hitchens didn't do good against Craig.

Victor Reppert said...

Actually, Hallq raises a fair question that needs answering. But I think I need an entire post in order to answer it.

Ilíon said...

Did he? What was it? (I have *very* difficult time bringing myself to read his posts)

Blip said...

Too intellectually dishonest, eh?

Victor Reppert said...

I did see some real discussion of the issues at the Uncommon Descent blog, which suggests to me that although it is committed to ID, the people over there were at least responsive to atheist rebuttals. I saw nothing at all similar on the Pharyngula blog. Eric made the legitimate point that the argument from reason could surely be developed more in a more serious way than was being discussion there.

I have criticized Wilson before; I think that Drange creamed Wilson in that debate. I don't know why that was coming up in the discussion of the Craig debate. I have seen versions of the AFR from Craig, but not as primary arguments for God.

Hallq said...

Oh Ilion, it's so touching to know that you can bring yourself to read my posts. But let me see if I can walk you through this. To keep it very simple: Do you agree that the proposition "there is no God" is different from the proposition "everything is material"?

ricky hatton said...

Oh Hallq,
will your dad adjust my teeth for free?

Ilíon said...

Blip: "Too intellectually dishonest, eh?"

Yes, Hallq is an incredibly intellectually dishonest clown.

But, let's overlook that "ultimate" reason that I have an aversion to even attempting to read his posts, and look merely at the post he has made today. Specifically, notice the patronizing tone he directs at Mr Reppert.

Now, Mr Reppert is many things, as are we all; but stupid isn't one of those things.

ricky hatton said...

Different but one entails the other.

1st, one would be expected given the other: in our world/reality, if God does exist, we wouldn't expect everything to be material.

2nd, given our world if there is no God, we would expect everything to be material. Because one (only the material world exists) undercuts the other (the spiritual world exists).

3rd, If the material world isn't all there is (and it can't be if you want to account for actual intention) then how DO you account for intention? You would have to arbitrarily allow intention in some instances (I really do construct valid arguments against God existence) and then disallow it in others.